Haunted at 17: The Open Road & the End of the World

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.


Two Quick Yaylets

1. Thing the First:

I believe since it's in the Taryn Fagerness Agency newsletter for March, I can finally announce where that first-ever foreign sale* I mentioned on twitter awhile back was to…


Blackwood is going to Italy! Where it'll be published by Fabbri Editore. Quite happy-making. Here's hoping there are more foreign adventures in its future.

2. Thing the Second:

The 2013 Locus Awards Ballot (aka poll & survey) is now live. Anyone can vote, subscriber or not, and I am delighted to mention that Blackwood is on there in the First Novels category. And also that Christopher Rowe's "The Contrary Gardener" is on in the Novelette category. As well as many other fab works, so go forth and vote!

And now back to work. Nose, grindstone, that is all.

*In translation. The book is already published in the UK, of course, due to the English-language world domination plans of Angry Robot. Yay!

Monday Hangovers

Look, when I'm working lots I take little breaks and snuffle up interesting stuff, which keeps brain overdrive from causing me to scare door-to-door pamphleteers in my bathrobe or yell at guys who let their dogs run loose to attack mine (at least, it keeps me from doing exclusively those things). Since I'm currently working nonstop, there are many links to pass on. And this is after the tumblr frenzy. I can't explain it. Only demonstrate. Herewith:

Friday Randomness & Hangovers

Veronica Mars movie! My heart soars. (As those of you who remember our old Veronica Mars Talk threads of yore–which can be ferretted out in the TV goodness category–will have guessed already.)

Otherwise, I continue to be working lotslotslots on revision as deadline approacheth. This comes with wild happiness of progress and a project coming together (finally!), leading to goofy behavior like this morning's twitter musings on the army of hotel detectives I would like to have (note: nothing to do with the book), and then swings back to the other end of stress that's just part of being a writer and always waiting on stuff and never quite knowing what comes next. Brain is cooperating on book, and so staying more toward the happy end than the stress end at the moment. Which is nice. Still, to do this job, you have to get okay with uncertainty. It's just a fact.

Also with sometimes falling behind on things like email, because your available energy is directed elsewhere. Sorry about that if I owe you something. It may be next month before I get fully caught up, especially if there's not a hard deadline. But I have collected a few little links in the meantime.

Read Alouds

At the end of last year, I drove up to Louisville one afternoon to participate in an exceedingly excellent idea for a new radio show Erin Keane was putting together with some of her colleagues at public radio station WFPL, where she's arts doyenne/reporter. Erin and I have known each other since high school, when we met at the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, and have been friends and fans of each other's work all these many long years since.

Erin is one of those amazing writers who not only works like a madwoman on her own craft, but also builds literary community to support others. For example, she founded the long-running and wonderful InKY reading series in Louisville. In fact, if there's a fab literary project or magazine out there that's reached out to her or that's crossed her path, chances are she's lent them advice, a hand, or bought a subscription.

Erin on the other side of the studio.(my crappy instagram photo of Erin on the other side of the glass)

Her latest venture is her biggest and best yet, I think. It's a radio (and podcast) series called Unbound, featuring two writers per half-hour themed episode reading their own work. To quote: "The show will be produced for broadcast in the WFPL listening area, available online via podcast and offered for syndication to other public radio stations. The show will launch this summer."

And it will include a wide range of writing (witness the fact I'm in the first episode, reading from Blackwood — not only a YA novel, but a fantasy one, which a great many literary enterprises might not decide to include, but here's one right up front) from writers who may not be household names. And because it's public radio, they have the ability to use partner stations to record authors who aren't able to get to the Louisville studio, too.

And from my side. #nervous(my slightly less blurry instagram photo from my scary side of the booth, getting ready to read)

I don't know about you, but I love being read to and hearing authors read their own work. And I love anything that helps put the spotlight on newer literary voices, which can sometimes be difficult to hear about in our noisy culture. The beauty of all this is you–yes you!–can help. 

Unbound's Kickstarter began yesterday. They've secured sponsorship to cover much of the costs of producing, distributing and promoting the show, but need (modest) help with the rest. I urge you to check it out (bonus? you can hear me being dorky about all this at the 3ish minute mark on the video). Click through, read and hear all about it.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to support the project if you can and help spread the word. You can also follow the show on twitter at @radiounbound and, of course, listen when it starts broadcasting. Yay.

