Scalzi was right

Scalzi’s law that the cheaper the hotel the better the wifi is 100% correct. I write this on my iPhone in a four star that has no wifi in the rooms. Night before last in the crappy motel we had the best wifi of the trip and it was free. What gives?

Many tales of the tour to come. Tonight I am in Dayton. Hope to see a few of you there. Check appearances for details.

Off to various parts of Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri

No rest for the wicked: Today I head to Ohio for the third leg of the How To Ditch Your Fairy tour. I’m dead excited and not least because I’ve already had several lovely letters from students I’ll be seeing over the next week. I can’t wait to meet you in person!

Other than lots of fabulous school visits, I’ll be doing the following public appearances in various parts of Ohio as well as Kansas City in Missouri:

    Monday, 6 October 2008, 7:00PM
    Joseph-Beth Bookstore
    2692 Madison Road
    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuesday, 7 October 2008, 4:15-5:00PM
    Scheduled stock signing
    25 W Winter Street
    Delaware, OH

    Cover to Cover
    3560 North High Street
    Columbus, OH

    Wednesday, 8 October 2008, 7:00PM
    Books & Co
    Books & Co at The Greene
    4453 Walnut Street
    Dayton, OH

    Thursday, 9 October 2008, 7:00PM
    Kansas City Library
    4801 Main Street
    Kansas City, MO

I hope to see some of you gorgeous blog readers there. One of the nicest parts of this tour has been meeting some of the lurkers and commenters who hang out here. Bless you all! (Once the tour is over I hope to have some actual content again.)

Don’t forget about the HTDYF contest. You know you want that shopping fairy!

NOTE: I am now approximately five thousand years behind with email. I have no idea if I’m ever going to catch up so I may just delete it all. (Except for the fan mail—I will answer all fanmail. Could take a while, but.) If you’ve sent me anything urgent please send again in about a week’s time. Sorry!

I wish

There was a way to do a book tour that didn’t involve having to get into a car . . .

This is my day of rest in between Michigan and Ohio/Kansas City. I plan to sleep till Sunday. Well, I will do that right after I go and see what Hollywood has done to Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s fabulous Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. My fingers are crossed for fabulosity.

You (what live where it is showing) should all go see it too. Who knows? If Nick and Norah does well there might be even more adaptations of YA novels. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

HTDYF contest!

My publisher, Bloomsbury USA, is running a fabulous How To Ditch Your Fairy contest. Check it out:

Here are all the gory details for entering the contest:

    Official Rules


    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest begins October 1, 2008, and ends April 30, 2009. Enter by printing your name, date of birth, parent’s/guardian’s name if under the age of 18, full address, and phone number on an 8½ x 11 piece of paper or via e-mail and in 200 words of fewer let us know “Who’s Your Fairy”. Mail to: How to Ditch Your Fairy Contest, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010 or e-mail to Entries must be received by Bloomsbury no later than April 30, 2009. Partially completed or illegible entries will not be accepted. Sponsor will not be responsible for lost, late, mutilated, illegible, stolen, incomplete or misdirected entries, or entries with postage due. All entries become the property of Bloomsbury and will not be returned, so please keep a copy for your records.

    Contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and where prohibited by law) to persons over eight (8) years of age. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law. Employees (and employees’ immediate family and household members) of Sponsor, and its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, suppliers, printers, distributors, advertising and promotional agencies, and prize suppliers, are not eligible to participate in the Contest.

    There will be one (1) Grand-Prize winner selected and two (2) Second-Prize winners selected. One Grand-Prize winner will receive a phone call from Justine Larbalestier, a signed copy of her book, a $150 gift certificate to Forever 21, and a sneak peak at Justine’s next book. Total approximate retail value of Grand Prize: $500.00 U.S. Two (2) Second-Prize winners will each receive a signed copy of How to Ditch Your Fairy, a $50 gift certificate to Forever 21, and a sneak peak at Justine’s next book. Total approximate retail value of Second Prize: $200.00 U.S. No prize substitution except by Sponsor due to unavailability. Continue reading

On the road again

Lessons learned today:

  • Beef jerky on it’s own is not enough to keep a girl going all day.
  • Also never diss a hometown boy just before visiting his state. I don’t take a word of that back, but let’s just focus on Deanna Nolan’s awesomeness instead, eh? Plus, really? It’s news to the folks of Michigan that some do not appreciate Bill Laimbeer? I find that very difficult to believe.
  • I am not yet ready to talk in detail about the new book (the one set in the 1930s). At the appearance tonight I started to, but then I got a weird feeling all over, and my mouth closed. How weird is that?

I am now an expert on what clothes travel well and what don’t. I have enough outfits with me for a thousand appearances and it all fit into one teeny tiny suitcase. I am now a packing genius!

If you’re in the Grand Rapids, MI area here’s where I’ll be tomorrow, or, er today:

Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 4:00PM
Pooh’s Corner
Breton Village
1886 1/2 Breton Rd. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI

Hope to see some of you there!

A Few More Fairies + Michigan week

Time for some more YA celebrity fairies:

Lili Wilkinson is an insanely talented Australian YA writer, who is yet to be published in the US. But just you wait, it will happen any minute now. I wish I had her fairy:

My fairy would be a Getting Things Done fairy, although it often likes to take a holiday when your Procrastination fairy comes visiting. I’m pretty happy with that fairy, although I wouldn’t say no to a Keeping Things Clean fairy . . .

Melina Marchetta, best-known at home for Looking for Alibrandi and here in the US for Saving Franchesca, which I adore, wanted a retroactive fairy:

The one I wish I had when I was teaching was a Marking Fairy who would mark exam papers.

Coe Booth wrote the fabulous Tyrell, which deservedly won gazillions of prizes. I cannot wait to read her new one, Kendra. I would definitely like the fairy she wants:

Unfortunately, I’ve been saddled with the Sweet Tooth Fairy. She renders me incapable of saying no to such goodies as candy, cupcakes and ice cream—ever! I wish I had the Speed Reading Fairy, one that would let me quickly read yet still savor all the books that are currently on my ever-growing to-read list. Of course speed reading while eating ice cream, now that would be the best of both worlds!!!

Lastly, Meg Cabot, who needs no introduction because she’s, like, totally famous, not to mention being awesomeness personified:1

Honestly I don’t think I have a fairy unless it’s a fairy that makes you bump into things and lose your money with no idea where it went, but I think your fairies are nice ones, not mean ones, so I guess I would like to pick a fairy I wish I had: I wish I had a fairy who would help me find the perfect outfit every time I went shopping like Ro’s stylist fairy! Because whenever I go shopping I can never find anything that goes together. I NEED a shopping fairy like Ro’s! She’s so lucky. I wish I lived in New Avalon. It sounds like the perfect place.

Everyone wants Ro’s clothes shopping fairy. I know I do and at yesterday’s event it was by far the most requested fairy.

A fairy that makes you bump into things and lose money is not a fairy, it is a curse. Best avoided. I was going to include curses in HTDYF but it was too complicated and would have made the book twice the size. I once knew this guy who had a restaurant curse. He was invisible to wait staff even when he had a red mohawk. When they finally saw him they always get his order wrong. It’s bizarre.

I digress.

You can find other fairies here. Feel free to keep sharing yours over here or in the comments to this post, or on your own blog, or wherever you want.

Please to find my touring schedule for this week:

How To Ditch Your Fairy Tour 2008: Part the Second: Michigan

Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 7:00PM
Schuler Books & Music
3165 Alpine Ave
Walker, MI

Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 4:00PM
Pooh’s Corner
Breton Village
1886 1/2 Breton Rd. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday, 2 October 2008, 7:00PM
With Kathe Koja and Michael Spradlin
Oak Park Public Library
14200 Oak Park Boulevard
Oak Park, MI

I’m especially looking forward to that last event. I much prefer doing events with other writers. Also I’m really excited about meeting Kathe Koja. I’ve been a Koja fan since her debut, The Cipher, back in 1991.

