the kitchen sink


Oh, my poor, neglected blog.  What's to become of you? Unwritten, unread, abandoned and alone -- I hear you crying in the closet when you think no one is home; I found that secret journal where you write emo poetry and complain that no one loves you anymore.



And what can I say? Mea culpa. But can you blame me? It's like you're a pet rock and twitter is an adorable, fluffy, much more beloved new puppy. You're talking to the girl who once traded a gerbil for a guinea pig (which, trust me, is an act of fickleness I was severely punished for, not least by the fact that an incontinent guinea pig turns out to be no better a pet than a neurasthenic gerbil, especially when all you really want is a puppy). 

But lucky for you, all is not lost. I have a million things I should be doing today, and we all know that when the to-do list gets that overwhelming, there's only one answer: Blogging. 

And, figuring that despite my best intentions, I probably won't be back around these parts for a while, it's going to be a long one...

Despite the fact that there are a million available and fascinating topics one could discuss, I'm not going to. Instead, this seems like as good a time and place as any to update the world on all things me. (She says without shame.) (Okay, with a little shame.)


NEW APPEARANCES!
(No, I'm not talking about my new haircut, although it is admittedly awesome.)

On July 13, I'll be in Orlando at the annual Harry Potter conference, Leaky Con, talking about YA lit and counting the minutes until I get to go see fake Hogwarts for myself. 
 
On November 4, if you live around Michigan, you can come see me and the much more brilliant Holly Black here


NEW ANTHOLOGIES!

If you've ever read this blog, or spoken to me, or know basically anything about me, you know how much I love television. And you may even know that it's long been my not-so-secret dream to be a television critic. (I was a Television Without Pity fan before it was TWoP, and I've long thought that if I'd had more moxie as a college student, I would have gotten myself a job there and the rest would be TV snark history.) Anyway, that's why I am so ridiculously, psychotically pleased to be part of the new Smart Pop Friday Night Lights anthology:



 
 
It comes out in August, and by the way, if you're not watching Friday Night Lights, you really, really should be. 
 
I'm also pretty excited, because I love old-school sci-fi, I love the story I wrote, and I love Taylor Kitsch (relevant and also, as it happens, an excellent reason for watching Friday Night Lights), to be in the newly announced anthology based on JOHN CARTER OF MARS.

(There's no cover yet, but when there is, I suspect it will look something like this. And yes, that is a naked lady battling a four-armed ape. What's not to love?!) 
 
Edited by anthology-editor-extraordinaire John Joseph Adams, it's going to contain new Barsoom stories by the very fancy likes of Garth Nix, Chris Claremont, and Catherynne Valente. (I don't know how I snuck in there, but I'm keeping very quite about it in hopes no one notices and tosses me out...) 
 
 
NEW COVERS!
 
If you haven't already heard about this, or have heard, and are utterly confused, the SKINNED books are getting NEW COVERS and also (this is the confusing part) NEW TITLES.

As of October, they're going to look like this:
 
 
 
This is now going to be called the COLD AWAKENING TRILOGY (#1 - Frozen, #2 - Shattered, #3 - Torn). This is NOT a continuation of the series. These are the EXACT SAME  BOOKS you've already read (#1 - Skinned, #2 - Crashed, #3 - Wired). (Well, hopefully you've already read them, but perhaps you haven't, in which case...welcome to my thrilling new paperback dystopian trilogy, COLD AWAKENING.)
 
Yes, I know it's confusing and kind of weird, but...look at the PRETTY. I am mesmerized by the pretty. 
 

NEW PUB DATE FOR NEW BOOK!
 
Okay, I don't have a cover yet for THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW (but it's coming very, very soon, and it's going to be amazing). But I do finally have an official pub date!

It's looking like this book is due to hit shelves near you on January 10 -- which, gulp, seems extremely soon to me. You'll be hearing a lot (a LOT)  more about this one soon, and hopefully there will be a shiny new website and some other fun stuff to go with it, but in the meantime, I will just taunt you with this:

One night.

