The end of October?? I’m not ready yet! I still have so many things to do this year!
Actually, today (October 31) is kind of a special day for me, because it’s the day I decided that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d better darn well write. It’s the day I made the decision to write full time and not let anything stand in my way of getting published. Today, in 2003, I started writing my first full-length finished manuscript.
And furthermore, today, back in 2009, I started writing INCARNATE (my first published novel). It was the day I thought that no matter how much trying to get published hurt, I would keep writing. So I finished working on the notes and synopses and worldbuilding for a book I’d been too afraid to write years before — and I started writing INCARNATE. I thought that no one would ever read it! I just knew I loved writing, so I kept doing it no matter what.
So obviously, as I do every year when I’m home, tonight I’m going to curl up in a giant blanket (because it’s freezing out there) and write my heart out. Sorry, trick-or-treaters. I ate all the candy.
What I’ve been working on: This month has been busy! It seems like I’ve been gone most every weekend for some kind of event. It’s a ton of fun! But it’s also a lot of work and I haven’t had much time to write. Part of that is because I spent a while putting off First Pass Pages for MY LADY JANE, and had to crash through them right before they were due. (Oops.) Buuuut, that means JANE is one step closer to becoming a finished book!
I’m still working on Cell Story. Between travel and family obligations, I’ve managed to squeak in a bit more progress. I’m about 65,000 words into the story and still feeling great about it. Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft done by the end of the year. (Or sooner would be nice.)
What I’ve been reading: Uhh. Unless you count MY LADY JANE, it seems I’ve read only one book this month — SWORD AND VERSE by Kathy MacMillan, which I thought had really cool worldbuilding and intriguing conflicts. I also read a manuscript for a friend, but that’s not something I can talk about. (Yet.)
What I’ve been watching: Hubs and I finished watching ARROW and FLASH, both which I love. (Since we don’t watch shows as they air, we watch DVDs a year later, so we’ve just finished season 3 of ARROW and season 1 of FLASH. No spoilers!) I could have happily put the discs in again and started over, but he thought we needed to move on to another show sitting on our shelves, so we watched season 5 of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES so we can get ready to watch season 6. We’re also working through THE ORIGINALS. I guess October is Shows With Spinoffs Month for us.
What I’ve been yarning: I did some spinning on the super fine white wool earlier this month, and I was going to keep doing that until my sister reminded me that her child in progress is due in February, so I got started on a baby blanket for her.
What the ferrets have been up to: The ferrets love boxes, and at some point Todd dragged a blanket into a cardboard box and snuggled inside. Since then, I’ve had to move the blanket out to wash it and clean the floor and stuff, but I keep putting it back in, and I keep the whole setup by my desk — because both ferrets will come over and sleep in their blanket box right next to me while I work.
What the Kippy has been up to:
Other things you might be interested in: You might have heard that the cover for MY LADY JANE has been released! And not only can you gaze upon the beauty and sass, but you can read the prologue already!
And you can make some preorders:
What I’ve been working on: I’ve been hard at work (sort of) on Cell Story! It’s up to 53,000 words right now, with another 40,000 to go, I think. I’m really enjoying writing this one, even though it wants to be written at the pace of glaciers.
Also, pass pages for MY LADY JANE have arrived! I wish I could show you the beautiful insides of this book, but you’ll just have to wait. Trust me, though, it looks amazing. And we should be able to share a cover soon, I think!
What I’ve been reading:
- SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater – I think this is my favorite of the Wolves of Mercy Falls books, even though it doesn’t take place in Mercy Falls. I loved wolf-as-addiction and the struggle against mental illness, and of course the prose.
- DEEP AND DARK AND DANGEROUS by Mary Downing Hahn — A bag of books landed at my house for a little while, with a few MDH books I hadn’t yet read. So I went for it. I read all three in one day. Twelve-year-old Jodi would have been so thrilled with these.
- ALL THE LOVELY BAD ONES by Mary Downing Hahn
- THE GHOST OF CRUTCHFIELD HALL by Mary Downing Hahn
- THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak — I kept hearing about this one, like it was some kind of miracle book. But books with that much hype don’t usually live up to my expectations at that point, so I avoided it, until the aforementioned bag of books came to my house. I figured I should probably give this one a shot . . . and I’m so glad I did. It really was all that. I adored it. The writing, the characters, the beautiful plot. Toward the end, when everything gets really bad, I had to put the book down so I could go cry in peace.
