LITTLE & LION!

Remember that second book I announced a, um, while ago? It has a cover and a summary, which was revealed this morning over at Forever Young Adult!

And because the cover is too gorgeous not to share wherever possible, see below!

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And here is a summary of the book!

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new . . . the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself—or worse.

LITTLE & LION will be available August 8, 2017, and you can add it to your Goodreads here!

 

new novels + an anthology

In case you missed me flailing around on Twitter yesterday—I’ve sold two more books!

From the Publishers Weekly announcement: Alvina Ling at Little, Brown has acquired Pointe author Brandy Colbert’s Little & Lion, about a black and Jewish Los Angeles native dealing with the aftermath of her stepbrother’s mental health crisis while navigating unexpected love. Publication is set for spring 2017. Tina Wexler at ICM did the two-book deal for world English rights.

I was going to write a thing about the background of coming up with this story, but the tl; dr version? People aren’t wrong about the second book being…difficult. It took a long time to get this one right, guys. I sold on proposal, but I’ve honestly lost count of how many versions Little & Lion went through before my agent and I were both happy with the sample pages. Which was exhausting, but you keep at it when you know there’s a story in there, and I’m so happy I did. And that I have such an amazingly patient and encouraging agent who never gives up on me. And that I get to work with the indomitable Alvina Ling at Little, Brown. I’m excited about the characters and the story and the setting (my beloved Los Angeles!), and I absolutely cannot wait to share Little & Lion with you!

So then more news was announced yesterday, which you’ve probably most definitely heard about: the sale of Stephanie Perkins’ next anthology, Summer Days & Summer Nights. I am so honored and unbelievably thrilled that I get to contribute a short story, along with the exceedingly talented authors taking part in this project. I love, love short stories and anthologies, and I know this one is going to be excellent!

And if you’re the type of person who likes to add to-read books on Goodreads? You can add Little & Lion here and Summer Days & Summer Nights here!

end of the year + favorite books + thank you

I really don’t know what to write about 2014 except that it was tough and wonderful and emotional and disheartening and full of new things. My first book was published and it’s been out for eight months and I still can’t believe people are reading it. I was lucky enough to be named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start in the spring and see Pointe named a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, the Chicago Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. And I got the chance to be a part of some incredible library panels and bookstore events where I hung out with old and new author friends and met lots of great teens and readers.

I am so incredibly grateful to all of you who talked about and recommended Pointe, whether in person or online or via carrier pigeon. Word of mouth was very helpful to my book, and it means the world to me that anyone connected with it and talked it up. Thank you so much for making my debut year such a dream.

This was also the year I went back to work full-time, as a copy editor for a weekly magazine. And while I love my job, my reading suffered for it. I read only 18 books compared to 64 in 2013, but I also copyedited 24 books as freelance projects and that counts as reading so not all is lost. (Btw, when I was like eight years old I said I wanted to be an author and hang out with my spelling workbook all day and I think I am living the dream, guys.)

I enjoyed just about everything I read this year, but of course certain books won’t let me stop thinking about them and here is what you need to get your hands on immediately if not sooner:

Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Yes, I have some catching up to do with books actually released in 2014.)

My critique partners each have a book coming out next year and everything they write is my favorite. So if you’re looking for more books to preorder and/or put on your list for 2015, I read the following novels earlier this year and highly recommend them all because I have super talented CPs/friends:

All The Rage by Courtney Summers (April 2015)

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu (May 2015)

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (June 2015)

I’m also looking forward to 2015 because I have several trips and events planned! I’m speaking at my old high school (!!!) in February in Missouri,  and will be on a panel at the AWP conference in Minneapolis in April with authors I greatly respect. I can’t say more about the other events just yet, but suffice to say I am quite excited and more details to come.

Oh, this was also the year I discovered jumpsuits and perhaps now own too many and show no signs of stopping, but that’s another post for another time, friends.

conversations and a beautiful review

For someone who claims to never leave the house, there are a couple of opportunities to see me this month, if you are so inclined:

This Wednesday, May 14, I’m thrilled to be taking part in the LAPL Teen Author Reading Series with the lovely Carrie Arcos at the Exposition Park branch at 4 p.m.!

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And I’m incredibly excited that I’ll be at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley on Saturday, May 31, in conversation with my friend Stephanie Kuehn! Steph is my critique partner, one of my favorite writers, and author of the gorgeous Charm & Strange, as well as the thrilling upcoming novel Complicit, both of which I absolutely love. We’ll be talking about writing dark YA, diversity in publishing, and much more, so if you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll join us!

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Finally, I am so touched by this beautiful review of POINTE in the Los Angeles Review of Books, which dissects my book in a way that I, the writer, never could, and says, “Pointe is a startlingly beautiful novel, singular in its voice and vision, and executed with unabashed honesty.”

Hope to see you at one of my events this month!

pointe is here!

I have a book out in the world, as of today.

