Saturday, January 28th, 2012!

I’ll be at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC this coming Saturday at 3:00pm. Do come out and say hello! I’ll talk a bit, read a bit, and sign books for a bit. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you!

First, the hard news . . .

Let me just get it out there: Little, Brown has pushed the pub date of Darkness Falls back to next January, in 2012. There were a bunch of reasons–marketing, design, sales–and they decided this would be best. I was looking forward to having it come out this month, but I know when it pubs in January, we’ll all be thrilled with the new look and new cover.

But I’m sorry, because I know many people have been anxiously awaiting it (thank you!), and now January seems kind of far off. But it isn’t–it will be here before you know it! Good things come to those who wait! In the meantime, I do promise to update this website, and I’ll post a chapter from Darkness Falls to whet your appetite a little more.

Note: this applies only to the version in English, for America and the UK. France is still publishing Immortels 2 on September 14, 2011.

Then the better news . . .

In just one short week, I will be going to France on a multi-city book tour! And the first several days will be with Maggie Stiefvater of Shiver and Linger, and the upcoming Scorpio Races! So that will be very exciting. Here is the current schedule:
September 23–Paris, Booksigning with Maggie Stiefvater at Virgin Grands Boulevards, 6:30-8:00 pm.
September 24–Bordeaux, Booksigning at Mollat 4:40-6:00 pm.
September 27–Metz, Booksigning at Librarie hisler even, 5:30-7:00 pm.
September 28–Eragny, Booksigning at Le Grand Cercle Eragny
September 30–Lyon, Booksigning at Decitre Part Dieu, 5:30-7:00 pm.
October 1–Toulouse, Booksigning at the Virgin bookstore, 11:30 am-1:00 pm.

So that will be very exciting and busy, and if any of you are in France near any of those cities, I hope to see you there!

Excerpt from darkness Falls coming soon!

I resurface . . .

Some of my favorite authors update their blogs several times a week. I don’t know how they do it. I mean, I know I have to update more frequently, and I aways mean to, but some days it’s all I can do to put on sweatpants, you know? Anyhoo, here’s some quick news bits:

1) I went to Los Angeles and met some of the nice people who are trying to make Sweep into a movie. I of course felt like a country bumpkin, but they were all very nice. They are working toward making Sweep into a movie, but if you thought publishing was slow, the film industry is even slower, and nothing is certain until all of a sudden it’s certain. Right now, it’s still an if. However, I loved LA! My husband went with me and we stayed at a little hotel in Beverly Hills, and we had a great time. I also had lunch with one of my favorite writers, Jane Espenson, who writes for TV. She wrote episodes of Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, the Gilmore Girls, several others, and is currently working on the Torchwood TV show. We had a lovely lunch, and I was a fangirl. We talked about how different it is to write books versus writing for TV.  And though I had a great week in LA, I came away convinced that I never want to work in the film or Tv industries.

I saw one celebrity, Nigel Lythgoe from So You Think You Can Dance. It was very exciting.

2) The second book of Immortal Beloved, Darkness Falls, is finally all finished and put to bed. The cover is going to be terrific. I’m going to post an excerpt here soon.

3) Immortal Beloved came out in the UK and in France in January, and seems to be doing well in both places.

4) Speaking of France, the French publisher has very kindly asked me to come to France in September to do some publicity in Paris, and also possibly in Lille, Lyons, Rouen, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg. I’ve never been to those non-Paris cities, so I’m very excited. I know I will have to talk to strangers, but I’m trying not to think about that part.

5) People keep pointing out that nowhere on this site does there appear a list of all the Sweep (Wicca) books in order. Kind of an oversight that will be corrected soon. In the meantime, here’s a list:

Sweep #1: Book of Shadows
#2 The Coven
#3: Blood Witch
#4: Dark Magick
#5: Awakening
#6: Spellbound
#7: The Calling
#8: Changeling
#9: Strife
#10: Seeker
#11: Origins
#12: Eclipse
#13: Reckoning
#14: Full Circle
#15: Night’s Child
Hope this helps.
Okay–off to work–check back for the excerpt of Darkness Falls!

Tonight at The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC

Yes. I will actually appear tonight at the independent bookshop on 9th Street in Durham, at 7 pm. Thanks to the poll results, I’ll be talking about how I come up with my ideas and about some characters in-depth. I’m going to read from Immortal Beloved, and also a quick bit from the second book of the IB trilogy, which won’t pub until September, 2011. Hope to see you there!


This is the lovely cover of the Italian edition of Immortal Beloved (Amore Immortale). I love it! The woman who translated this book from English into Italian was kind enough to send it to me. The book is being released by Mondadori at the end of this week. I hope my Italian fans like it!

More info:
Editore: Mondadori
Anno: 2010
Collana:I Grandi
Pagine: 352
Formato: 14,0 x 21,5
Legatura:cartonato con sovraccoperta Prezzo: 17.00 €
ISBN: 978880460357
Stato: In lavorazione
Loredana Serratore

Mucho de Fabulousness

Many of you know that Penguin/Speak is releasing Sweep in bind-ups of three titles each. The first book was available only at Wal-Mart until September; now it should be available in most bookstores. I’m happy to report that the second volume is coming out in November, and the third volume is due in January 2011! Best of all, the new covers are just terrific–I really love them. Here’s what they look like:

Plus the new Balefire bind-up is coming out in December!
It’s just Cate, Cate, Cate everywhere!

Sweep–The Movie

So they’ve finally announced it in Variety–Sweep might become a movie. Here’s a link for more info:

I don’t know much more than you do, at this point–Alloy, which owns half of Sweep, made the deal. But I really love the screenwriter they’ve hired for the adaptation–he adapted one of my favorite movies, Chocolat, and has done several other terrific movies, so I feel like I’m in good hands.

But I don’t know anything about the schedule or timeline or casting–I won’t be involved in any of that. The author usually isn’t, unless they’re much bigger and more powerful than I am!

Thanks to everyone’s good wishes, and for all the excited tweets and posts! It’s so gratifying to see!

What’s really perplexed me is all the negative comments on some of the film sites, with people hating on Sweep without having read any of them, and saying it’s just like Harry Potter and Twilight. It’s so weird! Why don’t they read one of them first? Then they can hate on it if they want. It’s the dissing without knowing what they’re talking about that’s freaking me out.

But anyway: Sweep movie, possibly. Many things can still not work out. But my fingers are crossed. Thanks so much for all your support!

Shameless Self-Promotion Wednesday

A reviewer for the Associated Press reviewed Immortal Beloved, (favorably, fortunately!) and the story has been picked up by quite a few places, like the ABC News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Huffington Post, among others. At most of those places you would have to do a search for my name–it isn’t front page news or anything. And the reviewer got Incy’s name wrong–she called him Tracy! But still, it’s been some nice publicity.

Here’s a link to one source:

Thank you, Associated Press!

Finally! Immortal Beloved is Out!

It seems like it’s taken years–okay, it has taken years–but Immortal Beloved finally officially pubbed today. It’s been available in a few places for the last week, but now it should be out everywhere. Let me know what you think–or post your reviews on Amazon or iBooks. I’m deep in the middle of writing the second book of the trilogy–it’s fun seeing how far Nastasya has come!

I also did a guest blog post over at, if you want to check it out.

Much to My Surprise . . .

I just found out that Amazon is already selling Immortal Beloved, almost two weeks before its official release! I have no idea why, but I hope people are glad they don’t have to wait as long. Apparently, it’s available at some Barnes and Nobles, also. Anyway, if you’ve been waiting for it, wait no more!

Bits  and Pieces

Quick Recap:

Immortal Beloved pubs in the US on Sept.7 from Little, Brown

Immortal Beloved paperback pubs in UK territories in September

Sweep bind-up, 1-3, pubs in September from Penguin

Balefire bind-up, 1-4, pubs in December from Penguin

Immortal Beloved hardcover pubs in the UK in January.

Website Stuff:

We’re (I’m using “we” very loosely here) working on a fresh look for the website–no big changes, but a fresh look and a few tweaks in time (I hope) for the IB pub in September.


