Thrilled to Announce

My new series, Ars Numina!

I’ve been teasing you with this revelation for a while, seems like since May or so, which is when the idea first took root.  But it takes time for a project to pass through various stages of completion, and happily, we are there! So without further ado, let me tell you about the secret project I’ve been working on. I haven’t written any romance since my NA series, and I miss it. So I hope you’re eager to read some paranormal sexytimes because I am all over it.

Welcome to the dangerous, delicious world of Ars Numina–with the fae Eldritch, ferocious Animari, and brutal Golgoth fighting for their happy endings. If you love paranormal romance and shapeshifters, this series is for you. The most notable aspect is that there are no human characters. They do exist elsewhere in the world, but these stories are set exclusively in paranormal territories. The books are both futuristic and alt-world, with enough intrigue, passion and action to sate an eager appetite.

The fae Eldritch have inspired elven and fairy lore over the years. They have strange tech and an ancient culture. A long-lived people, they are elegant and inscrutable to other supernatural powers. They also train an order of legendary assassins, known as Noxblades, and their ultimate goal is unknown.  The Animari are shifters with three main groups in power: the Ash Valley pride (cats), the Burnt Amber clan (bears), and the Pine Ridge pack (wolves). There are other shifters, but they are not part of the official alliance, and therefore lack political leverage. The Golgoth are the most feared, known to be brutal and relentless in their drive to conquest, and when they transform, it is into draconian or monstrous reptilian forms.

Tentatively, I have planned a six book arc, each about a different couple. The titles follow:

The Leopard King  (On sale at $2.99 during preorder period and release week only)
The Demon Prince
The Wolf Lord
The Shadow Warrior
The War Priest
The Jaguar Knight

And here is the blurb for book one!

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

Here’s the cover art reveal!! A thousand thanks to Kanaxa.

tlk_large
thedemonprince_digital_largeHere’s what an early reader had to say about book 1:

“I really enjoyed the story. It was exactly where my current reading glom is. Lots of detailed world building like I’d find in UF but all the romance, sex, and HEA I need. It gave me the same happy feels as Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series.”

I’m so excited about this project and hope you are too! Now for the most important part… the first book will be out on…

SEPTEMBER 28!!

I’m adding the preorder links I have now and will update this post with more as they come from the vendors.

Preorder from Amazon

Preorder from Kobo

Preorder from iBooks

Preorder from BN/Nook

Preorder from 24Symbols

(More links to come)

Feel free to post your thoughts about the series or ask questions. I’ll give away 5 preorders here, too! (Random winners) Since I’m doing this series independently, I request your support, readers. Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.

The Announcement of Awesomeness.

dance-monkey

Dance monkey in the house! (You know what that means.) Okay, first… review this post: Riding the Dragon. Are we on the same page regarding what books I’m talking about? Awesome!

So basically, we pitched these books a while back. Remember, I said I wouldn’t talk about that process and I didn’t. Mum’s the word! We got multiple offers, but in the end, we sold my new adult romance trilogy to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin. Harlequin 4232detail

 

I can’t even articulate how much my new editor loves these books! Her enthusiasm (and the excitement of the WHOLE team at HQN) has been absolutely mind-blowing.

At this juncture, you might ask, “How so, Ann?”

I’m so glad you’re curious! THIS is why:  

I Want It That Way  |  As Long As You Love Me  |  The Shape of My Heart

If you’ve clicked those links, you’ll see that the first two books are already up for pre-order. The third one hasn’t posted yet but it should be out around the end of November, if the other release dates are any clue. This expeditious production schedule requires stratospheric commitment and devotion on the part of the publisher and the author. It’s great news for readers because you get to read the first in four months instead of waiting a full year to eighteen months. Honestly, the speed at which HQN has gotten behind this series is astonishing, incredible, and amazingly wonderful.  That quickly, I have six books coming out in 2014 instead of three. I hope this thrills you as much as it does me, readers. 

