Category Archives: Life

Seven countries. Nine cities. One month.

A month abroad goes something like this:

Home → Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland → Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway → Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland → London, England
London, England → Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic → Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria → Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany → Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, France → Dover, England
Dover, England → York, England
York, England → Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland → Home

In photos, it looks something like this:

LochLomond

ArthurSeat

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Munchgrave

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Oslo sculpture garden

LondonStJamesPark

Praguemarket

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Mozartgarden

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Strasbourg

 

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In words…well, I don’t have any.

There are no words for how I felt standing by the bonfire on Calton Hill during the Beltane Festival in Edinburgh.

No words for walking a character’s steps in London.

No words for the view of Prague from the top of the palace steps, or Vienna’s museum quarter with its majestic architecture.

No words for the cozy streets of Heidelberg, tucked into the hills, or the trains gliding through familiar France, or the strange stillness of the grey English channel.

There are no words for those things. Or if there are, I haven’t found them. I haven’t wanted to, just yet.

But in the months leading up to the trip, and during the month abroad, I’ve been asked one question more than any other: WHY. Why did I do this? Surely there’s a reason. In truth, there are three.

And since I’ve only given little snippets of an answer, I thought I would take the time to try and explain.

1. Wander.

If you’ve followed the blog for more than a month or two, you know I have wings tattooed behind my anklebones, both as a nod to Hermes and a reference to my persistent wanderlust. I have a very, very hard time sitting still. It makes me feel static and small in the worst way. Moving, experiencing, making wrong turns and right turns and seeing the world, it makes me happy. Much happier than buying clothes or shoes or a house or whatever else people use money for. I’m lucky in that right now I only have to worry about supporting myself, so I have the freedom to (scrimp and save and budget and plan to use) my resources for travel. Besides, I subscribe to the adage that you can’t write about life if you spend life writing. Yes, I spend a vast, vast amount of time writing, but I would rather do it on a boat or a train or tucked in the corner of a foreign cafe than sitting at my kitchen counter (though incidentally, after a month abroad, I am sooooo looking forward to my counter).

2. Wonder.

I’ve been thinking about moving to Scotland. Yes, really. One of the best things about my job—one day I will do an honest post about the pros and cons because both are manifold but today is not that day—is the geographic freedom it affords. I don’t have to live in a specific place in order to write books. Two years ago I moved to England for three months and lived in a shed in someone’s back yard (it was all I could afford) while writing THE ARCHIVED simply because I wanted a change of scenery. As a full-time author (a title I hold onto by writing multiple books a year, and one I don’t anticipate to last forever), and one without a husband/S.O/children, I can truly take advantage of the lack of locational confines. So I do. I first visited Scotland a couple years ago, and fell instantly in love. I wanted to confirm that I still felt that love, and I do.

3. Words.

The first two weeks of the trip, which were spent in Scotland with an author friend, were purely for fun (though I wrote a short story, a proposal, and more than 10k of a book, so, I mean, productive fun), the entire second half of the month abroad was actually a research trip for a new book. It took a great deal of careful planning and budgeting, and I’ll likely be spending the rest of the summer eating ramen, but it’s been totally worth it. As for the project itself, the only thing I’ve said about it, and the only thing I will say until it’s written, is that it’s about a twisted love affair between a French girl and the devil. It’s set largely in present-day Brooklyn, but the story is spread over three centuries in Europe, so…yeah.

That’s why I went to Europe.

I wanted to see things.

I wanted to try things.

I wanted to breathe and eat and drink and feel inspired.

I wanted to live in the future and look at the past and I wanted to jot notes on every scrap of paper I could find and feel breathless and remember that I love what I do.

And in two days, this weary little traveler will return home to her kitchen counter feeling all of those things and more.

And ready to write.

Scotland trips and VICIOUS things.

