It’s been an exciting year for us at the YA Buccaneers, and we wanted to give thanks for all of it. From book deals, to writing retreats, to supportive partners—we’ve got a lot to be grateful for, so we thought we’d share our thanks here.
Captain E. Hook
I'm thankful for YA author, Jandy Nelson. I loved her latest release, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, but THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE -- that one is at the top of my all-time favorites and reminds me every single day what great writing is all about. When I went out on sub earlier this year, I was honored to use SKY as one of my comp titles -- and in September when I got to meet Jandy, I let her know. Her response: she squealed, jumped up and hugged me, then gave me a huge kiss on my cheek. It resulted in the best personalization ever.
I'm thankful for all the great authors, writers, and those in the publishing industry, that are in my life. There are several I've never met in person and many I have, but every single one means the world to me. Knowing I have all of these great people that completely understand what I'm going through (sometimes when not even my own husband does!), has made this such an amazing journey. From the entire crew here at the YA Buccaneers, to everyone at Disney-Hyperion, and to all the new 2016 debut authors I've gotten to know over at the Sweet Sixteens -- I couldn't ask for better people to be surrounded by.
And lastly, I'm thankful for being able to take the leap of faith and leave my full-time job, so I could focus on writing. There were (and are!) so many reasons to be fearful when I first considered this, but there were so many more signs that said it was possible -- and exactly 4.5 weeks after I left my position at Microsoft, I sold my debut novel to Disney-Hyperion. I don't know what the future will bring, but for now I'm grateful for the opportunity to actually do what I love.
Lady Bird Bonebreaker:
I'm thankful for Stephanie Perkins, who continues to give us heartfelt stories of love and the search for self. I loved ISLA and I continue to go back to ANNA and LOLA. And if you haven't read her short story included in the holiday anthology MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME (It's a Yultide Miracle, Charlie Brown), you *must*.
I'm thankful for my husband, Troy. He's been supportive of my writing career since we first met and I moved to a different city for graduate school two months after we started dating. He gives me time and space and challenges me - not only to do better work, but to include things like tornadoes and fires in my work. And he keeps me laughing.
Earlier this year, on a whim I tweeted about going on a writing retreat on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Other writers responded "YES!" and so I began to plan. We had writers from Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, and New Your and it was amazing. I should start a business to plan writing retreats.
And I'm also thankful that I completed the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge. I read some books that I probably wouldn't have if not for the Challenge.
Bonny Kitty Cutlass:
I'm thankful for Jandy Nelson, whose work reminds me why I write and makes me want to be better. Her debut, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, is phenomenal, and her newest release, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, is poised to be my favorite read of 2014. Her writing is vivid and powerful and *alive.*
I'm thankful for my husband, Justin. For his support and encouragement. For his listening ear and willingness to bounce plot and character ideas back and forth, nonstop. For his excitement to celebrate even the smallest of successes and his ability to make me smile when the crazy world of publishing gets me down. We met when I was in grad school for creative writing, and so he really has been there for my entire YA author journey. I can't imagine being here, now, without him.
Finally, while this doesn't necessarily count as something new I did this year, I'm thankful I got to meet so many authors in person for the first time in 2014. Not only did I have dinner with fellow YA Buccaneers Captain E. Hook (Erin L. Schneider) and Back From the Dead Red (Ellen Goodlett) and hang out with many of my fellow Fearless Fifteeners (2015 MG and YA debut authors), I also went to several YA writer meetups in NYC and met lots of friends of friends at SCBWI events, write nights, and more. I'm ending 2014 with a much bigger network than I had at the start of the year, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Jas Ketch, Siren of the Seychelles:
I'm grateful for author Arundhati Roy. Her book THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS is one of those books that changes you upon reading it. Not only is she a phenomenal writer, but she reminds us that not only can a writer tell compelling stories, but can work to change the world. She inspires me to fight harder for the things I believe in and to never give up on trying to make the world a better place.
"The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead."
I'm thankful for my partner in life and in crime. (in that order) We are two-headed twins with the same brain and when we sleep our dreams get tangled up together. Sometimes I forget whose dreams I'm having. He has supported and encouraged every hair-brained scheme I've ever dreamed up. (And that is truly saying something.) It is a rare and miraculous thing to find another human being who truly understands you. I was lonely my entire life until I met him. He can make me laugh so hard my ribs hurt, even when everything has gone catastrophically wrong. And I find if I try and imagine a world without him in it, I simply can't. I don't think he truly knows, strange beautiful creature that he is, how thankful I am that he exists.
And lastly, I am thankful that I escaped the Cubicle of Doom this year. To do what you love, every day is a priceless thing. I'm glad I finally had the guts to make it happen. And when I'm floating in a boat on the water, without a florescent light or a conference room in sight, I just have to smile and breathe a sigh of relief that I'm finally where I'm supposed to be.
Back from the Dead Red
I am thankful for Jhumpa Lahiri, who reminds me how powerful short stories are, and how moving seemingly simple, everyday scenes can become.
I am thankful for my NYC family. Including all the friends from my previous lives who moved here before/after me, and all the new friends I made while living in this crazy breakneck city. They keep just the right amount of sane in my daily insanity.
I am thankful for the farm share my friends and I joined for the first time this spring. For 22 weeks, we had farm-fresh fruits, veggies and eggs, thus forcing me to learn how to cook all these things I'd never heard of before. And also forcing me not to eat out so dang often! It taught me a lot, not just about eating, but also about small family businesses and the (positive!) impact that buying local can have on real people. Yayyy!
I am also thankful that I sold a book!!!! Here's me still looking freakishly excited about that.
Dread Pirate B.
Susan Dennard's books are great fun (steampunk, zombies, romance - need I say more?), but what makes me over-the-moon grateful for Susan is what she does for the writing community. Through her blog and email newsletter (go subscribe!!!) she offers a wealth of information to writers on both the craft and business of writing. Plus, Susan is super approachable and supportive. I've learned so much from her this year, and I am so appreciative of her openness and interest in sharing what she knows. Thanks, Sooz!
I am so fortunate to have a network of people in my life who support me. Naming just one wouldn't be fair! Instead, picture me sending out big cyber smooshes to all my peeps. *smoosh*
For my birthday this year, I decided to take a paragliding lesson. It was a two-day course, and most of the time I ran around on the ground in an awkward harness with a big wing attached to it. I did hike up a hill and float down a few times, and even caught some air. (I think it was an accident, my instructor seemed relieved when I landed without breaking anything). Although paragliding isn't for me, I'm grateful for the experience, and I'm glad I tried it!
But most of all, we’re thankful for all of you. Without you, we couldn’t do all we do at YAB. We’re thankful you read our posts, participate in our blog hops and contests, and most of all…that you keep coming back. We love seeing your comments and getting to know you through bootcamps and gift exchanges. It’s been a great year, and we hope to have another successful year coming up. Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to all of you! We couldn’t do this without you.