The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is out in North America today! I am really, really happy about this.
This book is full of fierce girls, dragons, friendship and utterly delicious chocolate. It was such a joy to write, and I really hope it will bring joy and comfort to everyone who reads it.
You can read Chapter One on my website now, and of course you can buy it, too! (I hope you will.)
If you see it on a North American bookshelf, will you please take a picture? I really want to see it there!
I would love to hear what you think of the book once you’ve read it. And if you can take five minutes to post an honest review on Amazon after reading it, I would be incredibly grateful. Even a one-line review is really helpful!
Don’t forget to pick up a hot chocolate recipe on my website so that you can drink while you read! I’ll be celebrating at home today with two of my favorite birthday gifts, which seem very, very appropriate today. (Just click on the photo to see a larger image!)
This is my first new MG novel to come out in North America in over four years (!!!), so this is a VERY big day for me. And oh, you guys, this is such a book of my heart – full of hope and love and dragons and chocolate! I am so excited to FINALLY be able to share it with you. :)
Today I’m really honored to be part of a panel on MG fiction over at The Book Smugglers with three amazing authors: Sheela Chari, Uma Krishnaswami, and Mark Siegel. I absolutely adored Sheela’s new MG suspense novel Finding Mighty (see my full review here!), Uma’s Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh is a wonderful, girl-powered MG historical with fabulous characters, and my 8-year-old is currently devouring Mark’s new MG graphic novel, The Sand Warrior.
I’ve been friends with Sheela for years (and yes, she really is every bit as warm and smart and lovely as you would hope from reading her books!), and it was great to meet Uma and Mark through this project. Reading the roundtable is basically as close as you can come to seeing a conference panel with all four of us together (since we’re currently scattered around the world)! I really hope you guys enjoy it. Read it here.
And of course…it’s just five days (!!!!) until my next MG novel comes out in the US and Canada! I love this graphic that Bloomsbury US made for it:
I can’t wait for you guys to meet my fierce dragon-girl. Within the next five days, I’m going to be having two kinds of birthday – my own (milestone) birthday (I’ll turn 40 while enjoying a family holiday!) and my book’s birthday just a few days later – and I have to say, if I was forced to say which one I was more excited about…well, as much as I do love chocolate birthday cake, my dragon-girl’s book-birthday might just win. ;)
(However, that being said… I may be turning 40 this week, but apparently I’m not completely mature after all, because when I had to choose between being sensible about packing by opening presents BEFORE we left on our holiday, or demanding that all of my presents be brought along, wrapped and hidden, for me to open on the day of my birthday itself…of course I went for Option 2. Birthdaybirthday! Wooot!)
Thanks to Paul Weimer’s generous invitation, I’m guest-blogging over at Skiffy and Fantasy with a post on Switching Between Lanes as a writer who hops back and forth between two genres.
Here’s a brief snippet from the opening:
I think that every writer who’s ever read publishing advice online has probably come across at least one article on the importance of “branding.” Apparently, to be really smart, writers ought to be figuring out the one thing that they’re best at — or the one thing that connects the most with potential readers — and then sticking to it no matter what, so that fans will know exactly what they’ll get from every new novel by that author.
I know I sound a little snarky in that description, but I’m actually not arguing with it as a strategy. I’m sure that it is a smart, practical way to build a successful career.
Unfortunately, I’ve never been much good at sticking to my own lane….
Read the full blog post here (especially if you’ve ever wondered why I don’t just pick one genre and stick with it!).
And in very, very good MG news…
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart has been selected as a Kids’ Indie Next pick (in the age 9-12 category) for Summer 2017! Woooot! These are the books recommended by independent bookstores around the country, and I am incredibly honored that Dragon is among them – and in fabulous company!
You can click on the cover image in the 9-12 category to read the full blurb from the bookseller who recommended Dragon for the list, but even just the first line of her recommendation makes me very happy:
“Have your hot chocolate ready before you start reading this book, because I guarantee you won’t want to stop reading to make a cup once you’ve begun this delightful (and delicious) tale of friendship and growing up.”
Yay! There are only 12 days to go until Dragon roars into North America. I am nervous and excited and impatient for you guys to all finally meet my fierce dragon-girl heroine!
It’s less than four weeks until The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart comes out in the US and Canada…and look what just had its official début over at the wonderful book blog Random Musings of a Bibliophile?
Will you go and watch it and then (in comments over there or here) please tell me what you think? I love it so much!
It was made by Lodestar Author Services, and they were wonderful to work with.
