Category Archives: Uncategorized

Announcing the ADSOM fan-art contest!


When it comes to fan-art, the ADSOM community has been truly magical. Over the last 8 months, we’ve seen SO many amazing pieces of ADSOM art. Now, to celebrate the readership’s penchant for the visual, as well as the upcoming launch of A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, the amazing team at Tor has launched an EPIC fan-art contest!!!!

Now, if you can’t draw, do not fear. Fan-art takes many forms, from illustrations to cover designs to quote art to cosplay. And all of them are eligible. (Keep in mind, you can’t use copyrighted images.)

Here are just a few ideas:

–Dress up as Lila!

–Draw a picture of Sad Holland!

–Redesign the book covers!

–Fan-edit the Dane twins!

–Doodle Rhy in all his princely hotness!

–Design Holland’s curse!

–Make Kell’s necklace of coins!

I really, really hope you’ll enter! I even put on pants and made you a video!

Feeling fired up?

For contest details and entry, go HERE.

Today I got a key tattoo. Let me tell you why.


Today I got a key tattoo. I want to tell you why.

It is not, in fact (or at least, not exclusively), a key to the Archive. It’s based on a very real antique skeleton key I carry with me, a relic from a little market in the corner of Paris.

This key is the culmination of planning, of waiting, of earning.

This key is my author icon. Rather than a pen or quill, or set of letters, this is what marks me as a storyteller, a gatekeeper, providing my readers with the keys to new worlds, whether or not they choose to step through the door.

This key is my personal totem, so that all the doors in life–or at least, the right doors–will open for me.


And this key is my reward.

For moving to another country.

For finishing three books and surviving grad school at the same time.

It is my reminder that I can take risks, push myself, and succeed.

My reminder that I can take the hard door.


Announcing the GATHERING OF SHADOWS pre-order campaign!!!!


We are getting more AGOS trading cards in stock in December! That means this offer is officially reopened!


So many people turned in their preorder receipts in the first week that we ran out of stock. Hopefully we’ll be able to offer more closer to release, but in the meantime, this giveaway is closed. Check back later.


Hello, lovelies!

Over the past week, Tor has been teasing the gorgeous AGOS art cards designed by Victoria Ying. And now that they’ve finally been revealed in all their glory, it’s time to kick off the pre-order campaign!

First a moment to appreciate these beautiful cards, featuring four of the tournament magicians in A GATHERING OF SHADOWS. Those who’ve read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC will recognize two of them 😉


Long-time readers know that I love providing incentives for those dedicated enough to pre-order, both because I love my readers, and because publishers pay a lot of attention to pre-release statistics.

So here we go!

I have 200 sets of these cards! The giveaway is open internationally, and all you have to do is send:

-proof of pre-order (ex: screencap of receipt)

–a mailing address to:

Also, a sneaky little heads-up! There will be a super exclusive FIFTH card featuring a certain prince, and available ONLY at in-person events next spring 😉


You guysssssss.

Late last night, a Monday PW post went up early and broke the news.


First of all, let’s have a moment of OMG FOUR BOOKS FOUR BOOKS FOUR BOOKS.



Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

  1. What are these four books?!?!
    1. Well, one of them is the sequel to VICIOUS!!!! And one is the third book in the SHADES OF MAGIC series!!! And one is the ‘Devil Book’ I’ve mentioned here and there around the internet–aka the book of my dark soul and probably the only love story I’ll ever write–and the fourth is a secret.
  2. I thought VICIOUS was a standalone!
    1. VICIOUS was, in fact, always designed to be the first in a series, but I feel very strongly that first books should always be able to stand on their own. That said, many people who’ve finished VICIOUS have rightly suspected that I wasn’t done with Victor Vale and the rest of the book’s motley crew.
  3. How many books are in the SHADES OF MAGIC series?
    1. That’s a very good question! I thought it was going to be a trilogy, but it’s safer to think of it as a series. I have always had the arc planned out, and known where it was going and how it would end, but as the world and cast have grown, the adventure has, too. I don’t believe in adding for the sake of adding, so the series will only be as long as it needs to in order to tell the story. Whether that’s 3 or 4 books, I’m not totally sure.
  4. Wait let’s get back to VICIOUS!!! Does the sequel have a title? When is it coming out? What can you tell me??
    1. Haha, right now, I can only tell you what’s in that PW announcement 😉 You’ll have to stay tuned for more.

Right now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to my incredible agent, Holly, the hardest-working champion in the world. And thank you to my amazing editor, Miriam. I want to make book babies with you forever.

But most of all, thank you to my readers. NONE of this would happen without your love and support. Thank you for buying books, for spreading the word, for demanding more Victor Vale. Thank you for helping me make this dream of mine a reality.

Thank you.

Tagged , ,

9 Editors Share *THEIR* Day in the Life

Hey lovelies!

As a follow-up to last week’s DITL post, it was suggested that I do one from the OTHER side of the desk, so to speak. And so, without further ado, a VERY special treat. A look at the schedules of nine editors!

Martha Mihalick, Senior Editor, Harper/Greenwillow: 

One of the things I love about my job is that no day is completely the same. Some days are all about writing copy or letters or calling/emailing authors about their manuscripts. Some are all meetings with sales and marketing or agents or our own team to discuss projects that are in the works or in the future. And of course, the books and authors change from season to season., and none of those are exactly the same every time. So this is an example of how one day might go…

6:45am: Alarm radio goes off with NPR Morning Edition, so that I can listen while I’m getting ready for work and pretend I know things about the world.
8:00am: Get on subway, aka submission-reading time. Hopefully seated.
8:45 or so unless the MTA gods are particularly wrathful: Get to my office and GET COFFEE.
Gently pat the manuscript I printed out and WILL EDIT TODAY.
Open email, catch up on anything that happened after I left the office last night, check facebook and twitter, the saved searches I have on all the authors.
Respond to emails. Answer questions. Soothe nerves.
Somewhere in here, I probably also talk to either our editorial assistant or our publisher about something we’re all reading (either submission or new draft).
Oh, hey, the phone is ringing. It’s an agent with a new project to pitch. Or someone who needs info on an upcoming book or author. Or maybe my mom, even though I keep telling her I’m busy at work.
Mechs for a picture book or a jacket that are circulating through the imprint hit my inbox, and I review so I can pass them on. If it’s the picture book I have coming out in Fall ’16 (yes, that’s how far ahead we are working), then I’m probably giggling and/or “awwww”ing at my desk.
An author sends in answers to a Q&A or a blog post, and I read it and ask managing ed to copyedit it, then review any copyediting changes or queries and pass it on where it needs to go.
Marketing brings over or sends an ad for us to approve, so I look at that.
Our art director got new comps in for a jacket, so we discuss those.
I gently pat that manuscript I’m totally going to edit after lunch.
Wait…is it already 2pm? Maybe I should get lunch.
While I’m buying food, two more submissions come in.
More emails from authors/agents/marketing/sales to weigh in on.
Managing ed has a manuscript back from copyediting, ready for me to review and pass on to the author.
Throughout the day I’m occasionally checking social media to see if there’s anything happening for authors or books or in the industry in general that I should know about.
Write copy—catalog copy, jacket copy, selling copy, a letter for a mailing, tip sheet copy, paperback copy, who knows what it could be this particular day?
Finally, it’s 5pm and starting to get a little quiet. Maybe I can edit 10 pages before I go home.
Oh, except there’s that question from earlier in the day I forgot to answer.
And now it’s dark out. Load any new submissions on ipad, grab 50 pages of that manuscript and head out. Maybe I’ll get it done at home?



