announcement: a spaceship full o'corpses!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the sale of my adult science fiction horror novel HOUSE OF WISDOM! Here is the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Kali Wallace's HOUSE OF WISDOM, pitched as an Alien-inspired thriller set in deep space about a cult leader and her hostages trapped aboard an abandoned spaceship along with a virus of mysterious origins, her first book for adults, to Jessica Wade at Ace, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Adriann Ranta Zurhellen at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).

I am so excited to work with Jessica Wade and the team at Ace for my debut into the adult sci fi world, and I am so happy this book has found a home. It's a book I truly love, with all its dark, gruesome, space-bound horror, and I hope you love it too. 

A starred review for City of Islands!

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CITY OF ISLANDS has received a starred review from Kirkus!

"Wallace builds intrigue, layer by layer, page by page, until readers are glued to each word right up to the magnificent end. The captivating worldbuilding is supported by a sturdy third-person narrative that’s filled with people of various skin tones, personalities, and abilities who find a way to work together to right the wrongs of corruption.... Inspiration and excitement from beginning to end."

You can read the full review here, and you can preorder CITY OF ISLANDS anywhere books are sold: 

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Indiebound | Powell's

getting stuck and getting unstuck

The novel I'm writing now is longer and more complex than any I've tried to write before. This is a good thing! It is exciting and epic and full of things I love and there are monsters everywhere!

But it is also long and complex and full of characters and everything is interconnected across miles of story geography and years of story time and tens of thousands of story words, which means that it is a lot to handle. I am trying to be better about thoughtful first draft writing. That is, rather than jumping head first into a story and assuming I'll figure it out later, I am trying to plan a bit more. I'm not full-on outlining, but I am trying to be more deliberate about each step I take in the story--even when that step comes as a result of a wild idea that strikes in the middle of the night.

That means than when I hit a snag--which I do all the time, because it is a big and complicated story--I try to figure out why I've hit a snag, rather than barreling through or giving up entirely. I try to think about the problem in a way that actually helps solve the problem and gets me writing again. To do this, I ask myself some questions about the story to figure out what's keeping me from moving forward.

Introducing my new monthly newsletter

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I am starting a monthly newsletter to provide readers with updates and news. Stay Out of the Forest will go out no more than once a month, and it will contain book news, publishing updates, occasional musings on writing and publishing, recommendations and raves, and, of course, a collection of cocktail recipes. I promise to keep things interesting, and I will never spam you with unrelated emails.

This is my way of staying in touch with readers, friends, and fellow authors in a publishing world that has become increasingly overwhelmed by the fast-moving and aggressive social media environment. Because I write everything from adventurous children's novels to high-concept speculative short fiction, I want a way to reach all interested readers and colleagues without individual announcements being lost in the shuffle.

As thanks for signing up, all new subscribers will receive a sneak peek at the first chapter of CITY OF ISLANDS.

If you are want to receive the newsletter, please provide your email via the form below. You'll receive an email containing a link to a PDF with the CITY OF ISLANDS chapter. Thank you very much!

Raising funds for The Dark

The fantastic horror magazine The Dark is fundraising for its next two years of operation, expansion, and filling you brain with disturbing and unsettling stories. I've published one story with The Dark (Caroline at Dusk) and hope to publish with them in the future, as they're a wonderful market full of creepy and unique stories, and they were a joy to work with.

So I'm offering up some rewards for their Kickstarter:

1. A signed advanced readers copy of CITY OF ISLANDS, my upcoming children's fantasy novel;

2. Signed hardcover copies of both Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees;

3. A custom cross-stitch featuring a quotation and imagery from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

There are a bunch of authors offering books, critiques, artwork, and more. Check it out:

The Dark Magazine: Two More Years of Unsettling Fiction!

year in review

'Tis the season in which writers are listing the works they published during the year, for the purposes of clarifying awards eligibility and whatnot.

Alas: I didn't publish any short stories during 2017. I sold a couple to not-yet-published anthologies, and I wrote several more that are now in various stages of revision. I hope to get some new short fiction out into the world in 2018. 

I did publish a novel this year. I am proud of The Memory Trees. I think it's a good book, and hearing from people who read and loved it means the world to me. But the entire experience of trying to promote and launch it was such a nightmare from beginning to end that I really just don't want to think about it anymore. I'm glad the eleven people who read it enjoyed it. If you ever dare ask me why more people didn't read it or even hear about it, my hair will turn to snakes and strangle you. I have a lot of hair. It would be a lot of snakes.

I also finished revising and editing City of Islands, which will be published next July, although I feel like I have scarcely had time to catch my breath from the last book release. The thing I have learned from this experience is that nine months between books is too short. But I am excited to have City of Islands creeping out into the world. It's a fun book, full of magic and salty sea adventures, and I hope readers enjoy it. 

So, onward. I wrote a novel I love during 2017. It's about spaceships and corpses and cults and death. (This is where I start humming, "These are a few of my favorites things….") My current publisher had zero interest in it, and I decided to write it anyway. That was an easy decision. I hope you get to read it someday. 

As for the next step: I know what book I want to write in 2018. I've been thinking about it for a long time. It will be big and complicated and full of generational trauma and gruesome magic and beautiful mountains. (Once again I am humming, "These are a few of my favorite things….") I have no idea if anybody will want to publish it, but, well, the world may well be ending in fire and flood and fascism, so what's the point of waiting? Nobody is ever going to wobble around on their Mad Max: Fury Road acid wasteland stilts saying, "Man, I wish I had spent more time trying to write something more popular and marketable by arbitrary commercial standards." 

That is my writing & publishing 2017 in review. Have a picture of Ireland.

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Editorial Services for Fiction Writers

I am now offering editorial services for fiction writers. Helping other writers shape their work into the very best it can be has always been one of my favorite parts of being a writer. I love the big-picture process of looking at a rough story and finding the heart of what it could become, as well as polishing the language line by line to make it shine. 

The full details and rates can be found on the Editorial Services page. I offer developmental editing, line editing, first draft consultation, and query critique packages, as well as a world-building consultation service for science fiction and fantasy writers.

I'm happy to work with fiction writers across many genres, with books for any age range of middle grade or higher, including self-published works. If you're a newer writer who has never even tried to edit or revise a novel before, I can help you figure out how to begin. If you're an experienced writer getting into a new story but worried that world-building questions are slowing your progress, I can help with that too. 

Check out the services I offer on the Editorial Services page. Feel free to send me an email at KaliWallaceEditorial@gmail.com if you have any questions, or if you've got a novel in need of revision and you're ready to get to work.

Cover reveal: City of Islands

I am delighted to share the cover of my upcoming middle grade fantasy adventure novel CITY OF ISLANDS. This story has lived in my heart and mind for a long time, and I am so happy that it is getting such a stunningly beautiful cover.

I first began writing the book that would eventually become CITY OF ISLANDS for NaNoWriMo in 2010. I had spent that summer at the Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers, and I was just starting to successfully submit and sell my first short stories. I decided I might as well try writing a novel. I won NaNoWriMo that year, but I didn't finish the novel. I set the unfinished manuscript aside, and just a few days later started another novel entirely--the unsold novel that would lead to me getting an agent and, eventually, writing and selling Shallow Graves

But the idea for CITY OF ISLANDS stayed with me. Most of all, it was the city itself that I could not leave behind: that foggy, strange, magical archipelago city full of wonders and oddities. It felt so incredibly real to me I knew I would have to write something for it eventually. I couldn't get it out of my mind; I could see the islands, the ships, the shadows darting under the water. A few years passed before I realized it was the perfect setting for a middle grade fantasy novel, and once that happened CITY OF ISLANDS began to take shape.

Because this story is so very rich in setting and atmosphere, I very much wanted the cover of the finished book to reflect that--but I also wanted it to focus on Mara, the main character, who loves the water and loves diving for treasures. It's hard enough to explain how an imaginary people and places makes you feel in words, even when you have an entire book to do it. It's even harder to convey that feeling to the illustrator charged with giving your book a cover.

But I was lucky: this beautiful illustration is the work of artist Jensine Eckwall, who has captured perfectly this story of a moody, magical archipelago city and the girl named Mara who lives there. The deep shades of blue, the mysterious bones, the bright glow of the magical lantern, and Mara reaching so confidently as she dives, all of it is perfect for how this book and its world feel to me. (And just wait until you see the map in the final book--it's every bit as fantastic and perfect!)

Here it is, in all its moody blue glory:

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In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, magic drifts on the air as songs. Twelve-year old Mara has always been fascinated by the spell-songs and dreams of becoming a great mage. Orphaned as a little girl, Mara was taken in by a bone-mage called Bindy. But when Bindy was killed by a rival, Mara lost both her home and her best chance to learn magic.
Now Mara is a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides. She earns her keep by diving in the murky ocean, searching for magical treasures that might please the Lady. Mara still yearns to learn magic, but it’s hard for a poor, orphaned servant to dream when the path to becoming a mage is open to only an elite few.
Then one day, while diving for the Lady, Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures: a lizard with wings, a horse with horns, and many more, the likes of which have not existed in the city for centuries. The entire trove of bones is humming with a powerful spell-song.
Mara is convinced the bones will earn her the opportunity to study magic. But rather than rewarding her discovery, the Lady gives Mara a challenge: to learn where the magical bones came from by sneaking into the Winter Blade, an island fortress ruled by the very same sorcerer who killed Bindy years ago.
What Mara finds will reveal chilling truths about her own past, as well as secrets about the history of her beloved city that are more dangerous--and magical--than she had ever imagined.

CITY OF ISLANDS will be coming out Summer 2018 from Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins. You can add it on Goodreads here.

The Memory Trees

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The Memory Trees is now officially released into the wild! You can buy it wherever books are sold (links here). It's available as a hardcover, ebook, and audiobook. 

I will be making a few appearances at bookstores in San Diego and the Boston area during October, in the company of the fantastic authors Adriana Mather and Shannon M. Parker. You can find a complete list of appearances on my Events page.

To kick off this mini tour, the launch party will be this Saturday, October 14, at 4 p.m. at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. Come on by for book talk and baked goods!

If you can't make it to one of the events but still want me to sign your book from afar, simply send proof of purchase and your address to thememorytrees@gmail.com, and I will send you a signed, personalized bookplate and some bookmarks in thanks.

If you are a school librarian or teacher, or you have a book club (of any age!) reading The Memory Trees, feel free to contact me if you are interested in a visit or Skype chat, or even if you just want a bunch of bookplates or bookmarks to hand out to students or book club members.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, and posted about The Memory Trees in the days leading up to the release. This book was a tough one to finish, and I am forever grateful to everyone who offered their support during the whole long process from writing to publication.