I know I owe you guys blog entries, FB updates, answers to mail. It all gets overwhelming, and I’m trying to make progress on IB #2, which was due 8 days ago ha ha ha ha.


I don’t usually get that excited when a book comes out–but I’m excited about all the things happening this fall. IB is very exciting, and I’m so thrilled that Penguin is repackaging (new covers) and re-releasing Sweep and Balefire. It’s like Cate Cate Cate everywhere I turn! Let me know if you get sick of me. I’ll try to tone it down.

IB #2

Right now it’s called Everlasting Darkness. I’m really enjoying it–poor Nastasya is in for some hard times–but I’m also at the stage where the structure of the book starts to matter even more, and I’m looking at it and seeing structural things I have to change, and it’s not the fun “let’s write another makeout scene” part. So I’m slogging away. Still loving the story, loving the characters, but seeing ways to improve it, make it better, which I am obliged to do because I want it to be the best it can be. I assume you also want this.


I need at least six more weeks of it. This summer has been really hectic and overfull, and I need a lot more time where the days go on forever and the weeks blend into each other. It’s been ridiculously hot here, without a lot of rain. Several gray, rainy days would be very welcome right now.My kids go back to school next week. I’m not ready.


Why do I crave them when I know they make me feel sick afterward? This seems to defy all logic. Including the imperative for the species to survive.

A Flaw

I am not good at doing nothing. I lie in my hammock, determined to simply relax for an hour, let my thoughts settle, refresh my imagination. I last an average of twelve minutes. I feel antsy, guilty, and know I should be inside working and doing laundry, or outside pulling weeds or something. I think of clutter I need to pick up, work I owe my editors, fan letters from *February* I haven’t answered. Finally I can’t stand it anymore and bolt inside to get back to work. Yes, it’s been almost . . . twelve minutes.

Author Appearances

The publicity person at Little, Brown has been talking to me about author appearances. The very notion fills me with dread, but they seem to have their hearts set on it. Is that really something that readers like? If I were to appear in a town near you, would you bother to come out? Have I mentioned the shyness and agoraphobia?

Okay, back to work. Will have a new update soon.


Immortal Beloved Foreign Sales

I wanted to let everyone know where the rights for Immortal Beloved have been sold so far, so you’ll know if it’s coming in translation to your country. Several of these countries are planning to publish IB in Spring 2011. Some I don’t know about.

But here’s a current list:

The UK
The Netherlands
Spain (Spanish and Catalan)

I might be forgetting a couple. I’ll update the list as agreements develop.

I’m so excited that Immortal Beloved will reach a wider audience than any of my other books! Then maybe the publishers will also want to publish Sweep and Balefire! Fingers crossed!


Out of the ordinary

So, for the most part, my life is pretty ordinary, with groceries, housework, family, etc. All of the weird stuff happens inside my own head, and doesn’t show much on the outside. But sometimes unusual things happen that sort of defy explanation. I love that stuff. I wanted to share something unusual with you.

First off, I have a posse, and we get together a couple times a month to talk about whatever. We’re all kind of different, but all open to other viewpoints. One of our members practices an ancient Peruvian tradition of shamanic healing. (I didn’t know anything about this–) Last night she talked about it with us, and then led us in an exercise.

One of the basic tenets of her practice is that everything, trees, rocks, water, everything, is alive and has a consciousness. She had brought a small jar of rocks with her–she called them the stone people. We each were allowed to choose a rock, hold it in our hands, and then ask the rock to help us with whatever we were having trouble with. And then ask it what it wanted us to know about itself.

So we were all, sure, what the hey, and passed around the jar of rocks. I was last, and instead of dumping out the rocks (stone people) I decided to close my eyes and choose one by feel. I felt around, and suddenly one rock fit perfectly into my palm. It wasn’t the biggest or the prettiest, but it fit in my fingers perfectly. So I concluded this was my rock. (I’d never done anything like this before.)

