I’ll be signing copies at Prose in the Park!

On June 10th I’ll be heading down to Canada’s picturesque capital Ottawa to sign books and meet readers at the third annual Prose in the Park literary festival. If you’re in the vicinity of the capital region, come listen to the speakers and say hi to me in the YA literature tent.

Here’s a link to the festival’s Facebook page.  With over 150 fellow authors speaking and a number of interesting panels, it looks like it’ll be a great day for all lovers of lit. Hope to see you there!

The Embodied trilogy is complete!

If you’ve been waiting to find out what happens to Kari Marriner and the people she loves, wait no more! Diamond Splinters, book 3 of the Embodied trilogy, is out today. Available in paperback next month, you can buy the ebook right now for Kindle here, for Apple iOS devices here, for the Barnes & Noble Nook ereader here, and for Kobo here.

DIAMOND SPLINTERS Ebook cover lo-res

Please take a couple of minutes to leave a short review (I really want to hear readers’ thoughts!) on whichever site you purchased Diamond Splinters. Thanks!

One week to lift-off!

Diamond Splinters, book 3 of the Embodied trilogy, will be published in ebook format on May 5. To mark the occasion, I’ve organized a virtual launch on Facebook.

Diamond Splinters ebook launch Facebook event screenshot

I’ve also rejuvenated the Embodied trilogy Pinterest page with a bunch of cool images that relate to the trilogy’s storyline, monsters and aliens.

Pinterest screenshot.jpg


The new book is already available for pre-order on Amazon and will also be on the Kobo site and in the Apple iTunes store any day now. Stay tuned!

An agent query letter that brought home the six-figure bacon!

Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency has kindly shared the query letter by author Scott Reintgen that convinced her to sign him. I’m guessing Scott was already pretty happy about that. But when Kristin brokered a mid-six-figure deal with Crown Books for Young Readers for Scott’s debut science fiction young adult trilogy, he must have been ecstatic.

Use the link above to read the full query letter that Scott sent Kristin and with one click on the Send button propelled his career into the stratosphere!


A sci-fi fantasy smorgasbord

Last weekend’s New York Times Sunday Book Review features sci-fi and fantasy new releases reviewed by Charles Yu. He seems to have spotted an overarching theme:

“So much of this work feels as if it is post-something, pervaded by a sense of living and writing in an era that comes after, of fiction being produced by novelists who can’t help feeling that it’s getting late or, in some cases, that it’s too late.”

Several of these titles sound very interesting and it’s a pleasure to read insightful reviews that are not overly critical even when you get the sense that the reviewer didn’t particularly enjoy the book. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below!

The Cybils are back!

It’s always nice to get a prize. Even though receiving the Best Actor Academy Award doesn’t necessarily make you the best actor in the world, the winner’s shining smile or rivers of tears tell viewers that it means a lot to them. And to their agent. So with that in mind, please consider nominating Starley’s Rust for this year’s Cybils Awards. Cybils stands for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, and here’s their mission:

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

The window for public nominations was flung open earlier today. All it takes is for one member of the public to nominate a book, and it gets on the judges’ radar for consideration.

Cybils Blog Header 2009

Starley’s Rust fits squarely in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category, so if you’ve read it, loved it, and think it deserves a shiny award (no idea if they’re actually shiny) then click here to go to the nomination page and online form.  And may the best Young Adult Speculative Fiction book win!



Broken Pencil reviews Starley’s Rust

Reviews are always nice. Nice reviews are even nicer! Check out what Toronto indie culture and zine mag Broken Pencil had to say about Starley’s Rust besides this:

Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction.

Author A.L. Kennedy on writing a Doctor Who novel

In a Guardian article a couple of weeks ago, British novelist A.L. Kennedy not only had nice things to say about the deep meaning of Doctor Who for children and adults alike, she also made some fairly damning pronouncements on the state of traditional publishing:

In a literary landscape of nervous agents and terrified publishers, where no risk can be taken and the next novel should be like the last novel that did well, or a mash-up of two that did quite well, or a version of a version of something that had solid sales in 2010 … literate sci-fi may be the only arena where the wild, surprising and wonderful can hide.

A. L. Kennedy (Schriftstellerin)

A. L. Kennedy


To her criticism of the industry she also added this barb about the other end of the gatekeeping spectrum – literature in academia:

It’s sad that so much of the air has gone from literary endeavour, that academic theorising and categorising have come to decide which novels are acceptable and reviewed, that literary publishing has squashed itself into more and more predictable boxes more and more often. Storytelling, company, human solidarity – they never go away, but they do seem to be moving away from the mainstream. It will be the mainstream’s loss.

I’m personally going through a lot of soul-searching fuelled by some hard research on what my next publishing steps should be with regard to the final book in the Embodied trilogy, and which of several embryonic projects to embark on after that (or even before it’s published).

The sands under our feet as authors are shifting. Does that mean we’re paddling at the edge of an amazingly powerful and beautiful ocean that’s safe and fun to swim in or will we be sucked down by hidden currents into a jungle quicksand? Either way, the days of writing our names in the hardening concrete of traditional publishing seem to be over. (End of concrete-mixing metaphors…)

Photo: “A. L. Kennedy (3)” by Heinrich-Böll-StiftungFlickr: A. L. Kennedy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

First draft done!

On July 20th I posted a photo on my professional Facebook page. It was a screenshot showing the words “The End… of the Embodied trilogy book 3”. And then I went on vacation with my girlfriend to Romania (which is a wonderful place to visit, by the way).

I had hoped to finish that draft of my latest novel before heading across the Atlantic and I actually managed it just under the wire (pats self on back) even though it ended up being longer than books one and two. Now for the editing and rewriting. In my opinion, the only way to do that properly is to step away from the manuscript, unhook my brain from all thoughts of Kari Marriner and her adventures with the Embodied, and come at it with fresh eyes and a sharpened blue pencil. I’ll give it another week on top of the vacation time…

Kind of like a scribbled architect's blueprint.

Kind of like a scribbled architect’s blueprint.

This morning I took down book 3’s scene cards from the wall where they’ve been looming over my desk since I started writing book 2, Starley’s Rust, eighteen months ago. I think I’ll fill the space with photos of my kids or maybe draw a target on the wall that I can aim at with the crumpled opening pages from my next book as I yank them angrily out of the typewriter. That, by the way, is a fiction. It’s what I do, see?

This is an exciting and scary time for any writer because tackling a rewrite means finding out whether what you’ve written is great or crap (or most likely somewhere in the middle). I had a great time writing this book, and with a bit of luck the excitement I felt will have translated itself onto the page in an entertaining and interesting way. With a bit of luck.

One thing this novel is still lacking is a title. Or, rather, it has too many titles. From around twenty options, I’ve whittled it down to ten and I’m waiting on (ten)terhooks for my editor and beta readers to finish the draft so I can share the list and see what they think.

In the meantime I’ve already started researching my next novel. And it won’t be for young adults…