What I’ve been watching: Hubs and I have been moving through our TV shows again, now that the previous seasons are showing up on Netflix and DVDs. We rewatched the first two seasons of ARROW, which was super fun, of course, and while we waited for the discs for season three to arrive, we took a break with GOTHAM, which I wasn’t sure I’d like, but I ended up loving.
What I’ve been yarning: I’ve been a mitt-knitting machine!
What the ferrets have been up toThe usual. (The only time I can get a focused photo of them is when they’re snoozing.)
What the Kippy has been up to: Kippy is a bit better about posing for photos.
Okay, it’s the end of the month again. I can’t deal with how fast this year has already gone by. Does it seem ridiculously fast to anyone else?
What I’ve been working on: Cell Story! After a long chat with a couple writer friends, I figured out The Thing That Was Missing and I was able to finish my synopses for the series (yep, I like to have things planned out that far in advance) and get back to writing. I’m not quite 40k into the book — but almost! There’s a lot to go still and a lot I’ll need to revise to get the book to where I want it to be, but I’m back to enjoying the commas off this story.
I also got my pass pages for the final OQ novella — THE BLACK KNIFE — and finished those, so unless my editor has any last-minute questions about my changes . . . I’m finished. The OQ novellas are officially off my desk and ready to appear on your ereaders at the appointed times.
What I’ve been reading: Lots of good stuff! While I was moping about not knowing how to finish my book, I went ahead and read other people’s books.
- THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzi Lee (ARC) – This is one of my editor’s books, so I was predisposed to like it. And I did! I loved the historical elements, the general vibe of creepiness, and the relationship between the brothers.
- COURT OF FIVES by Kate Elliot (ARC) – I haven’t yet read Kate’s adult books, but I was really curious about her first YA. I was really pleased to find a book with thoughtfulness, depth, culture clashes, and layers — things I feel are a much-needed addition to YA fantasy.
- THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir – This. Book. Several people told me to read this one (notably Cynthia Hand) and I’m so glad I did. I can’t believe how much I loved it. I’ve been shoving it at people ever since.
- ICEFALL by Matthew J. Kirby – Norse mythology! I felt the writing was really strong in this, particularly some of the observations by the main character. While the book was not as action-packed as I’d anticipated (the cover made me think all action all the time), I quite enjoyed this story.
- THE MURK by Robert Lettrick – A Middle Grade horror, one of my agent’s books (so again, I’m predisposed to like it). I really liked Robert’s first book FRENZY and was definitely scarred for life. This one is more scary goodness. I’ll never look at Percival the Houseplant the same way again.
What I’ve been watching: Hubs and I are both excited for the shows we watch to start coming out on DVD soon, so we’re getting ready by watching previous seasons of them again. We’re starting with AAROW. I’m so excited for season three!
What I’ve been yarning: I didn’t do a whole lot of yarning this month, if you can believe, but I did spin some of the wool I’ve been working on with my tiny spindle. It’s a little frustrating, because whoever carded it used a carder for a heavier wool, so there are neps in this — little breaks in the fibers that look like knots. It’s ridiculously fine wool and it needed to be treated delicately.
I also started knitting a pair of Incarnate mitts for a friend.
What the ferrets have been up to: Oh. More of the same. The ferrets are always up to trouble. Actually, I’ll go ahead and mention . . . Todd is showing signs of his age. He’s getting up there, as far as ferrets go, and though he’s still active and eats plenty, I’ve notice him slowing down, taking easier ways out of the cage, being unwilling to work too hard even to get his favorite treats. I’m not worried that he’s going to die tomorrow, but I do have my eye on him a little extra.
What the Kippy has been up to: This morning I stepped in a hairball.
Other things you might be interested in:
And THE GLOWING KNIGHT comes out this week! That gives you the first half of Tobiah’s story. Plus, since there are two chapters of MK at the end of every novella, you’ll have the first four chapters. Yay!
Recently, I got a nice little stack of ARCs of THE MIRROR KING. Yay! But what to do with them? I could . . . cuddle with them? Chew on the corners? Build a book fort? Or maybe I could do a giveaway.
I chose giveaway. (Books like to cuddle but their sharp corners make that dangerous. And I could chew on the corners, but . . . they don’t as good as you’d think.)
Here’s the rules:
1. Reviews must be “substantial.”
That is, more than a couple of sentences. “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it” are valid opinions, but we are aiming for something that will help potential new readers decide whether they’d like to buy the book. If you’re not sure what else to put, start with “I liked it/didn’t like it because . . . ”
2. Reviews must be posted on a retail site.
I love reviews on blogs and other review sites, but I’d appreciate if you take a few moments to copy and paste those onto a retail site. You can paste the same review over and over. Spread it wide.
3. Reviews can be for any book in The Orphan Queen series.
So that means THE ORPHAN QUEEN, of course, but also any of the novellas. (At the time I’m posting this, only THE HIDDEN PRINCE is available, but by the time this ends, there will be two you could review.)
4. Post the link for your review into the comments here.
On my website, that is. Not any of the places it feeds to. I won’t be able to keep track of everywhere. Every link counts as one entry. At the end of the giveaway, I’ll count up all the links and do a random draw.
5. Giveaway ends September 30, 2015.
That’s almost two months from when I post this giveaway. That should give plenty of time to write reviews or read the book/novellas — whatever you need to do. It’ll also give you a few weeks to read and review THE GLOWING KNIGHT when that comes out.
6. Yes, it’s international.
My books like to travel.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
How is it August tomorrow?? I’m not ready!
What I’ve been working on: I’ve been writing my first draft of Cell Story (a code name), as well as writing synopses for the entire series. I like to know exactly where I’m going with a story before I get too far in.
But I also just got copyedits for MY LADY JANE (we’ll all three take a turn), and first pass pages for OQ novella #3, THE BURNING HAND. So I have those to do very soon, too.
What I’ve been reading:
WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson (ARC) – This is a gold-rush era historical coming out soon. Beautiful writing, wonderful characters.
SPLIT SECOND by Kasie West – The sequel to PIVOT POINT, which I really enjoyed when it came out.
NIL by Lynne Matson – I particularly enjoyed the worldbuilding in this one. I loved the whole idea of the island, the City, and the mythology behind it.
What I’ve been watching: A lot of stuff. Hubs and I watched the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and started Hercules: the Legendary Journeys (which we’ve both seen parts of before but haven’t seen since it aired) on Netflix. We also saw Ant Man in the theater, which we both enjoyed.
What I’ve been yarning: I finished crocheting the baby blanket I was working on. Kippy tried to claim it, but I took it away, washed it, and gave it to an unborn child.
What the ferrets have been up to: I gave the ferrets an old memory-foam pillow. Todd claimed it.
Todd has been reading The Mirror King.
And Katniss just started The Orphan Queen.
What the Kippy has been up to: Kippy tried to assassinate Percival the Plant. I caught her red-pawed, not that she will admit to it.
But how can I stay mad at this face?
Other things you might be interested in:
My Brazilian publisher asked me to write some Incarnate quotes in Portuguese for them, so I did!
Gorgeous copies of Brazilian Asunder came in! Look at that sparkle!
What I’ve been working on: I’ve been super busy this month, going to RT Conference in Dallas, working on MY LADY JANE with Brodi and Cynthia, tinkering with Cell Story, and generally trying to keep from getting too far behind.
And, I just got pass pages for both THE GLOWING KNIGHT (OQ novella 2) and THE MIRROR KING, both due soon! So that’s what I’ll be doing in the next couple of weeks.
What I’ve been reading:
- SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller – I spent a long time trying to figure out what to say about this one, but let’s just go with: I loved it. This was a really powerful story about post-traumatic stress and the long road to recovery.
- A LONG, LONG SLEEP by Anna Sheehan – I knew I wanted to read this one as soon as I read the synopsis. Futuristic sleeping beauty, with a look at darker issues of abuse and neglect.
- FROZEN by Erin Bowman – I loved TAKEN and I was really excited to finally read FROZEN. I wasn’t disappointed. This is such a fantastic futuristic series.
What I’ve been watching: Hubs and I caught up on GAME OF THRONES (what’s on DVD, not what’s on TV) and now we’re in the middle of DEXTER, which I’m enjoying a lot more than I anticipated! (I’m really amazed by how the writers are getting me to cheer for a serial killer. And a little disturbed.)
We also watched PITCH PERFECT 2, and MAD MAX. (Plus, rewatched a couple of things – PITCH PERFECT, MEAN GIRLS, and I made my mom watch INTERSTELLAR with me.)
What I’ve been yarning:
I finished spinning some yarns. First, the yarn I was spinning on the wheel, which is becoming a hat now.
And also, the rainbow yarn I’ve been spinning on spindles. It actually took three different spindles to hold all of it (it gets heavy and hard to spin if you try to pack too much yarn onto one), but I put it all one one spindle because I needed to ply it as one strand. And because I thought it looked cool.
What the ferrets have been up to: The ferrets have been snuggling.
And helping me clean their room.
And generally being goofy.
Other things you might be interested in:
THE MIRROR KING cover is revealed!! And there’s a giveaway! (US only.)
And you can add the book to your Goodreads page! Semi-related:
Good morning, YA book fans!! Holly Bodger’s 5 TO 1 releases today! Clan MacLeod (authors represented by Lauren MacLeod) decided to celebrate gameshow style, in honor of the tests boys must go through in order to win a wife in 5 TO 1.
Here are your contestants!
Part Homeless Bird and part Matched, this is a dark look at the near future told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system.
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.
I know that March must have happened, but I’ve been so busy I barely saw it go by!
What I’ve been working on: I have been working on everything, it seems like. This month was a whirlwind. THE ORPHAN QUEEN came out on the 10th (hurrah!!!), so I had a lot to do to prepare for that, plus edits on the four OQ novellas. And shortly before OQ came out, I got copyedits for THE MIRROR KING. And then the Lady Janies (Brodi, Cynthia, and me) got edits for MY LADY JANE.
So, to sum up what I’ve been working on:
- OQ novella edits
- MK copyedits
- Novella 1 copyedits
- Novella 1 first pass pages
- MLJ edits
Not counting the emails, interviews, guest blogs, and other stuff that gets heavier around the time of a new release. And travel. I’m still working on MLJ edits, but the rest of that is done now, so yay!
What I’ve been reading: I’m not sure how I managed to fit any reading in this month, but I did read a few books!
- OMEGA CITY by Diana Peterfreund (ARC) – A Middle Grade story that really reminded me of a modern-day Goonies. I read this on the plane to Texas and left it with my eight-year-old nephew. I think he’s going to love it. This releases WHEN.
- VALIANT by Sarah McGuire (ARC) – A retelling of The Valiant Little Tailor fairytale, complete with giants, high stakes, and a slow-burn romance. This one comes out on April 28.
- ALL FALL DOWN by Allie Carter – I wouldn’t usually have aimed for this one, but a friend gave it to me and I’m glad she did. Foreign affairs. High stakes. Fast plot.
What I’ve been watching: Hubs and I just finished LOST. There were several days where we didn’t watch anything, some because I was traveling (he watched something scary-looking called Penny Dreadful while I was gone), and some because I didn’t even have time to eat a meal with him because I had so many deadlines. But now we’re finished! And I liked it! J.J. Abrams seems to have a real thing for doubled people, doesn’t he?
What I’ve been yarning: Because I haven’t been watching much TV, I haven’t been yarning that much! I did start a hat out of some handspun yarn, but . . . I used the wrong sized needles and the hat was too small. So I ripped it out to try again. I’ve also been working on my rainbow yarn some, and the wool that’s been sitting on my wheel.
What the ferrets have been up to: The ferrets are pretty happy since I moved my computer back into their room. They love “assisting.” And by assisting of course I mean sleeping.
What the Kippy has been up to: Two words: Spring shedding. Send help. Actually, I brushed her the other day and I think everything’s going to be okay now. The floor was covered with fur. So was I. But man, Kippy looks great.
Other things you might be interested in: THE ORPHAN QUEEN CAME OUT! Yes!! In case you didn’t know, you can now buy THE ORPHAN QUEEN in your local bookstores.
I also got a cloak.
And I put the cloak on my books.
Usually I like to make people wait to get the title of the next book in a series until I share the cover, too. But it’s so gross and cold outside that sharing a title early might be a nice way to lift spirits, right?
So. Here’s the title for the second (and final) ORPHAN QUEEN novel.
THE MIRROR KING will be releasing next Winter (probably March).
And because you can’t look at THE ORPHAN QUEEN cover too much, here it is again. And the novella covers.
I’ll just skip the introductory stuff for the moment. Here’s a cover.
And now back to some words.
This is the cover for the second ORPHAN QUEEN/Black Knife novella. (The reveal for the first one is here.)
There’s no descriptive copy yet because . . . I’m going to write it and I haven’t gotten there yet. So for now you get the cover, title, and a menacing smile. (The menacing smile is from me. But you can’t see it because I’m hiding behind that mask.)
Here’s the Goodreads page for THE GLOWING KNIGHT.
What do you guys think? Like it??