Last night, the cover for INFINITE in German appeared on the internet! So because I love seeing covers all lined up, and I assume you do too, here they are!
What does it all mean? The series title is THE SEA OF SOULS, and the book titles are ONLY ONE LIFE, ONLY ONE LOVE, and ONLY ONE NIGHT.
Only One Love is available March 17, 2014 and Only One Night is available August 18, 2014. They’re available on Amazon.de and Book Depository. (And probably other places. German readers! Help a girl out and tell me where you like to buy books?)
1. Giveaway -- better late than never, but I'm finally announcing the winner of THE DARK BETWEEN blog tour contest. Congratulations to:
Heidi Davis -- a package of goodies will be coming your way very soon!
2. The Sound of Music -- I'm rather annoyed with myself for having missed NBC's live production last night. I've never seen the Broadway musical, and I've certainly never seen NBC do anything this risky or interesting. Seems like the reviews are mixed. What did you think? Did it put you in the Christmas spirit?
3. Speaking of Christmas -- my friend Shel has featured a stocking stuffer extravaganza on her blog all this week. Check it out! She has compiled roughly a bazillion ideas for filling your stockings.
It's not a blizzard, by any means, but it's enough to shut things down in these parts. The house is dark and quiet--even the cat is sleeping in--but I had to get out and have a tromp in the snow.
5. Death Comes to Pemberley -- here's the first trailer for the BBC adaptation:
I didn't really enjoy the book, but I'm certainly game for a TV adaptation. (Chatsworth! Anna Maxwell Martin! Cravats!) The tone seems terribly dark for Austen, but of course I'll watch whenever it makes its way across the pond. Will you?
Have a wonderful weekend!
Milo insists on drinking out of the tree stand, even though he has a perfectly nice bowl of fresh water in the kitchen.
Blueberry and Muffin wearing their Dollar Store finds!
And Cookie enjoying the lights on the top of his cage.
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!
- Current Mood: happy
So book two of the goddesses series is done! Well, the first draft is. I'm putting aside for a few and then will go back and polish it up before sending off to Liz, my publisher.
2. Also been reading through Cybils nominated YA Nonfiction books. Thought I'd share:
One thing that amazed me was how Jane Eyre, had critics when it first was published. Some thought it wasn't appropriate for young ladies to read at that time. Pg. 116 of THE BRONTE SISTERS THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE by Catherine Reef ...Jane Eyre was "an anti-Christian composition" So Jane Eyre was becoming a dangerous book, one that decent mothers forbade their daughters to read.
Fascinating read into the lives of the Bronte sisters who all died too young but left us amazing classic tales.
3. One book that deals with the holocaust:
I loved this retelling of a young boy who survived the Holocaust by being one of those on Schindler's list. Fascinating and horrific at times, I couldn't put this book down.
4. One that shows how DNA solves mysteries:
Fascinating insight into how modern day science helps solve history's mysteries. Included are was King Tut murdered? Did Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russian survive? How did Napoleon die?
Love how modern science is used to explain some of these mysteries in an easy to follow format.
Also fun fact: My younger sis is a genealogist and she used DNA samples from our mother to verify that we in fact have mestizo heritage along with Jewish.
5. Totally loved this twist on the dreaded essay:
I homeschool my seventh grader son and this is a fun twist on the whole boring essay thing. Seriously, when son was in 3rd and even 4th grade he loved writing stories then our ES clamped down on the 'required' formal essay writing and he HATED to write. This book is fun and I wished kids could be more creative when it came to writing the dreaded formal essay!
**And I had to have a YA novel to read! Finally got around to reading this:
I met Shannon during ALA12. It was the ending of a really long day and I was waiting around to go to a YA author signing. She was in front of me in line. I of course introduced self and she signed some of her bookmarkers for me(which I still have!)
This YA is about a teen who survived a storm and is haunted by the girl he saw, who is a sprite. So far really good!
Finally hoping to see this:
- Current Mood: busy
Chantress Alchemy is my fourth book, so you'd think I'd be used to this by now. But my heart still started pounding when I opened up the box and saw these ARCs.
My first thought:
Someone could be reading my book right now - how wonderful!
Closely followed by:
Someone could be reading my book right now - how terrifying!
I once read a story about a little girl who was walking to a party and felt butterflies in her stomach. She asked her dad what that feeling was called. "Anxiety," he said, so that's what she called it, too. It was only when she was much older that she realized the feeling she was really trying to describe that day was anticipation.
I always feel both anticipation and anxiety when a new book goes out. But I'm very proud of this one - and excited, too.
There are limited ARCs and e-galleys available, but there's an international giveaway for a signed ARC on Goodreads that everyone can enter.
Reviewers, booksellers, librarians, and bloggers can request a review copy using this form. You also may be able to get an e-galley through Edelweiss. I wish I could guarantee a review copy to everyone who wants one, but Simon & Schuster makes the final call.
The actual hardcover book - which, unlike the ARCs, will have a glossy, glimmering cover - comes out on May 6, 2014!
I was 50 pages into my first writing project, a YA fantasy novel, when I picked up a book about writing for children.
In the first chapter, the author explained that a new writer should never start with a novel instead of a short story or write fantasy instead of realistic fiction.
But my story had a hold on me and I was not about to stop. Three books and over a thousand pages later, I’ve realized what that author meant. For a beginning writer, it’s hard enough to struggle with character, plot and setting. But fantasy and science fiction require something more—world building.
World-building is a labor of love for any writer, but a novel set in present day Boston begins with a geography, climate, social structure, and government. A fantasy or science fiction writer can set her story anywhere in the universe.
Freeing and exciting, but where do you begin? It’s a rush at times to play the role of god, but the stakes are high. Like characters, worlds need to be three dimensional and ooze verisimilitude.
When I started my current series, The Watersmeet Trilogy, I saved myself some of the angst of world building by setting it in some version of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Once I knew I was in the rocky soil of a New Hampshire-like place, I knew my characters were doing subsistence farming or hunting and gathering. Small farms led naturally to villages and towns rather than cities.
With towns came artisans: blacksmiths, wood cutters, tanners, and shepherds. From the first decision about geography and climate, I gained an economy and social structure. My world was fleshing out.
The New Hampshire setting also dictated the flora of my world. My main character, Abisina, is a healer and needed plants for tinctures, teas, and infusions. I picked up Peterson’s Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs, which covers more than 500 plants. Overwhelming—but I was only interested in plants that grew in a northern climate. Plenty of invention was still necessary.
I found what sounded like a delectable root for my dwarves to roast—Solomon’s Seal. But the name “Solomon” threatened to pull the reader out of a world where the Green Man is a central deity. So I renamed the root “Blister root.” No reader will recognize my blister roots as Solomon’s Seals, but basing them on a real plant gave them a reality my imagination couldn’t.
Sometimes that moon has to be gibbous!
I’ve worked hard and had a lot of fun making my world 3D, but I wasn’t prepared for the sense of loss I feel now that the trilogy is complete. Finishing the series means leaving behind my own private Genesis—the Obrun Mountains, the River Couldin, and Giant’s Cairn.
This may be why, in a recent conversation with my editor, I pitched two Watersmeet companions. I don’t want to work on them yet—there’s a cranky fairy demanding to have his story told first—but a time may come in the not too distant future when I’ll want to go home.
Ellen Jensen Abbott thinks that life would be perfect if she could move her home, her job, her friends and her family to the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she grew up.
Until she can convince everyone to join her, she’s content to be writing, teaching English at the Westtown School, and living with her husband and two children in West Chester, PA.
In the Watersmeet Trilogy, readers follow the outcast Abisina as she leaves her village to search for her father and for acceptance.
On her journey, she discovers the whole land of Seldara: the dwarves of the Obrun Mountains; the fauns of the western forests; the centaurs of Giant’s Cairn—some friends, some foes. When she reaches Watersmeet, she thinks she’s found the home of her dreams where all of Seldara’s folk are welcome, but soon Watersmeet’s existence is at risk and Abisina finds herself outcast again.
Can she save the home she loves? Can she unite the land against a gathering evil? Can she embrace her destiny and become the Keeper of Watersmeet?
Enter to win the Watersmeet trilogy--Watersmeet (Skyscape, 2009), The Centaur's Daughter (Skyscape, 2011) and The Keeper (Skyscape, 2013) and a Kindle Paperwhite from Cynsations at Blogger. Publisher sponsored. U.S. only. Enter here.
The story I'm working on is set in July and August, but I couldn't resist putting up some Christmas lights.
- Current Mood: cheerful
November was a busy month in the Life of Jo.
At the start of November, I took a business trip to Berlin, where I rode the rails, saw the sights (below: Alexanderplatz station, Brandenberger Tor, Berlin Wall) and ate the chocolate:
Next came Austin Comic Con, where myself and the rest of the Writing Ninjas of Texas assumed our REAL identities and wowed the crowd with literature.
The biggest highlight was meeting a girl who'd read two of my books at her school library and stopped by to pick up the third. I LOVE MY FANS!
Also, I met James Hong! Look at him, sharing his breakfast. So thoughtful.
At the end of the month, I tried my hand at my first ever home-cooked Thanksgiving turkey. I started off with a training bird
Then moved onto the big leagues. Not bad, huh?
And nobody died.
Except the turkey.
Which was already dead.
Hope you're having a wonderful winter, and we'll talk again soon!
- Current Mood: accomplished
Grumpy and frumpy, witchy and weary, frail and forgetful—none of us expects to be that kind of older person, and in reality this does not often describe normal aging.
But negative stereotypes of age, such as older characters in decline and needing help from a child, are too often the norm in books for kids.
In actual fact, late life is generally a time of great satisfaction.
Teaching empathy is important, but the images of aging we show children in books are of vital significance—to them and us. Ageism is evident in pre-schoolers. Even children who admire their own grandparents speak negatively about growing old and about older people.
Research also tells us that taking in negative stereotypes shapes us and even shortens our lives. We will become what we think as we get older. We all need and deserve a positive vision of our future.
Books that share positive messages about aging benefit both kids and adults, and they more accurately represent our diverse world of young and old.
Ageism—pure and simple. Just like racism, ageism steals away recognition of our abilities, strengths and individuality.
In the words of Rosemarie Jarski, “We will all get older, so ageism is like turkeys voting for Christmas.”
We plan for a long life, so why is it so hard to recognize we stereotype older adults?
You can hardly blame us—our society surrounds us with words and images worshipping youth. But getting old is not a failure to remain young and it should be celebrated as the triumph of strength and survivorship it is.
What can we do to balance other media and add more realistic and positive images of aging to books for young people? As writers and illustrators let’s challenge ourselves to:
- Provide older role models by creating interesting, complex characters and avoiding one-dimensional stereotypes such as poor, sick and sad. And let’s remember—dementia is not a part of normal aging.
- Share the knowledge and strength older adults have acquired because of their age and experience. See My Teacher by James Ransome (Dial, 2012).
- Highlight creativity and lifelong growth. Include a wide range of abilities and interests. See It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Lee & Low, 2012).
- Normalize aging and changing by showing it is a lifelong process. See Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (Viking, 1982).
- Show satisfaction with late life—research tells us people grow happier as they age.
- Avoid the freaky and foolish in both text and images, and choose our words carefully. “Old” is not a bad word and should not be used as such in any of our writing.
- Include older characters that are working, volunteering, or making a difference in the world. Highlight the strengths often masked by an aging body. See Grandmama’s Pride by Becky Birtha, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Whitman, 2005). Show what people of all ages have in common.
- Share the positives of intergenerational relationships, including those outside the family. See Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco (Doubleday, 2009).
Let’s try visualizing who we want to be as we grow older—both words and pictures carry powerful images.
And lastly, in the interest of full disclosure—the grandmother in my latest manuscript? She knits. But that’s not all she does...
Cynsational NotesVisit Lindsey's Blog, A is for Aging, B is for Books, and like A is for Aging on facebook.
Preparing for the Harbor Lights Festival, Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Photo by my husband
- Current Mood: busy