- Yes, yes, I still owe you an extra; tomorrow, my pretties. Today, let's clean out some hangovers. I'll try to get back on a regular schedule of posting at least a couple of times a week, but it's busy times so that may not always happen. I definitely owe an I Heart post soon as well.
- Foz Meadows' brilliant Mainstream YA Article Bingo Card.
- Daniel Menaker's hilarious insider account of the loopy nature of the biz we call pub. Snippet: "Publishing is an often incredibly frustrating culture. If you want to buy a project—let’s say a nonfiction proposal for a book about the history of Sicily—some of your colleagues will say, “The proposal is too dry” or “Cletis Trebuchet did a book for Grendel Books five years ago about Sardinia and it sold, like, eight copies,” or, airily, “I don’t think many people want to read about little islands.” When Seabiscuit first came up for discussion at an editorial meeting at Random House, some skeptic muttered, “Talk about beating a dead horse!” "
- Speaking of which, Alison Cherry has a post worth your time "Nine Things I Wish I'd Known About Publishing." I managed to avoid the depression, but certainly there are the pre- and release-month (and other sporadic) publishing crazies nonetheless, and it's impossible to avoid those. (It probably did not hurt that I had watched so many people go through it, and there's also my patented philosophy of always expecting the worst. Because: Usually reality is better. Plus, writing really is the best. Hard, but so worth it.)
- A great piece about Terri Windling, where she says lots of smart things about fairy tales: “The original fairy tales were far more violent than the ones we know today, and the bits of darkness that still linger in them comes from that time,” Windling said. “But I think kids like the darkness — I know I did. Particularly if you are a child that comes in any way from a battled household, or are being bullied at school, to read about the fact that there is hardship in the world but that if you’re plucky and brave, you can overcome it, I think that’s an important thing for kids to read about.”
- Jennifer Lawrence: Kick-ass Kentuckian, and Class Act.
- A great interview with Patrick Ness: "My advice about writing is always, Write with joy. People might not be able to tell that that's the thing they're responding to, but I believe that if you write with joy every day, that rubs off. It's an intangible thing, but if you do something joyously, it's going to attract other people like mad."
- Nicola Griffith at Tor.com on whether Hild is fantasy, but really on the overlap between historical fiction and fantasy. Fascinating stuff.
- R.I.P. Charlotte Zolotow. Loved this brief remembrance by Roger Sutton at the Horn Book. And Laurel's.
- Lev Grossman talks to Suzanne Collins and the director Catching Fire for Time, in installments.
- Also, always necessary: pygmy hippo baby.
Has it been less than a week since my last post? And yet less than a week filled with excitement! Most of which is still of the TOP SECRET variety. (Okay, okay, I'll stop being obnoxious now and just get to work.)
Many thanks to everyone who came out to the Malaprop's panel last week, which was such fun. Not that it's possible for a visit to Malaprop's to be anything else. And how can you go wrong when talking about girls and monsters? It would be exceedingly difficult–especially with the delightful Megan Shepherd, Meg Spooner, and April Tucholke. Afterward we went to the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar (yes, it is in fact one of the most perfect locations on the planet).
Last couple of appearance-y things for the year: I'll be on WUKY's Curtains @ 8 tonight (Tuesday), talking The Woken Gods in advance of this week's Kentucky Book Fair. Annnd I'll be at the book fair for the first time, both Friday for Children's Day and Saturday for the main event. If you're attending, come by and chat. I will sign anything you put in front of me, but especially books.
And, last but definitely not least, I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Nicola Griffith, who long-time readers of this blog will know is one of my favorite favorite authors, about her newest novel HILD (out today!) for the LA Times. Snippet: "Women of the past, we're told, were objects not subjects, they had no agency, they were submissive. What a load of rubbish. Women are people — as human then as you and I are today. People find ways around their constraints, whether it's gender, status, physical ability, and so on. What counts is how you use what you've got. Hild has a singular mind." Go read the whole conversation and then get yourself a copy. You want to. Trust me.
- Just a reminder, I'm in Asheville at Malaprop's tonight at 7 p.m. with Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter), Meagan Spooner (Shadowlark), April Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea). I'm sure the store would be glad to get you a signed book, even if you can't make it. Annnd now for all those many hangovers I promised you.
- Anne Ursu speaking eloquently about middle grade and getting heavy.
- Laurie Anderson on her relationship with Lou Reed in Rolling Stone. See also: Patti Smith in the New Yorker.
- Another wonderful column from the divine Lauren Cerand.
- The Atlantic talks to several YA authors about how they approach their work.
- Also at The Atlantic, Robin Wasserman talks about the impact of Stephen King's work on her.
- Mette Harrison with some typically smart observations about writing and publishing.
- Why Are Thousands Of People Dreaming About This Man?
- Two of my favoritest people in the world, Kelly Link and Meghan McCarron, talking about the Vampire Diaries and narrative.
- Eliot Schrefer's fabulous New York Times piece about writing for kids and teens, in case you missed it: "When I turned in my first officially young adult novel, my editor didn’t cut for content. He didn’t strike a single moment of sexual desire or brooding or bad language. What he did was set a pretension barometer twice as strict as adult fiction’s and started deleting every time the arrow ticked over."
- Justine Larbalestier talks about romance and YA, including many smart thoughts from some of my favorite adult romance authors.
- Why I have to get back to yoga.
- Maud Newton's introduction to her conversation with Donna Tartt.
- The most important YA posts you'll read this week: Kelly Jensen at Stacked on gender and the New York Times' bestseller list: part one and part two.
- Bejeweled skeletons.
- And, last but never least, Genevieve Valentine reveals the madcap awesomeness of this year's Miss Universe national costume competition. My kingdom for them to put this back in the televised program.
Well, I didn't mean to disappear, but there was a California vacation with lazy sea lions and gobsmacking art and excellent people (including a lovely stop by great bookstore Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach) and an edit letter and then a massive trip to the revision cave and car trouble that meant being stranded at home in the edit cave (serendipitous). Somewhere in there, I wrote a piece for PW about bullying, for which I interviewed many smart, excellent people, and and all the other things.
Busy, in other words, but life is good.
I have a couple of events coming up. I'll be in Asheville this Thursday night, talking about Girls & Monsters with a group of fabulous YA authors. The details:
- Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.: Girls and Monsters Panel Event with Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter), Meagan Spooner (Shadowlark), April Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) at Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, N.C.
And November 17th I'll be at the Ky. Book Fair in Frankfort.
You should come to these places, if you're nearby.
More soon, including that The Woken Gods extra I promised but haven't put up here yet and many, many hangovers. In the meantime, I leave you with this image from the Tar Pits Museum, called My Genre As A Saber-Tooth:
(You can find other pictures of random horizons and pieces of art and things snapped with phone here.)
But we're headed out to Southern California in a few days for some hijinks, and I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach at 2:30 on Sunday. So if you're in the area, come out and say hi. I'll definitely read from The Woken Gods and take questions, but there will probably be a BONUS. Perhaps Christopher and I will do a short extra reading together or I might even pull out the juvenilia.
Can't make it? I'm sure the store will also be happy to arrange orders if you want a copy signed.
Welcome to this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt extravaganza!
(I'm Gwenda Bond, and my stop is being hosted by Rachel Harris. There you can find an extra for THE WOKEN GODS, a glimpse of the Awakening in London called "Arawn and the Wild Hunt Visit the West End." As some of you know, I hardly ever write short things, so I hope you like it.)
If you're new to the hunt, this tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! 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 for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all three! (Go for all. These are pretty amazing prize packages we're talking about here.) I'm a part of the RED TEAM–but there are also red and gold team contests with a chance to win a whole different set of signed books.
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt and see links to all the authors participating, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage. (An extra round of *applause* for organizers extraordinaire Colleen Houck and Beth Revis.)
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!).
Swamped at the moment, but hope to be back to regular posting soon. In the meantime, if you're in the vicinity of Middletown, Ohio, this weekend, come out to see Christopher and I read. Details:
I don't think there will be books for sale, so bring anything you want signed. We will each have some shiny postcards, however (me for Woken Gods, C for "Jack of Coins"). We'll read solo, and then we might read a snippet of something together as well. Thanks to Laura Wooffitt for the invite. Fun!
Also, I decided to do a Goodreads giveaway with three of my author copies of The Woken Gods, which I'll inscribe with a little relic for the winners. Enter here:
- Busybusybusy = links and then some photographicals from last weekend's event at the Morris Book Shop. I have every intention of catching up on emails within the next few days, so if I owe you one: it is coming.
- Like the movie Clue? Me too. This Buzzfeed piece is for you.
- First mechanical gear found in a living creature.
- The HuffPo's guide to the "tangled web of teen fandoms."
- I don't think I could love Allison Janey more. Make this woman the star of a movie / TV show / whatever-she-wants.
- A love letter to Lexington, our city, which we generally adore.
