Posts about writing and authorship, written by Kaleb Nation

Beautiful Darkness Tour with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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I’ve been hinting at this news for almost a week now, and finally I can make the announcement! For those of you who don’t live in the places I’m touring, there are now a few more opportunities to meet me and lots of amazing authors!

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, two good friends of mine, are the authors of the nationally bestselling BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (the black book with the purple letters, at #2 on the NY Times Paperback Bestseller List right now). This month, they are heading out on their Beautiful Darkness Tour to promote their sequel, and I will now be traveling with them for the majority of their stops, livestreaming, filming & interviewing them in a few places:






October 12

St. Louis, MO

7:00 PM CST

St. Louis County Library RELEASE PARTY –

Heather Brewer &

Kaleb Nation

October 13

Avondale, AZ

6:30 PM MST

Borders Bookstore

Kaleb Nation

October 14

Scottsdale, AZ

4:00 PM MST

Poisoned Pen Bookstore

Rosemary Clement-Moore &

Kaleb Nation

October 15

Austin, TX

6:00 PM CST

Book People

October 17

San Antonio, TX

1:00 PM CST

Twig Book Show

with Rachel Vincent

October 18

Boulder, CO

6:30 PM MST

Boulder Book Store

Kaleb Nation

October 19

Highland’s Ranch, CO

6:00 PM MST

Tattered Cover Bookstore

Sarah Ockler &

Kaleb Nation

October 20

West Jordan, UT

7:00 PM MST

Barnes & Noble

October 21

Salt Lake City, UT

7:00 PM MST

King’s English Bookshop

Emily Wing Smith

READ CAREFULLY: I am not attending ALL of the stops. The dates I will be at are in red.

As part of me hopping on, I’ll be bringing as much of my online world to their events as I can. Every event I’m at will have live BlogTV streams, some of the Q&A’s run by me and others by YA lit greats (Heather Brewer, anyone?).

Even more importantly, while traveling I will be filming a mini-documentary for Kami and Margie, which will be posted on both of our Youtube channels (in the style of ‘A Year In The Life Of JK Rowling’ meets this). I’ll be recording a special behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like for two nationally bestselling authors to be on tour, meeting fans, doing Q&A, and promoting their novels. I’ll also get to ask questions that fans, writers and readers alike want to get answered straight from authors who’ve become a name in YA publishing. I’ll keep Nationeers and fans of the Caster Chronicles updated all the way on my Twitter.

If you live close to any of these events, you should certainly try to make it! Kami and Margie are authors you don’t want to miss. If you aren’t near my own book tour, this is a perfect opportunity to come say hi!

And for everyone: wish me luck as I actually attempt the incredible feat of traveling on two book tours at the same time ๐Ÿ˜€

Need the address of these stops? Visit this page on Kami & Margie’s site.

“If I Stay” Article on NPR

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I just woke up to the wonderful news that an article I wrote for NPR has been published to their front page. The article is about my experiences reading IF I STAY, the masterpiece of a novel by Gayle Forman. You can read my article on the NPR website.

The story behind me reading this book was quite a long one. I’d gotten a copy from Gayle’s film producers soon after Catherine Hardwicke had signed on, so I could blog about it. I was still in college at the time and I loved the cover, but (foolishly) managed to put off reading. Months later, I’m living in California and going through my pile of unread books, and I find this one with the pretty cover. I open it up, planning to read the first, last and page 250 of it (as I always do to preview books) but hours later, found myself already at the end.

You should read my article for more about my experiences and what I learned from Gayle Forman’s writing. Also, be sure to check out her book — it is certainly one of my favorite reads.

“Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse” Deleted Scene 1

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When writing a book, I have the tendency to write too much book. My first novel had at least 20,000 words knocked off before it was published, and even then it probably could have been scaled back another 5,000. For BRAN HAMBRIC: THE SPECTER KEY, my editor chopped out 30,000 words right from the start: literally severing about 1/4 of my novel. I suppose writing too much is a far better issue than writing too little: except, of course, when you have to watch 30,000 of your little children meet their doom ๐Ÿ˜€

BRAN HAMBRIC: THE FARFIELD CURSE took nearly six years to write. The original story was finished in about six months, leaving the remainder to editing and rewriting — so much that little of the original wording was left in the final draft that was published, though the story and plot were closely the same. Commonly, there are certain scenes that are taken out of the book entirely, usually because they simply have no place. If the book can stand on its own without a scene, then there’s no point in that scene being there.

So for the BranFans, I’m posting a very old, barely edited excerpt from the original BRAN HAMBRIC: THE FARFIELD CURSE (then it was, THE FARFIELD PLOT). As you will see, this is an example of the type of thing that doesn’t belong in a book. It’s a scene I had fun writing when I was 14, but inevitably does nothing to further the plot.

I’ve prefaced this so you don’t take this as an example of my writing and go “Fah! What nonsense! I’m tossing this book in the trash compactor immediately!” or something similar. Also keep in mind if you haven’t read the book, you won’t understand this at all. Without further ado, you can download it here (PDF) or read below:

Copyediting! and Stuff

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Today I returned from school to find that my publishers have finally completed the copyedits for Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse! In publishing, a copyeditor reads a manuscript even deeper than a normal editor does, checking for everything from consistency mistakes to style errors all the way to the gritty commas and exclamation points (of which I had many). A copyeditor also helps me make sure that everything lines up perfectly, and really adds the final bit of polish to the book before it goes off to the printers:

Visualization for what Copyedits do

Visualization for what Copyedits do

So, as today is Friday, and these edits are due on Monday, I am barricading myself in my apartment with the Lemony Snicket soundtrack, as much Anberlin as one soul can take, and all 115,000 words of my book. My goal: to attack it with as much ferocity as I can muster whilst living off microwave Mexican food and macaroni for two days and three nights. My editors left no stone unturned, as evidenced:

Copyedits for The Farfield Curse

Copyedits for The Farfield Curse

Each red marking is from one editor, and each blue marking is from another. I have two days to read and approve each edit — and the photo above is just two pages out of nearly 400! (ADDED: It should be noted, however, that every single quotation mark in this entire novel had to be changed to a different style, so the majority of those marks above are from that!)

It’s actually one of the most important steps in this process. A copyeditor can’t even change anything in the story, but they correct so many tiny mistakes that even after years of my editing, most of the manuscript looks like the two pages above! I have to approve or reject each change to make absolutely sure that everything stays exactly the way I intended when I wrote the book.

In OTHER news, my friend Kaza Kingsley has her first two Erec Rex books being re-released on April 9! Kaza and I met just after I signed with my agent, and I saw her book EREC REX: THE DRAGON’S EYE at a local bookstore and decided on random to write to her. She replied to my email, and we became good friends over the internets (she later got me as the designer for her book’s official website!). By amazing chance, she later signed with my literary agent without even knowing, and he sold her series to Simon & Schuster for re-release. If you like books with epic quests and boy heroes and dragons, you should definitely check her books out next week!

By the way, I had to turn in another project for my photography class today! The assigned concept was to show motion with shutter speed, either by freezing it or by having a little bit of blur. Tell me what you think of these (click to see them bigger):


Galleys for The Farfield Curse!

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The first printed copies of my book are finally here!

Before anyone comments that a plain white cover is very boring, I shall explain. This is not the actual book yet, but what are called bound galleys. As a cheat sheet:

ARC‘s: Advance Reader Copies, sent to Special Peoples before a book comes out.

BOUND GALLEYS: an advance Advance Reader Copy, sent to Really Special People even longer before a book comes out.

WHODUNNIT: what a publisher says when a Bound Galley mysteriously goes missing, coincidentally just after the author receives them in the mail.

The bound galleys are basically just printings of the book, double-spaced, with a softcover wrapped around it and the title slapped on. Even the chapter titles are in a plain, tiny, boring font: much unlike how the finished book will appear!

This, however, marks the first ever edition ofย  The Farfield Curse to be printed by Sourcebooks, albeit a very small and very unedited version. This also means that things are truly, finally starting to move faster in the preparations for the release. I can’t even begin to describe the huge stuff that my publishers are planning for this release, and it’s getting to be so exciting. I will say that April will be a very big month for everyone who has waited all this time, especially me.

April will also be a very big month for everyone who has waited to see the cover art. And that is all I shall say on that for now ๐Ÿ˜€

The Grave Of Emry Hambric [Music]

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I know that most of you have not read The Farfield Curse in its entirety yet (as it’s not out until 2009), and even those who have read parts probably do not know well enough about the characters to actually care who Emry Hambric is. I won’t attempt to explain it because I’d really have to write the whole book out for it to be understood, but hopefully my new song will help you imagine the feeling at the end of the first book:


The ending is a mixture of hope and a little sadness, a happy ending but tinged a little, and in a way I feel this song echoes how the first book concludes.

If you like my music or my other songs, I have two that you can download for free on a hidden page at BranHambric.com. I’ll have more news on the book soundtrack closer to the release in late 2009.

There is some about Emry in the prologue of the book (and a song for the Prologue as well, on the Music page) so I can also email preview chapters of The Farfield Curse if you want to get a better feel of who she is. Email me and I’ll try to get previews out as quick as I can.

This song is a first draft so opinions are welcome!

[note: email subscribers must visit the site to hear audio]

Symptoms of Editingosis

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Alas, I think I have fallen prey to the dreaded condition of Editingosis. In the Guide to Authorly Conditions, Editingosis is defined as

[…] temporary affliction which plagues writers, usually in the second half of the year, in which the afflicted suffers from bouts of forgetfulness, untidiness, unkempt appearance and frequent whining […] This is caused by editing taking so much brain power, there is simply not enough left for trivial matters such as Housework, Entertainment, Sunlight or Getting Out Of The Apartment.

It isn’t only me who’s out and about doing edits: loads of other writers are celebrating Revisions Season with me. I woke up this morning, after a wonderful didn’t-end-until-2-AM-but-I-got-2500-bloody-words-cut day of editing yesterday, only to find that many of my usual duties have gone undone.

To my utter shock and surprise, not only were my dishes crying out for my attention, but some absent-minded person had left more mess all over the bed.

The problem with Editingosis is that things really aren’t as bad as the condition makes you believe, and I quite possibly could get outside, see that glowing golden ball of gas, and dart back inside, and still make my deadline. I think by spending so much time revising, I’m violating my own editor’s commands:

Me: Yes, yes! Summertime! I’ll edit all day, every day!

Editor: Good. But make sure you get outside and have some fun this summer too.

Me (singing): All day, every day! All day, every day!

Editor: Great. One of THOSE authors…

All things are going very well. Just yesterday, in fact, I managed to cut about 2,500 words of plot meandering in one sitting. That is a lot of meandering, and has no place in a finished novel, so I’m actually very happy these word cuts are forcing me to be creative with the limbs of this book I chop off, armed only with a pen and two keyboards (yes, I have two keyboards).

My family was particularly disgusted after my previous post, in which I said a certain loverly (and wickedly unpleasant) character was taken out. You have to remember that they have seen this book in every stage, from the first draft when I was 14 all the way to now. They pretty much know all the characters who were in and are now out, and all the histories and backstories from each draft. So, to oblige them, I have decided to at least make a mention of the character I killed, just to keep her out of the Prison of Removed Characters until the next book. And after the book is out, I’ll take one of my commenter’s suggestion and post the deleted scene on here.

Somebody emailed and asked if I could show my writing notebook. I actually have a bunch of different writing notebooks and printouts and notes, and at the moment a few of them are sitting in a General State of Disorder on my side desk:

You can’t really read much of it but that’s they way it’s sitting on my desk right now. The big notebook to the right is an enormous, 11×14 inch drawing pad I use for plotting scenes out and working out notes (on that page in particular, I’m working out some gnome business). Then, on the left, I have two smaller notebooks. The corner of the printout is (by pure coincidence) partially covering an important piece of information (he he).

I have this melody playing in my head right now that I will probably be recording very soon into a new song. When I say that, it could be weeks before it is finished, but that melody is the beginning. Also, I have two very important interviews coming up: one with me, and one with someone else.

Me Versus Impending Deadlines

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Yoiks, it’s been over a week since I have posted an update, and loads of stuff has been happening. To start off, I just landed an interview with a very famous author, who happens to own the number 1 spot on the New York Times, and has owned it for nearly a year. I asked half of my questions about the books and the other half about tips for writers. So, look forward to some really cool answers given by my mysterious interview shortly.

In other news, many of you probably know me by now as The TwilightGuy, thanks to Stephenie Meyer and her glorious millions of fans and readers (I think my Official Fan ID Number is #4,546,768– I got in on it late). Well, after three months of painstakingly slow reading, with my TwilightGuy.com commentary on each chapter, I’ve finished the first book in the series, and I’m now moving on to the sequel, New Moon, as evidenced in the following photos:

My professional portrait photographer, who only appears to be a broken lamp-pole converted into a tripod and a self-timing camera, posed a nearby gnome with my newly-purchased book:

Gnome Loves New Moon

The TwilightGuy website has been an enormous success so far, thanks to all the loyal readers and everyone who gave me a chance when I was just starting out. It’s passed 750,000 hits in just 3 short months, with emails in the hundreds and comments in the thousands. And to think the day I bought the site, I thought I was wasting my time.

As for me, I have a new alibi for becoming an increasingly-invisible blogger over here. My new excuse is that I have a deadline for my revisions that is impending. If you don’t know what impending means, think of a steam train rapidly approaching around the bend, while your car is stuck between the crossing guards (people who have read my book snicker here).


In the above example, the train is impending. My deadline is approaching in a similar fashion, except instead of being brought with steam and locomotion, my deadline is surrounded by the awful, wretched, pounding, abysmal, never-ending beat of the music from the apartment nearby (see, Trolls). Word from someone else on campus is that our resident trolls converted a car stereo into a home sound system. My poor head. Their poor eardrums.

Between beats of their bass box, I have managed to get a lot of revisions done either here or at the cafe. And it is in that I have a confession to make. I, unfortunately, was forced to axe a character.

Oh the woe: this character who was formerly in a scene and now is not. What makes it worse, though, is that I chopped her entire scene clean out. So not only is the character gone, but her car as well- and her sister garbed in purple furs, her sister’s car, and Sewey’s sandwich, and Ben’s sandwich, and Trolan’s sandwich, and the dust bunny Sewey found under the chair and threw at Trolan. All of it is gone, like a bunch of ghosts who will now wander somewhere in the space-time continuum, that were there one second and now suddenly are not. None of you have any clue at all who she is, or rather who she was: but from now until eternity I will be haunted by her ghost when I read the place where she formerly was: Fool! You dare to remove me from the story? Have you no mercy? Feel my wrath!

Luckily, she was an unpleasant character. And, my consolation is that she actually does appear in the second book (if I don’t axe her from that as well), which makes it not like turning her into a ghost, but more like tossing her into jail for a short amount of time: right next to the dozens of other characters I’ve edited from the story over the years. Sometimes, everyone simply does not fit. Chop chop! No character is safe when my editing axe is sharp.

You should be hearing from me again soon, when I get that interview finished. I’m really excited about it.

Pizza, Revisions and Trolls

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There are many very important stages in getting a book published, and one of them is known as Editing.

Since this is my first book I’m very new to all of this, and thus parts of it are slightly painful as my body adjusts to 2AM nights, all meals comprised of microwave or delivery foods, sheer lack of outside communication besides instant messenger, and headaches from screen-staring that no amount of Tylenol will drive out. My alarm clock is set to noon, or not at all.

I’m certain that not all writers out there subject themselves to these torturous routines (if my editor knew he’d probably remind me calmly that my deadline is NOT next week or anything). Still. I’m new, and if I gain twenty pounds, earn blue circles under my eyes, and never eat another delivery pizza again, this book will be finished before deadline and it will bloody well be edited to perfection.

Speaking of delivery pizza, heard of the Domino’s Gotham City Pizza? It’s a large with crust-to-crust cloaking in pepperoni. It was on sale. I thought it would be good.


Um…yeah. I discovered something: you can have too much pepperoni. Just warning you. Next time I’m sticking with the regular: Brooklyn with a rational amount of pepperoni. Safer that way.

Anywho, what bothers me the most as I write is the fact that due to living in a college apartment, there is a certain house of trolls a few apartments over who thinks it is their duty to their fellow humans to play their music at the highest, bass-iest volume possible. It is so bloody loud it is rattling my keyboard. It angers me much. This is how writers get reputations for being violent.

Music Trolls

I would not be bothered if this was just a party or even a multi-day celebration. But it seems that these particular morons absolutely must run the stereo from six in the evening to two in the morning, the hours in which I do my best writing (note: the future source of circles under my eyes) and even sometimes from two to past daylight (the hours in which I do my best staring-at-the-ceiling-trying-to-sleep).

In the times I can ignore their racket, I’m working hard on the edits, getting the big stuff worked out and all the word-count cuts. Thankfully my other writer friends have been through this and know how to console me. I think I nearly made one of my friends faint when I told her how much we were aiming to cut from the book. See, the number of words I’m trying to cut happens to be nearly the length of her entire novel (!).

Sometimes in the revising process, there comes a point where certain scenes must be added and others taken out (the removed scenes I’ll hopefully get to post on the website eventually). I did have a particularly wonderful revelation of a new scene which is turning into one of my favorites in the book. It involves the same setting as what has been in the scene for years, but now suddenly, Bran notices a secret door across the room. A secret door is a very, very useful device when writing. In fact, you can pretty much just throw a secret door in anywhere and it works. Example:

Pamela Pinkersnort was delivering one of those abysmal Gotham City pizzas to somebody’s apartment. She knocked on the door. It was hard to hear herself knocking, because of the horrid rock music coming from an apartment nearby, which obviously housed moronic trolls.

“Psst!” a voice came. “Over here.”

Pamela turned, and saw a secret door.

Pretty much immediately, Pamela’s gonna wonder how the secret door got there, why it’s a secret, what’s behind it, and if the person there will tip nicely or be a scrooge.

Great. As I wrote that last paragraph, the music trolls just turned it up even louder. Thanks, I surely needed that.



On a side note, my publishers have a news blog. This I did not know, until this week. So someday in the next-yearsy-future I might get to see my name on it ๐Ÿ˜€