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.
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.
SARAH: But I NEVER 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.
AUTHORS EN MASSE: HER HAIR’S ON FIRE!!!
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.
AUTHORS EN MASSE: DON’T GET SO CLOSE TO THE 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!
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…