Monday, December 27, 2010
But confession time.
The questions were actually a ruse. See, I wanted to get my agent and publisher special thank you gifts for being awesome and there's this amazing etsy.com site where the lovely Michelle makes purses out of books. Here's the site: http://www.etsy.com/people/spoonfulofchocolate
Now what would be a better gift for a literary agent and editor I ask you?
But I wanted them to be personal, so I sent the questions I am about to answer to my agent and editor saying I was doing a survey - when really I just wanted some book options to choose for their gifts. To make the ruse all the more ruse-y I then posted the questions on Twitter (my agent follows me you see) and here.
The cool thing was, that after starting the ruse, there was a wonderful side effect of delighting in the answers people were giving me. So in the end, not only did I get the titles of the books that wound up being the purses for my agent and editor, but I had a great time reading answers and even got some really great recommendations of what to read next.
All in all, a lovely experience.
And now, for my answers.
What is my favourite:
-adult book? It's a toss up between The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Picture of Dorian Gray (I'd include the complete works of Shakespeare, but I'm disqualifying it because even though I said "book" I really meant "novel" and his stuff are "plays"). I'm also really getting into John Irving these days.
-children's book? This is a near impossible answer for me. I love so many, Harry Potter, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Adventure series by Enid Blyton. But I thought I'd put two books here that I'd never mentioned before in interviews etc, two books that I still read at least once a year.
The first is Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume. I just LOVE this story, especially the way her make believe passages are actualised. As a kid I could so relate, despite this being a story set in the 40s. As an adult I marvel how well Blume can get into the imaginations of children.
And The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This just blew my mind as a kid - the blizzards! The snow! The lack of food! It was all so compelling and so exciting.
-most influential book? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I've said it before, but up until my dad read me this book we'd been going through the classics, like Great Expectations and Lord of the Rings. When he read me this book, the game was totally changed. Adams broke so many "rules", wrote in such a different way from anything I'd encountered before. He totally changed how I looked a writing books.
-desert island book? Again, Hitchhiker's. (the original question made it clear anthologies weren't allowed as an answer otherwise I might say Shakespeare here - still, technically he still doesn't count, plays and all that)
-guilty pleasure? Anything by Michael Crichton. I don't know if he's a guilty pleasure really, not sure why I'd feel guilty about it, but I suppose he's not the kind of author usually listed as a favourite author by "serious" authors, despite I think his ability to write compelling work based on some cool premises. Still, feels like the right answer.
Oh, and in case you guys were curious, here are the books that were turned into purses for my agent and editor, The Neverending Story and Pride and Prejudice:
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
You can see me briefly at the beginning being spun around, I'm in the long black skirt.
(Thanks to those of you who answered my questions about books in the last post, and in my next post I shall post what my answers are . . . I know, you're on tenterhooks now . . . )
Friday, December 03, 2010
The time commitment makes it hard for me to post when I'm really busy - a novel to finish writing, and I'm in a show . . .
Oh hey! I'm in a show! I should probably advertise that. I'll do that in a moment.
Anyway, my point is, I do however tweet frequently. It takes all of a second to tweet. And I realised that in my tweeting lately I've been asking a lot of questions and having so much fun with the answers, and I thought I'd ask you guys the same questions! So. Yeah. Here we go:
Who is your favourite Harry Potter villain?
What is your favourite book cover?
What is your favourite:
-most influential book?
-desert island book?
So yeah! Can't wait to see the answers, and next post, maybe just maybe I'll post my answers to said questions. :)
Now onto self promotion:
I'm in a show at the beginning of January at the NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL. It's called Duel of Ages, and here's some info on it:
DUEL OF AGES
True Edge Productions
By Kristin Grundlack Levinson, Denis McGrath, Mike McPhaden, Michael Rubenfeld, Gregg Taylor, Rick Roberts, Daniel Levinson, Scott Leaver / Directed by: Todd Campbell
Wounds of the flesh, a surgeon’s skill may heal, But wounded honour is only cured with steel.
Duel of Ages invites you to explore the infamous legacy of personal combat through an anthology of short plays depicting various ages in the history of dueling. With choreography and performances by some of Toronto’s most talented fight directors and actor- combatants, Duel of Ages is a thrilling exploration of the cult of honour and personal combat. Rapiers for two… coffee for one.
“Unlike anything you’re likely to see at this or any other Fringe… Kicks major ass in the thrills department” —Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine NNNN
“This kinetic, beautifully choreographed show is one truly dazzling spectacle.” —Tatiana Kachira, BlogTO.com
Factory Main / 90 Minutes / Anthology / General Audience / Violence / Gunshots
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
No, The Girl Who Was on Fire is the title of that Hunger Games essay anthology I told you guys I was also contributing to to be released next year (along with the YA Steampunk anthology: Corsets & Clockwork). Well actually the FULL title is:
The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy
Yup. I'm a "favorite author". Just saying.
