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December 2015

Litograph's Kushiel's Dart T-shirs, Posters & TotesHappy Holidays, everyone!

It’s hard to believe the season is already upon us; I haven’t even finished all of my Thanksgiving leftovers! And yet here we are.

It’s a great year for the Kushiel’s Legacy fan on your gift list, with the Litographs’ line of Kushiel’s Dart t-shirts, tote bags and posters available! I had a lot of input on the design, which I think is really quite awesome. I’ll be holding a giveaway for one of the t-shirts-actually a coupon, so you can choose the style, color and size of your choice-over on Facebook on Friday, December 4th. Plenty of time to place an order if you don’t win!

In other stocking stuffer suggestions, I also contributed to one of Patrick Rothfuss’ projects for his Worldbuilders charity this year, the Cards Against Humanity Fantasy Pack. Cards Against Humanity is billed as “a party game for horrible people.” If you’ve played, you know exactly what that means; if you haven’t, and you’ve got a twisted sense of humor and a handful of friends who share it, you’re in for a treat! All proceeds from the Fantasy Pack extension go to Worldbuilders, which raises funds in support of Heifer International.

Jacqueline and Cards Against Humanity Fantasy Extension PackThe creative minds at Cards Against Humanity tweaked most of the entries submitted by the Worldbuilders squad-which included Pat Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Sam Sykes, Myke Cole, Martha Wells, Elizabeth Bear, Sherwood Smith, Wesley Chu, and me-for consistency with the overall tone of the game, but I did have a one-word suggestion that made the cut verbatim… and it actually came from my partner Julie! No spoilers here, I’ll let you guys discover that one for yourselves. My only regret is that, although I suspect it did inspire a different card, they didn’t pick my personal favorite, “The unbearable ennui of being an elf.”

For the curious, there were a surprising number of entries featuring pubic hair that didn’t make the cut (none were mine, though I admit to giggling at “A gentle caress of Legolas’ silky golden public hair”), as well as a surprising number advocating violence against wizards that did. Actually, that reminds me of my second-favorite entry of mine that didn’t make it, which was simply “Goddamn passive-aggressive wizards.”

Not promoting violence, just making an observation. Maybe if wizards weren’t so cryptic and withholding, people wouldn’t be advocating so much imaginary violence against them? At any rate, it was a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoy it.

On an unrelated note, last month I was made aware of an app called Shelfie, which offers free or discounted ebooks to readers who already own print copies. Shelfie has partnered with my publisher Tor, and the first three books in the Kushiel’s Legacy series, as well as The Sundering duology, are available for $2.99. You can also explore other readers’ shelves and discover new books. Disclaimer: It sounds cool and I downloaded the app (available from the Apple App and Google Play stores), but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, so I can’t comment on its functionality. If you give it a try, feel free to let me know how you like it.

I think that’s it for 2015! Stop by the Fan Photo gallery to check out one Italian fan’s beautifully envisioned cosplay pic of Ysandre de la Courcel before you go, and have yourselves a wonderful holiday season.

Cheers!

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November 2015
November TableauWhew!

Last month was a busy one, or at least the first half of it was, as I was a featured guest at three back-to-back-to-back conventions in Orlando, St. Louis and Minneapolis. All three were very different in nature – SF:SE in Orlando had a strong focus on writing, Archon in St. Louis had the best costumes, and Nerdcon in Minneapolis had really diverse and innovative programing.

But one thing they all had in common was wonderful attendees, and the best part of any convention is the chance to meet my readers. I’m always so touched by the stories that you share with me. I know sometimes it feels like the words you want to say are inadequate, and trust me, I feel that way, too. Any writer able to do what he or she loves for a living is already incredibly fortunate, but hearing that my books have touched someone’s life in a significant way makes it all the more worthwhile.

So thank you; thank you all! Thank you for your stories and cards and gifts, all of which I truly treasure. Thank you for your heartfelt hugs and tears. And if you happened to buy me a drink, that was much appreciated, too!

Of course, there were other highlights. I met some cool writers like Catherynne Valente, Peter V. Brett and Paolo Bacigalupi. I spent time with a couple of dear college friends, and was reminded that we need to get together more often; I got to hang with some more recent friends, and weave a few new threads in our tapestry of shared stories. At Nerdcon, I survived a game of “Celebrity Artemis” (no thanks to my profound lack of skills on the Comms station) and won the “Who Said It: Donald Trump or Kanye West/Hank Green or Mindy Kaling?” trivia contest. I was splashed by rockhopper penguins at the St. Louis Zoo, and I stumbled upon a Johnny Cash tribute band playing at ten o’clock in the morning in Minneapolis.

