My Year in Review 2015 + News for 2016

LoisLanefinalcoverI hardly even know where to start with this year — a busy, crazy, very good year. And a year that pushed me to a big decision I’d put off for a long time (more on that toward the end — no skipping!).

I started 2015 writing the first of the free Lois Lane prequel stories (now available for your kindle), and then it was full steam ahead into the release of Fallout. While all that was happening — including the release — I was hard at work on the sequel, Double Down.

Things like this happened:

And I did a ton of interviews; some of my favorites are linked here and here. I also got to go on tour with four of my favorite ladies in the universe. dangerousladies

Here’s hoping we can reprise Dangerous Ladies this year at some point. And you might find a little easter egg reference to it hidden in Double Down. I also went to some fabulous events and heard from a lot of readers, and was completely humbled by the reactions and support. Over the summer, I concentrated on writing the first draft of the companion novel to Girl on a Wire, which is titled Girl in the Shadows (I will have a cover to show you extremely soon!).

On the personal side, things were so busy and I was doing so much writing and publicity for Lois (while still going to my day job) that I started to have horrible back issues that ended up being a rib out of alignment. This took a couple of months of physical therapy to fix. In June, our beloved Emma the Dog went in for what was meant to be a routine, benign tumor removal only for us to be informed that she had malignant cancer, a giant tumor in her liver, and might only make it a few weeks, a month or two at most. This was also the day we got the offer on our middle grade book, because life is funny that way.

Somewhere in here, I realized that it was not actually normal to feel incredibly anxious ALL THE TIME. Finally, after nearly having a full-blown panic attack while we were in Atlanta for DragonCon and Decatur Book Festival (you probably didn’t know if you were there, I am good at covering), I went to my doctor and asked for anxiety meds. To say I should have done it far, far sooner is an understatement. We also celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary in Atlanta. Best decision I ever made (the marriage, not celebrating in Atlanta;).

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All these stories make up a happy ending to this year. I discovered aerial silks, which I’d probably have remained too chicken to try without the anxiety meds, and the local fitness center I go to for aerial yoga and et cetera is now one of my favorite FAVORITE places. Also, I managed to finish another book without anything like the usual body woes. Magic. Me at my very first class:

IMG_1447 Emma the Dog started doing very well on a prednisone regimen and continues to do so. Just last week, she indulged in chocolate intended for a publishing house. (She recovered overnight and went desperately seeking more chocolate only to be DENIED.) IMG_1766

We finally got to tell y’all about the middle grade right before Thanksgiving. Writing this together completely creatively revitalized me at a time I was feeling burned out. It’s just so much fun, and I hope everyone else thinks so too.

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So, to recap writing-wise: I wrote two Lois short stories, Lois Lane: Double Down (92,000 words) and Girl in the Shadows (105,000 words) and co-revised Welcome to Hotel Monster (about 77,000 words) this year. While still also going to my day job of some seventeen years, which I have really hesitated to leave, though I’ve considered whether it was time for the past couple of years. I enjoy it. It makes a difference in the world. I have gotten to work with some amazing people. It was never dull.

But…it’s time. Some of you already know this, and I gave notice last week. Yes, I’m FINALLY taking the plunge and becoming a stay-at-home writer type. I’m SO excited to have more balance and to be able to focus more and really take advantage of the opportunities I’m lucky enough to have right now. My last day in the office will be next Wednesday. I’ll be snagging some insurance on kynect and working from home. I have a lot of projects I’m excited for, including a comics thing that I can’t wait to tell y’all about, and I’m playing around with a new novel idea or two. There’s a lot of travel coming up in 2016, plus two book releases plus the one I can’t divulge yet. Plus another middle grade to write! I’m also working on getting updated, redesigned editions of Blackwood and The Woken Gods out in e-book during the first couple of months this year.