Monday Hangovers

  • Maria Tatar on one of my very favorite topics: tricksters, and specifically lady tricksters, in the New Yorker.
  • The Morning News Tourney of Books is up and running. The commentary after The Fault in Our Stars win is particularly worth your time. I thought this, especially, was extremely well put from Kevin Guilfoile: "You and I were socialized to believe we were too cool to do almost anything. Our generation has been paralyzed by slacker inertia. Our hero is David Letterman, whose job it is to have the greatest gig in the world and act constantly like he doesn’t want it. That has always been the Platonic ideal of success for you and me and our peers. Maybe that’s why John Green’s books make me cry. Because he reminds you that you don’t have to be like that." I think I spent my 20s unlearning this attitude. Enthusiasm and action? Trump cool every time. (Or, rather, are the beating heart of actual coolness. Even better? Stop caring about coolness at all.)
  • Lev Grossman on writing a novel. Oh, god, yes, this. All of this.
  • A discussion of whether urban fantasy is inherently liberal (a counterpoint to the recent 'is epic fantasy conservative?' convo) at Tor.com.
  • Jane Hu on Gilmore Girls for the Awl. I love (and agree with) this whole piece SO much. Snippet: "In another way, cultural studies appears in exact keeping with "Gilmore Girls," as it tests the line between serious art and entertainment, the avant-garde and the popular. As a writer and a reader, my fantasy is to work in a world where the Harlequin romance, a NYBR classics release, and so-called academic prose all deserve re-readings—because they can all be read seriously, each one being worth serious attention." Yesss.
  • Slide show: A secret history of women and tattoo.
  • Really interesting piece from Grammnet's Brian Taylor (who's developing Blackwood for TV) on the role data could play in TV development at the Huffington Post.
  • Feeling sleepless? This New Yorker article probably won't help, but is fascinating. (Apparently I was catching up on NYer stuff like crazy last week.)
  • Linda Holmes on romantic comedies at NPR. Another great piece: "What's most profoundly wrong is the terrible, mean-spirited scripts that are getting made, that are making people feel justified in using "rom-com" as an eye-rolling insult, and we've got to stop that first. Stop saying "chick flick" like it's "pile of rotten meat," and stop saying "chick lit" and "chick book" and "chick movie" and anything else that suggests that love stories are less than war stories, or that stories that end with kissing are inherently inferior to stories that end with people getting shot. Or, if you believe they are and you want to continue believing that they are, stop pretending you're open to romantic comedies getting better."
  • Kat Howard interviewed at the Rejectionist. Yay.

Monday Hangovers

I feel bad about just popping up here with a few little links once a week, but I don't see time for much more until the big deadline is vanquished. Considering an Actual Hiatus, but, in the meantime, some things I've magpied during breaks lately:

  • Some interesting thoughts on Amanda Palmer's TED talk from Chuck Wendig and Justine Musk (I still have to watch it, but am enjoying all the discussions here, there, and everywhere).
  • Children's literature veterans share stories from back in the day at PW. Great stuff, and as proof a snippet from George Nicholson at Sterling Lord: "Together with other young editors and friends, we moved about the city in packs, reveling in 25-cent shots of rye from the many Irish bars then along Sixth Avenue in the 40s, all called we thought The Shamrock. When the work day was done we often gathered in hotel lobbies, checked the listing for professional organization cocktail parties upstairs and found that we could easily, with our fine wardrobes, pass for members of the Westchester Medical Association or the Plumbers Union or whoever was serving free drink and food. When discovered and politely asked to leave, we thanked our hosts and said we must have gotten the wrong ballroom."
  • I really want to see this documentary about famous conjoined twins The Hilton Sisters.
  • Virginia Morell on the latest research on what animals are thinking and feeling: "Through experiments and close observations, researchers have discovered that at least one species of ant engages in a form of teaching; parrots likely give names to their chicks (a finding which opens the door to the possibility that they are having some form of conversations); moths remember that they were caterpillars; whales and cows have regional accents; rats dream and laugh; cheetahs may die from being heartbroken; and cats can get their owners to jump to their feet and feed them by crying like a human infant."
  • Also at Slate, an enticement to read Shirley Jackson, should you need one.
  • The magical properties of mercury, an article filled with wonders like this: "The vapours given off by this extraordinary element are highly toxic. In the 19th century, a process called "carroting" was used in the making of felt hats. Animal skins were dipped in a solution of mercuric nitrate which turned the fur into a matted felt. The fumes given off by this process poisoned the brains of anyone in the vicinity, causing an epidemic of psychiatric problems among workers in the hat industry, hence the phrase "as mad as a hatter." " Bonus: alchemy talk.
  • Carrie Frye and Maud Newton on Thelma and Louise. I love this SO much. Favorite thing.

Monday Hangovers

Still crazy busy, swirling deadlines and revising going on, so just a few quick hangovers and then poof! I'm gone again for a bit.

Thursday Hangovers

Well, hello there. I did warn you I might fall off the face of the earth. Whole worlds–well, plots, lots of plots–have been constructed since my last post. Which is to say, Mexico was lovely and productive, as always. Just being in such a gorgeous place with some of my favorite brilliant, hilariously excellent people was reviving and sanity-saving, not to mention the margaritas and chocolate cake.

Anyway, I'll probably be scarce on the ground for a bit as I'm revising novel with deadline looming. (I've been tumbling more, because quick and easy, so catch some stuff there.) But! Now! Things!