All in all, it was a bit exhausting, but very rewarding. I’m glad I said “Yes” to the invitations that came my way this year.

Sadly, one such event has been canceled, and that’s the convention that was scheduled to take place in Milan, Italy this month. I don’t think I ever posted it here on my site – I like to make sure something’s a definite go before I add it to my official list of appearances – but I did mention it on social media. I’m sorry, as I was looking forward to meeting some of my Italian fans. Another time, I hope!

Now I’m looking forward to settling in and getting some writing done. I’ll be starting something new and completely different, a standalone fantasy that will involve some really cool worldbuilding. And in case you missed the prior announcement, I do have a novella coming out next month in an anthology from Subterranean Press, which I’m delighted to announce just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. So that’s something to celebrate!

On the homepage, a little seasonal still life featuring a lovely card given me by a reader unable to get into the “sold-out” signing at Nerdcon, as well as a gorgeous hairpin by a reader who was. Thanks again to all of you!

Cheers!

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October 2015
A Fantasy Medley 3 edited by Kevin Hearne and Laura BickleOkay, guys! This will be a quick (and tardy) update due to my extensive travel schedule in late September through mid-October. I accepted invitations to be a guest at three back-to-back-to-back conventions in a row, and I’m scrambling to keep up!

But I made some new friends in Orlando and I saw some old friends in St. Louis, and as of this writing I’m looking forward to my last gig in Minneapolis, where, among other things, I plan on hanging out with some fun-loving writers and probably embarrassing the hell out of myself playing Celebrity Artemis. Oh, yes, and hopefully signing some books, too.

And then I’m looking forward to being home for a while. Whew! I’ve taken three-week-long trips before, but you only have to pack once for a long trip. There’s something about packing and unpacking, doing laundry when it feels like you just folded it, hauling back and forth to the airport, that keeps one in a state of feeling permanently unsettled.

I do have one exciting thing to announce this month, and that’s the forthcoming December publication of A Fantasy Medley 3, which will feature a brand new novella from me, as well as new stories from my fellow fantasy authors Laura Bickle, Aliette de Bodard, and Kevin Hearne. It’s available now for preorder from Subterranean Press. My story, “One Hundred Ablutions,” is totally unrelated to anything else I’ve written or am planning to write. I don’t write a lot of short stories or novellas, but every now and then it’s an invigorating and rewarding challenge. This was one of those times, and I’ll write about it at great length when I’m less scattered.

Subterranean Press, by the way, produces beautiful books – and as a bonus teaser announcement, I’ll be collaborating with them on a special collectible edition of Kushiel’s Dart, currently scheduled for publication in June 2016. So, yay!

And now I think it’s probably time for me to go pack again. Happy Halloween to my ghoul-loving friends! And pssst, if you haven’t read AmazonAutumn Bones yet, ’tis the season.

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September 2015

Poison Fruit - New Mass Market PaperbackLots to report this month! First of all, I’m delighted to announce that my latest project: Miranda and Caliban, my take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, has been acquired by Tor Books. Yes! Sometimes life comes around full circle, and I’m excited to be working once more with the publishing house that launched my career.

I’ve kept this project under wraps for the past year because, well, it’s more high-concept than my usual fare. Other writers have written work inspired by The Tempest – I read The Magus by John Fowles at an early age, and of course a famous modern retelling is the 1950s classic science fiction film Forbidden Planet – but I don’t believe anyone’s ever delved into the narrative backstory of Shakespeare’s actual play. And maybe I’m a bit superstitious, but I just wanted to wait until the book had found a good home before I announced it.

The action of Shakespeare’s Tempest takes place in a single day; Miranda and Caliban explores the twelve years that took place on the isle before the culminating events of the play unfold. It’s one of the most literary things I’ve written, with a delicate interplay between the voices of the titular characters. To me, it’s always been very much a story about power, control and language, and the relationship between those elements. I’m sure I’ll write more about it in the months to come. Interestingly, I came across an article on Tor.com that spoke to those very issues while I was in the process of writing this book. Serendipity, yay!
Jacqueline Modeling the Litographics T-shirtUnfortunately, Tor’s publication slate for 2016 is already full, which means that Miranda and Caliban probably won’t be scheduled for release until early 2017. But it will be worth the wait!