There will also be a tonne of school appearances. Some of them at the very crack of dawn. I would like to issue a disclaimer: I am not a morning person. Seriously, I’m really really really not a morning person. You have been warned.

  1. No, I haven’t met her. I can just tell, okay? []

Liberty wins + appearance

The New York Liberty won the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was an ugly win. An ugly game. The only grace notes were Deanna Nolan’s gorgeous shooting—I swear she stays up in the air for seconds at a time, she looks great even when she misses—the great turnout, and the fact that we won.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to hate Bill Laimbeer more than I do. But his performance tonight pushed my hate a few notches upward. How he managed not to get a delay of game call or a technical I will never understand. Sit down, Bill!

Later today I will be in Larchmont, which is a mere twenty minutes from Grand Central:

Saturday, 27 September 2008, 1:00PM
Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave
Larchmont, NY

I am wondering if this is the Larchmont that the term Larchmont lockjaw comes from. I hope I get to meet some of you there.

Things I’ve learned on tour (thus far)

  • Beef jerky is good.
  • A lint brush is essential.
  • A publicist with a sense of humour and a better memory than anyone alive is vastly excellent indeed.
  • Publicists are all convinced that authors have the worst memories ever. I suspect they are right.
  • I know that some writers get heaps of work done while on tour but I am most definitely not one of them.
  • Q & A is always the best part of an appearance. Though I already knew that.
  • No one wants to hear an author read. Boring!
  • If you must be stuck in a dread car for ages it’s best to have witty, entertaining company and be in a convertible.
  • School visits are best when the students aren’t being forced to listen to you. At all my school events the students were engaged and asked great questions because they wanted to be there. Especially the Ravenous Readers of Wallenberg High School. You guys were fabulous. Thanks so much for the bulldog pin!
  • Booksellers and librarians are my fave people in the universe.
  • If book shops must have a cat it should be hairless.
  • There are indeed Sharpies wherever you go.

But most of all book tours are fun. I mean think of it: I’m being flown around the country to talk to mad keen readers about my books. It’s bloody brilliant. I am so lucky.

Here’s hoping I get to meet some more of you blog readers on the next three legs of the tour.1

  1. There are four legs in all. My tour is a cow. []

A most excellent day

The sun is shining, the sky is clear, you can see the entire length of the avenue, the Chrysler Building gleams and last night the New York Liberty made it into the conference finals. Let’s go, Liberty! (And San Antonio got through to their conference finals. Oh, how I long for those two to meet in the WNBA finals. That would make my year!)

My editor loves my new book, work is going great on the even newer book—how much fun is it researching NYC in the thirties? VERY FUN—and HTDYF keeps getting lovely reviews. In my world everything is fabulous.1

How about youse lot? I had to shut down the old Good News post on account of evil spam so why not tell me your good news and sources of happiness here instead?

Me, I’m turning the computer off and going out to enjoy the glorious, glorious day!



  1. *Cough* It helps to not read newspapers or news blogs. []

More fairies + two events this week

Because you deserve it, some more YA author fairies for your delectation:

Penni Russon, author of the wondrous Undine trilogy, has a most useful fairy:

I have a voice recognition fairy – with her help I can always pick out celebrity voices in animations. As you might imagine this is a very useful skill and has served me well on numerous occasions.

I wish I had a zen master fairy to help with the parenting of the children.

Lauren Myracle, author of the amazing and terrifying Bliss, had this to say when I asked her what her fairy is:

My Starbucks fairy simply loves Starbucks and steers me toward one EVERY DAY, regardless of any opinion *I* might have on the matter. And makes me order mochas, which aren’t really coffee at all, and which do not have the benefits of wheatgrass. 😉

Personally I would rather die than have that fairy. Coffee? *Shudder*

Alaya Johnson, author of the wonderful, Racing the Dark,1 desires a much better fairy:

I’d like a cooking fairy. Specifically, I want one that specializes in making injera, because if there’s a way to cook that Ethiopian flatbread of unbelievable deliciousness without magical intervention, I’d like to know it. I have spent many hours in the kitchen, fermenting and stirring and scraping, and the best I’ve come up with resembles sour construction paste. Yuck!

I have also tried and failed to cook injera. Le sigh.

Click here to see other YA writers’ fairies.

If you want to tell me about your fairies and you’re in the Philadelphia or NYC area you can do so at the following events:

Wednesday, 24 September, 7:00PM
Big Blue Marble Bookstore
551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, 27 September 2008, 1:00PM
Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave
Larchmont, NY

For those NYCers who’ve been complaining that I’m not doing any events in the city, Larchmont is a mere twenty minutes away from Grand Central Station and the Voracious Reader is a mere five minutes from the station. Easy peasy.

Hope to meet some of you soon!

  1. Hey, Alaya, when are we going to get the sequel? []

Quick answer

I’m getting lots of questions about the HTDYF tour and how it’s going etc. I’ll be posting about the first leg of the tour—Northern California—in the next few days. In the meantime what I’ve loved most is meeting other lovers of YA books—students, readers, booksellers, sales reps, teachers, librarians—and talking about our favourite books. It’s been a blast. Especially this year when there have been so many amazing books.

I can’t wait to find out what everyone’s reading in Philadelphia, Larchmont, and next week in Michigan.

Oh, and don’t forget, next week is Banned Books Week as this excellent editorial reminded me. (Via Lisa Yee.)

Borderlands cat

I have never published a photo of a cat on my blog before. This is because I believe it is a cheap way to gain visitors to your blog. I have vowed never to stoop so low.

However, I recently stopped in at Borderlands Books to say hi to Jude and sign stock. A visit to Borderlands also means hanging out with Ripley the store cat. Ripley is the weirdest looking cat I have ever seen. She’s a Sphynx, who are hairless space aliens. Ripley was recovering from surgery and attired in an old t-shirt to protect her stitches. This made her somewhat grumpy. As it would.

Fortunately there is now a second Borderlands cat, Ash, who deigned to gift us with her presence:

She’s only pretending to not be interested in How To Ditch Your Fairy. She actually LOVED it. She has a people fairy. They will do whatever she wants them to.

She can also fly. This photo was taken just before take-off:

And here she is investigating the strange new person:

Fortunately she decided not to have me killed. Phew, eh?

Ciao San Francisco

Scott here, guest-blogging from the West Coast Tour Command Center (aka Room 401). Justine is out talking to kids at schools, so I’m holding down the fort (aka ordering room service). This is just a reminder that Justine has a gig at Not Your Mother’s Book Club tonight (aka Thursday, Sep 18).

The store is Books Inc.
The address is 601 Van Ness.
The city is San Francisco.
The time: 7PM.

We hope to see you there!

And just because I’m briefly in control of Justine’s blog: it’s ‘color,’ not ‘colour.’ That’s because we save our u’s for this:

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

(I’m in so much trouble. Heh.)

Why I like the Bay Area

Because they have signs like this at the entrance to their school libraries:

Isn’t that absolutely wonderful? Made me so happy!

Yesterday I got many texts telling me that How To Ditch Your Fairy had been boingled. Thank you, Cory! And Whatever’d. Thank you, Scalzi! And Slayground’d! Thank you, Little Willow! I also learned that HTDYF is on the Lone Star list. Since Texas is my favourite state in the union1 that pretty much made my day too.

To quickly answers some questions: The tour is going fabulously. I’m having the time of my life. I heart all the bookshops I’ve been to Kepler’s, The Storyteller and Copperfield’s. And the girls and a few boys I’ve gotten to talk to have all been smart, engaged, funny and fantabulous. I want to stay on tour forever.

