Locus Awards 2008

This is old news to many of you but I just found out that Scott and me are finalists for the Young Adult section of the Locus Awards. And the woo hoos ring out across the Larbfeld world!

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

Extras, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
The H-Bomb Girl, Stephen Baxter (Faber & Faber)
Magic’s Child, Justine Larbalestier (Penguin Razorbill)
Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt; Gollancz)
Un Lun Dun, China Miéville (Ballantine Del Rey; Macmillan UK)

Quite the strong list, eh? Being on a shortlist with Ursula Le Guin makes me feel faint. Let me fan myself a moment. For those who are wondering this is not the first time me and Scott have been on the same shortlist. We’ve been up for Aurealis, Ditmar and Norton Awards at the same time and now the Locus. Wow, I can’t believe our books have been on so many shortlists! It’s ridiculous and wonderful and the most excellent good luck.

The Locus Awards honours much fabulous work this year (as it does every year) but I was particularly thrilled about two mates of mine making the Best First novel list. Congratulations to Christopher Barzak who made the list with his brilliant and very moving One For Sorrow and Cassandra Clare for her unputdownable hilariously funny City of Bones. They’re geniuses both and I’m stoked other people have noticed! YAY!!!

Documenting Our Lurve

Thanks to everyone for all the photos. You are all the bestest and most wondrous people EVER! As Jeff Fenech would say, “I love youse all!”

It was kind of weird to see how many photos there are of me and Scott I never knew existed. Eerie even . . .

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to my sister, Niki Bern, as well as my good friend, Cat Sparks. I’m sorry I’m always so recalcitrant about having my photo taken. You were both right that some day I would be happy you both insist on documenting everything.

That said, I now no longer need to have my photo taken ever again. Hallelujah! I shall keep intact what tiny bit of my soul is left.

Because some of you have expressed curiosity here is one photo for every year Scott and me have been together. Enjoy! We certainly have.


2001: Our wedding day. Upstate New York. (Photo by Phyllis Bobb.)


2002: On the Woomera Prohibited zone in South Australia to see a total eclipse. (Photo by Sean Williams.)


2003: Goofing around with Adrian Hobbs in Newtown back home in Sydney. (Photo by Olivia Rousset.)


2004: At the SFWA drinks night. (Thanks Liza Trombi and Locus for sending the photo.)


2005: With Andrew Woffinden and Lauren McLaughlin in London. (Photo by Niki Bern.)


2006: At the Lake Hills Library in Bellevue, Washington. (Photo by Shelly Clift. Thanks!)


2007: On our way to the National Book Awards.

Because Scalzi made us do it

Next weekend Scott Westerfeld and yours truly will be guests of honour at the 2008 High Voltage ConFusion science fiction convention. It’s our very first time being guests of honour and we are stoked. TOTALLY stoked. In fact I’m so very stoked I’m thinking of celebrating with the purchase of a new dress. Surely, being guest of honour requires new clothes, right? I gotta look pretty, don’t I? If you have an opinion on this Very Important Matter please to express it in the poll to your right.

I’m thinking this one, though with black gloves not white:


Vivienne Westwood’s Watteau ball gown

Here’s Scott and mine’s schedule. Because we are joint guests of honour we are doing everything together:

FRIDAY 18 JANUARY:

1900 Den 1 Interview: Author GoHs by John Scalzi
Tee hee! Mr Scalzi will ask us questions and we will plead the fifth and get away with it because we know where he buried the bodies. I suspect zombies will be mentioned.

2000 Salon FGH Opening Ceremonies
We will say a few words but there won’t be an actual speech speech. Some of my words will be “quokka”, “zombie”, and “oscillate”, or maybe not. Depends.

2100 Salon FGH Dessert Reception
Where we eat dessert and natter with folks what want to natter.

2200 Den 1 Originality is Overrated
There’s this idea that writers work entirely alone and create their work out of whole cloth. That’s rubbish. If a work were wholly original no one would be able to read it. All writers are influenced by those who came before them. Most writers talk to other writers. Many are in writers’ groups and even those that aren’t frequently read and comment on each other’s work. Let’s talk about the influence and community that writers share. Even when they don’t know each other. Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss and Doselle Young.

I confess that I wrote this description on account of it’s something that drives me crazy and I’m looking forward to talking about it with such esteemed and smart companions. Especially Doselle. Everything is better if Doselle is involved.

SATURDAY 19 JANUARY:

1100 Den 1 Fantastic Sports
Organized sports are a vital part almost every culture on the globe. But sf and fantasy novels tend to overlook this key aspect of world-building. We examine what sports are and what they tell us about a culture, and dig up some good examples in sf and fantasy. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Ainsworth, Dave Klecha and Catherine Shaffer.

Mmmm . . . sport. If I weren’t moderator I would just spend the session teaching USians cricket.

1300 Salon G Juvenilia
Writers dust off the storage trunks, turn off the shame meter, and read from their 5th- through 12th-grade works of unalloyed proto-genius. A great way for young writers in the audience to feel much better about their own efforts. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Merrie Haskell, K. Tempest Bradford and Marcy Italiano.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that Scalzi is not on this panel. Laughing at his early writing efforts was the whole reason I agreed to go to ConFusion!

1400 Den 1 SF Is Not Dead
More sf is written and consumed these days than every before, in the form of manga, video games, rpgs, and YA lit. Yet our beloved field constantly bemoans its own demise, while ignoring those 100,000 crazy kids down the road at Comicon. How do we connect these two worlds of sf? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Anne Harris, Jim Frenkel and Peter Halasz.

Because me and Scott are sick to death of hearing the folks in the old sf people’s home whingeing about the death of sf. It ain’t dead! It’s doing just fine, thanks.

1500 Den 1 Golden Age of Young Adult Lit
Some argue that the YA books being published now are some of the best the field has ever seen. There are more of them, the quality is better, and the authors are being paid more. Is now the Golden Age of Young Adult Literature? And if so what does that mean for the next generation of readers? Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Climer, Suzanne Church and Peter Halasz.

I think it is. I also think it’s just going to get better and better and better.

1700 All-Author Autographing Session
If you have books you want strange author types to scribble on here’s your chance.

2100 Concierge Literary Beer
The only thing we’re doing that you have to sign up for. It’ll be me and Scott sitting around with a smallish group of interested folks and answering their questions while we all drink beer (or water or whatever you wish to drink. I wish to drink Krug—I hope the ConCom is on top of that!).

SUNDAY 20 JANUARY:

1100 Salon H Gluten-Free Fantasy
Most medieval cultures didn’t have chainmail, swords, horses, or wheat. Yet the overwhelming majority of medieval cultures in fantasy do. What do we stand to gain by breaking the bonds of Europe on our collective imagination? And what’s so scary about bolas, sled-dogs, and rice? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder, Jim Frenkel.

This panel is also something me and Scott came up with. It has a backstory. Way back in the dark ages we were on a panel together about fantasy where we panelists suggested that there were other settings for high fantasy other than mediaeval Europe. Scott went as far as to say that wheat is not essential to high fantasy.

The audience turned on him. “We LOVE wheat!” they proclaimed. “We hate fantasy that isn’t set in mediaevel Europe. We hate wanky literary fantasy. In fact, we hate you writers on the panel who are trying to take away our wheat!”

Scalzi was in the audience along with the wonderful Karen Meisner and they both say it was one of the most extraordinary things they have ever seen. Karen even sent Scott a Canadian license plate wth a beautiful picture of wheat on it. Scott still contends that we were caught in the wave of an Atkin’s diet backlash.

Here’s the con’s full schedule.

Hope to see some of you there! I mean if this wussy Aussie girl can brave the dead of winter in Detroit. Surely some of you can?

The Scalzi, Westerfeld and Me podcast continues

Here’s the

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in which Scott threatens to push Scalzi out a window. Stoush!

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.

Podcast Seriousness

Not!

While we were in Chicago for the Great Lakes Booksellers Association conference in October, me, John Scalzi and Scott Westerfeld recorded a

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in which he purportedly interviews us about our books. Zombies do come up—cause really when writers get together what else are they gonna talk about?

Apparently this is part 1 of the convo. Will keep you posted when the rest of it goes up.

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!

P.S. Scalzi’s pronunciation of my surname is prefectly accurate. I was just teasing him.

Just quickly

To all of those who wrote asking for my insomnia cure: I promise I’ll write about it as soon as I have time. Last week was insane. And next week looks like more of the same with all the Aussie events and deadlines and blah blah blah1. Don’t forget to come see me and Margo Lanagan and Garth Nix and Scott and Jonathan Strahan at Books of Wonder.

