Five Good Things {No. 10}

·I finished writing the Mechanica sequel, and I sent it to my editor a whole hour and seven minutes before my deadline! In the process I suffered a little, wore the same clothes too many days in the row, and took advantage of my spouse’s willingness to do both our shares of housework for a long while. I am hugely relieved to have it done, and hugely excited to get to edits (a way more enjoyable part of the process for me than drafting).

·In related news, and after a lot of brainstorming and debate, that book has a title now: Venturess. I would love to show you the cover (I haven’t seen it yet myself!) but for now, check out my pin board/procrastination central:

Follow Betsy’s board VENTURESS on Pinterest.

·We also had some new arrivals to the house in March: four little goat kids, each of them cuter than the last. Our first-time mothers Nuala and Nell both had healthy twins, and they are already rampaging all over the yard like tiny hellions.


·Since I’m a twenty-seven-year-old, six-foot-tall little old lady, I’m training to walk a marathon. I hate running, but I love long walks, I want to get a bit stronger, and I have a little more time on my hands now that my book is turned in! Yesterday I walked through the ruins of a grand old Big House that got ransacked during the Rising, and then through the lushest old Irish forest I could imagine, and I fell in love with the place where I live all over again.

·The Parabola Podcast is going swimmingly, and I posted the third episode, “The Divine Feminine,” last Friday. Please give it a listen and subscribe on iTunes!

PARABOLA Podcast: Goodness

Happy March! I have exactly one month from today to get my Mechanica sequel manuscript off to my editor (eek and hurray), so this post will be short. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve started a podcast for Parabola, and a new episode will appear on the first of every month. This month’s episode looks back at Parabola’s “Goodness” issue from 2014, and while I don’t feature my own essay from the issue (not being qui-ite that egotistical, even though it’s close) there are lots of other wonderful things to be found here.

Give us a listen:

You can also subscribe on iTunes, for which I would be eternally grateful.

Back to drafting and procrastinating . . .

Five Good Things {No. 9}

We Are In Space

·Dallas Clayton‘s doodle wisdom lights up my social media.

·I’m on track to meet my deadlines for the Mechanica sequels. That doesn’t sound glamorous, but it’s good and important. I sleep very well at night when I get my word counts done.

·Mechanica made the 2016 Amelia Bloomer Project list of recommended feminist literature for young readers. I am super delighted about that, and Nicolette is in really wonderful company. Do check out the rest of the list!

·Eleven-year-old Marley Dias has started a book drive to gather 1000 books with black girl protagonists, since she’s “sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” and she is my new hero.

·I dance on Moffat’s sexist Doctor Who grave.

Mechanica II & The Forest Queen

OK. Yes. OK.


Deep breath.


I have been secreting this news away for a little while (mostly), and I can finally share it with you. From Publishers Marketplace today:

Betsy Cornwell’s two companion novels to MECHANICA, the first following an inventor and her friends to the war-torn nation of Faerie, where they uncover heartbreaking secrets and struggle to stay together as their loyalties shift, for publication in spring 2017, and the second pitched as a feminist retelling of Robin Hood to follow in 2018, again to Lynne Polvino at Clarion, by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger (world English).

Nick, Fin, and Caro (and Jules, who seems to be everyone’s favorite, mine included) are coming back! I am writing madly to meet my deadlines right now.

And Nick and Fin’s favorite story, that one about Caro’s great-great-whatever-grandma, is coming to you, and hopefully your bookshelf, and more hopefully your heart, in 2018.

Two more book babies. They are unruly and wonderful and I love them already.

I am so very happy, and I hope you are too.

(Nick & Jules art from the always and ever incredible Laya Rose)

Five Good Things {No. 8}

·American Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and this is the fourth year that I’ve spent it in Ireland. That seems super weird, but yep: in 2012 I was travelling in Dublin, and for the last two years Richie and I have had lovely quiet newlywed Thanksgivings together. Tomorrow I’m actually having a couple of people over (literally two people, but still), and I’m excited to introduce them to the good American traditions of thankfulness and excess.

·Chani Nicholas has my loyal readership for lots of reasons. Her post today resonated with me hugely:

Sometimes not having a relationship with our family of origin is a great relief.

And a great loss.

And both. Sometimes there are no neat and tidy answers to living a human life. If you are in America or an American abroad, this time of year can amplify all of those feelings, with this hard hitting full moon the week of a major national holiday . . .

Read the rest, for real.

·This little sea witch saint is presiding over my office cork board. I like her and she’s reminding me how much I used to like drawing (especially drawing naked ladies, which is a weirdly potent way to feel better about my own body). Drawing and knitting are two non-writing creative outlets I’ve been drawn back to lately. And speaking of knitting . . .


·I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin with my friend Joan last week. As soon as we walked into the venue we were in fiber heaven. My heart! Hundreds of booths full of yarn and fabric and looms and sewing machines and tapestries and notions (and arthritis aids and magnifying glass/lamp hybrids, because let’s be real, they know their target audience), and a breathtaking fiber art gallery. It was glorious. (Check out Kate’s Plaice: The Stitchmongers above, and make sure to click for more photos.)

·Some remarkable wisdom from goddess Lauryn Hill.

#NaNoWriMo: You’re Tougher Than Your Book

[I’m a municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo this year! This is the week two pep talk I sent to my region.]


My dear, lovely Galway wrimos,

We’re here, in double-digit NaNo days! We’re a third of the way there! Pause for a mini dance party in celebration!

But hey, I know, we’re also deep in the throes of week two. Week two always reminds me of the Doldrums from The Phantom Tollbooth (that completely brilliant children’s novel about the imagination that, if you haven’t read it, ohmygodpleasedoit’ssogreat). That momentum and excitement you had at the beginning of the month might be wearing off, and you might find your novel-car puttering to a slow plod through an uninspiring forest, or even stopping altogether. It’s hard to see the top of that 50,000-word mountain from here. You might be falling out of that first blush of story love you felt a week or so ago.

(OK, was that enough mixed depressing metaphors for you yet?)

Yes, writing a novel is hard, and at some point finishing that draft always seems impossible, whether you’re trying to do it in one month or one lifetime. BUT. I want to tell you this right now:

No book is important enough to beat you.

I suffered horribly and anxiously over writing my third book, far more so than either of the previous ones, for all sorts of reasons: it was the first book I was drafting under contract, it was a sequel, I was going through all sorts of those personal crises that seem to wait to strike until creativity does. I felt so much anxiety about that stupid book that I avoided it with a passion, for so long that I turned it in to my editor painfully late. Like, I won’t even tell you how late it was. I can’t. It’s too embarrassing.

But I finished it. Late, imperfect, miles short of the masterwork I wanted it to be–I still finished that book. And when I sent it to my editor, the relief that washed over me was so unbelievably huge. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, even as I sat with the knowledge that the manuscript wasn’t nearly as “good” as I’d hoped it would be. It was done. I’d written the book I’d genuinely thought was impossible.

What made me finish it at last was exactly that knowledge that it wasn’t great. Because it wasn’t that dreamed-of masterpiece, well . . . I certainly wasn’t going to let some not great book beat me. If my book wanted to be bad, fine–I wanted it to be finished.

And I won.

This draft you’re heroically typing, this NaNoWriMo monster that’s entrancing and betraying you by turns–it’s not tougher than you. It’s not important enough to beat you. No book is. No book, ever, is.

I know week two can be tough. But every time you hit the keyboard, you get one word closer to showing your novel who’s boss.

And you get closer to week three. Which, trust, is way more fun.

You’re tougher than your book. Go prove it.

Love, Betsy