Ship's Helm (or What's New with our Crew!)

Since we launched YA Buccaneers last July, our crew members have celebrated some amazing personal and professional accomplishments. Here are our "year in review" updates!

Captain E. Hook (A.K.A. Erin L. Schneider)

What an amazing year it’s been! It started last July when the YA Buccaneers went from something I'd only been talking about with Bridgid, to actually becoming a real live community of amazing YA / MG writers and readers. I'm so fortunate to know such a great group of ladies and even more thrilled with all the new people I meet every single day!

A few weeks after YAB launched, I began to query my fourth YA novel – a contemporary story I'd started in 2010. Eight weeks later I signed with Super Agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company and over the next six months we worked on a multiple rounds of revisions. On May 1st (which also happens to be my birthday!), we went out on submission and I braced myself for the long road ahead by trying to focus on writing something else. But I truly lucked out, because seventeen days later we accepted a deal from Disney-Hyperion and I’m so happy to say that WHERE THE WATER FALLS will be out in the real world in Spring of 2016!

Anyone that writes knows this business can take a very long time to gain any traction. After six long years, four different YA books (and three more that were partially written), hundreds of query letters and rejections, multiple query and writing workshops, several writer conferences, and finally - in just the past year alone - it’s all paid off.

So much awesome has happened for all the Buccaneers since we launched and I’m so happy to be able to celebrate with my fellow pirates – and everyone else that’s joined us along the way! - on all of these great achievements! 

Dread Pirate B. (A.K.A. Bridgid Gallagher)

What a year! My BIG writing endeavors could fall into two categories: YA Buccaneers and all my other writing. :) 

When Erin and I first started emailing people about joining the YA Buccaneers, I had no idea what kind of response we'd get. I was a little worried everyone would think we were weirdos. ;) But right from the start, the crew members jumped in with goofy pirate photos (OMG, I love these people) and a willingness to make the YA Buccaneers not just a website, but a community. 

Our crew is constantly sharing opinions and ideas, and I can't even tell you how many hours we've spent writing posts, leading Word Sprints, and getting everything organized behind the scenes. I am so, so proud to be a part of this crew, and I'm looking forward to another amazing year with the 

As for my personal writing projects, in November I participated in NaNoWriMo and finished the first draft of a Middle Grade Fantasy. I am now in the midst of the third(ish) round of revisions. Working on this project has taught me so much already, and I am very excited to see where the next year takes it. 

Back from the Dead Red (A.K.A. Ellen Goodlett)

In the past year, I sold my first short story (two of them in the same week, actually!), started writing regular book reviews for my hometown newspaper, and won second place in a travel writing contest for a piece I wrote about swimming across the continental divide in Iceland. Oh, and while in Iceland, I saw the northern lights, cliff-jumped, and ate puffin (nom).

In addition to that, I did my first round of real rewrites for an editor, learned a lot about the book submission process with my first novel (now temporarily shelved), and finished revising my second novel for my agent. I also finished writing a few short stories, which is reeeally strange for me (I haven't felt compelled to write a short since I left college, and even then I only wrote them because we were assigned to), but I'm kind of enjoying it!

Bonny Kitty Cutlass (A.K.A. Kathryn Holmes)

This past year has been a doozy, for sure! After selling my debut novel to HarperCollins in 2013, I spent several months working with my amazing editor to make the book the absolute best it can be. I couldn't be more proud of the almost-finished product, and I am excited/anxious/terrified for people to read it! (February 17, 2015!) In the meantime, now that THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is pretty much done, I have been hard at work on my next book, another YA Contemporary—more details coming soon. 

In addition to setting sail with the YA Buccaneers in December, the other big adventure of the past 12 months was the trip my husband and I took to Israel in January! Here we are on the Mount of Olives, with Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock in the background. 

Brunhilde the Black-Hearted (A.K.A. Rachel Searles)

This has been (and still is) a major year of transition for me, centering around two of the biggest events in my life: my first book, and my first baby! My debut, THE LOST PLANET, came out in January, and the awesome people at Macmillan sent me on a weeklong tour of schools to kick it off. It was an experience I'll never forget. Since then I've been working on getting the sequel, THE STOLEN MOON, ready for publication next January, and plotting out future books. I've also taken a couple of babymoon trips with my husband, including a drive up the coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and a long stay in his home country, Turkey. As for the baby, she's due in August and we cannot wait to meet her! 

Curly McGee (A.K.A. G. Myrthil)

In my personal life, this past year was all about change. My husband and I bought our first home (a dream come true!) and moved in last summer. Then in the fall, I started a new job--switching from commuting into NYC to working closer to home in CT. Luckily, the job change meant more time to write! I finished writing my second contemporary YA manuscript (with the help of Camp NaNoWriMo) in April. Now I'm revising this manuscript and looking forward to querying it later this year.


Guppy Guts Skullcracker (A.K.A. Heidi Sinnett)

It seems hard to sum up a year in a paragraph, doesn't it? But, I struggled with the ups and downs of being on submission for the first time, managed to actually write another book (which seemed an impossible task), and learned to balance my busy job with my writing life. I sang with a world renowned choir last fall, ran a crazy successful Camp NaNoWriMo for local writers at my library, learned to play the ukulele (ongoing), and met some of my favourite TV stars in person. Plus, I just bought a new car and I love it!

Jas Ketch, Siren of the Seychelles (A.K.A. Kris F. Oliver)

This year was amazing in so many ways. I finally quit my Evil Day Job, which is something I’d be planning and scheming for a long, long time. I’m now focusing on my Kayak EcoTourism business full-time and loving every single second of it.

On the writing front, I finished my rewrites of my NA post-apocalyptic ISIS and broke 50K on my historical LOVE & OTHER CURIOSITIES during YAB Bootcamp. I also hosted the Swamped Writers Retreat here in Sarasota, Florida where I got to meet and hang out with some amazingly talented authors.

Lady Byrd Bonebreaker (A.K.A. Sara Biren)

The year was a bit of a roller coaster for me. As we launched YA Buccaneers, I also announced that I’d signed with an agent.  I spent the summer working on revisions to prepare for submissions in September. Unfortunately, in mid-September she left the industry and I started the query process over. I signed with Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency in early January.  I’m currently working on my next novel, a contemporary YA, working title KEYS. I also spent time building my freelance business, SP Critique and Editing Services and have enjoyed working with great clients across different genres.

About the photo - each year I take an Empty Shoes photo along Lake Superior. Here's this year's shot at Split Rock Lighthouse.

Shiver Me Timbers (A.K.A. Caroline T. Richmond)

I usually consider my life rather boring--pajamas all day? yes, please!--but this last year has been quite the entertaining ride! In 2013 I sold a book to Scholastic after years (six to be precise!) of trying to get traditionally published. Then a couple months after that I found out I was pregnant! So yeah, lots of life changes at once. 

Now in 2014, I've become a mama to a precious-yet-grumpy Baby Overlord and I'm a few months away from my novel's release. My husband and I are also trying to build a house, so basically we are insane. Fun! But whenever I do find some free time, I try to work on a new WIP set in Occupied France and I'm plotting ways to get more stamps in my passport. :)

What have you accomplished this past year?

Don't forget to check out the rest of our anniversary posts this month and enter our HUGE giveaway here!