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: 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: 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:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Launch Week Recap!

This post about my launch week is going up shamefully late--almost a month after my publication date! It was a crazy, fun, hectic week, after which I came home and melted into a puddle for a while. So please excuse the delay. I was busy putting myself back together.

Photo: Jasmine Lord
The launch party was held on January 27th, the day before my official publication date, at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, a fabulous little independent bookstore. We had wine and mini-cupcakes, and all my wonderful friends came out to support me and my little book. Honestly, it was incredible. I gave a completely unprepared speech about how writing a book had always been my dream from childhood, and how much work and sacrifice went into making it happen. Then I did a reading from the book, with the help of a few engineers from Space Exploration Technologies, the company that my husband worked at for almost ten years. Rocket scientist theater! They did an awesome job. As the culmination of years of hard work and persistence and the celebration of a big milestone in my life, my launch party was everything I'd ever dreamed of. And Mysterious Galaxy sold out of copies of my book to boot!

Rocket scientist theater!
New friends!
Photo: Jasmine Lord
Early the next morning, I got picked up at home for the first day of my book tour. My amazing publicist at Macmillan had arranged four action-packed days of visiting schools in LA, the Bay Area, and San Diego so I could talk to kids about THE LOST PLANET and the path I followed to become an author. Here's a little secret: Up until my launch, I'd never spoken to a single kid about my book. So I had an insane amount of fun sharing my stories with them and answering their questions, and meeting the young writers who came up to me after my presentations to let me know that they had author dreams as well. All the schools were fantastic--one even hung their students' Lost Planet art projects in the room where I gave my presentation. I just about had an out-of-body experience when I saw them:

More awesomesauce!
Since I got home, I've been wrapping up some final publicity stuff and getting to work on revising the sequel to THE LOST PLANET, which is turning out great and I'm super excited about! I've had to take things a little slower than usual because of another project I'm working on in 2014, one that will come to fruition this August. Unlike my writing projects, this project has the side effects of extreme fatigue and the need to huddle on the sofa in a ball of miserable nausea (another reason I've been so slow to post anything). I'm counting down the days until I will (supposedly!) start feeling normal again, so I can get cranking at a decent pace and get all my to-dos in order before life as I know it implodes.

Other updates:

ReadKiddoRead is running a sweepstakes this month for THE LOST PLANET. I've been promoting this on Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to mention it here because there are still two days left to sign up here:

I've got a guest post up today on Read Now Sleep Later about world-building in THE LOST PLANET:

I've got some appearances coming up in the L.A. area in April--click on the Events link for more info if you're interested!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Pub Day

Wow, guys. It's finally here. Today THE LOST PLANET officially leaves my hands and heads out into the world, to hopefully find its readership among science fiction fans, and maybe even some readers who don't think they like science fiction.

I've been so busy getting ready for this point, I haven't had a lot of time to reflect on how I feel about it. It's been about fifteen months since my book sold, but I still kind of can't believe that something I wrote is going to be sitting on the bookshelves of people I've never met. That is beyond surreal to me.

But I'm also incredibly proud of this little book. When I was in grade school, I loved writing SO MUCH--it wasn't so much a dream that I would be an author some day as an expectation. And then I grew up and got sidetracked by life and the zillion wonderful and not-so-wonderful distractions it offers. I still thought about writing, and even tried it again every once in a while, but I didn't get serious until the day about four years ago when I realized that if I didn't put forth some serious effort RIGHT NOW, my dream/expectation was probably never going to happen. And that scared me.

Writing a book takes a ton of effort, and a lot more knowledge than just how to put pretty sentences on a page. But I've had the best, most satisfying time putting in that work, and I've made some amazing friendships along the way. I hope my little book brings readers as much enjoyment as it brought me writing it.

Every once in a while when I'm talking about my book to someone who's not a writer, they'll ask a few more questions than usual and get a bit of a hungry look that makes me think, This person probably has a book they've always wanted to write. And I wish I could just grab these people and say "Start writing NOW." Nobody says, Man, I wish I'd spent more time at the office, right? I wish I'd watched more TV series, seen every single episode of Law & Order at least five times. I wish I'd spent more time loafing around on the Internet, browsing my social networks over and over. If you've got a dream, carve out time for it. Find a way to make yourself do it--a calendar, a reward system, whatever it takes. Because keeping that promise to your dreamer self? It feels really good.

I'm not going to rewrite my entire acknowledgements here, but a huge thanks to everyone who's cheered me on along the way--family, friends, critique partners, my agent, my editor, friends who I've only met online. Your support has pulled me out of my hidey-hole, gotten me through some ruts, and most importantly, made this whole endeavor a ton of fun.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013! And a great Booklist review!

I'm a little nostalgic about saying goodbye to 2013. It's been a good one for me, in many ways. As a writer, I got to announce my first book deal, see that book come to life with a fabulous cover, and have some exciting new experiences like signing ARCs at BEA in May. I got to see my book translated and published in Spain. And I wrote a second book, both an accomplishment and a huge learning experience. Hey kids, writing books is hard!

On a personal level, it was a rewarding if somewhat stressful year. In April my husband and I moved to a new home, and while we're still just renting for now, it was a great change to go from the tourist-packed Venice boardwalk to a clean, quiet neighborhood just a mile down the road. We took two big trips, one to Israel and Turkey to visit friends and family, and one vacation driving from Budapest to Rome with friends. We just closed out the year with a weeklong stay in Wisconsin and Michigan, visiting my family and getting our fill of snow for the coming year or two...or five.

2014 is going to be a big year. Big. Huge. For one, it's my debut year! I know I only get one of these, so I hope to enjoy it as much as possible. I'll be announcing my launch party shortly, along with some tour info. But besides writing, there are some potential big changes brewing on the horizon, hinting that 2014 might be one heck of a year. I'm excited (and not a little nervous) to see what all happens in the next twelve months.

And now I'm thrilled to close out the year on a happy note, as THE LOST PLANET just got a wonderful Booklist review, calling it "perfect for younger teen sci-fi fans." I'll post the full review below. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, and all best in 2014!

The Lost Planet.
Searles, Rachel (Author)
Jan 2014. 384 p. Feiwel and Friends, hardcover. (9781250038791).
Terrifying monsters, cold androids, and intriguing mysteries abound in Searles’ first novel. Chase Garrety awakens on a planet he doesn’t know and with a face he doesn’t recognize, his life up to now a complete blank. But his amnesia is far from his biggest problem: the only thing he can remember is a secret message, but what does it mean? Who is it for? His adventure across the planets of the Federation garners him new friends, old enemies, and more problems than he knows what to do with. Even though Chase is confused from the second he wakes up, his need to find out his history makes him easy to cheer on. Comparisons to Star Wars are not out of bounds, as this intergalactic escapade races on at an exciting pace. This fun, adrenaline-filled story is perfect for younger teen sci-fi fans. There could certainly be another installment to this story since Chase’s exploits aren’t easily put to bed, but The Lost Planet has a solid, satisfying conclusion. Let’s hope Searles has more up her sleeve.
— Stacey Comfort