GEARBREAKERS NEWS: Cover and Preorder Links Are Live!

Via Fiercereads.com:

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received will always be “write for yourself.” I love mechas and tattoos and cyberpunk tech and cyberpunk girls and girls loving girls and I put it all into Gearbreakers, and I absolutely adore it. I tell you without shame that I am ridiculously entertained by my own story. It has a lot of action and kids with a lot of heart. The world’s trying to crush them constantly (read: mechanical deities puppeteered by a power-hungry nation, etc), but they have each other, and that’s a lot to fight for. That’s everything.

The cover is now live – where do I even get started? The girls look amazing, and terrifying, and ready to take down a deity or two. Sona’s sword and cyborg eye, Eris’s cryogloves and signature welding goggles—it is with the greatest affection that I recognize the sheer amount of detail Taj Francis, the wonderful artist, put into this glorious piece. I cannot accurately describe the degree of excitement and love I have for seeing two Asian girls on the cover of a YA science fiction novel—and on a personal note, seeing Sona, who is half-white and half-Korean like I am, quite literally made me burst into tears of joy.

Also, of course, the mecha in the background needs to be acknowledged. It gives me heart palpitations. The entire cover gives me heart palpitations. Everything down to the font is so incredibly metal. I dig it immensely, and it captures the spirit of Gearbreakers perfectly.

Art by Taj Francis

Designed by Mike Burroughs

Gearbreakers is now available for preorder! More to come!

Amazon

IndieBound

Indigo

Book Depository

SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN – BOOK REVIEW

★★★★
“It’s so easy to destroy. It’s cheap and lazy and small.”

I had the privilege of grabbing an eARC of SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN by Wendy Heard, a YA thriller with POVs from two queer girls: Veronica, a photographer with ties to the the more criminal side of the art scene, and Mick, a swimmer dealing with a horrible home life and an anxiety that follows her everywhere – your local teenage girl getting pushed a little close to the edge (and I’m digging it). This is a startling and intense debut: fiery girls, chaotic, destructive art, and strong character arcs (which I think is most important of all). The unapologetic queer rep in this book is unmatched – Veronica and Mick’s relationship starts off within the first few chapters and the story is spent exploring their already-established romance, in a way that felt viciously realistic given their heightened circumstances. Their banter and the occasional attached *screeches* sexual tension felt extremely natural given the girls’ ages – it had me blushing, in some parts, but also giggling to myself (Veronica’s speech patterns are the Absolute Best, and a little scary).

The intensity of the girls’ relationship paired with the intensity of the plot makes SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN absolutely engrossing. The story took a MUCH darker turn than I had anticipated and I devoured it like a guilty pleasure. The title can be taken at face-value but I found the story prompting a further analysis of its meaning (which I adore): what parts of ourselves scare us, thrills us, ignites us – what parts of ourselves are good for ourselves, and what parts are destructive? SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN plays with a darker concept that, sometimes, they are one in the same.

COUNTING DOWN WITH YOU – Book Review

★★★★★

I had the absolute privilege of reading Tashie Bhuiyan’s YA Contemporary debut, Counting Down With You. The story follows Karina Ahmed, “a reserved Bangladeshi teenager who has 28 days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy” (via Goodreads.com).

Tashie already really got me with that fake dating trope, but paired with the #OwnVoices anxiety rep, the truly authentic Gen Z dialogue, and just the general wholesomeness of Ace Clyde, I can say without a doubt that I enjoyed every moment of CDWY.

I think there is a lot to be said about the stories that carry on with a tone of consistent hope. They are essential to this world because of the heart that they contain and give to the readers with what can only be described as great affection. CDWY is one of these stories. Karina is a human character—duh, right? Well, no, actually—what I mean by this is that she is written with a carefulness that makes her feel immensely, palpably real. I was completely immersed in her first-person perspective; it’s very rare for me to ache when a character aches—dare I say, to yearn when a character yearns—but this was my persistent experience in CDWY. I also quickly developed a great admiration and excitement for the other characters, Dadu, Samir, Nandini, Cora, and OF COURSE, The Ace Clyde. Though the latter is the love interest (and very suited to the task), I fell a little bit in love with all the characters by the book’s end—Karina, especially. Her arc through her anxiety and her parents’ expectations weighed against her absolutely enormous heart was one that enchanted me entirely.

Tashie has written something wonderful here. I could tell by her words how much affection she has for her story, and I couldn’t really help but feel the same way. CDWY is a love story in more ways than one. I truly cannot wait to see it on shelves.

Goodreads

Author Twitter

Author Website

(To be updated soon with B&N/Retailer Links)

 

I’m Writing GEARBREAKERS 2! First Drafts Are Sometimes Debilitating!

It’s only a first draft.

Summer passes lazily. I like having my coffee (with lots of cream and sugar) on my thigh when I write, like the perfect picture of productivity, and it’s getting a little easier. I admit I went through a lull with new words for the better part of this year, even when I was between edit rounds with GEARBREAKERS, so joy for my own advice working—anything a day is a day I wrote, and then, and then, it’s getting better all the time. I’m getting better all the time, I think. I don’t feel as stuck. Even when I do feel stuck I’m still going; I’m trying to be less of a perfectionist.

It’s only a first draft. It’s word vomit sometimes and a sickly, sorry sentence here and there and I don’t have to fix it right now.

I feel like that’s a difficult concept for me. Potentially it stems from the timed essays from high schools, this many words in this slice of your day, worth fifteen percent of your grade. Potentially some part of me says “However if you make it perfect now and it won’t stress you out later”—listen, who invited you, it’s stressing me out now, and for why, and for what purpose?

It’s only a first draft. It means I’ve only just started and I have a ton of work ahead of me, but I can take that to be comforting, if I stop taking myself so seriously.

Update!/Premature Burials

I have not posted in a hot WHILE but I’ll just put that in a nice little box on the shelf and then get going again.

I am currently back in my hometown, working on the first draft of the Gearbreakers sequel. I have so much time to read now which is kind of glorious, so I’ll be posting book reviews, too, because wHy NoT. Reading makes me feel like I’m not suffocating too much in the house, and it feels like I’m growing myself by doing it. It’s summer, and I’m planting flower seeds in the backyard, and reading feels like the same kind of principle, except the seeds and the soil and the sun didn’t feel a Sinkhole of Complete Desolation appear in their chest at the end of The Dragon Republic.

Diverting, now—a short while ago was Edgar Allan Poe week in my Gothic literature class. Poe had a slight obsession with premature burials, which led the lecture to the historical source of this fear. The nineteenth century saw the first instances of death being medicalized, that is, when people began to die in hospitals rather than in the home, surrounded by the family. Doctors determined when people were deceased; undertakers prepared the dead—roles that were once held by the family, who, in these new circumstances, experienced a lack of control over this already terrifying aspect of the human experience. They in turn feared that medical professionals wouldn’t take as much care and attention of the patient as they, as family members, would themselves, and thus emerged the fear of live burial.

The newness of this fear is what startled me. Today, this fear is widely-recognized (if not possessed), and it stems directly from a period of technological advancement in our society. (Learning about worldbuilding from the real world?) So here’s the bare takeaway (/formula?):

[advancement] = [resultant removal of some kind of intimate agency] = [wider fear stemming from this removal]

Then it does come into question if the fear of [something] stems from the loss of control of [something]. I’m not sure about the psychological backings of this (do I want to do that to myself), but the bottom line, I think, is that the fear you put into your works should have a world-specific cultural backing. This may seem like an obvious factor, but it’s the difference between having the world you’re building exist simply in the story you’re telling, versus having the world be exist in your story and before it, and following it.