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Showing posts from May, 2008

Three From My Bookshelf and One From My Phone

Some recommendations!
If you'd like to read a stupendous contemporary YA book about power in general, and power plays between the sexes in particular, try E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Wow, this book got me thinking about my own relation to power. It's a cast of fascinating characters whose stage is the prestigious Alabaster Preparatory Academy, a made-up boarding school in northern Massachusetts. But: if, as you consider the book's feminist underpinnings, you also find yourself inappropriately falling for a boy who's technically a creep -- don't blame me!
If you love British literature through the ages, and also time travel and general silliness; and if, like me, you think Jasper Fforde has the coolest name ever; read his novel The Eyre Affair, which reminds us that "the barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think." I'm just over halfway through, and enjoying it thoroughly. The protagonist, named…

Up with Negativity

Have I made it clear how I feel about people who always look on the bright side of life?

My favorite song on the Rent soundtrack is called "Another Day." Basically it's an argument between two people. Roger is holed up in his apartment, bitter and sick, refusing to face the world, refusing to make anything of his life, because he's unhappy with his life and consumed with regret. Mimi is begging him to come out on the town, begging him to stop wasting his life and start living.
Here's basically what Mimi says: "The heart may freeze or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn that there is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. There's only us, there's only this-- forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way-- no day but today."
And here's Roger's response: "Who do you think you are, barging in on me and my guitar? Little girl, hey, the door is that way. You better go, you know, th…

Defenestrate Your Things

Mind if I talk for a minute about things?
My car, for one. My clutch is dying; my clutch engages about half an inch off the floor; driving with my clutch is a little like ripping the skin off the bottom of my car's feet and then making my car walk across gravel. I'm holding off replacing the clutch as long as I can. This means I'm avoiding using it as much as possible, which means overusing the brakes, stalling a lot, and bucking down the street like a bronco. Unsurprisingly, my brakes have begun to deteriorate from the misuse. So now we have a situation wherein acceleration is a bit like the part at the beginning of a roller coaster ride where the cars keep jerking forward and bumping against each other and deceleration is not unlike an earthquake. My car is a thing in my life, and it's not doing too well.
Another thing in my life is all the new crap I bought to go along with my new computer. And this stuff doesn't have my car's excuse: this stuff is …

Superman Never Made Any Money Saving the World from Solomon Grundy*

If you could choose your superpower, what would it be?
I know my answer. I'd be able to teleport-- or, as Lady Elaine Fairchilde did in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, go the purple way-- or, as you learn to do in your later years at Hogwarts, disapparate. Oh, how I would love to be able to click my heels together three times and suddenly I'm across the world, visiting friends wherever they are. Wouldn't it be awesome to just visit for a few minutes instead of sending an email? Why do my people have to be so spread out? How did that happen? I don't mind flying-- I quite like it, in fact, and I would miss take-off, and being able to see the world from above-- but I could always teleport into an airplane for kicks, after all, and I DO dislike all the trappings of flying. Packing? Ugh. Setting the alarm for 5am? Blech. Taking motion sickness meds? Ick. Getting to the airport early and then sitting on the runway for 3 hours because US Airways only has one de-icer and it…

Home

After living in a big old house in the northeastern Pennsylvania countryside for 32 years (also known as my whole life), my parents are moving to Audubon, New Jersey to be closer to family and civilization and to take on a more manageable property. This is a really good thing for them. Nonetheless, all this goodness didn't stop me from bursting into tears this past weekend when my Dad picked me up at the Philly airport and told me they'd finally gotten an offer on the old house.
We drove onward to the new house and I tried not to think about how homeless it feels sometimes when the place where you yourself live (Florida) doesn't feel like home, and the place you grew up in no longer exists in any practical form. We took the Walt Whitman bridge into New Jersey, which cheered me up, because I've always liked the views of Philly, and also because you have to love a bridge a whole bunch of idiots got all mad about because it was named after a gay man. Morons. (Scorn he…

How Foreign Rights Work. I Think.

So, the other day my sister Dac (who does not need a pseudonym, on account of she doesn't try to trick God the way Cordelia does) asked me something along the lines of, "What are foreign rights, anyway? What do these deals mean?" So I thought I'd explain it briefly, as well as a person can when she isn't entirely sure of the answer herself.
Bear with me, this has to do with money, and I don't know about you, but my brain always glazes over when I try to follow financial arguments...

When my awesome agent Faye Bender made the deal with Harcourt for Graceling (and then again for Fire), she negotiated that she and I would hold on to the foreign rights, rather than giving them to Harcourt. In other words, we would be the ones with the right to find foreign publishers for the books, rather than Harcourt finding foreign publishers for us. This was good for us, and here's why: Selling a book to a foreign publisher is much like selling it domestically, in that…

In Which Karma Bites Me in the Ass. A-S-S. Ass.

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So, a little over a week ago I blogged a lot of big words about how spelling bees don't scare me. Frankly, I was a little obnoxious about it. There was bragging. Even gloating. I issued a public challenge.

And then what happened that very same day? I tootled off to my volunteer work at the Jacksonville Public Library and learned that the library was looking for participants for the first annual Jacksonville Public Library Spelling Bee. And I thought to myself, Rats. Now not only do I have to compete in this spelling bee (on account of publicly announcing that spelling bees don't scare me, which I now realize was a lie), but I have to WIN this spelling bee (on account of the gloating). And I'm NOT going to win this spelling bee. There are a million words I don't know how to spell, like staphylococcus and Rumpelstiltskin, and karma is going to throw one of those words at me because I bragged. There was hubris, and now karma is arranging for my tragic fall.

What followed wa…

Reader, I married him. (Eomer, that is.)

I just finished Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and am now prepared to issue a formal apology to the Graceling copyeditor for my comma and semi-colon use. While reading Bronte I suddenly realized that my punctuation teachers in life were the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, E.M. Forster, and Theodore Dreiser, to name a few. In other words, people from long ago whose writing styles (and bodies) are now dead.

No wonder, dear copyeditor, that you and I drove each other crazy last fall!

As I revise Fire, I'm trying to do better.

But! Keep your dastardly red pencil sharp, because I still love commas way more than other people do, and though my entire team of critics is wearing me down, I still have plenty of fight left. Like Aragorn, Gandalf, Arwen, and most of all, my husband Eomer, I am the protector of small, misplaced creatures. (Commas. Not hobbits.)

In other news, last week the Italian publisher De Agostini gav…