Friday, December 30, 2011

A little belated Christmas post

I love Christmas so much!

I love baking for Christmas. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas shopping. I love Christmas wrapping. Perhaps most of all I love Christmas decorating. So much so that both times we have house-hunted, last year and eleven years ago, my first thought stepping in the door was: perfect spot for a Christmas tree! Like that is the most important consideration when house-hunting, lol. (Both times happened to be in the fall, incidentally, holidays on the brain and all, but still.)

Our new [127-year-old] house has a picture-perfect Christmas tree spot! See:

Not to say the picture is perfect, but that window! I love it so. I do think it looks a little austere here. I kept meaning to get some fat pink silk ribbon to make a kind of garland in the niche, to frame the top of the tree, but it didn't happen. Next year! Also, there weren't presents out yet. That helped a lot :-)

The snowmen which were vintage finds from Stars Antique Mall. (The one on the left is Dr. Snowman, quite a skilled snow physician!)

We didn't used to be into the 1950s stuff, and in general we don't really care for mid-century decor or architecture, but for Christmas, ahh. Shiny Brights were my gateway drug. Sigh. 

Is anything prettier?

(oops! stockings not yet hung by the chimney with care!)
(Also, note how Dr. Snowman and the basket of pink balls keep migrating :-)

If you visit this blog much you'll know it's been a hectic year and we haven't been able to fully nest, and it being our first year in this house, we didn't have a plan already figured out, so we were pretty much winging it, taking mental notes for next year. The mantle ended up looking like this (though the stocking did get hung eventually):

An old Anthropologie garland, some thrifted picture frames painted white but not yet filled with pictures, a pair of pink IKEA vases with greenery, some red velvet reindeer and Shiny Brights, and a few silver platters ... and I couldn't FIND the rest of our small collection of thrifted silver platters! Probably in the basement, who knows, or maybe snitched by goblins for the conveyance of donuts and toadstools to their king. Lights of course. How I love the twinklies.

A dining room is something we didn't have in the old house, and was a huge selling point for this one. 
I love having a big table!

That's my grandmother's old Christmas village. I think she won it in a contest?

On the kitchen ledge. And no, that's not snow. Just a dirty window :-(

It's growing!

The Most Happy Fella! This is the score to a musical, thrifted and framed. *love*

At last, presents appear!

Having a child in the house makes Christmas morning INFINITELY MORE AWESOME.

This was our first "Santa came!" year, our first late-night elfing, you know, nudge nudge, getting things all ready for Santa to come down the chimney? I do not know HOW he fit the horsey down, that's his trade secret ...

More vintage, incidentally! The new bouncy horses are atrocities of ugliness. Santa found this one, twenty years old, much loved but in GREAT condition, and awesome as he is, Santa PAINTED HIM. I LOVE the pink mane! Makes me think maybe he's meant for me, not Clementine.

Then again, maybe not ... 

XO :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Title of the new book!

Hi there! I've gotten a lot of questions about the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I assure you I am hard at work on it! It is slated for Fall 2012, and I am happy to tell you THE TITLE!

But first, a clue ... 

A mysterious image ...

photo by Clementine Pie

Hm. What is that? (Clementine has been playing with mama's iphone.)
Let's pan back a little ...

photo by Clementine Pie

Kind of love that photo. Can you guess what it is?

How about now ...

photo by Clementine Pie

[drumroll, please]

It is my pleasure to introduce ...











photo by mama pie

Okay, okay. I kid. There IS a title, which I *think* is final. But I have to ask if I can reveal it!

Stay tuned :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa came!

Santa came!

Meet Twist! Santa found him previously loved and did some rehab. Of course, some pink was in order.

Well done, Santa!

With a two-year-old, it was our first real Santa Christmas, and oh. 
So much fun!
So little sleep!

A lovely lovely holiday to all! 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm a chimaera!

So It's my birthday today, and it's a birthday with a "0" in it, eeeeeep! So it goes. *shrug*

And look what Jim made for me!
A giant portrait of me and Clementine as chimaera! 

Clementine added for scale :-) 

HOLY, is it not gorgeous???

Wow wow wow. It's so beautiful, and it's so nice and big for our empty walls.
I'll post a clearer picture of it later--these are with my phone.

But now ... off to eat crab and coconut cake with my family.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anatomy of a sick day

Some days you wake up, kiss your husband, tickle your child, maybe start off the day reading Frosty the Snowman in bed, then make breakfast, put your hair in the blandest ponytail that pink hair has ever seen and trundle off to the cafe to write. Tra la la.

Other days begin at midnight with a sick child who will not sleep. You spend hours tracing ABCs and secret messages on her back with your fingertip, reading books, peeling clementines, droppering children's Tylenol, playing the Chipmunks Christmas or Mr. Ben or the Beatles on the iphone ("Oh bla dee, please,"), then finally doze a little around 4 am before the day gets rolling at 7 with some truly spectacular whining. Also, the woeful phrase "I don't feeeeel good," repeated about 638 times, each time more heartbreaking than the last. 

There would be no cafe today, no writing--except for a verrry quick interview response for Dagbladet, the Norwegian newspaper, executed with a lapful of miserable toddler. Then, a day of whine-management and cuddling, a much-too-short nap, and having to cancel my hair appointment, thus ensuring black roots in all holiday photos--unless I wear a Santa hat all the time, and hey, maybe I will! 

Germs, feel my wrath!

So. We stayed home today. Here is some of what we did:

  • We started to paint some twigs with craft paint. Attention cooled quickly.
  • Bathy for C; sadly, no shower for mama. Showers are the first thing to go. Well, work is the first thing to go. Then showers.
  • We played Dr. Snowman, a game in which, as you may have guessed, the doctor is a snowman. 
  • We played "patients" in which Dr. Clementine (who is very medically inclined, a fact that has been duly noted by Santa) visits all her patients on the library floor, looks in their ears, and prescribes 39 doses of medicine per day. To which the patients are expected to shout mutinously, "39 times a day!?!!" (which was originated by papa and is always funny). 
  • We danced to a loop of Oh bla dee until one of us finally fell asleep.
  • We read bookies with papa, the three of us squeezed in C's little beddy.
  • We wrapped presents. If you don't know, two-year-olds are awesome gift-wrappers.
  • A text came in from the stealth fairy godmother alerting us that there was a feller at the front door, in case we hadn't heard his wee fists knocking, and he turned out to be an M&M, or as C says: a hm hm. And he was promptly opened and plundered and eaten, proving chocolate can find its way around a lack of appetite.
  • Pizza for dinner; C barely touched hers, a sign that she really isn't herself!
And now she is asleep, and twice since I began this post she's stirred and cried and I've gone in and lay down with her. She sleeps much better when I'm cuddling her. Usually when she gets sick I just go with it and go to be early, spoon her tiny self and read for a few hours. The reading part is a rare luxury, of course, but the cuddling is something pretty awesome too. Her fierce little perfect self, she is a marvel, I don't even know how to describe the wonder of holding one's sleeping child, the way they quiet and curl into you, like you are a place of perfect safety. It's ... not too bad.

A snapshot from yesterday: when my parents brought her home from making gingerbread men with nonna, and she dashed toward me, her face alight with eagerness, baggie of decorated cookies held up to show me, most of them broken by the time she reached me. 

There's a quote I used once on a Laini's Lady, before I was a parent, and I love it even more now than I did then: 

To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.

On days like this. 

Yeah, I didn't get any work done. Yeah, all the whining my have affected my blood pressure a little, but cuddling up to that little sleeping creature at the end of the day, listening to her breathing while sneaking in some quality reading time ... Why am I still blogging? I'm sneaking back to bed ... :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Something has happened ...

You guys.


(that is the biggest font available, fyi)

watch this:

I just got chills. 

(Yep, still the biggest font.)

*flails, pops champagne, throws confetti, gets confused and throws champagne while drinking confetti, which by the way, does not go down easy. Kack.*

[a little silent space ...]

Honestly, I do not know what to say or how to say it. I feel dream-drunk, like so many good things are piling up that my life has become this surrealist landscape -- and now the Universal globe is part of my landscape. Part of my life. [*tremor of spastic glee*] I came up with an official statement and stuff, and it's been extremely odd seeing it crop up here and there like I am somebody to quote, and maybe I should be careful what I say and try to sound professional and not like somebody who accidentally drinks imaginary confetti on her blog, but really. (Pretty please don't anyone quote me sounding dorky.)

I. Am so. Excited

(I am also holding-my-breath relieved, because Clementine has a little cough and is so far sleeping pretty well, unlike last night, so wish us luck!)

But back to excitement. Okay. A few years ago my whole family went to the Grand Canyon. My sister was getting her PhD in Arizona so we were all there together and it was a perfect opportunity. And when I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked out ... it was weird. It didn't look real at all. Like, the depth ... My eyes and my brain were having this argument that went something like this:

Eyes: It's real.
Brain: I really don't think so ...
Eyes: Yeah. It is.
Brain: I remain unconvinced.
Eyes: Trust me. I'm standing right here.
Brain: But it looks like a painting.
Brain: Definitely a painting. A really big painting.
Eyes: IT'S REAL!
Brain: Nah.

And so on. Anyway, I kind of feel like that right now, trying to process the hugeness, and also having this experience of meeting studio executives for the first time in my life and discovering that not only are they real people, they are really really nice down-to-earth people with really really cool creative jobs that they love. At least, that was my impression, a wonderful impression. In fact, when I was at Book Soup in West Hollywood on my book tour, one of the Universal executives was in the front row and had such a warm, friendly face that I found myself addressing her a lot as I talked. Of course, I had no idea then who she was, and it was very cool to find out! 

This is all new to me, so I don't know what happens now, but I will let you know!

Meanwhile, here is the official press release from Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life:

Thank you, Entertainment Weekly!

And thank you, MTV's Hollywood Crush for the totally awesome announcement! 

(If you want to see their early ideas for Karou, it's HERE
Of course, it's way too early to be playing this game, but it's a fun game :-)


At the end of the day, the biggest imaginable thanks are for my wonderful agent, Jane Putch, who is not a typical literary agent, but also my manager, life-changer and friend. THANK YOU!

So there it is. Whew. Man o man. Incidentally, my birthday is one week from today. Could there be a better present?? :-)

(Eee, and there's Clementine coughing :-(. *hits publish; dashes away*)

* * * * * * * 

Oh hi, I'm back. C is sleeping again, and I remembered something: 

Voting ends 12:01 am Dec 17, so you have 24 hours. #TEAMKAROU!

(Thank you!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Something Good & Adorable, part I (also: total eye candy breakfast)

If you're feeling a holiday itch to do some good, I have a couple of ideas for you, both of which happen to involve adorableness, bonus! Here's the first one, and it's from Swedish illustrator Camilla Engman. I've been vaguely familiar with her work but hadn't seen her blog until recently and I love it. I love it all--she is one of those people that turns absolutely everything into art, you know those people? Like, a lemon in a coffee cup becomes a little creature with a face, like that? But specifically, right now, I'm in love with the Morran Book Project. 

Morran was Camilla's little dog and the star of her blog, so sadly recently passed away, but this book as far as I can tell was well underway before then, just out of the cult following that Morran had developed over the years. What the book is is a collection of portraits of Morran from artists all over the world, and they are so varied and awesome. I can't stop looking through the flip-through.

Look (all images from Camilla Engman's blog):

And so much more ...

I must have one. And it's so nice that all proceeds go to the WSPA -- the World Society for the Protection of Animals. If there is a dog-lover or an illustration lover in your life, this would make a great gift! I couldn't help thinking it made a great resource for art directors too, looking for illustrators for projects. So many wonderful unique styles!


(Next, another--bigger--idea for do-gooding with adorable repercussions!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

And the winners are ...

Oh my GOODNESS you guys, 646 entries??? 

(meet surprised monkey)

Wow! That is incredibly awesome. Thank you! I loved reading the comments so much! 

Ahem, that number of entries poses a wee problem to figuring out WHO WON. You see, what I had thought I would do is print out the comments, cut them up and put them in a punch bowl, film the whole thing so I wouldn't be tempted to just cheat and tell you my favorite comments were the winners, mwahaha, but ... 646 comments! If I could just hit "print comments" then I would be happy to use the paper and ink, but I think I'd have to format each page to print, and that would take forever, and blah blah blah, so I took the suggestion of using and coming up with numbers, and ... drumroll please ...

Here they are!

However. Who are they? Except for "1" (yay!), I don't know.

There are a lot of surprised monkeys on google.

I googled tutorials on getting my comments to come up numbered in blogger, and I did what it said, but there are still no numbers! Razzlefratzen. And when I tried to actually count through and figure out which comments match these numbers, I kept messing up. Apparently my brain isn't capable of tricksy procedures like counting right now. 

So ... can you do it? Please

Tell you what. For the first two people who post the winning names here ... the accurate winning names, meaning they corroborate each other, I will throw in an additional prize ... Hm. *strums lip* What will it be? *looks idly around room for likely shwag* 

Hungarian edition of Lips Touch? No? Ha ha. How about a paperback book to be determined later (when I can see what I have): most likely either Blackbringer or the Australia/NZ ed of Daughter (same as the UK, only trade paperback).

Yay! Advance thank you, county-brains! Now, let's just hope that none of the winning numbers turn out to match any of the comments that are like, "I've never heard of you before but what the hell? Free stuff is free stuff." Ha! 

More surprised monkeys.

This one looks more disgusted, really.

Kind of guilty shock?

Yeah, this guy did come up under "surprised monkeys". *shrug*

Alright. Sorry for the spasticity. Thanks in advance for the help! Winner NAMES coming soon!


Okay, it's the end of the day and I've just peeled myself out of bed after falling asleep in the process of getting Clementine to sleep, and it's 11 pm, dangitall, and I feel like my brain is on sideways, all slurry and dopey, so to be brief:

Thank you for the county help, we have accord! The winners of the giveaway are, thanks to

1. #1 Angela: "My gosh! I hope I'd win these. They are amazing. I'm from Indonesia and I've recently fallen in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Keep on spinning those lovely stories! And can't wait for the sequel!"

#222: The Geek Bride: "Yay! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win. Your writing brings magic to this world & should be read by all."

#331: Allison: "Oooh, exciting giveaway! I've been wanting to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a while now (SO MANY people are saying AWESOME things about it!), but I've been busy trying to graduate college. Semester's almost over, though, so this is the PERFECT time :D And all the cool stuff that comes with each package looks super nifty/gorgeous/fantastic. Yaaay!"

#572: Anonymous: (Ana) "Thank you for an amazingly fantastic giveaway!!! The artwork for Daughter's graphic sampler is so beautiful!! I wish I could draw like that. :D ~Ana~ (The #1 Brownie Lover) :)"

And for being the first to count them up, the extra TBD prizes go to Candace and almeldiel. Thank you! Everyone -- well, not everyone, but the six of you -- please email me your mailing addresses -- and please put CONTEST WINNER as the subject line. YAY! Thank you for playing! 

*wanders in an incomplete circle, slumps against door jam, and falls asleep*

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