More exciting news on the new book front! Random House’s Listening Library will publish the audio version of Charmed Deception.
I’m super, ultra excited about this, because Listening Library and reader Mandy Williams did such a great job with the audio version of The False Princess. I still remember the thrill of getting the demos from their proposed readers—as soon as I heard Mandy read I was like, “OMG–this is it!” I don’t know yet who will read for Charmed Deception, but I know whoever does will be likewise awesome.
In other news, the mascot dogs have adjusted to their recent doggy world upheaval with flying colors. For 10 years, they had their own futon in the sunroom; it was the one piece of furniture that they were allowed on. Unfortunately, it took up a lot of space and basically made that room useless for anything else. I finally decided that having an entire room of the house devoted to the mascots was problematic. (Ok, yes, this did have a little something to do with the fact that I bought two new bookcases at a garage sale and had nowhere to put them. Priorities must be set.) So the futon was removed and two plush doggy beds were purchased.
I was really nervous about this, mainly for Zuul’s sake. He is a dog of Nervous Tempermant, and the futon had been His Spot, so I thought he might come unglued at losing it. But from all appearances, he’s decided that his new bed is the best thing ever. Probably because, unlike the futon, it can move. He’s learned to ask for it, so it moves from the sunroom to the living room to the bedroom on command. It’s the Amazing Migratory Bed.
Nemo does not like the Amazing Migratory Bed, which is too plushy for him, and refuses to sleep on his own slightly less plushy bed unless it is in its spot at the foot of my bed. So Nemo’s bed does not migrate. Zuul, however, has also decided he likes Nemo’s bed in addition to the Amazing Migratory Bed, and he has to be shooed off his take-over attempts on a regular basis. I leave you with pictorial evidence of one of his incursions.
So I’ve been sitting on some exciting news for a while, and today’s the day I finally get to share it. I’m super excited and kind of nervous and so I’m just going spill it quickly.
I have a new book coming out!
*flops over in excitement*
Charmed Deception will be published by Egmont USA on October 27th, 2015. Here’s the cover copy:
Sable Wildcross, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a powerful wizard, chafes against the restrictions that keep a highborn lady in her place, limiting her life to one of tea parties and balls. She wants more, but she hardly even knows what more means in her country, where women are not allowed to use magic on pain of imprisonment or death. The only real problem Sable has ever faced is her health: to protect her weak heart she must never remove a necklace her father has charmed to protect her.
Late one night, Sable sees a ghostly figure—a beautiful, transparent girl her own age. Who is this girl—what is this girl? And how can she know something about Sable that Sable herself does not even know—news that will change everything Sable has been raised to believe about herself and her world?
Charmed Deception is a new YA fantasy novel in a new world, and contains scenes of
- Masked figures
- Near kissing
- Clandestine nighttime meetings
- Supercilious barons
- More secrets
- Ballroom flirtations
- The flaunting of social conventions
- Hidden identities
- Did I mention magic and kissing and more danger?
I’m really, really excited about this new book and these new characters. I’ll be posting more information about Charmed Deception, teasers from the book, and info about ARC giveaways in the months until publication, both here and on my Tumblr and Twitter, so keep checking back!
a little more than a week a few weeks after Nimrod Journal’s Conference for Readers and Writers, and I’m happy to report that it was a big success! (It was a week when I originally wrote this. But then I got sick, so you’re getting this now.) All our writer guests were amazing to talk to and learn from, and I was especially thrilled to get to meet Malinda Lo. Her class on the 5 Foundations of Fantasy Worldbuilding was awesome, and she is as giving and interesting in person as she is online. I’m really glad to have had the chance to spend some time with her.
I’m also happy to report that last weekend marked the first two consecutive days in a row since then that I didn’t require a nap to maintain normal human function. Running a conference is hard work, folks. Next time you’re at one, make sure to thank the con chair if you happen to see them. They might only have a second to talk to you (seriously, I always feel like I’m inside a tiny personal hurricane when I’m running the workshop), but they’ll really appreciate it. I’m very grateful that all of the participants at Nimrod’s conference seemed happy to be there and were understanding of the small hiccups that happen at any event.
Now that the conference is finished, I’m looking forward to getting back to my own work. And I’ve got exciting news to announce soon, so stay tuned!
Like many writers, I have a day job in addition to writing books. Happily, mine happens to have a lot of writing synergy: I’m the editor of Nimrod International Journal at The University of Tulsa. Nimrod publishes two issues of short fiction and poetry a year and has been around since 1956. (The journal, not me. I’ve only been with it since 1999. Which is still nearly a third of my life. Which is a little scary.) Aside from publishing the journal, we do several writing/reading related programs throughout the year. The biggest one is our Conference for Readers and Writers, and it’s coming up on October 25th.
The Conference is a day-long writing workshop, and it’s really fun. Especially since we now bring in fantasy and science fiction authors in addition to our poets and literary fiction authors. (Basically, I go through my shelves each year and decide which author I love that I would like to meet. Being the boss has some perks.) I’ve had a fantastic time getting to meet and learn from authors such as Peter S. Beagle, Kelly Link, Patricia C. Wrede, Sharon Shinn, Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Gail Carriger. Seriously, getting to hang out with Peter Beagle was amazing. And I only teared up a little when he signed my copy of The Last Unicorn.
