At Last! New Book News!

Tuesday, June 14

So the word is out—I am writing two more books in the His Fair Assassin world! And…AND…(I hope this will make you as happy as it makes me) they feature Sybella and Beast! Here’s the official PW Announcement.

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to revisit those two and continue their adventures. After all, Sybella’s own precarious circumstances were rather quickly swept aside as the country’s political drama unfolded.

But that doesn’t mean her problems went away. Far from it. She still has sisters to protect and a brother who is half mad with vengeance on his mind.

Even though the Duchess of Brittany has managed to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat, the road ahead will not be an easy one. Becoming queen of France might have saved her country from the devastation of war, but Anne herself will now be residing in the French court—a place that has been hostile to her ever since she was born. And really, how eager is the French regent going to be about welcoming Anne of Brittany into the bosom of the family?

And I’m very, very excited and intrigued by this new assassin that’s appeared. Actually, those are some of my favorite types of character’s to write—the one’s my subconscious plants on the page as I’m writing, with me not even realizing the significance of that character until later. I’d known since writing Grave Mercy that the convent had planted young novitiates in noble French families to call upon when needed, but it wasn’t until Mortal Heart, when Annith asked specifically about Genevieve, that my mind began whirring with possibilities. Plus, that’s all I’ve been able to DO for the last eighteen months, is mentally whir with possibilities, so they have jelled rather nicely.

As for WILD DAUGHTERS OF ARES, well, I thought that would be the book that would follow this His Fair Assassin trilogy. It’s a story I’ve had in my mind for years and have been dying to write—a young girl raised in a Greek society that put women so far beneath men that they weren’t even allowed to eat meat or venture far from the women’s quarters. And what if that girl, who was not able to comfortably settle to her predetermined role, found herself taken in by a tribe of Amazons and given a chance to be who she truly was? Bold and confident and fierce and angry and competent. How completely would that turn her world—and her sense of self—upside down?

But due to my much longer than expected hiatus, the wait between HFA books was already so long we decided to do those before WILD DAUGHTERS OF ARES, but I’m still crazy excited about that book.

So. That’s my news! I’m only sorry His Fair Assassin Four won’t be on shelves until Fall of 2018, but sometimes life takes on unexpected detours. :-)

photo: alice popkorn

photo: alice popkorn

That post title sounds like a great ettiquette joke in the making, doesn’t it?

So an overdue explanation, a belated apology, and a heartfelt thank you walk into a bar . . .

Oh how I wish that were the case.

I have been working on this blog post for over two months now. I’ve thought long and hard about how to talk about my prolonged absence. Cautiously, was my first instinct. Not at all, was my second. But the truth is, I don’t think you can (for all intents and purposes) disappear for eighteen months and not return e-mails and let personal connections flounder and online friendships dribble to a stop without at some point addressing or explaining the why it of it. At least it doesn’t feel right to me.

But it’s hard because my returning health feels tentative and fragile and, most of all, vulnerable. As if any sudden movements or loud noises might scare it away. And after all, this is the Internet, where sudden movements and loud noises are a daily occurrence.

The short version is, I had been having increasingly painful ergonomic issues in my upper back and needed to address those. What I hadn’t realized was that would be like unraveling a sweater, with each bit of progress we made unraveling yet a new part of my body that had been compensating in the incorrect way for too long. It’s an unusually disconcerting thing, having your body unravel piece by piece. There was a long period of time where I couldn’t sit for more than ten or fifteen minutes. I still can’t sit comfortably for more than about 45 minutes at a time, and watching an entire episode of anything on TV is a major victory.

I spent nearly fifteen months alternating between lying flat on my back, standing for short stretches, or walking for short distances. Because of neck issues that developed, I wasn’t able to hold a book up to read when lying down OR sit and look down at its pages. So no reading, writing, or research. I tried audiobooks and, to my dismay, found my brain is not wired to ‘hear’ story, but to read it.

Needless to say, I’ve seen a number of healthcare practitioners at this point, and if you ever want a good experiment in deep character worldview, I highly recommend it. Each one of them saw my symptoms through the prism of their own expertise.

  • My doctor sent me to a physical therapist, who said it was postural and I just needed to strengthen with some exercises. (That made things worse.)
  • The talk therapist said I simply was going through a stage of readjustment in my life. (I agreed this was possible and began talk therapy in an effort to understand what might need readjusting.)
  • The second physical therapist thought my body has been storing unresolved trauma for years and years and that needed to be released. (Which she did—while I was beyond skeptical, this did help with various issues immensely when standard treatments didn’t.)
  • The acupuncturist thought I was very low on yin energy and that needed to be replenished. (This was also a huge help—and I say this as a former needle-phobic. But it helped lessen the anxiety my continued physical dysfunction was causing, as well as helped with those dysfunctions and increased my overall energy.)
  • A psychiatrist I saw suggested it was panic disorder. (Which frankly, gave me the biggest panic attack I’ve ever experienced.)
    I was also told I had triggered old PTSD from my childhood. (This resonated a bit because I think I cut a little too close to the bone in Dark Triumph.)
  • Someone else suggested that my fibromyalgia had returned. (That also caused me some panic because I remember so vividly those years when I was sick with fibro and had two young children to take care of. Did NOT want to go there again.)
  • Another practitioner suggested I had been living in my head so long my body had to stage a major revolt to get some much-needed attention. (That felt legitimate to me.)
  • And yet another explained that any physical symptoms of anxiety were the result of my sympathetic nervous system being hugely compromised by the extremely poor posture my body had developed from being hunched over a keyboard or notebook for the last fifteen years. (This also felt like it was at least part of what was going on.)

The kicker? The really frustrating thing? I still don’t know which of those is true. Perhaps all of them are true. Or none.

The thing is, I’m a strong willed, determined person, but I was not able to strong will my way out of this. Which has been humbling and scary and frustrating and, occasionally, panic inducing.

While I’m not out of the woods yet, I am out of the thickest part of the forest for sure. The trees are thinner here, and I occasionally catch sight of the meadow and small town outside the forest. So I know it’s there, and well within my sights.

So that’s the part I’m willing to talk about for now. And I do think it’s important to talk about it, not just so you have an explanation for my absence, but because I think this is what women DO—we put off self care until dead last. Or, if you’re like me, you roll your eyes at the term ‘self care’ and mutter, “Yeah, I’ll get right on that, once I…

Finish school.
Get through finals.
Get my degree.
Find a job.
Make partner in my firm.
Get the kids through their formative years.
Turn in this draft.
Get these copy edits back by tomorrow.
Get the kids off to college.

And so the list goes, endless and everlasting. Our bodies and minds can be very, very good at enabling this, at helping us stay focused on those goals because that is a hugely important part of our personal development.

But it’s not the only part. And eventually, that catches up to us and the other parts rise up in protest until the only option left is radical self care. For me, that meant focusing on trying to find a way to strengthen my body—a way that didn’t make things worse. It meant stepping away from the writing—one of the things that has always given me great joy. It meant resting when my body wanted to lay down, instead of forcing myself to slog through. It meant finding a way to be in my body (even though it wasn’t a pleasant place to be) instead of my head. To turn off the panicked noise telling me I was lazy, a wuss, I should be able to power through this. Frankly, that last was the hardest piece of it. It meant learning to be where I am, which is something I’m still struggling with.

Also, I think those of us who have fallen off that particular cliff should at least turn around and shout up a warning to others on the same path, “Hey! Watch out! There’s a huge fecking cliff right there!” So in part, this is my warning.

The good news is, that I am getting better. Finally. And I guess I wasn’t willing to talk about it until I knew I would get better. As a writer, I always need to know the ending before I can begin to tell the story. But thanks to incredibly accommodating regional organizers, I was able to speak at a regional SCBWI conference recently. I have also just returned from my first trip since the Mortal Heart book tour (plane seat ergonomics have been extremely problematic for me) and the first vacation my husband and I have gone on in, oh, about fifteen years. (Note: this is a great illustration of sucking at self care.) And I am doing my first signing event in over eighteen months this upcoming Saturday at the Ventura Barnes and Noble. So yes, I’m beginning to have a sense that the worst of this is behind me.

This has turned out to be far longer than I intended, so I’ll stop for now. But I want to end with a long overdue thank you to you, dear readers, for all of you that have read the books, talked about them, written reviews, tweeted, tumbled, and, most of all, written to me. It pains me that I have not been able to respond to all your lovely emails, but please know I have read them all multiple times and I cannot express how much joy they’ve given me over these past difficult months.

I will continue to talk more about all this in the weeks to come as well as discuss some of the aspects that I’m not quite ready to share yet. I also have some ideas on how I want to be better connected and stay in touch.  Also? I might have some news to share soon. After all, you can’t lie flat on your back for that many months with nothing to do but think and not start coming up with new story ideas and plots and …

Thank you all for your patience.

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Mortal Heart Blog Tour Begins!

Monday, October 27

Today’s the first day of the Mortal Heart Blog Tour! There will be posts about Mortain and some of the folktales and legends that I wove into the book, along with interviews and some reviews. Most importantly, THERE WILL BE PRIZES!

mortalheart

Book Tour Info!

