Sunday, November 16, 2014

Whiny Crayons

So, THIS BLOG: it has been neglected. I've been busy having a midlife crisiiiiiiis, as one does when one is 21. My midlife crisis involves being annoyed at everything and reading lots of books and eating this amazing candy that you can only get in Germany called Lachgummi (they are so amazing, oh mah wrrd). It also means I'm only going to live until I'm 42, if I do the math? (Which. . . if I keep eating these Lachgummis seems reasonable.) I told my mom about my projected lifespan and she was like:

Anyway. I'm not going to go into detail, because I feel like everyone would be like "Shut ahhhhhp, you whiny crayon", but I'll explain a tiny bit:

2014 has been really busy.

The German editions of my books came out in Europe. I did thirty-billion interviews (I don't know if this is an exaggeration. I have entire boxes of newspaper articles), dozens of readings, was invited to the big book fairs, did talkshows and radio shows, and I had done most of these things in the US already, sometimes on a much larger scale, but they were wayyyyyy less stressy there for reasons that would fill like three more blog posts.

And the thing is, actually talking about anything negative that went along with these things will come across as really ungrateful, which I get. But I think you can be grateful for parts of things, and really not like other parts at the same time.

I do so appreciate readers. I appreciate publishers and promoters and media people who write articles about books. Most of all I appreciate people who love to read.

I do not appreciate curiosity-seekers, self-serious literary types who don't think fantasy is a legitimate genre, random strangers who come up to you and tell you they think you should dress differently / talk differently / not talk, random strangers who think your weird-fairytale-MG-books are basically a biography of your life (this kind of makes me want to slap people; it's like saying "Hey, were you starving Victorian waif growing up who never left your house until a faery-infested lady in a plum-colored dress stole the friend you've never actually talked to from across the street?" Just, no.), random strangers who ask you if your books are written by ghostwriters or your helicopter parents, or if you're actually a fake person invented by your publishers. (That would save me thousands of hours of work and anxiety, so ghostwriters, if you're reading this, come write this book for me, ja? Also, my parents are pretty much the exact opposite of helicopter parents.)

Anyway, to sum things up, I did everything under the sun that was asked of me despite rrrrreally not enjoying some of it, and while there have been some really-really-really great stuff and I think everything was a good experience in the long run, there have also been some lame stuff and now I'm just tired, and I think that's allowed.

I recently had a long conversation with some friends about the meaning of success, and whether you can actually be successful if you don't feel successful, or conversely, if you can be successful even if no one else thinks you're successful, or if you can ever be successful enough in the traditional sense to be happy. Friends were like, "I mean, you're such a whiny crayon, but do you really want to be a turtle and write books and music in obscurity?"

Being a turtle is my goal in life.
But I dunno if I actually do. It just seems like it right now, because I did a bit more than I could realistically manage. I'll get over it.

I might post the pictures I took at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but I already tweeted a bunch of them. Hmm. Also, I heard that Greenwillow/HC has started on DMP's coverrrr! Even though I'm still deep in revisions. This is exciting. :) The book is going into its third iteration right now, and the title still needs to change, and probably a million other things, but the longer I work on it the more I love it and the more I think it will end up being something I'll be really proud of. It should be out in 2016. I hope. :)

Hope everyone's well, bye!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Birthdays! - Wedernochs and Whatnots

Hi! I'm crawling out of class reaaaaaally, really quickly to write this. Today things are happening.

EXCITING things.

Things that are happening today:

- The German edition of The Whatnot comes out in German-speaking lands. It's called Die Wedernoch, which translates roughly to The Neither-Nore.

- The US paperback of The Whatnot is also out in American-speaking lands today. It's been out in hardcover since last September, but now it's all handy and economically-priced and bendable and suitable to be squashed into school backpacks, and I hope you like it! :)

I forgot to flip out the German hardcover's bookmark ribbon, but it STILL HAS A BOOKMARK RIBBON, YOU GUYS.
These things are happening not today, but in general:

- I've been pretty bad at internet-ing recently. If you're waiting for an email response or a phone call or a text message, or if I forget to @reply on twitter, or if I promised to do something for you and have not yet, I'M REALLY SORRY. It's not on purpose, and I'm quite busy right now, and school is getting real, but I will catch up eventually, I promise!

- I've gotten several emails about this, and I haven't updated my website in ages (I'll be putting up a FAQ sometime soon, though, haha! who's the quickest? I am), but I thought I'd put it here first:

I'm currently working on a book that sold to Greenwillow/HarperCollins back in 2013, and it's not coming out in 2015 as originally planned, because the book is complicated and crazy and not ready yet. But 2016 it will be released, if all goes well! It's been much harder to write than these last two, but not really in a bad way, if that makes sense? Like, I don't feel particularly stressed about how hard it's been to write, which is probably mostly due to my agent and editor being awesome and patient. I've been rewriting vast portions of it, sometimes several times, and will probably rewrite vast portions a few more times, and it's just not really anything like the last two books I wrote, but I'm very, verrrrry excited about it. So, 2016! It will be here!

- I promised more pictures from the Tokyo trip, but mayhap everyone is bored of my Tokyo pictures, so unless you tell me you want to see more, my next post will be about all the terrible movies my siblings and I watched over and over again as kids. Ja.

