Some Thoughts on Mentoring/Being Mentored

tumblr_m9ddnqd4jw1rnvzfwo1_r1_500So the great mentoring pair-up is complete! If you wrote me and didn’t hear back in one way or another, then feel free to ping again because it’s possible I missed your message. Otherwise, I hope your pairing works out fabulously! I ended up having some writers who didn’t get paired up, mainly because I didn’t have mentors with the right experience for them or because my first priority was pairing up women of color (and that is mainly what people volunteered to do, so I didn’t feel comfortable pairing up otherwise). So I wish all of you guys the best of luck too! And, likewise, I have some writers who volunteered to be mentors that I didn’t end up matching. You are all fabulous; I did my best bewitched attempt to get people together who I felt would be best for both involved.

A few people wanted to know if I had any advice and so I thought I’d just type up some basic guidelines here. I probably should have done this in advance, but oh well. 😉

For Mentors: 

Hey, it’s pretty awesome that you want to pay things forward and help somebody else. I don’t know a single professional writer who hasn’t been mentored along the way, and so thank you for stepping up and volunteering to help out with this project. Don’t underestimate your own experience — if you’ve finished a novel (or a bunch) and gotten an agent, sold a book or published one (or a bunch), edited books, written articles and proposals, or some combination thereof and are comfortable giving feedback and advice, well, you are 100 percent qualified to help this writer I’ve paired you with level up. Most of you writers I know doubt your own accomplishments: stop that.

Most important things: be encouraging and supportive, but honest and firm.

For Those Being Mentored: 

Be open to suggestions, and be honest with your mentor if you feel they’re suggesting something that’s not right for your ms. (Play this card wisely, though, and not just because suggestions feel extreme!)

Don’t waste their time; if you agree on deadlines, let them know if you’re going to miss one early. They’re making space in their schedules to help with your work. You missing a deadline you’ve set together screws up things for you both. Also, this is a good habit to pick up now — you will need it for the rest of your career.

If you feel overwhelmed or don’t know how to attack a project, ask your mentor! That’s what they’re here for.

For both of you, ideas on how this might look, which you can absolutely tailor to meet your needs and available time!

If you’re not sure how to structure things, here are some ideas:

  • Get to know each other a little — exchange info on your backgrounds.
  • Assess where the mentored writer is in the process; do they have a ms. they need to revise? Has it been through edits before? Do they have a feel for their strengths and weaknesses, what they want your help with? Etc.
  • Mentors have writers send you some work, and set a timeline to get back to them with notes.
  • Build in some time to process the notes, and then regroup on next steps: Is this planning a revision and setting some deadlines along the way? Maybe for each 50 pages, maybe helping to plan what the revision will look like and then setting deadlines? Maybe the book is ready or close to ready, in which case, maybe it’s time to put together a query and a list of agents to send it to?
  • Career advice and goal setting: Is it time to start a new project? When will you have your book ready to go out and query agents with by? Accountability and structure is a great thing for new writers to learn.
  • Celebrate and commiserate: Two of the most valuable things writers can offer each other; did your writer NAIL the revision of her first ten pages, did she get a ms. request? YAY. Did she get rejected by an agent? HEY, we’ve all been there. Maybe share a story about a similar setback. Rejection, it comes for us all. 😉
This is all flexible and if, on either side, you feel stumped or frustrated or need an ear at any point — I’m here. You know where to find me. It’s possible your match-up won’t turn out to be a good fit. That doesn’t mean terrible things about either of you. Just be open and talk about things, see if you can make it work and, if not, move on. But, for now, go do great work together!

Let’s Get ReMade Together! (Sorta ;)

Hey! So I haven’t talked much about this here yet, because deadline after deadline after … you guessed it deadline!

In case you’re not familiar with Serial Box, a little explanation. So this company is doing something really interesting with collaborative storytelling, very much playing to writers’ strengths and desire to occasionally not work on our own. I love collaborating with other people and I especially love talking out stories with other writers. The way it works is, each serial — there are five so far — has its own premise and world and staff of writers. There’s a show runner, and it’s a similar process to TV (at least as I understand TV) in that everyone on the staff plots out stories together and then individual writers break off and write episodes. Over the course of 10 or 15 weekly episodes, voila! You have a season, a complete story made out of all those little ones, which you can either read or listen to an audiobook of, approximately 40 min to an hour depending on the format. Ideally, people keep up with the episodes as they come out and then get the fun of discussing their reading with others who are doing the same.

Earlier this year, I was asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest episode for a new serial that was being launched called ReMade. The premise behind ReMade is super-cool and I won’t say too much, because I think it’s more fun to experience it as it unfolds. Here’s what the website says:

“The lives of twenty-three teenagers are forever changed, and it’s not just because they all happen to die within the same minute. “ReMade” in a world they barely recognize–one with robots, space elevators, and unchecked jungle–they must work together to survive. They came from different places, backgrounds, and families, and now they might be the last people on the planet. LOST meets THE MAZE RUNNER in this exciting sci-fi thriller.”

I would suggest thinking of this as an excellent, smart CW show, and once I learned the details of the story (and that I’d be working with Matthew Cody, Kiersten White, E.C. Myers, Andrea Phillips, and Carrie Harris), my answer was yes please. I’m intrigued by the format and short fiction is definitely a place where I want to stretch my muscles a bit more (a natural short story writer I am not). I had so much fun doing my one episode (#10) that I happily said yes to joining the team officially for season two. The serial is currently six episodes in, and new ones drop each Wednesday. This makes it a perfect place to jump on and snarf.

Which brings me to the reason for this post! Next week we all head to New York — along with the wonderful Amy Rose Capetta — who’s joining season two too (yay) for the season two story summit. I decided to listen to all the eps released so far (and then reread the others) this week as a prep, and I’m inviting you to join me!

The first TWO episodes are free at the moment, so you can try it out with no $$ outlay — and then if you want the whole season, you can subscribe and get all the other episodes. If you have an iPhone, the easiest way to experience by far is to download the free Serial Box Publishing app, which will give you both ebook and audio file and syncs between them so you can switch back and forth if you want (and which you can subscribe through). I actually paid to subscribe because I love the app so much. But you can also buy the individual episodes from your favorite ebook retailer, read or listen on the website, etc. The Serial Box website spells all this out.

So, join me, and give it a try! I’ll be listening to an episode each day this week on my walk and tweeting about it using #ReMade — starting with the pilot today — and we’re going to be doing regular Tuesday night chats on twitter (follow @serialboxpub for the details) with the writing staff going forward too. We want to hear from you; it makes it so much more fun to break your heart if you tell us how best to do that. 😉

Want To Pay It Forward? Mentoring Opportunity

So, when I went full-time earlier this year, I realized I might have a little more time to pay it forward and mentor younger/newer writers. I knew immediately I wanted to focus my efforts on writers of color, because I say I’m committed to increasing diversity, so I should put my extra time there, right? Right. Put your time where your mouth is, as it were. And we all know that young writers of color often have a harder time breaking in; I can help with manuscripts, I can help with business advice, I can be a person in someone’s corner.

An opportunity to help out a guy who was having trouble tackling a revision presented itself almost as soon as I came to this realization. Unfortunately, on Friday I learned that the person I’d been helping has been behaving very badly and hurting many women writers and that until the talking started people had been too afraid to speak up, now there was a flood. I believe them. To say I am livid and dismayed is to understate things. But I still believe in my realization earlier this year too. So I tweeted this on Friday night, almost as soon as I learned about the situation:

As you can see, it took on a life of its own. I have, at last count, about 35 or so emails from women of color looking for mentors. I’m on deadline this week, so it will probably be next week before I can sit and truly go through them. I don’t want to turn anyone away. But I can only take on one or two of these writers at most. Do I have time to coordinate this project? Well, I’m going to make time. Because this is important. This was a tweet on a weekend; this is a need.

