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Covenanting in the United Kingdom

The sad fact of the matter is this: you never meet the vast majority of your fans. For reasons of geography, among others!

This means that getting to meet the fans you do meet is very exciting. I always feel like I must talk very fast and give them all the information they could possibly wish about my books! I also feel that I should share the experience of what authoring involves which is not writing, but going out and meeting people.

Being a writer is very strange in that way, as it does mean: most of the time, you stay at home in your jammies and type away, lonely as a cloud.

A typing cloud.

Then for a small portion of the year, you must go out and meet tons of strangers, some of them in crowds who will be observing you, and talk to them intelligently! This is really, really tough on some writers, especially those who are naturally shy. I do not mean to present it as nothing but fun. However, I do find it fun. Which isn't to say that I don't get shy, but - I like people, and talking to them, and talking about books is my favourite thing, and the people who read books (particularly my books) are my favourite people. So it works out pretty well for me.

Except for the talking intelligently part...

For the first portion of the tour, I met up with Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan) and Justine Larbalestier (Liar). This was awesome, as Scott and Justine are excellent people, though Scott's slideshow of pictures from Leviathan puts me to shame. We did school visits and interviews and an industry dinner together. Justine baffled me by talking about the World Cup, and both of us baffled everyone around by yelling about vampires.

Then Scott and Justine were torn from me, just in time for my London Launch for The Demon's Covenant hosted by Murder One.

Well, I was very nervous to be without them. I was also nervous because about a zillion people, including all my English friends and family, had cancelled on me, and thus I was convinced that I would be all alone, watching the tumbleweeds blow by and hit my stacks of books.

Thus I was delighted as soon as I arrived, because there were people there! I adored meeting them all: the lady who ran a bookshop who takes note of my book reviews, the birthday girl and her sister who had just finished her exams, two lovely book bloggers, a party of people from marmalade_fish, one of whom was dressed as Sin and looked amazing and gave me red flowers, which I stuck in my hair.

I told stories about writing, answered many excellent questions (There are not as many make-out scenes in book three) and for the first time, I read from the third book of the Demon's Lexicon trilogy. We raffled off books, among them an advance copy of Kiss Me Deadly, in which Carrie Ryan and Diana Peterfreund, among others, have fantastic stories, and I have a story about Peter Pan as James Bond. I hope the winner likes it!

Then we watched a movie.

KISS KISS BANG BANG: is actually pretty awesome, and funny, and said a lot about narrative structure, although I do not know where the heroine went at the end!
SARAH: shrieks at the screen at tense moments, is a terrible person to watch a movie with

For the next movie event, if I get one, I have to think about excellent action girl movies. One of the big surprises of writing book three for me was how much I loved writing how physical Sin is, even more than Nick in a way, because she has weapons but doesn't rely on them: she's acrobatic, dancing and climbing and swinging from things, and I'd love to find a movie that shows how fun that is.

I had an amazing time, and everyone I met was lovely. I hope everyone who came had as much fun as I did! Here is an account of the the launch, much kinder to me than I deserve, since meeting everyone was my absolute pleasure.

The next day I was even more nervous, because I had to do school events without Scott Westerfeld and His Distracting Slideshow of Amazingness. School events are very different from other events: this is an audience who may not be at all familiar with your books, and may in fact be staring at you with a Fish-Eyed Stare of Extreme Boredom.

They're a challenge, but they're awesome, too: to see if you can get people excited about your books, to be able to talk to classes about what they're reading and if they're writing, too. I had many lovely school events - here is a picture from a particularly excellent one at Milton Keynes.

After school events and another interview, on Saturday I had an event with Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires) and Sarwat Chadda (Devil's Kiss) and that I was super nervous about, as a) it was in Foyle's, which is my favourite bookshop in England and b) it was a roundtable discussion! For which one cannot really prepare a presentation, as at a roundtable, one answers the questions asked, and who can tell what they will be! You must respond to them off the cuff, and I knew Rachel and Sarwat would be sparklingly brilliant.

As indeed they were, and so was the event! Foyle's treated us amazingly, providing goodie bags which included sparkling red cupcakes.

RACHEL: If I eat this I will have sparkly red icing on my teeth.
SARAH: Rachel, please eat one and say you were drinking Edward Cullen's blood.
RACHEL: Oh Sarah. (to Sarwat) You know, I once saw Sarah crawl under a tablecloth to check if my book covers glowed in the dark.
SARAH: They did! It was awesome! (pause) Eat the cupcake... you know you want to...

Rachel Caine is a lady of discretion, and did not. She and Sarwat answered the questions, which were focused on the urban fantasy genre in general and our books in particular, beautifully. I was introduced as a Demon Tamer Extraordinaire, and it is just possible I made a noise like a whip cracking at that time.

I had prepared one answer on the evolving roles of horror fiction and how they play out in urban fantasy. Because I do think urban fantasy is a child of both high fantasy and horror - it's just that the things that go bump in the night began an evolution into monsters you can talk to, sometimes, who have things to be as well as your enemy. And I am always deeply interested in roles, and subverting them, and breaking out of them, and I love thinking of scenes playing out from the point of view of every character in them. Hence books from the point of view of the monster, the powerless girl, the femme fatale, and how those roles are disturbing and limiting and surpassed. I wanted to tell everybody's story.

I never actually said this prepared answer, instead talking about how as a child I read a sex scene in the book Jaws as a shark attack that mysteriously happened in a hotel room. My answers, so enlightening. ;) But since I prepared it, I thought I might as well inflict it on you guys!

Here is an account of the Foyles Roundtable, also much more kind to me than I deserve!

So - I had a wonderful UK tour, and if anyone wishes for signed UK copies of my books, Foyle's now has a whole lot of them, and a special display of some of my favourite books.

I do not wish to speak only of the in-person things surrounding Demon's Covenant: there have also been many awesome things made for me online. The very coolest is quite possibly this - check out these foxy messenger earrings!

Though there are also icons, fanart, a fanmix of lovely songs and awesomely, a community called goblinmarket_sw where people fight about who should get together at the end of the Demon's Lexicon trilogy. They currently have three glorious weeks of challenges/art/thoughts/stories and a sign-up sheet.

I am always really pleased and flattered when people have views on who should get together, sometimes writing me emails on why a couple should absolutely not get together, because it means they care! And speaking of people caring who gets together with who, I have two beautiful pictures made by two lovely ladies to show you.

Alan, he is just a freak every day of the week, he's a playah! I mean, apparently. ;) (Aren't they gorgeous?)

Books which focus on brother and brother or brother and sister love don't have the big draw of romance - and I say this with great love for romance, and the wish to one day write a book like the Changeover focusing on a romance I find really excellent - but I love that there are people who have found these books. I love meeting them, talking to them, seeing them like the books enough to want to celebrate them.

And I came home to a lovely review of The Demon's Covenant by the Bulletin, which I shall quote to you a non-spoilery bit of, because I was delighted by it:

The dialogue remains arch and witty, while the intimate narration, focused almost entirely through Mae, reveals that she's being played falsely by most of the men and a few of the demons in her life. She is no girlie victim led around by her hormones, however; instead her urge to protect those she loves and those she owes engenders a strong will and an independent streak that enable her to stand fast in the wake of betrayal. Seeds for a third book are sown; readers will await the next sexy, violent installment with fierce anticipation.

Well, whoa, I hope so. ;) But mostly, thank you Bulletin for really getting Mae!

And thank you all.


( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
I told you a while ago that I loved the guy who read Demon's Lexicon and to my delight he is also the one who reads Demon's Covenant. I was expecting a girl doing the reading because it is Mae's story, but it was James Langton! I have to say I love his Mae's voice.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I too was expecting a lady, but James Langton is so great, and I think they got such positive responses for the Lexicon audiobook, that they went with him again. I'm so glad you liked it!
(no subject) - o_cesario - Jun. 25th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
ALAN AND SIN ALAN AND SIN ALAN AND SIN FOREVER! *falls down in an exhausted heap of shippingness*
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
LIKE FOR REALS x1000 *also falls down*

But that being said, I love that gorgeous Alan/Mae manip.
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hanelissar - Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)

First actual comment here! I just thought I'd tell you I picked up a copy of The Demon's Lexicon today, finally. I'm on a year exchange in Japan to immerse myself in the language, and holing up in my room with an English book would rather defeat the purpose, so I tracked down a copy of the Japanese translation with the awesome cover.

