Hello. It's been a while. Summer has turned to Fall, the kitten has noticeably grown, and the boys have settled into their new middle school routine. Fall is my favorite season, at least until it's time to rake the mountain of leaves that will soon bury the small bit of ground in front and behind my house. I suppose it's the price to pay for so many gorgeous, mature trees. Ah well. The boys are older now and genuinely useful in helping out, so it isn't as bad as it used to be.
Well, the big exciting news, at least for me, is that I have an editor again! Hurray! Her name is Brit Hvide, which is pronounced "Breet Vide", because it's Norwegian. We haven't met in person yet, but we've spoken on the phone and I'm very much looking forward to working with her.
I chanced a look at the Amazon rating for Hope and Red (although of course not the actual reviews, because I am a big weenie), and it's currently at 4 stars. If you've read it, and you enjoyed it, please consider rating it, or even better, giving it a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you do that sort of thing. It really does help quite a lot.
Bane and Shadow is moving forward at a brisk pace. We're on track for a February release, with galleys going out for review sometime early next month. What's even cooler, the cover has been finalized. So without further ado, here it is!
I’m really happy with it. Especially that swashbuckling look for Hope! It all comes down to that eyebrow, really. Red’s costume is slightly spoiler-ish, but ah well. It looks cool. And once again, he doesn’t actually have a hood in the book.
Book 3 is also progressing, albeit not as quick as I’d hoped. Nine months between books is very ambitious, and I’ve never done a trilogy before. There is a lot to sort out. So for the first time ever, I have asked for an extension on my deadline. My editor things we may still be able to hit the November 2017 release date, which would be lovely. But even if it has to be pushed back a little, I take a cue from Robin LaFevers when she said, “Readers will forgive a late book, but not a bad book.” So either way, I feel like this was the right call to make.
And no, we still don’t have a title for it yet. I believe the real true absolutely totally for realzies firm deadline for it is sometime in early November. So it’s not quite dire, but it’s getting there. I’m not sure I’m supposed to share this, but I think it’s really interesting that one of the biggest issues has been logistics. As you’ve now seen with the Bane and Shadow cover, they are going for a very consistent style from one book to the next. To maintain that title for the third book, neither of the words (i.e. X and X) can have more than six letters. Larger words simply won’t fit! So yeah, there are a lot of things to consider. As my agent said, it’s kind of like a puzzle to find the right combination that satisfies artistic integrity, sales positioning, and design. Pretty fascinating, even if it is kind of a headache right now.
I recently finished Sarah Beth Durst’s The Queen of Blood, which is the first book in her Queens of Renthia trilogy, and I enjoyed it immensely. The basic premise is that elemental spirits roam the land (water spirits, fire spirits, earth spirits, etc) and they delight in killing humans. So in some senses they are adversaries. But if the humans kill all the spirits, then the natural world grinds to a halt. Nothing grows and everybody starves. So it’s a constant balancing act. There are women who are born with the power to control these spirits, and there are men and women called Champions who are tasked with training them. It’s a pretty harsh world, especially with all the killer trees and such. But Sarah’s characters are so rich, vivid, and relatable, it never feels taxing. It has the right blend of adventure, humor, and creepiness I like.
I have the new Bon Iver record on heavy rotation. It’s a bit…weird. If you like his earlier, folk-pop accessible stuff, this is definitely not that. I think Sterogum nailed it in their review when they likened Bon Iver’s artistic trajectory to Radiohead. The first record, Emma, Forever Ago is like The Bends, the second record, Bon Iver, is like OK Computer, and this new one, 22, A Million is oddly like Kid A. Not that they sound a great deal alike, but there is a clear journey that Justin Verner is taking. A journey that is becoming increasingly less “pop”. And that’s cool with me. Especially since, despite all the oddness, he manages to maintain that earnest, soul-searching sound that made me fall in love with the music in the first place. Check it out:
Or this simple, but intense number:
Okay. That’s it for now. I’m going to try to get back into a more regular weekly schedule again, so I hope you have a good week and weekend. Be kind to yourselves, and if you feel like you need an extension on that deadline, you should totally ask for it. It’ll do wonders for your disposition :)