Release Day: KIN!


It’s release day for Kin, the final fairytale retelling in my Beauty & Madness series!

Full moon. Glowing eyes. Red lips. And such sharp, sharp teeth…

In the kin world, girls Ruby de Varre’s age are expected to play nice, get betrothed, and start a family—especially if they’re rootkin, and the fate of the clan is riding on them. But after a childhood of running wild in the woods, it’s hard to turn completely around and be demure. Even if your Gran is expecting it.

Then Conrad, handsome and charming, from a clan across the Waste, comes to New Haven to seal alliance between their two families. The sparks fly immediately. Conrad is smart, dominant, and downright gorgeous. Yet as Ruby gets to know him more, she starts to realize something’s…off.

Then, the murders start. A killer stalks the city streets, and just when Ruby starts to suspect the unimaginable, she becomes the next target. Now Ruby’s about to find out that Conrad’s secrets go deeper than she ever could have guessed—and it’s up to Ruby to save her Gran, her clan, and maybe even herself….

Ruby’s story was so, so difficult to write. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the girls. All three hold a component of the young woman I was, perhaps, and it’s difficult to let that go. Not to mention these books, like the original fairy tales, cover some very dark territory indeed. I leave it to the reader to decide if they serve.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that Ruby owes a great deal to Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland, a book that told me I wasn’t the only one long, long ago. Ruby also serves as a reminder to me that even the people who seem the most “together” have secrets, flaws, and fears all their own.

Above all, Ruby (and Cami and Ellie) belong to the world at this point. I’m so glad their interconnected tales can all be seen at once, now. And if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of release day in my usual state of nerves and adrenaline, with a heavy soupçon of hiding in the corner…

Real Commitment

swac Issue 21 of Fireside is out, which means more Geoff and Abby! True to form, Abby’s decided the most efficient way to get what she wants, and in this case, that means getting into a bar-brawl.

Do I even need to say how much I really like this character? Once she makes up her mind, she is ALL IN, no matter the craziness. I respect that, both in characters and in meatspace. It shows real commitment.

kin Also, tomorrow is the release day for KIN, my retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Preorders and first-week book orders are important, so I’m going to be hitting the marketing gong for a little bit.

This is the last YA book I’ll be releasing for a good long while, possibly ever. Publishing in YA for Strange Angels was a wonderful experience, but there was a certain friction between the publisher, I think, wanting something a little more “marketable” and me in my corner, just not that sort of writer. The issues became somewhat acute during the fairytale retellings. I do not write by committee and will resist, in any way possible, any suggestion meant to take the blood and guts out of a story because “kids can’t handle that!” I refuse to “talk down” to younger readers, and while I think the fan response justifies that, it’s nerve-wracking for a publisher. I perhaps wasn’t as graceful as I could be during the whole process, either. During Wayfarer, the Cinderella retelling, I was buying a house, and we all remember how stressful THAT was.

So, yeah. The constraints of YA, and the energy spent fighting against dilution and bullshit in that genre, mean I’m tapped out and won’t return there for a good long while.

All that aside, I love the fairytale retellings with a fierce, fierce love. I fought for them, and the covers are wonderful, and I think in each of them I ended up saying what I set out to say. I think that comes through in them. I hope readers agree.

Preorders Ahoy!

Midian Unmade News! And lots of it. I got this in the mail yesterday–an advance uncorrected proof of Midian Unmade, which yours truly has a story in. It was lovely to hear from Joseph Nassise that the anthology had gotten off the ground, and the story, Bait and Switch, is one that had been knocking around inside my head ever since he told me there was a chance at a Nightbreed anthology. It was loads of fun to take Barker’s universe for a spin. It comes out in August, but you can get your preorder on now.

kin Also upcoming is the last Tale of Beauty & Madness (which was not my idea for a series title, I preferred Human Tales): Kin. It’s due out in the very beginning of March, and should you feel so inclined, you can preorder it as well. Preorders are very helpful to authors, they make for good arguments when contract time comes back around, so if you’ve been waiting for another book from me, might I suggest Ruby’s story? It’s the last in the trilogy, and my last YA offering for a while. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to writing young adult stuff.

Trailer Park Fae Last but not least, there’s Trailer Park Fae. (Again, not my idea.) It’s due out near the end of June, and again, preorders are very helpful to authors.

I’m also working on self-pubbing a retelling of my favorite fairy tale of all–Beauty and the Beast. That process is moving ahead smoothly, and I should have more news about it soon. I’m playing with the idea of releasing it in paper first, ebook later, but we’ll see. I’m also offering editing packages again.

Thus concludes my not-very-frequent shilling of my creative wares. One of the things about publishing is that it’s a waiting game, a book takes a while to move through any quality-control process, and I can’t imagine just throwing a manuscript out unedited as some people seem to be doing nowadays. I am, however, considering posting a trunk novel on Wattpad under another name, just so you can see what unedited raw stuff looks like. We’ll see.

For now, though, I’ve two virus-soaked superspies to get into trouble, and some recovery from yesterday’s frantic rushing around to attend to.

See you in a bit, dear ones.

Editing and WAYFARER

Web of steel So. There’s news.

I’m now offering ebooks through my site, and have integrated my editing waitlist and packages as well. The transition has been pretty painless, thanks in no small part to Skyla Dawn Cameron, who is quickly becoming my go-to minion for everything from tarp-and-shovel to website maintenance. She has big dreams for a fan forum here at Ragged Feathers, so look out for that! If you have an ebook that needs formatting, a decent cover for your book, or help navigating self-pubbing with Lightning Source, etc., she’s patient, thorough, reasonably priced, and very communicative with her clients. I can’t recommend her enough.

Also, Wayfarer is coming out in March!

The Charmer’s Ball. Midnight. And one glass slipper…

Newly orphaned, increasingly isolated from her friends, and terrified of her violent stepmother, Ellen Sinder still believes she’ll be okay. She has a plan for surviving and getting through high school, which includes keeping her head down and saving any credits she can earn or steal. But when a train arrives from over the Waste beyond New Haven, carrying a golden boy and a new stepsister, all of Ellie’s plans begin to unravel, one by one.

Just when all hope is lost, Ellie meets an odd old woman with a warm hearth and a heavenly garden. Auntie’s kindness is intoxicating, and Ellie finally has a home again. Yet when the clock strikes twelve on the night of the annual Charmer’s Ball, Ellie realizes that no charm is strong enough to make her past disappear…

In a city where Twisted minotaurs and shifty fey live alongside diplomats and charmers, a teenage girl can disappear through the cracks into safety–or into something much more dangerous. So what happens when the only safety you can find wants to consume you as well?

Now available for preorder at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and independent bookstores.

I don’t often say this, but…there’s a lot riding on this book, including whether or not I’ll continue writing YA. So, if you’ve been meaning to try out some of my YA, now would be a most excellent time to do so. Preorders count in publishing, folks. It’s almost ridiculous how much they count.

There are a couple other things boiling, including a Selene ebook, but these are the only ones I can talk about. Speaking of Selene, it will be taken down around the 15th of February, so if you haven’t finished the serial and would like to, click on over and get it while you can! The ebook will contain not only the Brother’s Keeper prequel, but also Just Ask, the short story about how and why Selene returns to Saint City…and Nikolai.

First, though, there’s a bit of work to be done, so I’m submerging again. See you around…

Kin Snippet

The hard revisions on Kin–Ruby’s story, the third Beauty & Madness book–are done. Tomorrow I layer in more detail in the all-new scenes. Right now, though, here’s a little snippet from the end:

Being scared and alone was worse than anything else, even a beast with empty eyes and scythe-claws. It was worse than the pinching, the bruising, it was worse than the certain knowledge of being a disappointment to everyone you loved.

Being scared together, though…that was different. It wasn’t incredibly better, but it wasn’t quite so awful. At least someone was in the boat with you, and you could make things better by comforting them.

I don’t remember writing that, so coming across it on this revision was…unexpected. And comforting.

Tea, Day 3

Day 30: Kerplunk! I’m on Day 3 of tea in the mornings instead of coffee. This is going about as well as one would expect. I’m a little clumsy without my morning jolt, and I’ve noticed the 3pm slump is full of WAAAAY more typos. This will go on for about a week, after which I’m free to go back to the coffee if it turns out that wasn’t what was throwing my body out of whack. So yeah, big fun for everyone.

Anyway, a PSA: Alibris finally has a banner up about their database situation. Basically their inventory information tanked a week ago and no orders have been reaching the booksellers who list through them. This morning, there appears to be a funky workaround, but it’s dealing with backlog and other issues–and the inventory database is still not operational. So, if you’re ordering through Alibris for anything, just be aware.

Now, for a week there they were taking orders (which includes charging a credit card or at least putting a hold on it) and not telling customers that the orders weren’t getting through to sellers. This does not inspire me to confidence in the company as a whole. Still, it would be a shame if Alibris tanked, because Abebooks is owned by Amazon (since 2008 or thereabouts, I believe). So I’m hoping they can get their act together.

I finished revisions on Iron Plague and got it sent off to writing partner, agent, and an editor who threatened to hunt me down if I didn’t send it to her. (I think she was joking. Better safe than sorry, though.) I don’t expect it to sell–it was written solely to please myself–but I’m glad to have achieved what I set out to do. Which was finish the damn book and get it in reasonable first-draft shape. *waves a small pom pom* Yay.

Speaking of which, I’m still doing NaNoWriMo deals–I may extend the editing deal through the first half of December for those who want their NaNo novel looked at.

This week I go into revisions on the third Tale of Beauty & Madness–Ruby’s story. Little Red Riding Hood and her Woodsdowne clan. I should also look at proofs for the hardcover for The Quill & the Crow. Never a dull moment here at Chez Saintcrow.

Over and out.

Beauty, Madness, Red Plague

deflam /Free Photos

Yeah, so…apparently I’m dating. This surprises everyone, me included, but I guess when he carries all your stuff through Ikea and brings you flowers each time he sees you, that’s really guy-code for “I like you.” (Who knew?) Plus, my inner goddess approves of all the adoration. It’s nice to be flattered.

In other news, it’s been Officially Announced, so I suppose I can finally say something about it here: Razorbill will be bringing out my next YA series, Tales of Beauty & Madness, soonish. I’ve been fascinated with fairytales and Brothers Grimm for a long time, and the first Tale, Heartless, is something that’s been boiling in the back of my head for a while. I’m working on the second book now–the series is also partly my homage to Kieslowski’s Three Colors, which just about exploded my tiny little brain when I saw it the first time. Further bulletins as events warrant–I will tell you, though, that my working title for the first Tale was Snow White and the Seven Mob Bosses. Heh.

I’m also working on the second Bannon & Clare, The Red Plague Affair. I broke 25K yesterday, and the book is finally starting to hang together as a whole, though it hasn’t made that clicking sound and started pulling itself forward under its own steam (ha ha) just yet. There has been a monkey, a broken neck, and the death of a character so far, though. So the initial signs are good.

How about some links, too? Anna Genoese gives a piece of Very Good Advice, Chuck Wendig talks about creativity, Ilona Gordon notes a few things about procrastination (and I should tell you, both graphics pretty much approximate my working style), and a very interesting piece on Cardinal Richelieu. Enjoy! I’ll be over in the corner beating my head on my desk and weeping softly while I try to make Red Plague suck a little less.

Wish me luck.