Amy Plum's Blog
August 9, 2016
The other day I was in the middle of getting my hair cut when suddenly I was gripped by a strange feeling. Like somewhere nearby, something big was going down. Little did I know that a few blocks away, an epic battle was taking place in my apartment. The dispute was over who would be the guardian of my house.
This status had been held for the last three years by Poe, my beloved stuffed raven, bought in honor of his namesake in my After the End series.
But it was about to be challenged by Obi, my new Labrador puppy.
Obi was the newcomer, with only four months under his belt. But he had an advantage. He was alive.
The battle began with a stare-down.
“I haven’t noticed you here before,” Obi commented after eight seconds, irked that he had lost the blinking contest so quickly.
“It’s because Amy puts me on a high shelf when she leaves you home alone,” Poe replied. His beak didn’t move when he spoke. Obi found that unnerving.
“Oh yeah? Then why didn’t she today?” he asked.
“Probably because she closed the door between my room and your room.”
“The one you just rammed open by throwing your body against it for the last half hour.”
Obi looked over his shoulder at the broken lock. “Oh. That door.” He looked back at the bird. “So, how are we going to settle this thing?”
“What are you talking about?”
“The guardianship of Amy’s house.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re a spazzed-out puppy and I’m a wise old bird. I’ve been on the job here longer than you’ve been alive.”
Obi had been trying to keep his attention trained on the raven, but something was itching right…down… He twisted around and frantically gnawed at the base of his tail. When he finished, he looked back up at the bird. “There can be only one.” His voice was weirdly high-pitched, and he spoke with a strange accent.
Obi cleared the phlegm from his throat and repeated, “There can be only one.”
“I heard you the first time, dog. But that’s stupid. There’s plenty of room for both of us.”
“No, it’s true. It’s from a movie. And movies are always true.”
“Highlander is not the source of all wisdom. Do you take your advice from a French guy with a sword and bad hair extensions?”
Obi had no idea what the bird was talking about, but he wasn’t going to let confusion get in the way of his mission. “It’s not from Highlander,” he retorted. “It’s from Star Wars. I should know, I’m named after the guy who said it.”
The bird trained its glass eye on him. Obi flinched. The bird spoke. “First of all, your name is short for Oberon, king of fairies, not Obi Wan Kenobi, Jedi master. Amy just told her kids that so they would agree to the name. And secondly, Jedi Obi never said that.”
“Did too.” Obi’s voice trailed off. The more the bird stared at him, the more unsure he felt.
“Listen,” the bird said with a sigh. “If you said, ‘There is another,’ or ‘There is still good in him,’ or ‘That’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time,’ THAT would be Obi Wan. But ‘There can be only one’ is Highlander.”
“How would you know?”
“Amy watched Star Wars IV, V and VI a million times. I could recite the scripts by heart. I, II and III, however aren’t worth the film they’re printed on. Or would that be chips they’re digitized on? I’m not good with technology.”
Obi was starting to feel like he was in over his head. He scratched his haunch with his hind paw and said the first thing that came into his mind. “Well, I’m bigger than you, and I say there can be only one.”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”
Obi froze and stared at Poe. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know. I just like to say it.”
“I said don’t say that.”
“You’ve pushed me too far, bird.” Obi, growled, and made a leap for the mantle.
This was all that was left of Poe when I got home.
That, and some weird feathery chunks Obi threw up in the corner of the living room. I cleaned it all up, heart in my throat and tears in my eyes. A mighty battle had been fought, and poor Poe had suffered the indignity of yet another death. I said a little prayer to that Great Raven in the Tree and threw his remains in the big green non-recyclable bin.
I went to bed that night, thinking it was all over. There was no one left for Obi to fight. He had already taken out the beaver skull and the crocodile head from Florida the week before. But I was wrong. It wasn’t over…yet.
When I woke up the next morning, there was a note on the mantle in the exact spot where Poe used to stand guard.
August 5, 2016
Back in January, I was invited to write a short story for the awesome author-run site The Hanging Garden. I and 8 other YA authors were given 6 gif prompts to choose from. I chose a close-up of waves, and wrote a story about…
Actually, I won’t spoil. But I will say that when I read it to my kids, my daughter ran to her bedroom crying, and my son said, “Mom, that story isn’t for children.” So on that note…enjoy!
KISS THE GIRL
And be sure to check out the other stories by
Zoraida Córdova, author of LABYRINTH LOST cc: @zlikeinzorro
Lamar Giles, author of ENDANGERED cc: @lrgiles
Rachel Hartman, author of SHADOW SCALE cc: @_rachelhartman
Kirsten Hubbard, author of LIKE MANDARIN cc: @kirstenhubbard
Justina Ireland, author of PROMISE OF SHADOWS cc: @justinaireland
Alethea Kontis, author of the BOOKS OF ARILLAND series cc: @aletheakontis
Mari Mancusi, author of the SCORCHED series cc: @marimancusi
Myra McEntire, author of the HOURGLASS trilogy cc: @myramcentire
Chris McKitterick, author of TRANSCENDENCE cc: @mckitterick
Gretchen McNeil, author of RELIC cc: @gretchenmcneil
Sara Raasch, author of ICE LIKE FIRE cc: @seesarawrite
Jessica Spotswood, author of WILD SWANS cc: @jessica_shea
Shveta Thakrar, author of “Krishna Blue” in Kaleidoscope and “She Sleeps Beneath the Sea” in issue 31 of Faerie magazine cc: @shvetathakrar
June 20, 2016
You’ll never guess what I received from a Die For Me reader last week.
Yes, it’s a bona fide signum bardia, brought to life from the pages of UNTIL I DIE and IF I SHOULD DIE! Die For Me superfan Lisa Vespasiano actually taught herself to do all of the craftwork necessary and spent a heck of a lot of time sourcing the perfect materials before sending the finished product all of the way from Canada to France! I love it that she sent me a photo of the process:
From Lisa: “Of course I made myself one also, they are so pretty and I am glad that all my online global searching for the right pieces paid off, whew!”
For those of you who don’t know what the signum bardia is, here is the entry from INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME:
Creating the Signum Bardia
In Until I Die, I wanted Vincent to give Kate something to show she was under the protection of the revenants. As Vincent explained it in Chapter 23, “It’s a…signal to revenants that you are attached to us. That you know what we are and can be trusted.”
Kate’s signum came in handy when she met Gwenhaël, of course, and Bran and Kate both needed their signums to pass Theodore Gold’s security test when they arrived in New York.
So what is a signum bardia? The Latin word “signum” means: “sign, seal, mark, token.” So a signum bardia is the mark of the bardia—their token.
Once I had come up with term I needed, I had to decide what symbolism the object should hold. I decided to lean on my training in art history to come up with something both meaningful and credible.
I thought of self-sacrifice, and used the medieval image of the pelican piercing its breast to feed its young with its blood. (That’s my geeky academic side showing its face.) I wish I still had my first attempt at drawing it. It looked vaguely like an epileptic swan.
The pelican was not only too hard for me to draw, but I knew it would be difficult for me to describe in a way readers could envision it, so I decided to go for something simple. I asked myself what easy shapes could communicate a message. I’ll let Vincent describe what I came up with:
“…the pyramid is supposed to mean life after death, and its three corners signify our three days of dormancy. The flames represent our aura and the only way we can be destroyed. And the circle is immortality.”
Once I had decided on the symbolism, I had to come up with a design. I started by using this ninth ceI thought if I changed the sapphire from an oval into a triangle, it would be a good start. For the flames, I perused a few of my books on ancient jewelry (I warned you…I am a certified geek) and found a fourth century BCE Greek earring in the shape of a large round disk surrounded by a gold pellet border, a bit like my ring. But inside circle were decorative gold swirls that I thought could be shaped into flames. I imagined inlaying a triangular sapphire in the middle of the flaming gold disk and—voilà! It was perfect.
Kate describes her signum thus: “It was a gold disk the size of a dollar coin, and it was edged with two circles of tiny gold pellets, one nestled within the other. Set in the center of the disk was a dark blue triangular stone with a smooth, slightly rounded surface. And in the space between the stone and the rows of pellets were decorative gold wires curved into the shape of flames. It looked ancient, like the Greek jewelry in Papy’s gallery.”