One body, broken in a pool of blood.

One killer, lost in the shadows.

One girl, left behind--left alone, to face the consequences, to find the truth.

To avenge the dead.


THE  BOOK  OF  BLOOD  AND  SHADOW - A labyrinthine tale of ancient puzzles, cryptic signs, murderous zealots, and the quest for ultimate knowledge--and ultimate power. 


NEW  RECOMMENDATIONS!
(Since you'll need something to do to kill time before my book comes out, right?)
 
Best grown-up dystopias: SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, by Gary Shteyngart, which is everything its title claims it is, and also hilarious. Also James Boice's THE GOOD AND THE GHASTLY, which is dark and terrifying and realistic and also a little hilarious. You might not have heard of James Boice, but you will soon, because he writes the kind of books that grab you, punch you in the face, make out with you, bake you a plate of cookies, then for good measure, kick you in the gut. But in a good way.

Speaking of books you should be afraid to be alone with: The Passage. Vampires. Incredibly scary, don't-turn-out-the-lights, kind of like the ones in PRIEST only less ridiculous vampires. Read it.

Books that will fool your friends into thinking you're smart: How the Hippies Saved Physics, by David Kaiser, who was, a long time ago, my college advisor, and who remains one of the smartest guys I know. If the title doesn't sell you, and the cover doesn't sell you - 


- then perhaps you will enjoy this clip, in which the distinguished MIT professor of history and physics debates, with great eloquence and intensity, which is superior: latkes or hamentaschen.

It is physically impossible not to love this guy. (Though I'll grant you'll love him more if you happen to have a working knowledge of both the Manhattan Project and Yiddish.)
 
Website that will make you wise: I'll admit it, I'm addicted to an advice column. Several of them, in fact.  They're on The Hairpin, they're called Ask a Dude, Ask a Lady, Ask a Clean Person, etc, etc, and they're self-explanatory. Now, in addition to fooling my friends into thinking I'm smart, I actually am.

YA Books you'd be nuts not to read: Hopefully you've already listened to me about reading Holly Black's WHITE CAT, and are now ready for the even-better sequel, RED GLOVE. And I'm pretty sure you don't need me to tell you to read Beauty Queens or the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Last Little Blue Envelope, but I'm going to do so anyway.

I'm also going to command you to read SHINE, by Lauren Myracle and PEARL, by Jo Knowles, because both are incredibly beautiful, touching, gut-ripping stories about the darkest and lightest parts of life, and you don't want to miss them.

TV show whose hype I ignored, to my detriment: Game of Thrones. It turns out it's as good as everyone says. I might actually have to read the books.

Non-fiction, if that's how you roll: Methland and Chasing the Sea are both exceedingly depressing and exceedingly riveting. (Although if you want something a little lighter, Tom Bissell has shifted gears from Central Asian environmental disasters to video games--less depressing, still freakishly well written.)

The elephant in the room: I don't think I have anything left to say about that Wall Street Journal article that hasn't already been said, but if you're hungry for more on this issue and haven't already read Maureen Johnson in the Guardian, Cecil Castellucci in the LA Times, or some of the 15,000 #yasaves responses on twitter, I'd start there.

If you now need something to cheer you up: I'm framing it.


Congratulations, if you've read this far. I could keep going forever, since this is of course immensely more pleasurable than actually doing work, but instead I'm going to tear myself away from the screen and commence work on TOP SECRET NEW YA PROJECT THAT YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT SOON-ISH ASSUMING IT DOESN'T KILL ME FIRST. (It's just a working title.)
 

#robin3000 #winners


 The random number generator has spoken! (What, did you think I used a hat? This is the 21st century!) Actually, because I so enjoyed this, it spoke TWICE. 

