Coming soon..

When I say that my TBR is ridiculously long, I am not exaggerating. Sometimes, I genuinely look at the pile and wonder if I’ll ever read them all (don’t even get me started on my Amazon wishlist).

I’m currently reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn and I’m obsessed with her narrative voice. It’s quick-witted and relatable and can’t believe I’ve never read her work before. Since it’s a pretty light read, I think I’m going to follow with Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, David Barclay Moore’s The Stars Beneath Our Feet (which was a gift from my supervisor), Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, a collection of personal essays called Freud’s Blind Spot, and Joan Silber’s Improvement.

These aren’t set in stone, order-wise, but I think it’s a good variety to start off my 2018 reading list.

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So long, 2017…

Every year always turns out to be a rollercoaster, and to be completely honest I’ve never been a fan of rollercoasters. I prefer to have both feet on the ground. Though, if I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that life will never pause to wait until you have both feet on the ground. You’ve just got to be ready to adapt. In the beginning of 2017, I thought things were going to be different because all of the obstacles I overcame in 2016, but it was just the beginning. Bear with me guys, this may be the longest blog post I’ve made.

This year, I was challenged in more ways than ever before. I was depressed, working in a job that I was desperately trying to get out of, unhappy in a myriad of ways and I was forced to rely heavily on God. Forced to accept that He has always had plans for me that are beyond what I can begin to envision for myself. There were days that I genuinely didn’t think I would make it to see the end of 2017, I had lost count of the number of panic attacks, tears and times that I thought I couldn’t possibly go on any further. If it wasn’t for God, my family, and closest friends who pushed me kicking and screaming through everything, I don’t think I would be here. In January, I was given a shimmer of hope as I was just starting to feel hopeless in my job at the time. I was given the opportunity to intern at Ayesha Pande Literary, a literary agency. It was the first taste of the publishing world that I had after completing the Columbia Publishing course. This was the time to gain hands-on experience. Serene, Ayesha, and Anjali were all incredibly kind and warm to me. I couldn’t have started my career with a better group of professionals. They were based out of NYC and it cost me $50/week give or take roundtrip for a 5-hour commute to go to their office and intern for free on my day off. I did it for four months because I was determined to pursue my dream, even if I had to sacrifice to do so. I don’t regret it for a moment. I learned so much valuable information, I read manuscripts, queries, drafted reader’s reports and got to ask questions whenever I had them. Despite my unhappiness at my full-time job, I was able to find joy in the fact that I was reading manuscripts in my free time, reading for leisure, writing more regularly. I was determined to stay sharp and focus on my goals. Once the internship concluded, I was back to where I was post-graduation: applying for jobs, interviewing, not hearing back — lather, rinse, repeat. After some silence, much prayer and support, August is when my life took a complete 180 degree turn. Ironically, I posted something about wanting the last few months of 2017 to be the plot twist I needed — and in a way, I got exactly what I asked for.

I was supposed to be taking a long weekend to visit my close friend, Nia, in Rhode Island. Out of the blue, I was contacted about an incredible opportunity to work as a counselor for a two-week sleepaway camp with a non-profit organization, Writopia. They contacted me on my last day of work to see if I was still interested in the position (which I had applied for months before), I responded immediately and we made plans for a Skype interview. I interviewed and was hired in the same day while I was in Providence, RI. I sent my letter of resignation to the job that I’d been working in for nearly a year that same day and never looked back. Everyone except my close family and friends thought I was CRAZY! I can’t blame them.  I quit a full-time job to work for two weeks at a summer camp. I couldn’t explain it but something about the easiness and sequence of events just felt right, like fate. I left for camp probably a week or less after I was hired. I packed my bags, went to New York City, and disappeared into the Pennsylvania mountains with no cell service for two weeks with complete strangers. I was anxious the entire time that I wouldn’t adjust, but every person that I crossed paths with in those weeks made a positive, lasting impression on my life. God knew that this was where I needed to be. I needed to disconnect from all my stress, breathe fresh air, write and interact with uninhibited creatives to remind me why I loved to write. Camp came and went faster than I realized, my family heard the change in my voice, and I knew I was coming back a stronger woman than when I left.

