Thursday, October 28, 2010

The *Long* Road to WFC 2010!


For some reason or another, when I decided to go to WFC (World Fantasy Con, in case you're wondering) I decided I'd forgo flying and drive to Ohio.

From Virginia.

Yup. That's a 7+ hour drive. What the heck was I thinking?

Seriously, do you know? Because I don't.

The good news though is that I made it here in one piece*, and I got to stop to hang out with Alexandra Shostak (and visit a spooktakular haunted insane asylum**) along the way.

AND, the drive really wasn't that bad because look at the pretty scenery*** I had to keep my eyes happy along the way!

I also spent hours upon hours creating characters for the story I'm going to write after my WIP is finished--and I worked out some of the kinks in my current WIP. I virtually road-tripped (on the phone) with Cristin Terrill, because she was driving to Texas, so we shared in the pain of long drives... All in all, it was a pretty good time!****

Today I'm waiting for my roommates to get here (Carolina Valdez Miller & Karen Hooper) and, um, without giving too much away, I'm just gonna say we're totally gonna have one of the funnest***** rooms ever!****** 

So my weekend is set here in Ohio. What are you up to? Any big plans?

*If you've ever driven with me, you'll understand why this is an amazing accomplishment.
**More on the asylum later! I have fun pics with Alexandra, but I'm wearing an outfit I plan to wear at WFC and didn't want anyone to see because what if I meet someone at the con and they looked at my blog and think I'm a dork for rewearing an outfit or something... Crap, I just kinda gave it away anyway, didn't I? Dang it.
***Clearly I'm not a professional "from a moving car" photographer, but still. You get the drift :)
****Plus, I may or may not have entertained myself by jamming out and singing at the top of my lungs to 80s songs. I also may or may not have made videos, which you may or may not be allowed to see at some point in the future... 
*****Yeah, yeah. You say most fun, I say funnest. Check it: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/is-funnest-a-word.aspx
******Picture proof to come later ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My November: NaNo(Wra)Mo

Last November, I was half way done with a manuscript, so I couldn't do NanoWriMo, because you're supposed to write something totally new.

This year?


I'm bummed because I think NaNoWriMo sounds like so much fun. Just taking a month to write my ass off? WIN.

But I'm around the halfway point of a WIP that I'm absolutely in love with. And I don't want to break from it for something new for NaNoWriMo.

So, I'm making November my NaNoWraMo!! Yep, National Novel WRAP-UP Month!! (Yeah, I'm a nerd... I made my own little badge.)

NaNoWraMo. Only one letter different in the acronym, and I'll follow the rest of the NaNoWriMo guidelines--but this way I can work on wrapping up my WIP!! I'll either write 50,000 words, or finish my manuscript, whichever comes first!

Anyone else in this position wanna join me? Leave your email addy in the comments and we'll do something fun to keep track of progress :) And of course, celebrate at the end of the month!!

Thanks for stopping by!
I used clipart from here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pretty, pretty

You know what I define as a perfect day?

The day I get new bookshelves and get to play for hours organizing them!!

Sooooo, they started out like this:
And ended up like this:
And, in case you were dying for more angles:
Unfortunately, I still have lots and lots of books that don't fit on those shelves (not just the pile you see by the side, either). So I'll have to get another bookshelf, or two. Darn it! <----sarcasm

Anyhoo, after trying out a bunch of different organizational methods, I just went with alphabetical by author. So allll my genres are mixed together. Fantasy*, contemp, sci-fi, romance, classic, thriller... YA, adult, MG. I love it! Authors that would never otherwise share shelf space are hugging in my shelves :) Except for the top shelves--those I saved for my super old books. You know, the ones that smell so freaking good? The ones from this post: The Smell of Old Books <---click it to see, I swear the pictures make it almost as good as a scratch and sniff blog post!

Also, my TBR is way smaller than I thought it was--but I've still got a long way to get to the bottom of it!
I need some help deciding what order to read everything in--but we'll save that for a later post :)

PS. School me, readers: should I be using the term bookshelf, or bookcase? Or does it even matter?

*Obvi, I'm a fantasy girl at heart... 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Bother?

Every creative person will have a bad day. A bad week. A bad month. It's inescapable. Creativity isn't like... I don't know... math, where there's always the right answer. It has to be nurtured--and given breaks. Sometimes it'll take a beak on you before you're ready. And that's okay. Because you're a creative person, and it's going to come back.

You'll face disappointment. I'm sure you have already. Maybe you're sick of getting rejections; maybe your book didn't sell as well as you wanted it to; maybe your publisher didn't love your second book as much as they loved your first... I'm sure the list could go on and on--and all of those things are extremely disappointing. Give yourself time to process them, because that's life: you have to face the downside sometimes.

If you wallow too long in disappointment though, it can slick right over to the dark side. Because when you concentrate so hard on the things that aren't going well, it casts a shadow over everything else. Negativity is a tumor that sits there and grows and grows and grows until it consumes you--until it's a complete barrier in your path to creativity. And the more you let it go, the harder it is to push it back. And you know you know what I'm talking about.

So, if day after week after month, you're stuck on the things that haven't gone well for you, or the things you're worried won't go well, or if you're paralyzingly frustrated about how unfair you think everything in this industry is--it's time to snap out of it. Because if you're stressed and worried and unhappy more than you're happy... Well then, this is where the title of the post comes in.

Why bother?

Writing is a job you choose for yourself. There aren't many people out there who began writing because they were in dire straits and needed to provide for their family. If you're struggling financially, you're NOT gonna pick up a pencil or type out a story thinking it'll bring in the income you need by the time you need it. You don't have to write to live.

Okay, and it's quite possible you're sitting there thinking: Why is she writing this post? It's so negative! But it's not, I promise!

My point is that it's much easier to focus on the fear than on the hope. And I think that's a bad route to take. Yeah, self-doubt is natural. Disappointment is inevitable. But you wouldn't be writing if you didn't believe in yourself, because like I said--you don't have to write.

You choose to write. So reward yourself for doing so, for taking the risk. Keep your focus on why you do it. We write because we love to write. We write because we're storytellers--or, at least, we aspire to be. It's what makes us happy.

Concentrate on how good it feels when the words are pouring out of your fingertips. And if you're having a spell when they're slower to come, have faith that they'll return--because they will.

Remember it only takes one agent to fall in love with, and champion, your story--and some of the greatest authors out there had hundreds of rejections along the path. If you follow in their shoes, it's not such a bad thing! Same with editors. Different people have different tastes, and there's nothing you can do about that, so try not to dwell on it. Just believe in yourself, and believe that someone is going to love your words enough to buy them.

Write your book. Make it the best one you can. Then make it better. And again after that :)

Enjoy the process, don't let it bury you. Because when you let it bury you, it stops being fun. And why on earth would you choose to do this if it's not fun?

I don't know, maybe it's just me. But when I force myself to keep a positive attitude (because, yes, sometimes it is a decision rather than a natural process)--or when I at least force myself not to be negative--things really do go better. I don't struggle as hard to make the words flow, and life is just more fun in general.

So try it! If you're feeling down about about any part of the process, snap yourself out of it. Force yourself to remember the things you love about writing, and then focus on those things. Let everything else fade away.

Concentrate on you and the words and the creativity that makes you who you are. Do this the majority of the time.

That's what I try to do, anyway :)

Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Chance to Help

This summer, Pakistan was hit with the worst flooding the country's had in over eighty years. Ten million people are now homeless because the floods destroyed their homes. And an estimated twenty million have been affected overall.

And those numbers in the millions turn to billions when we start talking about how much damage has been caused. An estimated 43 million dollars is needed to get Pakistan back on track.

Those people need help. And Reggie, aka the Undercover Book Lover, is doing something about it. She's fundraising for the Pakistan Flood Relief Fund. She's set up these awesome auctions and all the money raised will go to the cause.

The following are some of the auctions still open--and the list seems to be growing!!

Signed Lipstick Laws Package!
20 Page Critique from Carrie Harris, Author of Bad Taste in Boys
Signed Copy of The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Signed Audio Book of The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Two Critique Packages from Angela Morrison
Signed Copy of Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
20 Page Critique From Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic)
Signed The Body Finder Package! (comes with an ARC of Desires of the Dead!!!)
Signed Copies of Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Reggie's so cool! She wants to help people in real need--AND she's giving us a way to help--AND yet again people in the writing community stepped up to donate amazing prizes to be auctioned off.