So this is where you come in, writer friends. Are you a writer who’s further along? Who feels like you could mentor someone? Let me know (comments or email). If I’ve already heard from you–and bless you, six or so volunteers I already have–you don’t need to contact again. I’ve got you. You may wonder, what kind of time commitment are we talking about–I think that’s up to you and the writer you work with. I’ll sort through emails in an attempt to identify who will be a good fit, then work with you to pick who you want to work with out of a few people. Everyone is going to need something slightly different. I look for people who at least have a manuscript complete (and I assume that’s mostly who I’ve heard from), because those are people who are serious enough to have finished a project and who I can help push forward.

For me, mentoring is about providing manuscript feedback and career advice, it can be about helping a person wrap their head around a revision and set deadlines for themselves with outside accountability (aka me). That sort of thing. Your strengths may vary a little, so you may focus on different things. There’s no one way to mentor someone.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also plug a program several people have let me know about: Writing in the Margins. I don’t know all the details, but it’s certainly something I’ll be sharing with these writers (and I know one at least I’ve heard from has been through it already).

Middle Grade Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to share the cover for the very first middle grade novel from Christopher Rowe and yours truly. Behold! Here’s the cover for The Supernormal Sleuthing Service #1: The Lost Legacy, out next spring from Greenwillow Books!


I hope you guys love it as much as we do! The artist is Glenn Thomas and he’s also doing black and white interior art.

Here’s the about the book that’ll be on the back of the ARCs:

Three kids. A hotel full of monsters. And a stolen magical artifact that could disrupt the balance between the humans and the supernatural. Welcome to life at Hotel Monster! The first book in the hilarious and spooky series that is Hotel Transylvania meets Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

Stephen’s dad decided to move them across the country to New York City, where his dad is taking over as head chef in an exclusive hotel. A hotel that has the most elite of clientele: monsters! Surprise! Or as they prefer to be called, supernormals. And an even bigger surprise? Stephen is part supernormal himself. When a magical artifact goes missing and Stephen is framed, he must work with two new friends to navigate this whole new world to clear his name. Consequences can be dire in the world of monsters. Spooky, funny, and full of monstrous hijinks, The Lost Legacy is an inventive and accessible mystery-adventure full of friendship, humor, and a monstrous cast of characters—perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series.

We’ve had so much fun working with each other and our fabulous editor Martha Mihalick on this book/series and we can’t wait for you guys to step into this world. You can preorder if you like: IndieboundAmazonB&N.

NYCC Schedule!

nycc-logo2Hi there! If you’re interested in what else has been up, you can check out September’s tinyletters: one and two. Or sign up to get them in your inbox at

In the meantime, will you be at NYCC? ME TOO! Here’s where you can find me:

Friday, 10/7

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Panel – BookCon @ NYCC Panel Room – 1st Floor

Expanding Worlds: How Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels Imagine the World–For Better or Worse: From hyper-drive star ships to swords and sorcery to lustful vampires, science fiction and fantasy novels imagine worlds with infinite possibilities. But frequently, these worlds are remarkably similar to our own. Come hear bestselling science-fiction and fantasy authors discuss their imagined worlds and the impact of the collective SFF brain on the “real” world. Authors Rysa Walker (The Delphi Effect, Timebound), Gwenda Bond (Girl In the Shadows), Amy A. Bartol (Kricket series, Secondborn series), J.D. Horn (Witching Savannah series), and Alys Arden (The Casquette Girls) will debate and discuss, led by Senior Editor Jason Kirk of 47North and Skyscape.

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM: Autographing – BookCon @ NYCC Autographing Area – 6th Floor

Books will be for sale from Word, and I’m also happy to sign anything you bring me!

I’ll be around Saturday too, but just swanning around seeing people. Hope to see some of you there!

Salt Lake City ComicCon Schedule!



Hey everyone! Here’s my schedule for next week at SLC ComicCon (come say hi!):

Thursday, September 1, 2016

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Writing for Teens :: 255F

4 to 5 p.m.
Signing – Shadow Mountain – Booth 1807

Friday, September 2, 2016

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Behind the Glasses – Why Superheroes Need Secret Identities :: 150G

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Romance in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror :: 251A

Saturday, September 3, 2016

10:00 am to 11:00 am
Teen Author Boot Camp: Girl Power: Writing Strong Female Characters :: 255B

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
I’m With HER-O — I’m not sure where this will yet, but it’ll be me and Margaret Stohl and Sarah Kuhn and Cecil Castellucci so get there!