I’m writing this on my last full day in Scotland, trying not to feel heartsick and bonesad. Truthfully, lovelies, I meant to update along the way but I got drawn into the city, the adventure. The thing about living in the future (six hours ahead of my old time zone) is that the world begins to feel kind of far away. Which is wonderful, when you’re trying to write a book.

But I thought I’d give you a glimpse at the mischief we–myself + Rachel Hawkins, author extraordinaire/traveling companion–managed while here:

+ We took a metric ton of photos from our apartment because um look at the view:

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+ We were thoroughly traumatized by the National Museum of Scotland, because it’s like walking into the internet. It is a natural history museum, a history museum, a cultural history museum, an art museum, and approx five other kinds of random ass museums PILED ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER. And there was a clock with tortured people and it was scary. As Rachel and I now say, that museum happened TO us.

+ We had cocktails at the Balmoral (which is pretty much what you can afford if you decide to go to the Balmoral.

+ We attended Beltane, a pagan solstice ritual on Calton Hill, overlooking all of Edinburgh. We came to refer to Beltane as the Tits and Fire Festival, because, well…

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+ We climbed Arthur’s Seat, a very, very high point looking out over the city. And then we took tea.

+ We went on a day-tour into the countryside and learned about William Wallace and bloody battles and lochs and such while listening to Scottish pop music.

+ We ate A LOT of food (seriously, we’ve been here for 14 days, and have not had a single. bad. meal. Good job, Edinburgh).

+ We bought wee heilan coos, AKA our new spirit animals:

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+ We discovered a corner of the city that is dead quiet, and also probably costs more to live in than the combined sum of our lives.

+ We walked down to Leith, by the water, discovered we couldn’t actually get to the ocean, and went to the pub instead.

+ We discovered millionaire shortbread and these little caramel candies with chocolate centers that we CAN’T. STOP. EATING.

+ We went to Greyfriars–TWICE–and discovered first through experience and then through research that it’s one of the most haunted places in the world. This is the tomb of George Mackenzie, a recognized poltergeist:

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You guys, you could FEEL THE CREEPY SH*T the moment you walked into the massive graveyard. We went in the first time knowing NOTHING about Greyfriar’s history, and had chills the whole time. Then we got home and looked it up, learned about its reputation, and promptly went back for more.

+ We hung out with the lovely Cat Clarke at a divine little bookstore near the university.

+ We discovered not one but two splendid little farmer’s markets and ate sausage rolls and crepes and can you see a pattern in this trip? FOOD.

+ We wrote at both Spoon and Elephant House, the two places where J.K. Rowling is said to have worked on Harry Potter.

+ We had an absolutely unforgettable time.

I have to be very honest, lovelies, and say I’m having a hard time letting go of this city. My bones are so very happy here. I’ve written a synopsis, 10k on my current project, designed cards, and finished a short story, all in two weeks. But there’s much more adventure to be had–I’m off to see a friend in Oslo, then set out on the research portion of this trip, to London, Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Calais and York–and I know I’ll be back.

I’ll definitely be back.

But before I can come back, I have to come home for VICIOUS things! <–segue master right here.

Things are beginning to stir up in the VICIOUS world, lovelies!! We’re 4.5 months away from my twisted little comic book without pictures hitting shelves, and I’m getting bouncy.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m going to be at BEA later this month, signing galleys! I’ll be wandering the expo Thurs, Fri, Sat, but will be signing on Friday, May 31st, at Table 17, from 2-3pm. And you guys, these galleys, they are GORGEOUS, remember?

Photo on 2013-03-29 at 13.11

But not only can you get your hands on one of them! If you come to the signing, or find me during BEA, I will give you one of THESE:

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THAT’S RIGHT. VICIOUS TRADING CARDS.

A lot of you have wondered/mused/speculated how VICIOUS, my first adult novel, will differ from my YA. I’ve said that I think it’s as different as a book can be, while still being ME. But at last, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can take my words.

Tor.com has uploaded the first two chapters RIGHT HERE, and it would really mean the world to me if you’d click over and give it a look.

Here’s a little snippet for you:

Sydney eyed the grave, tightening her fingers on the wooden grip. Victor had already begun to dig.

“What if . . . ,” she said, swallowing, “. . . what if the other people accidentally wake up?”

“They won’t,” cooed Victor. “Just focus on this grave. Besides . . .” He looked up from his work. “Since when are you afraid of bodies?”

“I’m not,” she snapped back, too fast and with all the force of someone used to being the younger sibling. Which she was. Just not Victor’s.

“Look at it this way,” he teased, dumping a pile of dirt onto the grass. “If you do wake them up, they can’t go anywhere. Now dig.”

Onward and upward, lovelies.

Onward and upward.

LATFOB, The Unbound, Scotland, and the COOLEST PRESENT EVER.

Hi lovelies!

Things are so very busy here in Victorialand. I just got back from an amazing weekend at LA Times Festival of Books, and now I’m about to do that thing where you unpack and re-pack in the same breath because OMG I LEAVE FOR SCOTLAND ON TUESDAY. But we’ll get there.

First up, LATFOB!

When I first got invited to the festival, I squeeeeeeeeeeed. And then, when I got my panel assignment, I started laughing nervously. Because, I mean, look at my list of panel-mates:

Lauren Oliver

Veronica Roth

Lissa Price

I mean. (O_O). But once I got over my (O_O) phase, it was an absolute ball! I got to hang out with two awesome members of the Disney publicity squad all afternoon, and the panel and signing went really well!

Here’s a shot of our venue, courtesy of Awesome Publicist Jamie:

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And here are a couple close-ups, photo credits to Awesome Publicity Queen Heather, and YAardvarks, respectively:

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After the panel, we went over to the signing area, and I got to sit with Veronica, which was at once awesome and humbling because IT’S VERONICA.

Here’s a shot from Ishita Singh that makes me smile:

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Thank you so, so much to everyone who came out to support and get books signed! It was such a blast!!! It’s no secret events are my favorite thing in the world, but these kinds of events are by far the coolest/most surreal/most humbling/most happy-making.

After I finished marring people’s books with signatures and sharpie narwhals, Publicist Jamie rounded me up and whisked me off to a Disney Publishing cocktail party that was incredibly fun (and surreal, do we sense a pattern) and came complete with important people and tasty drinks.

And then! I was totally going to go back to my hotel room and edit (I was on deadline) but I got invited to dinner by Elizabeth Wein (as in the author of Code Name Verity aka ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS) and her wonderful editor Cat Onder. And, I mean, dinner with shiny people whose books I adore > edits (but they totally got done I’m getting to that part).

All in all an AMAZING (most over-used word in my vocabulary, I know, I’m working on it) day.

So I flew back today, ate some food, and dove straight back into edits for…

THE UNBOUND.

Ah, The Unbound.

I have never been so happy to hit “THE END” on a book. Again. You guys, I hope this book is almost done. Drafting it gave me hives, revising it gave me an ulcer, and line editing it had me rocking in a corner. I’m still swaying gently. My friends worry. I tell them it will stop eventually.

BUT IT’S GETTING THERE. I HOPE. Let’s move on before I start laughing nervously again.

Another thing that has me fidgeting/rocking/squeeing is…

SCOTLAND!!!

Or as Rachel Hawkins and I refer to it, SKERTLAND!!!!

It’s so hard to believe it’s finally here, but Rachel and I abandon the US for our sexily-accented overseas neighbors TUESDAY. As in, TOMORROW.

As in, the next time I blog, it will be from our apartment in Edinburgh. I’m just going to let that sentence sink in because (O_o).

I am waiting to see if an accent happens. If an accent happens (I usually only get an accent back if I’m in Southern England, but the cadence sneaks in in Scotland) I am sure Rachel will stealth vlog it and then plaster it on the internet. I’m also sure that there will be a variety of SHENANIGANS, because any time Rachel and beer tea and I get together there are shenanigans.

