Deal News! Cover Reveal! And Thoughts on Protecting Time

Thanks to everyone who kicked in on the Lexington Writer’s Room fundraiser — we are so pleased with how we did. Reminder: We’re taking on new fully vaccinated members now. Yay.

I do have some news items to share, including another glorious rom-com cover, but, first, an attempt to get back to using this as a space to think through things. One of the things I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is making and protecting time. The most precious resource a writer has, maybe, besides stubbornness. As things begin to reopen a bit, and return somewhat to normal, I am certain many of us have forgotten what it means to protect our time.

For many of you, it probably wasn’t an option for the past year, especially if you have children. For the rest of us, as things start to return to the previous state of business, there’s the temptation to say YES. TO EVERYTHING. YES, I will teach this. YES, I will go there. YES, I will do that favor. YES, let’s have this event or go to this place. And some of these are extremely good YESES.

I do my best to live by the rule of only saying yes to things I would say yes to if I had to do them tomorrow. Not agreeing to things that will disgruntle you at yourself for saying YES is important. Particularly, if you — like me — need to not feel all that busy in order to do your best work. When I’m in an intense writing period, I try to protect my space as much as possible. I put as few things on the calendar as I can. Because I know I need that time and space, even if I’m only actively writing during a couple hours of it. If I have a bunch of appointments or meetings, there goes the day. I’m not saying I always get to do this; sometimes life is busy and the work has to happen anyway and that’s okay. But it’s a great way to flirt with burnout (been there) and I’m trying not to do that anymore.

So, as we move ahead, and begin saying YES, a gentle reminder to remember that saying YES to what you need for your work is also important, valid, and something you absolutely can do. Even if it means saying no to other people and things that you wish you could say yes to (and that you don’t, real talk). I’ll be working on it too.

Speaking of work, I’ve been feeling incredibly energized this spring. If you follow me on social media, you may know that I signed with a second agent to handle my books for adult audiences, the wonderful Kate McKean at Howard Morhaim (and will continue to work with the wonderful Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown on kids/YA projects). Well, one of my news items is that Kate and I just sold our first book together. Another rom-com with St. Martin’s, and one I’m so excited to dig into and bring to life:

Y’all, this one’s going to be big fun.

And speaking of big fun, here’s the cover and description for The Date from Hell, aka Callie & Luke book two. The design is once again by Kerri Resnick (genius) and the illustrations by Louisa Cannell (so good). Voila!

About the book, coming April 2022:

After saving the world and stopping the apocalypse, Callie and Luke are looking forward to a quiet, romantic weekend together. When you’re human and dating the Prince of Hell, quiet moments are hard to come by. But their romantic weekend in Hell takes a turn when Lucifer tasks Callie and Luke with chasing a wayward soul around the world. If they can prove it’s possible to redeem a soul, Lucifer will allow the two of them to make some changes in Hell.

But this wayward soul, Sean, doesn’t have any interest in being redeemed. Instead, now that he’s back on Earth, he’s decided to take a leaf out of Callie and Luke’s book and wants to find the Holy Grail. Now Callie, Luke, their friends—and enemies—must race Sean around the globe on a Grail quest and bring peace between Heaven and Hell before they can finally (maybe) get around to that date.

In The Date from Hell, the sequel to Not Your Average Hot GuyNew York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond brings the journey of Callie, Luke, and their friends to a wonderful close. This is another laugh out loud, action packed romantic adventure you won’t want to miss.

Preorder: 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-date-from-hell/9781250771766​
Amazon (Kindle): https://amzn.to/3uHkl08  (*Note that the paperback edition isn’t available yet for weird data reasons, but soon.)

B&N: https://bit.ly/3hiwcOt

IndieBound: https://bit.ly/2Qcq671

BAM: https://bit.ly/3w14ABp

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3ocrZgv

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3eEy7Lx

Google: https://bit.ly/3eHbEgX

Look how pretty they are together:


You can find all the preorder links for Not Your Average Hot Guy right here. Preorders are the most important thing you can do to support an author’s upcoming books! As I’m moving into a different career space, I have a lot riding on these and, also, I hope they will delight you. So if you can preorder, please do. *smiles non-creepily* (A p.s. for reviewers and bloggers: NYAHG is now available on Netgalley for your requesting pleasure.)

