Cool Links for Cool People

Why, hello there, cool people. Would you like some cool links? Here are some cool links.

And we're still recapping Game of Thrones and Mad Men every Monday night on Overthinking It, so hop over if you want to watch us subject these television shows to a level of scrutiny they probably don't deserve.

More Giveaways, How-Tos, and Special Features

So many links! So little time! Want writing advice? We've got it. Want free books? I can hook you up. Want silly HAMMER OF WITCHES special features? Just you wait. Plus we've got a blog post by my mom. MY MOM. Hold your hats, kids. This is a link roundup for the ages.

For Writers

On Read My Breath Away, the blog of the lovely Jessica R., I talk about how to write different kinds of historical fiction.

For People Who Love Writers

On the Diversity in YA blog (one of my favorite blogs ever, by the way), my mother (yes, really) gives y'all five tips for dealing with a loved one who writes fiction. Wine is featured. Prominently.

For Readers Who Haven't Read Hammer of Witches Yet

You can win a copy here! For free! Wowzers!

If you're still not sure about whether or not you should read it, check out what the wonderful Laura Biagi has to say about it.

For Readers Who Have Read Hammer of Witches

Over at my new friend Elie's blog, I take part in her new special Friday Night Movie feature, where I tell everyone about my dream cast for the HAMMER OF WITCHES that is certainly never going to be made. But a girl can dream! A girl can dream.

For Those of You Who Prefer Watching to Reading

Our recaps of Game of Thrones and Mad Men continue on OverthinkingIt.com. This week, we talked about Jon Snow's posterior and Joan Holloway's anterior.

For Those of You Who For Some Reason Want to Know More About Me and My Feelings About Batman

I, along with a bunch of other amazing YA debut authors, got to answer a bunch of fun personal questions for the April Debut Author Bash over at Hobbitsies. We play "Kiss Marry Kill" with the cast of The Vampire Diaries (for the record: Damon, Alaric, Stefan), as well as "Never Have I Ever." Don't forget to sign up for Hobbitsies' YA Debut Author Challenge if you haven't yet!

That's it for now, folks. Happy reading.

Of Book Birthdays and Blogging

What a week! In case you missed it, yesterday was the official book birthday for HAMMER OF WITCHES. (Noisemaker sound!) You can now pick up the hardcover and the audiobook version from Audible. I'm incredibly excited about the audiobook, because the narrator, Jeff Woodman, is fantastic. The HAMMER OF WITCHES e-book is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

To celebrate the exciting occasion of my debut book's birth, I've been hopping around various blogs:

And there have already been some great reviews of the book you might want to take a look at:

  • Tanita at Finding Wonderland wrote an amazingly in-depth review focusing on my boy Baltasar's witty personality (and my uber-Polish last name!).
  • At Rich in Color, the super-sweet Crystal wrote about all of the myths and fairytales swirling through HAMMER OF WITCHES.
  • If you want to add to the conversations on Amazon and Goodreads, I encourage you to write your own review of HAMMER OF WITCHES, as well as any other books you've read lately. We writers live on reviews!

Not only was yesterday the book birthday of HAMMER OF WITCHES, but it was also the book birthday of my fab Tu Books buddy Karen Sandler's AWAKENING, the second book in the TANKBORN trilogy. This dystopian sci-fi series is super-duper cool and I hope you check it out! Here's what it's about:

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Once a Chadi sector GEN girl terrified of her first Assignment, Kayla is now a member of the Kinship, a secret organization of GENs, lowborns, and trueborns. Kayla travels on Kinship business, collecting information to further the cause of GEN freedom.

Despite Kayla’s relative freedom, she is still a slave to the trueborn ruling class. She rarely sees trueborn Devak, and any relationship between them is still strictly forbidden.

Kayla longs to be truly free, but other priorities have gotten in the way. A paradoxically deadly new virus has swept through GEN sectors—a disease only GENs catch. And GEN warrens and warehouses are being bombed, with only a scrawled clue: F.H.E. Freedom, Humanity, Equality.

With the virus and the bombings decimating the GEN community, freedom and love are put on the back burner as Kayla and her friends find a way to stop the killing . . . before it’s too late.

You can buy TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and HAMMER OF WITCHES now from Tu Books/Lee & Low!

Your Inspiration Comes From Where?!

Authors are so frequently asked where they get their ideas from that I sometimes think they might flip out like Geoffrey Tennant on Slings & Arrows: Yes, I was inspired by my parents—and my teachers and every play I ever seen and every book I've ever read and everything ever! And it wouldn't be untrue. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and teasing out exactly where you got each idea and character from is an exercise in not-gonna-happen-ery.

That said, sometimes you realize long after you've written something that the ideas you thought were so clever and original were actually unintentional ripoffs of other, usually greater, works of art. Or, in my case, cartoons. I'm an avowed animation fan—I spent this beautiful weekend hidden inside BAM so I could watch Princess Mononoke for the millionth time—so this is not surprising. But it is a little amazing how neatly the characters from Hammer of Witches line up with the 'toons I watched as a kid.

Amazing, and slightly disturbing:

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Baltasar, Uncle Diego, & Aunt Serena = Tony Toponi and Papa and Mama Mousekewitz from An American Tail

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Although Baltasar + Jinni = Van and Merle from Vision of Escaflowne

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And (as mentioned on the Lee & Low blog) Baltasar + Catalina = Taran and Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron

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(Although if we include video games in this analysis, then perhaps Baltasar + Catalina more closely = Locke and Celes from Final Fantasy VI)

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Martin Pinzon = Frollo from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Rodrigo = Wiggins from Pocahontas

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Speaking of Princess Mononoke, High Priestess Anacaona = Lady Eboshi (and I love them both so very much)

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Antonio = Haggis McMutton from The Curse of Monkey Island (but, like, less Scottish)

And I'm sure there are more cartoon connections I haven't thought of yet. If you think of one, let me know!

Hmm, it now occurs to me that some of you might be more willing to pick up a copy of Hammer of Witches if I make a comparison to some super-hot bishonen-type character that all the girls swoon over. Like I could say that Baltasar is exactly the same as Avatar: The Last Airbender's Prince Zuko, except he's even hotter and more brooding and...

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...and actually this is the far more realistic Avatar comparison. Sorry, Zuko fans. Maybe next time?

[PS - The Hammer of Witches hardcover is out NOW! Go buy a copy of the book Kirkus calls "an engaging, magical adventure." You can get the audiobook here. E-book coming soon.]

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.”

***

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

Advance Praise for Hammer of Witches!

The amazing Victoria Strauss and Joseph Bruchac were nice enough to read the advance copy of HAMMER OF WITCHES. Here's what they had to say:

“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.” Victoria Strauss, author of Passion Blue and co-founder of Writer Beware

“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.”   —Joseph Bruchac, author of Wolf Mark and Skeleton Man

Big thanks to both of you for taking the time to read HoW. I am truly humbled by your kind words.

My editor Stacy told me I should use this opportunity to squee (her word, not mine), so here is a picture that illustrates my feelings right now:

Squee.

Squee.