And, um. Without getting too specific about things I can’t talk about yet in public…
There are some strong reasons on my end for why it would be really, really good to get some healthy pre-orders and sales within the next week. So, if any of you guys were thinking of buying the book at any point, now would be a REALLY good time, and I would really appreciate it! (And I truly hope to be able to tell you guys soon why this timing is important.)
But most of all: Eeee! Yay for that lovely trailer. I love it!
(My 8-year-old loved everything about it except that there wasn’t a full movie to go with it. He said, “PLEASE can you ask Uncle Dave [who works in Hollywood] to make a movie of it?” I said, “I’m afraid that’s not really in his hands, sweetheart…” He said, “Well, but you can always ASK!” Well… ;) In other words, our whole family loves this trailer!)
It’s been a busy, chaotic set of school holidays – but then, I’m not sure we’ve ever had any that weren’t! Still, the kids and I have been doing Family Art Club almost every day,* we got to hang out with wonderful relatives last week, and I’m still eating the delicious Easter chocolates that Patrick gave me yesterday. (Charbonnel et Walker pink champagne truffles! Bliss!)
Also, I’m finished with all of my major rewrites of Snowspelled (my romantic fantasy novella for adults). Now I’m just playing around with minor line-edits and trying to catch any final typos and inconsistencies, with the help of wonderful beta-readers…and, of course, Pebbles, who always helps with everything (at least when she’s not walking in front of my laptop screen, telling me to stop writing and START PETTING HER)! ;)
Snowspelled won’t be coming out until September, so I’ll wait a while before talking much more about it here, but: I am so looking forward to sharing this one with you guys! (If you want to make sure to get all the details of it ASAP, you can sign up to my newsletter.)
And! It was a sign of just exactly how chaotic our school holidays have been that it was a genuine shock today to realize that the North American edition of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is coming much sooner than I’d realized – May 30th is only 6 weeks from tomorrow! Woooot! (And eep!)
Next week, I’ll be giving away my very last ARC of it in my newsletter. If you’re a North American book reviewer/blogger/librarian, you can still request the e-ARC from Netgalley. And of course you can read Chapter 1 here and order the book from anywhere in the world!
I really, really hope you’ll enjoy meeting my fierce dragon-girl heroine!
And right here in Wales, I’ll be leading a fantasy & science fiction writing workshop for teens and adults as part of the Abergavenny Writing Festival this Friday. You can buy your tickets here! I’ll also be leading a dragon-themed workshop for younger kids at the Abergavenny Library on Wednesday from 2:30-3:30.
So it’s a busy week all round, but in a really good way. I hope your week is full of good adventures!
*Re Art Club: I am not one of those authors who is also a wonderful artist. But one of the great joys of having kids, for me, is letting myself do things with them that I made myself stop when I was younger because I didn’t think I was good enough. It turns out – shock! surprise! – that it’s *fun* to draw, even though I don’t draw well, when I just relax and let myself enjoy the process.
There is probably an important lesson in that…and maybe sometime when I’m a little less busy, I’ll let myself actually think it through. ;)
It’s been Quite A Week over here in Wales. It started with a beautiful, sunny UK Mother’s Day last Sunday, which was wonderful, but then both of my kids caught a stomach bug over the last few days, so…yeah. I’ll leave the gruesome details from this latter half of the week to your imagination! ;)
On the upside, though, I still managed to get through my first big revision of my adult romantic fantasy novella Snowspelled this week, powered by rich, dark hot chocolates. Huzzah! I sent the new draft off to critique partners late this morning, and since I’m not expecting edits for my next MG novel until Sunday or Monday, I am – for the first time in a looooong time – temporarily deadline-free!
Needless to say, I immediately started trying to think of a new short story to write before my edits arrive. I don’t do very well without an ongoing writing project to keep me busy. ;)
And speaking of short stories, my Kat prequel story (about her parents when they were young), “Forbidden Magic,” will be published as a 99-cent ebook in just 5 days, on April 5th. You can find a full description, a brief excerpt, and the pre-order links here.
I originally wrote that story on commission earlier this year, for a charity auction winner who requested a story about Kat’s parents. It’s so much fun to write those tie-in stories! I love doing it. Of course I’m already contemplating my first tie-in stories for The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. So far, though, my ideas have all been for stories following that first book, so I’ll have to wait until the book is safely out in America (on May 30th! less than 2 months away!) before I start writing (or at least sharing) them.
Still, if you’ve read the book and have any particular characters you’d love to read about in a tie-in story, do let me know, and I’ll make sure to keep them in mind!
And if you’re interested in talking more about writing with me, I’m going to be running two different writing workshops over the next month.
