Wednesday, May 30, 2012

*Pokes Head out of Writing Cave*

I don't write by hand on paper in the water without a shirt, but the alligator thing?
Happens ALLTHETIME. It's kind of ridiculous.

This is one of those posts where I say, "Oh, hey there, let me tell you things!" and then you run away rather quickly, and I chase after you shouting, "I AM IN MY WRITING CAVE, WRITING WILDLY, AND HAVE NO TIME FOR FOOD OR DRINK OR SOCIAL INTERACTION ON THE INTERNETS," which of course is a lie, because a) I'm chasing after you telling you these things and b) while I am writing wildly, book 2 is wrapping up fairly well and I haven't even started to panic very much yet, much, yet, at all, much.

At least I think book 2 is wrapping up well.

I hope it is.


Annnyway. I'm feeling busy. A lot of things seem to be happening at the beginning of June this year.

First and coolest among them is Book Expo America. I'm not going, so technically it doesn't add to my busyness at all, but I'll be thinking about it, and every time I think about it, I'll be like yaaaaay, because then I'll think about Bologna, and books, and people being excited about books, and it'll make me excited, too.

There are going to be galleys of The Peculiar. Somewhere. I assume at the HarperCollins booth. And my editor will be talking about the book on the MG buzz panel on June 6th, so if you are there, you lucky dog, you should go listen to her.

The day after the buzz panel is my birthday, the day after that is an annoying test at the conservatory which is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC because apparently it's ok to torture students, and in the afternoon is a lonnnnng rehearsal, and the day after that is a concert.

Birthday is number nineteen, by the by. Which strikes me as a fairly grown-up age and makes me feel like I should be acting older. And maybe looking older. May have to grow a beard. And act sophisticated.

Whatever. That is all. Back to WRITING. Rawr.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Avengers and Other Silliness

We are very serious. See our serious faces? Very serious indeed.
So the other day I watched The Avengers. A Jolly Good Friend came over from Or-GIN (also known as Or-EH-gon) and was all like, OH. MOVIE IS AMAZING," so off we went, annnnnd... I dunno, you guys.

It was ok. I guess.

At first I was like "Meh" and then I was like "Hmm" and then towards the middle I was like "Ooh, interrogation with a clever reversal, and some thrilling fight scenes, and this might actually be kinda good!" and then it was all just, "Explosion, explosion, ow, my head, explosion, alien invasion thing has been done so many times before and much more dramatically, and then OH tracking shot of all the superheroes doing teamwork, how nice and heart-soaring-making," and then "Grr, >:O SPOILER >:O why didn't Iron Man die? It would have been tragic and sacrificial, and I totally would have bought his character development if he had died.

But no. Iron Man lives. Because he's Iron Man. And there need to be seven more Iron Man movies, and then he can die when one of them flops.

I think I was just expecting more from the whole thing. Like, if a movie becomes the highest-grossing superhero movie EVER in two weeks flat, you expect it will be exceptionally thrilling, or exceptionally original,  or have a twisty, unpredictable story, or be very moving, or be stylishly directed, and it was really just a solid action-er as far as I could tell.

Jolly Good Friend surmised that superheroes in general were more of an American thing, but I dunno. She was watching it for the third time. And the person a few seats away seemed to like it. And I'm pretty sure he was European. And anyway, I'M American, too, hey.

But where was I. Oh yeah. Person a few seats away. Person-a-Few-Seats-Away was completely GEEKING OUT allll the way through the film. And clapping like a lunatic. And literally making the entire row of seats bounce. And I was like...

Actually not. I think it's cool if people like things. I think it's much cooler than people not-liking things, and I was sad that I didn't like it, and maybe I needed to watch all the other Marvel movies to appreciate this one fully, but I suppose it just wasn't for me. I didn't get it, you see.


A green guy punches a guy-in-a-cape for no apparent reason, and the geeking-out person was like, "HAHAHAHA."

Oh, um, ha? Haha?

Ultimately I thought the people sitting in the row in front of us were much more interesting than the film. It was a dad and the dad's girlfriend, and the dad's two teenage kids. Teenager #1 was a girl, and... well-adjusted, shall we say, and teenager 2# was a boy, and painfully awkward. He was constantly butting into conversations and trying to get the dad's girlfriend's attention, and it was very apparent the dad's girlfriend didn't like either of the kids much at all. The girl-teenager was being very polite and careful, and the boy-teenager was being very facepalm-ish, and the dad's girlfriend was just like, "Ew, children," and the dad was like, "Well, if I don't look perhaps it'll sort itself out."