Once at home, my parents had questions: what’s next? Where are you going to work now? How are you going to take care of your bills? Etc. These were all valid questions but I didn’t have a single answer for them. I was still swimming in the serenity that camp gave me and I wasn’t anxious at all or worried about what was next.  I felt confident that things were going to come together for me, things wouldn’t go back to the way they had been. It was now September and I was casually applying for jobs, which was a polar opposite approach to the mass applying that I had been doing since I graduated college. Ideally, I wanted a full-time job but I decided to take a risk, apply for some jobs and a select few internship opportunities. In no time, I was contacted for a phone interview for a full-time job at a publishing company and also told that I was in the running for an internship opportunity at a renowned literary agency. I was between two incredible opportunities and the anxiety was purely due to the realization that my life was moving in the direction I had always wanted it to.

The application process for the internship seemed to be moving faster than for the job. I was submitting paperwork, had interviewed for the internship and was still waiting to hear back from the job. The recruiter from the full-time job contacted me telling me that I was one of three applicants considered for the position and would be invited for an interview that coming Monday. I was shocked! That same Thursday? I was told that I’d been accepted into the Writers House Internship program and if I accepted their offer. On the phone with Michael Mejias, I didn’t hesitate. It felt right and I said “OH MY GOD, YES!” without pause. It was once I hung up the phone, I really needed to think on whether or not I was making a foolish choice of choosing an internship with a stipend over taking a full-time job. I hadn’t interviewed so who is to say that I would even get the job? I let that question float in the air around me before I emailed the recruiter saying that I was no longer available to interview, apologized for the inconvenience but hoped to cross paths in the not too distant future. That’s when it really started to snowball. I became the Subsidiary Rights Intern for Writers House where I am still continuing to learn so much and gain some of the most invaluable skills. I’m surrounded by kind, intelligent, and ambitious fellow interns that have managed to take my honest, perpetually flustered,and hot-mess personality as endearing and continually show me such kindness. Despite never having two feet on the ground, sleeping on any-and-everyone who has been willing to offer’s couch, air mattress, or floor, staring at my bank account praying for imaginary funds to come through — after much prayer and supplication, I found a part time job.  A part time job that works perfectly around my internship schedule with two more kind and understanding supervisors to add to the list of the ones I will always be eternally grateful for.

It is December 31st, New Years Eve, my absolute favorite holiday for reasons I could elaborate on for far too long, enough to warrant a blog post of its own honestly. The prospect of 2018 is both terrifying and exhilarating to me. Terrifying because my dreams are within my grasps and the reality of failing is just as terrifying as the possibility for unbelievable success. I am exhilarated because I like to believe the life God has always planned for me is starting to take shape, one puzzle piece at a time. I can’t predict the future and I won’t pretend to have an inkling of what is even going to happen tomorrow. What I will say is that I am actively aware of the fact that I am entering into 2018 with a blindfold, prepared to free fall into the endless possibilities, because if 2017 has taught me anything it’s that I will by no means always get what I want (if ever), but I will always find myself with exactly what I need: from the people who said the words I needed to hear, the money that magically came to me in desperate times, the friends who made me laugh all the while, and the mentors who have supported me through everything. I don’t think any means of “thank you,” will ever be enough but I promise to prove myself to be everything you have believed me to be capable of.

I’m sorry for the exceptionally long-winded post but I just want to say Happy New Years!! I hope 2018 proves to be everything you need it to be and more.

