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 Kickstart Tu Publishing LiveJournal Auction. You can participate by donating and/or bidding on items. Head on over; take a look; consider bidding; consider donating.

5. At the store the other day, there were samples of mead. At first I walked right on by... but then I stopped. What self-respecting fantasy author with a tendency to tipple would turn down a taste? I asked myself, alliteratively. It was good! The mead dude told me the only ingredients were honey, water, and yeast.

4. For those of you who hoped you'd seen a merciful end to the Gallery of My Favorite Objects: BWA-HA-HA-HA! No such luck. Today I present a small selection of:

My Umbrellas.

As you can see, the taking of this picture required talent and grace.

So, I'm an umbrella junkie. Here we have my green umbrella shaped like a leaf, so that when you carry it in a rain shower, you feel like a woodland fairy; my clear dome umbrella, excellent for good visibility during a vertical downpour; and my MoMA blue sky umbrella, which is black on top, sunny underneath, and was a gift from my outlaw brother-in-law, secret codename: Joe.

3. My icon picture above is the Fall 2009 cover of The ALAN Review. Click on it to see it bigger. Isn't it fun? Can you recognize all the books represented? I'll leave it open for people to guess/identify, but if it's too small and people are stumped, I'll identify everything in the comments.

2. I know a lot of people were just at NCTE/ALAN -- hope it was a lovely weekend!

1. Finally! To those of you in the Boston area, I'll be reading from Fire, blathering, answering questions, and signing books tomorrow (Tuesday, November 24) at the Harvard Book Store (1256 Mass Ave in Harvard Square) at 7pm. Come out to say hi :o)


Natasha said…
I need a good umbrella. All mine are functional but boring and uninspiring.

Can I just say that I am thoroughly LOVING "Fire?" In fact, I am in a quandary today as my copy is due at the library and I cannot renew as there is a hold on it from another reader. What to do? Yup - bust open the piggy bank and head to the bookstore. It'll be quite a feat to get there as today is literally jam packed from beginning to end, but there is NO WAY I am coming home today without "Fire." My husband recognizes he's becoming a book widower... and he's ok with that. Good husband.
A. Grey said…
Love the umbrellas! I'm a bit of an umbrella junkie myself, although my favorites are gihugant black one that say 'Hill & Wood Funeral Home' on them (my dad's place of business) I always feel like I'm in Herold and Maude when I carry them, and folks tend to scatter amusingly.

I only managed to get Fire and Ash (fittingly) out the icon pic... I'm have to come back with a magnifying glass...
Sarah Miller said…
I see...
The Hate List
American Born Chinese
Silver Phoenix
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President

(and two others I can't identify)
Malinda Lo said…
Woo! The ALAN Review cover! I practically fell out of my chair when I saw ASH right next to FIRE, because I loved FIRE so much. :)
Ooooo, I love the umbrella with the different inside and outside. It's like you're in this secret world when you're under it- everyone around you thinks you're another boring black umbrella person. But you're not :)
Anonymous said…
Lots of things...First - I forwarded your pep talk to a friend who doens't write because I think it's a message for LIFE, not just for writing. So thank you for your wonderful message. Second - I just re-read a chapter in GRACELING to remember the moment that Katsa realized something very important. THEN I saw a NaNo post by Scott Westerfeld about re-reading favorite books to learn more about the craft of writing. So there, full circle.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Alexa said…
I find it extremely annoying that I am in a state that authors never visit. Okay, I shouldn't say never. They do- just not my favorites. Hope everyone has a fun time meeting you though and vice versa. ;)

I asked this question before, but unless I missed it, you haven't answered it... Sooooooo, here it is again.

You said you're looking for the perfect cat... What kind of cat would that be? Color, personality, gender, etc. :)

I'm so glad that everything is going well for you! You and your books completely deserve it! I'm still waiting for someone to want to make your books into a movie. And, if they do, (more like when they do!) you should do an OPEN casting call for Katsa and others.... It always bothers me when the actors and actresses haven't even read the book before they got the part. Of course, that's just me.

Your umbrellas are FUN! ;)
Harvey said…
I'm a first time visitor to your blog, so can I just say thanks. Found plenty of inspiration for novel writing November!

Oh, and just seeing that clear umbrella brought a childhood memory straight back - the first umbrella I ever had! Not sure whether to go right out and buy one or incorporate one into a scene in my novel.
Anonymous said…
Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do a nanowrimo pep talk. I've amused myself by forgetting to look at the authors of the pep talks until I get to the end, and when I saw your name I actually squealed. At this point in nanowrimo, we all need humor as well as cheerleading, and you delivered, big time.

I read both Graceling and Fire last month and LOVED them - you have the most wonderful imagination, and your characters are so easy to relate to. My 18-yr old daughter is finishing up a tough fall semester, and I have promised her a lovely stack of novels when she comes home from winter break - these will be on the top of the stack! Keep up the good work!
Anonymous said…
Clear umbrella= awesome.

I needed and loved your words today.

odakotarose said…
I'm another visitor from NaNoWriMo, and I just wanted to say thank you for that pep talk. It was as inspiring as it was funny- I really did need the smile that reading it gave me. Thanks again.

I feel terrible for not having heard of your books before, they're now at the top of my reading list for December. I'll reward myself for finishing this month by holing up in my room, reading and sleeping. And probably writing, if I'm being honest. :D

Side note? I kind of want those umbrellas, they're adorable. Any ideas where I can find a green one like that?

mysteryflavour said…
Really liked the pep talk. I am so far behind in my novel! But it's been a lot of fun anyway, and I've been loving hearing from all the authors. It's so crazy how you all are people that I've never met, but you can just walk up to me and say things that are 100% true and apply to my life and mental state-of-being. I feel united, and it is a good sensation.

Nice umbrellas. Mine's yellow.
kristin cashore said…
O Dakota Rose: the leaf umbrella. :o) A couple other favorite umbrella stops: the MoMa and Raindrops. (The latter of which -- just to give people a head's up -- is in Canada, which can make pricing/shipping confusing if you're in the USA, but they're very quick to answer questions).

I feel united, too! The comments continue to make me feel happy and supported in my own writing. Thanks, guys!

Malinda, I squeeeeed a little at your comment. Ash is one of the 96 books I plan to read SOON. :D And Artemis, thanks for pointing out how appropriate it is that fire and ash should appear together! heeee!
kristin cashore said…
PS, there are still two covers unidentified: the one the kid on the floor is reading, and the one the kid in the bed is reading. Confession: I haven't been able to figure out the one the kid on the bed is reading, so someone really needs to figure that one out! Sarah: GOOD EYES.
I just finished reading your NaNoWriMo pep talk - 2 words: THANK YOU!!
RobinPS said…
I will have to cheyour comments for NaNoWrMo - I wrote my first novel last year and have been (slowly) sending queries to agents. Working on several other ideas presently, as well, though it is slow progress all around because my husband is in Afghanistan for the year, I have two little people who need me more than my characters do at the moment, and I have a full-time job raising money for a nonprofit.

Nonetheless, the steady stream of rejections/no-answers is frustrating, so I look forward to a good online pep-talk!

In other news - that clear umbrealla you're holding? Yeah, there's a woman I pass every day after I drop my daughter at school. She wears HUGE headphones, sunglasses, and carries that clear umbrella in front of her like a shield (rain or shine) as she walks each morning. I have no idea why, but it's just fascinating.
KaliAmanda said…
I wish I had read your pep talk this weekend when I was so desperately stuck that I think I invented a whole new manner to procastinate by counting the amount of times I lost the TV signal in a single minute -- but vegging out in the middle of long pauses while staring at a blank screen -- and losing count! Heck, I'd use that run-on sentence to increase by word count but the story has moved to a world without television ::sigh:: Great pep talk. Back at it tonight.
carterbham said…
The kid on the floor, I think, is reading "Troy High."

Can't make out what the book is from the kid on the bed. Too small.
Elyse said…
I will be seeing you tomorrow in Boston! I can't wait! :D It's supposed to rain, may I borrow one of your nifty umbrellas please? Otherwise I'll have to scrounge up one of my own. Eep.
A. Grey said…
Kristin I JUST finished reading Ash!!! I loved it! I fell in love with Ash and both of her love interests for equally endearing and totally opposing reasons...
A. Grey said…
Could the kid on the bed be reading 'The Fetch'?
Jennifer C. said…
Love the umbrellas!!! I need a good one. I've always wanted a classic bright red umbrella...maybe I should finally invest in one. I also, just for pleasure of course, need an umbrella with some type of twist or cute style, like yours.

Unfortunately I can only identify Fire--I haven't read any of the others.

On a good, no FANTASTIC note, I FINALLY got my copy of Fire and I am now reading it and let me tell you, it is FABULOUS!!! I can't wait to read more to find out what happens next, but unfortunately I seem to be running short on time lately. Oh well, maybe I'll get it read over the Thanksgiving holiday... Tootles!
Anonymous said…
How on earth did you manage that picture?
kristin cashore said…
Carter, good eye!

Artemis, I don't think so, but I'm not sure. I have the actual ALAN Review cover in front of me, which is a teeny bit bigger than the jpeg. It looks like a person holding something, maybe a guitar. The author's last name is longer than the first name, and the title looks like it's two words, the first word 6 or 7 letters and the second word 5 letters. ??

Dac, perhaps I will have to demonstrate my secret hidden umbrella-balancing talents for you! (The clear one was resting on my head and I pressed the button with the handle of the green one.)
A. Grey said…
Well, my TBR stack has now sprouted a twin with all the books I've been looking through, but I still haven't found either of those books from the ALAN Review... they're driving me NUTS! But it does make for a great mystery. :)
A green leaf umbrella!!! That is awesome. I want to buy one right now.
Sandra Leigh said…
Kristin, this is what I said about your pep talk (and you) on my blog:

"Just this morning, I found the latest pep talk in my e-mail. It was written by Kristin Cashore, a best-selling author of YA fantasy novels, whose writing process is so similar to my own that I nodded and said Yes Yes all through the pep talk, then followed the link to her blog, where I found music and inspirational readings and this YouTube video that made me cry while I smiled and vice versa, because it is so full of joy..."

Thank you so much. You made my day. You need to come back and give me another pep talk, though, because I seem to be stuck tonight!
Anonymous said…
Just commenting to thank you for that inspirational NaNoWriMo email... I felt as if you were reading my mind. It was just what I needed to get motivated again. :)

~ Stephanie
Lauren said…
I can't wait to meet you in person tonight. I simply adore your books!

Thank you for your pep talk. It was exactly what I needed: I am writing my second novel and have been berating myself for being stuck in a place I feel I shouldn't get stuck. Your words made me breathe and relax...and that felt good.

Wish I had an umbrella as pretty as yours for braving the weather tonight...
Malinda Lo said…
The boy on the bed is reading STRUTS AND FRETS by Jon Skovron, which I just read on my plane trip back home. It is about a boy in a band -- all his quirky friends, romance, becoming a musician, family, growing up. It is wonderful. I highly, highly recommend it!

Also: @A.Grey -- so glad you enjoyed both of Ash's love interests. :D
kristin cashore said…
Malinda, FABULOUS! And now every one has been identified.

The comments about my NaNoWriMo pep talk continue to make me sniffly. It's as nice for me to know that you all understand as it is for you to know that I understand! So, thanks.
Anonymous said…
i LOVE your pep talks, Kristin, and i love your blog. Not to make you sniffly but i read it everyday :-)!
i cant wait til the next pep talk...
just started 'Fire' last nite and am loving it!
i luv reading all the comments too...
I hope you have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving week. May you be showered with blessings. :-)
robyn greene
Livia said…
Hey Kristin,
I enjoyed your reading tonight at Harvard Bookstore!
I was amused to hear that you don't read fantasy because you feel like you're copying, because that's the exact reason I waited so long to read Graceling. I heard about it about 6 months ago and the premise intrigued me right away (I'm a fan of girl fighter books -- loved Tamora Pierce's Alanna books), but I was afraid to read it because my critique group told me my WIP was very similar in style and setting, and I didn't want to accidentally plagerize anything. But now, they've assured me that my plot is different, so I'm super eager to start reading. Actually, I don't really have a choice anymore -- I read the first chapter waiting in line at the signing and I'm hooked. :-)
I keep a "Neuroscience and Creative writing" blog, and I'll probably write a few entries about Graceling once I finish it. If I do, I'll give you the links.
Elyse said…
It was so nice to meet you tonight in Boston! It's always interesting to hear how an author researches and writes, and comes up with ideas. I froze a little when I was talking to you! lol. My fiance wanted me to ask you if you've ever played any role-playing games like D&D? He's a big fan of D&D and thinks all fantasy writers play D&D or Magic. lol.
kristin cashore said…
It was so fun to do a hometown event -- thanks, Livia and Elyse, for coming! Livia, I so know that feeling. I freaked out at one point and had to have the legal department at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt explain to me what plagiarism was so that I could realize I wasn't doing it and stop worrying. Elyse, LOL, I've never done role-playing games!
odakotarose said…
Thanks for the umbrella links :D
(I keep telling myself now, "Just finish the novel by the end of the month, and you can have a cute umbrella, guilt-free!")
Lauren said…
Kristin, it was wonderful meeting you last night. I left with my autographed copy of Fire tightly clutched in my hands, highly inspired to keep on writing and to never, ever give up on the dream of being published. I thought of another question: Are you working with an independent publicist or is your publicist part of the Dial Books/Penguin Group team?
Have a very happy Thanksgiving.
kristin cashore said…
Hi Lauren, I have a publicist at Penguin for Fire and one at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Graceling. They handle everything for me. Happy Thanksgiving!
kristin cashore said…
PS to O Dakota Rose: I'm bribing myself with Season 6 of Buffy!
On behalf of all us ALAN-ers, thanks for plugging The ALAN Review. And it was my pleasure to read from Graceling in your absence at the first annual Amelia Elizabeth Walden award ceremony in Philadelphia on Monday night!
kristin cashore said…
Well, thank you so much, Jennifer!
Katt said…
The morning I got the pep talk you wrote for NaNoWriMo I was tired and frustrated. I read what you wrote and I was so motivated I wrote about five thousand words that day. Thanks so much for your encouragement!
Bibliopinions said…

Thank you for the lovely note about your visit to Houston in October. The kids at Alief still talk about your visit!

I just finished re-reading Fire and can tell you without a doubt that it's just as compelling the second time around. It will definitely be on my "serial re-read" list.

Cathy B.
Blue Willow Bookshop
kristin cashore said…
Oh, yay, hi Cathy! That school visit was out of this world. Yay for Blue Willow!

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