These are books I wrote from sheer love and passion, wedging them around my other deadlines even though my workload is already… sufficient. (Note: others would supply the word maniacal.) I have to write on spec. I have to chase chimeras down dark alleys. And I’m so glad I did.  I’m thrilled to be working with Margo and HQN; I wanted that since 2007 when we first pitched Grimspace, so this feels like a professional milestone. I remember going to a HQN panel at RWA, just so I could meet her and thank her for the nice things she said about my book. It meant a lot to the noob I was at the time.

Pretty awesome, huh? Feel free to leave questions and comments below. A random commenter will be selected to receive an arc of IWITW.

Riding the Dragon

On December 16, I tweeted (in two parts): “Sometimes a book feels like a dead albatross hanging around your neck, drowning you. Sometimes it feels like a dragon you get to ride. Either way, you have to do the work. But NGL, I prefer the WHEE! swoops of riding the dragon to wearily paddling my way to shore.”

That got me to thinking about what I’m currently working on, which has been dragon oh-yes.gif.pagespeed.ce.SJvstdeUGXriding all the way. Some writers need a lot of fallow time, where they’re not creating or writing. For me, two things are essential in general: time off between projects (no overlap) because I immerse myself fully in each book and lots of reading during that down time. That’s how I refill the well and it’s not unusual for me to read thirty books in week, maybe more, depending on what genre and how long they are. When I’m drafting a book, I’m lucky to read one or two in a week. Besides that? I’ve learned I need the freedom to write impulse books, projects that aren’t contracted but whose ideas pounce on me and tickle-fight me until I agree to write them.

When your time is tightly contracted and scheduled, you lose that spontaneity. Don’t get me wrong; I can write good books on a schedule, but if I don’t wedge for-love projects in as well, I get cranky. Why, you might ask. Because writing professionally is a dream come true, right? I’m incredibly lucky to make my living this way. But that’s also part of the conundrum. Work is…work. It’s not joy if it’s something you are obligated to do, day after day, without regard for your personal preferences. Usually, my time is budgeted too tightly for me to go, “WHEE!” and chase a Shiny New Idea down a rabbit hole.

Yet I made time to do exactly that this winter. I write because I adore telling stories (this is my crack!), and I needed to get back to that. To quote Jessie J, “It’s not about the money, money, money.” I needed a project that’s not about promo or lists or deadlines or distribution. This one is for me, and for all readers who love a good against-all-odds love story. So when most people are winding down, I geared up to write a book over the holidays. And I did it. I love it so much that I can’t wait to figure out where this project is going. My agent is reading it right now, and I’d like to tell you a bit about the book I wrote for love. What new adult offers me is the chance to write about college-aged people, which is something I wanted to do before this market became a thing. Mine will be like contemporary romances for the college set.

From an email I wrote to Leigh Bardugo:

This NA is about a normal college girl who falls for a slightly older but still in college guy who’s a single dad. Nobody has any trauma in their past. The big conflict is the kid, basically.

The hero doesn’t want a relationship; he works, he goes to school, he’s a full-time single dad. He doesn’t have TIME to be with anyone. But he kinda can’t resist the heroine. And the heroine is all of 21, not remotely ready to take on someone else’s kid. But she too can’t resist the hero.

But they’re both so torn because you just cannot do that lightly. I mean, they can hook up but to actually date? The little dude doesn’t need to be hurt more. He’s already been left by his mom. I feel like -that- is conflict enough. And it should feel pretty real. There should be some bittersweet to it, too, like I wish I’d met you before, or later, or I could SO LOVE YOU, but maybe we can’t do this right now, but OMG, I want to SO MUCH, etc

The first book will be dedicated to Leigh because I got the idea from listening to her while we were on tour. “For Leigh Bardugo, who talks about love as if it is a question that must be answered. So I tried.”

Once I cleared my schedule, I roared through book one. And I had so much fun that I’m already writing the second book.

Series overview, (titles subject to change):

Book 1, I Want It That Way: (Ty + Nadia) grumpy ginger single dad hero + optimistic, financially struggling / hardworking tall heroine

Book 2, As Long as You Love Me: (Rob + Lauren) hot, blue collar not book smart hero who is the best friend’s older brother (heroine from book 1) + underachieving (recovering) computer nerd with social anxiety heroine

Book 3, Shape of My Heart: (Max + Courtney) my take on the NA bad boy hero with troubled past, tattoos, motorcycle, etc + bisexual Jewish heroine w/ dead first love & crazy ex-girlfriend (this one is likely to have the most cracky angst)

Anticipated questions:

1) Yes, I used Backstreet Boys song titles on purpose.

