Real-Life Imaginary Tourism, Part Three

Last week I did tour stops describing how Dupont Circle becomes Oracle Circle, and then how Dumbarton Oaks becomes the Houses of the Gods, and today is the last stop on the Tour of THE WOKEN GODS' D.C.

Over at A Dream Within A Dream, I talk about the Einstein Memorial (still itself in the book–and the site where Kyra is first stopped by the gods) and about the Library of Congress Jefferson Building (still itself too, but also the Society of the Sun headquarters).


ET MOI?(Bonus shot of my last name found within the LoC: a sign!
Or at least a coincidence… Either way, I nerdily photographed it)


Go there for more

And if you want to see even more photos, many featuring locales from the book, check out the entire Washington, D.C., Baby flickr set and other visual inspiration at the Pinterest board.

Gabfest: A Convo With Kim Curran

StrangeChemLadies The delightful Kim Curran‘s Shift was one of my favorite books last year. It features teen Scott Tyler, who discovers he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made — something that turns out to be more problematic than it at first seems. Just before Control, the sequel, was set to come out in August from Strange Chemistry, I asked Kim if she’d like to have a little conversation over email about the past year — our debuts and what it was like having a second book coming out, and all the fun and angsty stuff that goes along with that. We started almost immediately, but release seasons tend to get crazy, which is why you’re only getting this now. And, might I add, both our debuts are still on crazy sale in e-book (probably not for much longer).

That’s a photo of me and Kim (along with our fellow Strange Chemists Cassandra Rose Clarke and Julianna Scott) at WorldCon in Chicago last year.

Gwenda: So, you and I debuted at the exact same time, as the launch titles for Strange Chemistry. We exchanged many excited and panicked and commiserating emails, and even got to do an event together in Chicago. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that happened. Looking back from this lengthy vantage point (or you know, what feels like one), what came as the biggest surprise for you about publishing your first book?

Kim: Wow! How this year has flown. I remember that time so well: our increasingly panicked direct messages and emails as we got to know each other and realised that the idea of being published was driving us both a little crazy. Knowing you were there, strapped into the same amazing rollercoaster, was a huge reassurance and kept me sane. I couldn’t have asked for a better ‘book sister’.

As for what’s surprised me most, I guess it was the fear. I didn’t expect to be quite so terrified. You spend so long dreaming and hoping for this thing to happen. And yet when it does, it’s a mixed bag of excitement beyond anything else and abject terror! It feels very different this time around with book two. Calmer. More familiar. It’s a bit like falling in love: the first time is always the most intense. 🙂

How about you? How did you find the process? And how are you finding the idea of book two hitting the shelves?

(The rest of our chat continues behind the cut…)



Wednesday Hangovers

Real-Life Imaginary Tourism (Et Couple of Things)

A couple of happy-making new reviews, and then I'm sending you elsewhere today. Though I will have a convo between me and my lovely book sister Kim Curran up here later this week and a long overdue I Heart post where I recommend stuff by other people (I can't help but feel guilty talking about my own stuff all the time, even during release season!):

  • I'm grateful for all reviews, but I think other authors will know what I mean when I say very occasionally you get one from a reviewer who has read exactly the book you hoped to write. This review from Leo Elijah Cristea is one of those for me. (He also has a very engaging critical voice–someone start paying him to write reviews, please.) A snippet: "The Woken Gods is moreish and addictive and incredibly, deliciously strange. This is an offbeat book that chooses its course and sticks to it. There is romance, there is intrigue and there is the ever-important Parent Thing. If a YA book doesn’t depict some kind of parental relationship with the protagonist—even absent parents, dead or otherwise, parental figures, guardians, etc—then it is not authentic. … The Woken Gods is dark and witty and compelling."
  • And from Kevin Holtsberry at Collected Miscellany: "If you are looking for YA fantasy with a compelling female character be sure to check out The Woken Gods. If you are the publisher, have Gwenda make this a series."
  • And you can still enter the sweepstakes to win one of five free copies.

So…this week's posts elsewhere about THE WOKEN GODS will be a little different. I thought it'd be fun to spotlight some real-life locations in Washington, D.C., that I used, and how they change in the book–especially since I have a zillion photos I took myself. Today, I'm at Take Me Away talking about how Dupont Circle became Oracle Circle.


Dupont Circle metro entrance

Bonus pic of the Metro entrance/exit, complete with Walt Whitman poetry
(briefly referenced in book)

Head there for more.