In other news, the fancy new trade paperback edition of Kushiel’s ChosenAmazon came out at the end of August, and the mass market paperback of Poison FruitAmazon, the third and final Agent of Hel book, was released on September 1st. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time! A Romantic Times review said, “Despite the dark, often unsettling, nature of the enemies on the prowl, Carey keeps the narrative tone light and flowing, ensuring fans and newcomers alike can empathize with each character and savor each imaginative scene. There are few easy answers or simple solutions here, guaranteeing that readers will be fully engaged until the final scene and invested in the romance that builds and twists throughout this high-stakes story.”

Last month also saw the release of Litographs’ new line of Kushiel’s Dart t-shirts, posters and totes, which I’m sporting here on the homepage. Litographs was a great company to work with, and I think the design, which is created using the actual text of the book, is pretty darn awesome!

There’s a good chance my October update will be late this year, because I’ve got guest appearances at three conventions in a row starting at the end of September: SF:SE in Orlando, Archon in Collinsville, IL, and Nerdcon:Stories in Minneapolis. It’s a lot of travel, but it should be a lot of fun, too.

I hope to see some of you there… wherever “there” might be for you!

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August 2015

Drumroll, please!

This month, coming on August 6th, I’m delighted to announce the official launch of the Litographs line of Kushiel’s Dart products, including t-shirts, tote bags and posters!

Front of Litographics T-Shirt with Kushiel's Dart Text

Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit, since if you click through before the launch date, theKushiel stuff won’t be listed yet. But! You can sign up to receive $5 new releases, and I want to let folks who check out my regular updates at the beginning of the month know that Litographs and I will be holding giveaways for a free Kushiel’s Dart t-shirt on both Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, August 6th to celebrate the launch.

Back of Litographics T-Shirt with Kushiel's Dart text

Litographs use the actual text of the book to create the design using negative space, which I am enough of a literary geek to think is way cool. We played with a few different ideas before settling on the image of Phèdre’s eye with the scarlet mote depicted here on the front of the t-shirt. I love the fact that it’s an image at once specific to the books, yet mysterious and intriguing in its own right.

The back of the t-shirt features an interpretation of Phèdre’s marque, which I think is lovely – and again, it’s an image that’s striking on its own, but all the more compelling in context. The tote bag will have the same images on its front and back (do tote bags actually have a front and back?), while the poster features the marque. Yet to come: A temporary tattoo, possibly featuring the iconic “Love As Thou Wilt” quote.

What fun!

In other news, I’ll be a Guest of Honor at In-CON-Ceivable in Northampton, MA on August 28-30th. It’s my first event on the East Coast for a few years, and I hope to see lots of you there! Come this fall, I’ve got back-to-back-to-back conventions at, respectively, Orlando, St. Louis and Minneapolis – check out the Events column on the left for dates and links.

Ah, but that’s weeks away yet! Until then, I plan on taking it easy, enjoying some sun, sand and surf, and all the bounty that Michigan has to offer in these waning days of summer. And next month – hopefully – I’ll have another official announcement to make, revealing exactly what the heck I’ve been up to for the past year.

See you then!

July 2015

Allegan County Community Foundation Celebration!What a momentous month June proved to be! First and foremost, I’m delighted by the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. “Love as thou wilt,” indeed. I never imagined that this civil rights issue would progress so far in my lifetime, and I couldn’t be happier about it. This will truly be an Independence Day to celebrate.

As for whether or not this decision means that my long-time partner Julie and I will get married… well, that’s another matter. While I felt like dancing in the streets at the news that marriage equality is the law of the land, marriage itself isn’t an institution that either of us personally romanticized; maybe because we were part of the first generation to come of age in the era of commonplace divorce; maybe because neither of us is affiliated with an organized religion. Or maybe it’s because we both have a bit of an iconoclastic streak.

However, we’re both pragmatists, too; and there are a lot of legal and financial benefits associated with the institution of marriage. So honestly, a lot will depend on our accountant’s advice. For one thing, we’d be able to have a single health insurance policy instead of paying for two – and I’m also delighted that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last month! It’s an imperfect and over-complicated system to be sure, but it’s better than nothing. As someone who’s been self-employed as a writer for almost a dozen years, I’m well aware of the importance of affordable healthcare.

