Last Thursday I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Teen Librarian Summit in Worcester, MA. (And I was so nervous, you guys, you don’t even know.)
The focus of the summit was the STEM to STEAM movement—or bringing Arts education into the national curricula, which currently focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
My presentation was all about the amazing things that can happen when science, technology, and art all work together. First, I gave examples of how art, books, and popular culture have influenced the real world of science and technology, and then I gave examples of how science, technology, and even math have influenced some of today’s popular teen fiction.
(Thanks to Kara, @tardisgrl, and Amy, @amydieg, for the photos!)
You can watch the Powerpoint and listen to the presentation here: https://vimeo.com/77221730
If you would like to skip ahead, here are some presentation highlights:
4:28: Star Trek, astronauts, and Star Trek-inspired technology
15:53: Harry Potter and invisibility cloaks
18:17: CSI and the growing field of forensic science
21:54: Ashfall by Mike Mullin
25:00: Unwind by Neal Shusterman
27:45: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
29:53: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
33:18: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (though for some reason part of the speech got cut out here, so it feels a little disjointed)
34:26: Cinder by me
38:45: Applause (my favorite part, ha!)
There’s about 20 minutes of Q&A at the end, where I discuss research, whether or not I know how the books will end, NaNoWriMo, writing advice, and other such stuff.
November is just around the corner, which means that writers everywhere are gearing up for the month of noveling insanity that is National Novel Writing Month! Many of you know that Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and now Heartless all started life as NaNo novels. I’m a huge fan of the draft-now, revise-later mentality. On top of that, this is the first year in which I’m participating in a slightly more… official capacity.
Because the lovely folks at NaNoWriMo have asked me to be a part of their author advisory board! What does that mean? I’m not entirely sure. I suppose I’ll be advising, with whatever wisdom and peppiness I can offer.
Plus—next month I’ll be starting a brand new writing project!
Working title: Levana’s Tale: A Lunar Chronicles Novella
Summary: The story of how Levana, princess of Luna, came to be Winter’s stepmother, tried to kill Princess Selene, and ultimately became a queen with her eye set on being an empress. It will also offer some insight into why she’s so friggin’ crazy.
The twist here is that, as a novella, this story is not going to meet the NaNo 50,000-word requirement. I suspect it’ll be somewhere in the 30,000-35,000 word range. So I’ll probably rack up the extra wordage by continuing on with Winter revisions.
You know, all in a month’s work.
When will you all be able to read Levana’s Tale?
You will certainly be able to read this novella someday. My publisher is aware that I’m writing it and they’re very excited. We’ll most likely use it for some sort of promotion next year, when we start to gear up for the release of Winter. But I don’t know at this point when or where or how it will be released. I may post some fun teasers throughout NaNo though… we’ll see.
Check out my NaNo profile here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/aliblade22/novels/levana-s-tale
And fellow novelists, feel free to add me to your buddy list, or post your NaNo plans in the comments!
I have a newsletter going out this afternoon (you can subscribe at http://www.marissameyer.com/connect if you haven’t already), and that means it’s time to pick some giveaway winners!
The Newsletter Subscriber winner is ……. Kim Vo!
The Facebook Fan winner is ……. Laurie M.!
The Twitter Follower winner is …… @percabeth35!
Congrats, all! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your mailing info.
Aw, man. It’s usually hard to choose a favorite book or two every quarter, but this time, it was really hard. (Do I say this every time? I probably say this every time. But it always seems to be the case.)
I think it was made worse this quarter though because I took the month of August as a vacation and was actually able to get some solid pleasure reading in, meaning I read lots more this quarter than I did the rest of the year. YAY for that!
For my top pick this time, I’m going to have to go with a middle grade title, which I do not read a whole lot of, but I adored THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. I think it may have won the Newbery? Is that true? Because it completely deserved to win if it didn’t.
AHA, yes, it did win the Newbery! Shiny sticker says so!
I am slightly biased toward this book, because it was inspired by a real gorilla named Ivan who lived in my hometown and I remember my grandpa taking me and my brother to see Ivan when we were kids, and how horribly sad he always seemed. So this book both brought back lots of memories, and made for a beautiful story at the same time.
On a completely separate note, my other fav read of the quarter was probably THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by the ever delightful Holly Black.
Holy schnikeys, have you guys all read this yet?! Hottest kiss of the year award, folks. Just sayin’. Loved this addition to the world of vampire lore. LOVED.
As always, my complete reading list is below…
1. Style, by Lauren Conrad
2 Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles
3. The Archived, by Victoria Schwab
4. The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd
5. For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund
6. Shades of Earth, by Beth Revis
7. Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson
8. The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
9. Fair Coin, by E.C. Myers
10. First Frost, by Liz DeJesus
11. Prodigy, by Marie Lu
12. Redshirts, by John Scalzi
13. Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick
14. Article 5, by Kristen Simmons
15. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, by Elizabeth Eulberg
16. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A.J. Jacobs
17. Cinder, by Me!
18. Scarlet, by Me!
19. Don’t Expect Magic, by Kathy McCullough
20. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith
21. Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson, by Mark Siegel (graphic novel)
22. A Midsummer’s Nightmare, by Kody Keplinger
23. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
24. Antigoddess, by Kendare Blake
25. Texas Gothic, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
26. Spirit and Dust, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
27. The Tao of Martha, by Jen Lancaster
28. The Know-it-all, by A.J. Jacobs
29. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale
30. This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith
31. Populazzi, by Elise Allen
32. A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare
33. A Lady by Midnight, by Tessa Dare
34. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
35. Dead is a Killer Tune, by Marlene Perez
36. Pluto, by Urasawa Tezuka (graphic novel)
37. Clarity, by Kim Harrington
38. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
39. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel)
40. The Madness Underneath, by Maureen Johnson
41. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
42. Dark Triumph, by Robin LaFevers
43. This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales
44. Possess, by Gretchen McNeil
45. The Successful Novelist, by David Morrell
46. The Fallout, by S.A. Bodeen
47. Tumble & Fall, by Alexandra Coutts
48. Of Triton, by Anna Banks
49. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black
Although the Subscribe, Friend, and Follow Giveaway is still live, the time has come to kick off the next creativity contest. That’s right, once again, I’m making you guys work for it!
For your chance to win a signed ARC of CRESS, plus other Lunar Chronicles goodies . . . design the Lunar Insignia!
The Lunar what?
Similar to last year’s Flag Design Contest, I’m asking you to create a symbol that represents the country of Luna. The Lunar insignia is used on political documentation, is painted on royal spacecrafts, appears on the doors to the queen’s throne room, and other neat official things like that.
Here are some examples of real-world insignias:
- You may only enter one design.
- The design can be made using any media—crayons, paint, fabric, glitter glue, high-tech graphic design software . . . the choice is yours. Have fun with it!
- Finalists will be chosen based on originality, apparent effort, and how well Luna and the Lunars are represented.
- Artwork must be entirely your own. Please do not use copyrighted images.
- By entering this contest, you are giving me permission to use your design for promotional purposes, including but not limited to posting it on my blog, web site, newsletter, and social networking pages, and printing it on promotional items. You retain all other rights to the work.
- Open internationally!
- All entries must be received by midnight PST on Sunday, November 3, to be eligible.
1. Design your Lunar Insignia.
2. Post your design on a public web site, such as your deviantART page, blog, Pinterest board, Tumblr, or public Facebook wall. (That said, please use Facebook only as a last resort, as it makes it difficult to capture and share images.) I suggest that you explain how you arrived at your design, but it’s not necessary.
4. Optional: Include a link to my web site, so your friends, family, and followers can find more information about the books: http://www.marissameyer.com/books
5. Go to http://www.marissameyer.com/connect and fill out the “Contact Marissa” form with your name, email address, and a link to your design. Do this before midnight PST on Sunday, November 3!
Finalists and Voting
I will post all entries to a “Lunar Insignia” Pinterest board as I receive them. After November 3, I’ll narrow the entries down to the finalists and those finalists will be posted on this blog.
Fans will vote to select the People’s Choice Winner.
I will also select a Marissa’s Choice Winner from the full pool of entries, not just the finalists.
The People’s Choice Winner will receive a signed ARC of CRESS, one signed UK edition of Scarlet, miscellaneous swag, and the knowledge that whenever the words “Lunar Insignia” appear in the Lunar Chronicles, it’s referring to your design!
The Marissa’s Choice Winner will receive a signed ARC of CRESS, one signed UK edition of Scarlet, and miscellaneous swag.
ALL Finalists will receive a signed UK edition of Scarlet and miscellaneous swag.
That’s it! Have fun and good luck!
IT’S OFFICIAL!! The Heartless sale was announced in PW today. Here it is:
Feiwel Re-ups Meyer
For Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends imprint, Jean Feiwel and Liz Szabla took world English rights to two new YA novels by bestseller Marissa Meyer (the Lunar Chronicles series) from agent Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary. The first book in the deal, Heartless, set for fall 2015, will be a prequel to Alice in Wonderland and, per the publisher, will deliver the “untold story” of the Queen of Hearts. The second book is set for fall 2016.
In the interest of sharing the behind-the-scenes life of a writer (which I guess is kind of the mission statement for this blog?), I thought I’d break down the process for selling my first non-Lunar Chronicles title.
1. July 2012: Pitching ideas to my agent.
When I realized that I was far enough ahead on my deadlines for Cress and Winter and that I wanted to use NaNoWriMo to draft something brand new, the first thing I did was talk to my agent about some ideas I was excited about. I pitched her three ideas that I’d been toying with, and we both agreed that Heartless was the one to focus on (largely because it was the one I was most excited for). I drafted up a quick “query” for her to take to my publisher.
2. July 2012 cont.: Agent and editor discuss.
With a two-paragraph summary in hand, my agent pitched the idea to my editor and publisher. Hallelujah – they loved it! Although they wanted to wait to negotiate a contract until we had a full year of sales information on Cinder, I was given the green light to start working on Heartless with confidence that it would be picked up for publication.
3. November 2012: I wrote the first draft.
NaNoWriMo, woot! End word count: 67,259.
4. January 2013: On submission.
Come January, it was time for my agent to approach my publisher again and start the negotiating process. In preparation, I cleaned up the first 50 pages of the draft I’d written during NaNo, making it as squeaky-clean as I could, and also wrote a six-page synopsis. Then my agent worked her magic, and . . .
5. February 2013: Sold!
My publisher made an offer for Heartless and one to-be-determined title, and we accepted with cheers and champagne toasting! I love Feiwel & Friends and everyone at Macmillan Children’s, so I’m beyond thrilled that I get to keep working with them.
6. June 2013: Signing the contract.
A whole five months later the contract arrived. (I don’t know why they take so long, but this is not uncommon.)
7. September 2013: FINALLY – the deal is announced!
My publisher wanted to be strategic with the announcement, tying it in with the Fierce Reads tour and the building publicity for Cress, not to mention this new Once Upon a Time in Wonderland show that’ll be starting up soon. Smart cookies, those publishing folks!
So that’s how it all went down. Now to have a mad tea party to celebrate!
If you weren’t on Twitter tonight you may not know that I got to announce some BIG NEWS at the first Fierce Reads event: My new book deal has been announced!
Teaser summary: A prequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” HEARTLESS will tell the tale of how a marquis’s teenage daughter became the infamous Queen of Hearts. It will be a story of whimsy and madness, passion and tragedy, ravens and writing desks.
I’ll post the “official” Publisher’s Weekly deal announcement when I have it. Until then . . . have some Q&A:
Is this the Super Secret Nano Project of 2012?
Yes! Yes it is! Here, have some 10-month-old and no-longer-entirely-accurate statistics: http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/secret-nano-project-stats/
When will it be released?
HEARTLESS is tentatively scheduled to release in the fall of 2015 – after WINTER.
Where did you get the idea?
I absolutely loved Wicked by Gregory Maguire – both the book and the musical. A few years ago, right after Cinder sold, I was having lunch with my agent and talking about fairy tale retellings. I brought up Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and mentioned that I thought it would be awesome of Mr. Maguire told the story of the Queen of Hearts. My foreign rights agent—smart cookie that she is—said, “Well, why don’t you write it?”
And I thought, Challenge Accepted.
Will it be a stand-alone or the start of a series?
Right now I’m pretty sure it will only be a stand-alone, although I’m trying to keep my mind open for possible companion titles in the future. That said, the book that will follow HEARTLESS, for which I have a few ideas, will almost certainly kick off a new series.
Do you have a Pinterest inspiration board?
Oh good heavens, do I ever! http://www.pinterest.com/marissameyer22/heartless/
Will the book include other beloved Wonderland characters?
Absolutely, but I can’t tell you who, or what role they’ll play. That said, the fore-mentioned Pinterest board gives a few hints.
What is the queen’s name?
Miss Catherine Cordula, daughter of the Marquis of Rock Turtle Cove. (Subject to change.)
Have you ever cosplayed the Queen of Hearts?
Yes! Yes I have! In college I dressed up as the Queen for a Halloween group costume contest. (Hint: We won. Bam.) I’ll try to find a picture when I get home from tour.
Does your Mom collect “Alice in Wonderland” stuff and have an honest-to-goodness “Alice in Wonderland” Christmas tree every year?
Why, as a matter of fact, she does! (See where I get it from?) I’ll try to get pictures of that too.
Anything else to add?
I’m crazy-mad about this story, you guys, and cannot wait for you to read it! *squishes all the readers*
By popular request, I’ve decided this next giveaway for a signed ARC of CRESS will not be creativity-based. Rather, this is going to be just about the easiest contest to enter OF ALL TIME.
Of course, that just means more competition. But you guys asked for it!
For your chance to win an advance copy of CRESS, you can:
1. Subscribe to my newsletter: http://www.marissameyer.com/connect
If you’re already subscribed – you’re already entered!
2. Become a fan of the Marissa Meyer Facebook Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/marissameyerauthor
If you’re already a fan – you’re already entered!
3. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/marissa_meyer
If you already follow me – you’re already entered!
And that’s it! I will select one winner from each network, so triple your chances by subscribing, friending, and following all three!
Winners will be announced and contacted the first week of October.
The next creativity contest (which I am SUPER excited for!) will be announced the first week of October and run through the end of the month. Stay tuned, artsy folks!