Miriam Weinberg, Editor, Tor Books:

This is an interesting question to answer–and one I constantly try to express to my family members, who still think I get to read books all day, which was my childhood dream (I WISH).

Basically, a day in the editorial life on average includes very *little* actual editing, but a huge amount of what I would call “invisible paper mountain excavation.” That includes: copy writing, looking over cover mechanicals/proofs, sitting in on various meetings (marketing, production, random), updating interior systems for sales and external processing, and navigation of the Death Star trench run that is my inbox. Honestly, the majority of my editorial time is spent out of the office–either on weekends or, if swamped, during a day out of the week–as is the majority of my reading. HOWEVER, I have recently acquired a violently regal reading chair for said office, so I’ve been trying to come in half an hour or so early to get reading done, which, being a person who dislikes the morning, has been a rough go. But let us imagine that this is easily repeatable in a pretend (v. productive and non-interrupted with random book-related fires) Wednesday:

-Come in before 9am, try the new fancy coffee machine (the old one gave up bitter poltergeist tears of roast ghosts), hope to go someone in marketing/ad-promo came in earlier than me to make coffee. I make coffee, whole scoop of grounds, half the water, the way my mother taught me.
-Eat yogurt (/Lucky Charms) and check twitter, if I hadn’t loaded on my way in to read on the commute
-Read until someone knocks on my door or calls; check inbox and re-write to-do list (or highlight/color code previous to do list for daily priority)
-Answer emails in order of priority; check in with bosses Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Liz Gorinsky to see if they need assistance with anything (mailing, orders, copy writing/processing, follow-up on upcoming seasonal tasks)
-I am currently in charge of the Tor intern program (and have been for a couple years), and my current intern comes in after their morning class, around 11. Go by their desk, chat a bit, see how their last task was going, assign new ones.
-Bring intern with me to morning production meeting; dodge the Eeyore faces of production
-Reassess TDL, email a gif to author,  check twitter
-Check over quotes for a book that needs an offset transmittal so I can compile front sales; teach intern to do transmittals
-Look up previous contract for author who I’d like to buy another book from, think about math, think about marketing, make P and L spreadsheet, ponder. Talk to Tom; discuss author’s last book, weekend plans.
-Prep email with offer for agent; wait at least half hour to send, so that I can check again before I push GO.
-More emailing.
-Twitter (guys, I know, but I LOVE TWITTER and also get a weird amount of business done on there for someone who potentially tweets more gifs than words?)
-Write/look over notes taken while reading new revision of manuscript, start compiling into editorial letter and/or streamlining MS comments (I often in-text edit, over long editorial letters, depending on the author/book/style–each one is different!).
-Look at Cover, debate how you feel about the color orange, take office poll about hue (try to not make puns).
-Have I eaten lunch? Probably eat lunch. I am already hungry because I likely have forgotten to eat lunch twice already today.
-Surf the internet while eating, try to not look at work things, stare
down anyone who knocks on my door
-Check back in with intern, set them up with some mailings and ask them to pull my royalty statements, which I will spend tomorrow morning
-Sighing/kvelling over (mostly b/c MATH/STATISTICS MY OLD FRENEMY)
-At this point, try to take reading break, possibly write blog post that you keep forgetting you owe to, realize something is going to auction, or look over reading reports from intern.
-Meet with friend in marketing to discuss current/upcoming tumblr campaign for a book, once we finish our notes/needs, discuss anime/fandom concerns. Make puns.
-Other things?
-Reassess TDL, print out/pack up current reading pages (trying to give my eyes electronic breaks which is NOT nice for my back, but oh well, live hard/die in a paper avalanche), go home!



Kelly Galluci, Editor, Bookish:

I loathe mornings and value sleeping above all else. So I’ve managed to get my morning routine down to a quick 15 minutes, enabling me to stay asleep until 6:45. By 7:45, I’m on a train barreling towards New York City, and deep into whatever book I’m reading—this week it’s Marissa Meyer’s Scarlet. After battling the midtown crowds, I arrive at my office, which is blissfully silent early in the morning. I’m always the second person there and spend the hour or so before the rest arrive eating breakfast (no coffee here), checking our social media, and browsing the internet for literary news.

From there, each day of the week is different. On Tuesdays, I look over and approve the newsletter. On Wednesdays, I eagerly wait for 1 p.m. to hit so I can go to Chipotle. On Thursdays, I playfully bug my coworkers until they send in books for our Friday Reads post. The time before lunch is always filled with answering publicity pitches, commissioning interviews or guests posts, editing articles, and ensuring that articles are built and have the appropriate art. I have the bad habit of working through my lunches when I stay in, but I’m trying to break that. After lunch (once I’ve had my Diet Coke fix), I focus on writing my own articles. Then I look over the new books that have been delivered throughout the day, and sometimes I use them to update our Instagram with something fun. By 6:30 I’m back on the train for more reading, and then head straight to the gym to get those endorphins pumping, because if I learned anything from Elle Woods it’s that fitting in time to work out makes you happy no matter what is going on around you.



Diana Pho, Editor, Tor Books:

I’m going to start by mentioning what I do before I go into the office, because it all plays into how I try to keep a work-life balance. As an editor, it is very easy to have your work consume your entire life. So, I get up, do some light exercise to keep me focused (and prepped to sit and stare at a screen for the next 8+ hours).

Once in the office, my daily schedule tends to change very quickly. I keep of Task List of major and minor things I have to do for my current book projects that (hopefully) will have an item or two crossed off by the end of the day. I also handle responsibilities outside of my own book projects – assisting others, doing sales work for Seven Seas Entertainment, whatever miscellaneous side-quest the day tosses my way.

If I’m lucky, I would get in an hour of actual editing on a project done. Sometimes, I have to put on the headphones, blare my music mood of the day, and try not to answer any emails or anything until I make some progress. The editing process is pretty slow for me, and I usually come into the office for a few hours on the weekend so I have some time/head space to work. I usually end up reading submissions while I commute or at home.

Hope that doesn’t come off as too boring/stressful. I really love my job! XD



Richard Shealy, Copyeditor:

(Get some coffee first, because this is about as exciting as lukewarm oatmeal!)

