Naked Cats, Release Date, and WTF 2016?

2016, you’re finally over. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like even numbers. I talked to my mom on New Year’s Eve and mentioned how glad I was the year was over, and she very sweetly asked “Why? Is it Trump?” And I wanted to say, “well sure but also remember that time you tried to kill yourself?” but honestly I think she’s blocked most of that out, and that’s fine, she’s doing much better now and I have appreciated all of the kind thoughts that came in after my last post and I apologize for this run-on sentence.

I didn’t need to tell her that celebrity deaths also sucked, and nor do I need to tell anyone else, but I will mention the one that affected me the most, and that was Alan Rickman. My adoration started with Sense and Sensibility and I never really got over it.

Admit it, that’s a sexy little hat

But, despite an air of relief that the year was ending, the holidays around here were pleasant. I made Giada DeLaurentis’s lobster linguini and standing rib roast, plus fennel, which we’d never had and discovered we’d rather just have celery. I received a very cool set of gifts from my serial killer-studying pal: a weaving made from one of my favorite chapters of Anna Dressed in Blood, and a crow sculpture made entirely of graphite so the whole thing is a pencil.

Dylan has named him Cro-seph

And last but certainly not least, we got a new baby. A five month old sphynx kitten named Armpit McGee:


He has no fur, and needs many bathings and face and ear cleanings, and sure, sometimes it feels like there’s an uncooked chicken running across my living room, but we adore him.

In writing world: edits on ONE DARK THRONE are nearly done, and we have a release date: September 19th, 2017 !! It’s available for pre-order already, and some of you have already ordered, which blows my mind. A million times, thank you. More news to come soon.

And I’m going to Chicago to chat with Veronica Roth about her new book CARVE THE MARK: February 9th at 7pm, Community Christian Church, hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop. It’s ticketed, and we’ll both sign after, I think.

Three Dark Crowns popped up on the NYT list again yesterday, print(#3!) and ebook(#2!), so that was awesome. Thank you to those of you who have given it a whirl.

And that’s my month. Keep on, keepin’ on.

A Season of Downs and Ups

I’m fairly crappy at keeping this place updated, but over the years I have done my best to post one new entry per month. A record for myself, if nothing else, of what the hell was going on. I haven’t posted an entry since July. Here’s why.

In August, my mom tried to commit suicide. She had been struggling with a fairly rapid onset of anxiety disorder since the spring. I’d been trying to help her, having some experience with anxiety myself. For a brief rundown, see this post I wrote for Psychology Today.

When I wrote that, I didn’t know we were a few weeks away from my mom overdosing, and my family in the ICU for 40 hours waiting for her to stop convulsing and die. She hadn’t meant to do it. Not really. She wanted to get our attention (even though she already had it, the anxiety convinced her she needed more. Such is the nature of that beast.). I cried and laughed bitterly to Dylan that my mom had accidentally killed herself. Bitter laughter, bitter tears. Four in the morning waiting by the phone half a country away while my dad and my brother and all my childhood friends camped out in the ICU. Five am watching Philadelphia on HBO which would have made me cry on a normal day (especially those songs, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, damn you and your sick mournful beats).

But my mom didn’t die. Sometime in the night they intubated and put her under, and 40 hours later they brought her back up, and she opened her eyes. The tough old bird came out of it with no lasting damage (a fricking miracle!), and I flew home to make sure she was placed in proper inpatient care. She wanted us to put her into a nursing home. She didn’t think she could ever get better. We knew that she could.

Fast forward six weeks, and by the time I was set to go on book tour, my mom was on her way back. We were, and are, cautiously optimistic. Her medication is working well, and it is good to hear her laugh again, and smart off again, and be a big sarcastic butthole again like I’m used to.

This beast of Generalized Anxiety Disorder came on fast and strong. From fine and functioning to total collapse inside the span of a year. Our denial of how bad it had gotten, and some of our unfamiliarity with the disorder didn’t help. But we know what to watch for now, and because of her experiences, a friend who also struggled with anxiety went to get treatment, so, silver linings, I guess. This season was almost much, much worse.

In the midst of this, I was gearing up for the release of Three Dark Crowns, pasting on my author’s smile (which is usually, seriously, quite genuine). And then it was in the world, and it debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestsellers list (#5 on ebook!) and then I was on the road, hanging with incredible authors like Lauren Oliver, Zac Brewer, M.E. Girard, Renee Ahdieh (I think I had five panels with Renee this season!) and so many more. 3DC hung out on the list for six weeks, and continues on the national Indie list. Thank you to everyone who helped to put it there. It’s surreal, and to say I’m grateful for all of these things doesn’t quite cut it.

So there’s the ups. And they were big ups, after a big down. We came close. The fight continues. I apologize for the hiatus here. The plan is to return to normal now.  Smartassery and raucous dogs. Monthly posts. The sweetest co-writing cat in the world. And Lauren Oliver told me about a way to prepare a whole duck so I am totally doing that for Thanksgiving.

This is likely all I will say about this. I’m hesitant to post it, but I wrote that article about not being ashamed of anxiety disorders and I meant it, so a-posting I will go.

Crows, crows, crows! And reviews.

Crows, crows, crows! Is what I call out when I’m setting out their morning food. Not terribly original, I know. But they’re hard to name. They all look the same only slightly different sizes. In my head I call them Cro-heme, Cro-tein Shake, and Theodore Cro-sevelt, because I hate that stupid Geico weightlifter commercial.

They are out of the nest now, and eating our offerings on the regular. We have good luck with unsalted peanuts in shell and goldfish crackers my mom bought but didn’t eat. Oh no, she said, I want the regular goldfish, not the flavor-blasted. Well, I bought both, and she proceeded to scarf down the flavor-blasted and left me with bland, plain goldfish crackers! But I digress. The crows also enjoy tater tots, and certain lunch meat. They are picky about cheese. I’m eager to try giving them eggs, but if they ignore them then I have to go clean the yard before the dogs get to it and that sounds gross.

On to bookish stuff: THREE DARK CROWNS has received three positive trade reviews. Two with stars. That’s nuts! Plus many excellent blurbs.  I’ll get the Three Dark Crowns page updated soon, and Harper has already gotten them up on the Amazon page. Well, not the Booklist one, yet.

Three positive trade reviews. I feel very lucky. And like I paid someone off and just don’t remember doing it. But, there will be many bad reviews as well. Bad reviews that I hope sound like this: This book is not even a book! I couldn’t stand a single page and after I closed it I pooped on it! NO STARS!

That’s right. I want to get a no stars review from the Brita Water guy.

For those of you who don’t know, I read reviews of my own books. This is something that many writers manage to not do, as it can be quite unhealthy, like constantly refreshing your Amazon ranking (which I also do). Buuut, I can’t stop. Reviews are the Ennis to my Jack: I can’t quit them. Even if it is true that the right bad review on the wrong day can leave me shuffling around my house in mismatched socks asking the cat if he’s seen the last half of my sandwich. It’s all part of the process.

In two weeks, I’m off to GeekyCon, then back home until late September. My full schedule is up on the events page. I am having a launch gathering at University Bookstore in Seattle on 9/22. There will be cupcakes. Three flavors, one for each queen, and also just because I want to eat three different cupcakes. If you can’t be there but would like a book signed, call the store and they will make sure I sign and doodle. If you aren’t local, they will ship. All of the stores on the tour will ship, I imagine.

Thank you to anyone who comes out and sees us on tour. And as ever, a huge thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered Three Dark Crowns already. I thank you, my publisher thanks you, and Obi-dog thanks you, too, because he has to be involved in everything the little nose-beast. We are all very, very grateful.

Movies and Sequels and Crows. Oh my!

Any list of three things separated by “and”, has to have the phrase “Oh my!” behind it. Thanks a lot, Wizard of Oz.

I’ve been away from the blog awhile, so here’s the skinny:

The principal cast for the ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD movie was announced, here’s the Deadline write-up. It’s Cameron Monaghan as Cas, and Maddie Hasson as Anna, and I could not be happier about those choices. They’ve got it all, those two, and I can’t wait to see what they will do with the roles. It was a particular thrill to get Cameron, as my best friend knows ZERO actors, but she knows him from Shameless, so she could actually be excited. Also, both of them are only 3-4 degrees from Kevin Bacon, which is always important. The director is Trish Sie, the screenwriter is Allison Wood, and when you put them together with Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett from Fickle Fish Films, you’ve got a lot of rad women in Hollywood.

I’ll say more about this movie business if and when the film swings into production. In my mind, it’s still a fragile baby egg, and I don’t want to jinx it by yacking about it too much. But feel free to tell me what you think of the casting!

Also happened: I finished Three Dark Crowns 2, which has a real title and everything! We’re already starting to talk about cover concepts for it, which seems unreal. This biz moves simultaneously slowly and at light speed.  More cover related: the UK cover for Three D will be revealed soon!

Went to BEA and Bookcon. Next up: Geekycon in Florida. I’ll have Three Dark Crowns decals (bumper stickers?) to hand out. And I’m working with a bookstore on how to get signed, personalized preorders for those who have asked. A big, huge, crazy large thank you to everyone who has preordered already.

Crows! There are crows in our backyard. They have a nest up in a tree and we’re trying to feed them and earn their trust. So far we’ve managed to get them some worms, but I don’t think they knew the worms were from us. You can’t leave a “To, From” gift tag on a worm, you know? But I’m not giving up. I’m going to go buy some unsalted unshelled peanuts.

The End is Nigh! Though not quite as nigh as I’d hoped.

According to my master plan, I am supposed to finish Three Dark Crowns 2 in two days. That isn’t going to happen. I’m heading down to Bend, Oregon this Friday for a book festival, so the big finish is pushed off until next week. But! I’m betting there are ten thousand words or less remaining, and I sort of might know what most or some of those words are, so…not so bad.

The writing speed has slowed here at the end, as there are many things happening, and writing them tires me out. Isn’t that weird? I’m not physically doing the things that I’m writing but shit I need a nap.

On a personal note, we’re thinking of expanding the family again, with a kitten, perhaps sometime late this fall or winter. It will probably be of the hairless suede variety. So if anyone has experience with cats of the hairless suede variety, please do chime in to endorse or warn us off. This will be our final child, until our children get very old, and we begin to lose them.

On a slightly less personal but infinitely awesome note, a book blogger/book trailer creator made a trailer for Three Dark Crowns! She just made one! Just because the concept inspired her! How excellent is that? So I’ll link to it here: THE BOOK TRAVELER’S RAD TRAILER

Five months to Three Dark Crowns. Advance copies are out to readers and I’m freaking out. Dylan is trying to be patient but I can see his eyeball starting to tic. Whatever. He can take it. And if he can’t, I shall put Icy Hot in his undershorts and that will perk him right up.

Yes I do advocate spousal sabotage with Icy Hot.

Next month I’m off to BEA/Bookcon, where I will be signing ARCs, miraculously, from a fetal position. Until then, peace out, and word to your mothers.

Standing in the middle of a book.

Hello, March. I am coming to you today from the mid-point of Three Dark Crowns 2. Or thereabouts. February was a pretty productive month, only the equivalent of one day’s words was lost. So, at this point, I’m still on track to finish sometime in April as planned.

Of course by “finish”, I don’t mean done. I’m going to re-write this puppy so intensely it won’t know its own name. And if that sounds dirty, I meant it to.

Other stuff that happened in February: Hypable revealed the cover for Three Dark Crowns! And I updated my website with it, and the description, and pre-order links here. Because nothing says loving like a pre-order, if you are feeling so kind, and so inclined.

I always feel weird asking folks to pre-order, but it really does help a book and makes everyone involved with it feel warm and fuzzy inside. So…please DO pre-order Three Dark Crowns. And, please DON’T poach elephants. Not that any of you would dream of poaching an elephant.

Hey, just for fun I’m going to talk a bit about the Three Dark Crowns cover. And break it down a bit. Here goes.

There she is. Bow chicka bow wow.
There she is. Bow chicka bow wow.

So, the top crown there, that represents Queen Arsinoe and the naturalists, their affinity for growing stuff and whatnot.

The middle crown is for Queen Mirabella, the elemental. Fire isn’t her favorite, but neither is it her least favorite. Her favorite is the wind and her gift to work with weather, but what were they going to do, a crown with a sad cloud hanging over it? Cute, but no cigar.

The last crown is for Queen Katharine, (I pronounce it Cat-ah-reen, but do how you like), and the poisoners. They wear venomous snakes like jewelry.

I do love this cover. And I was no help with it. Harper kindly asked for input, and I said, in my usual articulate fashion: Uh, sure, uh, covers are nice, uh, could it not be bright butter yellow?

Scuttlebutt is that there will be a different cover in the UK, so I may have another one to share soon. That will be quite the experience for me, as Anna Dressed in Blood looks the same in pretty much every language.

Ok…until next time. When I will be standing hopefully in the last quarter of a book.


Deadlines! And how I blew them!

Hey, man, it happens. Though, to be honest, never to me. Never before. I’m one of those nutters who has everything done in advance, who cushions arrival times by thirty minutes. The same has always been true of my manuscripts. I usually deliver a few months early. But not this time. Here I am. Staring down a due date that I will never make.

I. Am. So. Screwed.

Well, not yet. I’ve got two and a half months to get a book done. That’s faster than I’ve ever written one. I wrote a third of it this summer, but as tends to happen, all of those words are junk now. On Feb. 1st I start from scratch.

Whatever happens, I’m sure to rewrite/revise the draft more than once after that. This post is mostly just to say, if in two months I seem certifiable, this book is why. It’s weird, to be staring at the next months on the calendar, and know how much and approximately when I will be bitching and moaning. I feel like a psychic.

The good news is, I’m still excited to write it. Bring it on, Three Dark Crowns 2. I will love you, and hate you, and then think you are only, ok. I will dance with you, and throttle you, and bury you in my backyard after a midnight bender. And when you are through, I will be wearing a ratty bathrobe and walking around with an empty coffee cup, my hair grown out into the same haircut as Daryl Dixon.

New year, new girl, I don’t do resolutions

Sunny day out there today, after a week or so of gloom. Frost on the ground. Grass still green. It’s the end of 2015, and to be honest, I’m glad it’s over. It was sort of a shit year. Of course, things can always get worse.

I have two short stories and one novel coming out in 2016. The X-FILES: TRUST NO ONE in March, featuring my story, “Heart“; SCARY OUT THERE in spring or summer, featuring my story, “Chlorine-damaged Hair and Other Pool Hazards” and THREE DARK CROWNS, in the fall. Late September, perhaps. My brother and best friend are visiting Seattle for the first time in early spring, and my parents in the summer. We will be very touristy. I will take them for good sushi. Except for my brother, who is allergic to fish. If I took him for good sushi, he would get green spots and then die.

I have one book to write: Three Dark Crowns 2, and I suppose, I ought to start thinking about what’s next. What’s next and what’s new. The perennial questions.

We got Obi-Dog a sister for Xmas. She’s a rescue from a shelter in Texas. She is sweet, and has a gruff little bark. She takes no shit. Her name is Agent Scully, and here she is, for your viewing pleasure:

Agent Scully

Tyrion Cattister approves. She is smallish, and very gentle with him. He’s only had to smack her in the face like, four times.

Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I don’t have to feel like the only person on the planet who hasn’t. I enjoyed it, but I’ve watched too many blockbusters lately. Leaves me craving something quiet, and thoughtful, and talky. Or something ominous, with a sinister score.

Aaand, Agent Scully just licked water out of my glass. Time to get back to line/copy edits. I’m sort of worried I’m going to make all kinds of mistakes when I transfer the line edits into the copyedited file. So if you read Three Dark Crowns next year, and it’s all messed up, like sentences breaking apart and continuing on the next page, or the phrase “O-Doyle Rules!” just inserted in there randomly, hey, I’m sorry. I’m just not that organized.

Where did November go?

Who the hell knows, but it’s gone. I’m trying not to dwell on it. November did start off delightfully, with a trip to Portland for Wordstock, where I got to hang out with the ever-fabulous April Genevieve Tucholke and her husband Nate, and meet Virginia Boecker (THE WITCH HUNTER) and Heidi Schulz (GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING) and see McCormick Templeman (THE GLASS CASKET) again and punch her in the arm because Jay Kristoff (ILLUMINAE) told me to.

He told me to. I had no choice. And it didn’t leave a mark. Don’t try to guilt me, McCormick!

Also realized one of my foodie dreams by eating ice cream from the Salt & Straw: strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. Which was strange, because those who know me can attest: I hate black pepper. With a hatred that burns eternally. But this shit was good. GOOOD.

We’re in line edits for THREE DARK CROWNS. It’s turning me into a basketcase even if I truly can’t wait for you to meet the poisoner, the naturalist, and the elemental. Three sweet (?) sisters. Two to devour, and one to be Queen.

A quick note on writerly doubt: It is bound to happen after working on a project for a lengthy amount of time. You get to a point where your nose is so pressed to your computer screen that you can barely type for the smudges. And even then, for me, it’s hard to step away. But holy crap I needed to step away. I was hitting it hard for two months, and finally sent it to my editor when sending it felt like throwing it at her from across the room.

In other news, we are thinking of expanding our family and getting Obi-Dog a sister. Tyrion Cattister has agreed to lord over them both with extreme prejudice. But man, it’s hard to look at shelter dogs. It really, really bums me out that there are animals who want a human to love, and they don’t have one. It’s not like there’s a fucking shortage of humans, you know? And it’s tough, to read through profiles and have to say no because this or that particular girl is not good with cats, or is fearful of other dogs, because I’m sure she is sweet and wonderful. But I have to think of my boys, and who will best integrate into their lives.

Dylan is no help. I show him two dogs and say choose, and he says, “both.” Like we can just grab eight or so and start a band like the Partridge Family. They had the band, right? I get them confused with the Monkees. Who I then get confused with The Beach Boys. Who I then get confused with The Manson Family, and then we have a whole other problem.

So, to sum up: I’m looking forward to 2016, when there will hopefully be a new dog-daughter in the house, and for Three Dark Crowns news, and maybe even some Anna Dressed in Blood news! Who knows?

The Last #31HorrorFilms31Days Post (plus event recaps)

I did it. Oh yes. 31 Horror Films in 31 days, and man, what a ride. I feel….all caught up on my horror films. Now if only I could say the same thing for my reading pile.

THE LAST OF THE LIST (Films marked with * indicate a film I had never seen before)

24. THE POSSESSION* – once again, a demon targets a tiny little girl. Come on demons, go infest The Rock or Vin Diesel. Make it interesting. Bonus: Kyra Sedgwick, a.k.a. Mrs. Kevin Bacon, gets to play it really, really clueless as the mom.

25. THE THING* – the 80’s one, not the one with Scott Pilgrim’s girlfriend. Lots of fun with defrosted aliens in the isolated arctic. Lucky for the aliens, these people have severe trust issues, and are horrible at not becoming infected.

26. ANNABELLE* – Creepy doll. The initial satanic home invasion was the scariest thing about this. And I couldn’t stop thinking of the spoof in A Haunted House 2, where Marlon Wayans bones it.

27. FRIDAY THE 13TH* – I kept waiting for some prime Kevin Bacon full frontal, but I guess he had to warm up to it. Fine. This was his first movie. Also, man, this final girl deserved to die. Stop just briefly incapacitating Mrs. Voorhees!

28. HALLOWEEN* – Very enjoyable yarn about inept people chasing a superkiller, and a little boy who just can’t articulate what the Boogeyman looks like, dammit.

29. HALLOWEEN II* – Because the first one just wasn’t finished. Thank god we stopped before Season of the Witch.

30. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 – Did not mean to watch this. Got sucked into a marathon on IFC.

31. NEW NIGHTMARE – I love this movie. So meta. And I had to end on Wes Craven. I only wish he’d had the courage to ask Johnny Depp to appear in it, like he wanted.

For the last two nights, I’ve been on the ILLUMINAE Tour with Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, as well as fellow local guy Shawn Speakman (THE DARK THORN, set in Seattle! Check him out, he’s got rad tales), and man it’s been fun. First stop was at University Bookstore, which is always fab, and where I finally found my heart’s desire, a copy of Milan Kundera’s THE FESTIVAL OF INSIGNIFICANCE. Me and a bottle of wine have a date with that book. There will be weeping. And joy. And inappropriate touching.

Anyway, night two was in my old stomping grounds: the Lynnwood Barnes and Noble!  Another great panel. Amie and Jay tell the best stories. If you can get your butt to one of their stops, I recommend it. And if you haven’t read ILLUMINAE yet, stop reading this and go do that instead. Then come back and we can talk about my love of AIDAN.

This weekend, I’m in Portland to hang with April Genevieve Tucholke, McCormick Templeman, Cat Winters, and many, many others at Wordstock. Fun times will be had. Come on out, if you’re around. It’s at the art museum.

Now, it’s back to the THREE DARK CROWNS grind. Did I mention I saw the flap copy? Did I mention that it’s bitchin? Cover should be coming soon.