rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2017-05-16 09:48 am

Rebel is out!

Rebel, book three of the Change series, is out now. It's a hopeful post-apocalyptic YA series co-written with Sherwood Smith.

If you haven't read any of the series, book three is not the place to start; book one, Stranger, is. If you have read the first two, I hope you enjoy this one.

Amazon ebook: Rebel (The Change Book 3)

Trade paperback: Rebel

Ebook at Book View Cafe, in all formats: Rebel

Questions or comments welcome, but please use rot13.com for any Rebel spoilers.
rachelmanija: (Default)
2017-03-14 10:54 am

AMA (Ask Me Anything) about the Change series! (Spoilery post)

In honor of the upcoming release of Rebel (Book 3).

Ask me anything about the series, the characters, the world, etc. Sherwood will be popping in too!

This post allows spoilers for both Stranger and Hostage.

Ask questions here in this post!
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2017-03-14 10:49 am

AMA (Ask Me Anything) about the Change series! (Non-spoilery post)

In honor of the upcoming release of Rebel (Book 3).

Ask me anything about the series, the characters, the world, etc. Sherwood will be popping in too!

This post allows spoilers for Stranger but not Hostage. There is a spoilery post which allows spoilers for both books that are out now.

Ask questions here in this post!
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2017-03-13 02:03 pm

Rebel (Book 3 of the Change series) comes out May 16!

Welcome back to Las Anclas, a frontier town in the post-apocalyptic Wild West. In this perilous landscape, a schoolboy can create earthquakes, poisonous cloud vipers flock in the desert skies, and the beaches are stalked by giant mind-controlling lobsters.

The tyrant king Voske has been defeated, but all is not peaceful in Las Anclas. Ross's past comes back to haunt him, Jennie struggles with her new career, Mia faces her fears, Felicite resorts to desperate measures to keep her secrets, Kerry wonders if Las Anclas has really seen the last of her father, and shy Becky Callahan may hold the key to a dangerous mystery.

In Rebel, long-held secrets of past and present are revealed, family ties can strangle as well as sustain, and the greatest peril threatening Las Anclas comes from inside its walls.

Rebel (The Change # 3)

If you would like to review it, let me know and I'll send you an advance review copy (ebook only).

The LJ version has the cover image.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2016-05-07 11:40 am

Stranger made the 2016 Rainbow Book List!

This happened a while ago, but I was so distracted by health issues that I am pretty sure I never announced it. Well-- it did!

The Rainbow Book List Committee proudly announces the 2016 Rainbow List. The Rainbow List is a bibliography of books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18. The Rainbow List also includes genres I don't read, like picture books, but if you have small children, that would be an excellent resource.

The Rainbow Book List

If anyone happens to know whoever puts those together, you might alert them that the sequel, to Stranger, Hostage, 1) exists, 2) continues (but does not conclude, there are four books total) Yuki and Paco's epic love affair, 3) has many more LGBTQ characters, both major and minor. I am pretty sure that the majority of the people who read Stranger have no idea that Hostage was ever published, so this isn't "You must love my book," it's "FYI, this book exists and you can read it if you want".

Again due to health, I have probably read less in the last year than in any year of my life since I learned how, so I have read very few of the other books on that list. I look forward to reading at least some, and I invite you all to give it a browse. Lots of excellent-sounding books on it. These particularly intrigue me:

*Selznick, Brian. The Marvels. In black-and-white pencil illustrations, Selznick depicts three generations of actors descending from the sole survivor of a legendary shipwreck. As that story closes, another unfolds in prose as young Joseph discovers his connection to the actors and his family history, and he embraces his uncle’s life story as it affects and changes his own.

McCarry, Sarah. About a Girl: A Novel. Astronomy buff Tally plans to go to college, solve the mysteries of the universe, and win a Nobel Prize along the way. When love complicates her friendship with the boy next door, Tally veers off on a quest to uncover her own mysterious origins. Astronomy meets mythology in a magical realist twist, and Tally’s questions get lost in the arms of a beautiful woman determined to forget her own past.

Wilke, Daria. Playing a Part. Tr. by Marian Schwartz. This import—the first teen book translated from Russian—follows Grisha’s coming-of-age in a Moscow puppet theater, as he reels from the impending departure of his beloved gay mentor Sam and the looming heart operation of his best friend Sashok.

*Tamaki, Jillian. SuperMutant Magic Academy. At this boarding school for paranormal teenagers the student body is a wild mix, from witches and shapeshifters to jocks and performance artists. Hilarity ensues.

Has anyone read any books from the list? Got any recs?
rachelmanija: (Default)
2015-09-30 10:33 am

Disability in the Change series

Sherwood and I posted on disability in the Change series at Diversity in YA.

Everything I write stems from personal experience, even if it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where people have mutant powers and the trees can eat you.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2015-06-01 01:34 pm

Hostage is out in paperback!

For those of you who've been waiting.... Hostage in paperback!

Sorry about the price. It's the cost of doing print on demand. If it's too expensive for you, you could buy the e-book or request that your library buy the paper edition.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2015-01-08 11:18 am

Day 8: The Best and Worst Things About Collaboration

And as if to celebrate our collaboration, Stranger has been nominated for YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. The final list will be announced in February.

The way Sherwood and I collaborate is that we first sit down and discuss the plot of the entire story, taking notes. Before we write a chapter, we discuss what will happen in more detail. Then we sit side by side at a computer and write the chapter. Usually Sherwood types, with either of us or both of us actually writing. (I would be dictating.) The result is a book where any given sentence was probably written by both of us together. When we have a first draft, we pass it back and forth for rewrites and polishes and additions.

Sherwood thinks on a much larger scale than I do, in every way. I tend toward intimate scenes with a few people, shorter lengths, and less lavish description. She goes for epics, LONG epics, and more description. Our work together tends to split the difference: medium length, medium description, a large world but we only see a small part of it.

We think differently about worldbuilding. Sherwood creates entire worlds from scratch, with economies, ecologies, and cultures. I tend to start with our world, make a few changes, and extrapolate from there. The werewolf Marines books are typical of my general tendencies in that direction. I didn’t create a new ecology or economy, because werewolves exist secretly within our own ecologies and economies, but instead focused on how werewolf culture might have evolved alongside all the other real cultures, and the details of how their powers work. How might pack dynamics (actual wolf behavior, not the alpha male bullshit) translate into human culture, is there a limit to how much transforms with them when they shapeshift, do they have origin myths, etc.

Sherwood tends to start with an image. I tend to start with “What would be the most interesting/dramatic path that follows logically from what we’ve already got?”

The best part of collaborating is that it’s impossible to get writer’s block. If I go blank, Sherwood will provide something, or vice versa. It’s also just fun – a bit like playing a role-playing game. We’re different enough to keep things interesting, but similar enough to have infinite fun inventing creatures, mutant powers, difficult situations for our characters, etc.

The worst part is that we’re both absent-minded and not very computer-adept, so we have repeatedly lost files, accidentally copied old versions on top of new versions, etc. It can also be hard to find the time for both of us to get together.

I’ve tried collaborating with a number of people. It doesn’t always work – sometimes our prose styles don’t mesh, or our working styles are incompatible, or we argue in a way that isn’t fruitful, or we have wildly differing visions, or we plain don’t get along.

When I saw the movie Pacific Rim, where giant robots can only be operated by a pair of pilots who are capable of working so smoothly together that they can make one mecha move as if operated by a single person, I thought, “Sherwood and I are Drift-compatible.” Call us if a giant monster appears and you need pilots.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2015-01-06 08:55 am

Why we self-published the sequel to Stranger

Hostage, the sequel to Stranger, is out now. The e-book is $4.99; the paper book will be released in a few months.

Sherwood has put up a detailed post about why we chose to self-publish Hostage. It’s well-worth reading in full, but the short version is that we finished Hostage a year ago. If we stayed with Viking, it would be two more years before it would be released. (Stranger also took three years to come out, counting from when Sharyn November first told us she wanted it; two and a half years if you count from when we actually got our contract.) We decided that being able to control the price and release dates of the series was more important to us than the prestige and resources of a traditional publishing house.