Also the food in the Bay Area has been heavenly. Yay!

And now I must go out and tour some more.

  1. Other than all the other ones I love. []

Preview of How To Ditch Your Fairy (with notes)

Today is the official publication day of How To Ditch Your Fairy in North America. To celebrate I am doing what I did for Magic’s Child: sharing the first sentence of each chapter of HTDYF.

As usual my concern is to protect you, the potential reader of the novel, from unnecessary spoilerage. Because there is nothing worse. NOTHING. Hence there is a small amount of redaction. Trust me, it is for your own good.

Without further ado, behold the How To Ditch Your Fairy first sentences:

1. My [redacted] looked funny in the [redacted], which is odd because my [redacted] are tiny.1

2. I had chocolate and strawberry in a crunchy nut and brioche cone and [Redacted]2 had lemon and lime in the vanilla cone.3

3. I have a parking fairy.4

4. It was such a long walk home that I almost wished I’d accepted the lift with [Redacted].

5. [Redacted: too spoilery]

6. “Just salad?” [Redacted] said, peering at my lunch.5

7. [Redacted] cornered me as I made my way to [redacted].

8. Dad was waiting outside the main gates, sitting on a fire hydrant, sketching.6

9. On Tuesday at first recess, [Redacted] and [Redacted] dragged me out onto the lawn over looking the outdoor [redacted].

10. While I love this school more than anything, there are aspects of it that are less than doos.

11. [Redacted] cemetery is the biggest and oldest in the city.7

12. By the time I got [redacted] the door to [Redacted’s] room was closed and no light seeped out.

13. [Redacted] was outside, sitting on my front steps, bouncing coins off the back of his hand as if they were jacks.8

14. [Redacted: too spoilery]

15. By Saturday I had racked up eleven (eleven!) additional [redacteds] , bringing my grand total to seventeen, or it would have except that my ten hours of [redacted] got me down to seven and kept me from getting any more game [redacteds].9

16. Walking through the city even at 8:30AM on a Sunday there were cars everywhere.10

17. [Redacted: too spoilery]

18. [Redacted: too spoilery]

19. [Redacted: too spoilery]

20. [Redacted: too spoilery]

21. [Redacted: too spoilery]

22. [Redacted: too spoilery]

23. [Redacted] came into the library during first recess.11

24. [Redacted: too spoilery]

25. “Well,” I said at last.

26. I put the heavy pile of [redacted] on the floor in front of me and turned the [redacted] [redacted] over, carefully placing it on the floor on top of the [redacted] [redacted].12

27. “Isn’t there a closer bathroom?”13

28. [Redacted: too spoilery]

29. [Redacted: too spoilery]

30. “You look bouncy,” [Redacted] observed.14

31. [Redacted: too spoilery]

32. [Redacted: too spoilery]

33. [Redacted: too spoilery]

34. [Redacted: too spoilery]

35. [Redacted: too spoilery]

36. [Redacted: too spoilery]

37. The [redacted] felt weird and uncomfortable and itchy.

38. [Redacted: too spoilery]

39. [Redacted: too spoilery]

40. It was my first [redacted].

41. [Redacted: too spoilery]

42. [Redacted: too spoilery]

43. [Redacted: too spoilery]

44. [Redacted: too spoilery]

45. The [redacted] [redacted] passed [redacted] like a [redacted], except that [redacted] [redacted] were [redacted], I [redacted] most of it, and my [redacted] were [redacted] to [redacted] [redacted] on.15

  1. You’ll have to read the book to find out what [redacteds] are. Although I worry that it is only too clear from context. []
  2. I don’t know about you but I hate finding out the names of characters ahead of time. So spoilery! []
  3. A Justine Larbalestier novel without food in it? I don’t think so! []
  4. I would have redacted this sentence except that it’s all over the back of the book, is quoted in most reviews, not to mention you being able to read this chapter right here on this website. Sadly, the matter of Charlie’s fairy is no longer a secret. For which you have my apologies. Honestly, if I could spare you from knowing anything about my book before you read it, I would. []
  5. I toyed with redacting this sentence entirely. It is a bit spoilery to know about characters’ eating habits before reading the book. But since this is not exactly a usual choice for her I decided it was okay. And in order to add to its non-spoileriness there are several lies in this footnote. Or are there? []
  6. Knowing that there is a character called “Dad” is only a tiny bit spoilery so I decided not to redact him. I was more worried about the fire hydrant. Pretend you didn’t read that. []
  7. It’s true that “cemetery” is a bit spoilery. If there’s a cemetery then there will be vampires and/or zombies. Or it means this is one of those YA problem novels about dealing with death and grief. But HTDYF isn’t any of those things. I mean I don’t even like zombies! I would never put them in a book. []
  8. You know, the word “redacted” is starting to look really strange. []
  9. Numbers are spoilery, too, aren’t they? I may possibly come back and redact this whole sentence. []
  10. Should probably redact the time and day, too. Pox! Why am I giving so much of my book away? What was I thinking? What’s the point in reading it now?! []
  11. I’m starting to love the word “redacted.” I think that’s going to be the title of my next novel: REDACTED by Redacted Redacted []
  12. “Heavy” is a spoiler, isn’t it? This is such a TRICKY game to play. I despair! []
  13. I figure most eveyone needs to go at some point, right? []
  14. I did debate redacting “bouncy” and “observed”. Those words carry SO MUCH MEANING. []
  15. A big risk I know including the first sentence of the last chapter. Here’s hoping my judicious redaction will keep you spoiler free anyways. []

What’s your fairy? (Redux)

A while back I asked my faithful blog readers what their fairy is or what fairy they wanted. Twas a popular post so in honour of the imminent publication of my latest book, How To Ditch Your Fairy, set in a world where almost everyone has a personal fairy, I asked these questions of a tonne of writers. I’ll be sharing their answers with you over the next few months.

Here’s what John Green, multiple-award winning author and all-round good guy, had to say:

The fairy I most wish I had at the moment is the Dog Whisperer fairy, because then I would understand why Willy just peed inside.

I seem to have something of a Spare Change fairy. I find an unusual amount of spare change, and it’s almost always heads up. Thanks, fairy! (Although I do rather wish you specialized in hundred-dollar bills.)

Lauren McLaughlin, debut author of the absolutely wonderful Cycler,1 answered thus:

I think the fairy I would most like to have is a noise canceling fairy. Not, mind you, a fairy that made me temporarily deaf, but rather a fairy that would eliminate any sound I didn’t want to hear.

The fairy I think I have is the neatness fairy. Not so grand, but it’s something.

I so don’t have either of those fairies. Though I think the noise cancelling one is a superb idea. How about you guys? Any of you gotten any new fairies since last I asked? Any of you longing for a particular fairy? Do share!

Note: Being on the road—I did my first appearance of the tour today—means not getting to my email or responding to comments. Sorry. I do love you all. I is just busy. And the appearance today? Fabulous! More on that later.

  1. Why haven’t you read it?! Go forth and read! []

I do not like junk food

My imminent tour—I get on a plane to California in a matter of hours—has left me contemplating the one bad thing about book tours: junk food. Sometimes while going from school visit to book shop appearance there’s little time for eating and the options available are limited to substances I would rather not eat.1 I does not like the junk food.

I have nothing against anyone else consuming it, but me, I does not want to. My lack of junk food love never used to be a problem back home. But here in the US many people are personally insulted by my dislike of lollies (candy) and McDonalds and soft drinks and fake-cheese flavoured products. I do not like Crispy Creme or Dunkin’ Donuts. They taste like donuts. Donuts do not excite me.

Though I have pretended to like Crispy Creme so as not to offend hosts who were showing them off to me. How could I do otherwise when they were acting like I was about to experience the most delectable culinary sensation of all time? Only to find myself biting into a donut.

