One Week!

Here we go, everyone! It’s one week to the release date! By this time next Tuesday, Demon’s Heart will be out in the world!

If you’re in the Seattle area and want to come celebrate the release with me, I’ll be at the Woodinville Barnes and Noble next Friday, December 12, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Besides a stack of super awesome books to sign, I will also have chocolate and bookmarks. You know you can’t resist chocolate and bookmarks.

If you’re not in the Seattle area, don’t forget that you can preorder through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

And remember, the blog tour is starting soon! Keep watching for reviews, interviews, guest posts, and other fun bloggy excitement!

(Also, I apologize for the lack of a writing prompt yesterday. Life happened. I promise I’ll get one up next week.)


Reading Material

I’ve encountered so many fun reads recently that I had to share, in case someone out there is in need of good reading material.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy; The Penderwicks on Gardam Street; and The Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall. If you enjoyed Little Women, go read these books right now. I was severely sleep deprived yesterday because I had to find out who the Bug Man was and how Skye was going to do as the OAP. Super fun books about sisterhood and childhood adventures.

Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clarke. I just started reading this and am only a few chapters in, but I’m hooked. Secrets, hallucinations, codes, awkwardly uncertain relationships–it’s good stuff. I’m kind of thinking I might need my husband to hide the book tonight so I don’t stay up reading all night again.

And finally, not a book but a blog: The Stroppy Editor. This is home to some of my favorite blog posts of all time, not least among which are this one and this one. And his recent post For Writers is a fabulous response to one of those goofballs who insist that editors are useless.

What are some good reads that you’ve come across recently?

A Special Kind of Productivity

Today was a Monday sort of Wednesday. As a result, I spent one of my daughter’s naps finishing Sense and Sensibility, and the other nap making a Demon’s Heart playlist, which turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. As such, I decided it was worth sharing with the world. Enjoy a peek at my eclectic music tastes!

1. I’m Still Here (John Rzeznik, Treasure Planet)
2. Nothing in My Way (Keane, Under the Iron Sea)
3. Ein Elefant für dich (Wir sind Helden, Von Hier An Blind) (*I laughed the first time I saw the title of this song–“An elephant for you.” But it’s sweet and pretty and one of my favorites from Wir sind Helden. Who’da thunk a song about elephants could be sweet and pretty?*)
4. I’m Happy Just to Dance with You (The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night)
5. Tempus Vernum (Enya, A Day Without Rain)
6. We Might as Well Be Strangers (Keane, Hopes and Fears)
7. Home (Michael Buble, It’s Time)
8. The Fields of Pelennor (Howard Shore, Return of the King)
9. A Man I’ll Never Be (Boston, Don’t Look Back)
10. Iris (Goo Goo Dolls, Greatest Hits Volume One) (*Another fun name story: I flatly refused to listen to Goo Goo Dolls for years because I thought their name was so stupid. I still think so.*)
11. Day Will Come (Keane, Strangeland)
12. The Call (Regina Spektor, Prince Caspian) (*Probably the only good thing to come out of that movie.*)
13. Stand (Rascal Flatts, Me and My Gang)

What do you think? Have you ever made a playlist for your book?

To 100 and Beyond!

So many exciting things have been happening, and I haven’t had the time to blog about any of them!

  • I passed 100 followers last week. That was pretty cool.
  • I got a Goodreads update email—and two of my friends had added Demon’s Heart to their to-read list! Nothing like seeing your cover on a Goodreads email to make it real. Check out the Goodreads page for Demon’s Heart.
  • There is now a pre-order button for my book on my website. You can pre-order through either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  • In book-unrelated news, I played tennis for the first time in a couple of years on Saturday. I live in a place where the courts are only dry for three months out of the year, and I missed those three months last year due to traveling and a baby. I love tennis, and it was so good to get out on the court again.
  • And finally, I’m almost done with a crafty sewing project that I started back in November. It’s been sitting on a shelf for months, and I finally pulled out my sewing machine and have been getting the last few pieces sewn on. I feel about sewing machines the way Calvin feels about his bicycle, so this is a big deal.

Happy July, everybody!

Ranger’s Apprentice

Yesterday, I planned a quick run to Target after meeting some friends for lunch. I knew it would be close to baby’s naptime, but it would be a quick in-and-out and then she could fall asleep on the way home.After forgetting my list, scraping through a tired baby breakdown, losing my wallet, finding my wallet back at the restaurant, and finally getting everything in the car and home, I was in serious need of a comfort book. So I picked up The Burning Bridge, book 2 of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and all was right with the world.

