Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A long overdue update

So it's been a super duper long time since I posted here, no? I've started and abandoned several posts over the past year, but I just don't have much time for blogging these days and I feel kind of weird posting random thoughts or personal stories that are mostly only interesting to me. But I've been meaning to write up a little State of the Rachel for readers who've been sending me questions, most specifically The Question, and give a general idea of what I'm doing these days.

Once upon a time I was a writer whose husband traveled a lot, who had a great day job and lots of free time to sit and ponder and scribble away. I considered myself possibly one of the most mellow people I knew. In the past two years, this all changed: my husband changed jobs and stopped traveling so much, we had a baby, I eventually left the wonderful corporation I'd worked at for over a decade. We jettisoned half our belongings and moved our entire household to Germany. I spent a lot of time sitting in an empty living room on an air mattress and looking after my wee crawler, and sent lonely emails to the writing group I'd left behind in LA. Mellow creativity gave way to lots of new daily tasks and worry and stress, and my writing ground down to a painfully slow crawl.

As we settled in our new life, eventually I started to regain some productivity on the writing front, and things have been going better in 2016. But for all those readers who've asked about book three in the Lost Planet series, I have to tell you that that's not what I'm working on. I have the third book plotted out and have written the first few chapters, but with publishing being a business and middle grade science fiction being a tough sell, at this point there's been no indication that my publisher plans to pick up a third book in the series. This is life; it stinks, but it happens to a lot of authors. I promise you that I very much intend to finish Chase and Parker's story at some point. I was playing the long game when I wrote THE LOST PLANET and planted a ton of clues in that book that won't be answered until later books. There's a reason for every detail, and a big old backstory about war and tragedy and consequences. It kills me--I can't leave that all unfinished. But again, with publishing being business and me needing to push forward in my career, right now I have to focus my efforts elsewhere.

So what am I working on? Well, I don't like to give away too much this early, but my interests remain the same: adventures, stories about friendships, cliffhangers, thoughts about communication and understanding and why the world works the way it works. I have lots of ideas, and I'm working on putting them to paper. That said, I'm entering a time of upheaval again. After a year in Germany, my family is relocating back to Los Angeles this summer (BIG HOORAY). Also happening this summer is baby #2--which is also cause for jubilation, but holy smokes is this going to be a crazy few months. So, stress level isn't going anywhere, but happiness level is going up, and with it hopefully more motivation and more writing and more good things. Who knows when I'll post here again, but I'm always available to answer questions on Facebook and Twitter, and when I have news to share, I'll send it out to my mailing list--sign up if you want to be kept in the loop!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Today marks the publication of my second book, THE STOLEN MOON. I'm so happy that this book is out in the world, and incredibly pleased at the good reception it's gotten so far. After spending multiple years working on the first book as a labor of love, I was really proud to get another book written in less than a year, even if most of that writing happened in a panic-fueled haze.

I got a lot of help with this book, from my husband who cheered me on and left me alone when I needed time to write, from my boss who let me take a three-month leave of absence from my job to write, from my writers' group who are an awesome and supportive group of ladies, from my wonderful agent Joanna and her then-assistant Danielle who heroically read the whole book and got me feedback in two days so that I could make changes before my looming deadline, and to my editor who has been so wonderfully enthusiastic about this series.

But my biggest thanks go out to my critique partner Liz Briggs, who you may already know is a master plot whisperer. When it got down to crunch time and I only had a half-finished first draft and four weeks left to finish this book, she cheered me on through my chapter-a-day writing rampage and critiqued for me every single day, sending me mid-morning her critique of the chapter I'd sent her the night before. Some days she said, "This was awesome!" and my spirits went soaring. Other days she said, "This was terrible," and I had to nod my head and agree. Twice I had to rewrite the entire chapter. I wouldn't have made my deadline without her help, and the book probably wouldn't be nearly as good. So thanks, Liz, for your exceeding generosity and for keeping me sane. And thanks to everyone who's read THE LOST PLANET! I hope you enjoy this next chapter in Chase's adventures!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I can't believe it's already the last day of 2014. This has been a long, weird, happy year for me, marked by some major life moments and a lot of change. It was my debut year! Seeing THE LOST PLANET hit bookshelves--that little book I plugged away at in 2010, determined to finally finish something--has been surreal and exciting. I'm so grateful to everyone who worked with me, helped me out, and cheered me on during that time.