If you head over there, make sure you check out how the auctions work!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Soooo, I just wanted to give a little shout out today to the Write Brained Network, a free online community for writers.

My pal Ricki Schultz started it a while back (if that name sounds familiar its because Ricki's a YA writer who contributes to Writer's Digest books AND interviews agents for the Guide to Literary Agents blog). She's super awesome :)

The WB* site is absolutely worth checking out!

I'm copying the information straight from the website here, but the site explains its purpose so succinctly, there was no point in rewriting it!

The Write-Brained Network

No matter what your genre, stage, or level of writing, you can connect with other write-minded folks right here, in this social network.


* Ask and answer questions on the forum
* Find critique partners
* Brainstorm
* Discuss your work
* Bounce ideas off others
* Journal (in a secure forum, by way of the "Blog" feature) OR link to your existing blog
* Network
* Chat with members who are online when you are
* Join or start satellite chapters in your geographical or writing areas
* Challenge yourself with writing prompts
*Et cetera . . . 

Sounds awesome, right?

So what are you still doing here? Go! Check it out :)


*The WB = The Write-Brained Network, NOT WB TV Channel... :)

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blogiversary ARC Giveaway!

Okay, so now that all they hype has died down from the day JK Rowling celebrated my One Year Blogiversary, it's time for the rest of my celebration!

And as I'm sure you can tell from the title of this post, I'm giving away ARCs. Some of them are even signed!

Here's what's up for grabs this time:

SIGNED ARC of Matched, by Ally Condie
It even has a "to:" section, so you can fill your own name in :)

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. 

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. 

SIGNED ARC of The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury. 

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay. 
But it’s not. 

ARC of The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

ARC of Dust City, by Robert Paul Weston

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?
His son, that's who.  

Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed. 

Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City: a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner. 

ARC of Witch & Wizard: The Gift, by James Patterson and Ned Rust

When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order.

ARC of A Tale Dark & Grim, by Adam Gidwitz

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.
ARC of The Wolves of Andover, by Kathleen Kent

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. 

All you have to do to enter is be a follower and fill out the entry form (link is below). 

Guess what! This is open INTERNATIONALLY!!

Want to increase your chances to win? It's easy! (Though not required to enter)...

+1 follow me on network blogs (link in my sidebar)
+1 follow me on twitter
+20 send me some new bloggy friends (20 per friend)

Contest runs October 11-October 31!

Good Luck!!

For the record, some of the ARCs are preread, but they're all in awesome condition! I don't dog-ear pages or anything :)

Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few Things...

1. I love twitter! But I took a break from it for the past month or so to work on a revision. And now that I'm back I kinda forget how to use it..

2. I mean, I know how to use it--but I feel so out of the loop with twitter convos! Plus it's like the "witty remarks" section of my brain freezes when I sign in. Ah, well... I'm sure I'll get the hang of it again soon!

3. At the end of September I had a molar extracted. It's my own fault really, I split the tooth like a year and a half ago, but am so scared of the dentist that it took me that long to make an appointment. And because I waited so long it came down to a very special root canal that would cost $2k after insurance, or an extraction for like $100 including laughing gas.

4. I love laughing gas.

5. But there is no sound in the world as creepy as the sound of your tooth forcibly being cracked out of your mouth. Seriously, my dentist took these plier looking things and broke the bone out.

6. In four different pieces.

7. That's four times the fun of listening to breaking bone.


9. Did you just shudder? I do, every time I think about it.

10. I went back a week later to have a filling done, but they didn't do the filling because the wound in my mouth was still open.

11. Just kill me now.

12. I miss chips and carrot sticks* and other crunchy foods that I still can't eat.

13. In other news, I'm going to see the Washington National Opera perform Salome tonight! I can't wait. I've never been to an opera before. In my mind, I'll be all Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman tonight.

Something like this:

       Me: How do I look?

       Husband: Hm... There's something missing.

       Me: Well nothing else is gonna fit in this dress.

       Husband: Maybe something in this box.

I reach my hand out
Husband slaps the box closed
I laugh hysterically

       Husband: No, really. Can you hold my cell in your purse?
                         That thing's big enough to hold a freaking elephant.

       Me: Sigh.

And later:

       Me: So. You said this is in Italian German.
              So how am I gonna know what they're saying?

