Tag Archive for 'altered fluid'

the signings of the apocalypsies

Jim Freund and me on Hour of the Wolf

Last week, I returned to my old home base, New York City, for the annual NYC Teen Author Festival. I had to miss the first few days of panels and readings, but I got in late Wednesday night so Jim Freund could interview me and Eddie Schneider on his weekly radio program, Hour of the Wolf (Thursday mornings from 1:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. on WBAI 99.5 FM). As usual, the time passed far too quickly! I read two short selections from Fair Coin on the air and we discussed YA fiction and publishing. You can listen to a recording of the broadcast online for the next week.

Making coffee out of lemons: Mark Schulman (SCRAWL), Jess Rothenberg (THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME), Arlaina Tibensky (AND THEN THINGS FALL APART), Léna Roy (EDGES), and me at Beans and Vines

Roughly seven hours later, I staggered to a library in Manhattan where I was scheduled to read to a high school class with four other authors. Unfortunately, the chain locking the doors suggested they weren’t expecting us. As my friend Matt London recounted on his blog, we adjourned to a nearby coffee shop to hang out instead, which worked out really well because a) I needed a lot of coffee after only 3 hours of sleep, and b) they are all really fun people and I happen to like talking with other writers.

Autographed copies face out on a table at B&N Tribeca. (Thanks, Kara!)

My agent, Eddie, and I then toured many Barnes & Noble bookstores throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I could sign their stock of Fair Coin. It was my first time seeing my book in stores in person, and it was as thrilling as you’d expect. It was even more exciting to see it prominently displayed face out in the new Teen Fantasy & Adventure sections and on several tables. It was also fun to meet and chat with several store employees who clearly love books, including Elizabeth, Donna, Ashley, Taina, Meredith, and Kara. (Hi!) Once I signed the books, the store staff slapped nifty “Autographed” stickers on them, the better to entice people to pick them up. If you’re looking to grab a signed copy of your own from Barnes & Noble, last week they had them at 82nd & Broadway, 86th & Lexington, 46th Street and 5th Ave, Tribeca, Court Street in Brooklyn, and Park Slope.

If you would like to support independent booksellers, and I always think that’s worth doing, you can also snag a signed copy from Books of Wonder on 18 W. 18th Street, the preeminent children’s bookstore in Manhattan. I was there on Sunday with around 65 other YA authors (including a bunch of Apocalypsies!) for the mega signing. It was great to see many friends show up to have their copies of Fair Coin signed, and meet some readers and book bloggers. The swag I made for the book seemed to be a big hit, too. It was definitely a wish come true to see my book in the store, since I’ve been going to readings and signings there for years. My only “problem” with Books of Wonder is I can’t leave without purchasing some books, and indeed I left with a bag of cherished autographed books by other Apocalypsies. (Many thanks to David Levithan for coordinating the signing and working so hard on the rest of the Author Festival, and to Peter Glassman and everyone at Books of Wonder who were so welcoming to a bunch of new authors.)

Getting to meet and hang out with other members of the Apocalypsies was a big highlight of the trip, and we even had a small gathering at one of my favorite restaurants, Chat n’ Chew, before the signing, with Zoraida Córdova (THE VICIOUS DEEP), Gina Damico (CROAK), K.M. Walton (CRACKED), Emily M. Danforth (THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST), Elisa Ludwig (PRETTY CROOKED), and Lizzie K. Foley (REMARKABLE), and assorted significant others. Apocalypsies were also well represented on various panels throughout Teen Author Week–already reading and talking about their books like pros.

Last weekend, I also joined many people (including some of my writing group, Altered Fluid), to usher in Alaya Dawn Johnson’s 30th birthday and her fourth novel, WICKED CITY, at a genuine NYC speakeasy, The Back Room. If you see Alaya tonight, be sure to congratulate her on both milestones; she and I will be reading and signing our new books at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art (138 Sullivan Street) at 7 p.m. I hope you can make it!

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altered fluid writing retreat 2012

For the last five(!) years, my writing group, Altered Fluid, has been going on group retreats to the wilds of New York and Pennsylvania for reflection, relaxation, shared creativity, and and lots of dedicated writing time. We usually have 8-13 writers in one big house for four or five days, which sounds like the perfect setup for a reality TV show. It is, but what happens on the Altered Fluid retreat stays there… we hope.

To my great sorrow, I missed last year’s outing due to Major Life Events, but I was able to make it this weekend, and it was all the more welcome because I don’t get to see these guys all that often anymore, except through the always unreliable magic of Skype and Google Hangout.

It was a great way to celebrate finishing revisions on Quantum Coin last week, but the reward for writing is more writing. I mostly focused on catching up on interview requests, many of which will appear in the coming weeks on an internet near you. Also e-mails, and website updates, and lots of other things. The manuscript for my next book went untouched, but that wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Also, I finally read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and I’m still recovering. It’s terrific, but emotionally exhausting. Fiction rarely elicits such sustained sadness in me, and a book that can affect readers so deeply is a true gift. The unexpected benefit of waiting until after I was done with revisions to read it is that I can’t second guess everything in my own book. I write very different books, so far, but amazing writing does make me more self-conscious about my own.

Anyway, some images from the retreat:

As tradition dictates on our retreats, there was snow. A lot of it.

But we didn’t get trapped this time around, as warmer weather made the snow vanish like some wonderful dream. I have never felt more like I was on Smallville than I did walking toward this barn. If I had heat vision and didn’t want to lose our deposit, I would have burned a giant S into the side.

There were chickens at the barn. We were promised eggs. A lie.

There were also chickens inside the house. Everywhere. We spent a lot of time in this kitchen.

The decor was terrific. Except for this creepy Howdy Doody painting that watches you in one of the bathrooms. His smile! It haunts me still.

Even when you’re writing your work of staggering genius, hygiene is important. This is one of the coolest showers I have ever seen.

This was the shower in my bathroom. Doesn’t it remind you of the Kryptonian chamber in the Fortress of Solitude that robs Superman of his powers in Superman II? Doesn’t it? It’s just me, isn’t it? Okay.

We found these outside. Inspired by Wall*E? Or did someone just leave their boots outside for a really long time?

I emerged from the house after a few days and went on a walk. Here I’m thinking, “What’s that bright thing in the sky?”

As I head back to my day job today, I already miss my friends and am looking forward to next year’s retreat. Do you go on writing retreats? Do you find them productive?

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the value of teamwork

One of the most common writing myths portrays the lonely author, struggling in solitude to create art. There’s some truth to this–at the end of the day, it does all come down to a writer sitting down and committing words to the page, putting pen to paper or tapping diligently at keys. And I’m sure there are many writers today who do write in a kind of void, all alone with their thoughts and/or nature.

Continue reading ‘the value of teamwork’

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the year we made contact

I wasn’t going to do a 2010 review of my accomplishments because it’s a lot of work to recap everything and I’d rather spend my limited free time building toward an even better year. (If I had a New Year’s Resolution, it would be to blog more frequently.) But a lot of people are doing it, so I figured I can at least post some highlights you may have missed, in brief. In no particular order, the things I am happiest and proudest of:

  • I proposed to my wonderful girlfriend of six years in a fairly geeky way, and she said yes! (No surprise that the impending wedding will preoccupy us for much of the first half of 2011.)
  • One of my favorite and best short stories, “My Father’s Eyes,” was published in Sybil’s Garage No. 7. Even better, this story has been getting favorable comments both online and offline. If you have the opportunity to read it, I’d appreciate it if you considered nominating it for the Nebula or Hugo Awards. I read part of it on Jim Freund’s original Hour of the Wolf radio show on WBAI 99.5 FM with editors and writers from Sybil’s Garage, and it may be dramatized in part in a short promo film for the magazine.
  • I sold my short story “All the Lonely People” to Shimmer, a magazine I have wanted to be published in since I saw the first issue. It should appear in the next issue, lucky number 13. I read “All the Lonely People” at a New York Review of Science Fiction Reading featuring other members of my writing group, Altered Fluid: Mercurio D. Rivera ( who co-hosted with Jim Freund), N.K. Jemisin, and Devin Poore. I look forward to more people getting to see this one.
  • My writing group also participated in a round-table interview at Clarkesworld Magazine.
  • I finished the first draft of a contemporary YA novel, tentatively titled Untwinned (formerly known as Birthright), which I hope to revise sometime this year, after I finish the current revision of Who We Used to Be.
  • I read 55+ published books, mostly YA, which is far less than I would like. I read and critiqued 6 or 7 unpublished and soon-to-be-published novels too, but I suppose those don’t count, though they certainly had an impact on the time available for other reading.
  • I helped Ellen Datlow read for the next Year’s Best Horror for Night Shade Books, right up to the wire. Unfortunately I won’t be able to continue reading for future volumes, but I enjoyed working with her a lot over the last few years and I think my writing improved from exposure to such a wide range of short fiction.
  • Torie Atkinson and I moved our celebrated Star Trek Re-Watch from Tor.com to our own dedicated website, The Viewscreen. This endeavor represents a significant amount of time and effort from both of us, but I enjoy the challenge of maintaining a weekly blog and we’ve built a fantastic community there. I also think our reviews are consistently thoughtful and well written, though I will be honest and admit that I can’t wait for the third season to be over. I know I frequently post about my reviews here, which may not interest everyone, but we’re rather proud of the site and it deserves as much attention as we can attract. We have big plans for it in 2011 too. Some recent reviews: “Wink of An Eye,” “The Empath” (this episode to be avoided at all cost!), and “Elaan of Troyius.”

I may have missed some things, but I’m officially done with 2010 and ready to move on to bigger and better things. Happy New Year!

ETA: I did forget two important things!

  1. I fully completed New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  2. I began editing book trailers for a few different clients, but my best is the one I made for Alaya Dawn Johnson’s book Moonshine. Check it out–it’s only 30 seconds long!
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this is the morning report

Happy Friday! I’ll try to keep this short, just a few quick updates and things to think about over the weekend.

1) My fellow Altered Fluidian, Devin Poore, has his first fiction sale up at Eschatology: The Journal of Lovecraftian and Apocalyptic Fiction. It’s a very short but powerful story called “Before the Wind” that I hope you’ll check out:

The newscaster’s voice came faint and agitated from the speaker above the water fountain, going through the motions, repeating it all over again. It was the same news I had been hearing for days from different sources, but maybe this time I would pick up something missed before. Something to point me to the north or south. Something to give me a hint of those I’d left behind.

There, you’ve already read 15% of the entire piece, and you can find the rest here.

2) As The Thing might say, “It’s nominatin’ time!” OK, he would probably never say that, but it is nomination time for the Nebula Awards. To make it easier for everyone to choose which of my piece’s to support, I only published one short story this year (so far): “My Father’s Eyes” in Sybil’s Garage No. 7. If you are a SFWA member and you read and enjoyed my story, this is one way to show your appreciation. I hope to have it available online in one form or another before the nomination period closes on February 15, 2011; sadly, I am not yet a SFWA member, so I can’t include it in the members-only discussion area. You can of course still order the magazine and read it. You also can still buy tickets for the Carl Brandon Society raffle for the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship (until November 22, 2010), to win one of four eReaders that comes with my story and many others from writers of color pre-installed.

3) I have more I wanted to share, but this post is already running long, so I’ll leave you with this: our Star Trek Re-Watch on “The Day of the Dove” is now up at The Viewscreen. The episode–which concerns a sparkling, hate-sucking, vampire alien that pits the Enterprise against a crew of Klingons in bitter swordplay stage combat–is probably best skipped, but if you read my recap you can still participate in the ongoing discussion of its heavy-handed indictment of war and racism. There are a lot of uncomfortable things going on in this story, but at least it makes for lively and thoughtful conversation, which is one reason we enjoy doing these reviews so much.

I’m planning on spending the next several days in focused writing and revising, which I’ll probably elaborate on a little in my next blog post. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend! How will you spend it? I suspect a lot of people will be going to the movie theater to see the eagerly-anticipated The Next Three Days, which finally opens today. Are there any other interesting film releases this weekend?

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