Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
It's that time again...end of the year, where we all reflect on what happened over the last 365 days and look toward what we hope to achieve in the next 365.
2014 was pretty good to me. We were all in good health, no one had surgery or broke anything. We lost a few friends and family along the way, but overall the year was happy. I felt terrible when my book didn't come out when it was supposed to because the publisher closed. It was sad and upset my apple cart a bit, but...
There definitely have been worse years.
In 2014, I ...
-- Got a new job
-- Went to a convention I've never been to, in a state I've never been to
-- Hit most of my regular events and got to spend time with friends and con-family/writing-family!
-- Got a NEW book contract
-- Had a short story accepted into an Alice in Wonderland-themed anthology. Look for the official announcement and cover reveal later THIS WEEK!
So really not terrible.
2015 is already looking up, though. So far the plans look like this...
-- A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON will release in late Spring from Curiosity Quills. Cover coming soon!
-- BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT, the Alice anthology from Leap Books, will release in April
-- Hopefully can pull off hitting all my regular Spring events (Balticon, Maryland Faerie Festival, NJSCBWI conference)
-- Launch party!!!! (need to get working on that soon!)
We will be hitting the Magic Kingdom in July. My son's reward for four years of Honor Roll, and he's worked for it. Now that the holidays are over I need to get back to planning.
And hopefully I'll finish the other two books I'm working on in the meantime.
I have high hopes for this year, but it will be BUSY. I also joined a new gym, which will open in mid-January, and I must try and make time to actually GET there. I've been slacking off since the new job.
I hope you all had a great holiday season, and my wish is that all of you have a GREAT 2015!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
Anyway, I'm normally behind the times, so you may already know all about these guys, but I'm gonna share them with you anyway. :)
I'd seen them around but never actually watched the show. I knew the song though. That thing is catchier than heck! (If you've not heard it before - click the video! I dare you! Heh heh)
But one fateful night, too tired after coming home from work to get up when it was time to move elsewhere, I saw the second half of an episode. The Gift 2: The Giftening - and I was HOOKED!
Here's a taste of that most awesome episode...
I was rolling on the floor. The brilliance of it! Terrorize the bad guys by making them happy! The horror! And the final gift at the end of the episode - priceless! (You won't see it in the taster - heh heh)
I'm not a laugh-out-loud person. It's super rare for me. But not when watching this show. It cracks me up! Been going to sleep with the theme bopping around too. lol.
The show is the creation of Craig McCracken. He's been in the field for a long time now and then he came up with this piece of awesomeness in 2013.
Let me introduce you to these lovely people....
He loves to travel, meet people, see new things, make friends, help anyone and everyone. He plays a mean banjo, too! No idea what race he is. But he is definitely super spunky!
Wander's best friend and fellow traveler. She's tough, smart, athletic. And Wander is her best friend, too.
She has no acting skills, which seems to give no one a hint as she delivers her lines with no emotion and even sarcasm.
Sylvia has as a rapier wit and is stubborn as can be when it comes to Wander. But when he looks at her like this....
The two of them travel from planet to planet in blow bubbles. And they aren't the only ones. Seems to be the preferred method for wanderers/tourists.
He is the baddest of the bad and he will prove it by taking over the universe! If he feels like it. He loves being bad. Loves rock music and air guitar and doing evil deeds. Hates Wander with a passion because he tends to spoil his plans. Wander, however, thinks they're best buddies! Oh my!
Lord Hater's right hand man. Down to earth, smart, and wants nothing more than to help Lord Hater achieve his aims. The two of them go way, way back.
And this is Lord Hater's ship - I love this thing!!!!
What cracks me up most about the show is the weirdness and the fact it looks stupid, but it's quite profound and smart. It also has a ton of in-jokes from the 70's on up. Too fun! (They even steal the Star Wars poster pose and do it with a Banjo - so cool!)
Wander Over Yonder can be seen on the Disney Channel - so if you get a chance, check it out. Too much fun!
Friday, December 5, 2014
My books in The MacArthur Family Chronicles, the second, The Earl's Childe, having just came out this Tuesday, takes place in the Borders region of Scotland — right where England and Scotland meet. It's a location of cultural difference and blending, and the two countries have had a bloody and rough history. Beneath the ground, there is geological evidence of Scotland slamming into the UK; the land area of Scotland isn't naturally part of what we know of the British Isles.
Borders are an important theme of this series, too.
