Gretchen McNeil Gushes About Blood and Flowers

Gretchen just posted this on her blog Seanchai and has graciously allowed me to cross-post it here. Thanks Gretchen.

It’s only appropriate that my first Bookanistas review would be a book (a) about the theater and (b) edited by my own beloved editor Kristin Daly Rens. As if that wasn’t enough, Penny Blubaugh has created a dark, tantalizing world where fey and human keep a tenuous cohabitation in the mortal world, and magic – and it’s drug-laced after effects – have built a wall of suspicion and mistrust between the two worlds.

Enter the Outlaw Puppet Theater, a group of faeries and humans creating fly-by-night productions using questionably legal fey magic. As a theater chick myself, I loved the Outlaws – Tonio and Max, the couple who founded the troupe, Nicholas the aspiring lawyer, Floss whose faerie magic makes the troupe something truly unique, Lucia the wounded spirit and Persia, our main character who has finally found a home with the Outlaws. A home she’s going to cling to til her dying breath. I loved this family, this motley crew, this collection from the Island of Misfit toys. They act like a family, with petty squabbles and fierce loyalty, and I found myself completely drawn into their world.

And just when things are starting to go well for the Outlaws – a successful show, press, fame, money – it all comes crashing down. In the face of arrest and prison time, the Outlaws flee to the one place they think they’ll be safe: Faerie.

Yeah, not so much.

There are a lot of Fey-Human stories on the market right now, but one of the things that attracted me to BLOOD & FLOWERS was Penny Blubaugh’s vision of this world. Her Faerie is a strange place. Dark and wondrous, eccentric and wild, familiar yet completely original. There’s a luscious quality to her characterization of that alternate world and the pace of the story really starts to roll once the Outlaws jump into their new world. I literally couldn’t put the book down.

BLOOD & FLOWERS also give you a great love story: the wounded Persia with all her baggage and fears of love and rejection, and the boy-next-door Nicholas. Watching them take almost painfully slow baby steps towards each other gave me that tantalizing sexual tension I love so much!

Don’t want to give too much away, but come March 1, I hope you all check out BLOOD & FLOWERS!

The Enchanted Inkpot

Cool blog with some fantastic information for all people interested in reading or writing fantasy. There’s a guest interview up with me today — thanks guys. Blood and Flowers appreciates the attention!

And, as Elizabeth Bunce says at the Enchanted Inkpot, here’s shameless self-promotion. Both of us will be talking about fairy tales and retellings at the Illinois Reading Council on Thursday, March 17th, and we’ll be signing afterwards (around 11:30) at the SCBWI booth. Come and see us!

And when you’re done at the Enchanted Inkpot, take a look at this Q&A session at 365 Days of Reading!

Take a look at the EMUs!

Okay, in full disclosure, the EMUs are all represented by my wonderful agent, Erin Murphy or her partner Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. But that just means they’re even more awesome than you’d think!

Thanks for the interview, guys, and hey — they’ve got a contest for a free giveaway of Blood and Flowers so check it out!

Thanks to Tucker Free Library

The Tucker Free Library is in Henniker, New Hampshire and they have a teen blog on their site that makes me envious. If only I could make the one on my library page even half as cool — well, maybe I could if I took the time!

However that works out, there’s a great write-up at Tucker Free for Blood and Flowers that really captures the spirit of the book.

Kirkus Review is up!

The first review for Blood and Flowers is from Kirkus Reviews.

And here it is!

Editor Review (reviewed on February 15, 2011)

As in Serendipity Market (2009), Blubaugh blends the magical and mundane into an original fantasy, told here by an 18-year-old who finds a home among an eclectic group of human and faerie folk.

With a “penchant for dropping out of school” and “a mile-wide love of Shakespeare,” Persia left her “drugged-out, fey-bashing parents” a year ago to join The Outlaw Puppet Troupe, known for its fringe, slightly subversive underground performances. Finding The Outlaws was “like coming home to the place” she’d “been looking for forever.” Persia’s unidentified world is rife with illegal pixie-dust dealing, a tumbling economy and environmental troubles. Fey-phobic authorities blame the faerie for everything bad, and The Outlaws are prime suspects with a faerie puppet-maker wielding magic behind the scenes. When their gay artistic director is subpoenaed on false charges by Major, his corrupt, vindictive ex-lover, The Outlaws flee their world of blood and flowers into Faerie, a practically perfect place. Here they assimilate with local faeries, trolls and griffins, until Major appears to deliver an ultimatum. To avoid becoming “a lost bunch of misfits,” The Outlaws stage what could be their final production.

While the denouement feels anticlimactic, atmospheric language, arresting “culture mash-up,” unique characters, an alluring overlap of fantasy and reality and strong themes of family and friendship create a provocative read. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Take the InkPop Writing Challege

Go here and take the InkPop Challenge. Write a story, poem or essay that takes a realistic element and pairs it with fantastical element, submit it and maybe win a copy of Blood and Flowers as well as three other books from HarperCollins! Cool. Entries must be received by March 3rd at noon. You can write a short story, a poem or an essay.

Great opportunity to practice you writing skills!