Even cooler than the cool title is the very cool cover which is finally available to share - it's quite smartly designed to emulate the style of the covers of the series itself:
Also here's a list of contributors for your edification:
*Jennifer Lynn Barnes
*Sarah Rees Brennan
*Adrienne Kress aka the Queen of Fantabulous
*Elizabeth M. Rees
*Linda Joy Singleton
And a wee blurb:
Praised by writers from Stephen King to Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins’ New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is dark, captivating, and deeply thought-provoking. Part straight-up survivalist adventure, part rich allegory, and part political thriller, the series has become a new YA favorite.
The Girl Who Was On Fire offers even more to think about for teen readers already engrossed by the Hunger Games. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to reality television, fashion, and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games by other YA writers reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss’ world really is.
The Girl Who Was On Fire covers all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy.
And of course a link to the book's Amazon.com page so you can pre-order your copy this very moment.
So yeah. There you go! Sharing is fun.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
The who did what with the what now?
So remember back when I said I had some exciting news that I had to share but couldn't yet . . . well I can now! I'm going to be published again!! Yay! And in a slightly different genre, young adult (ALEX/TIMOTHY are technically what's known as middle grade).
This is the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN author Adrienne Kress's Young Adult debut THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, in which the lives of three intelligent and very talented young women, all of whom are assistants to very powerful men, become inextricably linked by a chance encounter and a murder, to Nancy Conescu at Dutton, for publication in 2012, by Jessica Regel at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (world).
To beef up the description a bit - the story is Steampunk, set in Edwardian London (1900). I've been calling it a Steampunk Charlie's Angels without the Charlie :) . And like the description said, it's about three very clever assistants to very powerful men in London society: a personal assistant to an MP/Genius Inventor, a Magician's assistant, and a young Japanese samurai assistant to a self defense instructor. The three of them come together to form The Friday Society - which is my version of Charlie's Angels (again, without the Charlie - the book is all about girls realising that they have as many skills - if not more - than their male bosses, as assistants often do, so it's important that they are in charge of their own team, no one else). They also seriously kick ass. (the parrot at the top of the page will make sense in time)
As many of you know, at least those who have been following this blog know, I've been trying to sell several books over the last couple years. For the record, I'm still trying to sell those books (and have faith in the outcome :) ). It's been tough, I won't deny it. The publishing industry, like every industry since the economy went nutty, has been being extra careful these days in what books they choose to publish. I can't say for sure, I only have evidence that I have experienced, and my author friends have experienced, but it truly does seem like it's harder than ever to get published.
Not that you can't get published. I don't for a second want to imply that. It's just harder.
The genesis of the The Friday Society was very different from any other book I've written. I've written four novels now, two of which have been published, two that are still on submission. Where then does The Friday Society fit into this? The answer to this question, I think, is quite interesting.
I was working on a completely different novel (a novel which I won't go into detail about because it is my intention to return to it, and finish it, and hopefully send it out - and as such with my superstitions and all that, I can't talk about it), when I got a flash of inspiration that became the basic premise of The Friday Society. The idea was so complete, appearing in saturated colours in my brain, that I spent an evening fleshing out all the details and emailing my agent Jessica to see if she was free to chat the next morning. We chatted, and she also really loved the idea.
This is where things get interesting.
Jessica suggested I write a proposal. This proposal would consist of a synopsis, character bios and the first chapter of the story. The plan was then to send it all to editor Nancy Conescu at Dutton.
Why editor Nancy Conescu at Dutton you may ask?
Well. When ALEX went to auction in the States, Nancy was one of the editors who bid on it. At the time she worked at Little, Brown. So we knew that she liked my writing. Further Jessica knew that Nancy had just recently moved from Little, Brown to Dutton and was actively acquiring new work. She also happened to be very much looking for exactly what I was interested in writing.
Tangent - when people ask why have an agent . . . that's why. I wouldn't have known any of those things aside from the first thing about the auction, nor would I ever have thought to have attempted to sell a new work in a new genre on proposal. Or heck how to put together a proposal in the first place. I repeat my old mantra, agents are awesome. And they do so much more than you think they do.
But I digress.
I put together the proposal Jessica suggested. Let me tell you. I hate writing synopses. As an author my technique is to have a very basic outline, a sense of where I'm going, but all the who and how and what and where etc is very in the moment. I used to write without any sense of where I was going at all, but I'd write myself into a corner I couldn't get out of, so I compromised with creating a very basic map of where I was headed that still gave me room to play and see where things went. Anyway, my point is. . . I'm not so good at writing detailed synopses. But I did it. With some wonderful help from some friends.
The first chapter and character bios were way easier to do, and when the whole thing was together, and after a few rounds of edits with Jessica, the whole proposal was sent to Nancy. I should add here that while I was working on the proposal, Jessica had broached the subject with Nancy, pitched the idea to her, and she'd asked to see the proposal, so she knew it was on its way.
Nancy read it over and really liked it. But. We needed to work on the writing sample. She wanted to pitch it to the rest of the team at Dutton, but it had to be all kinds of awesome. This is where things got a little frustrating for yours truly. I've always thought I had a decent grasp of the concept of "voice". "Voice" is a strange thing, hard to describe, but it's how the book reads to a reader, it's tone and humour or lack thereof. It's personality. Like the book itself is an individual, if that makes sense. Anyway. I've written four books, like I said already, all of which have, to my mind, very unique and solid voices. These voices weren't too tricky for me to figure out, they seemed in the moment of writing these books just a natural choice.
