Entries in It has turned her brain (63)


Dispirited: Available at an Amazon Near You

I can't believe this is real.

Today, my YA dark fantasy Dispirited is available as an ebook on Amazon!

I'm a little verklempt



I am thrilled to report that my novel Dispirited will be published April 6, 2012 by Zarahemla Books. (That deserves to be in boldface, yes?)

I've known about this for awhile, but had to keep it under wraps until the publishing schedule was more or less set.

Isn't the cover magnificent? The photograph is by Cali Gorevic, and it actually inspired the setting of the novel. I saw a print of it in my doctor's office years ago, and it perfectly complemented the mood of a story I'd been kicking around in my mind for a long time. I was delighted when Cali agreed to let me purchase the right to use it. The cover design is by Zarahemla's Jason L. Robinson, and he was terrific to work with. You may not know this, but it is extremely rare for authors to have ANY input at all on their book covers (unless they're self-publishing, of course). I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Longtime followers of this blog will remember me writing about a work in progress called The Holly Place, which later underwent a name change to The Desolate. Jana Winters Parkin, who named my cookbook Comfortably Yum, was the genius behind this latest name change. Dispirited is the perfect title!

My editor at Zarahemla was Stephen Carter, and he was a dream come true. The book is definitely stronger due to his input. Stephen is brilliant, kind, and funny--a trifecta of awesomeness. I'm grateful to both Stephen and Chris Bigelow, Zarahemla's owner/publisher, for taking a chance on this novel.

Since the print is so tiny in the above image, here are the quotes on the back cover:

Dispirited is a deliciously creepy read that will keep readers turning pages deep into the night...if they dare. With a brilliant dash of romance, Luisa Perkins has created something for everyone.”

Elana Johnson, author of Possession

“Luisa Perkins spins an eerie web with her haunting tale of a displaced spirit told in tight, lyrical prose.”

Melanie Jacobson, author of The List and Not My Type

“In Luisa Perkins’s new novel, Dispirited, a teenage girl discovers that a young boy’s spirit can shake loose from his body, and she sets out on a daring quest to restore everything to its proper place. Its storytelling is propulsive, taut—without a single unnecessary word—vivid, romantic, and fascinating.”

Glen Nelson
Director, Mormon Artists Group 

Pretty nice blurbs, right? 

Dispirited will be available in print and as an e-book, either at Zarahemla's site or on Amazon and other online sites. It will also be found at Cold Spring's Country Goose and the Barnes & Noble stores in Cortlandt, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie, New York (and hopefully other locations as well).

This book has been a long time in the making. I loved writing this story and can't wait to share it with you all. 



Secret Revealed!

The cat is out of the bag. The beans are hereby spilled. The Amazing Secret Project can now be shared with you!

A long time ago, I blogged about the web series The Book of Jer3miah as a fan. Now I get to tell you about it as a participant! It's very exciting to me. 

The first season of Jer3miah will be released on DVD by Excel Entertainment in March. The novelization I have written follows in August. 

I know; it feels like a long time away to me, too. But it will be here before we know it. In the meantime, feel free to head over to Tinder Transmedia if you want to know more about this fun and suspenseful series. Watch the webisodes! Play the Alternate Reality Game (ARG)! It's immersive and intriguing and there's a whole lot more to it coming in the months ahead.

Oh, and here: read the New York Times review. It's awesome. My favorite line: "Hey, when celestial smackdowns are a plot possibility, things can get pretty hardcore. And that makes for good web drama."

And then, on February 11, should you happen to be in or near Orem, Utah--join Jeff Parkin, Jared Cardon, and me at UVU at noon as we discuss Jer3miah and transmedia storytelling as part of the famous Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium on speculative fiction. The bonus is that people like Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Dave Farland will also be at LTUE--so come for the day if you can. I would love to see you there.


A Crack in Everything: The Best of 2011

This time last year, I characterized 2010 as my most difficult year ever.  2011 was much better: still hard, but with lots of good stuff, too. I don't regret the trials I've experienced over the past two years. Looking back, I am reminded of those lines from Leonard Cohen's "Anthem": "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." I've been blessed with many glimpses of light in past months, which means I have to be grateful for those cracks, right?

Anyway, here are my highlights of the past year.

Best Books Read:

This year, I’ve decided to rank only books I read for the first time (no re-reads, as in years past). I’m also only ranking books by writers whom I don’t know personally.

1. The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

2. A Dance with Dragons, By George R. R. Martin

3. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, by Wendy Watson Nelson

4. Pathfinder, by Orson Scott Card

5. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua

6. Matched, by Ally Condie

7. The Healing Spell, by Kimberley Griffiths Little

8. Little Elvises, by Tim Hallinan

9. Sweater Quest, by Adrienne Martini

10. Save the Cat!, by Blake Snyder

Now I’ll list some outstanding books written by people I do know.  These are in no particular order—but they’re all worth your time.

Band of Sisters, by Annette Lyon

Keep Mama Dead, by S. James Nelson

I Don’t Want to Kill You, by Dan Wells

Not My Type, by Melanie Jacobson

The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner

Pumpkin Roll, by Josi Kilpack

Variant, by Rob Wells

Special Mention: Unwound, by Lee Ann Setzer—This book isn’t published yet. Lee Ann is in my critique group, so I got the immense privilege of reading this YA historical fantasy a few weeks ago. What. A. Joy.  Definitely one of the best books I read this year. My prediction: Lee Ann is the next Shannon Hale. Remember, you read it here first.

