- A proper post or two next week, but for now closing some tabs. Also, Christopher and I will be bopping around the exhibits hall and the general festivities at ALA in Chicago next weekend. So say hi!
- Joss Whedon offers some good advice for being productive.
- Coffee might not always be the best for creativity? WHAT. Flawed study. *pretends never saw this*
- Cheryl Klein has a post on terms to help in discussing endings.
- An interesting take on the Miss Utah answer flub at the WaPo from Alexandra Petri: "Besides, only at the Miss USA pageant would you ask a woman, teetering in heels and an evening gown, who had just strutted her stuff in a swim suit on national television in a competition redolent of the Atlantic City beach in the 1920s, to explain the question of pay inequality coherently in a minute or less. That’s the bizarre double standard, in a nutshell. It’s a microcosm of what women have to deal with, in various less ludicrous forms, everywhere they go."
- Genevieve on Dealing With It. (Must read. Also, for the record, my RT of this post is the first time I've ever had to block someone for responding with sexist nonsense on twitter. So, there you go.)
- Charlie Jane has a fascinating piece on research on empathy and how we might create more of it.
- I have been semi-shocked to learn that Bennett Madison's new novel September Girls–which I have made no secret of my admiration for (I also adored Blonde of the Joke)–has apparently gotten tons of flack from being construed as misogynist. Which it is NOT. Here's an interview where Bennett discusses his intentions and the layers of a book that I very much do consider feminist, and also one of my favorites of the year. I particularly loved this point: "To me it’s better to try to say something and fail to say it in a way that everyone will understand than it is to avoid saying that same thing because I’m assuming my audience isn’t sophisticated enough for it. Pandering to an imagined audience of people who will get the “wrong” message is more than just an insult to my readers– it’s ignoring my responsibilities as a writer." This.
- Tanita Davis gives some straight talk on diversity and the lack thereof in children's books: "This matters. Not because I am a person of color. Not because I don’t feel “comfortable” reading books that don’t feature people of color. But because the longer we tell young adults and children that they are invisible from their own imagination, the more we’re allowing them to disappear from the world’s stories. The more we’re encouraging them to be audience instead of actor, observer instead of participant." Go read the whole post.
- Andrew Shaffer creates a quiz using "breathless physical descriptions" of authors from NYT profiles. FUN.
- Stephen Colbert's tribute to his mother; prepare to cry.
There must be, that is, because I did a fun interview for a podcast/radio thingie earlier today on gender and YA marketing and–unrelated–the epidode I'm on of WFPL's new fiction-on-the-radio-show Unbound airs tonight. The skinny:
We're posting the audio from each show the morning after it airs. Tonight, tune in to 89.3 FM in Louisville at 7 p.m. Eastern time (stream us live at http://wfpl.org/) to hear Patrick Wensink and Gwenda Bond read stories about folks who have bad luck.
That's right, I read from Blackwood. (Let me know how it is; I can't stand hearing my own voice until someone tells me I won't cringe. And C's not back in town yet to do the test listen for me.)
All the episodes can be found here, posted after they air. The first season began airing Monday and continues each night, so check it out. And tell your local NPR station you want them to pick up the show. Huzzah and congratulations, WFPL, you made a show!
Updated to add: And here's the direct link to the episode. Loved hearing Patrick Wensink's piece.
- Molly Templeton searches out the best Game of Thrones fanfic and reports back. More GoT-ness: The Banshee of the O'Neills (tertiary, but fascinating) and a dad tries to name all the characters in one sitting.
- Did you know Alfred Bester wrote Green Lantern's oath? That and more SF trivia over at Kirkus blogs.
- A typewriter redone to create visual art. This is really lovely.
- So is this poem.
- Austin highlights a few portions of Oliver Burkeman's The Antidote.
- What might humans look like in 100,000 years?
- Annalee Newitz on the late Devonian period at The Atlantic. Started Scatter, Adapt, and Remember over the weekend, and so enjoying it.
- One-star reviews for classic novels.
- I usually cringe at business theory type stuff, but this Fast Company piece on motivational tricks seems applicable to writer types.
- Sign up for the new Lizzie Skurnick line's newsletter. You know you want to.
- An underwater fashion show in 1947. With ping pong and everything.
- I don't want Google Reader to go.
- GO CONGRATULATE LEILA. So happy for you, and for your town.
