Bookish Updatery, Tuesday Five Edition

Five things to share today, so a quick update. I’m knuckling down on the second half of this revision and staring down the barrel of jury duty later this month, with more revising of a different project coming soonish…so probably this will be a season of less frequent updating. (But if anyone has requests or suggestions for a particular topic for a blog post, then let me know in the comments or at twitter or via email and I’ll do my best to work it in.) Also, hello lovely visitors by way of *waves*

  • First things first:

Received confirmation this morning that barring mega-earthquakes, volcanic explosions, or other large-scale protests from the Earth, the release month for The Woken Gods will in fact be next July! (Which means there will probably soon be an official description and maybe preordering type links. Cover discussion has tentatively begun. In the meantime, if you want to know more there’s this.) Cue *nerves*. Not that there is going to be time for them.

  • Second things second:

Are you in Kentucky, particularly near Lexington? Then you should come out to the fabulous Joseph-Beth Booksellers on Tuesday, October 30, at 6 p.m. I will be discussing Blackwood and telling a scary ghost story or two in honor of Halloween and taking your questions and I might even share a little snippet from the new book, time permitting.  (Signed copies of Blackwood make a great stocking stuffer–and Christmas will be here before you know it. Just saying!) I dropped by the store last Friday and was a bit woozy to see that I have a table display and an event banner:




This is particularly cool and surreal because this is the bookstore that first taught me what a wonderland bookstores could be. It was basically my favorite destination as soon as I discovered it in high school, having before only had access to a WaldenBooks (which was itself an hour away). And the team from Joseph-Beth has been absolutely wonderful to me. *draws hearts in air* This one should be fun. So, cooome out, okay? Okay.

  • Third things third (you see how this is going, right?):

New audiobook review from Bob Reiss of the excellently named audiobook-focused blog, The Guilded Earlobe: “Blackwood is a strong YA tale with themes that permeate the label but are done in a unique and engaging way. The strength of this novel is in its characters. Bond created two engaging protagonists, and a slew of secondary players that are well developed.”

Want to sample said audiobook? I thought you’d never ask. The folks at AudioGo have just put up a youtube clip for your sampling pleasure.

  • Fourth comes fourth:

Two things absolutely made my day yesterday. The first was a review from Delaney, age 12, in the October issue of the Sacramento Book Review. Snippet: “Blackwood was an amazing book! … This book was an excellent mystery, full of romance, ghosts, ancient curses, historical figures, betrayal, and so much more. I loved how the already intriguing mystery of the Lost Colony was given some unexpected twists and turns. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery and magic.” (Thanks to the one and only Bookalicious Pam for the pointer.) *beam*

  • Fifth and final:

The other thing that made my day was this photo from Ballou High School:

You can see another photo of books arriving and read more about the impact the Ballou High School book fair has over at Guys Lit Wire. To whoever sent my book to Ballou, my love to you, kind soul. And if you haven’t sent a book via the Powell’s wishlist yet, there’s still plenty of great ones left to choose from.

Annd that’s it from me today. Have a great week, everybody.

Friday Hangovers

Returning Vampires Snippet Celebration + In The News

Yesterday I had a nice long conversation about YA and Blackwood and related topics with Louisville public radio station WFPL's ace arts reporter Erin Keane (who is also fabulous writer–highly recommend both her poetry collections), as a preview to the Writer's Block Festival where I'll be panel discussioning about YA (and signing) on Saturday. The resulting story is here.

And, if you didn't know (gaspALARM), tonight is…

…the return of The Vampire Diaries.

In honor of this momentous fall occasion, here's a teeny not-spoilery snippet from a scene between Miranda and Phillips in Blackwood:

She blinked, but he couldn't tell if it had worked until she said, "You snooped in my room?"

He had her.

"I had to help pack your stuff." He wrinkled his nose. "You have a thing for brooding vampire brothers?"

"You've seen it?"

Keep her talking. He shrugged. "Study lounge has a TV. Doppelgangers are hot. I'm not proud."

Happy Thursday, y'all.

Dept. of Nice Surprises Redux

So, yesterday was a loooong Monday.  I still had some work to do when I got home, but I couldn't get home. All the streets surrounding our house were blocked off for some mysterious race, so I had Christopher meet me at the only accessible pub grub place I could find. As we were–finally–on our way back after the streets re-opened, I was checking twitter on my phone and saw an i09 update that said "What's more thrilling than a fantasy about the Chosen One? How about the Cursed One?" And I actually thought to myself, Huh, the cursed one instead of the chosen one is kinda how I think about Blackwood; I wonder what the link's about?

Wellll, it turned out to be a lovely review of Blackwood by the fabulous Charlie Jane Anders. Snippet:

There have been a ton of young adult fantasy novels lately where one person stands against a dystopian world, or faces a terrible menace, and they're sort of the chosen savior. But Gwenda Bond's YA debut, Blackwood, takes a very different tack: Her heroine, Miranda Blackwood, is the cursed one, who bears the mark of the betrayer, and she's also the most hated person in her small town. Blackwood is a neat spin on all of those YA fantasies about being special — especially when it turns into a story about "freaks in love."

Go there for the rest. I don't read all reviews (because I don't want to go crazy), but it really is amazing when someone has read the book you were trying to write. And that's how I feel about this one. Day = made, in other words.

Also, a new interview conducted by the delightful Megan Whitmer has just been posted at I talk about Blackwood and Lexington's wonderful literary community and Other Things.

And! I'm told that SOON I will be able to share VERY EXCITING NEWS…but not quite yet. *commences secret chair dancing but tries not to be obnoxious about it*

Quick Update! (Writer’s Block Festival & Other Things)

I'll be at the Writer's Block Festival in Louisville on Saturday. I'll be doing the following panel in the Green Building Gallery:

1-2:15: Younger Games:  The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Writing Young Adult Fiction

Young adult fiction is hot! Consider the recent Twilight and Hunger Games series, which have been enthusiastically received by both young and adult readers. Join our versatile panel of contemporary young adult fiction writers:  Gwenda Bond (Blackwood); Katrina Kittle (Reasons to Be Happy), and Kelly Creagh (the Nevermore series) moderated by YA novel and short story writer, Matt Jaeger (The Creation of Lilith Pomegranate and The Care Takers). Our panelists will discuss their writing lives and the challenges and the benefits of writing fiction for a young adult audience.

Copies of Blackwood (and everyone else's books) will be on sale courtesy of the wonderful Carmichael's, and I believe I'll be signing at their spot in the Green Building at 2:30, right after the panel. (If that time changes I'll post here. But books should be on sale all day, and I'm happy to sign copies whenever so approach at will.) If you're in the Louisville area, come out and say hi. Most festival events–including the panel–are free to attend.

A few other things:

  • Leo Elijah Cristea review: "Bond writes a compelling, addictive story that merges together so many genres it’s difficult to really call it one or the other: with elements of romance, mystery, the supernatural and even horror, Blackwood is a unique, exciting story that kept me glued to the page. It is an engrossing, detailed story that is deliciously written and marks Bond as a writer to look out for." (Another review I want to marry!)
  • Book Angel Booktopia review by Jenni: "I really enjoyed this book, it incorporated the legend of the Lost Colony well into a contemporary setting blending the past with the present cleverly. The way the plot twists and turns keeps the book exciting from start to finish, there were a couple of moments that left me feeling completely surprised."
  • Much Loved Books review of the audiobook: "The narrator of Blackwood made it interesting and kept me entertained. I even forgot a few times that it was just one person doing all the voices for the characters. I loved her accent and the different tones she uses to get across the emotion the characters are feeling."
  • The LOVELY Megan Whitmer says nice things and is giving away a signed copy of Blackwood over at her blog.
  • The Cynsations giveaway is also still going.

And one last link that is too interesting and important not to share:

Thursday Hangovers

*Also hoping this revelation means that starting tomorrow I will get the kind of revision progress in that I need to be getting, which I haven't this week thus far. Lots of thinking, but not enough writing fixety. Also hoping–tentatively–that the next week might bring resolution on a front that has taken seemingly forever to resolve but could be exciting. *is intentionally mysterious* Keep your fingers crossed. (You know, when they're not busy with other things.) Ciao for now.

Monday Hangovers (Lots & Lots Of Things!)

I'm almost in sight of being caught up–except for finishing the new novel revision, but working on it. Unbelievable! Or, rather, in honor of The Princess Bride movie's recent anniversary: Inconceivable! So…if I owe you a response or a guest post or something like that it should show up in the next few days.

There are many links today, so let's get to it:

Memefied: The Next Big Thing?

Today I'm doing something I don't usually indulge in: a meme. Author of the super-fab debut novel Fair Coin and forthcoming follow-up Quantum Coin E.C. Myers tagged me to answer "Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing."

It's up to the taggee whether they want to talk about their current book, their next one, or what they're working on now. I figure everyone who reads this blog knows all about Blackwood by now and I'm not ready to talk yet about the secret book I'm currently revising, so I'm sharing a little bit about The Woken Gods. Right now, it's slated for release in July 2013 (ack! less than a year!).

Here goes. Be gentle. (And I'll be tagging some excellent authors at the end.)

What is the working title of your book?

The Woken Gods.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

There was a man with a suitcase full of them and it was the shiniest. I could tell you where he was, but then I’d have to kill you. Okay, not really. I’ve always loved mythology, but am sometimes frustrated by books where the gods feel too much like oversized humans. I also really love high stakes adventure, secret societies, family drama, libraries, and books where our world has experienced a major shift of some kind. Add into that mixture some of the concepts explored in Lewis Hyde’s brilliant nonfiction book Trickster Makes This World and the result is The Woken Gods.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I am so bad at this, because I actually don’t stay that current about who are the hot young actors and actresses these days and I don’t use reference pics of actors when I’m writing. But, off the top of my head, maybe Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries could play the protagonist, Kyra Locke, because I do adore Nina Dobrev.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ten years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke, all around the world. Now, in a transformed Washington, D.C., that has become the meeting ground for a no-longer-secret society and a council made up of the seven tricksters who are the gods’ main emissaries to humanity, a 17-year-old girl must find a mysterious missing relic and navigate intrigue involving dangerous gods to save her father.

(Two sentences. I cheated. Sue me.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About five months. But that’s a deceptive answer, because I’d previously written a couple of entire drafts I threw out before I finally managed to get the concept and story right. (At least, I hope they are.)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Oh, I am really, really bad at this, and it's such a fraught question. So I'm going to go with American Gods meets Raiders of the Lost Ark*, but with a teen girl at the center and everyone aware of the gods and the society’s existence.

*Not a book, but go with it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I think I already answered this one in the part about where the idea came from. Next!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Did I mention there’s intrigue? And scary gods? And smart teenagers? And flying monsters, secret passages, and a ziggurat somewhere in D.C.?

Next up: Go read E.C.'s entry, and I'm tagging: a fabulous writer I met while at the Vermont MFA program Rachel Wilson (you're going to be hearing a LOT more about her and her debut Don't Touch!), and two of my fellow Strange Chemists, Sean Cummings (Poltergeeks! Out next week!) and A.E. Rought (Broken! Out in January!).

See y'all next week.