But The Friday Society's voice? Oy. Let me tell you. Oy.
Nancy and I went back and forth, version after version, trying to find the right voice for this novel. It's period, but still very modern in sensibility. How to make it fast paced and fun, but still "stiff upper lip" and all that? It took a lot of playing around, but finally I hit on it. I remember when I did and sent a page to Nancy asking, "What do you think?" and the reply was an enthusiastic "You did it!!" It was a big accomplishment for both of us.
After that we agreed that what made the most sense was for me to write the first "act" of the book. In this case around 20 000 words worth. I worked on that for two weeks, using some of what I did in my initial first chapter, but pretty much starting from scratch. Then Nancy and I went back and forth on those edits several times to make it awesome. And then, suddenly, she felt it was time to share it with the rest of Dutton.
Now. You can probably imagine what this process is like to an author who very much would love to be published again. Here I am working extremely closely with this awesome editor who totally understands and embraces my vision and who's suggestions have made it all the better, with whom I've had several very long chats over the phone where we quite clearly get along, and with whom I am not working in any official capacity. The latter is a very important point. All of this was being done with the hope that it would all work out, but no guarantee it would. The prospect of being rejected after all this work we'd done together was terrifying. Sure what I had now was something amazing that I could, should it be rejected, take it out to other houses. But I didn't want to. I liked working with Nancy, I liked the vision. And yes, I liked the idea of having the same publisher as Winnie the Pooh.
It took two of the most anxious weeks of my life to hear back the good news. And when I did I just about thought I'd die from happiness.
Of course this is the first time I've ever sold a book on proposal so I still have to finish actually writing the thing. But there is a nice feeling about that, writing something that someone has already bought, versus writing something and then crossing your fingers that someone will want it. And you can bet I'll be nattering on about the process here yet again. It's been a while, I know, that I've done that with this blog because it's been a while since I've gone through the publication process. The fact is, so many things have been going on in my life in my career, but so much of it is the sort of thing you don't feel right to share. At least not yet. So it's a wonderful feeling being able to be open again. To hopefully inform and educate about a whole new process.
Plus I'm entering the world of YA which is a very different one from MG. Have no fear, I'm not leaving MG behind, I love it too much. But it's time to explore new worlds. However people should be aware that this book is older, darker, and definitely not MG. I hope it will still have all the usual Kress qualities, ie a sense of humour and some awesome action. And it definitely will have strong female characters - that's sort of becoming my calling card. It will also have some wonderful male characters too, no worries. But as trite as it sounds, I'm all about girl power.
So that's the story. About the story. It's hard to believe it won't be out until 2012 (I really hope the Mayans weren't right), but I also know the time is just going to fly by.
Thank you all so much for your support over the years, especially the last couple. I have the best blog readers out there. Also the most attractive and whimsical.
And now . . . the next phase begins . . . as Peter says: it will be "an awfully big adventure".
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The deal happened a bit ago, but it's now up in Publishers Marketplace so I can officially share the news: TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE has been optioned for film! Here's the listing:
Adrienne Kress's TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE, optioned to Lanette M. Mastandrea at Where Monkeys Play, by Daniel Coplan at Coplan Law and by Jessica Regel at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.
And. . . that's it . . . for now . . . I do have some rather big exciting news to share with you all hopefully very soon. Needless to say I've been hyper and happy all week about it. But . . . must wait for it all to be official. Le sigh.
Until then . . . here's another picture of my cat Atticus:
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I am super excited about it, and now I am even more super excited because . . . drum roll please . . . here's the beautiful cover for it!
Here's some more info on it courtesy of SciFiGuy.ca:
A stunning anthology of the very best of steampunk that's taking teen fiction by storm. Bestselling romance editor Trisha Telep brings an exciting new element to the fast-growing sub-genre of steampunk, which bends and blends the old and the new in increasingly popular dark urban fantasies. Young heroes and heroines battle evil, in various forms with the help of super-technological or supernatural powers, while falling in and out of love.
* Ann Aguirre a bestselling author who writes urban fantasy (the Corine Solomon series from Roc), romantic science fiction (the Jax series from Ace), apocalyptic paranormal romance (as Ellen Connor, writing with Carrie Lofty, from Penguin), paranormal romantic suspense (as Ava Gray from Berkley), and post-apocalyptic dystopian young adult fiction (Razorland and Wireville coming in 2011 from Feiwel & Friends).
* Tessa Gratton, her debut novel Blood Magic arrives in 2011 from Random House Children's Books, followed by the companion Crow Magic in 2012.
* Jaclyn Dolamore is the debut author of Magic Under Glass from Bloomsbury USA.
* Lesley Livingston is the award-winning author of Wondrous Strange and Darklight, the first two books in the bestselling trilogy from HarperCollins.
* Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Iron Codex trilogy, a Lovecraftian steampunk adventure.
* Dru Pagliassotti’s first novel Clockwork Heart was one of the first in the rising new genre of steampunk romance and was named by Library Journal as one of the five steampunk novels to read in 2009.
