I've just stuck up the cover and a brand-new excerpt from Nomad over on the Faery Rebels Tumblr, but it seemed only fair to repost here for my dear LJ friends:

Nomad hi-res cover image

Slightly spoilery excerpt below... )
I'm over at The Book Smugglers today, revealing the cover of my upcoming faery book Nomad (Orchard Books UK, January 2014) and giving away an audiobook of the previous book Swift as read by Lucy Scott (whom some of you may remember as Charlotte Lucas in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice). The giveaway is open internationally, so feel free to enter if you're interested!
Oh dear, has it really been that long since I updated my journal? Well, at least the time away has been well spent, as I was able to turn in the revised draft of Swift to my UK editor on Friday. So that is Happy-Making Thing #1 at the moment for me.

Here's a little taste of what's to come, from the beginning of Chapter 2:

[Ivy] took a step backward, feeling the dirt crumble beneath her bare feet. All at once she was acutely aware of the hairs standing up on her forearms and the nape of her neck, the boom-boom-boom of her heartbeat, the stench of her own cold sweat. “How--“ Her voice wavered. “How do you know my name?”

The spriggan moved closer, teeth gleaming in the shadows of his hood. “That’s good,” he said. “I didn’t even have to tell you not to scream. I think we’re going to get along very well.”

Hm, maybe that particular excerpt is not very happy-making. But you get the idea. Action! Excitement! Danger! That sort of thing.


Thing #2 that fills me with delight at the moment is this video, from singer Kina Grannis:

In Your Arms - Kina Grannis (on YouTube)

As an animation geek, I found the "Making Of" video even more interesting, but it's a sweet song and a lovely bit of stop-motion work.


And Thing #3 I've been enjoying of late are the books of Zoë Marriott, a UK-based author I met on Twitter who said some lovely things about my books, which caused me to check out her blog, which led me to the page of her website describing her books, where I found out that said books involved non-white female MCs, interracial romances, disability and mental health issues, high fantasy worlds based on non-Western history and culture, and other things Relevant To My Interests, which led me to leap to Book Depository and order all her books immediately.

And I was not disappointed. I enjoyed Ms. Marriott's most recent book Shadows on the Moon, a loose retelling of Cinderella in a fantasy world based on historical Japan (with a few bits of China and references to a quasi-African country), quite a bit -- she handled some thorny issues in a very interesting way, and created compelling characters that I came to care about a great deal over the course of the book.

But even then I was unprepared for how much I absolutely loved Daughter of the Flames, her second book (yes, I am reading them in reverse order). Seriously, it's like she had a checklist of tropes and ideas that I either adore unconditionally (swords! acrobatics! fire! amazing descriptions of food!), or would like to see handled in a new and interesting way (religion! disability! culture clashes!), and was ticking them off in every chapter. I actually squeaked out loud when I got to page 174 in the UK edition because [classic romance trope redacted] is one of My Favourite Things (right along with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens) and she handled it so very well.

So now I just have The Swan Kingdom, Ms. Marriott's first novel, left to read, but part of me is almost afraid to start into it because once I've read it there will be no more left until her next book comes out...
I was not expecting to be able to share this with you until September, but my lovely editor Sarah has given the go-ahead. So here, without further ado, is the UK cover for Swift:


Doesn't Ivy look gorgeous? The cover artist is a talented American illustrator named Rory Kurtz, and I absolutely love his style. I'm so delighted with the way this cover turned out and I hope you love it too!

And yes, it will be shiny like all my other UK book covers. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the foil looks with the beautiful turquoise background.

As for the release date... if all goes as planned (D.V.), Swift will be coming out in the UK on March 1, 2012.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in comments!
I suspect I've used that subject line before, but really, what could be more appropriate? I feel like I've been on a long journey these past couple of months, wandering through the misty wastelands of my own imagination without knowing where I'd end up, or whether it would be worth the trip when I got there. However, I am happy to say that as of yesterday I was able to turn in a complete draft of Swift to my editor -- and that yes, it is a story, and I'm pleased with it.

Erin Bow has just written an excellent post about What it's like to finish a book: or, one writer's neurosis in three stages which sums up my own feelings at the moment pretty well. Except that she and I differ in one significant aspect: she writes that "editing doesn’t produce the adrenaline to which one can become addicted in the rush of finishing a book. Certainly it doesn’t fill the same place in the heart..." Whereas for me, the revision stage sometimes does produce that kind of ecstatic rush, and it is definitely dearer to my heart than the thrash-and-flail process of first drafting. Once I know where the story's going (and that there is a story), I can stop worrying about the plot and concentrate on the details of character, dialogue, and the little touches of worldbuilding that will take the book to the next level.

But that will come in a few weeks, once my editor's had the chance to go over the manuscript and write me one of her lovely insightful letters suggesting all the ways in which it can be better. All sorts of things are bound to change in the ensuing revision process, and that'll be a challenge of its own. But for the moment I'm content. Not to mention excited about the potential not only of this particular novel, but of the book(s) to come... and that's a nice place to be.
I am delighted to announce that my UK publisher, Orchard Books, has just signed me up for another two-book deal!

So that means that after Swift comes out in early 2012, readers in the UK and Ireland can look forward to a sequel to that book (tentatively entitled Nomad), and also a companion novel to my YA paranormal thriller Ultraviolet (tentatively entitled Quicksilver), in 2013/14.


Also in the good news department: just this very day, Knife was announced as the winning title for this year's Concorde Book Award!

I would love to have attended the ceremony at Downend School in South Gloucestershire, but had to be content with sending a video acceptance speech instead (isn't technology grand?).


And now I am off to celebrate with cookies!
Lo, I have returned to the snowy shores of Canadia (as one of my hosts on my last night in the UK jokingly called it), tired but happy. It was a busy week packed with school visits, store events, and meetings with booksellers and sales reps, not to mention plenty of time in planes, trains and automobiles getting from one point to another.

But the folks at Orchard Books took excellent care of me, and the schoolchildren and loyal readers who attended my events in Fleetwood (check out the amazing Rossall School where I did my first school visit -- Hogwarts, eat your heart out!), Benton Park High School in Leeds, Newcastle's Royal Grammar School and the rather nifty Cramlington Learning Village, and London's Muswell Hill were all wonderfully attentive and charming.

I was also pleased to meet several folks I'd been chatting with online, some (like [livejournal.com profile] davidbrider and [livejournal.com profile] alawston) long before I was published, and also spent a lovely final evening with the Bradnam family in East Croydon, who made me very welcome.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and would gladly do it again! Though not perhaps for another year or so...

On one of my last couple of days there, I did a special interview with Orchard Books answering questions posed by readers on Twitter, such as "Which author inspired you the most?" and "Are the characters of Knife, Rebel and Arrow based on any real people?" You can see the answers here under the cut )

And I also came back with glorious swag, including some books for my boys, and an especially nifty little something you can see demonstrated in this video right here )

Now I get to spend the rest of February researching and preparing to write Swift -- my bedside table is piled high with books on Cornwall right now. I've already learned some quite interesting things about the faery legends of that area that are making me excited to start this new chapter in the series!


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