Sunday, March 30, 2014

Upcoming Newsletter & Information

On April 1st, the next edition of my monthly newsletter will be out! I just wanted to remind everyone of two important things:

Every month, I'm giving away one signed copy of one of my books to a random subscriber to my newsletter! All you have to do is sign up for the newsletter--nothing else is required. You're automatically entered, and I'll be drawing one name every month for a winner.

The other thing I want everyone to know is that this is not just a newsletter about me. Every month, I collect the best and coolest links dealing with the sci fi nerdy stuff I love, and compile it into the newsletter. I do have book information, but most of the newsletter is cool links and info that I think people would want to read whether or not they're interested in my books. This month's newsletter has information about NASA, a satire film on the Cosmos, info on an exciting new sci fi documentary, Sailor Moon details, a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, and more! So please don't think that I'm going to be spamming you every month with info on me and my books--I'm so not that interesting. :)

If you'd like to sign up, here's an easy form. And I promise: I don't send out emails more than monthly, and I never use your email for anything other than the newsletters or to alert winners of the prizes they've won. The next newsletter goes out on April 1.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Skip a Starbucks Day!

Note: let's blame Blogger for the fact that this post didn't go up when I thought I'd scheduled it for... 

CJ Redwine is an amazing person--not only is she the author of the Defiance trilogy, but she's one of the most kind and giving people I know.

So kind, in fact, that she's opened her heart and her home up to adoption. A few years ago, she adopted a little girl from China. And now she's trying to do it again.

CJ and her family has been paired with Isabella, a precious little girl who was born with a few birth defects. Because of her special needs and the timing, CJ and her family need to come up with $15k--fast. And they're asking for help. When good people ask for help for a good cause, the world rises up to meet them.

But CJ and her family aren't asking for the world--they're just asking for a coffee.

Your average coffee at Starbucks costs about $5--and a $5 donation is a simple, easy thing to give. It adds up fast, and it can change the life of this family. Also? A simple, $5 donation will enter you in a prize pack of awesome proportions. There are TONS of prizes available, including an entire set of signed books from me!

Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

For more information, including details of all the prizes, just click here!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Girls Gone Sci Fi Tour Event!

Announcing the Girls Gone Sci Fi Tour!

Throughout this week, the ladies above are going to be touring around the south. You can find the full schedule of events here--definitely check it out if you're in the area! And if you happen to be around Asheville, I'll be a guest author at their last stop at Malaprop's Bookstore, 7pm, THIS SATURDAY!

I really hope to see you there! It should be a lot of fun, and I'm honored to be with such amazing ladies!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Genre Elitists

Today at the League, I write about the YA SF community, and a few members who think there's no real point in writing anything after Heinlein juveniles. Definitely check it out if you're so inclined!

In writing that post, I was reminded of one of my least favorite authors--Faulkner. Which is a shocking thing for me to say, considering I'm Southern and all, but Faulkner is just...well... definitely not my cup of tea.

Part of it comes from me being contrary. In my very Southern university, I was among the most Southern of Southern students, and my profs tended to insist that "of course YOU will LOVE Faulkner!" despite the fact that, yeah, no, I never have. Don't get me started on Gone With the Wind. If you tell me I have to love something, I will probably hate it.

But beyond that, I also tend to fall into the Hemingway camp on Faulkner's literary style.

Source: Rachel Draws

In case you can't read the lovely graphic:

Faulkner: He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.

Hemingway: Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?

While my article at the League references YA Science Fiction specifically, I think a similar attitude has befallen YA in general. There's a prevailing idea that because a book is YA, it is lesser. 

But do these people really think that adult emotions only come from adult books? 

YA genre isn't about anything lesser. There are, if anything more emotions--emotional characters are a part of the trope!

These so-called "genre-elitists" are the worst kind of readers, in my opinion. When someone ascribes the idea that something is better or has more merit or prestige, when someone assigns class levels to art, then that person is diminishing not the art itself, but the people who enjoy that art.   

Art is an object. It has no feeling. It simply is. 

But the people who like the art do have emotions and feelings. When you insult an art, when you say it is lesser, or not important, or not as worthwhile, you are insulting the people who like the art. It's as simple as that. 

I could go on and on about this, but let me take a leaf out of Hemingway's book (rather than Faulkner's). I don't need fancy words for this anyway. 

People who insult other people for liking the things they like are assholes. 

Source: Tom Gauld, via Kelly Said

Monday, March 10, 2014

A History of Science Fiction, Tied With Our Societal Fears

Today on the League blog, I write about the history of science fiction, and the way it's tied to xenophobia. I don't always link back between blogs, but I particularly like this post, and wanted to point my readers there today as well.

In it, I compare two charts. The first is a chart made by Google which shows the use of the word "xenophobia."

And then I compared it to a chart that shows the number of science fiction novels published in the past century.

To read the entire article and see how I compare a word to a genre, please click here.

I noted in my original article that I had to make the second chart myself, and I wanted to take the time to explain how I made it. There wasn't really room in the original article to discuss it, so here's my methodology.

First, I went to Wikipedia, looking up the number of science fiction novels published in each decade, tracking that in the chart. It was a bit difficult to find reliable data, and I fully admit that the data I ultimately used was not conclusive. As I was trying to show simply a general trend in numbers, I felt that using one source of data was acceptable.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Conversation with MG Buehrlen on Embracing Your Inner Nerd

Today it is my pleasure to welcome debut author MG Buehrlen to my blog! Her new book, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare hit shelves this Tuesday. It's a story of past lives and time travel, fitting in and accepting yourself. You can read all about here or on MG's site here--you should totally check it out!

To celebrate the book, MG and I did a very special interview. Rather than just make up questions for her to answer, MG and I wrote back and forth, talking about various different topics that span the YA world and The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare. Read on for our talk, as well as more info on the book!

MG: So, let's talk about EMBRACING YOUR INNER WEIRD. This is something I struggled with so much as a teen — that fear of being ridiculed over something I was deeply passionate about. My passion has always been writing epic adventures and twisty mysteries, but I didn't share that passion with the world until I was much older and much more confident. I was terrified of being teased, so I swept my dream of being an author under the rug. Why is it that girls seem to be criticized more than guys when it comes to expressing their dreams and passions?

BR: Maybe it has something to do more with the nature of the dream than with the dreamer. Because the arts--any arts--are so subjective, there's always the chance that someone won't like the work. If you want to paint a house, there's a clear end-goal in sight, and everyone knows when a house is painted well or not. But if you want to paint someone's portrait, it become a little trickier. Is a photo-realistic portrait of a person "better" than a cubist one? Is something very classical, like the Pre-Raphaelite art, a successful portrait, or is Impressionism? And don't even get me started on Jackson Pollack.
Jackson Pollack art

So, I think it may have less to do with gender lines than it does with the artistic pursuits--perhaps it's just that more women tend to go into the liberal arts than men.

Writing is, in some ways, one of the most soul-crushing dreams to have in the modern world. Successful traditional writing requires many people--an agent, an editor, a publisher, marketing, etc.--to all agree with you that your dream is worthy of success. There are a lot of chances to fail. Add to that the fact that writing requires solitary time--for most people, at least a year to produce a finished work, and nothing to show for it but words. No one expects a painter to sell his first painting in a major gallery, but the first question anyone gets when she's finished a book is, "When will it be published?"

But of course, the thing the writer must do at the end of the day is to stand up, present the work, and hope for the best. When were you able to seize that part of the dream, and how did you find the courage to push past your fears?

MG: That’s a good point. I wasn’t teased when I said I wanted to be a teacher or work with computers. Maybe it wasn’t the profession choice that brought on the fear of being teased, but rather the fear that I wouldn’t be any good. The fear of folks pointing at my painting and saying it was no good.

Honestly, my courage came when I was out on my own in the world, when I was no longer being graded on everything I did (like in school). I pulled back and created in private. I didn’t let anyone critique me for years. It was bliss. It was freedom. No one had a say in my writing except me. Thankfully, I was tough on myself, and I pushed and pushed until I knew I had something worth publishing. That’s when I put my work out there again. I think the difference was that I wanted to be graded on my work instead of being forced to be graded, whether I wanted it or not. The love of the craft had outweighed my fear.

Maybe that’s the heart of the matter. When you’re being bullied and teased, you’re not being allowed to LOVE something with all that’s in you. I think that’s why being a part of a fandom is so important. Within those community walls, you’re allowed to adore something so much that you totally spaz out with ALL THE FEELS. I think we all need that kind of freedom in some area of our lives.

It kind of reminds me of Amy in Across the Universe -- how she never thought she’d miss the sky until she didn’t have one. She was cooped up in that box of a spaceship, with hard and fast rules and walls and boundaries. She didn’t have the freedom she needed to fully live and breathe. I think I felt trapped like that too much as a kid, especially in the public school system. Did you?

