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I am typing this on a plane on my way to Australia. I had planned to go to Australia to keep Amanda company. Amanda is, however, now not going to Australia until Autumn. Life is odd, sometimes. She will be in Cambridge, dreaming of the warmth and missing Australia, and I'll be in Australia, performing on stages -- even doing something unlikely with David Byrne -- while being a bit wistful for home.
I was on the stage of the Carnegie Hall last night. It wasn't my show -- it was more fun that that. It was John and Hank Green's show, An Evening of Awesome, and I felt like I was going to their party (and boy, can they throw a party). I had quite possibly the best time that any author except John Green has ever had standing on the stage of the Carnegie Hall, and I hugged Kimya Dawson and hugged Hannah Hart, and the Mountain Goats played and...
...ah, just watch the video if you want to know what it was all about. It starts 35 minutes in. (And my first bit starts about 1:43).
I gave copies of Chu's Day to some of the people on the stage who had very small children.
Chu's Day went straight onto the New York Times list at #2 today, which is good.
But... there was a problem. I had noticed on the Amazon page that people were reporting that they were getting copies with water-rippled interior pages. And some of them were sending them back and getting more water-warped copies to replace them with. This was odd. I asked on Twitter and discovered that, yes, this had happened to people who got their copies of Chu's Day in places other than Amazon. I let Harper Children's know, and they did some SherlockHolmesing around. My editor Rosemary told me what they discovered. She explained, ...we believe that when the copies left the bindery in China, they were fine, but they arrived in the U.S. during Hurricane Sandy. The cartons of books were stuck on the ship, as the ship was unable to come into port, and so the tremendous humidity in the air caused a ripple effect on the pages of some of the books. The ship was unable to dock until November 9. There is no actual water damage on the books, or water-to-paper contact, but we have seen some ripples in a few copies that would be caused by humid air. The copies that shipped to us by air from the bindery were all fine, so the problem must have occurred on the ship.
HarperChildren have already gone back to press on the book twice, with the first reprinting due in to the US this week, and they are shipping out pristine copies of Chu's Day to their accounts to replace any Sandy-damaged copies. As Rosemary continued,
[the new printing] will ship directly from the bindery to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. We are not wasting time by shipping to our warehouse and then to our accounts...
So if you got a hurricane-marked copy, you should be able to replace it very easily very soon. And we are very sorry.
Two Australian things: There are still tickets left for Sydney on the 25th. The first half of the evening will be all about Ocean at the End of the Lane. The second half will be stories and Q&A, and FourPlay and possibly even some songs. Tickets at this link.
More importantly, on the 21st, it's the Mona Bushfire Fundraiser Concert. The Tasmanian fires have been terrible things, and I've already been working with my publishers to get books to students at this school:
Probably you want to see me and Jherek Bischoff with special guest David Byrne doing some weird and wonderful stuff on stage. (We have over an hour to fill. We have plans. They will be weird. They will be wonderful.) But we are only a very small part of the entertainment:
All profits from the concert go to the Australian Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfires 2013 Appeal. Production costs kept low by the generous donation of time and services by dozens of companies and individuals.
Mona and MONA FOMA staff are hosting the event. Suppliers will provide equipment and services, including artist accommodation; volunteers will staff the concert, and artists are performing for free. Mona has waived ticket booking fees and is giving all food and bar profits from the evening to the Red Cross.
Cupid scours a trove of demographic data to guide his arrows. This Valentine’s Day, let Social Explorer help you map your way to love.
Look up information on the 59.7 million available men and 67.4 million available women across the nation (available meaning unmarried, divorced, separated or widowed). These bachelors and bachelorettes can be sorted by age group, geography and more as you develop your demographic dating plan.
Map of 2010 American Community Survey Never Married Population
She also has a thing for arty types, and can keep an eye out for areas with more men in that occupation by consulting the “Sex by Industry” table. More into an outdoorsy crowd? Try areas with larger numbers of men or women in farming, fishing and forestry.
Check out Social Explorer’s maps and reports for more information on dating possibilities in your neighborhood and beyond. It’s the perfect opportunity to try out our custom colors in pink, red and more.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Social Explorer!
