Showing posts from 2009

A Present for My Readers

Breaking my blogging fast to give you a present: perspective.

Thanks to my pal, secret codename: SBPWK, for the link.

And All Through the House, Not a Blogger Was Stirring

Some wise friends of mine have convinced me to take an internet break until January. Therefore, this will be my last scheduled post until the new year. I wish you all a peaceful, thoughtful, and joyful December.

For anyone wanting bloggy reading while I'm gone, I've compiled a Best of the Blog list, randomly chosen by yours truly. Many of these are posts I wrote a long time ago, before my blog was getting so much traffic -- which means that they might be new to you. It's kinda long, the list, but... well, it's only for you to read if you want, so ignore it at will!

I Heard There Was a Secret Chord That David Played...February 14: Interplanetary Be Who You Are DayOver-Optimistic Are Those Who Have Not Seen and Yet BelieveA Trip to the Library Has Made a New Girl of Me...Who Are Your Character Crushes?Who's Up for a Labor Day Rant?Blessed Are The Meek, for They Shall Be Scratched Behind the Ears
I Believe in Little Things, Like You and Me...I ♥ FinlandIn Which Karma…

A Brand New Addition to the Gallery of My Favorite Objects

I was thinking the other day that it'd be nice to live on the planet where the kingdoms of Attolia, Sounis, and Eddis are. After all, that planet has Gen, Irene, Helen, Sophos, Costis, the magus, and some chill-inducing gods, which makes it a damn awesome planet.

At the end of my deliberations, though, I decided I like our own planet best, and here's why: we have Megan Whalen Turner.

Take that, Sounis! *thbbbbttt*

You are not going to be disappointed by this book.

(For the uninitiated: read The Thief first. And for those in need of gifts for a book lover: A Conspiracy of Kings doesn't come out until April 2010, but The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia are all out in paperback.)

(Also -- I don't know if any of my readers will have read A Conspiracy of Kings already, but just in case any have, here's a warning for others to tread carefully through the comments to this post, because there may be Attolia spoilers. Commenters, please be kind and use …

Housekeeping. Also, Which Muppet Are You?

A reminder to people curious about book news: I now put stuff like that behind my News link. A reminder to people with general, factual questions (for example, how to purchase signed copies of the books): you'll almost certainly find your answers, and more, on my Contacts, Info, and Credits page or in my FAQs. I have a few other links, too, where you can probably find the info you're looking for -- see my home page.

I'm still reading through the wonderful comments from Monday. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to introduce yourselves! Reading it all is so much fun. :o)

Here's my question for you today: Which Muppet are you, and why?

(h/t to R for the question!)

Take us out, Gonzo.

(h/t to M for the video ^_^)

"Have we met?"

Here's a moment from the first time Buffy's mother, Joyce, officially meets Buffy's vampire nemesis, Spike:

Joyce [pleasantly]: Have we met?
Spike: Um, you hit me with an axe one time.
[Joyce looks confused]
Spike: Remember? [helpfully brandishes imaginary axe] "Get the hell away from my daughter! Rawr!!!"

So, now and then I like to ask my readers to take a minute to introduce themselves. I expect I have a lot of regular readers who don't comment; I'm sure I have readers who're just passing through for the day; doubtless I have readers who got here by accident, having misspelled "Kristin Chenowith," and wish they'd never ended up here at all. :o)

Anyway, no pressure. But today I extend an invitation to all of you -- even the lurkers and the shy -- to tell me a little bit about yourself in a comment. You don't have to tell me your real name. But maybe you'd like to tell me where you are? What you do? What you feel like eating tod…

A FAQ; A Holiday Question; Stuff; In Addition to Which: Things

The extremely silly gentleman to the right (click to make him bigger. Really. You want to see him bigger) is my friend and fellow writer Will Ludwigsen, who was flabbergasted to find Graceling in the dumps at his local Barnes & Noble. Check out his strange, sad, and lovely story "Remembrance is Something Like a House" in Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing, just released by Small Beer Press. My sister, secret codename: Cordelia, and I had the pleasure of listening to Will read this story around the campfire a couple Halloweens ago. Cordelia was dressed up as Randolph the Orange-Nosed Reindeer and I was dressed up as a Leprechaun for Change. (This was right before the 2008 election. Beyond that, don't ask. ^_^)

So, I promised that I'd let you know if I stumbled across any gems in my reading. I have. The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, is a book about magic, love, and longing, and it is fabulous.


Can you tell me when your b…

8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Blast Off (Plus, Umbrellas!!)

8. Warm hellos to everyone coming to my blog from NaNoWriMo. Welcome! The comments you've written here and there in various posts have brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! I really do know what it's like, and I really do hope you'll keep writing despite how hard it is, and despite all the voices that tell you not to. (To any of my regular readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, I wrote a pep talk for National Novel Writing Month, which you can read here.) To all those writing novels/short stories/fan fic/WHATEVER this November: good luck. Don't forget to be kind to yourself and KEEP THE FAITH.

7. For those of my blog readers who are Megan Whalen Turner fans -- and I know there are a lot of you -- check out her interview last week at Hip Writer Mama.

6. Next, remember the other day when I mentioned Tu Publishing, a small, independent multicultural SFF press that needs funding to get off the ground? Well, now there's a new, fun way to help: the Kicks…

"Hello, hello, hello, hello. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. That's all there is...."

(from Simon & Garfunkel's "Leaves That Are Green")

Goodbye to my darling Super Conquerant 80-sheet hardback spiral notebook made in Spain by Enri. For years, we've had something special, you and I... but now my trusty neighborhood stationer, Bob Slate, tells me that you've been discontinued, probably by the importer. Alas! No more will I fold you over my knee and cover you with a thousand sweet scribbles. No more will you travel with me everywhere I go, simply because I cannot bear to let you out of my sight. No more... *sniff*... will I tuck you in to sleep at night in the fireproof, waterproof safe! Oh, my darling! *weeps; rends clothing*


So, I'm not so precious about my writing process that I'm going to try to figure out how to get my exact brand of notebook from Europe. Actually, I'm slightly that precious, but it'd be a lot healthier to just accept that the notebook is no longer available, don't you think? So this means …

"It was my candle to St. Jude"

Announcement: I ♥ librarians. Why? Because librarians love information, know how to find it, know how to use it, and know how to help other people find and use it; and because librarians love, care for, and offer us BOOKS. And school librarians, in particular, share their awesomeness with young people without condescension. Thanks so much to the New Jersey Association of School Librarians for inviting me to their fall conference this past weekend. You guys are inspiring.

Housekeeping: I got a great suggestion the other day from an audiobooker who wished she could see the maps of the kingdoms while listening. Please see my new link to the left, Maps of My Book World, which shows both the maps so far, both drawn by Jeffery C. Mathison. Click on the maps to make them bigger.

In other news, in case anyone's wondering, Spike is still beating Beethoven in the highly scientific Spike Versus Beethoven: You Decide! poll -- but Beethoven is holding his own! I'm proud. I thought o…

Randutiae, and Give Yourself a Treat Today

If you happened to see me at Books of Wonder on Tuesday covering my ears, singing "la la la la la la!", and seriously invading Scott Westerfeld's space, I swear, it was only because I was trying to avoid hearing the Liar spoilers happening on my other side! Justine Larbalestier was being an absolute champ trying to protect me from her conversations with her readers, but really, there's only so much an author can do! :o) Anyway, I got through unspoilered, and clearly, I need to read Liar ASAP. Oh, and the event was super. Thanks to everyone who came!

If you're a book blogger who wants to sign up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap -- basically a Secret Santa among book bloggers world-wide -- today is the last day.

I'm having a busy week of train-riding and events -- I'm home again now, but tomorrow I'm off to New Jersey. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow evening, when I'll be giving a speech at the fall conference of the New Jersey Association o…

My assignment was to memorize the names of the stars."

"Which stars?"

"All of them."

"You meanallthe stars, inallthe galaxies?"

"Yes. If he calls for one of them, someone has to know which one he means. Anyhow, they like it; there aren't many who know them all by name, and if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling."

-A conversation between Meg and Proginoskes in A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle

I wonder if my characters feel lonely until I've named them? How patient the characters must be whose names I keep changing! Sometimes I forget how much they depend on me, for everything.

Proginoskes and Meg are both Namers. Here's something else Proginoskes says: "When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That's basically a Namer's job."

Here's a FAQ about Fire. (In case you're completely spoiler-phobic: since I'm t…

Reminder: I love Finland. (And SYTYCD, too!)

It's been a while since I've shown you a brand new cover for Graceling. Behold!

This is the Finnish cover. What do you think? I love it to pieces, and nothing you say will stop me from loving it to pieces, so do your worst. In particular, I love finally seeing a short-haired Katsa, and -- the mountains and castles in the background -- *flops* -- ! Maria Lyytinen, who is the translator, tells me that the back cover shows a scene of mountains at sunset/sunrise. She also explained that the word "Syntymälahja" encapsulates the idea of a gift received at birth.

Reminder: I love Finland. Dear sister, secret codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer: I cannot wait to give you a copy of Syntymälahja!

In other news... who saw this week's So You Think You Can Dance? How about that Bollywood number? I almost cried at the end when Mollee gives Nathan back his sword. My favorite was the Stacey Tookey "fear" dance with Kathryn and Legacy. I also enjoyed the Wade R…

Tu Publishing; Stuff and Things; and, Our Books Are Watching Us Jealously

Via Deborah: Stacy Whitman, freelance editor and Simmons Center for the Study of Children's Literature grad, is trying to start a new publishing company. Tu Publishing will be "a small, independent multicultural SFF press for children and YA." A small press devoted to multicultural fantasy/SF -- good idea! But -- it will only get off the ground if it gets enough funding. Care to help? There are benefits to pledging, and you'll only pay your pledge amount if the project actually launches. Go here for more info. You can give as little as $5, and you can do it using your Amazon account, if you have one. If Tu Publishing can raise $10,000 by December 14th, they'll start accepting manuscripts in January.

I know that some of you will have fun trying to recognizing books without their dust jackets on the blog of Sarah Miller, author of the marvelous Miss Spitfire. (Who knew so many books had such cool undercover decorations?)

To those who've been wond…

Spike versus Beethoven: a Poll

This is a long post. Don't feel pressure to read everything. But at the very least, I encourage you to listen, watch, and vote!

My FAQ post the other day lent itself to some Buffy discussion in the comments -- Spike quote-sharing, favorite and least favorite characters, etc. -- if you've seen Buffy, feel free to contribute. And I've started Season 5 and couldn't be happier. I'm thinking way too much about it, really, and want to talk about this show more here someday. And maybe particularly about Spike, because while I continue to love his humor, his insight, his large yet despicable heart, his twisted approach to relationships, and his reliably terrible decisions... I KNOW there must be some Spike dissenters out there who'd like to express themselves. HOWEVER. Now isn't the time to get into it, because I'm only on Season 5, so I don't have all the data yet. So. Maybe we could talk about Buffy more sometime in the future? :)

(NOTE: please fee…

Thing 1 and Thing 2; or, Photos from the Tour

At Sirens, in Vail, Colorado, I learned how to wear chain mail and intimidate people. AARRRR! I WILL CRUSH YOU!!!

Thanks to Artemis for the photo :o)

Moving on, at stop three in the tour -- Seattle -- my dear friend, secret codename: T. Lovely R., took me to meet the Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge.

A tip to anyone going on tour: It will boost your morale if around stop nine you can arrange to wake up to the following:

And then it helps to bring thousands of family members to your bookstore events. Here are secret codename: Cordelia, secret codename: Apocalyptica, me, our mother, our father, and Cordelia's daughters, secret codenames: Phoenix and Isis! Joe, sorry you couldn't be there, but hope you enjoyed the brief man-cation. This photo was taken at The Bookmark in Atlantic Beach, Florida -- thanks, Rona!

Here's one more photo. Just in case I haven't gotten my point across.

I'm trying to exercise restraint on the blog when it comes to photos of the twins. Rea…

Fill in the Blank, and a Promise

I don't _______________ enough anymore.

Fill in the blank. And here's a suggestion: whatever the thing is -- if it's possible -- make a plan to do it sometime soon.

My answer: I don't bake bread enough anymore, which makes me sad, because I love to bake bread from scratch, do all that kneading, and have the house smelling yummy all day. But I promise to try to make time for it sometime in the next few weeks.


(A friendly reminder that I don't see comments on LiveJournal, Amazon, etc.... I only see comments made on my Blog Actual.)

Some FAQs for a Chilly Monday

Hi everyone! As I write this, it's Sunday night, it's snowing (yAt!), I'm curled up drinking hot cider, and I'm writing a dramatic scene in which two people are screaming at each other. (double yAt!)

Some answers to some questions.

1. I missed your signings. How can I get signed copies of your books?
Good timing -- I've just set up an arrangement with my local indie. To purchase signed/personalized books, please place an online order at Harvard Book Store. Before you finish your order, a Comments box will appear. Please specify in the Comments box that you'd like the book signed, and to whom you'd like it personalized, if anyone. Kindly use the online ordering system rather than trying to order over the phone -- this will eliminate confusion at the store! All orders are pre-paid and non-returnable. These instructions are also available on my Contacts, Info, and Credits page.

(Note: Please DO NOT try to mail me books or bookplates to sign! I regret that I …

In Which the Writer Returns Home

Yesterday morning I set out for the Mall in Washington DC, planning to walk the whole thing, end up at the Library of Congress or the Folger Shakespeare Library, and sit there soaking up the booky goodness. But then, just past the White House, I got distracted by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was intriguing not only because workpeople were laying a new coppery roof but because they had an exhibit running called "Sargent and the Sea." I happen to love John Singer Sargent. So I went inside and ended up spending the day looking at paintings and writing in the cafe.

Here's the thing about John Singer Sargent: He did extensive sketches, even full oil paintings at times, in preparation for his larger works. So, you'll see a whole wall full of small paintings of individuals, and then you look at the next wall, and there's a large painting containing all the individuals together in a scene. When I first realized this, I thought to myself, gah, how boring and ted…

Not Dead Yet

So, am I insane if after traveling from Vail to Denver to Seattle to Palo Alto to San Jose to Austin to Houston to Miami to Jacksonville all in one week and doing lots of events and not getting enough sleep, I'm ecstatic that today I'll be spending the day in a very small house with my sisters (secret codenames: Cordelia and Apocalyptica), my brother-in-law (scn: Joe), my newborn twin nieces (scn: Phoenix and Isis), my mother, my father, two cats, and one flying squirrel?

In other words, it is Monday; I am in Jacksonville; my parents are here from New Jersey; Apocalyptica is bringing her flying squirrel all the way from Massachusetts; and I remember my pride. And tonight everyone will (tentatively) be at my event! BEST DAY OF THE TOUR.


In other news: I love the way Jay Smooth thinks, and I love the way he talks. This time, his subject is Roman Polanski.

Singing My Way Across the Country

Here are some song lyrics a friend emailed me on the day my tour began:

I never wanted to be a star, I never wanted to travel far
I only wanted a little bit of love
So I could put a little love in my heart
I never wanted to be la-de-da, go to parties avec le bourgeois
I only wanted to sing my song well,
So I could ring a small bell in your heart.

- from "I Never Wanted" by Cat Stevens

I've been carrying that around in the copy of Fire I read from. I like being reminded of the little love and the small bells. :o)

All's going well! And I'm even getting to do some sightseeing. Monday I was in Denver; Tuesday, Seattle; Wednesday, Palo Alto; and today I fly to Austin. I have no idea what's going on in the news (Cordelia had to explain the David Letterman thing to me via text message) and my email is out of hand... but things are going well.

If you're going to be in the Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, or DC areas in the next few days, please check my Appearance Schedu…

Happy Birthday to Fire

Fire, welcome to the big wide world!

Sirens was a wonderful time with wonderful people. I took a self-defense class that perhaps got overly enthusiastic (it's fun to defend yourself from someone trying to choke you), tried on mail (I may have pictures to share of this at some point), and hung out with great folk. *waves to the folk*

I understand that Sirens will happen again next fall, and I highly recommend it -- and any conferences produced by Narrate Conferences! Those ladies are AWESOME.

The tour for Fire's release starts today. My stomach is in knots, but hopefully I'll ease into it. Because my brain is jangly nervous jelly, I'm going to post something funny rather than trying to say anything intelligent. (Thanks, Jess, for the link ^_^)

Roman Polanski and WTF

If my subject heading doesn't make it clear, this post and its link are potentially triggery.

So, I'm in Vail, and the Sirens conference is about to start, and I know I'm supposed to be writing a post about how beautiful it is here, but there's only one thing I find myself able to blog about today, because of how deeply it pisses me off. It pisses me off so deeply that... *speechlessness* ...I can barely type.

Since the news broke on Sunday of Roman Polanski's arrest for a rape he committed 32 years ago, I have grown more and more stupefied by the public's response. Yes, I agree it was a while ago. Yes, I agree it's strange that they apprehended him now, after all this time. But it's not strange because they shouldn't have apprehended him. It's strange because they should have apprehended him a long time ago.

The man made some fantastic movies and clearly he's loved by many people. Newsflash: lots of people who do criminal, awful things al…

Authors, Appearances, Anxiety, and Dropping One's Pants

I'm annoyed that my voice recognition software recognizes Ludwig Wittgenstein on the first try but doesn't recognize Miss Marple. Humph. (To be fair, it doesn't recognize Lord Peter Wimsey, either. But nor does it recognize Luce Irigaray. But it recognizes Jo March. But not Gilbert Blythe. AARGHHH!)

(Incidentally, my favorite VRS kerfuffle recently was when I dictated, "He dropped his pen suddenly and stood with eyes closed, massaging his hand," and my computer wrote, "He dropped his pants suddenly and stood with eyes closed, massaging his hand.")

So, I leave for Vail on Wednesday, followed by many cities in a short amount of time, and since I've never done a tour before, I'm not sure how much blogging time I'll have. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me regularly for the next few weeks. (The tour ends October 15.)

There's an FAQ about being an introvert and dealing with appearance anxiety that I've been wanting to …

Rethinking the Blog

So, the blog posts I like to write are the ones that don't have anything to do with news. They're the posts about random thoughts, the poetry or poll posts, the posts in which I answer FAQs or talk about writing and life. They are NOT the posts in which I say, guys, here's what's happening to my books in the world. And recently I've felt overwhelmed by news in my own posts.... and that's why I've decided to make a link on the left for news, and put all news there. If anything spectacular happens, of course I'll mention it in a blog post (I'll let you know if I win the Nobel Prize in physics, make the Olympic figure skating team, or sprout an extra head, all of which are equally likely), but from now on, any news will be recorded behind my News link, and not here. Make sense? We'll see how it works.

This leaves me free to talk about the three most recent books I've read and loved!

So, I'm really terrible at writing book reviews, and…

In Which Schmetterling Is My New Favorite Word

The discussion of favorite and least favorite words has been delightful. I've learned that Schmetterling is the German word for butterfly -- isn't it beautiful?

So, do you ever feel like you need a good cry -- not necessarily because anything terrible has happened, but just because you need to clear out your system and process things? What do you do in times like that? I do things like listen to sad music (like Barber's Adagio for Strings -- here's a gorgeous choral version), or meditate, or watch the My So-Called Life episode where Sharon's dad is in the hospital (that one gets me weeping every time!). My sister, secret codename: Cordelia, used to be very accommodating when I needed a cry and couldn't seem to get started -- she would offer to give me a good kick or something. (Cordelia is a therapist. Real good with that emotions stuff. ^_^.)

I've been a little overwhelmed lately, and I haven't had time to arrange for a good cry. But in the meant…

In Which the Author Is So Grateful She Falls Over. Also, Here's What to Do if You Have a Few Minutes

Today I'm starting with a thank you to my readers. THANK YOU for making Graceling a bestseller in Germany, and THANK YOU for putting the American paperback of Graceling on next week's (Sep 27) New York Timesbestseller list! I am overwhelmed. I am staring blankly like a slow loris. And giggling.


So, how much time do you have?
If you have 12 minutes today, listen to the story "In Search Of," which was chosen as the very first podcast for the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and which was written by my buddy Will Ludwigsen. It's read by actor and playwright Daniel John Kelley, and it's super.If you have an hour today, listen to last week's This American Life, on the subject of frenemies. Here's the description from the website: "This week we bring you stories about friends. Or wait, enemies? How about both? Tales of estranged sisters, BFFs breaking up and making up and breaking up, and how reality stars walk the fine line between making …

Two Reminders and a Question

Hi everyone! I'm sneaking in a Wednesday post just to remind y'all about my live chat at readergirlz this evening at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. The chat will take place here and last an hour; feel free to stop by!

Also, the blog tour has begun; the schedule is here if you're interested in following along.

And now, the question. First, some context: I'm preparing for the Sirens conference in Vail in October, and am thinking a lot about language and identity. Do you have a favorite word or words? If so, will you share it/them with me in the comments, and explain why you love that word or words? And if it's appropriate, may I incorporate your comment into the speech I'm writing? I will, of course, cite you. ^_^

ETA: What about least favorite words? Please feel free to share/explain them, too!

Please remember that I only see comments posted at my Blog Actual. (Although I'm not sure this even matters at the moment, because livejournal feed syndication seems t…

A Poll About True Love. (And Slow Lorises ^_^)

Everyone, please feel free to vote in today's important poll of importance! (If you're reading this post somewhere other than my Blog Actual and cannot see the poll, please click here.)

With whom would you prefer to be stranded on a desert island?(trends)

Never seen a slow loris being tickled? Well, here you go:

Happy Monday, everyone.

Blog Tour News

Hi everyone!

So, next week I start a three-week blog tour. The theme of the tour is "Getting to Know the Characters of Fire," which means that at each stop on the tour, I'll introduce a character (or characters) from Fire. My character intros have been carefully screened by a team of experts (read: my patient and generous friends Deborah, Sam, and JD -- thanks, guys) to ensure that they're accurate (*ahem* for example, Sam pointed out that I was calling a character by the wrong name) AND not too spoilery. Each of my host bloggers will be giving away a signed finished copy. So -- if you're curious about Fire -- or interested in checking out a bunch of cool book blogs -- or if you'd like 15 chances to win a signed copy -- check it out. The schedule is below.

I'll close by sending a big thank you to my host bloggers. Thanks to each of you for letting me visit! I'd also like to thank Jillian Laks, the wizard at Penguin who organized the tour!

The …

Welcome, September

It's been a while since I've lived in a place where September marks a true change in season, so the weather in Massachusetts lately has been making me beside myself with happiness. In Florida, the weather didn't dip below the 80s (I mean, even at night) until maybe November. In my excitement, I've been dressing too warmly. Autumn, you are welcome!

Those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know I used to walk along the St. Johns River almost every day. Well, now I walk along the Charles River... no pelicans, but there are geese, and crew teams in long, graceful boats. It's lovely. And one of the windows in my new home faces the rising moon :o).

Anyway... September. So, Bitterblue is, by nature, a slow write.... and the last few months have been full of distractions (moving, beautiful babies, you name it).... and the next few months are going to be even more distracting (the tour, other work-related travel). But right now I have September. Septem…

A Letter to My Readers

Dear Readers,

Last week, I flew to Florida to meet two new friends.

We had lots of fun! We did some eating....

We did some writing....

We hung out.

We also had dance parties.

Do you realize how many songs lyrics are secretly about babies? For example, "I want a girl with a short diaper and a LOOOOOOOOOONG blanket." Or, "If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean, and if I had a baby, I'd bring her on my boat."

Also, sometimes we howled.

And then, maybe later, we felt a little better.

Despite appearances...

 new friends don't sleep that much. Frankly, the rest of us are a bit boggled by their stamina.