I have been made to try many of my friends’ junk food obsessions: Pop Tarts, Twinkies, Snowballs, Cheetos (turns out they’re the USian version of Cheezels and every bit as disgusting), and many others I forget the name of. They all have one thing in common: they’re really really bad. They taste of chemicals and have the texture of Styrofoam. I’m sure my friends enjoy them. And that’s nice for them. But I am no longer going to try another single thing from those particular “food” groups. I don’t care if it’s your favourite thing in the whole world—it ain’t going in my mouth.

I am not insulting you by refusing to eat these vile substances. Really. I am being nice. Cause if I don’t eat them then there’s all the more for you. Enjoy!

And here’s hoping I get to enjoy real food on my tour.

  1. How do I know this? From accompanying Scott on his tour and from hearing tales of other people’s tours. []

Updated HTDYF Tour Info

Just to let you all know that the mighty How To Ditch Your Fairy Tour begins on Monday in Northern California. For all those complaining that I’m not going to Southern California: it’s not up to me, it’s down to demand and my publicist.

The tour page is constantly being updated with correct addresses and times and extra events. Today I added a couple of in-store stock signings as well as the address and time for the Schuler’s event in Walker, Michigan.

What is an in-store stock signing you ask? It means I’ll be stopping in at a book shop and signing but I won’t be reading, or doing Q&A, or juggling, or anything fancy. But if you’re in the area I’d be more than happy to sign books for you and/or chat.

For those who asked, yes, I am doing many school visits. However, those events are not public. That’s why I don’t list them. I’ve only done a couple of school appearances before so I’m dead excited. USian schools are a total mystery to me. I hope to learn much. Maybe I’ll be able to set my next book in a USian school?

I am going to try to keep blogging every day while on tour. Fingers crossed that erratic intramanets and exhaustion don’t get in my way. After all, a day without blogging is a wasted day.


I was chatting with my trusted partener in time wasting friend, Mr Scalzi, in a fairly desultory manner when we made the startling discovery that both of us hates signing books with a Sharpie. And yet that is what we most often are given when we do signings.

What gives?

Sharpies bleed all over the page and their line is way too thick. They’re pretty much useless for signing books. Great for graffiting toilets and making posters but for book signing? Hopeless!

Why do we keep being given them to sign with? Anyone know? Care to venture a theory?

Are there writers who actually like signing with Sharpies?

For those wondering we both deal with the problem by bringing our own trusted signing pens. Scalzi swears by ballpoints with gel ink and I bring whatever pens I have that work. I don’t know the fancy-pants names for pens. I simply have a dual classification system:

  • pens that are crap,
  • pens that aren’t.

Sharpies are solidly in the second category when it comes to signing. As are any pen that tends to bleed or explode or write too thickly or thinly or invisibly or was made from the bones of a homicidal maniac.

Youse lot know what I mean. The pen that is crap is the very worst thing in the world.

How To Ditch Your Fairy tour (updated)

Starting on Monday 15 September I will be roaming around the US of A teaching people how to get rid of fairies that annoy them. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Next week will be all northern California, then there’ll be a bit of a break with stops in Philadelphia and New York, before I set out for Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. Then in November there will be some Texas appearances. That’s right, my tour covers seven different states. Not bad, eh? Full details can be found here. Complaints about my not going to your town or your state should be sent to my publicist. You can find her address here.

This is my very first tour so I’m dead excited and nervous and all those kind of things. Those of you who have been visited by touring authors: What did you most enjoy about their appearances? Do you like them to read? Answer questions? Tell anecdotes about their book? Juggle? What?

Update: The word “upstate” has been removed.

Thank you and sorry

Lately, I’ve been receiving a slew of lovely fan letters mostly about HTDYF but also about the trilogy. More than I’ve ever received before. Thank you so much.

I’m really sorry I haven’t replied yet. Right now there are more than three thousand emails in my inbox. And lots and lots and lots of other more pressing matters—you know, the kind that pay bills—have to be dealt with before I can get to the non-urgent email. Please forgive me.

Obviously I’m not very good at managing my time, but I’m working on it. I will get to your letters I just don’t know when. Please bear with me.

In the meantime, I remain committed to blogging every day. So if all else fails you’ll always hear from me here.

I just wanted you to know that your letters and comments make my day. Thank you.

And if anyone can loan me a time-enlarging device, I’ll be your best friend.

Not up to me

It’s so lovely to have you writing and commenting here on the blog asking me to come to your neck of the woods. I’m dead chuffed and flattered. Thank you!

Tragically, it’s not up to me. My tour is organised by my publisher, Bloomsbury. More specifically the wonderful Deb Shapiro is the tour boss. She’s the one who spends ages finding out which book shops/trade shows/schools are interested in having me show up. Then she had to check all the possibilities, check my availability, and then line up all the places and dates to make it all fit together. Having fans in an area is not enough to guarantee an appearance.

According to the venerable agent, Molly Friedrich, being a publicist is the hardest job in publishing. I don’t doubt it, watching Deb at work. Because she’s not just organising publicity for my book, but for all the other Bloomsbury Children’s books. I suspect Deb is the hardest working woman in publishing in the entire world. I do not know when she sleeps.

Most writers set up their own appearances. Both Scott and me did. We volunteered for reading programs like the NYRSF, which has been going for many years now. We organised events where we lived: Sydney or New York City. Or at cons we attended. I had a book launch at a con in Melbourne and one in Madison, Wisconsin. Early in our careers we didn’t have the resources (time or money) to set up a book tour of our own. We didn’t have the contacts a publicist has and we couldn’t afford to hire one. Also there was no demand. When you’re unknown it’s hard to get people interested in hosting you.

Basically, if you want me to come to your town you need to badger your local book shop to badger my publicist to get me there.

I hope that explains how it works. If I wind up not going to your town or city it’s not because I don’t love you, but because no book shop or library there wanted to host me. Or because there was no way it could be made to fit into the tour schedule.

And remember, I don’t have the full tour schedule yet. There will be more places and dates added in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

September is HTDYF month

On 16 September How To Ditch Your Fairy will find its way on to the book shelves of the USA and Canada. I am vastly excited.

Why am I excited? you ask.

I mean, yes, this is my fourth novel. You would think that I’d be jaded and bored with the whole thing by now and yet I am not. Here’s why:

  1. This is my first novel in 18 months. Yes, it’s been a veritable drought!
  2. It’s my first non-Magic or Madness novel. I will confess that by book three I was bored out of my gourd with Reason and Tom and Jay-Tee.1 It was a huge pleasure to write something completely different.
  3. And trust me it really is completely different. For starters it’s funny. Also there are no mathmatical geniuses to hurt this poor writer’s head. There’s lots of sport, even cricket. Not to mention mangosteens and ——s. I know how much you lot love ——s.
  4. Even if you hate sport you will still enjoy it. I road-tested it on several of my sport-hating friends2 and they didn’t even notice the sport. Cunning, aren’t I?
  5. It’s my first novel with my brand new publisher Bloomsbury and they’re sending me on my very first tour. I know! How exciting is that? Vastly! I only have a few dates confirmed so far but will let you all know as soon as I know.

There’s an extract from the book here, also a list of known fairies, and a glossary.

So I don’t seem like a total self-promoting bore let me mention some other books that are out this month.3 Books that are so brilliantly awesome your brains will explode with joy as you read them:

    Kin by Holly Black
    Part one of the best graphic novel ever. Faery and betrayal.

    Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
    Also the best graphic novel ever. A non-wimpy Rapunzel. Hurrah!

    Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
    Gorgeous sex-changing screwball comedy.

    Bliss by Lauren Myracle
    Clever creepy scary excellence. *Shudder*

    Skinned by Robin Wasserman
    A different kind of creepy excellence. My favourite YA science fiction novel of the year.

Although these books could not be more different they all have one thing in common: I read them in one sitting. Completely unable to put the book down. Go forth and read!

And while you’re at it check out Scott’s interview with Lauren.

  1. I don’t know how authors of long-running series do it. I think I’d kill myself. []
  2. Of whom I know way to many []
  3. Or just came out. []


I’m lying awake with a nasty case of bunker brain. Sleep eludes and weird thoughts intrude. I’m trying to combat them by

    a) planning some fun ways to promote How To Ditch Your Fairy—so far the winning plan is to glue copies of the book to the backs of toilet doors—and,

    b) trying to figure out how to describe the smell of flying foxes without using the words “musk” or “feral”.

Also I’m wishing I could draw.

How about you?

FAQ updated + good news

Thanks to everyone for all the questions. I have now updated the FAQ by incorporating the new quessies and dividing it into four sections:

Magic or Madness Trilogy
How To Ditch Your Fairy

If you have more questions feel free to ask them over there.

There are spoilers in the MorM FAQ but they are at the bottom under a spoiler warning. There are no How To Ditch Your Fairy spoilers. Aren’t I good to you people?

Speaking of which, I just found out that HTDYF is a Junior Library Guild selection. This is quite the honour as they have a reputation for picking books that go on to be award-winners and bestsellers. If you look through their book selections you’ll recognise many fabulous books.

There was also a gorgeous new review over on the Ravenous Reader Reviews. I’ve never had so many reviews and comments and fan mail about a book before it was even published. I could get used to this!

Though publication is very soon: 16 September in the US of A. That’s nearly almost two weeks away!

We have a winner!

Rylie has guessed correctly. The name of my next novel is Why Do I Lie? after the song by Luscious Jackson. Rylie send me an email with your snail mail address. I will send you a copy of How to Ditch your Fairy.

A Quick Note on Titles
Just because I think Why Do I Lie? is the best possible title for this book there is no guarantee that my publisher will agree with me. I thought The Ultimate Fairy Book was the best possible title for the fairy book. Booksellers thought it was confusing because it sounded like a non-fiction guide to fairies. They said it would be misshelved and lost with that title. So we went with a new title, How To Ditch Your Fairy, generously provided by Libba Bray. (Bless you, Libba Bray!)

I am working hard not to become too attached to this title—even though it is PERFECT for the book—because there may be a better, more saleable title in its future. That is how publishing works. And, frankly, if there’s another title that will sell more copies? I’m down with that.

A few questions answered plus a HTDYF review

Several people are asking when How To Ditch Your Fairy will be available for purchase. You have a mere four weeks to wait! The release date for the USA and Canada is 16 September 2008. I don’t have a release date for the German edition but will let you know as soon as I know.

The novel I just finished the zero draft of has the nickname of Liar Book. Yes, it has an actual proper name. No, I’m not telling you what that title is. As mentioned many times previously it is the same title as a song by an all-girl band of the 1990s. You have to guess the name of the song NOT the name of the band. There have been many guesses they have all been wrong. It will be published by Bloomsbury USA in September 2009.

As for the people asking where in the world are we. We are in a top sekrit bunker. Don’t you people pay any attention? Sheesh.

There have been a bunch more lovely reviews of HTDYF but I seem to have lost most of the links I was saving. Oops. Here’s a happy making one from Leila Roy of Bookshelves of Doom. She likes my world building, seeing as how I pride myself on it, I were dead chuffed at the compliment.

Now back to turning the zero draft into a first draft. And trying very hard to ignore the Olympics. So. Very. Hard. I love the Lymps!

Note: Yes, I am still without regular internets and thus am massively behind with email etc. Hope to catch up when we return to NYC in Sept.

More reviews & some pontification about age classification & reviews

There are two new How To Ditch Your Fairy reviews. Both of them a bit too spoilery for my liking. I.e. they give away plot points beyond the title of the book. I am very spoiler sensitive.

This one really tickled me as it is from an eleven-year-old reviewer who is also a fan of the Magic or Madness trilogy. Have I ever mentioned that I was worried about what my MorM fans would think of HTDYF seeing as how it is so very different from the trilogy? This review set my fears at rest.

The reviewer is not the youngest fan of the book. I received a lovely fan letter from a nine-year-old HTDYF fan not too long ago. That’s especially excellent as me and my publisher were really hoping the book would cross over into middle grade. In fact, there was some discussion about publishing it as middle grade instead of YA. Bloomsbury decided against because many teenagers are thought to be less willing to read middle grade than they are YA. Whereas middle grade readers will read up. Bless their hearts!

Then there’s Jennifer Hubert Swan’s review at Reading Rants:

Funny and whimsical, this isn’t just a fantasy, but a romance, sports, and even a bit of a mystery novel. Larbalestier threads sly pokes at celebrity obsession and adolescent self-centeredness throughout Charlie’s snarky narrative, which will delight close readers and us “olde” teens who fancy ourselves above all that? Personally, I could use a “no one ever sits too close to me on the subway” fairy, or a “write brilliant book reviews in no time at all” fairy.

Once again, a reviewer gets what I was going for. I am blessed!

Have I mentioned that one of the most wonderful things in the world is being reviewed by smart, articulate, witty reviewers. Seriously, writing a novel takes AGES. When you’re writing and rewriting and dealing with copyedits and proofs and all the rest of it you start to think that it will NEVER end. You become convinced that the book will never be read by anyone but you and the people who HAVE to read it as part of their job.1 And when other people do read it they will just lecture you about serial commas and plot discontinuities. And that all the smarty-pants, I’m-so-clever stuff will only be noticed by your mum. So reviews (and letters and comments from readers) like this make everything seem worth it. I am not alone! My novel exists beyond me and some people think it makes sense! Hallelujah!

Further to the last post: I may have given the impression that I am against reviews or think less of reviewers. Au contraire! See above paragraph. Writing a smart review is one of the hardest things to write in the world.

  1. Um, okay that does kind of include some reviewers, but not that many. []

Notice anything different around here?

Why, yes, my site has had a redesign. Isn’t it gorgeous? The fabulous Stephanie Leary has remade it so that it all fits neatly in WordPress.1

My request for the redesign was pretty simple:

  • Make it look as much like the existing blog as possible. Only, you know, better.
  • Keep it clean and simple and easily navigable.
  • Set it up so I don’t have to turn to a designer every time I have a new book to add.

Stephanie succeeded on all fronts. I love it. SO MUCH.

Not only is it beautiful but there’s loads more stuff such as:

The musings, which were my pre-blog blog, have been added to the Archives so they’re much easier to access than previously. They stretch back to 2002. Some of them are quite revealing and some embarrassing. A few I’m very proud of.

I was sad to leave my old site behind. It was a gorgeous design and I’ll miss it, which is why I have this page to commemorate the old site and thank its designer, Deb Biancotti, for all her work.

Please have a bit of an explore. Let me know what you think and report any typos, broken links, weirdnesses that you find. I wants it to be perfect, I does!

Here’s hoping you like the new look as much as I do.

  1. I never have to deal with Dreamweaver again! My happiness is huge. []
  2. Yes, all my novels come with glossaries. []
  3. It’s better than a DVD! []

More HTDYF reviews

I may have mentioned that Leilani Mitchell of the New York Liberty looks pretty much exactly how I imagined Charlie, the protag of How To Ditch Your Fairy, looking. And she’s a point guard—just like Charlie! How perfect is that?

So here is a Leilani photo taken by Bruce Yeung to adorn the most recent reviews of HTDYF.1

The first review is over at Book Lover. Be warned it is VERY spoilery.