It's probably not a good sign if there's more drama in the theater-seats than on the screen, but ohhhh well.

If anyone else was not gobsmacked by the whole thing, tell me, because I feel all lonely in my not-gobsmack-ed-ness...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Theater World

Mm-HM. That's like almost exactly not at all what Theater World is like.
This is a life post. Which means I won't be blabbing about my book for a change! How cool is THAT. But if you are not a real-life friend you should probably go now, because chances are you'll be bored to tears by all those lines and lines of writing below, and I don't want you to cry over something so trivial as a blog post.

Ok? :) Are you gone? All right, then.

Last week was almost entirely filled up with long, lonnnnng rehearsals for a big ol' theater production for which our class had written the incidental music. I blogged about it way back when, and these rehearsals were just the final stage of that. I might have proper video clips to show you in, like, half-a-year when the TV thing airs, but until then all I can do is type up a re-cap.

So, rehearsals! Theater rehearsals for composers basically mean lots of sitting around and watching, and occasionally scuttling up to the orchestra pit and being all like, "Um, excuthe me. Violins? Violins, hello! *waves at violins* Could you guys play legato? Like it says? In the notes? That would be really nice." *scuttles away again*

And since the violins were ignoring you pointedly, the director will rap his baton on the lectern-thingy and repeat the directions LOUDLY.

I never used to get why orchestra directors even existed (I know, really, Stefan?) but HELLO. They're to keep the musicians in LINE. The violins are always ignoring things pointedly. And the brass never seem to know doodly-squat until five minutes before the final performance.

(Ok, that was mean... It was a great orchestra. More likely composers don't know doodly-squat about writing for brass. But there were a disturbing number of incidents were the string-section started tittering at all the wrong notes coming from the brass section. Only during the rehearsals, mind you. Brass got their stuff to-GETHER for the premier.)

Anyway. Rehearsals are long and educational. Stage-lights are scorching. Stage-fog is freezing. Group bows are actually hard. Educational.

I don't want to say much about the show itself. It was good. Under the circumstances. The direction was super, the technical stuff was super. The plot... needed some ruthless whittling and killing of darlings. I thought. It ran about a half-hour too long and there were three or four scenes where the entire story just stopped so that Snakes or Squirrels or Foxes could run around and sing a song, or dance to elaborate lighting. There was one point where a whole ARMY of five-year-olds in fluffy yellow chicklet costumes waddled on-stage to sing a choir piece, just so that the whole audience could go, "d'awwwwwwwww."

Ok, that part was good, but snakes? Nobody even likes snakes.

And then it was premier day! Theater was sold-out (All 822 seats. We counted. Yeah. Toldja the rehearsals were long...) and the audience was so great. They laughed at the right parts, clapped at the right scenes, and at the end they just clapped and screamed and clapped some more, so very loud and long. Everyone who worked on the show went up row after row, then, and the composers were the last row to go up, so we were at the front, bowing and gasping and smiling our vain little faces off.

Disaster was narrowly averted when the curtain, which was coming down for an encore, snagged on a spotlight. It was a frighteningly large spotlight. It started wobbling all over the place, and all the hundreds of people on-stage were looking up like, "Ooh, thaz kinda freaky," when we should have been more like, "Ooh, thaz gonna smash someone flat."

It could have, especially since the curtain went up and down two more times, and each time the spotlight snagged and wobbled, and the performers all stared, and the Squirrels laughed and pointed, and the technical people freaked out a little bit.

But we survived. And eventually the audience stopped clapping and everybody on-stage started running around and hugging everybody else. There's this amazing energy back-stage after a good premier. The lights are on, the audience is leaving, but behind the curtain there's some crazy pandemonium going on. The director is kind of sobbing in a corner, and the composers are all like "Oh! Oh! The applause!" *revels* and nobody knows anybody else really, but everyone's smiling and hugging, and it's just a whole lot of fun. 

It's hard to explain. At any rate, I was on a buzz for the rest of the evening, and we went home and ate ice cream, and I think that was one of those days I'll be remembering for a long time to come.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Steampunk Zoo

So you know that clockwork bird on the front of the book? Hoo-well... There was a bird before that and it looked like this:

Isn't it great? This is literally exactly how I imagined the bird in the book. It's not exactly how I described it, I don't think. If I remember right I only mention brass and oil-black eyes, and so the cover artist made the bird completely out of brass, which is awesome and works perfectly for the cover, but while writing I imagined the birds as iron-grey.

Mine was sculpted and painted by an artist known as Purplecat, who blogs, and tweets, and makes perfumes, and is just rather obviously an all-round talented person. My sister met her on an art forum, ah do buh-leev, and got me one of her clockwork birds for Christmas a while back. I liked steampunk before then, but I had never actually owned anything steampunk-ish, so it was a terribly exciting present to get. And since I had just started writing a book about changelings and politicians and magic, I was all like, "OH. THIS BIRD IS COOL. THERE SHOULD CLOCKWORK BIRDS IN THE BOOK AS WELL."

So they were, and they ended up being a fairly big plot point. Thus, I thought it long overdue that Purplecat get a shout-out post, and I wanted to show off the other steampunk creatures of hers that I have anyway, so here gooooes!

The bird was the first creature in my steampunk zoo. The second was...

Watchoo lookin' at, hngg?
A clockwork snail. This is also in the book. For about two seconds. But it had to be. Because - as you can see better in the group picture further down - it has treads. Like, instead of slime. Sooo... creativity points for zat.

Zoo Inhabitant Numbah Three...

A clockwork mouse. This one's not in the book. But look at its dopey little hannnnnds. And the flower in its tail. I don't know why that flower is in its tail. It's probably deeply significant.

What do I call this masterpiece of point-and-shoot photography? "Clockwork Mouse Looking Pensively Across the Herb Garden with Stupid Orange Date in Corner." 
*audience applauds wildly clap-clap-clap- CLAP*
And the newest addition - a clockwork-chameleon-lizard-thingy on a purple-and-bronze-globe.
Purplecat just gave it to me. Like, for nothing. Like, for free. Like, seriously. Like, who is that cool.

And all together THEY LOOK LIKE THIS:

See the treads? Also, the lizard-chameleon-thingy is being very stealthy and blending into the foliage. It's possible it's a ninja-lizard-chameleon-type-thingy.
And that's my steampunk zoo! I think everything in it is awesome. But the bird will always be my favourite.

Thanks, Purplecat.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giveaway Winnerrrrs

Giveaway is OVER, and lots of nice people commented, and lots of nice people re-tweeted, and lots of nice people said nice things, and nobody really cares so I'm just going announce the winners now....


Winner of the ARC is:  



That was totally your reaction. Right? Right??? Ok, perhaps not, but I really hope you like ze book. :)

The winner of the first bundle of Swiss chocolate is: _annabelleh_!

Winner of the second bundle of Swiss chocolate is: Danielle Pioli!

And since I got over fifty entrants I had to scurry for that copy of Long Lankin, and that goes to: Sara @ The Hiding Spot!

Now. Clarification. Is an order. Because. As not one, but TWO friends pointed out, there may have been some confusion as to who gets what of the things listed in the giveaway post. One friend thought she would get ALL THE THINGS if she won, and 3 (or 4) others would get all those things as well.

And I was like, "Whaaaat, how could you think this?!" And then I was like, "Oh."

Yeah. Apparently it could be construed that I was giving all those things to four different people. But I don't have enough ARCs for that, you know? I kind of wish I did, because I would want to give one to every person who commented. But I got five, and one went to my Mom, and two will be passed around 'in perpetuum' until my real-life friends have all read it, and one I'm giving away, and one I'm keeping for safety's sake. (I mean, what if J.K. Rowling wants a copy? WHAT THEN, HMM?)

Then she will rip stuff up until she gets a copy. She won't be asking you for one.

Shh, you.

But I am sorry the post wasn't clear, and just in case the ARC winner gets her package and is all like, "WHAT THE HACK, WHERE'S MY CHOCOLATE!?! *throws shiny ARC in garbage* I'm including chocolate in hers too.

All good? Gry-eet.

So congrats to the winners, and I will contact them right this very moment and then start writing those kitschy Swiss postcards.