Stay tuned for more on the European adventure front. I’m actually going to be abroad for an entire MONTH. Two weeks in Edinburgh, then a whirlwind of Oslo, Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Calais, London, York. Some of it for play, some of it because I’m doing research for a book about a French girl who falls in love with the devil.

So.

I don’t have a great segue from that to this so I will just say…

OMG HOLY ART

One of my FAVORITE ARTISTS EVER is an extraordinarily talented painter named Duy Huynh.

Lovelies, Duy’s art is…I can’t even put into words how amazing. I mentioned in a blog post a year or two back how inspiring I found his work is. Here’s a snapshot from Google image search.

DuyHuynh1

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My parents own an original piece of Duy’s work–a stunning painting of a train, the smoke of which is billowing into a sleeping body–and I have three small prints that I adore.

I ADORE this artist. So you can imagine my shock and glee when I came home from LATFOB to discover a present from my parents.

They had commissioned Duy to do a piece based on THE ARCHIVED.

I’m sorry, let me repeat because OMG. DUY HUYNH PAINTED THE ARCHIVED.

Specifically, he painted Mackenzie Bishop in the Narrows (After he read the book and I just can’t even) and OMG.

LIKE.

LOOK.

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It’s about 2 and a half feet tall, 2 feet wide, and I am OBSESSED with it.

I just…*goes back to petting*

*falls over from long blog*

Writing retreats, NASA tours, and a publishing moment that took my breath away.

My suitcase is sitting at my feet, still packed. Or rather, unpacked and then repacked so fast it feels like it simply stayed packed.

I just got back from a week in Texas, and I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow for several days in NYC (Teen Author Festival, details on the Appearances page), and for once in my life I wish I could sit still. A large part of that is because I’m working on a new book-shaped plaything, but I’ll get to that in my next post.

Today, a recap of Texas.

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Texas was a trip broken into three chapters, every one of them wonderful.

It started out with a writers retreat. 21 authors, myself included, gathered in a house overlooking a river. For four and a half days we ate and drank and worked and chatted and had an all-around wonderful time. I find nothing more inspiring than being around other writers, especially those at various stages in the publication journey. This was my third year being part of this retreat, and it was incredibly surreal to go from being a publishing newbie to one of the “veterans” (I certainly don’t feel like a vet).

Even though I never got over the strangeness of that ever-changing dynamic, the trip was both grounding and uplifting and I only wish I’d taken more photos.

The next chapter was beyond cool.

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As the retreat closed up shop, Carrie Ryan, Beth Revis and I drove to Houston. We’d been given an incredible opportunity, thanks to the amazing Kate (Ex Libris): to take a VIP tour of NASA. We were allowed to not only observe mission control in action (they were communicating directly with an astronaut on the ISS at the time!!) but also walk the floor of Apollo 13’s mission control, tour the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, and even go inside the full-scale replica of the ISS used in training.

I’ll be doing a full NASA post as soon as I get the CD of photos (we not only had our own guide, but our own photographer!) but suffice it to say, one of the coolest author perks EVER.

The final chapter of the Texas trip proved to be an amazing conclusion.

Carrie and Beth and I had a signing at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. It was my first Texas event ever, and I was over the moon.

But it wasn’t just the fabulous crowd, or even signing with my friends (which is always a blast), that made the experience. Sitting there, signing after the panel, I had a Moment. Moments (instants where you realize something is on the cusp of changing, or is changing, or has changed) are rare enough that I really stop and savor them.

What was my Moment?

It wasn’t that almost everyone in the front row had a copy of THE ARCHIVED in their lap. It wasn’t that the store sold out of my books (though that ties in). It was this: as a newer author, I’m quite accustomed to having a shorter signing line than my friends, most of whom are at least a generation ahead of me. Signing with the likes of Carrie and Beth, I was TOTALLY prepared to wait while they signed. God knows I’ve done that. Often. In the beginning it can make you feel silly or self-conscious, but you get used to it. I had.

