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Jessica Spotswood
17 November 2014 @ 07:00 am

Hi! Ugh, I am terrible at updating the blog lately. So sorry! I started working recently at the DC Public Library as a part-time children’s associate. This means I’m spending twenty hours a week doing things like:

  • finding books on spiders
  • making scrolls for an upcoming ninja party
  • becoming best friends with the Accu-Cut in order to cut out a Dr. Seuss quote (“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”)
  • cutting out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stickers for the ninja party
  • signing kids in to use the computers
  • helping adorable toddlers find books on princesses
  • hanging streamers for the ninja party
  • playing card games with the kids
  • shelving books and taking pics of friends’ books I spy
  • inventorying & receiving new books (it’s like Christmas!)
  • feeding the worms in our worm farm (!)

It’s a pretty awesome job, to be honest. I really, really like it. But I didn’t realize being a children’s librarian would involve being quite so extroverted! I’ve been kind of exhausted. And I’ve only been at it for two weeks, so I’m still very much figuring out how to balance the new gig with my other jobs: writing MILBOURN FALLS, editing PETTICOATS & PISTOLS, teaching once a week for Writopia, and doing manuscript critiques for MCS.

Also, I have THREE bookish events coming up this week! They’re probably the last ones that I’ll do for a while, since I won’t have any new books coming out until 2016. (Though I do hope to volunteer at NoVA Teen Book Fest and go to NYC Teen Author Fest if I can!)

Wed, Nov 19 at 7pm

SHUT UP & WRITE: A PANEL DISCUSSION ON WORLD-BUILDING

Arlington Central Library; 1015 N Quincy St; Arlington, VA 22201

with Lisa Maxwell (Sweet Unrest) & Erica Cameron (Sing Sweet Nightingale)

moderated by Jon Skovron (Man Made Boy)

Fri, Nov 21 from 4-5pm

SIGNING AT THE NCTE (NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF ENGLISH) ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Gaylord Resort & Conference Center; 201 Waterfront St; National Harbor, MD 20745

I’ll be signing at the Penguin Young Readers Group’s Booth (booths 612-616)!

There are a ton of other amazing authors signing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including some of my favorites: Marie Rutkowski, Trish Doller, Miranda Kenneally, Caroline Richmond, and Stephanie Perkins.  You can find out more here (author signing info begins on p.183).

Sat, Nov 22 at 1pm

THE PUBLISHING PROCESS: a talk on revision, finding an agent, & getting published with author Jessica Spotswood

Southwest Neighborhood Library; 900 Wesley Place SW; Washington, DC

 

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood
27 October 2014 @ 12:01 am

The looking glassWelcome to the first ever Halloween Book Trail, featuring your favorite YA & MG authors! It’s based on the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes presented by the Apocalypsies. In this trail, you’ll find all kinds of posts, and discover new authors and their work. (More info here.)

How do you play? Every post contains information that will lead to killer prizes: books, swag, Skype sessions, etc. At the end of each blog you’ll find a link that will take you to the next stop along the trail. By the end, you’ll find a quiz. Submit your entry to the quiz for a chance to win a grand prize! Accuracy matters here, so take your time, or go back and refresh your memory. One quiz entry per trail.

ABOUT ME

author photo JSJessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles: BORN WICKED (2012), STAR CURSED (2013), and SISTERS’ FATE (2014). She grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or – most often – with her nose in a book. Now Jess lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She can be found watching plays, drinking tea, teaching writing workshops for teens, or – most often – with her nose in a book. Some things never change.

 

ABOUT BORN WICKED

ABW paperback cover gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!

Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship–or an early grave. Then Cate finds her mother’s diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe–not even from each other.

THE HALLOWEEN BOOK TRAIL Q&A

If your MC went trick or treating,what would they dress up as and why?

A witch! Actually, no, because that would earn her a trip to the gallows….I’m sure trick or treating would be on the Brotherhood’s list of forbidden activities. But if the Cahill sisters time-traveled to the future, I think Cate would dress up as a pirate, Maura would dress up as a sexy witch (ironic!), and Tess would dress up as Hermione Granger (who would be a total kindred spirit). Finn would be a pirate too.

What is your dream subject to write about?

I don’t know if I have a single dream subject. I want to write about lots of things! The following projects are all on my “someday” list: a WWII retelling of LITTLE WOMEN, a paranormal boarding school mystery, a series of fantasy fairy-tale retellings…My actual next projects are editing PETTICOATS & PISTOLS (an anthology of short stories about clever, resourceful American girls throughout history, featuring amazing authors like Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, and Elizabeth Wein, among others) and writing MILBOURN FALLS, my first contemporary YA! 

What is the most haunted place you’ve ever been to?

The Winchester Mystery House! I don’t know if it’s actually haunted, but it’s certainly weird and spooky with all those staircases leading nowhere.

Please share a photo of your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn.

pretty in pinkThis was my freshman year in college. I’m on the left, in the Pretty in Pink costume (so much pink! so much tulle! Was it once a horrible bridesmaid’s dress? I’ll never know.), and my friend Katie is on the right. After a late-night play rehearsal, we raided the costume shop and then went to the annual Halloween party at the Lit House.

What magical/supernatural creature do you secretly want to be?

A witch! Obviously. :)

 

Thanks for stopping by! To continue on the Looking Glass Trail, head to Marissa Burt’s blog! 

But before you go: BONUS CONTEST!

To win a signed copy of one of my books (winner’s choice, open internationally) – fill out the Rafflecopter below and leave me a comment telling me: who’s your favorite literary witch?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood


I’ve been sitting on this super happy-making news for exactly a month, and I am so happy to finally share:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.57.22 AM

In case you can’t read the eensy print, that says: Jessica Spotswood’s MILBOURN FALLS, about the summer a girl must contend with her family’s legacy of women who are cursed or crazy, the return of the mother who abandoned her, and the tattooed poet who helps her decide what kind of woman she wants to be, to Annette Pollert-Morgan at Sourcebooks, in a two-book deal, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World). 

Which means: more books! I get to write more books! Yay!!

MILBOURN FALLS is still very much a work-in-progress (it sold on proposal) so I don’t want to say too much about it yet. But I will share my Pinterest inspiration board! You can check it out here. Let me know what you think!

MILBOURN FALLS is a standalone; the second book in the contract will be another, unrelated contemporary YA. This is a very different project for me – no magic! Contemporary! Standalone! But for those of you who loved the Cahill Witch Chronicles, there are some similarities – a maybe-cursed family history; complicated sisterly dynamics; a hot bookish boy (in this case, a boy covered in tattoos that are snippets of poems) and kissing.

And Ivy, the girl – I can’t wait for you all to meet Ivy! I’m still kind of getting to know her myself, but I find her and the summer before her senior year pretty fascinating.

Let’s see…what else can I tell you?

We’re hoping it will be out in spring 2016. Right after the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS anthology. So I won’t have a book out in 2015 (except the SISTERS’ FATE paperback, which will be out May 5) — but then I’ll have TWO out in 2016!

I am so excited to be working with Annette and Sourcebooks on this. They do some of my favorite contemporary YA (see: my friend Miranda Kenneally’s awesome books). And I am so happy to get to write this book. To write more books at all.

The last year has been hard. The hardest I have personally ever been through. I wrote about my anxiety & depression here. There were so many days I felt just utterly, illogically hopeless. But now – I get to edit an amazing anthology. I get to write more books. I found out just yesterday that I got a part-time job as a library associate at the DC Public Library! For the first time in what feels like a really long time, I am more excited than scared about the future.

Anyway, if you want to sign up for my brand new newsletter, you can do that here. I’ll be sending out the very first one next week and sharing a little more about the inspiration behind MILBOURN FALLS (including which YA novel made me want to write my own book set in a house by the sea)!

Also, if you are in the DC area, I have TWO book events with some fantastic authors coming up next week – one in Arlington and one in Bethesda! Check out my events page for all the details.

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood


I’ve been sitting on this super happy-making news for exactly a month, and I am so happy to finally share:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.57.22 AM

That says: Jessica Spotswood’s MILBOURN FALLS, about the summer a girl must contend with her family’s legacy of women who are cursed or crazy, the return of the mother who abandoned her, and the tattooed poet who helps her decide what kind of woman she wants to be, to Annette Pollert-Morgan at Sourcebooks, in a two-book deal, by Jim McCarthy at ystel & Goderich Literary Management (World). 

