Interview at Riffle!

Riffle was kind enough to ask me some questions for their scifi/fantasy page.  Here’s a bit of the interview:

Describe your writing process—are you an outliner, or a pantser?

Both! I start off with a concept that fascinates me or a character who won’t leave me alone. Then I write until some sort of structure starts to suggest itself. Next, I outline on giant pieces of paper using flowcharts, diagrams, index cards, and colored pens. I need to do this on paper, rather than on the computer, because the physical action of writing everything down and moving it around stimulates the creative part of my brain.

Read more at RIFFLE!

Writing from the Wolf’s Eye (Nose) View at Novel Novice

Hi everyone!  I’m on Blog Tour.  I have a post on NOVEL NOVICE on writing from the wolf’s perspective.

Here’s a peek:

When I got the idea for The Wolf Chronicles, I knew that I wanted to tell the story of how the wolf became the dog from a wolf’s point of view, but had no idea how to do so. The challenge ended up being a blessing in disguise. Writing from a wolf’s perspective made me look at the world afresh, and pushed me to develop my writing voice. I couldn’t take anything for granted

Check out the full post at Novel Novice

An original story from The Wolf Chronicles on Wattpad

Hi everyone,

I’ve posted The Atonement of Clendru, a short story prequel to The Wolf Chronicles at Wattpad.

Here’s a bit of it.  Check out the whole story here.

In a cave, high on a mountain, a wolf awoke from a sleep three years long

He was larger than an ordinary wolf so large, in fact, that the muzzle of an ordinary wolf would come only to his shoulder and a raven could walk under his chest without bending.  He was so weary and heartbroken that it would have hurt any who might look upon him.

Clendru of the Greatwolves wondered if he was truly awake or still dreaming.  Then he felt the unaccustomed warmth in the air. He nuzzled his mate awake, cringing from the sadness in her eyes.

“The air is warm,” he said. He’d thought the winter would last forever.

Ilsdra raised her muzzle to the slight breeze, her nose twitching. “The Wide Valley,” she said, and she said it softly. Her tawny eyes met his.  “Are we forgiven?” she whispered.

One by one, the giant wolves who lay slumped throughout the cave awoke.  They stretched aching muscles and blinked years of sleep from their eyes.  Slowly, they began to recall why they had sought refuge in their cave, why sorrow haunted their dreams.  They remembered that they had made a promise they had not kept, and that the long, cold winter was their punishment.

Dog books I love for National Dog Day!

It’s National Dog Day and here akira stick 0721re some of my favorite dog books!

Nonfiction:

The Truth about Dogs, by Stephen Budiansky:  The first book I read about canine-human evolution.  A smart and funny look at our relationship to dogs.

Dogs Make Us Human, by Jeffery Moussaieff Masson, photos by Art Wolfe:  Gorgeous photos of dogs and their people from around the world, and Masson’s unique take on our relationship to non-human animals

The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas:  the first book I know of to see dogs as thinking beings.  I read this when I was young, and I know it planted seeds for “The Wolf Chronicles.”

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz: A cognitive scientist explains how dogs perceive their world, their daily lives, and the two-legged critters around them.

Fiction:

Paw and Order, by Spencer Quinn:  The latest installment of Spencer Quinn’s delightful Chet and Bernie mysteries, with Chet the dog taking on the bad guys.

Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones:  A favorite from my childhood about the Dogstar Sirius and his adventures as a dog on earth.  There’s an homage at the end of “Spirit of the Wolves.”

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein:  A beautiful tale of life and love from the dog’s point of view

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski:  Hamlet with dogs. Brilliant.

Stories, stories everywhere

They clamor for mspirit cover april 2014y attention and then go out to play with their friends, leaving me to do the dishes. One is a dystopia, one an urban fantasy, one a coming-of-age slice of life, one a middle-grade series inspired by a myth I didn’t know I remembered. There are seventy of them, though once I combine those with common themes and suspiciously similar protagonists, it’s down to only about 40.

What do you write after you’ve written a trilogy? I have lived in the world of the Wide Valley wolves for so long, it’s hard to imagine beginning afresh somewhere else. I’ve started over a couple of times in my life, so I know how to do it, but I’ve never had so many options before.

One day I love the urban fantasy. The next day, it mocks me as derivative, and the historical fiction re-telling taps me on the shoulder. Then that one decides it needs to take a nap and the realistic linked short stories smack me upside the head, asking why I haven’t been paying attention to them.