Feel free to discuss here or there; feel free to publicize and link anywhere.

I welcome comments on your own publishing experiences. I ask only that you refrain from put-downs of individuals or general statements that anything is evil. Amazon included. Criticize all you want, just don’t say stuff like “Amazon is trying to enslave us all, like STALINIST RUSSIA!!!” or “You’re just self-publishing because no one wants your politically correct tripe!!!” or any other statement that naturally lends itself to three exclamation points.

Hostage at Book View Cafe (the writer’s collective). Hostage (The Change) at Amazon. At Barnes and Noble At Apple. At Kobo
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2014-12-10 09:42 am

A few Stranger links

Sherwood and I wrote an article in the Guardian. Just to clarify, Yuki does not have superpowers. He is really good with animals, though.

A fun review by bookelfe/skygiants.
rachelmanija: (Sakura)
2014-12-05 01:38 pm
Entry tags:

Shameless self-promotion

An unusually interesting interview up at Gay YA. Sherwood, Lyda Morehouse, and I interviewed each other on queer representation in media, gender in fiction, and the comic books that shaped us. Contains discussion of the affair Storm had in Japan with a female thief in that one issue of the X-Men.

Also, if any of you are in or near San Diego, Sherwood and I will be signing at the Mysterious Galaxy holiday party on Saturday, December 13, 3:00 PM.
rachelmanija: (Default)
2014-12-05 01:30 pm
Entry tags:

Shameless self-promotion

An unusually interesting interview up at Gay YA. Sherwood, Lyda Morehouse, and I interviewed each other on queer representation in media, gender in fiction, and the comic books that shaped us. Contains discussion of the affair Storm had in Japan with a female thief in that one issue of the X-Men.

Also, if any of you are in or near San Diego, Sherwood and I will be signing at the Mysterious Galaxy holiday party on Saturday, December 13, 3:00 PM.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2014-11-13 08:06 am

Stranger is out!

The post-apocalyptic novel Sherwood Smith and I wrote, Stranger, is finally out! It's the "Yes Gay YA" book. But you could just as easily call it "The one with the telekinetic squirrels," or "The X-Men in the post-apocalyptic Wild West," or "The one where the sheriff is super-strong, the doctor can speed up time, and the plant life is out to get you."

Kirkus gave it a starred review, calling it " afirst-rate page turner that leaves its own compelling afterimage."

Other points of possible interest: Psychic powers. Luscious food descriptions. Detailed world-building. Hurt-comfort- lots of hurt-comfort. Thrilling battle sequences. Cute animals. Killer crystal trees. Romance in every configuration: gay, straight, lesbian, and poly. Illusion-casting rabbits. Flying cats. And, of course, telekinetic squirrels.

It had a publicity budget of literally $0, so anything you feel like doing to spread the word would be great.

On Kindle: Stranger

Barnes and Noble.

Kobo.

Apple.

Goodreads.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2014-09-08 10:07 am

Interview with me and Sherwood

Up here!

Includes an explanation of how our collaboration works, teasers for the next three books in the series, and musings on Hogwarts Houses.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2014-08-29 03:41 pm

Crowd-sourcing Recipes of the Apocalypse

I am currently creating a website for “The Change,” the series of which Stranger is the first. Food features prominently in the series, and I’d like to have some recipes on the site.

Since I know a number of you cook, I invite you to create a recipe from the book. If you’re interested, pick an item (or as many as you like) from below the cut, create a recipe, ideally photograph the result, and write out the recipe. I will put it on the site and credit you under whatever name you like. I’m fine with multiple recipes for the same dish, so more than one person can pick the same dish. No payment, so only do this if it sounds fun. And please feel free to link if you have friends who might have fun with this.