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Signing – Shadow Mountain – Booth 1807

I’ll post here if anything changes, but hope to see some of you there.

p.s. I started a Patreon, which I’ll post more about soon. I’m still figuring out how to make it useful!

Lois Lane: Triple Threat Announced! Whee!

A pause in lo the many travels and deadlines to say that I finally got to share some NEWS. I’m in the middle of deadlines (this, plus our middle grade edits due back on Monday!) so I will just drop it here with a giant thank you to everyone who has bought the Lois books, recommended them to others, checked them out of a library, handsold them, etc. etc. YOU made this book three happen and I’m determined to make it the best one yet.


Also thanks to our host bookstores and everyone who came out to the Dangerous Ladies Tour and made it such an amazing time! You rock.

A Miscellany of Excitements

Hi! I am in the middle of many projects, but wanted to drop by here to share a few things ICYMI in acronym-fu.

If you’re local, I’ll be at Morris Book Shop at 4 p.m. tomorrow for Girl in the Shadows’ launch. They’ll have copies of my other books, I’m sure, and everything in the store is 20% off! Plus, it’s their 8th anniversary shebang, always a fun time. COME OUT.

Other newsy bits:

We saw Hamilton, which did not disappoint and in fact was mindblowingly amazing, and then I met someone outside who was wearing a Superman ring:


And yes, I owe the world a tinyletter! It’s coming this weekend! I promise!

Girl in the Shadows & Girl Over Paris #1 Release Days + Boston & ReaderCon Schedule!

Let fly the Bond-GirlintheShadows-21439-CV-FTpages of magic! Girl in the Shadows (the companion to the little book that could Girl on a Wire) is out today! It’s not overstating to say that dreaming up the Cirque American was a life-changing event, and I hope you enjoy your visits there. You can read these books together or separately.

Early book sales are extremely important to books, so you earn my undying affection when you pick new releases up ASAP. (In this case, it makes the possibility of a Dita book that much more likely!) Plus, you can grab Girl in the Shadows and issue #1 of the comic book standalone story Girl Over Paris in hard copy for less than $15 and in e-book versions for less than $10. Can you beat that? I don’t think you can. Girl in the Shadows is also available in audiobook, if that’s your pleasure.

If your bookstore doesn’t have it in stock, just have them order it for you. I’d consider it an excellent birthday present if you picked it up and, if you feel so inclined and enjoy it, leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads or wherever-you-please.

Buy links for Girl in the Shadows

And for Girl Over Paris:

  • Get it at your local comic shop, or
  • Buy it from Amazon or Comixology (Amazon will ship the print issue to you, if you don’t have a handy LCS)

We are off on my birthday/book release adventures to New York for Hamilton and to see a few friends and meet with our middle grade series editor and then on to Boston for an event there and Readercon!

Here’s my public schedule. Do come out to Porter Square (or Readercon!), if you’re local! And if you need to flag me down to sign something at Readercon, feel free. I’m always findable via the twitter machine, but it’s even easier to find me in person now that I have teal hair. Just look for the teal hair.

And I have but one thing at Readercon on Friday, July 8! But will be around all weekend.

  • 1:00 PM    5    Why Women Become Protagonists . Gwenda Bond, LJ Cohen, Rosemary Kirstein, Hillary Monahan, Navah Wolfe. In a 2015 essay about portrayals of female protagonists in crime fiction, Sara Paretsky writes, “Detectives like V.I. came to life in a time of bravado, when my peers and I… wrote out of a kind of cockiness: we’re doing a job because we want it, we like the work, no one can stop us. Today, the female hero often has been brutally assaulted… or suffered some other form of serious trauma. It’s as if the only acceptable reason for a woman to embrace the investigative life is to recover from damage, or get revenge for it—not because she takes pleasure in the work, and comes to it as a free spirit.” Let’s explore the reasons that female protagonists decide to protag, and discuss the many ways to motivate them other than assault and trauma.