Monday, June 24, 2013

Junior Library Guild Selection and Kirkus Review

Got some really lovely news today:

Conjured is a Junior Library Guild selection!!!

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service for libraries.  Their mission is to read through the thousands of books published each year and select books that they believe will best enhance library collections.  This service is used by libraries all across the country, which means that Conjured will find its way onto lots of library shelves!  This makes me a very, very happy Sarah.  I feel so honored and so thrilled that Conjured was selected!

And in other really lovely news:

The first trade review of Conjured is out, and it's a great review!!  It appears in the July 1st issue of Kirkus.  The full review is on their site, but here's a snippet:

"Durst excels at describing grotesque violence and gorgeous magical transformations alike, painting a touching portrait of first love against a backdrop of Twilight Zone–type terrors." -- Kirkus

*shoots off confetti fireworks and does Snoopy Dance of Joy*

Thank you so much, JLG and Kirkus!!!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Stuff I've Learned: Just Finish It

Here's the second most important thing I've learned about writing (next to making bite-size goals): finish the story.

I started writing when I was ten years old, and I wrote tons and tons of story beginnings. I'd create lovely folders for each of them, using my beloved Lisa Frank unicorn folders for my favorites. Every year, I'd put "write a novel" on my New Year's Resolution list, and I'd plan out daily, weekly, and monthly goals to meet that resolution... and then ten pages into whatever story, I'd be disillusioned with it and skip off after another shiny idea. This continued pretty much until I graduated from college.

After college, I moved to England with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. I'd planned to stay for a year and work at a bookstore or library or something involving words... but I kind of forgot to check about whether that was legal or not. So when I discovered that my student work permit would expire after six months, I decided that THIS was when I would write my first novel.

I told myself that it didn't matter if it was horrible or not, all I had to do in that year was finish it. And so I dove in and wrote every day, even before my work permit expired. The story was based off one of those abandoned beginnings from one of my Lisa Frank folders, and it had talking wolves and other worlds and girls with swords and everything I ever wanted to throw into a book.

And I did it. Before we left England, I had a full manuscript, complete with a beginning, middle, and end. When I came back to the US, I started submitting it to various publishers and agents. It piled up some lovely rejections, and then it took up residence in my closet. In the meantime, I'd run across a beautiful picture book illustrated by P.J. Lynch called "East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon," and I started work on what would eventually become my third published novel, Ice.

But here's the amazing thing that happened after I finished that first novel that lives in my closet: it got easier.

Finishing that novel taught me that I could do it. And once both my conscious and subconscious mind knew that, everything changed in a profound way that I hadn't anticipated. It removed this massive psychological wall that I hadn't even fully realized was there, and I became a writer.

So that's my hard-won advice for this Stuff I've Learned post: just finish it. Finish the story. Finish the novel. Finish the play. Finish the script. It doesn't matter if it's good or not or if it sits in a closet forever. The key is to finish it... and then you can write the next one and the next one and the one after that.

JUST FINISH IT. After that, anything's possible.

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Sunday, June 09, 2013

Countdown Widgets for CONJURED and THE LOST

The other day, it suddenly dawned on me that...  Whoa!  It's now less than three months until Conjured comes out!  And for that matter, less than five months until The Lost comes out!

Yes, I've known the pub dates forever.  But somehow, the reality of how those dates are actually approaching, and how these novels are going to become real books when those dates arrive, just reached my brain last week.

After a brief flash of terror -- SO MUCH WORK TO DO BEFORE PUB DATE!!!! -- my brain accepted reality and got quite giddy!  And since I know I'll now be counting the days until each of these pub dates, I figured I'd formalize the process and post some countdown widgets here.  So, without further ado, here they are.....

For Conjured, my next YA, which comes out September 3rd:

And for The Lost, my first book for adults, which comes out October 29th:

If you'd like to join in my countdown, please feel free to grab either or both of these for your site/blog/etc by clicking the "Get Widget" buttons.

Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  AAAAAAAH!  SO MUCH WORK TO DO!

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Monday, June 03, 2013

BEA 2013

Just got back from BookExpo America (BEA), an annual publishing industry convention. Five days filled with tons of wonderful people who love books!  It was fantastic!

My BEA started on Tuesday when I arrived at a pre-BEA party at Books of Wonder (one of my favorite bookstores in the world), and it ended on Saturday after I was on a BEA panel about SF/fantasy with Laura Anne Gilman, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Jeri Smith-Ready that was more fun than riding a sparkly unicorn across a meadow of cheering leprechauns.  And you know those leprechauns can cheer.

You can watch the entire panel here.  I start talking at just shy of 4 minutes in.

Other highlights included the Children's Art Auction on Wednesday, my signing on Friday (So much fun! Thank you, everyone!), and the elegant and awesome Harlequin party on a rooftop bar with a gorgeous view of the Chrysler Building.  Wish I'd taken photos.  Just picture Manhattan at its prettiest.

All in all, it was a great week, and I'm already looking forward to next year!

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