Shadow Scale cover!

It’s on Amazon already, so I’m overdue posting it here:

Oooh! Pretty! And I'm told it will have a sheen to it, like the purple Seraphina cover.

Oooh! Pretty! And I’m told it will have a sheen to it, like the purple Seraphina cover.

Yes, the wood-block print is by the same artist who did Seraphina‘s cover, Andrew Davidson.

The Amazon listing describes it as “a companion to Seraphina,” which is already causing a little confusion over on Twitter. Let there be no doubt: Shadow Scale is a sequel, plan and simple, told from Seraphina’s point of view. It begins about three months after the events of the first book. It is also the conclusion of Seraphina’s narrative, so it’s not the middle volume of a trilogy. I refuse to call it a “duology,” however, because I strongly dislike “duology” as a word. I have strong opinions about words, it seems. This should surprise no one.

The date is listed as March 10th, 2015. As with all things publishing, there is a non-zero chance that this might change.

This is so wonderful to me. This book and I have been through so much together, and I can’t even tell you how it feels to know it’s really done, it’s really happening, it’s nearly here. I know March seems far away, but it’s eight months. Babies gestate longer than that. You’ll blink, and it will be here. I’m sure of it.

Rested and ready for trouble

After three weeks of aggressive laziness, I find myself feeling all squirrelly and full of vim today. I spent much of the last week on the floor with a heating pad after throwing out my back; I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I’m feeling better today.

Long ago, my grandmother advised my mother to spend time every day sitting in a chair, getting used to being old. My mother, ever the contrarian, did not follow that advice, but that’s how I’ve felt for the last week, like I was practising senescence. I think I got good enough at it. Surely it’s like riding a bike, right? When the time comes, I won’t forget how.

Anyway, DONE with that. The one good thing is that I got some reading done. It’s been so long since I had leisure to read much of anything that I’m absurdly giddy with it. I finished Thomas Pynchon’s V. which I’d read way back in college (ye gods, almost exactly two decades ago! Speaking of my senescence). In fact, I’ve started a little reading group on Facebook called Club V. If you have any interest in reading and discussing along with me and some other intrepid souls, please do look us up. It’s an open group for now. I may close it at some point if it gets too unwieldy.

You know I’m feeling happy if I’m reading difficult books and digging into my comparative literature roots for fun. I think it’s finally sinking in that Shadow Scale is done and I’m free. I had my celebratory luncheon at Nuba. It keeps hitting me – I’m done! – and I’m dizzy with it.

I even started “the talk” with my agent – wherein we figure out what kind of trouble I should get into next. It’s wide open, darlings. Wide, wide open.


The sequel. Written. Sent.

All out of words.

Ce moys de may!

The jolly, jolly month of May! Here’s how I’m feeling right now:

Five days ’til Le Grand Deadline, darlings. I am so close to done, I can taste it. I really am ready to come up out of this hole I’ve been living in and go biking and singing in the sunshine.

Back soon!

Belle Epoque

Last of the Morris interviews! Elizabeth Bunce talks to Elizabeth Ross about Belle Epoque!

I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these. I sure have. The Morris Award will be announced with the rest of the ALA Youth Media Awards (the Printz, the Coretta Scott King, the Caldecott, etc.) on Monday, January 27th, in a ceremony beginning at 8am EST.

That’s 5am on the west coast, here. I’d whine about that, but I’m sometimes up that early anyway. If you follow that ALA link, it looks like there’s going to be a live webcast. And will you look at all those smiley librarians? Ooh, one of them is holding Seraphina!

Anyway, congrats to all nominees. As convenient as it was for me to go to Seattle last year, I do kind of envy you all going to Philly, where I used to live.

Sex and Violence

Today’s fabulous Morris nominee interview is up! John Corey Whaley talks to Carrie Mesrobian about her first novel, Sex and Violence.

And be sure to tune in Monday, when Stephanie Kuehn graciously answers my impertinent questions about Charm and Strange.

In other news: did I mention I’m on deadline? I reckon I did. Sorry to be so absent, but it’s eaten my entire brain. I will just say, it continues to go well, although I’m getting a bit tired. This has been quite the sustained effort, for me. I throw it back at Jim in just over two weeks, and then I’m FREE — until the next go-round. And there will be one, because that’s the way we work.

But hey, it’s getting better all the time. Let that encourage you.

Yesterday, tomorrow, and soon

Nafiza at The Book Wars posted an interview with me yesterday (thanks again, Nafiza, for the wonderful opportunity!). I get a bit chatty there, partly because I’m in a good mood, and partly because she was asking questions from slightly different angles than I’m used to. That’s good for waking up the brain!

Coming soon: I’m going to be the one asking questions, which is a first for me! Yes, it’s time once again for the YALSA Morris Awards, and for that annual tradition – begun by inaugural Morris winner Elizabeth C. Bunce – of Morris winners interviewing this year’s nominees. Here’s the schedule of events. I will link to the interviews individually as they happen. The first one’s tomorrow, Blythe Woolston interviewing Evan Roskos.

I have the great honour of interviewing Stephanie Kuehn (pronounced “Keen”), author of Charm and Strange, on the 20th. I’ll review the book a day or two beforehand, but let me just say right now: it’s a difficult book on an upsetting subject, and very much worth reading. Highly recommended.