       Husband: Believe me, you'll understand. The music is very powerful
                         There's a translation running on the screen above the stage

And finally, at the end:

My eyes fill with tears at the beauty of the scene.
Husband looks at me and realizes how much he loves me

       Husband: What? You got allergies or something?


14. Anyway, I'm super excited because we're hanging out with Cristin Terrill afterward!! She totally rocks and sometimes we get together at Starbucks to write to gossip to write :)

15. Have you seen this yet? Just in case you haven't, I'm posting it because it's freaking AWESOME. And it's in lieu of my Friday Funny this week! SO, enjoy!!

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake 
rap through the history of hip-hop

From Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight all the way through 
Jay Z and Alicia Keys' Empire State of Mind

16. The winner of the SIGNED copy of Siren by Tricia Rayburn is...


more drumroll

Karen Hooper!!!


*tosses sparkles and glitter*

17. In sad news, I lost two blog followers on Monday. This makes me sad. I love you guys! Don't leave me! I've been out of the blog loop recently, due to the aforementioned revision, but I'm slowly wading back in...

18. I'm announcing a pretty awesome contest next week! I hope you'll all stop by!

And, finally...

19. How have your weeks been so far? Anything fun and exciting? Or, you know, gross like my dental story?

*that is a BLATANT lie. I don't miss carrot sticks at all

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Author Interview: Clare Dunkle!!

Everyone knows how much I LOVED The House of Dead Maids. And now the author, Clare Dunkle's here to give an interview!! What a great start to the week :)

I'm just gonna dive right in, because Clare has some fabulous things to say!

Okay. My first question has to be about the ghosts you created! They were so creepy I still get chills along the side of my neck when I think about them. I mean, I read a lot of ghost stories as a kid and have flipped through a few as an adult, and no ghost that matched the scariness of your ghosts has come across the pages! If you don’t mind, I’d like to give a small example to my readers:

“It wasn’t the pallid hue of her grimy face that shocked me, or her little gray hands and feet. It was the holes where her eyes should have been, great round sockets of shadow.

The dead girl opened her lips as if she meant to speak. Her mouth was another black pit like the black pits of her eyes. She was nothing but a hollowed-out skin plumped up with shadow. I had the horrible idea that if I were to scratch her, she would split open, and the darkness within her would come pouring out.”

That passage was the first one to make me “give into a shiver,” but it wasn’t the last! How did you create your ghosts? Are they based off of anything, or did they just come to you like that? Either way, you have one heck of a descriptive style!

Thank you so much! Like you, I read a lot of ghost stories as a kid and still enjoy them as an adult. My favorites are the collections of “true” tales—eyewitness accounts of preternatural events—because these stripped-down, straightforward recountings of odd incidents can make me shiver when literary offerings can’t. (If you like that sort of thing, I heartily recommend Glen Grant’s Obake Files.) So one detail about my ghosts came right out of a haunting account: the young son of the person being interviewed complained of seeing an old man with “eyes like windows.” I loved the ambiguity of that: what exactly is he seeing?  So Himself makes a very similar statement.

I can’t remember how I came up with the idea for the maids to be eyeless. There’s a scary eyeless ghost in one of the accounts Glen Grant collected, though, so I was familiar with the idea. And I wanted to stress the fact that these “maid” forms were something like puppets—not typical souls of the deceased, but forms that seem to have been taken over and inhabited by an evil force. Since the eyes are the “windows of the soul,” then these “soulless” forms have no eyes.

But the success of the second paragraph has as much to do with word choice and imagery as the appearance of the ghost itself. Certain words in our culture are nasty words—almost taboo words—and I used those to heighten the shiver because it isn’t just ghosts that make our skin crawl. Examples: plumped up (which awakens dim associations with ticks), scratch, and split open. This takes the scare factor and adds a gross factor to achieve a true visceral reaction of disgust.

Yeah, true visceral SCARY reaction? Totally achieved!! I own an ARC, so I’m not sure if the illustrations changed in the final version, but the artwork in my copy is amazing! To say Patrick Arrasmith is talented would be an understatement. How did that process work? Did he create images based on descriptions in your writing, or did you tell him what you wanted, or did he have creative freedom? Or am I totally off the mark and it was something I’m not even asking about? :)

Those illustrations are astounding, aren’t they? They’re absolutely perfect! When my wonderful editor, Reka Simonsen, approached me with the idea of illustrations, I immediately lobbied for woodcut-style chapter heads because that’s what my childhood Modern Library copy of Wuthering Heights had: wonderfully creepy illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg. (I’m throwing one in here so you can see what I grew up with.)
The process of working through choice of illustrator and then sketch approval normally wouldn’t necessarily involve me but would involve the art director, book designer, editor, and marketing people. However, Reka is the best editor on the planet, and she made sure my input counted. Patrick Arrasmith was my first choice as well as theirs, and although he and I didn’t interact directly, all my concerns got addressed. As sketches came to me (through Reka), I would send back photos or drawings of period clothes or architecture or other details that I thought he was struggling with, and every time, his next sketch just nailed it.

Patrick did read the book, and his illustrations reflect that level of care and involvement. They make real contributions of their own to the story. I particularly love that he came up with the crumbling, mask-like faces of the dead maids, which stress that hollow quality they have. He creates the perfect atmosphere to make the story a success—even before the reader begins to read.

I read Wuthering Heights right before reading The House of Dead Maids. It was my first time and I can’t believe I missed out on such an amazing classic for so long! I loved it, obviously—and I also absolutely loved the view I got of Heathcliff while reading your book! I puzzled over him while (and after) reading Wuthering Heights, and your take on his background really resonated with me, so thank you for that. My question here is: What drove you to write this story? Were you as puzzled over Heathcliff as I was?

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has pondered Heathcliff! I’ve been mulling over him for decades. Heathcliff was very important to me when I was nine—freaky-looking little kid that I was, I needed his toughness to get me through my school days. Because I met him as a child and was so sensitive to his horrific childhood at Wuthering Heights, I’ve never understood those who’ve dismissed him as nothing but a regular villain. Heathcliff suffers too much for that.

This story might never have been written, though, if my family hadn’t unexpectedly gone into a dark chapter of our own. My older and then younger daughter went through bouts of serious mental illness, and for my part, I pulled away from my friends and isolated myself while I dealt with that. Working with the Brontës was a relief because I knew they had also dealt with the bitter grief of a mentally ill family member. So I wrote out all the pain and darkness I was going through and put it into this story.

What your daughters (and you) went through must have been extremely difficult. Writing truly can be a healing process and I'm glad you were able to push your emotions into your words, because the book really is amazing.

A large portion of my blog readers are aspiring writers. And you’ve made it! You’re there :) Successful, multiple books published, and—let’s be honest—a truly fantastic weaver of words. What’s been the best part of your journey so far? What’s been the hardest? Any tips for those of us aspiring to follow in your footsteps? And, of course, what is your writing process?

You’re so sweet! Those are very nice words to read. Because you know what? No writer feels he or she has made it. Imagine a job where you start over every year, where you don’t know if you’ll be good enough to earn a paycheck next year, and where the only feedback you get is on work you completed two or three years ago. It can be nerve-racking! That’s why we have to love the writing itself.

The best part of my journey—the very best—is when people come up to me and talk about my characters as if they’re living people we both know. That’s certainly how I think of them! The hardest part is having the courage to love what I write even when it carries a price tag. For years, I didn’t presell books because I didn’t want to think about this as I was writing the first draft. And I still can’t write if I think, “Is this chapter worth x number of thousands of dollars?” I have to pretend that I’m writing just for myself.

My website is full of writing advice, much of it geared (of course) towards teens, and it also contains a large section of general publishing advice. I did my very best to pour out all the most important tips I could think of in those pages. You can get to them here, under the pictures of heaven and hell: http://www.claredunkle.com/Design/writelife.htm.

My best tip? I do think it’s very important to be picky about what you read if you want to become a good writer. Try to read the very best stuff out there, as well as classics from around the world. Think of your reading time as research, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I used to think that it was important not to try to read and write during the same week, so I put a moratorium on reading fiction for several years. Now I know that we need that infusion of prose to keep going, but it’s still important to be very choosy: it helps you to train your critical thinking and your word-smithing “ear.”

Process? What process?! My writing process has been crazy over the last several years as I’ve had to fit it in along with family obligations. Writing has to feel fun and special to me; if it does, then I’ll find a place for it in a busy schedule. So it’s the attitude that matters most, I think.

Finally, things have a tendency to get a little silly here at the Babbling Flow—so I have to wrap up with some silly questions!! Quick! Answer these questions with the first response that comes to mind!

What’s your favorite time of year and why?
Autumn, when the leaves start falling and chilly winds blow. That’s when the world of imagination draws near and touches our own world.

If you could own one mythological creature as a pet, which would you choose?
For years, I daydreamed about owning a “teacup” unicorn—a tiny unicorn only a foot tall. But now I think I’d rather own a tiny dragon that could sit on my shoulder. (Those aren’t entirely mythological since they’re modified, though.)

Of course, from my own personal mythology, I’d choose Charm, the golden snake from my trilogy!

What’s the best thing about the month of May?
The fact that it inspired Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B7sH5QLyXY

Quick! What’s the first thing you see in this inkblot?
Two little girls who set out to play “Cowboys & Indians,” but now they’re arguing because both of them want to be the “Indian”! I can sympathize because I used to play this game with a little boy down the street, and I drove us to create elaborate narratives for our play in which we were first one character and then another. One day, he ended up being the entire U.S. Army Cavalry, and I was the entire Apache Nation. Needless to say, we couldn’t resolve our differences, and he stomped home in a huff.

Hehe! I see a girl getting ready for a date and checking her hiney out in the mirror. (That's something I can sympathize with, ha!) Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a blast on the rest of your blog tour!

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a real delight! May you always write the stories you want to read, and may everyone else want to read them too.

So, to my blog readers:  Check out this giveaway!!!

Special Brontë-themed giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive The House of Dead Maids, a gorgeous Brontë sisters pocket mirror, and the HarperTeen edition of Wuthering Heights! Two lucky runners-up will receive the two books. 

To enter, send an email to DeadMaidsBook@gmail.com with your name, email address, and shipping address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and email address). 

One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on October 31. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on November 1 and notified via email.

Want to know more about Clare? The next stop on her blog tour is at Steph Su Reads

Sunday, October 3, 2010

House of Dead Maids

I originally posted this review back in August--but I'm reposting it now because author Clare Dunkle is stopping by for an interview tomorrow!! So make sure you check it out :)

Last night, I started and finished and ARC of The House of Dead Maids, byClare Dunkle. And, um, WOW. The book releases on September 14th and is definitely something you want to read.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I read Wuthering Heights right before, to better acquaint myself with Heathcliff's story, and though I'm really glad I've finally read the book (Wuthering Heights is amazing and it shames me how long it took me to get around to reading it) it wasn't absolutely necessary to read beforehand.

Premise: So, basically, the book tells the story of Tabby, a girl brought to work as a maid at the mansion known as Seldom House. She's charged with taking care of a young boy (who grows up to become Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights) and discovers a world of ghosts and dark, dark superstitions. 

My absolute favorite thingThis book is deliciously scary. Starting it late at night was a MISTAKE! I kid you not: I slept with the lights on last night.  Dunkle's ghosts were described with such detail and so dark my skin crawled--there literally was one moment of description so vivid I had to put the book down and give in to a shiver.

Other thoughts: The cover is what drew me in to begin with. It's fantastically creepy--and it completely matches the scariness of the book.

It was interesting to read Heathcliff before he's officially Heathcliff, and I thought Dunkle did a really nice job of creating him to be believable with the character I know he grows into. 

It's a short book, which made it a really quick read. (Though I'm pretty sure I still would have read it in one sitting even if it'd been twice as long.) And the illustrations (by Patrick Arrasmith) in the ARC--and I'm assuming in the hard cover--flow right with the tone of the book and give visual to the terror you feel while reading.

Even thought the protagonist is 11, I'm not sure I agree that this book is suitable for readers ages 12 and up. At least, had I read it at age 12 I'd have had nightmares for weeks. Heck, I still probably will! Maybe most 12-year-olds are tougher than I was at that age though, which is highly likely...

I absolutely recommend this book, especially if you're a fan of Wuthering Heights--and even if you aren't. Bravo to Clare Dunkle, it's been a while since I read anything quite this spooky!

Ranking: 5 stars (out of 5)

Thanks for stopping by!!