But at the event, I wasn’t sitting there, waiting for Carrie and Beth (both of whom have full trilogies out) to finish. I kept signing. In fact, I only finished signing books a person or two before they did. And that may sound like a small thing, but in that moment it felt like such a big thing. It kind of took my breath away.

So often I’ve been the baby author tacked on to established authors’ events, and I’ve been so thankful, because that’s what a baby author needs, but it’s trained me to assume that people coming to those events weren’t coming to see ME. They were coming for the other authors, and if I was lucky, or a good enough speaker, I could woo them into trying out my books, too.

But at the event, some of the people in that audience came to see ME.

And there aren’t words, though I’ve used a good deal of them here, to describe that feeling.

 

On Wandering and Wondering and Wings (the story of my new tattoos)

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It’s no secret that I have trouble staying still.

In the last two years I’ve moved to Liverpool, then back to Nashville, then to NYC, then back to Nashville, and I’m now getting ready to spend a full month abroad again, first in Edinburgh (to see if I’d like to live there) and then on a whirlwind trip through Austria, Prague, Germany and France for research purposes.

I have a case of wanderlust. But it’s not limited to travel.

I struggle just as much to sit still in my skin. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder where I’d be if I’d chosen differently at any one of the dozen intersections over the last few years. Not a day goes by that I don’t fidget, or open a new word document and jot down ideas for a book I’m not writing, or click through the dozens of browser tabs on my computer, searching photos and music and any other stimuli I can find to calm my mind.

I say that I can’t sit still and be still at the same time. When my body is still, my mind is a tangle of limbs, tripping over itself. When my body’s in motion, it’s the only time my mind begins to still, and calm, and clear enough for me to think.

Because of this, I spend most of my life in motion. Propelled by the need to be both still and moving. Given the time I have been known to walk more than 10 miles a day (I would probably do more but the remnants of a childhood injury prevent it, and protest the distance I do go).

The last few months I’ve struggled mentally and a large part of it has been that I haven’t had the time to move–not travel, but simply get up and walk, run, swim–as much as I needed to. I was trapped in a chair, and my thoughts got too tangled.

Today I got two tattoos, wings both, one behind each of my anklebones.

The wings are of course a nod to the god, Hermes, messenger between the mortal and the divine, and protector and patron of writers (some believed he transported creators from the realm of the mundane to the inspired).

But the wings are also a reminder to move (as much as they are an acknowledgement of my ever-present, bone-deep need to do so). I feel compelled to move, but I also feel thankful for the compulsion. Without that constant motion, that desire, I do not think I would be a writer.

I need to move.

Moving and creating are, for me, inextricably tied.

And sometimes, I need a reminder.

Now I have two.*

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———-

*These are not my first tattoos. That fact seems to surprise some people. They are technically my third and fourth.

I got my first tattoo when I was 18 (that was the year I graduated from my all-girls school, got cut off all my hair, went skydiving, and got picked up for hitchhiking in France). My first tattoo is an eye of Horus (not the same thing as an eye of Ra).

My second tattoo I got two years later. It is aut viam inveniam aut faciam, which basically means “Either I will find a way or make one.” Except I was in a rush get this tattoo and it has a typo, the last word spelled facium instead. I could probably logic my way into the misspelling as thematically apt, but the fact is it was a mistake. Despite a perfectionist nature, I decided to keep it as a lesson to myself not to rush into things.

Which is why it’s been five years since I applied any permanent ink to my body.

Shenanigans (Late Night Edition)

I’m standing in my kitchen covered in flour and cinnamon and sugar after deciding to bake some bread.

I got back from laser-tagging it up (as you do) and thought, “Hey! You know what my life is lacking? Cinnamon raisin bread!” And then I got halfway through making it, which turns out to be two hours later, and I decided to finish it up in the morning, so WIN for Future V and BOO for Present V who has to clean up the kitchen.

And blog.

I felt like blogging.

So hello!

A few things of note.

Thing #1, in case you missed it!

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Ooooooh, shiny. You can find the synopsis for the above shiny on its dedicated little tab above under BOOKS.

Which brings me to thing #2!

A new blog design! I was in the mood for a change, and couldn’t fit in a tattoo or a haircut so I thought, “Blog redesign!” I think it’s pretty swanky. And it allows me to sport BOTH of my names 😉

Which brings me in a roundabout way to thing #3!

The cover reveal for VICIOUS is nearly upon us! At first I thought it would be today but the powers-that-be wanted to do shiny things that take time so now it will probably be early next week! I see this as an opportunity to spread the awesome out a little 😉

Which in some way brings me to thing #4!

Redesigning the blog was actually a rather surreal experience, because as I was creating the little tabs under the BOOKS label I realized OMG I HAVE BOOKS PLURAL. And then I had a moment about that. Sometimes moments just kind of sneak up on you (like I did on 30+ children tonight at laser tag right before I PWNED THEM WITH MY SKILLZ)* and the act of listing my books, both those on shelves and those on their way was a punch to the gut, if punches to the gut came with pleasant feelings, too. I just had to sit very still for a few minutes and catch my breath.

Which brings me rather directly to thing #5.

Thank you. For everything you’ve done. For buying the books, of course, but also for sending me notes/emails/DMs/messages telling me you believe in me, or that X or Y or Z made you feel A or B or C, or that you follow me because of blank, or for any and all the things you say and do that make me feel good on bad days and great on good ones. Every bit of success belongs to you as much as me and I will never, ever, ever stop being grateful.

/Late night ramblings.

One month till THE ARCHIVED and…no giveaway???

Hey lovelies!

It’s the 22nd of December, and that means there’s only one month till THE ARCHIVED.

If you’ve been following this blog for more than a month, you know that I’ve been doing a series of countdown giveaways (starting at the 6-month mark!) and today should be the last giveaway!

But here’s the thing.

A couple days ago, THIS HAPPENED:

And between my SQUEEEEEEING over finished copies, and the ongoing Making History series, I feel like I’ve been really…loud. I try to maintain a balance online between promotion and everything that’s not promotion, and I’ve felt myself leaning too hard toward the former. And because things are going to necessarily get loud and necessarily swing more toward promo shortly, I want to catch my breath while I still can.

So.

It’s the holidays, and I want to take some time to be quiet, and reflect, be with family, prepare for the new year, and focus on deadlines (oh, you ever-present evil things).

Because of that, and because my last giveaway is arguably my biggest, I’m going to hold it for a couple weeks. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll run it at the three week mark, or the two week mark, but I promise that I WILL HAVE ONE.

Just not this week.

And if for some reason I’m not back on here before year’s end, I just want to wish you all the HAPPIEST of holidays. You’re all wonderful, and you brighten my year, and I hope the rest of yours is filled with joy and warmth and cheer.

[That rhymed, and I’m not even going to fix it.]

All my love, lovelies.

~V

PS. A reminder! If seeing the finished copy of THE ARCHIVED has you wanting to preorder your copy, remember that if you do preorder (through ANY outlet), and email me proof (vschwab at comcast dot net) I will send you signed goodies!

Catching up, Horn Book, German Near Witch, FAQ, and the Mum makes a video!!

Hi, lovelies!

35 days till THE ARCHIVED. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. The next blog post will be the ONE MONTH GIVEAWAY and it is epic and might involve some of my favorite books of the year, ARCHIVED preorders, and a key worth signed books FOR LIFE. Just saying.

But we’ll get there on the 22nd. Let’s talk about now.

I emerged from the deadline cave this week, alive if not unscathed. I turned in the latest draft of THE ARCHIVED #2 a few short days ago. I not-so-affectionately refer to this book as SOUL KILL, and anyone who follows me online knows that it has lived up to its nickname in the past few weeks. I had a full hour (well, 45 minutes) of freedom before diving BACK into the revision cave for another book (the first of the chapter books I’m writing for Scholastic).

In other, far more interesting news, fun things happened during my (relative) return to the living!

First, Horn Book loved THE ARCHIVED!!!

From their review: “…both poignant and intellectually piquant…[Schwab] writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor.”

Wooo!!! I’m still waiting on a few of the others, but I’m thrilled to put this one up there with the Kirkus love.

Also, APPARENTLY MY BOOK EXISTS OMG HOLD ME.

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This is not my hand, but this is my book. The real, FINISHED book. I can’t wait to get my author copies so I can 1. roll around on top of them, and 2. take more photos/a video so we can all savor the material glory (also, the reason my name looks darker is because it and the key are both spot-glossed, so it’s harder to photo them evenly). ALSO apparently the endpapers inside are GORGE and ugh why is it not in my hands, lovelies??? SOON.

ALSO! I got my very first foreign cover for THE NEAR WITCH!

It’s the German edition (my German publisher, Heyne, will also be publishing THE ARCHIVED!) and I am mildly obsessed with it. The title is VERFLUCHT!!! It means CURSED.

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Agh I love it. It’s so very different from the US cover, and so loud and paranormal-y and there’s a kid in the woods and ughhh yes.

*pets*

Also! FAQ!

That section of the blog has been updated thanks to your influx of awesome, random, and awesomely random questions! Just click the little tab at the top of the page to go there and learn things. Topics include tea, narwhals, Doctor Who, and sword canes.

LAST AND BEST. THE MUM! ON CAMERA!.

You guys, after FIVE YEARS of trying to coax the Mum to make a video, I finally convinced her to make one for my Making History series!!! Please, please show her some love! The wonderful Emily over at Emily’s Reading Room is hosting her video, as well as a giveaway.

To watch THE INFAMOUS MUM, click HERE.

And don’t forget to swing by the Youtube channel HERE and see the other histories. This week is #14!! Crazy.

And now…

And now, lovelies, I must retreat back into the revision cave. But I want to know how you’re all doing. ❤ Leave your thoughts after the beep.

The year of stress and self-loathing and far-off light.

I knew 2012 was going to be a hard year.

I knew it before it ever started. I had a 2-year window from sale to shelf on THE NEAR WITCH, and I swore I would never let that happen again. Why? Because 2010, the full calendar year between the book’s sale in 2009, and it’s publication in 2011, was HARD. It was useful, in that it gave me time to find my online voice, and to become comfortable with my digital surrounding. But those benefits were things I wasn’t able to appreciate until AFTER my book was on shelves, when I could do signings and smile and chat about the waiting that was finally behind me.

I remember hearing at the end of 2011 that my publication date for THE ARCHIVED was going to be January 2013.

And I remember sitting on the floor, and sobbing.

I could. not. do this again.

But I had to. My agent assured me that I’d be busy, and I wanted to believe her, but THE ARCHIVED #2 hadn’t sold yet and VICIOUS hadn’t sold yet (both were being held until after the holidays), and 2010 was still burned into my memory, and I was scared.

And that might seem silly, in hindsight, unless you know WHY I was scared.

It might seem like I was scared of being BORED. But my agent was true to her word, and made sure I would be BUSY. She sold a total of FIVE books for me this year, and I’ve been BUSIER than ever, juggling two and sometimes even three deadlines at once.

But you see, boredom wasn’t–isn’t–the thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of myself.

Writing/Editing/Breaking/Fixing/Making books is an equation.

One with a lot of variables, so at its best, most elegant, it is still messy. The author’s emotions tangle and create and work for and against their books. Their minds generate and solve and get in the way. I often feel like I’m trying to find the best possible equation, the way to minimize my self-loathing, and love my job.

And I knew that 2012, like 2010, was going to complicate my already-messy equation.

How?

