- I feel bad that I seem to hardly ever post about what I'm reading these days, but I'll try do better next year. I do my best to update the reading list with recommendations, though I feel like my reading has suffered this year numbers-wise. Anyway, two amazing books I've finished recently about which I'll have more to say here or there (there being Locus), when I have a little more time: Bennett Madison's September Girls (Outer Banks-set, which you obviously know I love, and mermaids, which are usually a hard sell for me…but these are not the usual mermaids; a new book from Bennett is always a treat and this one is delicious) and Laini Taylor's Days of Blood & Starlight (amazingAHmazing, even better than Daughter of Smoke & Bone–wrenching, beautiful, special, and fearless).
- Seanan McGuire with a thoughtful take on the digital divide, considering e-book access and poverty.
- Kate Elliott has some interesting meditations on reviews and on our more linked-up world of readers.
- Among the best of lists I like to keep an eye on this time of year are the romance ones. Eloisa James picks her faves of the year for NPR and I already see two of my favorite writers there–Ilona Andrews (Steel's Edge is in my stack) and Meljean Brook (whose Riveted I thought was wonderful)–so I'll have to check out the others.
- The University of Chicago's Indiana Jones mystery has been solved, but oh, what a great story it is.
- A fascinating interview with Junot Diaz at Lightspeed, where many topics are discussed, including genre hierarchies and Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day."
- Lee Child on creating suspense. (Hat tip to Kim.)
- Sara Zarr on a year of podcasting. You are checking this one out, right?
- Special mummy ray gun design flaw.
- Fancy writers are coming to guest at the Bluegrass Writer's Studio MFA program residency, complete with public readings, and the Herald-Leader reports. I am not (even anywhere close to) the fanciest, but I will be a guest and my reading is at 7:30 on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Hilton Downtown, and–bonus–my divine agent Jennifer Laughran will also be there, as she's coming in to do a joint panel session with me earlier in the day for students. The reading is open to the public. So come, local peeps. I'll read something new. (And I'll remind you again closer to the date.)
- As many of you know, I love Miss Universe. I love the National Costume portion best of all. And it's time, friends. Genevieve has helpfully pulled out the…best…and provided commentary. Happiness.
- The wonderful Cynthia Leitich Smith on paying it forward and supporting new voices. This is such a great post, and from someone who truly practices this. I am so grateful for all Cyn's–and everyone else's–support this crazy debut year (and throughout my writing life). It has made a world of difference. And I try to pay back that karma whenever I can. Love y'all.
- Terri Windling has a big holiday print sale going on. These make great presents–for yourself or for someone else. We have several of Terri's pieces, and looking at them never fails to make me happy.
- Justine Musk has a brilliant post on process over perfection, and the power risking imperfection can bestow.
- Gillian Berry offers a report on a recent YA panel on gender in YA fantasy.
- Agent Michael Bourret on the changing YA/children's NYT bestseller lists.
- TCM's video tribute to movie professionals who passed away in 2012. We lost some greats this year.
- Austin Kleon's year in reading; full of interesting stuff. I just started the David Byrne book.
- Tansy Rayner Roberts rounds up some more gender and historical accuracy in fantasy-related posts.
- And over at the Midnyte Reader you can read all about Libba's and my event at Oblong Books and win signed goodies. Go forth and enter.
Back from the last travel of the year, which was a weekend so packed it seems I must have been gone for a week. But I know I wasn't, because it was all so quick and there were far too many people I didn't get to see at all. Alas! Next trip to New York will be longer.
The lovely and wonderful Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner were kind enough to let me stay with them, and we had some great talks and meals and even went to see a play–something I really don't do often enough. (It was Volpone, an acid Renaissance comedy that featured an interesting cast playing truly despicable characters.) I also managed lunch at Tea & Sympathy (yum) with Ellen Datlow and Genevieve Valentine. Then we meandered around seeing holiday sights (and possibly witnessing the birth of RAR–crowd-induced rage-a-hol syndrome), including some fantastic window displays:
(More behind the cut…)
Home from first mini-leg of this week's travel, and brain is playing catch up…as is the rest of me. A couple of quick things I wanted to point to, though.
