Hi, friends! It’s Monday. Which, I know, isn’t normally something to celebrate, but after the week/month/year we’ve been having, this Monday is feeling pretty amazing. Probably no secret who I voted for, so it was a really good weekend, and I’m really excited for the work that’s to come now.
So, a lot has happened since I last “spoke to you” in August. A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN, my Black girl magic anthology, got this gorgeous paperback cover, same illustration (thank you, Ashe Samuels!)…new design (Samira Iravani is the best)! And I just love it and it’s available for preorder now (the paperback is out next March!).
And then, my agent sold my vampire novel, WHERE SHADOWS REIGN!!! Actually, she sold the duology. It was truly like a breath released I didn’t know I’d been holding in ;) Here’s the official announcment:
Vicki Lame at Wednesday Books has bought, at auction, Where Shadows Reign, a YA fantasy debut by Patrice Caldwell. Set in the aftermath of a war between vampires, humans, and the gods that created them, the duology opener follows a vampire princess who teams up with a seer, who only has visions of death, to journey to the island of the dead—a mythical place where all souls go at their end—to save her kidnapped best friend. Publication for the first book is slated for fall 2022; Sara Megibow at KT Literary did the two-book deal for North American rights.
It’s out in September 2022. So, a while away. But I’ll be giving updates here and on Instagram as I go through the revision and publication process, so be sure to follow me.
And then, to top it all off I accepted an offer to move agencies to New Leaf Literary & Media. I made the move in September, and I am finally settled in which is really nice. I’ve made some fun deals and signed some new clients since moving over. You can learn more about what I’m looking for here (note: that my client page is not up to date, it’s missing a few lol).
Right now, I’m at the Highlights Foundation. A friend organized a writers retreat there because they have these “unworkshops” where you can rent a cabin or room in their lodge and basically they’ll feed you meals so that you can just focus on writing (and also taking breaks to walk around the gorgeous grounds). A perfect way to social distance with friends, highly recommend it. It was so nice to come here for a few days and take a break from it all. I’ve started revising WHERE SHADOWS REIGN (again…but this time with my editor’s notes) and I originally had three POVs, but two were in 1st person present and one was in first person past. I did that for reasons, but my editor was like what if you tried them all in first person present, and I was like no, thank you…and then of course I couldn’t get that suggestion out of my head and turns out my editor was right (no surprise lol). So, my goal was to figure out the character’s “first person” voice and just rewrite her first chapter, which is the book’s opening chapter. And I did that. I’m so happy and proud of myself.
I also fleshed out the idea I have for my story in ETERNALLY YOURS, which is the next YA anthology I’m putting together. It’s paranormal romance themed (& the contributor list is THE BEST!!!). Contributors are starting to turn in their stories, and I’m so excited to read & edit them! It’s also out in Fall 2022…that’s gonna be my vampire season *heart eyes*. I’m writing a short story that’s featuring the characters from my short story in A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN, as they get trapped in a lodge over the winter holidays. Not available to pre-order yet but you can add it to Goodreads and you’ll get a notification when it’s on sale!
I’ve been thinking a lot about all of these moves and changes. When I told a friend I’d moved agencies, she was like I really admire how you’ve always known when/how to leave situations that aren’t serving you anymore. To be clear, I loved my previous agency, I loved my coworkers, they’re such talented and hardworking agents. I just felt like I needed an agency that was a better fit, with more agents who represent exactly what I do. And, even though, at the time these decisions have been really hard and uncomfortable for me, my friend’s right… one of my strengths is that I don’t stay in situations long that are no longer serving me. I see so often where people are in these situations where it’s give and no take. Where they bring more to the table than they’re receiving. And I often see so much guilt around this when, for instance, that job taught you everything you knew, when that boss gave you the chance no one else would…and so even though people have outgrown that job/position/etc they stay because they feel this loyalty. Because they’re confusing respect with a debt owed.
You owe people who open doors for you, who give you opportunities to succeed respect. But publishing/writing/what have you… it’s a business and, at some point, you have to look at it like that. You don’t owe them forever loyalty…you don’t owe them unpayable debts. In fact, you’re only hurting yourself… you’re only hindering yourself and lowering your value by staying somewhere past your time.
Easier said than done, I know.
I’m not going to say there are benefits to this terrible pandemic, but I’ve found my positives, which for me has been time to get “my house in order” so to say. Having my entire life and plans for this year derailed, taught me what I really need in my life. All these discomforts I’d always felt about certain people/situations, grew stronger and I finally had no excuse, I had to do something about it and so I’ve made a lot of big changes. They’ve been hard but for the best.
Basically, I want you to live your best life and to not hold yourself back (b/c lord knows there’s enough mess to sort through and overcome in this world already).
AS PROMISED, book recs!!
I saw the epic Bridgerton trailer (we’re obvi all watching it the moment it drops, right?) and Twitter fam convinced me to read the books and so now I am. I’m on book 4. They’re so good. I’m alternating between kindle and audiobook…and I’m loving the narrator. Avon has an ebook omnibus of the first three books, highly recommend (if you use Libby app, via your local library, I found many copies there as well)
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart. It’s out next April. It’s amazing. I was sent a copy for a blurb and didn’t get to read until like the week before the blurb deadline and OMG IT’S SO GOOD. #BlackGirlWitches
Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert (author of the Brown sisters romcoms, which I also recommend!!). A paranormal romance novella about a huntress and a werewolf set around Halloween. It’s hilarious and obvi romantic.
Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald. Last book I acquired as an editor. Truly one of the best books I’ve ever read. About a girl in a world where water is created from people’s blood, main girl “accidentally” kills the goddess of this world, the only person who makes water, must find another way or else everyone will die… it’s dark…it’s hilarious (I kid you not) and it’s perfect for fans of The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Very queer.
How it All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi. Gay Iranian Muslim boy runs off to Rome rather than face his family about the fact that he’s gay. So much humor and heart.
Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera. Romance between a boy and a girl in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria… exploration of effects of trauma… also, a (perfect!!) modern-day Orpheus and Eurydice retelling… perfect blending of reality + fantasy.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. I know, I recommend it all the time. And I will continue to do so. Fav book of this year.
Have a wonderful week, y’all! More from me next Monday (gonna test out this weekly thing)! And, if you need something to do next weekend… it’s YallWrite aka YallFest but since it’s virtual they wanted to do something different, so it’s a bunch of amazing craft talk. I’m on a very queer panel with like all my favorite people and we’re talking QUEERING EVERYTHING!