Showing posts from October, 2008

"A trip the library has made a new girl of me...

... for suddenly I can see the magic of BOOKS."
(from the musical She Loves Me)
My childhood library in northeast Pennsylvania has a copy of my book, thanks to my mother. So do/will a couple of other libraries important to us, thanks to Mom and Aunt Rose. This makes me oh-so-fuzzy-and-happy.

Then, last week, a friend in Massachusetts reported that she'd checked her own library catalog on a whim to see if they had Graceling yet. They did. Next, an email came from another friend with this subject line: F CAS. She had just cataloged my book. Heeee!
It took a little time for the light to shine through the mud, but eventually I had a stroke of not-being-as-stupid-as-I-usually-am and realized that if it was showing up at other libraries, my own library might have it. I checked -- several copies, and most of them were out. yAt! But even better, the copy at my local branch was NOT out!
This is the point in the story where I hightailed it outside and ran down the street like I was…

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Nuclear Submarines, and My Chair in the Window

If you drive stick, then you know that a long, steep incline to a bridge, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with a clutch you really should have replaced 500 miles ago, is not the best place for your shifter to decide it will no longer shift into any gear. However, if this ever happens to you, KEEP YOUR HEAD. Remember that if you turn the car off, you can shift it into gear. And drive all the way to your book signing in, like, first or second gear. :)
Actually, my shifter started working again after about 100 yards. I'm used to this problem. It's one of my car's particular charms.
Others in my neighborhood were faring better with their vehicles this weekend. The Blue Angels, in particular, were in town. There's a naval air station here, so we get the occasional helicopter or fighter plane zooming across the sky, but the Blue Angels, of course, are something else altogether: They are artists. With the most expensive art supplies ever. (Ha! And people say our gover…

Race, Poems, and Knitted Cuppycakes

How happy am I that Mitali Perkins has blogged about the question of whether authors should describe a character's race? And that Roger Sutton and The Longstockings are joining in? This is an issue I think about a lot, generally coming to no useful conclusions, so it's nice to see what other people think. Check it out -- join in -- ponder.

I've been taking a few days off, more or less. Recovering from Fire revisions and preparing myself to dive back into Book 3 -- waiting for it to call to me. Writing is partly about discipline, sure, but it's also about waiting, not forcing anything. Being patient; letting it come at its own pace.
I said this, or something like it, to my father once. Later that day, he came back to me and handed me this poem.
The Steps By Paul Valéry Translated by Donald Petersen
Your steps, children of my still hours, Solemnly and slowly placed Towards the bed of my wakefulness, Proceed now, cool and chaste.
Person most pure, saintly shade, How calm you…

Some Frequently Asked Questions (And a Local Book Signing)

First, a thank you to every single person who's emailed me. I read every email and I love every email. I wish I could respond to every email!
This post will be my first attempt to answer a few of the questions I've received.

FAQ disclaimer: I enjoy receiving questions about subtext, so I'm not saying don't send me questions about subtext. But just know this: I won't answer them. :o) The book serves as its own explanation; you come up with your own interpretations. Make sense?
Spoiler status: The following FAQs are, by most standards, spoiler-free for people who have not yet read Graceling. However, if you are psychotic about spoilers (like me) and haven't read Graceling, only read questions 1, 2, and 6.

1. I've always thought of fantasies as world-building books where the authors create the characters after building the world. But that doesn't feel like the case in Graceling, because the characters seem so real. Which came first: the characters or …

Revising: Two Steps Up, One Step Back

There's a certain aspect to revising that I love. It takes place on the micro-level, not the macro-level; it's more about words and sentences, less about chapters or books. It happens when there's something tiny I want to express, some little thing I want to insert into the bigger picture: For example, let's say that while revising, I decide that I need to plant a small hint to the reader that Mr. Glockenspiel is actually none other than Ms. Bratwurst in disguise. But the problem is, there's no obvious graceful place or method for planting such a hint. So I struggle and agonize and finick and rearrange and contrive, and finally find a way to plant my hint that maybe works. I plant the damn thing. I move on to to the next problem, perhaps the need to insert some backstory about the time Mr. Lederhosen crashed his airplane into the white cliffs of Dover. I get completely wound up in the question of whether Mr. Lederhosen was intoxicated at the time, or had perh…

I'm Still on My Rocker -- Are You?

I want to write a post about why I love Finland; I want to write a post about the other day, when I was trying on boots at the store, and my sister, secret code name: Cordelia, told me I looked like a prostitute; I want to write a post answering some of the really super questions I've been getting from Graceling readers in my email. And I will write all of those posts, eventually. But for now, I'm in a time crunch with Fire revisions and other life stuff, and the only post I seem to have time to write is one about the posts I wish I were writing instead.
Some good news: I have a Danish publisher for Graceling, Tellerup. Yay, Denmark! Who wants to bet that "Po" means something vulgar in Danish?
I still see little blue herons almost every day. Sometimes they're hanging out with little white herons. Yesterday, they were hanging out with a BIG blue heron. The herons are keeping me from going off my rocker.

So, what's on your mind these days? And what keeps y…

My Obligatory Election Post

(With apologies up front to my readers who are not American or are too young to vote. I must write this post -- but I promise, I'll only do it once.)
So. I am not, nor have I ever been, politically eloquent. If I relied on my own powers of persuasion to explain to you why I think it's imperative that you vote for Barack Obama this November, my argument would be something along the lines of, "Please, please, PLEASE vote for Obama so that we can work toward expanding civil liberties rather than re

I believe in little things, like you and me...

... and just how big little things can be. (as Prairie Dawn used to sing on Sesame Street)
I would like to stop waking up every morning feeling that (1) I have too much to do; and (2) everything matters so much.
We'll all be dead in a hundred years, so why does it matter if I use "shabby" or "ramshackle" or "tumbledown" to modify "house?" The sun will explode in 5 billion years, so why does it matter if the local or the global economy collapses? Why does it matter who becomes President of the United States in 2009? Why does it matter if a family schism breaks my heart? Why does it matter if someone I love dies?
Sometimes when I meditate, I imagine I'm this tiny, free-floating celestial body. First I float above the earth and orbit it, looking down at all the different landmasses and oceans as they pass. Then I become my own planet, orbiting the sun. Then I break free of that and become my own star, spinning through the Milky Way. T…

"We can bequest our children but two things:

The first is roots, the other wings."
Don't know who said that, but I've liked it since the first time I read it.
My conversation with School Library Journal's Rick Margolis is online. Thank you, Rick! You're awesome.
Speaking of things Italian and Catholic -- as I did with Rick, in case that segue seems anemic -- I am having a blast reading The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas. Antonia is a 15-year-old Catholic schoolgirl of Italian descent in Rhode Island, obsessed simultaneously with being proclaimed the first living saint and achieving her first kiss. The half of me that isn't Irish is Italian, and like Antonia's mother, my mother is a gourmet -- these characters are so familiar to me, and so, so lovable! Freitas does a wonderful job portraying a young girl who is fixated on the idea of romance but terrified by the reality of it. I wonder if Freitas has been spying on my own high school memories? And apparently it is a universal Catholic…