I won’t be formally touring this year, because I don’t have a novel out. But I might get to see some of you, thanks to several events I’ll be doing over the next month.
The first of these is an online chat with Figment.com.
Sunday July 8
8PM US-ET (5PM Pacific Time, 10AM Monday AUS-ET)
I’ll also be at San Diego Comic Con
I have three events in San Diego, two signings and a panel.
Thursday July 12
Mysterious Galaxy Booth
I’ll be signing and chatting to anyone who drops by. Mysterious Galaxy will have plenty of my books for sale.
Sunday July 15th
12:00PM – 1:00PM
Panel: What’s Hot in YA
1. Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures series)
2. Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)
3. Lish McBride (Necromancing The Stone)
4. Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone)
5. Melina Marchetta (The Lumatere Chronicles)
6. Myra McEntire (Hourglass series)
7. James Dashner (The Maze Runner series)
8. Scott Westerfeld (Uglies)
9. Moderator: Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar series)
Note: Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky) is not appearing on the panel, but will appear at the post-panel signing in the autographing area.
Sunday July 15th
Autograph area AA09 in the Sails Pavilion
Signing with me will be Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe), and featuring Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), James Dashner (Maze Runner), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me), Melina Marchetta (Froi of the Exiles), Lish McBride (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Myra McEntire (Hourglass).
And finally, those of you who create fan art might want to check out Dalek Week over at Deviant Art, which runs from July 8 to 14. Here’s the scoop:
Dalek week is a seven day challenge where you upload one deviation per day for seven days. Each day has a certain theme that you will need to centre your entry around. . . . After Dalek week, myself and the judges will decide on our favourite entries from each day. There will be one winner per day/theme.
That sounds fun, and I can’t wait to feature some of the winners here.
Click here for more details about Dalek Week.
So the voting on my last post seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Leviathan bridge as the first art reveal. Well, it turns out I don’t have a hi-res file for anything in the Manual!
So yes, I’ve sent off to Keith, and it should be here soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the Russian cover of Behemoth:
That’s pretty bad-ass. I love the giant Sahmeran sneaking up on Alek from behind.
Okay the BRIDGE ART WILL BE HERE SOON.
Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is my thing at the Sydney Writers Festival:
A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Okay, the Manual of Aeronautics comes out August 21, a mere three months and a bit from now, so it’s time to start the art reveals!
In keeping with tradition, let’s have us a vote. I’ve chosen three possible pieces of art to reveal, so choose wisely.
Which would you rather see in glorious color?
1) The bridge of the Leviathan
2) A Sultan’s elephant walker
3) A fléchette bat!
Use the comments thread below to vote (by number makes it easier), or simply to cajole, convince and coerce your fellow commenters about how they should vote.
A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
From steampunk to the supernatural, from urban fantasies to dystopian futures, our love affair with speculative fiction is all-consuming.
Three authors who create imagined worlds explore our enduring fascination with fantasy and unpick the complexities of the genre. Isobelle Carmody, Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier talk to Joy Lawn.
Here are the online details for this event.
Here’s a round up of fan art from the last two weeks, mostly in a black and white mode, with some BONUS NEWS at the end.
Let’s start with the art that was handed to me at my Free Comic Book Day event at Kinokuniya in Sydney. Thanks again to everyone who came and said nice things to me on my birthday, and especially to those who handed me art and cake.
First there was some Midnighters art from (appropriately) Melissa:
Yes, that’s Rex looking pretty cool, and I like how Melissa seems a bit annoyed at having to pose for the drawing.
And from Christina, a triptych of Tallys:
The hot air balloons are a cool touch, as are the necklace, interface cuff, and knife for each Tallyversion.
And finally, from Meshell, I got Alek and Deryn as lovebirds:
It’s cool that I got fan art from every trilogy at that event. You’re all doing a good job of coordinating! Plus: OBLIGATORY LORIS WITH MUSTACHE.
And now return to the regular mode of art delivery, these were all sent to me via the internets.
Here from Laura is a bit of Darwinist fashion design!
One of the coolest thing about Keith’s art is how it hints that there would be a whole different Darwinist culture out there, with clothes, furniture, and whatnot all influenced by the Victorian biotechnology at the base of Darwinist society. This hat is a great example of what all that might look like, complete with bee and nautilus-shell motifs.
And here’s a very a spunky-looking Deryn from Lilly.
I like her haircut, and the way she’s leaning forward, ready to go.
And briefly leaving the monochrome, here’s some Deryn cosplay from Alexa, showing before and after:
Pretty amazing difference. According to Alexa, this transformation required “two rolls of athletic tape, half a can of hairspray, and many uncountable bobby pins.” Just remember that the next time you’re cross-dressing: Never say die!
And finally, here’s a lovely still life in the stack-of-books mode, which for some reason I have lost all attribution to except the letter “g”:
Please identify yourself, G!
And now for the NEWS . . .
Given that the Manual of Aeronautics, the all-color large-format guide to the world of Leviathan, will be appearing on August 21, it’s almost time to start THE OBLIGATORY ART REVEALS. I’ve decided to do one twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. (I hope that’s not too much for you guys.)
May 15 will be the first of these, or maybe that’s when we’ll do some voting for the first reveal. BUT SOON.
And finally, Sydneysiders can see me tonight at:
The Aurealis Awards
Saturday, May 12
7:30 for an 8PM start
269 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
The Aurealis Awards celebrate the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers every year. Kate Forsyth with be mistress of ceremonies, and I’ll be presenting the award for Best Illustrated Book or Graphic Novel.
You can get tickets here.
Just finished my forward for an anthology called Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal, and Romance. As you can tell from the subtitle, it’s a set of stories about people young people flouting Victorian-era convention in various ways. There are a few girls-dressed-as-boys tales in the bunch, which is perhaps why I got the chance to read it early and write a forward.
Here’s the rather awesome cover:
And the cover copy:
The Season has finally arrived, filled with the magnificent balls, scandalous gossip, and clandestine romances that every lord and lady in good society has come to expect. But far within the walls of lavish estates and in the dark corners of the city lies a world that the aristocracy dares not touch, with rules and risks that glamour cannot overpower. Yet true love has no boundaries, and heiresses and street thieves alike must use their savvy and strength to create new beginnings and happily-ever-afters. Sometimes luck is enough, but every once in a while, a touch of magic may be needed.
Deliciously alluring, these thirteen historical romances from a talented array of YA authors will make even the most cynical heart swoon.
How can you resist it?
Edited by Ekaterina Sedia, Willful Impropriety comes out September 4, 2012.
Oh, and here’s the full roster of writers:
AT WILL by Leanna Renee Hieber
THE UNLADYLIKE EDUCATION OF AGATHA TREMAIN by Stephanie Burgis
NUSSBAUM’S GOLDEN FORTUNE by M. K. Hobson
THE COLONEL’S DAUGHTER by Barbara Roden
MERCURY RETROGRADE by Mary Robinette Kowal
FALSE COLOURS by Marie Brennan
MRS BEETON’S BOOK OF MAGICKAL MANAGEMENT by Karen Healey
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Caroline Stevermer
THE DANCING MASTER by Genevieve Valentine
THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND by Sandra McDonald
RESURRECTION by Tiffany Trent
OUTSIDE THE ABSOLUTE by Seth Cadin
STEEPED IN DEBT TO THE CHIMNEY POTS by Steve Berman
I had a great time at the Somerset Festival, and met lots of cool writers and students. My thanks to everyone for showing me such a great time, and congratulations on another successful festival.
While I was gone, what should appear in my inbox but the REAL TRAILER for Shay’s Story! (Not to be confused with the humble home-made trailer of a couple of weeks ago.)
Check it out:
And finally, I’m doing a meet-up over at the WesterForum this Tuesday night, March 20, at 8PM US Eastern. Note that with the time change in the US, that means 11AM here Wednesday morning here in Australia, and midnight Tuesday in Britain.
Anything else? I would think not.
In celebration of the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently being considered by the US Congress, this week’s Fan Art Friday will be 100% copyright compliant!
All SOPA-offending elements, such as the remixing and recasting of copyrighted characters and situations, have been censored for your viewing pleasure.
Let’s start with this lovely image by CatieKay:
Pretty sweet, huh? How about those two random people having a possibly intimate moment atop an entirely generic (and thus non-copyrightable) flying whale-beast! Sure, we can’t SEE what they’re doing as the lightning flashes, but at least no one’s interfering with my ability to generate income from this touching narrative moment.
And here’s a lovely piece of fan art from Unforgiven-Unloved:
This one’s very sweet, but of course it would be WRONG to let you see these characters drawn by anyone but Keith Thompson, the only registered and approved artist for the Leviathan series. The dialog is pretty cute too. But let’s face it, only I may legally put words into the mouths of Deryn and Alek.
And here’s some cool Xmas ornaments from AvistheArtistGeek:
Aww. Tiny Deryn and Alek getting ready to climb the ratlines of Avis’s Christmas tree! Too bad that these characters belong to me, and thus her entire Xmas is non-SOPA-compliant! I just hope she takes her decorations down before my lawyers get there.
Most of you have probably seen that Wikipedia is dark today, and that Google’s banner page is sad. In fact, a ton of sites on the interwebs are shrouded in various ways. This is, of course, to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation being considered in the US Congress.
“But wait!” you may be asking. “Is SOPA really so evil?”