Then we each closed our eyes and thought. I’ve been having a lot of trouble lately focusing on work. I have two projects going, and instead of buckling down and working on them, I find myself frittering away my days on other stuff. In the meantime, deadlines are ticking down, and if I don’t turn things in, I don’t get paid. So I’ve been stressing about this. And I silently asked my stone person what it thought about this. And then (this is my perception of what happened), I felt it answer: “My sister is waiting to help you. She’s been waiting.” I was like, wha? And it said that its sister was on my desk, and that I needed to hold it in my hand for five minutes at the start of the day. I had to concentrate and focus on it, and then I would be ready to sit down and work. Basically, the stone person was laughing at me because the answer seemed so obvious and simple.

Here’s the thing: I have a stone on my desk. I don’t even remember where I got it from–maybe the beach in California? Or Florida? I don’t know. I tend to collect stones from places. But this stone, that fits nicely into my palm, always sits on the base of my monitor, and if it gets moved, I always move it back. It’s been on my desk for ages, years. This stone is my stone person’s sister (I guess they all feel related.) And the stone on my desk has been waiting for me to use it to help me focus. I was somewhat freaked out about this, but agreed to try it the next day.

Then I asked what else the stone person wanted me to know about it or its people. It said, Our relationship is not one-way–you, acting on a stone. It goes both ways, and I can give back just as much as you give me.

Which is a whole huge thought, and I’m dying to put it into a book soon.

Then my friend said that if we wanted, we could take the stone person home–if we felt it wanted to go home with us. Everyone except me wanted to take their stone home, and felt their stone wanted to go home with them. I felt that my stone definitely wanted to go back to the jar with the other stone people: its job was done. It had come there to help me with this one thing, and now that that was done, it would go back home. So I put it back.

This morning I got up and sat at my desk. I quickly went through email and answered what I needed to. And then I didn’t do all the usual stuff I do that wastes time. I picked up my stone person from my desk and held it, and sat there for five minutes focusing on work. It felt endless. I was restless. I wanted to be doing something else. But I did it. And today I haven’t wasted much time, and have sat here and worked.

Thank you, stone person.

Isn’t that an odd thing to happen? I have no explanation about it, except that it happened and feels real to me. Just a tiny, brief connection to The Other.

Whoa! Balefire!

For all of you who have been bummed trying to get copies of Balefire, some of which is out of print, I was just sent the cover art for the future 4-in-1 bind-up that will be available in December. This will be all four books in one volume, and I love the cover design. Here it is, so you’ll know what to look for:

I think it’s fah-bulous! Can’t wait till December!

So . . . What Do You Think?

I meant to mention that the Immortal Beloved cover that you see here is the actual official IB cover, which is what you’ll see at bookstores (in America. Other countries will have different covers.). The white cover was just a placeholder so you wouldn’t have to look at a black box.

I’m looking for feedback here–will this cover stand out on the shelves? Does it make you want to pick up the book and see what it’s about? If you’ve read the excerpt from IB on this site, do you think this book cover is representative of what you’ve read?

I’m asking because I saw several different designs for this book, and this one was the best. But what are your thoughts?

I’ve been wanting to add photos to this blog for ages, but being technologically challenged is a burden I struggle with. But I think I’ve figured it out! (There’s a little button that says “Upload photo.” Heh. Who knew?)

So now I can inundate this site with pictures of:

This tree in my front yard. It's a Bradford pear. It does not make actual pears. The pink box on the right is the bird feeder where deer come and tip it and suck all the seed out of it.

and this:

This is me, last month. I think this is in my bathroom, but I have no idea why I have it or what was going on or anything. Hoo, boy, washed out, huh?

and this:

This might be too much information. A snapshot of a life that maybe you really don't want to know about. But basically, this is my bed. The dog is Zsazsa, who belongs to my husband's best friend. They were visiting from Florida. The muddy pawprints you see all over the down comforter are muddy pawprints, because we apparently set no limits as to where guest dogs can go. The dresser in the back is covered with crap because that's how we roll. I'm sorry if I just destroyed whatever image you had of me. I'm just walkin' in the truth here.

I bet you’re so, so excited, huh?



I’ve been wanting to add photos to this blog for ages, but being technologically challenged is a burden I struggle with. But I think I’ve figured it out! (There’s a little button that says “Upload photo.” Heh. Who knew?)

So now I can inundate this site with pictures of:

This tree in my front yard. It's a Bradford pear. It does not make actual pears. The pink box on the right is the bird feeder where deer come and tip it and suck all the seed out of it.

and this:

This is me, last month. I think this is in my bathroom, but I have no idea why I have it or what was going on or anything.

and this:

This might be too much information. A snapshot of a life that maybe you really don't want to know about. But basically, this is my bed. The dog is Zsazsa, who belongs to my husband's best friend. They were visiting from Florida. The muddy pawprints you see all over the down comforter are muddy pawprints, because we apparently set no limits as to where guest dogs can go. The dresser in the back is covered with crap because that's how we roll. I'm sorry if I just destroyed whatever image you had of me. I'm just walkin' in the truth here.

I bet you’re so, so excited, huh?


Balefire News

So I think it’s really going to happen–I believe Penguin is planning to rerelease all four books of Balefire together in one bind-up, like what they’re doing with Sweep. It will have a fabulous new cover, new typesetting, everything, and I’m sure it will be amazing. I’m so happy they’re doing this! I believe the books are planned to be released around Christmas, this year. Hard to wait that long!


I get a lot of questions about how I got started writing, where do I get my ideas, how did I think up all this stuff. Since I’m wrestling with the outline for the second Immortal Beloved book, I’m dealing with these issues right now. The “how I got started” part is explained in a couple of places, including the recent interview at BlogCritics. I posted its link on the Blog page because I haven’t figured out how to access the News page. (Oh, yeah–I’m not technical. But then you knew that.) But I can talk about some of the other questions because 1) they’re on my mind, and 2) writing about them means I’m not actually doing them. *One of the first skills a writer has to master is the art of procrastination.*

So . . . where do I get all my ideas? I buy them in bulk from a store, like Costco. No, not really. I wish. Of course there’s no one place or one way I get ideas. Sometimes I wake up with them, or get them when I’m doing housework or raking, sometimes a picture in a magazine or a sentence in a book or a scrap of overheard conversation spurs my thought process, or a painting in a museum or a dead animal my dog brings in or just a random thought that pops into my head and who knows where the heck it came from . . . In truth, a lot of my job involves me just–thinking. Because I’m an overachiever with guilt issues, I usually do something else while I’m thinking, like sweeping the patio or washing the dog bowl. But sometimes I really am just sitting quietly somewhere, thinking, and if someone comes in and talks to me, I don’t even hear them. Ideas, pictures, conversation, emotions just come to me like bits of clay, and then I mash them all together and try to make a pot out of them. And that little writing metaphor explains why I’m not everywhere teaching writing seminars. I don’t know how to teach it, and I can’t even explain it well. I know only how to do it.

I’ve read a lot, taken literature courses, and listened to other writers talk about writing. Every writer has her own method of working. A friend of mine writes out of sequence, coming up with ideas and scenes and then later putting everything into  a normal time frame. That very idea just makes my stomach hurt.

How do I write?

I think about what I would like to read, myself. Or an idea I want to explore. Virtually all of my books are about a female character discovering her inner strength and using it to overcome bad stuff. That’s the general message I want to communicate to my readers: you have inner, untapped personal strength, and you have the ability to overcome whatever bad stuff you’re dealing with. I like that message more than, say, “other girls are your enemies and you should sabotage them so you’ll get the cutest boys and be more popular.” Or “obsess about your weight and appearance in a futile attempt to achieve perfection so that X will finally love you.” Those are not helpful messages, in my opinion.

This is just me, but I don’t think of a story, and then put people in it. I always think of the characters first, and then put them in a story that allows them to reveal their personas in a dramatic way. It’s hard for me to tell a story. It’s not hard for me to find virtually everyone fascinating and want to explore their pysches exhaustively and figure out what makes them do the things they do, make the decisions they make. So I’m usually not struggling to produce a work of a certain length because I’ve run out of plot–I’m usually overwriting because I can sit there and talk about these people forever.

I tend to think in story arcs that are three or four books long–it seems like I just need a lot of space. Because I’ve finally cottoned on to basic plot requirements after almost twenty years of writing, I come up with a story line and make sure it has a beginning, middle, and an end. Plots are not my strong point and tend to be secondary to my characters. Ideally the plot and characters should seem as if they can’t exist without the other. But this is all the technical stuff that makes my eyes glaze over–one learns it in high school and college and perhaps absorbs it. I do know writers, writers I really respect, who are all about structure and turning points and raising the stakes and first denouement and second denouement. But that’s not me. I come up with a character who intrigues me, who I want to know better, and then I put her in an interesting situation that would be fun to write about. I make sure she grows and changes by the end of the book, and that’s one of the most important aspects to truly comprehend: your characters must grow and change throughout the book. They must learn something about themselves. They must go on a journey, either physically or emotionally or psychologically, and that journey must change them. And then you put in subplots that offer interesting parallels or counterpoints to your main plot.

If I could write anything at all, it would probably be a series of romantic setups with tons of longing and emotion and tortured love that finally totally works out in the end and everything is fabulous. If someone would pay me to do that, it would be great. In my experience, they want more story and setting and the whole rest of the plot. That’s what makes it difficult.

I usually write for anywhere from an hour or two to maybe five or six hours a day. But it takes all day to do that. I’m usually at my desk most of every day. I’ll take little breaks and throw in a load of laundry or something. I do a lot of research online. I read other writers’ blogs. There are certain writers I read who, by their work, show me different patterns of conversation or humor, different ways of getting a person in and out of a room. A book will have a certain tone, a certain voice, and I’ll read it and figure out why it works, and if I can do something similar. I let the dogs out. And then in. And then out. And then in. Maybe a thousand times a day. That takes time. But the actual writing, the tapping of keys–I usually don’t do that for more than about six hours total, because after that my head feels like it’s going to explode and my eyes will bleed. And I try to be out of my bathrobe before my husband or I get the kids from school.

I do work from an outline. The outline is roughly chapter by chapter, but it can be fluid–I don’t strictly have to adhere to what I plotted out. Some people write really detailed outlines, 50 pages long, and some people work with no outline at all, which freaks me out. My outline is pretty much what needs to happen, sticking in things that are important, and it’s usually around 15-20 pages. I’ll put in bits of dialogue or specific details that crop up while I’m writing it. Sometimes it’s kind of in shorthand: They meet at the place, he does the thing, she gets mad, they run into X. From that I could write a twelve-page chapter. But I get as detailed as I need to.

So I sit down with my outline and something to drink, and I write until I need to stop. The next day I reread everything and clean it up. Sometimes I’ll think it’s no good and I’ll delete pages. Which is hard. Or I’ll have a certain bit I really love, but it actually doesn’t fit with the story, or it’s out of character, and it has to go. Also hard. And so on and so forth, for anywhere from 200 to 400 pages. The Sweep and Balefire titles were pretty short, but they came out several books a year. Immortal Beloved is about 400 pages, and it will come out once a year. I try to write at least six double-spaced pages a day. Sometimes I’m lucky to get three. If I’m way behind schedule or am writing something I’m really into and excited by, I can write twelve or fifteen pages. Usually it’s about six.

The story changes from the original outline. It goes in directions that I didn’t expect. The characters do things that surprise me and change what happens next. Or I’ll simply come up with a different idea that seems better than what I had before. It’s organic and it grows and changes. Every once in a while, it’s significantly different from what the editor was expecting, but that usually isn’t a problem, as long as it’s good.

I can’t tell you how to write–and it sounds like many of you are writers or want to be writers. I can only tell you how I do it, which is not how anyone else does it. But the one universal place that every writer comes from is: writing is communication. What are you trying to say? Who are you trying to say it to? Why do you need to say it? Figuring out those questions is usually the hardest part, and the step many people skip.

The more you know yourself, the more you’ll know and understand your characters.

Read other people’s writing. A lot.

Chocolate seems to be a crucial part of the process.

Don’t spill anything on your computer.

And now I have to go do it myself.


An Interview

Here’s an interview that posted at BlogCritics.

I never know how I come off in things like that . . .