Being directly responsible for something has a way of bringing it into perspective. I’m convinced that the national debate over Social Security would be vastly altered if most Americans understood that the payroll ceiling for Social Security taxes is only $118,500. That means if you earn $35,000 a year in salary or wages, you pay Social Security taxes on 100% of your income. If you’re a CEO earning a salary of $1.2 million a year, you pay Social Security taxes on a little less than 10% of your income.

I think our politicians forget that most people have no reason to know this, because most people don’t earn more than $118,500 a year—and aren’t responsible for paying their own FICA taxes because they’re automatically withheld. Or maybe they count on it.

Anyway.

On a somber note, after the horrific church massacre in Charleston, I’ve been heartened by the swift change in attitude toward the Confederate flag. Nothing can diminish this senseless tragedy, but there is some solace in knowing that the response it provoked is the polar opposite of what the perpetrator intended.

It’s been quite a month indeed.

More news to come soon! Check out the Tattoo Gallery for a couple new entries, including a lovely Valerian House-inspired tattoo.

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June 2015

Azaleas in BloomAt last, I have something fun to share! Some of you may be familiar with the gorgeous design work of Litographs. If not, take a look! I’m delighted to announce that Litographs has licensed the rights to produce a line of Kushiel’s Dart t-shirts, wall art, tote bags, temporary tattoos, and laptop decals.

No details yet, but how cool is that? And I’m pretty sure that lobbying by my readers had a lot to do with it.

So I took part in an interesting project last month at the behest of a young friend in high school (Hi, Chloe!) who’s studying the effects of positivity for an AP class. From a variety of options, I chose to practice mindfulness and maintain a gratitude journal on a daily basis, as well as performing tasks like visiting a loved one and exploring my community.

I’m a generally positive person who’s grateful for many things in my life, but the results of this week-long project were surprising. First and foremost, searching for things to enter in my gratitude journal caused me to look at the world through different eyes. It didn’t hurt that this project took place in late May as everything around me was bursting into bloom and the leaves were growing so fast, you could almost watch them unfurl… but still. I took the time to actively appreciate the beauty around me in a way I don’t always remember to do. It’s funny, I wrote about wanting to reconnect with my love of nature last month, and this unexpected opportunity certainly helped facilitate that process.

WagonThe majority of my journal entries were about aesthetic details, friendship, and food. The latter two were no surprise, but despite last month’s musings, I didn’t realize the extent to which I am affected by my surroundings. Thank goodness I live in a beautiful place! I like to think you can find beauty in almost anything if you look hard enough, but let’s face it, it’s easier if you don’t have to try that hard.

Every time I reminded myself I was taking part in the project, it caused my mindset to shift to a more upbeat frame. I was less inclined to be hurried and impatient, more inclined to slow down and live in the moment. All in all, it was a great experience, and I plan to continue the practice. I imagine it will be harder to be diligent as the novelty fades, but I learned something about myself and how I relate to the world, and I want to keep exploring that.

On a totally unrelated note, another interesting project I’ve taken on lately is membership in a new committee at the Ox-Bow School of Art here in town, working to build stronger ties between the school and the community. Ox-Bow is a special place with a long history – it’s actually featured in a brief scene in Autumn Bones, and I wish I’d been able to explore it further – and it’s been a lot of fun to work with a group of wonderful, creative people who are passionate about art and community!

Here on the homepage are a couple of the beautiful things for which I was grateful this month: my neighbor’s gorgeous azaleas, and this wonderful circus carriage on the Ox-Bow campus that’s currently being used as a studio space.

More news to come next month!

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May 2015

Dutchman's BreechesHappy May!

When I was a little girl, I used to gather a bouquet of wildflowers for my mother every May Day. Mostly I remember picking hepatica in the woods around our house. They usually wilted within the hour, but I loved doing it.

I come from a family of nature geeks and animal lovers. Over the years, our pets included several dogs, notably a good-natured and malodorous Malamute named Smokey that my brothers and I would tie to a sled every winter, yelling “Mush!” to no avail; numerous cats; two guinea pigs; a hamster; a gerbil named Judas Priest and a rabbit named Led Zeppelin; a number of parakeets and finches (one particularly gorgeous rainbow finch earned the nickname Rudy the Ripper after the mysterious demise of two successive mates); a cheerful little parrot named Beau who liked ice cream; and what I believed to be one chameleon that had free range of the house-plants in our upstairs living room, and was sometimes impossible to find amongst them when it came time to feed him meal-worms.