And speaking of major life moments, it was around this time last year that I found out I was having a baby, though it was less like oh surprise we're having a baby! and more like thank heavens something finally worked! That whole experience ate up a lot of my attention this year, and in August we welcomed a sweet little girl into our lives. She is the happiest, giggliest baby I've ever seen, and we are having so much fun with her. The best part is how she makes everything we do matter a little bit more because we're always conscious of the fact that we're shaping her childhood memories. Christmas this year = awesome.

Of course, not everything was peaches and starshine in 2014. We got bumped out of the house we were renting and had to scramble to move across town. My husband stepped back from his career for a bit to make some long-overdue changes. With everything that was going on, I got really frazzled and lost the ability to focus well for a very long time, meaning that everything took me ten times longer than it should have. I read little. I wrote even less. For the first time in my life I was unable to get simple tasks done not because I was procrastinating, but because I actually never got the minutes I needed to empty the dryer or answer an email or put the leftovers into the fridge. It's crazy-making. (And just lolololol that I thought I could join in NaNo this year. L. O. L.)

But just in the past month or so, I've started to get my groove back. I'm learning how to make time for myself again. I've been writing more, skipping around on multiple projects and feeling creative joy instead of stress. Regular reading might actually be a possibility again. I'm heading into 2015 with a healthy, happy family, and high hopes for what I can accomplish this year. I can't wait to watch my daughter grow and change (so fast!). And to start things off with a bang, January 2015 will bring the publication of my sequel, THE STOLEN MOON (aka the book that nearly broke me). I'm proud of this book and excited about the great early reviews it's getting, and I can't wait until it's out in the wild. I'll post news very soon about the launch event.

Wishing you all a happy, safe, and successful 2015!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Swag and NaNo insanity

Things have been pretty busy in my neck of the woods, aka the middle of Los Angeles, for the past couple of months. The last time I posted, it was to reveal the cover of THE STOLEN MOON. Now I have accompanying swag! Contact me if you'd like a signed bookmark or some stickers. I ordered oodles.

In other exciting news, THE STOLEN MOON has received a starred review from Kirkus! Here's my favorite part of the review:
"Searles’ action- and intrigue-packed sci-fi thriller is peopled with characters who are sometimes confused, sometimes heroic and sometimes brats—that is to say, always genuine. They make realistic choices that are sometimes wrong in a believable and interesting future milieu...Star Trek for young fans of the genre, who’ll be thrilled at the prospect of a sequel."
THE STOLEN MOON comes out on January 27, 2015--about three months away. I can't wait to share this book! Writing a book in less than a year for the first time was quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done, but I am so incredibly happy with how it turned out.

So this year, for the first time, I am planning to attempt NaNoWriMo. It's never been good timing before, and it's not this time either. You may have heard that I had a baby a little while ago--she is currently sleeping in my lap. She is two months old today and has recently started smiling at people, to my utter delight. That gummy, goofy grin is just about the best thing I've ever seen. Between her and some other social obligations in November, I'm not sure how realistic it is to try NaNo. But I haven't been able to get much writing done this year, and I've got a few outlines at the ready, so as long as I can finish up some other tasks before November starts, I'm going to give it my best. The YA Buccaneers are running a Fall Writing Bootcamp, so if you're looking for a little extra motivation next month, check in to see what we're offering: http://www.yabuccaneers.com/blog/. And if you're NaNo'ing, friend me so we can cheer each other along!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cover Reveal Day!

Happy Thursday! I hope you're all enjoying the summer with beach visits and popsicles and lazy days spent reading. I'm so happy to have made it to July after three and a half weeks of travel and an accelerated move across town. I survived! We're all settled into our home, the cats approve of their new digs, and I can finally hunker down and prepare for the arrival of our newest family member next month. New words like Dreft and diaper pail are starting to make their way into my vocabulary, and I'm rearing and ready to start this new phase.

