Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Today, I’m revealing the cover and story line-up for BRAVE NEW GIRLS: TALES OF HEROINES WHO HACK, coming July 2018! This YA sci-fi anthology (edited by sci-fi authors Paige Daniels and Mary Fan) features stories about girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)… Girls who hack not just computers, but whatever puzzles come their way, using their smarts to save the day. It’s got sci-fi mysteries, cyberpunk, space adventures, and more! Proceeds from sales of the anthology will be donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

And without further ado, here’s the cover!

Stories in the anthology (in alphabetical order by title):

The Alchemist's Daughter by Selenia Paz
The Altered Avatar by Mary Fan
Attack on Aegis by Paige Daniels
Becoming a World Builder by Valerie Hunter
Data Recovery by Nicholas Jennings
Discord on Harmonia by M.L.D. Curelas
The Experiment Called Life by Halli Gomez
False Messiahs by Josh Pritchett
Impossible Odds by A.A. Jankiewicz
In Cyberia, Avatar Controls You by Jeremy Rodden
In the Shadow of Zyrcon by Joanna Schnurman
Inmate C87 by Kay Dominguez
Life Hack by Aaron Rosenberg
Login by Jennifer Lee Rossman
Moon Girl by Jennifer Chow
My Other Tree House Is a Rocket Ship by Russ Colchamiro
The Power of Five by Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg
Pyramid Scheme by Jamie Krakover
Sea-Stars and Sand Dollars by Lyssa Chiavari
Second Sun by Jorge Rustrian
ShockWired by Tash McAdam
Sword & Shield by Jelani Akin Parham
Twisted Brick by M.J. Moores



Brave New Girls: Stories of Tales of Heroines Who Hack is the third volume of the Brave New Girls anthology series. The first two, Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets (2015) and Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme (2017) have so far raised thousands of dollars for the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship fund. Find them on Amazon.


Paige Daniels is the pen name of Tina Closser. By day she works as an Electrical Engineer and Mom mushing her kids from gymnastics and violin practice. After the kids go to bed, she rocks out with her headphones turned to eleven and cranks out books. She is an uber science geek. If she wasn't married to the most terrific guy in the world, she would be a groupie for Adam Baldwin. Her books include Non-Compliance: The Sector, Non-Compliance: The Transition, and Non-Compliance: Equilibrium.

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. And what stories she has! Currently, she has three series in progress and likes to think that she has even more in her bag. Her books include Starswept, the Jane Colt trilogy, the Firedragon novellas, and the Fated Stars novellas.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Manuscript’s Journey

Since I recently signed with my awesome agent Kira Watson, I wanted to take a step back and break down my process on the manuscript and talk about the amount of time and effort it took to ultimately sign with my agent. Some of this is to reflect back, but also to allow others to see how perseverance and hard work (a lot of it) can pay off. Before I landed an agent, I really had no idea the amount of work that went into a manuscript to get it to the point where someone would ultimately say yes!

In order to walk you through the process, we have to go all the way back to 2012. Yes I said 2012. I had just started querying my first completed manuscript (second manuscript I’d written) and a shiny new idea grabbed hold of me. I was driving in my car and a weird thought popped into my head. What if you never got lost, ever? (Ironically I was not lost at the time) What if you could have a map with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days and year? And that idea would become a story I dubbed TRACKER220. Of course from there the idea exploded. If you could carry a tracking device with you at all time, what other good and bad things would come from it?

With that sense of wonder and question I started writing. And for some reason I couldn’t stop. The idea kept going and going and going until before I knew it I had a finished draft. Then I was shuttling it off to critique partners. Everyone that read it enjoyed the concept and had valuable input. I spent even more time editing and incorporating their amazing feedback. This story felt special.

And yet when I set my first manuscript aside and put it in the metaphorical drawer because I wasn’t gaining much traction with it, I had this nagging feeling that TRACKER maybe wasn’t quite ready for the query trenches.

I posted my query and pages on Write On Con and got additional feedback from writers and Ninja agents. I continued to edit, but still felt like something wasn’t 100% there.

At this point it was the summer of 2014. I set my sites on Pitch Wars, a contest that allowed you to be selected by a mentor to work with you to improve your manuscript before an agent round and querying. It sounded like exactly what I needed to get over the hump and get my polished manuscript not just query ready but request ready.

I put in my submission for the four mentors I thought would be best for my manuscript and then I waited. And eventually I got a full request from a mentor, then a second full request from another mentor. Surely this was a good sign. But when the mentor/mentee match list went up I wasn’t on it.


I cried… a lot.

I didn’t feel ready to query, but also didn’t know how to make my manuscript better than it currently was. I felt stuck despite really believing in my mansucript. But one of the mentors sent me an extremely encouraging feedback email. I really enjoyed your manuscript. I think you are query ready, and I wish I had some time to help you hone it even further.

Did she say query ready?

After that I put on my big girl pants and sent out a few queries. I quickly got a full request and was shocked at how fast it came. Maybe this mentor was right.

