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. :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I'm IN TOKYO. Like, right now. How is that even what I don't know <----incoherent gibbering

I've already been here for nine days and we're flying out tomorrow, so today is my last full day in Tokyo and it's very sad.

As sad as this Stitch at the Shibuya Disney store who seems to have eaten a non-degistable bear? Sadder.
Because I only have one more day, this is going to be a super short post, and I'll post more later.

My flight from Vancouver to Tokyo was in the teeniest, tiniest Japan Airways seat, and I spent the entire 10 hours trying to stretch my legs into the aisle without getting them chopped off by the drink carts. THE AGONY. The Japanese people next to me had plenty of space and were sitting on their knees and putting their feet up on the backs of the seats in front of them like they were at home on a sofa, and I was maaaashed and it hurrrrteeeeed. They were probably like "Why is that big monkey person not fitting in his seat and constantly moving around" YEAH WELL SORRY.

At Narita I was picked up by a car and a snazzy person in a black suit, and my mom flew in from Dubai late that evening, and we met at the hotel, and the next day our adventures began.

Stefan, adventuring.
Here are bunches of random pictures and observations before I run off.

- People in Tokyo are so nice. I'm sure that's a generalization and there are mean people, too, but I haven't met any of them and when walking around a city of 14 million people I feel like that's a fairly massive accomplishment. The general atmosphere when you talk to someone is utmost politeness and helpfulness, and if you look suitably lost and forlorn there's a good chance someone will stop and ask you your troubles.

I did a signing at Kinokuniya Bookstore one of the days, and everyone there was THE NICEST, so shout-out to them, and thanks again so much for having me! Mona, the lady right next to me, is the foreign book buyer there and patiently answered all of my questions about Japanese culture and was generally awesome. Thanks, Mona!! :)

The man to my left is the bookstore boss. He gave me a guide to Tokyo as a gift.
Also, this picture was taken toward the end of the signing, and we sold all
the copies of The Peculiar they had, so thank you everyone for coming!
- Japan is way more modern that most countries in a lot of ways, but flip phones and fax machines are still things here.

- Grape flavored sweets. Everywhere. I love it. That fake, chemical, nasty, awful grape flavor is one of my favorite things ever, but in Tokyo grape things here actually taste like grape. Iz crazy.

Healthy choices.
- Umbrellas. All the time. Rain or shine.

Ew, sunshine, get it off.
- Slurping is allowed. If you don't slurp your soup, it means you don't like it very much.

Me learning to drink soup properly. I couldn't bring myself to slurp, but LOOK AT THOSE EXPERTLY HELD CHOPSTICKS.
- Most of Tokyo seems to be a giant shopping mall. Seriously so many shopping malls. And Gucci stores. Probably one Gucci store per capita, because who wants to share a Gucci store.

- It seems very bright all the time, even when it's cloudy. I think it's because of all the glass from the skyscrapers reflecting the light. If you go to Tokyo, take sunglasses.

- There are little cars:

And big gravestones:

- Tokyo's not really one city. It's six or seven cities that are really, really close together and connected by a super efficient subway system, and all the mini-cities we've been to have similiar lights and sounds, but really different atmospheres.

- There are more restaurants in Tokyo than any other city in the world, and the food is amazinnnnng. I'm going to do a whole post about the food, and I apologize in advance if that is uninteresting to you.

I really need to go now, ahhh. By time I post again I'll probably be in Dubai, and apparently it's over 40 degrees centigrade there (100F) which means if I went outside I would instantly fall to the ground and burn and claw my way back to safety. In other words, I will have lots of time to write blog posts, and reviiiiise. I've been revising busily on DMP and deleting vast swaths like "AHAHAHA" and then crying because my editor and agent had to read that garbage. More soon! Bye! :)

Vermilion-lacquered bridge at the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens.