A Very Grisha Giveaway

We know how much Grisha swag excites us all, so check out this great new giveaway from Fangirl Feeels!

They’re giving away a SIGNED First Army poster as well as a Hebel Designs Etheralki Leather Cuff and Pins.

grisha

Click here to enter Fangirl Feeels’ Rafflecopter giveaway!

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Enter to win a Paperback edition of SHADOW AND BONE with a Hardcover edition of SIEGE AND STORM

In our recent Fandom Hangout that took place earlier today from 7:30pm to 9:30pm Eastern Time, we announced a bunch of book giveaways that we have to officially launch most of our new fandom sites, including this site, Shadow and Bone.

Now’s your chance to enter to win a paperback copy of the first book of the trilogy, Shadow and Bone, along with a hardcover copy of the sequel that was just released on June 4th, Siege and Storm.  Just click on the image below or on the sidebar to enter!

You can watch our Hangout below to see what else we talked about, including other giveaways!

Join Us Tonight for The Fandom Hangout, Episode II

thefandomlogo-googlehangout-2

Today, starting at 7:30pm Eastern Time/4:30pm Pacific Time, TheFandom.net is going to be hosting another Google Hangout!  If you missed our very first episode, don’t worry, you wouldn’t have needed to see it before watching this one to understand what’s going on.

But you certainly won’t want to miss tonight’s hangout, because we’ll be announcing some cool giveaways to help officially launch the new sites that have been basically transferred from tfgeekgirl.com to their own fandom!

We’ll be announcing the prizes and how you can enter each one as well as some news from our various fandoms.

Then we’ll get into discussing what’s going on in some of our busy fandoms, including movie news for some (Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Mortal Instruments, Ender’s Game, Percy Jackson) as well as TV and book news for others (Harry Potter, Delirium, Game of Thrones).

And we’re going to talk about some events that are or will be taking place in the very near future, so we hope you can join us tonight at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT.

Look for our tweet for the YouTube link by following @fandomnet, or go to The Fandom’s YouTube channel.

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #16 – Final Stop!

On Leigh Bardugo‘s sixteenth and final stop in her Siege and Storm blog tour, she shares where and how she gets into “writing mode.”

Phase 1: Drafting

I work with an outline, but the outline has to start somewhere too. I begin with a series of beats or scenes that I know will be in the book, then I begin to fill in the blanks between them—sometimes I just ask questions: How do they get from A to B? What is the significance of X? I start with a single page that has twelve distinct moments, then the process of creating a first draft is just a matter of expanding from those initial story beats.

For me, the trick of drafting is momentum. I literally try to type as quickly as I can. When I get stuck I just write questions or problems into the draft and move on to the next thing. The goal is to get the story and the flaws in the story onto the page and out of my head. During this phase, I need noise and company. Otherwise, the scope of what I’m trying to do just feels overwhelming.

cafeshot

One of my favorite Los Angeles cafés

I have two favorite cafes where I like to work. One has fantastic music and even better food. The other has neither, but it’s just a few blocks from my house and there are outlets at practically every table. (The latter is also where I saw Nathan Fillion, so I can’t help but feel it has its own magic—not that I got anything done that day.)

I’ll often try to meet a friend for what we call “Friendly Surveillance.” We try to keep each other off the internet and will even hide each other’s cell phones.

Tools of the Trade:

Every time I start a new book or a major revision, I buy a three-subject notebook in a different color.

I'm officially running out of colors.

I’m officially running out of colors.

Noise-cancelling headphones. Sometimes the noise or the bad music are just too much, so I’ll put on my headphones and either set them to cancel or actually listen to music. For my Siege and Storm work mix, you can check out that on Novel SoundsHERE!

Also, there’s a program called Mac Freedom that I can’t do without. It shuts down the internet for up to 8 hours so even if you want to log on, you can’t. My third book would not have gotten written without this. Actually, this blog post wouldn’t have gotten written without it.

Drink of choice: Skim latte

Food of choice: Fish tacos

Snack of choice: Wasabi peas

Phase 2: The Bunker

When the first (very rough) draft is done, I go into the bunker. This means I disappear into my house and I don’t leave. It’s also when I begin to break the book out into chapters. While I’m working on a given chapter, I always keep a “discards” file open at the same time. This helps me edit with impunity because I know that nothing is gone forever.

