Showing posts from August, 2012

Fall Events in Europe and the US

This fall (starting next week! ACK!! Where is Bunter to pack for me!), I'm doing public events in Stockholm, Kristianstad, Madrid, and Paris. (I'll also be in Amsterdam, but I don't believe I'll have any public events there -- I'll come back and let you know if I do.) I'll also be in Arlington, VA for NAIBA, in Austin for the Texas Book Festival, and at NCTE-ALAN in Vegas, yes, NCTE-ALAN is in VEGAS this year. Dates and details: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN   Thursday, 6 September, 17.00 I'll be signing at SF-Bokhandeln. Address: Västerlånggatan 48. KRISTIANSTAD, SWEDEN Saturday, 8 September, 11.00 I'll be a guest at the Bokfestival in Kristianstad and will be talking about fantasy-writing, answering questions from the audience, maybe doing a short reading from Bitterblue if there is time... MADRID, SPAIN Tuesday, 11 September, 19.30 Along with my editor at Roca, Patricia Escalona,

Bic For Her Ballpoint Pens

You guys, Bic has designed some pens just for women (attractive barrel design made in pink and purple), and the reviews (and tags) are really funny. My favorite so far is the " most helpful critical review, " which is by a lumberjack who tried to use one by accident and met with disaster. Thanks, Jess :)

On Setting Things Free

I've been playing chess on my phone during work hours. Initially, I started to do this because the writing I'm doing is kicking my heart around the room and I can only bear to work on it in small doses; a game of chess every 90 minutes or so stabilizes me and brings me back to base one, so that I can work on another small section of the book. But now I'm also playing chess because it's become fun . I've named my computer opponent HAL, of course, and set him to his easiest setting. By now I've practiced enough that I beat him pretty quickly every time, but I'm not content to increase his difficulty until I get to the point where I can understand every move he's making, and see the game unfolding a few more steps ahead of what I'm currently seeing. It's weirdly like writing a book. Even when things are going okay, I feel like I'm trying to catch up, straining to understand, trying to contain something that's out of my control. I've

More Randutiae (Extra-Random Edition)

I'm proud to report that Bitterblue is a New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year , along with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (for fiction), Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (for nonfiction), I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Bryan Collier (for picture book), and Wonder by R. J. Palacio (for middle readers). I'll be at the NAIBA Awards Banquet on September 29, as will artist Ian Schoenherr , who did the beautiful maps and illustrations. With apologies for throwing this in with other things -- I wanted to be sure to blog the link, but am too depressed to say much -- writer David Rakoff died way too young on August 9. I'm going to miss his voice on This American Life so, so much. The show put together a beautiful episode in his honor. It aired last week . Warning: it's really sad. Laurie Halse Anderson is doing Write Five Minutes a Day this month -- with

Advice to New Writers: Green Triangles Should Be Both Triangular and Green

Advice to new writers: don't worry too much about reader reactions that don't seem to be connected to what you were actually trying to do. What do I mean by that? Well, say you produce a yellow square and put it out in the world and the reactions are like, "Oh my goodness! As yellow squares go, this is a lovely yellow square! Look at that gorgeous shade of yellow! Look at those four even sides! What a success this yellow square is!" In the meantime, you're at work on your next project, and because it doesn't interest you to do the same thing over and over, this time you're creating a green triangle. You work really hard. When you can see that it has become a lovely green triangle, you put it out in the world. The reactions you start to receive are along the lines of, "Oh NO! This is the WORST YELLOW SQUARE EVER! This writer tried to produce another yellow square but the result was failure." People will confuse their expecta

Jason Who? Give Me Aaron Cross

This post contains spoilers for the Bourne movies, including the most recent. So. I don't know what they're lacing these Bourne movies with, but (with the exception of that godawful, boring, too-long car chase in the second movie) I never want these movies to end. It turns out that the drug is not in fact Matt Damon, because The Bourne Legacy (out now), which doesn't even have Matt Damon in it, has the same effect on me. Aaron Cross, you are the genetically-modified assassin OF MY HEART. But why, why? WHY do I love these movies? They are chock-full of ideological problems. (In TBL , we get to see some kickass operatives who are people of color and even one who's a woman, and then, three minutes later, they're all dead. Producers, you have a captive audience. Make your main star in one of these movies someone who is not a white man.) Also, the plots are absurd. (Aaron Cross is a genetically modified/enhanced black-ops assassin for the US government, but he's r

August Randutiae (Some Rather Cranky)

Every once in a while, I become overwhelmed by the crush of books I'm supposed to be reading (for research; as a favor for someone; because soon they'll be due back at the library; because everyone's telling me I should), and my soul revolts. I spend a week or so mulishly resisting reading anything at all. Then I skip over all the things I'm supposed to be reading and instead read whatever I damn well please. This is the reason I'm currently reading the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. *** My sister codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer recently instructed me to think about the derivation of the word "cantaloupe." I did and came up with "singing wolf," which delighted me, but I'm finding it hard to research the further derivation of the name. (I mean, in the 8 minutes I've devoted to it just now. ^_^) According to my OED, Cantaluppi was the Italian town where cantaloupes were once famously grown, but why was the town cal

Admiral Ackbar knows a frappe when he sees one

Outside J.P. Licks in Harvard Square

The Ingredients for a Beautiful Day in Gloucester

Picturesque boats, gorgeous skies, fishermen in the rain, and humpback whales.

An Evening at Home

Every evening brings a different light show over the Charles River. Sometimes it also brings courageous goofballs onto the footbridge. Jump in, guys! Veritas! Harvard's ivory towers look on with pretty disdain.  On lucky nights, you can turn around, face the east, and see the moon rising over the Charles from the other side.... but tonight, that glowing orb is not the moon. It's a blimp. Presumably over Fenway Park. Home.

Writing Tools (Bright and Dark)

A few weeks ago, I showed you all the book map that I built for my office wall . This tool has proven itself to be invaluable. I consult it constantly as I'm working. It's a stupendous structural aid as I reorder the events of this book and refocus the plot. I WANT TO MARRY IT. However, as the sight of it recently made a writer friend depressed ("I could never do that," the friend said), I feel I should add that this is the first book I've ever been able to do it for. This book is short (for me) and relatively simple. Had I tried to stick a plot map on my wall for Bitterblue , it would've taken an enormous amount of time that would have been better spent writing, it would've been more confusing than helpful, plus, I wouldn't have had enough wall space. Each book is different and requires its own unique tools. *** That being said, I've finally come to accept that one particular unenjoyable aspect of writing is going to be present with every

Birthdays and THIS PHONE

It's birthday season on the blog! Many, many of my peeps have birthdays in August and/or are Leos (including me), and every year I mean to create a new birthday poll, but then August comes along and I'm doing too many other things. I suppose that's okay, since we seem to have established rather firmly that the number of people who want socks for their birthday is surpassed only by the number of people who want the power to summon any kangaroo in a 25-mile radius simply by closing their eyes and thinking, "Kangaroo, your master calls." ( That poll is still open, by the way. Feel free to vote. ) Birthdays make me contemplative. I am turning the ripe young age of 36. But instead of coming up with something soppingly meaningful to say about our journeys around the sun, I'm going to express my appreciation for a device I own now, but didn't own a year ago: THIS PHONE. Dear people who invented the iPhone 4S: THANK YOU. I can't type for extended perio