* Dia Reeves is the debut author of the critically acclaimed YA Bleeding Violet.
* Michael Scott is the Irish-born, New York Times bestselling author of the six part epic fantasy series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.
* Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study) about a young woman forced to become a poison taster.
* Tiffany Trent the author of the acclaimed YA dark fantasy series Hallowmere, which was an IndieBound Children's Pick and a New York Public Library Book of the Teen Age 2008.
* Kiersten White is the debut author of Paranormalacy, the first book in a new trilogy, which was published by HarperTeen in August of 2010.
* Adrienne Kress, is the author of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Adrienne will be contributing her writing to two anthologies out next year:
"Corsets and Clockwork" (Running Press Kids, May 10, 2011), a Steampunk YA Romance short story anthology.
. . . and . . .
An essay anthology analysing the bestselling YA Dystopian series The Hunger Games, (Smart Pop, April 2011)
So you see, I am working to meet those two deadlines which are coming up very soon, along with working on my current WIP.
I am also dealing with an insane cat. Who thinks this is him being clever (if you listen closely you can hear him purring):
WORST. HIDING. EVER.
Friday, September 10, 2010
But I have time today to at least give you all your Friday Roundup!
As you guys know I'm pretty interested in women's issues in general, but in particular the publishing world (see previous blog entry "Gender in Publishing"). In my mind there is still a very evident bias against female authors despite women being the primary consumers of books. And even though the publishing industry is roughly 80% female, that 20% male seems to dominate the top positions in the industry. It fascinates me. And evidently not only me. Here are some recent articles on the subject of women and our fiction:
The Atlantic - All the Sad Young Literary Women
Women and Hollywood - If Women Like It, It Must Be Stupid
The Huffington Post - Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner Speak Out On Franzen Feud
And now on a totally different note . . .
Here is a post by Lucienne Diver about how it takes a village to publish a book, and why that makes self publishing even a harder route to take. I like this article especially as it really defines well the roles of different people who work at a publishing house.
Here are two links to some fabulous covers that just get you all excited about writing again: Minimalist Covers and Typographic Covers.
Finally here is an awesome article on how to use Book Trailers effectively. Considering book trailers are still very new, people are still learning the ropes and I find the whole thing interesting to watch develop. Especially as I just happen to be starting a book trailer making company with a couple of friends (this wasn't just on a whim, we are involved in the film industry anyway, and thought this could be something very interesting to get on board with).
Here are two of our trailers, try to spot me in each :) :
WATCH - Robert J. Sawyer
DARKLIGHT - Lesley Livingston
Lastly, today is Atticus's 5 month birthday, so happy birthday little dude!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Author Adrienne Kress announces her return to blogging after a two and a half month hiatus with a GENIUS blog post about what it feels like to be in Limbo Land . . .
WriteOnCon was last week and here's a particularly interesting panel about Myths and Misconceptions regarding the publishing industry with agent Holly Root and editors Molly O'Neill and Martha Mihalick.
Agent Kristin Nelson shares with us her tale of an author behaving badly. I post this only to help make you feel superior in the knowledge that even if you are facing frustrating rejection from agents right now, at least you're not this guy. Unless of course you are. And in that case, dude, seriously, what were you thinking??
Agent Jessica Faust explains that while referrals can help get you through the door, in the end it's your work that matters most.
Agent Janet Reid explains why not all advice on the net is equal and that even good advice doesn't suit everyone.
Editor Reagan Arthur reminds us that editors can make mistakes.
SlushpileHell remains all kinds of awesome - check it out for your daily fix: http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/
Agency Gatekeeper decries her love for books (as in printed and not e), and Ray Bradbury has strong opinions about the Kindle.
The Huffington Post calls Toronto "The New Capital of Cool" (this has nothing to do with publishing, everything to do with my city).
And while I'm on the subject of my city, see Scott Pilgrim vs the World. It is a wonderful movie, absolutely ridiculous (and maybe a little short on depth), incredibly well made and hilarious. Please. See it. Let Hollywood know that we like original inventive clever film making. Otherwise they won't let us play with nice things . . .
Here's my Scott Pilgrim avatar:
Thursday, August 19, 2010
It might seem odd to have a blog post entitled "Introspection" as for the most part I tend to find the purpose of blogs in general is just that. To whatever degree, a blog is meant to be an online journal in some capacity - even if the opinions expressed extend no further than a book review, people in their blogs are trying to share a part of who they are with the world at large. Hence the often asked question by a blogger starting out, "Who would want to read about my personal thoughts anyway?"
Actually, I imagine in this day and age that question isn't as oft asked as it ought to be. We live in a time when the question is more like, "Who wouldn't want to read about my personal thoughts!" Which, of course, isn't really a question in the first place.
But I digress.
Needless to say calling an individual post "Introspection" in a medium that is sort of all about that just that seems a little redundant. But I'm calling it that. So there.
And maybe now I'll move onto the post itself, and stop this analysis of the name of said post. I mean, I know I write long posts, but this could get ridiculous: Now I think I'll analyse why I used my first sentence . . . oy vey I say, oy vey.
You may have noticed, or at least I flatter myself to think you may have noticed, that I have been absent since May. I haven't really. I've been here, at my desk, every day for the last two and a half months. And I have contemplated posting a blog entry at least once a week. But I haven't. Obviously. Until now.
Why now? Not so sure exactly. Maybe sheer procrastination, but I have procrastinated many a time before this. I'm not sure I can answer that question really.
But what I did want to answer was the question: why not before now?
Because, as ever, I think it serves as an interesting educational tool. As those of you who read my blog regularly know, I don't tend to post about things that I don't find have a value outside of a "hey this is what's new with me" kind of thing. I like to teach, hopefully touch upon something that one or two of you will find sincerely interesting. Okay, to be fair, sometimes I just advertise myself and my work as well here, but I think I'm allowed that every once in a while. It is my blog after all.
Why not before now, then. Why not before now.
I've been having a very interesting time, of late, with my writing career. I have been, for several months now, stuck in a kind of limbo land. And it is upon having spent a fair amount of time here (and I'm still in limbo land btw, I've gotten to know the community, the store has this brand of yogurt I really like, basically I've set down some roots you see) that I thought there might be something worth saying about it.
Because you often hear about the trials of getting published. Or the success/horror stories after the fact. But I do think it's rare indeed that we speak of the limbo land. The land of nothing in particular bad happening, but then again nothing particular good happening. The land of nothing in particular happening at all.
And I know I'm not the only one who has visited (though I can't speak to whether others have spent quite so long as I have here, like I said, really like the yogurt), and I tend to feel in general that the things I go through and the feelings I feel are likely felt and shared with others. I hardly flatter myself in thinking I am the only person to be going through something. So I thought I'd share a bit about my personal experience here.
Limbo land is a strange place. And I can only speak of it in relation to what I've been going through. Which is what I plan on doing. Now.
To begin: I have two books published (this in and of itself is a crazy amazing thing). Two books which I think are rather good if I do say so myself, which I am honoured to say have been very well received, which have even been nominated for (and in some cases won) various awards. This is all good. I have a wonderful new agent, I have a lovely relationship with my publishers. I think in general my reputation within the industry is quite sound, but it helps that there is a great deal of mutual respect involved.
I do readings, I am invited to conventions, I speak to people on all topics, even if I haven't been asked to, and I go to parties and meet the coolest people in the industry.
This is all well and good. And it should be enough right? It's all pretty darn swell right?
It is. And I thoroughly enjoy all of it.
But here's the thing. I'm an author. I am not a convention goer. I am not an autograph giver. I write books. More importantly, while I love my books that have been published, I am not the writer of two books and that's it. I am not Harper Lee (in more ways than one, especially with regards to the whole literary genius thing - though my kitty is called Atticus). I am an author. With other ideas in my brain. Other stories to share. And two complete novels. No, not ALEX and TIMOTHY. I'm talking two other complete novels. One Adult, one YA. I am actually the author of four books would you believe. I personally find it rather hard for me to believe it myself as I never thought I'd be able to write one let alone four.
And I want to sell these books. My agent and I have been working steadily on doing so. But it's been tough. It's been tough for a lot of people. The economy is not in a good place, publishers are being even more picky in what they choose to publish (as well they should), and so I have been faced with some rejection. And this happens. To everyone. So my agent and I keep along, subbing my books, in the ever hopeful hope . . . yes . . . hopeful hope . . . that someone will want to publish them.
And this is where you enter Limbo land.
As anyone trying to get an agent, trying to get a publisher, trying to get into university, trying to get a job . . . as any of you know, when you are in the submission process the wait can just become a huge burden in and of itself. The wait has weight. It seems like an almost physical entity. And it's really tough to focus on other things, like, for example, writing a blog.
But life goes on. And it isn't altogether bad. You continue as an author with your published books, giving talks, going to events. You spend time with your friends, your family. You turn 30. You see wonderful movies. And you learn that you have been accepted into two anthologies (one for short stories, and another, an essay anthology about The Hunger Games - LOVE me my Hunger Games, SO excited about MONCKINGJAY!! . . . but I digress . . .). And this is all good.
Still. You are an author of novels. You want to be published again.
And still nothing (neither good nor bad) happens.
Then, like the professional you are, you decide to write another book. Because that's the one thing you have control over. You also decide in your blog post to go from second person back to first person as it's starting to get annoying. Ehem. I decide to write another book. And on working on that, I come up with an idea for another book, and so write the proposal for that.
And still . . . nothing happens.
And still nice other things happen, good food, fun birthday parties.
Life isn't bad. But life is also frustrating you. Life just is. And you want something to just happen.
For me, I have been in this kind of space for a while now. Relishing the moments I get with ALEX and TIMOTHY, but knowing deep down that I want to have other work published. That I want readers to get to know other facets of my writing. That I have other stories to tell that I think are equally fantabulous. And that, let's be honest, I really want to see the covers for. Because covers are awesome. I don't want to have only had one chance at publication with the ALEX series. But I am beyond grateful I had that chance in the first place.
So you can see what a strange place this is to be in. On the one hand living the dream of so many would be authors, and on the other hand everything seeming static, seeming immovable.