On Friday, April 21st, I’ll be running a science fiction and fantasy writing workshop for adults and teens, as part of the Abergavenny Writing Festival. You can find more details and book your ticket here.
And on Wednesday, April 19th, from 2:30-3:30, I’ll be running a dragon-themed writing workshop for kids at the Abergavenny Library. (No tickets necessary!) My 8-year-old is VERY excited about that one. :)
I’d love to see any of you guys at either of those workshops! Do let me know if you’ll be coming.
Hope you all have a good weekend!
I think my favorite discovery of my adult life has been butterfly houses. Back when Patrick and I lived in Vienna for 6 months in 2002, we had VERY little money, but we loved visiting the Imperial Butterfly House at the Hofburg Palace – we went there for my 25th birthday and again any time we could justify it, because it was so lovely to walk around the palm trees with butterflies flitting all around us. Last year, we learned that there’s a butterfly house not too far away from our home in Wales, so we went there for my 39th birthday, too, and we went back again this past weekend.
Sadly, I have no pictures to share (because all of mine include very happy little boys whose online privacy I’m trying to respect). But it was a VERY happy moment in our family’s weekend. :)
What I do have, of course, is dozens and dozens of pictures of Pebbles, because I can’t resist taking adoring photos of her every day. The M.E./CFS means I have to spend quite a bit of time every day lying down – but who minds lying down when they have such a sweet cat purring on their chest? And PhotoBooth makes it irresistibly tempting to take photos of her every day as she does it. I am restraining myself with a HUGE EFFORT from posting all of them here (because I know not EVERYBODY is in love with our new cat and really wants to pore through dozens of them)! But here is one picture of her sleeping. (Click on the photo to see it in full-size.)
Just one cat-photo per blog entry isn’t too over-the-top…is it? (Maybe don’t answer that question!)
And it’s been a busy week of writing. I finished up the first three chapters of my new MG project (tentatively titled A Grumpy Princess’s Guide to Ice Giants & Other Catastrophes) and sent them to my agent, who liked them, hurrah! Whether or not it will be my next contracted book (to be published in 2019) will depend partly on sales for The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (since they’re set in the same fantasy world), so…in other words, now would be a lovely time to buy (or pre-order) The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart if you haven’t already! Because I would loooooove to be able to write the rest of my grumpy princess’s guide. It’s so much fun!
Next week I’ll be diving into edits for my spies-and-fairies MG book (to be published by Bloomsbury in 2018 – I just saw a first cover sketch for the US edition!), which I’m really looking forward to…and in the meantime, I’ve been working on my first revisions to my adult romantic-fantasy novella, Snowspelled, which should come out later this year.
So I’ve been busy with lots of different fun projects! And it’s been great to have a Pebbles-cat cuddled up against me as I work.
But I WILL NOT break down and post another photo of her now. Must…resist…temptation…must! ;)
(Ending this entry NOW before I lose control and post ALL OF THEM!)
I had really big news last week: I got my first-ever starred review, and it came from Kirkus Reviews, for The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart! Woooot! I am so happy about this. Kirkus called it “A gloriously fresh story to be read with a steaming cup of chocolate at hand” – and you can read the full review here.
There was a LOT of happy-dancing in our household after that was announced! :)
And speaking of dragons, I had a great time guesting on one of my favorite podcasts, Bellwether Friends, which is run by a pair of fabulous librarians who’ve been Twitter-friends of mine for years. I’ve been listening to the podcast for years, so it was a total thrill to be invited to guest on it, and I loved getting to finally hang out with Anna and Alene in…well, not quite in person, but at least via Skype! Basically, since it was me and two librarians mutually geeking out about dragons, the whole podcast is filled with recommendations for lots and lots of dragon-related books and movies in multiple genres and for all age groups (ranging from picturebooks to adult paranormal romance). So: I hope you’ll have your library card ready when you listen! :) The episode went up today, and you can listen to it here or download it through iTunes.
(I should note in my own self-defense that we recorded this just a few days after my trip to England, when I was in the middle of a massive post-trip M.E. crash, so if I’m occasionally a little inarticulate, please put it down to my exhaustion! But I had so much fun anyway.)
Let me know if there are any books/movies we should have mentioned but forget! I always love adding to my list. :)
And speaking of reading lists…are you a book-blogger, librarian, bookseller or reviewer in the US or Canada? If so, check it out: the e-ARC of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (North American edition) is up on Netgalley now! Hurrah!
Of course, if you’re in the UK or Australia, you can buy the published book now, and if you’re in North America you can pre-order it as a hardcover or an ebook – less than 3 months left before its May 30th pub date, huzzah! And it recently sold Polish and Romanian rights as well as French and German, so I hope to be announcing more international publication dates soon.
Finally, I have one shockingly NON-dragon-related rec to make: Lin-Manuel Miranda curated this salsa playlist on Spotify (any Parks & Rec fans will recognize the reference in its name!), and I’ve been listening to it nearly nonstop for the past few days. Perfect music for getting moving…even if only one some writing work! ;)
This week started with amazing news: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is already going into a second printing, less than a week after its UK publication!
You guys are wonderful.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who’s already bought this book, reviewed this book, checked it out from a library or spread the word about it. I appreciate you all SO MUCH! (And please do keep writing reviews on Amazon and elsewhere – they help so much!)
So I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to say thank you…and here it is.
For anyone who’s bought my book since it came out, who’s pre-ordered it or added it to their Goodreads TBR list, who’s written a blog entry about looking forward to it or reviewed it on Amazon or elsewhere:
There’s one particular set of lines in my book that my acquiring editor at Bloomsbury quoted when she explained why she wanted to publish it in the first place. They’re lines that apply to an awful lot of us – even the ones who haven’t started out with real, visible dragon scales.
And Jenn Reese turned them into a sticker design for me! (Just click on the image to see it full-size.)
So: No matter where you live, if you’d like a sticker (or 2 stickers, one to keep and one to give away!), just email me at steph @ stephanieburgis . com (deleting the spaces in-between the words) with your postal address. There’s no immediate limit to this offer – I’ll send them to any individual who emails me and asks, until I finally run out of them! :)
And for some more good news: I just got the official confirmation that Dragon is going to be published in France, too! It sold in a two-book deal (with its sequel, my spies-and-fairies book, coming next!) to Gallimard Jeunesse. Hurrah! My fierce dragon-girl heroine will be roaring in three languages. :) (It’s being published in Germany in August!) I don’t have a publication date for the French edition yet, but I’ll add that to the webpage as soon as I find it out.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
Hooray! The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is out TODAY in the U.K.
(But whoops, that all got a lot more rhyme-y than I’d intended. Sorry! I’m a little bit giddy right now, as you can probably tell. But the book itself doesn’t rhyme, I promise! ;) It’s not that sort of book at all, as you can tell if you read the first chapter.)
It all started late one night, about 2 years and 4 months ago. I’d finally, finally gotten my younger son (still a baby) to sleep, so I’d turned off the light and was just starting to fall asleep myself (and oh, I DESPERATELY needed that sleep, by then!)…when suddenly an opening and a heroine flashed simultaneously into my mind.
A delicious opening.
A wonderful, fierce dragon-girl.
A passion for chocolate.
I couldn’t wait. For the first time in months, I didn’t even care about sleep!
I jerked upright, opened up my laptop, and with the light from the screen casting an eerie glow through the darkened bedroom, I started to type.
Once I’d finished writing down the first scene, I went to bed smiling, with all the different characters playing through my head all night long.
I am so happy that I finally get to share them with you guys!
The Bookseller calls it an “irresistible fantasy adventure”; School Library Journal calls it “a delicious fantasy treat that will satisfy readers who hunger for feel-good tales that pack a girl-power punch, like Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted or the movie Moana“; and in a lovely, serendipitous book-birthday gift, the UK’s Reading Agency has just selected it (in an announcement made today!) for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge (a program my own kids take part in every year through their local library – so I am REALLY excited to see my book on this list)!
You can find The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (or request it) at any physical bookshop in the UK, and you can order it from any online bookseller. I’m afraid there’s a little longer still to wait for Australians (who will get it on March 1st) and North Americans (who will get it on May 30th)…
…But if you do read it now, will you please let me know what you think? I have been waiting SO LONG to talk about it with you guys! I want to know who your favorite characters are! And what your draconic passion would be! (Trust me, that question will make far more sense once you’ve read the book. I promise!)
And if you’re able to take the time to write even just a very short review on Amazon or elsewhere, I will be so very grateful. ALL reviews, good and bad, make such a huge difference to a book’s success!
And I ALWAYS love seeing pictures of the book out in the wild. :)
Sadly, my poor 8-year-old is home ill today, so I can’t go out to celebrate the official book birthday. But I can’t wait for the launch party on Saturday – I’d love to see any of you guys there! And today, I’m having a yummy at-home party courtesy of my agent, as you can see. Mmmmm! The perfect way to celebrate this chocolate-filled book.
Thank you guys so much for celebrating with me. Chocolate to everybody!