LDStorymakers 2015 Recap

This time last week, I was at the LDStorymakers conference, an annual writing conference in Utah with classes, panels, agents, editing, speakers, and so many writers. The classes were all fantastic – I took the intensive with Martine Leavitt, the award-winning author of Keturah and Lord Death (which I did a good chunk of my student teaching work on), which gave me so much to work with as I write my next book. She also gave a lovely keynote, which including the quotes below that I just love (graphics made by Kimberly Miller VanderHorst):

light hearts

The most surreal moment, though, wasn’t in any of the classes. This was the second year I attended the conference in Utah, and since last year it was in April, What Is Hidden hadn’t been released yet. This year, I had two books out. There was a moment when I was talking with two other authors from my publishing house that was just like…wow. A lot has happened in the past year. I released two books. I taught at the Midwest conference. I have accomplished what so many people around me are working on.

It was a bit of a moment.

(Of course, there was also the weirdly surreal moment of James Dashner re-tweeting me, which had my phone blowing up all day, but that’s because I was constantly using the #Storymakers15 hashtag.)

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If you missed this year, definitely check out the Facebook page to get a glimpse of all the exciting stuff that happened, and consider coming next year. You should also check out this hilarious youtube series (don’t worry, it’s only 5 short clips) about “real writers”. I’m definitely attending next year, and hopefully I’ll remember to take more pictures next time.

What Is Lost Playlist

I make a new playlist for every book I write and since I’ve started work on Book 3, I thought I’d share the playlist for What Is Lost. I have a playlist for What Is Hidden as well, but that was before I converted to Spotify and it’s harder to share. So you can view the whole list for What Is Lost on Spotify now, and eventually I’ll get the list for What Is Hidden up as well. You can also click the individual titles below for a Youtube link. These are basically the top tracks – the whole list is a quite long and still growing when I find new songs that fit.

I think playlists are great because when I hear these songs together, it sends my brain into writing mode, and it’s easier for me to get into the right mindset. Music is amazing like that. If you have any suggestions for more songs for What Is Lost, please send them my way in the comments below!

Enjoy!


WHAT IS LOST

1. Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful – Paloma Faith (If I could only pick one song to listen to while writing What Is Lost, it would be this one. I must have played it a hundred times.)
2. Scars – Anna Nalick
3. Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh) – The Neighbourhood
4. Feeling of Being – Lucy Schwartz
5. Trust – Christina Perri
6. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars
7. Better Off Alone – Marié Digby
8. Erase – The Chainsmokers  Ft. Priyanka Chopra
9. Vicious Cycle – Mystic Braves
10. I’m Gonna Break Your Heart – Joy Williams
11. Running Up That Hill – Placebo
12. Mayday – The Icarus Account


PS – Subscribers to my mailing list got this a week early, so if you want to be the first to see new info, be sure to sign up!

Blog Tour Recap

March is just about over and so is the blog tour for What Is Lost. Thanks again to everyone who participated, I really appreciate it! Here’s the list of all the posts:

March 10: Getting Your Read On
March 11: A Book a Day
March 12: Seasons of Humility
March 14: Awesome Book Nuts
March 16: Readalot • Katie’s Clean Book Collection I Love to Read and Review Books
March 17: Books and Benches
March 18: Min Reads and Reviews
March 19: Inklings and Notions
March 20: Wishful Endings • Lydia May Creates
March 22: Wit and Travesty • Novel-ties
March 23: Literary Time Out
March 24: Blooming with Books
March 26: Mel’s Shelves
March 28: Jorie Loves a Story

Be sure to check those out, some have interviews or guest posts with me and contain hints at the next book. 🙂 I’ll be keeping you updated with more info about that as I get it, so keep checking back here or sign up for my mailing list (link here) to have those important announcements mailed directly to you!

Release Day

It’s Release Day for What Is Lost!

So many things are happening. What Is Lost is out in stores now, so those of you who have been patiently waiting can finally read it. The blog tour starts today as well, and I’ll be posting a round-up of all the lovely participants once it’s over. And I have a signing TONIGHT at 7pm at the King’s English in Salt Lake City, UT. I hope to see you there – click here for more info.

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal

I’m excited to share this beautiful cover with you! If you joined my newsletter, you would have gotten a sneak peek yesterday, so be sure to sign up in the sidebar if you want future sneak peeks! I’ll be sending out more announcements and excerpts as we get closer to the release.

But you’re here to see the cover now, so here it is:

What Is Lost

Angry at his failure to exact vengeance on the prince, mask maker Joch flees Venesia to find his lost love. When a red-cloaked assassin promises answers, he has little choice but to trust her, though he may be walking into a trap. Unravel the deception in this dazzling story of second chances that will keep you guessing to the last page.

Exciting, right? As you may have guessed from the blurb, this story will be following Joch and takes place directly after the events of What Is Hidden.

 

 

What Is Lost will be released March 10, 2015. You can pre-order now on Amazon or add it to your To-Read shelf on Goodreads.

Book Announcement

One of the most common questions I get is if there will be a sequel to WHAT IS HIDDEN. The answer is yes, and I can finally give you more details on book two.

And because I know you’re probably not even reading this sentence, let’s get straight to it. The title to the next book is:

WHAT IS LOST

And the release date is March 10, 2015!

What do think? Who’s excited? Who can’t wait to see the cover? Join my newsletter (link in the sidebar) and you’ll be one of the first to see it!

 

Whirlwind Summer

My whirlwind of a summer is finally over and I know this because now it’s cold outside and I have my Saturdays again. Let’s look back at the last five months by the numbers and see what I’ve been doing instead of blog posts:

  • 1 Book Release
  • 6 Conventions/Conferences Attended
  • 3 Classes taught at those conferences/conventions
  • 24ish hours volunteered at those conventions
  • 32 Books read
  • 4 Signings
  • 2 States visited
  • 1 First Draft Written

So yeah. And about that first draft – I should be announcing more details any day now. I’m waiting on the final cover design and then I can give you the title and release date and all that fun stuff. All I can tell you now is that it’s a sequel to WHAT IS HIDDEN and I’m deep in editing.

In the meantime, I’ll try to think of interesting blog posts so I don’t go so long without posting again. How was your summer?

World Building Through Character Building

This weekend I presented my first panel at Salt City Steamfest. People came and participated and it was great. I had a couple requests to put my notes up so here you go. The panel was orientated around Steampunk, but world building exists in every genre. Every story takes place somewhere, and here are a few ways you can enhance that somewhere.

1. See the world through your characters’ eyes 
A teenaged boy sees the world differently than an adult man would, and an architect would see things that a cashier wouldn’t. What would your particular character notice? Use those details to add more to the world around them.

2. Use all of the characters’ emotions and a variety of senses
Similar to the above, what would you particular character feel or notice? Are there laws that influence the way they act? Would one sense be stronger? For example, a thief would likely notice every little sound, and think about the potential consequences for whatever crime they’re committing. This is an opportunity to showcase some of the ambient noises in the world, and some of the governing practices.

3. Don’t be afraid to describe the little things
Little details can really bring a world – and your characters – to life. Do they have a favorite crossbow with every nick and scratch memorized? What’s important to them? Of all the things in the world around them, what do they choose to keep close by?

4. Multi-task with setting and tone
Is your alley dark and menacing, or the place you character used to feed stray cats as a child? Are demon attacks common in alleys like this or are they where kids hang out after school to swap forbidden candy? While setting the stage, you have the opportunity to throw in those little details that give a character backstory, and as a result, details to what living in this world entailed.

5. Trust your readers
A little mystery can go a long way, and readers are smart. Challenge yourself to describe items without simply calling them by name. This works especially well in fantasy, steampunk, or alternative history genres. Calling a coffee maker an automated bean juicer is not only more interesting, but tells you something about the world it exists in.

All of these should, of course, be done in moderation. You don’t want to go overboard and confuse the reader or stop the story. Every detail should move the story forward or round out your characters.

Good Luck!

So Many Things

So many things to catch up on!

First, you should now be able to find What is Hidden at Deseret Book! I’ll be making the rounds soon to sneak sign, so you may also be able to find signed copies around Provo and SLC as well. I’ll announce on my Twitter (link in the sidebar) whenever I find some, and then it’s first come, first serve.

Second, I have events coming up! I have a signing this weekend and will be teaching classes at Steamfest in Salt Lake, and at LDStorymakers Midwest in Kansas.

  • Costco Signing is Saturday, July 12 from 12pm-3pm in Sandy, UT at 11100 S Auto Mall Dr. Please come say hi!
  • Salt City Steamfest is Aug. 1-2. My class is Friday, Aug. 1 at 3pm: Steampunk World-Building
  • LDStorymakers Midwest is Sept. 20 in Overland Park, KS. I will be teaching two classes: Keeping Fairy Tales Fresh and Vivid Descriptions and Pertinent Details

Storymakers just launched the Show Your Love contest, where you can enter to win all sorts of fun stuff for registering and spreading the word so be sure to check that out. They’ve got some great presenters lined up, and I had a wonderful time attending last year.

Steamfest may seem a bit strange for me since What is Hidden is not steampunk, but I love the aesthetic and have a lot of fun dressing up. Plus I do plan on writing a steampunk novel eventually. I just have a few other things to finish first.

Which brings me to the third thing: I’m hard at work on the sequel to What is Hidden! I know lots of people have been asking about it, and yes it exists and will be out next year. I’ll come back with more details once I have them.

And lastly, I’ve been busy attending all sorts of amazing events. I volunteered at FantasyCon this past weekend in Salt Lake City (if you entered the main ballroom on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, you probably saw me). I saw Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers (and some other great sets) Monday night. I leave for San Diego Comic-Con in two weeks and am super excited to attend the Legend of Korra panel. And I’ll be volunteering at the Salt Lake Comic-Con in September as well. Busy, busy, busy!