But, for me, as beautiful and priceless as the signum itself, was Vincent’s motivation to give it to Kate:
“This isn’t just from me to you. It is from all of us to you. I saw how upset you were when Arthur said you weren’t one of us. I want you to know that you aren’t an outsider. You aren’t a revenant, but you are still one of us. This signum means that you are kindred.”
From INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME, Chapter 3, “Revenant Mythology”
Lisa warned me that if I wear her signum, I risk getting gold paint on my neck. So I won’t be wearing it, but WILL be bringing it to all of my signings from now on to accompany me and my books. Readers can see it in Edinburgh this July at my RARE books event!
I can’t even tell you all how touching it is when I receive hand-made gifts from you, expressing your love and enthusiasm for the worlds in my books and showing me a sample of your own creativity. A huge thanks to Lisa for the time and work and love she spent on this amazing, original piece. Isn’t she amazing?
June 1, 2016
May 3, 2016
I know this is out of focus. Just try to get a 6-month old lab puppy to sit still for a picture, and you will understand why.
My new puppy, Oberon (affectionately known as Obi) would like you to join him in wishing a happy book birthday to the paperback version of UNTIL THE BEGINNING!
That means you can have the entire series (After the End and Until the Beginning) for $19.98, which is not bad at all, considering you get an entirely new universe of magic (the Yara), two sparring heroes (Juneau and Miles), a messenger raven named Poe, the Alaskan wilderness, an epic road trip, crossbows, a crazy Texan billionaire cryogenics enthusiast, trickery, and maybe…just maybe…love. In a tent. Twice. For twenty bucks, I’ll say that’s a bargain.
Of course, Obi’s favorite parts are about Juneau’s two huskies, Neruda and Beckett. (And yes, that is Elsa on the floor behind him, with her hands and feet chewed off. My dog obviously isn’t a Frozen fan.)
Thank you for all being a part of this amazing journey with me, through the DIE FOR ME series, and now the AFTER THE END duology.
To show my appreciation, I’m giving away 8 copies of UNTIL THE BEGINNING (one slightly chewed) to:
2 people who leave a comment below on this blog post
2 people who tweet “Happy book birthday to @amyplumohlala’s UNTIL THE BEGINNING paperback! Win a copy here: http://bit.ly/1Z6FaeQ”
2 people who comment on my Instagram photo of Obi and the books
and 2 people who comment on the Facebook post.
I will choose a winner next Monday, May 9, so get your comments and tweets in! As usual, this contest is international. And…go!
March 28, 2016
Welcome to the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt
March 29-April 3 (noon pacific time)
For you first timers, the YA Scavenger Hunt is an online blog hop created by the lovely and talented Colleen Houck. It’s a chance for you to see bonus material from your favorite YA authors as well as winning amazing prizes.
If you came here looking for my bonus material, the video I made in Paris with 15 reasons you’ll love Inside the World of Die For Me, you’ll have to keep hunting!
At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until April 3!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a RED, BLUE, GOLD, GREEN,ORANGE, TEAL, PURPLE, SILVER, & PINK-each with 20 authors for several chances to win a whole different set of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
(If you get stuck as you are moving through the hunt, click through to this page.)
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 3, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
ARE YOU READY??? Here we go…
I’m Amy Plum, and I live in Paris. The one in France. Not Texas.
Here I am on a French reality show with 2 famous French chefs (Norbert Tarayre and Jean Imbert) holding my French books. Is that French enough for you?
As my favorite French chefs are so kindly demonstrating, I’m the author of the DIE FOR ME series, a paranormal romance series set in Paris featuring supernatural beings of my very own making called “revenants.” My second series, AFTER THE END, is set all over America (road trip involved) and is action, romance, adventure, with a little bit of magic and a lot of kick-assness. My third series, DREAMFALL, is YA horror, and will be released in 2017 by HarperTeen.
Now that I’ve introduced myself, I’m excited to tell you about the author I’m hosting today:
the oh so awesome…
I haven’t met Jeff. He lives halfway around the world from me, so that explains a bit. But I was excited to find that we share a publisher — our books are both with HarperTeen / Epic Reads! So it’s kind of like we’re family. Distant family. Half-way around the world family. But family nonetheless.