A few nice reviews:
- At My Library in the Making: "All the interconnecting conspiracies made The Woken Gods a true thriller, but it still had a twisted sense of humor that perfectly fit this twisted book. It was truly unpredictable, and there was a well-developed and swoon-worthy romance to boot. Despite a few slow moments, I was never bored. To sum this up, The Woken Gods is a freaking awesome book that I would definitely recommend to Rick Riordan fans, and oh, who do I have to beg for a sequel?" *beam*
- At Much-Loved Books: "The synopsis gives a good idea about what The Woken Gods is about, but it's not until I began reading that I really got to see the world Gwenda has created, full of mythology, secrets, mysteries, and some pretty scary monsters." *beam again*
- At Badass Book Reviews: "My favorite had to be the god Anzu, who was assigned to protect Kyra. Anzu was a flying lion griffin-like god and he was very protective of Kyra, especially after she helped him out." I include this because Anzu seems to be everyone's favorite!
- And some nice words for Blackwood (and other Strange Chemistry books!) on e-book sale at YA Yeah Yeah: "Electric chemistry between the two, a truly chilling villain, and one of the best endings of the year make this a must read." *beam the final*
- Updated list of all The Woken Gods promo stops so far, including the real-world imaginary tour ones. Remember: Reading and spreading the word makes kittens happy.
I often talk about how my local bookstore cup runneth over. We are so lucky, and I know it, to have such a vibrant literary scene and such great bookstores. I already posted about the launch day signing event at Joseph-Beth, but wanted to thank the fabulous Morris Book Shop, aka MoBoSho, for hosting me last weekend. Should you want signed copies, both have plenty (and personalizations can be arranged).
There were delicious cupcakes:
And a bookstore-owner with a chainsaw (because don't all bookstores have people come in on Saturday night to return a chainsaw borrowed from the staff?):
And my pal Alison saying nice things that I can't quite believe are true:
Christopher's adorable nephew William, who assured me he was not listening during the scary parts of my reading (and thanks to Christopher for playing the mermaid in our bonus reading from the collaboration we've been working on–once again a show-stealer!):
And then we went out for dinner and drinks and such, but not before goofily clutching the sign:
Upcoming stuff! Next weekend, Christopher and I will be reading (and signing anything put before us) at Straight Shot Coffee in Middletown, Ohio, at 2 p.m. And next month I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, on Oct. 13 at 2:30 p.m., and then at Malaprops in Asheville (with several other authors) on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. Details on the events page, and reminders closers to.
Last week I did tour stops describing how Dupont Circle becomes Oracle Circle, and then how Dumbarton Oaks becomes the Houses of the Gods, and today is the last stop on the Tour of THE WOKEN GODS' D.C.
Over at A Dream Within A Dream, I talk about the Einstein Memorial (still itself in the book–and the site where Kyra is first stopped by the gods) and about the Library of Congress Jefferson Building (still itself too, but also the Society of the Sun headquarters).
The delightful Kim Curran‘s Shift was one of my favorite books last year. It features teen Scott Tyler, who discovers he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made — something that turns out to be more problematic than it at first seems. Just before Control, the sequel, was set to come out in August from Strange Chemistry, I asked Kim if she’d like to have a little conversation over email about the past year — our debuts and what it was like having a second book coming out, and all the fun and angsty stuff that goes along with that. We started almost immediately, but release seasons tend to get crazy, which is why you’re only getting this now. And, might I add, both our debuts are still on crazy sale in e-book (probably not for much longer).
That’s a photo of me and Kim (along with our fellow Strange Chemists Cassandra Rose Clarke and Julianna Scott) at WorldCon in Chicago last year.
Gwenda: So, you and I debuted at the exact same time, as the launch titles for Strange Chemistry. We exchanged many excited and panicked and commiserating emails, and even got to do an event together in Chicago. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that happened. Looking back from this lengthy vantage point (or you know, what feels like one), what came as the biggest surprise for you about publishing your first book?
Kim: Wow! How this year has flown. I remember that time so well: our increasingly panicked direct messages and emails as we got to know each other and realised that the idea of being published was driving us both a little crazy. Knowing you were there, strapped into the same amazing rollercoaster, was a huge reassurance and kept me sane. I couldn’t have asked for a better ‘book sister’.
As for what’s surprised me most, I guess it was the fear. I didn’t expect to be quite so terrified. You spend so long dreaming and hoping for this thing to happen. And yet when it does, it’s a mixed bag of excitement beyond anything else and abject terror! It feels very different this time around with book two. Calmer. More familiar. It’s a bit like falling in love: the first time is always the most intense. 🙂
How about you? How did you find the process? And how are you finding the idea of book two hitting the shelves?
(The rest of our chat continues behind the cut…)