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!

Tap tap hellooooo

Hey, hi! One of my goals this year is to newsletter monthly and blog weekly. The newsletter just went out, so this will be a shortish post. But the important thing is I’m here.

We’re a month out from the release of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds. Preordering (or putting on hold at your library!) is caring.

What’s old is new, so I’m sharing a few links. These are a few pieces that resonated with me recently, plucked from my reading list tab and which are worth your time:

Now go spend your weekend catching up on our new Cult Faves ep — a look at our favorite cult stories of 2018 — or dancing like a Congresswoman!

Stranger Things cover reveal + more!

As most of you know, I’ve been working on another dream gig this year — writing the first official Stranger Things tie-in novel, about Eleven’s mom, Terry Ives, and her intersection with Dr. Brenner’s MKUltra experiments. I’ve absolutely loved adding a chapter to this story and I hope that you guys will all love Terry and her friends too. The book releases in early February (preorder!), and Entertainment Weekly just revealed the title, cover, and the prologue, which details Dr. Brenner’s arrival in Hawkins.

Here’s the gorgeous 1980s horror-inspired cover (how about that tagline?) and you can go read the rest at EW!

p.s. Title ringing a bell, but not sure where it came from? Crank up some 1969 Elvis while you read.