I think, however, even with so much going on, that I’d still have been too scared to make the leap if it wasn’t for another opportunity that popped up at just the right time. I’m going to be working for Subterranean Press as their social media consultant starting in January. Oh, what fun we will have together on the twitters and the Facebook! Bill and Yanni are two of the most wonderful people in publishing, and I’m a long-time fan of theirs and the work they do. I’m THRILLED to get to be a part of it. Subterranean_press_logo

This also means I’ll be at ConFusion in Michigan at the end of January. And allll of this means that 2016 is going to be my year of embracing risks and twirling around in the air and who knows what it will bring, what life will look like by this time next year, and exactly what I’ll have written by then? Not me.

That’s the most exciting part. This is going to be fun.

(Also: buy my books. For everyone you know.)

New Book Deal!

I’ve already shouted about this everywhere else and I’m on deadline so this will be brief, but I know some people actually check here for news instead of The Services so here you go…

CHRISTOPHER AND I ARE WRITING A MIDDLE GRADE SERIES TOGETHER AND WE CAN’T WAIT FOR EVERYONE TO READ IT. The details from yesterday’s PW Children’s Rights Report:

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We’re beyond thrilled to be working with Martha Mihalick at Harper’s Greenwillow; we couldn’t have dreamed of a better home for these books.

So, yes, awhile to wait, but we hope you (and your kids!) are going to love this world and these characters as much as we do. Yay!

YALLfest things!

YALLFestAre you coming to Charleston this weekend? I hope so!

Here are my schedulings + a link to the master schedule:

  • Noon – Signing! The first TEN people in line will get an ARC of Lois Lane: Double Down! And everyone will get a What Would Lois Lane Do? bracelet/swag.
  • 2 p.m. Music Hall: Jedis vs. Superheroes: Moderator, Adri Cowan with Margaret Stohl, Gwenda Bond, Brandon Sanderson, Alexandra Bracken, & Adam Gidwitz. We have Black Widow, Lois Lane, & Steelheart on the one side. Princess Leia & Yoda on the other. Our judge is from Marvel, but the force is strong with her. Come join the debate.

  • 4 p.m. Museum: Strong Female Characters, Ugh! Moderator Rae Carson with Ryan Graudin, Gwenda Bond, Mindy McGinnis, Elizabeth Wein, & Maya Van Wagenen. Let’s talk about the state of our YA girls, or, why we still have to have this panel.

  • 6 p.m. YA Smackdown!

 

World Fantasy & YALLfest schedules!

The season of the last travel of the year is upon us. I’m deep in revisions for Cirque American book two (which I think y’all are going to like), so this should be fun.

Coming up this weekend, I’ll be in Saratoga Springs, New York, for World Fantasy — here’s where you can catch me if you’re there too:

Friday:

  • Reading! at 2:30 p.m. in Broadway 1: Most likely from Double Down or Fallout (audience choice!).
  • Christopher Rowe will be reading at 3:30 p.m. in Broadway 2: You should come! It’ll be great!
  • “Children’s Literature as Parent to Adult Fantasy” at 5 p.m. with Gili Bar-Hillel (mod.), Gwenda Bond, Lee Harris, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Tamara Vardomskaya in City Center 2A: I’m gonna have things to say about this. It’s the YA panel. Sort of. And a good group of panelists.
  • 8:30 p.m. City Center 2A & B: Mass signing; I believe this is open to anyone.

Sunday:

  • “Tropes That Will Not Die!” panel at 10 a.m. with Craig Shaw Gardner (mod.), Gwenda Bond, Gordon Van Gelder, Sandra Kasturi, Thomas Monteleone in City Center A.

I’m also almost definitely popping over to Rhinebeck to drop by Oblong Books Saturday afternoon and sign some stock and see mine wonderful agent Jennifer Laughran.

YALLFEST! Nov. 13 & 14.

More on this next week, but in brief — here’s my schedule for Saturday the 14th.

12 p.m. Signing at Blue Bicycle Books

2 p.m. Jedis & Superheroes at Charleston Music Hall

4 p.m. Strong Femal Characters: Ugh! at Charleston Museum

6 p.m. YA Smackdown!

 

Torchy + DC One-Day Contest!

Is there any worse feeling than your computer making a noise you’ve never heard before and then, after you shut it down, refusing to boot up again? YES, there is — when you’re on deadline. Thankfully for me, I was running a teensy bit ahead of schedule (for once). Enough to lose a day to purchasing a new computer. I didn’t lose any work, but I did lose my trusty Hildy, the MacBook Pro that saw me through six novels.

However! I was able to speedily get a zippy, space age new best girl, Torchy (so named for Torchy Blane, inspiration for Lois), a MacBook Air. And dear writer friend Whitney Miller (get her books!) helped me with the decision and swiftness and ease of purchase, which I greatly appreciate. All hail. And then I got everything all set up and put the finishing touches on the last edits for Lois Lane: Double Down and turned it in. So I’d say Torchy and I are off to a great start, well on our way to being the best of friends. Oh, and all my contest winners have been notified and books will go out this week to anyone owed them.

Planning for World Fantasy proceeds apace, and I hope to see some of you there. I’ll have a reading Friday afternoon, plus a couple of panels, looks like, and the mass signing. But I’ll be holed up magic book revising some too.

Also! DC Comics is running a one-day contest to give away FIVE copies of Lois Lane: Fallout! What better way to celebrate Supergirl show day? Yay!

Full details on how to enter can be found over at DC’s blog (in short: share your motto, use the hashtag, follow @MyDCDeals so they can notify you if you win by midnight tonight PT). Easy peasy.

Bonus link: Fashion inspired by books from several authors who will be at YALLfest in a couple of weeks, including Fallout.

She Lives + Cincy Event This Weekend!

My usual oops for disappearing. This time it was to finish up my draft of Girl in the Shadows, which — hooray! — I did and turned in yesterday. On to the next deadlines! The rest of the year is all revising and proposals and such, I believe: my favorite.

LoisLanefinalcoverBut first! I’ll be at Books by the Banks in Cincinnati tomorrow. If you’re in the area, don’t miss out. It’s a great time, a truly excellent festival, with so many fantastic writers under one roof signing books and meeting readers and doing fun panels and events. I’ll be part of the Teen Scene VIP Meet and Greet at 11 a.m., and otherwise around at my table where I’ll happily sign your books and present you with Lois Lane swag. Come say hi. An excellent place to pick up early holiday gifts as well.

I know I have not yet awarded the TWO advance copies of Double Down that were part of my bonus contest, but I promise I will do so as soon as I’m back home on Sunday. I do ye olde fashioned paper slips for entries and draw, a process which I will document. Thanks for entering. I suppose we need to start cooking up a good preorder campaign for next spring too. *twirls fingers*

What have I been up to when I haven’t been feverishly writing? Working on secret projects and possible projects and other writing-related stuff, of course. But for the first time in a long time — a long long long loooong time — I decided to try something for fun and give myself permission not to be good at it. Which is to say I started going to the fabulous Bella Forza studio here in town, taking intro to aerial silks.

Yesterday was my first aerial yoga class, and I’m having so much fun. Even though I’m bad at these things! I like the people there (both the instructors and the other people in the classes) a metric ton. I was talking to someone who started with the same idea yesterday, of just trying with no expectation of rocking it, and she was talking about how she can now hold herself up on the silks for a few seconds and that’s soooo much better than when she started. And we agreed there is a real pleasure in having your goal be to get stronger and have fun, and to know that you will still be completely mediocre. So, silks and related activities, I’m becoming a big fan. Also very proud of the impressive bruise I managed to give myself last week. What an athlete I must be! Ahem, wink.

Among the other good things of yesterday was this incredible, adorable fan art of Lois and Clark in Fallout. These illustrations are just perfection. So definitely go ogle and heart them. I do. Thank you so much to the wonderfully talented Amelia. You made my day.

Back soon with contest winners and other natterings.

YA Scavenger Hunt Time (+ Bonus ARC Contest)

YASH-circle-background-2Welcome to this stop of the YA Scavenger Hunt extravaganza!