My day is largely molded on the standard nine-to-five schedule, as my wife commutes to work by train; given that we downsized to one car many years ago, I drive her to and from the train station, and I won’t do that before the second cup of coffee is kicking in (word to the wise: don’t drive in NJ if you’re half asleep!). The alarm goes off at six; I get up and make a cup of coffee, then run through email and social media while my wife gets another half hour of sleep. I get her up around 6:30, we feed and medicate the cats, she showers, and we get in the car before 8 to get her to the train. When I return, I clean out anything new that has popped up and then start work.

The work itself: It takes its own pace. I take breaks freely to head off waning attention or deal with question-pondering. Also, the pace varies drastically between beginning and end; early on, I’m considering possibilities and authorial intent, but by the end, those questions have largely been answered and the work accelerates dramatically from day to do. That shift is even greater when I have access to an author who is both willing and able to answer/discuss questions (my productivity will superficially appear to be at a standstill for hours early on while consulting with the author, but with all the universal-effect issues resolved, the pace can become blistering, and I’ll end up working late or even asking my wife to take a cab home because the work is flowing too well for me to feel comfortable stepping away from it).

I don’t set a standard pace and try to stick to it; I learned early on that this would hamstring the overall quality of my work and not help any one internal part of it. Front-loading the thought, the analysis of “What’s really going on here?” is functionally far more effective for me than is assigning page-number goals per day. Page/word totals will come if I let the work itself set its pace . . . and guess what? The pace almost always averages out in the end to roughly the same. And there’s no set schedule outside of getting up at the same time, taking my wife to and from the train station at the same time, and feeding/medicating cats at the same time (they simply refuse to understand!). I come to perceive the rhythm that the particular project sets, and I follow that wherever it leads.



Carly Silver, Assistant Editor, Harlequin:

I’ve just begun a new role at Harlequin as assistant editor for our Romantic Suspense line, which is very exciting. My day consists of everything from revising backlist cover copy to working on line edits, reading slush to Googling pictures of hot guys to serve as art references.

I adore working at Harlequin – romance is a fun business to be in!



Michael Damian Thomas and Lynne M. Thomas, Editors-in-Chief of Uncanny Magazine:

An Average Day at Uncanny Magazine Headquarters

1- Check email to see if anything is on fire. Answer the email fires that are easy to put out.
2- Check social media. RT nice things said about the magazine. Quick meeting to go over the upcoming day.
3- Check website, approve comments, make sure everything is fine.
4- Check to-do list.
5- Email people to see if that draft/contract/approval/interview/whatever will be ready soon since it’s past the deadline.
6- Answer queries. Put out the delicate email fires.
7- Look at submissions and sort them.
8- Read some submissions and make notes about pluses and minuses of the pieces for the later meeting.
9- If it’s post-meeting, send out rejection and acceptance emails.
10- Create contracts for the acceptances.
11- Pay people who have sent back their contracts.
12- Fill in spreadsheets to keep up-to-date on issues’ Tables of Contents and the general status of things.
13- Look at some artwork for possible covers.
14- Send out some social media updates.
15- Email the staff about where we are today. Schedule things. Send some supportive emails.
16- Look over some purchased manuscripts and make some line edits.
17- Look over copyedits and send to the author.
18- Email potential advertisers.
19- Record a podcast.
20- Discuss things, make decisions.
21- Take care of some Kickstarter things
22- Read more submissions.



Melissa Frain, Senior Editor, Tor Books:

I currently go back and forth between two offices—most days I work from my home in Pennsylvania, but I pop in to my NY office at Tor as needed. PA days and NY days are totally different—when I’m in New York, it’s pretty much all meetings. But on an average day in PA, I get up (read: my cats wake me up) at 7:30ish and I go for a run. Then I make the long commute across the hall and usually settle in at my desk around 9. I’m obsessive about my email, so I start every workday by answering and filing away as much as I can. Then I make a to-do list of the most pressing things that must get done that day.

When I was a baby editor, I had the fairly typical delusion that it would be all reading, all the time. In reality, I do most editing and reading submissions on nights and weekends. The actual day-to-day varies a lot, since I’m always working on a lot of different projects at the same time. A debut YA fantasy publishing next month has way different stuff going on than a media tie-in that pubs in a year. A lot of the job is figuring out what each individual project needs at a particular time and getting it done. But the broad strokes are pretty consistent: I clean out my email. I make my to-do list. I try to save the more creative tasks (editorial letters or brainstorming sessions, writing jacket/catalog/internet copy, coming up with cover concepts, etc) for the afternoon, so that they can float in the back of my mind and take shape for a while before I actually sit down to write them out. In the meantime, I do things like reviewing contracts before they go out for signature, writing rejections (or, on happier days, working up offers for new projects), providing key selling points or other information for the sales department, working with marketing and publicity on plans for books further in the process, and of course managing email as it comes in. When 5:30 hits, I grab whatever manuscript I’m working on and edit in bursts until bedtime.



Aimee Friedman, Executive Editor, Scholastic:

What I love about being an editor is that I get to be involved in every stage, and aspect, of a book’s life–sometimes from the tiniest seed of the idea all the way through the book launch party, and beyond! This means that no two days are ever quite the same: sometimes it’s day of back-to-back meetings with various colleagues; sometimes I’m catching up on submissions; sometimes I’m in the middle of an auction and making a zillion phone calls; sometimes I’m having lunch with an author and/or an agent, sometimes (if I’m lucky) I get to hide out in my office (or work from home if need be) and just dive into the editing of a manuscript.

It’s a Tuesday afternoon as I write this, so this morning I went to our editorial staff meeting, where we talked about upcoming industry conferences and our own upcoming in-house meetings and what we need to prepare for them. We also discussed general trends we’d noticed and potential ideas and some movies and books: fun stuff. Then I got a big iced coffee (crucial) and sat down to answer emails–a lot had accumulated because I’d been out for a few days. After taking care of the most urgent requests, I shut my office door and focused on the copyedited manuscript I had just received back from the production editor. I went through the copyeditor’s comments, made my own, and sent it off to the author. Later, I will probably call this author to discuss any questions or issues that might be tricky. Then I’ll grab a salad from Sweetgreen (my new favorite place) and eat at my desk, answering more emails, maybe reading submissions, or skimming Vulture if I want to take a break. Then I’ll try to clear out my non-virtual inbox: signing off on routing covers, going through second passes with proofreader comments, etc. Often I’ll have to talk with the production editor about how the schedule is coming, or meet with the designer to discuss any concerns I might have about the jacket. Then I have my bi-weekly meeting with my supervisor, where we’ll go over outstanding issues and I’ll ask all the questions I’ve saved up for him. I usually get a cookie at some point around 4 pm, and chat with my colleagues for a little impromptu break. I’m a night owl, so I’ll generally stay at the office late–I’ll get a burst of productivity after everyone else has gone home! And of course, like I lot of editors, I often take reading home, or I’ll read on the subway. And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

18 Authors Share A Day in the Life

Hi lovelies.