The merry month of November

My darlings, I have news: I have completed the most recent draft of the sequel, and I sent it to my editor this morning. I have spent the last two hours bouncing around my house like a ping pong ball, because – ye gods – this is such a weight off my heart. I can’t even tell you. I’m made of words, but I have no words.

Do you know what the very best thing about this is? No, it’s not the fact that you really will get to read the sequel this decade, although that’s pretty nice. OK, very nice. But the very best thing is that today is November 1st, and it will take my editor a few weeks to read the draft and get comments back to me (alas, let us not pretend the book is completely finished).

I have November, for novel-writing purposes, OFF. Nothing in November.

This has been a special goal of mine ever since last November. Allow me to explain.

I have known, ever since I moved to Canada, that November is the nadir of my year. It’s dark, and getting darker. It’s rainy, and getting rainier. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, so there isn’t even a holiday to liven things up between Halloween and Saturnalia. I get epically bummed out. Seasonal affective disorder? Maybe, but the point is, it happens every year, so theoretically I ought to be able to come up with a strategy to combat it.

My previous strategy — keeping my nose to the grindstone and muscling through — did not work. In fact, it made things worse. For the last two years, in particular, by the end of November I have been not merely depressed but burned out and exhausted as well. There had to be a better way.

Well, lovelies, there is. This year I am proclaiming the month-long holiday of November Nothing! While others toil at NaNo, I shall be celebrating NoNo.

NoNo has exactly one rule: Be gentle with yourself. It is the month of restoration, of remembering what you love and why and doing exactly that. Of resting when you need to, laughing as much as possible, slowing down and staying sane.

I’m planning to be here a lot, honestly, because you know what I miss? Writing for fun, or for no reason at all. While I was working on revisions, I felt guilty any time I came to this blog, particularly if I was going to write something silly. Well, NoNo rejects the idea that only focused, goal-oriented tasks are worthy! We laugh in the face of that idea! Time spent doing things you love is never, ever time wasted, and sometimes goals just have to wait their turn.

I am here to laugh and enjoy myself, and probably write more about prog rock than anyone but me cares to read. And if it starts to feel like work, maybe I’ll slack off — I have permission! It’s Nothing November, my dears, and you are all welcome to join me, fully or whenever you’re able.

Be gentle with yourselves. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Sunburst Award!

As some of you may have heard already, Seraphina has been awarded the 2013 YA Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. A big thank-you to this year’s jury, and congratulations to Martine Desjardins, winner of the adult award, to all the runners-up, and to Lesley Livingston, who won the Sunburst Society’s Copper Cylinder Award. I got to meet Lesley this past weekend, and she is a fabulous human being.

In fact, I have an amusing tale to tell you. This past weekend I gave a reading at the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival — a wonderful festival in Ontario, and you should all GO if you ever have the chance! Anyway, I gave a reading in a picturesque, bucolic garden, and was now signing books at the signing tent. When my merry fans finally dissipated, I turned around to see two stern older gentlemen behind me.

“Rachel Hartman?” they said. “We’d just like to ask you a few questions.”

I followed them to the village hall, wondering what on earth they wanted to ask. Waiting for us in the hall were five or six other people. That’s when I started to worry. The difficulty with being a writer, you see, is that my brain immediately leapt to many ridiculous and false conclusions about what was going on. I had upset the Literary Mafia and would soon be swimming with the fishes in the millpond. I was being abducted by aliens or inducted into a secret society.

It took a few minutes to understand that, no, they were giving me an award. I’m told I handled myself with aplomb. I mostly just remember feeling tickled. And relieved.

Leon Rooke, Peter Halasz, and a peculiar woman with a fabulous medal. Photo by Peter Grimaldi

Leon Rooke, Peter Halasz, and a peculiar woman with a fabulous medal. Photo by Peter Grimaldi

The award, of course, wasn’t to be announced until the 18th, but since the jury members were there, and I was there, and they really wanted to see the look on my face, they’d decided to present the prize early. I was sworn to silence for a few days. Anyone who happened to see me later that afternoon, looking like I had a cramp in my face, that’s why. I was struggling not to grin. I have the kind of grin that inevitably inspires people to ask, “What’re YOU grinnin’ for, ya rascal?”

Peter then enlisted me to present Lesley Livingston with her Copper Cylinder Award. I tried to be as ominous as possible, but I almost certainly failed. I’m just not the ominous type. I feel certain I giggled. Anyway, it was awesome because then Leslie and I got to hang out, and that’s half the fun of these things, making new author friends. It’s like going to camp. We all weep and promise to write when it’s over, although sometimes “promise to write” means writing the next book. That’s fair.

I strongly encourage you all to check out past Sunburst winners as well as this year’s shortlists. There’s a lot of good speculative fiction coming out of Canada; I would have been honoured to lose to anyone on that list.

Happy Turkish book birthday!

If any of you read Turkish, you’re in luck! Seraphina is now in Turkish too.

I’ve been to Turkey, so this was an international sale I was particularly tickled about. Someday I can regale you with tales of how the Basilica Cistern gave me the massive heebie-jeebies, or how we got unbelievably lost and dehydrated in Izmir. Or how I ate olives wrapped in anchovies and was thirsty for the next three days, or how the music-store clerks scoffed at our super old-fashioned taste in baglama music.

Good times! Happy memories! My funniest stories make it sound like everything went wrong, but it was one of our most fun, memorable trips and I’d love to go back someday.


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