Best Music Purchased:

1. “Noisy Birds” (and so many other fantastic tracks), by Fictionist

1. “The Bird Song” (and the rest of the new record), by The Wailin’ Jennys

1. “Born on a New Day,” by The King’s Singers

4. “Sweet Bells” by Kate Rusby

5. “This Little Light of Mine,” by The Lower Lights

6. “You’re My Best Friend,” by The Once

7. “Baby We Were Young,” by The Dirty Guv’nahs

Best Movies Seen (I am wayyyy behind on movie viewing right now):

1. Jane Eyre

2. Midnight in Paris

3. Harry Potter 7.2

4. Super 8

5. Moneyball

6. The Help

7. Cowboys and Aliens

8. The Adjustment Bureau

9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Most Disappointing Movie:


2011 Movies on my To See List (See? Wayyy behind):

We Bought a Zoo


The Adventures of Tintin

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Kung Fu Panda 2

Queen to Play

The Tree of Life

Dream House

Yarn of the Year: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu in the Ravenscroft colorway

Best Meals Eaten:

1. Private party at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London

2. Craft, NYC

3. Maze, NYC

4. Thanksgiving Dinner, Cold Spring, NY

5. Em’s, Salt Lake City, UT

6. Café Cluny, NYC

7. Bernard’s Inn, Ridgefield, CT

8. Keens Steakhouse, NYC

9. Shake Shack, Citifield, Queens, NY

10. Valley, Garrison, NY

Best Theatre of the Year:

MusicalHugh Jackman: Back on Broadway—DIVINE.

PlayThe Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett—TRANSCENDENT.

ConcertGreat Big Sea—AGAIN and ALWAYS.


Amazing Secret Project

For the past six weeks, I have been writing something new. It's something I was hired by a publisher to write--something super fun that will be published in August 2012. It's a derivative work. Think something along the lines of this:

Except I will share authorship credit on the cover. (Trivia: sci fi veteran Alan Dean Foster actually ghostwrote the novelization pictured above.)

Let me state now for the skimmers that I am not writing a Star Wars novel. The photo above is just an example (and happens to be a book I treasured when I was ten years old).

But this project is very, very cool, I promise.

I am having the time of my life writing it and have learned a ton about both myself and writing as I've worked. 

First, since it's a derivative work, I have an incredibly detailed outline with which to work. What I have found is that this has not been the limitation you might think it to be. I actually have a ton of leeway within the outline for my own creative expression. Because the creators of the original work are gracious collaborators, they have been enthusiastic about the new things I have brought to enhance and enrich their story.

Precisely because the original outline is so structured, I have found a huge amount of freedom and energy for creativity. It reminds me of that analogy that Madeleine L'Engle makes in the beginning of A Wrinkle in Time about the strictures of sonnet writing. The form gives you freedom. This is something I have been learning over the past couple of years, but this project has really hammered the lesson home: I will never write without a solid outline again.

Second, this is a project with a very quick turnaround time. Someone unacquainted with how publishing with a major house works might think that since the publication date is sometime next August, that I would have tons of time to complete the writing.

Not so. The publisher needs the finished novel by February 1st in order to get it into the book production pipeline. That means that I need to have a polished draft to the original authors by January 1st so that they can review what I've written and we can make any changes necessary. That means that I need to have a very good draft ready for my few trusted beta readers by the day after Christmas. These brave and generous souls have agreed to read my manuscript very quickly and point out any flaws they find so that I can incorporate their feedback in those last, dark days of December. That means that I need to be DONE by Friday, December 23rd, due to the simple fact that my family needs me attentive and relaxed over Christmas weekend.

Writing a 70,000-word book in 8 weeks is something of a challenge. That is really, really fast. Oh, I know you have all heard about those intrepid souls who pump out 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo--and I respect that achievement. But these 70,000 words need to be a very polished, near-final draft--not the raw first draft that a NaNo participant finds herself with at the end of November.

But I have learned that I can do this. Amazing things have dropped into my way to help me, like this post by Rachel Aaron--which built beautifully on what I learned and described in this post. Granted, I'm not producing 10,000 words per day. With six kids--one still at home during the day--I don't have the 6-7 hours of time that Rachel has to do so. Someday.

But I have been far more productive than ever before.  Yesterday I set a new personal record, writing over 7,000 words. I also had time to feed and interact with my family, study scriptures, tidy the house, do laundry, go to breakfast with two fun friends, and read several chapters of a fun mystery novel. I have learned that I can write like a maniac and still have a life. A really great life, in point of fact.

Last, I've learned that I can keep a secret. When I was first asked to be a part of this project, I was so excited that I wanted to shout it to the heavens--or at least post about it on every form of social media known to man. NOT doing so these last six weeks has been difficult! But all shall be revealed very shortly. In fact, I apologize for this post. I know it is akin to my taunting you about how wonderful your Christmas presents are going to be. I know something cool, and you do not--yet. But you will. Stay tuned, faithful friends. Stay tuned.