I’ve been getting a lot of recurring questions about schedule, pacing, productivity, etc, and I thought it might be time to do another DITL post, because I am always interested when other authors do them (and it’s further proof that there’s no right way to this whole author thing. So, now that I’m out of grad school, here’s how my day goes:

I do my best work in the mornings, when and if I can pull myself away from the internet. I have no problem turning it off, but I’m rubbish at KEEPING it off. But ideally, I get up around 7am, walk the dogs, make tea, do my check of email/twitter/tumblr/fbook, etc and then get to writing. In the afternoon, I usually switch to edits or admin work (emails, blogging, etc) because my straying focus makes writing harder. I go to the gym before dinner, waste a lot of time during dinner and after, and then sit back down to write for another hour or so before bed. I do most of my reading on the go, via audiobooks while walking the dogs/running errands/working out, and reading before I sleep. When deadlines allow, I try to give myself the weekend, or at least one day of it, to read and relax.

But I’m just one author, and an author with a notoriously bad habit of shucking my routines, lurking on the internet, and going for a wander whenever work gets hard, so with that in mind, I thought I’d ask some other authors about THEIR processes, to give you some perspective!


From David Arnold, author of MOSQUITOLAND:

I literally have no routines. Sometimes I get my best work done late at night. Sometimes I get my best work done in the morning. I write at a desk now, which is cool. But that’s a recent development. Before the desk, I used: couches, counters, cars, bars, coffee shops, and the lobby of the YMCA (two hours of free child care!). I wrote my first book while taking care of our newborn son, so I had to write where I could, when I could. My son is three now, and has school, and like, a normal human life, which is way cool. So things are a little more normal than they once were. But I think having such a chaotic process early in my career really laid the groundwork for flexibility now.


From Jackson Pearce, author of SISTERS RED, THE DOUBLECROSS, PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE, and more: 

I am furious to admit that I am more productive if I wake up earlier than I’d like and write in the morning. I used to save writing for late at night, but the truth is, by the time I’ve gone through my day, I’m often so mentally worn out that nighttime writing doesn’t work. So: I wake up around 8am (trying to move this to 7am!). I take about an hour to eat and get dressed and mess around on the internet. I use Freedom to turn off Twitter, Facebook, and Buzzfeed from 9am-1pm, when I focus on writing. After that (assuming I’m not on deadline), I’m done for the day.
It’s worth mentioning that part of the reason I made this change is reading about how willpower is actually a finite resource; in studies, people who were asked to exhibit willpower by not eating a cookie after a work day failed more often than those who were asked to not eat the cookie before work. It’s the same reason why people suggest exercising first thing in the morning: Your willpower is strongest then, so you’re less likely to skip it than you are if you leave it for later. Writing is the same way; I’m less likely to make excuses and ignore it or do a half-assed job if I knock it out first thing.
I write on weekends. That’s it. I’ve got a demanding full-time job so there’s no way around it. Every time I see David Levithan, we commiserate about this. Commiserate’s the wrong word. Neither of us mind it, really. You get five days to ramp up toward what you’re about to write, so when you finally get to do it, you are ready to fucking kill it.
From C.J. Redwine, author of the DEFIANCE series and THE SHADOW QUEEN:
Since I run YABC from home and also have 5 children ranging in age from 3-17, I find that carving out pockets of time to leave the house really ups my productivity during the week. I try to go write at a local coffee shop 2 days a week, although now that my 3-year-old is in a 3 hour school program 4 days a week, I’ll have some alone time at home to use for writing. I also write late at night after the kids go to sleep. My brain does better in the morning, but I have to use whatever time I can get. This often means I survive on about 4 1/2 to 5 hours of sleep most nights. I write in cycles, though. I spend months just living with the story in my head and world building etc before actually writing, but then when I sit down, I really sprint through it. Example (and the reason I am currently desperate for a Netflix binge and some sleep), I just turned in the draft of my next book. Literally the email before this one. And I just wrote 50k in 3 weeks. Now I won’t write anything for weeks and so it goes. 🙂
From Ashley Blake, author of SUFFER LOVE:
I have two small kids, so in the summer, I write at night or escape my house during the day to write elsewhere on the weekends. Now that school has started, I like to write in the morning. I get up, get the kids off, make coffee, and get to work. Okay, okay, first I waste about a half hour on the internet, but then I usually try to write until around lunch. Depending on where I am in the process, I’ll work more after lunch and even sometimes at night after the kids are in bed. If I’m drafting I write every day and I try to stop a writing session mid-scene or even mid-sentence sometimes. Something about knowing exactly what’s going on and where I’m going with it makes coming back to the blank page the next day much less daunting.
From Rachel Hawkins, author of HEX HALL, REBEL BELLE, MISS MAYHEM, and more:
I definitely do my best work in the morning, which is lucky since I have a 4th grader which means I have to get up at 6:15. Actually, now that my son is older, I’ve kind of started aping his schedule- work stops as soon as he gets off the bus at 2:30– which will make for a SUPER fun topic for him to discuss with his therapist one day. So once he and my my husband are gone around 7, I drink coffee, play on the internet, maybe take a bath if I’m feeling extra ambitious, and I try to be working by 9 at the latest. I do the Pomodoro Technique which is a fancy way of saying I set a timer for 25 minutes, work, take a five minute break, go back in for 25 minutes until whatever that day’s goal is is met. Usually this means I’m done by lunchtime which I love since taking my lunch without a side of self-loathing is A++. Unless I have a Face Eating Deadline, I don’t work on weekends or school breaks, and I almost never work on anything at night. Again, if a deadline is really pressing, then I might revisit in the evening, but I actually really, really hate working at night. That’s Bourbon and Reading Time as god intended.
From Gretchen McNeill, author of TEN, 3:59, GET EVEN, and more:
On the days that I don’t go to my part time job (I know I’m bursting bubbles here, but a lot of authors don’t make enough not to work a desk job…) I usually start working in the morning.  Not necessarily “writing,” but definitely working.  By 8:30am, my husband is off to work, so I make a double cappuccino and sit down in front of my laptop to deal with emails and social media, and by 9:30, I’m ready to tackle the day’s writing.
I write in sprints: 12 minutes of writing without looking at the internet, and then I’m allowed to browse.  Rinse, repeat.  I can knock out 350-500 words in a 12 minute sprint, which makes the daily word count seem more attainable.  Also, I find that during my internet browsing reward, I’m thinking about what I’m going to write during the next sprint.   If I hit a roadblock, I go walk the dog.  Which means he gets walked a lot.
From Courtney Stevens, author of FAKING NORMAL and THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH:
I have a schedule and am very regimented, but it is not a writing schedule. I like to think of it as triage with a vision. I have 2-3 jobs (personal assistant, marketing consultant, college professor) that I work alongside writing and traveling for writing, plus two rather large volunteer positions (SCBWI & SEYA Book Festival). I often say I juggle for a living.
When I’m drafting, I block 4-5 day chunks and try to either go somewhere away with a suitcase or simple out of my house. I write on scrivener or Word, but if I use Word, I always use the Focus View. I get up at 7:00, exercise, and then write until 5:00. I get a drink and fix supper, and then write from 8:00-10:00. I don’t do email or marketing or anything when I’m in this type of jag.
On those days when I’m working or volunteering, I exercise seven days a week (usually 2hrs) not because I’m a fitness freak, but because it helps my brain rest. 90% of that time is story & character development–letting my story work when I can’t sit down and type. I listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car between jobs.
I don’t advocate for this schedule. It’s just the only way I know how to generate the flexibility I need to promote and write and still pay the bills and try to add to humanity.
From Rae Carson, author of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series and WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER:
My schedule:
-Drag myself out of bed. I don’t sleep well, so I allow myself to sleep in whenever I can. Alas, this almost never happens.
-Do authory things: email, social media, blog post, speech prep, whatevs
-Eat lunch
-Open W.I.P.
-Get over self
-Write approx 1K words
-Hang out with husband or play Xbox
-Bourbon (*high-fives Rachel*) or tea (*high-fives Victoria*)
-Reading for blurbs in bedMy day changes a little when I’m on a tight editing turnaround, but it’s otherwise consistent. Especially the bits about ALL THE COFFEE and CRIPPLING DESPAIR.

