The Illuminated Kingdom Launch Party Review!

11/18 was the launch party for The Illuminated Kingdom, hosted by the lovely Books Inc. in Santa Clara.

One of their amazing booksellers hand-drew this sign in chalk!

The entire staff was wonderful (and decked out in unicorn getup for a later event. What could be better than bookstores plus unicorns?)

I felt so honored by all the people who turned out for the event, even though it was the weekend before Thanksgiving! We read together from The Illuminated Kingdom, had some Q&A time, and of course, signed books.

My lovely mom did washable art on people’s hands (some Vestigians even got their fleet tattoos).

It was especially priceless to see the faces of old friends who have traipsed with me throughout the journey of this series. Plus the face of the small and perfect person to whom Book 4 is dedicated ❤

Thanks to everyone who came out for the launch! If you’re still looking to get a copy signed before Christmas, I’ll be at a table in front of the Recycle Bookstore West on 12/17 from 9:30-12:30 (during the Campbell farmers’ market). I also have more events coming in January, so keep an eye on my News and Events page! 

Book 4 launch festivities!

Release day for The Illuminated Kingdom is just TWO DAYS away! To celebrate the launch of this final book of The Voyages of the Legend series, there will be a series of festive events, both in person and online. Here’s the list!

11/3: BOOK LAUNCH DAY!! Grab a copy and start reading!

11/4-11/17: Online book tour! Several awesome authors/creatives/book reviewers have graciously agreed to host book tour stops on their websites to celebrate the launch of The Illuminated Kingdom. Stop by!

11/4: Fantasy author Angela Wallace: book launch announcement
11/5: Fantasy author Kasper Beaumont: interview
11/6: Anglophile and serenity author Pauline Wiles: interview
11/8: Children’s author Jenn Castro: book launch announcement
11/10: Writer and artist Caleb Fong: book launch announcement
11/11: Fantasy author Intisar Khanani: book launch announcement
11/12: Author and book reviewer Anela Deen: book launch announcement
11/17: Fantasy author A.R. Silverberry: book launch announcement and e-book giveaway

11/18: In-person launch party at Books Inc. Santa ClaraDrop in starting at 2 PM for snacks, activities, reading, Q&A, and book signing!

12/17: Book signing at Recycle Bookstore West9:30 AM-12:30 PM (during the Campbell farmers’ market)–one last chance to get Book 4 signed before Christmas!

Celebration time! I hope to see you at some point during the festivities!

Book 4 release!!!

Announcing:
THE ILLUMINATED KINGDOM
The Final Voyage of the Legend

Coming November 3, 2017!!!

“…[an] astounding, imaginative world…”
-Readers’ Favorite

The Vestigia Roi has risen up to retake their home island of Rhynlyr, but all Ellie can think about is rescuing her missing brother, Connor. Guided by a dream of Connor’s whereabouts, Ellie disobeys the Council’s orders and stows away aboard the Legend. But a simple rescue mission quickly goes wrong as Ellie and her friends confront new monsters and old enemies. The crewmembers of the Legend soon find themselves waging a last, desperate battle to save not just Connor or Rhynlyr, but their entire world. As the One Kingdom hangs in the balance, Ellie and the Vestigia Roi must ultimately decide what they are fighting for—and how much they are willing to sacrifice for it.

After more than nine years of writing this series, the fourth and FINAL book in The Voyages of the Legend series is almost ready for you to read!!! And I’m so excited to share it with you!

Here’s what you can do to be part of this exciting launch:

1. Hop on Amazon.com on November 3rd and get your copy of THE ILLUMINATED KINGDOM! (It would be an extra bonus if you’d leave a review!!)

2: Stop by the launch party on November 18th for a signed copy! The party is at 2 PM at the Santa Clara Books Inc. There will be a reading, Q&A time, and of course lots of books! I’d love to see you there!

3. Spread the word about the book release! It takes lots of voices to create a successful book launch. So if you’re excited about this book, tweet it out or tell a friend!

I’m so excited to share this series finale with you!!!

When Not in the Writing Cave…

(Before you read this post, you should go grab your sale e-book of The Illuminator’s Test! It’s on sale July 21-23, with the lowest prices at the beginning of the weekend–just 99 cents!)

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, because I’ve been in the writing cave, working hard to get BOOK 4 of The Voyages of the Legend ready for you to read this fall! Title reveal coming soon…

But when I’m not in the writing cave, sometimes I get outside and talk to people 😉 Here’s an update on some fun, bookish events I’ve been up to lately!

My booth at the Bay Area Book Festival (Berkeley, CA). The best part was seeing readers I’d met last year who came back for more! I’m already looking forward to next year 🙂

A school visit to an amazing classroom. I can’t even believe the ideas these brilliant and creative 5th graders came up with during our workshop on “Creating a Story”!

In June, the Recycle Bookstore Book Club read The Illuminator’s Gift, then invited me to join their conversation! Such fun talking books with people who like to read them!

I was thrilled and honored that The Illuminator’s Gift was named a Finalist for the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition and a Semifinalist for the BookLife Prize in Fiction. I did an interview for Shelf Unbound, which you can read here. BookLife gave the book a score of 8.75/10 and described the story as “…dramatic, steadily building adventures set in a vividly imagined world.” Yay!

I joined author Jody Lee Mott on his Dream Gardens podcast to talk about one of my favorite, favorite books: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Kate DiCamillo is one of my writing heroes, and it was really fun to articulate just what I admire about her writing! Listen in to hear our conversation.

Video is probably my least favorite publicity medium (I’m always more comfortable behind than in front of a camera) but I’m working on it! I now have a YouTube presence, thanks to Alida Winternheimer and Kathryn Arnold of the Story Works Round Table. We had a fun video chat about the characteristics of middle-grade fantasy, with a second episode releasing in the future.

Phew! That was a lot! Time to get back to the writing cave now. But if you run a classroom, book group, podcast, or other literary event, I’d love to do a workshop or Q&A with you! Click on my Contact page to get in touch!

Hot Summer Book Sale!

Hey guys! To get ready for Book 4’s fall release, The Voyages of the Legend series is going on sale this summer!

 

Every two weeks, a different Voyage e-book will be on sale on Amazon, so save these dates to save on summer reading! (Deals are best on the first day of each sale weekend, so jump on it early for the lowest prices!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d be extra, extra appreciative if you’d leave an Amazon review for each book 🙂 Reviews don’t just help sell books (though they really do); they also make the books eligible for opportunities like a super-cool publicity program I’m applying to. A review doesn’t have to be long or complicated–it’s enough to tell other people “I liked this book,” or “It would have been better with an extra battle scene.” Just scroll down to where it says “Customer Reviews” (where you see all the stars), then click “Write a customer review.” THANK YOU so very much!And stay tuned, because Book 4, the FINAL VOYAGE OF THE LEGEND, is coming this fall!!! More details to come!!!

(Psst! Subscribers to my e-mail newsletter were the first to find out about this sale! To get the latest news and deals about The Voyages of the Legend (no spam, I promise), subscribe here!)  

 

My Top 6 Books of 2016 (Or: Unsurprising Surprises)

Back in high school, I used to keep a list of books I read each year. Because I like books. And lists.

But for some reason, once I left high school, I stopped keeping track of my reading. Probably because college hit me hard and I had no time to wash my hair or cook in an oven anymore, let alone keep lists of my books (although I did still read a lot, both in and out of class).

Last year, though, I decided to try again. I kept a list of every book I read for a year. And it was satisfying. (Which surprised me, for who-knows-what-reason. Because books. And lists. Obviously.)

I was also surprised that in spite of my two jobs and a published novel this year, I still managed to read 70 books! It was fun to count them and watch the trends in my genre preferences. Fantasy, steampunk, and children’s lit were the big winners this year (more non-surprises). I also starred my very favorite reads, books which (surprisingly or unsurprisingly) deeply moved, entertained, or educated me in an important way. Six books got starred, so I thought I’d share these meaningful books with you.

Alina’s Six Top Books of 2016

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

In a world stuffed with sappy, simplistic spiritual books, Taylor does not add to the problem. This book was deep, sensitive, insightful, brave, and completely helpful to me.


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

A beautiful, sad, empowering classic about a young woman who goes from victim to victor. Favorite quote: “No one is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.”


Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Sometimes (a lot of the time) I learn from teaching as much as I ever did from being a student. Having assigned this novel to my students, I figured I’d better read it…and it was wonderful. Shattering. Honest about the complexities of racial tensions in pre-apartheid South Africa (and anywhere). But also unapologetically hopeful about the possibilities of love and kindness.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I have no idea how I got through high school and a college English degree without reading this one, but I’m glad I finally got around to it. This book was wise, sorrowful, hopeful, and so so so relevant to life in 2016. It had an eerily prophetic ring to it, actually. Or maybe the world just hasn’t changed that much.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

This book was just sheer fun. I love Jane Austen and I love Shannon Hale, so put the two together and you get a decadent slice of fun and humor. And also a strong heroine with some wise insights on being a young woman in the 21st century. I (maybe) read it three times in the same month.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

This one was also pure fun. I was first attracted to it for its cover (yes, even authors do that), but I stayed for the rollicking romp of fantasy-steampunk-science fiction-Sherlock Holmes delightfulness, complete with cyborg alligators and plenty of bibliophilia. Now I must read the rest of the series.

A spiritual book, three social commentaries, a parody on a classic, and a fantasy romp, making the top of my list? How…unsurprising.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2016? 

Indie Reading Fest

I like to read. (Oh yeah, just a little bit. I’m a maniac out of control on this one.) I’m keeping count of how many books I’ve read this year, and I might actually blog about that later on. But especially as the weather gets colder and the nights get longer, reading is my favorite thing to do. And I’ve had the privilege of reading some really great indie books over the last year or so. So with winter and the sometimes-overwhelming holidays zooming up, I thought I’d share my top indie picks to keep you reading happily. Especially because Black Friday weekend=deals on books. And most of these e-books cost less than $3 (some are even free). So yeah. Check out these awesome indie books that bring new and different flavors to the reading world. You’re welcome.

Side note: many of these authors have actually been so gracious as to stop by for an interview on this blog! You can find them by typing each name into the blog search bar!

Dreamwalker series by Angela Wallace (fantasy)

Lady of Devices series by Shelley Adina (steampunk, oh yeah! I’m on book 10 of the series.)

Masque by W.R. Gingell (fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast)

Mourning Cloak series by Rabia Gale (fantasy)

The Rummy Club by Anoop Ahuja Judge (contemporary)

The Stream by A.R. Silverberry (fantasy)

Sunbolt series by Intisar Khanani (fantasy with an awesome Middle Eastern flavor)

Wish series by Grier Cooper (contemporary)

And…

Oh hey, The Illuminator Rising ebook will be 99 cents from Black Friday through Cyber Monday! And if you haven’t yet started the Voyages of the Legend series…

 Oh guess what, Book 1 will be 99 cents all weekend too! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading!

Illuminator Rising, meet My Little Pony

I never really got into My Little Pony as a kid, but my author friend Angela Wallace did.

So, to celebrate the release of my third book, The Illuminator RisingAngela designed and drew this book-themed pegasus pony! Awesome, right? The pony follows the fiery color palette of the book cover. I’ll call her Mharra, after the island where that erupting volcano is located. And I’m entering her in #PonyFest16 on Rebecca Enzor’s blog!

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For reference, here’s the book cover:

And a quick book description:

Thirteen-year-old Ellie and her crewmates aboard the flying ship Legend must rally the fearful survivors of their fleet and rise up against the deadly evil threatening to conquer their world. 

Fun times!

Recipe for a New Book

In a comfortable seating area, combine one new notebook, one mug strong coffee, and assorted writing utensils to taste.

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Add one absurdly multicolored spreadsheet.

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Combine ingredients until they have formed a suitably large mess on the office floor.

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Pour mixture onto blank pages.
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Get excited, because Book 4 is coming! 🙂