June is National Audiobook Month and today I’m celebrating by hosting a giveaway for TWO Scarlet audiobooks!
You can celebrate by listening to the below excerpts, entering the giveaway, or tweeting about your audiobook appreciation using the hashtag #listenlit.
Now, I may be biased (just a tad), but I am so grateful for the quality and talent with which Macmillan has made the audiobooks for the Lunar Chronicles. They’re narrated by the incredible Rebecca Soler, who does unique voices and accents and is just all around fantastic.
Don’t believe me? Check out these excerpts!
Listen to an excerpt from CINDER:
Listen to an excerpt from SCARLET:
OR enter this giveaway and cross your fingers! I have two copies of the SCARLET audiobook hanging out in my giveaway pile, so it’s time to find them a new home.
This giveaway has ended. Congrats to the winners, Celia C. and Erica J.!
Next Monday, I’ll be discussing fractured fairy tales with Christopher Healy, author of THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM and THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE.
It’s going to be lots of fun, plus there are PRIZES, so come join us!
When: Monday, June 3, at 9pm ET / 6pm PT
Where: #TalesRetold on Twitter
Hosted by: Novel Novice blogger Sarah Gundell
More details on the chat and prizes can be found here: http://waldenpondpress.blogspot.com/
Hope to see you there!
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SCARLET. Read at your own risk.
Last year, a few of my giveaways were for specially-annotated ARCs of SCARLET, filled with behind-the-scenes info on Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles. Now that the book’s been out for a few months, I thought I would post what those notes were here, so you can all have an inside look.
So grab your copy of SCARLET and prepare yourself for some fascinating Lunar Chronicles trivia!
p. 8: Émilie’s name was originally Sophia, but I changed it in the third draft because there were too many S-sound names (Scarlet, Cinder, Sophia…). This mention in the second paragraph is the only time the new-Sophia is ever mentioned.
p. 13: See the inspiration photo I used for Wolf here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235062516/
p. 26: Wolf says that he saw Scarlet’s gun handle when she climbed up on the counter, which is true. What he doesn’t mention is that he can also smell the cleaner that she uses on it.
p. 38: The town of Rieux is based on a real town called Rieux-Volvestre, which was a suggestion from my French editor.
p. 41: See the inspiration photo for Scarlet’s house here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235108221/
p. 52: “Gard3.9” – Gard is short for Garden.
p. 73: The netscreen implanted in the guy’s bicep is probably my favorite cyborg detail of the whole series.
p. 76: The fight announcer calls Scarlet a “tender morsel,” which is a reference to the Little Red Riding Hood story.
p. 84: Most of the details from the sewer scene came straight from an episode of “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe, which I had to get off Netflix for this purpose.
p. 88: See the inspiration photo I used for the warehouse district here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235065332/
p. 94: In the ARC of Scarlet, it mentioned that the Rampion had guns that could be used in case of combat, but I deleted them in copyedits because I realized guns would make things too easy for the characters in Books 3 and 4.
p. 94: See the inspiration photo I used for the Rampion here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235460757/
p. 114: A lot of my research on wolves was conducted at Wolf Haven in Olympia, WA, a great organization that is working to conserve these beautiful animals. Learn more (and adopt a wolf of your own!) at http://www.wolfhaven.org.
p. 123: In early drafts, Wolf’s tattoo was “LSO962,” which he told Scarlet stood for “The Last of Society’s Outcasts.”
p. 126: As with Cinder, this book changed a lot during revisions. In the first draft, rather than being kidnapped, Scarlet’s grandmother was being kept as an indentured servant in America, and Scarlet and Wolf had to get money to buy her freedom (which he then won in a fight). Also, Wolf had amnesia. Scarlet’s father didn’t make an appearance until the third or fourth draft of the book.
p. 141: See my inspiration photo for Queen Levana here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235062493/
p. 161: Scarlet’s gun’s make and model is a “Leo 1272 TCP 380.” I took the gun name from a real gun manufacturer called Taurus, but changed it to Leo because that’s Scarlet’s astrological sign (her birthday is August 17). TCP is gun terminology meaning “tubing-conveyed perforating.” Whatever that is.