The second one comes from Enchanting Reviews. They give HTDYF five enchantments!2 Here’s a wee snip of the review:

Charlie is a witty and lovable heroine; I almost wish she was my best friend! The idea behind this novel was so unique, which is another reason I loved this novel so much. Just the concept of having personal fairies is so cool, and I liked how the fairy aspect of the novel never seemed superficial. All in all, I completely enjoyed reading this story because it was so well-written and made me sigh in happiness. HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY was a perfect blend of all its elements and a novel I most definitely recommend.

The third review comes from the Menasha Library (Wisconsin) Kid’s Lit blog:

The lightness and freshness of this novel make it read like a frothy teen novel with little substance, but that isn’t the case. Underneath the humor there are more serious questions lingering about fairies, faith, and friendship for those who want a little more depth. Teens can read it on several levels, which means that it will appeal to a wide range of readers. The teen characters are interesting and always more than their fairies seem to be. The obsessive nature of the New Avalon society is a great commentary on American culture. A great part of the fun of the book is Larbalestier’s teen language that is unique to New Avalon but easily understood by all. It just makes the reading all the more enjoyable.

This review is especially pleasing cause, you know, that’s what I was going for! (Though I was commenting on Australian culture as well as American.) So lovely when readers read what you think you put on the page.

She finishes by saying,

Recommended for teens age 12-15. Little handselling will be necessary for this one. It will fly off the shelves on fairy wings.

Fingers crossed she’s right! Cause that would be deeply awesome! (Why, yes, I am imagining HTDYF sprouting wings and flying around bookshops and libraries all over North America. What of it?)

  1. I love this photo. How gorgeous is it that her coach, Patty Coyle, is taller than she is? Also that Leilani’s so ready to get back into the game that Coyle has to hold her jersey to finish giving her the rest of the play. []
  2. I’m really hoping it’s out of five, not ten. []

The next novel

A bunch of questions are being asked about the next novel both here and in emails. Here are some answers:

When is it due?


When will it be published?

September 2009

Who is publishing it?

Bloomsbury USA

What is it about?


What’s it called?

As mentioned the working (and I hope permanent) title is the same as a song from the 1990s by an all-girl band. Feel free to guess. No one has gotten close so far.

Is it a sequel to How To Ditch Your Fairy?


Why isn’t it a sequel to HTDYF?


Will there be a sequel to HTDYF?


How long do you think it will be?


How long is it now?


Wow, you have quite a few words to go and August isn’t very far away—are you panicking?

Aaargh!! Damn you!! Leave me alone!! STOP asking questions!!

You seem a bit tightly wound—have you thought of maybe getting a massage or something?

I kill you. I kill you with my bare hands.

Charlie haz face!

And now that she has a face I’m even happier with the cover than I was before and, let me tell you, I was pretty happy. But now she’s not only escaped the headless woman curse, it’s also clear that she bears a bit of a resemblance to Leilani Mitchell of the New York Liberty, who looks exactly how I imagine Charlie would look if she wasn’t, you know, imaginary:

Copyright 2008 NBAE. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

I has no ARCs so please stop asking

In the last few week I’ve had several people asking that I send them a How To Ditch Your Fairy ARC so they can blog about it.1

While that’s a lovely offer, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that so many of you are keen to read the book, it so happens that I do not have any ARCs of HTDYF. Truly. The tiny number I was given were handed out to local Big Mouths.2 I also swapped with a few writer friends for their ARCs. I have none left. Not even my parents and sister got a copy.

The person to ask for an ARC (of any book) is the publicist of the company that publishes it. But in order to get one you’ll have to show that giving you the book will help spread the word about. That is how it works.

The reason that a number of reviews have appeared of HTDYF recently is because 500 ARCs were handed out at BEA. A decent number were also sent by my publicist to key Big Mouths all over the USA. I have sent no one an ARC. It is not my job to do so. That’s why the author is given so few in the first place. We’re usually not the best placed person to get them into the hands of the most important Big Mouths.

So the person you should be bugging for ARCs is not me, but my publicist. And, no, I will not give you her email address. With a wee bit of googling you will find it on your own.

Besides, do you really want an ARC? They’re full of typoes, they fall apart easily, and they don’t even smell as good as a real book. And guess what? HTDYF will be a real book very very soon. While the official pub date’s in September I’m pretty sure it’ll start showing up in shops in August. August! That’s mere minutes away.

  1. I also remain many months behind with email. If you wrote to ask me for an ARC this is my reply. Sorry not to respond more personally. []
  2. Isn’t that a quaint term? It refers to the booksellers and bloggers and librarians and journalists who are well known in the YA world and are very good at getting the word of mouth flowing. []

Review the fourth

Okay, now I’m embarrassed.

Here’s another review of How To Ditch Your Fairy this time from Murex Brandaris of Imperial Purple:

Well, the Advance-Copy-Of-Brilliant-Books fairy has struck again. In a manner most mysterious I have found and read a copy of Justine Larbalestier’s latest literary foray (due out in September) and I saw that it was good. In fact, it is her best novel to date.

*Cough* *cough*.

Third HTDYF Review

This is getting a little bit nuts. (In a very good way!) The book isn’t even out until September and yet here’s a review by Carlie Webber of Librarilly Blonde. It’s a tiny bit more spoilery than the other two but just as enthusiastic:

Why you’ll love it: First, it’s funny. There is never enough humor in YA, and HTDYF is not only funny, but it’s a smart, sarcastic kind of funny.

I can’t tell you how pleasing it is to hear that people are amused. Writing a comedy filled me with terror that no one would laugh. But at least three people have so far. This week’s reviews have made me very happy. Thank you.

Waiting to hear what people thought of your book is one of the weirder stages of being a novelist. It’s vastly nervous-making. Especially when your book is a big departure from your previous novels.1 These early positive reviews are making me feel much more relaxed about HTDYF making it’s way into print. Even if every other review tears it apart, I’ll have these three to hug to my chest. And I’ll have Carlie’s Jay-Z inspired How To Ditch Your Fairy rap, which made me laugh and laugh:

If you feelin’ like a jock, girl, go and brush your fairy off
Walk everywhere girl, go and brush your fairy off
Fairies is crazy, baby, don’t forget Fiorenze told you
Get that fairy off your shoulder

And, yes, you really do have to read the book for that to make sense.

  1. Though nothing is as anxiety-making as waiting for your first book to come out. My thoughts are with you Lauren, Carrie and Sarah! []

Another HTDYF review

Reviews of How to Ditch Your Fairy two days in a row and the book isn’t out until September! A most excellent week this is. Yay! This one is from Libby at Lessons from the Tortoise and once again the reviewer did not find my book too foul:

I really found this world fascinating. The slang was fun (“doos” for “cool” or “good” was one of my favorites), the mild bi-coastal tension was intriguing, and the imaginary sports academy that Charlie and her friends attend was nightmarishly on-target. These teenagers live in a world I don’t inhabit, but they’re still recognizably teenagers, with all the trivial and serious concerns (clothes, romance, sports, and school) that the teenagers I know share. The “new kid” has Charlie questioning some of her assumptions, but so do the other changes she’s going through; life is realistically complicated, in other words, for these characters.

I glow.1 I will admit I’ve been nervous about the reception of HTDYF because it’s so very different from the trilogy and because it’s meant to be funny. Nothing worse than a funny book that isn’t, you know? So it’s a relief that at least two reviewers giggled!

  1. And not just because it’s a ten degrees hotter in the flat than it is outside where it’s already 30C at 9AM. []

First HTDYF review

Well, this was a lovely thing to wake up to: The first review of How To Ditch Your Fairy (who’s pub date is in September so the earliest it’s likely to appear would be August) and it’s a good ‘un, also excellently non-spoilery.

The review is by Jocelyn of TeenBookReview and in what I’ve decided is a very good omen she is very enthusiastic:

I sat down and started reading this book as soon as it arrived in the mail, and I didn’t put it down until I was finished; I didn’t even notice the time passing, that’s how caught up I was in the story. It’s fun and interesting and has a main character I absolutely couldn’t get enough of! Charlie is seriously awesome, as is this book, and you should all read it as soon as possible.