Which means: MORE BOOKS! I GET TO WRITE MORE BOOKS! YAY!

MILBOURN FALLS is still very much a work-in-progress (it sold on proposal) so I don’t want to say too much about it yet. But I will share my Pinterest inspiration board! You can check it out here and get a good feel for the atmosphere of the book. Let me know what you think!

MILBOURN FALLS is a standalone; the second book in the contract will be another, unrelated contemporary YA. This is a very different project for me – no magic! Contemporary! But for those of you who loved the Cahill Witch Chronicles, there are some similarities – a maybe-cursed family history; complicated sisterly dynamics; a hot bookish boy (in this case, a boy covered in tattoos that are snippets of poems) and kissing.

And Ivy, the girl – I can’t wait for you all to meet Ivy!

Let’s see…what else can I tell you?

We’re hoping it will be out in spring 2016. Right after the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS anthology! So I won’t have a book out in 2015 (except the SISTERS’ FATE paperback, which will be out May 5) — but then I’ll have TWO out in 2016!

I am so excited to be working with Annette and Sourcebooks on this. They do some of my favorite contemporary YA (see: my friend Miranda Kenneally’s awesome books). And I am so happy to get to write this book. To write more books at all.

The last year has been hard. The hardest I have personally ever been through. I wrote about my anxiety & depression here. There were so many days I felt just utterly, illogically hopeless. But now – I get to edit an amazing anthology. I get to write more books. I found out just today that I got a part-time job as a library associate at the DC Public Library! For the first time in what feels like a really long time, I feel more excited than scared about the future.

Anyway, if you want to sign up for my brand new newsletter, you can do that here. I’ll be sending out the very first one next week and sharing a little more about the inspiration behind MILBOURN FALLS (including which YA novel made me want to write my own book set in a house by the sea)!

Also, if you are in the DC area, I have TWO book events with some fantastic authors coming up next week – one in Arlington and one in Bethesda! Check out my events page for all the details.

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood


I’ve been sitting on this super happy-making news for exactly a month, and I am so happy to finally share:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.57.22 AM

That says: Jessica Spotswood’s MILBOURN FALLS, about the summer a girl must contend with her family’s legacy of women who are cursed or crazy, the return of the mother who abandoned her, and the tattooed poet who helps her decide what kind of woman she wants to be, to Annette Pollert-Morgan at Sourcebooks, in a two-book deal, by Jim McCarthy at ystel & Goderich Literary Management (World). 

Which means: MORE BOOKS! I GET TO WRITE MORE BOOKS! YAY!

MILBOURN FALLS is still very much a work-in-progress (it sold on proposal) so I don’t want to say too much about it yet. But I will share my Pinterest inspiration board! You can check it out here and get a good feel for the atmosphere of the book. Let me know what you think!

MILBOURN FALLS is a standalone; the second book in the contract will be another, unrelated contemporary YA. This is a very different project for me – no magic! Contemporary! But for those of you who loved the Cahill Witch Chronicles, there are some similarities – a maybe-cursed family history; complicated sisterly dynamics; a hot bookish boy (in this case, a boy covered in tattoos that are snippets of poems) and kissing.

And Ivy, the girl – I can’t wait for you all to meet Ivy!

Let’s see…what else can I tell you?

We’re hoping it will be out in spring 2016. Right after the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS anthology! So I won’t have a book out in 2015 (except the SISTERS’ FATE paperback, which will be out May 5) — but then I’ll have TWO out in 2016!

I am so excited to be working with Annette and Sourcebooks on this. They do some of my favorite contemporary YA (see: my friend Miranda Kenneally’s awesome books). And I am so happy to get to write this book. To write more books at all.

The last year has been hard. The hardest I have personally ever been through. I wrote about my anxiety & depression here. There were so many days I felt just utterly, illogically hopeless. But now – I get to edit an amazing anthology. I get to write more books. I found out just today that I got a part-time job as a library associate at the DC Public Library! For the first time in what feels like a really long time, I feel more excited than scared about the future.

Anyway, if you want to sign up for my brand new newsletter, you can do that here. I’ll be sending out the very first one next week and sharing a little more about the inspiration behind MILBOURN FALLS (including which YA novel made me want to write my own book set in a house by the sea)!