Hopefully, we are entering the season of happy things, as it will be book release time before you know it. (September!) Cover soon, I promise. But first, today I'm beaming madly because the book that almost killed me received a lovely blurb from an author I admire tremendously and generally think is the bee's knees.
New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan says: "Unique, fast-paced, and rife with tension, The Woken Gods brilliantly pits loyalty against survival, trust against inevitability, and love against fear."
- Nine amazing abandoned mansions at io9. Love.
- Nora Jemisin's exceptional guest of honor speech from Continuum.
- The unsavory history of European cannibalism.
- Genevieve lays out a cracking case that the Fast & Furious franchise is our time's Three Musketeers corollary.
- One of the most charming interviews ever, in which Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) conference calls in Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to hilarious result.
- An important post about sexism in publishing from author Delilah Dawson.
- Speaking of sexism, see also this smackdown delivered by Phyllis Richman 52 years after Harvard asked her a personal question before it would admit her.
- Sarah Dessen and her editor Regina Hayes in conversation at Slate.
- Have you seen Neil Patrick Harris's opening number from the Tonys? Pure happiness.
- Yeah, yeah, I know! I disappeared again. But Christopher and I are finishing the first draft of our (sorta secret, except if you follow either of us on twitter or are facebook friends you know we're doing one) collaborative middle grade book today. Yep, we wrote a book together. In a month. And it was fun. Now we do some fixing, and show it to people, and I will definitely do a post about what I've learned from this process. Useful stuff I hope to take back to my solo work…especially since I'll be starting something new SOON.
- Other excitment in the works: I do believe you will get to see The Woken Gods cover (eek!!!) next week. Again: !!! And I imagine ARCs will be floating around soon as well, and of course, the book itself will be out in September. I'll just be over here breathing into a paper bag. Anyway, hope you like it–cover, book, the whole shebang. And now some links!
- Let's start with the ancient tales of a shapeshifting Jesus. Dan Brown, start your engines. (Via the estimable Colleen Lindsay.)
- "Ancient Egyptian relics were made of iron from space."
- And one more ancient things link–"Lost Egyptian City Revealed After 1200 Years Under the Sea."
- Author Jennifer Lynne Barnes has written two amazingly smart, incredibly fascinating posts following up on the "what makes a big book?" discussion that John Green touched off with his post about TFiOS' success and what he believes factored into it. These are MUST READS if you're an author or in publishing or just talk about books in real life or online (especially the second one). Post the first and post the second.
- A crazy crazy vendetta story at Salon involving Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey. As I've already said elsewhere, some of the things mentioned in here are why I created my own circus for Girl on a Wire…so I could have the kind of circus I wanted to write about. Because after all the reading I've done, I do find the revelations in that piece shocking, but not surprising (if that makes any sense). But hey, we've got AGES before you get to read that book, so I'll say no more.
- A lovely profile of the wonderful Karen Berger in the NYT. She will be missed in the comics world; that's for sure.
- Veronica Roth's BEA speech is well worth your time. Snippet: "People say that writing is an isolated activity, but good writing requires company. Company that you ultimately love and cherish and value, and this perspective towards criticism, ultimate improvement requires humility."
- Baked Avocado Bacon and Eggs. This little piece of heaven came from the fab Beth Revis and I will be making it this weekend. YUM.
- The long-lost (and apparently terrible) ET game for Atari might be unearthed from a landfill? Snippet: "A Canadian studio has confirmed to the BBC it will search a former landfill site in New Mexico where Atari's much-criticised ET game may be buried."
- Best news: Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is this weekend's COVER REVIEW (by Barbara Kingsolver, who raves!) of the NYTBR. Read it! Yay! Great things happening to a great book by a great person. My favorite.
- A real post soon, maybe about what I'm learning (so far) from mine and C's secret project collaborative lark…as we hit the halfway point in it today. (Wow, that was fast. Double typing fingers means double word counts. And it is also proving an excellent distraction from The Nerves kicking in about The Woken Gods, now that it's more or less done and beginning to be read by some people…and even more people soon. Like, out in three months soon. Ack.)
- But first I'm just going to close some tabs–many of them bookish.
- I always love a peek at other people's processes, and the delightful Rachael Herron obliges with how she sets her target word count and keeps perspective on a project.
- Scientific American confirms the Internet is a giant black hole of time-suckage. Best part is new term: email apnea. This modern life, I tell you.
- The singular and amazing Chuck Wendig recently did a great two part interview over at Fantasy Faction. Go read it, then buy his new book The Blue Blazes, why don't you?
- Skeleton Lake in India. One of those rare stories where the photos and content are equally fascinating.
- Nicola Griffith talks with her editor about her forthcoming book Hild, definitely one of the books I'm most looking forward to this year.
- John Green offers his own opinion on the wild success of TFiOS for publishing nerds.
- Ron Charles gives a thumbs up to one of this year's books that's already a favorite of mine: Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Animal person? An adult who loved The One and Only Ivan? You must read this. Starred reviews, and so much love already. And it's out tomorrow!
Let me first start this post by saying I know a little about book packaging, but purely from the outside in–through knowing authors who've done it as work-for-hire and people who worked at packaging houses and as a general "watcher of the industry" and articles that get written about it. None of that makes me an expert.
The most interesting thing about watching heads explode this morning on twitter over the new announcement that Amazon has reached licensing agreements with Alloy/WBs (with more in the works) to allow writers to sell fanfic set in the Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars worlds through its new Kindle Worlds program was how few people immediately recognized these are all packaged properties. I have seen a lot of worry about the authors who created these characters getting money, and how the rights worked, and etc. etc. and I am reminded once again that lots of people–even savvy industry types–don't realize how prevalent packaging is in YA (and probably elsewhere too–I am most familiar with YA and so that's what I'm talking about here). People on twitter thought a post on the subject was a good idea, and so here one is. (Experts feel free to jump in the comments or send me an email if I've gotten something wrong or you feel there's something I missed that's important.)
I'm over at the SF Signal Mind Meld today talking about the appeal of mythology, gods, and goddesses in fiction, along with fancy types like Tessa Gratton and Jennifer Estep, and my Angry Robot compatriots Chuck Wendig, Adam Christopher, and Mike Underwood, to name a few. Go check it out. Thrilled to be included, as always.
*Also, please to excuse my typo. That "definitely literally" was supposed to be "definitely literarily." I was fresh off an edit pass, and thus experiencing deadline brain fritz.
- Whoops, sorry to disappear, but I predict a return to more regular entries starting now. At least until circus edits land. In the meantime, I'm accumulating research material for a new thing and pecking away at a collaborative project with C that has been major fun so far. And soon now The Woken Gods will be dipping its myth-infused toes into the waters of People Reading It Early and so I must. stay. busy. But what easier way to dip my non-mythical toe back into the blog than the sharing of some amassed links and the closing of tabs? There isn't one, so.
- Speaking of The Woken Gods, I started a little pinboard for it, if you want a look-see.
- You may have seen this already, but I love it so here it is anyway: a photographer does a series of photos of her five-year-old daughter not as a princess but as various heroic real women.
- The cast of Better Off Dead, where are they now? (I want my two dollars!)
- Great think piece by the fabulous Anne Helen Petersen: "The Enduring Post-Feminist Dystopia of Bachelorette."
- Excerpts of letters from Italo Calvino are running at the New Yorker: "I’m a regular guy, I like well-defined outlines, I’m old-fashioned, bourgeois. My stories are full of facts, they have a beginning and an end. For that reason they will never be able to find success with the critics, nor occupy a place in contemporary literature." Good reading.
- This news story about the resurfacing of a 27-year-old CIA wig is just about perfect.
- Terrible magicians in pop culture. LOVE. (Via David.)
- An interview with Hot Key's editorial director that has some interesting insights into UK sales figures.
- Janni Simner kicks off her "Writing for the Long Haul" blog series with a wonderful piece from Cynthia Leitich Smith. (I, too, have an expensive grocery habit.)
- This post Austin points to sums up a large part of why I still keep up this blog, and probably always will, and why I don't really worry about how many of you there are (just grateful that you stop by, period). (Also, in the age of platform purchases and inevitable migrations, I believe that having a space you own becomes ever more important.)
- And, finally, two things via the Awl: Replacement similes for after all the animals go extinct ("(18) Brave as a lion = Brave as a freelancer") and the annotated wisdom of Amy Poehler ("Right now I'm singing along to books on tape. I typically pop in something like Stephen King's The Stand, and I love singing along to that kind of stuff.").