August 22, 2014, 8.38 pm
Happy Friday! I've just uploaded one more chapter of Courting Magic to my website, so you can now read both of the first two chapters free online.
(I actually meant to do this almost a week ago. Oops. The downside of publishing a book while on family vacation...)
I hope you enjoy both chapters! And here's the lovely graphic that Patrick made me for the occasion. :)
August 20, 2014, 2.05 am
So, it's been a pretty intense couple of weeks, in a lot of ways. This summer was the first time my brothers and parents and I have been all together in about 7 years, and the first time we've ever been together as a whole group with my children. It was amazing. But then, of course, I had to say goodbye to both brothers, one by one, and to my wonderful new sister-in-law, too, as they flew back to their two different homes around the world. It was hard.
Being back in Michigan for the first time in so long has been so fantastic and fun and enriching - and also hard, because of course it reminds me how much I love it here, something I'd forced myself to ignore or forget over the years because there was no point in remembering it when I couldn't afford (or couldn't manage, for other reasons) to visit. I'm crossing my fingers like mad that we'll manage to make this summer visit a yearly tradition. That would be wonderful for so many reasons, including my simple, selfish homesickness.
Being an ex-pat and a dual citizen is wonderful, and - I'm a repeating record here today! - it's hard, too. I truly love both countries. I feel at home in both places in different ways. We're settled and rooted in the UK now, but I'll never stop loving and missing America. I want to come back regularly, and I'm scared - no, honestly, I'm terrified, to the point where I feel sick whenever I let myself think about it - that that won't be possible, financially. Oh, this is where I curse our unreliable freelance income!
Anyway. I don't want to ramble too much, but you get the idea...and also, I feel a bit odd about only posting the fun publishing stuff when there have been such complex emotions shifting around inside me as we approach the end of our visit.
(Also, Baby X is teething like mad - he's popped out three new teeth in the last few weeks and is still NOT done - so I'm really exhausted, which is more than enough to make me melancholy.)
But! There have also been so many great moments, even in the time since my wonderful brothers and sister-in-law all left. I've spent time with some of my oldest and closest friends from childhood; I got to catch up with the woman who was one of the most important mentors of my life; I've been sharing my kids with my parents, which is such a genuine treat for all of us.
I haven't been doing much writing, unfortunately, because Patrick has a big deadline for his upcoming novel (which is available for pre-order at The Book Depository, Books-A-Million, B&N and elsewhere NOW! Soooooo awesome!), so I'm finally getting the chance to pay him back for all the times he supported me during my own book deadlines by shifting into being the main childcare person for the duration. (Luckily, that job is made SO much easier for me since we're currently staying with my parents!)
However, I did draft a new short-short story one evening earlier this week, when I fled to a coffee shop for an hour, and I'm in the middle of another new story, which I'd love to finish sometime in the next week or two, so those small projects are keeping my writer-self mostly balanced. But of course I am SO looking forward to having more writing time so that I can really sink into bigger projects again.
And I can't possibly end this entry without saying: thank you SO MUCH to everyone who's signal-boosted, read or reviewed Courting Magic over the past week. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I love, love, love hearing that it's connected with readers. Thank you.
August 15, 2014, 11.30 pm
OK, there are some days that need to be recorded and remembered.
I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw was this amazing, in-depth, thoughtful review of the full Kat, Incorrigible trilogy. Here's a quick snippet:
Imagine a younger sister in the Bennet household investigating magical occurrences and getting into scrapes, while the plot of Pride and Prejudice goes on in the background and interacts with the magical goings on, and you will have an idea of what these books are like...These books are a joy to read – fast paced, fun and charming, and highly recommended for both kids and adults who enjoy magic and historical settings.
It was an amazing way to start the morning, after a mostly-sleepless night with Baby X.
Later in the morning, just before I had to head out the door to take MrD to day camp and run errands with Baby X, look what arrived in the mail: the first real, published Kat box set!
I was so thrilled, I was tearing up (even as I had to GET MOVING to get MrD to his beloved camp and counselor on time and not linger to pet my beautiful box set, no matter how much I wanted to)!
I got MrD to camp just on time. (He announced on his way into the room where his counselor and the other kids were waiting: "Now I'm here!" It was Snake Day. He was NOT going to miss it! ;) ) I found a good (I hope!) birthday present for my seventeen-year-old niece (the one Courting Magic is dedicated to). I dealt with a very grumpy Baby X who wailed nonstop in the car through every ride to every errand. Finally, finally, we all staggered out of the car, ears ringing from high-pitched baby screams, bringing MrD back home from his afternoon at day camp (he got to hold a garter snake! it was awesome!)…
...and found out that Thea from The Book Smugglers had reviewed Courting Magic on Kirkus - and it is a wonderful review! Just check out this snippet:
Her happily ever after is every bit as sweet as Kat deserves. Absolutely recommended, for fans both old and new.
So. Well. You can imagine how I felt when I saw that!
Baby X is still grumpy. I'm still behind on almost every obligation I have in terms of packages to be mailed, chapters to be beta-read, etc., etc., etc.
