Showing posts from 2012

As the new year approaches...

... I am reading, and loving, Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days.

Happy new year from Florida.


What the Body Knows
All night he waits for us and the drawing back of the black-out curtains to fill him with sunlight and hope.
Daily, we bear a copper bowl brimful with hot water, finest triple-milled soap, sponge and a thick white towel.
Hands heavy with oils we massage his back in a rhythm constant as tides, count the abacus beads of his spine
and circle his calves with wobbly O's, then pull his perfect toes until his breath matches the hushed escalation of eucalyptus leaves outside.
The night he dies, we lay hands on his body, such a small boat, clasping it firmly to the shore of the living so that his spirit can rise freely, even now loved.
- Madelyn Garner

(From my 2012 datebook.)

Just Sharing Some Beauty Via Edna St. Vincent Millay

Bitterblue is one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2012. I am overwhelmed with blessings.

So, yesterday, while I was doing some financial organizing, I stumbled across two poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Possibly this highlights the key problem I have with my financial organizing, but anyway :). I just had to share them. The first is about death. The second is about love.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.
The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curle…

The Sun Sets at 4PM These Days...

...and after that, Brattle Square Florist in Harvard Square glows with color.

In another part of Harvard Square... I see that Bitterblue is among the Holiday Hundred at Harvard Book Store, which means it's 20% off.

I mention this because this is my local indie and the way to get books signed/personalized by me (before you finish your online 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) -- BUT, fair warning: if you are thinking of my signed books as Christmas presents, please order before December 17, because I won't be around after that to sign them. I can't sign books from out of state. I tried once. My arm wasn't long enough.

Happy light and dark, everyone.

Pictures of a Book Being Made

To make up for my recent lack of posting -- and to celebrate Bitterblue being named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2012 -- this post will be about something :).

Disclaimer: All the photos in this post are of my own work and are owned by me. If you use them for any purpose, please identify them and attribute them to me. Do not change them in any way or use them commercially.

What follows is essentially my tour presentation for Bitterblue... it is the story of how the book was written. Here goes.

As you probably know if you've spent much time on my blog, I write by hand.

Above is the first page of the first draft of Bitterblue. Note that the date is October 25, 2007. Also note -- if you've read Bitterblue -- that this is not how the final book begins. And also that not a whole lot from this page made it into the final draft. What you see above is fairly typical: I write, I scratch out a word here and there, I scratch out a line, I change things; th…

Boombox Séance

Hi guys. Sorry for the recent radio silence on the blog; I'm traveling. But I wanted to pop in about something that might intrigue those of you with an interest in indie music and how it's made.

Sometime ago, I blogged about a stupendous cover of "Norwegian Wood" and "Kashmir" performed by the Aaron English Band. I've kept track of Aaron English's musical doings since then, and now he and the talented, ukulele-playing, singing, songwriting Victoria Vox have a new side collaboration called Boombox Séance. It's "uketronica": indie-folk and dance-floor electronica. From their own site: "Their sound features a baritone ukulele played through a loop pedal, driving kick drum, keyboards and the acrobatic vocal harmonies" of Victoria and Aaron.AND, they're recording their debut album -- with your participation, if you're interested -- check out their pledge drive at Pledge Music. They're offering some pretty fun stuff to …

Spotted on the Fridge of Codenames: TLR and Perfect Gentleman


Flight from New York to Las Vegas, noon, left side of the plane.

At 32,000 feet, there are ice crystals on my window and we're flying above snow-covered peaks. Yet the sun through my window is so relentlessly hot and strong that I have to keep the shade down, and when I touch it, it burns me.

I usually take the position of the sun into consideration when choosing my plane seat, but this time, common sense eluded me! I feel like a rotisserie chicken.

Click to Enbiggen


NCTE-ALAN. Also, fun things.

I would like a poster of today's xkcd to hang on my wall: Diagram of the Up Goer Five.

Also, I like this (surreal!) video about Finnish ice fisherpeople.


Okay. Here's my public events schedule for NCTE-ALAN in Vegas next weekend. Location of all events: The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino | 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South | Las Vegas, NV 89109. Which is just WEIRD.

Sunday, November 18th

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Signing in the Penguin Booth, #101-105.

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM: Signing at Anderson’s Bookshop, Booth #147.

Monday, November 19th

8:40 AM – 9:15 AM: ALAN Workshop -- Fantasy Panel. With Rae Carson, Shannon Hale, and Maggie Stiefvater. MGM Grand | Level Three | Premier Ballroom | Rooms 309-311.

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM: (silent) ALAN Book Signing.

I... cannot explain why that last book signing is silent. But I will try to find out.

ETA: Ha! Okay, regarding the silent signing: ALAN takes place in one big ballroom, and the next panel will be going on during the signing. So we will ha…

Les Miserables, the (New) (Live Sung) Movie

The new movie of the musical Les Miserables, coming out this winter, is live sung -- the actors are singing each take live, instead of miming to a recording. This video explains how and why, and I think it's pretty interesting. (H/t, B!)

And While I've Got Bumper Stickers on the Brain

Here are a few spotted in Jamaica Plain...





and Austin.

Okay, maybe I have time for one political post


Links for a Sunday

As we move nervously toward election Tuesday, I've got no juice for the post I would like to write.  Chances are, a lot of you have no juice to read it, so maybe it's for the best.

Here's what I do have: a beautiful photo of the recent Hunter's Moon rising above the Alps.

And, ala author Cindy Pon (thanks, Cindy!), this article: "Skeleton of hero World War II carrier pigeon found in chimney with a secret message still attached to its leg (and now Bletchley Park are trying to crack the code)." 

Also, I'm very grateful that Bitterblue is a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2012 -- along with esteemed company.  Thank you, PW!

Randutiae Whilst Transcribing. Or Whilst Not Transcribing. GROUCHY RANDUTIAE TO AVOID TRANSCRIBING

I seem unable to stop listening to Led Zeppelin's "The Battle of Evermore." I think the mandolin has ensorcelled me. Send help.


The Cambridge Public Library recently changed their lending policies. Instead of a three-week lending period with the possibility of three renewals (12 weeks total), now they've got a four-week lending period with the possibility of two renewals (also 12 weeks total). It's a disaster. I never know when anything is due, I never turn anything in on time, and I never read anything. It turns out that apparently I need more, and more frequent, reminders that my time is nearly up in order to read. Today I'm returning nine library books. I've only read two, all of them are late, and I owe almost $10. So much for my spotless library record. Thank goodness codename: Cordelia doesn't read my blog; otherwise, I'd never hear the end of it.


You may have heard by now about the proposed merger of Random House and Penguin.…

Austin Ceilings and Floors

As a writer, I'm a trained expert at anticipating what readers desire. This is how I know you've all been anxiously waiting for me to post pictures from the dome in the Texas Capitol building rotunda.

Also, the ceilings at the Driskill Hotel.