In keeping with tradition, I’ll post my best
books read in the year. This year was my Born
Again Author year, :) with heavy travels the
majority of the year, as well as managing the
day to day aspects and challenges of taking care
of a family. I haven’t done a tally, but I think
I’ve read less than previous years. but I still
did read! And some fantastic novels too.

Listed in the order I read them…

daughters

 

 

 

I think it was by pure kismet that I was fortunate enough to stumble across Lukavics’ signing at ALA this past June. When I found out her debut is horror (prairie horror as I call it), I could NOT have been more excited. I love horror as a genre, and have been looking for more lady horror writers for some time. Lukavics’ creepy debut novel did NOT disappoint. I can’t wait
to read her next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

noneoftheabove

 

 

 

I honestly did not know what to expect going into this great debut by Gregorio, other than that it featured an intersex protagonist. I loved the boldness in Gregorio’s storytelling. She does not shy away from emotions and complications
and complexities and everything that it means to be vulnerable and human, reflected also in a great supporting cast of characters. So well done! Bravo!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trouble

 

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Tromly at the Texas Teen Books Festival in Austin this past September. I picked up her debut from Bookpeople while I was there, and am I glad that I did!

This novel was different than anything I’ve read in a while. It made me laugh out loud multiple times with its dark humor, great dialogue, and absurdity. But at the same time, Tromly manages to create fascinating characters, none of them perfect. She also tackles hard topics well, and I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story on top of everything else I mentioned. REALLY looking forward to the sequel of this one!!

 

 

 

 

stephanie

 

 

*Stephanie and me at TTBF in September. So fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

flamecaster

 

 

 

I am so lucky. Not only was Cinda kind enough to blurb Serpentine, but she personally gave me a signed ARC of Flamecaster when we met up at Dragon Con. Her Seven Realms series is a favorite one of mine, and I couldn’t have been more excited to read more set in this world! I loved the new characters she introduced as well as new intrigues and mysteries, and glimpses into new relationships forged. The wait is toooo long for the next installment!!

 

 

 

 

cinda

 

 

 

 

*Cinda and me sharing a delicious Mexican meal in Atlanta during Dragon Con.

 

 

 

 

blackwolves

 

And last but not least, Black Wolves by Kate Elliott.

Another friend of mine—Kate is someone I adore as a friend but really admire as an author (and rad person all around). Like Flamecaster, Black Wolves is the first book in a second series based in the Crossroads Trilogy, another favorite fantasy series of mine! So I was nervous. I waited to read the novel while abroad visiting family (it seemed a tradition for me to read Kate’s big ass novels while traveling), and I knew going in that I could trust her. This is so important as a reader, don’t you think?

And she did not disappoint. It was so wonderful to return to that world, but get to better know old and new characters. Her storytelling weaves the past with the present, mysteries with revelations, and always with intriguing and real characters that leap from the pages. As a writer, she has so many fortes, but one of my favorites is Kate’s ability to create characters that make me laugh aloud, but also pause and think. Two of her main characters are also unconvetional in epic fantasy, being older in age, one hero in his 70s.

If you want amazing world building, complex storylines, fantastic characters who are complicated and flawed and amazing, plus emotional depths in the storytelling, read this novel!

katezen
*Kate, me and Zen Cho taking a break from Comic Con this summer with delicious food and desserts! I also grabbed a copy of Zen’s gorgeous UK edition of Sorcerer to the Crown from Foyles in london last week and was lucky enough to get it signed!

SerpentineJLG

i could not be more thrilled that Serpentine has been
chosen as a Junior Library Guild Fall Selection!! in addition,
we received a glowing Kirkus review:

“The economical narrative conjures an entire world, drenched in color and texture and scent, rich in evocative mythology and heady action, and filled with vivid characters. Skybright makes a refreshing heroine, both fiercely loyal and eminently practical, ready to exploit her supernatural powers while insisting on her inherent humanity.”—Kirkus Reviews

and a *starred* review from School Library Journal!!

★ 07/01/2015

“This coming-of-age story takes readers on a fantastical journey through friendship and Chinese mythology. YA fans will love Pon’s storytelling ability and the immersion into a world filled with love, danger, and fantasy. VERDICT Readers will be begging for a sequel to find out what happens to these intriguing characters.”—Jessica Strefling, US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Library

Microsoft Word - giveaway.docx

i’m doing a great pre-order campaign through my
favorite local indie book store, Mysterious Galaxy! if you
order Serpentine now through them, you can get a signed
and personalized copy ready to ship around the 9/8 release date.
in addition, you can choose one of my brush art cards as a gift
with each copy purchased! (while supplies last.)

in this way, i can share my art with my readers (which i LOVE
to do) while supporting my favorite bookstore at the same time!
WIN WIN!

so if you’re interested in buying Serpentine, please consider ordering
through the link above! thank you!!

babyseabird1

hello friends! this is a painting that i finished
last night. the previous week, i had painted the
baby sea bird, and last night, i finished the background
around it. the sea bird is rendered from a photograph
i had found online. :) i love this little bird!

Hello friends!

We are coming ever closer to Serpentine’s release
on September 8th! I’ve decided to do a pre-order
campaign exclusively with my favorite local indie
bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy. I will be giving one
of my brush painting cards with each book ordered
(stay tuned for details), and wanted to take a poll
on your THREE favorite images for a brush painting
card as part of this giveaway. So please vote! And
thank you! :D

PLEASE VOTE UP TO THREE IMAGES!

Blobby Cat

blobbycat4

Baby Panda

panda1b

Joyful Birds

birdiesjoy2

Surly Cat

surlycat4

Inscrutable Cat

catblossom3e

Oriole Among Blossoms

oriole4

Playful Kitty

kittehflowers3

womanandplumblossoms1

i decided not to white out the background to
this painting because i love the antiquated feel
of the piece without it. i saw this chinese beauty
in an art book and absolutely fell in love with her.
she is holding a pipa (a chinese muscial string
instrument) in the original painting. but i didn’t
like that pose as much, so i painted her with this pot
of plum blossoms instead. :)

as always, with person or critter, i start with
the eyes. if you don’t get the eyes right, if you
don’t capture the subject there, then all is lost.
move on. the painting is not worth keeping.

i love that she seems to know where she is going,
and that she enjoys life to the fullest. that is
often how i feel about things myself. and those
are the best days.

i spent four lessons in class painting her. and
finished her last night, on the lunar new year.
couldn’t think of a better way to start the year
of the sheep. all best wishes to you in this new year! :D