With some new found encouragement I also entered Baker’s Dozen. I wasn’t expecting to get in. After all Pitch Wars hadn’t turned out how I had hoped. And as I suspected, when the email notification went out, my inbox was empty. But then a moment later it dinged. One of my CPs who has also entered was reaching out. Isn’t TRACKER220 your manuscript? I scrolled the list and sure enough it was on there but with a different author’s name by it. Had it been a mistake? I emailed Authoress and sure enough it had been. I was in! So on that fateful day in December when the manuscripts went up for auction, I landed two additional full requests.

Now I really felt like I was getting somewhere. I continued forward getting involved in twitter pitch events and getting a lot of positive remarks from writers saying they loved the concept and couldn’t wait to read a story like mine. And even got a lot of requests from agents and small pubs during the events. I also entered Sun vs Snow and got in to that as well!

But as the year moved into 2015, I got no requests during Sun vs Snow and the full rejections from Baker’s Dozen rolled in too. I felt lost again, but that my story really was something special and that I couldn’t give up on it.

By the middle of 2015 I was sitting on some agent feedback from the full rejections. The agents didn’t connect enough (whatever that meant) and a couple sited that they had hoped for more world building.


What did that even mean? That could be any number of things. I didn’t know where to start. I struggled to wrap my brain around how to fix world building in the manuscript, but knew that it was probably a real issue because more than one agent had pointed it out.

And still I stewed and spun my wheels. (oh and I got married in October 2015 which slowed me down a bit)

Until I decided maybe it was time to pull back. I spent months revising the manuscript and getting more feedback with respect to the world and character development in the story. I completed a major edit that included adding scenes to help further define the technology and world. I got one more round of feedback to make sure I was on the right track before I dove back into the query trenches again in summer/fall of 2016.

I felt so much better about the manuscript this time. I continued to pitch during twitter contests and got more requests as well as full requests from my queries. I found new agents to query and kept pushing forward.

Until I nudged an agent who had had my manuscript for over 3 months (for those keeping track we are now in March of 2017). Finally she responded. She loved the concept and many aspects of the story, but ultimately something had made her pause. The world. The reader was told a lot about how the world worked through the main characters eyes, but the reader wasn’t really shown. And because of that, the agent decided to pass.

BUT she said if I would like to revise, she’d be happy to take another look.

When I first read the email I was furious. All I saw was world building as a problem yet again. Hadn’t I already fixed that? How could it still be broken? And because of that anger, I’d completely missed how much the agent actually enjoyed my manuscript, and the fact that she believed in it enough to give me another shot.

After I took some time to cool down and really consider what she had to say, I 100% agreed with every piece of feedback she had given me. And even better the ideas on how to fix it were already flowing. I sat on it for a day and talked it over with some of my critique partners. I was pretty sure I was going to do the revision.

And when I woke up the next morning EUREKA! Something I had always known about my main character but had never been able to make matter to the story finally had its place. I had always known my main character was Jewish, but I never mentioned it before because it didn’t seem important to the story…until this agent’s feedback. With the way she had explained the world building, if I incorporated how the main character was Jewish, I could show her struggles with the technology and her religion simultaneously. With the technology built into my story it was in direct conflict with Jewish beliefs and observances of the Sabbath. Now I had something.

I emailed the agent and let her know I’d like to work a revision and would get back to her when I finished. Then I went to work. I red lined the whole manuscript. Looked for places to really show how the technology worked, pulled in Jewish traditions, beliefs, and identity struggles and even rearranged a series of chapters to fix the flow of the story and increase the pace in the middle.

All in all, it took me a solid SIX MONTHS to complete the edits. And when I did, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had a much stronger manuscript. But I still wasn’t sure if the agent would like the direction I took the story. She’d mentioned world building, not incorporating religion into the story. What if she hated the story now?

I swallowed down the feelings of doubt and sent it off in October of 2017. Then I queried some additional agents and waited, and waited…


Until that fateful day when I finally had an offer in hand (January 2018 for those still keeping track). It wasn’t the agent who requested the R&R but another agent who offered. So I notified the agent who requested the R&R and she was in the middle of reading and had really positive things to say as well. And a few days later she too offered. And I signed with the second agent!

But none of this wouldn’t have been possible without the time I took to edit and polish. The leaps of faith I took and the pauses. Taking the time to step back re-evaluate and rework was invaluable. The continued effort to improve the manuscript and my craft was exactly what I needed. Not taking no for an answer and using it as fuel to light the fire that led to achieving my goal was the icing on the cake.

When it was all said and done, from initial thought to offer, it was just shy of 5 years or writing, editing and querying off and on. And five years and one day after I sent my first query for my other manuscript. All because I refused to give up. Because I listened to that nagging voice in my head that this story had to be told and it was good enough to get noticed.

I still have work ahead of me on this manuscript, but all the hard work has definitely paid off. And I now know what it takes to take something from idea to magic.