Which means two winners for the #robin3000 book giveaway  (I figured since I was giving away two books, it seemed only fair):

@bookbriefs and @baileykelsey 

Congratulations! Email me at robin (at) robinwasserman (dot) com and let me know which ebook you'd like,




or






And now, as promised, something for the rest of you.  As I may have mentioned, about a thousand times, I have a new book coming out next year: It's called THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW, and while there is not yet a cover, there IS a manuscript, and I'm going to  pull out a few sentences at random to give you a glimpse. It's a very, very mini world debut.   

I'm going through the copy-edited manuscript at the moment, adding commas and deleting m-dashes and such (and geeking out over all the delicious grammar puzzles), and so here, without further ado, are the first few sentences of the manuscript page I was on when I hit 3000 twitter followers:

-----

Some simple, logical proofs.

One. Max loved me.  Max loved Chris. Max claimed to "find the overabundance of violence in modern American cinema to be bordering on grotesque" but did so only because it was easier than admitting the sight of blood, even on-screen, made him want to puke. Max was Max. Therefore, he did not do it. 

Two. Max loved me.  Max would never leave me alone to face Chris's body and Adriane's eyes and the cops and the cameras unless he had no other choice, and not no other choice as in he preferred to stay out of jail and feared sticking around would have the opposite effect, but no other choice as in he needed to stay away to save his own life, or mine. Therefore Max was in trouble. 

Or Max was dead. 


----

That's all I've got right now.  BUT, turns out celebrating arbitrary big round numbers is kind of fun, so when I hit 4000, I'll do it again -- and my HOPE is that by the time this happens, I'll a) have a cover to reveal and b) have some of the newly repackaged/retitled SKINNED books to give away. 
 

They come out in October, so I guess I've got some time.  Now, off to come up with more interesting things to tweet about do my work. 

#robin3000


 Somehow, I seem to have 3000 people following me on twitter. And it's come to my attention that when one hits one of those big, fat, round numbers, twitter etiquette demands some form of thank you to the universe, or at least the twitter-ly corner of it. 

And how better to say thank you than to give some stuff away?

Here's what I'm going to give away: 

1 ebook of either RED GLOVE (by Holly Black) or THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE (by Maureen Johnson) -- winner's choice

(Why aren't I giving away one of my own books? Eh. I'm bored of doing that. And I'm a strange and capricious creature. And these are two of my favorite new releases this month and I think you all should get the joy of reading them.)

How you win: 

1. Tweet something about Red Glove or The Last Little Blue Envelope.

2. Hashtag your tweet #robin3000

3. Check my twitter feed or this blog tomorrow afternoon to see if you won. 

Tomorrow I'll also be posting a short, short excerpt from my Exciting New Book, THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW. (The manuscript is on my lap as we speak, and I'm going to post some sentences from the very page I was on when I hit 3000 followers. Thrilling, I know.)

See you then!

Move along, nothing smutty to see here...


Psst...I know what you came around here for. I can tell from that shifty look on your face. I'll tell you this much: Your letter is W

But you better keep moving. libba_bray , author of BEAUTY QUEENS, has what you need...

(If, on the other hand, you have no idea what I'm talking about, you might want to start here: cassandraclare )

resolutions


Everyone else I know seems to be posting a list of all the things they've accomplished in 2010. I find it intimidating, depressing, and terrifying just to read these (because they generally made me feel like an enormous slacker who accomplished nothing in 2010 but discovering a love for several new and newly terrible TV shows), so I certainly won't be making one of my own. This time of year, rather than musing on the past, I prefer thinking about the future.

My theory (New Year's is one of the very, very few times in a year where you'll actually find me being optimistic, if you catch me at the right moment): Whatever it is you want to do, be, or have, this could finally be the year.  Especially if you insist on it, loudly enough that the universe has no choice but to go along. As in:

THIS IS THE YEAR. 

Thus, I'm a big fan of resolutions. Last year, among other things, I resolved to buy a book a week. (I've always been a library girl, from a library family, so my shelves are embarrassingly empty -- and now that I buy food and pay my rent only because other people are gracious enough to buy *my* books, I decided to spend a few months returning the favor.) This may have been the best resolution I've ever made in my life, because it was certainly the only one that was massive amounts of fun to carry out. And I'll admit, I haven't read this much in years. Having more books around the house has actually managed to cut down on my television viewing. 

Who knew anything could do that?


I didn't manage every single week, and I'll admit I still have a stack of books I've acquired but have yet to read, which is the kind of thing that generally stresses me out (but for 2011 I'm trying to cultivate a more zen approach to such things, so bring on the ToBeRead stacks), but here, in case you want confirmation, is the list of all the books I've bought and read this year:*

*Not including YA/Children's (because there were too many to write down and I don't remember which I bought and which I scavenged for free), presents (b/c I never bothered to write those down), or research books for Exciting New Novel Partly Set in Exotic Locale (because that would be telling....)

The Children's Book (AS Byatt), Last Night in Twisted River (John Irving), Await Your Reply (Don Chaon), Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz), Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann), So Much For That (Lionel Shriver), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), Eat the Document (Dana Spiotta), This Side of Paradise (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Consider the Lobster (David Foster Wallace), Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky), The Alienist (Caleb Carr), Where I'm Calling From (Raymond Carver), Beach Music (Pat Conroy), Nemesis (Philip Roth), The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas), Great House (Nicole Krauss), The American Painter Emma Dial (Samantha Peale), The Ask (Sam Lipsyte), Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart), Bound (Antonya Nelson), The History of Love (Nicole Krauss), The Yiddish Policeman's Union (Michael Chabon), A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (David Foster Wallace), Man Walks Into a Room (Nicole Krauss), Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Anne Tyler), The Shining (Stephen King), The Passage (Justin Cronin), The Dome (Stephen King), Heart Shaped Box (Joe Hill), A Gate at the Stairs (Lorrie Moore), Sunset Park (Paul Auster), The Magicians (Lev Grossman),  Room (Emma Donoghue), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark), Changing My Mind (Zadie Smith) 

(Seems like a good omen to end my year on a book with that title, no?)

(See my last post, if you're interested in my Best Of picks.) 

Barry Lyga had a great post this week about how reading more widely -- and specifically, in his case, more adult books -- has shaped his writing, and I couldn't agree more. I've read more books, and, more importantly, more amazing, awe-inspiringly well written books this year than I have in a really long time (and this includes some of those YA and middle grade books that aren't on this list, but are in that Best Of post).

I read books that reminded me of why I wanted to be a writer -- and books that showed me how to be a better one. 

I've spent most of this year writing a book that terrified me to write, and -- not to jinx things -- I think it's turning out better than anything I've written before. If that proves to be the case, it will be 90% thanks to all these books I was reading on the side. So, thank you, amazing authors, and thank you 2010 resolution. 

Which brings me to 2011.

I like to make three resolutions: One which will make me a better person, one which will make me a better writer, and one which I can actually, concretely do something to accomplish.  Still working on them, though -- I figure I have until tomorrow to set them in stone. 

What about you? Anyone got any exciting resolutions for 2011, or ambitions that you'd like the universe to accommodate? How about we all agree right now:

THIS IS THE YEAR.

So you tell me: The year for what?

Bandwagon, Here I Come!


 Since everyone is making best-of-the-year lists, since I am generally of the opinion that my taste is awesome and also love a good competition even if I'm the one handing out the awards and thus ineligible to win any, since many people who know me well labor under the delusion that I don't like anything (you know who you are), and since my apartment is SO FREAKING COLD that I can't concentrate enough to be productive but can't stop shivering long enough to nap, I figured I would join the party. And thus, here, the moment that you never realized you were waiting for but surely somewhere, deep down, have been...