Yesterday I did an appearance with Scott out at the Bronx Library Centre. It was fabulous! The ninth graders are part of the Gear Up program and if they’re an example—that program totally works. They were one of the smartest, funniest, and most engaged group I’ve had the good luck to hang out with.

I’ve been trying for some time to figure out a way to write about how incredibly moving some of these events we do with teenagers can be but I just don’t seem to be able to express how I feel about them without coming across all saccharine and cloying. When someone tells you that they feel like they are one of your characters or that before they read your book they’d hated reading . . . well, words really do fail.

Let’s just say yesterday was incredible. I wish I had remembered to let them know that Jay-Tee (the character a few of them identified with so strongly) is from the Bronx! I am such a der brain.

Thanks so much, Jack and Carole, for inviting us.

And thanks, too, for all the fascinating responses about sleep and dreams. You make me want to go back to bed perchance to dream of the best novel or manga idea of all time.

Okay, now back to work!

  1. The blah blah blah is the worst part! []

Cecelia Goodnow is going down!

She says my man ain’t pretty:

At 44, Westerfeld isn’t just another pretty face. With his cropped, sandy hair, furrowed brow and somewhat lumpy nose, he’s not “pretty” at all, but he understands the calculus of beauty and fame that wields increasing power in young-adult lives.

His nose is not lumpy! I love that nose! He is too pretty!1

That Ms. Goodnow better not cross my path any time soon. Grrr!

If you skip that one evil and wrong paragraph it’s actually not a bad article. I spose.

  1. Okay, not “pretty” as in the pretties of his Uglies series because, you know, ewww! []

Many Aussies and one permie ressie

We’re two Saturdays away from an all-Aussie (+ one permanent resident) fantasy explosion: the Printz-honour genius Margo Lanagan, editor extraordinaire Jonathan Strahan, bestselling author of the Sabriel and Keys series Garth Nix, not to mention Aussie-by-marriage Scott Westerfeld, oh, yeah, and me!

Has there ever been such a line up?

No, there has not.

Saturday, 27October 27
3-5PM
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY

Stick it in your dairy. Tattoo the details on your little brother’s cheek ((Okay, don’t really do that. That would be wrong.). Carn out and see us!

We’ll read (a little), answer all your questions (almost), and teach you how to talk Australian (maybe).

Fans rule

Day 11 of the tour:

Tonight’s appearance at Books Inc (Opera Plaza) was fabulous. Lots of rabid, smart, enthusiastic Scott fans and passionate arguments about David/Zane. For the record I like Zane better than David but prefer Shay to either one of them.

The most wonderful part of the evening for me was meeting London, who’s a guy from Sacramento, who drove all the way to San Francisco (which is at least two hours!) to tell me how much he loves my books. Isn’t that awesome? Also turns out he’s a Sacramento Monarchs fan and has even met their big star Yolanda Griffiths. I was deeply impressed and we got to talk women’s hoops which always makes me happy.

Equally happy making was the lovely Liset who gave me a beautiful piece of fan art:

Liset’s fan art

What a wonderful day. Thanks to Jennifer and Shannon for all your hard work. You guys are deeply splendiferous!

There’s lots more to say. And a tonne of your comments I want to respond to, but I’m completely knackered.

Tomorrow there are more events. Also we fly to Seattle.

Sleep now!

On book tour time

Everything on the book tour has very short margins. The driver taking you places in traffic-laden cities has to calculate the odds of getting you to your next gig on time and allow for potential disasters so you often arrive with tonnes of dead time or with barely seconds to get up and start charming.

You have a one-day turn around on getting your clothes laundered. If you drop it off in the morning it has to be ready in the evening or you’re wearing dirties to a gig. One hotel forgot to return the dry cleaning. And we stupidly didn’t check till it was too late leaving Scott struggling to put a clean ensemble together. Aaargh!! (Fortunately the dry cleaning was returned before we left that hotel.)

There’s such a narrow margin of error for clothes because we’re travelling with only carry-ons to eliminate the risk of checked luggage going missing. (It’s happened to us three times in the last two years.) Two carry-on bags and two computer bags cannot fit all the clothes you need for three weeks.

Or enough books either. (Our huge swag of books from the trade show has long been posted home.) So the horror of running out of reading before you get to the next book shop is always around the corner. I have many podcasts and vid on standby should it come to that.