2) Yes, heroines 2 & 3 are named after Lauren Dane & Courtney Milan, though apart from being strong, smart, confident, beautiful women, they’re not modeled after them per se.

3) Yes, these are definitely romances, and there are sexytimes. I’d rate them 16+. I’m letting my 16 year old daughter read them but parents have to determine that individually.

Feel free to ask more questions about the series in comments! I won’t be disclosing any info about the pitch, once we move forward with these books, but I’ll keep you posted once I know how these books are reaching you, readers. Are you as excited as I am?!

This week in SF

So this week, two notable things happened. First, two dinosaurs went on a rampage.
dino
Granted, that didn’t happen this week, technically, but this is when the backlash occurred, first for the initial column that ran in the SFWA bulletin, and then there was the rebuttal, bemoaning the spate of anonymous complaints. dino2

I’m not anonymous. And I don’t think any of this is okay. This post is going to be anecdotal… because it needs to be. I’ve held my silence when I probably shouldn’t have. But I was in the minority, a woman writing SF, and I was afraid of career backlash. I was afraid of being excluded or losing opportunities if I didn’t play nice.

I don’t care about that anymore. If this means I don’t get into anthos or invited to parties, I don’t give a fuck. I care more about doing the right thing, about speaking out, so maybe other women who have had these experiences will do the same. If enough of us gather the courage to say, “Hey, look, this is NOT ALL RIGHT,” maybe the world will change. And if not, well, at least I stood up. I spoke. I didn’t sit quiet as a victim of sexism and let it happen.

In 2007, I sold my first book, Grimspace. It says it’s SF on the spine. I believe it to be SF, though it’s certainly written differently. I write in first person, present tense, and the protagonist is a woman with a woman’s thoughts, feelings, and sexual desires. But the book(s) take place in a rich, well-built science fiction world. There’s FTL travel and lots of planets to explore and aliens. Sounds like SF, right? Apparently not. And that’s the dismissive, occasionally scornful attitude I’ve received since 2008 when I made my first appearance as a professional in the SFF fandom.

At that con, I watched a respected male SF author get sloppy drunk and make women uncomfortable, fans and writers alike. I was one of them. I watched a respected SF writer break an elderly female fan’s heart by refusing to spend a minute talking with her. He was everything brusque, self-important, and rude. I consoled her afterward. I had a respected SF writer call me “girlie” and demand that I get him a coffee, before the panel we were on TOGETHER. When he realized I was not, in fact, his coffee girl, he didn’t apologize. And once we got into the panel, he refused to let me (or anyone else) speak. He interrupted me. He talked over me. He responded to questions that the audience asked me, when they asked me, by name, and he wouldn’t respond to the moderator, who was also female.

The panel was supposed to be about pseudonyms but he made it about how sad it was that the glory days were over. Point in fact, his wife participated more in the panel, by shouting out suggestions on what old stories he should tell next. If the panel had been called, “WHAT SF WAS LIKE IN 1969”, that would’ve been fine, I suppose, and I wouldn’t have been sitting there, feeling embarrassed, powerless, and ashamed, as I wasn’t born at that time.

I went home from that con feeling very sad and ashamed, because my colleagues had treated me like nothing, even though my book, Grimspace, sold out. There were over fifty copies in stock at BAMM, and I signed every last one of them. In fact, by the time my “formal” signing came along–with Sherrilyn Kenyon–they had none of my books left on the shelf. That was pretty cool. But despite good sales, I still felt bad.

Maybe it was a fluke, I thought. So I was excited when I found out I had been put on a SF panel at Comic-Con. I went, full of excitement and anticipation. But once I got there, I found more of the same. The moderator checked the pronunciation of the names of all male guests. (They were all male except me.) She did not ask me–and she got it wrong. Then in introducing me? She called me “the token female”. None of the male panelists objected; they were fine with it, apparently, and I was too new and scared to stand up for myself in a room full of men who were ex-military, who were actual rocket scientists, or worked for NASA. I wish I had. But I let them diminish me. I let it happen. I had a broken mic during the panel and nobody bothered to replace or fix it. The writer sharing his with me frequently took it away from me, or wouldn’t hand it over when I wished to speak. The male guests were dismissive and scornful of my work and my comments. I have seldom been so belittled or ashamed. By my peers. Why? My only difference is that I’m a woman and I’m writing SF the way I enjoy it. Maybe it wasn’t that bad, I thought. Maybe the audience didn’t notice. I was, frankly, on the verge of tears.

But then, David Brin, who was in the audience, came up to me. He shook my hand and said, “I liked what you had to say.”

The subtext I took from that was this: “Hey, sorry. Not all male SF writers are like this.”

So yeah. The audience noticed. I had slightly better experiences at WorldCon and ArmadilloCon, but I suspect it wasn’t as bad because I was roaming around with Sharon Shinn, who has more power and cachet than I had at that time. But I still encountered more than my share of fans, who dismissed my work. At that point, I was disheartened, and I stopped attending SFF cons entirely. I decided I’d rather spend my travel money otherwise. To quote my wonderful friend, Lauren Dane, “If I want to feel bad about myself, I’ll go swimsuit shopping.” My professional work shouldn’t be impacted by my gender, my appearance, my religion, my sexuality, my skin tone, or any other factor. The fact that it is? Makes me so very sad. I’ve had readers and writers stare at my rack instead of my face while “teaching” me how to suck eggs.

I’ve been fighting this battle for five years now.

And now, here’s the second thing: I’ve been made aware of a post (that I’m not linking to)  from a guy who is swinging at me again. Why? Because I’m getting my girl cooties all over his SF. He implies I’m incapable of grasping sophisticated SF references due to my gender–that I don’t actually write SF because it has women, sex, and feelings in it. I’m so tired and disheartened right now. The one bright spot was my experience at KeyCon in Canada, where I was not only made to feel welcome but valued. Not a single soul at the con questioned my credentials or my quality of fiction, due to what I don’t have in my pants.

But I’m still here. I’m still writing. You cannot shut me up. I will NOT SIT DOWN. I will not stand quietly by anymore. I am a woman. I write SF. And it’s not acceptable to treat me as anything less than an equal. I won’t stand for it. And I won’t get your fucking coffee.

—– ETA:

So this post has been up for a few hours now. It’s gotten some reads. And the hate mail has begun. Warning: some of them are fairly horrible & may be triggering.

Email 1:

“Dear Ann:

Quit your bitching. Obviously your work is drek or you couldn’t crank it out so fast. Who cares what anyone calls the crap you write? So fuck off and stop whining about equality. Shit is equal to shit.”

Email 2:

“Your such a cunt. You need a good cocking. That would give you something else to think about.”

Email 3:

“Its bitches like you that are ruining SF. Why cant you leave it to men who know what their doing?”

Email 4:

“You think you write SF? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. SF is about important issues and there is no filth. The men on those panels were right not to let you talk if this is the stupid shit you have to say.”

(All errors made by OP.)

Dance monkey has big news. And so do I.

dance monkey I’m excited to officially announce the sale of a new YA series, this time contemporary romance, to Feiwel & Friends. I love working with them, and I’m tickled to be continuing my partnership with Liz Szabla, who is such a freakin’ genius.  The whole crew at F&F is amazeballs.

Anyhow. The first book is called The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things. I think this is an amazing YA title; I feel like it’s sweet, tender, raw, heartbreaking, beautiful, and a little profound, just like first love. It’s a big, deep book, not just a romance, though it is that, but also about love and relationships at all stages, people coming together and breaking apart, sometimes for reasons they can’t control. It’s emotionally rich, I think, on a level I’ve rarely achieved.

Blurb

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

This is slotted for publication in spring of 2015, and I’m already working on some extremely cool extras. Hint: there are original songs! And music videos, starring a hot indie musician who perfectly embodies Shane’s look and musical style. I promise you’ll love this project as much as I do. The book is just so… I dunno. I feel like I need to get Courtney Milan, Karen Alderman, or Maja Colak to tell you more about it.

Anyway.  Here’s a big WHEE of excitement because this is my 30th book sold! Now you all know about my secret book, the one I wrote as a gift for my daughter. Well, she fell in love with it. So did my editor. And eventually, y’all can too.

*gambols madly*

 

YA Scavenger Hunt: Red Team Go!

scavenger huntToday kicks off a spring YA Scavenger Hunt, and there are tons of great prizes to be won. You decide how much effort to put into it, but the rewards will definitely be commensurate with the time you spend visiting various sites and gathering clues.

There are three teams: RED, YELLOW, and BLUE.

I’m on the RED team, myself. red team If at any point, you get stuck, there’s help here.

Between all of us, there are a total of 60 books being given away. You can enter all three loops so you have a chance at all of them, or you can just do one team giveaway for a total of 20 books. Either way, it’s up to you. Pretty exciting stuff, right? You’ll also receive sneak peeks of bonus content along the way! This includes new scenes, deleted scenes, and cover reveals! You don’t want to miss any of it.

I have the pleasure of hosting the talented S.L. Naeole, author of the Belonging Trilogy: DARK VEIL. She’s also written about angels (the Grace series) and the Sidhe (the Faeble series). Let’s get to know her better before I show you the good stuff, okay?

author pic About Ms. Naeole, in her own words: “I write a lot, I dream a lot, and sometimes I write about what I dream. I’ve got a serious addiction to snark, and I’m not afraid to use my weapon of choice: sarcasm. With four children, a husband, a cat, and a few invisible friends, it’s never quiet in my home but, I suppose, that’s what makes escaping to my work that much more worthwhile. ”

Dark Veil About DARK VEIL: Fallon Timmons didn’t know what to expect from the small island her adopted parents grew up on, but whatever it was, she thought she was prepared for it. Then Liam appeared, all teeth and venom, with a warning to stay away from his sister Audrey and from him. It was a warning that she was not going to heed, no matter what the strangely attractive boy said.

Liam Mace was used to seeing the tourists on the Rock, and looked especially forward to them leaving. But Fallon wasn’t leaving. In fact, she was staying. Worse, his sister was growing attached to her, and that was never a good thing…

You never become attached to your food.

Black Cat Rock, or the Rock as it is called, is the home of the Panthus, shape-shifting cats of magnificent size and strength who live in their human skins only to protect their secret. During the day they catch fish to sell, or wait on and serve the tourists who come to visit their island, but at night, the fangs come out and the hunt begins as tourist becomes prey.

Does that whet your appetite? You should also check out the first book in her Faeble series, GOSSAMER. Which brings us to Ms. Naeole’s bonus content! You lucky readers get to check out the first four chapters of DAMSELFLY, which is the second book in the Faeble series. (I’ve read GOSSAMER and it’s really good.)


First four chapters of DAMSELFLY here.
To obtain access, enter the username YASH and the password YASH_2012 into the login section on the right.

If that wasn’t enough cool bonus content, you also get a second helping of awesome! Here’s the cover debut of SWEET SILENCE, the next book in her Belonging series.

Sweet Silence

And that’s not all! You can enter to win a copy of Ms. Naeole’s book by clicking here. Click and tweet; simple, right?

Don’t stop playing! To continue hunting for clues and reading more exciting, exclusive content, click on to JERI SMITH-READY’s blog. I know she has some delicious goodies waiting.

Finally, this post has been sponsored by the letter R. (Psst. This is an important clue. Remember it!)

PS – Go look for my exclusive content, too! At reader request, I rewrote a scene from Fade’s POV, so you get the first ever glimpse inside his head–and how he feels about Deuce. Oh, and you can also win a signed copy of ENCLAVE. So there’s that, too. *g* Happy hunting!

Special extra contest: Once you find my secret content in the hunt, come back & tell me what you thought in comments. And you could win…

A SIGNED OUTPOST ARC.