Six of Crows: A Review

For those of you who have kept up with my blog, you know that I cannot resist a good young adult fantasy novel. Yes, I read other genres but the books I remember loving the most were young adult fantasy novels. After hearing all of the hype, I decided to purchase the duology of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Leigh Bardugo does an unbelievable job of creating a dynamic universe that is overflowing with colorfully unforgettable characters.

The minute we are introduced to Kaz Brekker, I already know he will quickly become the bad-ass character that you can’t help but love. He is the Danny Ocean to a similarly assembled band of thieves. Each of the six members of the team have a particular skill set, along with a complicated background story to explain how they found themselves here. Despite different back stories, they all found themselves agreeing to embark on an impossible heist with the highest stakes and potential for highest reward. Bardugo separates chapters by each character’s perspectives. These chapters help you gain a deeper understanding of each person’s past but also provides insight into what their motivations are during this journey. Apart from the story itself, which captivates the reader from the first page to the last, Bardugo supplies fluid prose without stutter. Her strong writing, in combination with the incredible plot, are what make Six of Crows a five-star must-read. 

I’m unsure if I want to jump directly into Crooked Kingdom (the second novel in the series) or take a break to read some other titles on my TBR. I’ll keep you guys posted.

XO

Currently reading…

I am so excited to announce that I have just started reading the famous Leigh Bardugo duology, Six of Crows! I know I’m super late on the whole bandwagon thing but — a good book is a good book whenever you choose to read it, at least in my opinion.

Life has been hectic so I haven’t been reading or writing as much as I used to. I want to change that and make an active effort to read and write more regularly. They always go hand in hand for me, if I’m not writing often it’s usually because I’m not reading as much as I should. I don’t want to make excuses but instead, challenge myself to take free moments to read. Y’all know how much I love a good YA fantasy so no better way to dive back in than with the famed Six of Crows duology. I’ve only heard good things and I’m excited to read it for myself.

My TBR is overflowing but if you have any suggestions for books to read. Comment below! I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and why you liked it.

Good News!

I have long overdue good news to share with you guys. I have been interning for Writers House since October and the great news is that I have just been hired part-time as an assistant at another literary agency, Chalberg & Sussman! I’m so excited! The last two years have been really hard, probably the hardest years of my life. I’ve been on an uphill battle that I could go on and on about if I truly wanted but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how things are starting to take a turn for the better. Since August, things have just been working in my favor from serving as a counselor at Wricampia, getting accepted into the Writers House internship out of 1200 applicants, and now getting this part-time job!? I’m ecstatic, I can’t even begin to explain it.

I’ve always been a book reader and writer. It never occurred to me that these were plausible avenues to find employment. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I realized that I wanted to get into the publishing industry. I went to the Columbia Publishing Course, I went on interviews and I did everything “right” or so I thought. It was partly about what I was doing but also about timing, not mine but God’s. A lot of those opportunities that I “desperately” wanted would not have allowed me to do what I’m doing now. Who is even to say that I would’ve been happy with all those jobs I missed out on? I was just desperate for a job – I still am but I have more faith that the right job for me will be apparent. I still get anxious since my parents are financing the majority of my expenses. Ideally, I want to be self-sufficient but there is plenty of time for that. I just really want to bask in the achievements I have made thus far. It’s so easy to forget to count your blessings and fixate on the things you still want or that are missing. I want to bask in this moment, to let the fact that I am living in New York (basically full-time), working 5 days a week, commuting and getting acclimated into the publishing industry settle into my mind. I just want to realize that all those dreams I had of working in the city, having fun, and being surrounded by intelligent like-minded individuals are coming to fruition.

I think dreams coming into reality are equal parts exciting and terrifying. Exciting for obvious reasons but terrifying because it feels too good to be true. It makes you question things like what if the dream you have had forever doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it would be? Well, I think not taking the risk is scarier than taking it.

A Poem.

I have previously mentioned that I am tip-toeing into the world of poetry. I’ve always been fascinated by the moving capabilities of spoken word and poetry. Some are more simplistic and others have layers to peel back with every listen. I want to get there some day and with that, I must practice. So here’s a poem, I wrote last month, that currently remains without a title.