Surreal doesn’t seem like the right word, and yet. I started the first draft of POINTE in 2009, sold it in 2011, and it is now officially published, in 2014. Publishing a book takes a long time, and some take longer than others, but the wait was worth it.

From my agent to my editor to my critique partners, friends, and family, I have so many good, loyal people in my corner, and I’m very grateful for all of you. To anyone who has encouraged me and/or spread the word about my book in any way: thank you. Your support means the world to me. I’ve wanted to have my fiction published since I was seven years old, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this process has been an absolute dream.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of POINTE, you can find it here, here, and here. Libraries are great, too!

And to any writers stuck in the beginning, querying, and submission stages—do not give up. Don’t. Your publishing journey might take longer than you think, and it might not go exactly as you thought it would, but someday, someone will publish your little book about abduction and ballet and sexual abuse and relationships. And you will be very glad that you worked so hard.

absence makes the heart grow fonder

Hello!

I’m alive! And still not blogging regularly! So, pretty much everything is in order.

Some good things have happened since I last posted, which generally occurs when you take five-month breaks between blogging.

First, I finished all my edits for POINTE and now it’s being turned into an almost-book! The interior was designed and now it’s at the printer, being made into an advance reader copy. I’m not sure when ARCs will make their way to me, but I’m thinking within the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

Second, I revealed my cover, synopsis, and release date on the fantastic YA Highway, but if you don’t feel like clicking over, I’m just going to post the pretty cover here too, because why not?

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Gorgeous, yes? It’s hard to express how much I love my cover and how pleased I am with the amazing people at Penguin who worked to get it just right. Also? My book is available for preorder here!

And third, I’ve been rambling about writing and books and whatnot in a few places around the Internet, so I’m linking to those below in case you wanted proof that I’m blogging for other people and not myself:

Author Spotlight on YA Highway

Interview on the Writing Pad blog

So You Want to Read YA? on Stacked

Finally, I received truly amazing blurbs from two authors who inspire me to no end, and as soon as I get my ARCs, I’ll be revealing those blurbs and hosting a giveaway (one of my ARCs and each of their debut novels) on the Thirteeners blog. So stay tuned AGAIN! Maybe not here, though. Maybe best to keep up with me on Twitter or Tumblr, since I seem to update those more than four times a year.

I also want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who’s expressed excitement about POINTE, whether it was on Twitter or Waiting on Wednesdays or by adding my book to your Goodreads shelves. It’s been a long process and I still have about eight months to go, but knowing that people are looking forward to reading my book (people who aren’t my parents or BFF!) makes the wait absolutely worth it.

same book, new title, happy me

Boring confession: I am horrible at titling things.

I came up with the title of my book just before we sold it, and while I never hated A POINT SO DELICATE, I was always sort of meh about it. Though I’ve gotten used to saying and writing it for a while now, it continued to feel like a placeholder. I do think it captures the nature of the book — a girl dealing with a number of obstacles that could (might?) push her over the edge — but while it’s a pretty title, it always seemed a bit overly precious to me.

So when I learned we had to come up with a new one, I was mostly excited but also daunted. I begged for help from a few very patient friends who are much better at this process than me. I spent a very long day with a word cloud. I submitted a whole slew of titles and bounced them around with my editor and agent and they just didn’t work.

Then I got an email from my editor with a title that she thought might be The One. And then another email with a title that was absolutely The One. Which left me thinking: 1) She’s brilliant. 2. (Obviously.) And 3) How did I not think of this from the start? Because my new title is …

[are you ready for this?]

[now I’m just being a jerk]

 

POINTE

 

Not so super far from the original and yet quite different. I like that it’s succinct, that you look at it and instantly know the story has roots in the ballet world. And it also plays nicely on “pointing the finger” as guilt and blame comprise a large theme of the novel.

I can’t wait to share more about the book (!!) but in the meantime, you can add POINTE here on Goodreads. If you are so inclined.

my favorite books of 2012

I did it!

I reached my goal of reading 55 books this year, a whole 20 books more than last year. Definitely a challenge for this slow reader who sometimes gets distracted by things like the copyright page (not even kidding, I am going to nerd out over that so hardcore when I see it in my book) and the page that describes the history of the book’s typeface. [Is there a name for this page? Please advise.]

Like last year, I have a disclaimer that these aren’t necessarily books published in 2012, but my favorite of the novels I picked up for the first time this year. I’ll also add that I was lucky enough to read several really, really great books being published in 2013, but I won’t be including them on this list. Which is as follows:

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

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I’m not into zombies. That’s what I first thought when I read the premise of Courtney Summers’ newest book. I mean, I knew I’d read it. I’m clearly a huge and vocal fangirl of her books. But would I love it as much as her last three novels? In a word? YES. It’s not a zombie novel. I mean, it is. There are zombies and blood and some deliciously gory scenes. But it’s mostly a really wonderful character study that skeeved me out in all the best ways and made me stop saying I’m not into zombies. It’s nearly impossible for me to choose my favorite Courtney Summers novel, but this one is definitely in the running.