This is what I know about Jeff:
Before becoming a novelist, Jeff Garvin acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts.
This is what I know about Jeff’s book:
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN is Jeff’s debut novel.
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN is getting a TON of attention and awards and big-deal positive reviews, like a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. (P.S. those are both HUGE honors!!!)
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN was Amazon’s #1 New Release in Teen and YA Fiction. I don’t even need to tell you how huge that is.
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN has an amazing, intriguing, and totally read-worthy premise:
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And secretly gender fluid. Riley starts an anonymous blog to deal with hostility from classmates and tension at home—but when the blog goes viral, an anonymous commenter threatens to out Riley to the world.
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN has an awesome cover. And it kind of looks like Jeff’s hair. Which is totally reasonable. If I had cool hair I’d want it on the cover of my book too. But I don’t. So let’s proceed to…
JEFF’S EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN: DELETED SCENE
Click here to access an exclusive deleted scene from Symptoms of Being Human containing a never-before-seen blog post from the protagonist, Riley. *SPOILERS WITHIN!* Don’t read unless you’ve already finished the book.
Oh, and you’ll need this password: Solo16
So if you’ve already read the book, dive on in. If not, you’ll need to buy it, then check back here for this bonus content! I love bonus content. I watch all of the making-of stuff on DVDs. Don’t you? Which means I now have to read Jeff’s book so that I can enjoy the deleted scene. It’s a good thing I just ordered the book for my Kindle!
To buy the book yourself, click here for all of the ordering options.
And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Jeff Garvin, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 333. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
March 24, 2016
March 14, 2016
To those who are new to AmyPlumBooks.com, I very rarely blog nowadays. If you want news and/or photos of book stuff or Paris, I tweet, instagram and facebook much more often! Those links are:
February 9, 2016
It’s that day: ITWOD4M’s book birthday!
INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME loaded onto my Kindle while I was asleep last night. What an exciting thing to wake up to!
This is the 6th and final installment in the DIE FOR ME series, and I am so excited that you can finally access all of the treasures inside.
To celebrate, I posted part of Chapter 5: Deleted Scenes. This one’s from IF I SHOULD DIE, and takes place right before the final war with the numa. Kate’s being a bit naughty, and trying to lure Vincent into her room for a final goodbye, if that’s what it turns out to be. She offers him five minutes. He wants more. Read it here as a part of Goodreads Romance Week 2016.
And if you haven’t ordered it yet, it’s not too late. For less than a cup of coffee—$1.99— you can dip into INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME right now. (How’s that for immediate gratification?) Here are the links:
And thank you so much for your continued enthusiasm for my books. Sending you all a big hug from Paris. Amy
February 8, 2016
It is ONE DAY until the digital book INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME is released. Today I’m going to reveal the table of contents to give you an idea of the treats you can expect when it downloads onto your e-reader in less than 24 hours!
Let me know in the comments on my Facebook page here which chapter you most look forward to reading for the chance to win A FRENCH BERET!!! I have 2 to give away: orange and pink.
And here is the Chapter reveal!!!
1. Character Close-Ups
2. The Die for Me Timeline
3. Revenant Mythology
– The Origin of the Word “Revenant”
– The Origin of the Word “Numa”
– The Origin of the Word “Bardia”
– Creating the Signum Bardia
– The History of the Revenants
– The History of the Revenants’ Guérisseurs
– The Nature of Revenants
– The Story of L’amur immortel (Immortal Love)
4. The Paris of Die for Me
– Amy Plum’s Paris
– Revenant Map of Paris
– Supernatural Sites
5. Deleted Scenes
6. Gaspard’s Epilogue
7. Inside the Minds of the Characters
8. An Immortal Interview: Readers’ Questions for Amy Plum
9. Volant Vibes
10. Art That Will Animate You
11. Revenant Reads
12. Movies for Mortals
13. Dining with Gods
14 Parlez-Vous Die For Me?
15 Test Your Revenant Knowledge
Pre-order INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME for just $1.99 here: