Heres & Theres

Looks like the site is back up! Knock wood it stays that way–I feel terrible for the typepad staff and hope they have vanquished the evil DDoS villains once and for all.

ANYWAY, just dropping by for a quick note to say that I'll be at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest this Saturday, and if you're there you should come say hello and I'll also happily sign books for you. Here's the details:

April 26 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.: Southern Ky. Book Fest at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, Ky.     
Panel at noon in the auditorium: YA Fantasy/Paranormal: Gwenda Bond, Kelly Creagh, Bethany Griffin, Julie Kagawa, CJ Redwine 

Should be a fun time. And then Courtney Stevens and I will caravan through the mountains to the annual wondrousness that is the Bat Cave retreat, where we will workshop and eat delicious food and gossip and hot tub and be generally merry. And where I will be holing up a few hours a day to work on my revision of Secret Project, because deadlines wait for no hot tub. Or something.

And if you're local, you should come out to Joseph-Beth tonight at 7 p.m. and see the fabulous Ann VanderMeer talk about the Time Traveler's Almanac. We'll be there with figurative bells on–and Christopher will have just passed his thesis defense (it's at high noon, but I'm calling it early!).

Lastly! Since the site's been up and down, just in case you missed it:

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Rebel With A Pink Bike + Links

How is it already Thursday? How is it already mid-March?

Been trying to get back into my 6 a.m. drafting/revising groove, and have done so successfully… But I had forgotten how sleepy I get during the day at first. So I'm probably yawning right now as you're reading this, no matter when it is. And if I'm not, it's because I resorted to extra coffee.

I also have an exciting afternoon on the way which involves getting a filling replaced at the dentist (ready to hum my favorite dentist song as always–thoughts of Steve Martin are the only pleasant thing about going). The tooth in question is one of my front bottom ones, and broke cleanly in half and went through my lip a bit below my mouth when I was in fourth grade. It was a very exciting day, and I remember it well, because this was one of the only brief times in my life I thought perhaps I was coordinated in the hand-eye way. I had discovered that I could fly down the steep hill on the dirt and gravel road behind our house on my bike–a pink Huffy–and jam on the breaks at the bottom, whipping around to stop with an enormously satisfying skidding sound and leaving a giant dust cloud in my wake. Obviously, I was super-cool. 

NotmybikeUntil, oh, the third or fourth time I did it and had a catastrophic dismount–in front of kids my own age who were visiting the neighbor whose house I was riding in front of, and probably trying to impress with my badassery. I remember the neighbor coming out and asking with great concern if I needed them to help/call home/etc, but not to be completely shamed from my Evel Knievel fantasy, I forced myself to get on my bike and ride home.

All the drama ensued, though it was determined I didn't need stitches because of where the wound was. The tooth came all the way through, and I had picked it up, but alas, it could not be put back on, so filling. But, you know, flaming disastrous dismount aside, this was the grade where if you had a broken arm or leg or stitches or any kind of visible injury you were a mini-celebrity for at least a day at school. Of course you were! You'd survived a brush with DEATH. And so, I took the pain in stride, expecting my moment of glory.

It was not to be. Because what I had was not cool stitches or a cast people could sign. What I had was a giant scab above my chin. Which, unbeknownst to me until the straightest of the straight A students in our class turned to tell me, looked not like a battle scar but like "You have chocolate on your face."

And scene. 

Anyway, I actually dropped in not to tell you that story, but to point you a couple of other places I am today.

  •  First up, I talked to Jeffrey Lee Puckett at the Courier-Journal about YA and dystopians and Divergent in particular earlier this week. We discussed all sorts of things–dystopian themes, gender politics, some of our favorite YA and children's books. But I had no idea I was going to be my own sidebar. And I'm a writer and scholar, which sounds very fancy.* The story is here.
  • Also, the wonderful Sandra Nickel invited me by her place for her "What's on…" interview series, which I love reading and was honored to be a part of. You can find out what's on my mind, reading stack, windowsill, TV, playlist, and in my catalog of fears thither.

*Remember the pink Huffy.  Never forget.

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West Coast Invasion: Upcoming Event

MystgalaxSorry, so sorry it's been quiet around here. Posts soon and about things besides The Woken Gods. 

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.

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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

(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.

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Well, that seemed like a way more exciting post title than Essaying. Though, in fact, I am super-excited to report that Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader is officially out today from the very fabulous Smart Pop Books. You can find out more info at that link and read Cassie's introduction online for this entire week.

I was beyond excited to get to contribute an essay for this, given that these are some of my favorite books in the world and considering that the contributors include many of my other favorite writers (in TOC order: Kate Milford, Sarah Cross, Diana Peterfreund, Robin Wasserman, Michelle Hodkin, Kami Garcia, Kendare Blake, Rachel Caine, Sara Ryan, Scott Tracey, Kelly Link, Holly Black, and Sarah Rees Brennan).

The lovely Smart Pop folks are also posting nice pull quote graphics from all our essays over on tumblr. Here's mine:



Speaking of which (friends, I mean), I'm about to drop off the grid–somewhat–for this year's installment of a magical retreat in Mexico and some major revision time. I may well pop up here or there, but probably not quite as much as usual for the next couple of weeks. But, it's okay, I'll be writing hard and wishing on stars. Promise.

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Tripping Whirlwind

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:


Bergdorf Goodman windows were amazing.

(Bergdorf Goodman)

(More behind the cut…)

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Whirlwinded (AKA, The Official Research-A-Palooza And BEA Report)

We set out late-ish Friday on the open road, or at least the interstate, armed with more books than we'd need and a big bag of snacks from the coop (dried mango, sesame sticks, trail mixy stuff, granola bars–you never know when you might have to trade organic food for gas or your life, so we were well-prepared) and several sets of maquest directions for the Epic Road Trip, June Edition. Such an epic drive seems to demand an epic post filled with parenthetical asides.

The first leg of the trip, of course, was Washington, D.C. ::pause during which we all sing the Magnetic Fields song, yet again:: And that's well photo-documented, because I was taking lots of reference photos. The ones on Flickr mostly aren't those, because I'm thinking tile patterns and trim would be…boring. Although they were fun to take. For example, I kept getting trapped on elevators at the Library of Congress photographing the detail above the doors. Many strange looks were given, including several from Christopher, who had to stand waiting for me to make the return trips. But at least I wasn't being mocked by this guy:


Anyway, I can't go into specifics just yet, but all this relates to the book that's due next month, which is set in an alternate version of D.C. More details on that coming, including a title…as soon as we settle on a good one. (Non-breaking news: Titles are HARD.) And we managed to see writer friends who live in the area–Craig Gidney and Jess Leader–which is always an excellent thing.

Then it was on to NYC–or, in reality, to New Jersey, where our hotel was–for BEA. We got in on Monday night, schlepped over to Penn Station and headed into town for the evening. Our first stop was meeting up with Genevieve Valentine, who we really can't ever see enough of, for drinks and dinner. Well, Christopher and Genevieve had dinner, and tempted me to eat bites of their delicious foodstuffs. Then we got The Best Cupcakes at Kyotofu, after Genevieve convinced me I could get mine in a container for later. Cupcake-for-Later = GENIUS when you have to take a train back out to New Jersey late at night. Super city-navigatrix Genevieve and Christopher then escorted me to my other dinner, and headed off to the Bookrageous party, followed by an exodus to a bar where they saw an actual fight. Literary fisticuffs were in the air, people. (Actually, the fighters weren't lit types. But still.)

Meanwhile I got to have the most fabulous dinner with Best Agent Ever Jennifer Laughran (alias: Literaticat) and a few of her other clients, Fiona Paul (aka Paula Stokes), Jo Whittemore, and Kate Messner. Here's a photo Jo had the waiter–who turned out to be a comic book fan, with good taste no less (Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol!)–take of us, in which it becomes apparent that I must have supernatural eye laser powers:

(Alas, I ditched the camera for the New York leg, so I have no pictures of my own.)

