Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Would You Spend Your Advance On?

See this silver beauty of a necklace? Well, it's mine! I'm not the only one in the world that has one, mind you, but it was the one thing I promised I'd get myself if and when I ever got published. I wear it everywhere I go--everywhere. I'm not your typical jewelry girl. I like funky stuff and this little rocket just sang to me. Symbolic, you ask? Maybe, but it just screamed me. I didn't want anything else, not even a fancy dinner.

I told my husband about it when he asked me what I'd want to get with my first advance (the part that wasn't going to pay bills!) and I told him this was all I wanted. I showed him the picture of it on-line, getting onto the website of the store in NZ, because it was no longer available in the states. From what I recall only 2 stores sold it in the whole country to begin with (yes, that's how long I stalked this necklace)! And of course, my husband, being the super cool guy that is, ordered it for me the minute I sold my first book! He must have really been paying attention too, because my husband and the internet don't play nice together. :)

So, I guess I'd like to know, what would you get? Something super extravagant or a nice little keepsake like I got? Would you pay down bills? Start a college fund? Eat lobster and caviar in bed? Go on vacation to Aruba? Blow it in Vegas?

What would be the one thing you'd spoil yourself with?

xoxo -- Hilary

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Nightshade City rat tattoo??? Yes, indeedy!

This beautiful little rat is an interior illustration by Omar Rayyan from Nightshade City. The tattoo was done by Zoe Thorne
Omar Ryyan, the illustrator of Nightshade City, who you've all heard me rave about before, was sent a picture of some serious fan art! One of Nightshade City's rats is now a permanent piece of someone! This tattoo is possibly the coolest thing ever! I just had to share.

If you have some time, please check out Omar's site, Studio Rayyan, which features his and his wife's work. They are both amazing!

xoxo -- Hilary

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

THE BIG SHIFT: Middle-grade VS. YA Covers

On twitter's kidlitchat last night (every Tuesday, 8-9 CST #kidlitchat) a discussion got started on covers in children's literature. It seems in middle-grade there are a lot of "boy" based covers. Not that that these books are only for boys, but there happens to be scores of covers that have a lot more "boy appeal"--like the Percy Jackson series, the Artemis Fowl series, etc. Then there are more unisex middle-grade covers like the Clockwork Three,  A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Invisible Order, etc.  

After that, we hit the YA category and everything seems to change--drastically. Covers shift from adventure and mystery that any girl or boy would love, to heaps of covers with an attractive, thin, and let's be honest, alluring girl on the cover. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (Hunger Games, Twilight, etc) and this is by no means a blanket statement, but what is your take on the typical YA cover? I'm not saying I don't like them, because some of them are pretty darn awesome and these girls look like they could kick some major arse!! I bought these books as a teen because I wanted to be these girls, so is this merely a selling tool by publishers?  Do publishers do this because boy YA readership slows down compared to girls or is this why boy readership slows down--because all the covers are so darn--well--girlie?

Even the books with a guy on the cover, it's always a super-buff hot guy. What teen guy out with his buddies would stop at the local mall's B&N and buy that novel? What do you think???

xoxo -- Hilary

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I can finally announce! My middle-grade fantasy novel, CITY OF GOBLINS, will be published!!! WooHoo! Remember when I told you I was working on a super-secret book proposal?? Well, that was it!! Back in April, I had lunch with Mary Cash, the VP and Editor-in-Chief at Holiday House, and told her my idea I had for a new book. She told me to quit blabbing and start writing! So, back in September, that's exactly what I did!

CITY OF GOBLINS is a middle-grade adventure fantasy that takes place in modern-day Tokyo. It combines the legend of the Japanese Tengu, an ancient winged goblin and patron of martial arts, with the mystery of what lies in the murky fathoms of Tokyo Bay. Fulfilling an ancient prophecy, a thirteen-year-old boy, Yuji, must join forces with creatures of the deep in a battle to save Tokyo and the sea itself.

Release proposed for Spring of 2012! So excited! Major thanks to Marietta, my uber agent and of course everyone at Holiday House! Tokyo Disney here I come!

xoxo -- Hilary