And that’s all for this week! Be well and say NO with abandon.

Lexington Writer’s Room! Fund! Raising!

Some of you may know that at the beginning of the pandemic — literally the week before The Great Shutdown — Christopher and I were part of launching a new local nonprofit aimed at providing a killer work- and community-space to writers in Lexington and the region, also known as the Lexington Writer’s Room. To say this was the worst timing in the world isn’t exaggerating. Our tiny board and organization were all on the same page public health-wise so we basically shut our doors as soon as we opened. And we learned to deal with a LOT of uncertainty over the past year.

We learned a lot of things, honestly, including that the original space we occupied was too expensive for us to not become full-time fundraisers (more on that to come), perhaps had a more corporate vibe than everyone wanted (because most of the other occupants were tech company folks), and that we needed to subsidize as much of the membership cost as possible (what the nonprofit *does* besides providing space; we’re employee-free). We were, alas, not eligible for any of the funding to help nonprofits weather the pandemic, because we were — sad trombone — too new.

The good news is: we survived! And we’re now in a 200-year-old building, with a space that fits our aesthetics better, is roomier, and is affordable enough to make our long-term survival far more certain. What we’re about:

  • Creating an affordable, optimal space where writers can do their best work;
  • And do it as part of a community of different kinds of writers for cross-pollination and support;
  • Give people a space to meet (the salon) and hold literary events as part of their subsidized membership cost.

We also want to quite simply make Lexington’s literary community more awesome for working writers at all levels. We’re a small city and so creating infrastructure to support creatives staying here is meaningful work. We’re already working on a partnership to specifically support emerging Black writers too. I’m excited, and I hope you’re excited by proxy.

I’ve always had a cranky attitude about The Arts seeming to exclude literary arts. This goes back to my grumble-grumble at the “Arts Preview” in the print newspaper for Lexington every fall during high school. And it’s true that we writers can work in isolation, and often do. But, after experiencing this pandemic, I’m more convinced than ever that the Lexington Writer’s Room is going to be the birthplace of many wonderful projects, some that might never exist without it. In fact, I am in the process of selling a book I wrote the entire proposal for at one of the standing desks a few weeks ago. We also had members sell books during our first ill-fated opening week. It’s going to be a special place. But we need help to sustain us and our mission.

You knew a sales pitch was coming, right? We’re having our first fundraising effort as part of Kentucky Gives Day on May 11. While that day is a big focus, oour Ky Gives fundraising page is already up and running. Any amount helps — we are tiny, our overhead is low. Your funding will directly support all of the above. We even have a matching donor for the first $4,000 we raise, of what we’re hoping will be $10,000. And we’re hoping we can limit our hard-sell fundraising to a couple of times a year, so help us with that? *smiles hopefully from the salon*


Here’s that link one more time. AND if you’re a local writer in Lexington or the region (or know someone who is), tell them to get in touch and come see us at the space. We’re signing up new folks now. Vaccinated people can work without masks; unvaccinated folks will still need to mask. End ask portion of this! (It always sucks to ask people for money or support, but hey, you can’t get yeses without risking nos.)

I lost a handful of newsletter subscribers last time around, presumably for talking about lady parts and health, and I wish I wasn’t too lazy to figure out who so I could side-eye them. 😉 Hopefully, the rest of you will hang around despite the fundraising ask. My recovery is going very well, well enough that I’m frustrated I can’t walk the dogs solo and get tired easily.

And since I had you indulge my passion project soap box for most of this newsletter, I just wanted to say that this all came about because people in our literary community here were in contact and we were shooting the shit about wanting a good place to work outside the house. Your passion project may start from a similarly tiny place and grow to benefit others. Creating something is always a struggle — whether it’s a book or a nonprofit. But what a worthwhile struggle to put new things into the world.

