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Well, I'm Back

One of the great joys of being a writer and someone who teaches mostly online is that I can travel a lot. This is not because I am rich and glamorous, but because I'm lucky--I am single, pet-less and have a portable job: the boss man is not going to fire me for not turning up to work, because I always turn up to work wherever I am.

Indeed sometimes I must travel to work. Last month I went on a trip, starting in Charleston, at the YAll Book Fest, where I may have seen some of you! I was appointed a judge (a bad mistake) and a panel moderator (a worse mistake), met some lovely people and ate some truly delicious pie.

I also went on a tour of the Scandalous Houses of Charleston, and learned that roses in wrought iron signify a Scandalous House. I've been giving the side-eye to a lot of gates since then.

I visited my friends Holly and Theo Black. There is a white cat at Chez Black with one blue eye and one green eye. So she looks just like me, except considerably tinier and considerably fluffier.

SARAH: I love me some Layla. And why is that, Layla?
HOLLY: We did not get the cat because she looks like you, Sarah.
SARAH: Because we're both Gracelings. Isn't that right, Layla? What's your Grace, sweetie? What's your Grace?

'Graceling' is a deeply nerdy reference to Kristin Cashore's novel of the same name, in which people with two different colour eyes all have special magic powers. I think my Grace is tea-drinking.

Theo and Holly Black also extremely kindly hosted me for a Proper American Thanksgiving, which took me rather by surprise as I had entirely forgotten when that holiday was or that it existed. Americans, it is all go with them! Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, Christmas, no pause to rest until January!

SARAH: Holly, I am ready for a traditional Thanksgiving, but--is it going to be super traditional? Because I don't know the ceremony for giving thanks.
HOLLY: ...

Apparently, ladies and gentlemen, there is no ceremony of giving thanks.

Then I went to a writing retreat in Arizona, organised by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, and attended by many awesome writer types. And for some reason, me. It was extremely fancy. Kelley Armstrong is one of those writers that I am still kind of awed by: both because I love her books, and because I read Bitten when I was a teenager, and the idea of a writer was still a mystical distant figure.

This means I sometimes spend my Writing Quiet Time peeping at Kelley Armstrong over my computer. If she sees me looking, I mouth 'HEY KELLEY HEY.' She accepts this gracefully.

I never peep at her computer when she isn't looking. Or, I haven't been caught yet.

I was rooming with the lovely Jeri Smith-Ready, and on the last day we made a terrible discovery.

SARAH: Oh no I didn't make my bed! What you must think of me!
JERI: Oh, I've only been making my bed because you always do.
JERI: But on that first night...
SARAH: I got up early and took my blankie WITH ME.
JERI: It looked made to me...
SARAH: Oh Jeri. We've been such fools. How could we have been so blind to what we both wanted?

Then we fell into each other's arms and promised never, never to make our beds again.

There was also much talk of books, of course, in which everyone else discussed books with wise words and much insight, and I acted out romance novels and maybe pretended to make out with and/or pretended to kill several ladies. I don't know why anyone ever invites me to anything.

I had a good time, though. When Rosemary Clement-Moore told me that her novel The Splendor Falls was a Gothic novel with a Welsh hero, I became so overwhelmed with joy that I threw myself into the swimming pool.

ROSEMARY: Is she... dead?
CARRIE RYAN: I think she's OK. She's still holding her glass above the surface of the water.

It's possible that my Grace is in fact trailing disaster wherever I go.

SARAH: Oh I will light the fire outside, no problem. Hand me that fancy firelighting stick.
SARAH: So it was! Oh well, only a few more split ends.
BETH REVIS: I thought I'd seen hair on fire before. Like, a little smoke, a little spark. But there were actual FLAMES. In your actual HAIR.
SARAH: Mmm toasty fire.

What is new since I've been gone? Well, I have a tumblr now! Finally the lure of expressing myself with ridiculous pictures grew too strong. Check it out!

Among my more notable tumblr posts so far: on dealing with critics, and on Twilight.

For indeed I did see Breaking Dawn: Part I while I was away, and had a fun time except for at a certain psychological moment, when Cassandra Clare offered me a cherry slushie and I turned a whiter shade of pale. We discussed it a lot afterward, the idea of protecting women from 'dangerous ideas', which inspired me to make my post and inspired Holly Black to make a much better one.

Sarah Monette wrote a post called How To Help An Author's Career (if one feels so inclined, which nobody has to feel!) It made me wince remembering how I'd feel when people said they were waiting until the end of my series! So I thought I'd link.

I'm very honoured to see The Demon's Surrender on this list: yay for gay in YA.

People have been saying they don't have a Team Human summary, so here is one from the back of the Advance Reader's Copy: When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.

Annnd, Unspoken has a release date: the 25th of September, 2012. Four days after my birthday! Two months after Team Human comes out! Next year will be quite a year.

It also may finally have a cover, after a lot of... adventures.

EXCELLENT EDITOR MALLORY: Thank goodness, after all that drama.
SARAH: Oh Holly, I caused drama.
HOLLY: You didn't cause drama. Er, well, in this specific case, you didn't. Remember how... all that stuff... happened?
SARAH: How could I forget?

I'll tell you all another time, and I hope to show you the cover soon! If you feel inclined to ask me questions and receive replies with pictures, pray do so! Or of course you can just talk to me here. ;)

For now, I am back home. It's chilly in Dublin in December. I wonder if I should light a fire...


( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 7th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
I feel sorry for you being back in Dublin after all your interesting travels.

It's been ridiculously cold here. At least you missed the crazy floods though.
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
The lady I live with made me an amazing chocolate orange ginger biscuit cake, so I am reconciled. ;)
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Hair on fire is never fun. I say this with all the enthusiasm of someone who has had their hair on fire.
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
Yay for safe travels and good time.
At least you got to skip the fake Pilgrim-Indian part of Thanksgiving. For that, be grateful.
Dec. 7th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
*marks Team Human as something to get even if she has to get her UK friend to ship it*
Dec. 7th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Team Human's not currently scheduled to come out in the UK, but it is coming out in the US (Harper Collins, July 3rd) so you're set. ;)
(no subject) - archangelbeth - Dec. 7th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - messiah_noire - Dec. 7th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Dec. 7th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - messiah_noire - Dec. 7th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
You make me smile and make my day happier :) Thank you for that.

I'm actually a graceling too...a little bit. One green-blue eye, one green-brown-grey-hazel eye. So I guess I'm not as powerful as a true graceling would be, but I guess I do have pretty awesome movie watching skills.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 7th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
I think they've probably had enough of me for 2011. ;) But enjoy yourself!
(no subject) - blackholly - Dec. 7th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
SARAH: Oh I will light the fire outside, no problem. Hand me that fancy firelighting stick.

Those of us who remember when you tried to light your fireplace with a toaster kind of knew where this was heading....

For now, I am back home. It's chilly in Dublin in December. I wonder if I should light a fire...

*unplugs your toaster*
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
Now I have the envy! I want to come and set heads on fire, too!
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
You are welcome to come set fires with me where'er I go!
(no subject) - wendyzski - Dec. 7th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
If one does a Google search for Scandalous Houses of Charleston, there are roughly 31,100,000 hits - the first is this LJ-entry, and the second is your LJ's mainpage. If one searches only for "Scandalous Houses", one gets only 78 hits - and your LJ-entry is number two.
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Oh Sarah, you always make me laugh so hard with your adventures!!!!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar: the book by Walter Dean Myers? (In which case, no.)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - sarahtales - Dec. 7th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Holly Black a la Spiderwick Chronicles? Good grief I did not know she had a livejournal.

Second, Graceling is a fantastic book. I moved house yesterday and it now has pride and place on the shelf again. Beside Fire. Any idea when Bitterblue is out?

I shall have to read up on this... Twilight stuff. I know what goes on but I'd like to see if anyone had the same detrimental responses I did on a moral basis.
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
That would be the one, yes. ;)

Bitterblue is coming out May 2012, I believe!

I think we all agree that morally speaking, many dodgy things go on in many books...
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
^^' Sarah Rees Brennan, you are my hero, but possibly I still disagree with you about Twilight. Is that allowed? May I still have you as my hero?

I - I think there is a difference between approaching it from a literary and from a cultural perspective, maybe? o.o I just - I find it deeply disturbing that so many women have responded so well to a story that is about a woman who is very deeply powerless in a lot of important ways, and I think that this both contributes to and reflects many of the things that you have found so disturbing elsewhere, such as a tendency to dismiss powerful female characters. I want to see Twilight dismissed. I want to see fantasies of powerlessness and sex-negativity labeled as offensive and foolish and not even worthy of a 2nd glance, because I believe that they are truly deeply harmful to our culture. There is an interconnectedness here, between the little girls who grow up surrounded by these fantasies, and the teenagers who label Mae a Mary-Sue because she is so badass.

But perhaps the problem is not even with dismissal of the book, but with dismissal of those individuals who enjoy it. Perhaps I am demonstrating your point through my inability to enjoy your tumblr and then go on without stopping to rant. *sheepish*
Dec. 7th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
You may disagree with me about anything you like. ;)

I'm not sure dismissing stuff is useful (though hey, I understand the impulse, I dismiss, say, Transformers all the livelong). I'd like to see Twilight discussed in the context of why it's so popular, and the ways Bella is powerless--and the ways in which she's powerful, too. Twilight and the reaction to it are obviously products of an unfair society, the one that is set up to dismiss women, because... all our media is, and all of us are... and I'm not saying it's not a problematic text... almost all texts are. I just don't think it's simple.

I definitely don't think people who enjoy Twilight (or people who enjoy Transformers) should be dismissed. That's the most important thing!
Dec. 7th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
I am beginning to suspect that your Grace IS Trailing Disaster Wherever You Go. No, let's put it another way: your Grace is Stumbling Into Interesting Experiences.
Dec. 7th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
Also, I'm not sure I should mention that I dreamed about you last night. Only because the extent of it was that you burst into the community-center-like place-where-this-dream-was-happening and announced, "I have a great idea! We should all now clean the bathrooms while smoking pot!" I DO NOT THINK YOU WOULD DO THIS. I'M JUST REPORTING WHAT HAPPENED IN MY BRAIN. This is not, by any means, the weirdest dream I have ever had about an author, so you may be lucky.
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Apparently, ladies and gentlemen, there is no ceremony of giving thanks.

I find this slightly upsetting, i feel there should be! ;)

I forgot how much I enjoyed reading your LJ, it has also reminded me that I have The Demon's Covenant still sitting unread on my shelf and I am shocked that I forgot that! I know what I'll be reading over the next few days!
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
I hope that you will enjoy it!
(no subject) - kyizi - Dec. 7th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 41 comments — Leave a comment )


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