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!

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! 🙂

Summer Inspiration: Bookstore Signings

In the crunch phase of writing and producing a book, I spend so much time sequestered away in my office that I can sometimes forget that other people exist. Let alone that some of them read what I write.

And while I write for many reasons, not least of which is just for the sheer fun of it, one of my most affirming motivations to get back to work is seeing young readers enjoy my books. And that’s just what happened at my two bookstore signings this summer .

The launch party for The Illuminator Rising was held at Village House of Books on June 25th. The owners, Steve and Cheryl Hare, are incredibly welcoming and just some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. They even heralded the event with a window display of The Voyages of the Legend–a total dream come true for me!

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I got to sit in the “queen chair” in the charming children’s nook.

 

DSC00026It was totally fantastic to see the standing-room-only gathering of young readers! They were full of eager observations and great questions. Some of them are on track to be writers or illustrators themselves, so watch out world!
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The second summer signing took place at Bookasaurus, the children’s division of Leigh’s Favorite Books. Though space in the store is tight, they sure make the most of it! Again, it was wonderful to have the signing so well attended by strangers, friends, and family. These are just a few of the people who sustain me on my journey.

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Some of the students who visited have been faithfully reading The Voyages of the Legend since the release of Book 1. I’m having the amazing privilege of watching them grow up–some, into very dedicated and articulate writers themselves!

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And one more perk of the day. See that shop doorway on the left of the photo? That’s an incredible gelateria called Bella Roma. Gelato may or may not have immediately followed this book signing. I can’t think of a better way to end a day full of books, bookworms, and fun.

Summer Inspiration: Bay Area Book Festival 2016

Benjamin Franklin is credited as having said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” 

Last spring, I was totally absorbed in trying to write something worth reading–and in fact, today The Illuminator Rising is on an Amazon Top 100 list! Woohoo!

This summer, I’ve been busy trying to catch up on the other half.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing posts about some of the events that have brought color and life into this summer. Some of them may or may not wind up as ingredients in the creative soup for The Voyages of the Legend, Book 4!

Today takes us back to the Bay Area Book Festival (June 4-5) in Berkeley, CA!

IMG_2657It is a special, special thing to have an entire city rope off its downtown for a 2-day extravaganza just for bookworms. While I was 500% exhausted afterwards, it’s so fun to just be able to strike up a conversation with anyone in a crowd, knowing that you have a love of books in common.20160604_121638

My wonderful mom was my table buddy and partner in crime for the weekend. She used her whiz artistic skills to paint Voyages of the Legend designs on the hands of visiting readers!

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Fun, huh? It was also a pleasure to get visits from some friends and family, including my aunt who lives some distance away 🙂

20160604_121615 I got to network with some literary colleagues of all stripes: librarians, teachers, and fellow authors, to name a few.
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One of the coolest booths I saw was an artisan who makes shelves, etc. out of (humorous) groupings of old books. Look closely at these titles, and see if you don’t laugh.

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But the best thing was seeing so many kids enjoying reading. Two girls purchased copies of my books, then immediately dashed off to the lawn to start reading them. Whole groups of parents and kids sat down together for outdoor storytimes. It reminded me of some of the happiest moments of my own childhood, and restored my hope that not all kids are growing up as screen addicts. Not these ones, at least.

20160605_120009So, while this introvert couldn’t have been happier to curl up in the silence of her own room after all the activity, overall the Bay Area Book Festival was a jolly, literary, inspiring weekend.
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Hope you can make it next year!

Book Launch Day: The Illuminator Rising!!!

It’s here!!!

Book 3 ebook cover, Amazon, medium res

It’s launch day for my new book, The Illuminator Rising! I can’t even tell you how excited I am to introduce this new book. As the third (but not the last!) in the Voyages of the Legend series, it involves some of the characters I’ve written with before, but each and every book teaches me new things–and this book taught me a lot. And threw me more than a few surprises!

Here’s a sneak peek!

Jariel tapped out the rhythm with her foot. “I like fast dances.”

“Then you should dance,” Ellie said.

“Nah. You need a partner for this one.”