I’m Gwenda Bond *wave* and my bonus content is being hosted by Lance Rubin. It’s a two-page sneak peek of the Lois Lane: Fallout sequel, Double Down, which you can enter to win one of two advanced reader copies of in the bonus contest described at the end of this post. (And a signed copy of Fallout is part of the Team Teal prize, of course!)

If you’re new to the hunt, this tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!Team Teal

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are a bunch of contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all of ’em. I’m a part of the TEAL TEAM, as I mentioned — but there are also all those other teams with a chance to win a whole different set of signed books.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

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What a Weekend, What a Year

What a weekend! From the crowded cosplay halls of Dragon*Con to the airy (and occasionally broiling) square at Decatur Book Festival and back again (and again). I talked comics and fantasy and Lois Lane and YA humor and circus things on panels and afterward, signed a lot of books and met so many wonderful readers, and, as always, saw too many friends and met too many new people to name them all. 

There’s a nice Daily Dragon recap by Brynna Owens of the Creating a Safe Space for Female Readers panel that featured Laurenn McCubbin and myself on Friday.

And I think people enjoyed the sneak peek (er, listen) to part of Double Down — again, I thank you guys who braved the Dragon Con parade insanity to get to the Hyatt basement.

The humor panel at Decatur was fun, as a humor panel should be.

We decided to go full dance party at the DBF party, and Terra made it happen.

And Truth or Dare at the hands of Kimberly Jones and Vania Stoyanova with Libba Bray, Terra Elan McVoy, Becky Goldstein Albertalli, David Arnold, Adam Silvera and Andrew Smith is already legend. Its songs and videos and dramatic readings are being immortalized all over Facebook and Twitter Valhalla, as they should be.


So many thanks to the wonderful DBF organizers and volunteers and Little Shop of Stories for being awesome, and to Bev Kodak and her YA lit track team at Dragon Con for the same (plus, the lovely comics track organizers!). Book people are the best people, and I’m so glad I get to live this bookish life with all of you.

The night we arrived in Atlanta, Christopher and I went up to the rotating restaurant on top of our hotel for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. And I remembered visiting it with Diana Gill almost exactly a year ago for a drink, and talking to her about how I thought I was making the right career choices, but how can you ever know? This was a few days before Girl on a Wire came out (the restaurant has a view of the building that’s the scene of Jules’ last building walk in the book) and a few days after Lois Lane: Fallout had been announced. Sitting up there, remembering that, and reflecting on the last twelve months… What a year this has been. And so Christopher and I had a toast and set goals for this coming one.

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think it’ll be good too.

Review Mania (aka, Get Some Lois Swag)

Several people have asked how to get their hands on Lois Lane swag if they can’t make it to events this fall and I’ve come up with a way (actually, I stole this idea from the fabulous Megan Shepherd who did something similar with her bookmarks). Anyway, read on if you are one of these interested parties…

You may perhaps wonder why authors are always asking people to leave Amazon reviews — well, in part it’s because the number of reviews can be a factor in what kinds of promotions a book is eligible for there (and promotions are good, because they help a book get to new readers, etc). Not to mention, lots of people go consult Amazon before they buy a book, whether they ultimately purchase there or from their local indie or elsewhere. (I’m all about supporting your indie!)

Why are you telling us this, you ask? Wellll, there are a lot of you who have kindly reviewed Fallout on your blogs or Goodreads or Tumblr, but maybe not yet cross-posted those reviews to retail sites like Amazon and/or B&N (where the book could use some more reviews). So, here’s a little contest (or not so much a contest as an easy way to score some swag) to encourage you to review the book at Amazon too: The first 20 people to add a review on Amazon and send me a link to it along with your mailing address (US only, sorry! the postage is coming out of my pocket) will get swag mail with at least one sticker and bookmark. You can even state your sticker preference for the Fallout or Double Down cover. Some lucky people will also get a What Would Lois Lane Do? wristband. Let’s say this goes for the next two weeks, but it’s first come first serve so don’t delay if you want stuff. Examples of the things you will receive:

Here’s the link to Fallout’s Amazon page, and here’s the contact page where you can send me the link to your review and your mailing address. Can’t participate for whatever reason? Perfectly fine! There will be other opportunities to get swaggy things at some point. And let’s go on and say that everyone who does this will be entered into a drawing to win an advance copy of Double Down too.

Newsy + Upcoming Events

double down coverThis is a semi-long post, but only because it needed to be. Forewarned!

Double Down 

So, of course, you guys already had the preliminary skinny on Double Down. But this week brought a little more excitement — including the official official announcement (publicity contact info for media can be found at that link), which got some very nice coverage. A sampling:

And more. I’m linking to these because, well, wow, this is PRETTY FREAKING COOL, NGL, I want people to be excited about the book! I am! But I also want to give some kudos to my fabulous, super-hard-working publicist on the Lois Lane series: April Roberts. April, you rock. (You can and should follow her on twitter at that handle, but the @switchpresspub handle is the best for book stuff — also a good place to follow for things in the next section of this post.)

Also, brand new interview with the Superman Super Site. Check it out.

More Excitement

Anyway! Yay! Other excitements of this week included the mail bringing some swag and some ARCs (*falls over, breathes into bag*). You might be able to score any of these things at some point online, through my newsletter (sign up at the top of the page), or — especially easy — if you’re at any of my upcoming events.

(The bookmarks are very cool and I am obsessed with the stickers.) And ARCs, so early! Ack! 

(They are so soft and nice! Yes, I am a nerd.)

Upcoming Events: Next week!Dragoncon

A reminder of my DragonCon schedule:

  • A Safe Space For Female Readers
    Description: A discussion about embracing and expanding female readership in Comics.
    Time: Friday 1 p.m. Location: Hanover F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    Panelists: Gwenda M Bond, Laurenn McCubbin
  • Gateway to Comics
    Time: Friday 2:30 p.m. Location:  (Hanover F)
    Panelists: Gwenda Bond, Chandra Free, Josh R. Trujillo
  • YA Urban and Contemporary Fantasy
    Description: Fantasy isn’t just dragons and knights – come see how contemporary characters and places feature in young adult fantasy!
    Time: Friday 4 p.m. Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
    Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, Gwenda M Bond, Zac Brewer, Christi J. Whitney, Cinda Williams Chima, A. J. Hartley
  • Reading: Gwenda Bond
    Time: Saturday 11:30 a.m. Location: Marietta – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

The reading will be fun! I’ll probably read for less than 10 minutes from Double Down, do a short reading with Christopher Rowe from something still secrety and then take questions, sign things, and give away books. In fact, I will give away at least one of these gorgeous Double Down ARCs, so you should definitely come. And to the other things!

I’ll be around some at DragonCon at other times too (we’re staying over there the whole weekend), and I love meeting readers and Lois Lane fans so do not hesitate to introduce yourself. Come get things! I will also have some What Would Lois Lane Do? bracelets with me, in addition to the bookmarks and stickers, and I’ll be donating a copy of Fallout and an ARC of Double Down to the charity auction too.

decatur-book-festival_1I’m also going to be doing events Saturday and Sunday at Decatur Book Festival (can’t wait). My Decatur Book Festival schedule:

  • Keeping Your Sense of Humor in YA: When the going gets tough, what’s a girl to do? YA authors Gwenda Bond and Hollis Gillespie share feisty female protagonists who are always capable of keeping their wits and sense of humor about them.
    Time: Saturday 4 p.m.
    Location: Teen Stage
    Panelists: Gwenda Bond and Hollis Gillespie, moderated by Justin Colussy-Estes

Signing after, with books available for purchase, and swag for the taking. And:

  • YA Truth or Dare: Popular YA authors are pitted against one another in a lively game of Truth or Dare!
    Time: Sunday 4 p.m.
    Location: Teen Stage
    Panelists: Becky Albertalli, David Arnold, Gwenda Bond, Libba Bray, Terra Elan McVoy, and Andrew Smith, introduced by Kimberly Jones

Miscellany

And last but not least a smattering of random things…

You made it through the entire post. *tosses confetti*