This was so much fun, I can't even. I'd have dinner with this group of ladies every night of the week. We closed the place down.

And then it was Tuesday, the first day of BEA.

Here's the thing about BEA: It can be soul–and feet–crushing if you let it…because it's a trade show. And trade shows are innately depressing. It is best looked at sideways and traversed quickly with an eye toward finding the people you want to see. I also pick up as little swag as possible (in fact, this time around nothing), because books are heavy and my bag already weighs a bazillion pounds. (Though I do wish Chronicle still gave away those great notepads from lo many BEAs ago, because I finally ran out.) (See also: Emily Gould's account for the Awl, which is both funny and accurate.) What saves BEA, of course, and makes it still fun is that while it's (yes) a trade show, it's a trade show for books. Which means there are lots of book people there–booksellers, publicists, editors, agents, sales reps, authors, bloggers, industry reporters–and book people really are the loveliest people. Plus, they understand that the grimness of a trade show is directly proportional to the amount of free booze (and parties) on offer.

And so while I understand the complaints about BEA and, oh boy, the terrible awfulness of the Javits Center, I also enjoy it. This year was my best time to date, although I missed seeing and meeting a bunch of people I'd have liked to because I was rarely on the floor and lower level cell service should be studied by black hole experts. But I did get to spend decent chunks of time with several people–Micol Ostow and Melissa Walker, Laura Miller (even better in person), and my PW editor Dick Donahue (who I'd never met, though we've been working together for years now). Sheila Ruth kindly invited me to grab post-show drinks with a group of bloggers; it was nice to hang out with people I've 'known' for so long online, like Sheila and Pam Coughlan.

Because I'd already bumped into my editor Amanda Rutter (who is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL AND AMAZING–more on that in a moment), I knew that Osprey's most excellent product manager John Tintera had a Blackwood ARC for me…and so I was prepared and didn't burst into tears when he produced it at drinks.


You really can't see the beautiful shine to it in this photo, so I'll try to take a better shot later for proper admiration. (I hear the UK ARCs are matte, btw. I'm glad my book is getting the best of both ARC worlds.)

This was all followed by some of the best Korean bbq (or Korean/Japanese fusion bbq, actually) I've EVER ever had with Amanda and John, who I could go on and on about the sheer wonderfulness of. Just let me say, I can't imagine better folks to be working with. *happy sigh* (Christopher was off at a Liberty game, having his own fun.)

The next morning was meetings at Javits, and while "meetings at Javits" may sound like a circle of hell, in practice it was lovely, because aforementioned book people were involved in them. I was lucky enough to meet several of the sales team for Strange Chemistry here in the U.S.; a truly engaged, sharp, and delightful group. It was also the first time I've really gotten to talk about Blackwood with people who've read it (who I don't know, at least), and that was fun too. And I got to hear Amanda describe all the TERRIFIC-SOUNDING books on the list and the imprint's grand plans and bask in her savvy and clear passion for YA in general and Strange Chemistry in specific. *happy sigh dieux*

Also, the pirates from Bridge Publications randomly sat down at our table, mere moments after Olivia the Pig walked by. These two things would really only ever happen at BEA.

Christopher and I had a final lunch with Amanda and John, said our farewells, and returned to the open road, feeling a bit kamikaze about the eleven-hour drive ahead. It was mainly through beautiful mountain country, though–Maryland and West Virginia–and there was a spectacular sunset. We made it home around 3 a.m., having listened to what feels in retrospect like a thousand episodes of This American Life, Studio 360, Stephen Fry's Podgrams, and RadioLab. There are worse ways to spend eleven hours. There are definitely worse ways to spend six days.

And now I have a book to finish.

Final mapquest tally: 23 hrs 47 mins / 1453.25 miles.

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