The main character, Heather MacArthur, is eleven years old. Right on the border of being a child and being a teen. When she wants to have some alone-time with her mother to discuss a terrible, fairly grown-up situation with her best friend and his family, it ends up being a trip to buy new clothes and — of all horrors — bras because Heather hasn't any clothes that properly fit anymore thanks to a recent growth spurt. In one of her less-than-mature moments, Heather pitches a fit. The moment between her mother and her, however, addresses both the child-self Heather still wants to cling to and the adult-becoming Heather who has to think about real world consequences that decisions that have no clear right answer: If you have only one magickal creature at your disposal, do you send him away to rescue a friend or keep him around to protect the people near you? And what if his safety and will in regard to the situation?
While Heather declares she is too young to even want to like-like someone (upon finding out an older boy might kind of like her), she finds herself stuck worried about her parents' marriage and the stress she's brought to it in her position as faery liaison. And watching your older sister get the boys who like her to do things is both awe-inspiring and freaking annoying.
Being liaison between Faerie and her family's land in the human realm also puts her on a physical border — a hotly disputed one as yet another daoine síth lord tries to wrest the land from both Heather’s family and the existing fey. It's been a battle for a few hundred years, in fact!
One of the best things about writing for young audiences is working in that mysterious grey space of transition. It's never a clean thing to change from one thing to another, to find the lines between two sides or two realms of existence. It's not for adults; but if you're in the middle of a change yourself, you have an even deeper perspective of how many shades of grey there are.
As a writer, also, I'm writing in the borders. The MacArthur series falls right on the border of middle grade and YA with Heather's age and the complexity of issues in her family alone — not even including dealing with the supernatural! Her father, Michael, has bipolar disorder, and with that comes some problematic decisions from him when his medicine fails, which affects Heather and her relationship with him. What do you do when you still need your parents, but you know you can't entirely trust the judgment of at least one of them? As an adult, Michael can make some pretty serious mistakes that Heather sees. And while I, the author, think it's important for readers to share some of these experiences with Heather — children do go through these things, and seeing heroes like themselves in books help — not all the teachers, parents, and librarians who might read this book agree.
Also, I don't write only for children. I write horror for adults under my full name. And while both my husband and I were watching horror at an early age, it's easy to forget that we were not necessarily the norm. Fortunately, I have wonderful editors that kept me within the safer borders of description when some of Heather's adventures get quite dark.
I'm also glad they understand that I also think kids can take some levels of darkness better than adults.
After all, the kids I'm writing this for live on the edge of a lot of borders.
Like with my first book, The Kelpie, I want to continue supporting the Bay State Equine Rescue through my writing, so a percentage of every sale of The Earl's Childe will be donated to the BSER, a 501(c)3 organization in Massachusetts.
The Earl's Childe is available through all online and brick & mortar bookstores, big box or your favorite independent store.
Meet the Author:
This morning the Orion spacecraft was launched on its test flight after its launch on Thursday was postponed. Tomorrow New Horizons wakes up out of hiberation for its flyby of Pluto and Charon. And recently Wanderers, a short film narrated by Carl Sagan, was released on the internet.
I grew up watching the space program advance. I fully believed as a child, reading science fiction and watching Star Trek when it first aired, that there would be colonies on the moon and at least Mars in my lifetime. Just these three items this week are enough to make me excited about space again. Science fiction has always been about hope, and YA science fiction especially so. My favorite branch of science fiction includes space travel, the hope that we will finally leave this planet and see what's out there.
It's hard to keep that hope alive when watching the space program's budget get cut again and again. But there are always things here and there to keep that interest sparking - The Astronomy Picture of the Day, Philae landing on a comet nucleus, views of auroras as seen from the International Space Station.
Kudos to those who continue to work to keep that hope alive, both in the real world and in fiction.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
Meanwhile, some you might consider this year...
Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale. This steampunk retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is really fun and a different kind of story. If you have a reader who likes Middle Eastern tales, or Steampunk, or retellings, this has it all.
The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. If you've a Harry Potter fan who has read all the books, this is another one to try. Very different kind of story than HP, but along the same basic lines. Really fun and fantastically written.
The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel. This is book two in the series, so you can give both this holiday season!
Random. A were-shifter book that is out of this world and unlike any other. What if there were OTHER kinds of were-creatures? Ones that didn't always take the same shape? What happens when you're a Random?
I will say I am completely biased about this book. It was the first that I actually acquired for Palomino Press, and it is AWESOME. Terrific voice, fast paced, a story line you won't see coming. I cannot wait for book 2 to come out (and 3, but I haven't read it yet), because she GOT ME with book 2. This is my #1 pick for the holidays.
Hopefully I've made your shopping a little easier. Enjoy!