Saturday, September 27

I finally have most of the details for the upcoming Mortal Heart book tour! There are a couple of stops that need a bit more clarification, but I should be able to update those on Monday. I am so excited about all these cool bookstores I’m get to visit and hope to see some of you there!

 

Saturday, November 1

Joint event with Marie Lu!  (And can I just say how excited I am about this!)

Children’s Book World
10580 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
2:30 PM
http://www.childrensbookworld.com/

Tuesday, November 4th
Changing Hands Phoenix
300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85013
7 PM
http://www.changinghands.com/event/lafevers-nov14

Wednesday, November 5th
Blue Willow Book Shop
14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas, 77079
7 PM
http://www.bluewillowbookshop.com/node/73523

Friday, November 7th
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN

NOTE NEW TIME: 6:30 PM

http://www.parnassusbooks.net/

Saturday, November 8th
Quail Ridge Books and Music
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, North Carolina
3 PM
http://www.quailridgebooks.com/event/robin-lafevers-mortal-heart

Sunday, November 9th
Chapel Hill Public Library (hosted by Flyleaf Books)
100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
2 PM

Monday, November 10th
Bethesda  Library (hosted by Politics and Prose)
7400 Arlington Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814
7 PM
http://www.politics-prose.com/event/book/robin-lafevers-mortal-heart

Tuesday, November 11th

Barnes and Noble- Neshaminy Mall
300 Neshaminy Mall
Bensalem, PA
Philadelphia, PA
6 PM

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/85490

Thursday, December 4th
Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
7 PM

Don’t forget, if you can’t make the signing and would like a personalized book, these bookstores will take pre-orders and phone orders!

Mortal Heart Countdown!

Sunday, September 14

Wow. Where DID the summer go?? But now it’s fall and there are less than two months until Mortal Heart comes out! Gad. I’m nervous and excited and ALL THE THINGS.

To get everyone in the right mood for the Mortal Heart release, my publisher will be sharing some exclusive outtakes from the book. If you’re curious about Annith, you will get a surprising glimpse into her past. (Hint: She does not have quite the sheltered background you might have imagined.)  To “unlock” the scenes, we just need a few more likes on the His Fair Assassin Facebook Page.  (We came  kind of late to the whole Facebook page thing, so it will make my publisher very happy if you like it!)

They will also be releasing the first two chapters in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

In other very cool news, I learned that Mortal Heart received a starred review from School Library Journal! To say I am thrilled is an understatement. I’m not linking to the review because it has a small spoiler in it, but my favorite part was this:

“LaFevers again mesmerizes her readers through the political struggles of 15th-century Brittany and the intrigues of the followers of Mortain. . . . Clear, fast-paced, dramatic prose reveals the story via short, action-packed chapters, and the expert craftsmanship of the writing is worth savoring.”

We will be announcing Mortal Heart tour dates and locations soon, but it looks like the cities I’ll be visiting this fall are Phoenix, Houston, Nashville, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Miami! Again, I’ll post the exact dates and times, etc. as soon as I have them.

And lastly, I seem to have two last ARCs to give away. (USA only. Sorry, blame those international laws and shipping costs.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

And now I must go and obsess about shopping for book tour clothes. (It is hard to overstate just how much I hate to shop!)

ARCS, Books, and Contests!

June 15, 2014

So yes, Mortal Heart ARCs are making there way out into the world and I’m blithely pretending that they’re not. :: la la la la la la:: But the fact that they are does prompt me to post my annual reminder that please, if you are lucky enough to get an ARC, pleasepleaseplease do your […]

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Surviving Nearly There

May 16, 2014

(I’m mirroring last Friday’s post from Writer Unboxed over here because WU has been intermittently down since then. Huge apologies for those of you who’ve been trying to find it!) One of the hardest stages of your writing journey—one that will take the most dedication, commitment, and self exploration—is the ‘nearly there’ stage. This is […]

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Mortal Heart Cover Fun!

March 18, 2014

For those of you who don’t know, the brilliant Kristen over at MyFriendsAreFiction does fabulous Lego recreations of YA covers. For her latest, she’s done one of Mortal Heart!       It is hard to say just how much I love this! Look at all the detail they went to! It even has a […]

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Mortal Heart Cover!

March 16, 2014

For those of you who didn’t catch the Mortal Heart cover reveal a couple of weeks ago, here it is!   Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst […]

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Mortal Heart Update

February 9, 2014

So first of all, so sorry to have disappeared for so very long. Writing Mortal Heart in thirteen months is probably the single hardest writing thing I have ever done. Sadly, it required me to withdraw from just about every other thing in my life, including socializing (whether through social media or in real life) […]

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