I know from browsing through Harry Potter (sorry "ハリ・ポター") that I CAN read Japanese novels with a little dictionary supplied assistance...but I've never made it through one. I'm a natural speed reader in English, and having to slow down and read each word like when I was little kid again frustrates me. But I'm hoping I can get immersed in this. I guess on the bright side I'll be forced to slow down and savor a novel for once instead of racing through it in two hours and chucking it aside. Wish me luck ^_^v
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
I wish you luck, and that you will enjoy it. ;)
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
I've come to these books fairly recently and I love them. I found the sibling love of these books to be a refreshing change from romance, and just as heartwrenching. So I'm really glad you have both elements in this series. :) Thank you!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you found them, and thank you!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Have to say a huge thank you for the Murder One event! (I was the girl in the headscarf, came with my sister and had to leave the film early) It was such a brilliant day and I really enjoyed the stories you shared. I can't wait until Book 3's launch! Which is a while away, I know :D
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
I remember you very well: thank you for coming, without you guys I would just be some lady rabbiting away to herself. ;) (Rabbiting away much too long - I am sorry you and your sister missed the end of the movie!)
Jun. 23rd, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
You want a movie with a girl who is very physical and who fights and swings from things and suchlike? I have this movie for you. It is called SERENITY.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
This! :D
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shevralay - Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - runnernda - Jun. 23rd, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lady_moriel - Jun. 24th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
I read a small part of this and then got distracted by the thought of Sin as Lara Croft ...
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
So, I just finished Demon's Covenant. Literally ten minutes ago, and it is awesome!!! I actually bought it yesterday, not because I wasn't desperate to have it earlier, but because I was in Italy for six weeks and could not get to it. (This was deeply depressing to me.)

But yes, it was terrific. Which leads me to my next point, which is probably not a huge deal but I wanted to rant about it a bit. When I went to find your book, it was nowhere! I know it has been a month since it came out, so maybe (hopefully) lots of people have been buying it up, but still. I went to Barnes&Noble before I left, and they didn't even have Demon's Lexicon there. I went to Booksamillion the day before yesterday and they had neither! It was only when I went to Borders that I found it, but they had no copies of tDL.

Now, these are the three biggest chains in my city! And I live in Augusta, the second largest city in Georgia. How can people read your beautiful, wonderful books if they are not there? I, of course, know that you have no control of where your books are put, but I would think that your publishing people might? I can't keep telling people to go buy your book if they can't find them anywhere!

I may be coming across too strong, but I love your books and I want everyone else to love them too...
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
So this is how bookshops and their stock works: Booksellers are the ones who determine whether to stock books, basically: neither the publisher and the writer have a say. The writer just writes the best book she can, and the publisher can try to make the bookshops stock it by paying for good placement, highlighting a title they think is especially worthy in their presentations, but that doesn't guarantee anything. I know one writer who got a huge advance, wrote a very good book, and whose book Barnes & Noble refused to stock at any price, which of course was a huge blow for her sales.

My books don't sell well in the US: for a variety of reasons - family focus when supernatural romance is the big noise right now, possibly covers, the way some internet people dislike me and have made an effort to spread illegal copies around everywhere possible, and of course the big reason Who The Heck Knows Why Some Books Don't. So book buyers have to take that into account when deciding what to carry in their bookshops. I'm really glad both the chains (Borders and Barnes & Noble) took Demon's Covenant and the Demon's Lexicon paperback - keeping books on the shelves is the only way to attract new readers!

Writers are pretty much at the mercy of bookshops, and bookshops are going by readers. Diana Peterfreund says it best when talking about stuff readers can do to insure there will be a third book in her killer unicorns series 'Tell your friends about Rampant. Tell your local bookseller to stock it. Tell your local librarian to order a copy for her collection.' I will add, buy a copy of the book in a bookshop. Which you have done, so thank you! Now Borders knows someone wanted it there on the shelf. ;)

Note: I am not saying readers owe this to authors! I absolutely don't think they do. Readers should do exactly what they want - decide not to read a book that doesn't appeal to them, grab it out of the library, borrow from a friend, buy it in whatever format's best for them. (Well, they shouldn't read illegal copies, because that is stealing, but I hope that is obvious!) That's just a list to show how readers have way more say over what's stocked in shops than writers do!

And in conclusion after this crazy long comment on how the bookselling biz works, I'm so glad you liked Demon's Covenant!
(no subject) - siriuslydlucius - Jun. 23rd, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - altogetherisi - Jun. 24th, 2010 11:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jun. 25th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bookshop - Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anywherebeyond - Jun. 23rd, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
The dialogue remains arch and witty, while the intimate narration, focused almost entirely through Mae, reveals that she's being played falsely by most of the men and a few of the demons in her life. She is no girlie victim led around by her hormones, however; instead her urge to protect those she loves and those she owes engenders a strong will and an independent streak that enable her to stand fast in the wake of betrayal. Seeds for a third book are sown; readers will await the next sexy, violent installment with fierce anticipation.

Ha! I never thought of it like that I guess because so completely obvious. But I love Mae's reaction to it so much, because it's mostly: Okay, so you've been lying. But you are, in fact, the bigger idiot here.

I need to say more about this book when I have a moment. Love it!!!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Hi! I wanted to let you know that I've just started your second book. I'M LOVING IT and I can't wait to read the rest. ♥
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
I was at the Foyles Summer Scream! *beams* It was really lovely to see you in person. I wanted to ask you a question but everything I could think of you'd already answered online somewhere. The disadvantage of such online prescence?

Thank you for the poster and signing. For reference I was the girl who stood behind her big sister and didn't say much. I wanted to say I really love your writing, I've followed you online for a very long time, and I loved the change of perspective to Mae because I think in book one she didn't make as much of an impact as the other MCs.

I don't have a favourite ship, because I think you could make any pairing work. The only ship I don't understand is Sin/Alan because they seem to me to be the only ones without chemistry (excepting people who are related).

PS: 'she's acrobatic, dancing and climbing and swinging from things, and I'd love to find a movie that shows how fun that is.' ...Prince of Persia? In which Jake Gyllenhal runs around acrobatically and contrary to popular expectations doesn't remove his top, and Gemma Arterton is the most kickass female lead I've seen in a film lately.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for coming, and I am so pleased you had fun! It was lovely to be there. And me being online so much means that if you think of a question, I will be right here to answer it. ;)

Hey, now I distinctly recall Jake Gyllenhal wasn't wearing a top when we were introduced to him. He was wrestling. I have an excellent memory for such things. ;) I was thinking more of a movie where the lady got to be joyously acrobatic, not that I have anything against Jake Gyllenhal being so!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jun. 25th, 2010 07:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jun. 25th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
i had a fab time at the London launch. fab movie choice (though i was still rooting for Labyrinth til the bitter end; Bowie and puppets!!!!)

Thanks for coming and well DEFFO be at the next one!!!

Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
I couldn't make the Foyles event as I had to work *cries* but the lovely lilifae picked up my signed copy of Demon's Covenant. I can't wait to read it so thank you in advance!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
*hyperventilates* *faints* You actually linked to my blog post on the Foyles event! SQUEE! : ) *descends into hysterical babbling* I am so exceptionally happy! Nobody ever notices my poor little blog, hehe. I am so so grateful.

I had such a wonderful time at the signing, and my highlights did involve you discussing topics that scared the people who were physically close to you, and the visual of you climbing up a bridge, hehe. *beams* I have followed this blog for about 6 years, so you linking to my blog was exceptionally surreal. I can't thank you enough for it. It's made my week, actually, including attending the event, it's made my year. : )
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
That's a terrific review! Congratulations on it and on the tour.

I also think that urban fantasy comes out of the horror genre. At some point, story tellers began revamping horror protagonists to give them agency. The noir/crime thriller/procedural plot structures that dominate the genre are an accident of convenience.
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