- Thing the first – Blackwood gets reviewed by the one and only Colleen Mondor in her latest column at Bookslut. Snippet: "Bond concocts her own gumbo of story here, with a blend of mystery, thriller, paranormal, and romance to create a densely packed adventure that sucks readers in with a blistering plot pace but then keeps them riveted with some truly dark and scary moments. … Thoughtful teens will eat this novel up, and honestly, who could blame them?" This whole review made me so happy, because this was the book I wanted to write and Colleen is one of the people whose taste on books I trust and admire most in the world. *beam* Also happy-making to be sharing that column with some of my own favorites from this year.
- Thing the second – Strange Chemistry is running a buy-one-get-one-free e-book deal for any of the five launch titles–including Blackwood–through December at the Angry Robot Trading Company, where you can always get DRM-free versions of its e-books (along with 6 and 12 month e-subscriptions where you can get them all automagically and at a hefty discount). The prices are UK-ized, but the deal's good everywhere (it'll convert to US $ when you check out). All you have to do is go to this page, select the books and the discount will be applied at check-out.
- Novel draft currently sitting at 323 pages with about three or so chapters to finish, which means it will be the longest book I've written. My goal is to get the last chapters all drafted by Sunday afternoon so that I can cart my print out along for the polish and read-through pass next week, which is a flurry of travel and things, ending up with a whirlwind trip to NYC and out to Rhinebeck for the Oblong Books event (preorders available if you want a signed copy but can't make it). Anyway, I love this weird crazy book but am nervous as hell about it, and will be glad when it is complete and out of my hands for a bit. (No, this isn't The Woken Gods. This is secret book.) (NYC peeps, I hope to see some of you–will be in touch.)
- I can't remember if I've mentioned this here, but I am SO excited to have an essay (mine's called "Asking for a Friend") in the upcoming collection of essays about The Mortal Instruments series from Smart Pop Books, Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Here's the TOC and some info from Cassie, as well as a link to her introduction. Check it out.
- Malinda Lo has a couple of must-read posts this week: Heteronormativity, fantasy, and Bitterblue Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.
- "The Rise of the Backdoor Fantasy Story" by Annalee Newitz; I love these kinds of books.
- Helen Lowe talks with one of my favoritefavorite authors Elizabeth Knox at SF Signal.
- A really interesting profile of the generally delightful Tavi Gevinson. I do wish she seemed to like or read modern YA–though perhaps sentimentally, because her inspiration for Rookie was Sassy, which introduced me to the Weetzie Bat books (and many other wonders). Still: Rookie is great.
- RT rounds up some page to screen deals, including Blackwood (which makes me happy because I adore RT).
- Fabulous keynote address text from Beth Kephart at Publishing Perspectives: "Lamp Lighters and Seed Sowers: Tomorrow's YA."
- "Derelict to Divine: Charlie Chaplin's London Water Tower Home."
- Skulls carved from books. And, on that note, happy weekending.
- Still. working. on. it. (Though going well, on track I think, etc.) In the meantime, a few links.
- At the First Second blog, some reasons titles get changed.
- Writing fight scenes, advice from some experts: "The most common mistake is probably the one that cannot really be corrected. Most fight scenes with weapons go on too long. The saying in the Filipino arts that I do is there are only three good stick fights: thud; click, thud; click, click, thud. Anything else means you don’t really know how to fight. Since most of the time, stories are about extraordinary people with extreme skills, fights that last minutes–even a minute–are unrealistic."
- A profile of the divine Liz Hand.
- PW covers a panel on the YA blockbuster.
- I do love a missing (or imaginary) island.
- Fantasy heroines from the 1980s in art nouveau renderings; love these.
- Daniel Handler interviewed in the NYT: "You have to wonder if dictators muse about how scary they are to certain young generations. Nowadays, with social networking, you could actually just name somebody. That would be terrifying if you were a dictator and you said, “There’s no one I hate more than such and such,” an 11-year-old in Lincoln, Neb."