In the meantime, if you have requests for future newsletter topics — craft, questions, etc — please feel free to send them. I want to get back to doing these weekly and making them far more rambling and about figuring things out, like they were when I first started them. And Stranger Things fans? Have you seen the new Season Four trailer? EEEEEE.

I hope your week is golden, and many thanks if you kick us a donation, but also thanks for reading, even if you don’t,

Gwenda

Preorder NOT YOUR AVERAGE HOT GUY, my apocalyptic rom-com, coming October 5 to a bookstore or e-reader or audiobook app near you.

Extra! Extra! A little Lois & Clark extra to benefit #Creators4Comics

Hello! You may have seen and/or contributed to the #Creators4Comics auction that war-time general Kami Garcia recruited me, Sam Humphries, Brian Michael Bendis, and Phil Jimenez to run, benefitting the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which is providing direct aid to comic shops and independent bookstores and their employees who’ve been hit hard by COVID-19. It was successful beyond our wildest imaginings, because the book and comics communities made it that way. The auction is over and we’ll be releasing more about that EXTREMELY soon, but you can still donate right here.

As one of my own auctions, I offered a set of my Lois Lane series, along with the outline I did for a potential book four. I also offered to write a new Lois and Clark chat scene–the first one after the end of book three–if we hit a certain number. The generous Michele Tepper hit that number and has given me permission to share that scene here.

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOK THREE, THERE ARE SPOILERS. If you liked the first books, I think you’ll love book three, by the way. I layered it with delights for the reader.

Haven’t read any of them? You could pick up the series from Bookshop.org and help benefit indie bookstores at the same time!

And now for the extra scene! Which is complete fan service and I had a blast writing it and so thank you to Michele for giving me an excuse to revisit these two. And…again SPOILERS FOR BOOK THREE.

Lois and Clark Extra! Extra!

I shut my bedroom door, more out of habit than secrecy. Not that I want anyone in my family watching me making swoony expressions at my computer. They tease me enough about Clark already as it is.

Clark. Just his name sends a tingle down my spine all the way to the ends of my fingertips as I type in my ridiculously long password to join him in chat.

It’s been four days since he and his parents headed home from Metropolis—they had to get back to the farm. And these four days have been excruciatingly long, since we haven’t been able to do more than exchange quick messages. I wouldn’t want Nellie the cow to be lonely, but I do wish I’d had more time in person with my SmallvilleGuy.

But I’ll take our usual long-distance happily.

There it is, I’m already grinning a ridiculous grin at my screen. Good call on the closed door.

The cursor blinks beside my handle as I wait.

His username pops up just as the clock in the corner of the screen hits 10 p.m.

SmallvilleGuy: Hi.

SkepticGirl1: Hi.

So… I guess we’re both feeling a little shy. I scrunch my nose up and try to think of something normal to say. I settle on the safest of our usual topics. Our messages appear at the exact same time.

SmallvilleGuy: You’ll be glad to know that Nellie is fine. I snuck her a treat in your honor.

SkepticGirl1: How’s Nellie?

Jinx.

I shake my head, smiling.

“Rest of the trip go okay?” I type.

SmallvilleGuy: Just long. No more roadside attractions, at least.  

We sit in a word-free silence for a moment.

SmallvilleGuy: I miss you already.

I melt into a puddle as quick as an ice cream cone on a sunny day. Great, now I want ice cream.

SkepticGirl1: You do?

SmallvilleGuy: I was wondering… I talked to my folks and… I’m a little nervous about asking.

The truth hit me right then.

SkepticGirl1: WE ARE IDIOTS!!!

SmallvilleGuy: Uh, we are? I just wanted to…

My fingers fly across the keys.

SkepticGirl1: Yes, we are. SUCH IDIOTS.

SmallvilleGuy: Lois…why are we idiots? 

SkepticGirl1: I’ll show you why.

SmallvilleGuy: Um, okay.

I fumble around my desk and find my phone, and scroll down to his name. I press it. Clark Kent.

He picks up on the second ring.

“Hi,” he says.

“Hi,” I say.

We’re so good at being awkward we could medal in it.

“So, you were right,” he says. “As usual.”