LEVERAGE by Joshua C. Cohen

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I like books about really tough situations. The more depressing the topic, typically the more interested I am in the book. LEVERAGE is the most honest book I’ve ever read about bullying. It goes where you think it might go and then further than that. Rock bottom. It’s also a sports book and I’m not into sports, but there are some beautifully crafted descriptions of football plays and gymnastics moves that even I appreciated. I really admire books that remind me to be an honest writer, no matter how difficult the subject, and LEVERAGE is at the top of that list for me.

LOVE & LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay

love and leftovers

I’m a sucker for a good verse novel, and this is one of my favorites. I love Tregay’s writing and though the book was shorter due to its format, I felt as if I’d read a prose novel when I’d finished. So much depth conveyed in so few words, and the story felt very authentic. It’s one of those books I can’t really explain in detail why I like so much and generally tell people, “Just read it!” I found it really inspiring and it will likely go in my very small pile of books that I reread once a year or so.

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

how to save a life

I mean, it’s Sara Zarr. That should say enough. But really, I didn’t expect the connection that I had to this book. It was the same feeling I had with her book SWEETHEARTS. Her characters are always incredibly real but these are achingly so. I really felt for them. So many emotions for my stone-cold heart. [Also: I know I said I wouldn’t put 2013 books on this list, but I got an early read of THE LUCY VARIATIONS, Sara Zarr’s next book, due out in May 2013, and it is fantastic.]

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson

Okay, this book was published almost a decade ago, but let’s just pretend you all recently discovered it like I did. I read quite a few graphic novels this year and this was the most surprising. I was heartbroken by the sixth page (and this is a memoir, which made some of the scenes even more upsetting), but the story was also funny at times and beautifully told through all 592 pages.

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What are your favorite books of the year? Or feel free to link to a post you’ve made in the comments section!

what i’ve been up to

Oh, guys. GUYS.

It’s obviously been a while, although if you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me hanging out there talking about TV I love and books I love and Cosby-inspired sweaters (which I also love) and I don’t even know.

1. Not a lot of book news to report right now, but what you need to know is that a) As I finish up another round of revisions, I must say the brilliance of my editor, Ari Lewin, cannot be overstated, and b) We will see lots of amazing things like jacket copy and a cover and a release date in the new year and I will be ecstatic to show them to you.

2. I’ve done some fun guest posts over the past few months, including this Q&A from yesterday and a roundtable post with a few of my debut writer pals. It always feels a little strange talking about my writing in a public forum. Two things I’ve learned in the last year is that I’m a pretty private person and that I don’t enjoy talking about my writing process (mostly because there is no real process), but I find interviews really fun. Perhaps because I’ve generally been on the other side of them my whole life, what with the whole journalism thing? Ponder. Discuss.

3a. Back in October, I visited New York for the first time in four years, where I caught up with a few old friends and some new ones, too; got lost a lot (typical); ate delicious food (also typical, but very appreciated); and probably walked more than I have in the past year and a half (blame Los Angeles). I also met my agent, Tina Wexler, for the first time in person and she was, of course, delightful in every way just as she is over email and the telephone. We had lunch with my editor, whom I’d met back in August over a lovely dinner, and stormed the Penguin offices afterward. I wore a cat dress. And you know, even a year and a couple of months after my book deal, this whole author thing is very surreal (the Penguin offices, up close and personal?!).

3b. My trip to New York was two-fold; after three days in the city, I rode up to Woodstock where I embarked on a writing retreat with six other fantastic ladies. I am, admittedly, not much of the nature-y, outdoors-y type (somewhere in Missouri, my mother is cringing) but it was really nice being in such a remote location for five days. I got to see the gorgeous colors of autumn leaves that had turned for the season, breathe smog-free air for the first time in a long time, and see actual stars at night. There were lots of delicious homemade dinners, cheese, wine, book talk, career talk, games, AND some writing. Definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever taken and here is a picture to prove I was IN NATURE:

Photo by Alison Cherry.
From L to R: Alison Cherry, Caroline Carlson, Lindsay Ribar, me, Kristen Kittscher, Corey Haydu, and Liz Whelan.
Photo by Alison Cherry.

4. TV. You thought I was going to end a post without talking about television? SURELY YOU JEST. But, yeah. I’m a hardcore TV junkie to the end, but it turns out that watching whole seasons of TV shows while I’m revising is actually vital to my existence. In the past couple of months, I’ve devoured the entire series (thus far) of Awkward and Downton Abbey, and am steadily working my way through Breaking Bad and Scandal, both of which are absolutely phenomenal. And now I will stop because I can and will talk about television for days (but please know that the second seasons of Shameless and Homeland are on tap during the holidays).

That’s about it. I think. Either way, I’ll be back soon(ish) with a post about my favorite books I’ve read in 2012. So far I’ve read 51 books (only four shy of my goal for the year — can this slow reader do it in the next 11 days?) and there have been some really, really great ones in my stack.

Until then, my friends.