BR: YES! I think you've hit the nail on the head entirely. One of the worst things about being bullied and teased is that often, the bullies will tease you for two key things: What you are and cannot help being, and what you want to be. What we are and what we desire are two fundamental parts of our psyche. That's why bullies are so cruel--they're picking on you for things you can't change even if you wanted to. They are the antithesis of acceptance, lovers of conformity, and crushers of our true selves. It's hard enough for someone to be who they want to be on an everyday basis--add to that someone who's constantly telling them that what they want to be is WRONG, and it's little wonder why people get pushed to the edge.

Embracing who you are and what you want out of life so hard that the haters can't make you question yourself is the surest way to escape the vicious cycle of bullying. That or a punch in the face. But I probably shouldn't recommend violence.
Jamestown, site of the "Starving Time"

I loved how you connected this to Amy--so true! The claustrophobia she experiences is so much more than the steel walls around her. Ironically, growing up, I think I put myself in the box, though. I was lucky to not really have many experiences with bullying--but I wanted to belong so much, I willingly tucked myself into a corner of conformity. It wasn't until college--when I moved away from home and started seeing others embrace individuality--that I started to change and become the person I am today. College was a huge transformation for me--and, it should be noted, the first time I started embracing the idea of becoming a writer.

To turn the question back around to you, in your debut, The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare, Alex is teased for something she can't help--slipping back in time to other lives. Even her teachers turn on her--when she argues about a history lesson (because she was there! and knows the teacher is wrong!), I found the teacher's reaction to be even sadder than the kids who tease Alex. Fortunately, though, Alex soon learns what she really is, and comes into her own...

MG: Ha! It's funny you mention Alex's jerky teacher. I modeled that teacher directly after a teacher of mine who seemed to enjoy sucking the life out of me and my passions. I don't think this particular teacher knew they were doing that to me at the time, but I certainly had my share of adult bullies as well as peer bullies. I wrote that scene in 57 Lives partly because it was cathartic, but also because I know there are kids out there who are butting heads with jerky teachers of their own. I wanted to show them that it happens to the best of us, and we do get over it/get past it eventually. I also wanted to show that Alex's world is so much bigger and more important than this one little class with this one little teacher. She has to learn that what that teacher thinks of her doesn't define her.

This version of the print is available here.
That's another thing I struggled with as a teen. Letting others define me. Label me. Get mad at me when I didn't fit into the box they'd created for me.

I think most people have a good college experience like you did, one that opens their minds to individuality. Sadly, I didn't. The more I tried to express myself, the more I was judged. The more I reached for my goals, the more I was told I would never meet them, so I should change my focus. I think I just chose the wrong school, honestly. If I had chosen a more artistic-minded college, my experience might have been better. It wasn't until I took control of my path, and stopped letting others map it for me, that I found my feet.

My mom gave me the best gift ever recently -- a framed print of this quote, "She believed she could, so she did." How true for me, personally. No matter how many times people tried to redirect my dreams, I kept the course I believed in. And I came through the other side. I'm pretty proud of that. :)

BR: As a former educator, hearing that teacher was based on real life makes me want to punch things. How horrid! Not that I'm surprised--I definitely witnessed that with others, both as a student and a teacher. But still: horribly bad.

I think it's true of the world that people want others to fit into a box. Part of it is human nature: we want to understand, but understanding requires a definition of what a thing is. Obviously in some ways this is needed--if you have a medical complaint, it's important, for example, for the doctor to know if you're a boy or a girl, or certain ethnicity, or have a certain background. But on a societal level, a human being is hard to define, and when people buck the definitions expected of them, people panic--they try to force you back into the box, or try to relabel you as something else, something other, something dangerous.

What people often forget, though, is that each and everyone one of us is in a constant state of defining and redefining who and what we are.

That's another thing I really liked about Alex--and it reminds me of the quote your mom gave you, too--that she really came into her own when she decided who and what she wanted to be. She dabbles with trying to cram herself into the box, but rejects others expectations in order to be herself--and once she decides to do that, there's no stopping her.

MG: So true. I guess that's a part of myself that I wrote into Alex. I'm just glad she learns that lesson while still in her teen years (unlike me). And I'll definitely let you do some punching on my behalf. ;-)

Thanks for having me on the blog today, Beth. I certainly wouldn't be here if I hadn't embraced my weird!

Thank you so much for being here! Readers, you can find MG's book, The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare wherever books are sold. Here's a little more about it:

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

Order links:

About MG Buehrlen:

When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel. M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Diverse Worlds + Winner

I want to thank everyone for participating in my series on diverse worlds and settings. Authors, thank you for sharing your stories! Readers, thank you for sharing the love of stories!

I hope you liked this series--if so, please let me know on Twitter or Facebook so I can plan more features in the future.

And now for the moment you were all waiting for--the winner of the prize pack!

We had nearly 900 entries total, and I used Rafflecopter to randomly select one winner. And that winner is...


Congrats, Amanda! I've emailed the winner already--thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Where in the World are Christina Garner, Myra McEntire, & Jessica Spotswood?

Due to popular demand, this feature is extending by one more week! You still have one week to enter the contest, too! 

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).


Gateway by Christina Garner

Set in: Los Angeles

Why did you pick this setting?
I chose to set Gateway in Los Angeles because I've lived here for many years and know it better than any other city. I wanted L.A. to be more than a setting; I wanted it to add to the mood of the book. Growing up in Los Angeles has definitely shaped the personality of Ember, the main character in the novel.

Also, if you've lived in Los Angeles--especially if you've attended a few Hollywood parties--it's pretty easy to believe that a mansion in the hills could house a gateway to a demon world...

What makes your book's setting unique?
It is illegal within the city limits of Los Angeles to place two children under the age of two in a bathtub at the same time.


Hourglass Series by Myra McEntire

Set in: Franklin, Memphis, New Orleans

Why did you pick this setting?
Because I was born and raised in the South, and I think we get a bad rap. It seems like Southerners are the only people group who are still free game for reality television and media. I chose the fictional town of Ivy Springs (which is actually Franklin, Tennessee) because it's historical and hip at the same time. Is hip the right word? Do the kids still say hip? Memphis = barbecue so that's a win all around. And New Orleans? You can fill in the blank. It has BOURBON STREET and The Originals takes place there!

What makes your book's setting unique?
Carnton Plantation is located in Franklin.

"Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. Everything the McGavock family ever knew was forever changed. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted the Federal army entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The resulting battle, believed to be the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War, involved a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and at close quarters. The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers

A staff officer later wrote that "the wounded, in hundreds, were brought to [the house] during the battle, and all the night after. And when the noble old house could hold no more, the yard was appropriated until the wounded and dead filled that....""


Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Set in: alternate New England in the 1890s

Why did you pick this setting?
In the Cahill Witch Chronicles, I wanted to play around with the notion of witches as women outside the Victorian norm in some way -- too educated, unmarried, poor, not straight, not Caucasian. In my books, New England is its own country bound by the Spanish territories to the south and Indo-China to the west and ruled by the patriarchal priests of the Brotherhood. Magic has been outlawed. If a woman is suspected of being a witch (or caught with banned books, or caught kissing another woman) she'll be thrown into an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave. Women have to announce an intention to marry before they turn 17 or the Brothers will choose a husband for them. Dancing and music have also been outlawed. This creates an environment where powerful, frustrated witches might be secretly seeding rebellion...which is brewing in STAR CURSED and comes to a boil in SISTERS' FATE.

What makes your book's setting unique?
In STAR CURSED, the Brotherhood rules that women should no longer be allowed to work outside the home - or learn to read. They call on the faithful to bring books to burn in town squares across New England. One of my favorite scenes takes place during a book-burning in Richmond Square in the capital city of New London. The notion of tossing books in a bonfire horrifies me, so it was easy to make it terrifying for Cate!


Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Where in the World are...Leah Cypess, Gwenda Bond, & Kami Garcia?

Due to popular demand, this feature is extending by one more week! You still have one week to enter the contest, too! 

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).


Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Set in: In a maze of underground caverns

Why did you pick this setting?
I wanted Death Sworn to be a self-contained, claustrophobic murder mystery, and what better place to create that atmosphere than in a series of dark, underground caverns? I'm also generally fascinated by caves, and have written descriptions of every cave I've been in since I was a teenager - this seemed like a fabulous excuse to use them.

What makes your book's setting unique?
In the original version of the book, the caves had bats, mostly because I once walked into a cave full of bats and wanted to use that description too. However, my awesome caving expert friend Leah Clifford was kind enough to read the book and point out some minor inconsistencies, like the fact that the cave system I had set up wasn't really equipped to keep bats alive. So they had to go.


Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
Coming October 2014

Set in: A glamorous modern circus.

