Saturday, November 17, 2012

FIRST PASS PAGES: A celebration.


That's right, my First Pass Pages* are here!!!

Yes, I hugged them.

Yes, the sight of them made me cry.

My first thought was, "We did it!" (We being myself and everyone who edited, critiqued and all around supported me on this journey.)

My second thought was, "It's going to be a book!"

Now, around this time you're probably thinking, "Well, DUH, Chelsea, of course it's going to be a book. Had you not figured that out?"

Well, sure I had. That is to say, Yes and No. Obviously, and kind of.

Here's the thing. When you're hopin', and wishin', and prayin' for success in the publishing world (and then you get real, and start WRITING), it sometimes feels like all you hear is "Nope." So once you actually hear, "YEP!" even though you are OMG VERY EXCITED and all together over the moon, the whole thing feels very surreal.

It is only through the passing of each milestone (rounds of editing, cover design, galleys, ARCS, etc.) that it starts to sink in that Ye Old Manuscript is, in fact, going to be a book.

This moment is one of those times.


*For those of you baffled by the curious language of publishing (and trust me, I'm still learning), First Pass Pages are a print-out of how the novel pages WILL LOOK once they're in the actual book (with the proper formatting and fonts!) My job (hinted at by the ominous red pen in the photo) is to sift through these pages for typos, formatting errors and anything that will make the book look NOT CORRECT. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Curious Case of Writer Entitlement

Picture, if you will, a scenario:

It’s after dark. You’ve just gotten home from working a double shift at the restaurant/department store/hospital. Your feet are throbbing and you smell like burnt cheese/cheap perfume/excrement. You’re too tired to eat but it's probably ok to check your email for a response to your latest query.

The one that’s been rejected almost 100 times.

The one you edited and revised until you were blue in the face, and then you edited it again.

The one you finally, courageously, after three months of fear and waffling, sent to your Dream Agent, who reps your favorite author and writes hilarious tweets.

Yeah. That query.

And look: your inbox has a response. Your palms start to sweat. Your pulse is racing so fast you can feel it in your ears and your heart’s just lodged in your throat, almost choking you with possibility. Terror. Possibility.

You click on the email.

Dear Author…

Your heart sinks. But you steal your courage and continue to read.

Thank you for your submission of “The Best Novel You’ll Never Read.” Unfortunately, it’s not right for our list at this time.


Your Once Upon A Dream Agent

You close your eyes. Behind closed lids, you witness a lifetime of accolades slipping through your hands: the book deal, the signings, the beautiful letters you’ll receive from fans: “I love your books!” “You’re my favorite author!” “Your writing literally changed my life!”

When your eyes open again, your lashes are wet. Taunting words circle around your head: Not right for our list. Not right. Not right.

Not. Not. Not.

You start getting defensive. Your pride is wounded. Your baby has been insulted! You put your heart and soul into this thing. How could they reject it? And, in spite of professionalism, in spite of the subjectivity of the business, you start to think, what would it hurt to send one angry response?

After all, Dream Agent gets 400 emails a day. Is one little email going to make a difference? You’ll get to say your piece, this feeling of helplessness will subside, and nothing bad will come of it.


Well guess what? An agent was assaulted Thursday night. A man tracked her down in her car and attacked her. A man she rejected.

An agent who, as a professional person, as a human being, had every right to feel safe at her job, and in her home, was ATTACKED because she rejected someone’s work.

And it’s really easy to say what she could’ve done to prevent it. It’s really easy to say the guy was a raving lunatic and leave it at that. Everything’s simple, and tied up neatly, and this will never happen again.

Except right now, a dozen writers are electronically lashing out at agents who rejected them. Attacking them personally, calling them names, and makes threats.

Agents are receiving stories detailing the deaths of their family members in response to rejections.

Not long ago, a man claimed he’d kidnapped a bunch of agents' children in order to get their attention.

And ALL OF THESE THINGS are connected.

More and more, there seems to be an odd sense of entitlement in the writing community—an entitlement you don’t see in other professions. Would we expect a restaurant manager to spend hours of his time examining our serving abilities FOR FREE, and then lash out at him if he didn't think we were perfect for the position? Would we send an angry, embittered letter to the guy who didn’t hire us for a sales job?

Dear “Manager,” (if that is your real name)

You don’t know what you’re missing. You just passed up the greatest pre-paid cell phone salesman that ever lived. You’re clearly a hack.