“So? Find one,” said Connor, rejoining the group.

“What? You volunteering?” Jariel rolled her eyes.

“Sure.”

“Sure? You don’t even know how to dance!”

“I do too.”

“Then why haven’t I ever seen you?”

“Maybe I didn’t want to.”

“You’re bluffing.”

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

“Then dance with me.” Connor cocked an eyebrow. “I dare you. Or are you too scared?”

“I am not scared.” Jariel stood up, dusting herself off. “Hurry up, slowpoke.”

Ellie watched as Jariel and Connor joined a reel on the dance floor. They fumbled awkwardly to find each other’s hands and perform the first set of spins. But then they seemed to find a rhythm. Both of them were strong and athletic, and they both had a good sense for the music. They began to clap in time and skipped down the line with energy. Their movements fell into practiced unison, as if they were working together to trim a sail or polish a deck.

“Do you…like to dance?” Kai asked Korrina.

Korrina gave a fierce laugh. “I like to fight.”

Kai nodded briskly. “Yes. Fighting is better. At least you know if you’re winning or losing.”

You can find The Illuminator Rising right now on Amazon as an e-book and paperback! (Amazon hasn’t yet linked the two together, but both are listed on my author page.)

If you’re local to the SF Bay Area and looking for a signed copy, you’re invited to my launch party on Saturday, June 25, at Village House of Books! There will be a reading, kid-friendly activities, snacks, and even a drawing for a free paperback copy of The Illuminator Rising!

If you can’t make the launch party, check out my News and Events page for other stops on this summer’s book release tour!

 

To celebrate this book’s launch day, I’m doing an e-book giveaway right here on the blog! Entering is easy!

Step 1: Subscribe to my e-mail newsletter. (The newsletter only includes book-related news and only comes once every few months! Since nobody likes spam. If you’re already subscribed, you can skip this step.)

Step 2: Leave a comment on this post, including 1) your name (first and last) and 2) one reason you’re excited to read The Illuminator Rising. 

On Monday, 6/13, I’ll draw a name from the comments and send a free e-book to the e-mail address you used to subscribe!

 

As always, I can’t do this without you! Please like, share, retweet, and leave an Amazon review to help launch this book! 🙂

The Illuminator Rising: Cover Reveal!!!

Book 3, The Illuminator Rising, releases online THIS Friday, June 10th!!!

To celebrate, I’m running a blog tour with the help of some amazing authors/creatives. There will be book reviews, interviews, and guest posts, and some even include giveaways of Book 3!

Here’s the full schedule of hosts and events: 

June 8: Release announcement with children’s author Jenn Castro
June 9: Interview and giveaway with craft author Margaret Bloom
June 10: BOOK 3 RELEASE DAY! Party and giveaway right here on my website!
June 11: Guest post: “Traveling Writer” on the blog of fantasy author Angela Wallace
June 12: Guest post: “Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity” on the blog of fantasy author W.R. Gingell
June 13: Book review and release announcement on the blog of fantasy author Rabia Gale
June 14: Guest post: “Writing to Music” on the blog of fantasy author A.R. Silverberry
June 15: Guest post: “Insanity-Free Revision” and giveaway on the blog of fantasy author D.M. Stoddard
June 16: Author-character interview on the blog of fantasy author Intisar Khanani 
June 18: Radio interview with artist and tech guru Caleb Fong 

Follow along to join the fun and (maybe) win a free book!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

…the cover reveal for The Illuminator Rising!!!

Book 3 ebook cover, Amazon, medium res

Another awesome work by Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio! Leave a comment to tell me what you think! The book releases on Amazon June 10th!!!

Book 2 cover reveal!!

Happy Wednesday! I have something exciting to show you: the beautiful, second-edition cover for Book 2, The Illuminator’s Test! 

Book 2 ebook cover, Amazon, medium

Ta-da! Isn’t it gorgeous? Another masterwork of Jenny Zemanek at Seedlings Design Studio. I love the way this cover blends together beauty and danger: two elements that intertwine throughout this story.

The new edition features a new map as well as classroom-ready discussion questions and project ideas. It will replace the first edition on Amazon early next week, so if you want an illustrated, first-edition copy for your collection, make sure you grab one right away!