Why did you pick this setting?
I've always been obsessed with circuses and books set against that backdrop, but never thought I'd write one of my own. Then, of course, I had an idea I could not resist. GIRL ON A WIRE is an epic family drama in which a daredevil high-wire walking heroine and a gifted male trapeze flyer, the latest generation of two rival families, are forced to work together to solve a dangerous and possibly magical mystery. And thus my own personal modern day dream circus, the Cirque American, was born.

What makes your book's setting unique?
There may not be big cats or elephants at the Cirque American, but secrets, danger, and buried history are in plentiful supply.


Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Set in: Washington, DC

Why did you pick this setting?
UNBREAKABLE begins on the Georgetown University campus, a few blocks away from my 17 year-old heroine's row house. Kennedy is a regular girl. But when her mother dies, she discovers that her mom was a member of a secret society of ghost hunters, who protect the word from a vengeful demon. Kennedy has to join four teens and take her mother's if she wants to learn the truth and stay alive. I chose Washington Dc -- and Georgetown -- because I know the area well. I grew up in Maryland and attended school in DC. Georgetown University is steeped with folklore related to the supernatural, and Dc is a historic and romantic city. With Lukas and Jared, two hot twin boys in the novel, a romantic setting is a must.

What makes your book's setting unique?
Georgetown University was built around a tiny Jesuit cemetery that is still in the center of the campus. But Healey Hall is the building with the most haunted history. There's a video on my YouTube Channel where I'm on the campus talking about it.


Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Where in the World are...Sonia Gensler, Alexandra Duncan, & Marissa Meyer

Due to popular demand, this feature is extending by one more week! You still have one week to enter the contest, too! 

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).


The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler

Set in: Cambridge, England, 1901

Why did you pick this setting?
The story centers on three teens whose parents are paranormal investigators. These investigators are loosely based on actual founding members of the Society for Psychical Research, most of whom had a Cambridge connection. One of the founders went on to set up a women's college called Newnham, which inspired the main setting of The Dark Between--Summerfield College. Cambridge dazzles with its grand architecture and storied past, but it also soothes the soul with meadows and pastures and quiet wooded walks. I wish I could set all my novels there!

What makes your book's setting unique?
Cambridge is always teeming with people--students, locals, tourists--and probably has for centuries. But Newnham College, the inspiration for Summerfield, is set a little distance from the city center in a quiet neighborhood. When you walk inside, you feel as though you've entered another world--a safe, calm refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. It seemed the perfect place for three characters to hide from their problems . . . but also the perfect place for a murderer to hide illicit activities.


Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Set in: The Gyre - aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Why did you pick this setting?
Truth is definitely stranger than fiction, and sometimes you hear about something that's too good not to include in a story. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean where currents converge in such a way that all kinds of garbage and debris collect on the ocean surface. In SALVAGE, people in the future have constructed a floating patchwork city that allows them to collect, clean, and resell this refuse. This isn't such a stretch as you might think. People in all corners of the world actually live in garbage dumps and make their living picking through the trash. It isn't impossible to think people in the future might do the same in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

What makes your book's setting unique?
True, real life fact - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is what scientists call an "ocean desert," which means that it is basically a dead zone in the middle of the ocean with very little marine life.

Made up fact from my book - It never storms in the Gyre. Or does it?


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Set in: New Beijing (futuristic China)

Why did you pick this setting?
Cinder is a futuristic retelling of the fairy tale "Cinderella." For the setting I was largely inspired by what some scholars believe is the earliest Cinderella tale, “Ye Xian,” which was written in 9th-century China. Additionally, some believe that the iconic glass slipper (which was gold in the Grimm version) came to us from China’s tradition of foot-binding and a culture in which women were praised for tiny feet. So setting Cinder in China seemed to have a great cyclical quality to it, and paid homage to some of the tale's roots.

What makes your book's setting unique?
One of my favorite parts of writing in this setting was researching traditional symbolism I could include in the books, particularly when it came to festivities and celebrations. For example, in the Chinese culture, bats symbolize good luck - so I decided to give my own twist to that and have all Eastern Commonwealth spaceships have bats in them somewhere/somehow, so that they no longer just symbolize good luck, but good sight in the darkness of space. (Come to think of it, this may not get mentioned until the fourth book of the series...) But a lot of the elements mentioned for the coronation and peace festival and the ball in "Cinder" were also taken directly from Chinese culture. For example, the ball is decorated with a theme of longevity (cranes, tortoises, bamboo, etc.) to encourage long life for their emperor.


Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway