I really need a night off.* So I thought I’d leave you with two Exciting Announcements and a few links.**
Peter’s IN THE PALACE OF THE KHANS has been nominated for the Carnegie long list:
And just in case you haven’t already bought your copy, here’s a reminder:
The ‘buy now’ takes you to amazon.uk but amazon.com and Barnes and Noble have it as well.
And SHADOWS is coming out in the UK:
EBook 5 December
Paperback 2 January
The cover will look pretty much the same and the blurby stuff has been rewritten but it’s still about Maggie and some very peculiar shadows. It should be available for pre-order by now.**
And if you wish to be encouraged, possibly inspired, but not to say hectored, pleeeeease read this:
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* You know there are several people out there who have offered guest posts and then disappeared. . . . Just thought this might be worth mentioning.
** You’ll have to look the link up yourselves. I don’t go near the Robin McKinley pages on amazon.
*** Or if you want to be reminded of my back catalogue you can read this:
I need something more nearly resembling a night off than my usual shortish Wednesday. So I thought I’d give you someone else’s story.
Someone tweeted me this a few days ago and I was avoiding work* or something and clicked through to read it. I really liked it. Don’t let the typos at the beginning put you off—as they nearly put me off—these things do happen, especially when you’re attempting to perform your proofreading late at night and you just want to hang the freller and go to bed.**
I like the way she’s taken a fairly ordinary things-that-go-bump-in-the-night story arc and made it real through her characters. I like the way the characters aren’t quite what you’re expecting. I like the seamlessness with which she makes her characters not quite what you’re expecting***.
There are more stories where this one came from on her web site, and she’s got a book for sale on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/City-Ghosts-Stories-Betsy-Phillips/dp/145369983X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382572476&sr=8-1&keywords=Betsy+Phillips+A+City+of+Ghosts
I haven’t bought it yet but the ebook is CHEEEEEEEAP and I’m sure I’ll decide it’s wasteful not to buy it.
. . . And just in case you need a Silly Animal Video:
Although my informant says it’s gone viral so you may have seen it already. I do feel that the human in question is a trifle naïve to have put that cat gym next to the door and then be surprised at the result. . . .
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** Ask me how I know this.
*** I may also be extra-disposed to like stories with porcelain-faced dolls in them at the moment because I’m reading ALCHEMY OF STONE.
I’m better. But I’m not enough better. Although this may be a good thing because I cancelled my dentist’s appointment for tomorrow—three hours, no lie, and at £300 a minute I’m expecting my entire mouth to be gold-plated with cabochon diamonds generously studding all the teeth that show when I smile.* If I ever smile again after paying the bill. Anyway. I was supposed to go in and be hammered and excavated and shot full of creepy toxic dental anaesthesia tomorrow, but I don’t dare so soon after a major ME shut-down day. I’m not actually thrilled with putting it off—now I have to go through the Approaching Dread phase twice—but because I am a clueless la-la-la brain I’d managed not to notice I have a handbell wedding—that is, a wedding I’ve agreed to ring handbells for—this Saturday. The three of us, Niall, Gemma and I, are finally only getting together for a practise run-through this Friday, the day before—and the day after I was supposed to spend three hours at the dentist. If I’m very polite the ME will probably let me do this: I have no negotiating skill with dental anaesthesia hangovers. So it’s kind of just as well it’s turned out this way. I cautiously went to tower bell practise tonight, which was not a total disaster although the brain was definitely deliquescent by the end, and Gemma was asking anxiously about the wedding (it’s her friend’s daughter who’s getting married). The worst that happens is that we’ll have to ring plain courses, I said.** And I may have to sit down occasionally. And we may have to shift to smaller bells*** if my wrists give out.† ME is just one big fat frelling har-di-har-har after another. Arrrgh. Anyway. I’m better.
Meanwhile it’s still short Wednesday.
A friend send me this a few days ago: http://www.matthaig.com/some-fucking-writing-tips/ ††
The link’s address gives you fair warning about the one thing you need warning about. If bad language bothers you, don’t go there: he does say going in that he’s just coming off a long gig where his only directive was that he couldn’t swear, and he had a lot of catching up to do.††† But the writing tips made me laugh and laugh.
Although this one made me laugh even more:
Haig also writes very good, very funny books. I even blog-recced about TO BE A CAT. I admit I am shamelessly waiting for THE HUMANS to come out in paper. I could buy the e version . . . but I don’t want to. I want to be able to drop it in the bath when I laugh.
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* Supposing there are cabochon diamonds, but I don’t fancy scratchy facets against the inside of my lip.^
^ I think tongue, cheek and lip piercings look painful.
** I ring methods on handbells, remember. Not tunes.
*** It’s a big church. Even big handbells are going to be kind of lost. Maybe we could stand on a large box with a megaphone. Handbell weddings I have attended previously have been at seriously quaint old rural churches, not some frelling urban monster which except for the exigencies of church hierarchy which I don’t understand ought to be a cathedral.
† One of the oh so terribly amusing things about Growing Old with ME is that you have no idea what’s frelling causing anything. Do my hands hurt because I’m having an ME flare or a rheumatism/arthritis flare?^ Discuss. No, don’t bother to discuss. Have a cup of tea and think about something else.
^ I read somewhere recently that almost everyone has at least some arthritis by the time they’re sixty. So I have lots of company.
†† I especially commend #1 to your attention. All of you who think being a writer is some kind of glamorous.
††† And—ahem—on a bad day I sound just like this. On a day when the hellhounds aren’t eating, the hellterror has just eaten another blanket,^ PEG II is dead in the water, it’s raining and the right-colour All Stars have a hole in the bottom, the house is full of spiders and my singing voice is full of crackly splinters I SOUND JUST LIKE THIS.^^
^ She has MILLIONS of toys! She’d rather shred her bedding! ARRRGH!
^^ If I can’t sing I might as well shout.
‡ Although #3? Feh. He’s a Brit, he can find a bell tower to join. And #9 made me laugh so hard I nearly threw up. You might not want to be eating when you read it. Or maybe it’s just I’ve heard from JesusRainbowUnicorn too. Although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Idaho. Possibly Yorkshire.
And because of course you’ll immediately want to read (or reread) THE POISON ORACLE, yaaaaaay, because Small Beer Press has just reissued it, both hard copy and ebook:
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* I’ve met her^ and . . . ahem . . . this is not a good photo. Say I.^^
^ She ran a panel that Peter was on at some murder-con thing a million years ago.
^^ Author photos! AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!! –I hope they at least asked her permission.+
+ I think the one of Peter is pretty cute. But I may be biased.
** And if you read the fine print carefully you’ll see that it’s coming out on audible too. I can’t get it to show as either available or pending on audible, but that may just be me. I tend to listen to theology out hurtling lately. This’ll make a change.
With reference to last night’s topic, I received a street mail letter today—yes, ye olde streetye mailye, which tangible objects do find their way to the mail slot in my door occasionally—and which included this quote offered for my comfort: “My computer may have beaten me at chess but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”
Hee hee hee hee hee.
. . . By this however I gather that the writer reads this blog at least occasionally and so I will also say something I repeat here at intervals: while it’s true that I’m an increasingly terrible responder-to of book mail YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT GET AN ANSWER TO YOUR STREET MAIL IF YOUR RETURN ADDRESS IS NOT ON THE LETTER ITSELF. Forwarded letters are usually sent original-envelope-free. And even when they aren’t, I tend to pull them out of their envelopes and lay them flat where they have some chance of being unearthed in a pile of To Do before they grow whiskers. Some of the unanswered letters tucked tidily in my letters-in-envelopes box predate my move to New Arcadia. Which is getting on for nine years ago, if you’re counting.
Today’s letter is, however, one of those sent on without its original envelope—and without a return address on the letter. THANK YOU, MS G.H. FOR THE NICE THINGS YOU SAY ABOUT MY BOOKS. She does add that she knows I’m busy and doesn’t expect a reply so it’s possible she’s just making an executive decision. . . .
Here’s another quote from a different direction: Khaled Hosseini, THE KITE RUNNER and A THOUSAND SPLENDED SUNS author if you’re staring at those unusual-to-many-western-eyes syllables and wondering where you’ve seen them before, has a new book out, AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. He was interviewed for TIME magazine back the end of May, and my eye was caught by this metaphor for the writing process: . . . “It’s a little bit like when you move into a home. You haul all your stuff and shove it in the house; the things you need are there, but it looks horrible and doesn’t feel like a home at all. The subsequent draft is about saying, OK, this couch belongs here. Let’s get rid of this painting. Let’s put this armoire here. . . .”
I may be more sensitive to a house moving metaphor than I would have been before April 2012 when KES began.* Especially when poor Kes’ is a house move that goes on and on, at least to your and my perspective—where she’s standing she’s still only been in New Iceland two and a half days, it’s just the translation process goes out in mingy 850ish-word lumps.** She is spending her third night in Rose Manor—spoiler, snicker snicker—but we’re sure having a time getting her there—NO spoiler, snicker snicker snicker.*** But Kes and I, despite being largely each other’s alter egos, have very different views of house moves. It’s true that when I moved into the old house here, me and my eighty-two thousand boxes of books, a rich collection of All Stars and a baby grand piano, I felt it was going to swallow me without leaving a trace, like disciples sacrificing an alien wanderer for Yog-Sothoth’s† favour.†† Most of the house moves in my life, including the most recent one, however, have been a question of cramming everything through the door and as hard up against the walls as possible just to get everything in, and then I sit in the last remaining scrap of empty floor space and have a nervous breakdown.††† Kes moving into Rose Manor is MAJOR WISH FULFILLMENT, although again, it’s how the story chooses to go.‡ But for Hosseini’s metaphor, I’m saying, an entire ARMOIRE? You think I’ve got wall space for an ARMOIRE? And Kes is saying, get rid of a painting? Get rid of something?
She’s a hoarder at heart though. Give her time.
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* Someone, well after the 11 April anniversary this year^, posted to the forum that she wondered if there would be any special events for said anniversary. There should have been. I don’t remember what epic horror was occurring in my life at that point AND PLEASE DON’T REMIND ME but I didn’t think of it in time. Maybe next year.
Which reminds me to ask, somewhat plaintively, you are still reading it, aren’t you? Comments have dropped off to near nothing which isn’t a problem AS LONG AS YOU’RE STILL READING IT.^^ Apparently the programme/difference engine/virtual chipmunks that keep benighted WordPress rolling don’t want to separate out page hits in a useful manner, even if you ask it nicely. Which means I have no idea if the blog spikes or flops on KES days. I want to keep writing it. But whether or not I keep giving it away in this format depends whether it feels worthwhile. Blogmom is sharpening her whacking and whapping technology to see if she can extract a better KES-visitor guess than bluh bluh bluh um.
^ Anyone who looks up the first ep will see that the date is given as 12 April. It was the 11th of April, it just happened to be after midnight. As so often with my blog. Like tonight.
^^ Although I really appreciate the comments KES does receive.+
+ I’m glad JoJo was popular. The story goes as the story goes, but when that emerged on my computer screen I did worry a little that it was either worthy, ie ticking the disabled box#, or veered a little too far over the sentimental boundary, an area I’m very fond of, but one does have to stop before one drowns nastily in the River Treacle.
# Will we meet JoJo’s sister? If KES lasts long enough, yes.
** I still need to earn a living. See previous footnote. If KES isn’t working as advertising I may flog it some other how.
*** I’m not a nice person. You knew that.
† I wonder how Yog-Sothoth feels about reading?
†† Note that it took me ten years to run out of walls to put bookshelves on. Ten years. In a house with floor space roughly equivalent to the Colosseum. And I wasn’t particularly trying.
††† Which is why I bought a second/Third House. The TBR piles by my bed at the cottage are still ginormous.
‡ Oh, and the janitor? The janitor is based on Lived Experience. I was glad to move out of that building.