You can see why it is difficult to blog under such circumstances as you don't want to appear ungrateful for what you have. But you know that it isn't wrong to have ambition either. And you know that other writers, in whatever stage they might be in with their careers, understand the drive to share one's work with others. A lack of news (either good or bad) makes posting updates impossible, and when one goes through limbo land, well the thoughtful posts become tricky too.
Because the thoughts one has in limbo land are of every nature. I have thought every thought in the book. I have been giddy with excitement upon starting work on a new idea. I have been zen in thinking, "This too shall pass." I have also felt upset, understandably. I have felt quiet confidence. I have felt loud confidence. I have felt hungry.
I feel hungry a lot.
And to blog about these feelings in the moment of these feelings is to be the worst kind of self indulgent. So I didn't blog.
And yet I blog today.
What's the moral of the story? It's hard to say as the story isn't over. I am still in limbo land, I am still fighting personal demons and I am still working on the next project. I suppose the moral of the story is, if you are feeling somewhat similar, if you have been going through, not exactly a rough patch, but a patch of nothingness, that you aren't alone. And that just because limbo land is a bit more complicated a place than totally awesome land and totally terrible land, it doesn't mean that we as writers don't have to contend with being here as well on occasion.
I also think it is important to stress the whole moving onto another project thing. Because I know the days I am happiest in limbo land are when I'm excited about a new work. Days like those I am even grateful to be in limbo land because I have the time to work on this new bit of writing, and am not burdened by edits, or negotiations, or promotion. And I don't mean that facetiously. Edits etc are great in their own way, but sometimes you get so involved with the other parts of publishing that you find yourself getting pulled further and further away from the act of just telling stories. Which is why we became authors in the first place.
In any event. I'm not asking for any sympathy whatsoever in my posting about limbo land. Like I said already, it isn't altogether bad. And I would hardly ask anyone for sympathy when in general my life is quite delightful especially compared to many. All I wanted to do was post about something that isn't often talked about. The uncomfortable place of not being totally content, nor totally miserable. The place where some ambitions have been achieved, but many more still sit off in the distance. A place we all visit, but we hope not to stay too long.
Limbo land. Like Disneyland except there are no rides, no cotton candy, no mascots. No awesome. But . . . the yogurt is outstanding.
(I was also thinking, if any of you have had a similar limbo land experiences and want to share your thoughts in the comments section, I think people would appreciate knowing they were not alone)
As for the blog, well my hope is that I'm back for a while now. I have been collecting links, so I will share some with you tomorrow as per my old habit of posting links on Fridays. I have been also collecting brain stuff, by which I mean thoughts, and have a couple blog entries planned on a variety of subjects.
The basic gist is . . . I'm back. Though I was never really gone.
And I really did miss you guys.
Also here is a picture of my new kitty Atticus (have had him for two and a half weeks), who right now thinks my typing on the computer is a game where he gets to chase my fingers. Oh what fun.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
It's the Book Expo of America. THE big book trade show convention/conference in the States (akin to the London Book Fair, and Frankfurt). These days, with the economy etc, it is taking place in NY yearly, as opposed to switching locations every year.
I've been three times. The first was to sign arcs of ALEX, the second for TIMOTHY's release and the third . . .well this time I signed copies of both! TIMOTHY was also nominated for an Audie Award (which is the Audio Book industry's equivalent of the Oscars I guess) and I thought it would be kinda sweet to go to that too.
And now follows the tale of my adventures:
I arrived in NY on Monday the 24th . . .
. . . and met up with two fellow author buddies staying at the same hotel, Mr. Lee Edward Fodi and Mr James McCann. They were both signing at the expo too, but also have a podcast called Authors Like Us where they interview authors, so were wearing two hats as it were. Actually they only wore one hat each, James a fedora, Lee a wizard's cap (this is something they do, don't ask), but you get that what I meant earlier was more metaphorical like right?
We grabbed a bite to eat, and then were all touristy, walking up past the Empire State Building, Bryant Park and onwards to Time Square . . .
. . . where we proceeded to take very thoughtful pictures of ourselves on the stairs:
We took a brief sleep break in our tourist schedule, and then the next morning . . . we were tourists again. This time we walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park, stopping in St. Patrick's Cathedral on the way.
We had lunch in the park and then returned downtown to the Empire State Building which we went up. I hadn't been up since I was 15 and the security had changed somewhat since then. Pretty intense. But we were lucky it was mid day on a weekday and didn't have to wait too long in line for the elevators, maybe only 20 minutes.
The views were amazing.
Here they are:
Then we all returned to the hotel. I had to get ready to go to the Audie Awards, and Lee and James had a book store event to get to. I needed a couple hours at least to do my hair. I'm not very good at doing my hair. See I wanted to just put it up, that's it, nothing fancy, but even that takes way too much time. Still I was very proud of myself for having done it, and it looked not bad, not bad at all.
Now here are a couple pics of what I pretty much looked like. I say pretty much because technically these pictures were taken at my friend Emily's wedding from a couple weeks back in Vancouver (yes, I've been all over the place, hence the lack of blogging) and I wore the same dress to the Audie Awards. However I neglected to get any full body shots of me at the awards, so I'm using these so you can see the finished ensemble. My hair looked pretty similar too.
