Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Like a Shoomp

One of the care-and-feeding-of-Clementine tricks that has evolved over the past two years is the toothbrushing strategy. It's no longer strategy, just routine. As soon as toothbrushing time rolls around, the question is: "What do you want to brush your teeth like tonight?" and she has to decide. It's kind of a bypass to any fussing about the question of whether or not teeth will be brushed. Of course they will; the only question is: how, exactly? 

Like a monkey? An otter? Like a dinosaur? However she wants. In the early days, she only knew a few words, and it was mostly going to be elephant or monkey or dinosaur. But as she gets older, it's getting more fun. Clementine Pie has brushed her teeth "like a tulip," "like a Beatle," and "like a drummer," among others. (Sensing a musical theme? Just wait.)

A few months ago Clementine brushed her teeth "like a south-bound train," (from the Old Crow Medicine Show song "Wagon Wheel": "Rock me mama like the wind and the rain/Rock me mama like a south-bound train/Hey mama rock me") which was my favorite until the other night, when the answer to the question "How do you want to brush your teeth tonight?" was ...

C: "Like a shoomp."

Me: "A shoomp? What's a shoomp?"

At which point she proceeded to sing the refrain to "Come Together" by The Beatles, complete with the "shoomp" sound effect and drum beats and high hat tat-a-tat. 

That was pretty freaking awesome. 

I should clarify that when it comes to the actual act of toothbrushing, there is verrry little difference between the way a south-bound train brushes its teeth, for example, and a monkey. It's all in the lead-up. In case you're wondering.

I guess this is all part of an overall strategy to get Clementine using her imagination as much as possible, which is going well so far. Her toys all have awesome names that are not cartoon-derivatives (we don't do TV or movies or anything on a screen yet), like the mouse named Chickenbock, the gorilla Georgepop, the slutty pink mini-Barbie fairy Hoo-Shoo and her pink dragon Hee-Han (which were a sick-bribe on a pharmacy run), and the rabbit whose glorious, glorious name is [RASPBERRY SOUND]. Ha!

Have a lovely Tuesday, all! And if you haven't yet, you have a few days left to donate to Worldbuilders and put some of your dough in this fabulous pot that is nearing $200,000 (WOW!) all to be miraculously turned into life-changing livestock for people in poor and developing countries. This is so amazing, be part of it. Bonus is THE PRIZES. Read THIS POST to catch up. Fun Neil Gaiman stuff. Come on, be a Worldbuilder!

Friday, January 27, 2012

And the new title IS ...


Thanks for coming by the title unveiling ceremony for the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I'm really really excited to let even the tiniest bit of this book out into the world. Whew. Nervous though! You may remember the false alarm of last month. Sorry about that. Ahem. Ha ha.

Anyway, earlier this week I got the official go-ahead from Little, Brown to tell you the real title, and to give you this wee teaser too. I should say that this book is unedited and unfinished. It is not a book at all. It is a manuscript, a work in progress. Bear all that in mind.



Here's the teaser. Ready?

I'm nervous.

Here it is ...

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying. 
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. 

This was not that world.

There! I hope you like it. I love it. Love love love.

Feel free to drag and drop the above title treatment to your blog or Twitter or wherever; it is courtesy of Little, Brown, on the quick. (It felt so unceremonious to just type it out. Heavens forfend!)

Days of Blood and Starlight, slated for Fall 2012 release. Thank you for coming over here to celebrate the title with me. I can't wait until this book is A BOOK!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Carson Ellis -- Eye Candy Breakfast

Good morning! So I've loved Carson Ellis's illustration for a long time, but last Saturday we took Clementine to a kid's concert by local musician Laura Veirs (awesome) and scored the above poster, which happened to fit a large unoccupied square shadowbox frame from IKEA perfectly and is now sitting looking beautiful on my writing room floor. So I have Carson Ellis on the brain. 

I love rickshaws. And I love badgers. So I love Carson Ellis for creating rickshaw badger!

(I want a rickshaw in my living room.)

(No, a rickshaw would not fit in my living room.)

So here's some quick random Carson Ellis stuff. She lives in Portland like us, with her husband Colin Meloy of the Decembrists, for whom she has created gorgeous album and poster art, like this:

Gorgeous or what?

They also wrote/illustrated this children's novel together, Wildwood, and it is beautiful! (It is also cool that the real "wildwood" is our wilderness park, Forest Park, in Portland, at the fringes of which my parents live, along with many owls and flying squirrels and coyotes and tree nymphs and wandering chihuahuas*.

Even if you didn't know you knew her, you must recognize her style from oodles of book covers.

Here's a picture book she illustrated that I love, it's an awesome Gorey-esque revenge tale, 
as you will glean from the cover and title!

Random, don't know what it's from:

And found this on her blog, a proclamation on picture books:

Love. Good day!

*chihuahuas: my parents were beset by a marauding feral chihuahua in a pink collar just before the last cold snap ... okay, really it was very timid and desperate and not feral at all; they couldn't imagine what it was doing in the woods and they took her in and eventually located the owner -- who had been in a head-on collision on the nearest road, during which the dog (and another who was recovered on scene) was thrown from the car! Poor pooch. She's back with her people now and her name was Chica.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Look: movies!

Hi there! Hope you're well and lovely. Look. Movies!

What other movies are you excited about this year?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


(It is NOT done. 
But it will be. 
If I could visit future-me with a time machine,
I would find it done. 
Therefore, I can do it.)
In the future, I already have.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Not all feet touch the earth

all photos yowayowa

Happy Monday!

May you float through the week
seeing things other people don't
stroking imaginary cats
smiling secret smiles
in your sneaky red shoes

Aren't these magical? They are the daily levitations of yowayowa camera woman,
Tokyo photographer Natsumi Hayashi
who explains yowayowa as:
a Japanese term meaning "weak" or "feeble."
Since I'm yowayowa, it's really heavy to carry SLR cameras around.


Love these. They make me think of the scene in Daughter where the tourists in Prague catch sight of ... something improbable, and, wondering if perhaps they have strayed into a pocket of the world where flying is possible, discreetly scull their arms about to see if they can't do it too :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bare-Chested Slovak Akiva

I made the mistake of tweeting the existence of a bare-chested Slovak Akiva this morning, thinking, ehh, I'll do the blog post later, but then I got sucked into the excitement of the thing and thought I would take a few minutes out from writing -- which OKAY I have not yet actually begun beyond an ill-fated attempt to put the date at the top of my working doc ... Did you know it is September today? Ahem. So I'm giving my brain a few more minutes to warm up.

And look! Foreign editions! I love foreign editions! I loved seeing the translator of the Latin American version of the Spanish edition on twitter this morning, and getting a Turkish inquiry in my inbox. I love answering translator questions. And I loOoOoOoOove getting foreign editions in the mail! My first foreign Daughter came this week, not counting UK/Aus/NZ. I thought the German edition would arrive first, as they have been in touch (lovely cover squee!!!) but it was the SLOVAK. And they even altered my name to Laini Taylorova, ha ha, how cool is that? I am an honorary Slovak!

I will be so curious to see other covers as they come in (we're up to 25 editions sold now, WOW). I wonder if any others will feature Akiva? Anyway, here it is: bare-chested Slovak Akiva!

Fun! It's been a good week for boxes of books from abroad. Also arrived, Italian Lips Touch:

(know what's crazy? They didn't include THE ART!!! Whuuut?)

And ... Portuguese Blackbringer!

Hi pretty books :-)

The new library is still in a mess, but we have a special spot staked out for foreign editions, "the shelf" being a major component of my life-long writer dream. It strikes me that if one had a large office (which I don't, mine is a sun porch), it would be cool to have a high picture ledge all the way around it for facing out various editions.

Okay. I think my brain has reached full function. Or close enough. Thank you, coffee. Now back to the manuscript!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Here is a GOOD THING for GOOD PEOPLE who also happen to like to WIN STUFF. I've been meaning to post this foreverandever, and here it is before it's too late!

Do you follow Pat Rothfuss's blog? (If not, you should. So smart and hilarious and informative and do-gooding in the bad-assest of ways.) Do you know of Worldbuilders? Yes. Good. No? Also good. Because I get to tell you!

Pat Rothfuss is an amazing author of epic fantasy, and ... an unusually good person. I can't think of anyone who has done so much good with their own good fortune (Maybe John Green). Over the past several years, Pat has raised money for Heifer International to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of those dollars from his own pockets. 

And. AND. If it's not awesome enough to help provide llamas and goats and ducks and cows for families trying to pull themselves out of hunger and poverty, THERE ARE PRIZES. For YOU. The best kind of prizes. BOOKS.

(Including a fat stack of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, varying editions and audiobooks.)

Read more about it HERE


all in one fell swoop!

The fundraiser ends on January 31st.

Help hit the $200,000 mark! That's a lot of critters.

Seriously go and check it out and help spread the word!

Happy Wednesday and tra la la :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Scene Stuff

Quick hello! So at a birthday party the other day it emerged that my writer friend April Henry has a deadline when I do, and that our friend Holly Westlund, who was the birthday girl, is shooting for finishing her w.i.p. also at the same time. So we've been sending each other pep talk emails for the last couple of days, and today April sent a list of prompts and things to think about while writing and this one particularly struck me. It's really close to what I do, with an important step I've been conveniently neglecting, but need to get back to! And with my next scene, I will. Can you guess which one it is?

  1. What needs to happen?
  2. Who needs to be there?
  3. Where could it take place? How make it interesting? What activity could characters be doing? 
  4. What’s the most surprising thing that could happen? Brainstorm three different ways it could begin.
  5. Play it on the movie screen in your head.
  6. Write a scribble version - five minutes to get the bare minimum down.
  7. Write the full scene.

(April said she drew this list from HERE, posted by screenwriter John August. His list is longer and more detailed and relates more specifically to screenplays.)
What do you think? Super helpful, no? There's so much that resonates with me. 

I like question (3) -- it is the equivalent of my own "What is the coolest way this plot thing might happen?" or "What is the coolest way this information might be revealed?" or whatever. 

And I do make myself brainstorm multiple ways, like in question (4). Rarely is the first way the way the best!

I don't really do (5), but it's an interesting idea. Do you do it? Maybe I'll try it. 

Question (6) is what I've been neglecting! Going to get back to it though.

Hope these are helpful to you too!

And ... how about some random signage, because why not? 

HA HA HA!!! Bacon. *wipes away single laughter tear*


Hee hee. There's a church in our neighborhood that has a drive-by prayer box (what IS that anyway?) that some helpful bypasser has converted to a prayer Xbox, ha ha! 


Okay. Back to work!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oh hello 2012. YOU'RE EARLY.

[persistent, inhuman, perfect rhythmic knocking]

Me: [cracks open door] Oh. 2012. It's you. 

2012: [Says nothing, just looms there, all unnerving and clad in deadlines.]

Me: Um. To be honest, I'm not quite ready for you. If you wouldn't mind waiting on the porch while I finish, um, doing my hair? Thanks. 

2012: [Doesn't move a freaking muscle.]

Me: Okay OKAY. You've got me. It's not my hair. It's my book! I'm still working on it! But it's getting there. If you'll just WAIT. What's your rush?  Maybe, um, maybe you and 2011 could just hang out and chat for a few weeks? He can give you some pointers on how to be a completely spectacular year? Because seriously, 2012, I do not know HOW you are going to top 2011.

2012: [Makes the slightest of movements, just enough to set deadlines rustling.]

Me: OKAY OKAY FINE. Come in. But I am NOT getting you coffee.

[Ten seconds later]

Me: [Meek.] I was just kidding. Can I get you coffee? I have this awesome new espresso maker. My agent gave it to me for Christmas. I think it's her way of telling me to sleep less and work more? Heh heh. And I only sleep like five hours a night! You'll see! I am working my A-- OFF! Don't look at me like that!

2012: [Leans against the wall and crosses arms.]

Okay. So. I'm still working, and I am totally down to the wire. I need to update online info, since I've been getting a lot of emails asking when the sequel to Daughter is coming out and the answer is this fall, but I will not be here much in the coming weeks. I will leave this portrait of me here so you can imagine me at work:

Happy happy happiest new year!

See you soon!

(Peek back, though, I probably won't be able to resist little posts. I would miss you!)









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