- The most exciting thing of today is that my dearie dearest Christopher Rowe has a brand new story, strange and marvelous, up at Tor.com. Go read "Jack of Coins." And then go check out this entry from Red Nose Studio on the behind-the-scenes of the making of that amazing illustration for it (right). But read the story first, because then you can nerd out over all the cool details in the art. Okay? Okay. (I'm told you can also get the story as an e-book single at Amazon, B&N, etc., if that's your pleasure.)
- Second most exciting thing of the day is that I finished my revision. So I'll be trying to catch up on email and other things that have gone by the wayside. And collecting all the books I need for the next projects I want to work on…because I wouldn't be me if I didn't start something new soon. That said, I'll also be having a weekend of sloth (mostly) first and envying everyone at RT. Next year, I will be at you RT.
- The Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary. Ooh. (Via Scott.)
- A fabulous profile of the 60-year-old Kim Gordon. Role model forever.
- A interesting piece on the Voynich Manuscript; the possibility it's a hoax makes it no less fascinating.
- R.I.P. E.L. Konigsburg. I loved this NYT piece in remembrance.
- I want to see the new documentary about Ricky Jay so. badly. But it's not coming anywhere nearby. Alas. *waits*
- Joe Hill interviewed at the A.V. Club: "In the first draft, at least in my case, I tend to write a lot more than I need. NOS4A2 is just about 700 pages in hardcover, and was well over 1,000 pages in manuscript form. But I cut several hundred pages out of the book, because there’s a difference between what I need to understand the characters, and what the reader needs to have a great time, and to really enjoy the story."
- The wonderful Toni McGee Causey on being brave (and an excellent demonstration of same).
- Rainbow Rowell posts about writing a Korean male lead and why in her amazing novel Eleanor & Park. I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I should've. Definitely one of my favorite books this year. Flirting over X-Men comics, two fully-realized and singular characters, gorgeous writing. Read it.
- "30 things to tell a book snob."
- Michael Shannon's dramatic reading of that sorority girl letter. Epic. You've probably already seen it, but since it's one of the best things I've seen in ages, I'm including in case you haven't.
Also known as that thing that happens around a deadline, and so I probably will be MIA this week. We had zippo wireless coverage for a chunk of Bat Cave, and were busy much of the time anyway. I'll try to catch up soon, and if you need something important or more timely, then you should feel free to ping me about it. Still, I'm behind on many things and unlikely to dig out fully before next week.
But lots of work (and play) accomplished at the retreat (revision vanquishment nigh!), and thinking about projects to come, and just generally yay. I miss everyone, but it's also nice to be home with C and dogs et cat in the beautiful bluegrass springtime with the backbrain throwing off story sparks. Hope it's nice where y'all are too.
1. Heading out this weekend for this year's Bat Cave retreat. It's set up exactly like this:
(Image from here.)
Except replace the underground stream with a hot tub. There's really nothing more energizing, wonderful, and magical than spending a chunk of time holed up in a scenic locale with a gaggle of writers talking fiction and being silly and sharing war stories and in-jokes and, yeah, I can't wait. Especially because I am still being attacked by rogue deadline and have to rewrite some more words to escape its clutches. But! Nearly finished.
2. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to teach a day-long workshop to this year's class of the Young Women Writers Project at the Carnegie Center. I can tell you that these are some amazing writers, who you'll be hearing lots from in the future. And I'm so sad to miss their big reading. If you're in the Lexington area, however, you should go: it's next Friday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. (during Gallery Hop) at the Carnegie Center. Go support them.
3. I can't remember where I saw this regional dialect map first, but it is fascinating.
4. A typically wise post from the fabulous Robin LaFevers on the ups and downs of life in publishing. The creative life is definitely not for those who are afraid of heights or lows.
5. Speaking of which, this week has obviously been a high point for me. When you sell your first book(s), it's impossible to know if you'll publish more of them after that. It feels, often, that this must be an accident or a mistake, and to expect it to happen again, well, that's some nerve. That's tempting fate. But you keep writing anyway, of course, because you can't stop and there are stories to tell and what's fate for, but to tempt? (See also: Chuck Wendig's post on imposter syndrome.) Girl on a Wire was a book I started not thinking at all of the market, before I sold Blackwood, just because I wanted to tell this story, and it would be worth it even if it never saw the light of day. And then I finished it and revised it because I still felt that way, despite the shadow voice whispering that my first sale was a fluke. To have that book find such a great home is just as surreal and marvelous as selling Blackwood and The Woken Gods (eep! hope you like it too) was. In some ways more, because of all of the above. I can't wait to get back to work on it. But I just wanted to say again THANK YOU, sincerely, for the overwhelming flood of congratulations on twitter, tumblr, facebook, email–wherever congratulations are possible–this week. It means more than you can know.
So, love to y'all, and happy weekend.
So, I'm delighted to share this news, from today's PW Children's Bookshelf:
This is the book I finished the first draft (well, the first draft of the second draft, natch) on New Year's day–fitting, because while there will be plenty of time to detail the combination of swirling things that became Girl on a Wire, I know precisely when the first inkling of it arrived…over New Year's 2011. (When I'm asked where I got this idea, I can say from The Flu and it will be somewhat true.)
Anyway, I'm really proud of this book, and I hope you'll all love it. It comes from many of my obsessions–the circus, high wire walking, girl daredevils, classic screwball comedies, multi-generational family mysteries: if any of those are things you like, well, you're in luck. (It's set in the here and now, by the way. Though I hope it's infused with lots of history.)
