Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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This one is special. This one is really special. It’s been on my mind since I read it a while back, and honestly? I can’t stop shouting about it. With a second tale in the Wayward Children universe about to hit the bookstores, this is the perfect moment to catch up on this fantastic award-winning novella by Seanan McGuire.

So, what’s so great about Every Heart a Doorway? To start with, the premise is fabulous (especially for those of us who grew up reading Narnia, and Alice in Wonderland, and all the other portal fantasies out there): what happens to the children who find the gateways from our world into other places when their part in the story is over? When the book ends, and these children go tumbling back to their own world, what then?

That not all these world-hopping travellers would be happy to return makes a lot of sense. That many of them might feel lost, estranged in the world they were born to, their stories dismissed as flights of fancy or hallucinations of a troubled mind, is a leap of logic. For the lucky ones among them, this might mean an invitation to study at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children – outwardly a school dedicated to rehabilitating troubled teens, but in fact a safe haven for travellers like Miss West herself, who long for nothing more than to return to the strange lands they journeyed to.

New girl Nancy is one of these children who have returned. She’s not happy about it, but at least in Eleanor West’s school she’s surrounded by others who understand her yearning for the magical land she lost. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Nancy’s arrival, she and her fellow students have to face the length and depth a person would go to in order to get to their deepest desire.

Every Heart a Doorway is a beautifully layered tale. We have, at surface level, a murder mystery set in a school. We have Nancy’s story, of trying and failing to fit in. And then we have wider ripples that touch many of her fellow students: the struggle to hold onto a newly acquired identity that does not match the neat little box that family and society has attempted to fit them into.

This is the heart of the novella – identity. Finding out who you truly are, despite what those you grew up with might say, and learning to reshape yourself and the world around you to fit this new identity, even if those who are supposed to love you best refuse to accept it. The child who would rather be a scientist than a princess; the assexual child who keeps getting pressured to date; the child who refuses the serious, responsible role she’s given; the transgender child. All those who keep getting forced into the wrong skin, so to speak, until they travel to a different world and have a chance to find out who they really want to be.

This is a truly lovely story of discovery, and refusal to submit, and the search for acceptance. It’s dark and unsettling at times, but that’s as should be, and it’s definitely going on my list of favorites. I can’t wait for the next book, Down Among the Sticks and Bones!

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones will be released by Tor.com on June 13th, 2017.

Read For Pixels 2017 – International Women’s Day Edition

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The Pixel Project’s ‘Read For Pixels’ (International Women’s Day Edition) is still going strong. The non-profit has reached its initial target of U$5,000 in donations, and they are hoping to hit their stretch goal of U$10,000.

The Pixel Project gathers funds and raises awareness to help end violence against women around the world. Their twice-yearly Read For Pixels campaign has online hangouts with top authors, as well as books and other prizes that you can claim as ‘perks’ with your donation.

My novel Heart Blade is in one of the donation bundles, along with 1st Edition hardcovers from bestselling YA Fantasy authors Kimberly Derting (The Taking) and Alyson Noel (Unrivalled). Last time I checked, there was only one of these bundles left! There are many other donation perks, though, like books by Kendare Blake and Karen Rose.

Check out the campaign page here.

Also, keep an eye out for the Gaming For Pixels Spring Slam 2017, a 48-hour gaming marathon fundraiser to take place on April 7th-9th. More information here.

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Interviews!

I was interviewed by the awesome Gwendolyn Kiste about Heart Blade and writing. Interviews are so much fun, and I had a blast answering this one.

Check it out

And if you’d like to see other interviews, you can click here for my press page.

Note: If you’re a blogger or reviewer and are interested in Heart Blade, I’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch through my contact page.

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Just for fun: Lego Alex, Ash, Del and Camille. 

What’s Your Character Watching?

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Someone asked me what my Heart Blade character Alex’s favorite TV show would be, and I immediately answered Star Wars Rebels. Because clearly when you’re an immortal vampire knight who’s taken a vow to never drink blood you’re going to be all about the Jedi, right?

Of course, I immediately thought, “Blog post!” So here it is: what shows all the Heart Blade characters like to watch.

Alex is a Star Wars Rebels fan. Kanan Jarrus is his favorite character. He’s also partial to Arrow and The Flash. He once met Stephen Amell at a convention and has the photo to prove it.

Camille loves sports. She’s a Packers fan and never misses a NHL game, especially if the Canadiens are playing. She owns all seasons of Gilmore Girls on DVD and has been known to quote lines from the show.

Diana likes to escape into Once Upon a Time. She’s also a Glee fan and has all the show songs on her playlist. She plays them loud to drown out the memory of her victims’ screams.

Rose never misses an episode of Supernatural. She’s cooled down on the show a little now she knows demons and vampires actually exist, but she can’t stay away from Sam, Dean, and Cas.

Ash loves Agents of SHIELD. He’s hoping they bring Bobbi back. She reminds him of his mom. He thought Agent Carter was really cool and doesn’t get why the network cancelled it.

Del will watch everything and anything. She’s fascinated by human TV shows and feels that with her memory loss she has a lot to make up for. One of her favorite characters is Arya Stark from Game of Thrones.

Jude always tells everyone that TV shows are a waste of time. But secretly he DVRs all the Reign episodes and then marathons them all at one go over a weekend with masses of pizza and junk food.

Dan likes The Walking Dead, even though Alex teases him mercilessly about it. He feels there is something marvelously simple about a world where all humans have to fear are zombies and each other.

Deacon says he only watches sports. But anyone who frequents his house knows he always has one of those home improvement or real estate shows on in the background. He’s mildly obsessed with Tiny House Nation.

What TV shows would your favorite characters watch? Let me know in the comments!

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Release Day Fun

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Online launch party, in style.

Yesterday was release day for Heart Blade! I’m thrilled that I can finally share the first Blade Hunt Chronicles book with everyone.

Since I have friends and family members scattered around the world, I opted for an online launch party. I had a great time chatting about books, movies, weapon of choice, and – since it was Valentine’s Day – fave fictional romances.

There was also a scavenger hunt. I had so much fun checking out the entries. Some of them were incredibly creative! A few of my favorites:

A fairy cake for fairy (UK term; a cupcake or muffin in the US); a photo of a pet rat named Togepi for Pokemón; a bad breath microbe plush for villain; a dragon teapot for dragon (I want one!); a Darth Vader pepper shaker for villain; Wonder Woman’s invisible jet for spaceship; a board game rainbow and arrow-shaped pointer for bow and arrow; a Tardis for spaceship; a Monty Python’s Holy Grail DVD for chalice.

Besides several knights, entries for the warrior list item included Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Lurtz from Lord of the Rings, San from Princess Mononoke, and a Kachina warrior.

(The full list of scavenger items is at the bottom of the post, if you’re interested*)

As a release day bonus, I set up a quiz. (I love quizzes!) If you want to find out which Blade Hunt preternatural you are (vampire, pixie, witch, etc), take the quiz here. (Redirects to qzzr.com)

Some of the photos from the scavenger hunt:

 

And here is my own ‘entry’ which I put together just to prove it could be done. (And as an excuse  to wear a panda hat…)

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Thank you to everyone who showed up, and to those who joined the hunt!

 

*Here’s the scavenger hunt item list: 

a panda
an angel
something purple
a sword
a heart
a unicorn
a magic wand
maple syrup
a dragon
a copy of The Lord of the Rings
a feather
a Pokemón
something relating to King Arthur
chamomile tea
a map (bonus point if a map of Connecticut)
a sports trophy
a warrior
a message in a bottle
a chalice
a flag
a glass of something pink
a bow
an arrow
a Lego mini-figure
a pick-up truck
a fairy
a spaceship
a dinosaur
a villain
a llama