I blush and am full of chuffage.1 I had a lot of fun writing HTDYF so it’s really wonderful to hear that people are having as much fun reading it.

  1. Don’t worry I have medication for when that happens. []

How To Ditch Your Fairy is almost real . . .

An ARC1 of How To Ditch Your Fairy just arrived! I am filled with squee. HTDYF is almost a real book!

Here’s what it looks like:

You know what the most fabulous part of it is? (Other than the quote from Libba Bray2 ) My name is as big as the title. My name is bigger than it’s ever been! Oh, happy day!

The happiness continues when I turn the ARC over and gaze on the back cover where there’s a marketing plan. A marketing plan!

I’ve never had one of those on the back of an ARC before. And it includes the words “multi-city author tour”. So maybe I’ll be getting to your city and have a chance to meet you later this year!

My very first author tour. Who’d’ve thunk it?

  1. Advance Reading Copy which looks like a paperback only it’s printed on heavier paper and is full of typoes. They’re printed to send out early to booksellers and librarians to get them excited about your book. []
  2. OMG! Libba Bray liked my book! []

Questions about lying

Have any of you ever taken a lie detection test of any kind? (Polygraph or written q & a or some other kind of test I have not read about yet.) If so would you care to tell me about it? Feel free to be anonymous in the comments if you’d prefer.

And more generally: for those of you who have told lies and gotten away with it—what’s your method?

Do any of you believe you have the ability to tell when someone else is lying? Is it a general ability or just with people you know well?

Can any of you recommend any good non-fiction articles and books about lying? Most of what I’ve found so far has been deeply underwhelming.


And thanks for all the fabbie fairy responses. It was mucho gratifying to see that quite a few of your fairies are already in How To Ditch Your Fairy.

What’s Your Fairy?

My new novel, How To Ditch Your Fairy, is set in a world where almost everyone has a personal fairy. My protag, Charlie, has a parking fairy (which she hates because she’s only fourteen and doesn’t drive and doesn’t like cars), her best friend has a clothes-shopping fairy, and her arch enemy has an all-boys-will-like-you fairy.

So what’s your fairy?

Or what fairy would you like to have?

Blurb Etiquette

Recently several friends have been on the receiving end of some very bad blurb etiquette and they have requested that I set the world straight about how blurbage should actually work. I live to serve.

What is a blurb? It’s the little quotes that typically appear on the back of a book saying how wonderful it is. For instance here is what Libba Bray has to say about How To Ditch Your Fairy:1

Justine Larbalestier has a super-cool writing fairy, and I am vastly jealous! Thoroughly entertaining, totally enchanting, wickedly funny, and 110% doos, How To Ditch Your Fairy had me grinning from page one (when I wasn’t laughing out loud). And as soon as I can figure out how to do it I’m going to ask to swap fairies with Justine.

—Libba Bray, New York Times Bestselling author of A Great and Terrible Beauty

A while back I talked at length about my policy on blurbs. The short version is: Yes, I am happy to look at books and if I love them I will blurb them.2 Turns out that there are other aspects of blurbage that I did not cover. Mostly because I did not know these things happen. But apparently they do.

  1. Never offer to swap blurbs with an author. “Hey, I have a book coming out. If you blurb it I’ll blurb your book!” This is a terrible idea. I may be a blurb purist but all the authors I know only blurb books that they enjoyed reading. They do not blurb books because that person blurbed their book and they especially don’t do that for someone who has never had a book published before and therefore has no track record. Blurbs are supposed to help to sell books but they’re useless if no one knows who the blurber is.
  2. If the author who agreed to look at your book does not get back to you DO NOT bug them. There are several reasons for not blurbing a book such as not liking it, not having time to read it, and losing said book. Putting the author in the position of having to explain which reason applies is not fair. No author wants to explain to another why they didn’t like their book well enough to blurb it. Just assume it was lack of time.
  3. There is nothing wrong with receiving a blurb from a friend unless of course that’s the only reason they’re doing it. I blurbed Cassie Clare’s City of Bones because I could not put it down. I loved it. The reason I know some of the wonderful writers who have blurbed me—Karen Joy Fowler, Samuel R. Delany, Libba Bray, Holly Black—is because I love their writing. They are my friends because of writing. None of them would blurb my books if they weren’t into them. It’s not worth our reputations to blurb books of varying quality. Every author I know has said no to blurbing a book by a friend. It’s awkward, but not as awkward as having your name eternally on the back of a book you don’t love.
  4. Never claim to have a blurb from an author if that is not the case. If the author in question has agreed to look at your book with the possibilty of providing a blurb that DOES NOT mean they are going to blurb you. I looked at several books last year and blurbed none of them. The author has agreed to read your book NOTHING more. If you go around boasting that you have a blurb when you don’t odds are it will get back to the author, who will then be much less inclined to blurb you. This is a very small industry. Word gets around.

This last point leads to a bigger point: Anyone who advises you that lying: claiming blurbs you don’t have, doctoring your publications list, claiming non-existent connections etc. etc. is a good way to get “your foot in the door” is full of it.

Don’t do this. Not ever.

Finding out that someone you have NEVER met is using your name to get ahead is vastly cranky-making. Also in the age of the internet it’s almost impossible to get away with these shenanigans. Google knows when you lie.

I think that about covers it, but if I’ve missed anything do please let me know.

  1. My apologies for the skiting, but I love this blurb. []
  2. In practice I do not blurb many books because I do not love very many. []

Title of my next book

Apparently, the top sekrit title of my new book is already out of the bag. And who was the wicked naughty person who let out the top sekrit ahead of the cover art showing up? What’s the name of that evil party pooper?

Er, um, that would be me. In this interview (no. 13) with Jim Hall of Cult Pop, an excellent Detroit TV show about pop culture.

So I will share with all of you as well. The title of my next book, formerly know as The Ultimate Fairy Book and before that as the Great Australian Feminist Monkey-Knife-Fighting Elvis Cricket Mangosteen novel, is:

How To Ditch Your Fairy

I think it is the best title ever and not only because google’s never heard of it. Not even because the genius Libba Bray came up with it. But because it perfectly describes my book and makes me smile.

My title beats google

I just typed the (top sekrit) title of my fairy novel into google and came up with ZERO hits. ZERO. No book has ever had that title before. Not only that but no one has even put those words together before. Title of my next book for the win!

I will be revealing top sekrit new title as soon as there’s a cover to go with it. So if you happens to know the top sekrit title please not to give the game away. Thank you very much!

I am now determined that all future titles of my books will beat google. It could lead to much obscureness of titles. Yay!

Faerie, fairy, fey, whatever . . .

If I decided that the current poll was a wee bit of market research I’d be feeling quite happy that my next book1 is a fairy book. Thing is though that it’s not a f-a-e-r-i-e book. It’s a f-a-i-r-y book.

What’s the difference you ask? Well, in YA and children’s publishing land there are dark, scary faery like those that Holly Black writes about, who would as soon gouge your eyes out as look at you. And then there’s your pink, glittery, tinkerbell kind of fairy. A la all those of the Disney books etc. etc.

My fairies are probably more Disney than Holly Black. But they’re not pink. They’re not even visible. And um they help you do specific things. Like there are good-hair fairies and loose-change-finding fairies. You can’t fall in love with them, they can’t break your heart, or gouge out your eyes, and they don’t wave their magic wands to make pages turn.2 Like I said you can’t even see my fairies.

Thus I’m not sure the overwhelming popularity of Faery in the poll oppposite is going to help me any. It’s also made me a bit despondent about my Zombie Quintet. Not to mention the snow-boarding werewolf epic. And the daikaiju versus ghouls manga series.

