Monday, February 28, 2011

Silence? Not So Golden

Copyright Slytherin-Prince (DeviantArt Profile)
I have a younger sister, and my younger sister has a lot of friends, and they're to the point in school when they're constantly hearing, "Say NO to drugs, sex, and drinking."

It's fabulous that our schools teach these messages, and the idea of my younger sister participating in any of those activities is certainly disturbing to me.  But that's not really what I want to talk about.  When you get older, sex and alcohol aren't crazy, scary ideas anymore.  And they shouldn't be.  But my goodness, no matter how old you are, where you are, who you're with, or what you're "expected" to be doing, remember that you always have the right to say no.

When you're riding in a friend's car and they're driving too fast, you have the right to demand that they slow down.  I know it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing -- you're not supposed to reprimand your friends, right?  That's for parents.  But parents and standards aside, your friend driving that car has your life in his or her hands.  It's your life to protect, and you need to protect it.  A boyfriend of mine was going eighty down an empty highway once and I told him to cool it.  He laughed at me and said it was perfectly safe; no one was around.  So I told him that if he didn't slow down, the first thing I'd do when we got out of that car was break up with him.  He slowed down, and we got home safe and sound.  I don't know if anything bad would have happened had we continued driving eighty, but I'm glad I didn't take a chance to find out.

I've been in situations before where I felt uncomfortable.  Like the people around me weren't making smart decisions and I wasn't entirely safe with them.  But rather than risk being uncool, I kept my mouth shut or went along with them anyway.  It didn't feel right, but I did it.  Here's the big secret I hope everybody can be in on:  you don't have to do something if it doesn't feel right.  If you're uncomfortable, you don't have to stay put and endure.  You have the right to leave, to say no, and to protect yourself.  And the amazing part is, after you stick up for yourself like that, you'll feel really, really good.  I know that sounds lame, but it's true.  I've experienced it.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, you can say NO, and you can say it loud and proud.  That's what's golden, not silence, but the ability to use your voice.  Don't let it go to waste, and for goodness sake, don't be ashamed of it.  You are important, integral to this world.  Take care of yourself.



Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation where you felt like you needed to leave but didn't think you could?  Talk about it in the comments.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bilingual America

I loved Spanish class in high school (shout out to Senora Fitch).  I felt like in learning a foreign language, I was also learning more about my native tongue, the origins of words, etc.  Not to mention the headstart being bilingual, trilingual or better gives you in traveling and communicating with people from all walks of life.

I have the extreme pleasure of talking with a lot of people from different countries in my line of work, all of whom have a firm grasp of English (better than most citizens here in America), which I appreciate so much.  Because if they couldn't speak English, I wouldn't be able to communicate with them.  Yes, Senora Fitch taught me a million things and she taught them amazingly well, but as it turns out there's very little importance placed on being bilingual in my society at large, and I would like to say that it's just plain silly.

How many thousands upon thousands of languages are there in the world?  I've heard there's an estimated 6,500.  I really wish my school system, going all the way back to pre-school, had put more of an emphasis on teaching about them, or making sure I learned a few.  There are 6,500 languages in the world, every one with its own culture and history, and I only know one.  That seems very inadequate.

I'm going to pick up Spanish again, since it's also widely spoken in my country.  And I want to thank Senora Fitch and all the other foreign language teachers in the world for their efforts.  Perhaps I'll never be fluent or even very good at speaking Spanish, but I would like to be able to have a stilted conversation with someone in their native tongue, just to show how much I appreciate that so many of you have bothered to learn mine.

I'm doing the wave for a bilingual America.

Hearts to all you awesome people for reading my rant!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Des Livres et Moi Interview in English

Check out my interview with Elodie on Des Livres at Moi in English!

And leave comments saying how much you love Elodie.  Cuz she's awesome. :)




Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unnatural Causes

So... P. D. James is like, the best.  Ever.  I don't think she's a human being.  If you haven't read her books, do so immediately.  Starting with Cover Her Face.

P. D. James, aka Not a Human Being, aka Holier Than Thou, aka Better Writer than Cayla Can Ever Hope To Be.
I just finished up book three in the Adam Dalgliesh mystery series, Unnatural Causes.  This is one of those books where if I tell you anything about it, I'm going to be giving something away, so I can't really do my own synopsis.  But basically, a writer gets his hands chopped off and is floated off to sea in a dinghy, and it goes from there.  If that doesn't interest you, I don't know what will.
So here's what I LOVED about this book especially.  P. D. James is making fun of writers the entire time.  All of the dead man's friends (and therefore all of the suspects) are writers of various genres, and their bickering is priceless.  Each of them thinks they are fabulous, with this undertone of insecurity that's revealed in the way they're always attacking each other's work.  Unnatural Causes is a grisly mystery that doesn't let up... and it's hilarious.  P. D. James, FTW.

Now this is what I don't get.  Why does detective fiction have such a bad name?  Particularly with literary snobs (although trusting their opinions is a risky move no matter what genre you're praising or razing), it's like if you mention the word "detective" they jump down your throat.  Admittedly, I'm not an intensely experienced reader of detective fiction.  Maybe the books I read don't even technically fall into the genre so much as they do into literature -- P.D., Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie are the only detective puppeteers I'm personally familiar with.

So what's the deal?  Is most detective fiction really bad?  And who do you read in the genre?

Besides P. D. James, whose books I know you're going to buy as soon as possible. ;)

Peace out, girl/boy scout,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steldor Visits Offkey

Hey there, awesome Offkey readers!  First off, I want you all to click on this beautiful link:  Des Livres et Moi: Interview with Cayla Kluver.  The interview is in French, but for those of you who don't speak French, Elodie has offered to post the interview in English as well (she is a translating goddess!) if there's interest.  Let me know in comments and I will get back to her!

Over the last several days, you have submitted your questions for Steldor from Legacy.  Here and now, he answers them!

Steldor is the son of Cannan, Hytanica's Captain of the Guard.  He is twenty years old, on his way to taking Princess Alera as his wife, and ready to kick back in that throne with the crown on his head.

Offkey Readers:  Welcome Steldor!  First question.  Why are you such a jerk?

Steldor:  A "jerk"?  Do you often invent words and expect others to find them insulting?  Or did you mean that as a compliment?

OR:  Do you really love Alera, or is your only ambition to become king?

Steldor:  You speak of this as though ambition were the only thing driving me to the throne of Hytanica.  The people want me as their king, and I believe that I owe it to my kingdom to fulfill that wish.  Princess Alera is a lovely and well-bred, if somewhat naive girl.  A man could do far worse.

OR:  How do you feel about Narian?

Steldor:  Narian is a child, but that doesn't erase the possibility of his being a danger to my homeland.  Whether or not he was born Hytanican is irrelevant to me, honestly.  He was raised in Cokyri, raised to be an enemy of Hytanica.  Anyone who would believe better of him is a fool.  He has no reason to be loyal to us, and we have no reason to trust that his intentions in coming here were innocent.  We can't afford to be gullible in this situation, although it seems that many of my comrades are eager to be just that.

OR:  Do you think you and Alera will ever stop butting heads?

Steldor:  As I said before, Alera is naive.  She has little to no experience with men and resists the notion of courtship and marriage on that basis alone.  One can hardly blame her, but she will eventually leave her girlhood behind and learn to be a woman and a wife.  Once that happens, the strain on our relationship will be over.

OR:  What do you plan to do as your first action as king?

Steldor:  My first action as king will be to evaluate the situation with Cokyri.  This kingdom can hardly afford another war.  We need to take preemptive measures against an attack, and truly consider what is worth fighting for and what isn't.  I feel that the people of Hytanica need a fresh leader - someone who has been amongst them and knows what they care about.  This kingdom needs new life.

OR:  If you could have a do-over of any of your moments with Alera, would you change anything?  If yes, what would you do differently?

Steldor:  When my courtship with Alera began, I was unaware of her inexperience with men.  I thought to kiss her after our first chaperoned dinner, and she wasn't ready.  I had no way of knowing this, naturally, but her general resistance to me since then likely stems from the incident.  If I could change an action of mine, I would give her the time to adjust to the expectations of being a couple before initiating our first kiss.

OR:  Why are you jealous of Narian (i.e. at the palace ball) when you are supposedly so much better than him?

Steldor:  That night was a misunderstanding.  I'm not jealous of Narian.  I'm willing to admit I had perhaps drunk a bit more ale than is advisable that evening, and I wasn't thinking clearly.  But because of the way Alera had been treating our relationship up to that point, seeing her on the arm of another man brought fully to mind all of her inappropriate behavior.  I understand it was only natural for her to be in the company of the guest of honor at that celebration.  It was not Narian with whom I was upset.  It was Alera, and for reasons not actually pertaining to the night in question.  I'm not jealous of Narian.

OR:  Why do you wear that wolf pendant, and where did you get it?

Steldor:  The pendant symbolizes strength and protection.  It was my father's.  He gave it to me when I was four, following the death of my brother when I was living with my aunt and uncle.  He didn't want me to think he'd abandoned me, or that I was in danger.  I've had it ever since.

OR:  How did you meet Alera and when?

Steldor:  My father has been Captain of the Guard since before I was born and I spent a good deal of time at the palace when I was growing up.  I saw Alera many times and of course knew who she was.  When she turned ten she attended her first evening ballroom function and we were formally introduced by her father, King Adrik.  I escorted her for a bit, then we parted ways.  I was thirteen and my best friend Galen was on his first leave from the Military Academy, so as you can imagine I had other things on my mind.  So did she, I'm sure.

OR:  Do you really think London is a traitor?

Steldor:  Whether or not London is a traitor to his kingdom, he committed an act of treachery against his position in the Elite Guard.  He's a man who has never followed orders as he should and I was pleased to see him finally censured for his behavior.  However, his history as a prisoner of war is utterly admirable.  I couldn't speak against him in that regard.

OR:  Why do you think you're the best fighter in Hytanica?

Steldor:  It's not a matter of thinking, but of knowing.  I received the best training available in the Recorah River Valley and haven't lost a fighting tournament since I was seventeen years old.  Take for example:  after my graduation from the Military Academy I wanted to enter Sarterad's annual tournament but was forbidden both by my age and my father.  It was a youthful mistake perhaps, but I went anyway and led Sarterad officials to believe I was a year older than I was.  Despite my disadvantage, I won the championship.

OR:  What has been the greatest difficulty in your life?

Steldor:  I was run through by a bull when I was fourteen years old.  It started as an asinine game with Galen and my cousins, and ended in a months-long recuperation period.  It's not an experience I would repeat.

OR:  What was most horrible for you, growing up with a father as strict as the Captain of the Guard?

Steldor:  The man is overly astute.  If I got away with mischief, it was because he'd decided it wasn't worth punishing me for whatever offence I'd committed.  He knows everything.  I realize that now.  He's not a man who's interested in fighting, though.  Naturally we had our disagreements when I was a teenager (he wasn't especially happy about the tournament in Sarterad), but the worst fights we had were when I was thirteen and wanted to start military school.  Admission age is fourteen so Galen had already started and it was the most idle year of my life.  I was horribly bored and knew my father could have used his influence to fix the problem.  Arguments resulted.

OR:  Since when have you been a friend of Galen, and why?

Steldor:  I met Galen quite literally days after I was born.  My father and Galen's father were childhood friends, and our mothers became friends through their husbands.  There has never been a time in my life when I was not friends with Galen.  After his father's death he became even more like a brother to me.

OR:  What is your biggest secret?

Steldor:  My biggest secret is that my Uncle Baelic knows all of my secrets and he wasn't joking when he said he'd tell Alera.

OR:  Do you really love your father or are you scared of him?

Steldor:  I love him.  And I'm scared of him.  He would die for me; he might also kill me.

OR:  Do you live in your own house?

Steldor:  As soon as I graduated military school I moved into barracks.  Now I have officer's quarters on the Military Base which I share with Galen.

OR:  Did you always know you were supposed to marry Alera?

Steldor:  The expectation has been there for as long as I can remember.  By the time I was five, King Adrik had discussed the topic with me.  No marriage contract was ever signed by my father, however.  I think he wanted me to make the decision for myself, especially considering that marriage to Alera would require me to become King of Hytanica.  He knows that being a king takes a great amount of independent decision-making skill.  If I couldn't even decide whether or not I wanted the crown, how was I supposed to rule a kingdom?

OR:  Have you ever liked/loved anyone else?

Steldor:  There have been plenty of women, if that's what you mean.

OR:  Do you think your life would have been different had you grown up with a sibling?  Especially concerning your relationship with your mother.

Steldor:  I think of Galen as a brother, so in that sense I did have a sibling growing up.  My mother was obviously deeply affected by the death of her second son.  Prior to Terek's death she had never dealt with any trauma of that nature - of any nature, really - and the incident left her unstable.  Had things been different, I think my relationship with her might have been better.  One can't really know.  No matter what, I would still have related more closely to my father than to my mother.

OR:  Would you have been as jealous of Narian had he turned out to be your lost little brother?

Steldor:  I'm not jealous of Narian.

OR:  Do you view the High Priestess as less of a threat because she is a woman?

Steldor:  The real threat from Cokyri is the Overlord.  I can't refute that the High Priestess rules her empire competently, although I've never lived in Cokyri so I can't confirm it either.  I believe the woman underestimates her opposition; I wouldn't expect that from her brother.

OR:  Would you have taught Alera self-defense had she asked?

Steldor:  I would have taught Alera the only lesson true self defense training could have taught her - she's not suited to fight.  I've seen Cokyrian women fight, certainly, but Alera is a princess.  She's pampered, and she's a child.  Furthermore, she's a Hytanican woman, and I believe she should be proud of that.  Why she should want to behave like a woman from Cokyri is beyond my comprehension.  With my instruction, the notion would have left her mind soon enough.

OR:  How did you feel when Narian defeated you at the exhibition?

Steldor:  It was an exhibition.  The purpose of it was to entertain the crowd, and Narian and I accomplished that.  Under the correct fighting circumstances, I don't believe Narian would have defeated me; however, he is well-trained and capable with a weapon in his hand, I admit.

OR:  Thank you very much for being here with us today, Steldor.

Steldor:  You're very welcome.  Remember, Legacy is coming out in paperback in July with a brand new cover and a brand new edit (so I'm even more perfect that usual in this fabulous edition).

Thank you for supplying such wonderful questions!  Now all the remains is to leave your comments. :)  Love! -- Cayla

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hot British Sniper

For those of you who don't know, I am a HUGE crime show buff.  Dork.  Loser.  Whatever you want to call me, I don't care, because I L-O-V-E my crime shows.

I watch Law & Order (SVU is my favorite, and the seasons of the original with Jessie L. Martin and Chris Noth).  CSI, naturally.  NY is my favorite on that front, but I have some serious love for Horatio Caine.  My younger sister is a red-head and every time she sees David Caruso with those sunglasses she puts a fist in the air and says, "GINGER. POWER."  I need to watch the original; I haven't gotten to it yet.  How crazy is that???

Shades of Justice.

But perhaps my favorite crime show of all is Criminal Minds.  There isn't a single character on that show I dislike (unless I'm supposed to dislike them; point being, all the characters are fantastically written), and the episode plots never fail.  Some crime shows fall into a pattern, but I've found Criminal Minds to be consistently surprising and unpredictable, as well as just plain riveting.  If you don't watch it... watch it.

A lot of you probably know that there's now a Criminal Minds spin-off called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.  Only one episode has aired (in addition to the introductory episode in season 5 of the original show), but I fully plan to adore every moment of this show, not only because I trust the writers and producers explicitly, but because of this:

Hot British Sniper

No, go ahead.  Click that image and make it bigger.  That, my dear readers, is Mick Rawson, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior's hot British sniper.  I'm not even kidding.

I would like to take this moment to thank the creators of CM for supplying me with a hot british sniper to watch and admire every week.  Not to mention, he is on a gritty, hard-core crime show that takes no prisoners and holds no punches.  If you're into either of those things, check out Suspect Behavior, and its predecessor.

Love to all,


Monday, February 21, 2011

For My Dear German Readers: "The Ongoing Story"

The Ongoing Story: Picking Up Where Geliebter Feind, or Legacy, Left Off

It won’t be too long until Allegiance — or Alera: Zeit der Rache — is released in Germany. As part of some special promotion, I recorded a video specifically for my German readers recently, saying thank you and talking about the second book in the series. As promised, this is the beginning of a trio of blog posts going into greater detail about book number two.

Today, I’d like to talk about the ongoing story in Allegiance, or Zeit der Rache. As those of you who have read Alera: Geliebter Feind know, Alera hasn’t been left in the best of positions. She’s queen of Hytanica now, very worried about what has become of Narian, and still having to deal with Steldor and his ego. In addition, she has to find ways to balance her relationship to her family, particularly her father. They haven’t always agreed in the past, but in ZdR, Alera for the first time holds status and power over Adrik.

