Tagdevil and the bluebird

Bits of news

The really big news around here is that both Phoebe nests are occupied! With any luck, we will have a bumper crop of flycatchers this year. I suspect there will also be a bumper crop of Cooper’s hawks, given the close to constant presence of the adult hawks in our yard.

It’s mid May, and the lilacs are just blooming, and the leaves are finally getting bigger, and it has been COLD. So cold we only turned the heat off this week. The ticks have been fierce, which maybe wouldn’t be so bad if I would just stay on the roads, but it’s so much more fun to wander off trail.

When Coco Cat first came to live with us, the vet gave us strict instructions to only feed her wet food. We tried. We tried so very very hard. I’ve spent hours browsing cat foods in the pet food warehouse, trying to find some wet food she would eat. The answer seems to be that she simply won’t. On the bright side, I’m now familiar with a vast number of cat foods, if you’re ever in need of a recommendation. She spends 96% of the time sleeping, and the remaining 4% attacking anything that moves. Feet under a blanket, for example.

Callie Dog, on the other hand, is so old that her motto seems to be screw it. She doesn’t wait to see if we’re looking before getting on the couch, she just crawls on up. Something looks interesting to eat? Why not eat it? That particular track has been tough on her digestive tract, by the way. Last night we hopped in the car to run a short errand. She pushed her way out of the house to come too. Given that she’s roughly 100 in human years, we just go with it all. Except the eating anything part. We try to keep that to a minimum.

One small bit of book news. There was a really lovely review of it at NPR yesterday. As someone who grew up listening to a LOT of NPR, I have to say that seeing my book come up on their site was something of a thrill.

Enjoy the spring, dear ones.

Red Trilliums

May 17, 2016

You know, I started out writing something much longer and more complicated, but the truth is that those of you reading here, by and large, have been here for the long haul. You were around to read about the start of Blue Riley, and about what happened when her story sold. You may very well have been one of folks who responded to my request for help with details around Wyoming in winter or the wonders of I-90. You’re the people who know about Wren, and about how I vanish into my head every spring, and how much I like turtles.

So I don’t need to tell you all those things again. It’s simpler to say this: once upon a time there was a girl who loved words more than anything, and she made a deal with sadness once and gave up all her words to try to stave off change and loss, and then she realized that didn’t work, and she took her words back again. If there is a piece of me in Blue, it is that piece that puzzles over how the words fit together, and what it means to write something, and to say it out loud, in front of people.

But the thing about books is that once they are out in the world, they become about the readers far more than the writers. If the world of a book being read could be seen from afar, I suspect it would look much like a jigsaw puzzle being fit together. Every individual reader a piece; their own lives, their own stories, shaping the part they create. It becomes so much more than a book, so much more than words on a page made by one person alone somewhere. In reading we are alone, but we are also together in a truly incredible way.

All of which is a long way to get to the point: DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD is out in the world today. Thank you for being part of the journey.

Final cover

More housekeeping

Guildtop

Lovely, isn’t she? A 1968 Guild, used to woo me many years ago, and still full of music. She’s the inspiration behind Blue Riley’s guitar companion as Blue travels the country in search of her sister.

It’s been a busy week for Devil And The Bluebird. On Monday, the first trade review came through: a starred review from Publishers Weekly. That was followed by a Kirkus review today, also starred. Rather heady stuff.

My attempt at celebration this weekend involved, as is so often the case, a husband with pneumonia AND a reaction to his antibiotics, an attempt at buying myself a cake (because baking my own cake seemed so everyday) that ended with congratulations written in the brownest of brown frostings, and watching movies with the kids. It is an odd but charmed life, is it not?

ARCs!

Rather than describe them, I’ll just use some pretty pictures.

Outside:
20151030_181313

Inside:
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I don’t want to use this blog as a means to hard sell DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD (more on that to come), but I feel like this space has been such a big part of the journey that I want to show off the results.

A bit of shameless promotion

(Really, that title is a total lie. All promotion feels at least a little shameful to me. I’m too old school Yankee: Take nothing from no one; be beholding to none. Blame my forebearers.)

Anyway, a bit of book news! DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD is now available for pre-order on Amazon. I’ll admit to not being a big Amazon user, and this book doesn’t actually come out for another eight months, but if you like the idea of ordering a book and receiving it months later, after you’ve forgotten about ordering it, when it feels like a surprise gift rather than a planned purchase, then head on over here.

Beyond that, I have little to say today. I’m busy wondering about the 1-2 inches of rain predicted for tomorrow, and the sections of my house wall swaddled in plastic as it waits to be finished, and how those things might interact. We need rain, but after weeks of none, I could have gone just a few more days…

Introducing…

Because it’s now appearing elsewhere, I thought it was time to show off the cover for DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD. Ready? Close your eyes.

Open them.

Final cover

There were a galaxy of things that I thought might end up on on the cover. Blue’s guitar was the one I desperately wanted. It’s a truly weird experience to have someone else translate your book into an image: kind of thrilling, kind of terrifying. In this case, the end result was everything I hoped it would be. Thanks so much to the design team at Abrams (the inside is as beautiful as the outside). Monica Ramos is the the artist. More of her work can be found here.

I don’t have the official copy yet to offer you as a book teaser. My original description grew less accurate as I wrote my way toward the end. Some characters you can’t know fully until you’ve gone the distance with them; some truths are hard to grasp in the bumbling along phase.

So, let’s leave it here for now. If you’d like to read the catalog copy, it’s available on Goodreads. If you’d like to read my original description, it’s here. If you have questions, ask away. I’m happy to answer.

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