ROBIN'S BEST OF 2010
(Also known as BOOKS AND OTHER STUFF THAT YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE YOU GET/SEE/READ BECAUSE I SAID SO AND BECAUSE IT'S TRUE I HATE ALMOST EVERYTHING SO IF I LIKED IT YOU KNOW IT'S GOOD)

YA Books
The Boneshaker - Kate Milford (sort of middle-grade, but I'm counting it)
The Magicians - Lev Grossman (okay, so this is not a YA book, but the best parts of it are the YA parts, so I'm counting it)
White Cat - Holly Black


Adult Books
Great House - Nicole Krauss
Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart
The Passage - Justin Cronin


Books Published Before 2010 That I Foolishly Failed to Read Until This Year
The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Consider the Lobster - David Foster Wallace
History of Love - Nicole Krauss


Books I Know I Should Read Because Everyone Keeps Telling Me To But I Haven't Managed to Yet
Anything - Megan Whalen Turner (yes, yes, I know, stop yelling at me, people, I'm on it)
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen


Book That Was So Dark and Depressing I Wish I Could Erase It From My Memory Which Has Never Happened Before
So Much For That - Lionel Shriver 


Movies
Okay, honestly, I never go to the movies and when I do I tend to forget them about five minutes after I walk out of the theater, so the only thing I can remember loving this year was INCEPTION, which I loved A LOT.

Oh, also the SOCIAL NETWORK. So that's two. (And for what it's worth, I disagree strongly with this article and think this was the most accurate version of Harvard I've ever seen on screen. Sorry, Good Will Hunting/With Honors/Love Story. No contest.)


TV
Can we discuss the fact that almost all the good TV shows have either ended or been canceled? (And while any other year I would have included Lost on this list, I refuse to reward it for its CRAPPIER THAN CRAP ending.) Alas. There's still...uh...hmm...okay:

Breaking Bad (I've only seen the first two episodes of this but am willing to go out on a limb b/c they were amazing)
Caprica (canceled)
Friday Night Lights
the Twin Peaks tribute episode of Psych
Weeds (in the midst of a creative resurgence, and also: Justin Kirk)
Mad Men (although that feels like forever ago and, seriously, Don, WTF?)

And maybe we'll give Grey's Anatomy the Show That Sucks Less Than It Sucked Last Year award.

ALSO: Any TV show when watched alongside Television Without Pity recaps written by Jacob - specifically Gossip Girl, Caprica, and Weeds, but also, in memorium, Battlestar Galactica, on which he truly outdid himself and anyone else who's ever written about television.


Guilty Pleasures
Degrassi: The Next Generation 
Millionaire Matchmaker (I have no defense for this, please stop laughing)


Online Crap to Watch
Coming in just under the wire:
So You Want to Write a Novel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9fc-crEFDw

(Runner up: Josh Malina and Michael Ian Black's Backwash)



This was more enjoyable than either doing my work or shiver, so perhaps I'll add to it as I think of more stuff I liked this year (although like I say, it's a very small list) - let me know if there are any categories you think I missed. Better yet, let me know your favorites, so I'll have something to do in 2011.

Fight the Crazy


A couple weeks ago someone (you know who you are) got me up against the wall, shoved a camera in my face, and demanded advice about writing a first draft. I would call this an advice mugging, except for the fact that anyone who's ever met me knows that I will seize on any possible opportunity to offer advice, as it's just about my favorite thing to do. And also for the fact that "someone" is a very lovely person who was soliciting advice for excellent purposes. Fortunately for those purposes, I'm not the only person she asked, because my advice was only half-good. Which means it was also half crappy.

Now, as anyone who's ever met me also knows, I pride myself on giving VERY GOOD advice. So you can imagine that this greatly distressed me. Or would have, if I had realized it at the time.

My advice, in a nutshell: Shitty Rough Draft. (In slightly less of a nutshell: Don't worry if what you're writing is terrible, don't worry if it doesn't make sense, don't worry if it's perfect, just write one page after another after another after another until you can write "The End." Then have a milkshake.)

It doesn't work for everyone, but I still believe this is generally pretty excellent advice...once you've reached the second half of your book. Writing the second half can seem like a horrific slog through an infinite number of illogical events, confusing plot twists, and uncooperative characters with no end in sight. While I'm sure there are those who find this an enchanting phase of the process, I call it the death march.

And a couple weeks ago, when that camera appeared in my face, I had just reached the end of it, having finished a first draft of a(n exciting, new, hopefully out-of-this-world brilliant) novel. So the one-miserable-day-at-a-time strategy was right at the forefront of my mind.

But here's the thing. I had forgotten that the death march is just one phase -- and, if you ask me, not nearly the trickiest one.

This month, I'm starting something new, and I'm now reminded of what I forget each and every time I get to the second half of the book, which is that writing the first half -- or at least the first few chapters -- sucks. And it sucks in a very specific way that requires some very specific advice. Since I so love offering advice, I've decided to do just that.

(I should note here that, yes, I'm aware this blog post would have been much more appropriate and helpful had I written it, say, LAST MONTH, when what seems like the entire world but me retreated into writing caves in order to work on their NaNoWriMo manuscripts at lightning speed. But surely I can't be the only one out there a little slow on the uptake. Someone else out there must be starting a book in December...right? This post is dedicated to you. Or, if you don't exist, to me. Because no one needs to hear this advice more than I do.)

The thing about starting a new book is that when you first start writing, it's like floating on a sea of chocolate mikshake, sweet and unexpected and full of wonderful possibility--a honeymoon period that for some people, I'm told, can last months. For me it lasts about five minutes. And then the Crazy starts. This is when I start feeling completely ridiculous and possibly even clinically insane for imagining that I could actually write a book. Especially a book that doesn't suck. The nasty little voice in my head points out that it's very likely this book is going to be terrible, that every page I write makes it more nonsensical, that even if it's a brilliant idea I'll probably screw it up, and that, let's be honest, it's probably in fact the most terrible and useless idea to be introduced into the world since Hammer Pants.

Actually, that requires more than just a link (especially for those of you who didn't have the privilege of experiencing them firsthand):


HAMMER TIME!


Now, I'll admit, there are also moments when any new book seems destined to be the greatest book I've ever written and possibly that anyone has ever written and instead of working on it I'd be perfectly justified lying on the couch fantasizing about massive advances and international tours.

There are even moments, many of them, when I just sit in front of the computer, typing away, thinking about nothing but what comes next.

But eventually, inevitably, the CRAZY returns. And I can't help feeling like it would be smarter to devote my energies toward an activity with a higher possibility of yielding success.

Like tetris.

I often tell people that when I was a teenager, I wanted to be a writer but could never come up with ideas. This is a lie. The truth--though I rarely remember it--is that I came up with lots of ideas, and I wrote the first couple pages of many a story (even a couple novels) before giving up in disgust, certain that the only thing dumber than the idea for the story was me, for thinking I could, or should, write it.

I've now finished and published more than ten novels. But every time I start a new one, I still hear that little voice in my head saying: You're nuts.

(I'll admit the existence of a little voice in my head makes that a strong possibility.)


The conversation basically goes like this:

ME: Woohoo! Three more pages. This is totally (someday, eventually) going to be a book!

CRAZY VOICE: Yeah. A CRAPTASTIC book. And not even a book, so much as a big pile of paper covered with ink. Don't forget to recycle. You know, when you come to your senses and throw it in the trash.

ME: I always think that, and it's never actually true.

CRAZY VOICE: Which statistically means there's a high likelihood that this time it is.

ME: You have a point.

CRAZY VOICE: I know.

ME: *weeps*


I firmly believe that finishing a novel is an act of brute force. But starting a novel is a leap of faith, and it's a leap you have to take every day, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind your back -- until you hit the point where the prospect of giving up is at least as unappealing as the thought of going forward and just getting the damn thing done. Which is what makes the whole thing so terrifying, exhilarating, and utterly annoying.

I also believe (or at least, dear lord, I hope) that I'm not the only one who has this problem. It's clear to me that I'm never going to be able to make the little voice shut up, nor am I going to be able to convince it that I'm neither a moron nor a lunatic. Which leaves me with only one option, and it's an option I highly recommend (hear comes the advice): IGNORE THE CRAZY VOICE.

