The Collected Wisdom Handout

I taught this week’s session of the Young Women Writers Project, a tremendous program the Carnegie Center here in town runs for teen writers with the support of the Kentucky Commission on Women and Toyota. It’s always a gift to work with such a talented bunch of girls, and I watch out for their world-conquering feats forever after. This year was no exception.

I asked on Twitter and Facebook for things that women wished they had heard or been taught as young writers or what they’d say to teen girl writers, and the results were so good I collected them into a handout that we went through during our professional development/business time. No reason to be stingy, here are the results — which are valuable for all of us. Thanks everyone for chiming in (and feel free to add new thoughts in the comments; I have a feeling I’ll be updating this to use again).

Your voice matters. – Cate Tiernan (and me, and everyone you should listen to)

I wish someone’d told me that the rules every one of my profs harped on didn’t actually matter. Things are changing. Change faster. Danika Stone

Your words and thoughts matter. Don’t be afraid to own your ideas. Elizabeth DiEmanuele

That not all stories are meant for everyone. It’s more important to write what makes you and your audience happy. Kate Focke Pearson

It’s okay if your subject matter/genre is different from what’s trendy with your peers. Kate Linnea

In my Creative Writing B.A, I wish they would’ve stressed the importance of networking in addition to quality. It is one thing to write well and deliver on time. People, however, are crucial to building a career as a writer. Readers and fellow pros. Monica Valentinelli

I wish someone had taught me then how to revise my own work — know what worked, what didn’t, and how to fix. Courtney Stevens

How to assess feedback: what hones the story you’re trying to write and what merely takes it in a different direction. Carrie Patel

I feel like past me needed to be constantly reminded that there was no “trick” to being published, just good writing. Beth Revis

You don’t have to Iove books billed as “classics.” You’re not less of a writer if Huck Finn isn’t your cup of tea. Nivea Serrao

That feeling like you’re starting from scratch with every book doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten how to write one. Emma Trevayne

Your instructor’s tastes and priorities may not apply to the work you want to do. I am quietly sure that the instructor who told me my work was “too sentimental” set me back ten years, easy. Andrea Phillips

Characters should only speak when they have something to say. You don’t have to force it. Katherine Chappell

Write every single day. One sentence. A page. A paragraph. One sentence. Even on days when you don’t feel like it. Erika Rose

Give your work to friends you trust to be both honest AND encouraging in giving their opinions about it! Then revise again and again. Stephanie Burgis

SILENCE THE CRITIC. Write. Experiment. Start stories and stop them, start another one. Don’t worry about how “good” it is. Practice. Terra Elan McVoy

Success as a writer (or musician, or artist) is 95% perseverance. As long as you don’t quit, you’re still on track. James Sutter

Be bold. Write about the familiar as well as the unknown. Renee Carter

Thinking about writing doesn’t replace actual-fax writing. (Though thinking time is important.) Victoria Janssen

Here’s one I got from my mother “don’t overthink, just write.” Book Girl

Stealing from Kate Wilhelm, but I wish I’d been told: Never take your husband’s name, at least not professionally. Colleen Cooper

Don’t let it diminish your light when your (male) profs tell you that the feminism in your writing is ‘cute.’ Lisa Mantchev

When you’re a tween/teen, it’s hard for mean words to not get to you. However, there’s still amazing people in the world. Find your own voice. Write about the things you love not because someone else is doing it. Let your passion flag fly high! Nerd and Lace

Your voice matters. And you’re responsible for what you put out into the world. What message are you sending? What communication are you trying to make? Cate Tiernan/Gabrielle Charbonnet

Genre writing is just as important as “literary” fiction. You can’t edit a blank page and really, it’s okay for your first draft to be not great. Imposter syndrome will never go away, so get used to pushing through it now! Laura Lam

Women have societal expectations to be Pinterest-queens, inspiring spouses and Attached Parents. Treat writing like becoming a doctor or lawyer – study, craft, and think of your characters like clients or patients. M L Konett

You don’t need anyone’s permission. Laurie Thompson

It’s not conceit to acknowledge your strength, particularly when you balance it with with gratitude (to those who may have taught or helped you, to God or the universe, or good genes). Or just: It’s not conceit to acknowledge your strengths. Heidi Shulz

“No” is a complete sentence. Tracy Winfield Holczer

Your time has value. Remember that when you feel the urge to fret or slack or waste precious moments doubting yourself…and remember it when people ask you to write or present for free. Your time has value. Nikki Loftin

If you don’t learn to value yourself, no one else will value you. Sarah Darer

1. It’s OK to “not know,” to revisit, rethink…revise along the way—that’s why many of us write, to do just that. 2. Being supportive doesn’t mean that you should do someone else’s research or work for them. Olugbemisola Amusashonubi-Perkovich‪

Your voice is equal to anyone else’s in the room. (Well, maybe not if you’re with President Obama but you get my drift.) Cheryl Blackford

Ignore the haters. Find the people who enable you to do your work. Support your peers and cheer for their successes. Read everything. Don’t double-space after periods. Gwenda Bond


Your voice matters.


(This wisdom collected from Twitter and Facebook in Feb. 2016 especially for you.)

GIRL ON A WIRE Kindle Daily Deal + Contest Winners


You can get GIRL ON A WIRE on the cheap today, so why don’t you?




Feel free to spread the word!

I would type more, but my fingers are VERY COLD because Christopher and I did an outdoor shoot this morning for new author photos (together and solo). But winners of the advance copies of GIRL IN THE SHADOWS (who I’ll email for addies) are:

Paula, Jessie, and Andrea. *tosses confetti*

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Girl in the Shadows COVER REVEAL (and ARC giveaway) (!!!!)

Okay, are you ready? (Kidding! I know I’ve been teasing you guys about this FOREVER.)

First things first — Girl in the Shadows is a companion to Girl on a Wire. While they do take place in sequence, you can read one before the other and vice versa (though the suggested order is still Girl on a Wire first; I worked hard to make this satisfying all on its own too!). It’s my longest book to date, and it was a hard one. But I’m so happy about it and so grateful to the tireless work of my editors Courtney Miller and Marianna Baer, plus my copy editor Elizabeth Johnson, mwah to you all.

Without further ado, however, the BEAUTIFUL LUMINOUS PERFECT cover by artist/designer M. S. Corley. I hope you all love it as much as I do.




I love it because it’s magic and beautiful at a look, but the more you look the more you also see all these different elements of the book reflected. Did you notice the Ferris wheel top yet? And here’s the book description:

Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.

But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.

Girl in the Shadows is a companion novel to Girl on a Wire, and will be out on July 5, 2016.

Available for preorder now.

There’s more Cirque American-related news to come soonish. *twirls fingers*

For now, I also have some advanced reader copies to give away! So drop a comment below and tell me what’s your favorite or LEAST favorite thing about magicians and I’ll give away three random early copies to the winners. If it doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry; I just have to moderate it.

Yay! Also if I saw you at ConFusion this weekend, I love you — best convention was best!

Heres and Theres (+ a Little Supergirl Rant)

Time for another weekly update.

Hey, I learned how to do this and can now get my feet into footlocks in both sides.


Today’s new feat! Ow!

A photo posted by Gwenda Bond (@gwendabond) on


Someday I will manage to climb all the way to the top. First, apparently, I’m going to be doing more tricep push-ups. I can’t believe these are words that came out of my fingers, but they must be true. If you want to fly, you have to train and feel the pain.

Or something.

Definitely this morning’s class was a reminder I’m not supposed to sit at my desk for 10 or 11 hour blocks straight, because that way lies writer elbow flare-up.

Related: I finished up copyedits on Girl in the Shadows, and whew, the crushing relief that I’m actually really proud of this book and I so hope you guys like it too. This is going to be a big year for Cirque American things. I should be able to show you the gorgeous perfect cover very very soon. Maybe even sometime this week. We’ll see! And then there’s still more news after that.

Speaking of news (you see I’m all segue-ways today), I’ve officially launched the redesign process for Blackwood and The Woken Gods. So new shiny, preferred editions will be coming your way soon. Please to not continue pirating them like crazy in the meantime (I know none of you would ever, just grumble-mentioning).

Tomorrow morning — weather cooperating — I’m headed out to visit the secret lair of Subterranean Press and then it’s on to ConFusion for the weekend. (If you want to feel like you’re there, follow us on twitter where lots of live-tweeting will be happening.) I’m also doing a few programming things and here they are:

  • Saturday 10:00 AM Relating to Young Adult
    A lot of time is spent discussing how Young Adult and Adult interface, losing sight, perhaps, of the more important link between Middle Grade and Young Adult. What expectations are Middle Grade readers bringing into Young Adult? How do those expectations reflect the fiction they find as they move up a reading level? Can Middle Grade explain the glut of dystopias in Young Adult? Jenny Thurman, Courtney Allison Moulton, Merrie Haskell (M), Susan Dennard, Gwenda Bond
  • Saturday 4:00 PM Autograph Session 1
  • Sunday 12:00 PM The Business of Rejection
    Writing is a business built around rejection. Almost every writer in the industry has experienced it at some point, and many experience it constantly. Come learn how working writers deal with rejection, move past it, and embrace it for what it is. Amy Sundberg, Kameron Hurley, Greg van Eekhout, Dave Robison (M), Gwenda Bond

I’ll bring a handful of Lois swag with me, so grab me if you want some.


Thing the last…

supergirl-melissa-benoistDear Supergirl the Show:

This comes from a place of love.

Melissa Benoist is a delight, the rest of your cast is great, and I’m still very much enjoying the show overall. The writers have pulled off some delicious surprises and, more than that, you’ve gotten the feeling right. Buuuuut let’s stop with the rampant nonsense of insulting Lois Lane — with no one defending her — every time her name comes up. By continuing to do this, you tacitly acknowledge her prominence and importance as a character, only to then kick sand in her face and on her legacy.

This is made worse by the fact that she has no presence on the show to counteract these swipes. Clark gets to text his cousin; there’s no reason Lois wouldn’t have sent her a gift or a note too (if not directly, then via James or Clark). There’s also no reason James wouldn’t or shouldn’t come to her defense. They have a long history of mutual respect and friendship in the comics. And there’s no reason to go with the least interesting incarnation of the Lane sisters’ relationship, where they snipe at or about each other without the sense of underlying caring to go with it. Honestly, much as I adore Cat Grant and find her funny and a constant surprise who is one of my favorite things on the show, if her grudge against Lois was more based in a feeling of legitimate professional competition — with respect underneath the personal aspects — I’d find it much more interesting. But I could deal with that. It was Lucy’s joining the dismissive bashing of her sister last night that has me writing this now.

Make the characters more complicated in this regard, please. Fix this lapse in your otherwise burgeoning feminist show cred.

The Superman mythos has, at its best, always featured strong women and been welcoming to women readers and viewers. Lois Lane is an icon for a reason. It may seem she’s untouchable and everyone knows she’s fabulous and so such swipes don’t matter: but they do. Lois Lane is still routinely slammed (including in my mentions from time to time — my superpower is muting faster than a speeding bullet) by people who are threatened by the character’s existence and importance, even after 78 years. The Lois we love doesn’t match these comments. She isn’t an obnoxious glory hound who cares more about herself than the story. So why can’t the Supergirl show just find a simple way to acknowledge Lois Lane is a kick-ass reporter and a hero in her own right, and move on from this pattern? It can. Please do. I promise there will still be plenty of conflict left over.

And it will make a lot of us tremendously happy.


Your humble viewer

ConFusion Schedule

I’ll be at ConFusion in Michigan next week, mostly wearing my Subterranean Press online hijinks hat. (So if you want to feel like you’re there, follow us on twitter where lots of live-tweeting will be happening.) But here’s the two programming items I’m also doing, and I’ll sign stuff if you want on Saturday (or just come make with the chit-chat):

  • Saturday 10:00 AM Relating to Young Adult
    A lot of time is spent discussing how Young Adult and Adult interface, losing sight, perhaps, of the more important link between Middle Grade and Young Adult. What expectations are Middle Grade readers bringing into Young Adult? How do those expectations reflect the fiction they find as they move up a reading level? Can Middle Grade explain the glut of dystopias in Young Adult? Jenny Thurman, Courtney Allison Moulton, Merrie Haskell (M), Susan Dennard, Gwenda Bond
  • Saturday 4:00 PM Autograph Session 1
  • Sunday 12:00 PM The Business of Rejection
    Writing is a business built around rejection. Almost every writer in the industry has experienced it at some point, and many experience it constantly. Come learn how working writers deal with rejection, move past it, and embrace it for what it is. Amy Sundberg, Kameron Hurley, Greg van Eekhout, Dave Robison (M), Gwenda Bond
 See you there? I hope so!

Weekly Update, The First

Well, there may be other updates too, but I’m determined to drop a little something here every week (or just about) this year.


This past one was my first week of new life and times, obviously. There was slightly less of a learning curve than I expected. While my normal deadlines and some new ones have commenced again, I had a few days to play around with a new book and getting that first 10K is always the hardest for me. (I’m just over 5K, which was my goal for last week!)

I went to my first silks class of the new year.


First silks class of the new year! (I could feel all that champers. Ack.)

A photo posted by Gwenda Bond (@gwendabond) on


I’ve been in aerial yoga for awhile now, but this was my first full-on aerial silks class since Intro one and two and boy, did I have some impressive bruises the next day. Worth it, natch.

And I started my new job for Subterranean Press, which I’m having a lot of fun with. (Follow us on twitter at @subpress and like us on Facebook — go on DO IT. I’ll wait. We have so much planned.)



I didn’t manage to get as much writing done as I wanted the first few days of the week, so I decided to try the coffee shop down the street. Could it be my cute co-workers distracting me?


The triumvirate at work, 2016.

A photo posted by Gwenda Bond (@gwendabond) on


While I was there my friend Sarah Combs, who I don’t get to see nearly often enough appeared at my side: “Gwenda, is that you? Why are you here on a Thursday morning? Did you leave your job?” And then we had a congratulatory catch-up hug and an impromptu writing lunch.  What else? I got a closer-to-final Girl in the Shadows cover and it is AMAZING and copyedits for same (the copyeditor said nice things, yay!), which I’m working on this week. Magic, new routine established. 

Oh, and I decided to play in Christopher’s Pathfinder game as a fox-woman swashbuckler based on Claudette Colbert. Because, why not?

Plus, I totally touched the display.


Really thinking about touching the display.

A photo posted by Gwenda Bond (@gwendabond) on


It was a pretty grand week, is what I’m saying. I think this is going to turn out to be the best decision I ever made. This morning we had long-distance staff meeting, then I went to the coffee shop and finished up some pitches for a possible THING(S) and sent them off, and now doing more copyedits. Already, I feel like life is much more manageable, not to mention the time for more silly moments.

But also, the time for more focus trained where I would like it to be. As you can probably tell, I always kept my work lives completely separate (DO NOT CROSS THE STREAMS). This meant I often felt like I was maintaining two separate identities. My real life, and the other one. It was real too, and I’m proud of all the work I did there and I did my job to the best of my ability. But it wasn’t where my heart truly was. There wasn’t as much me in it.

I feel like I only have to live my real life now.


It’s a gift and I’m enjoying it. I know inevitably stresses will come and it won’t all be action figures and lunches out, but I can already tell the good will be worth it. Which is all I could ask of 2016.


On a sadder note: Goodbye, David Bowie. The world will never be the same.

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;).


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.


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…



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:


  • 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.


  • “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!