Go! Win! Books!

A nice Friday sweepstakes surprise over at

“If you like mythology and fast moving YA novels with decisive and strong female protagonists,” reviewer Rajan Khanna says in his review, “The Woken Gods might just be for you.”

We know plenty of you fit that description, so we’ve got the perfect sweepstakes for you today: a chance to win one of five copies of Gwenda Bond’s The Woken Gods, out now from Strange Chemistry.

Whee! Go there and comment to enter! (Open through Sept. 10th.)

All The Stops Fit To Print, aka The Master List Of Woken Gods Bloggery

TheWokenGods-smallI've been meaning to start a master post with all the handy links to interviews and guest posts and other stuff related to THE WOKEN GODS, and now that the book is actually out and people are reading it (I hope!), here it is for those who want more. I try my best to make all these different and worth your time.

There's a few more fun things coming up, and I'll add those (and blog pointers) as they do. And some very happy-making new reviews have come in yesterday/today, so I'll point to those then too. In the meantime, have a happy weekend and a whole bunch of links:

Guest Posts:

  •  On Reinventing Legends at E. Kristin Anderson's. Snippet: "As a writer, I’m first and foremost a reader and a magpie–I think most of us are. And we all have certain shiny objects or topics that attract us more than others. If you’re a writer, published or not, I bet you have at least a couple different rows of books (if not more) that would count as “Research” on any given topic. And, of course, there are also kinds of stories that attract us, as readers and writers."
  • On Creating Intertextuality and Maintaining Authenticity at Oh Chrys. Snippet: "All of this was tricky. Because I also didn’t want to imply, while using all these varied gods, that America was the only place on earth that mattered. I wanted the landscape of the story to make sense as a focal point, but I wanted to make sure it was clear that there were plenty of gods who did not swarm to D.C. and settle there, that most gods stayed where they were."
  • The Big Idea at Scalzi's: "This is the part where you’re expecting me to tell you this time, this time, it finally came together. And it had started to come together, but it still wasn’t working. I knew everything about the world, but I was still hovering outside my main character, above her, watching Kyra, but not feeling her. When I went back to edit that draft, the problem was clear to me."
  • Book Notes at largehearted boy (you can listen to the playlist on spotify). Snippet: "Playlists were incredibly important to each and every draft of this novel. They helped me settle on the tone I wanted, helped me imagine a landscape that had shifted from the current version of D.C., and helped me figure out the characters. Here are some highlights from the playlist titled Trickster Fu."


  • Pub(lishing) Crawl interview. Snippet: "I’m going to go with dead, because I know too many living writers I can happily close down a bar with to narrow it down to just three. So… Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, and Nora Ephron. Because, hey, that would be one witty night of one-upsman(and lady)ship."
  • Sophomore Spotlight interview for Read My Breath Away. Snippet: "Wow, I just don’t know. Most of my favorite story worlds have some serious downsides. Maybe some kind of bohemian utopia, if such a book exists? Or possibly the Graceling world (but only if I got to have a grace!)."
  • Red Reader Reviews interview. Snippet: "Kyra is a mass of contradictions. She’s desperate to have real connections with other people, but she has a difficult time trusting them or letting them see who she really is."
  • Authors Are Rockstars podcast: In which we talk Blackwood, The Woken Gods, but perhaps most importantly about loving cracktastic Christopher Pike novels as teens and wanting a reread club.
  • Winged Reviews interview. Snippet: "I guess I would want a relic that allowed me to travel places very quickly, which I’d imagine would be something of Hermes’. And since this is Winged Reviews, it seems only appropriate to pick Hermes’ winged sandals. Failing that, something that results in deep, uninterrupted sleep. Those are both boring and adult things to want, though, aren’t they? I’d better say I also want one that produces high-end champagne from water."
  • Dash Cooray interview. Snippet: "Work on something as long as it takes to make it the best you can on your own, then send it into the world and start something new. The start something new is the important part, because we all face rejection. Careers happen because writers keep writing in the face of setbacks and rejection."
  • 10 Questions About THE WOKEN GODS at Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds. Snippet: "I’ve always loved mythology–especially its odder, dustier, less explored corners–and tricksters and urban fantasy. I like secret organizations that have to come out into the light, and I like stories where politics play a role, be they larger societal ones or smaller familial ones. So, this story comes from my own desire–as a reader and a writer–to have all those things at once, plus some monsters."
  • Gabfest: A Convo With Kim Curran (here!), in which we talk debut year, second books, and the importance of writer friends.

Tour of THE WOKEN GODS' Washington, D.C.:

Other Fun Things:

Release Day Redux + Photographical

Today is release day in the UK and Australia! Purchase links for those corners of the world: | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith

And the US links again:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powells

You can find out more about all this month's releases from Strange Chemistry here. (And Blackwood and a handful of other SC e-books remain on mega-sale.)

The new book and I are still popping up in the cybercorners of the world:

  • The Book Notes feature at largehearted boy is one of my all-time favorite blog features; I adore it. And so I'm thrilled to be over there today offering up a playlist for THE WOKEN GODS. Go forth and read, then stream it. (I might have gotten a little carried away with the number of songs, but I pared down from my first draft of essential tunes–I promise! Of course, the master playlist had about 80-100 songs on it, so… These are the mega-repeat listens, the book's soundtrack in my head.)
  • I also have a new interview up today by Dash Cooray, filled with writing advice (including what I think the trick to a career is), info on what's next from me, and more.
  • Over at Kirkus, John DeNardo picks his Best Bets for Science Fiction & Fantasy Books in September, and yours truly is honored and delighted to be included alongside the likes of Paolo Bacigalupi, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Jamie Lee Moyer.
  • Lovely review at Bull Spec magazine's site; snippet: "All three teens and their parents are wrapped in a save-the-world-from-disaster scenario which uses the DC landscape and buildings for things which you will have to read to believe. This is an exciting urban fantasy adventure which hopefully will get further volumes.  The characters are engaging and the setting familiar but with strange twists. One of the most enjoyable young adult contemporary tales set in the US that Your Humble Reviewers have read in a long while." *beam*
  • A happy-making review from Kate Ormand; snippet: "THE WOKEN GODS is a captivating story of secrets, mysteries, lies and adventure, blending rich mythology with a contemporary setting. I’d recommend to fans of Neil Gaiman, Zoë Marriott and Cassandra Clare. I was already a fan of Gwenda Bond after reading her debut novel, BLACKWOOD." *double beam*
  • Anndd signed copy giveaway is still going at the Book Cellar

Thanks to all of you who've tweeted, retweeted, facebooked, reblogged, cheered–I'm grateful to each and every one of you. And please feel beyond free to send/tweet me pics of the book in the wild should you encounter it, let me know what you think if you read it, and, if you enjoy it, consider leaving a review at Amazon, GoodReads, B&N, or tell a friend. Books (and authors) live (or die) by word of mouth.

Now for some photographicals Christopher snapped at the signing event Tuesday night at Joseph-Beth, which was so much fun:




Many thanks to everyone who came out and to the store.


Sign Language Meeting a...


And thanks to Christopher, who agreed to help out with a brief bonus reading from the middle grade we've been working on together (and which we just finished up a round of revisions on). I suspect his dragon stole the show. As he put it, he's the Benedict Cumberbatch of Kentucky. And he also got me this necklace for our ninth anniversary.


After (Well, Actually Before)


I might have picked it out.

If you're local and missed the event, I'll be at the Morris Book Shop at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The Gods Are Officially Woken!

It's release day! My second novel, THE WOKEN GODS, is officially born. A bookseller friend sent me the following picture this morning:

I'll be there later this month. And, of course, I'll be at our other local bookshop, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, tonight at 7 p.m. Come one and all! Tonight Christopher and I might even share a little snippet of our just-finished middle grade, if there's time — and it's our ninth wedding anniversary today.

I am a few other places, too:

A funny little thing those of you who know me personally may notice…

Sometimes in the production process something happens and it doesn't get caught until too late to fix (until reprints). Such a thing happened to the first print editions of THE WOKEN GODS and its dedication page. My parents are alive and well, as are my grandmothers, thankfully. Those of you getting e-books should get the right one, but just so everyone knows THE WOKEN GODS is dedicated to:

Karen Joy Fowler, Kelly Link, and Ursula, three of my favorite tricksters


Amanda Rutter, who kept the faith

These things happen, and, hey, the more copies of that first printing you buy up, the sooner we'll have a second one with a correction. My first errata! And the important thing is the actual book itself is as it should be. *grin*

My sincerest, enormous thanks to everyone for your happy wishes today. And, last but not least, here are some purchasing links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powells

(And Blackwood's still on sale!)