The Cokyrians are back — the High Priestess wages political warfare while the Overlord’s face is finally revealed. Speculation on who the Overlord really is has been fascinating. Some readers say London must be the Overlord or his son because he is in possession of one of the royal rings of Cokyri. London’s admitted connection to the High Priestess has made him even more suspect. But is he capable of betraying Hytanica? And what exactly is the Overlord’s continuing plan for Narian?

There is a wedding in book two — whose wedding, you’ll have to wait and see! At least two characters we know well will die in the fight for freedom. Steldor and Galen start a brawl in the Palace ballroom. Miranna is forced to grow up quickly, and Alera will have to decide who’s on her side and who isn’t. And the conclusion of Zeit der Rache leaves things wide open for book three.

As I said in my video, I can’t wait to share the rest of the series with you. Thank you so much for reading, and check back for my next two blog posts, all about writing Allegiance and what I feel is especially significant about this book.

Auf Wiedersehen!


What do you think is going to happen in book 2?  Do you have a theory that hasn't been talked about?  Share in the comments!

'ALERA' Pubs in Spain!!!

There it is!  Today marks the first time book 2 of the Legacy Series has ever been published.  Through all my very weird struggles to get Legacy where it needed to be, any pub date for Allegiance seemed not only distant, but like I would have needed a telephone to reach it under the best of circumstances.

HOO-RAY Spain!!

Honestly, I'm inexplicably nervous today.  People are reading it for the first time... crazy!  But mostly I'm super excited to share this book with my Spanish readers.  For release dates in other countries, please check out the "release dates" page on my website.

Another blog post is coming up soon -- a sneak peak for everyone else about what to expect in Allegiance, Alera, Alera: Zeit der Rache, or whatever the book may be called in your respective country!

Thank you all so much for reading.  Share this news with everyone you can think of -- it's such a thrilling step forward for the series!



Have you bought your copy of Alera yet?  Who will be first to finish it I wonder!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fun Stuff Coming Up...!

I would say "On Wisconsin" except there's no way Wisconsin is going anywhere today.  Yes, it is the twentieth of February, and yes, we are once again completely snowed in.  But that's just an annoyance, really -- I kind of stay inside all the time anyway.  That's why my skin is the color of a dead fish's underbelly.  (I don't really believe that per se, but it's undeniable that I look a little cadaverous at times.)

Tomorrow, book 2 of the Legacy Series will be released in Spain.  It's entitled Alera there, which is really interesting because book 1 is called Alera in France.  I'll also be doing an interview very soon with Elodie at Des Livres Et Moi, so be sure to check it out when it goes live!  I'll post the link when it's up.

Some fantastic questions have come in for the interview with Steldor, and that too will be posted in the next couple of days.  Tomorrow I'll have two posts -- one a giant celebration for the release of Alera in Spain, and one titled "The Ongoing Story" as part of the German promo I promised in my recent video for Zeit der Rache (also book 2).

I'm excited to share all this stuff with you -- hope you're excited too!



What are you most looking forward to -- the interview at DLEM, Steldor's Q&A, the release of Alera, or that spoiler-loaded blog post?  Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Hey -- look at that!  What does that say?  Oh yeah... 100 followers!  This calls for a...

And also, a humongous...

:) Hugs,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Ask Steldor Your Questions

A huge thank you to everyone who voted in last week's poll -- Which of the following Legacy characters would you interview if you had the chance?

Steldor took home the most votes -- so now it's up to you guys to conduct an interview with him.  Put your questions in the comments, or send them to  All questions will be read and considered by Steldor (or his publicity team... ahem, me), and the final interview will be posted here, at

Questions can range from the happenings in his childhood to the end of Legacy, his views on various issues, or anything at all you come up with.  (However, keep in mind that he doesn't yet know what's going to happen in Allegiance, so he won't be able to give you spoilers.)

Thanks so much for participating -- if you leave a Q in the comments, feel free to link to your blog or twitter page if you share this post (which is my way of saying, please share -- the more questions the better!)

Until then, hearts and hugs.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Magic of Wonderland

How many of you who like to write find yourselves frequently apologizing to your friends and making excuses not to go out?  In high school, I was perpetually guilty of this.  Whenever school got out, it was like I'd used up my quota of energy for socializing and being outside of my own head.  I just wanted to go home and be alone to write, or read, or do whatever it was that appealed to me.  I spent years feeling like a horrible, selfish friend because of this.

What I always thought to be the strangest part is that I do love my friends.  I love meeting people, and under the right circumstances I can be a total social butterfly.  None of this made sense to high-school-me, and it left me feeling even more like a horrid excuse for a human being.