I met Brilliance Audio producer Tim Ditlow (my date for the evening) and we cabbed it up to the Museum of New York. I must admit the name of this museum kind of confused me as it implied it was the only museum in New York and we all know that's simply not true. Now if it had been the Museum of Meaford (where my cottage is), that would make sense. Of course when I arrived I realised that it was a museum dedicated to the history of New York. Which made a lot more sense.
Now Tim knows EVERYBODY in the audio book world. Seriously. So it was so cool hanging out with him and getting to meet . . . everybody. Also, some trivia, Tim worked on the audio books of Harry Potter and that's just like so totally cool.
I had such a fantastic time at the awards, with all the different groups of people there. I found the audio book gang fascinating, it was so interesting hearing about what their jobs are like and what goes into producing an audio book. The librarians there, many of whom were judges, were so delightful. I really love librarians in general, there's really no one who quite shares their love and enthusiasm of books. And of course the nominated narrators were great to speak with as well as they were all actors and we have that in common so it was great getting to know them.
Now, I will say I didn't win the award. But I'm not too fussed about that. Getting shortlisted is a pretty huge coup considering how long the long list is, and I got to meet some awesome people. Sadly I did not get to meet my narrator for TIMOTHY - Christopher Lane - but my hope is someday I shall.
In all I felt so welcome, and it was such a lovely event, out on the terrace with the best food (lobster ravioli my friends, lobster ravioli). And the after party was at the Hudson which is just about the coolest hotel in New York.
Some pics of the event (you should know I'm TERRIBLE with names, so the pics where I have mentioned people's names are seriously because they had given me their cards. This isn't to say I didn't totally adore everyone I met, and don't feel totally stupid for not being good at remembering names, it's just this thing with me. I don't know why. I even had a long discussion with one of the librarians about it, and said her name several times . . . and I STILL can't remember it. Seriously. Something's wrong with me. Anyway . . . just trust me that despite not having everyone's names, I really did think they were all equally awesome):
Me and actor Dion Graham who won for his narration of PEACE: LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson. Very charming man, and lovely.
I slept in the next morning and made my way over towards the convention site to meet my amazing gorgeous legs-all-the-way-down-to-the-floor agent Jessica Regel for lunch. I'd met her in NY before when she was repping my wonderful friend Lesley Livingston (well, she still does rep her of course), but it was so cool to get to chat in person, as it was the first time since she signed me on that we had. We discussed many things, none of which I can really share here with my superstitions and all, but she did inspire a pretty cool next book idea which I'm looking forward to playing with.
At this point in the game I'd like to reiterate my request to all my lovely blog readers to keep your fingers firmly crossed as my other books are still on submission and need as much luck as possible. Thank you. I'll let you know when you can uncross them, I realise you might be getting a bit uncomfortable like that.
Then I met up with Lee and James. They interviewed me for their podcast. I was delightful. Then we headed over to the Houndstooth Pub to meet some fellow children's book authors from the Verla Kay writing forum for authors of Children's/YA lit. We'd met up last year, and it was so weird that a whole year had already passed.
Very quickly the room got quite full as we had purposefully decided to choose the same location as the KidLit event, organised by editor Cheryl Klein - an event that brings together authors, editors and agents of children's and YA fiction. Totally fab.
It was there that my dear friend Peter Brown and I were reunited after I'd say probably two years. You might remember him from a while back. He's the children's book author and illustrator whose work I saw online and was so impressed with I just had to send him an email. We started a correspondence and then became friends, meeting up in NY and then again in St Louis coincidentally at the same event. Anyway, it was so good to see him again! He's doing really well, had just won TWO awards.
I got to talk to many other authors and agents and editors, all of whom were seriously delightful. I really have to say, the children's/YA book industry is just the most supportive group. Truly. It's so much fun hanging out with everyone involved.
Then it was hotel for an early night, and then the Book Expo the next morning.
They keep telling me that the expo has changed significantly in recent years. This year for example it was mid week and only two days long. They say it's smaller now, not like the good ol' days. But every time I've gone it has seemed just as huge and chaotic as ever.
I met up with Judy Hottensen (publisher of Weinstein Books) and we made our way over to the Perseus Books section - Weinstein has recently merged with them. Now I love signing books. I do. I love it because I always meet the nicest people, everyone is always in such a good mood, and there is much joking around.
But let me tell you something else . . . evidently I also totally rock at it. You see my friends, I signed 200 books in an hour and a half. I'm not sure, but I feel like that could be a record. Everyone at Perseus at least seemed impressed. What's even more impressive is I'm able to have full conversations with everyone I sign for. Yes. I really do talk that fast. It's really something to see. Also I think probably a little terrifying. To be honest, I'm not quite sure if I'm having conversations or whether it's just me talking really fast and the other person humouring me but having no clue what it is I'm saying.
Seriously though, it was such a whirlwind that I had no idea how much time had passed nor that I had signed that many books. Like I said earlier, I just really have so much fun doing it. I mean, come on, it's seriously one of an author's biggest joys, getting to meet people who enjoy your work. Especially considering writing is such a solitary pursuit, and we don't really get to see the response first hand. How can you not enjoy signing books really? It's kind of a serious honour.