I discovered Ranger’s Apprentice last year. I wasn’t so sure about it by the end of the first chapter; but the second chapter had me hooked, and, by the third book, the series had made its way onto my Harry Potter shelf. There are twelve books in the series, and I loved every one of them (with the possible exception of some of the short stories in #11).

As with so many of my favorite books, the characters are what sold it for me. There are so many characters that you get to know throughout the book, and each one has his or her distinct voice and personality. With twelve books, there’s plenty of room for characters to grow stagnant, but Flanagan keeps them growing and changing with each new obstacle. Their relationships morph, both deepening and fading with the passing of time. The dialogue can be a little cheesy at times, but the way it builds up the characters more than makes up for the slight eye-roll it inspires from time to time.

Twelve books may seem like a long series, but the books are a quick and compelling read. I think I checked the last five out from the library at once because I was finishing them in a day or two and couldn’t stand to wait. Add them to your summer reading list!

Oh, the Internets.

My bloggy friend Lynette posted a wonderful response this morning to that ridiculous Slate article about how YA fiction is worthless trash. I had many of the same thoughts in response, and hers are already well articulated, so I’ll skip the specifics of why that article is one of the most absurd articles I’ve ever read, and head straight into a rant about how it’s an embodiment of what’s wrong with the Internet today.

Pretty much anyone with access to a library can publish on the internet today. That means there’s a lot of stuff on the internet to sift through. That means that in order to get attention, so many people write things that are deliberately inflammatory. They may or may not believe what they’re writing, but if it gets their site enough hits, they’ll post it. Logical fallacies? Not a problem! Hitler-like tendencies? No one will care! Half-truths and unsupported statements? No one will even notice! It’s written and published, so everyone has to believe it.

Some people are not deliberately inflammatory, they’re just incredibly close-minded. Their way is the only way to make anything of your life. If you don’t ready stuffy old books all the time, you’re an idiot. If you don’t breastfeed, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t tweet a billion times a day, you’ll fall into oblivion. If you don’t discipline your children using my methods, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t self-publish, you’re a snooty traditionalist pig. If you let your children cry in the store, you’re a terrible mother. If you don’t let your children cry in the store, you’re a terrible mother. (Can you tell I have an issue with mommy blogs?)

In both cases, common courtesy is sadly lacking. Can you imagine how many people Ms. Graham tried to publicly shame? How is that okay?! It doesn’t matter that no one I know who has read the article believes her. What matters is that every bit of that article qualifies as cyberbullying. Why are we surprised that our children are using the internet to tear down and torment their peers when adults do the same thing every day, not just on social media, but on national and worldwide magazine and news sites?

Thankfully, not all people are like that. Some do take the time to back their opinions up with facts. Some don’t condemn the Other for simply being different. I see dozens of blog posts every week that are thoughtful, uplifting, and well crafted. So thank you, my dear WordPress friends, for being a light of sanity in a very hazy internet. You give me hope that not everyone in the world is lost in the isolation of their own need to be right all the time. Stay wonderful.

It’s a book, with a title and everything!

Here’s the scoop on my YA fiction novel, Demon’s Heart:

Young ruffian Rustav is determined to escape his abusive uncle and hated homeland, even if it means braving the demon-infested forest. His escape is halted, however, when a race of legendary beings reveal him to be the country’s fabled heir. As the people rally around him, Rustav teeters precariously between raising his people from the dust—or destroying them from the inside.

Coming to a bookstore near you on December 9, 2014!

You’re not supposed to be self-willed!

Do you ever feel like you just completely lose control of your characters, and they go off and do whatever the heck they want? Sometimes this has turned out to be a good thing for me; one of the main subplots in my book came from a rather lowly character who suddenly decided to develop a personality.

But the last couple of chapters I’ve been writing have been like reining in a team of wild horses. I know exactly where these two characters need to get at the end of the chapter, but they keep getting sidetracked, or other characters jump in with problems to be raised, developed, and solved, and I sit and stare as my flawlessly planned storyline goes floating away down the river. Who knew that completely fictional characters could be so maddeningly self-motivated?

Anyone else have this problem? Or am I just a little crazy?