Also, if you are in the DC area, I have TWO book events with some fantastic authors coming up next week – one in Arlington and one in Bethesda! Check out my events page for all the details.

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood
14 October 2014 @ 10:28 pm

Hi! Today we’re celebrating Sara Raasch’s debut, SNOW LIKE ASHES, which comes out today!

Before we start — why are they called Thrice interviews? The original titles for the Cahill Witch Chronicles were THRICE BLESSED, THRICE CURSED, and THRICE FATED. I have a tattoo with the word thrice, which is partly to remind me how joyful writing that first book was, back when it was just mine, and partly because I like threes. Cate Cahill is the oldest of three sisters, as am I. My birthday is May 3; my anniversary is Sept 30. So there’s a natural theme to these interview questions…

snow like ashesA heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Now for our interview with Sara:​

1. Describe your main character in 3 adjectives + a noun.

Meira is a snarky, stubborn, loyal soldier of Winter.

2. Describe your book in 3 adjectives + a noun.

SNOW LIKE ASHES is an intense, magic-riddled, wintery YA fantasy.

3. Describe yourself in 3 adjectives + a noun.

I am a Tumblr-addicted, Pinterest-obsessed, easily distracted writer (though with those adjectives, I’m lucky I EVER write!).

4. If you could travel to any 3 countries, what would they be?

Scotland, Austria, or Russia

5. If you could take any 3 non-writing-related classes, what would they be?

Neurology, Geology, or Pottery (I know, I know, those make NO SENSE. But what can I say? I have very varied interests.)

6. If you could have any 3 alternate careers, what would they be?

Some kind of scientist (I watch waaaay too much Bones), a party planner (organization FTW), or someone who helps companies run more efficiently (again, organization, yay!). [JS: I would love to be a party-planner too! Yay organization!]

7. What are your 3 favorite flowers?

Roses, irises, and daisies

8. What are your 3 favorite foods?

Chinese food (anything Asian, really), chocolate (duh), and cheese (also duh) [JS: a girl after my own heart!]

9. What are your 3 favorite books?

I’ll do three that are coming out this year: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski (SO BEAUTIFUL), BURN OUT by Kristi Helvig (lightning-fast and so intense), and CAMELOT BURNING by Kathryn Rose (steampunk Camelot. Need I say more?) [JS: THE WINNER’S CURSE is one of my favorite books this year, too! LOVE. I’ll have to look up the others!]

Thanks for stopping by, Sara! Happy book birthday!

You can find out more about Sara and SNOW LIKE ASHES at her Tumblr!

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood
02 October 2014 @ 05:22 pm

Hi! I’m Jessica Spotwood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles. Books 1 and 2, BORN WICKED and STAR CURSED, are out now in paperback. Book 3, SISTERS’ FATE, just came out in August! My books are historical fantasies about witches and sisters and kissing that will hopefully make you swoon – and cry. And at the end of this post, I’m giving away some stuff, so don’t forget to read all the way to the end!

Now, for the reason you’re here…

scavenger hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors – and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter for a chance to win our prize – one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) starts at noon PST today (Thursday, October 2) and will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, October 5!

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You can start right here or you can go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all of them! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see which authors are participating, and check out the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number in orange. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up!

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now…I am super-excited to be hosting…

NICOLE CONWAY!

nicole conwayNicole is the author of the international bestselling children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

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About FLEDGLING, Book 1: Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage. He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy—a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal. But Jaevid’s case is special; no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline. But while struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping his personal instructor, Sile Derrick, in the dead of night. When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor.

fledglingavian

Now for our exclusive content! Nicole is sharing a whole bonus chapter with us!

It’s a pull like gravity, and nothing I can truly explain. You have to feel it to understand it. Some say it’s like falling in love, or like that first time a mother looks into the eyes of her newborn child. The world shifts. Priorities rearrange. Hearts turn. And nothing is ever the same.

It was no different for me when I first felt the pull of the bond. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. The force of the bond tugged at my spirit, willing me away from my home like a forceful tide. I had no choice but to obey. I had to find this missing piece of myself—this part of my soul that had been ripped from me and hidden away somewhere in the world. I had to find the biped that was destined to be my ally.

I left my home behind. I flew for days and nights on end, the wind filling my wings and carrying me away from the sea. I passed over mountains, over valleys, and across marshes. I soared under the stars without stopping even once to feed or drink. My body grew weaker and weaker, but the call of the bond was relentless. I couldn’t give up. I had to keep going.

Then they spotted me. The bipeds saw me flying too near to one of their settlements, and suddenly the chase was on. I watched them mount up on members of my own kind—elder drakes and queens nearly twice my size. They were bigger, stronger, and apparently used to hunting as a pack. But I was fast, faster than any other young male in my clutch. It was my gift. Unfortunately, this time I knew I wouldn’t be able to evade them for long. My body was too weak and tired.

As they closed in, I begged my kin to give me enough time to find the one I was meant to bond with. But they didn’t listen, and they didn’t answer. In fact, it seemed like they didn’t even understand me at all.

When my kin caught up to me, they circled around me. All of a sudden, nets of woven metal tangled in my wings. The more I struggled, the more tangled up I became. I fell from the sky, but fought all the way down.

When I finally hit the earth, I tried clawing at the nets. I tried to shake them off. I spat burning venom at anything that came close to me. But the bipeds weren’t afraid of me. They moved with purpose, as though they had done this many times before. A muzzle of cold metal was forced onto my snout. It prevented me from spitting flame or snapping my jaws. Chains and straps bound my wings and feet so tightly that I couldn’t move.

I was captured.

The bipeds covered my eyes so I couldn’t see where I was going, but my nose and ears worked well enough. I could hear them all around me as they loaded me onto a cattle-drawn cart. I wasn’t sure what they would do to me. The fact that members of my own species had ignored my pleas was haunting. It scared and enraged me. I wondered if whatever torture had been exacted on them would now me directed at me. But even in that dark hour, I still felt the pull of the bond.  It was still there, humming in my head like the glassy star songs did at night. It gave me boundless hope that I would survive this. Somehow, I would escape.

I could find the biped meant for me.

They moved me many, many miles. I knew it because I could smell the change in landscape. I could feel the air become cold, and then very hot and dry. They offered me no food or water, and for some reason they assumed I couldn’t understand their words. Did I look like some stupid prey-beast? Or did these bipeds really not remember that my kind could understand them?

It was many days later when I was brought to a place that smelled like it had been dried up by the sun. There were many intermingling scents of hundreds of drakes and queens. I could sense them all around me, but my eyes were still covered. When I called out to them for help they didn’t answer—just like the others.

Only when I’d been taken into a cooler, enclosed place and chained to the ground my many metal chains did they finally uncover my eyes. I was in what looked like some sort of biped-made cave. Small fires burned around a big circular room, filling it with an eerie light. Then I saw them all standing around me—more bipeds than I cared to count. Strangely, all of them were male. Some were old and others were fairly young. Most of them were wearing armor and carrying weapons, and they stared at me with tense expressions. I could smell their fear, their enthusiasm, and awe.

“He’s too old,” one of the older bipeds said gruffly. “You can’t break a wild dragon that old. They have too much of a stubborn spirit.”

But they didn’t listen to his warning. One after another, they tried to saddle me anyway. Some tried reasoning with me in soothing voices while they snuck the saddle onto my back. As if I wouldn’t notice that. Others tried to dominate me outright by forcing a saddle onto my back.

Whichever approach they decided to try—it didn’t matter.  I wasn’t some stupid beast to be bent to their will. The instant my chains were loosened and my subservience was tested, I sent each one of their foolish candidates sailing through the air. Bones cracked. Bipeds screamed and recoiled as I turned on them and snarled through the muzzle that was still strapped to my snout. None of these bipeds was the one I had come to find. None of them were fit to sit on my back let alone share the air with me.

“A few more days without food and water might soften him up.” One of the bipeds growled at me as though that were meant to be a threat.

I growled at him, watching with pleasure as he scrambled away in terror.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Another one stepped towards me boldly. He carried himself with authority, as though he were in charge. “We can’t risk anyone else getting hurt. Not for one wild dragon. He’s too old. Leave him here tonight, but by morning I want him back on a cart headed for the stock exchange. We may at least be able to make something off him if he can be sold as a breeding sire.”

This male must have been their leader because his word was taken as law without argument. The others disbanded, leaving one-by-one until I was left alone in the cavernous, torch lit arena. Chains still bound me to the ground. It didn’t matter how I wriggled; I couldn’t break free. Even my head had been fastened to the earth.

Hours passed in silence, except for the crackling flames that lit the room. I contemplated my fate. Even though I didn’t know what a stock exchange was, I had a feeling that was the last place in the world I wanted to go. I got a bad feeling off these bipeds. They obviously had no respect at all for my kind. They were treating me like one of their cattle animals, and expecting me to take any rider they slapped on my back.

I opened my eyes again as the doors of the chamber opened. I was expecting the cart, more chains, and a whole new flock of bipeds to force me into both.

But it was just one—one biped male who came walking towards me, staring straight into my eyes. He carried no weapons. He wasn’t wearing any armor. And I got the immediate impression by the look he was giving me that he knew I could understand him.

“Is this how you want it to end?” He called out to me.

I hissed a warning.

It didn’t seem to frighten him, though. “You know what they’ll do, right? If you’re sold for breeding, then they’ll cut your wing tendons. You’ll never be able to fly again.”

That sounded an awful lot like a threat. A threat from a soft-bodied little worm I could have crushed in my jaws without even trying. I roared at him as loudly as the muzzle would allow, letting him feel a blast of my breath and the fumes of my venom.

“They aren’t going to let you go. You’re going to have to make a choice. Which is more important to you? Pride or your life?” He growled back at me. “I know you can understand me, drake. So what will it be?”

I flexed against the chains again, struggling and letting out another growl of frustration. It was no good. My body was too weak. I was too exhausted to break free.

Then I heard it: the sound of small frightened breaths. The smell of another biped, a young one, floated in through the entrance of the chamber. There were footsteps running, retreating into the darkness beyond the doors.

The arrogant male who had been “reasoning” with me cursed and began running away towards the entrance. He dashed through the open doors, vanishing into the darkness. I didn’t know what to make of it. Bipeds were the strangest creatures I’d ever met.

The noise of muffled voices began echoing of all the walls and the high domed ceiling. They were too far away and the echoes confused the sounds, so I couldn’t understand anything they said. But when the arrogant biped returned with a second, much smaller one in tow . . . all of a sudden nothing else mattered.

Our eyes met—that much smaller biped and mine—and it was like the world had shifted again. Everything snapped into focus. The weight of the bond pulled on every fiber of my being more intensely than it ever had. And I knew.

He was the one.

This was one I had traveled so far to find. I had left behind my family, my home, and endured insults and abuse all in search of this one person. As our gazes locked, I waited for him to speak. I wanted some sort of validation, some kind of assurance that he felt it, too. But he didn’t speak. He didn’t move at all. He just looked scared.

I growled in frustration, trying to startle him into action. Didn’t he know what this meant? Couldn’t he feel the pull of the bond, too? He began to talk, babbling on with that arrogant older male about my fate. He sounded worried, at least. That was progress.

I twitched my tail in annoyance, waiting to see what the verdict would be. Finally, the little biped started to approach me. He started into my eyes, and I growled anxiously. He sure was taking his sweet time.

“Please,” he practically whimpered. “I know what it feels like, believe me. They don’t know what to do with you. And now they want to keep you here like some kind of prisoner. It’s not fair. It’s not right.”

I growled louder. Each shaky step he took brought him closer. The nearer he came, the more I noticed how strange he looked compared to the other bipeds. His ears were somewhat pointed. His face was battered and bruised like he’d been in a fight. He looked malnourished.

Fortunately, I didn’t care what he looked like. I only cared if he felt what I felt. My destiny was tied to this puny little biped, and that wasn’t something I dared to question.

He kept talking while I sized him up. All the while, he was inching closer and closer. I could see him shaking like a leaf. One growl or roar probably would have sent him scrambling for cover.

But then he said something I wasn’t expecting.

“Let me be your rider. I swear I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. And when we’re finished, when the war is over, you’ll be free to go back to the wild. I won’t treat you like a dumb animal. You’ll be my partner. We’ll get through this together. We’ll be a team. I swear. You have my word.”

His small hand touched my nose, and I felt our bond begin to seal over in my mind. It was a rush, as though he were becoming a part of me. Our minds were melding—becoming one. I could glimpse the world through his eyes. I could feel what he felt. I breathed in his wild, strange scent. Faintly, I could sense something ancient in his blood—something that whispered to every corner of my heart. It confused and filled me with anxious energy. Whatever that power was, it was miniscule. Like a tiny spark, it barely smoldered inside this boy.

But when he touched me, my strength was instantly restored.

With the quick metallic clink of a lock, my new partner set me free. I shook off the chains these bipeds had used to bind me to the earth. I stretched my wings for the first time in days.

That arrogant male biped came towards me brandishing a spear. The audacity of this species was amusing sometimes. But right now, it was just annoying. I wanted to teach him a little humility. You know, give him a lesson in where he stood on the food chain.

But my partner started begging. “Stop! Don’t hurt him!”

Great. Not only was he small and, but he was also a bleeding heart. I snorted angrily, shooting him a glare to let him know how unfair this was. These bipeds had made a mockery of me. They’d insulted me in every possible way. And now I had to shrug it off?

I growled. I didn’t like it, but I consented.

“Unbelievable,” the arrogant man whispered. “Do it again.”

My partner started talking to me again, asking that I do something to show him that he could trust me. A sign of trust? It made sense. After all, now that our thoughts were beginning to become interwoven, I could tell he was scared of me. My size and my strength were terrifying to him. He’d never been so close to a dragon before. And he didn’t understand the depth of our bond.

He would learn, though.

As I crouched down to let him sit on my back, I showed him that sign of trust. It was the ultimate act of trust my kind could offer his. I would carry him—into battle, into peace, into whatever storm we might face. He could share the air with me and together, we would be united until one or both of us died. That was what the bond meant. It wasn’t a deal, or a bargain. It was unconditional acceptance.

From the moment our bond was made, that boy was mine and I was his. We became brothers of one mind. And there was no force on earth that could ever break that connection.

Wow. I wish I had a dragon, don’t you? Or 27 of them!

To find out more about the Dragonrider Chronicles, you can check out Nicole’s website.

The next stop on the hunt is Lisa Bergren‘s blog.

But before you leave – I’m giving away 1 signed copy of any of my books (international, winner’s choice!) and 5 sets of Cahill Witch bookmarks & bookplates! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. I’m also doing Goodreads giveaways for 3 signed copies each of STAR CURSED and SISTERS’ FATE right now, so you may want to hop over and enter those too if you’re in the US! Yay, free books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood

Hi! SISTERS’ FATE has been out in the world for a month already! How crazy is that?! Have you had a chance to read it yet? What did you think?

There are SO MANY BOOKS in the world. If you’ve already made the time to buy (or borrow) SISTERS’ FATE and read it – thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart!

And if you’ve made time to review it somewhere online – thank you again. Because sharing book love is such a wonderful gift to authors (and hopefully to your friends who will pick up the books you love and love them too – or at least be able to have a great conversation with you about them!). I am incredibly thankful to those of you who leave honest, thoughtful reviews on your blogs, Goodreads, and various retailers and social media spots. It’s so hard for books to get noticed – especially, I think, later books in a series, if the series isn’t already a bestseller. People forget! I am guilty of this myself.

All of this is to say – I appreciate you! So I’m having a great big reviewer appreciation giveaway. You can win the following things:

GBG pic 1 ARCs

GBG 2 - foreign editions

GBG 3 - cover flatsYou can enter just by tweeting about the contest or by following my Jessica Shea Spotswood author Facebook page (where I hope to be posting more about PETTICOATS & PISTOLS and announcing a new project soon!). But if to thank reviewers, the more places you review SISTERS’ FATE, the more entries you get! I will choose 2 winners to split the ARCs and get first choice of the cover flats and foreign editions. Then I will choose 20 winners for bookplates and signed bookmarks, and the first people who get back to me with their addresses will get first choice of the remaining foreign editions & cover flats. Make sense? Contest is open until midnight Sept 30. US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood
22 August 2014 @ 09:41 pm

Eep! SISTERS’ FATE has been out for a whole week already!

all 3 books

Have you read it yet? What do you think? I’m crazy excited to share the ending of the trilogy with you all! (I wrote a whole trilogy!)