This year, I’m really excited because Malinda Lo will be joining us. I discovered Malinda through her first book, Ash, which is a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian romance. It reminded me of Robin McKinley—a high bit of praise from me—and yet was also all its own. Her three books since (Huntress, Adaptation, and Inheritance) have also been awesome, and she writes some of the most interesting and thought-provoking blog posts in YA lit. She’s also the co-founder of Diversity in YA with author Cindy Pon, and if you don’t follow them on Tumblr and elsewhere, go do it now. I’m stoked to meet her, and I’m totally planning on sneaking into her class, which is going to be on the Five Foundations of Fantasy Worldbuilding, for as long as I can. (Which is sometimes not that long, because I’m the one who deals with All The Things at the conference. But still: EXCITED!!!!)
The conference is open to the public, so if you’re in the area of Tulsa, OK, you should attend. (And by “the area,” I mean any drivable distance. We have folks come in from several states, and they assure me the drive is worth it.) It’s a busy day, but a relaxed one, and a warm and welcoming environment. We have writers of all age levels and experience levels. I’m especially proud of this, because it makes it a good place for young writers who haven’t ventured out to conferences or conventions before to get their publishing world feet wet.
We start out the day with two panel discussions. I moderate one—a Q&A session where the audience gets to ask our panelists any questions they have about publishing or editing. This will be the third or fourth year I’ve moderated it (I was super nervous the first year, but I think I’ve hit my stride by now). Then we’ll have group classes about writing fiction, poetry, memoir, and performance of literature, in addition to YA fantasy. We’ll also have a class on paths to publication, including agents, small presses, and self-publishing. And you can submit your work and sign up to have a critique session with one of the editors of the journal. Plus readings and book signings and lunch and snacks and getting to hang out with awesome authors. I ask you: How can you go wrong?
The conference price is $50, but we also have scholarships available that lower the cost to $10. Anyone can apply for a scholarship, though we especially recommend them for students and teachers.
So that’s what I’ll be doing on October 25th. (And it’s why I’ve been kind of quiet on my social media the last month or so—organizing a conference like this is tiring!) I hope I’ll see you there!
I’ve been thinking lately about the differences between YA books and adult books. (Or, I should say, some of the differences between some YA books and some adult books, because making blanket statements about all types of books in a particular genre doesn’t lead anywhere good.) In any case, I just finished rereading Robin Hobb’s Royal Assassin, the second book in her Farseer trilogy, which is the first of two finished trilogies and one just-begun trilogy about the same characters. They’re great books, ones I’ve loved for years; I’m rereading them right now because the first book in the new trilogy just came out and I’m one of those people who rereads all the previously books whenever the new book in a series comes out. (Yes, I reread the Harry Potter books seven times. I fear the next Game of Thrones book coming out.)
As I was reading Royal Assassin, thought, I started noticing the vast difference in pacing between it and the book I had read previous to it: Blood of My Blood, Barry Lyga’s just released ending to the I Hunt Killers trilogy (also an awesome set of books, but don’t read them while you’re home alone if you’re twitchy like me, as they are about serial killers). Blood of My Blood is a really fast paced novel; I read the whole thing in less than 48 hours, because it just keeps pulling you along, with the events happening over the course of only a few days. Royal Assassin, on the other hand, is much more leisurely paced; it takes a lot longer for the character and plot threads to unfold, the tension to ratchet up, etc.
Going from Blood of my Blood to Royal Assassin was actually a little jarring as a reader—I had to mentally slow myself down for Royal Assassin. And while Blood of My Blood is on the fast end of YA to begin with, it got me trying to think of YA books that are on the other side of pacing, books with longer fuses, as it were. One of the reasons I’m interested in it is that I think my own writing style tends to be a little slower paced than the average YA novel. I don’t mind that—it’s usually what my particular style of books need. (Though after my first draft I often have to do a rewrite with picking up the pace in mind, because my first drafts tend to come out a bit slower than necessary.)
What’s the advantage of slower pacing? It depends, but I enjoy the sometimes deeper sense of place you often find in more deliberately paced books, the ability to really sink into a fantasy world and its culture and myths. Often a deliberate pace means the book is going to take place over a longer internal time span—months or years rather than days or weeks—again, something that I enjoy and that I tend to gravitate toward in my own writing (though I would love to write a book that takes place over 24 or 48 hours just to see if I could do it well.) I also like books that, as my husband says, are Animal Crossing books (in reference to the Nintendo game). Books where it’s not life or death every moment, but that take time to show the characters just living life—going to the post office, having tea, picking out Christmas presents.
Am I saying that one type of book is better than the other? Not at all. Just like sometimes you want soda and sometimes you want tea, we need different book fixes for different moods. But because so many YA books are very quickly paced, I think it’s nice to also highlight the other side of YA.
So here are a few YA books for when you feel like something that takes its time a little more than most:
Chalice, The Hero and the Crown, and Shadows by Robin McKinley (actually, pretty much any book by Robin McKinley)
Ash by Malinda Lo
Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary by Pamela Dean (on the border of YA and not—I’ve seen them shelved both ways, as I have with several McKinley books)
The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper
Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
Thirteen Child and subsequent books by Patricia C. Wrede
Chime by Franny Billingsley
The Safe-Keeper’s Secret and subsequent books by Sharon Shinn
Wise Child and Juniper by Monica Furlong