p. 192: I named Michelle after the Beatles song, which has some lyrics repeated in French. “Michelle, ma belle, sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble.”
p. 242: This is the scene that’s changed the least since the first draft, except it originally took place in the back of a semi-truck as Scarlet and Wolf were being smuggled from Canada into America in order to save her indentured-servant grandmother. Now on a maglev train, it remains one of my favorite chapters of the entire series.
p. 252: The missed question was: “Did Linh Cinder use her glamour on you in order to obtain the invitation to the ball?” Kai’s (truthful) answer is that he has no idea.
p. 272: I spent hours combing through the Google Maps streetview of Paris to write this chapter.
p. 274: I considered setting the Pack’s headquarters in the Paris catacombs, before deciding on the opera house.
p. 275: Again, hours were spent on the web site of the Palais Garnier, exploring their virtual tour, in order to get the details for this scene.
p. 275: See the inspiration photo for the opera house’s lobby here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936235460860/
p. 283: “The Queen’s Army,” the short prequel to Scarlet, tells more of the history between Wolf, Ran, and Thaumaturge Jael. Read more about my prequels here: http://www.marissameyer.com/books/short-stories/
p. 306: “Ze’ev,” a Hebrew name, and “Ran,” a Norse name, both mean “Wolf.”
p. 318: See my inspiration photo for the secret operation room here: http://pinterest.com/pin/165999936236705007/
p. 386: This scene originally took place in a fountain outside the opera house, until I realized that what I thought was a fountain on Google Maps was actually a subway entrance! I was very glad to later learn about a real fountain in the lower levels of the opera house. Changing the location was a pretty simple fix.
p. 436: There really are lava tubes below the surface of the moon. In my world, in addition to using them for soldier training grounds, Lunars also use them to travel in between the biodomes where they live (you’ll see more of this world in upcoming books). Regolith is also a real type of rock that covers almost the entire surface of the moon.
p. 443: Ironically, while tomatoes became a very important symbolic element between Wolf and Scarlet, I think raw tomatoes are gross. =P
You guys. You guys. You guys.
Queen Levana has a theme song!!
Besos Digitales, an “acid house” music band in my hometown of Tacoma, WA, has just put out a song inspired by Cinder.
Or, specifically, The Lunars.
CHECK IT OUT.
“The Glamour” by Besos Digitales
(If you aren’t familiar with the “acid house” genre, as I wasn’t, to me it’s kind of… techno-ish? But I’m sure fans of the genre will give me a hard time for saying that, lol. Either way, it’s pretty awesome. And so surreal!)
I’m enamored with writers’ spaces, and I love to see the different things other writers surround themselves with to be productive and inspired. So today I thought I would give a little tour around my writing desk (where I sometimes actually write!).
10 things that live on my desk…
1. My laptop! (Obviously…) And, lately, the little stand to keep it more at eye level, even though I think it puts a greater strain on my wrists. But hey, ergonomics is a tricky thing.
2. Pens and highlighters. I’m forever refilling this little cup—I don’t know what it is about pens that makes them disappear all the time!
3. My writing calendar (that’s the three-ring binder on the bottom of the stack). I’m frequently scheduling events or Skype visits or checking deadlines, so this binder is never far from reach.
4. A spiral notebook. I jot notes to myself all the time—things to remember for the next book, or a line to add in a previous chapter, or don’t forget to do a search and replace for “shoulders” because holy cow my characters shrug a lot. I find it easier to switch to paper for these little notes than to switch between computer files.
5. A thesaurus. Stephen King once said that any word you need to look up in a thesaurus is the wrong word. Ignore him. I use mine all the time.
6. Cinder and Scarlet. I’m constantly checking things that happened in the previous books to make sure the series stays consistent.
7. A beverage. Usually water, but sometimes coffee or wine.
8. Fanart! Fanart from recent events usually ends up on this stand. Someday I want to have a whole wall of fanart! I adore this drawing that has all the main characters through Scarlet and little symbols for each one (a crown for Kai, tomatoes for Scarlet, and the Rampion for Iko… OHMYGOD so cute.)
9. A scented candle. I don’t burn it all the time, but sometimes you just need a little extra something to get in the writing mood.
10. My wand from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’d like to say that looking at it fills me with inspiration and dedication to my craft because J.K. Rowling is such a friggin’ genius, but mostly I just like to twirl it around when I’m stuck, or attempt to cast “do something interesting” spells on my characters.
And that’s a peek into my little writing world. What do you keep in your space?
Cress is currently scheduled to be released on February 4, 2014. As of today, that means we have 263 still to go, and as frightening as that number seems, just think—that’s 101 days LESS than we had to get through on the day Scarlet came out! And the days are going by fast.
In the interest of keeping of making your wait as enjoyable and painless as possible, and at the prompting of @modScheherazade on Twitter who suggested making a Twelve-Step Program for Lunar Chronicles addicts, I’ve made a list of some coping strategies to help you survive the long wait.
1. Join the fandom. You’re not alone! Check out deviantART, fanfiction.net, or Tumblr for Lunar Chronicles-inspired art as created by some seriously talented individuals, and be sure to leave some encouraging comments for all those aspiring artists. Or post on your blog or Facebook page about which couple you’re shipping most and see what other fans have to say. After all, this is why we have the internet, isn’t it?
2. Create your own fanworks. Most of you probably know by now that I’m a big advocate for fan-created works, from fanfic to fanart to cosplay. If you simply can’t get Cinder, Kai, Wolf, and Scarlet out of your head, why not put that energy to work by writing your own stories or drawing some pictures of them? (Then share them on fanfiction.net or deviantART to help other Lunartics cope as well!)
3. Be in the know. As for “official” Lunar Chronicles updates go, you’re in the right place! Keep watch on this blog, subscribe to my newsletter, or Like the Lunar Chronicles Facebook page – because we have lots of goodies planned for the upcoming months. Including:
- Cover reveal
- Chapter teasers and sneak peeks
- Book trailer
- A prequel short story
- A possible second bonus short story
- ARC giveaways
- And more!
4. Re-read Cinder and Scarlet. Keep the characters front-and-center by revisiting the first two books in the series, so you’ll be ready to dive into Cress as soon as it’s out. Maybe suggest it to a book club or encourage some friends to check it out too and host a discussion about the series, and what you’re hoping to see in Books 3 and 4. And don’t forget to check out the two prequel stories too: “Glitches” and “The Queen’s Army.”
5. Fall in love with something else. There’s nothing like a good distraction to keep your mind off a slowly ticking clock, right? Lucky for us, the YA genre is filled with amazing books to keep you occupied. Looking for a recommendation? I have some right here.
6. Make a plan for release day. You know how when you’re looking forward to a vacation, the planning of it is almost as fun as the actual vacation? That can apply to anticipating just about anything, including the release of a new book! So how will you celebrate? Pull an all-nighter so you can download the e-book at midnight and have it read by the time the rest of the world is waking up? Host a Lunar Chronicles party with your book club? Wear your red shoes to the bookstore to get your copy? After all, if you’re going to wait a whole year for something, you might as well have fun with it, right?
7. Have a Rapunzel marathon. Cress is my Rapunzel-retelling. To get yourself in the mood, start exploring what other creators’ have done with this tale. Read the old versions from Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, watch Tangled, read Zel by Donna Jo Napoli or Towering by Alex Flinn (which just came out!), explore the Rapunzel page at SurLaLune. Become a Rapunzel expert… then start making Cress predictions and see which ones come true.
I’m expecting to receive copyedits on CRESS tomorrow morning, which means that after this week, my work on Book 3 of The Lunar Chronicles will be done!
(Well… except the page proofs. And writing the acknowledgments page. And all the promotion stuff. And planning a launch party. And going on tour. And… ahem.)
But writing-wise, it’ll be done, which means my brain is moving full-speed ahead into Book 4: WINTER.
I wrote the first draft of Winter in 2011, right after Cinder sold, because I was worried that if I waited I would want to go back and change things in the first book. I spent this last January reading through that draft and making notes on things that no longer fit the series or that still need a lot of work. Now the time has come to start implementing those changes.
I am both excited and terrified. What if the climax isn’t as epic as I hoped it would be? What if readers aren’t satisfied with the way their favorite subplots get resolved? I’ve always felt, from the moment I first conceived of The Lunar Chronicles, that Book 4 would be the best of the series, but what if I’m wrong and it just leaves everybody disappointed?
It’s a scary feeling, to be entering into the last stage of a project you’ve been madly in love with for almost five years.
But I’m trying not to think about that. Instead, I’m trying to focus on the characters that I adore and all those scenes that I’ve been aching to write down for ages. I’ll focus on bringing my ultimate vision to life and hope that readers will love it. That’s all we writers can do, right?
In order to do the books justice and (hopefully) save some revision time in the long-run, I’ll be starting out the revision process by trying to get a handle on the big picture, and making a plan for how to revise with that picture in mind. Over the next couple weeks, before I even open that Scrivener document, I’ll be making lists.
Major characters and their arcs. Who are the protagonists at the end of Book 3 and who do they need to become by the end of Book 4? What needs to happen to them, what types of decisions do they need to make, what life-changing situations do they need to face in order to grow?
Main plotlines. The war, the plague, Cinder vs. Levana, all those romances… how are they going to be resolved? Will they all be resolved in a tidy bow, or do I leave a few loose threads?
Minor subplots and closure. Cyborg rights, Chang Sunto’s recovery, Linh Garan’s inventions—smallish things that have been important to the plot but sometimes only briefly touched on. Which need to be brought back to readers’ memories and how should they be resolved, if at all?
I’m not one of those authors who feel that every single question needs to be answered for readers, but I also don’t want readers to come away feeling unsatisfied, or like the series didn’t provide enough closure. So I’ll be working hard to avoid that.
And when I feel like I have solid direction for where the story is heading and what I’m working toward, then I’ll get started.
Nervousness aside, I’m really, really looking forward to it!
As can be said of most writers, I grew up with a crazy overactive imagination. One of my favorite fantasies was always the “Mysterious Clue Found in an Awesome Crumbling Old Mansion that Ultimately Leads to Buried Treasure / A Magical Wardrobe / An Ancient Artifact that Was Most Likely Cursed by Some Witch After She was Wronged by Her False Love or Whatever.”
We all wanted to find something cool like that, right?
Well, unfortunately for me, I did not live in an awesome, crumbling old mansion, complete with secret tunnels and bookshelves that opened into secret rooms. (Though I maintain the dream that if I ever became crazy rich, I will be building a house that has these things. Because what else would you do with all that money, anyway?) Alas, I grew up in a brand new house. As in, no previous owners. As in, no chance of there being any forgotten, mysterious clues or letters loitering around.
So naturally, I felt it was my duty to start leaving some mysteries behind for whoever might own the house after us.
Fast forward about 15 years, and this last week my brother was… er, I actually don’t know what he was doing. Fixing some bedroom molding? Unsticking a stuck drawer in the bathroom? But whatever he was doing—he found…
Dun dun dun.
Sunshine in the morning,
Sunset never seen.
Below the shield
Of squared off glass
From the wood I peek.
1, 2, 3
How’s that for some awesome treasure-hunting poetry skills, yo?
While the clue obviously leads to the three east-facing living room windows, I’m afraid whatever clues that followed have long since become victim to my mother’s mad cleaning skills. Sad, too, because I do remember burying a “treasure” in the woods across from our house, and I’m going to guess that’s where this clue would eventually have led to.
But I guess we’ll never know…
Go forth and daydream, fellow treasure hunters!