You cannot put Vicks on my mental wounds
This may frighten you
There’s no drug store cure for the sickness that ails me
My mind and I battle for the same territory
And the victor often changes

Some days are easier than others
Some are filled with warm sun beams, good coffee, good laughs
Some days are harder
Filled with a darkened bedroom
In the fetal position, choking back tears

You cannot put Vicks on this
It is not going to be that easy
These bruises on my mind require special treatment
I don’t want you to fix me
I need to do this myself

Just hold my hand along the way
Make sure I don’t stay in the dark too long
Just love me from the sidelines
While I learn to love myself.
That’s all I can ask of you.
That’s all you can do.

For the last time: I Want to be a Literary Agent!

When I was younger, I wanted to be a lot of things: a doctor, an author, a journalist, a columnist, an event planner, and now I’ve finally settled on becoming a literary agent and author. Those are just the jobs I wanted that I can remember after so long. I am also fortunate enough to be a current intern at a prestigious literary agency, Writers House, and to have formerly interned at another incredible agency, Ayesha Pande Literary. These opportunities only further cemented my desire to get into pursuing a career as a Literary Agent or in the Foreign Rights department of a literary agency.

How did I realize I wanted to be a literary agent? When I attended the Columbia Publishing Course(CPC), I got to hear lectures from some famous publishing professionals and imagine myself in each department. One of the lectures that really caught my attention featured a panel of literary agents, a job I had never heard of before. There were so many of them and they all seemed to have crossed paths with one another. Some worked for smaller agencies while others worked for the more well-known agencies like ICM. Hearing the agents talk about their passion for the job and how their responsibilities to the author included being an editor, a therapist, and a cheerleader. It all sounded like what I wanted to be doing.

What do literary agents do? Literary agents work closely with their clients/authors as they develop their work and are the first step in the revising process. Once those revisions are complete, they write pitch letters to editors at various publishing houses to find someone who wants to purchase the book for publication! After that, the literary agent works as the authors advocate making sure that they understand what the next steps are, that the money is handled according to the contract, all that fun stuff.  For example, Jodi Reamer is Stephenie Meyer’s literary agent. TWILIGHT was submitted like millions of other manuscripts are a day, an intern was assigned to read it and decided that it had potential. It was passed along, Jodi read it, and e-mailed Stephenie offering to represent her as an agent. From there, Jodi and her team worked tirelessly to edit TWILIGHT until it was ready to be pitched to publishing houses. Some probably turned it down (regrettably now) but eventually Little, Brown and Company bought it. After that, TWILIGHT skyrocketed and eventually Jodi had film rights, translation rights, audio rights and the whole series. Now, Stephenie remains a client of Jodi’s so they work on all of Stephenie’s projects together and Jodi continues to take on new clients and represent other well-known authors like John Green and Ransom Riggs. [This is as concisely as I can begin to describe the field so forgive me, if it’s still vague.]

If you could become a literary agent instantly, what books would you like to represent? Honestly, there are so many types of books that I would want to represent so here goes: YA and MG fiction/nonfiction, Suspense novels in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, Memoirs/Biographies about overcoming adversity, Fiction and nonfiction novels about mental health, survival, passion, Stories featuring diversity and/or a strong female lead, Titles heavily rooted in family, friends, plot twists and the varying forms of love. These are all over the place but over time, you come to learn what you love and I’m sure this list will continuously evolve.

Do you think this is the job that you will do for the rest of your life? I would like to think so. I love books, I love the publishing industry, I have interned in the field and still love it as much as I did the first time I learned about it, if not more. I’d like to say I would do this forever but who knows? I could always end up doing something completely different like screenwriting or maybe just keep my love for books to book reviews. The possibilities are endless but I am happy pursuing this now and we’ll see what happens next.