Sydney Beveridge is the Media and Content Editor for Social Explorer, where she works on the blog, curriculum materials, how-to-videos, social media outreach, presentations and strategic planning. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
This Day in World History - One of the twentieth century’s most recognizable buildings, the Sydney Opera House, officially opened on October 20, 1973. The Opera House, situated on the shores of Sydney Harbor and with a striking roof line, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the comment that the building “brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation in both architectural form and structural design.”
We had a great time in the Blue Mountains, so I thought I’d share some snaps and movies with you guys.
The Blue Mountains’ most famous landmark is probably the Three Sisters, which are not in fact siblings but three sticky-uppy rocks. Early-rising tourists are rewarded by seeing them backdropped against the awesome mist coming up from the Megalong Valley.
Yes, it’s called the Megalong Valley, but not because it’s mega-super-duper-long. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “Valley Under The Rock.” (Well, it was thought by early European explorers to mean “Valley Under The Rock,” but early European explorers don’t really have a good track record with this stuff. Megalong could also mean, “Why are you asking me all these stupid questions, easily sunburnt invader?”)
In any case, the Three Sisters are cool:
As you can see, the valley is almost completely unspoiled. No roads in, so you descend into it with a vertiginous walk down among the Sisters.
Yes, that walkway looks crowded, but the valley below is huge. Even mega-huge. So it’s easy to find yourself completely alone after walking down a few paths. Well, alone except for the ubiquitous bellbirds, so named for their bell-like cries.
Turn up your volume and put on headphones for this video, the bellbirds make a strange and awesome sound. This is only two singing here, but when the whole forest is full of their cries, it makes for a mesmerizing soundscape.
This is my new iPhone wallpaper, because I love me some Australian bark:
We also saw a lyrebird. They are excellent mimics, but this one was quietly digging for grubs, and so did not mimic, or even taunt us.
For those of you who worry about such things, the collective noun is “a musket of lyrebirds.” They have cool tails.
As we climbed out of the valley, I got this shot, proving that the Blue Mountains is beautiful. Not bad for a place only 90 minutes from Sydney.
Of course, whenever new covers appear online, they create dissent and controversy. Fans mostly don’t like new looks for books, because the old covers are the ones they’re used to. If you’re a fan, after all, that old look was probably the reason you picked up the books in the first place!
So really, the new covers aren’t for fans at all. You guys already HAVE my books, after all. These are for all the people who’ve never picked up Uglies because the old covers looked boring or stupid to them. Maybe they never even noticed the series on the shelves. It’s for non-fans (who probably don’t read this blog) that this new look exists.
So feel free to complain!
For me the Original Style covers are still classics, but I get why S&S has to hit the refresh button after, what, six years? And you have to admit that these new covers are very lovely indeed, and are unified in a way the Original Flavor ones weren’t. (Pretties had a different designer than the other three, in fact. You can tell.) The new ones also have a cool, clinical feel that nails a lot of what the series is about.
But I will take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Rodrigo Corral for his awesome work on the first cover of Uglies. Covers matter, and a lot of you, possibly many thousands, would never have seen the Uglies series without his strokes of genius. And that would mean less food, clothing, and shelter for me. And I like food, clothing, and shelter.
So, thanks, Rodrigo. The rest of you should click here for an archive of his other work. I think you’ll agree that the dude rocks.
The postings have been slim here. Justine and I have done our bisummeral relocation to Sydney, where the weather is rather better than it is in New York.
I haz proof:
Yes, this is the view from where I work. Neener-neener.
Check this out. It is TOTALLY FAKE, but cool.
JarredSpekter of Deviant Art.
And it comes with this awesome FAKE poster, also by Jarred:
I quite like the fake movie trailer/poster art form.
But yes, this is me just being lazy, posting random stuff. I GET TO BE LAZY. I’ve been traveling all over the world the last few months, after all. And I’ve spent the last week working on a s3krit project, which I can’t even tell you about. (Yes, so why tell you that I can’t tell you? I dunno. Just to sound cool, I guess.)
