VENTURESS Roundup

Venturess has been out for twenty-four whole days! I should have said something about it here ages ago! But . . . ah . . . this happened:

Since April, I’ve been even more than usually scatterbrained. I thought labor would be hard, but lemme tell you, sleep deprivation is way worse . . .

So, in lieu of all the posts and street-teaming and fanfare I should have been doing for Venturess over the last few months, please enjoy this handy roundup of all sorts of links and goodness, and share my hope that I’ll be more on top of things when The Forest Queen comes out next August (because as of this writing, that book is the only Irish twin I’m expecting).

Praise for Venturess:

a Kirkus star!

• Amazon Editor’s Pick for the best young adult books of August

• glowing reviews from SLJ, Booklist, and more

Blog Tour:

• Interview with Two Chicks On Books

• Guest post on Bookhounds: my ten favorite books

• Q&A with The Book Nut

• Guest post on Novel Novice: creating the Venturess cover

• Interview with YA Book Madness

Other Goodies:

• LGBTQ Reads guest post on polyamory

• Venturess excerpt on HMH Teen

• My writing soundtrack

VENTURESS: Cover Reveal and Soundtrack

The Venturess cover is finally here! The full HQ reveal plus an interview and giveaway are on Hypable now.

As a special bonus, you can listen to some highlights from my Venturess writing playlist, which has been filling the house incessantly for the last six months. I put a lot of stock in my mood music, and it might give you a few vague hints about the book itself. (No spoilers, though, obviously. It’s just music.)

VENTURESS from cornwelle on 8tracks Radio.

Sister God

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I recently wrote about my journey from teenage born-again Christian to young adult agnostic witch for the new issue of PARABOLA, The Divine Feminine. That essay, “Sister God,” is now available online at parabola.org. Read an excerpt here:

. . . When I was thirteen, I even became what’s called a born-again Christian. I said a fervent and sincere prayer, acknowledging that I was a sinner (that much had always been obvious, the shame only building after those early nightmares and the nameless memories that inspired them) and accepting the lord Jesus into my heart as my one and only savior. My relationship with Jesus felt very personal. I would often talk to Him in my head as I walked from my boarding school dormitory to morning classes, telling Him my daily worries and thanking Him whenever I saw a particularly beautiful sunset or tree.

But then I got kicked out of boarding school and sent back to the parental home that still held for me that nameless fear. The therapist I’d worked with at school had looked at me piercingly and told me to be careful back there, to try to find school activities and summer jobs that kept me out of the house as much as possible. I couldn’t ask her why, but I didn’t need to; I knew she was right.

I’d never felt more like a bad person, like exactly the kind of sinner that needed a Christian God’s love and redemption, than the year I left boarding school; but that year was also when my faith began to fail me.

At first I thought it must be my fault, that I hadn’t yet been really “born again” after all. So I repeated my saving prayer, the one that was supposed to transform my heart, several times over in the coming months. Every time I searched my soul for some seed of hope, some hint of redemption, and I was convinced that the sameness I felt was all my fault, not God’s. That I simply hadn’t followed the rules closely enough.

But slowly my pact with God dissolved, and I became untethered.

My journey toward a self-styled paganism has been so gradual and fluid that at times it doesn’t seem like a journey at all, and it is still not easily bounded or defined. I feel increasingly drawn toward the kind of intersectional, open-ended spirituality that my mother would call noncommittal, wishy-washy, or even cowardly, as she described our Unitarian neighbors.The path to my current understanding of my faith is much less clear. It is a tidal cycle, an edgeless movement in and out of ideas, traditions, understandings. Sometimes I call myself a pagan, sometimes agnostic, usually a witch. My husband and I were handfasted by a Celtic druid; I loved the ceremony. I say a prayer and light a candle for the triple goddess at each turning point of the year.

A faith that is fluid, boundless, changing, cyclical, open: this is a faith that one might call feminine.

Read the rest

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.

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·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!

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.

Yay!

Deep breath.

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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)

#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.]

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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