Building a Solid Writing Practice

Veronica Rossi shares her thoughts on setting goals and what it took for her to write her Young Adult series Under the Never Sky and her newest Riders, which releases on February 16th.

Her second YA series begins with Riders. It’s a modern-day fantasy about four teens who unwittingly become incarnations of the four horsemen. These poor guys—War, Death, Famine, and Conquest—do not want to be what they’ve become but the only way to change their situation is to complete a mission. With the help of a visionary girl, they must protect a sacred object from some truly bad baddies.


Vist Tor/Forge to read about her process and leave a comment


Remembering the Northridge Earthquake


Do you remember the Northridge Earthquake?
I do. It was 22 years ago last night. I lost everything. My home came crumbling down around me, the building next to mine ignited into flames, the building on the other side of mine was half gone, rubble piled two stories high.
I remember having to break down the neighbors door because the ceiling collapsed trapping them inside their apartment. I recall with distinct clarity the smell of gas punching my face as I ran down the emergency steps from the third to the second floor and the cold water rising up to greet me in my only escape route. (we had a water main and gas main break)
I know what the grinding inconceivable sound of pissed off earth is like. After being tossed from my bed naked, I clung to a door frame and searched for something to wear before fleeing. I found a striped bathrobe. After escaping the building I was trapped outside. My absolute weakness and mercy to nature ovewhelmend me.
I sat down on the concrete sidewalk and saw the complete devastation of the world around me. This was a time before cell phones. I watched as a woman ran out of her apartment holding a small infant, searching for her car so she could keep the baby safe there, but her car was stolen. Someone tried to warm me by rubbing my legs and said, “You really need to shave.”
It was 4:31 AM and by the time dawn broke everyone around me had nothing. If it wasn’t for the kindness of a friend of a friend I would have spent the day on the street in my bathrobe. But they came looking for me. They brought me to their grandma’s house and gave me food and clothes and shelter for days.
I don’t know what happened to those angels, I don’t know where they are any more. But I do know this. Several of my friends are dealing with great big heaps of life. The kind of shit that isn’t my story to tell and I want to let them know I hope to be that quiet angel that lifts their spirits. I want them to know no matter how terrible and painful it is, it’ll be less painful soon. And it’s gonna be hard, and crap and you’re gonna get mad and sad and hate things for a while but you are strong and you will survive.

Elevator Pitch.

I finally have it. My two elevator pitches for Dear Dead Drunk Girl.

1: Dear Dead Drunk Girl is Recovery Road meets If I Stay.


2. Heaven is a dive bar.

One of the greatest challenges I had writing this #YA manuscript was knowing in my heart and soul I wanted to open the book with Mary (my MC) in heaven and very drunk. I want the reader to dive into her regret and unreliable perceptions. To experience Mary’s self-created heaven deteriorating around her and feel the heaviness of her intoxication.

It took me years to get the opening pages to a place I love. And yet, I understand it’s a challenging place to begin.

I hope my agent, publisher and audience will be excited to join Mary as she confronts the havoc her death left behind. Then cheer for her as she struggles to regain her sobriety, humanity and ultimately earns forgiveness.

Dear Dead Drunk Girl is a story about people loving each other in a flawed but honest way. It highlights how difficult it is to ask for help and the immense challenge of forgiveness.


Surviving Nearly There

I know I’ve been silent.

It’s not because nothing’s going on. It’s because I’m querying and the best way to get through this unsettling time of no control is for me to be quiet and rain my neurosis down on my writing partners.

In case you’re suffering through a time where you have no control, or life is piling on your plate, or  you’re working on the next first draft like I am, or are ruthlessly editing before you, too query here’s a favorite Writer Unboxed post to help you through your day.

Surviving Nearly There by Robin LaFevers

#wegotthis #soclosetoayes


A Love Letter to Pitch Wars

First off I must thank the generous Brenda Drake for creating this event. Contests make my palms and pits sweaty but this one…this one made my heart bigger.

From the get go the community of writers were supportive, creative and funny. I made new friends and even experienced my first troll (boo troll).

I spent a few days combing the mentor list trying to find who may be right for my MS DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL. It’s tricky, because mentors have distinct likes and dislikes and although some say they like a certain theme they may not like some of the darker elements of my story. So I did my due diligence and found people I really liked.

I hit submit. And then the waiting began. I bought books. PW turned me on to new YA writers and I am gobbling up their work now.


Instead of completely freaking out about letting my baby into the world, I made friends. Lots of Twitter friends who are GIF-tastic, fun and helped make the time and days go faster. A few even live nearby and we hope to meet up soon.