I move from one to the other. 250 words here, 1000 there. A free-form, long-hand poem somewhere else. I’m so excited about each one, I can hardly wait to visit them. Each one is a whole new world, new characters to meet, new ideas to explore; first, second, third dates that could turn into the love of my life. Then, after a surprisingly short period of time, I see their flaws and realize we’re not such a good match. But I can’t quite leave them alone. Yet there is another one, beckoning with a rakish smile and a twinkle in its eye, and off I go on another heart-pounding series of dates.

Nonfiction Themes in “The Wolf Chronicles”

Hi evspirit cover april 2014eryone!

I just returned from ALA in Las Vegas and had a wonderful time.  I was blown away and humbled by the passion that librarians and teachers have for sharing the love of reading with young people.

I handed out a sheet that listed the nonfiction themes of “The Wolf Chronicles,” and wanted to share the list here.  I’ll be reworking my website so that I have more info for educators soon!

 

Nonfiction Topics in The Wolf Chronicles

Biology and Animal Behavior

  • Wolf behavior, including pack life, hunting techniques, pup development, interaction with other species including ravens, competing predators, prey species, and humans.
  • World seen through wolf’s eyes highlights wolf perception through scent and sound.
  • Realistic descriptions of other animal behavior including that of ravens, bears, saber-toothed cats, Irish Elk, aurochs, and wooly rhinos.

Ecology and the Environment

  • Interdependence of species.
  • Humans’ impact on the environment.

Prehistory

  • Depiction of human civilization 14,000 years ago.
  • Descriptions of animal and plant life of 14,000 years ago.
  • Exploration of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural existence.

Wolf-Human Co-evolution—Who Domesticated Whom?

  • Introduces the theory of co-evolution, the process by which two or more species mutually affect one another’s evolution.

Of Mice and Me, part one

I’ve now caught four mice in my apartment. Day before yesterday, I got what I think was the matriarch. Big ol’ chubby mouse that headed for a log when I released it in Tilden park. Last night, there were two mini-mice in the trap. So far, I’ve been using the humane traps, since I like giving them a fair shot at a new life. but it seems like our building has a pretty bad infestation, so I might have to go medieval on their furry little butts soon.

The students who live downstairs from me found a LOT of mouse evidence (during finals week, poor things), and I’ve been hearing quite a bit of scrabbling in the walls.

It is NOT keeping me up or driving me out of my office to work in the living room. I am NOT hesitating before going into my closet, and I am NOT squirrelly about opening drawers in my kitchen. I ain’t afraid of no mice.

Does anyone have a cat I can borrow?

There’s no hiding it, “Spirit of the Wolves” will arrive….

kilroySo, first of all, THANK YOU  so much to everyone who has been asking when Book Three will be coming out. It makes me so happy to know that there are so many people eager the read the rest of Kaala’s story, and I am so excited to share it with all of you.

I am thrilled to announce that Spirit of the Wolves will be available in December 2014.  (I know, I know it seems far away to me, too, but I will see what I can do about some sneak peeks/extras before then).

More news to come as I have it.  Many howls of gratitude to you all!

Book Three News!

My buddies seem to like the third book!

My early readers seem to like the third book!

 

Thanks to everyone who has been writing to me about the release date for the third part of Kaala’s story! The final manuscript is completed and with my publisher now!  I hope to have news soon as to the release date. My two buddies here approve, and I can’t wait to share with everyone.

I’m also hoping to be here in blogland a bit now. I get pretty obsessive when I’m writing, and neglect other stuff. But there are all sorts of things going on in the wolf world, the writing world, and inside my head.

I look forward to talking to everyone more soon!

 

Writing in Motion

I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize this, but I seem to be a very physical writer.  When outlining, I’ve always spread the book in question out over a large surface area.  Book Three of The Wolf Chronicles has now taken over an expanded dining room table, my walls, and the living room rug.  It makes me surprisingly happy to see my book taking up this much space, to see it freed from the confines of paper and computer.

But I’ve discovered that I also have to move  when I write. I have to pace while talking to myself. I have to feel space around me so that the story can expand and grow.  I never really paid attention to this until yesterday. I had every intention of  buckling down to write some chapters but couldn’t stop moving.  The energy of the story wasn’t satisfied to be typed out or written.  So I spent the day loping around my living room, then sitting on the file cabinet next to my second floor window watching people go by, then playing tug o’ war with the dog, then going into the kitchen to consider doing dishes.  In between all of this, I scribbled notes on big pieces of paper and began making the connections between the themes and plot and character developments of the book.

And this part of writing felt like play, not work.  It felt like a rebirth of the story and an infusion of energy.