Because in those years off, that tricky emotional balance is upset by increasing the deadlines and decreasing the promotion–meaning the actual, in-person book-on-shelves time.

Some authors, I imagine, love that. Maybe they pine for a few years where they can go into their caves and be alone with their work (and we all need to be alone with it, for a time, to focus).

But I LOVE promotion. I love the part where the book’s on shelves and I get to put on real clothes and travel and talk to people and smile and soak up the energy like sunlight.

I NEED that light.

Subtracting the promotion–really, the CELEBRATION–from the equation means that I end up spending far too much time in my own head. And while it’s an okay place to be if I’m in the throes of a new idea, or if I have the balance of public time, it’s not always the kindest, healthiest place for me to be.

I try to be kind to others.

I’m not very kind with myself. I second-guess everything. I doubt everything. I hate everything. I feel worthless. I feel like a fluke. I feel like it’s hopeless. Like I’m not doing enough. Like I’ll never be able to do enough. I want to hold down delete. I want to quit.

I worried I would find myself back in this place. And I did. Only it had changed. It wasn’t as simple as in 2010, with the impatience and the want. No. This place, the 2012 version of my dark mental landscape, had gotten worse. I’d learned a lot from publication, and all my doubts and fears were able to adapt. I fretted about things I didn’t know existed in 2010. I lost sleep and sanity over things out of my control.

And EVERYTHING felt like it was out of my control. It still does, most days, but I’m trying to find calm. Trying to breathe.

I ended up making myself very literally sick from stress.

2012 has been a strange, busy, hard, productive, destructive, stressful year. It has been wonderful in obvious ways, and awful in less obvious ones.

2012 is finally ending. I do not want to seem ungracious. 2012 has been one of the most important years of my life. And time is a gift. It is always a gift. I have lost enough people to know how precious a year is.

But lovelies, I look forward, and finally see the promise of light. I’ve always loathed the way time trudges on, and under deadline I might want to pause it, but the truth is that right now, I want to cry because this year–this messy, beautiful, hellish, essential year–is almost over.

THE ARCHIVED comes out in January.

VICIOUS comes out in September.

And the relief I feel–still tangled with fear, always with fear, and doubt–is immense. Relief not only because two books I’m deeply passionate about will finally be on shelves, but because I will once again have something to celebrate.

35 days until 2013.
56 days until THE ARCHIVED.

Thank you for sticking with me. You are such a vital part of my equation. I would have lost myself by now without you.

DRIVE-BY BLOG POST. Pre-orders, Gaiman hugs, All Hallow’s Read, indie love, and Einstein.

Drive-by blog post!

I have a book due in less than a week (and then ANOTHER book due at the end of November, cue alllllll the nervous laughter) so unless something strange and magical happens, I probably won’t be blogging again until I’ve at least survived the first of the two deadlines.

While I’m gone, a few quick notes:

1. A REMINDER.

If you pre-order THE ARCHIVED in any form–digital or material–and send proof to vschwab at comcast dot net, I will send you signed swag. And just a note, the pre-order price is still only $10! That’s the cost of a paperback! And I can go ahead and say that the material artifact of the book itself is going to be amazinggggg.

2. A HUG.

This week’s MAKING HISTORY video, hosted by the wonderful Ravenous Reader, is about the first time I met (And hugged) Neil Gaiman. It basically explains why I thank him in TA’s acknowledgements. You can find the video HERE.

3. A HALLOWEEN.

Tomorrow is Halloween!!! Consider being a part of All Hallow’s Read and give a spooky book to someone (Oh, hey, *I* have a spooky book you could give…)

I’ll be throwing a couple Neil Gaiman titles in with the candy 😉

4. A THANK YOU.

Specifically, a thank-you to everyone who came to the Parnassus event!! We had such a wonderful turnout. Having an indie bookstore to support again means so, so much, so thank you for helping it thrive!

5. A QUOTE.

Let’s end with a quote. Quotes are cool.