Friday, July 27, 2012

All the Pretty Notebooks

This week I've finally started drafting on my new project. I wish I could tell you more about it, I really do, but I can't. All I can say at this point is that it's a completely different world from my Unearthly universe (although, in some ways, not so much, as this new novel takes place largely in Idaho--at least the settings are similar) with a very different type of main character. Which is a good thing. I love Clara, and I've had so much fun with her for the past four years, but at this point I am getting a bit tired of her voice. It happens.

Love you, Clara. Now be quiet.

One of the things I love best about a new project is a new set of notebooks. These days I often write my draft zero out long hand, so I can get away from the computer and the allure of facebook and Twitter and the tons of emails that await me every time I sit down at my desk. I get a lot more done if I slip off to some quiet place with a notebook. And, like most writers, I am particular about the kind of notebook I work with. I like me a lined journal (college ruled or smaller, if I can find it) that will lay flat on a table. I like these pens I found about a year ago from Pilot that are made of recycled water bottles-- a gel roller with a super smooth line. I love those days when I go through all the ink in a pen in one day of work.

Yes, I'm a pen murderer. At least these pens are refillable.

I've found that one novel typically takes me 4 notebooks, to get from the first draft through the last draft of major revisions. I'm getting quite the collection, see?

Not all of my notebooks, but some: the bottom one is for Maggie's story, which I've been jotting down for a couple years just to understand Maggie and her past, the white and green is 2 out of the 4 of Hallowed, the 4 green with elephants is Boundless, the black and white composition book is--can you guess what that might be? If all goes well you might get to find this out in December or so-- and the top, my new project!!)

So, yay! New project! I have been refraining myself from working on this new book for almost a year now. The story is burning bright in my brain, and I only hope I can get it down fast enough, so it does not burn out before it's all on the page. I have about 50 handwritten pages of notes on the characters and their world so far, just waiting for me to pick it up for serious and draft.

I am so ready! Let the fun writing begin!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Endlessly and YA Author Week

Hi, y'all! Today I'm off to do a YA library event and signing with Kiersten White, Marie Lu, and Robin LaFevers! Love those ladies and their books!

Yes, for some reason they put up a copy of my UK Hallowed, but hey, it's all good. If you're coming to Oceanside, see you there at 4pm! Be sure to get a few of my Unearthly temporary tattoos!

Also, big happy book birthday to Endlessly, the amazing and fantastic end to the Paranormalcy trilogy by Kiersten White. I am totally going to give Kiersten a big ol' awkward hug and say congrats! Because it is a great book. I blurbed it, actually. Like this:

“There’s not a character in YA fiction that I enjoy reading more than Evie’s. Endessly had me in its clutches from the first hilarious page to the last breathtaking sentence. A fun, heartfelt, and dynamic ending to a marvelous series.”

So yeah, I dug that book. A lot. Check out the trailer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Very Busy Spider

Ever so often, I read this book to my son:

It's about a spider building a web.

On every page, a new animal shows up and asks the spider to hang out with it: "'Quack, quack,' said the duck. 'Want to go for a swim?'" But the spider never answers. She is always very busy spinning her web. This goes on and on, page after page, from morning until night, the spider not responding to anybody, just spinning and spinning and spinning, until finally she finishes her web. Then an owl flies by and says, "Who? Who? Who built this beautiful web?" But the spider doesn't answer then, either. She's asleep. "It had been a very, very busy day." And thus ends the book.

I am so totally the spider right now.

(Eric Carle, by the way=genius.)

So. I have turned in the next round of revisions for BOUNDLESS. Over the past several weeks many, many people have tried to get my attention, and I have not responded. So sorry for that, people. I was very busy spinning my web.

Revisions are usually tough and slow for me, but THIS revision. Oh dear Lord. So many threads. So many characters and their arcs. So much to set up. There were days a pesky fly flew into my web and thrashed it to shreds. There were days when I was inexorably trapped in the web and I started to feel suspiciously like the pesky fly. There were days I honestly considered whether this web-spinning thing was a healthy career decision. 

I drank a lot of iced tea. Which helped me stay up into the wee cool hours of the morning when the house was quiet and I could think. And then I would lie in bed later trying to turn off my brain, which insisted on revising my book, even when I'd clearly told it to stop. Even in my sleep, I revised. I often woke with a dull headache and the sense that I had been working all night.

I am a morning person, by the way. I suck as a night owl.

I am, quite frankly, exhausted.

Stay tuned for the Grouchy Ladybug, is what I'm saying. . .

But, at least for now, it's turned in. I am finally free to work on a new project. (and possibly a new, NEW project that is Unearthly-related. I shall tell you when I know. . .) And this is great. I have been wanting to work on my new project for almost a year, and I can't wait to really dig into it.

Tonight my husband came into my office to warn me about a spider on the back patio, who was building an enormous web. My husband thought it would be, er, icky, if I walked into that web on my way to water the lawn in the morning.

"He's out there now, building it?" I asked. For some reason I think of this spider as a he. Don't ask me why.

Yes, he was.

I went out on the patio and located said spider-and-web. My husband was right; it's a big web. The supports easily stretch across a ten-foot space, with the center positioned to intercept any unlucky bug who happens to make a suicide-run for the porch light. (Well played, spider. Well played.)

I've seen this spider before. He's a very large orange and black orb weaver, with stripey legs exactly like in the Eric Carle book. I have resisted the temptation to squash him, because he eats many bugs, and he's not doing any harm or trying to get in the house to bite my babies. He's a good spider, and I have just read Charlotte's Web to my son and James and The Giant Peach and I am supposed to be okay with good spiders. (Embarrassing side note: someone recently asked my son about reading Charlotte's Web. He said he never wanted to read it again. Because it -and I quote- "makes Mommy cry like crazy." Seriously, though. Those last lines: "It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and good writer. Charlotte was both." I could start sobbing right now. . .)

Ahem. So back to the patio spider. I haven't ever seen a spider building its web before, not in real life, anyway. So I stood there for a good twenty minutes and watched as the little guy worked to fill in the web. Around and around and around he went, the glossy threads occasionally catching the light. And I noticed one thing right off:

Part of the web is easy for the spider. Starting from the bottom left, he just cruises along, goes a little bit, secures the thread to the support, spins a bit more, secures, climbs the left side, secures the line, goes across the top, spins, secures, spins, secures. No problem, right?

Until he hits the top right, and he has to go down.

Then the spider falls out of his rhythm, he wobbles, the entire web dangles unsteadily as he lowers himself, secures the line, twists and waves his legs frantically and looks all kinds of unbalanced, then finally reaches the bottom and hiccups across two more anchors before he finds his groove again.

Every single time.

I can practically hear the little guy cussing: "Oh for $%^&&**$*!!!! This stupid #$^*&#$&!!! web!!!!" And toward the end there he was looking so very tired. Like, "Please, please, can't this web  be finished now? Pant, pant. I need a vacation." But on he went, until the web was done. I wish I could have taken a picture of it for you, but it would not show up with my camera. Trust me, it was glorious.

It made me smile. Because I am so totally that spider.

This web building stuff is HARD. Even for spiders. And they were made to spin.

(This web is a fair approximation of what both my spider's web and BOUNDLESS look like right now. . .)

Join me tomorrow morning where I forget about the web and walk right into it on my way to water the lawn and run around screaming and swiping at myself. Because that's going to be fun.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fancy New Blog

I'm still in the cave feverishly working on revisions for Boundless, but I wanted to stick my head out for five minutes to tell you that I have a new and improved blog / website. The biggest additions are the left-hand sidebar, where I have the foreign covers of my books linked to the publishers' websites. At the bottom are countries where the rights are sold, but no book has been published yet. I think. And I've moved the right-hand sidebar up to my fancy new events tab.

You will notice that I have a new event coming up:

July 24, 2012, 6pm, at the Oceanside Barnes and Noble with Kiersten White, Marie Lu, and Robin La Fevers, all of whom I adore. (Okay, technically I haven't met Robin yet, but I adore Grave Mercy, so I am pretty darn likely to adore Robin as well.)

I will be there with bells.

Also, for those of you who haven't seen it on my Facebook/Twitter feed, I thought I would toss you a crumb. Below is a picture of my research board for Boundless. There's a lot of stuff on there you won't understand, some clues, perhaps. Closer to the release I will be sure to make a video where I walk you through the board and all its many wonderful parts.

Now back to revising.