I was psyched to receive an email from a mentor until I read it and she informed my chapter did not attach. YIKES! Thankfully she asked that I send it and told me she’d pass it along to the others I submitted to.

Even better, a few days later she asked that I send my full MS to her. ***happy dance, happy dance oh, the happy dance.


This is really when I started losing my mind. I couldn’t tell anyone what was going on. So again, I chatted with my new friends. I chatted with my CP. I started building my query letter spreadsheet and plotting which agents I’ll submit to.

Last night rolled slowly into town and Brenda Drake once again helped us all breathe a sigh of relief, as well as crash her website, when she released the names of the 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees. My new friend Monica was there as well as Tracey and a few other people I trade tweets with.


I am over the moon happy for them. No joke, not making this up- I’m thrilled they got picked.


And I’m not crushed. I’m not crying in my early morning coffee. I’m the opposite. I’m invigorated about my book. I feel good about the journey and hope one day to participate as a mentor. I’ll be added to the list of mentors who didn’t get into Pitch Wars themselves but went on to be successful.

Writing is a long journey. I’ve got stamina. See you in the bookstore!


daughter of addiction

Addiction is a dirty secret.

The addiction itself is a dark presence in the lives of all those affected. The addict and the people who love the addict see shadows and endure the oppression created by it.

Mia Michaels choreographed this beautiful piece of art on So You Think You Can Dance and I can’t watch it without getting goosebumps and tears.

I don’t want to share the pain of addiction but I want you to see it, recognize the darkness and run from its temptaions.

Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau dance Contemporary to “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles.

Click here to watch, please.

What my characters look like

When I first started working on my YA Manuscript I knew what everyone looked like. This is the best representation I can find to share with you.

Mary: Blake Lively from The Town

dive bar happy maryBlake-Lively1_Header
asking for help mary blake-lively-town-420x0distraut mary

Blake+Lively+Leighton+Meester+Ed+Westwick+NK77URG5ix1lsad Mary Blake-Lively-in-The-Town-blake-lively-18612575-1050-592
regret maryBlake-Lively-in-The-Town-blake-lively-18612587-1050-592



















Young Anjuli:young anjuli images


Anjuli @ 16:

Anjuli 600full-sonalee-kulkarni sonalee-kulkarni-wallpaper-01-715612


Robert: Josh Halloway





















Hannah: Mia Wasikowska

Hannah MV5BMTM1NjcxNDg4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc4MTMwMg@@._V1_SX640_SY720_






Jennifer: Jena Malone

Jennifer MV5BMTU0NDM5OTE0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzMzNjM0Nw@@._V1_SY317_CR21,0,214,317_


or alternative Jennifer is Zoe Kravitz:











Cody: Xavier Samuel

Xavier+Samuel+Cody Cody

A Dear Dead Drunk Girl Playlist

This is the music Mary and I want to share with you to get you in the mood to read her story. It’s a little bit of this and that. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to add.

I don’t own any rights to these songs so I’ll link to clips and videos.

God of Wine by Third Eye Blind

Zombie by the Cranberries

Haunted by Poe

Chandelier by Sia

Beautiul by Joydrop

Wish You Were Here by Incubus

Nice to Know You by Incubus

Hate Me by Blue October

Not Ready to Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks

Stay by Sugarland

Semi-Charmed by Thrid Eye Blind

Elastic Heart feat. Shia LaBeouf & Maddie Ziegler by Sia

Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) by Goyte 

Stay by Rihanna -ft. Mikky Ekko

Trouble by Iggy Azalea – Trouble ft. Jennifer Hudson

Problem by Ariana Grande – Problem ft. Iggy Azalea

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift 

I Love It by Icona Pop

Fireball  by Willow Smith – Fireball ft. Nicki Minaj

Fireall by Pitbull ft. John Ryan

Times of Our Lives  by Pitbull, Ne-Yo

Feel this Moment by Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera

Locked Out Of Heaven  by Bruno Mars

Love The Way You Lie by Eminem  ft. Rihanna

The Monster by Eminem – Explicit) ft. Rihanna

Just Give Me A Reason by P!nk -ft. Nate Ruess

Hurricane by Halsey

I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons

Demons by Imagine Dragons

We Are Young by Fun ft. Janelle Monáe

Forever Young by Alphaville

With or Without You by U2

Cryin‘ by Aerosmith

Behind the Wheel by Depeche Mode remastered

Immortals (From “Big Hero 6”) by Fall Out Boy

Promises, Promises by Incubus

Love Hurts by Incubus

Stronger by Kanye West

Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When You Were Young by The Killers

Mercy by Duffy

Gravity by Sarah Bareilles

Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd

Scream by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

Dear Sobriety by The Pistol Annies

Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz