Monday, August 10, 2015

The Hunt for the Pyxis Begins!!

I am extremely delighted to announce the publication (finally!) of my new children's book, The Hunt for the Pyxis. This is the first in the Galaxy Pirates trilogy, an adventure story for ages 9 and up. School Library Journal says that it’s “absolutely action packed…this first in a series will keep kids reading!”

I discovered yesterday that one young reader on Amazon wrote "I want to live in this book!" I think this is the highest praise a writer can receive -- thank you, anonymous 12-year-old, you just filled me with indescribable glee! 

The Hunt for the Pyxis is set in an outer space you've never seen before, where big ships ply the intergalactic waterways and the constellations inspire fantastical creatures. It evolved from a fantasy world I first imagined as a child. I think of it as Star Wars meets Patrick O’Brien.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the way books are made, publishing a book generally happens at the speed of Dutch Elm disease. But now, reading that book is just one click away! You can purchase it as hardback or ebook at Amazon and plenty of Indie booksellers. My favorites are Green Apple, Books Inc and Kepler's.

I also want to give a huge thank you to my agent at Inkwell, Charlie Olsen, for doing the impossible and actually SELLING the book. Another massive thanks to my editor at Crown Books, Phoebe Yeh, for actually BUYING it. You guys, this is still a miracle to me. Even more thanks to all the readers, family and friends who were involved in this project - or rather, who read the book countless times and then put up with me wanting to have conversations about things like the shape of a dragon's snout or whether or not Queen Virgo has children. I love you all.
On the night Emma Garton’s supposedly boring parents are kidnapped, she is forced to face the truth: they’ve been lying to her about many things, including the Pyxis, a mysterious amulet that holds the key to saving another world. Worse yet, her parents aren’t even from planet Earth.

To find her parents, Emma and her best friend, Herbie, must leave Earth and enter the Strands—the waterways of space, where huge galleons ply the intergalactic seas. But a journey through the constellations won’t be easy—not with evil Queen Virgo and every scoundrel in the galaxy determined to find them.

In this interstellar adventure, YALSA Alex Award–winning author ZoĆ« Ferraris transports young readers to a vast, magical universe filled with fantastical creatures, merciless villains, and fearless heroes.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What I'm Reading This Week

In keeping with the new look of my blog, I’m taking a pilgrimage into old territory, going back to subjects and interests that have occupied me for years but which I've been neglecting because I've been writing fantasy for kids.

What I’ve just finished reading and can highly recommend:

Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness (edited by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan): An eclectic series of essays handling just what the title says. There are many ways to look at consciousness, but delightfully this book ranges all over the map - including things like lucid dreaming, DMT, jhana states, synchronicity, and even gems like "the proper uses of stage magic." I loved the wide sampling here, just enough on each subject to keep my interest and stir up some unknown and uncomfortable areas in my own consciousness.

Walter B. Gibson and the Shadow (by Thomas Shimeld): A straight-up biography, although Gibson’s life makes for remarkable content. He wrote so much that even he didn’t know how many books he had published, and his primary occupation was the paranormal. He wanted to write it into the Shadow novels, but was forced to take a lot of it out of his fiction under pressure from his publishers. Gibson is my great-great uncle and I don’t profess to have anything like his creative output, but I do share his love of the unexplained, of finding what is truly mysterious in life, and of course of heroes, whether they’re super or not.

Chief Marin (by Betty Goerke): It is pretty rare to find a good book about California Indians -- and by "good" I mean one that wakes you up and makes you feel that for a moment you are back in the past, seeing the world as it was then. "Good" also means transcending the goofy romanticism so many books about Indians have. This story of Chief Marin, the Miwok leader who defied the Spaniards, is obsessively researched and pretty damn good.

The Witches of Eastwick (John Updike): I loved this twenty years ago, and all I can say now is god bless this man, he is still completely awesome. Even if he is not politically correct. Even if he is a bit wordy at times. He can get away with anything. His prose, his characters, his odd little asides serve up some kind of alchemical magic of their own. When he puts a Rhode Island winter on the page, by god you are there, like it or not.