Oh, also! Those of you who are e-book readers (or who know one) here’s a cool new thing:
In her new book, “Mirror”, Jeannie celebrates the differences that makes up the diversity of world cultures and the elements that unite us, the bonds of family and the mundanities of every day life.
Even the presentation, as two books united within one cover, highlights ’same and different’, but highlights it in a way that draws us closer to both families, the traditional Moroccan family and the modern Australian family.
Turning pages of each book simultaneously, reveals parallel aspects of the daily lives of these very different families. We see them with the intimacy and immediacy of a fly on the wall. They are at work, at meals, settling for the night, shopping and sharing. The colours are luminous and the details absorptive. Words are superfluous!
I have always been a fan of Jeannie Baker’s beautiful, evocative, detailed collages. This latest book is a treasure!
“Mirror” by Jeannie Baker, Walker Books, ISBN 978-1-4063-0914-0.
Everything is moving along towards tomorrow night's Sydney Opera House gig. There were about 100 seats (out of about 2000) left the last time I checked, and if you're thinking of coming tomorrow night, you should grab them fast.
The Opera House had wanted a signing, but hadn't really thought through the logistics of 2000 people, or if even only half of them wanted something signed, or the keeping on of staff, or keeping spaces open for hours while people lined up and shuffled forward, and when they realised what was involved very sensibly decided that no, they wouldn't have a signing on Saturday night.
So I went to the Kinokuniya bookshop yesterday afternoon after the Triple J interview with The Doctor (it's up at http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/thedoctor/) and I signed 2000 books by me. Everything they had. EVERYTHING. So anyone coming on Saturday night can get a signed book. Probably anyone in Sydney who wants anything signed by me next week will just have to go into Kinokuniya and take your choice.
This is some of them, when I was done (they'd already wheeled some of them away).
If you are on a plane to Australia today and you hear the sound of weeping coming from a nearby seat, it will be me, fighting to lose ten pages from a pretty tight script. (I bet I will lose two or three pages easily. Then the pain will start.)
I leave you with this remarkably photoshopped Russian magazine cover. (You can see the line on the left where my real hair stops and an enlarged version begins.)
What puzzles me mostly is, my hair is weird enough anyway. Why make it weirder?
As of 2:30 this morning I was certain I'd be blogging again today. I'd just sent off the finished draft of the Doctor Who script, and I was done.
Then I got up somewhat later this morning, and read an email from my script editor at the BBC a) giving me a thumbs up for all the new stuff [which I wrote for practical and budget reasons, but will, I think, actually be much cooler than the stuff it replaced] and b) having formatted everything correctly according to BBC rules, letting me know that the script's actually a good ten pages too long.
So there will be another draft, over the next couple of days. By the end of it, all redundancies, slow bits, things that can be thrown overboard, or lines of dialogue that the author is particularly proud of will have gone, and it will be ten correctly formatted pages shorter.
And I will keep them in reserve in case they call to tell me that the episode's coming in short, and can I write three pages of sudden conversation?
The PDF file is Judge Crabb's ruling on the matter that Todd wanted brought back before the court -- the question of accounting for the characters that Todd felt weren't even a bit derivative, and which I thought were not just derivative of the characters I had created for him, but in one case, actually was the same character I'd created. In her ruling Judge Crabb said, yes, she thought so too...
The two characters are similar enough to suggest that either Dark Ages (McFarlane) Spawn is derivative of Medieval (Gaiman) Spawn or it is the same character to which plaintiff owns the copyright.
Much as defendant tries to distinguish the two knight Hellspawn, he never explains why, of all the universe of possible Hellspawn incarnations, he introduced two knights from the same century. Not only does this break the Hellspawn “rule” that Malebolgia never returns a Hellspawns to Earth more than once every 400 years (or possibly every 100 years, as suggested in Spawn, No. 9, exh. #1, at 4), it suggests that what defendant really wanted to do was exploit the possibilities of the knight introduced in issue no. 9. (This possibility isAdd a Comment
Last week there was a short piece in MTV News’s Hollywood Crush last week about the Uglies movie. Let me quote it:
Industry sources have confirmed to MTV News exclusively that Screen Gems, in the wake of the success of its current release “Dear John,” is developing — and in fact, fast tracking (!) — a film version of “The Uglies” series.