My writing assistant, Bertie

My writing assistant, Bertie

 

Unfortunately, she's a bit of a slacker

Unfortunately, she’s a bit of a slacker

Once the draft is starting to make sense and hold together, I focus on individual chapters. I read through a chapter on my laptop and make changes in the file. Then, I print it up and read it aloud with a red pen in hand and my notebook nearby so I can make changes and additions. At this point, the pages look like the work of a crazy person—all scrawls and arrows and numbered lists. Then it’s back to the laptop to transfer the changes to a new file, and then on to the next set of pages. Once I reach the end of the manuscript, I do it all over again, and then again, until I feel I’m ready to string the chapters back into a complete draft.

I have a system. Really.

I have a system. Really.

Final Read Throughs:

Now, hopefully, I have a real draft in my hands—one that feels almost ready to show to other people instead of weigh down with rocks and cast into the sea. I read through the manuscript in large sections, usually around 50 pages at a time, making notes and minor corrections. I read it all out loud.

The revisions chair. This is where I like to do my final read through. And yes, I do the voices.

The revisions chair. This is where I like to do my final read through. And yes, I do the voices.

Tools:

Whiteboard + two colors of marker: I wish I could have a whole office with walls that are whiteboards. It would be glorious. For now, I settle for one big whiteboard that I keep on my mantle. I’ve never gone to the trouble of hanging it because I like to carry it around the house. I’ve even taken it into the garden on occasion.

An actual shot of the first Siege and Storm whiteboard. Blurred and kept tiny to avoid too many spoilers.

An actual shot of the first Siege and Storm whiteboard. Blurred and kept tiny to avoid too many spoilers.

Drink of choice: I make this weird little concoction of powdered cocoa, coffee, and milk every morning.

Food: Whatever is in the house. Book 1 was bags of raw broccoli. Book 2 was all about seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s. Book 3 was dried pineapple. When I’m anxious (oh lawd, am I really going to confess this?), I’ll just sit there with a spoon and eat jam from a jar. Don’t you judge me.

This brings me to another part of my process: Days off. I’m learning to recognize the signs of burnout a lot better in myself. When I’ve finished a particularly grueling section, I’ll give myself a day or half day off. That means I don’t do anything but watch movies or catch up on tv shows and relax. I don’t go online and most importantly, I don’t feel guilty about it.

(via sixteenth blog tour stop: Monlight Book Reviews.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #15

On Leigh Bardugo‘s fifthteenth stop in her Siege and Storm blog tour, we get to know more about Sturmhond, Alina Starkov, and Botkin Yul-Erdene.  Sturmhond is a character that is introduced in book two, so he would be unfamiliar to you if you haven’t read the first five chapters, but he’s already attracted more than a handful of fans.  Let’s read more, shall we?

adrawlingSturmhond

(source: Ardawling)

Name: Sturmhond
Most Frequently found Wearing: A teal frock coat, leather breeches, and a brace of pistols
Line of Work: Privateer
Skills: Smuggling, arms trading, breaking blockades, making mayhem
Likes: Money, good wine, enthusiastic women
Dislikes: A fair fight
Inspired by: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, and someone too spoilery to mention.
Frequent Fancasts: He’s new to the scene, but Lee Pace, Colin O’Donoghue, Caleb Landry Jones

“My mother was an oyster and I’m the pearl.”

Leigh’s Comment: Sturmhond practically writes himself. Whereas most of my characters struggle with their motives and themselves, Sturmhond is pure confidence. He knows exactly who he is and exactly what he wants. It’s a pleasure to write that kind of clarity of intent.

ellieAlina

(source: Ellie)

Name: Alina Starkov
Most frequently found wearing: Blue and gold
Occupation: Former cartographer’s assistant in the First Army, Sun Summoner
Skills: Summoning and manipulating light, the Cut
Likes: Sweet rolls, time spent in the meadow
Dislikes: Herring
Inspired by: … hard to say. But I like to think there’s a little Emma Stone in there.
Frequent fancasts: Crystal Reed, Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Bolger

“I’m not the world changing type.”

Leigh’s Comment: People often ask if I’m like Alina. I’ve always felt like an outsider and we definitely share a similar sense of humor, but beyond that, we’re quite different. Alina is braver and more forthright than I could ever hope to be, and she’s simply had a much rougher time of it. It’s not always easy to see her fail or make a bad choice, or to watch her struggle with her own fear and doubts, but I like heroes who don’t always get it right, and I hope all the hell I put her through makes for a more interesting story.

eventhepartBotkin

(source: Kira)

Name: Botkin Yul-Erdene
Most Frequently found wearing: roughspun and something lethal
Line of Work: Combat instructor at the Little Palace
Skills: A trained mercenary, Botkin is deadly no matter which weapon he wields
Likes: Seeing progress in his students even if they have to suffer for it
Dislikes: Bullies
Inspired by: One of my grade school teachers who was also a former marine
Frequent Fancasts: Jason Momoa, Sifu Kisu, Clive Russell

“Steel is earned.”

Leigh’s Comment: Botkin is a Shu mercenary tasked with training Grisha in hand-to-hand combat. He’s tough on his students because they tend to rely too much on their powers, and drives them mercilessly in drills and sparring bouts. Though Botkin is gruff, he’s never cruel. He really is quite a bit like Mr. Lee, my fifth grade humanities teacher. He was a little terrifying and definitely hard to impress, but that made his praise all the more valued.

(via fifthteenth blog tour stop: Mundie Moms.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Darkness Never Dies” Totebags Go to First 25 At SIEGE AND STORM Launch Party

grisha-trilogy-toteHello summoners!  Leigh Bardugo just posted on her Facebook page a picture of these lovely “Darkness Never Dies” tote bags.  Apparently the first 25 people to arrive at the launch party that’s being held at Hemingway’s Lounge in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, June 3rd at 7pm.

I myself would love to go, but alas, work awaits my presence that evening, and that is, unfortunately, a necessary evil in my life.  Luckily for someone else, that’s one more chance to grab one of these cool swag items.

If you are like me and cannot attend the launch party, Leigh will be holding a tweetchat this Sunday at 3pm ET/12pm PT with the hashtag #siegeandstorm.  She’ll be giving one of the bags away during the chat, and apparently, the chat doesn’t have to be all about Grisha.

I know I’m supposed to talk Grisha Trilogy, but I’m also down to discuss Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Elementary and whatever else you can think of.

She knows good television!

 

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #11

On Leigh Bardugo‘s eleventh stop in her blog tour, she gives her reasoning for and how the song “Winter Prayer” came about.  It’s a beautiful song that Leigh actually sung herself.  She did, after all, sing in a band in her pre-S&B days.

captainAutogursky

If you flip to the back of Shadow and Bone, you’ll see that my official bio claims I can sometimes be heard singing with my band, Captain Automatic. Unfortunately, it’s been a long while since we’ve rehearsed or played out at a club. This is a pic taken after one of my favorite shows we played at Safari Sam’s.

The club no longer exists, and since that photo was taken, two of the guys in it have become dads, one of them bought a house and started his own business. And the lady with the bad case of red-eye landed her dream job and wrote a fantasy trilogy.

>But I still miss music and I often find myself driving around making up songs. One of these became “Winter Prayer,” the song we released as part of the Siege and Storm pre-order campaign. Honestly, I was really scared to put it out there. But the song isn’t just something I made. It represents work from so many of my amazing friends, and I wanted to share it. So how did “Winter Prayer” go from me mumbling on my cell phone to an actual song?

1. The idea: I have a mind like a sieve. A sieve from a giant’s kitchen. So, when I get an idea—whether for a story or a song—I record it on my cell. A little over a year ago, I was trapped in traffic on the way back from dinner, playing around with a folk melody that was stuck in my head and thinking about a particular scene toward the end of Shadow and Bone. An idea for a lyric popped into my mind and I sang it into my phone. That became the first verse of the song and it never changed.

2. Though I’ve occasionally dabbled with bass, I have this problem wherein I don’t, y’know, practice. So I called up our lead guitarist (who can play something like twelve instruments) and I sang him the melody. He came over and I described the way I wanted the song to start slow, pick up speed, and wind back down all while keeping to this same repeated melody. We cobbled together a version of it on my upright piano and recorded it on my laptop.

3. The song didn’t feel like the right fit for Captain Automatic. I wanted a bigger, lusher, more orchestral feel. I reached out to my friend Aaron who is a composer and producer. (He and his wife had actually both been a part of the original Captain Automatic lineup.)  Once he was on board, I sent him the recording and a bunch of links to different musical references—everything from Florence + the Machine to Bulgarian folk songs. The first time he came back to me, the sound wasn’t quite right—too dirge-like, too dignified. I wanted something a little wilder, that felt like it could be sung around a campfire. On his next try, he got it just right. We went back and forth a few times, trying some different things with pacing and instrumentation, and had his wife Laura Recchi step in to record temporary vocals. “For me,” says Laura, “this song evokes a sense of place and imagery. I can see the snow, the light and shadows, and I feel the excitement and fear of the journey. I’m also a sucker for a good folk tune in a minor key.”

LauraAurora

Laura and her daughter Aurora rocking Tsarpunk style at the Shadow and Bone launch party. I look a little sinister. Like maybe I’m gonna steal that baby. Or her hat.

4. Once we had the basics down, Aaron brought in Richard Adkins on percussion. With the rhythm in place, it was time for me to do my part. We recorded at Aaron’s house and I have to admit it was stressful. I don’t have a lot of training and I’m keenly aware that I’m no Florence Welch. If I’m not flailing around on stage, I tend to get very self-conscious about my voice. But Laura and Aaron were endlessly patient and I got to record plenty of takes.

5. To fill out the sound, Aaron had his friend Daniel Fabiano improvise a part on violin, and Laura and her friend Belinda Wilkins became the choir. Yup, that’s just two ladies belting it out in Aaron’s living room. (They’re actually singing in Ravkan.)

Aaron emailed me the file and we went back and forth, playing with dynamics and ironing out some of the rough edges. Here’s what he had to say about the process:

“It’s always nice to work with someone who has a clear idea of what they are going for. All I had to do was fill in the ‘musical blanks,’ so to speak.

It also helped that Leigh and I used to perform together in a band, so I was familiar with her voice and her performance style. Although we tracked drums in a ‘real’ studio, we took the DIY approach of turning my living room into a mini soundstage to record marching/stomping, violins, and slavic choirs—all using the magic of multi-tracking. It was a lot of fun!”

For a while, I wasn’t sure what to do with the song so I just let it sit. Then I worked up the courage to send it to my agent and she passed it along to the publisher. A few weeks ago, my editor at Macmillan got in touch to ask if I’d be willing to have “Winter Prayer” used as part of the pre-order campaign. Like I said, it was scary to think about putting something this different out there, but I also hated the idea of just letting it molder. I spoke to Aaron and he suggested having a friend of his mix and master the track before we took it live.

7. Nik Freitas worked his magic at his studio, Poppy Peak:

“When I first got the recorded session of the song, I opened it up and scrolled down the screen and realized there were a lot more tracks than I thought! At first listen I could hear where the song wanted to go, I just needed to clear up some of the instrumentation with equalizer and put more emphasis on certain parts like the bass drum and lead vocal. Once that was sounding good sonically, the song’s emotional tone was more in focus and all the other instruments seemed to sit better and do what they needed to do in elevating all their parts. I’m really happy with how the song turned out.”

I like to think Nik is still trapped behind that piano.

We went back and forth a few times, but somehow, we all knew when the song was where we wanted it to be.

It can be easy to say we don’t have time for art or to do the things we love, that we’re simply too busy. But I believe my writing benefits when I take the time to be creative in other ways. Music has an immediacy to it that writing doesn’t. It’s there and then it’s gone and no two performances are ever alike. When I’m singing or playing, I’m not thinking about all the things I have to do or what is or isn’t working in a draft, I’m just in the moment. It’s less a distraction than a shift in focus, and sometimes it’s just where inspiration is hiding.
When I wrote “Winter Prayer” and recorded it, I really had no idea what I would use it for, if anything. But putting it together gave me a chance to make music and work with some of my wonderfully creative friends. No matter how crazy life gets, I never want to lose that.

(via ninth blog tour stop: Two Chicks on Books.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone and a Hardcover copy of the upcoming Siege and Storm!)