Leap.

And while you're doing so, it doesn't hurt to blast this at full volume at least once a day:



mea culpa


Yes, I have been incredibly derelict about updating my blog and I'm here today only for the ignoble purpose of trying to get you to come see me in person so I don't show up to my fancy shmancy talk and signing this weekend to face every author's nightmare, a big empty room (well, okay, every author's real nightmare is a blank page, but empty rooms at book signings are definitely the kind of thing we have short, hazy nightmares about while couch napping).

But in my defense, I've been very busy all month finishing a draft of my Brand New Book. (The only reason I've poked my head up for air this week is that I've forced some very gracious and easily suckered friends into reading it for me, and am now waiting for their thoughts on it.  Which, by the way, is the current subject of my nightmares. And my couch-nap nightmares, which there have been a lot of opportunity for this week. I love my couch.)

Curious about the new book? Perhaps you would like to ask me about it in person THIS WEEKEND:

Saturday, October 16, 2 pm
Upper Dublin Public Library
805 Loch Alsh Ave
Fort Washington, PA
More info here

I'll be talking about the Skinned trilogy and what comes next and -- since I grew up only a few miles away -- probably spilling some embarrassing stories of my awkward youth. So you won't want to miss that part. 

There's nothing I love more than doing events in the Philadelphia area. When I was a kid, 99% of my time was spent either reading other people's books or fantasizing about the day when I would write my own. (0% of my time was spent actually writing said books, which is perhaps why it took me so long, but that's another story, and by story, I mean cautionary tale.) So it's a bit surreal to go back there as an actual real, live published author. I wish I could travel back in time, drop by the high school, take teenage me for a ride, and tell her that, despite how it may seem, everything will work out in the end. 

(There are plenty of other things I'd tell her, but most are truly not fit for public consumption.)

As may be apparent, for someone who was so miserable growing up, I am ridiculously, unnaturally, inexplicably nostalgic for the trappings of my youth. Even the ones (cough, junior high) that could only be described using words like "prison" and "fiery pit of hell." (And let's not forget "stink bomb." Ah, junior high.) It's probably a good thing that all my teachers have retired by now, or I'd likely spend every visit to the area parading through my former schools, mooning over my old lockers and classrooms and shoving copies of my books at all my favorite teachers. 


Actually, I'd probably shove copies at all my least favorite teachers, too, or at least the ones who tried esp to ruin my life, too, because what better way to demonstrate how they failed? Um, not that I hold petty grudges like that or imagine running into certain people who will remain nameless and watching them weep as they behold my glory. Because that would be totally nuts. 

Wait, what was my point here?

Oh, right, doing writerly stuff within a certain radius of my hometown tends to bring out my crazy, mostly in a good way, and you can generally be guaranteed that I'll start babbling madly or reminiscing or complaining about some eighth grade bully or having a heart attack because someone I haven't seen in ten years is sitting in the back row...point being, I can't promise you excitement if you show up, but you've at least got a good shot.

(Especially if you're the one I haven't seen in ten years.  Then you can probably ensure there will be screaming of some sort.)

(Unless you're my eighth grade bully, in which case there will be screaming of another sort, so you might want to stay away.)

(Not that I'm holding another petty grudge from -- wait, ALMOST TWENTY YEARS AGO? -- okay, I really am nuts.)

(And old.)

today's the day!


Those of you who have been counting the days (and maybe that's a party of one, namely me) will be aware that
TODAY IS THE DAY WIRED HITS STORES!
(You can read an excerpt here, if you're curious.)

I've made my requisite tour of area bookstores to admire the pretty, I've bought myself a cookie, and I've miserably failed at getting any amount of work done.

I did, however, create this nifty little arts and crafts project:


Though I think it looks better full-sized, here.

(Incidentally, not to sound like a commercial, but I highly recommend this glogster thing - whatever it is, it's highly addictive, and I'm speaking as someone with no artistic skills or aesthetic taste whatsoever. So just imagine what the hypothetical YOU could do with it. As soon as you're done reading WIRED, of course.)

And now, I must leave you to go get some actual work done...or maybe a celebratory viewing of the Gossip Girl season premiere. 

It could go either way.

a tantalizing glimpse of the future


It being labor day and me being a contrarian, I have decided to spend this final day of summer vacation doing the obvious: WORK.

Before you get too impressed, I guess I should admit it's the fun kind of work, inspired by the arrival at my doorstep of this very valuable treasure:



(Bonus, if you look closely you can see in the background a) my very ugly but very comfortable couch, b) my mostly ugly rug, c) the green notebook which I'm using to brainstorm my next SEKRIT project, and d) the stack of laundry I'm avoiding by doing more entertaining work like this.)

WIRED, the final book in the SKINNED trilogy, comes out September 14. For those of you disinclined to do math while still officially on summer vacation, that is EIGHT DAYS FROM TODAY.

I know, you're tortured by anticipation. (Okay, I'm tortured by anticipation. I've been waiting four years for this moment.)

Here's a little excerpt to help you survive the wait. (And I believe this is the first piece of this book to see the light of day, so we'll call it a WORLD DEBUT.)  Enjoy!

****

Mechs don't get tired.  We don't, technically, need to sleep. And obviously there's no need to eat or drink or rest our legs from hour after hour of whirling beneath spinning neon lights, arms twirling, head thrown back, bass-pumping music shaking the walls, floor undulating beneath our feet, bodies on bodies pressed together, sticky, sweaty, salty flesh grinding against flesh, and in the center, me.  Seventy-two hours at the Wilding, watching dancers flow in and out, like jellyfish washing up on the beach, then dragged out again by the rising tide, ragged and desiccated by their hours in the sun.  Except here in the Wilding there was no sun, no hint of anything that might mark the time passing, or the daylight world beyond its midnight walls.

"You need a guy," Felicity shouted in my ear, with a giggle that sounded almost sincere. Everything she said sounded almost sincere--the same went for Pria and Cally, the other two vidlife regulars who'd swept me into their circle as soon as I stepped into the club.  The fly cams buzzing over our heads glowed as they came within range of one another, and on cue the lifers laughed and shrieked, stroked my hair, whipped me in wild loops across the packed dance floor, and didn't seem to care that I was a mech--which of course only meant that their characters didn't care, and they were playing their parts.  

Cally grabbed my shoudlers and kneaded her thumbs into the synflesh.  "Definitely need a guy," she agreed. "You're way too tense."

"Come on, pick someone." Pria twisted me in a slow circle, her pointed finger hopping from a weeper with huge biceps and teary hangdog eyes to an albino blond to an artfully scruffed guy, bare from the waist up and dosed out on Xers, who happened to be a ringer for Walker, my org ex. Not going to happen.

Him, the voice in my head decided for me, as my eyes settled on a punkish banger a few years older than me, his spiked hair tipped with metal studs, silver bangles ringing both arms from wrist to elbow.  The silver decals striping his neck marked him as a skinnerhead, one of those fetishists who claimed to crave eternal life as a mech--but didn't crave it enough to actually cut open their brains and download them into a computer.  Covering yourself in mech-tech was the newest trend, at least among those who weren't trolling the streets looking for a mech to bash, and sometimes--fine line between love and hate and all that--among those who were.  This loser clearly considered himself on the cutting edge. Someone out there on the network apparently thought that made him my perfect match. Go for it.

It didn't take much. My come-hither glance was rusty, but it got the job done. Or maybe it was the pinpricks of golden light at the center of my pupils, the dead mech eyes flashing under the neon strobes, the taunting glimpses of synflesh beneath the on-and-off transparent material of the flash shirt.

What skinnerhead could resist a skinner?
I'm the author of several novels for teens, including HACKING HARVARD, the CHASING YESTERDAY trilogy, and the SEVEN DEADLY SINS series.

My newest book, SKINNED, comes out in September 2008.

Also, I like cupcakes.

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