“What do you mean?” I love hearing I’m right almost as much as being able to hear his voice. We can talk to each other now. We know each other now. In real life.

“We are idiots,” he says and laughs.

The best sound in the entire world.

“What did you want to ask me?”

Clark hesitates. Then, “I’m still nervous. But okay. So I asked my parents, and they said that even though we can’t come back to Metropolis so soon…that, well, if you were taking a summer vacation, you guys could come here. To Smallville.”

I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but my heart basically explodes in my chest.

“I can meet Nellie?! And her baby cow!”

“Um, yeah. Is that a yes, you might talk to your parents about it?” The relief in his voice is clear.

“Clark,” I say and press the phone closer to my cheek, to feel as near to him as possible, “I miss you too. It’s a yes.”

I’m going to Smallville. And once I get there, I’m finally going to learn all Clark’s secrets.

More Books! Plus, #ConFusionMI Schedule!

We finally announced my next books last week (yay!) — that’s right, it’s romantic comedy time! This is my favorite genre and I’m looking forward to writing books that hopefully bring you guys as much joy as they bring me. Here’s the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:


While there’s a bit of a wait, take heart that we’ll be releasing the two books of this duology relatively close together AND are already plotting and planning the next standalone book.

If you’re in the Detroit area, you should come check out Subterranean Press’s home convention ConFusion this weekend. I’m honored to be there as a special guest of my SubPress fam. Here’s my schedule:

  • Guest of Honor Dinner Thursday 7:00PM St. Clair Join our Guests of Honor for a Thursday night dinner. This event requires pre-registration. Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik
  • Career Strategy for Authors Friday 3:00PM Charlevoix There are as many ways to have a writing career as there are writers. But it isn’t always clear what a writer can or should be doing to achieve their specific career goals, or even how to *decide* what you want your career to look like. Join us as we talk about building and adjusting your career strategy and what you can do to maximize your chances of success. Steve Buchheit (m), Elsa Sjunneson, Corry L. Lee, Gwenda Bond
  • Opening Ceremonies Friday 7:00PM Ballroom C&D Welcome to How to Train Your ConFusion! Please join our Conchair, Lithie Dubois, and our Guests of Honor, Kameron Hurley, Julie Lesnik, Brandon O’Brien, and Bogi Takács, along with our Subterranean Press Special Guests, Seanan McGuire, and Gwenda Bond! Hear about all of the exciting stuff you can expect from them, from us, and this weekend. Lithie Dubois (m), Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik Mass
  • Autographing Session Saturday 3:00PM St. Clair
  • The Art of Writing Non-Linear Narratives Saturday 4:00PM Charlevoix Time travel, alternate realities – what makes a good non-linear story? How is an airtight plot balanced against suspension of disbelief? E.D.E. Bell (m), Jason Sanford, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley
  • Reading: Gwenda Bond Sunday 12:00PM Leelanaw Readings by Subterranean Press Special Guest Gwenda Bond.
  • Closing Ceremonies Sunday 3:00PM Ballroom C&D Come say goodbye to our Guests of Honor and Subterranean Special Guests, and learn which 2021 Guests of Honor announcements we will be sharing with you! Lithie Dubois (m), Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik

Last Events of the Year Known as 2019 (& a Peak Ahead)

Hi, all! Sorry, long time no post! Last events of the year are coming up, both close to home!
  • This Saturday, Nov. 16, I’ll be at the Kentucky Book Fair and Christopher will also be there for all your dual-signing Supernormal Sleuthing Service needs.
  • Then, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m., I’ll be in conversation with Alix Harrow about her outrageously wonderful debut, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington. You can call the store ahead of time if you’re far away and want personalized books for holidays; they ship. 
  • Looking ahead, if you’re in the Detroit area or headed to ConFusion in January, I’ll be a special guest of Subterranean Press (work fam!), along with Seanan McGuire! The entire line-up is fab and it’s sure to be a great time, as always.

YALLWEST Schedule! (With a very special guest announcement!)