The J.K. Rowling of cell phone sales

Yeah. Wouldn't happen. It wouldn’t happen because we don’t want to burn any professional bridges. It’s just not done. It’s not proper.


So why would anyone, who ever hoped to be a success in this profession, behave so unprofessionally when pursing their dream? What is it about this business that makes people forget it is a business?

People who reject our work aren’t rejecting us as people. They’re not even saying our work is bad. They’re saying that, at the intersection of Things I Love to Read, and Things I Can Sell, this book is a tiny bit south. Or west. Northeast, whatever.

And it’s okay for them to say that. They have that right.

So maybe, as a community of writers, of creators, of lovers not fighters, we can come together, all of us, and say, I’m not going to behave like that. I love my art, and I put my heart into it, but this is a business and I’m going to behave professionally.

Because the alternative is an industry of agents who don’t feel safe responding to ANY query they aren’t in love with, which is going to leave the lot of us with empty inboxes, wondering, what if? Did they even get my query?

Is this somehow my fault?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


It's time for a Moving-Themed Book Giveaway!!!  

I'm giving away three fabulous YA novels that follow the theme of moving, 
being moved or being on the move (plus an Amazon gift card)!


To celebrate the move of THE S-WORD’S release date!!!!
May 7, 2013

The giveaway beings at 12:00 A.M. ET on Monday, September 10th 
and ends at 12:00 A.M. ET on Monday, September 17th. 


 The prizes are:

Zombies and unicorns are on the move in this hilarious anthology edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier!

When 16-year-old Rhine is stolen away from her home and sold to the wealthy Linden, in a future where women only live to be twenty, she must fight to regain her freedom, her family and her life. 

Aristotle and Dante become best friends at fifteen, 
but can their friendship survive time, distance and the secrets they both keep?

$10 gift card!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TA DA!!!

The cover . . .


Check out the official reveal HERE

First it was SLUT
scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


(In which I give away various books)
To celebrate the launch of my website and upcoming novel,
“The S-Word,” due out in 2013 from Gallery Books.
The contest beings at 9:00 A.M. ET on Monday, April 23rd and ends at 9:00 P.M. ET on Friday, April 27th. Winners will be announced the following week.
on Twitter and tweet about the launch of my website (including the url: and my twitter handle: @chelsea_pitcher).
For example:

But please be advised:
You Can Word It However You Want.
If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can also enter by following me here on blogger. Just click the “join this site” button (near the top right of this page) and leave me a comment on this post letting me know how to contact you if you win.

There are four titles you can win: three sparkly new hardbacks from my personal collection and two gorgeous paperbacks from my awesome editor Adam Wilson. And yes, I know that adds up to five (I am not that terrible at math), the paperbacks are both the same.

1. BLACK HEART by Holly Black
In the final installment of the Curse Workers Series, con-artist Cassel is determined to be a good guy, but his past keeps getting in the way in the form of shady family members, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the mob-boss in training who happens to be the love of his life. Just try to put this book down once you’ve picked it up. I dare you.

2. SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger
The battle of the sexes is ON in this witty and thought-provoking retelling of Lysistrata. Whether you’re on Lissa’s side, Cash’s team, or just cheering from the sidelines, watching the battle unfold is a wicked delight. 
3. PINK SMOG by Francesca Lia Block
From the immensely talented author of  DANGEROUS ANGELS: THE WEETZIE BAT BOOKS comes the much anticipated prequel, in which Louise-turned-Weetzie comes of age, and becomes straight-up fabulous, while re-learning to believe in the magic of love.
4. and 5. LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols
When Erin moves from Kentucky to New York, she doesn’t expect to be tracked down by the stable boy of her fantasies. She certainly doesn’t expect him to show up in her writing class right after she wrote a steamy story about him. 
This is MY contest. It is not affiliated with any publisher or agency. The contest is open to all residents of the US (with apologies to my lovely international friends) who are 18 and older. Winners will be selected randomly and will be announced over the course of the week of April 30th. Winners, upon being notified, may specify which book they prefer and (if that book has not already been given to a previous winner) THAT IS THE BOOK THEY SHALL RECEIVE.
Thank you, and have fun! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review of Francesca Lia Block's "PINK SMOG: BECOMING WEETZIE BAT"

Jacket Copy:

The girl in the mirror wasn’t who I wanted to be, and her life wasn’t the one I wanted to have.

