About Me

I'm an author and arts administrator living in New England with my family and pugs. I'm also a caffeine addict and voracious reader. My latest middle grade fantasy novel, THE STAR SHEPHERD, is available now from Sourcebooks Young Readers!

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Next Event

Feb
7
Fri
2020
all-day CCIRA Conference 2020 @ Denver Marriott Tech Center
CCIRA Conference 2020 @ Denver Marriott Tech Center
Feb 7 all-day
I’ll be presenting a session at the CCIRA conference on Leveraging Children’s Books to Teach Creative Writing, and will also be doing a signing (details TBA).

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2019 – Closing Out the Decade with a Bang

Photo by Wout Vanacker on Unsplash

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of another decade! Time is very sneaky like that.

2019 was, overall, a good year. It was my first year with two books out, which was challenging, but also really awesome. And, thanks to those books, I had a lot of new opportunities and experiences for which I’m so very grateful.

But it was bittersweet in many ways too. Last year ended with several things up in the air that have now settled. My parents are both at care facilities, and while that’s sad, I’m grateful to the people who look after them day in and day out. My siblings and I had to clean out our childhood home and sell the house in order to help pay for that care, and it hasn’t been easy to let go of the place I’ve called Home for most of my life. But it was necessary and now I can put that phase behind me (I hope!).

Some highlights from 2019:

The Last Decade:

10 years ago, I wrote a looking back at 2000-2009 post, so I’m picking up the thread and doing it again. It’s interesting to see what I was excited about back then (writing more books! Past MK would be pretty pleased with Present MK) and how things have changed. So, here’s the last decade in a very tiny nutshell:

2010: Sold our condo, packed up our pug, and moved across the country to Phoenix, AZ.

2011: Realized we were miserable being 3,000 miles away from our friends and family, so we packed up our pugs (we gained a second one while in AZ) and moved back home to New England. Got new job in Boston – back to epic commute.

2012: Three BIG milestones: 1) Bought our first house! 2) Signed with super agent Suzie Townsend and 3) We sold my first two books to Harper Collins!

2013: Left job with a crazy toxic boss without another job lined up. Terrifying, but necessary for my mental health and well-being. (Was also very keen to stop working in Boston after being in the office the day of the Boston Marathon bombing only a few blocks away). Luckily, my last day was a Friday, and by Monday I had a job offer from my current employer, HILL for Literacy. Took the leap to working part-time.

2014: Paid off my student loans.

2015: Monstrous was published!

2016: Sold more books (Shadow Weaver duology! The Star Shepherd!)! Monstrous hit the NYT list…on the same day as the election results came in. Also, we finally took the honeymoon we always wanted to Hawaii. A few years late, but still amazing!

2017: Had my first child. Added 3rd pug to family, but lost our first pug not long after 🙁

2018: Sold two new duologies – Hollow Dolls + Sequel and Twin Daggers + Sequel! Parents both had sudden, unexpected health issues that left them in care facilities.

2019: Spent significant portion of year dealing with fallout from my parents’ declining health. Helped my siblings empty out and sell our childhood home. Wrote two sequels in one year while juggling multiple editorial deadlines for the first books in the series and somehow survived. Went on my very first legit book tour (probably will never happen again, but still a bucket list item)!!

All in all, it was a pretty decent decade. Lots of highs and lows, but I definitely can’t complain with where I’ve ended up. Here’s hoping the next decade is even better! 🙂

HOW DID 2019 AND THE LAST DECADE TREAT YOU? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEW YEAR?

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The Pitch-A-Partner Festival Agent Round is LIVE!

Thanks to everyone who participated! We had some wonderful entries and are looking for great things to come from the writers who were selected to move on to the agent judging round. Our lovely agents – Adriann Ranta, Tina Wexler, Jennifer Laughran, Suzie Townsend, Laura Bradford, and Pooja Menon – will be cruising the entries and making their requests in the comments until 9 PM EST tonight.

Don’t forget the entries are spread out over three co-hosts blogs – Mindy McGinnis and RC Lewis have PAPfest entries as well, so don’t miss out on the excellent new MG and YA voices being hosted on all the blogs.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped to make our first contest a success. We had many brave entrants pitch their partners and of course there are some glorious agents involved, so again, thanks to the writers and the agents!

And please if you’re not an agent refrain from commenting on the entries until the judging is over! The entries will remain up and be available for cheerleading once the judging ends at 9 PM EST.

The PAPteam

MarcyKate Connolly
Mindy McGinnis
RC Lewis


Links to All PAPFest Entries:

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A MONSTROUS Announcement (Plus a Giveaway!)

Yes, this is THAT post. The one where I finally get to scream from the rooftops that this happened (though there was already an awful lot of screaming about it on Twitter yesterday :P):

I know. I KNOW. I can hardly believe it either. My fabulous agent Suzie Townsend* got the first offer on MONSTROUS in all of eight days back in September, but I haven’t been able to talk about it until now. I’ve been wandering around, shaking my head and muttering under my breath, “Eight days. Eight. Freaking. Days.”  And given the otherwise horrendous fall I’ve had (long story, but in short, lots of family members in the hospital and other random unpleasantness), it has been an incredible blessing I had this happy, shining thing to cling to.

I’ll tell a more complete story about it later on, but for now, if you’ve seen the Kristen Bell Autotuned Sloth Meltdown video, that’s pretty much how the call about the offer went down for me. Just replace “sloth” with “book deal” and there you go.

Needless to say, I’ve been dying to tell the world!

