A-touring we shall go

So just a little heads-up hint of goodness to come:

It looks like the lovely folks at Random House will be sending me out on tour again, not just once but twice! I was certainly hoping there would be a Shadow Scale tour, come springtime – and there will be – but it looks like I may also have an opportunity to tour in early February to promote the North American paperback release of Seraphina. I will be posting dates and cities once I know them for sure. There are some exciting place-names floating around, but I don’t want to break anyone’s heart by telling you before it’s carved in stone.

Seraphina comes out in paperback on December 23rd. You can pre-order it already, of course. You may be thinking that we’re cutting it a bit close for Christmas, but I believe the hope is that when people go shopping after Christmas — returning things they don’t want, or spending gift cards — that there she’ll be, all shiny and new. The paperback has some new material: an author Q&A, authors who influenced me, a list of music I listened to while writing, a study guide. I understand there are some copies coming my way, so I’ll tell you more when I’ve got the book in hand.

I suppose that’s all the news for now, unless you want to hear about how my apartment flooded. I’m not sure I’m ready to tell that story yet, but I will just say: if you hear the sound of rain coming from inside your closet, it’s best to find the source of the noise right away. It’s really not supposed to be raining in there.

So I’m working on a thing

A thing! I just reached 30K words, which suggests it may be bookish, this thing.

The work is going swimmingly so far, which is why I haven’t been talking about it much. I am still utterly convinced of my November jinx, despite 13 days of evidence to the contrary. (THIRTEEN DAYS! Now I’ve done it!)

However, I asked my lovely in-house editor whether I may announce this in some way, and she said yes, so here goes: I get to write two more books set in Seraphina’s world! The working title for the first one is TESS IN BOOTS. Obviously that might change. I anticipate another duology, but that could also change, if it turns out Tess can be all contained in one book. I sort of doubt it, the way things are going right now, but then again, this stage of crafting is less like writing and more like coughing up hairballs.

How’s that for a glamorous image? Ah, the writing life! I hurk all day and gag all night.

Seriously, though, I’m having fun, which may be the very most shocking thing of all. I was burned out for so long I’d forgotten what that’s like, and I was also a little bit worried that once there was an actual deal, actual numbers and expectations, that the weight of that would descend on me again. So far, however, it has not.

Weirder still: I don’t think it’s going to. This book is different. I feel like this book is already written, like some part of me has been working on it for years and all I’m doing now is discovering the pieces. It will still take some effort and ingenuity to fit them together; I’m certain there are unforeseen frustrations yet to come, brand new headaches I’ve never had before.

Doesn’t matter. Bring it, I say. Remind me I said that when I’m grousing later on, would you?


Seraphina in Spanish

Coming soon!

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I am particularly intrigued by the tagline, which translates as: Everyone lies. You, too.

In North America, by contrast, Random House used: Can one girl unite two worlds?

The Italian edition says: The girl with the heart of a dragon.

Now I kind of want to go through and make a study of these! It’s always interesting to me how many different angles one can take on a single work.

Anyway, I’m eager for this one. I corresponded quite a bit with the translator, who impressed me as a smart and conscientious person. I may even try to read it; I studied Spanish from junior high all the way through university, and I was (at the height of my powers) reading Cervantes and García Márquez. I’m twenty years out of practice, but I’m pretty sure the words all still live in my head somewhere.

We Need Diverse Books!

If you haven’t seen the We Need Diverse Books funding campaign yet, please go check it out, and I hope you will be inspired to contribute. They’re more than halfway to their goal, but there’s still plenty of time for you to get in on the action.


While we’re on the subject, here’s an article on “The Thorny Issue of Race,” intended specifically for NaNoWriMo participants, but useful for anyone interested in writing stories incorporating different races, ethnicities, and cultures.

Shadow Scale sample chapters, and a song

Random House Kids have posted the first few chapters of Shadow Scale at Scribd, and they’re available for free! I encourage you to go check ‘em out. Of course, this little taste might merely be more frustrating than anything else. It’s still a bit of a wait until the book comes out.

To help pass the time, here’s one of the bands I went to see last night:

They even played this song, which is one of my favourites. It’s in Norwegian, but the band is actually from the Faroe Islands. Sometimes they sing in Faroese. Sometimes they even wear shirts. Well, a few of them do, anyway. It’s possible the band only owns a couple between them, and they have to share.

Edited to add: Hat tip and thanks to Ms. Carina Olson, who brought the sample pages to my attention yesterday, and who has written this very nice blog post after re-reading Seraphina. She also appears to be Norwegian — that’s apparently the theme for today!

A September of the mind

Hello, friends! It’s been a while. Life is keeping me busy these days. I don’t know whether news from my province reaches you, wherever you are, but here in British Columbia our teachers are on strike. School was supposed to have started September 2nd, but the children are still home.

I lay the lion’s share of blame on our provincial government: they have been under-funding the school system the entire time we’ve lived here; they have deliberately provoked strikes; they’ve broken contracts and ignored the court rulings saying this was against the law. In the 6 years my son has been in school we’ve seen a steady erosion of services. First they stopped serving lunch, and then they cut back on teacher aides and support staff. B needed speech therapy, and we couldn’t get enough from the school; we had to go private. Luckily, we could afford it, but what about all the families who can’t? B needs support in two areas, but we’re told we have to choose one.  It’s a travesty.

It’s rumoured that the province wants to destroy public education so they can introduce a school voucher system. Like in Sweden? That doesn’t inspire confidence.

Anyway, sorry to get all political on you. The upshot of this is that I am home-schooling the lad for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard some folks are eschewing academic work right now in solidarity with teachers. I get that, but think that in fact it would be more helpful to teachers if the kids come in already used to work and ready to go. So far, it’s going okay — where “okay” is what you get when you average out The Best of Times and The Worst of Times.

We’re having a Dickens novel of a time, apparently. That’s probably appropriate.

It’s not very conducive to writing, however, or at least not yet. If we kept at it long enough, our day would surely fall into a routine (ye gods, I hope he’s not out of school THAT long), but so far it’s all pretty labour-intensive. That’s one reason I’m here blogging — I’m trying to reclaim some space in the day (and in my own brain). When he was a baby, blogging was the way I kept up the discipline of writing every day.

I’ve also been getting up early to write, and have completed a book proposal! My agent is sending it to the usual suspects today, and I hope they find it promising. It’s another novel set in Goredd, dealing mostly with new characters, although there’s a bit of Phina in it as well. I don’t want to say too much, because things could still change, but fingers crossed that they give me the go-ahead. I really want to write this book.

If home-schooling is teaching anyone in this household anything, it’s teaching me that I really want to get writing again.


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.


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