It’s supporters certainly don’t want you to think so. After all, the purpose of SOPA is to protect copyright laws, by which filmmakers, musicians, and novelists (and the corporations that publish them) make money from their work. And that’s me!
But as you may have noticed, the internet is a place in which copyright is treated in a rough-and-ready fashion. People gank photos without attribution, create fan fiction and art based on others’ work, and make lip-sync music videos without paying for the right to do so.
Gee, how horrible. All those babies dancing to “Single Ladies” FOR FREE.
The problem is that SOPA and PIPA are written only with us copyright owners in mind. The lobbyists who wrote these bills don’t care about the rest of you (us, actually, because we all re-mix culture).
Here’s one example: PIPA allows companies to sue websites for the crime of linking to other websites that infringe copyright. So if I link to Deviant Art, and someone on Deviant Art (say, jett-wolfe98) has ganked a photo and added Deryn and Alek to it, like so:
Then I can be sued! Not for the image of Alek and Deryn, but for the underlying photograph of the room, which is, after all, a copyrightable thing.
In other words, everyone on the web will become responsible for the behavior of all the sites they link to, always and forever. Deviant Art will be totally gone, as will everything else cool and interesting.
(By the way, if your fan art is here, don’t be sad! It will return in its non-censored glory on Friday. Sorry, guys, for using your lovely work to make a point!)
These bills are, of course, absurd at a legal level, and as a practical matter they are nothing less than an attack on the structure of the web, its complex web of links and connections, and upon the content of the web, with its rich culture of re-mixing and re-purposing copyrighted works, like the fan art and fan fiction that appears on this blog. For which, under SOPA, I could sue you guys and everyone who links to you IF I WERE A COLOSSAL ASS-HAT.
But in an effort to fight ass-hattery, I’m joining in this protest today. Not by blocking my site, but by offering you the above edition of Fan Art Friday that meets SOPA’s standards, with all the copyright-offending materials blacked out.*
Do you like this version of Fan Art Friday? Would you like everything on the internet to work this way? I think not.
Now, I will mention that President Obama has come out against SOPA/PIPA in its current form. That’s a good thing, but it never hurts to keep the pressure on. He will be president for, at most, five more years.
And throughout your lifetime, there will always be people who try to turn spaces of sharing and collaboration into places of buying, selling, and lawsuits. Stay ready to fight them, or you will leave your kids a world where most stuff sucks.
Click here to learn more about SOPA, or to contact your representatives in congress.
Non-SOPA/sucky Fan Art Friday will return on Friday, with the art above and more, uncensored. Like the internet should be.
*Yes, the legal status of fan art and fan fictions is complicated, but if SOPA passes, we’re heading toward a world where that status will probably become simpler, and not in a good way.
Are you a young writer? Ever thought of going to writing boot camp?
If so, here’s quick word from my pals at the Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Worship for Young Writers:
“The Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14-19) will be held July 18-27, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA. At Alpha, students can meet others who share their interest in writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They can learn about writing and publishing from guest authors, including Tamora Pierce and Kij Johnson. Also, they will write and revise a short story during the workshop. Applications are due March 1, 2012.”
“Also, alumni of the workshop are raising money for the workshop’s scholarship fund, which assists Alpha students who need financial aid in order to attend. We have organized an auction, which begins today at noon, with items donated by authors and editors such as George R. R. Martin, Tamora Pierce, John Joseph Adams, Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Theodora Goss, Karen Healey, and more. In addition, an anthology of flash fiction written and illustrated by Alpha alumni is available in return for donations of any amount. The auction will run January 13-20, with other donations welcome anytime.”
Tonight (Thursday, December 8th) at 7PM EST in the US (4PM in California and 11AM on Friday morning in Sydney), I’m doing a chat about high-stakes testing and how schools teach writing. Are those five-paragraph essays going to turn you all into novelists? And how about those syllogisms on the SAT?
To prepare for this, Lauren and I took the essay section of the SAT, and had ourselves scored by a professional examiner. You can read our essays and see what grades we got here at the Huffington Post. (Note that we had exactly 25 minutes to write those essays! Just like you guys did/will!)
Click here for more about Scored, which is out now. It’s set in a dystopian world where every kid gets a Score when they turn 18, determining their prospects for the rest of their life.
Hope to see you all tonight! (Tomorrow morning for me.)
I spent yesterday morning listening to the indefatigable Maureen Johnson. She was on the radio with a Wall Street Journal writer best known for decrying the state of young adult lit. You know the drill: “YA is too dark, too depressing, and is bad for the kidz!”
I am not here to argue against fact-free trend pieces, however. Maureen and the internet have already done that and done it well. And, you know, haters gonna hate, and shoddy journalists gonna shod. There’s no way to stop that. Here’s the problem I would like to address instead:
When these issues arise, we writers, librarians, booksellers, teachers, and editors know that the media is overblown and out of touch. We know that the huge boom in YA is helping young readers, because we see it in our in-boxes, our libraries, our stores, and our twitter feeds every day.