Just as well I have an genuine certified-as-real-by-Holly-Black faerie story coming out at the same time as my fairy novel. It’s called “Thinner Than Water”3 and you’ll find it in the pages of Love is Hell edited by Farren Miller. I’m sure there are other faerie stories in there, too. Though Scott’s isn’t, but if you squinted as you read it, you could convince yourself it was . . . Sort of.4

Though if the poll were accurate vampires would be in the lead, given that there are way more vampire books than anything else. So bugger the poll! I’ll write my Zombie Quintet anyways and the snow-boarding werewolves and the daikaiju/ghoul manga. Maybe I’ll work my way through the list. I’ve already written about witches (Magic or Madness trilogy), and as mentioned above both faerie and fairy. I have a devil story, but that’s not on the poll. It just means figuring out a new take on vampires . . . Piece of cake.

I’ll go back to writing my next novel, now . . . Hava good weekend and don’t forget the aerogard!5

  1. coming in September of this year and no longer called The Ultimate Fairy Book []
  2. A very old person reference. My apologies to those under thirty-five who read this blog. []
  3. previously titled “Lammas Day” []
  4. Other stories are by Melissa Marr, Laurie Faria Stolarz, and Gabrielle Zevin. []
  5. Not that you need it where I am right now . . . []

Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve been asked this question about eleventy bazillion kajillion times and I’ve only been a published writer for about three years.1 Most recently my new (and FABULOUS) publisher Bloomsbury USA asked me, “Where do you get your ideas?” in their author questionnaire. Here’s what I said:

I steal them from Maureen Johnson.2

So now Maureen, the wise one herself, has answered the question and she’s done it so brilliantly and perfectly that I can do what I said I do: steal her idea, which is

brain monkeys

(This is how I imagine brain monkeys look. Though they are actually twin albino pygmy monkeys.)

That’s where Maureen gets her ideas from and it’s So True. Mine come from brain monkeys, too! Nasty little buggers running around in the old brain pain, flinging poo, screeching, tugging at bits that don’t want to be tugged, laughing.

Evil annoying brain monkeys.

Except when they cobble some really cool stuff together like cricket and mangosteens and Elvis and monkey knife fights (though should they really be pointing at themselves?) and quokkas and feminism and runic surfing and it congeals and melds and explodes and winds up being my next book, formerly known as The Ultimate Fairy Book, which is coming out in September and whose brand new title and cover I hope to share with you sometime in the next three or four weeks.

Glorious brain monkeys!

Now we all have the answer to that extremely irksome question. Bless you, Maureen.3

  1. I hate to think how many times Stephen King has had to answer it. I mean, seriously, if he punches the next person to ask, that should be permissible. []
  2. Was probably funnier before the most recent plagiarism scandal . . . []
  3. We must all tell Stephen King before he punches someone. []

Last Day of 2007

The year two thousand and seven was another good year for me personally. My third novel, Magic’s Child, was published in March which completed the Magic or Madness trilogy. The trilogy also finally earned out! That’s right. When the royalty statements come now there’s money attached. Woo hoo! The trilogy also sold in Japan.1 Surely the manga version can’t be too far off?!

I went from never having won a literary award to winning three. The Norton Award for Magic or Madness and the Atheling and Susan Koppelman for Daughters of Earth. So I’m legitimately an award-winning author! Now I just need the best-selling to go with it. 🙂

I sold my fifth and sixth books—the fairy novel and an as yet untitled (and largely unwritten) book—to a brand new publisher, Bloomsbury USA.

I love my new house. Everyone I’ve met there—the editors, publishers, sales & marketing, publicity, just everyone—is fabulous. Their excitement about my fairy book makes me very very happy. I am very proud to be a Bloomsbury girl. And hopefully early next year—just a few weeks away—I’ll be able to share all sorts of cool news about the fairy book. Its new title! Cover! Exact date of publication! It’ll be all fairy news all the time!

And to speak of someone else’s success for a second: I’m thrilled to see how well Libba Bray’s The Sweet Far Thing is doing. I saw exactly how much work she put it to that book. Seriously, for a while there I thought she might not survive the experience. But she did and now the book (by far the best of the trilogy) is selling out of control. Yay! Congrats, Libba, you totally deserve it.

Non-professionally, I reckon the best thing that happened all year was the change of government back home. Did that happen only last month? I’ll be coasting on the joy of that for some time to come. Right now it seems that every time I read an article about home something new and fabulous has happened. To which I can only say, “YAY!”

This time last year I said my goal was to finish two novels, which was my goal the year before also. So, um, how’d that go?

Not so much. Time to pick a new goal, methinks.

I rewrote the fairy book many times—so many times that it felt like writing more than one book—but I did not finish any other novel. Le sigh.

I did, however, write two short stories both of which come out in 2008. The first, “Pashin’, Or the Worst Kiss Ever” is in First Kiss (Then Tell) edited by Cylin Busby for Bloomsbury and due for publication in January: i.e. tomorrow. It’s very gross and (I think) funny. The other stories in the anthology are awesome but what would you expect with the likes of Cecil Castellucci, Shannon Hale, David Levithan, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Robin Wasserman and Scott Westerfeld contributing?

The second story is considerably longer and much more romantic. It’s called “Lammas Day” and will be in Love is Hell edited by Farrin Jacobs for Harper Collins and due out around September. The other stories are by Melissa Marr, Laurie Faria Stolarz, Scott Westerfeld and Gabrielle Zevin.2

I also wrote an article for an Australian pearl magazine3, the beginning of several novels, a proposal, an appreciation of John Scalzi, many many emails, comments and blog posts. If I added them all up I reckon it would be as long as a whole other novel . . .

For 2008 I have a novel due in August. I honestly can’t see myself writing another one after that but maybe if I don’t make it a goal to write two novels next year I’ll do it accidentally?

In addition to the August novel—which may or may not be any of these—I have three sekrit projects on the go. All collaborations with sekrit writers. One of these already has a proposal written so I’m very confident it will happen. The other two consist of enthusiasm and late night conversations. I am full of optimism but I wouldn’t lay odds on their completion just yet.

My 2008 publications:

    January: the short story I mentioned above, “Pashin’, Or the Worst Kiss Ever”.

    February: the paperback version of Magic’s Child hits the shelves! Which means the entire trilogy will be available for cheap! Plus there’s a mini-essay on writing the book at the back. Bonus! I am VERY excited about this!

    September (or thereabouts): the fairy novel for Bloomsbury! My first new novel in 18 months! Woo hoo! Dance and sing and party!

    And also the other short story mentioned above, “Lammas Day”.

You should also get hold of Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes when it comes out. It’s the sequel to City of Bones and is even better. I loved it! Seriously, I read it in one sitting. When can I read the third one, Cassie? I need closure!

Maureen Johnson’s Suite Scarlett will be out in May. One of her best. In fact, if it had vampires or demons or zombies in it, I would say it was her very best. But for now I love it second only to Devilish.

E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is total genius. Remember how much I raved about Dramarama? This one’s even better. The only way she could surpass herself would be to throw in some zombies or demons or vampires. I’m just saying, E.

You’ll all be stunned to hear that my favourite book of 2007 was Kathleen Duey’s Skin Hunger. If you haven’t read it already, why not? Run to your nearest library or bookshop and get it NOW!

And make sure you all go see the Spiderwick movie. I can’t wait! Yay, Holly Black!

I think 2008 is going to be fabulous. But then even when I have really crap years I’m always full of optimism for the next one.

Happy new year, everyone!

  1. Bringing the number of countries the trilogy’s been published in up to nine. []
  2. I’ve only read Scott’s—on account of I don’t think there are ARCs yet—but it’s brilliant and worth the price of the anthology alone. []
  3. don’t ask []