I find my schedule often varies based on what’s most pressing at the time, but the constant is that I’m usually at my computer by 8:30ish and I generally stay there until my husband comes home from work between 6:00-7:00. Three days a week I work out for an hour in the morning, and sometimes I’ll take my computer out somewhere for lunch. What I always struggle with is that there’s always something more pressing than writing (unless the deadline is tomorrow or next week). There’s always an email that needs to be sent today, or paperwork to be done now, or promo to plan/create and the day (weeks!) can easily slip away that way.
Once I start writing, I get so wrapped up in it that I don’t tend to stop for those sorts of things so that means that I get it all done in the morning and start writing around 2 (I turn on Freedom if I’m having trouble motivating). Or I just say “I’ll worry about all that other stuff tomorrow” and I turn off the internet and write. I’m trying to do that more often. I find that I always feel better at the end of a day when I can say “I hit my writing goal!” (~2k words) instead of “I sent the $*&# out of some emails.” Then I pour a glass of wine. Oh, and unless it’s deadline crunch time I try to take the evening and weekends off (it was actually a resolution of mine a few years ago).
From Tessa Gratton, author of BLOOD MAGIC, THE UNITED STATES OF ASGARD series, and more:
My regular day in the life schedule is something like this: alarm goes off at about 5:15am because my mama convinced me in my youth that sleeping until 7 means missing all the best parts of the day. At some point I transformed into a natural morning person who loves sunrise more than any other time of day. Plus, I need a chance to drink some coffee before exercising outside before it gets too hot.
After walking the dog and the dreaded squat/situp regimen, I read the news and news blogs for about an hour while drinking MOAR COFFEE. Around 930am I open the manuscript (assuming I’m in a drafting part of the cycle) and spend a few hours in word wars against myself or my crit partners until I hit 2,000 words. I schedule blocks of time to read (it’s part of the job!) and to respond to emails/business stuff. I write 10k a week doing this M-F. If I’m revising, I work differently since I need different markers of progress, and same for research-mode. But regardless, since I’m up at 5am, by 5pm my brain is shutting down and all I have left in me is reading, tumblring, watching TV, bourbon mixing.
When I’m not on major deadline I only let myself play around with off-contract “fun” projects during the weekend, or read read read. On deadline crush, no-holds-barred of course, and I move myself to a different location every 2-3 hours. As in: office to coffee shop to lunch to different coffee shop to sofa to office in order to jump-start myself by changing view/chair/location.
From Myra McEntire, author of HOURGLASS, TIMEPIECE, and INFINITYGLASS:
I’m in a bit of a different situation. I’ve been trying to re-locate my groove after recovering from a year of clinical depression, which was immediately followed by my publisher going out of business. (WOO HOO!) When you have a project in the pipeline, promo is a vital part of your day. But when your books go away … you maybe just occasionally tweet Jason Momoa pictures and don’t worry so much about encouraging people to look for your work at used book stores, some libraries, or at tag sales. Or in the boxes in your garage.
With THAT bit out of the way, I start working once both of my boys are out of the house around 8:00, which allows me six hours of peace. I’ve been filling my creative well with lots of research, and like V, I am a huge advocate of audiobooks. They allow me to enjoy story without analyzing style.
Right now, it’s all about small successes. I’m not at a place to pound out 5k a day, but my heart is happy if I can manage 500. Sometimes that’s all it takes!
From Natalie Parker, author of BEWARE THE WILD and BEHOLD THE BONES:
I start my day in a state of confusion — it’s light out? it’s dark out? how do I human? — and clear that up with exercise, which is a nonnegotiable for me. Like Daniel, I have a full-time job that demands my M-F, 8-5 attention. I’m also in the midst of starting a small business which frequently snags my coffee hour (high fives Rae!), my lunch hour, and my bourbon hour (high fives Rachel & Rae!).
Writing during the week is all about the small goals for me. The bar is set no higher than 500 words a day. Sometimes I reach it, sometimes I pass it, sometimes I hack down the 12-ft sunflowers in my backyard. The important thing is the reset the next day — no positive and definitely no negative rollovers. And the bar stays put at 500 over the weekend because I love the feeling of hitting a goal like it owes me money. Crushing deadlines excepted, it means I make sometimes tediously slow writing progress, but I’m okay with that.
From Dawn Kurtagich, author of THE DEAD HOUSE:
My schedule usually works for me for a little while and then I need to shake it up (I get bored), so I’ll give you my most effective schedule, which I am in the process of implementing again:
I’ll wake up between 7am and 8am. Feed my kitten, Flocci, make coffee and kill a little time on YouTube. After blinking myself into the day, I get my breakfast and take it upstairs to my study with me. This is when I’ll check (but not necessarily reply to) my emails, twitter, Facebook, etc. After that, I will either:
— climb into my writing cave (which is a sheet strung across the guest bed in my study) with my laptop and work there.
— Sit at my beautiful writing desk, open it and write there
— Sit at the kitchen table and work there (while stopping to play with the kitten every 10 minutes)
— Go out to Gladstones Library to work there (beautiful, quiet and cooked lunch? HELLO!)
— Go to the pub (which has fabulous lattes) and work there until lunch.
Then I’ll generally break around lunch. Walking/gym/audio books/reading/movieanything of that nature may occur.
After dinner, I work again. I do really get productive in the evening. Especially if I’m the only one awake. I’ll work until around eleven, read until midnight and do that again.  I have a habit of working 7 days a week, but I’m changing that. Sundays are my reading/board games/exploring and doing things day. Saturdays are sometimes used to go and have fun, but generally not…!) Some days I take off to film for my channel or to just clean out my brain space.
So that’s my ideal schedule—the one that works for me best when I do it (several times a year). My current schedule does not represent this yet. My current schedule ends my day at 3am—5am and begins between 9am and noon. Le sigh. NOT FOR LONG!! *evillaugh*
From Fran Wilde, author of UPDRAFT:
So there are three different typical days for me – all of which are best if I write for an hour or so before the rest of the household wakes up. Even if I’m free-writing, just getting those first words on the page as the coffee kicks in reminds me who I am and why I’m here.
Regular-day Fran
    • After the household goes to its daytime locations,I try to walk a mile or two and think about what I want to do for the rest of the day, which usually means returning to mess around on the internets and look up to find it’s 10am. If I want to get anything done before noon, I turn on Anti-Social, which forcibly locks me out of the internet for a specified number of hours, no matter what I do to try to get back in.
    • Then I write about 2k (adding in what I did in the early morning, if it’s not drivel).
    • Lunch, internet, errands, then back to do administrivia and editing for a couple of hours.
    • Another 1-2k depending, though usually an email, chat, or email arrives that produces reactions including hair tearing, grumbling, and then making the best of it, so the end result is often 3k per day.