You’ve all been so supportive, and said so many kind things about my weird little book, that I just can’t wait to share it with you. And yes, you read that right in the deal announcement – MONSTROUS is going to be upper Middle Grade. It’s a big change, but after talking to my wonderful new editor at HarperCollins, I know it’s the best thing for my book and the story.  Not to mention that I get to work with the fantastically talented folks there to do it. This is a TOTAL DREAM COME TRUE.

Which means, of course, that we must celebrate. And that means a giveaway 🙂

I’m giving away one HarperCollins MG or YA Fall 2012 new release (or pre-order if it’s not out yet)! Use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post by Sunday to enter. One winner** will be selected and can choose one of the books below as the prize:

Middle Grade Young Adult 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*That Suzie Townsend is a ROCK STAR, isn’t she? 😀

**Open internationally, however, if the winner is located outside the US and there are snags with shipping overseas, a $25 gift card to a book retailer of the winner’s choice may be substituted.

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We’re Missing Something…

Photo Credit: www.SweetOnVeg.com

…and it’s called empathy.

It’s the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, but more so than just sympathy. That has overtones of pity–empathy is all about understanding.

So why am I giving a vocabulary lesson? Because lately I’m seeing a disturbing lack of empathy among fellow writers. This is probably not new, just more visible as more and more people take to social media and forget that everything you say is public information. The bitch fests, the book bashing, the whining, the TMI sharing – everything is out there for all to see.

This also means the people/books/whatever you’re bitching, bashing, whining, or TMI-ing about can see it. If they’ve got Google Alerts setup for their books or names, they might even get a daily digest of it.

I must emphasize that in NO way shape or form am I advocating against freedom of speech. You can say whatever the hell you want, when you want, and I’m certainly not going to stop you.

Feel like leaving a nasty anonymous comment on a blog? Feel like slamming your boss on Facebook? Or spouting racist propaganda on Twitter? You go ahead and get down with your bad self and do that.

But.

Having the right to express yourself in whatever way you see fit does NOT absolve you of responsibility for what you say and do. Actions and words have consequences and that’s what this post is all about.

I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with me, but I think that, as writers, we have a greater responsibility in how we use our words. I suppose you could say I hold us all to a higher standard than most when it comes to social media.

As writers, we know full well that words have weight and power. Using them to hurt or disparage others is (in my opinion, anyway) an abuse of that power. Especially if it’s in public. Now please don’t misunderstand me–I’m not saying don’t give a bad review to a book or that it’s not OK to dislike the latest blockbuster or that you must agree with every blog you read. Negative reviews aren’t there for the writer; they’re for the readers. And they’re equally important. Differing viewpoints are necessary for constructive discussions about difficult topics. Everyone is going to take things a little differently than the next person. And that’s a wonderful thing! But when we react to a book/blog/tweet we don’t see eye to eye with, there are different types of criticism. Again, as writers, we are all too familiar with this. We know how to distinguish between critical feedback that can spark a dialogue and plain old vitriol, and all the shades in between. When we get feedback on our own writing, we instinctively balk at that which is unnecessarily harsh.

So why would we do that to other writers?

It’s all too easy to think of “that author” or “that blogger” as an icon in your browser. I’m here to remind you that they’re not.

There’s a human being behind every book. Behind every blog post. Every tweet. You absolutely have the right to your own opinion about those things, but perhaps we’d all be a little less quick to anger if we took a second and thought: “What if that was me?”

What if that were your book you’d slaved over for years that got ripped apart with nary a constructive comment? What if it were your blog post you put out there intending to encourage that was taken the opposite way? Or your tweet that could easily be misinterpreted?

We’re connected in so many ways, but we lack actual connection. That empathy that underlies common human experience. It’s easy to just react and lash out. But we don’t have to.

Really, the gist of what I’m trying to say is–be kind to people. Especially writers to writers. We’re all going through the same struggle, regardless of what route to publication we choose to travel. This shared experience should, in theory, allow for that capacity to empathize, and yet so often people are vilified for trivial things and minor misunderstandings. It doesn’t take much for one innocent remark to get blown out of proportion. The writing and publishing world is a small one and word travels. Bad behavior can ruin careers–other people’s and your own. Basically, no good ever comes of being unkind.

Also, there’s this thing called karma. Might be a good idea to err on the side of kindness.

What you say and do has the power to affect other people. You can make someone’s day or you can break it. Which side would you rather fall on?

(Yes, I’m aware of the great irony that this post advocating kindness might make some people mad. I’m sorry for that. But I think it needs to be said, even if it isn’t easy to hear. I hope it will seen by most as the constructive criticism it’s intended to be.)

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The Obligatory Birthday Post: The Best Presents Ever. And Muppets.

Today is my birthday and this year Mr. MK outdid himself.

He bought me a house.

Best. Present. EVER.

And it happens to be PERFECT and MOVE-IN READY. <3

(Of course, this also means I won’t be getting any more birthday presents for the next thirty years…and technically WE bought a house together, but that’s just details :P)

Also in the awesome of this  week? I’m officially joining the gang over at the From the Write Angle Blog and my debut post goes up TODAY! Come on over and say hi 🙂 I’ve known these folks for a couple of years now and they’re some of the sharpest writers out there, so I’m pretty darn delighted about this.

And of course, this week also marks the start of the agent judging round of The Writers Voice. I’m on #TeamCupidsLC and it should be lots of fun – certainly has been so far!

This next bit is becoming a tradition of sorts – but really what would a birthday be (for me) without the Muppets? Enjoy! (AND FOR THE LOVE TURN ON THE CAPTIONS! Teehee!)

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