Scott and his iphone

Not that there’s much time for reading or catching up with people’s blogs or the news or anything. Scott’s usually on the road to his next gig by 7AM and back in time for a short nap before the evening book signing. Nights off are a blessing spent catching up on everything that has piled up. We have no idea what’s going on in the real world. But we know TONNES of publishing gossip.

We keep meeting the most wonderful people. The escorts have been charming and fun, the booksellers and fans ditto. Yet, we’re meeting so many people that the names of all these folks we’ve just bonded with have left our heads by the next gig. I hear there are new drugs on the market that help with memory. I am SO. VERY. TEMPTED.

Meeting the fans is the very best part. I knew there were a lot of people who were enthusiastic about Scott’s books but I had no idea there were this many. And they’re all so smart and funny and keep giving him the most fabulous home-made pressies. It makes me all teary and so very happy.

Thanks for coming out and saying hi!

Toes, passports, and other misadventures

If this is Sunday it must be Oakland. What do you mean it isn’t Sunday?! But this is Oakland, right?

Scott is silly

Today has not been one of my better efforts. Let’s see:

    I almost broke one of Scott’s toes,

    Put the “signed by” sticker on several of his books upside down (worst jacket monkey ever),

    Left my bag with our passports in it behind at a restaurant and then managed not to hear the poor waiter sprinting after me and shouting with said bag in hands (but we got the bag back! yay most excellent waiter!),

    Fell asleep in the middle of Scott reading me this thingie he’s working on. (He is a most excellent reader. I have never fallen asleep while he was reading before. I plead exhaustion.)

Where is the rewind button? I would like to start over please.

Here’s hoping the actual Sunday goes much better especially as there’s a chance I might get to meet Alice Walker. I loved The Color Purple so much when I first read it that I immediately read it a second time. I can’t remember how many times I’ve read it since then. She is a genius. I love her essays every bit as much as her fiction.

Oh, and if you’re in the San Francisco area Scott is doing a whole bunch of appearances. I’ll be at all of them, most especially the one we’re doing together:

Tuesday, Oct 9
7:00pm
Books Inc.
Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102
In-store reading & signing with Scott.
A Not Your Mother’s Book Club event

I’m very happy to sign my books for you even at one of Scott’s events. I promise that I will try my best not to break any of your toes.

Free books

At the book shop appearances Scott keeps being offered a free book as a reward for his hard work and charming-ness. We keep choosing mass market paperbacks because we’re travelling and running out of spaces. Last choice: the latest Naomi Novik. (I started it last night and it rocks.)

If you were asked to choose one book from your favourite book shop what would it be?

The first book shop event

Last night we went to Anderson’s books in Naperville, Illinois. Much fun was had. Scott explained the origins of the Uglies series and of Extras. The first is all about our society’s beauty obsession; the second deals with the fame thing. There was lots of Q & A. The questions were ridiculously smart and interesting and there didn’t seem to be a single person who hadn’t read at least three or four of Scott’s books so he didn’t have to worry too much about spoilers.

Scott raises his hand. Dunno why.

During the hours and hours that he was signing for the smart and very appreciative crowd I got to hang out with some fabulous folk who were readers of my books and/or blog. At least three librarians came up to tell me how much they and their patrons enjoy my books. Yes!

I had a blast gossiping about favourite books, which is, naturally, my favourite topic of conversation ever. I was totally stoked to discover that my raving about the genius of Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia trilogy had influenced some people to pick the books up and read them. Yay!1 Also I found someone who loved Meredith Anne Pierce as much as I do!2 Double yay!

Jez and friends

The photo is of Jez and her friends (whose names I’ve forgotten—sorry!) Thanks so much for all the manga recommendations. You guys are fabulous.

I wish I could remember everyone’s name. The folks I talked to were all so wonderful, but the only people I got a chance to say goodbye to were Jez and her friends. Sorry about that! Was wonderful meeting you all.

  1. If you haven’t read them yet what are you waiting for? Go get them! []
  2. And if you haven’t read the Darkangel trilogy and you love vampires then I don’t know what you’ve been doing all your life! []

Easy Rawlins

Internet access at last! And, sadly, I have to use it to work. While Scott is off entertaining littlies in schools all over Chicago to celebrate the official publication day of Extras I’m stuck in our hotel room slaving away. Le sigh.