Sure, some books aren’t right for some kids. But it’s not like that challenge has recently grown insurmountable. In fact, connecting the right book with the right reader has never been easier. There are more specialist teen librarians than ever before, teenage readers are relentlessly networked, and book reviews from all perspectives are more plentiful than at any other time in human history. (Thank you, the internet.)
But someone has to think of the parents. Especially those who randomly turn on the radio or read the WSJ and are exposed to this alarmism. They may not know how to check out all those amazing stories tweeted on #YASaves. They probably don’t follow comment threads on blogs like this one, where bookish teens prove hourly how smart, supportive, and savvy they are. Many parents don’t know what “DFTBA” means, and thus may not realize how awesome their kids are not forgetting to be.
And the other side in this debate sounds perfectly reasonable. “We just want a conversation! We just want parents to be aware!” And they couch everything in that scary questioning tone: “These books MAY be turning your kids into cutters.” Like when local news promos ask, “Are your cleaning fluids making you hate America? Story at eleven!”
Here’s my problem with this brand of “reasonableness”: Conversations have contexts, and awareness is always flavored by its catalyst. Let’s take two examples . . .
A parent goes into a teenager’s room and says, “I just heard from the wise people at the Wall Street Journal that the books you kids read these days are mostly dark and horrible and will make you cut yourself and take drugs. Let me check your books so I can make sure this is not true!”
Seriously. How do you think that conversation’s going to go?
Eyes will be rolled, tempers will rise, and more than likely this parent will be made to feel dreadfully foolish. (Teenagers are good at this last bit.) Frankly, being easily manipulated by alarmists in the media is not a good look for anyone.
But let’s say a parent goes into that same kid’s room and says . . .
“Hey, I just heard that young adult lit sales have grown by double digits every year for the last decade. You teens read so much that it’s the only profitable part of publishing! And now Hollywood wants to make everything you read into movies, and more adults than ever before are reading YA! And I heard that huge crowds show up at bookstores and rented venues when popular YA writers are in town! And that many YA writers have tens of thousands of followers on the Twitter machine, if not hundreds of thousands! And that every November countless teenagers support each other in WRITING THEIR OWN NOVELS! Holy crap, we didn’t do that in my benighted day of juvenile sloth. It’s just awesome how dedicated you and your peers are to reading. Can you please lend me some of these great books?”
My guess is that this conversation will go rather better. And, unlike the Wall Street Journal, this opening gambit is full of verifiable facts!
Make no mistake, we writers want parents to talk to their kids about books. But don’t do it because some newspaper uses fear to generate web hits. Do it because reading is awesome and your kids are awesome.
There’s a problem here, though. The parents who are reading this post (on a YA writer’s blog) probably don’t need this advice. They can see through the malarky without my help. They’ve already noticed that the only “science” referred to in the WSJ‘s articles was a study of 1970s anti-drug public service announcements. (Because nothing is more relevant to 21st-century young adult literature than 40-year-old TV ads.)
But how do we reach those other parents, the ones whose innocent minds might be corrupted by these fact-missing anxiety-mechants? Parents can’t be expected to protect themselves these days. A recent study of hair cream ads from the 1920s proved that the media’s coverage of YA has gotten 37% darker in the last year alone!
Now, I’m not advocating banning the Wall Street Journal. It has many fine articles in it I’m sure, some of which no doubt cite actual facts instead of the vague impressions of random people wandering YA sections. There are always exceptions, after all, even in newspapers named after the street that recently stole $700 billion of our money.
All I’m asking is that teenagers take an active role in discussing young adult lit with their parents.
Kids, you don’t want your parents’ first exposure to YA to be in the dingy recesses of a fear-mongering financial newspaper. It’s your job to help them understand how twitter hashtags work, what NaNoWriMo stands for, and how to do the nerdfighter hand signal. It’s your duty to introduce them gently to the lighter sides of fan fic, before they stumble across a cache of Snape dub-con Mpreg epic poetry. (Um, maybe just wait till your parents are older before tackling fan fic.)
In many cases, of course, your gentle persuasion may not be enough. Some parents are too easily influenced by frightening images of teenage culture gone awry. Darkness sells, after all. For these, a simple call to the Wall Street Journal will cancel your subscription, saving both money and heartache for your beloved parent. Be sure not to leave an empty space in their lives, however. Ease them over to something more wholesome, like, say, the School Library Journal. They’ll hardly notice the difference.
My main point is this: you understand young adult lit. You get how much it’s grown, how much it means to you. Make sure that your parents understand that too, and they’ll be ear-plugged against the profiteering panic-peddlers wailing like sirens on the rocky shoals of our culture.
Thank you for listening.