Conventions, Readings, Giveaways, and More

The last month has been a whirlwind, but at least it was a fun one. I just got back from ConnectiCon, a wonderful nerd convention up in Hartford where I saw not one but three Carmen Sandiegos! I also got to speak on two panels: "Last Dance With Mary Sue" with super-moderator Brandon Sanderson, my Tu Books buddy Bryce Moore, and the lovely Leona Wisoker; and "Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writing 101" with Bryce Moore and awesome steampunker Margaret Killjoy. Check out their work; you won't be disappointed.

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On Wednesday I had the honor of reading from Hammer of Witches  at Teen Author Reading Night at the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library. The reading was moderated by David Levithan, who is hilarious IRL. We all got to hear wonderfully witty passages from Alyssa Gross's thriller Shallow Pond ; Corey Ann Haydu's OCD Love Story ; Elizabeth Kiem's  Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy; Emmy Laybourne's Sky On Fire  (the second book in her post-apocalyptic Monument 14  series); Alex London's dystopia Proxy ; Jennifer E. Smith's celebrity love story This Is What Happy Looks Like ; and Sara Zarr's musical The Lucy Variations.  All the passages they read were fab, and they were all amazingly kind and welcoming. Did I ever mention the YA world is the best? 'Cause it totally is.

Speaking of YA, I was recently part of a roundtable for the Los Angeles Review of Books, where we talked about YA retellings of "The Little Mermaid." In the coming months, we'll look at reimaginings of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and "Rapunzel." Fun!

In other news, you can win a free signed copy of Hammer of Witches  from OverthinkingIt.com. Be quick, though! The deadline is this Friday. If you're still on the fence about reading the book, check out this interview I did about the book, and check out this wonderful review from School Library Journal :  

"Mlawski is creative and daring in her YA debut, blending genres to craft an informative and literary historical fantasy. Raised in 15th-century Spain by his aunt and uncle, Baltasar has no knowledge of his parents’ legend. His favorite tales glorify his hero, Amir al-Katib, the renowned Moorish sorcerer and soldier who fought for the freedom of Christian Europe. To Baltasar Infante, stories are both enchanting and extremely useful; they educate, captivate, and enable him to escape from almost any situation. [REDACTED: SPOILERS] Baltasar is a combination of classic, bumbling coming-of-age protagonist and hero motif, making his character relatable and likable. The novel’s storyteller concept is fresh and innovative, making this a lively read for fantasy buffs."

Librarians. Gotta love 'em.

 

In Which Writers Say Things

The idea that anyone would read my writing still boggles my mind, so the idea that writers I love and respect would read it completely overwhelms me. And the idea that they enjoyed Hammer of Witches enough to write beautiful, epically-kind reviews of it? Makes my brain blue-screen. I am so thankful and honored, truly.

So what did everyone say? Well:

Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars:  “Mlawski's magical take on the exploration of the New World is a dazzling, richly imagined tale about history, legend, and the fantastic power of story.”

Lesley Livingston, author of Wondrous Strange:  “Hammer of Witches is everything I crave in a story -- magic, adventure, danger, depth, a rich historical setting, and an irresistibly charming hero. What a fantastic voyage!”

Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Pura Belpre Award winner and Morris Award nominee:  “Hammer of Witches is a historical revelation -- an eye-opening magical carpet ride that takes the reader over the ocean and through the woods to an ancient time, full of beauty and grace, and the ever-present conflict between man's spirituality and his natural brutality.”

Victoria Strauss, author of Passion Blue and co-founder of Writer Beware “This rollicking historical fantasy has it all -- nail-biting adventure, exciting mystery, fabulous magics, and characters you can really root for. I enjoyed every word.”

And the full review from Joseph Bruchac, author of Wolf Mark and Skeleton Man:

“This is a truly enjoyable energetic tale, a hero's journey that is filled with as much magic -- and wry humor -- as I've ever seen crammed into one story. The narrator is intelligent, engaging, and grows throughout his New World voyage of personal discovery in as way that should make him truly sympathetic to any young adult reader.

“A more or less historical fantasy, it's an altogether original take on one of the most important events in human history -- the first voyage of Columbus. In fact, with its emphasis on a totally different point of view -- that of a converted Jewish Christian in late 15th century Spain who [REDACTED: SPOILERS] -- it turns history and storytelling upside down.

“Interesting, though this is an action-packed fantasy filled with everything from genies and giant monsters to magical caves, it is grounded in real history. In fact, anyone who reads this may end up learning more about this period than is taught in most classrooms -- including about the complex Taino cultures of Ayiti.”

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Is that nice or is that nice? Gratitude: I am full of it.