The Broken Lands

FAQs: The Left-Handed Fate and Bluecrowne

As of today, 35 DAYS TO THE LAUNCH OF THE LEFT-HANDED FATE!

9780805098006_FCAnd, predictably, I still keep forgetting to post here. On the other hand, I do have at least one good reason: I’m working like crazy to get The Illustrated Bluecrowne PDF ready for release before the LHF launch at the end of August. And since Bluecrowne is so closely related to The Left-Handed Fate (and since a forthcoming review actually refers to LHF as a sequel to Bluecrowne), I thought it would be good to talk a little about these two books and how they’re related.

Bluecrowne_Cover2Bluecrowne is part of an endeavor I call the Arcana Project, which is a series of short novels set in the same world as The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, Greenglass House, and The Left-Handed Fate—all of which are related to one degree or another, but all of which are stand-alone tales that can be read independently of the others. The Arcana books are meant to provide additional tales and, in some cases, show how certain books are related to others. I don’t publicize them heavily because I imagine them kind of like Easter eggs—if you find them, good for you! Enjoy. If not, no big deal. I had fun writing them. So far, there are two books, The Kairos Mechanism and Bluecrowne. The Kairos Mechanism takes place after the events of The Boneshaker; Bluecrowne takes place before the events of The Left-Handed Fate. Here are some FAQs I get about how these books are all connected.

Q: I see that some of the characters in The Left-Handed Fate appear in an earlier book, Bluecrowne. Is The Left-Handed Fate a sequel? Do I need to read Bluecrowne first?

A: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ BLUECROWNE FIRST. The events of Bluecrowne take place first; however, both are truly standalone stories. (Bluecrowne is also the backstory of the building of Greenglass House, for instance, and explains the origins of two key clues to the mysteries Milo and Meddy solve, but I am completely certain that most people who read Greenglass House are entirely unaware of Bluecrowne‘s existence.) If you have (or do) read Bluecrowne before The Left-Handed Fate, hooray! You’ll definitely have insider information, including insight into Liao’s pyrotechnical gifts and the reason Lucy and her father aren’t excited to return to Nagspeake. But if you haven’t or choose not to read it, no big deal.

Q: Ok, cool. How do I get Bluecrowne if I want it?

A: You have three options.

  • You can get the ebook right now in the format of your choice from any of the usual ebook retailers. You’ll see that there are two versions, and one is more expensive than the other. The more expensive version is called the Kickstarter Edition, and it includes a bonus story from The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (which you will know of if you’ve read Greenglass House).
  • You can get the paperback very rapidly (how fast depends on your shipping preferences) from McNally Jackson Books, where the books are printed using the Espresso Book Machine. If you want your copy signed or personalized, there is a field in the online order form where you can request that (note that I’m only there once a week, so signed copies might be delayed until I’m next in). Order here, or you can call the store directly to order by phone (212-274-1160). Bonus: on most Saturdays, if you call between 10 and 6, there’s a high probability I’ll be the one answering the phone! Hi!
  • You can read it free (or pay what you choose) starting sometime in August when The Illustrated Bluecrowne ebook is released. Right now I’m waiting for the last few pieces of original art from the young illustrators, but I expect to have it finished and available for download by mid-August or thereabouts. It’ll be a PDF, so it should work for you whatever kind of reader you use, and I’ll add a link here as soon as it’s ready. The art, by the way, is really outstanding. I can’t wait to share it with you. Preorder here.

Q: A free illustrated version? What’s that about?

A: As part of the Kickstarter-funded publication budget of the Arcana books, I included funds for a digital edition that would be illustrated by young reader artists and offered free or pay whatever, with the idea that I wanted the artists to be able to share their work at no cost to their friends and families. (Any money contributed by readers who do choose to pay goes into the pot for the next book’s illustrators.) The artists are between 11 and 21, and each used a style of his/her own choosing. It is, hands down, my favorite part of the project.

Q: I see the Bluecrowne paperback says “Arcana, Volume 2” on the spine. Do I have to read The Kairos Mechanism first? WHY IS THIS SO CONFUSING, KATE?

It was odd because they were strangers, and because they came in on foot. It was odd because of what they carried.

A: You do not need to read The Kairos Mechanism before Bluecrowne (although if you want to, you can follow all the same info above to get it in ebook or paperback (order the paperback here, and the free-or-pay-whatever illustrated version is here). Like Bluecrowne, it’s a standalone story, although it is definitely more closely tied to The Boneshaker. As for why it’s so confusing: I overcomplicate things. There. I said it. It’s just who I am.

Q: I’ve read the Arcana books and I was really hoping you’d have one coming out this year, but I haven’t heard anything. Are you doing another Arcana book?

A: Yes. Two more at least. But not this year. I have discovered to my shock that my ability to turn out three thousand words a day disappeared the day I had a kid. So here’s what’s coming down the pike: hopefully first, possibly as early as next fall, will be The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book. Additionally, I have an as-yet-untitled adventure featuring Sam and Jin from The Broken Lands. Kickstarter backers of Bluecrowne will get an advance peek and free digital copies, because this book arose from a short story I promised as a bonus reward during the Bluecrowne campaign that turned out not to be a short story at all.

Here’s hoping that clears up the relationship between Bluecrowne and The Left-Handed Fate. Any other questions you have, pop them into the comments!

 

Novellablog: Bluecrowne At the One Week Marker

One week down. 30% in the coffers. This is where we are: 40 backers have pledged $2445 towards our goal of $8000. It’s all so exciting! And so many wonderful friends are helping to spread the word through Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs. I can’t thank you all enough. Watching the numbers climb in these first days has been just amazing. You can take a look at the progress here at the Bluecrowne campaign page. As you’ll see, things are looking great, but we still have a long way to go. Original art is going fast, but there’s still time. There are also 3 copies remaining of Jaime Zollars’ signed Greenglass House cover prints. Remember how awesome the Greenglass House cover is? Here it is (picture it without my name and the title). Who doesn’t want that for their wall? I mean, really. I want one for my wall.

ggh__jkt_nospine (1)

 

So what am I, and the rest of the Bluecrowne team, up to during the campaign?

Well, I just turned in the first pass of Greenglass House. This was really exciting, because it’s the first set of editorial notes I’ve gotten since a pretty sizeable rewrite I did right before the Greenglass ARCs were printed. You might figure (and you’d be absolutely right) that my editor would never let ARCs go to press if she wasn’t happy with what I’d done. And yet it’s still an incredible relief to have the notes in your hand and see that they’re mostly about weird comma splices and places where you used the same word three times in two pages. Reviewing and approving and fixing all those edits took about a week and a half.

Meanwhile, Rachel is finishing up editing on Bluecrowne, and Miwako is finishing the titling for the cover, which she decided to hand-draft rather than use an existing font. It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to share the final front cover with you. My next task is to write the back text so that we can lock down the back cover; then it’ll be time to tackle Rachel’s notes and get the text locked, too. In the meantime, I have a few guest posts to tackle for blogs who are helping to pass the word about the Bluecrowne campaign.

I also have some prep to do for three upcoming appearances I couldn’t be more excited for.

On April 14 at McNally Jackson Books I’m honored to be helping, along with fellow author-booksellers Sarah Gerard, Carly Dashiell, Fiona Duncan, and Julie Carlisle, to launch Beth Steidle’s illustrated novel The Static Herd, which is being published this month by Calamari Press. Beth is an author, artist, and designer, and also one of the masterminds behind McNally Jackson’s Espresso Book Machine department. I couldn’t be more excited for Beth, or to be reading alongside the amazing women I’ll be joining. It’s going to be a totally varied group of readers–meaning, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s not a kids’ book event. (I, therefore, am going to have to really think about what I’m going to read. After all, as Madeleine L’Engle said, “If the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” Maybe Walker’s first appearance in The Broken Lands? Everybody likes a villain. Thoughts?) 

In May, I’m joining Aaron Starmer and Laurel Snyder at NESCBWI for a panel on 5/3 called The Blurry Space of Thirteen. This one’s going to be great, and we all think this is a topic that really needs more discussing in the kidlit world. Many of us get our backs up when younger kids’ books get referred to as YA, as if bookstores were shelving Charlotte’s Web alongside The Hunger Games and teachers, librarians, or authors recommending or writing them for the same readers. But even among the books classified as MG, there’s still a huge age range represented. We serve readers as young as 7 and 8 up to 13 and 14, and while we call this entire range middle-grade, these are very different kinds of readers. We’ll be discussing the need for tackling truly thorny issues in MG. I have high hopes for a truly great discussion.

Lastly, on May 17th at 4pm, in honor of the ABA’s Indies First Storytime day, I’m joining a group of 12 middle-grade authors for a dramatic reading from The Phantom Tollbooth at McNally Jackson Books. This is going to be wicked fun, and I hope many of you will come out to join us. The cast includes such luminaries as Adam Gidwitz, Michael Northrop, Natalie Standiford, Matthew Cody, Jeffrey Salane, Courtney Sheinmel, Kekla Magoon, Sophie Blackall, Claire LeGrand. Barbara Marcus of Random House Children’s Books will be narrating as well as moderating a discussion afterwards. Then we’ll all hang around and sign books. It’s going to be great.

Oh, and this weekend my sister and I are running a ten-mile race neither of us precisely trained for. The heckling from our husbands has already begun.

So that’s the report from Milford Command Central! Basically, yay for a great start, but the heavy lifting’s far from over. Thanks to the early supporters! Keep spreading the word, and let’s make this happen!

K

 

 

Novellablog: On Remembering; or, The Care and Feeding of People and Places You’ve Invented

I replied to an email from a reader about a week ago and for one reason or another, in that email I included a list of the notebooks that were in my work bag at that precise time. There were eleven in the bag that day. Here’s the list:

  • 1 for lists and general notes (write blog post today, buy paper towels, pick up laundry, that kind of thing)
  • 3 notebooks with notes for a new project called Border Saints (1 for general ideas and 1 for notes from a certain book I’m using for research and 1 that’s redundant but fits in a pocket)
  • 5 notebooks for Bluecrowne, the next short novel, which I just finished and am revising (1 has notes on every year between 1764 and 1817, 1 has notes on the crews of two different ships, 1 has historical notes and ideas and 2 have general revision notes)
  • 1 notebook I use to track how many new words I’ve written every day
  • 1 blank notebook, in case I get an idea for a brand new project or something

Now, admittedly, eleven notebooks is a little excessive even for me. And to be fair, all of the Bluecrowne-related notebooks are also Left-Handed Fate notebooks (although those aren’t even the complete set of Left-Handed Fate notebooks). And about half of what’s listed there are Field Notes books, so they’re little (thank god for my Field Notes subscription).

But on any given day, I am likely to be carrying at least one notebook for anything I’m actively or even kinda-sorta working on, which always equals at least three projects. Today, for instance, when I went to my branch office (aka my local diner) to work for a few Griffin-free hours, I had three projects represented in my bag: Greenglass House, since I’m working on the first pass; The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book, which is a book of folklore referenced in Greenglass House; and Border Saints, the new thing, which I was be allowed to mess with only while taking a break to order and eat a sandwich.

And yet, all those notebooks, all the notes I make and research I do and keep–I am discovering that none of it keeps me from having to re-do a certain amount of work each time I start working on a new project. Because I can’t keep everything in my head, and because up until now, every project among the seven manuscripts I’ve finished and the eight I consider to be on my active-but-unfinished roster is related to the rest–with the exception of only two. (Those two, in case you’re curious, are Border Saints and a thing called Greensward.) So almost every time, I wind up revisiting something from a previous book.

Now, they’re not all directly related. Not all have to do with Natalie, Sam, Jin, and Jack Hellcoal. But they are all set in a world I have begun to call in my own mind the Walking World, a place peopled with uncanny itinerants called roamers, who include everyone from the denizens of traveling medicine shows to those who’ve faced the Devil in competition to the strange beings called Jumpers to those, like The Broken Lands‘ Sam Noctiluca, who have what the card sharp Al Tesserian refers to as dust on the soles of their shoes.

