Tuesday, April 21, 2020

April the Twenty-fourth

My 12-year-old bookworm

This Friday is my birthday. It's also the 7-month anniversary of the release of STORMRISE.

I suppose it's more usual to note a 6-month anniversary, but March passed by in a bit of a blur (as I'm sure it did for most of you). So here I am, a month late but no less grateful.

September 24 wasn't supposed to be my release date. Originally, STORMRISE was slated to drop on September 10, which was when I'd planned to have my big release party. To say that I was upset is an understatement; all I could think about was the party and all the people who said they'd be there and how many months in advance I'd booked the venue. Not to mention the fact that I wanted to have physical copies to sign for people.

Everything worked out just fine. Tor Teen made sure early copies were there, and they even crafted me a gorgeous poster, to make up for the fact that my release party was no longer my actual release day.

(The poster lives in my office, propped against the wall. I still haven't figured out a way to hang it up without damaging it.)

It's been an interesting seven months--I've swung from the heights of elation to the depths of disappointment and back again. I've watched STORMRISE wend its way into the storm of books-clamoring-for-attention, holding my breath and reminding myself not to read any review less than 3 stars. (Seriously, it's not worth it. Some people are going to hate your book no matter what, and there's no reason to go all imposter-syndrome every time someone rips into your writing.)

These are the sort of comments that have kept me afloat:

  • Loved this book! It sucks you in and before you know it you've read the last page.

  • It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. This is a fantastic story in a style reminiscent of Tamora Pierce, which is high praise!

  • The best Mulan style story I have read.

  • A fantasy retelling of Mulan WITH DRAGONS... need I say more? I loved this.

  • Alanna meets Mulan. How can you lose?

  • STORMRISE offers a lesson to young readers, especially in this age of hate crimes and violence, that you can make a difference, and you can make your voice heard, and even though you are not “the mainstream normal”, you are powerful, and valid. You matter. All you have to do is do the thing.

Thank you, reviewers. It might be that you don't realize how your words fuel confidence when it lags and creativity when it dwindles. You may not know how much it means to an author that her words moved you. It's a privilege to speak into people's hearts and imaginations, and it's a gift every time they let you know.

So, what have I learned in seven months?

I've learned that writing the next book after your debut is hard. And that writing the one after that is even harder.

I've learned that people may buy your book in October and not read it until March. And still love it.

I've learned that libraries are more wonderful than I'd even known.

I've learned that the fan art of eighth-graders feeds my soul.

I've learned that I absolutely love book signings.

I've learned that the release date of a debut novel comes and goes--a blip on the timeline of my life. And that I've got to continue looking ahead.

I've learned that it's really (really really) hard sometimes to feel like a tiny fish in a boundless sea.

I've learned that following my dream was absolutely the right thing to do.

Huge thanks to each of you who has purchase a copy of STORMRISE. For those of you who are audibook fans, I'd like to gush once more about the amazing Renee Chambliss's incredible narration and encourage you to borrow the audio edition of STORMRISE from your library or purchase a copy for your own collection.

What's next? THE STOLEN KINGDOM (which has shown up on Goodreads and Amazon over the past couple of days -- super early, but whatever!) has an official release date and a stunning cover, and I'll be sharing both of those when the time is right. (Or, yanno, when my publisher says, "You may share the cover now.")

Keep dreaming, writers! And more importantly, keep writing. Talent is nothing without practice, and a dream is nothing without work. 

Hugs and chocolate to all!


  1. Favorite line, thus far, from Stormrise: "I'd finally become proficient at not peeing on myself." Haha! As someone who grew up in the country, I know what she means!

  2. Happy Birthday! April 24th happens to be my birthday too! I loved Stormrise and I'm looking forward to reading The Stolen Kingdom! And Happy Seven Month Book Birthday too!

    1. Hey, Happy Birthday to you, too! I've always loved having an April birthday. :) And thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed Stormrise.

    2. Me too, spring birthdays are lovely! So looking forward to your next book!

  3. Happy Birthday!

    Also, I admit I squeed when I saw my review quoted in this post :D

    1. Thank you! And ooooo, which one is yours??

  4. Great inspiration and information as always. Happy birthday and happy anniversary of your release day! And I'm so glad this is what you feel called to do, because you do it well. Looking forward to hearing more about THE STOLEN KINGDOM. :)

    1. Thank you, Julia! (I always miss your little crooked smiley when your name shows up somewhere without it. :) )

  5. Happy birthday! May your day be full of all the awesome. 😊 It’s my oldest sister’s birthday, too. Looking forward to the cover art for The Stolen Kingdom (Amazon let me pre-order the kindle version).

    1. Thank you, Joan -- and thank so much for your super-early preorder! That means so much. xoxo

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