Showing posts from June, 2010

In Which Music Soothes the Savage Beast

Bitterblue is eating me alive.

Sometimes, when you're being eaten alive, the most basic life questions become difficult to answer. What should I wear today? What do I feel like eating? If I threw my phone into the path of this steamroller, would that be such a terrible thing? Is it possible my upstairs neighbor is rehearsing for Stomp? Seriously? Please shut up? Isn't there something I'm meant to be mailing to someone? Where did I put that damn cactus? What kind of music would help me feel less strung out?

Sometimes, when I can't figure out what kind of music I feel like listening to, I like to set all the files on my iPod -- all 1289 files -- on shuffle, and see what happens. Of course, what happens is that I get a peculiar mix of songs occasionally interrupted by things like the voice of Ira Glass, a random chapter of All Creatures Great and Small, and a middle movement of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. But I also get these lovely, refreshing remin…

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Ever Gone Before

(This morning I tried to psych myself up for writing by telling myself that that's what I was doing.)

I've been thinking about some of the things that make revision tricky. A few days ago, I found myself unsure about how to attack the next plotty piece in my novel.... so, to work that out and get my momentum going again, I did what I always do, which is that I went back a few chapters to read and revise. This usually works for me. By the time I get to the end of what I've got, I know what comes next and have a few ideas about how to do it.

So, Bitterblue is very, um, LONG would be an accurate word, so whenever I'm revising, I'm looking for things to cut out. But one thing that always makes it tricky for me to cut things out is that in every scene, I'm always trying to accomplish several things at once. For example, the point of the scene might be for Characters A and B to discover a Surprising Plot Thing -- something startling and relevant to the larger plot.…

A Media Follow-up: Team Diana Comet, Katniss, and Pasha

My post last Thursday spurred some fun reactions from friends and family, so I thought I'd follow up.

1. Did you startThe Name of the Rose(by Umberto Eco) next, like you thought you would?
No. I started Diana Comet and other Improbable Stories, by Sandra McDonald. I like it! It's a collection of interconnected fantastical short stories. Quirky and unpredictable, occasionally grim (war and battle, a warehouse fire, etc. well-written and vivid), with just enough similarities to the world we live in to keep me delighted, and sometimes even giggling. (E.g., a heartbroken cowboy in a Western town called Flagpole is reading the poetry of one Whitney Waltman.) Plus, it routinely plays with gender and sexuality in unexpected ways. My favorite story so far is one of the grim ones and is called The Firemen's Fairy, which is a double entendre.

2. [WARNING: The next question/answer contains The Hunger Games and Catching Fire spoilers. Sort of.]
Are you on Team Peeta or Team Gale?

A Media Inventory

First things first: on the right is the Graceling cover for the Portuguese language edition published by Alfaguara Infantil & Juvenil in Portugal (not to be confused with the Portuguese language edition that will be published by Rocco in Brazil). ---->

Okay, ready?

Book most recently read and enjoyed:
Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey.

Book I'm currently reading (and enjoying):
The Magic Thief: Found, by Sarah Prineas.

Next book I'll read:
Well, these things are impossible to predict, but The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, is calling to me.

Book most recently purchased:
Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, by Sandra McDonald.

Book not yet published that I've ordered from my local indie:
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. (duh)

A random 7 of the 14 books I have checked out from the library:
Territory, by Emma Bull.
Should We Burn Babar?: Essays on Children's Literature and the Power of Stories, by Herbert Kohl.
Scars, by Cheryl Rainfield.
Nation (sound recording), by …

Beauty for a Monday

Since this is a post about beauty, I wanted to use my most beautiful book cover as an icon. Not an easy choice, but I found myself returning to an old classic.

So, I've got two things to show you today. The first is from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day; it's the photo from April 26, which I've had bookmarked for a month and half now, waiting until I had time to blog it.

This is a dust pillar of the Carina Nebula. Here's an excerpt from the NASA page: " Inside the head of this interstellar monster is a star that is slowly destroying it. The monster, on the right, is actually an inanimate pillar of gas and dust that measures over a light year in length.... The pink dots around the image are newly formed stars that have already been freed from their birth monster."

Go to the page actual to read the rest; click the photo to see it bigger; or just look at it for a minute and, if you've read Fire, check out that monster on the right, an arrow in he…

Squares and Triangles Agree: Circles Are Pointless. (Plus, a Bitterblue Update)

Gollancz YA cover for Fire ----->

So, the t-shirt on the left (by Pete Mitchell; buy it at Threadless) tickles me. Poor little pointless circle! But the t-shirt on the right (by Allan Faustino; buy it at Threadless) makes me sad.

Aw, Mr. Rhino! You're breaking my heart! Don't you see how beautiful you are? You're shaped for strength and power and momentum and agility, and if you slim down to the size of that unicorn, you'll be so weak! Health at Every Size! Anyway, unicorns aren't even real! It's all a myth! Haven't you read the Newsweek exposé on airbrushing scandals and unattainable bodies? Don't let the world do this to you, Mr. Rhino! Fight the power!


So, three years ago this summer, I was finishing the first draft of Fire. Two years ago this summer, I was finishing the revisions of Fire. I surely am glad I'm not in either of those places anymore. If you were reading my blog way back then, you might remember how hardFire was for me. …

A Writer Is Always Writing... Except When She's on the Trapeze

Warning: trapezey photos ahead!

And an apology: this one got long!

But, first: Gollancz, my UK publisher, is releasing YA editions of my books under their new imprint, Gollancz YA. (Prior to this, my books were published in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand for the adult market only.) And here's the Graceling cover ----> click to see it bigger --->

So. Back to business.

Here's the thing: sometimes I find it difficult to take breaks from my work. Writers, of course, are not just working when we're physically writing. We're working when we're wandering around the house trying to remember where we put our pen (answer: in our hair). We're working when we're reading. (Oooo! How did this writer just make me feel that way? Can I do that to my readers?) We're working when we're out for a walk. (Ooooo! How can I describe that sky?) We try to watch some TV, and then Sophie on Leverage describes a con that gives us an idea for the scene we're tryin…

Covers + Periodic Tables + Baseball = Randutiae

Hi everyone! I'm tripping over un-unpacked luggage and drowning in unanswered mail, but it was a super trip. And now I'm happy to be back to -- and overwhelmed by -- my normal writing schedule.

First, click on the photo to the right to see the large print U.K. cover of Graceling, just out from Clipper Large Print. Like it? I do.

Second, click on "play" below to watch Diana Comet present a periodic table of 75 Years of Fabulous Writers -- women who wrote and write in the fantasy/SF genre. It's really cute. And informative. Sandra McDonald's latest blog post for Diana Comet Presents sent me to my library catalog to put Carol Emschwiller's Report to the Men's Club on hold.

Third... if you're a baseball fan, then you probably know about the bad call that robbed Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game on Wednesday night, with two outs in the ninth inning. (Here's the video.) My heart broke a little when I read about it; I expect th…