I must give many, many thanks to the 2012 Bat Cave workshoppers, who gave me such great advice on the first draft–especially to Laurel Snyder and Beth Revis, who read the whole messy thing and helped me figure out what was working and what wasn't. And, of course, massive thanks to my fabulous, best agent on earth Jennifer Laughran, and to Larry Kirshbaum, Tim Ditlow and their team at Amazon Children's for truly getting the book and being so very enthusiastic about it. You left me with no doubt that this is, simply, the book's best possible home. I'm excited to work with you on it.
(On a different note: I just want to make clear that I will always support independent bookstores. I hope some of you–my dear friends at fabulous indies–will consider stocking the book when it comes out next year. But if not, then we will work together on other things and I will tell people to come in and order it from you anyway. There is room for everyone in this literary future, that I believe.)
And now! A photo of Jules'–the main character's–hero, Bird Millman, over New York City:
I truly can't wait for you all to be able to read this one. Yay!
On Saturday, I'll be at the Woodford County Public Library for a panel discussion with fab YA authors Kelly Creagh, Bethany Griffin, Katie McGarry, and Heather Sunseri. Check out the nice graphic the library made for us (click to embiggen) and come out if you can.
I can't wait.
Now back to pretending a vast ocean of Things To Do does not stand between me and the weekend…
- Toby Buckell did a thoughtful post about the GoodReads acquisition by Amazon, which prompted me to create a mailing list to send out the occasional newsletter with news (obvs), extras, giveaways, and chatty stuff like book recs. Sign up here; I'll even wish you a happy birthday, if you like.
- In the past couple of weeks, I've returned to yoga, by way of some excellent local classes. So I particularly love this Sara Ryan post about the idea of sitting with the discomfort and how that applies to creative work as well. (I love yoga, I do, and am so glad to be doing it again…except for the occasional ridiculous non sequitur along the lines of "unhinge your jaw." Because I am neither an eldritch horror nor a character on V. Though the idea of them being in a yoga class–especially together–is pleasing.)
- Bookish murals from around the world. Gorgeousness.
- The wonderful Nalo Hopkinson profiled by the LA Times.
- Gate to Hell found–noxious gases apparently a dead giveaway.
- 14 Words That Are Their Own Opposites.
- The news from Iain Banks is completely heartbreaking, and his statement on it has touched many of us, I know. I hope if I'm ever faced with such awful circumstances, I can handle them with such grace.
- An excellent piece by Nichole Bernier on the role of the paperback, talking cover changes and the like, at the Millions: "Here’s what I learned, after a month of talking to editors, literary agents, publishers, and other authors: A paperback isn’t just a cheaper version of the book anymore. It’s a makeover. A facelift. And for some, a second shot."
- Michael Grant offers some typically wry advice for writers at the Guardian. Snippet: "Writers often offer up helpful hints, and I've done the same in moments of weakness, but here's the truth as I see it from my own narrow and subjective perch: You can either come up with stories or you can't. You either have the ambition and work ethic to sit there typing for months on end or not. But you do it by doing it." (On his second piece of advice, of course, I disagree, because I come from the proud school of Read Everything.)
- And now for the best thing of the day: Preserved Moments of Historical Sass (Vol. 2) from Messy Nessy Chic. So many excellent photos. So. Many.
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- Drowning, swimming, floating, all of the above. Just a few quick links, because I hate to let this place get too dusty even in the middle of Sinus Infection Deadlineville (the lesser known ghost town you pass through on the way to Complete Overloadtown). All will be well.
- One thing that gives me the happies lately? Pretending we're all going to live on this Greek island together, drinking boiled coffee, socializing, napping, writing, and living forever.
- The amazing invisible bike helmet.
- Agent Rachelle Gardner offers some thoughts on making a living as a writer and part two.
- The always fascinating Richard Nash at VQR with an essay: "What is the business of literature?"
- You all read Terri Windling's blog faithfully, right? So many days, I find just what I need there. This morning was one of them.
- Narrative structural diagrams for several different radio shows on cocktail napkins. Pretty.
- I love envelopes, especially old ones or ones with scribbled on messages. I tend to use even boring old bill envelopes as makeshift notepads. Messy Nessy Chic loves them too, and has the pictures to prove it.
- I've passed this link on to my favorite milliners already, but sharing here too. A great piece from Movie Star Makeover on Lilly Daché, old Hollywood's favorite hatter.
- And if this handful of links isn't enough for you, Big Think has a little round-up of interesting, provocative things for spring. And it is, you know, springtime. If only nature would behave that way.
Today's fun toy. Make your own–because, really, who can resist? Also, yay return of Game of Thrones.
Otherwise: Revising, juggling other work, trying not to flail, the usual.
Nova Ren Suma’s new novel, 17 & Gone, comes out this week (today, as a matter of fact), and to mark the release of this story about a 17-year-old girl haunted by the missing, she’s asked some authors she knows to join her in answering this question… What haunted YOU at 17? To see all the authors taking part, be sure to visit her blog distraction99.com.
(Because I'm trying to meet another deadline, I missed the deadline to get my post over to Nova for this. But here it is, anyway. Loving seeing all these, both there and elsewhere, so if you feel moved to contribute: please do and send her the link.)
The Open Road & the End of the World
Every morning during my senior year, I drove into the school parking lot blasting R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." And not just blasting it, singing along at the top of my lungs, especially on that parenthetical (you know I love a parenthetical). "AND I FEEL FINE!" I would shout it, as loud as I could in my terrible, abysmal, never-any-good voice, because it didn't matter, because there was no one there to hear. Car singing is the safest kind of singing, safer even than dancing around your room. It's you, moving through space, the music turned up so it obliterates your voice and even you don't care if you're off tune. You might still be able to hear yourself think, but you can't hear yourself sing. So: "AND I FEEL FINE!" Was it the truth?
Of course not.