Hello, friends! If you’re in Southern California, I hope you’re planning to hit YALLWEST this weekend. Here’s my schedule:

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Panel

YALLWEST Festival 2019

Panel: DIY Storymakers: How to Actually Write a Comic, the DC Way

Panelists: Gwenda Bond, Marguerite Bennett, Melissa de la Cruz, Shannon Hale, Lauren Myracle, Danielle Paige

Moderator: Michele Wells

Location: Main Tent

Description: Creators + creative execs from DC Comics talk practical tips for sequential storytelling in comics + graphic novels. Teen creators, artists and writers are encouraged to share a favorite idea or to ask for help with what you’re stuck on.

 And now for the fun surprise! 

 

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Panel

YALLWEST Festival 2019

Panel: Mysterious Circumstances

Panelists: Gwenda Bond, Alexis Bass, Sara Farizan, Karen M. McManus, Gretchen McNeil, Matthew Modine, Lauren Oliver

Moderator: Peter Stone

Location: Cafeteria

Description: Suspense, mystery, & whodunits: How do these writers keep you guessing and turning the page?

 

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Signing
YALLWEST Festival 2019
Location: Comics area, booth 212
Details: Signing Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds with Matthew Modine

I’m obviously thrilled, delighted, and honored that Matthew is taking time out of his busy schedule to come tomorrow — don’t miss it!

Emerald City Comic-Con Schedule!

It has been a wild month since I last wrote you guys — Suspicious Minds hit the New York Times’ bestseller list (!!!), I went to France to launch the book there (tres bien and I love everyone at Lumen, my publisher there), and now…Seattle! If you’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con, come see me? Here’s where I’ll be:

Thursday, March 14

2:45PM-3:45PM
PANEL: Story Unlimited: Using Non-Traditional Methods to Tell YOUR Story
Location: WSCC 603
Description: Do you have a story to tell, but struggle writing that traditional novel, comic, or screenplay? Modern media presents you with extraordinary new options to tell your tale and win an audience. Whether it’s a podcast, video series, webcomic, chat & text story, indie game, serialized mobile fiction, mystery subscription, or something completely new, your potential fans are waiting! And why limit yourself to just one platform? Fictitious podcast host, Adron Buske, talks with a panel of creators and industry professionals about the evolving world of multimedia entertainment – and how you can break in with your own stories.

4:00PM-4:45PM
SIGNING
Penguin Random House booth #2215

Friday, March 15

3:00PM-3:45PM
SIGNING
Penguin Random House booth #2215
*with Brenna Yovanoff (author of STRANGER THINGS YA novel RUNAWAY MAX)

4:00PM-5:00PM
PANEL: Why YA? Authors discuss Young Adult Fiction
Location: WSCC 603
Description: Hear authors Gwenda Bond (Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds), Rachel Caine (The Great Library series), Matte de la Pena (Superman: Dawnbreaker), and J. Patrick Black (Night City Burning) discuss the great potential and possible pitfalls of writing Young Adult fiction. What do their YA characters need to succeed? What do they avoid? What do they like most about stories that readers call YA? And what is the definition of YA anyways? Moderated by internationally bestselling fantasy author and YA reader Terry Brooks.
Speakers: Terry Brooks, Rachel Caine, Gwenda Bond, Matt de la Pena, J. Patrick Black

5:15PM-6:15PM
SIGNING
Writer’s Block Autographing Area Table 1 & 2

Saturday, March 16

11:00AM-12:00PM
PANEL: Stranger Things Publishing
Location: WSCC 611
Description: The story of Stranger Things continues in the official books and comics! Join Dark Horse editor Spencer Cushing and Del Rey Books editor Elizabeth Schaefer, along with author Gwenda Bond (Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds), writer Jody Houser (Stranger Things comics), and artist Ibrahim Moustafa (Stranger Things Free Comic Book Day comic) as they explore the further adventures of our favorite characters from Hawkins, IN.
Speakers: Gwenda Bond, Elizabeth Schaefer, Spencer Cushing, Jody Houser, Ibrahim Moustafa

12:15PM-1:15PM
PANEL: Geek Geek Revolution
Location: WSCC 603
GEEK GEEK REVOLUTION is a no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring five science fiction/fantasy authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK. In addition, the audience members will be asked to ‘write-in’ questions in hopes of stumping the authors and winning a prize pack of books. Hold onto your hats, nerf herders, this might get ugly.

1:30PM-2:30PM
SIGNING
Writer’s Block Autographing Area Table 1 & 2 (Level 6)

4:00PM-4:15PM
INTERVIEW
ECCC Live Stage – Booth #1239 (main show floor)

5:15PM-6:15PM
PANEL: (Super) Power Plays
Location: WSCC 603
Description: These fan-favorite writers discuss their work in the DC and Marvel universes. We are pleased to have Gwenda Bond (Lois Lane series), Matt de la Peña (Superman), and Margaret Stohl (Black Widow and Captain Marvel) here to discuss writing these iconic characters.
Speakers: Gwenda Bond, Matt de la Pena, Margaret Stohl, Margot Wood (moderator)

6:30PM-7:30PM
SIGNING
Writer’s Block Autographing Area Table 1 & 2 (Level 6)

Heres and Theres and Excitements

Hello! Just a quick update with some links and things. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has signal-boosted, bought, or already read and reviewed Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds! You rock. For a launch day that started with beating off an attacker while on dog walks and having to ID the creep once they caught him, I have to say this has been a pretty great week.

I’m still getting a fair number of questions about where to pick up signed copies — Joseph-Beth Booksellers here in Lexington can hook you up, or you can preorder copies I’ll be doing for The Signed Page next month at Emerald City Comic-Con. Bonus: The Signed Page will ship internationally. You can find the book most everywhere it seems, and I’m hoping to stalk it properly in the wild here later this week. And I’m going to Paris for the launch there in a few weeks (screech)!

Some elsewheres:

Also, Matthew Modine, aka Dr. Brenner himself, is wonderful:

 

More soon. In the meantime…be stranger.

Let’s Get Stranger Together!

Hello, friends and lovely strangers! It’s finally here, release day for my new book, Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds. An update not about new releases is coming soon, because I’m finally working hard on my book-in-progress again after being stalled and I have thoughts on why.

But today is not that day! Today I tell you that en route to the bookstore let night to help host trivia, we thought our hand-me-down rust-bucket money-pit car was going to die. Ah, the glamourous writing life! Anyway, newish car purchase on the horizon, so buy my book. This week if you can, because first week sales are important. Libraries are also your friend, if you can’t. And if you enjoy leave a review somewhere. Telling people is rad. Sharing is truly caring.

A reminder of the book and what it’s about PLUS a look at the wonderful exclusive poster in the B&N edition below!

A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.

It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be farther from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.

But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, code-named MKULTRA. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tight-lipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.

But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than Terry could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.

Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield.

This project was a dream and a treat and I’m extremely proud of the book. I hope you guys like it — and a couple of early reviews think it’ll work for people even if you’re not a fan of the show. Get it wherever fine books are sold.

Amazon | B&N | Books-a-Million (has some signed copies) | Indiebound | Powells

Speaking of the B&N Exclusive Edition, it includes a pull-out double-sided mini-poster with the cover art and this gorgeous piece by artist Ben Harman commissioned just for this inspired by a scene from the novel.


You can also order signed and/or personalized copies via The Signed Page, which I’ll be meeting up with at Emerald City Comic-Con next month (come see me there and say hi!).

And, last but not least, if you’re in the Lexington area, please come out tonight to Joseph-Beth Booksellers for the launch event tonight at 7 p.m. It’ll be fun, but it’ll be more fun if you’re there! They will also take phone orders and ship books, if you want to get personalizations without delay.

And I believe that’s enough promo or exhaustion will set in, so I’ll end with a shot of the acknowledgements page. I forgot to include my Subterranean Press family, who I give thanks for daily. So I’m adding them here. You guys, I don’t know what I’d do without you, but it surely wouldn’t be this and I wouldn’t be nearly as happy.
And thank you for reading!

Minding the Gap

I know, I know, I said blog every week, newsletter every month — but this felt like more of a letter topic than a blog topic, so I’m cheating and using it as both. I want to talk a little about mindfulness. Don’t worry. Remember I co-host a podcast about cults, so set aside any innate need to cringe at a word that is, by definition (truly), so sincere.

There’s been a piece circulating about burnout, tying it specifically to millennials, and yet every freelancer of any generation I know has nodded along to it saying it resonates with them too. In a time when we’re reminded constantly about the importance of balance and given endless hacks on how to achieve it and yet so few of us feel it on any kind of regular basis, of course we’re stressed out. So stressed out that when we’re in those rare moments when we might have achieved it (worked, been to the gym, done stuff with friends/family!), we probably start immediately worrying about when it will end and why we can’t make it last. I’ve been using the “a writer on the high wire of life” description for myself for more than a decade now, and only just realized that it’s a true and useful way of describing myself — I appreciate more the process of balancing while moving forward, that’s when I feel most content. Not when I’m trying to achieve some mysterious state known as “balance.” The process is just life, modern life especially, balancing this and that and the other and realizing how lucky I am to mostly get to choose what I’m walking the wire to get to at any given moment.

Anyway, the age-old segue, I managed to get Christopher to come with me to a coven meeting. I kid, it was a workshop on Living Mindfully being held by my friend Mandy at Sora Aerial Arts as part of a “kick the new year off right” series. He likes to say he placed first among men (he was the only guy there). I high-fived him.

I can suffer from a lack of mindfulness, sure, but often for me that manifests as *overthinking*. Too much thinking, not enough doing. Just enough thinking to get in my own way. But there’s also certainly a type of mindlessness being overcorrected, feeling the need to check the various services and read all the news without any particular goal in mind. Overthinking? Go be mindless for awhile. This is not a good solution, really. So I’m trying to do better on both scores, but it’s hard in a world (and profession, and with a mind) determined to encourage both tendencies.

We did a meditation exercise — for just two minutes — at the beginning of the session, where we all lay back in a circle staring at the beams and rigging of the silks studio and then closing our eyes and focusing on the words Green Grass and then on the space between the words, as Mandy talked us through it. Later, when we talked about having trouble sleeping, I revealed that I’d spent the night before bed googling and reading endlessly only phone about how to increase deep sleep, prodded by my fitbit’s revelation I haven’t been getting much (and I quote, “I knew it was wrong, but it felt so right”). Sometime during the workshop, I realized that obviously we were just talking about being present. The word mindfulness is intimidating or perhaps goofy or perhaps serious, depending upon the day of the week or how much sleep you got last night, but being present is really all it means. Stopping to remember you are in this moment and you are doing this thing and appreciating that and letting it be, not letting the anxiety of what came before or what might come later overtake it. And this is a space I need to be in with my writing. I’ve been hovering a little outside my page when I’m working lately and it’s become harder as a result to make progress. DUH. This week I’ll work on being present at the page — walking on that high wire — and letting the rest of it go until after. Green Grass. Be in it, between the words, in a hidden pocket where presence and progress happens.

Whenever I’m thinking deeply about something, I have a tendency to seek out poems–which only makes sense, I suppose. There’s a particular kind of being present that a good poem demands. I ended up finding these two lovely, sharp poems from searching the word “mind” at Poets.org that add up to a nice pairing so I’m sharing them with you.

Should you want to easily find them later, here are links to both: How the mind works still to be sure and I See You in the Field of My Mind Baby Moo Cow.

 

And now we’ve all been present experiencing the same poems together. Magic.

Other notable things this week:

– I checked out the Maurice Sendak exhibit at the Central Library; if you’re local, make sure you go before it’s gone!
– I’ve been watching Dix Pour Cent, a delicious French show retitled Call My Agent! here. It’s subtitled, but absolutely addictive — about a French entertainment agency, and on Netflix.
– Books: I inhaled Christina Lauren’s My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Sam Maggs’ Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History is wonderful, and I’m j’adoring Jeff Ford’s latest novel, the odd and delightful Ahab’s Return.

I’ve also been working on spinning:

 

 

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I feel less dizzy! Progress. #aerialwriter

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More soon!