books

San Diego Festival of Books

I will be making an appearance at the San Diego Festival of Books on Saturday, August 25. Come out and see a bunch of great local authors and writers! Check out the links below for tickets and schedules.

San Diego Festival of Books

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Venues Liberty Station, 2620 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106

The Many Worlds of Middle Grade

11:25 AM  in Meeting Room 2

A discussion about magic and wonder in middle grade books with John August, Margaret Dilloway, and Kali Wallace, moderated by Sally Pla. The discussion will last 45 minutes, and the authors will be going directly to the signing area for book sales and signatures afterward.

The San Diego Festival of Book is open to everyone. Tickets are $3 for each panel and can be purchased online.

City of Islands blog & interview roundup

Here's a round-up of the blog posts and interviews I've written and given for the release of City of Islands! In them, I talk about writing for children in these dark times, the lessons I learned as a bookworm child, and the importance of fun adventures for young readers.

All of my blog posts and interviews, present and past, can be found on the Other page.

welcome to the world, baby blue

City of Islands is out in the world today! This is my third novel, and first for children, and I am so happy to finally be able to share it with you. It's a fantastical adventure of magic, mystery, and sea monsters, and I hope you--and all the younger readers in your life--enjoy it.

You can buy City of Islands anywhere books are sold, including the following outlets:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell's

If you're in the San Diego area, I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy on August 4 at 2 p.m. to talk children's books and fantasy. I would love to see you there! 

I will also most likely be making an appearance at the San Diego Festival of Books on August 25, but the details of that event have yet to be determined. I'll be sure to post the time and location as soon as I know.

City of Islands has been a long time in the making, from my first stab at it during NaNoWriMo in 2010, and through many rewrites and revisions over the years that followed. I am proud of the book it is now, and I am so very thankful for everybody who has offered help and support along the way. 

City of Islands reviews roundup

There are exactly 50 days until the release of CITY OF ISLANDS, and I've got a roundup of trade reviews to share. I am delighted that reviewers are loving Mara and her strange, magical city, and I very much hope that means the book will find its way into the hands of kids who want to read an adventure full of sea monsters, sneaky mages, a whole bunch of sailing songs, excitement, and danger.

NEA Big Read Panel at Mysterious Galaxy

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Friday, April 27 at 7:30 PM, I'll be participating in a panel at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego with fellow authors S.B. Divya and Kirsten Imani Kasai. We'll be talking about Kelly Link's wonderful short story collecting Pretty Monsters as part of the NEA Big Read program. The event is free and open to everyone!

NEA Big Read Panel on Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters

Mysterious Galaxy is located at 5943 Balboa Ave Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92111

 

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

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!

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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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.