Despite how much Louise insists, no one will call her Weetzie. It’s her dad’s nickname for her, but it won’t stay put. Neither will her dad. Charlie left Louise and her mom and he took everything with him: her family, her home—and her understanding of who she’s meant to be.

But Los Angeles is a city full of strange angels, and Louise embarks on a journey to sift through the smog of her heartbreak, to grow her own wings.

My Review: 5 of 5 Stars

Reading “Pink Smog” was like coming home. I didn’t even know how much I’d missed Weetize until she came back. In this much-anticipated prequel to “Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books,” an adolescent Weetzie Bat confronts the fairy tale that so many of us learn as children: that love, when it is real, stays with us forever.

But how can this be? Weetzie’s father has just left. Does this mean his love wasn’t real? Does it mean he never cared for her in the first place? These are the questions Weetzie must face as she navigates a world of strange angels and sinister phantoms, new friends and spiteful enemies. Her mother is little help, devastated from the loss of her husband, and school provides no solace, but Weetzie is fierce and resilient, and in spite of often feeling lost, she remains determined to find herself.

I loved this book so much. Block’s characters are nothing if not survivors, and Weetzie is no exception. I felt for her as she struggled to find her place in the world, rooted for her as she fought to love herself even when those she loved couldn’t stay by her side. I especially loved her relationship with Winter, that strange and elusive neighbor that might’ve been angel, or maybe just a boy, who managed to help Weetzie remain on the right path without making decisions for her. He was just the right kind of friend, and I found myself yearning for his presence just as Weetzie did, hoping he would visit her one more time, tell her a story, sit by her side.

Another thing I loved about this story—the thing that drew me into Block’s novels so many years ago—was the feeling of being fully immersed in the character’s world. We cannot only see it—we can taste it in the food Weetize eats, smell it in the belladonna and jacaranda that paint her world, and feel it as she travels through the streets of Los Angeles on her adventure. Time and time again Block delivers a feeling of lushness, of completeness that keeps me coming back. Here especially, it is both enticing and intoxicating, in this beautiful story of the transformative power of love specifically when it’s ephemeral. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Present To You . . .


Chelsea Pitcher's THE S-WORD, pitched as The Scarlet Letter meets Veronica Mars, about a high school girl who found her best friend in a compromising position with her own boyfriend on prom night and cut off their friendship, then was plagued by guilt and decided to find out who was responsible after her best friend was branded Queen of Sluts and committed suicide, to Adam Wilson at Gallery, in a nice deal, for publication in 2013, by Sandy Lu at the L. Perkins Agency (World).


Here is a picture of my happy face:

And now we celebrate. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review of Kody Keplinger's "SHUT OUT"

Jacket Description:

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

My Review:

First of all, I love the premise of this novel. A modern-day retelling of Lysistrata? Count me in! Of course, the execution of such an undertaking is a bit tricky—one would have to introduce complex sexual politics in a way that engages people intellectually while keeping them constantly entertained. Can it be done?

The answer is a resounding yes.

In Kody Keplinger’s “Shut Out”, Lysistrata makes the flawless transition from Greek comedy to high school drama without skipping a beat. I enjoyed every minute of this story. From Lissa’s meticulous caretaking of her family, to Chloe’s loudmouthed affirmations of sexual autonomy, to Cash’s mystifying flirtations, I found myself empathizing with each, very different character (except maybe Randy, but he was fun to dislike!) And each time I set the novel down (to, you know, sleep or eat) I found my head spinning with thoughts of the characters’ encounters, their fears, and their desires, as well as thoughts of sexual mores in general—where they come from and how they’re socially perpetuated. This is the beauty of a Kody Keplinger novel: it combines the sheer entertainment of watching a high school drama unfold while simultaneously providing plenty of intellectual fodder.

That kind of thing is hard to beat.

One of the most amazing things about this book is that it uses a scene that we as a society take for granted—a group of girls sitting around a bedroom talking about sex—and illustrates how, even in what should be a totally safe space, socially-imposed ideas of silence and shame do their dirty work, keeping young women from feeling like they can talk openly. One of the biggest perpetuators of oppression is silence, and it really hit home to watch this group of girls, many of whom were friends, skirt around issues of virginity and promiscuity, each feeling like she fell too far to one side of “prude” or “slutty,” and therefore, wasn’t the norm. Of course, once the characters finally opened up about their feelings, it became more and more apparent that the labels of “prude” and “slut” were entirely subjective, almost to the point of being meaningless, and that every single one of them was different, proving that there is no “norm.” In a society that values female coyness and secrecy on issues regarding sex, these revelations were a wonder to behold and a pleasure to read, both as a lover of YA and as a woman who’s shared many of the characters’ feelings.

My favorite character in the novel was Chloemaybe because she was so open and unapologetic about her feelings, or maybe because I’m more like Lissa, so Chloe’s level of confidence appealed to me. Chloe is the kind of friend every girl should have: honest, sweet, extroverted and fiercely loyal. In fact, this kind of loyalty is one of my favorite things about Keplinger’s novels—the main characters in both “Shut Out” and “The DUFF” have loyal friends they can confide in, celebrate with, and count on in times of duress. Each time I read one of Keplinger’s books I come away with a sense of admiration and respect for these characters’ loyalty, and find myself reflecting on old friendships from my past—how they relate, and how they differ from those in the story.

All in all, this novel does everything you’d want a novel to do: it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it makes you think; it might even make you blush, as Cash brushes against Lissa’s hand, moving closer, then pulling away, in that ever-appealing dance of seduction. The romance is intoxicating, the friendships enticing, and the war between the sexes is electric. In short, the book is definitely deserving of the phrase: Must Read.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of "THE FUTURE OF US" by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Jacket Description:

It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM. Josh is her best friend. 

They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future. 

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

My Review:

I could not put this book down.

I couldn’t. I had to know what was going to happen next. This level of tension-building is a rarity and a delight, and Asher and Mackler have perfected it in “The Future of Us”.

The story starts with a basic premise—two high school students growing up in the nineties put an AOL start-up disk into their computer, only to find themselves face to face with their futures via a website that won’t be invented for another fifteen years—Facebook. From there, the book gets much more complicated as Emma and Josh, once-upon-a-time best friends, turned chilly neighbors, are forced examine how their actions, both large and minute, affect their lives. And what begins as a series of experiments on the part of one of them turns into a lesson in causality for them both as their lives begin to change. They are forced to question everything: their desires, their fears, their actions and, perhaps most interestingly, their inactions.

This aspect of the story was especially fascinating to mehow, by choosing inaction, we are affecting the future in a very real way. A great example of this is the scene in Josh’s Peer Issues class. Josh's teacher asks the class what they think the appropriate behavior is when a boy and a girl are moving forward sexually and the boy notices that the girl is obviously upset. Many of the students agree that the boy should stop, at least to ask if everything is okay, but one of the boys takes the stance that he shouldn’t have to stop if a problem hasn’t been articulated. Now, what’s wonderful about this scene—besides the fact that these students are having a conversation that most people have thought about but rarely feel comfortable discussing—is the fact that Josh wants to speak up, but second guesses himself. Josh wants to argue with the boy, to tell him why he disagrees, but, as is common with Josh's character, he hesitates to speak his mind. And while watching this scene unfold, in a book that is all about how our present actions affect the future, it was hard not to think about causality: if Josh speaks up, how will that affect the future? How will it affect the future if he remains silent? Not only does Josh’s potential action or inaction affect his own life (if he doesn’t speak up, he’ll be disappointed with himself for not being brave enough/if he does speak up, he might get into a fight), it also has a potential effect on the boy arguing that it’s okay to move forward sexually if his partner is visibly upset. If Josh speaks up, the boy might change his mind; he might view past sexual situations with a new perspective; he might avoid situations in the future where he could hurt someone by misinterpreting (or choosing not to pay attention to) her feelings. Lastly, if Josh speaks up, it might affect the lives of the girls in the class who’ve been in the situation the teacher described, and who feared there wasn’t a boy out there who would support or understand their perspective.

So many things hinge on Josh’s decision. So many possibilities hang in the balance as he struggles to find his voice. This is the beauty, and the subtlety of “The Future of Us”—the illustration of how each time we make a choice, either to speak or not to speak, to act or not to act, that choice causes ripples of change in our lives, the lives of others, and in ourselves. It was impossible to come away from this book without thinking about my own choices, my actions, inactions, and how they've affected my life. It was impossible to come away without a conviction to be more aware of how each of my choices affected others and myself. And all the while, Asher and Mackler have evoked this conscientiousness while giving me a story that is both sweet and heartbreaking, hilarious and profound, and, as previously mentioned, effectively impossible to put down.