Countdown to DRIFT & DAGGER: A D&D Deleted Scene!

Every book goes through a transformation from idea to notes to rough draft to polished draft to the finished novel in your hands. DRIFT & DAGGER had many different forms and if you compared the first version to the last version, I'd guess only about 5% made it through unchanged.

Trust me, this is a very good thing for you, because most of that 95% deserved to be lit on fire and thrown away. But, there are a few scenes that I loved, even though I couldn't work them into the final draft, and with two weeks to go before DRIFT & DAGGER's launch (!!!!), I thought I'd share one of my favorites here!

This scene was written before I quite realized that Mal, my main character, would be a blank (someone immune to magic), but I always knew that Mal would hold a disdain for people's reliance on magical solutions to their problems.

Enjoy (click on the images to make them bigger), and don't forget--you can pre-order DRIFT & DAGGER here!

 
 

Countdown to DRIFT & DAGGER: Who Is Boone?

When I began drafting DRIFT & DAGGER, I knew it was going to be a story about Mal, a young boy struggling with a secret, and his friendship with witch-in-training Essie, but as I sat down to write, something was missing. Mal needed someone else in his life, someone he could talk to and someone who would complicate his life.

Enter Boone.

Boone is Mal's partner, mentor, surrogate brother, and frenemy. Boone was the first person who saw something good in Mal's otherness. To the rest of the world, being a blank--someone immune to magic--is a monstrous, terrible thing. But Boon sees it as advantage. As a hunter, traveling the world tracking down and selling magical objects, having a blank on your team means you can safely handle the most dangerous (and valuable) things.

But Boone's got something special about himself, too. He's a Silvertongue, someone who can influence people, get them to do or think things, simply through the power of his words. It makes him intensely charismatic and popular but it also means he's a tremendous liar, and even though his magic doesn't work on Mal, Mal oftentimes knows he can't trust half the things out of Boone's mouth.

As a hunter, Boone's got a lot of ambition. He sees other hunters get ahead, get famous, and form huge and successful businesses known as confederations, and it's his dream to one day stand at the head of his own confederation. He's always pushing Mal to take on bigger, more competitive, and more dangerous jobs. He's the one who suggests they go after the shar, a mysterious and valuable knife with the power to steal away a magic person's power. For Mal, the shar represents a way to get revenge on Essie, the girl who betrayed him. But Boone sees only a way to cement his name in the history of hunters.

Mal never knows quite what to think about Boone. Is he his one true friend, the only one who actually cares about him? Or has he been using Mal all these years, ready to throw him away in a second? The answer's far more complicated than he could possibly imagine and it will change who he is forever.

Get to know Boone--and all the characters of Drift & Dagger--on September 8!

 

Next week: take a peek at a deleted scene from Drift & Dagger!

Countdown to DRIFT & DAGGER: The SALT & STORM Paperback is HERE![CONTEST CLOSED]

I am SO excited to share with you the paperback version of SALT & STORM! I love this little book, and it's a great addition to any YA fan's collection. I've talked a lot about the cover (ooooh that gorgeous cover!!), but the paperback is also chock full of lots of other goodies, like a sneak peek at the first chapter of DRIFT & DAGGER!

You can order it here (Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Indiebound) and get autographed copies through my local indie, The Harvard Book Store.

But because I am super thrilled about this book and want to celebrate with you all, I'm giving away a deluxe prize pack! You can win:

 
 

a SALT & STORM temporary tattoo!

 
 

a hand-carved wooden whale pen!

 
 

an autographed copy of SALT & STORM in paperback!

aaaaaannnnnddddd a super-secret prize that I can't share just yet! Was that a cop-out? I promise it is amazing, beautiful, made out of paper, and you will want one. Here's a tiny peek (and I'll be revealing just what this special prize is on The NOVL's blog in a few days!):

 
Whale.jpg
 

Oh hi little whale, what's up?

TO ENTER: Follow me on Twitter and retweet any of my tweets about today's contest! Every time you RT you get another entry, so keep 'em comin'! The contest will end at 9pm ET tonight, and standard contest rules apply.* Contest closed--thanks for playing!

Good luck, and don't forget to check out SALT&STORM in paperback in your local bookstore (and while you're there, maybe you'll want to pre-order DRIFT&DAGGER, too ;) ).

*Please note: prize pack can only be mailed to a US address! International readers are welcome to enter; if you're selected, you'll win a personalized, custom drawing to be emailed for you to use however you'd like! Because there is only one prize pack, the winner must accept the prize within 24 hours of notification, otherwise they forfeit the prize and another winner will be selected. 

Countdown to DRIFT & DAGGER: Pretty Pictures

Writing DRIFT & DAGGER was such a visual experience--I'm always scouring the Library of Congress archives (and the "hot historical guys" tag on Tumblr...) for new inspiration. It seemed a shame to keep these beautiful photos all to myself, so I've paired them with some of my favorite DRIFT & DAGGER quotes for you to download, share, and enjoy!