After that I wandered around the centre for a while, went over to the Brilliance Booth and said hey to Tim. I also randomly wandered into Rob Weisbach who was my former editor at Weinstein Books and who has always been so supportive of me and my writing, even after he left the company. That was a real joy getting to see him, especially as it was pure luck that we ran into each other.
And then I was done. I returned to the hotel to hang out with a friend from LAMDA for an hour (he had just sold a book himself, so plan on hearing about him here in future as his book comes out etc), and then off to the airport.
Where my flight wound up being delayed several hours due to a thunderstorm.
I made it home. Eventually. To a very hot apartment.
Oh that's another thing, NY was insanely hot last week, quite overwhelming, but Toronto even more so evidently. And I don't have air conditioning. Oy vey I say. Oy vey.
So that is the tale from this year. I hope you all enjoyed it! I know I had a great time. Thanks again to everyone, especially Judy and Tim who were responsible for me being there in first place! And of course Lee and James, who kept me company despite my constantly picking on them. Which I did.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I'm in New York at the moment for the Book Expo of America (aka BEA - yay! Love this time of year :) ) and just wanted to do some shameless self promotion.
Just self promotion.
I feel no shame about this at all:
Thursday, May 27,
11:00AM - 12:00PM
Signing both ALEX and TIMOTHY
Location: Jacob K. Javits Center
Booth 4225 Perseus Books Group
If you're around at all, please do come by and say hi! Would be lovely to meet some of you in person.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
We begin with one of the perks of running a blog. I was contacted a while ago by Sarah at LuShae Jewelry with a most interesting proposition. Basically she offered to send me a piece of her jewelry of my choice in exchange for me reviewing it here on my blog. Since I admire people with such an entrepreneurial spirit, and since I'll never say no to free jewelry. . . I said no.
No no no, of course I said yes. Who wouldn't say yes? I also said I would have to be totally honest in my review, as I know how much all my lovely readers depend on my verisimilitude.
I chose this piece:
I chose it for its elegance. It's sparkly-ness. And also for its totally awesome name.
It arrived in a timely fashion and . . . I ADORE it. I'm being totally honest here folks. It's good quality, the picture does it complete justice, and man does it sparkle. Here I am, wearing it:
If there was one small issue I have with the piece, it's the chain which I found personally a bit short, and is unfortunately not removable. But it's a small quibble for an otherwise really lovely piece. So thank you to Sarah at LuShae Jewelry, and I would recommend for people to check out their site. I had a very difficult time choosing which piece I wanted, the selection is just wonderful.
Last week I attended the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference in Ottawa. It was three days of teaching writing workshops to kids and it was great fun. I'd never taught a writing workshop before - we had six to do in 3 days (!) (I've done presentations and readings to schools, and I've taught a heck of a lot of drama), so I was a little nervous on the first day. It all worked out wonderfully well though, and I made some lovely new author/illustrator friends:
Lee Edward Fodi
The event was very well organised, and everyone involved was just so lovely and, quite frankly, hilarious. Thanks again to everyone at MASC. It was a truly fab experience.
Also . . .
Check out the AWESOME Indonesian cover of ALEX - total movie poster quality:
I am now a redhead. A subtle redhead. But a redhead nonetheless. Here is proof (though the colour in these pics is a bit dull for some reason, meh, use your imagination):
Monday, April 19, 2010
The show was written by the awesome JM Frey and directed by Stephanie Lalonde, and starred, of course, the kids from Quaker Road school. It was AWESOME!!
Aside from the performances which were fantastic and hilarious, I also found it fascinating to watch an interpretation of my work. Frey and Lalonde weren't concerned with being too literal with the book (something which bugs me about many an adaptation, I loved the liberties Jackson took with Lord of the Rings but personally found the Narnia films quite boring in their very straight from page to screen adaptation), and while they kept the essential story and structure in tact, it was great fun to see the changes they made to turn 300 some pages into a 45 minute play. Some of the new stuff they added was just hilarious, and very much in the same tone as my original writing which was pretty cool.
The kids did a great job getting into character, and really seemed to be loving every second. And quite frankly I think I enjoyed the set changes almost as much as the action on stage.
In all it was a very moving experience, a little overwhelming to be honest, and a seriously good time. So thank you to everyone at Quaker Road School, it was such an honour to see so many passionate and ridiculous people who cared about my book. I do so adore passionate and ridiculous people :) .
Warning - there are a few spoilers in the following pictures. I'm serious, if you haven't read the book yet and want to, you might want to stop reading my post here:
The dastardly Daughters of the Founding Fathers' Preservation Society (sitting in front of the portrait of Mrs. Steele).
The Extremely Ginormous Octopus (evidently he wears white sneakers).
The play comes to its exciting climax!
FYI - I'm going to be in Ottawa this week for the MASC Young Authors Conference. As part of the event I'll be doing a public reading at the Alta Vista Branch of the Ottawa Public Library system on Tuesday April 20th (tomorrow), at 1:45pm for those of you who might be interested and in the vicinity.