Later, I found out that Kermit the chameleon had several incarnations. It wasn’t always his amazing camouflage that made him hard to spot. Sometimes he was in the process of being, um, replaced by a successor. At least he wasn’t one of Rudy the Ripper’s victims.

My mom counted birds for the Audubon Society, and there was always a chart posted near the windows that looked out on the bird-feeders. I could identify at least a dozen different species at a glance. We put out salt licks for the deer, corn and stale bread for the raccoons that would come to our front door, putting their little hand-like paws on the long windows that flanked it and peering inside, and the ducks that would waddle across the street to our yard under the cover of the hand-painted “Duck Crossing” sign my mom made. One faithful pair of mallards, Joe and Mallory, brought their ducklings every year.

I still love animals and I’m still a nature geek; and yet sometimes I feel I’ve lost some of the effortless magic of that connection. My brothers and I spent countless hours roaming the woods, inventing games brought to life through sheer imagination. In my memory, it seems I could name every tree and plant that grew in those woods. That’s probably an exaggeration, but on occasion I’m struck by the realization that I don’t know if I can tell, say, an elm tree from a beech. My knowledge of and engagement with the natural world around me seems more tenuous and shallow than it did when I was a child.

To be fair, I spend a lot less time roaming the woods; and when I do, if my imagination is engaged, it’s not with my surroundings. I’m deep inside my own thoughts, working through a scene in a book or teasing out some knotty plot twist. And sometimes, to be honest, my imagination simplyisn’t engaged. Sometimes I’m just putting on the headphones and going for a trail run, just trying to keep in shape; not unmindful of the beauty around me, yet disconnected from it.

Some of that is just simply… well, life. Being a writer entails spending a LOT of time deep inside one’s own thoughts. It’s generally time well spent, and I don’t begrudge it. But with spring upon us here in Michigan, green buds on the trees, yellow forsythia in bloom, trillium and Dutchman’s breeches and toad lilies and Jack-in-the-pulpits emerging in the woods, I will try to remind myself to step back from time to time, and reconnect with my surroundings; to remember that there is magic in this season of rebirth and renewal.

I recommend it.

In other news… well, there really isn’t any other news this month, hence my musings on nature! But I have a few different things in the works including a project, something new and completely different, that I’ve been keeping under wraps for a while. I hope to have something fun to announce in the not-too-distant future.

Until then, take care!

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April 2015

Laura and JacquelineI’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately.

Last October, I lost one of my best friends to ovarian cancer, and I haven’t been ready to write about this until now. I have several friends who’ve survived cancer, and I never imagined Laura wouldn’t be one of them. Laura was determined and optimistic like no one else I’ve known, and she loved life to its fullest. She had absolutely no intention of leaving it; but she did, very much against her will, very much to the profound sorrow of those who loved her.

I bet Laura’s pretty goddamn pissed about that. I am. I think about her every day. I miss her.

How do you define a “best friend?” My friend Jack talks about “3 am people,” the ones you can count on to take that emergency call at three o’clock in the morning and be there for you no matter, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other. Well, yeah. Definitely.

But a best friend… there’s something about that bond that’s harder to define. Maybe best friend is a bad term, one that evokes the hierarchies of high school friendship. Closest friend? Dearest friend? Maybe it’s wrong to attach any kind of superlative to a friendship. I treasure all my friends, and I never want to imply I value one more than another. Different friends play different roles in our lives at different times.

And yet, and yet… Laura was one of my best friends.

Our friendship evolved over the course of twenty-plus years. Laura knew me as a struggling writer working a full-time day job; I knew her first as a college student finishing her degree, then as a young artist struggling to get by in New York. We knew each other’s highs and lows. When I finally had a breakthrough in my career, she celebrated my success. When Laura launched her own highly successful business as a photo researcher in the publishing industry, I was proud of her and amazed at her accomplishment.

(Oh, and you’ve probably seen her work on a bookstore shelf somewhere. Her last major project was Hillary Clinton’s recent memoir.)

Anyway, there’s more to it.

There’s a click, a special connection, a like-mindedness. Politics, arts, entertainment, popular culture, humor, personal circumstances, regional history… it doesn’t really matter what, I suppose. Only that you share a foundation on which to build a friendship, and you do. You share your hopes and dreams and fears, your successes and your failures, and inside jokes that pile atop one another until they comprise a private language of catch-phrases, gestures and glances. This can be perplexing or downright annoying to people who are not you, but you don’t care.

But it can be charming, too. It warms my heart when I see a group of friends having fun, being silly and uninhibited, delighting in each other’s company. Especially old friends. It takes work to sustain those kinds of friendship as you get older. Life pulls you in different directions. Time and distance take a toll; sometimes you simply drift apart. Laura never let that happen. I’d like to take some credit for it, but I honestly think the lion’s share belongs to her. I’m a good and loyal friend, but I’m not as proactive as I’d like to be.

We talked about taking a trip overseas together for ages. A couple of years ago, we finally did it – Julie and I and Laura and her husband Glyn went to Spain together. We had so much fun; we came back with wonderful memories, a brand new stock of private catch-phrases, and plans to travel together again soon.

I’m so glad we finally did take a trip together. I’m so mad and sad that we’ll never do it again.

This month, Julie and I are going to New York for a celebration of Laura’s life. It will be good to laugh and cry and exchange memories with people who knew and loved her. But when we come home, there will still be a void in our lives. It is a void nothing will ever fill, for no one can take her place.

Laura, who loved yoga and tango and photography, silly nicknames, British comedies and Dancing with the Stars, Spanish tapas and single malt scotches; Laura, who loved beaches and sunbathing, spas and pedicures and massages; Laura, who was the youngest person I knew to love opera and saw Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle at the Met more than once; Laura, who learned to love European football for her expatriate Liverpudlian husband’s sake, is no more.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately.

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March 2015

HadassahOkay, so remember last month when I posted an awesome Phèdre and Joscelin cosplay pic and said I didn’t think anyone would top them this year? Well, damned if I didn’t get another fantastic Phèdre photo! This version of the marque, by the way, was created by Angela at Kushiel Concepts.

Last month also saw a couple of nice features generated by the re-launch of Kushiel’s Dart, particularly this reread on Tor.com, which offers some insightful commentary, and a nice article on io9.com crowning Phèdre the greatest courtesan-spy in epic fantasy.

Unsurprisingly, there’s also been a new spate of readers wondering if I’ll ever return to Terre d’Ange. At this point in time, the answer is still no, probably not, but yes, I still reserve the right to change my mind if my Muse decides otherwise. I wrote about this issue in a post back in November 2013, but I’ve also answered the question elsewhere by noting that that world has been very deeply mined for story.

What, exactly, do I mean by that? For starters, Kushiel’s Dartsets a very high bar. It ultimately centers around Skaldia’s invasion and very nearly successful attempt to conquer Terre d’Ange. In terms of plot, that’s a major trump card to play in the first book of a series. Once you’ve played a card like that, you can’t play it again. That’s one of the main reasons why so much of the action of subsequent books takes place outside of Terre d’Ange – I’d already played out the highest-stakes scenario possible in Terre d’Ange itself, and had to find different ways to threaten our beloved realm from both within and without, and give my heroines and heroes journeys that were epic in scope.

StarIn the process, I played a lot of major trump cards – abduction, betrayal, murder, prophesy, amnesia (double amnesia!), revenge, imprisonment, possession, colonization, human sacrifice… it’s a long list. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it (okay, except Darşanga), but at this juncture, I simply can’t conceive of another story that would a) hold up to the epic scope of the previous books, yet b) feel fresh and original in that particular milieu. A different setting with completely different characters, cultures and dynamics, yes. Not this one.

That’s not to say it doesn’t exist – but inspiration can’t be forced. If it should strike, you’ll be the first to know! Well, maybe after my agent and an editor or two.

Meanwhile, yes, I am working on something, a project I’m still not ready to unveil. It’s altogether different from anything I’ve done before, and it’s challenging me as a writer in awesome, exciting, and intimidating ways. That’s how I’m spending the long winter months here in the real-life Pemkowet!

Onward!

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February 2015

Kushiel's Dart Marque NecklaceA quick update for February! First and foremost, this is your last chance to acquire the official Phèdre’s Marque necklace featured here on the homepage. Place your order by Valentine’s Day! All proceeds go to my local library, and our goal is to raise $10,000 by February 14th. Whether we make it or not, it’s been a great fundraiser.