- Midori Snyder pulls out some of the Voynich Manuscript's most lovely pages.
- A nice Blackwood shout-out in Heroes & Heartbreaker's recent look at some YA and romance novels being adapted for the screen. (If you haven't seen the gorgeous first teaser trailer for the City of Bones movie, then what are you waiting for? It's also at that link. I. cannot. wait.)
- And another one among these recommendations from Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books on WAMC–the one and only Libba Bray and I will be at Oblong at 4 p.m. on December 9. Come out if you can. (I'll also be in NYC briefly before and after.)
- With that, I'm back to work.
Three days off to concentrate, and one last act to revise (aka mostly write) of the new novel. Can it be done?
Techniques to be employed:
Now–armed with my golden coffee mug of truth and invisible typewriter–off to work I go.
(But as I said elsewhere: So much I'm thankful for this year and so, so many people I'm thankful to. That includes all of you who stop by here. Love to you guys.)
p.s. So far so good. Also, thing too cool not to share:
- Part one of Erin Keane's Gift Guide for Salon suggests Blackwood for the Suzy Bishops (from Moonrise Kingdom) in your life, featuring perhaps my favorite description of the book ever as "a weird book for weird girls." I adored Moonrise Kingdom and all Suzy's fake YA novels, so this is an especially happy-making thing. Lots of great suggestions, and I think the concept of theming the guide around some of the year's most iconic characters is what sets it apart from the usual and makes it so much fun.
My hugest thanks to you guys for the congratulations and excitement here, there, and everywhere about the Blackwood TV deal. I promise I will try not to be obnoxious about the BIG news, but because it was announced late Friday and many people spend the weekend away from the computron (freaks! I kid…because I'm a shut-in–at least until I finish this new manuscript):
Here's the Deadline story and my post about it from Friday night (see also: io9). It's wonderful to be able to share this news with all of you and stop being coy, and I hope you'll keep your fingers crossed for the project as it proceeds. I am obviously THRILLED.
And now a few other links:
- Locus put up my review of David Levithan's fabulous Every Day from this month's issue.
- "The Myth of the Fake Geek Girl" by Rachel Edidin (an Associate Editor at Dark Horse Comics) at io9.
- Most writers who know Holly Black also know that she is a book whisperer. Mette Harrison shares some of the magic after listening to the master at work at World Fantasy: part one and part two.
- A great interview with the delightful William Alexander at Publishers Weekly, following his wonderful middle grade debut Goblin Secrets' win at the National Book Awards in the young readers category. YAY.
- "The Dudes of YA, a 'Lit-Erotic' Photospread."
- Finally, monkeys riding a capybara. (Via Jenny D.)
MTV has put in development Blackwood, a drama from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. It is based on the young adult book of the same name by Gwenda Bond, which was published this past September on the Strange Chemistry YA imprint of UK-based science fiction publisher Angry Robot Books. DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway (Brothers & Sisters) will write the adaptation.
Perhaps now my obnoxious secret-keeping can be forgiven? I AM OBVIOUSLY VERY EXCITED.
My hugest thanks to Brian Taylor (and everyone else at Grammnet, of course), Lionsgate TV, writer Peter Calloway, and to my faaaabulous agents Jenn Laughran of Andrea Brown and Nate Matteson of Gotham Group. And to MTV(!). You are all awesome amazing crazymazing. (Also, goes without saying but saying it anyway, thanks to Amanda Rutter and the rest of the SC/AR team.)
Before you ask: does this mean Blackwood will definitely be a TV show on MTV? Not yet, no, but certainly it is an excellent starting point for that to happen. I am beyond thrilled with the team behind this, and it's the perfect network, so I'm extremely hopeful and cannot wait to see how the development proceeds. What's been done so far has been fabulous.
You all know how much I love TV, so in short:
Look out, Snoopy, there is a lot of happy dancing going on here. I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful for this entire year.
Updated to add:
- io9 on the news (Thank you, guys!)