The Stages of Drafting a Book

1) Asthmatic terror, as expressed through procrastination
So the time has come for you to start the next book. You can’t write it yet! Your house is dirty. You haven’t finished the Sudoku book you started. There are homeless ferrets somewhere in North America! (Why do you put it off when you love writing? Well, personally speaking, it’s due to fear of failure. How can this book ever measure up to the last one? What if it doesn’t? What if the first [insert number] books were a fluke and you’ve lost your mojo?) Eventually, you fight through this morass of abject stage fright and boldly create a new file for your imminent work of breathtaking genius. Then, if you’re like me, you freeze at the sight of all that white space. Your brain seizes. Eventually, you struggle through this as well, and you begin to write, which brings you to stage two…

2) The Honeymoon Period
Once you’ve gotten past the rough patch, the old magic kicks in. Why were you so worried? This is awesome. This is natural. This is the BEST BOOK EVER. You type frantically, hour after hour. Your word count piles up. You walk around so gleefully lost in your own world that your spouse secretly wonders if you’re cheating. Once you clear up that misunderstanding, you write some more. Your characters are brilliant; your plot is air-tight. Every little word you write is magic; even the commas are little curls of love. This lasts until 30K or so. (Place in manuscript may vary according to length of finished project). Which sadly culminates in…

3) The Swampy Middle of Doom
Shortly after 30K, your momentum peters out. You start thinking this book is kind of boring. And what the hell are you supposed to do with these annoying people for 30K more words, before you can begin the downward arc to wrap things up? They just talk all the time, and the action scenes are wooden. Your plot has begun to bog down, and you can’t remember what the point of that thing on page 87 was anyway. Why didn’t you take better notes?! Jotting down a plot solution on a stained Starbucks napkin really was not your best move. You despair of ever finishing this steaming pile of rubbish yet you press on, mostly because you have a deadline. (Maybe you can plead terminal illness? Except they always figure out that was bullshit when you don’t die. Damn.) Your hatred for this project now burns hotter than the fire of a thousand white hot suns. You limp along, positive nothing has been so wretched since Gollum trailed that darn hobbit while moaning piteously, “My precioussss.” Somehow you proceed into…

4) End, glorious end
Around 60K or so, you have become inured to your own crapulence. You are a dogged marvel of persistence in the face of mediocrity. You write on, day after day. The magic is gone, but you will do your duty, dammit! But somehow, around 70K, things start not to seem so bad. This line… it’s rather witty. And the hero isn’t a total waste of oxygen. He has a few compelling moments here and there. You smile for the first time in ten days as you write a scene. Why? Well, it’s not bad. And you’re almost to the end. You start gaining momentum again, start that race to the finish line, because you do love these characters, after all. You want to finish telling their story. You do, you do! And when you type the magical words that conclude their saga, few things have ever been so satisfying.

Congratulations, you’re a writer! Sadly, there’s no cure.

Dance monkey does the YA sashay

dance monkeyIt has been really hard to keep quiet for the last two weeks. Major excitement has been percolating behind the scenes, but now, at last, I have clearance to announce the uber-exciting news.

NEW DEALS

HORDE, the final book in the dystopian Razorland trilogy, again to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends, in a nice deal. By Laura Bradford, World English

MORTAL BEAUTY, Doctor Faustus meets Mean Girls in this edgy paranormal revenge trilogy set in a dark world of secret societies, twisted bargains, and forbidden love. Three books, in a good deal, to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends. By Laura Bradford, North American.

Those are my guesstimates of what the PM announcements will say. How close I am, who knows? But the important bits are, I have sold FOUR more YA titles to Feiwel & Friends. Squee! Uber squee!

The schedule will tentatively look like this:

Fall 2013 Horde
2014 Mortal Beauty
2015 Dire Charm
2016 Dead Lovely

Title and projected dates may change. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.)

It’s so awesome to be able the share the news at last. Feel free to post comments, questions, and squees.

Enclave

enclave
First, I thank everyone who has written about the book. I try to keep up with all fanmail, but it’s getting more challenging, so if I miss you, don’t take it personally. I did read it, I promise. And if you really need a reply, just nudge me, and I’ll get on it.

Next, I have a few comments about the book, responding to the three biggest questions I get.

Why did you make it a stupid love triangle? I hate triangles!