While there haven’t been any decisions made regarding things like casting yet, we can tell you that our source said production of the movie is planned for later this year. That means we will all hopefully know soon enough who could be playing the beloved teen Tally Youngblood in the futuristic, meaningful tale about a dystopian society that places an incredible emphasis on looks.
In the words of my Hollywood agent, fast-tracking means, “it’s on the list of projects that they are hoping to make vs. the ones that will never see the light of day.” In other words, this is not a done deal. But it’s a lot better than being in that other, not-so-fast-tracked pile.
Now, some of you are no doubt asking about casting at this point. STOP! I’m the wrong person to ask. Trust me, if I hear anything I will tell you here on this blog, on FB, and on the Twitter machine. But in the meantime, I have nothing to do with casting movies.
If it were up to me, you would all get to play Tally for exactly three seconds of screen time. (And this would be why it’s not up to me.)
Plus, I doubt it’s as far along as this article makes it sound. Like, the casting isn’t going on right now. Probably.
It’s about a girl named Solace who has grown up in foster care her whole life, and who’s always realize that’s she’s kind of . . . different. She doesn’t like the sun, she’s wicked strong, and if she concentrates really hard, she can hear a conversation two blocks over. Then someone starts invading Solace’s dreams, and things get really complicated from there.
It looks like this:
Here’s the launch deets:
Sunday, March 7
Level 2, Galeries Victoria
500 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
I’ll be giving a wee speech about how cool this book is. Of course, I’ll be more than happy to see you guys there and say hi. But please remember that this is Foz’s party, not mine, so buy her book!
It comes out in Australia on March 1. When it finds a US publisher, I’ll let you know.
Sorry that I missed the latest Forum Meet-Up. It was scheduled for early Sunday morning, Sydney time, and I woke up ill. Too ill to type!
But I hope you all had fun. I’ll try to check out the questions you left me, and answer some of them here on the blog.
The ego may have deflated a little since last Wednesday - it had to happen - and the writing may have been slow going (lazy writer syndrome with added excuses) but I still have positive vibes about Grim Glass Vein. So positive, I'm concerned that when I eventually sub it and the no's start coming in, I'm going to hit that beast named despair. Or rather, that beast named despair is going to hit me.
Draft Two currently lingers at 12,161 words and I hope to get another couple hundred words in before I switch off today. At the moment, the note I scrawled onto a post-it keeps distracting me. It reads: Who is the guy with the freckles?
He didn't exist until today and yet I can see him standing up and following Sydney into the school and goodness knows what happens next...
One of the boys, freckles stretching across his nose in a wide band, looked up. "Hey," he started. A girl nudged him in the ribs, and her leg outstretched in an attempt to trip Sydney up. She weaved her way between them and entered the school.
Unfortunately, everytime I read the freckle line I get an image of Adam Ant.
My four year-old nephew, Sydney, loves Disney Channel. One day, he said to my mom, "I want to be on TV with the Jonas Brothers, GiGi." My mom replied, "Baby, if I could get you on TV, I would, but I can't do that." He looked at my mom like she was crazy - like she could do it - and said, "You can, GiGi. Remember Fat Albert. You can break the TV like they did, put me in it, and you can fix the TV back.
"Yesterday, my brother called me. My stubborn nephew (just like my brother) was arguing up and down that the name of the Disney show was not 'Wizards of Waverly Place'. Sydney seems to believe that the name of the show is 'Wizards of Flavorly Flave'. He stands by that name too.
Lots of people wrote to say that a G1 would work, sort of, in my area and that I should get it. A couple of people wrote to say that the stores outside of 3G areas actually weren't being sent the phones yet because of stocking problems and that I should get it. And people wrote to tell me I could buy it online. But mostly I just wanted to play with one and see what I thought.
And, having read another email, I think I may be being sent one now. So will play with it, if it arrives, and will report back here.