School’s-out Fran

    • If any part of the household doesn’t go to daytime locations and instead stays home and stares at me asking what it should do because life is endlessly boring, I sometimes arrange a short trip and try to journal in the gaps or at the dentist or in the closet or attic. I write in the evening then and glare at folks who want to know what they’re doing tomorrow.
    • This is a gaining fib, because often, the household wants to sit and write with me now, which is a delight and also utter chaos and sometimes we get a lot done, sometimes not.
    • I don’t sleep much. Averaging about 1k per day, which is fine.

Traveling Fran

    • I haven’t figured this out yet, because timezones, but I am working and usually gin out 500 words a day on a creative project when I have other events on the calendar. Mostly I let myself outline and journal if the writing isn’t happening.
    • If a deadline-project comes in, I do that on my free time, but try to make time to wander around where I am and see friends.
    • I make time to Skype and call home.
    • Traveling has a weird way of making you forget where you were when you last worked on a thing, which sometimes makes writing scenes easier than writing linearly.
From Tiffany Schmidt, author of SEND ME A SIGN, BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE, and the ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series:
I do my best work in the morning—while the real world seems less real than the world I’m creating on my computer screen. Often this means a competitive game of setting my alarm earlier than my four-year-old Schmidtlets’ inner alarm clocks. Often times I lose this game.
On the best mornings I get an hour or so in before the early risers, then am interrupted for about an hour to get them ready for preschool. After dropping them off, I race home and hop on my treadmill desk for a few hours of productivity. I try to be mindful about my internet use but rarely actually block it. If it social media starts to be too tempting or disruptive, Il turn it off. I typically wind down writing about an hour before preschool ends, send quick responses to accumulated emails, then sneak in a run (where I brainstorm or listen to audiobooks) before going to grab the kiddos.
The rest of my day becomes sneaking in work when possible. If the Schmidtlets nap, I get another solid two hours of writing in. Otherwise I  passively brainstorm and take notes on every available app and scrap of paper throughout the afternoon and try and to cram another hour or two of work in between their bedtime and mine (and, you know, squeeze being a human, other life demands, and non-preschooler interactions in there too!)
From Adam Christopher, author of EMPIRE STATE, THE BURNING DARK, MADE TO KILL, and more:
I’m up at 6, and my wife and I take a long walk, back at 7 for breakfast. She heads off to work around 7.30, which gives me about half an hour to make coffee and figure my day out. Then I divide my day into hourly blocks – 8, 9, 10, 11 am, and 1, 2, 3, 4pm (with an hour for lunch at 12). I write 1000 words per block, with a daily word count of 5000 words. I use Scrivener for first drafts and have the session target set at 1000 words, which usually takes about 30 minutes per block to write. That gives me up to 30 minutes per hour for other stuff – emails, admin, etc. Sometimes it might take me closer to 45 minutes to hit 1000 words – so be it! The next block resets at the hour.
All going to plan, this means I’ve hit my daily word count at about 1.30pm. For the rest of the day, I usually do emails, admin, blog posts, and any interviews or other stuff I have do fit in. If I have a comic script due, then I have five pages of comic to write in the time I have left over.My wife gets home around 4.30, and from then on I try not to do any work – in fact, I try (and don’t always succeed) to stay away from computers and the internet after 6pm. I also don’t work at weekends unless I’m behind on something. Obviously I have flexibility in all this – sometimes the timezones mean I need to shift stuff around, as I’m in the UK and my publisher, editor, publicist and agent are all East Coast USA, which is 5 hours behind me.
I plan my time well ahead, so for travel and conventions I know when I’m away and when I’m back and I don’t actually schedule any work in at all while travelling. Into the gaps in my day I also make sure to schedule reading, which is just as important as writing! I try to get through a book in two weeks (so about 26 a year). I haven’t actually totalled up my comic reading (harder to track), but I probably read 3-5 comics a day, every day.
Any other writers out there?
Weigh in in the comments with your own schedule!

And the official title of my next YA book is…

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that for the past year or so, I’ve been talking about a project called MONSTER.

It’s the story of two teens in a broken world, where violent acts start breeding actual monsters. Some are shadows with teeth that feed on flesh and bone. Some are corpses that feed on blood. And some can pass for human. Those rare creatures feed on souls.

It’s the story of Kate Harker, the only daughter of a crime boss, and August Flynn, the son of a man trying to hold his city together. Kate is a human who wants to be a monster, and August a monster who wishes he were human.

One of the first things I ever posted, long before it sold, was this opening line:

“The night Kate Harker decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn’t angry, or drunk. She was just desperate.”

From the first chapter, I knew MONSTER was going to be my strangest, darkest pet. And it hasn’t disappointed me.

When MONSTER sold to Harper/Greenwillow last year, I was over the moon, by also scared–MONSTER is a book with two third-person POVs, a lot of violence, and no romance. Not exactly standard YA fare, but the more I worked with my brilliant editor, Martha, the more I realized I’d chosen the right home. Instead of nudging me toward romance, or mainstream, she let me take this book down the strange, dark path I loved so much.

And here we are.

MONSTER was always the working title, and when my editor and I decided on the final title, MONSTER became THE BOOK FORMERLY KNOWN AS MONSTER because, well, because I couldn’t share the new title yet, but I had to call it something (I still call it MONSTER when nobody’s listening, a pet name I doubt it will ever shake).

But lovelies!

I have been given the green light.

And by green light, I mean release date, because THE BOOK FORMERLY KNOWN AS MONSTER is hitting shelves in exactly 9 months, on May 3, 2016.

And as a treat, I’m bringing you the official title, and a little more about the book.

So, without further ado, MONSTER will be called…



Remember when I said that August was a monster? He’s not just any kind of monster, but one of only three soul-eaters in the city. And these rare creatures (he wouldn’t like that word) use music to bring the souls of their prey to surface.

But it’s more than that. This book isn’t a solo. It’s a duet. A song played by two very different teens trying to survive a very broken world. There are moments of discord, and a few of harmony, and through it all, they have to keep the melody alive.


The cover for THIS SAVAGE SONG will go live in two months.

I just saw it yesterday and lovelies–LOVELIES–I cannot even handle it. It’s no secret I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in the cover department (it was totally worth selling that portion of my soul), and I was terrified that TSS’s cover wouldn’t make the cut.


So hold tight a little longer, and trust me, this is one you’re going to want in hardcover 😉

Join the V.E. Schwab newsletter, learn about news, events, random facts, and cake.

This seems like a good idea. Not only because I have way too many pictures of cake. I also have events. And some pretty major announcements coming up. Wouldn’t want to miss those, would you?*

*Also cake.


Just. Keep. Writing.

Hey there, lovelies!

I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve spent the last few months buried under deadlines and finishing up coursework–so far this year I’ve gone to grad school, and written and edited THREE books, all coming out next year–and getting ready to head back to Nashville.

But in the slivers of space between, I’ve been reflecting a lot–about writing, publishing, advice–and I wanted to talk about a piece of advice that I know seems trite, but is honestly the best I can give. I’ll try to explain why.

Five years into my publishing career, I finally feel like I have my feet under me, and because of that, I’m often asked for advice.

When writers–aspiring, debut, and established–ask for insight, I always say, “Just keep writing.”

And I know that sounds like a very Dory thing to say, but the fact of the matter is, if you’ve written a book, and it doesn’t sell, and you want to keep going, you need to write another. If you’ve written a book, and it does sell, but doesn’t do well, you need to write another. If you’ve written a book, and it does well, you need to write another. All roads lead to writing.

And this is good, because when it comes to publishing, very little is in your control. But the one thing you CAN control is the book. The words you put on the page.

So when everything is going well, and when everything is falling apart, you have to keep writing. It is your tether in the storm, and your grounding when you might otherwise float away. It’s easy to lose focus, to get caught up in the successes and failures, but you must. keep. writing.

Two years ago, when The Archived first hit shelves, and my editor left, and my relationship with my then-publisher began to suffer, I felt paralyzed. It took all of my focus, but I kept writing. I finished The Unbound, but I could tell things weren’t going smoothly…I loved my series so very much. I loved my publisher, but publishing isn’t always run on love, or even sales. It was one of those times when the things out of my control were too many, and too complicated, and there was nothing I could do to stop the cracks from spreading.

It was so hard not to sit down and wait for the break.

My heart was breaking.

Instead, I kept writing. I had this pet project, Vicious, and I decided to finish that.

It sold to Tor.

The relationship with my YA publisher continued to fracture. There was nothing I could do.

I was given the chance to audition for a MG series at Scholastic. I landed the deal.

By the time my publisher officially cancelled The Archived series, I had two other houses that supported in me, believed in me. The MG series went on to sell nearly half a million copies. Vicious came out to starred reviews, a movie deal, and a growing cult following. It took me a little while, but I started another YA, and it sold to an incredible editor at an incredible house. Scholastic picked me up for another book. Tor bought a fantasy series.

Two years after my publishing path crumbled beneath my feet, I have eleven books on shelves or under contract. Three amazing publishers.

And I’m not going to lie. It still hurts, every single day. It’s not fair, and it’s not simple–publishing is rarely either–but it didn’t break me. And it could have. Looking back, it is not an exaggeration to say that my publishing career could have stalled, if not ended entirely, had I stopped writing when the cracks started, when the ground broke.

But I kept writing.

I keep writing.

Because I know that no matter what happens, I have more ideas, more books.

This is the part of the path we make. The only part we control. Do not sit down. Do not stand still.

Just. Keep. Writing.

“Leave the Window Open” — A Wesley Ayer’s Story

[To celebrate the paperback release of THE UNBOUND–out today!!!–I wrote a short story. It takes place about four hours after the end of THE UNBOUND, and it’s told from Wesley’s POV. Enjoy!]


Hospitals make horrible music.

I don’t mean the literal kind they pipe into elevators or play at background levels in waiting rooms (with the TVs and the magazines and all the other stimuli because apparently if you give people any actual quiet they’ll think about the fact they’re in a hospital). No, I mean the hum and buzz and beep, the ringing phones and squeaking stretcher wheels and distant coughs that layer together to make up a hospital’s soundtrack, the way slivers of thought and memory make up a person’s noise. It sets my teeth on edge, which sends a dull pain through my head, which reminds me of the pain flickering in my shoulder and ribs, and it’s a slippery slope from calm to pain to panic so I stop myself right there.

I hate hospitals.

I don’t even have a good reason, like I spent too much time in them as a kid because my grandma was sick (she was already dead) or my dad worked on the ER—if anyone needed medical attention it was me, and nobody noticed. I just hate the way they sound. They’re everything the Archive isn’t. Well, everything it wasn’t, when I still thought it was everything.

But I’m here, and I’m staring at the x-rays the doctor’s left tacked up on the light board. The screen’s dark now but the image is still ghosted behind my eyes. Strange thing, to see your body from the inside out. People are made of so many fragile pieces.

I tick past the trouble in my mind. A few broken ribs. A cracked shoulder. A little internal bleeding (nothing serious). And behind those things, the older scars. Hairline fractures and fused bones. Only so much you can blame on a collapsing tent in a festival fire. And yet, no burns. Because I wasn’t really trapped beneath a tent in a festival fire. I was fighting for my life. For Mackenzie’s.

But I can’t say that, of course, just like I can’t say that those old wounds came from fighting Histories—an old man with a hunting knife, a kid with sharp teeth, Owen Chris Clarke—so they bring in a social worker, to make sure I’m not being hurt at home. And for a moment I’m pretty tempted to say yeah, yeah I am being hurt, because my father’s a prick and my stepmother—shudder—is an evil money-grubbing bitch, but in the end I just shrug and say it must have been soccer because dad may be a horrible person but the marks he’s left are more absences than injuries, and Izzy is only an evil money-grubbing bitch in context. I probably wouldn’t hate her if she was gold-digging someone else’s family.

I don’t think the doctors really believed me in the end, but then Dallas showed up and said something and they let the matter drop, which I owe her for, but lying here surrounding by hospital music I’m almost wishing I’d drawn it out, let them take the fall so someone else could suffer. Maybe I’m just mad because I told them to go home and they listened. Didn’t even put up a fight. They were dressed like I’d pulled them away from some important function—that’s what they call it when you’re too rich and important for words like dinner or party. Everything becomes a function, an event, a gala.

So here I am. Alone. Which is fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, but it’s not.

An IV drips cloudy fluid into a tube running into a needle running into the back of my hand. I hate needles, almost as much as hospitals. Mac would probably make fun of me if she knew, which means I’ll probably end up telling her. That’s a form of masochism, I’m sure, but if it will make her smile, she’s worth the bruised ego. She’s worth the real bruises, too. She’s even worth the needles.

I picture telling her, and in my mind I’m still on my back but I’m no longer in this hospital bed. No, I’m lying with my head in her lap, looking up through her waves of auburn hair. It’s just getting dark, and we’re stretched on the worn stone steps of the Court at Hyde. No fire. No explosions. No Owen. Just us.

Just Mackenzie, really, and that small, hard-won smile.

“Honestly, Wes?” she’ll tease, brushing her fingers across my forehead so she can see my eyes. “Not monsters or serial killers or the dark?”

I reach up and tuck a strand of copper behind her ears. No IV. No bruises. Just my hand on her skin.

“Hey look,” I’ll say. “There are rational and irrational fears in this world, and last time I checked, it’s not irrational to be afraid of sharp, pointy things.” Especially not after being stabbed, I’ll think, but I won’t say that, because I’m not supposed to remember that day. It would be easier not to remember that day.

Mac will give me that skeptical look. “You sure have a lot of piercings for a guy with a needle phobia.”

“I am the master of my fears,” I’ll say. Even though the truth is I made Cash go with me every time, and you know he’s a good friend because he never gave me hell, never did anything but turn through the tattoo catalogs along the wall and wonder which design would piss his father off the most.

Fake/future/alternate world Mackenzie bends down and kisses my forehead. My head spins.

They’ve got me pumped full of god-knows-what, and it’s dulling the world in all the wrong places. It’s like standing at the very edge of a dream and you can’t seem to wake up but you can’t forget you’re dreaming either.

And then, just as panic starts to really dig its fingers in, my cell starts buzzing on the side table. When I reach for it, pain blossoms across my stomach, but it’s worth the trek. It’s Mac.

I left the window open, she says.

And just like that, the world pulls back into focus. I stop spinning and something in me cracks—not something literal like bones, thank god, but something just as deep—and I’m so ready for this damn night to end, but I don’t want it to end here.

I take a bracing breath, knowing this is going to hurt, then sit up, and sure enough the pain makes light dance behind my eyes. I didn’t feel it during the fight–I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even feel it after, when Mac and I were back on campus. It wasn’t until the EMTs pulled us apart that the pain hit me in a wave.

I perch on the edge of the hospital bed, waiting for the room to stop spinning. It hurts to breathe, but I have this trick, where I try and focus on the good, so I remind myself that things only hurt because I’m still alive to feel them. Silver linings, kids. I’m full of them.

Getting dressed takes a painful—and painfully long—time and I alternate between cursing and holding my breath in case a nurse chooses this moment—trying to balance with one leg in my pants—to come in.

But no one does.

I find a mirror in the cubicle of a bathroom, and my reflection stares back. I’ve looked better. My face has found a way to look pale and bruised at the same time, my eyeliner smudged into a messy shadow; my father assured the doctors it must be smoke, or face paint from the festival. Because the idea of me wearing makeup bothered him more than seeing me in a hospital bed.

I run a hand through my hair, trying to smooth away the hospital bed head, which is even worse than normal bedhead, but I give up. There’s a cut above my eyebrow held closed by two strips of white tape, and I wonder if it will leave a scar, because scars are rather dashing, and then I hear Mac in my head again.

“Get over yourself, Wes,” she says and I smile and it hurts.


It’s late, and hospital wings really do get quiet at night, so it’s easy enough to slip out. I find my key in the front pocket of my jeans, but I don’t know where the nearest Narrows door is, and the grim fact is I’m in no shape for handling Histories, so I take a cab across town.

I’ve never been so glad to see the Coronado’s creepy face, the gargoyles perched like ravens on the roof. I never told Mac but I have names for them all. Governor. Socrates. Headless. Malcolm…

I stand on the curb, staring up at the three floors that stand between me and Mac’s room. Or more accurately, I stare at the fourth floor window above Mac’s room, the one I used to climb down through her window, and realize there’s no way I can make that descent tonight.

And then, the universe takes pity on my predicament. My phone buzzes again. Another note from Mac.

I left the door open, too.

My heart skips a little as I head into the lobby, and think about taking the stairs but decide it won’t be very charming if I pass out halfway up and someone finds my body in the morning, so I take the death trap of an elevator to the third floor.

3F is waiting at the end. I could kiss it.

I press my ear to the wood, and then turn the handle as softly as I can manage and step inside. The apartment’s dark and I find my way by feel and memory through the living room and down the hall to Mackenzie’s bedroom.

Inside, it’s cloaked in moonlight and shadow. At first I think she’s asleep, but as I slide the door shut behind me, she rolls over.

“You came,” she whispers, her voice as tight as my chest.

“No place I’d rather be,” I say softly. “I wish the entrance had been grander. The door doesn’t have nearly as much style as the window and—” but I don’t get any farther because she’s on her feet, crossing the space between us, and then her mouth on mine, her noise thundering through my head where she grips me.

I gasp under her touch, and she pulls back, but that’s the last thing I want, so I pull her close again and let my body scream. She tangles her fingers with mine and leads me to the bed, and when we get there she climbs onto the covers and makes a Wesley-size space for me beside her, and suddenly the pain means nothing because this moment it perfect.

We lie there for a few minutes, staring up at the ceiling instead of each other, only our hands tangled together. And then I her turn toward me, her storm eyes narrowed on my wrist.

“What’s this?” she asks, fingering the hospital bracelet. I’d forgotten all about it, and now she’s looking at it way too hard, as if it’s the most fascinating thing in the world and not an infernal piece of plastic. And then I see what she sees, and I can feel the blood drain out of my face. Can feel my stomach sink through my feet.

She squints at the writing on the bracelet, at my legal name printed on the label, and I cover it with my fingers but it’s too late. I can tell she’s read the name. My first name.


Templeton Wesley Ayers the II, also known as reason #45 why I hate my father. Because what kind of sadistic asshole passes on a name like that?

“Mac,” I start, but it’s too late. She doesn’t just smile, she starts laughing, and I want to be angry but god, it’s the most beautiful sound in the world, even better than that storm going inside her head. I would slay monsters and run through fire and jump off cliffs just to hear that sound. Which is why it takes all my strength to stifle it, and press my hand over her mouth. The laugh becomes a muffled chuckle in her chest. And then her fingers drift up to mine, and pry them gently free.

“Don’t say it,” I hiss, as her lips form the word. “Don’t mouth it. Don’t even think about it.”

“Okay,” she whispers. “…Templeton.”

I groan, but she cuts off the sound with a kiss. We’re gentler now, moving carefully over each other’s bruised and broken bodies, the crackle of pain swallowed up by the fact that Mackenzie Bishop is letting me kiss her. Mackenzie Bishop is kissing me.

“I’m glad you told me,” she says, breathlessly.

“I didn’t tell you,” I point out.

“Well I’m glad I found out.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because now I won’t laugh when we become Crew.”

I go still. Not because I don’t want to hear those words. But because I do. I want them to be true.

“Do you mean it?” I ask, rolling gingerly to face her.

She mirrors me, rolling onto her side so I’m looking straight into her eyes. “Yes,” she says.

I can tell I’m smiling like an idiot. I don’t care. “I don’t suppose you have any hidden and mortifying names? Habits? Secrets?”

“Only one.”

“And what’s that?”

“I’m in love with a boy named Templeton.”