Tag Archive | spirit and dust

Spirit and Dust Contest

Next week (May 13th!) I’ll be celebrating the paperback release of Spirit and Dust!  It seems like the perfect time for an awesome, amazing, artistic contest!

That’s right. An artistic contest. This one is going to require some creativity.

What’s the mission, should I choose to accept it?

Create any type of Spirit and Dust inspired art or fiction and submit it by May 31st. It will be judged by a panel of a graphic artist, a young adult librarian, a reader/fan of the books (who won’t be able to enter, obviously), and of course, me. The winners will be announced by June 15th. The prizes are, as the MasterCard commercial says, priceless. Continue reading

News bulletin from the writing cave

Yes, I’m still flying the flag, but here’s a few cool things going on:

Spirit and Dust as been chosen as an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.  Yay!!!!

I am totally jazzed to be included in this list, because a lot of bookish people love my books (and I’m so grateful!) but it’s cool that someone (enough someone’s to make a panel) thinks that people who don’t already love books will enjoy my writing.

FYI, I’m not sure I posted that Spirit and Dust was also chosen by the Texas Library Association for the TAYSHAS list.  That is also a huge honor and I didn’t want to not point that out. Because, ego, whatever.

Finally,  I have something new coming out, but it’s not a novel. Do you like Veronica Roth’s Divergent series?  Have you not read it, but you want to know something about it before the movie comes out?  Do you just want to find out what the buzz is about?

DivergentThinking_FrontCoverFrom Smart Pop Books: Divergent Thinking. Your favorite authors (like me!) writing about your favorite books. My essay is called “From Fire Signs to Factions” and it sets the Factions of Divergent’s world in context of ancient and modern astrology, current psychological typing, and also, superheroes.  Because how many times do you get to read an essay that talks about Ptolomy, Neville Chamberlain, Carl Jung, Meyers-Briggs, 70’s singles bar pick up lines, Shakespeare, Disney movies, DC and Marvel comics all in the same essay!*

There’s also articles from other smart people who are smart about other things: Blythe Woolston, Debra Driza, Maria V. Snyder, Jenna Snyder, Elizabeth Norris, Dan Krokos, Jenn Lynn Barnes, Julia Karr, Janine K. Spendlove, Elizabeth Wein, Mary Borsellino.  But it’s my blog so whatever.

Anyway. I know a lot of librarians and teachers read this blog, and this might be something you want for your kids to read so they can be all like, Hey, so THAT’S how this books series about jumping off trains relates to actual real world history and psychology and stuff. 

You can find out more and read samples at the Divergent Thinking page on Smart Pop Books.**  There’s links from there to online retailers. The book comes out March 4th, but you can preorder it to be ready for the movie. Whoot.

Okay. Back to writing before Mom comes downstairs and finds out I’m on the Internet. Because that’s my life. Whoot. 🙂

* This is why my English teachers either loved me or hated me.

** I have also contributed to their books on the Twilight series (A New Dawn), the Uglies/Pretties series ( Mind Rain), and the Percy Jackson series (Demigods and Monsters).



Trash Day

I’ve been throwing out a lot of stuff lately, and I like it.

If you’ve been following the New House Saga, you know that I’m downsizing dramatically.  I’ve already done a good bit of offloading over the past year. Presently my personal STUFF is contained to one office and one bedroom. So half my work is done, right?

Or so I thought.  Once I started actually taking inventory and packing stuff up, I discovered I wasn’t nearly so downsized as I thought.  For one thing, STUFF expands. It goes from this:

Tidy Shelves

To this:

Messy Books

So there’s books coming off the shelves like clowns coming out of a circus car.  THEN I got to the garage and attic and I found that I was holding onto baggage I didn’t even realize.  (Yes, there’s a big anvil of a metaphor there.)

There were boxes I hadn’t opened since I moved here. College textbooks for me, my mom AND my dad.  Collectibles and action figures.  Tee-shirts from shows I’d been in and so much sheet music and so many scripts. Shows I’d done, things I’d auditioned for and didn’t get the part….

I found a box of my parent’s albums.  I understand that some vinyl goes for decent money these days, but I highly doubt anyone is going to want an LP of Roger Miller’s Greatest Hits or the soundtrack to “Dark Shadows”–the original one. It’s nice to know my parents were nerds, too.

Here’s what else I discovered. If you put stuff out by your curb the afternoon before trash pickup day?  PEOPLE COME TAKE IT.   How genius is that?  I offloaded a faux christmas tree (pre-wired with lights), a tea-cart with a broken wheel, a dozen or so terra cotta pots, a queen-sized bed frame, a director’s chair with no seat, but not the stacks of textbooks on pre-natal care or fluid dynamics or speech development in hearing impaired infants.

Which is all perfectly good for some people, but I would never take something from someone’s trash. Or so I thought until last trash day, when I discovered that a new neighbor had a GIANT BOX OF BOXES set out by his curb.

Curb Shopping



My biggest discovery, though, is that it’s a lot easier to get rid of stuff when you realize it’s actually going to cost you to keep it.  You have to spend time packing it, you have to pay a mover, you have to give up useful space for those boxes.

And that’s the point of this metaphor, I guess. I’ve always been someone who holds onto things, but this time, this move, I’m not having a problem being ruthless.

It’s liberating to realize you are not the product of your possessions. It’s not the things that make you remember the people you love. It isn’t your stuff that makes you who you are. Getting rid of things I once loved–or even things I still love but can’t keep–doesn’t change my past or the memories that made me into the person I am.

Here endeth the metaphor.

In keeping with the theme–and the fact I’ll have no garage soon–I’m giving away copies of my books!  Comment by Friday for a chance to win a UK edition of Spirit and Dust.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to throw away?  What are you convinced you could never part with? Have you ever picked up something from someone else’s trash? (I won’t judge you, I promise.)


The Epic Update (is epic)

Here’s what’s been going on in RCM land since my last post:

School Library Journal gave Spirit and Dust a starred review and said this:

Daisy is an endearing, strong heroine. Her magical interactions with the spirit world are made utterly believable by finely drawn, evocative details of how she achieves them and the side effects she suffers each time she does. This is one of the best YA novels of the year.

Wait, what was that????

This is one of the best YA novels of the year.

So I did this:

 photo NeilPatrickHarrisOnSesameStreetDance.gif

And for those of you across the pond, the Spirit and Dust UK edition is out now. Yay!

The other big thing is, I’m continuing to deal with losing my brother. In a weird way, it’s been worse than losing my dad, because Dad was ill for a long time, and also… well, you expect your parents to go first. Pete was so sudden (and so young!) that I keep forgetting, so the grief stays sharp and new. I’m shopping for beer and I think “Oh, if I don’t like this, I can give the other five bottles to Pete,” because that’s what he and I do when we try new beers, and then I remember that I can’t anymore and I end up sniveling in the beer aisle with everyone at Kroger looking at me like maybe I’ve had a few too many already.

So, I’m not going to lie, some days I just do this:

sad dog photo: Sad Dog tumblr_lye95pUHWf1qao6gx.gif

I’ve had a lot of life changes in twelve months. That can be hard, but it can also be a kick in the pants. The flip side of curling up under my blankie is the urge to streamline my life and get rid of All the Extra Stuff. I have boxes in this house that I haven’t unpacked since I moved in. I’m getting rid of CDs that I’ve replaced in digital form and paperbacks that I swore I would reread but admitted I probably won’t and I can get them on ebook if I do.

So there’s been some of this:

And I’ve been reminding myself that I have a job I love, wonderful friends, an exciting book to work on. I get to work in yoga pants, I don’t have to leave the house in the heat of the day.

Oh yeah, and that exciting book is due at the end of the summer. So until my next update, I’ll be doing nothing but this:

typing gif photo: Kitty 1665818vx5pzzmepe.gif

Onward and upward!

The law breaking continues in Spirit and Dust:

I was really not dressed for breaking into a graveyard.

I shivered in my borrowed coat and gazed up at the fence that Carson expected me to climb–brick and iron and about nine feet tall. The moon was still bright enough to see the points on top of the bars. Were people in Minnesota that desperate to call on their dearly departed outside of visiting hours?

Remember–four more days to find Spirit and Dust in the wild (in your house, in a bookstore, on a plane, train or automobile) and TWEET it for a chance to win a signed copy of TEXAS GOTHIC, the first Goodnight book. Remember to use #spiritanddust in your tweets!

In which we meet Mr. Carson (Spirit and Dust excerpt)

I’m in England until Tuesday!  Tomorrow… Today? … FRIDAY I will be the BONUS ACT at Rachel Caine’s booksigning at Waterstones bookstore in Nottingham. That’s Nottingham, ENGLAND.  (Follow on Tumblr and Twitter for updates on the trip, which has no hashtag yet. I’m calling it the castle and pub tour.

TODAY’S S&D excerpt!

I turned to Mr. Carson… but paused when I got my first good look at him.

My first impression didn’t lie. Young. Twenty-one-ish. Younger than Agent Taylor, and almost as tasty. And tall. I’m five foot ten, and I had to tilt my head to look at him. HIs hair was brown, still wet, and standing up all over. His eyes were a dusky green–no, hazel–and I’d last seen them in the Minnesota cold, just before everything went dark.

“You!” I exclaimed, with all the melodrama his offenses deserved. “You’re the one who whammied me behind the police station.”



Spirit and Dust has been released from captivity in the US. Already there have been sightings.Spirit and Dust

For the next week (until May 23) if you TWEET a picture of Spirit and Dust in the wild (in a store, in your house, in your shopping bag, on a bus/train/plane) then you will go into a drawing to win a signed copy of the first Goodnight adventure, Texas Gothic.  Here’s the deal, though. You MUST used the hashtag #SpiritandDust to be entered. (Because otherwise I won’t see your post.)

Not on Twitter? There will be other chances to win stuff coming soon.