Reviewers Who Are Clearly Geniuses, and a Menagerie Cover!

Hello all!

I have some lovely happy reviews I’ve been meaning to share with you for ages, so I’m sneaking away from book five for a moment to do that.  After all, a short blog post is better than no post at all, right?  🙂

First off, I’ve mentioned the wonderful Annie and Aunt blog before; Annie is a friend of mine from college, and she and her bookseller aunt write back and forth about all kinds of books.  I use their lists all the time when I’m looking for new picture books for Jonah (and sometimes when I need something new for me to read, too!), and I love hearing about Annie’s kids and which books get them excited.

So imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Annie and Eleanor liked The Menagerie!  Eeeee yaaaayyyy!  And it’s such a smart, thoughtful review (like everything Annie writes!) — I really appreciate it!  Plus, Eleanor is such an amazing kid — exactly the kind of reader we authors love.  I hope she likes book two as well!

Speaking of which, I’ve gotten some author mail asking when book two of The Menagerie is coming out, and the answer is: next March.  I know!  EONS AWAY!  I’m sorry!  I wish I could write faster!  I mean, book two is written, but it has to be typeset and printed and all that, of course…plus if we gave it to you any sooner, you’d have to wait even longer for book three, because (ahem, cough) that one isn’t written yet.  LA LA LA.

But would you like to see the cover of book 2?  It’s a pretty thrilling cover!

TADAAAA!  Are you excited?  I’m excited!  🙂  All sinister and fiery!

Also, an alert reader of our Amazon reviews (OK, it was Mom) pointed out that a few of them mentioned wishing there were a glossary of all the creatures.  YOUR WISH IS OUR COMMAND, lovely people!  We’re working on it now, and with luck there will be a glossary in book two, as well as in the paperback of book one.  Hooray!  (And hooray for our editor for letting us do this!)

Back to the reviews!  Kari sent me a link to this conversation on the SLJ blog, pointing out that some wise and perspicacious person mentioned The Menagerie in the comments, so I clicked on that person and found her totally marvelous book review website!  Where she has posted reviews of The Menagerie and Wings of Fire (that’s for book 3, with links to her reviews of 1 and 2) that seriously turned me into Happy Tears McSillyFace over here, they’re so lovely.  Thank you, Charlotte!  Your son and his circle of reader friends sound like essentially THE COOLEST PEOPLE EVER.

A quick note about the topic of that SLJ blog conversation — Kari and I are both pretty aware of the lack of African-American characters, particularly in science fiction & fantasy (Kari even more than me — as an editor, I think she is also seeing very few submissions starring them, let alone ones that are strong enough to make it through the acquisition process).  We decided to make Logan African-American because it felt right for the character and we also thought, why ever not?  Of course African-American boys can have adventures and save griffins and chat with dragons and be wonderful and awesome and save the day just as well as anyone.  Good heavens, of course.  We wanted it to be not a big deal, just who he is, as Charlotte mentions in her review.

HarperCollins and our lovely editor had no problem at all with this, by the way!  I really don’t think any of the people I’ve worked with, as an editor or as an author, would reject a book based solely on the race of the main character, or even ask the author to change it.

So, authors who’ve written thrilling multicultural fantasies, hooray for you!  And if they haven’t been published yet, keep trying!  The right editor is gazing wistfully at her giant submissions pile right now, wishing your book was in there.  🙂

In other news, I did a blog interview for Camplified which is now up, if you’re curious about what I’m reading lately, what I read when I was 11, or what I would recommend reading at summer camp!  🙂

And another exciting thing:  The Dragonet Prophecy has been nominated for a Colorado Children’s Book Award!  Specifically, according to the sweet email I got, “The children of Colorado have selected Wings of Fire #1: The Dragonet Prophecy as one of the 10 junior book nominees for the 2014 award.”  Aww!  The children of Colorado are the best!  Thank you, guys!

Final smiley marvelous things:  Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing movie was as wonderful and thrilling as I hoped it would be; I am love love loving this season of So You Think You Can Dance (can they all stay? they’re all amazing!); books four and five of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series are SO GREAT; and we have a new frozen yogurt place near us!  The bears and I could happily live there all summer, although I’m afraid my husband would eventually track us down and be all: “Ahem, did you just give our one-year-old Gummi worms on chocolate ice cream?” and I’d have to be like, “erm, yes…but also there were blueberries! it’s a fruit serving!”  😉

I hope you all have a marvelous rest of the summer!  I’ll try to come back and post again before school starts (EEK!) but things are starting to get crazy in book five . . . I just figured out how to kill off a certain big royal somebody, although first I have to write a dramatic family reunion . . . ooooooo, it’s almost like I’m telling you things BUT I’M NOT, mwa ha ha . . .

Quote of the Day:  “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt