Showing posts from March, 2010

Location: Amsterdam, Where Fire Is Called "Vlam"

My character Fire's name seems to have created a challenge for almost all of my translations so far -- for a bunch of reasons, but most often because the direct translation of the word "fire" tends to be masculine.

The Italian word for "fire" is the masculine "fuoco." The Italians kept Fire's name as Fire -- but flipping through a copy, I noticed that Archer is named Arciere, the Italian word for "archer." I like it!

In French, the word "fire" would be pronounced like "fear," more or less, which isn't a very nice name, and the French word for "fire" is "feu," which isn't a nice name, either, and is masculine.... so the French renamed Fire, and the book itself, Rouge. Makes sense... but a few things are lost. Primarily, the explicit connection between the character Fire and all the references to actual fire -- flames -- in the book.

I just got my Dutch version of Fire. I don't have a c…

Thoughts on Writing While in Bologna

Is it in Dicey's Song that a teacher accuses a character (Dicey) of plagiarizing an essay, when really, Dicey was only influenced by something she'd been reading at the time? Or is it Julie in Up a Road Slowly, or some other book I read when I was young?

Anyway. Regardless. What I'm reading at any given time definitely has an influence on my writing. Long books especially, because I immerse myself in them for weeks of writing time. I read Sigrid Undset's enormous and gorgeous Kristin Lavransdatter while I was writing Fire, and caught myself calling Fire "Kristin" at one point in my writing -- which would have been super embarrassing had anyone found it, because, um, my name is Kristin. No doubt the reader would have assumed that I was identifying too closely with my characters, whereas, actually, I was so immersed in Kristin Lavransdatter's life that I was pulling her into my writing. This is probably the main reason I'll put down a badly-writte…


The night before I left for Bologna, an orange cat (of whom I'm very fond) randomly, with no urging from humans, walked a protection circle around me.

I realize this year what a good visit to Bologna I had last year because I keep stumbling across my favorite old haunts and realizing, "Goodness me, I have favorite old haunts!" Some things feel so familiar that I can't believe I've been here only once before. Maybe I lived here in an earlier life.

I've run into so many people I know, and that has been a delight, and I've had planned meetings with so many people I know, and that's also been a delight. BOOK PEOPLE ARE THE WORLD'S BEST PEOPLE, THE WORLD OVER.

Tonight, dinner was at a Sicilian restaurant. Need I say it was delicious? Cannoli are different here at the source! No mascarpone. I sneaked my cannolo into my bag because I was too stuffed with fishies to eat it but unwilling to surrender it to the kitchen.

Today I had an event at noon at th…

La la la la *flails*

The Spanish cover of Fire, published by Roca (click to enbiggen) ----->

I always feel just a little bit sad right before a big work trip. I think it's because of Bitterblue, or whatever my WIP is at the time. I just want to write her, and it's hard to imagine being able to write her during so much excitement. During my domestic tour last fall, I managed to cliff-hanger myself right before I left, by which I mean that I was able to time it so that I left just as I was getting to a big, exciting, fun-to-write scene. That made it a lot easier to get writing done while on tour, despite all the distraction -- and to get back into writing full-time once I got home. But I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do that this time. I seem to be bogged down in a muddy section. We'll see what happens.

I also get nervous before a trip like this, and so I do a little meditation and imagine myself floating above the earth, and then out into outer space, outside the solar syst…

She Has Dreams, You Know

Hello! Your floopy author here, jumping in on a Tuesday eve with stuff and things.

Check it out -- the cover of Fire, Catalan edition, published by Grup62! Click to see it bigger. I secretly love it, even though it, um, has problematic associations in English :) ----------------->

So, as everyone knows, the best time to decide to write extra things is when you already have way too much to do. This is why I've written a guest post for the lovely Justine Larbalestier. It's one I promised some time ago, about trapezing, writing, and trust, and you can read it on Justine's blog here, complete with silly pictures.

Finally, over at Sarah Miller's blog, Sarah is trying not to let the pigeon procrastinate. (If you're a fan of Mo Willems's Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, this video will be especially delightful, but it's damn cute even if you've never encountered the belligerent pigeon.) It's only a minute and 15 seconds long, and it will make…

In Which the Author Gives Herself Over to the Floopy

There are times when I wish I had a butler. If I had a butler, I wouldn't have to figure out how to pack for a month-long trip to Bologna, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Florida in suitcases small enough not to make me crazy on all those airplanes and trains, and, in fact, if I had a butler, he could come to the Boston airport the day I'm flying from Lisbon to Paris to Boston to Washington DC to Florida to take my professional Europe suitcase from me and hand me a freshly-packed suitcase for visiting babies in Florida.

I would like a butler named Grover. He could wear a cape and a helmet and be blue and fuzzy and cute and occasionally double as a waiter in a rather peculiar restaurant. Could we arrange for that, please?

I leave in a week and I'm going out of my mind and would like to warn y'all that things might be a little floopy on the blog for the foreseeable future. I plan to be blogging, but the blogging is apt to be a bit... indicativ…

There's Nothing We Can't Face (Except for Bunnies)

Thursday randutiae!

First, the cover of Fire, French adult edition (published by Orbit France). -------->

Second, a new addition to the Gallery of My Favorite Objects. Here's a bunny I faced the other day:

And here's his antelope (?) and canine (?) friends. I faced them, too.

These fingers puppets were made by Donna Marbet, and I got them at the Cambridge Artists Cooperative in Harvard Square. The nails were painted by me. :o)

Moving on: for you poor, patient souls who are not Buffy fans and put up with me anyway, my title today is a line from a song in the Buffy musical episode. You can listen to it here. And here's my favorite song in the episode, just 'cuz, well, yeah, okay, I'm trying to convert you.

Next up, behind this link is an article by Paul Campos and Marilyn Wann about fat politics -- specifically about how, in their words, "it's simply wrong to judge people based on what they weigh." Read it, do! Hat-tip goes to Rebecca Rabinowitz, …

Monday Ruminating

A friend recently told me that she can't bear the flying trapeze pictures on my blog, and was even starting to wonder if she was going to have to stop reading my blog because I kept springing trapeze stuff on her. You know, here I've been, completely oblivious in my love of jumping off things, not even realizing that I could be causing problems for my readers who are afraid of heights. I really am sorry! From now on, any trapezey posts will start with a warning of trapezey things ahead.

This post is NOT about the trapeze.... this post is about... I'm not sure, exactly. There's a lot going on these days, and I've been feeling ruminative. (Not to be confused with feeling ruminant.)

There were a lot of cows where I grew up. My favorite thing was walking past them while they stared at me intelligently, unmoving, with grass hanging out of their mouths. Every once in a while, one would move, and you would feel as if you'd been let in on some rare secret cow under…

In Which Fantasy Is Hard on the Brains. (A.K.A. This Post is Too Long?)

So, I've decided I want to play the triangle in a production of Igor Stravinsky's Firebird. Somewhere on this big, round earth, there must be a symphony orchestra facing the tragic circumstance of having to cancel its upcoming performance of the Firebird for lack of a triangle player, mustn't there? I've looked at the score and I know I can do it! I'll go anywhere! (By the way, that video is of Stravinsky himself conducting in 1965, at the age of 82. Check out the cane. Can you guess how jealous I am of that triangle player?)

Here's a beautiful video of a rocket breaking the sound barrier amidst a layer of ice crystals. Hap-tip, JD, and, for the curious among you, more info can be found here.

JD, incidentally, happens to be one of the smarty-pants experts who answers my endless questions as I research various parts of my novels. JD used to be a physicist, and for Bitterblue, he helped me with light waves. Why? Because one of my characters -- let's ca…

What does an author do with an unexpected weekend at home?

Well -- once she's dealt with the surprise and disappointment -- she hoards it, like a squirrel hoarding acorns for winter. In three weeks, you see, I fly to Italy and start my European tour, and I'm going to be gone for almost a month. I don't have a lot of weekends at home in my near future. And weekends at home are the absolute best for writing, because on the weekend, distracting businessy things stop, and it's easier for me to focus.

As I write this, the weekend is still happening, so I'm going to stop writing this now and get back to hoarding. I leave you with part of a lengthy text message exchange I had this weekend with my sister, secret codename: Cordelia, who is highly fond of a particular song from The Sound of Music:
Me: At trapeze class there's loud music. Yesterday, Sound of Music medley. Have had Climb Every Mountain in head ever since, except in yr voice instead of reverend mother's.

Cordelia: I hope you have it in your head every day of y…