Home Again, Home Again

Though I really don't believe in jigs. World Fantasy was great fun, despite the strangeness of being at a convention sans Christopher, and the extreme sprawl of the property, which had the odd distinction of feeling like a set from Dynasty or Falcon Crest, The Prisoner, Dirty Dancing, CSI or Bones*, Swamp Thing, and The Shining, depending what part of it you happened to be in.** Plus, there was a painting of a terrifying girl in a blue dress in every single room. (The one in mine and Tiffany's was between the wall and the TV hutch, where you forgot it was there…until you looked over and its eyes were following you.) Maybe there was a little Addams Family–with palm trees–going on with the property too, actually. At night blown bulbs left the illuminated sign over the convention center saying CONVEN CENTER.

Though I brought my camera, I then discovered it was out of batteries and never bothered to replace them. So these memories of the bizarro Town & Country will have to live on only in the mind.

I somehow managed to miss a few people entirely, which I can't remember ever happening at a convention, and to see others far too little, which happens at all of them. But there was plenty of fabulousness to make up for this–running into dear friends in the bar or the cafe, finally getting to meet some lovely people previously known only in virtual world, an impressive quantity of Korean BBQ, and many, many bits of hilarity, including a spectacular outdoor Couples Theater performance on the other side of the glass at The Cheesecake Factory. Good times.

I came home with a scratchy throat that I originally chalked up to laughing too much on Sunday night, but it seems to be ebbing away as the day wears on. It was probably destined I'd get sick as soon as I told Alice and Alaya–during a conversation about Contagion, natch–that I never get sick at conventions because I compulsively wash my hands and don't touch anything in a communal bowl. Note to self: Refrain from tempting the germs of fate.

Now it's back to work on many things.

*You know, where the murder has taken place.

**And which had lots of other, more serious issues. I also had the good fortune to miss the creeper.

Home Again, Home Again Read More »

Two Things

1. My long interview with the delightful Beth Revis has been posted at Lightspeed. She had many smart and excellent things to say, so do check it out. (Also up at Lightspeed this week is Cassie Clare's fabulous story from Steampunk!, "Some Fortunate Future Day." Do not miss. And, really, don't miss the whole anthology–it's crazy wonderful.)

2. Gabrielle Gantz interviewed the one and only Laura Miller about many things for the Rumpus, and Laura gave me a little shout out and says to do whatever I tell you. Mwahaha. But, seriously, if you're here from there (hi!), you might be interested in the bar of recommendations from this year's reading over (and down a bit) in the righthand column.

Aside: Off to World Fantasy tomorrow, arriving late afternoon, staying until Monday morning. I have some meetings, but most of my time is blissfully unscheduled. I hope to see you there.

Two Things Read More »

Last Story & Thanks

Summer-2011Well, not the last story in the history of time or anything… but the last story in the special YA issue of Subterranean Online. "Demons, Your Body, and You" by Genevieve Valentine has been posted, and it's such a great, hilarious note to end the issue on. I love this story. It's an incisive portrait of a teen pregnancy and features a friendship between two girls that doesn't end in tears.

(I had an interview with Genevieve about her novel Mechanique as part of the SBBT last week–the post right below this one!–and I highly recommend you check out her work in all its many and varied forms.)

Thanks again to the wonderful writers* whose stories made guest editing so much fun, and to the one and only Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press for giving me the keys to his magazine in the first place. And thanks to all of you who RTed and linked along the way. One last time, and I'll stop being obnoxious, check out all the stories, if you haven't.

*Seek their work: Sarah Rees Brennan, Tobias Buckell, Karen Joy Fowler, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Richard Larson, Kelly Link, Malinda Lo, Tiffany Trent, and Genevieve Valentine. And seek the cover artist Sara Turner of Cricket Press' work too.

Last Story & Thanks Read More »

SBBT Stop: Genevieve Valentine

GV2Genevieve Valentine is one of my favorite people and, happily, also one of my favorite writers. If you look at her bibliography, it's astounding how many fabulous short stories she's published since 2008 (really? JUST since 2008? wow!) in anthologies and magazines, basically all over the place. And this in addition to tons of fabulous and hilarious nonfiction writing on her blog and elsewhere about movies, television, and red carpet fashion. (Plus, she will nerd about So You Think You Can Dance with me.) Her first novel Mechanique was published in May to rave notices, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly. It's a cirque de force; a thrilling, death-defying tale of the post-apocalyptic, steampunk- and magic-infused Circus Tresaulti, and also, one of my favorite novels of the year, hands down. It's an assured, gorgeous, gripping debut novel and also a great, huge, tremendous amount of fun to read. You want a ticket.

GB: I'll start, as usual, by asking you about your writing process. Mechanique is your first novel, and it's very complex structurally; like a juggler, you keep a lot of balls in the air. How did you approach it? Was there a lot of outlining and planning?

GV: At the time I started the book I had a total lack of outline, which is a habit that often backfires for me when I start a large project with a single Post-It reading "THINGS AND STUFF," but in this case seems to have worked out. When I sat down to start it, I had a couple of images I wanted to lead with, and then I wanted to explore the acts themselves, so I wrote it down as it presented itself; very early on the story began to emerge between the lines, and I went with what seemed natural to the story at the time until I had all the pieces falling into place.

GB: Do you have any favorite circus stories/novels by others? What was the seed of this novel?

GV: I actually hadn't read much circus fiction when I began my book (I'm criminally under-read in many areas)–my fondness for the circus had always been either of a movie or a nonfiction bent. However, since I finished Mechanique I've started playing catch-up, and can say that Nights at the Circus and Geek Love are classics for a reason.

I guess the seed of this novel was the cumulative effect of being a film nerd since ever; the circus really lends itself to film, in any form, from the Penguin's circus cadre in Batman Returns to the trapeze bits in Buster Keaton's Allez Oop. I also had a developing interest in vintage photography and graphic design and the stories behind the posters and portraits. Add this to the fact that I've always been a sucker for stories about performers (no surprise), and you have the beginnings of a story about a circus that's ragged around the edges, and the performers who are trying to keep it together.

GB: Your cast of characters in Mechanique is incredibly memorable and well-developed. Do you have a favorite or favorites? Was there someone you particularly enjoyed writing? (My own favorite is probably Little George, or maybe Boss, or Elena–okay, so maybe I love them all.)

GV: Thank you! Also, this is such a hard question to answer, because while I feel they're all flawed in some deep way (why else would they be in the Circus?), I can understand some of the flaws more than others, and when you're the writer in charge you end up with favorites no matter how the story goes. I did find myself with a soft spot for anyone who felt out of place in the Circus even after making all the necessary sacrifices, a list that shifts as the book goes on and we learn more about them.

GB: What are you working on now? What's next?

GV: I have a secondary-world noir in the hopper, and earlier this year I finished a novel that's a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses set in 1927 New York, which was a blast. There is a long and scary list of books I'd like to write, most of which move forward or not depending on if anything awesome is on Netflix. I also have several short stories I'm working on; you may not have seen the last of the Circus Tresaulti…*

GB: And, last, what have you been watching that you think other people should give a shot? Or, given your habits, what extra-awful movies and TV have you been watching that should people avoid like the plague?

GV: I'm really crossing my fingers for SyFy's Alphas, which stars longtime favorite David Strathairn, in whose career I am a little over-invested. Hopefully it will be good, and I can enjoy seeing him every week! But from thence came also Aztec Rex, so we'll have to see.

Moviewise, Priest lacked the gonzo joy of Jonah Hex, a movie so hilariously terrible it has yet to be knocked off its perch of Bad Movie Everyone Should See, No Joke. And in terms of upcoming things I'm actually planning to brave Outdoors to go see, I have some cautious hopes for Captain America, even more cautious hopes for Tarsem Singh's Immortals, and a delightful lack of any hopes at all for The Three Musketeers.

*Note: Genevieve has several fabulous Tresaulti short stories out in the wild, too; you can find links to them here.

Visit today's other SBBT stops (will update with links as I get 'em):

Stacy Whitman at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Alyssa B. Sheinmel at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Matthew Cody and Aaron Starmer at Mother Reader

Or collect the whole set at the master schedule.

SBBT Stop: Genevieve Valentine Read More »

More Subterranean YA (Et Things!)

The new story posted this week in the Subterranean Special YA Summer Issue is Kelly Link's "Valley of the Girls." I believe this is Kelly's first new story published in some time (she also has a fabulous story coming out in this fall's Steampunk! anthology, which she and Gavin co-edited for Candlewick). "Valley of the Girls" is typically brilliant; a mash-up of ancient Egyptian culture and science fiction that only Kelly could come up with, let alone pull off.

And, after this, there's just one more story left to come in the issue. It's from Genevieve Valentine–who, coincidentally, will be stopping by here on Friday for an interview as part of the Summer Blog Blast Tour. You can see the full schedule for the SBBT over at Colleen's.

Now go forth and enjoy.

I'm officially back from vacay (oh, vacay, I miss you already), and will be around this week. Promise.

More Subterranean YA (Et Things!) Read More »

This Week on Subterranean

This week's new story is Tobias Buckell's "Mirror, Mirror." I think you'll see why I was excited about this one–not only is it fabulous, it's science fiction, which I really wanted to include in the issue, but was afraid I wouldn't get from anyone.  (And actually Kelly Link's upcoming story is also SF. So that'll teach me.) Better yet, it has antique mirrorshades.

This is a nerdy writer thing, but I'd be remiss not to point out that Toby is doing something very, very interesting and cool with the use of tenses in this piece.

Go forth and read.

This Week on Subterranean Read More »

More Subterranean YA Issue

I know, I know, it seems like I only stop in here lately to post pointers to these, but I'll do better starting this week. My schedule's less crazycakes than it was in April and May, and I plan to just have my regular workload moving forward. The house of cards almost came falling down, my friends.

Anyway, more soon.

But first, check out this week's new Subterranean YA issue story, "Seek-No-Further" by the fabulous Tiffany Trent. I've said all along that I feel incredibly lucky about how many different kinds of stories I got for this project. Tiffany sent me this supercreepy historical piece set in Appalachia (and with the perfect feel of an Appalachian ballad, I think). Hope you love it as much as I do.

I've just been delighted with people's reactions to all these stories, by the way. You make me happy.

More Subterranean YA Issue Read More »

More Subterranean YA

And this week Alaya Dawn Johnson's "Their Changing Bodies" is added to the mix. I can guarantee you've never quite encountered a vampire story like this. (I particularly think you'll like this one, Justine.) I'd give a content warning, but that would ruin all the fun of this often hilarious, sometimes explicit, and ultimately sweet story of summer camp.


(Back later with more nattering and talking about the loveliness of Wiscon.)

More Subterranean YA Read More »

This Week’s Subterranean Story

…is Richard Larson's fabulous "The Ghost Party," in which Charlee goes to an unusual party. I love how sharp this story is, and how fraught in that way YA does so well. I was delighted when I read it as a submission, and delighted anew reading it again today. Enjoy!

This also brings us to four stories live, almost half-way through the issue. The time, she does fly. Still, much wonderfulness left to come.

This Week’s Subterranean Story Read More »

More Summer Issue

And this week's new story in the special Subterranean YA issue is: Sarah Rees Brennan's "Queen of Atlantis."

As you probably already know, I adore Sarah's Demon's Lexicon series. So I was surprised when the story she sent me turned out to be this fabulous high fantasy story, instead of her usual fabulous contemporary urban fantasy. Surprised and thrilled, I should say. I do so love a writer with range. Check it out and enjoy.

ETA: Also, see Sarah's own post where she talks about this story.

More Summer Issue Read More »

Scroll to Top