Hope every one's well. :) Bye!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Appearances - Fall/Winter 2014

Summer vacation, WHY YOU GO SO QUICKLY? 

I'm frantically writing and will probably be super busy for the next two weeks, so here's this before I forget:

On September 24th, the German edition of The Whatnot goes out into the world in its sharp blue suit, and I'll be doing stuff like going to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which should be exciting because it's apparently massive and I have not been to Frankfurt in ages. I'll be reading and jabbering and trying not to fail at speaking the German language so if any of these appearances are in the vicinity of you and you want to come I'd love to meet you! :)

Here are the ones I have so far. I'll try to keep it updated:
In other news, The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister is getting many lovely reviews, so thank you so, so much, reviewers. It now has two starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, and very kind reviews from Booklist, Shelf Awareness, and Horn Book Review.

And so that this blog post isn't completely tiresome, here's some MUZAK.

Current writing soundtrack:

It goes well with all the desperate running and screaming I'm writing about.

Current song that's being played too often on my iPod:

It goes well with that person who was done in by wingéd seraphs and put in a sepulcher by the sea.

(Also, it makes me think someone should write an Edgar Allan Poe opera. How cool would that be? Very cool.)

Bye! :) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014



Ugh, I tell you.
So, because I'm actually dumb, I overwrote most of my Tokyo pictures, and now there will probably be no Tokyo Food post and no Tokyo Gardens post and no Weird-Tokyo-Shop-Names post (which there was totally going to be.)


I'll probably do one more Tokyo post with my mom's pictures, but right now I'm busy trying to revise a book and not forget what music is before university starts again, so here's a Dubai post in the meantime.

They're like those little emergency balloons from The Hunger Games, drifting down to SAVE the desperate, weary shoppers.
I did not love Dubai. I'm not sure that's entirely Dubai's fault, but it's at least partially Dubai's fault, and I feel like the problem with traveling to other big cities after Tokyo is that they seem dull and quiet in comparison.

Dubai: quiet. Also, dull.

Seattle: small.

San Francisco: Ok, but not Tokyo. . .

And obviously that's super unfair, especially to Dubai, because a) it was Ramadan and everything was closed all day, and b) one can't walk outside or one will die of heat. So I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say that if you are there when it's cooler and things are open it's no doubt a RIOT.

But when I was there it was mildly creepy and fake and empty.

A deserted, air-conditioned street at Mall of the Emirates.
I liked it at first. I got off the plane, wandered through the snazzy airport, had a mini heart-attack at customs (I mean, if Canadians have qualms about letting me visit their country I don't even want to think about what middle eastern opinions are of Americans), passed through without incident (I would have arrested me on the sheer amount of nervousness on display, but they were busy upending an Australian lady's make-up kit, so BYE), saw this from the taxi car:

This picture is from my hotel room balcony, but I saw it from the car too. Was super impressed. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world at over 800 meters.
The architecture in the city center is amazing. The Burj Khalifa is tall. All the aquariums and malls and fountains are cool to see for about three seconds. And then you get the feeling there's not much beyond any of that. The city is allllll calculated glitz, and I KNOW, CAT AND BRIONY, you warned me of this, but I was sure it would be cool since it's a new culture.

I felt like they toned down their own culture a lot in favor of calculated glitz, though. Tokyo is quite sleek, too, in places, but it's also very Japanese. Skyscrapers are interspersed with random tiny wooden houses and grimy railroad underpass restaurants and bright red shrines, and you have the feeling there's tons of layers and tons of history under all the glass and sparkle. In Dubai not so much.

This was a large indoor ski-slope at Mall of the Emirates. Shop till you DROP OFF A SNOWY CLIFF.

The feeling I got from wandering around was that some kid was like, "SIM CITY TIME" in the middle of the desert and a few years later there was Dubai.

In case it seems like I'm being super harsh and whiny, there are things I DID like. I found a Reese's store for one:

Rees'esssss! :D
I also found my books at the Kinokuniya at Dubai Mall, and the saleslady was like "NO PICTURES" but you can see below how wickedly wayward I was. Also, thank you, HC, for having such an awesome international sales division!!

The plan was to sneakily turn them face-out if I found them, but they already werrrrrre. I was happy.
AUTHENTIC ARCHITECTURE, maybe, I think, I don't know.
The service was excelent, but the speling needs wrk.
Massive candy store.
This was a poster on the wall of the massive candy store, and is an accurate representation of what my brain is thinking when visiting massive candy stores.
Gallon-sized strawberry syrup bottles 
So many nerds.
Dat waterfall, though.
Room service. The chicken burger was a little bit icky, but those onion rings were pretty much deep-fried, coronary-thrombosis-inducing bits of amazing.
Huge aquarium. It had stingrays and sharks in it.
And a massive guppy fish that looks like it's plotting something against the lady at the desk.
After Dubai I flew to Seattle on a super-super-long-haul flight, then to San Francisco, got in a Taxi, drove on the freeway, saw this fellow dancing on a bridge while holding a red cardboard heart:

There are worse things to do with one's life than dancing on bridges while holding red cardboard hearts.
So that was Dubai! I'll do a short San Francisco post next. Hope everyone's having a good summer!

Bye. :)