When you get to know a world through and through, it’s hard not to want to return to it. When you fall in love with your characters–and when they’re characters with long histories–it’s hard not to want to tell as many of their adventures as you possibly can. But that means always being able to bring them back to life as fully as you did the first time. And it means making sure what you’re resurrecting is the same character as before, adjusted for differences in age and circumstance. A lot of this is voice, but it’s way more than voice alone. And I don’t know about anybody else, but I find this very difficult. The first time I had to do this was when Tom Guyot strolled into the Reverend Dram in The Broken Lands. Since then, I’ve had to do it with Natalie (and everybody else in Arcane, including Tom again), Jack, Liao, Liao’s sister Lucy, Liao again, Lucy again…I don’t know, maybe it’s me. I love doing it, but it’s never easy.

There’s also the matter of more simple, everyday consistency between the books. In which leg was Tom Guyot wounded? In which battle did that happen? Does Doc Fitzwater’s cane have an alligator head or a crocodile head? Who’s the purser of The Left-Handed Fate? As I’m typing this, I found an example of what I’m talking about, and I only found it because I just checked to be sure I was quoting Tesserian correctly when I mentioned dust on the soles of one’s shoes. In The Broken Lands, when the term “roamer” is used by Tesserian, it isn’t capitalized. I’m pretty sure we capitalized it in Greenglass House. I will now have to make a note to go back through and check that. 

Then there’s the matter of the stuff I learned for whatever reason and suddenly have to re-learn again. I don’t have the bandwidth to retain for four years everything I learned about waidan and fireworks when I was writing The Broken Lands, but I needed it for Bluecrowne. (This is why I hoard books, I tell myself. At least I know when I suddenly need them years after the project I initially got them for, I’ll still have them.)

So I keep these notebooks. I keep notebooks for every project, and sometimes even for specific ideas if I think I need to devote more space to them than just a few pages in a notebook dedicated to something else. I should really have done that for my notes on the waidan of Liao and Jin, for instance. Live and learn. But even more than that, I’ve started to keep a universal set of notes. It’s not world-building stuff or history. It’s mostly the details: what kind of head tops Doc’s cane; in which leg Tom took a bullet; when I think Jake Limberleg was born, in order to calculate his likely age in 1821. (Yes, Limberleg fans. I know you’re out there. More to come.)

Still, half the time I don’t know what I need to know until I’m knee-deep in a New Thing, so heck if I know if trying to anticipate the kinds of questions that New Thing will require me to remember the answers to will actually help at all. And it certainly won’t help with replicating a character’s voice, or any of the extrapolation that goes into figuring out how Tom Guyot of 1877 is subtly different from Tom Guyot of 1913. But I’ll give it a try. It’s gotta be good for something.

Plus, you know, that’s one more notebook I get to maintain, and I like me a good notebook.

 

It’s Alive! Introducing Bluecrowne.

At last, at long last, Bluecrowne is live on Kickstarter! 

Let me tell you about this story. I’m super-excited about it. I hope you will be, too.

It’s September when the sutler Foulk Trigemine walks into the year 1810 and the Sovereign City of Nagspeake. His mission is twofold: to acquire a particular knife in the shape of an albatross from the a legendary weapons-maker known as the Ironmonger; and, with the help of a peddler called Blister, to locate a special kind of pyrotechnical prodigy known as a conflagrationeer.

Meanwhile, in a brand-new house full of stained glass, Lucy Bluecrowne is about to be marooned. That’s how it feels, at least. Thanks to the threat of war with America on top of the ongoing war with Napoleon, her privateer father has decided it’s time for his family–Lucy, her half-brother Liao, and Liao’s mother, Xiaoming–to live ashore like a pack of landlubbers. And Lucy has never handled being ashore well. 

Then Liao’s genius for fireworks brings him to the attention of Trigemine and Blister, who waste no time in identifying the boy as the conflagrationeer they’ve been seeking. Neither party can afford to lose. With her old life aboard a private ship-of-war about to be gone for good, Lucy has nothing left to fight for but her family. As for Trigemine–not only does his boss, the merchant Morvengarde, not handle failure well, but nobody wants to disappoint the client who’s ordered up the conflagrationeer from him. Morvengarde might be scary, but according to the rumors, not even the Devil wants to tangle with the client.

 

One short novel. 30 days.

Read the first chapter here.

Back the campaign here.

Follow my attempts not to have a nervous breakdown right here at The Clockwork Foundry, and on Twitter.

Greenglass House: An Author’s Note

I suppose I should point out the use of “an” in the title. This is not the final text of the Greenglass House author’s note, by any stretch. But the ARC doesn’t have a note at all (chalk that up to Stuff That Didn’t Get Done Due to Griffin) and I’d like to note a few things for the sake of early readers of this book who might be curious about Milo and his family.

In 2011, my husband and I decided to begin the process of international adoption. It wasn’t a question of infertility, something we’ve had to explain now and then since the birth of our first child, Griffin, in 2013, when acquaintances are surprised to find we’re still in the adoption pipeline. The truth is that there were a lot of factors involved in our decision to adopt. We chose China because we had an interest in the culture and history. We began studying, both on our own and with our adoption agency as part of the home study, a required stage of the process. Among the many topics we read about and discussed were questions of identity and family and culture and heritage. If you’ve read my last book, The Broken Lands, you might be thinking now about Jin, and the speech Liao gives her atop the Brooklyn Bridge. It probably won’t surprise you to know that Jin grew from what was supposed to be a secondary character into a main character at the time that Nathan and I were beginning that process.

I began writing Greenglass House in the summer of 2012, and I was still thinking (as I imagine I often will) about adoptive families and what ours might be like. Out of those musings and the many hours of reading and study we spent to prepare for our adoption came Milo and Nora and Ben Pine. I didn’t want the story to be specifically and only about adoption, so it isn’t; just as I don’t imagine the experiences of every child who came to his or her family in this way are forever and always about adoption. However, when I chose the makeup of the family that ran the inn, it meant adoption would be part of the story. A lens—not the only one, but an important one—through which Milo views the world.

No two children are alike, so I have no way of knowing whether our Chinese son or daughter will have the same questions and secret musings that Milo does. But every kid has a birth family, so I know that family will always be part of my kid’s life in some way (even though, as in Milo’s case, the chances of our ever knowing anything about that first mother and father will be very slim). I would be very surprised if he or she didn’t wonder about them at some point. I hope he or she will not feel in any way uncomfortable about those wonderings, and will feel comfortable talking to Nathan and Griffin and I about them. But kids are kids—they’re secretive little critters. They suffer in silence when they shouldn’t have to. So let this book also be a letter to my future kid: We understand. We know. Wonder away. Include us in your wonderings when you want to. Know that we love you. Know that we know you love us, too.

The international adoption process can take a long time. Our first child was born into our family in June of 2013. Although there’s no way to be sure exactly when his little brother or sister from overseas will join the family, it’s likely Griffin will be four or five when that happens. We can’t wait to go to China together, all three of us, to bring home the newest member of our family.

Well, Hey There, September!

I’m not even going to look at when my last blog post was. But three months ago I had a kid, and they were right (because they all told me I would get negative-everything done). I have been getting nothing done.

Except I have been getting some stuff done. Since June 12th, I have done the following, in the following order:

1) Had a baby.

2) Completed my first round of offical Greenglass House edits.

3) Nearly finished Bluecrowne. And by “nearly,” I mean I hit page 155 of what was supposed to stay (for budgeting purposes) under 120, which was roughly the length of The Kairos Mechanism.

4) Conferred with my ace Kid Editors about Greenglass House in preparation for the next round of edits, which I expect to receive this week or beginning of next. Once again, they delivered. These young readers are AWESOME and thoroughly deserve having their praises sung in capital letters.

5) Read the following approximately a hundred times each in the last week alone: 

  • Red Truck
  • Orange Pear Apple Bear
  • Polar Bear Night
  • Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? 
  • If You Want to See a Whale

I have also done the dishes several times.

You’ll shortly be hearing more about Greenglass House. Among other things, Ana and Thea, the fabulous ladies at Book Smugglers, have offered to do a reveal for the cover, so there’ll be that excitement. And the cover is amazing, folks. Jaime Zollars is the artist, and although I’m fairly certain she’s never been to Nagspeake, she managed to capture my beloved home-away-from-home perfectly. (Greenglass House comes out in August of next year, but it’s already available to preorder here and there around the interwebs.)

But since I had initially thought I’d be releasing the next Arcana Project novella this summer and clearly that’s not happening, let’s talk Bluecrowne.

Thing number one: I don’t think I can reasonably call it a novella anymore, since by my best guess it’s going to come in around 175 pages. Thing number two: this throws all my previous calculations out the window. And by “all my previous calculations” I mean my budget. Which is fine, considering I haven’t put together anything in the way of a crowdfunding campaign yet. My initial reluctance to do that before now was due to the fact that I didn’t feel right somehow putting up a campaign when the book wasn’t done. I now see how very pragmatic I was being, even though at the time I thought I was just being paranoid.

There’s also the fact that my slower post-baby writing pace has implications for everyone else involved with this book, including (but not limited to) the wonderful Andrea Offermann, who’s returning for the Bluecrowne cover. 

So here’s the new plan: I’d like to have Bluecrowne to you for the holidays. This still depends on a lot of factors, but I think it’s doable.

I would like not to depend on crowdfunding at some point, but as you see from the progress bar on the right-hand sidebar, I’m nowhere close to having enough in the bank for my original budget yet. Since Bluecrowne’s going to come in so much longer, I’ll be printing fewer paperbacks to start with, but other things like the costs of paying the editor and the reader artists will go up. So there will be a Bluecrowne Kickstarter campaign, I suspect in mid-October, or whenever I get the next Greenglass House edits turned in. And once again there will be a whole bazaar of fun rewards, including another previously-unseen story from The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book in the ebook for Kickstarter backers. (What’s The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book? You’ll have to wait for Greenglass House for the answer to that.) And once again the fundraising will include money to commission a dozen or so young artists to illustrate a special edition. (Don’t want to wait until October to help out? You rock. Click here.)

What will you encounter in Bluecrowne? Well, you’ll meet some new friends and those of you who haven’t yet visited the Sovereign City of Nagspeake will get your first glimpse. But some old friends from all three of my previous books will be returning, too. No, I won’t say who. Not yet, anyway. 🙂 So ends this status report from Milford Command Central. Comments? Questions? No? Great. Here. Have a picture of a few of the research books involved in Bluecrowne, Greenglass House, and The Left-Handed Fate.

20130126_102920

That’s right. I said “a few.”

Novellablog: It’s Time! PRE-ORDER THE KAIROS MECHANISM! And while you’re at it, PRE-ORDER THE BROKEN LANDS!

Boyohboy, guys, here we go! It’s time. It’s really, really time! It’s all over but the formatting, so I’m pleased to announce that The Kairos Mechanism will be available in paperback and your choice of digital formats created with Vook (PDF, iBooks-compatible, Kindle-compatible, and Nook-compatible) on Friday, September 7th, and you can preorder it right here, right now.

Because the paperback of The Kairos Mechanism winds up costing a bit more like what an “adult” pb costs than what a middle grade or teen pb does (the list price will be $12.99, due to the cost of printing on the EBM), every paperback copy of The Kairos Mechanism comes with a DRM-free Kairos digital edition in your choice of format. 

Possibly the coolest option for getting The Kairos Mechanism actually isn’t from me, and also involves getting it on the cheap. Between now and September 1, if you pre-order The Broken Lands in hardcover from one of the most excellent independent bookstores listed below, you can also pre-order The Kairos Mechanism from the same store for five bucks. (Shipping is subject to the individual bookstores’ policies.) Also, since The Broken Lands will be released on September 4th, Kairos will ship early with those orders. Want your copies signed and/or personalized? You got it.

Planning to get The Broken Lands from your local indie, so you just need The Kairos Mechanism? Not a problem.

Pre-order The Kairos Mechanism in paperback ($15.99, including shipping):

Pre-order The Kairos Mechanism in a digital edition ($3.99):

  • DRM-free PDF
  • DRM-free iBooks edition
  • DRM-free Kindle edition
  • DRM-free Nook edition

UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 2012): Digital editions are now available through Vook.com. Go here to purchase them.

Pre-orders handled through Clockworkfoundry.com are securely processed by Gumroad. Paperback pre-orders through Clockworkfoundry.com include domestic media mail shipping (international buyers, please add $10).

If you’d like to be put on the mailing list for the reader-illustrated edition, please email me directly at kate(at)clockworkfoundry(dot)com. Due to the involvement of 13 different artists with different schedules, the release date is TBD.

Want The Kairos Mechanism sooner, and you can come to New York for a party? Join me at McNally Jackson Books on Thursday, September 6th at 7pm for The Broken Lands’ launch party. You can hang out with lots of book-loving folks, hear me read from The Broken Lands, and see the EBM in actual real life. Hopefully I don’t need to remind you that The Broken Lands is the reason this novella exists, but just in case: The Broken Lands is 465 pages of awesomesauced historical fantasy full of horrifying and wondrous things, including (gasp) a love story (whether you classify that among the wondrous or the horrifying is entirely up to you). Kirkus has already raved about it; surely they won’t be alone in their applause. Come out and celebrate with us if you can! All ages are welcome.

Lastly, if I may, I’d like to leave you with some praise for The Kairos Mechanism from some really awesome folks who’ve given it an early read. I’ll sit quietly over here and blush until you’re done.

From Laurel Snyder, author of Bigger Than a Breadbox:

“A dark and wonderful machine, built of magic and history and held together with intricate prose. I loved this book.”

From Elizabeth Bird, NYPL youth collections specialist and author of A Fuse Eight Production blog:

“Youthful corpses, smooth talking villains, war, fate, and the occasional odd albatross. For readers left gasping and grasping after the marvelous The Boneshaker comes a sequel that’s every bit as crisp and scintillating as its predecessor, with marvelous prose and even better characters. I’m torn between wishing I lived in Arcane and offering thanks to every god in creation that I’m safe merely reading about it instead.”

From Rachel Swirsky, Nebula Award-winning author of The Lady Who Picked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window:
“Milford’s Arcane stands at the crossroads of eerieness and adventure. Every visit begins with the best kind of shivery dread and ends with the fun of watching Natalie gin up her courage to tackle whatever stands in her way.”
From Nathan Milford, long-suffering husband of Kate Milford:
“Yeah, I read it.”

Kirkus weighs in on The Broken Lands (spoiler: Kate is very happy)

Publisher:Clarion
Pages: 464
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-547-73966-3
Category: Fiction

Two teens race against time to thwart the forces of evil in this prequel to The Boneshaker (2010).

The Broken Land is a hotel where much crucial action takes place, but it is also an apt description of the United States in 1877. The Civil War has scarred the country, and Reconstruction has ended. “Folks are angry, still,” orphan Sam is told. “Folks are scared and folks feel like punishing each other, and I don’t think many of ’em are clear about what they’re mad for.” It is also a time of technological marvels like the Brooklyn Bridge, although this particular wonder has come with a price for young Sam. After losing his father to illness brought on by work on the bridge, Sam finds himself working as a cardsharp in Coney Island. He becomes the unlikely ally of Jin, a Chinese girl working with a team to provide fireworks at Broken Land, as they find themselves resisting a figure seeking to establish his own Hell. This seamless blend of fantasy and historical fiction is ripe with rich, gritty detail. Best of all, it is populated by a vast array of unusual characters: Along with Sam and Jin, there’s Tom, a former member of the U.S. Colored Troops, and Susannah, a biracial woman who may hold the key to victory.

Readers will be captivated. (Steampunk. 12 & up)**

**I feel bound to point out, with heartfelt apologies to Kirkus, that I think you’re best ignoring the “steampunk” mention. It is my suspicion that the faint whiff of steampunk occasionally detected in The Boneshaker may have carried over by association. Although The Broken Lands is set in 1877, rather than any steampunk imagery, I’d like you to imagine fantasy influenced by fireworks, card-sharpery, Chinese alchemy, and Ambrose Bierce. Plus, the villains are, if I do say so myself, flipping awesome. Also, bloggers and reviewers who’d like to weigh in, please let me know if you’d like the Netgalley link. –KM

Novellablog: Holy Moly! Two Flipping Weeks Left to Become Part of the GREATEST PUBLISHING EXPERIMENT OF ALL TIME!*

Okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased in my assessment of this project’s relative importance in the world. Either that, or I’ve discovered that the more sensational the title, the more clicks my website gets. (Spoiler: it’s the latter.)

Either way, the objective truth is this: with fourteen days left to go, The Kairos Mechanism‘s Kickstarter campaign is sitting pretty at 102%. This is outrageously cool, and I’m hugely indebted to everyone who’s helped out.

In these last two weeks, I have a lot of web appearances set up in the hopes that with the help of the very generous folks who are hosting me, I can really make the most of what time I have left. Because it isn’t over until it’s over, and I still have really high hopes of being able to commit to a second volume in the Arcana series before the campaign ends. And I really, really, really want to start planning for Arcana #2, because (as I may have mentioned last week) my next two books have been scheduled for spring and fall of 2014. That leaves a year between The Broken Lands and the next traditionally-published title, which seems like a perfect excuse for another novella.

To commit to Arcana #2 now, I need to hit $9500, which will cover most of the paperback costs of that next novella. A much more modest stretch goal for these last two weeks is this: at $7500 I can bump up the paychecks of all of the young artists working on The Kairos Mechanism. I’d kinda really like to do that most of all.

So, to sweeten the deal: at $7500, as a thank you, I’ll post the complete text of The Devil and the Scavenger, a crossroads story I wrote for the students of Deer Hill School in Cohasset, where I spent this past Monday and Tuesday. It’s set in the world of The Boneshaker and it includes a character referenced for the first time in The Broken Lands, but who will return to play several very important parts in the books to come. It’s about 13 pages long, and I’ll send it as a PDF to every backer on the books when we hit $7500. Oh, and (Kate says with as much modesty as she can muster) it earned me the honor of being dubbed “the creepiest writer I’ve ever met,” in the words of one of the fifth graders to whom I told the story during my visit. If six classes of fifth graders thought it was awesome, don’t you think you’d better not miss out?

So, although the goal’s been met, I would still love your help. If you’d like to become a backer but haven’t yet, now’s the time! Follow this link to The Kairos Mechanism‘s Kickstarter page. It’s easy, you can pledge any amount you’re comfortable with, and there are all sorts of fun rewards for you, above and beyond the satisfaction of supporting (er…) literature and (very seriously) the young and eager artists who are going to illustrate it. Friends and family, if you feel comfortable forwarding this on to your friends and family, I will be forever grateful if you would pass the word.

One sad announcement: this weekend’s fundraiser at the Three Sisters Sanctuary has been cancelled due to technical difficulties and one sickly author, but I heartily encourage everyone to go and visit if you can. It is truly an amazing place, and if you’re lucky you can chat with Richard Richards and his daughter, Sara the Stove Princess, and have them tell you the story of the garden. You will not be disappointed.

Also, coming this week on the Novellablog, we’ll talk tools; specifically Outbrain, the service I’ve been using during this process to drive traffic to my previously-undervisited website, and McNally Jackson’s Espresso Book Machine self-publishing services. Should be fun!

Hope all is well where you are, and, as always, thank you.

*Another explosive title for Miss Natty Chan.