Saturday, September 16, 2017

Writer + Reader = Magic. (Also, my tour is about to begin!)

One of the secret delights of being the author of three standalone fantasy novels that differ in their protagonist, their emotional tenor, and their pacing is that a lot of readers will tell me which one they prefer. And (astonishingly), readers' preferences seem to be pretty evenly divided among the three books. It makes me SO happy that each of my books is finding its right readers. But it also teaches me something about how writing relates to reading – something about how little control I have over my readers' experience of reading. Every time a book is read by someone new, it becomes a different and unique book. One of the awesome things about being an author is watching my books become things I never expected or intended! That's the power of a book. Books are more powerful than writers or readers. Maybe books are as powerful as writers and readers combined?

I bring this up because Jane, Unlimited is a book that contains five different stories in five different genres – or, we could say it contains five different stories in five different worlds. Mystery; spy; horror; sci-fi; fantasy. It's early days, so I haven't heard from a lot of readers yet. But early readers are telling me what they think – and as of a few days ago, each story has now been chosen as someone's preferred story of the five.

As an author anxious to know how her new book is being received, this is comforting, but it's also simply fascinating. It makes me think differently about the way we "judge" books; it reminds me how subjective it all is. It gives me permission to keep trying to write the best books I can, and write them my way. It releases me from the responsibility of imagining I'm somehow in control. It helps me let go. It reminds me again of the magic that happens when a reader touches a book.

Most of all, it makes me grateful. Thank you, dear readers, for opening my books and letting them have a try at your hearts and brains. I make no assumptions about how they'll be received. It's a gift regardless.

A reminder that my book tour for Jane, Unlimited starts Tuesday. Please note that folks in Rhinebeck, NY will have a special treat -- I'll be in conversation with my amazing editor, Kathy Dawson.  If you're near Cambridge, MA; Rhinebeck, NY; Nashville, TN; Fairfax, VA; Raleigh, NC; Asheville, NC; San Diego, CA; Oakland, CA; Haverford, PA; and Plainville, MA -- or if you want to see authors Tui Sutherland, Stephanie Perkins, Aditi Khorana, or Kiersten White :o) -- see my events page for more details.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Pictures from a Rainy Day at the DeCordova Sculpture Park

One of my sisters is currently camping by herself in the Mojave Desert for a month, as part of her doctoral dissertation. Another is evacuating to avoid Hurricane Irma. And I'm about to leave on a book tour...

So my parents and I grabbed a quiet moment and did something close to (my) home: we visited the deCordova Sculpture Park in the rain.

Inside Crazy Spheroid -- Two Entrances. That's my actual Dad, with reflections of me and my Mom.

Are You Here?

Two Big Black Hearts.

Humming. This sculpture looks too soft to be stone. It's mesmerizing, both close up and from a distance.

I find this one, called DeCordova Ball, extremely soothing. And then, when we were up on the roof...

My mother noticed something.

The unmistakable inspiration for DeCordova Ball!

It was lovely to enter other people's ideas for an afternoon. I hope you can find some silliness, imagination, and/or wonder in your day, dear reader :). Here's moonrise over the Mojave Desert to send you on your way:

Taken by request Tuesday night by my sister, Codename: Apocalyptica... because my parents, Kevin and I were sitting around wondering what her skies were like out there.

Monday, September 4, 2017

"Notes on an Imagined Plaque"

Please, please do listen to the episode called "Notes on an Imagined Plaque" on the podcast 99% Invisible. It's only 14 minutes long and you can get to it by clicking on the link. "Monuments don’t just appear in the wake of someone’s death — they are erected for reasons specific to a time and place. In 1905, one such memorial was put up in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, to commemorate Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had died in 1877."

Well worth the listen, and when you're done, pass it on.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What I've Been Up To Lately

I know I have a book coming out on September 19 (which you can pre-order at Powell'sAmazon, B&N, or your local independent bookstore, *cough*), and that's supposed to be the only thing I'm thinking about.

But the truth is that I'm mostly thinking about another book: the one I've written 330 pages of so far and am about to start rewriting (again) from the beginning (again) because I keep learning new, important plot things that change everything that went before.

Here it is divided up by chapters, with post-its to remind me of the major things that need to change.

This book is told from multiple perspectives… Including the perspectives of some underwater creatures.

So these are some of the pictures hanging in my office, to set the mood.

There are some important ships in the book too, so these are on my desk.

This is where I'm supposed to be right now, working on the damn thing, but it feels too hard at the moment, so I'm at the other desk, writing this blog post instead :o).

My book plan.

A note taped to my lamp, and a thing I keep trying to believe. SIGH.

Godspeed to all writers.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Another Giveaway, plus Love from the B&N Blog

Head's up that I'm doing another giveaway of Jane, Unlimited over on Twitter.

And, if you're undecided about whether you want to read Jane, consider the advice of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog, where Melissa Albert wrote a review that melted my heart. Melissa Albert's upcoming debut novel, The Hazel Wood, is fabulous, BTW. :o)

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's adorable to see everyone in town walking around with weird bashed-up cereal boxes.

Our nearly-total solar eclipse was awesome. At its height and through the safety glasses, it looked like a crescent moon that had chosen a really odd horizontal orientation. Thank you clouds for staying away, thank you Richard for lending your cereal-box pinhole projector, and thank you Watertown Public Library for creating a space for everyone and lending us eclipse-watching glasses. Also, thank you fortune, for making it possible for me to get out there today and see it. I know not everyone could. Here are some nice compilation photos in the Boston Globe.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pictures and Stories from the Counter-Protest in Boston

Yesterday, about 20,000 protesters marched through Roxbury and the South End, joining another approximately 20,000 protesters who were already gathered at the Boston Common. We were 40,000 strong, protesting a handful of people having a "free speech," a.k.a. hate speech, rally in our city.

Kevin and I, with some friends, were part of the marching contingent. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

"It's not about free speech. It's about bigots normalizing hate."

"These guys don't get why we can't get along."

"Stop pretending that your racism is patriotism."

"Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance."

"Silence = compliance."

I loved all the people who came out of their businesses to cheer, yell their support, watch. Like these dentists!

And these people on roofs.

Me and Kevin.

"All live matter but… not every race is targeted for execution."

Jesus was a socialist, middle-eastern Jew."

"Bad hombre reporting for duty."

On the subway train on the way home, a man making loud racist remarks began to focus his vitriol on a woman near him who was holding a protest sign. People nearby were ignoring it, pretending it wasn't happening. Then a man crossed the car to the woman, asked her if she was okay, and stood with her keeping her company, putting himself between the racist and her. I was so proud, because that was Kevin.

"Jerks on the Common aren't the main Boston story. This is."

Dear readers, marchers, vulnerable people, and people pushing back against hate: this is your story, and you are the heroes. Keep up the good work.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