Well, that was a crazy fast summer that almost happened here. It’s been wet and cool in DC for most of the season, perfect weather for cranking out some new wordage. If only I had nothing better to do than indulge the ever-multiplying plot bunnies! The rough draft of SKANDAL (sequel to SEKRET) is complete, and I’m giving it some extra polish before sending it off to the brilliant folks at Macmillan Kids. But I have plenty else keeping me busy, too:
Like the SEKRET cover reveal, which went wonderfully! I was so thrilled to finally get to share this gorgeous, perfect cover with everyone. It’s an unusual cover for YA, but I think it perfectly captures the time period of SEKRET, evoking that communist propaganda poster look with the added hint of the paranormal elements in the tagline. Also, I can’t complain about that Elizabeth Wein blurb. In fact, I maybe kinda sorta bawled like a baby (a happy baby!) about it.
Also, SEKRET is now available for preorder! How ridiculous is this world? You can find it at Amazon, Indiebound, The Book Depository, Powell’s, and many other retailers.
In addition to all the SEKRET excitement and SKANDAL drafting, I got to spend an incredible weekend in Savannah, GA with twelve other brilliant YA authors, all members of the Fourteenery. These ladies are brilliant. We wrote, ate, drank, ate some more, and of course talked shop about writing and reading and our works in progress, and I am seriously dying to read every single one of their masterful books. In fact, I got an ARC of Julie Murphy’s Side Effects May Vary, and nigh devoured it on the way home. Expect to hear loads more gushing from me on the Fourteenery books as their release dates approach.
I’ve been reading plenty of other incredible books, too! Of special note is the debut of my critique partner Leah Raeder’s Unteachable, a New Adult romance that elevates, eviscerates, and embraces that category all at once with masterful prose and perfect characterization. I DARE you to read the sample chapter and not start drooling. Other great books I’ve read this summer include Wild Awake by Hilary Smith, a beautiful and aching exploration of grief and music and creative chaos; Stephanie Kuehn’s Charm & Strange, a dark and fascinating psychological study; Star Cursed, Jessica Spotswood‘s fantastic follow-up to Born Wicked (witches! prophecies!); and Double Cross (my current read), a non-fiction account of the double agents who made the D-Day Invasion possible during World War II.
Also, if Elizabeth Wein’s newest WWII tear-jerker, Rose Under Fire, doesn’t hurry up and release, she’s gonna make me start crying all over again.
Hmm . . . I do seem to be reading a lot about World War II spies lately, don’t I? I wonder if there’s an underlying reason? I suppose you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!
On top of all that reading and writing (on both SKANDAL and some various and sundry other projects), I kinda sorta accidentally started a new job (oops) and bought a house (double oops). But we don’t believe in the phrase “too busy” around these parts. We play life on Hardcore mode. So, for the added challenge, in the midst of adjusting to a new work role and finishing a sequel book (the most devious of all diabolical plot monsters in the known world) and rounding up more paperwork than is typically required to launch a space shuttle, J and I embarked on a 21-day cleanse diet to help him figure out some tricky food allergy issues he’s been battling. Word to the wise: if you like starch, sugar, meat, dairy, and/or alcohol, and find such substances useful for stress-relief, don’t do a 21-day cleanse right in the middle of buying a house. You will find yourself eating your weight in rice cakes and carrot sticks. And then you will probably start on the cardboard moving boxes, too.
Now, though, we’re at the fun part, if your definition of fun is a three-day classical hero’s journey to find the right combination of energy-efficient daylight bulbs that will neither 1) make your house buzz like a giant mosquito-zapper nor 2) burst the sockets in all your closets but also not 3) require you to repaint the entire downstairs because the perfectly serviceable non-daylight bulbs that came with the house cast everything a lovely shade of Chernobyl green-yellow. I think we finally have the right bulbs in all the right sockets. There may be some faint flickering but it could just be the uncontrollable twitch I’ve developed in my right eye. One more week, though, and we’ll be all moved in and painted and wood-stained and back-splashed and settled and exhausted.
Hope we don’t have ghosts.