Monthly Archives: March 2017

In Which I Squee About My Cover

Have you seen the beautiful cover for THE TETHERED MAGE?!


(Design: Lisa Marie Pompilio; Art: Crystal Ben & Arcangel)

I love this cover so, so much, guys. One of the many reasons I was super excited when Orbit offered to publish my book is that their covers are FREAKING AMAZING. And wow, they did not disappoint all the little writer dreams of awesome book covers I’ve been having since I was a tiny little girl.

I love the colors. I love the way the bird silhouette grabs your attention right away, but you can keep seeing more details as you look closer (the city in the wings!). I love the swoopy line thing on the M. (See that technical term I used there?)

I look at this cover anytime I start losing steam as I work on Book 2, and then I’m like HELL YEAH! and rev up my writing pace again.

Anyone who knows me well will also not be surprised to hear how ridiculously happy I am to have a raptor on the cover of my book. Let’s just say it’s no accident I called my magical military unit the Falcons… I’ve been a bit of a bird geek since I was in third grade. (I’m a really low level bird geek, though… That particular XP tree goes up REALLY HIGH. I only have my skill bought up to, like, the point where I’m the person my friends ask what the cool bird they saw was. And then I nod sagely and say “Probably a red-tailed hawk,” which is an accurate statement for, like, I don’t know, 80% of the raptors you see over highways in Massachusetts—bear in mind I just MADE THAT NUMBER UP AND IT’S NOT REAL. Not to indulge in a huge parenthetical digression about birds when I’m supposed to be talking about my cover or anything, but suffice to say I THINK I JUST MADE MY POINT about how I like birds.)

Also, I was really amused to realize my cover reveal came on the Ides of March. As I said on Twitter, it’s kinda appropriate… Let’s just say there maaaayyyyy be a certain amount of political intrigue, betrayal, and murder in this book. (That’s really not a spoiler. Like, if you look at the nutrition label for this book, it says “CONTAINS INTRIGUE, BETRAYAL, AND MURDER,” right there.)

I can’t wait to see this cover ON MY BOOK! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Permission to DNF

I like to finish things.

I’m the type of person who vastly prefers to complete one task before moving on to the next; otherwise, the unfinished thing lurks in the back of my mind, raising its hand periodically to go “Hey, still not finished, over here.” And I’m like “ARGH I know! I’ll get to you soon! Sorry!” Unfinished tasks piling up causes me more anxiety than anything else.

I hate putting aside a book I’m reading without finishing it. Not only is it another thing my brain never crosses off its list, but I feel like I’m abandoning a friend. Leaving the hero hanging off the cliff as he calls after me: “Um, okay, I’ll just wait here a while, I guess.” Meanwhile, I walk away with an apologetic wave, going “Too busy, sorry, maybe later.”

But I’m realizing now that I need to change how I look at not finishing books. I’ve got two kids, a day job, writing, a household to manage, deadlines… and, if I can manage it, maybe even things like eating, sleeping, and a social life! (HA HA HA but no, seriously, that would be nice.) I can’t read three books a week like when I was a teen. There will never be more than 24 hours in a day, no matter how much I wish I had a time turner.

If I want to ever make it through my TBR pile—if I want to be able to walk into the bookstore and come home with a couple books without feeling guilty about the others I haven’t read yet—I need to let go of the idea that I start books to finish them. I need to abandon the Clean Plate Club idea of reading, and approach it with more of a buffet mentality: I’m going to try all kinds of stuff that looks good, but stop after just a nibble with a lot of it to give myself room to get a second helping of those really amazing potatoes (with me, it’s always the potatoes).

The last two books I finished were UPROOTED by Naomi Novik and THE FIFTH SEASON by N. K. Jemisin, and HOLY CRAP, those were both AMAZING. So, so, SO good. Not finishing them was never an option. I HAD to. Part of my brain is still living in each of those books. They were everything I wanted and more than I could have imagined.

I’m a bit late to the party with both, and the reason for that is I didn’t want to let go of the idea I was going to finish Marie Rutoski’s THE WINNER’S CURSE (which I in turn was late to the party for because I didn’t want to DNF something else, and so on, and so on). And the only reason I made it to the party at all was because I finally convinced myself it was okay to put aside TWC when I was maybe 2/3 through, because while I genuinely liked it and was enjoying it, I didn’t feel that compelling drive to finish it. And that meant I kept prioritizing the 500 other things on my Must Do list above reading.

Well, no more. Now I’m going to give myself permission to start novels and not finish them. I’d rather read the first 5 chapters of 10 books than dutifully finish just one book I’m only kinda into.

That way I get to support more authors (by buying more books), learn more as a writer (by at least sampling more books), and have a greater chance of finding those precious books which are so good they don’t give me the option to set them aside, and leave me yearning for more when they’re done. Like really good roasted potatoes, or cheese fondue. (Mmmm, fondue.)

I feel liberated already! Better run out and buy more books to celebrate.