In other news, last week was Children’s Book Week at Village House of Books, and I was one of several guest authors at their Saturday party. I got to read a section of The Illuminator’s Gift to some adorable kids, sit in the Queen Chair (yes, that’s a thing!), sign a few copies, and even get my picture taken with Curious George!

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I also scored a first-edition, signed copy of Kate DiCamillo’s newest book, Raymie Nightingalein its special Independent Bookstore Edition! Kate DiCamillo is one of my all-time favorite authors and a personal hero of mine. Coming home to snuggle up with a new book of hers is one of the best feelings I can imagine 🙂 (As of Saturday, Village House of Books still had a few copies left, so call them if you’re looking for one!)

Stay tuned for more news about Book 3, The Illuminator Rising, coming June 2016!!!

Good Books & Good Friends: The Bay Area Kids’ Book Fair

Woohoo! The 2nd edition of The Illuminator’s Gift is now live on Amazon! The old cover may still appear on the Amazon preview, but if you order the paperback or e-book now, you’ll get the beautiful 2nd-edition cover as well as all the new features inside, including a new map and classroom-ready discussion questions and project ideas. Yay!

In other news, last Saturday I had a booth at the Bay Area Kids’ Book Fair in Sunnyvale, CA. In one action-packed day, lots of things happened.

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First of all, my mom and I set up this snazzy booth in less than 45 minutes! Yay us!

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My wonderful teacher friends Jordan and Annie stopped by to hang out and see what I really do in my secret author life. Thanks for coming, guys!

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I also got to meet this amazing young lady. She couldn’t wait for her class to finish reading The Illuminator’s Gift and The Illuminator’s Test, so she got her own copies (promising, of course, not to spoil the endings for her class). After finishing the books, she drew this incredible illumination!

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Isn’t she talented? She gave me the drawing, which is now proudly displayed in my office.

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Speaking of talented artists, my mom did hand painting with designs from The Voyages of the Legend. All day long, kids begged her for vines of roses, compasses, and shiny double-colored lightning bolts. She’s the best.
And because I can’t ever leave a book event without buying a book, I met Aaron Safronoff and his team at Neoglyphic Entertainment and bought Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall. It’s a fascinating young adult novel with both black-and-white illustrations and full-spread, full-color illustrations–almost like a hybrid novel/graphic novel. Neoglyphic has spun it off into a video game as well. I’m always really interested in cross-genre projects, so it piqued my interest. Technically the book doesn’t release until April 27th, so I got an early AND signed copy! Next week you can find it on Amazon

So many lovely people and lovely books, all in one short day. And now, because I have used up all my introvert superpowers for the moment, I shall be in hiding for the next few days…getting Book 3 ready for you to read, of course!

Cover reveal!!

Dun dun DUN!

To celebrate the release of Book 3, coming June 2016, Books 1 and 2 are getting a makeover!

These new editions include beautiful new covers, a new map, and discussion questions and project ideas perfect for classrooms, homeschooling, and book clubs.

So without further ado, I reveal the new cover for The Illuminator’s Gift!!!

Final ebook cover, BN, smallest

Eee! This cover totally takes my breath away. It’s the work of the immensely talented Jenny Zemanek at Seedlings Design Studio. She worked with me long and hard, bringing to life the flying ship Legend and the magical feel of this book series. I couldn’t be more dazzled.

And while we’re looking at pretty things, here is the new map of Aletheia, designed by Brian Garabrant of Brian Garabrant Illustration. I love the way he made my flying islands fly!

Map 1 White

These fabulous new editions (print and e-book) will be available on Amazon.com starting next Monday, April 18th (assuming I don’t get eaten by the Technical Difficulties Monster). They will also appear in bookstores shortly thereafter. You can get a signed copy at one of my upcoming events, including Children’s Book Week at Village House of Books or the Bay Area Book Festival in June. (If you’re looking to snag a first-edition copy, the Bay Area Kids’ Book Fair this Saturday, April 16, is your last chance!)

I hope you love the new look as much as I do!