April 2022 Newsletter
What’s happening with me…
Hello from the Writing Cave, where I’m busy revising my new novel, The Puzzle Master, which is coming out next year.
If you missed it, last month I announced that Random House will be publishing The Puzzle Master, a literary thriller that revolves around an ingenious puzzle constructor. It’s coming out in June of 2023, and while it’s not available for preorder yet, it will be soon. Stay tuned!
I’ve received many messages from readers congratulating me about this book, but some of you (understandably!) asked why I’m not publishing another Angelology book. I’ve explained it before, but I want to make sure that everyone understands that it was not my choice to stop the series. The publisher of the Angelology series decided not to continue after the second book, which left the series stranded. I understand the frustration, because I have felt it too. And so I’ve decided to continue the series in a shorter, easier format by writing a novella length book. I anticipate it to be available later this year. You will be the first to know as soon as it’s out, so please check back with me!
For my Spanish readers, I have some more excellent news! My Spanish publisher Urano will be re-issuing Angelology and Angelopolis in Spanish this year. Urano is also the home of my forthcoming novel The Puzzle Master, and so all of my novels will soon be in Spanish.
Life has been sweet these past months, and no sweeter than the second week of March, when I held my first writers retreat workshop in San Miguel de Allende. Seven writers spent a week at Casa de la Cuesta working with me on their fiction and nonfiction projects.
It was so much fun that I’ve decided to do it again next year. If you’re interested in learning more, let me know.
San Miguel is a perfect place to hold a retreat. The weather is beautiful and the city is filled with magic. It’s great for afternoon and late night walks. Here’s me and Hadrien…
…and here’s my daughter with her magical Elsa dress. She protected us with her ice powers.
There are always new and exciting things to see in San Miguel de Allende, from public mural artwork to local festivals with incredible costumes. Consider joining us next year.
I love when readers spot my books out and about, like in the Barnes and Noble on Union Square in New York City, or even on an airplane.
I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown is a captivating novel. It’s a twisty suspense story about two identical twin sisters and former child actors who have grown apart. Then one of them suddenly disappears, and the other is forced to confront the secrets between them. If you’re interested in reading it, make sure you pre-order on Amazon or search up your local indie bookstore to place your order. I’d love to know what you think about it, so please drop me a line and let me know!
In case you missed these…
People often ask me what I’ve been reading, and while I’ve always got a pile of books next to my bed, there are many shorter articles that have inspired me this month. Here are a few:
Untangling the dark story behind one of our finest storytellers:
“On the Hidden Pain of V.C. Andrews, the Woman Behind The Flowers in the Attic”
For something a little more lighthearted, check out these timeless fantasy books:
“Qualities of Magic: On Books You’ll Keep Coming Back To”
Read up on an expert in the mystery genre:
“John Dickson Carr: The Master Of The Locked Room-Mystery”
Oftentimes the readers are the true experts in the room:
“A Speculative Fiction Superfan Picks 48 Genre Gems”
If you’re looking for what to read next, consider this cool new release:
“Dark Academia and Map Making: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd”
I am on the faculty of an incredible low residency writing program at Salve Regina, The Newport MFA. As such, I’m always on the lookout for submission opportunities for emerging writers. I know many of you are writers, and might be interested in sending out your work. Check out these select opportunities for getting your work published.
Seeking: literary fiction, literary genre fiction (especially mysteries, sci-fi, and westerns), and personal essays
Word Count: 6,000 words max
Deadline: rolling, publishing twice yearly (July and January)
Seeking: flash and short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, diary entries, and excerpts
Word Count: Unspecified
Seeking: articles, book reviews, retellings of traditional stories, forum, and poetry about world myths, symbols, and religious traditions
Word Count: Varies
Deadline: June 1st, 2022
Writer’s Digest: Sinister Stories
Seeking: fiction and nonfiction
Word Count: Varies
Payment: $0.30-0.50/word for print, $0-$100 for online
Deadline: September, 2022
Seeking: fiction that reimagines Gothic fiction for the 21st century
Word Count: 1,500 – 5,000 words
Deadline: Rolling, beginning this spring
Finally, I opened the floor to my friends on social media again this month to take any questions about my new books or the writing/reading/publishing world at large.
When you see somebody you know writing in a genre that you haven’t yet published in, how do you resist the temptation to dive in head first?
The problem with me is that I want to try everything. I’ve written memoir, fiction, a book of straight-up nonfiction, and I write a book column for The New York Times. I love writing in different genres and playing with form. But over time, I’ve come to see that my readers wait for certain kinds of books from me, and are often disappointed if I veer too far from (what has come to be) my most known genre: literary thrillers with a touch of the supernatural. My novels Angelology and Angelopolis fit into that genre, and my upcoming novel The Puzzle Master does as well. And so while I’m tempted to go away and write a historical romance novel, or a travelog, or even a book of essays, I’ve decided to stay in this lane for the time being.
How do you use place/setting in your work?
I consider place to be a character in the novels I write. The ambiance of a location– the geography, the buildings, even the weather– is such an incredible force, one that shapes characters in so many different ways. Plotting will necessarily arise from the challenges of the landscape (mountains, arctic temperatures, an arid desert, etc), and so the setting should be seen as a foundational element for plot. The setting can also be a big part of the structural element of a book. For example, my first book, Falling Through the Earth, was structured to echo the tunnels in Vietnam that my father encountered as a soldier. The twisting, interconnected stories of my childhood, my father’s war stories, and my journey to Vietnam as an adult go deeper and deeper into the darkness at the center of my relationship with my father. So, to answer your question, I use place and setting in every element of my work, and consider it to be one of the most important parts of imagining a story.
As always, I want to thank you all for spending time with me here and on social media. My books wouldn’t be possible without you. Stay in touch and let me know what you’re up to!
If you want to stay in touch, connect with me on social media!