People have been writing to ask if I know anything about the Coraline movie video game, but I'm afraid all I know is what I've read in the news links.
If you click on http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=4395 you can watch Michael Dirda introduce me at the National Book Festival on the Mall. And then you can watch me talk about The Graveyard Book, and do a short reading, and then answer questions. I tell the story of how I declined to buy an elbow in China.
Remember the complaint from a reader in Melbourne about the difficulty in getting Graveyard Books there? Well, this just came in from Sydney. It's a shameless plug. Shameless. But seeing I'm currently writing BATMAN in a Moleskin that was a gift from Kinokuniya Sydney the last time I signed there (and in which lots of people wrote nice messages, doodles etc, before it was presented to me) I find myself peculiarly happy to shill for them...
Hi Neil and fans
Wholly molly we can’t wait for the Graveyard book to turn up! The whole front of the store will be stacked high with the hundreds of copies of both editions. And thanks to our friends at Allen & Unwin, we will even have limited stock of the limited edition (hence it being limited). People would have to get in quick before the staff buy them all though!
Our Christmas catalogue even has an “Everyone Loves Neil” section where all Neil Gaiman new releases will be listed i.e. ‘Coraline the Graphic Novel’, ‘Prince of Stories’, ‘The Graveyard Book’ adult and Children’s ed. and ‘The New Annotated Dracula’. Kinokuniya is the one stop shop for everything Neil.
Everyone in Melbourne is welcome to fly up and grab a copy, or you can order through our website www.kinokuniya.com and click the Australia link, we can send it down for just $12.
Steve Jones General Manager Kinokuniya Bookstores of Australia
Talking about shameless things, the wonderful Thea Gilmore is touring the US for the next month, supporting Joe Jackson. On her last tour, if you told her merchandise folk (which was probably her) that you found out about the gig from here, you got a free thingummy of some kind. You could try it this time...
She's the smartest songwriter I know, has an amazing voice, and is astonishingly tall. After I mention her here people write to me and say things like,
i just wanted to mention that i saw theagilmore at the fleece in bristol (uk) last night and was blown away by her talent. her voice just transported me and she's really funny and self-deprecating and the bridge of her nose wrinkles up when she sings which is beautiful to behold. i came to her through you mentioning her here so just to say-thanks! I will take notice of your music recommendations in the future! amanda
thanks for mentioning TheaGilmore the other week. I went to see her play and she was awesome. Gemma
Neil, I am currently reading reports that you and Roger Avary have left 'Black Hole' due to David Fincher taking over the project and having a different idea of how to go about the creative process. As with everything in Hollywood, I take it with a grain of salt. Can you confirm or dispell this news? Thanks. Logan M. G.
It's amazingly old news, and no, it wasn't "creative differences" -- I never met or spoke to David Fincher. Roger and I handed in our last draft of Black Hole last August, before the writer's strike. When the strike was over, I heard from Roger, who had already written a film for David Fincher, that Fincher was on board, but that his method involved having draft after draft written, and then a month or so after that I heard from one of the producers that they'd brought a new writer on who would work cheaper than we would in order that David could have as many drafts as he needed, given that, contractually, Paramount would have to pay for every draft we did. (I don't know if the new writer was starting with the draft that Roger and I did, or starting afresh.) That was almost a year ago. At this point in time, and given how things move in Hollywood, I don't even know if David Fincher is still on board to do Black Hole any longer. Mostly, I just hope that whatever director they wind up with, and whatever script gets shot, it's faithful to Charles Burns' remarkable vision. ...
And finally, another one from, I suspect, a parallel earth:
As a Borders (Waldenbooks, really, but same overall company) employee, I wouldn't blame you if you were calling for a boycott. I understand that it's bad for business, but the business is in bad shape as it is (and they treat us like we aren't people). A boycott might be the difference between whether it goes under or stays afloat, but there is absolutely no reason to be rude to someone who may or may not be calling for a boycott.
As I'm sure you understand, it's hard to sell books that you don't get from the distributors. Because the store I work at usually gets five or fewer copies of new releases, we do a lot of special ordering, and I guess we're lucky because most of the time people are willing to wait the week or two for the books to come in.
Special ordering things has its problems, too, though -- books take a very long time to come in when it says on the order page that both of our suppliers have multiple copies of this book in stock. It's ridiculous. But sometimes it works out nicely and books that are supposedly on back-order come in within a week.
So, I suppose, if people would remember to be patient, that Borders is not stocking some new books wouldn't be such a problem. (Remember: We can order almost anything if it's in print.)
Boycott Borders if you must. We'd prefer it if you didn't, but I'm not going to stop you, and I'm certainly not going to send you hate mail if you do. (Then again, maybe I'm past the point of caring what happens to Borders. There are other places to work.)
It's the bit about how I "may or may not be calling for a boycott" that leaves my head spinning, Sarah. In this universe, I wrote a post explaining why I thought a Boycott of Borders was a very bad idea. And then got hate mail (and now sad "Boycott if you must, it's no secret we're in trouble" mail) from Borders people. Is there some kind of secret Borders messaging board where they discuss this, and decide that what I obviously meant by Don't Boycott Borders They Can't Stock Everything Why Not Support Specialist Stores Who Do Stock That Stuff was Boycott Borders? Tobias Buckell seems to be having the same mysterious problem.
Dinner last night with Margo Lanagan arranged by Allen and Unwin, where she reassured me about Clarion and told me about her new novel (I am excited) and we talked about words and about Australia and about a story I mean to write this year. Then back to the hotel and had a three hour phone call to Bloomsbury in London, calling in the copy-edits on The Graveyard Book. My copy editor was very patient with me, despite the oddness of The Graveyard Book meaning that sometimes things would be a bit counter-intuitive: I had to explain to her how a ten year old (dead) boy could have a twenty year old (dead) grandmother. But most of her queries were wise and smart and (this is important) will make me look good.
A flood of letters from Australians who inform me that I was having my leg pulled over the hamburger thing -- and if you read what I posted and imagine the chef as a dry-humoured assie bloke, that's just how it reads. For example:
> (Unconvinced Five Star Hotel Night Chef.) "If you say so, sir. It's just people here complain if their hamburgers aren't made of ham.
a) chef was sadistic or insane
b) chef had quirky sense of humour
c) balance of your mind disturbed by excessive book signing
d) you were unwitting participant in 'candid camera' equivalent
e) you had accidentally wandered into a neighbouring universe
f) other In Australia, hamburger means ground up cow. Always.
Saw your talk at the State Library in Melbourne btw - very enjoyable, and The Graveyard Book sounds like it's going to be a good one.
I'd go for f). Honestly, she sounded very young, very defensive and, I'm afraid, a bit upset, like someone who had actually been told off a few weeks ago by a hotel guest for the lack of ham in his hamburger and had been determined not to make that mistake again, and now here was a smartarse pom late at night telling her she'd been right all along. And I felt a bit sorry for her.
(This was at the Four Seasons Sydney in George Street -- a nice enough hotel, although the rooms are tiny, but also the first Four Seasons I've stayed in that felt more or less like a Mariott - as if they'd bought someone else's hotel and put a Four Seasons logo on, but not really changed anything else.)
I'm off to the US today, via Narita airport. A few people kindly wrote and offered to show me around during my 9 hour layover, and I was going to take at least one person up on it, but I now strongly suspect that instead of doing anything at all I'll get a local hotel room and try and sleep -- horizontally, rather than sitting down -- between two ten hour flights.
Let me point you at this Boing Boing Entry and this Locus Article, in which Cory Doctorow talks about dandelion and mammalian reproductive strategies and how these things relate to selling things or giving them away on the web -- some of this came out of a wonderful conversation last Christmas between Cory and Rob Brydon and me, which Cory and I carried on the next time we saw each other, at Eastercon. (The ideas are all Cory's. All I did was say, "What exactly do you mean by that?" and "But for Heaven's sake, Cory, what about...?" a lot.)
... Hi Neil,
Quick question about The Graveyard Book - do you have plans to release signed copies in cardboard dumps as you did with American Gods and Anansi Boys?
I offered, but that's no longer possible for some logistical reason I never quite understood.
I'd just like to thank you for your appearance at Books Kinokuniya in Sydney on the 6th. It was a great night, and truly inspiring to see that despite the 500-odd people eagerly queued, you still had time for each one of us.
Now that's all taken care of I'd like to ask if your short story 'Orange' is in print anywhere, as I've only seen it as a video of a live reading (or memorably first hand, when you were in Sydney in 2006). Kind Regards,
Despite following instructions on stripping this computer with Windows Vista down to its work and memory undies, it's still like working with a computer in 1986, in terms of slowness and pauses and delay. Dynamism.com helpfully sent me Windows XP to do a downgrade on it, which I'll do when I get home... I still love the computer, though: it weighs about half of a Mac airbook, and has a DVD drive to boot. But I can't simply type and keep typing - it suddenly stops to inspect itself for fleas or something and loses anything I typed while it was thinking, or squashes words together, or I find myself randomly typing somewhere else in the paragraph... argh.
And before I forget, a big, big thank you to everyone at Allen and Unwin, especially Sarah Tran, to all the booksellers (Ellison Hawker, Dymocks in Melbourne and Sydney, and Kinokuniya (who gave me the new edition of A Humument as a thank you for signing there, which made me unspeakably happy), and to the staff and organisers of the CBCA, the Melbourne State Library folk, to various old friends who waved or helped (you know who you are) and all the people who showed up at the signings and made it so pleasant...
This coming Saturday, Justine and I will be doing an appearance at the wondrous Kinokuniya bookshop. Deb Abela and Michael Parker will also be there, and the four of us are going to have a long, meaningful debate about science fiction.
Reason Cansino has never lived anywhere for longer than a few months. For the last fifteen years, she and her mother have moved from one small village to the next, changing their names regularly and trusting no one but each other. Staying one step ahead of Reason's evil grandmother, Esmeralda, is their first priority. She caught up with them once, when Reason was ten, but they were able to escape.
Not this time. When Sarafina suddenly (and terrifyingly) goes mad, the government sends Reason to her nearest known relation -- Esmeralda.
Reason may not know her grandmother, but she knows plenty about her. She knows that she's evil. She knows that she's dangerous. And she knows that Esmeralda believes herself to be a witch.
Although Sarafina raised Reason on a diet of logic and mathematics, she also taught her to protect herself from Esmeralda's spells -- because even though Reason knows that none of it is real, it will be a psychological defense against Esmeralda*.
It doesn't take long for Reason to realize that not everything her mother has brought her up to believe is true.
Set in Sydney and New York City, Magic or Madness focuses on three teens -- two Australian, one American. And get this -- depending on who the focus is, the spelling and the vocabulary change. So as the reader, you really feel the shift between cities. Pretty rad, huh? That alone probably would have made me rave. But wait, there's more. There's mystery and treachery and characters that you'll care about and more mystery and a very cool magic system.
Also a hell of a cliffhanger. The last sentence made me feel all queasy and uncertain and DESPERATE for the sequel. Good pick for fans of urban fantasy, of course, but I'd also try it on Libba Bray fans.
*You know. Because Esmeralda believes in her own magic, and therefore has to believe in Reason's "magical" defenses, too. Trust me. JL describes it much more coherently.
I'm meeting Tina Burke today for the first time. She's just moved to Toronto and since I'm here on business, it's the perfect opportunity to sit down with her and learn more about her future projects and what types of promotions she and I can work on together. She's created several beautiful titles with us over the past few years and we're anxious to learn about how we can have her appear in the schools, bookstores and libraries in Canada and the U.S. to promote her work.
Tina grew up in Warriewood on Sydney's northern beaches, with her parents, Ron and Janet, and two older brothers, Paul and Sean. Her mother was always interested in art, and got Tina interested too by asking for her opinion when she was working on a painting, and then eventually buying her a box of pastels and a sketch pad. Tina always seemed to enjoy drawing and painting animals most of all.