Depending on how geeky you want to get, this is after the apocalypse in Los Angeles, so in the book, all ingredients are either locally grown or imported from the surrounding area. Rice is a rare delicacy, and tea is not available at all. (Coffee is grown in Santa Barbara, and is moderately expensive but widely drunk.) Local grains are wheat, corn, and barley. You can either ignore this limitation or work with it, up to you.

Note that one of the characters is an experimental chef, hence some of the weirder dishes.

All food mentioned in the book is below the cut-tag; spoilers if you think that’s spoilery. Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
2014-08-21 12:04 pm

Stranger got a starred review in Kirkus!

Yes, it’s another post-apocalyptic series opener, but it’s infused with a generous spirit—call it a utopian dystopia.

The small, walled community of Las Anclas bears little resemblance to Los Angeles, whose ancient ruins sprawl nearby. To Ross, a badly wounded prospector fleeing a powerful enemy, it’s paradise compared to what he’s used to—to its residents, not so much. Yuki misses the freedom of the wild ocean and dreams of escaping with Paco. Engineer Mia loves blowing things up, but she feels socially awkward. Felicité, the daughter of the mayor and defense chief, knows precisely what she wants: to make half of a power couple with Indra, Jennie’s boyfriend. Jennie herself is delighted to be chosen as a Ranger, the town’s elite defense corps; she’d feared that prejudice against the Changed, people like her who’ve acquired strange powers, made her a long shot. Mia and Jennie, best friends, find themselves attracted to secretive Ross. Characterization is rich and stereotype-free. For gays and lesbians, sexual orientation is neither more nor less a defining characteristic than it is for heterosexuals. Equally exceptional is the depiction of conflict. The confusing adrenaline rush of war is followed by PTSD, its lingering afterimage. The five dynamic narrators and action-packed plot deliver thrills while slyly undermining genre clichés.

A first-rate page turner that leaves its own compelling afterimage.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2014-07-02 09:39 am

Our first review!

I won't be posting these regularly, but hey, it's our first.

School Library Journal

BROWN, Rachel Manija & Sherwood Smith. Stranger. 432p. Viking. Nov. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670014804; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101615393.

Gr 7 Up–Intrigue, feuds, hypocrisy, and a love triangle fill the pages of this dystopian tale narrated by a diverse cast of characters in alternating chapters. After a solar flare, all electronic devices are useless. A mysterious, wounded stranger wanders into Las Anclas (formerly Los Angeles) with a secret; Ross has narrowly escaped the diabolical ruler Voske, who desires a rare book that Ross possesses. Mia’s family shelters Ross as he heals and receives warrior training from 16-year-old Jennie, Mia’s best friend and the town’s teacher. Both teens are attracted to the newcomer, and he can’t decide between them. As the town slowly warms to Ross, likewise his barriers slip away as he enjoys life in Las Anclas. Authors Brown and Smith create a village in which flora and fauna exhibit flesh-eating powers and symbiotic relationships with select people. Some humans remain “Norms” while others are “Changed,” and therein lies the only prejudice; no one looks askance at homosexuality and all races are appreciated. Some elements appear contrived and slightly pedantic: there is exactly one gay couple and one lesbian couple; [GIANT SPOILER REDACTED]; and the Norms and Changed unite in an epic battle against Voske. Despite these conventional components, Stranger is a fresh story with well-developed characters, fast-paced action, a fantastical world, and a hint of romance.–Laura Falli, McNeil High School, Austin, TX

I have to note for the record that 1) "love triangle" and "he can't decide between them" is very misleading, 2) there are actually two lesbian couples and additional non-coupled gay characters, 3) Jennie is 18, 4) classism not only exists but is a pretty major factor in the book, 5) there is only one symbiotic person/non-human relationship in the book, and it's otherwise unknown, and 6) "Norms and Changed unite" is kind of like saying, "American blacks and whites unite to pay taxes every year," ie, there was never any question of them not doing so.

But hey! She generally liked it!

Please suggest any major review blogs that might like a review copy. It's already at Booksmugglers.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2014-02-24 10:24 am
Entry tags:

We have a cover!

Pretty, isn't it? Could someone iconize it for me?

stranger-trim3-final