Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wheeeeeeeee!!! REAL BOOK x 2!


A package on the doorstep. Not a fat one. A skinny. At first touch it is obvious what it is:

A single book.

A single real book.

The first one, hot off the press, sent lovingly by proud publishers, maybe with a bow tied around it. A sweet note from an editor. Palpable excitement.

It has taken so long to get to this point.

First there was the writing. Starting with that glorious day when the seeds of the story floated down out of the sky and landed on my brain. That was the best writing day evvvvver. (hint: note the date of that post! So long ago!) But there was a problem! I was supposed to be writing a different book.

Well. I forced myself to finish that other book (and I have not so much as peeped at it since; note the photo in that post. It's quite clear where my mind was.)

And then at last, back to the NEW BOOK, with love. (It is so funny to me to see from old posts that I was looking at Silksinger copyedits while beginning this book. It was that long ago!)

And oh yeah, in the midst of it all: best distraction ever.

Months pass. Relearning life and writing and stuff. (By the way, I did not make that self-deadline. Not even close.)

Then. Finding a publisher who wants the new book. BIG DAY!

And just when I thought things couldn't get any better, another publisher

And more writing. Lots. Downs and ups.

Actually finishing, glory halleluja! The most writing I have ever packed into three months. I still marvel at it.

And then editing, which is a part of the process I love. Mostly.

And all that was only the beginning of this story's journey. It went from my hands to the publishers' very able hands, and much much much has happened on that end (follow this trail) and now it has come to the part where it is a grown-up book, about to get shoved out the door to make its fortune. With one of those little bundles tied to a stick over its shoulder. Essential fortune-seeking gear. I kiss it on the forehead, hug it to me, whisper it all my blessings, and have a hard time letting it go. 

In the past couple of days I have received two of these marvelous skinny packages to my doorstep. TWO! Because everything about the publishing process of Daughter has been doubly awesome, because it is in the hands of both Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the US and Hodder & Stoughton in the UK.

Side story: when I did school visits for the Dreamdark books, sometimes I'd speak to the really little kids too, even though they were years away from reading my books, and I loved the literalness of their minds. One of the best questions I got from a kindergardener: "How do you make the covers of your books so hard?

Kid, I don't even know, but I love them.

May I present ... hard covers! 

*flourish of hands*

Child included for scale :-) 

She is the best possible scale, because she was about the size of a jelly bean

Hi pretties. Go forth and find happiness.

I tried to get a suitable picture of myself holding them looking thrilled, but I just look too bedraggled! I couldn't do it. I'm not at my best right now, alas. Grooming is not getting priority treatment. (No! Stop looking!) But I'm going to try to pull it together for upcoming giant amazing book tour! Details so soon!

Yay, real books!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Pie: Day at the Beach!

More days like this, please.

Usually it's too cold for bathing suits at the Oregon Coast, and it wasn't a really hot day or anything, but the wind wasn't too bad (though still kite-worthy), and the thing that was great was a huge sandbar had formed, creating a channel where the water was calm and shallow and much warmer than the sea. Below, you see the wide part of the channel and in the distance the actual surf.

Where? Manzanita, Oregon, about an hour-1/2 out from Portland.

Our favorite beach + favorite beach town. It's entirely lacking in ticky-tacky. Love.

This is random, but as I got these pics ready to post, I thought I'd show you my Photoshop prep.

Original photo:

With contrast applied in Photoshop:

Usually contrast is all I adjust, just to give that extra crispness and punch, 
but sometimes I'll up the color saturation a tidge too.

In this case, it's exaggerated to show you how to get postcard brightness.
Not always what you want.

I'd stick with the middle one.

And here:

With some contrast. Makes the darks darker and brights brighter,
overall, more punch.

And is that beach beautiful or what?

More Oregon Coast on my old blog HERE and HERE and HERE.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Karou & Zuzana ON TWITTER!

You guys. Guess what. You know how sometimes authors talk about the writing sweet spot, how they were going along, writing, and their characters all of a sudden took over and took on lives and voices of their own? I never used to believe it. I'd be all scrunch-faced reading stuff like that, like "Sure. Big lying head that you are." But I now know that it is true. Sometimes it happens. It is a goal to pursue in and of itself, because when you breathe life into characters, really make them real in your mind and on the page, they DO come alive and they help you write the story.

In the age of Twitter, this has a whole new dimension to it. Because today ... Karou and Zuzana started to tweet! Oh, about cake and nose hair and true love, vital things, and so of course I'm following them and hoping they will say more. And ...


Not on Twitter yet? Now's your chance. Here's my pitch:

a) it's easy and free
b) you don't have to do anything but start the account and read it when you feel like it. YOU do not have to tweet if you don't want to; you can be a silent observer.
c) you only follow who you want, your "twitter feed" need not get gummed up by the boring strangeness of strangeling borers.
d) it's FUN! 

I was a skeptic, so I get your skepticism. But ... here's my final sales pitch item: if you join Twitter, you can get extra Daughter of Smoke and Bone content in the form of Karou and Zuzana (and it is *just possible* that Mik might join the party. Akiva, no. Noh, oh, noh. Seraphim tweet not!) talking about the stuff that they talk about, as they are now REAL and HAVE LIFE in the internet.

There will not be spoilers. (Right, girls?)

Just to show you what it's like, here is today's opening salvo. I am pasting it here because, ahem, the girls forget to include a #hashtag go make it easy to follow. Next time, #hashtag**!

Don't forget to read it from the bottom to the top, as that is how a twitter stream works! 

Scroll down to begin.

If you are unfamiliar with the format, the name in black is the one tweeting. 
The name in blue is who they are tweeting to.

(also, the icon art is by Jim, the so-talented Jim Di Bartolo, artist-head and husband-of-me. Thank you!)

Wanna join? Just start your account, and then "follow" @bluekarou and @rabidfairy.

And, uh, while you're there: @lainitaylor. Y'know. Since you're there :-)

**A hashtag is when there's a pound sign, like this: #DSB, and if you click it all that will come up are tweets marked with that hashtag, whether you follow the people or not. It's cool, and it's how people have group live chats on twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eye Candy ... Late Night Snack?

So, a major drawback to drooling over European design blogs? You often can't GET THE STUFF! This is the one that kills me especially: Rice in Denmark. I think I might explode every time I see their online catalogs, and the new one has just hit, so here I go: *EXPLOSION SOUND EFFECT!* As far as I have been able to figure, they are only available in the US through a scant few stores, none of which are anywhere near me, and cannot be ordered online! 

*wails* *flails*

Want to see the reason for my wailing and flailing? For the full effect, view the entire catalog here

And here, some highlights. First of all, it is unseemly, how much I want these toy bins:

Yeah. Uh huh. Are you beginning to see?

And ... hello ridiculously adorable bedding, rugs, and ostrich lamps.

Look at the dotty poufs!

And tableware. Sigh. What a pretty table.


Those fork and knife place mats!

Just one last thing. A toy rhinoceros pin cushion. That's just silly.

In the best possible way.

Agh. My wantingness and not-being-able-to-havingness is making me all tense and surly. You lucky Danes, I hope you appreciate what you have :-)

If anybody knows how I can order Rice products in the US, tellllllll meeeeeeeee!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Hi there! It's pretty much all writing right now, but I did climb out from under my rock the other evening to go to a concert at the Oregon Zoo with Jim and Clementine and out-of-town visitors. I didn't know the band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, but I loved them.

(I also love that they're posing in a library here! Or ... are those printer's blocks? Not sure.)

They're that kind of totally engaging act that you can't look away from to chat or do whatever at a lawn concert, but just watch enthralled. Every song was totally different, ranging from old field hand songs to gaelic-incluenced beat-box, if that makes any sense. I'm dumb about music classifications, so I don't know. They're folksy bluegrassy whimsical something and wonderful.

Here's one piece we especially liked, though it's pulled from youtube from a different gig:

I would recommend checking out more of their youtube clips; like I said, every song is really different and fun. But if you can see them live that would be better. Their energy was wonderful. I wouldn't miss them if they came back around.

(The zoo concert series, by the way, is completely wonderful. It's almost over for the year, but if you're in the area, stay tuned for next summer. The zoo is one of the most beautiful spots in the city, and on a perfect day in August, watching the sun go down behind the trees to some good tunes with some good wine ... Not a bad evening :-)

Now, back to writing ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exciting exciting hyperbole :-)

Ooooh, how much do I love this graphic from Wall Street Journal online?

Much much.

Especially since 

a) The Night Circus is one of the books I'm moooooost excited about this fall (after my own :-)


b) it's under the headline "Conjuring the Next Harry Potter"

Um. Okay. "Harry Potter," we all know, is this term that gets thrown around to epitomize all hope and maximum awesome in publishing. It's like the, um, literary equivalent--but opposite--of equating bad people with Hitler, even when they're not even vaguely Hitlerish. You know? But, unlike when people getting called Hitlers (to which one supposes they object), writers do not at all mind seeing their book peering out from beneath a headline that has Harry Potter in it, even though we totally know it is hyperbole.

Ah, exciting exciting hyperbole :-)

Thank you, wsj,com, for this "meep!" experience. For the full article, here is the bit on The Night Circus, which is the featured book, and here are "some more of the new contenders" of which Daughter is FIRST that is to say, with calm dignity and totally not getting caught up in the whole hyperbole thing, of which Daughter is one


Aaaaalso, I have been meaning to tell you that if you waaaaant (I'm all vowely tonight), you can snitch the code for that awesome Daughter countdown widget from the upper right corner, see, right up there? And add it to your blog. If you want. I wouldn't mind that at all :-)

Tra la la.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Couple of Cute ... and Meaningful ... Mini Films

Great animation/design in these. Enjoy!

More 2nd Birthday Party

Thank you, weather, for being perfect. We love it when you're not a jerk.

The balloons report that the wind was a perfect gentleman.

It was an outdoor party, and I don't think it could have been any better.

Easy food. Sandwich stuff. The best champagne punch.
(Champagne + guava nectar + apricot brandy. I think.)

And for the mini people, mini food:

Little smokies in tiny buns, miniature grapes, and mini watermelon wedges!

These were so fun, and before you assume insanity: they were easy!

Simply hollow out halves limes like so:

Fill with red jello, let set, then slice. Voila! 

(Two things: halfway into setting drop in mini chocolate chips for "seeds." 
Also, I added less water than the jello box called for to make more firm.)

Clementine loved them.

I had, er, a little bit of fun decorating.

Watch your fingers in this candy jar ...


(Clementine helped me paint the dinosaur pink. She enjoyed it very much and I
think we shall paint more figurines in the near future.)

There was kind of a pinky-bluey thing going on.

I may have spent a late night painting spools of thread ...

It was very rewarding. I think I am going to give up writing and become a cupcake topper maker.
(You can watch movies while you paint cupcake girls. Writing, not so much.)

Look: me and Clementine :-)

The inspiration was to do a cake-topper like one I'd found on a blog a while back.

But I couldn't stop there!

The yeti got all gussied up in an outgrown Hema dress of Clementine's.

(Did you know yetis eat bouncy balls for breakfast?)

(With some assistance, of course.)

* * *

It really was such a lovely day.

And after everyone left, we had hours more perfect weather,
and plenty of energy for playing house.

The kind of "house," that is, where your father dresses as a house and chases you.

You all play that one, right?

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