Thank you so much to everyone who’s been in touch with me over email (cahillwitch at gmail dot com), twitter, Facebook, Instagram, comments here, or anywhere else. I love hearing from readers! And I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who’s already gotten a copy of the book, whether it’s from your local bookseller or for your Kindle. Knowing how busy everyone is – knowing how many books there are in the world – knowing all the things that compete for our attention – I’m profoundly grateful to anyone who chooses to spend their time reading my story. It’s truly been a privilege to share Cate and Maura and Tess and Finn with you.  THANK YOU.

I’m starting a newsletter soon which will have fun extras, deleted snippets, giveaways, and book recommendations. It will come out quarterly, except for when I have exciting news to share like new book deals, cover reveals, or releases! You can sign up here if you want to be sure not to miss anything.

Here’s a picture from my launch party, which was last Saturday at my awesome local bookstore, One More Page.

SF launch party reading

If you’d ever like to order a signed, personalized copy of one of my books, you can contact them or Hooray for Books! about it.

Hooray for Books!—place an order by calling 703-548-4092 or emailing

One More Page Books—place an order by calling 703-300-9746 or emailing 

Also, stay tuned for a reader appreciation contest next week. If you read and review SISTERS’ FATE (on your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Facebook, etc), you could win an entry for each place you post a review. The grand prize will be a pile of awesome ARCs – but I’ll also be giving away 20 swag packs with Cahill Witch bookmarks and bookplates from me!

Again – thank you so much for reading and for all of your support. It means the world to me.

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.

 
 
 
Jessica Spotswood

Hi! Today we’re celebrating Lauren Magaziner’s middle-grade debut, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES, which came out last Thursday!

Before we start — why are they called Thrice interviews? The original titles for the Cahill Witch Chronicles were THRICE BLESSED, THRICE CURSED, and THRICE FATED. I have a tattoo with the word thrice, which is partly to remind me how joyful writing that first book was, back when it was just mine, and partly because I like threes. Cate Cahill is the oldest of three sisters, as am I. My birthday is May 3; my anniversary is Sept 30. So there’s a natural theme to these interview questions…

only thing worse 

Roald Dahl meets Eva Ibbotson in this hilarious middle grade debut perfect for reading aloud.

Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but Rupert’s mother forbids him from even looking at that part of town. The closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Rupert’s classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class. So when he sees an ad to become a witch’s apprentice, Rupert simply can’t resist applying.

But Witchling Two isn’t exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. She’s determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling’s magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcasting—and fast!

“Fifth-grader Rupert Campbell lives in a world that combines Roald Dahl’s Witches and Louis Sachar’sWayside School….readers will banish themselves from the ordinary world to finish this book in a flash.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Now for our interview with Lauren:​

1. Describe your main character in 3 adjectives + a noun.

Rupert is a clever, curious, quietly-disobedient 5th grader.

2. Describe your book in 3 adjectives + a noun.

THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES is a magical, sillyshorts, whimsical frolic. (JS: I love this description! So fun!)

3. Describe yourself in 3 adjectives + a noun.

I am a silly, funny, creative dreamer.

4. If you could travel to any 3 countries, what would they be?

Australia, Austria, and Iceland (JS: Iceland is on my list, too!)

5. If you could take any 3 non-writing-related classes, what would they be?

Philosophy, Physics, and Medieval European History

6. If you could have any 3 alternate careers, what would they be?

International Secret Agent/Spy, Ice Cream Taste-tester, and Eccentric/Reclusive Inventor (JS: Ooh, ice cream taste-tester? Yes, please!)

7. What are your 3 favorite flowers?

Thistles, Roses, and Water Lilies

8. What are your 3 favorite foods?

Cheesesteaks, Ice Cream, and Matzah Ball Soup

9. What are your 3 favorite books?

HARRY POTTER, SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL, and GONE GIRL

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren! Congratulations on your debut!

You can find out more about Lauren and THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES at her website or by following her on twitter or Facebook.

Originally published at Jessica Shea Spotswood. You can comment here or there.