I’m happy to say that last month’s re-launch ofKushiel’s Dart has generated some nice buzz for the book, and hopefully will garner some new readers. This Throwback Thursday essay on Barnes & Noble’s blog is a particularly good one. If you’re trying to convince someone to read the series, this is one to share!’ I’ve heard from a lot of readers who are indignant at any comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey, and I feel you, but… it’s just marketing, guys. And the truth of the matter is, it’s smart marketing. These have always been incredibly difficult books to describe. If the Hollywood-speak shorthand of “It’s like Fifty Shades meets Game of Thrones” does the job, then I’m all for it.

Speaking of Hollywood, a fun site that came to my attention as a result of the re-launch is the If List, wherein you can petition for your favorite stories to be adapted for film or TV, and propose actors and filmmakers you’d love to see make it happen. I don’t know what, if any, influence it has, but it’s a great site for fans who enjoy playing the Imaginary Casting Game to share their suggestions and see who other fans have proposed.

AllegraI also had a great time at Illogicon in North Carolina last month, where I met a lot of lovely fans and saw the best Phèdre and Joscelin cosplay I’ve had the pleasure to encounter, featured here on the homepage. Pretty awesome, right? I’m attending a few more conventions this year, listed under Events over on the left – and possibly a couple more yet to come – but I’m guessing nothing’s going to top those costumes!

That’s all for now! Check out the Tattoo Gallery for some gorgeous new entries, and you live in a frozen clime like I do, stay warm!

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January 2015

Happy New Year!

New release of Kushiel's Dart with redesigned cover art - click to purchase trade paperback from AmazonAnd here’s some cool news to usher it in: Tor Books is re-launching the original Kushiel trilogy in a new trade paperback format with new cover art! The first volume, Kushiel’s Dart, comes out on January 13th.

The new covers are designed to appeal more to theFifty Shades of Grey readership than a traditional fantasy audience, which I think is a smart idea; certainly one worth a try! I know the success of those books has prompted many readers and booksellers to recommend mine as a far better alternative to their friends. And before you ask, no, I didn’t have any input on the design of Phèdre marque. It’s a very different interpretation, and it will be interesting to see how readers react to it.

Speaking of Phèdre marque, I’m delighted to say that the response to the Phèdre Marque necklace fundraiser has been tremendous! We were able to raise almost $9,000 for my local library’s capital campaign to build a new facility, and Allison Hourcade at RockLove Jewelry has graciously offered to extend the period of availability for another couple of months. We’re hoping to hit $10,000 by Valentine’s Day!

Oddly enough, I’ve been re-reading Kushiel’s Dart for the first time in years. My long-time book club is reading on the theme of “Books You’ve Always Wanted to Discuss” this year and one of the members chose it. It’s a strange experience. I’ve only re-read it once since its publication, and that was some six years ago in preparation for writing You, and You Alone, the novella that tells the story of Anafiel Delaunay and Rolande de la Courcel’s tragic romance. (Which, in case you missed it, is included in the anthology Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed LoveAmazon).

At any rate, I sort of power-skimmed through it that time to refresh my memory. This time, I’m really reading it, doing my best to do so as an objective reader. It’s impossible, of course. I can’t quite stop analyzing the craftsmanship, both good and bad, to really connect on an emotional level with the characters. There are scenes I wrote in tears that I’m re-reading dry-eyed. And yet… I do find myself getting caught up in it, not wanting to put it down. I find myself surprised by details I’d forgotten, like the fact that I dropped a couple of nice casual allusions to the Lost Book of Raziel long before it becomes relevant, or my apparent obsession with the use of commas to create specific rhythms, or the fact that there are three – three! – separate references to badgers, despite the fact that no actual badgers appear anywhere in Terre d’Ange over the course of the entire series.

Ultimately, I do think it’s an awfully good book, and Phèdre nó Delaunay holds up as a truly unique and compelling heroine. I will forever be grateful for the gift of her, and I hope these new editions find many new readers to share her journey, and Imriel’s and Moirin’s to follow.

That’s it for now! Check out the Tattoo Gallery for some lovely new additions. As for me, I’m off to North Carolina as a Guest of Honor at Illogicon later this month, and I hope to see some of you there!

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