But it has been a really, really amazing day. :)
August 12, 2014, 1.51 pm
Oh, has this blog post been a long time coming!
Years and years ago, after I wrote the first Kat book, I began to wonder who Kat would end up with herself, as an adult. It started out as an idle thought. But then I wrote Stolen Magic. By the time I'd finished the first draft of that book (back in 2009), Kat's own, grown-up love story (full of humor and misadventure, of course) was turning itself over and over in my mind, picking up more and more details and color along the way. Every new idea for it made me happy.
But how impractical would it be to actually sit down and write that story? How could I possibly justify doing it? I had no contract. No one was offering to pay me to write it. I'm a professional writer, and I don't have a day job. I have to at least try to support my family with the stories I write.
So I put this one aside. And I kept on shoving it down every time it tried to pop up and yell: "Write me!"
But then I got the emails. One after another after another, from the moment that Stolen Magic was first published in its incarnation as A Reckless Magick in the UK, amazing, wonderful Kat readers kept on writing me to ask what would happen next, and who Kat would end up with herself. Every time I read one of those emails, I thought: Ohhhhh, I wish I could let myself write that story! Every single time, my willpower became a little lower. Finally, I started to wonder: Could I let myself do it? Just for fun?
And this spring - with the help of Facebook and twitter friends who reacted with such amazing support and encouragement when I finally admitted out loud just how much I wanted to do it - I did!
It has never been so much fun to write anything - and the words have never come as easily - as it was to write Courting Magic, because the story had been building for YEARS in my head, just waiting to be released. Writing it brought me so much joy. I really hope you guys enjoy reading it!
Courting Magic is a 34,000-word novella, just over half the length of the first Kat book. As of today, you can buy it in any e-format, no matter where you live, on Smashwords. You can also buy it on Kobo (US, Canada, or UK), on Amazon.com, on Amazon.ca, on Amazon.co.uk, or at any other international branch of Kobo or Amazon. You can also buy it internationally on iBooks (here's the US iBooks link, the only one I have so far). Pretty soon, you'll be able to buy it on BN.com, too, but in the meantime, you can buy it as an ePub for your Nook on Smashwords.
And if you don't have an e-reader - and I know a lot of kids don't - you can still read Courting Magic by buying a PDF copy on Smashwords and either printing it out, to read on paper, or else reading it on your computer screen.
If you want to get a taste first, you can read the full first chapter on my website.
And oh, if you're able to write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, or any other book site - or signal-boost it anywhere online at all! - I'll be so grateful. Word of mouth helps SO much!
And oh, if you're able to write a review anywhere online - or signal-boost it anywhere online at all! - I'll be so grateful. Word of mouth helps SO much!
But most of all, I just really want to hear what you guys think of it, because I am so happy and excited to finally share it with you! Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
August 4, 2014, 4.43 pm
So, the event at my hometown library was just about the most perfect author experience I've ever had. I got to talk to so many great kids who love books and writing, and I saw so many old friends for the first time in years. My beloved preschool teacher (whom I hadn't seen in 32 years) came to the event! And my middle school librarian! My eighth grade math/science teacher! And so many more. A baby I used to babysit back when I was in grad school is now a very cool teenager who reads my books and came to the event! And I finally, finally met Brandy (and her very cool daughter!) after having read her book blog for years.
I had felt so, so frustrated, over the years, that I hadn't ever been able to make it back to America to do a launch party there for any of the Kat books when they first came out. But honestly, this event made up for all of that. I was just blown away by how many people came and how wonderfully supportive and engaged they were.
And oh, the librarians were so generous! Mary Jo Gallagher did an amazing job organizing everything, gave a really sweet talk about my books at the beginning, and even gave me a beautiful, lush bouquet to take home with me at the end of the event! Every time I look at that bouquet, I just melt. Really, really wonderful memories.
My sister-in-law took a bunch of great photos from the event, which you can see on Facebook. (They're marked as public, so I think that anyone can look at them whether or not you have Facebook accounts, but do let me know if I'm wrong about that!) The library also posted photos on their flickr account.
Here's just one, though: me talking to my preschool teacher. Wow, was that a wonderful surprise!
I've also been giddy with delight over all the great books available at the library, including so many I've been curious about for ages. Here's Baby X presiding over (only my first) library haul! (To be fair, the picture books were for MrD, not me. But I enjoyed them too!)
Patrick is currently hard at work on revisions of his upcoming novel Secrets of the Dragon Tomb, so he's not getting as much time off for fun, but I've been having a great time enjoying my hometown with our kids. It's so much fun taking them to all the places I loved as a kid, like the lake where I swam every summer! And I am just so happy to finally get to hang out again in person with some of my oldest and closest friends, as well as finally meeting online friends in person, like Jim Hines. Patrick and I had so much fun hanging out with Jim over a delicious lunch and talking publishing, parenting, and more.
And, of course, I'm also doing the very final line edits on "Courting Magic", which will be published in just over a week! So here is one more sampler. (The last one will be posted next Monday, the day before the novella comes out.) I hope you enjoy it!