But let's get to the main event, shall we? Today the cover for my second Lost Planet book, THE STOLEN MOON, is being revealed over at the YA Buccaneers!! Hop on over and check it out: http://www.yabuccaneers.com/blog/2014/7/9/cover-reveal-the-stolen-moon-by-rachel-searles. To celebrate, I'm also offering up a future ARC of the book. I haven't gotten them yet, but when I do, the winner will be at the top of my mailing list. Writing this book was an experience I'll never forget, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I can't wait to share it with the world in January!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

It's been a while since I've posted, so I'm jumping in on Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk's weekly blog hop. Just like 2010 went down in my memory as the year that blew ALL THE CHUNKS, I have a feeling 2014 will be remembered as the year where EVERYTHING HAPPENED ALL AT ONCE. When I tell people about the amount of transition in my life right now, they just kind of pat me gently on the back and look for an escape route.

What I'm Reading:
There hasn't been much free time for reading this year, but last week things lightened up a bit and I managed to fit in a quick beta read for my CP Liz Brigg's upcoming NA release, which was fun and funny and romantic and I highly recommend. I also read Kathryn Rose's debut Camelot Burning (which comes out NEXT WEEK!), a completely unique steampunk retelling of Arthurian legend with a feisty, brilliant, metalworking heroine that I very much enjoyed. If you live in LA, come to Kat's launch party next Friday at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach!

I've got a huge stack of wonderful new books waiting on my nightstand, but right now I'm working my way through A Dance With Dragons and hoping that book six isn't far away. I'm also listening to an audiobook of The Martian in the car--I had recommended it to my husband for a three-day drive he took, and since then he's been raving about it, and it's really excellent.

What I'm Writing:
Right now I'm in that glorious phase of having turned in all my work, and I'm just waiting for feedback and letting my brain relax for a bit. I had a hard time writing earlier this year due to a long bout of nausea and general busy-ness, so it's a huge relief to feel finished, at least temporarily. Book two in the Lost Planet series is coming along nicely, and I'm getting so excited to share this next chapter in Chase's adventures! I've seen a sketch of the cover already, which is just as fabulous as the last one. Hopefully we'll have something ready to reveal soon!

What's Inspiring Me:
I recently had the chance to see some of my favorite authors at the LA Times Festival of Books, including the wonderful Laini Taylor. I'm so excited to read Dreams of Gods & Monsters, which has been patiently waiting for me on my e-reader ever since it came out. I'm saving it for my vacation in about two weeks.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Preparing like a Boy Scout. My husband and I are leaving in a couple of weeks for a three-week trip to Turkey, partly traveling with friends, partly visiting his family. Which is grand...except for the part where we found out our landlord wants us and our two cats out of our house midway through our vacation. Scrambling to find a way to make that happen, which would be easier if my husband didn't have to also cram in two business trips to Europe in the tiny space of time before we leave. Hopefully we'll find a solution so that we can come back from Turkey to a home where we can continue prepping for the babygeddon that's coming our way at the end of summer. It gets even more hectic from there, but I'll withhold those updates until the details are finalized. Things are just kind of bananas right now.

So what's up with you this fine Wednesday?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Upcoming appearances

Now that we're all the way to April (April!), I've got some upcoming events I wanted to highlight here. First off, I'll be signing both days at the LA Times Festival of Books next weekend! If you're planning to go, do stop by and say hi.

  • April 12th, 1pm in the Mysterious Galaxy booth #368
  • April 13th, 11:45am in the Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair booth #720

Later that week, I'm participating in a panel discussion at the Sunland-Tujunga library with four other local authors, for the LA Public Library's Los Angeles Teen Author Reading Series. Moderating the discussion will be Cecil Castellucci, whose most recent book is one I'm looking forward to reading, sci-fi thriller Tin Star. That event takes place April 17th at 4pm. More details on the flyer!

And finally, at the end of April, I'll be making an appearance at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival. This looks like it's going to be an amazing event, with around 25 local YA and MG authors appearing, including special guest Andrew Smith. This will take place at the Pasadena Public Library on April 26th from 12-4pm. Tickets are free, but last I saw they were starting to run low, so for more information go to: http://www.pasadenateenbookfestival.com/