More of Tumblr-er? You can check out all these images and share directly from there at my book Tumblr, The Old Whaling Island.

And because I adore the covers for DRIFT & DAGGER (and its UK version, THE MAGIC THIEF), I've also created downloadable wallpaper for your iPhone and iPad!

For iPad

For iPad

For iPad Mini

For iPad Mini

For iPhone4

For iPhone4

For iPhone5, 6

For iPhone5, 6

For iPad

For iPad

For iPad Mini

For iPad Mini

For iPhone4

For iPhone4

For iPhone5, 6

For iPhone5, 6


Next week: it's ONE MONTH to publication (and the publication day for the SALT & STORM paperback!), which means I think it's time for a little celebration!

Kendall Has an Office! : The Dream Desk

We're still getting settled in the new house, but high on my list of priorities was a work space with a beautiful new desk.

I had a great office when we lived in Chicago, with a lovely standing desk that I built myself from scratch:

Here it is in cartoon form, because when you love something that much, you turn it into a drawing:

loved that desk, and we took it with us when we moved to Boston, but it was never quite the same. Part of that was probably because our new apartment was teeny-tiny and the desk got shoved into an unglamorous corner. Part of that was also because I was super pregnant and the desk was hard to work at.

After the kid came along, I didn't like working at a spot that had my back to the rest of the room (and her), so I worked at the kitchen table, where I could keep an eye on things and where I had to clean up my stuff every night and set it out again every morning.

It was not ideal and it was not conducive to good work, so when we found our house in Cambridge, I immediately started planning where I'd put my office.

Thankfully, the house has a beautiful, open, high-ceilinged third floor, with hardwood pine floors and skylights that open for cool breezes. It is the perfect place for an office, and I couldn't wait to get my desk in there.

I love building furniture, so I was SO excited to build something custom for myself, with everything I could possibly want in a desk. I went through a couple different designs. My first had lots of build-ins: bookshelf, peg board, trash and recycling, and even a built-in dog bed for Miss Abby.

But when I started to put the plans together, I realized it was going to be HUGE. Huge and clunky would not work for the bright, airy space, so I pared down. I started looking at simple, minimal pieces:

My new design would feature a two-level top, with drawers for storing my keyboard and laptop, plus pens and pencils, books, and outlets and cords. To keep things extra sleek, I wanted a hole in the top that would let me run cords to a hidden power strip and down to an outlet. I love the look of natural wood, but I also didn't want it to clash with the floors, so I decided to paint the desk white but leave the desktop natural (and shellacked to death with enough poly to turn it into a mirror). And for a little extra glam, I decided to add some gold leaf to the drawer edges.

And so, after some trial and error and several trips to the hardware store....here she is!

Ooooohhhhh I loooooooove it so much! It's beautiful, sturdy, functions great, fits in perfectly with the room, and--most importantly--it is mine. No more fighting for space on the kitchen table, no more running around the room to track down missing books and pens. Let's take a closer look!

This is the double-level top that I LOVE. The built-in cubbie on the left is perfect for storing all my wires, keeping them off the floor and off the desktop. In the middle, I have my notebooks, wireless keyboard, and my laptop's home at night. And all the way to the right is a bin of the essentials: a bunch of Pilot EasyTouch pens in black (the best pen) and my startling large collection of various Sharpies (the brush one is my new obsession).

Putting on the gold leaf was surprisingly fun and easy (and had the added benefit of making my hands reach *`*unicorn levels*`* of sparkliness). Plus it looks great against the white of the legs and the natural wood top. And keeping with the glam motif:

Because what office is complete without a gold trash can?

A big reason why I wanted to build my own desk, rather than buy one, is so I could make it to my own weird specifications. It's extra tall, so I can use it as a standing desk (beautiful standing desks are shockingly hard to find unless you want to mortgage your house for one), and I also drilled this handy hole in the top, so I can hide all my computer wires:

The wood top is gorgeous and probably my favorite part of the desk. It goes so well with the rest of the room (refinishing the pine floors of this room was the first thing we did when we bought the house, because some criminal had painted them), and it adds a lot of warmth to my workspace:

Even though it's been approximately 83947 degrees in this room (thanks, Boston summers), every morning I happily climb the stairs with my pot of tea and notebook, and it has been just absolutely wonderful to have my own space, free of dirty dishes, piled-up mail, missing baby socks, and keys to nowhere. My new desk makes me focused, happy, and rarin' to get to work, and I couldn't be more thrilled with it!

Of course, now that the desk is done, I've got to pay attention to the rest of the office! Like deciding what to hang on the walls...or how to organize my bookshelf...or how many dog beds to put up there (just kidding, obviously three).

Thanks for indulging my desk pictures and check back soon for more peeks into my office!