The romance is not a triangle. Deuce doesn’t understand relationships the way a normal girl does; she doesn’t realize what’s causing Fade to pull away or that Stalker is pursuing her. Her emotional intuition is pretty close to nonexistent, and she misses cues that seem obvious to us because she’s very underdeveloped in that regard. Yes, it’s obvious to us that Fade digs her and that Stalker does too, and that by training with him, she’s making Fade think she doesn’t like him. But Deuce doesn’t think in those terms. Stone and Thimble were her closest friends in brat-hood, and she never encountered an either/or situation with them. And that’s really her primary source of social experience. She has no romantic history whatsoever.

How can you care so little about abuse victims? What Deuce says to Tegan is unconscionable!

First, this question assumes that I, personally, have made some statement–that I think victims should “get over it”. This is not the case. However, my modern sensibilities have no place in a dystopian novel, where the continuation of the human race is threatened. That’s part of the conflict, in fact, between kindness and survival, compassion and callous strength. It is impossible for Deuce to have the kind of understanding that I do in regard to Tegan’s situation. I wrote the character as true to her world and her upbringing.

How can Deuce like an evil monster like Stalker?

He’s an amoral survivor who lives in a dystopian society where horrible things happen every day. You’ll find out more about his past in book two and what Tegan suffered… and why. (Oddly nobody has asked why she was beaten. As a breeding female it makes no sense that she would be as the Wolves needed her to keep the population up.)

Stalker cannot be judged by our yardstick of what’s acceptable; he is a product of the society in which he was raised. How can he possess our sense of right and wrong until he’s exposed to different ways of thinking?

By that same token, Deuce and Fade are not nice people, either. They left an innocent child to die. In the Razorland world, certain mores fall away. And that provides the fulcrum for the question that I’ll try to answer before the end of the series. How far is too far? How much of our humanity can we yield in the name of survival before we become the monsters?

The whole trilogy is dark, though it ends on a hopeful note. Some people can’t roll with my story choices, and that’s all right. No book is for everyone. That said, I promise plenty of ass-kicking, more world-building goodness (you find out about the Freaks’ origin), more romance, and more heartbreak in Outpost. My beta reader said it was ten times as intense as Enclave.

Dispelling Popular Fallacy

It has come to my attention that there’s a bad, nasty rumor going around the internet. I am here to shine the light of truth on… well, bad nasty rumors going around on the internet. I live to serve. (And watch Viggo Mortensen movies. So totally watching Appaloosa tonight. But that’s another post.)

So here we go.

Popular Fallacy #147: “If you don’t plot your books in advance, you can never sell on proposal.”

My dear friends, this is hogwash. You only need to know the building blocks of creating a bullshit synopsis that is 98% character and backstory and 2% vaguely delineated hints of a plot. For some of you, the art of BS may not come naturally. This is too bad. You should have done what I did, which was join the debate team in high school because I had a crush on one of the guys but I was far too lazy to prepare for matches so I did extempore events. It taught me to make shit up on the spot, a skill that stands me in good stead to this day.

Let’s say you want to sell a romantic suspense, so here’s a good starting point for your synopsis.

Man meets woman. They conflict. They have smoking sex. Danger happens. They fight bad people. A few things blow up. Car chase. They make out in the rain. Terrible misunderstanding! Then they make up and live HEA.

Are you laughing? Azteclady said I needed to put a spew alert on that synop. But here’s the thing. From this, you can totally build up. Add the names. Put in a couple of paragraphs about how Pamela, your heroine, was abandoned as a child and she now has trust issues, which cause her to physically assault the hero in the ultimate romantic suspense meet cute. The point isn’t summarize the whole dang book. The point is to give a feeling for what the book will be like–that means your synop needs to reflect the actual voice you’re going to use in the book. It’s more important for it to be interesting, have a great hook, and keep the reader’s attention than lay out what happens from page one to page 342.

I’ve sold quite a few books now on proposal, and I can’t plot. I think it’s cool when people can, but if I outline or plot, I lose interest in writing the story. So you can totally start with a single paragraph that looks generic as hell and build outward, depending on your genre. If you build it, they will come. Can you sum up your book in a single paragraph? (Not a blurb, mind you, but a super mini-synopsis.) Give it a shot in comments.