Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tidbits and Interestings #2

This is a miniature Tidbit and Interestings, so it could also be called a Midbit and Semi-Boring, but!

Current thing I need to tell people 'bout - I've got an event at a book festival in Köniz on September 6th,  2015, and we only have an hour but apparently there will be a panel of kid readers and an actor and I will also be playing THE ORGAN. So. . . that should be wildly interesting. From what I've gathered, the book festival takes place in a cathedral and the organizers heard that I play the organ and were no doubt like:

"Hmm. Stefan + Organ. That can't go too wrong, can it?"
(A: it can)
Also, on the subject of appearances, this will most likely be my last appearance in relation to The Peculiar and The Whatnot everrrrrr! I have lots of feelings about that. :) Basically, to summarize those feelings, I adored the entire crazy experience of these past three years and am ready to move on. Barring a whiny phase in 2014 where I was tired and busy and stressed out of my mind, I'm super grateful for every single one of the awesome readers I got to meet, and the places I saw, and the many terrifying and interesting experiences that were had. I've slowly come to realize that the things I got to do for my first published books are definitely not what everyone gets to do for their first published books, and so I count myself very fortunate. At the same time, those three years seem like decaaaaaaaaaaades to me, and I think people change a lot between 19 and 22, and honestly I feel really far removed from my faery books. In 5 months A Drop of Night comes out. It's pretty much a 180 from anything I've written before, AKA I WILL BE SHIVERING IN A CORNER WHEN IT RELEASES, but at least it's a new thing and I'm ready for new things.

All that to say, if you want to see me talking about faeries one last time and maybe hear me play something grand and gothic on a pipe organ, come see meeeeee! We will send these books off in style.

Current favorite music - Schubert Lieder. The way he reflects the lyrics in his music is genius. I thought this song was ugly for a while and then we analyzed it in class and now I'm obsessed.

Reign of Fire soundtrack by Edward Shearmur. The movie is not nearly as good as movie about a post-apocalyptic world overrun by fire-breathing dragons *should* be, but the score is dark and harsh and interesting and I like it.

Current Cool Thing - I have a story out in a scary anthology! From Penguin/Random House! My story is called 'M' and features a blind girl who unwittingly stumbles across a murder as its taking place in a grand country house in turn-of-the-century England, whereupon she decides to discover the killer's identity and catch him before he catches her.

Thazzit. Bye. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Serbia Adventures

Serbia! I went. It was great. And different. Let me tell you about it.

Things I didn't know about Serbia, and you maybe didn't either:

- The food is delicious. And cheap. And good quality. And what's better than delicious cheap food of good quality, NOTHING, I tell you.

Ok, this doesn't look delicious at all. But it's a massive amalgamation of deep fried dough and bacon and cheese, so. . .

- The people are super nice. Whenever they talk on the phone they sound like they want to kill the person on the other end, but actually that's their friendly voice.

In all seriousness, though, everyone I met was lovely. It's almost like they're a bit worried whether they'll make a good impression and be hospitable enough, especially if you're American. Which. . .  interesting. I know very little about Serbia or its history, and I heard maaaaaaaany different opinions on the NATO's bombings of Serbia and the Kosovo secession and other divisive topics from the locals. But regardless of what happened, they don't have many reasons to like America, and I still did not meet a single unkind person on this trip.

David, in the middle, was our tour guide extraordinaire. The guy on the right is Aleksander, and the one in the beanie is MEH, and we are standing on the castle hill in Belgrade.
- Novi Sad is nicer than Begrade. I thought. When we first drove into the city, there were Roma bicycling along with vast quantities of cardboard, and there was also lots of trash, and flea-markets, and shanty towns, but then we got to this part:

It's so pyootiful.

- Apparently the name "Stefan" is a very popular name in Serbia, which made me all like:

- People get married wearing crowns! We stumbled across this wedding while visiting the big cathedral in Belgrade. I was like, "Ooooh, a royal wedding!"

Royalty, in the process of being wedded.
But nay, good friend. Everyone is a king and queen on their wedding day. Or something. David explained it to me. He also said that Serbian weddings involve walking in circles and drinking wine from a ceremonial goblet. They can also last up to six hours. Ah wud dah.

- Speaking of royalty: Serbia does have a king. He lives in Chicago.

- Have you ever wondered how a brogue looks when cut neatly in half? No? Well, now you don't even have to not-wonder anymore:

Ta-da! Extra breathable.
- There are bombed-out buildings. Here's a bombed radio tower we went to see.

- Serbians lurrrrrv Russia. David asked me what I thought of Putin and I may have expressed some slight distaste toward him, which seemed to confuse David a lot. Oops.

- Police will sometimes pick up foreign-plated cars with A CRANE and SPIRIT THEM AWAY, because foreigners can be charged heftier fines. Our car narrowly escaped this fate thanks to some dramatic gesticulating and 20 euros.

David being like, "No, no, we were just next door, PUH-LEASE, PUT DOWN OUR CAR, AND WE SHALL DIMINISH AND GO INTO THE WEST!"
- We found an abandoned railroad track and followed it for no reason. After a while we were told that the track was not abandoned and a train was coming. We fled.

Blue suede shoooooes, cat, dog, something-something, don't step on them. . .

David Quotes

I was standing in the middle of the street, like the dumb tourist I was, about to be run over by a tractor, and David was like: "HEY, MOVE!" And then very quietly and politely: "Please."

Upon passing a cop along the side of the road, driving well over 20 kilometers above the speed limit: "On Fridays, police are sleeping probably."

So that was that! I hope everyone is having a maaaaaahvelous last bit of summer.

Bye. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tidbits and Interestings #1

Current Favorite Artiste - Viktor Vasnetsov. He did lots of paintings of Russian-tinged folklore, and winged people, and knights looking heroic and vaguely stupid while standing on battlefields. 

But seriously, he's great. You should google him. :)

Bird Lady #1 is like, "Girl, your singing. Stahp. It's giving me a headache."
But Bird Lady #2 is just like, "LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA."

Current occupation - I started work on my next book! In earnest! I had about 30k words done that I had been writing off and on last year, but then I realized the main character was junk, so out the window that draft flew. It was for the best. This book is middle grade again, and after the TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS of writing A Drop of Night, it feels like a lovely vacation. Which probably won't last. But right now yay, and I love it, and it features Moon People and steam-ships shaped like fish and superheroes and strange monsters and quiet wars and good stuff like that.

Current Thing I Need to Tell People 'bout - I'm on a jury for a kids writing competition. It's organized by the national radio here in Switzerland, and if you are a kid between the ages of 7 and 14 and can write in German, go forth and enter! Deadline is July 27th. I will read your stories along two other jurors who are no doubt marvelous, and you can win cool prizes and your story will be read on the radio, etcetera. Link here.

Current Travel Obsession - Serbia. I'm going soon. I'm very curious. I've almost never been to that part of Europe. Older Brother and Sister recently went to Chernobyl (of nuclear disaster fame) and Albania and Croatia and Bulgaria and Mount Olympus and other places I can't remember, and came back with many pictures and stories of bribing Albanian officials and the mafia running through town with sirens so you knew to stay away. . . (Which doesn't sound like my idea of a good time at all, so I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me.)

It was also kind of bizarre because Older Sister and Brother went to Ukraine last year, too, right in the middle of the Crimean Crisis and they stayed at a hotel on Independence Square, which was totally blackened and full of rubble and burnt out buildings. I was in Kiev about ten years ago and remember it being a fairly clean, beautiful city. So when I saw the pictures I was like, what is this apocalypssssse?

(I also remember that ten years ago was when the Orange Revolution was going on, and our Ukrainian interpretor told us how most of the outraged sign-wielding people on the streets were students who the political parties payed something like one dollar an hour to be outraged. I mean, I'm usually outraged for free, but ok. . . Definitely a career path worth considering.)

Current Favorite Book - Emma Trevayne's new middle grade. It's about grave robbing and imprisoned faeries and still somehow manages to be gentle and lovely. It's out very soon. Go buy it!

Current Favorite Music:

It's Ok - Tom Rosenthal

The Red Violin OST - John Corigliano

Running to the Sea - Röyksopp and Susanne Sundfør

I'm alwaysssssssss looking for new music, and would not be averse to book rec's either, and while we're at it, if you're particularly fond of anything this month, maybe do your own Tidbits and Interestings post and link up? Hope everyone's having a good summer!!! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

COVER REVEAL: A Drop of Night

Guess what.

No, you have to guess.

Ok, I see you are uninterested in shenanigans.

A Drop of Night's cover has just been revealed on Epic Reads along with three other beauteous covers from Harper's Winter 2016 list, and it also has a release date and everything! :D March 15th, 2016!

And since you probably skipped over all that to see the cover anyway, here it is, BASK IN ITS SINISTER RADIANCE!


Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been chosen to participate in an exclusive program that will allow her to fly to France and explore the Palais des Papillons - the Palace of Butterflies - a vast underground Versailles buried a hundred feet below ground as a refuge for 19th century aristocrats wishing to live out the French Revolution in safety and luxury. Along with four other teens from the United States, Anouk will be one of the first people to set foot in the palace in more than two hundred years. But the expedition is not all it seems, and as Anouk soon learns, the palace is deadly. . .

A fast-paced teen debut from Stefan Bachmann, surprising and haunting, for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s thriller The Cabin in the Woods.

I'm like this right now. I'm those three bouncy people at the door, and e'erbody else is that guy in the brown cardigan wondering what on earth is going on.
Just look at that title treatmennnnnnt. I didn't like the title A Drop of Night much at first. This book went through approximately 9,999 titles, and it sold way back in 2013 under the name Dead Man's Palace, and I still have a soft spot for that title, but some people thought it would have pirates in it, and pirates are sorely lacking, so it HAD TO CHANGE.

So I merrily sent lots of lists of suggestions to my agent and editor, and A Drop of Night was just one of many, and then my editor said everyone loved that title in-house. I was like "Whaaaaat."

But then I saw it in context with the cover and was like "Nevermind, I love it TOO."

And I do. I *adore* this cover. I think it's quite dark and ominous, and I have been waiting for a dark and ominous cover for some time now.

Anyway, I hope you guys like it! :) Give me your thooooughts!