Since then, I've met a lot of people from all walks of life, most of them artists of some form or another, and if this particular topic comes up, I usually hear my song sung back at me.  Recently I was talking to a friend I've known for years, and discovered that she went through her childhood feeling the same way I did, but we were never comfortable admitting it to each other or anyone else.

I'm going to spill the secret:  we both still feel that way.  If too many people call me in a certain week, if I have too many things on my calendar, I start to panic a little inside (sometimes more than a little).  I've lost too much Cayla time.  My friend needs her time too, so even if she's free to hang out with someone (maybe me), she might say she isn't.

And this is the realization I've come to -- she actually isn't free.  When I say to someone, "I can't go out tonight," but have no alternative plans, it doesn't make my statement any less true, and I want people like me as well as people who have friends like me to understand that.  To the creative, intuitive person, which most artists and I'm certain many of you readers are, that alone time isn't just preferable, it's necessary, and that's okay.  I know that I would go insane without it, and instead of believing that this makes me a weirdo, I've decided I'm done apologizing for it.

Don't be afraid to admit that sometimes, maybe frequently, you need to be alone.  Depictions of the introverted, creative-intuitive mind aren't altogether prevalent in our pop culture, largely because the creative underground is a sort of private playground, like Wonderland, and it's different for every person who explores it.  I need that time to explore it, because it's about opening and exploring my own mind.  If you need the time, take it.  Embrace it.  And if you don't need it for yourself, try to embrace it in other people.  If they're anything like me, they'll already be thinking they're strange, and your support could mean a lot.

And that is the magic of Wonderland, children.

In the odd, rambling opinion of Cayla.

Rock on and peace out.


Are you a member of the underground playground?  What's your Wonderland like?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blogs I'm Following

Hey guys,

I've been poking my nose out into the blogosphere a little more lately, and I wanted to let you know what sites I've found to be really fun/helpful.  I just got on Twitter (@caylakl), so you should all hop on over there and become followers if you'd like frequent, sometimes inane updates on the life of Cayla.  I'm still figuring out how the Twitterverse works as well so hints would be great!

Dear Teen Me:  Ever wonder what your favorite YA authors would say to themselves as teenagers?  This great blog gives contributing authors the chance to do just that, and gives current teens a lot of fantastic advice.  Check out the letter by Clare B. Dunkle from Feb. 9th -- one of my favs.

Oasis for YA:  "An oasis of support for YA authors."  This site was started by aspiring authors, and its full of great tips for writers, published or not, on how to stay sane through the whole writing process.  Aside from the amazing content to be found here, the bloggers at Oasis for YA are super nice to their readers!  Check it out, and you will want to hug them.

WOW! Women on Writing (The Muffin): Okay, I love this blog.  Obviously its intended target market is female, but its absolutely full of great advice for anyone and everyone involved (or wanting to be involved) in the writing/publishing industry.  And the WOW blog is called The Muffin.  Why would you NOT want to read that?  See the post, "When Did You Start Using the W-Word?" by Jodi Webb from Jan. 31st.  Great stuff.

What blogs do you follow and why?  Let me know in the comments -- I'm always looking for more great material to read.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Well, I finished reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson this weekend.  I had an English teacher who once said if Shakespeare were still alive, she would woo him.  I don't think I'd stand much of a chance against Mrs. White, and anyway, bigamy is illegal in this country, so I profess here and now that, in this theoretical world where dead writers have come back to life, Robert Louis Stevenson is the object of my utmost desire.

Kidnapped takes place in Jacobite Scotland and the narrator is David Balfour, whose jerk of an uncle tries to sell him into slavery in the Carolinas so he can't inherit the Shaws estate.  David ends up on a boat for the Americas, but (luckily?) he and the evil nasty crew who kidnapped him are shipwrecked before they go far, and David and his friend Alan (who is wanted by the law) set off to get the former home and the latter to France.

What I liked best about this book was the ending.  Without giving much away, Alan saves the day by being a shameless lying con man.  It's a very happy ending, but not a very moralistic one, which I adore because nobody sees that coming.  I like it when people's questionable talents come into play with regard to the big picture of the book.  To me that's what takes a character from being someone in the book, to being someone who needs to be in the book.

Obviously Kidnapped is an amazing piece of literature as well as a piece of history, but beyond that RLS's writing is just so no-nonsense.  He says exactly what he wants to say using the words he wants to use in as many words as he needs to say exactly what he wants to say.  (That was an awesome sentence.)  Admire him.  Adore him.  Worship him.  But keep your hands off, because he's the deceased love of MY life and you can't have him.

Check out the book -- I'm now reading Unnatural Causes by P. D. James.  She's her own kind of genius.  And check out my brand new twitter page (link on the right).  As for this post?  Tweet me, sweethearts. ;)

Hearts and loves!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview Your Favorite 'Legacy' Character

Hey all,

Those blog posts featuring behind-the-scenes looks at Alera: Zeit der Rache (Allegiance, or Alera for those in other countries... book 2!) are coming up soon.  The first installment, called The Ongoing Story, will go up on February 21st, the same day Alera is released in Spain.  Get ready for some spoilers if you haven't read Legacy/Geliebter Feind!  I'm going to talk a lot about what to expect from book 2, how the characters will develop, some of the challenges they'll face, and different theories I've heard from readers.

Sidenote:  I got the French and Greek editions of Legacy in the mail recently, and both are gorgeous!  Big thanks to the publishers. :)

I'm sure some of you have heard this quote by E. L. Doctorow before: "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."  When I stumbled upon it, I got this weird but crazy fun idea.  If you check out the current Offkey poll, you'll find the question, "Which of the following Legacy characters would you interview if you had the chance?"  Based on the results of this poll, I'm going to have you submit questions to that character if that sounds like fun to you all!  I'm trying to keep some new, interesting stuff going, so please spread the word to anyone else you think would be interested in participating; write about the "interview" on your own blog; and most of all, have fun coming up with questions!  I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

I'm still working my way through Kidnapped by RLS.  Thoroughly enjoying it -- I did an impromptu poll on the Facebook fan page asking how many books you guys read at once, and got some great answers I'd like to share.

Chloe said:  "I always have problems when I'm reading more than one book at a time, because I always read one book more than the other and then when I finish it, I'm not as interested in reading the other."

Barbie said:  "Oh, I've definitely read more than one book at a time.  Some people can't keep the stories separate but I can so it doesn't bother me that much.  My sister usually reads a fiction and non-fiction book at the same time."

Kathryn said:  "It really depends on if I've read the book before or not.  If I'm re-reading then I prefer to read more than one book at a time.  I find it actually helps me appreciate each book more because of it by providing a contrast of styles."

There are a ton more fantastic answers -- thanks to everybody who threw in their two cents!  There are some prolific readers out there. ;)

Remember to spread the word about the character interview.  Thanks so much for reading!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Being Discussed Now!

Hey guys, just thought I'd let you know what's up on the Facebook fan page.  I'm having a great time on the discussion boards, answering all kinds of questions, talking about my writing process (such as it is!) and the happenings in the Legacy Series.  Here's one response to give you an idea (I think I'm going to start posting some of these over here...):

Hi Ana,

I'm happy to be able to answer your questions! :)

The part I had the most fun writing in Legacy was probably the chapter at Semari's birthday party, where Alera and Steldor are dancing while they argue. It was such a fun dynamic, to have them be absolutely furious with each other while trying to appear happy for the onlookers. I also really enjoyed some of the reveal chapters about Narian, like when I finally got to write about his past at the tournament, or when he showed off his secret arsenal of weapons. I loved the mystery of his character so exploring it was amazing.

The part I found most boring to write was actually the picnic, where Alera and Miranna go out with Steldor and Temerson and Tadark. At the time I wrote it, all I wanted to write about was Narian, and the picnic is about 20 pages worth of Steldor. Now the picnic is my favorite part of Legacy. It was just a pain to write at the time because I wasn't in the correct mindset!

For me, writing is a real give-and-take process. Whenever I start a new project, I'm determined to write all the way through without fumbling. But I have to cut myself slack at a certain point and remember that a rough draft is supposed to be rough. I try to skip as little as possible, but there are times when filling in between the big plot points is really tedious, and I need to hurry along to a more motivating point or I'm going to lose it altogether. A rough draft means you can always go back and fix it!

I'm so honored to have inspired you to keep writing -- you inspire me!

Thanks so much,


Pop over to ask your own questions!  Legacy will be coming out in paperback (all crisp and clean and newly edited) very very soon, and I'm beyond excited to share it with you. :)