Monday, June 29, 2015

Norway Trip part I: Bergen

We're back from Norway!! We had a wonderful time. It's such a beautiful country! Here are some pics from our first stop, Bergen, on the southwest coast. The harbor is famous for its old wooden houses, and the landscape around it is riddled with fjords. We didn't go to any of the big ones, but just Osterfjord, which is a short loop trip by boat from the Bergen harbor. 

One of the loveliest places, a short trip from Bergen, is Lysoen, the villa of 19th-Century violinist Ole Bull. To get there you take a tram, a bus, and a boat.

On approach:

The view from the house, our first taste of the islandy coastline of Norway. Zoom in on the Norwegian coast on a map. It's crazy. There are over 50,000 islands, and I don't know how many fjords and inlets. It's WILD.

Trails around the house for hiking:

The inside, some kinds fancy. The style is traditional Norwegian with a bit of Russian fairy tale flair.

Little photographer:

The result:

Another effort:

 Some pics around town:

Clementine on the fjord boat writing an epic He-Man book:

More later on the rest of the trip!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unlock Karou & Brimstone!

Hey guys! Guess what! The DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS paperback is almost here!

And to celebrate we've done something fun. Remember how when it came out in the UK we released the original first chapter of DREAMS? (Find that here.

Well, this time I've dug down even deeper to find...

...the very first writings ever of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. I'm always saying how there was this one day that I sat down to write something-anything-please-god-let-it-be-fun and Karou and Brimstone just showed up and started talking? Well, I've unearthed that day's writing and annotated it for you! Karou's a little different, as you'll see, but there are a lot of similarities too. 

How do you read it? See here:

Isn't that cool? So please find your favorite passage and go over to Twitter and help unlock this chapter! Thanks to the awesome folks at Little, Brown for doing fun stuff like this! 

And thanks to you guys, coolest readers ever, for playing along! 

I got my box of books! Here they are, so gorgeous :-) I still think of these as "Back to the Future" boxes. If you're of a certain age and you've always wanted to be a writer, you probably remember this: in BACK TO THE FUTURE, the dad character played by Crispin Glover gets a box in the mail from his publisher and it's full of his author copies of his first book. I've discovered that writers remember that scene and no one else does! 

Thanks, all!


Friday, May 15, 2015

New Book News!!!

Finally, I can talk about the new book! I want to tell you aaaalllll about it--about the world building and the characters and the magic and the situation--but it'll be a while before it comes out (fall '16) so I have to be vague for now. 

My fabulous publisher Little, Brown made this announcement today, woo hoo!

(funny that they pulled this photo of all photos to go with it :-)

I'm thrilled to be continuing forward with Little, Brown, my amazing editor Alvina Ling, wonderful publisher Megan Tingley, and the whole rest of the crew. My equally fabulous UK publishers, Hodder & Stougton and editor Kate Howard, will be publishing it across the pond. The past five years have been AMAZING. The next three books'll see me another five years or so down the road, so this is a big chunk of my life and career and I'm happy to spend it in such wonderful company. And of course, my agent, Jane Putch who is with me every step of the way...

...and the biggest piece of what's made the past five years so amazing has been
and I hope you guys will be here for the next five too!!!!!!

The book I'm working on now is called THE MUSE OF NIGHTMARES, and it's a story that's lived in my head for...maybe twenty years, in some form or other? The pieces weren't all there twenty years ago, but the character was, and over time, more elements joined her until I began to feel the shape of the story that it was to become (is still in the act of becoming :-).

After I finished DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS (and after recuperating for a while) I started to think about what I wanted to write next. I'd been dedicated to Karou's story for five years, and here I suddenly had a blank slate before me. Exciting!!!! I asked myself:

If I could write aaaanythiiiing right now, what would it be?

And I could write anything!!!!! The coolest feeling. And also huge. How do you decide? There were three frontrunners, all of which had been taking shape in my mind for at least a few years, if not twenty. I developed them all and wrote up pitches. 

Admission: I'd never written a pitch before. My previous sales were of partials (partial manuscripts), so this was new. It was fun! And hurray Jane liked them! And hurray Alvina liked them! So here we go. All I'm saying about THE MUSE OF NIGHTMARES so far is this:

There was a war between gods and me, and men won. The few surviving children of the gods have grown up in hiding, dreading the day they know must come: when humans find them, and end them. 
That day is at hand.

Hurray! *throws confetti at self*

Andy throwing confetti photo Andythrowingconfetti.gif

I look massively forward to being able to tell you more, because that line doesn't begin to touch on the flavor and texture and mystery and coolness of what I love about this story. All in good time!! 

Also, I'll have some announcements really soon about fun stuff having to do with the DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS paperback release, so check back! I have something super fun for you! 


P.S. I just created a new blog index label for The Muse of Nightmares and it got me all excited. This is the very beginning of a new creation, and I couldn't be happier. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

You. Can. Do. This.

This is my message for myself today:

“The only way [the book can be written] is to set the unbook—the gilt-framed portrait of the book—right there on the altar and sacrifice it, truly sacrifice it. Only then may the book, the real live flawed finite book, slowly, sentence by carnal sentence, appear.”
-Bonnie Friedman

One of my favorite quotes about writing, and something I have a very hard time doing. Today I am going to try especially hard to heed this going forward in the current book (about which: details very soon!!). You know how I am, I get so tied up in knots about finding the absolute right incarnation of every scene, every character, every bit of dialogue, every turn of phrase. 
But what I really need to do right now is pull up the fricking mossy anchor and just WRITE. 
So I'm going to do that. 



Yoda – Do or Do Not

That's all. Here I go!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Original 1st chapter: DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS

Hi there! Want to read the original first chapter of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS? Well you can! You just have to jump through one of three very simple hoops!

Original first chapter? What's that mean? 

The hardest part of writing a book for me is getting started. I can't move forward into the meat of the story until I get the beginning right, and so I usually I spend a ridiculously long time trying out openings. The first chapter is the first big hurdle, but I don't really feel like things pick up speed for me until I've written the entire first act.

In the case of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, after a lot of brainstorming, I thought I had figured out my opening, my way into the story. See, it's the reader's way in, but mine too. I can't write the book till I find the right door that lets me inside. I thought this was it, and I really enjoyed writing this chapter. I won't say anything specific about it, you can read it, but you can begin to sense from it a couple of things.

It would have taken the story in quite a different direction from the get go, and it starts in a different time and place. See, I was trying to pick up the story where DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT leaves off. After the epilogue, that is, which is basically: the eve of battle, with the combined forces of the Misbegotten and the chimaera about to return to Earth to take on Jael. I had devised a plan involving Karou and another character to get them to Jael, but there was a problem.

When I tried to write it, I found I was having to backfill all that had happened between the last chapter of DAYS and the epilogue. Basically: the combining of the two armies in the Kirin caves. That was a pretty big damn deal, and I was trying to SKIP IT. What I realized is that I had to back the book up and overlap the ending of DAYS to show how it had gone down, because it was hugely important. 

Then, later, the new character, Eliza, took on a much greater role in the story than I'd originally planned, so the first chapter ended up being hers.

Some writers are able to continue through a draft even if they have a niggling feeling they haven't nailed the opening yet, but I can't. So I'm like some kind of madwoman in the early days, trying out a bunch of different things and tossing them out.

Anyway, if you want to see the original first chapter of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, which helped lead me to the epiphanies about what the opening actually needed to be (it seems that it's only through discovering a number of wrong ways that I find my path to the right way), go HERE:

There are three different ways you can "unlock" the chapter and get a password to read it. Let me know what you think! I'm curious. 

(I'm especially fond of the last line :-)

Oh, and look! More AMAZING FAN ART!!!

This one is from Katherine Soldevilla, an artist in LA who is available for hire (info below; portfolio here). SO UNIQUE & WONDERFUL! I've never seen a Brimstone like this one before. I love them all!

And these are some more pieces from @LesyaBlackBird in Moldova, who I also featured in the last post. Crazy talent! I LOVE these images!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Some recent awesome fan art!

Fan art is one of my favorite things! Thank you so much to everyone who applies their creativity to my characters. I LOVE IT!

These first three from BlackBirdInk in Moldova!


Hurray, a tattoo! Thank you!!!! :-) :-)

These are pieces I can't credit with links; they're originals that were given to me at events. On the left,  by Marla Rios, on the right, by CassT:

This Ziri by (I think) "Siddob" in "the place with the kangaroos" :-)

by Tris Kelsey:

Photo by Effy. So cool:

Kitties say hi! 

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