The tour has been brilliant thus far. I’ve met many fabulous booksellers, authors, and sales reps—hey, Michelle & Anne!—and generally had a grand time. Running into John Scalzi & Liz Gilbert was a definite highlight. Liz is in Chicago too. Right now she’s at Oprah’s studios. That’s right, she’ll be on Oprah on Friday! Liz is one of my favourite people in the universe so if you get a chance do watch her on Friday’s Oprah. The whole hour is devoted to Liz. How incredible is that?

In addition to hanging out with book people and gossiping I’ve also snaffled up some pretty awesome freebie books, including the latest Easy Rawlins by Walter Mosley, Blonde Faith. So far I loves it:

“What are you reading?” I asked.

“Catcher in the Rye,” she said, a little frown on the corner of her pillow lips.

“You don’t like it?”

“It’s okay. I mean it’s good. But I just think about a little black child or Mexican kid readin’ this in school. They look at Caufield’s life an’ think, ‘Damn, this kid got it good. What’s he so upset about?'”

I laughed.

“Yeah,” I said. “So much we know that they ever even think about and so much they think about without a thought about us.”

I didn’t have to tell Gara who they and us were. We lived in a they-and-us world while they lived, for all appearances, alone.

Wow, huh?

And now I have some writing of my own to do. Here’s hoping it will be half as good as what Mosley writes.

Jacket monkey

I am a jacket monkey which totally works for me as those are two of my favourite things. I love beautiful jackets and I love monkeys. What could be better than putting them together? (If I weren’t pressed for time there would a picture of a monkey wearing a jacket here. You’ll just have to imagine it.)

Today me and Nicola from Nicola’s books in Ann Arbor opened many many copies of Extras to the signing page for Scott to scribble all over. We were his jacket monkeys. I want a Jacket Monkey t-shirt. I’ve already earned it. So many copies! So many jackets! So many pages!

In other news I am regretting that I learned on an earlier trip never to travel with manga because just before we left I read the first two volumes of Naruto and Hana-Kimi and R.O.D. and I am desperate to read more. Sadly it only takes half an hour to read one manga. To meet my reading needs on this trip I would need a truckload. They’re heavy. No more manga for almost three weeks. Waaaah!!!

Turns out that two of our writer friends are here: John Scalzi and Elizabeth Gilbert. Yay! The first we learned when Scalzi tackled Scott in the middle of a cocktail party. We authors are so well behaved . . .

It’s 12:20AM in Chicago. But that’s really 1:20AM in NYC. And past my bedtime on account of waking up before the sun rose. Erk!

I sleep now.

Off on tour (updated)

Not my tour but Scott’s tour for his latest book Extras. It pubs on the 2nd of October and is deeply awesome. In fact, it’s my favouritest of the Uglies series. Aya is my new hero.

I’ll be along at most of the public events. If you’re around come and say hello.

I plan to keep blogging everyday. You know, on account of I’m addicted. I managed it every day we were away at Dragoncon so I don’t see how a little tour will stop me.

Hey, does anyone who’s been on a book tour before have any survival tips? (Other than bring lots of shoes?)

Update: I’d be delighted to sign books. I may have to skip a few of the events to get some work done but I plan to be at most of them.

Dude!

A negative review of Poppy Z. Brite’s Soul Kitchen takes issue with her dialogue:

dialog—atrocious. do you realize that Rickey never once calls G-Man, his life partner, by his name? its always “Hey, dude.” “Yeah, dude?” “Dude!” between them. holy Bill & Ted! is that believable? is this how lovers talk?

A whole bunch of peoples—including Poppy Z. Brite—show up to say, “Yeah, Dude, that is what I call my lover/spouse/life partner/best friend/random acquaintances/vet/dog/neighbour etc.”

It is funny.

Personally, I do not call Scott “Dude”; I call Scott “Scott”. But he calls me “Dude” and a billion other things, but almost never “Justine”. Americans seem to have this weird allergy to calling their spouse/partner/lover by their actual name. It’s all “sweetie” and “sugar” and other weird things I can’t even bring myself to type. I am not much for cutesie names. I prefer “Dude” to “Darling”. But I like being called Justine best of all.

What do you call your main squeeze?

And, by the way, the reviewer of Brite’s book is smoking crack. She couldn’t write a bad sentence if she tried.

DragonCon panels

Because I have friends who insist on proper con reports I thought I’d talk about some DragonCon panels. Most of which were excellent and peopled by knowledgable and entertaining folks.

First I must rant:

Hey, Author People, yes, you lot, who respond to every question with deeply tedious plot descriptions of your own books and never mention anyone else’s work—I have written down your names and the names of your books. And I will NEVER EVER EVER buy them or recommend them to anyone. You are boring and the death of many a potentially good panel. I am filled with hate for you and your kind.

Okay. I feel much better now. Now onto the good panels which were all part of the YA thread. So many thanks to the folks what ran it: Bev Kodak, Suzanne Chatham, Lydia Watson, Karen Smith, Heather Lauer, Tara Smith, and Mary Moline! You are all deeply awesome.

My favourite was the one I did with Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Scott which was excellently moderated by Bev. We nattered about how we write together, swap ideas, critique each other, and how important it is for us to be part of a writing community. This involved sharing anecdotes from those dark days when we thought we were the only ones incapable of finishing a story or ever selling one. Or—now that we’re published—meeting the deadlines from hell. It was a lot of fun and only marred by being cut off before enough people could ask questions. The few we got were dead smart.

I also enjoyed the panel where Maureen Johnson went berko at the two members of the panel who dared to dismiss the “expanding pants” section of YAland. By which they were referring to Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and all the other chicklit YA books. As Maureen writes those kind of books and considers their writers and readers to be her people she was somewhat ticked off. I ably assisted her by pointing out the quality of not only Maureen’s books but also Meg Cabot’s, Sarah Dessen’s, Rachel Cohn’s, Jaclyn Moriarty’s and many, many others.

I find dismissals of whole genres particularly bizarre when they’re coming from lovers of a genre like fantasy and sf which is routinely dismissed as trash. Can we all agree not to trash a genre unless we know it well? Reading one or two or even a dozen examples does not cut it.

My most embarrassing moment was on the YA around the world panel. I was bemoaning how little non-English YA gets translated. Then Cassie Clare pointed out from the audience this little thing called manga. Der! I smack my forehead. How did I forget manga?

My favourite panellists—other than Holly, Cassie, Maureen and Scott—were the librarians. Specifically, Susan Fichtelberg, Bonnie Kunzel and Diana Tixier Herald, who not only have an encylopediac knowledge of the field but are also witty and smart. They kept bailing us out when we’d describe a book then flail hopelessly for the author or title. They knew. Every. Single. Time. They also kept referring to YA books for their examples and not TV shows or movies. I’ll admit I was a little depressed by the folks who only used media examples and seemed not to have heard of even the most famous YA writers.

Fortunately, they were few in number. The vast majority of the audience and panellists were dying to talk about J. K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Jonathan Stroud and Stephanie Meyer—an excellent fight broke out about her character Bella Swann—and oodles of others including Holly, Cassie, Scott and me. I also enjoyed the opportunity of telling many more people about the glories of Kathleen Duey’s Skin Hunger, which I managed to mention not just on all my panels but from the audience of many more. Read it!

DragonCon Blues + Urban legends

The worst thing about DragonCon—other than the way too many people thing—is that it’s on the exact same weekend as the WNBA conference finals. I missed seeing Phoenix sweep San Antonio (woo hoo! Amy—sorry, Rebecca) and will miss all the Indiana-Detroit games (please Indiana win tonight!)

Seeing all those insanely brilliant costumes is some compensation I suppose. Riding on the train with Holly, Theo, Cassandra, Maureen and Scott ditto. Sitting around in a hotel room with them telling ghost stories also not too foul.

Which reminds me what are your favourite urban legends? Feel free to leave a link in the comments if you don’t feel like telling the whole thing. So far we’ve done the finger nails one, the hook, the headless roommate, the evil clown statue, and the finger licker.

Still at DragonCon

I’m not quite sure what to make of DragonCon. It’s way bigger than any other con I’ve been to ever and, I gotta be honest, large crowds of people freak me out. And this place is nothing but huge crowds. On the other hand, the costumes are incredible.

Say hello to Mr Resident Evil 2:

oh my!
Photo by Scott

Beluga whales

The train trip was fun. Biggest difference between travelling by air in the US of A and travelling by train is that the staff are happy and relaxed and like to talk to you. We heard all sorts of stories about train life (includuing gruesome stuff about what happens when someone throws themself under one).

Although the cabins are kind of on the squalorous side—especially compared to first class sleepers in Europe—it was fun hanging with Holly and Theo and Cassie and Maureen while kudzu covered forests zipped by. We dissected the YA publishing world, described the plots of our next five books, and planned collaborations that will never ever happen but would be amazing if they did. I could live on a train with those guys forever!

Except that would mean not staring at the beluga whales at the Georgia aquarium. We were the first people into that part of the aquarium this morning. It was just me and Scott standing in front of Nico as he pirouetted and somersaulted over and over again in front of us. Staring back at us as intently as we were staring at him. We could see the texture of his skin. Every scar, every pore. I have never been so close to such a large mammal in all my life. I could have stayed there for hours.

Tomorrow DragonCon begins. We’ve already seen our first klingons. I suspect there will be photos. Lots of them.

Train train train

In not that many hours we—Holly Black, Theo Black, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Scott and me—get on the train and head to Atlanta, Georgia for DragonCon. Is it bad that I’m more excited about the train than the con? And I’m vastly excited about the con.

I plan to blog from Atlanta but much depends on the outrageous internet charges of our hotel. I will do what I can.

My schedule of events at DragonCon can be found over on Scott’s blog.

In other news I finished the first round of editorial rewrites on The UFB today. I am knackered but really looking forward to not thinking about that book for at least a week or so. Yay!

My hero

Scott just hit his tenth anniversary as a freelance writer. Congratulations, Mr Hardest-Working-Writer-I-Know.

He shares some cool statistics. Here’s two:

  • in that time he’s published well over one million words (gulp!),
  • and it took him eight years—that’s right—eight years (!) before he was earning enough from writing under his own name to support himself.

Eight years is a loooong time and yet most writers don’t ever earn enough to (comfortably) quit their day job. Scott has done very good indeed. I’m so proud.

Slightly Less Wimpy

Tonight I have managed staying awake until 2:50AM. Well, that is the time at this moment. I am bedward headed, but not quite there yet. (Shelly, I am but a sliver of my former self. Apologies.)

Things I learned at WisCon today (or, er, yesterday):

Robin McKinley and Scott Westerfeld have completely different modes of writing. Scott’s is more sensible, but Robin’s sounds like a whole lot more fun.

Ex-friend Mely might possibly regain friend status. maybe. If Serenity is never mentioned. Ever.

Doselle is the same age as me! And Lauren.

Good wine that costs money is way better than free cheap beer, especially when drunk with the likes of Chris & Gwenda.

Elad is a darling.

Pan Morigan is amazingly talented and, on top of having a divinely gorgeous voice, she can play the accordion!

Pizza at 2AM tastes way better than it actually is.

Sleep is good.

That is really, really all.

Wiscon

So I just started this new blog thingie and now I’m going to the “leading feminist science fiction convention in the world” known as WisCon. I’ll be away for a week and I haven’t made up my mind whether to take my computer or not. I’ve taken it in the past and done bugger all work. Anyways I’m unlikely to blog, but you never know.

Here’s my schedule for anyone else who’s going:

Promoting Your Novel
Sunday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. in Senate B
John M Scalzi, James F. Minz, Justine Larbalestier, Eileen Gunn, M: Liz Gorinsky

Everyone knows that the vast majority of published novelists do not get sent on book tours or make appearances on “Oprah” and “Good Morning America.” So what should the rest of us be doing to promote our novels? What are the best ways to let people know our novels exist?

“Rewrite” is a Four-Letter Word
Sunday, 4:00-5:15 p.m. in Conference Room 3
Nisi Shawl, Katya Reimann, Sarah Monette, Laurie J. Marks, Justine Larbalestier

Some folks actually enjoy rewriting; to others it is a painful chore. All agree it’s necessary. What techniques, attitudes, and approaches can lessen the negative aspects and increase the effectiveness of rewriting?

Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke
Sunday, 10:00-11:15 p.m. in Conference Room 2
Gwenda Bond, Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, Ysabeau Wilce

Young adult fiction comes in many forms. Some of it involves the Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke who will read for your pleasure and offer spectacular cookies and prizes. The main prize is a limited edition chapbook (which is absolutely gorgeous) of work by the four of us. Only six exists in the entire world!

The SignOut
Monday, 11:30am-12:45pm in Capitol Room

A whole bunch of writers including me signing their books for you. Also much weary hanging out and gossiping.

Hope to see youse lot in Madison!