My US Trip

Justine and I have spent the last six weeks traveling in the US, which is why there have been zero postings here. Apologies! I realize that this hasn’t been a very bloggy year for me, but it has been a writey year, and which would you rather have, really?

Let me take you on a slideshow of various things I did while in the States:

Shortly after I first arrived, I was greeted by the sight of my latest publication on bookstore shelves. It’s an essay in a collection called Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe. Basically, it’s a bunch of YA writers taking on the dreaded essay, many teen’s least favorite form of writing.

My essay, for reasons you might guess, is all about illustrations in books.


If you’re a teacher or librarian, or anyone interested in non-fiction writing, you should check it out. If you ask me, Stern (a former fifth-grade English teacher) and Wolfe have helped fill a huge gap in the world of YA and middle-grade letters.

The next cool thing to happen on my trip was Manhattan Henge, a twice yearly astronomical event in which sundown lines up with the crosstown streets of Manhattan. It looks like this:


What were the ancient peoples who built Manhattan trying to tell us about May 28 and July 12? We may never know.

The third thing I did was have an amazing dinner with respected private citizen Maureen Johnson and her English offsider, Oscar Gingersnort. This was at 11 Madison, and included crazy-ass dishes like this one:


The courses were many and wondrous, and gave us the opportunity to plot the destruction of all other YA authors what to do at Leaky Con next year.

Nextly, I had a meeting with my excellent publishers about how to market my next book, Afterworlds. The ideas were many and wondrous, and will be revealed in due time. I can’t wait to see what you guys think of this book, which has been three years in the writing. (Because it’s really two books in one.)

Afterworlds will come out late next year, probably on October 28. (This date is a clue to the book’s subject matter! Spin on that one, fannish brains!)

One of my other projects for this trip was to start gathering my “papers,” all the editorial, artistic, and business flotsam that I’ve collected over the last two decades. I’ll be donating them to an as-yet-undetermined institute of higher learning as a huge tax dodge boon to future scholars.

The first step was to collect exactly one first printing of each of my foreign editions, a project which, even in its opening stages, ate my living room floor:


I also found my very first (incomplete) novel, the least embarrassing page of which looks like this:


And that’s all you will ever see of that novel, unless you travel to the as-yet-undetermined institute of higher learning personally. (It’ll be in the box with the big padlock encrusted with contact poison.)

I just realized that this piece of juvenilia is called Keeps, only one letter away from a somewhat more recent (and less appalling) novel of mine. I wonder what the ancient peoples who made me become a writer were trying to tell us about the letters “-eeps.”

In mid-July, Justine and I also had the great pleasure of teaching at Alpha, a residential sf, fantasy, and horror writing workshop for teenagers (basically, a week-and-a-half-long genre writing camp). The young writers and the staff there were smart, committed, and tremendously stylish, as you can see here:


We had a great time. The awesomeness of the students makes me think we’ll do more teaching of this kind in the future. Watch this space for details.

Also, there was a waffle tower. I haz proof:


From there, I traveled onward to San Diego Comic Con, the premier geekfest of our time. There I had many and wondrous business meetings, which you will see the fruits of soon right here. Also many costumes were witnessed. The best of which was Sharknado Hat:


I also enjoyed this shirtless steampunk dinosaur hunter (based on a Greg Broadmoor comic, I think):


Also witnessed were a cavalcade of capitalism aimed directly at the geek dollar, like these bathrobes:


And these leggings:


So let me get this straight. These are Dr Who-themed leggings in the style of van Gogh. In the words of Tally Youngblood, isn’t that one thing too many? (Nah. It’s probably one thing too few. And, yes, I know the reference from the show.)

After SDCC, Justine and I spent a week in LA, where various meetings were had. Some of these shall be the subject of my next blog post. But no, there is no fresh movie news of consequence. The usual movie options are afoot, but the feet in question are slow moving. Sorry to disappoint you. The wheel of Hollywood turns slowly, but it grinds exceedingly fine. (Not really. It usually grinds pretty crappily. But it does grind onward in the case of Uglies and Leviathan. We shall see.)


Okay, more about the trip in a week or so. I’ll be blogging here more often, because I’m almost done with Afterworlds. Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck around and enlivened the comments section while I’ve been writing.

Caio for now.

133 thoughts on “My US Trip

  1. @Roxanne – okay. I don’t think you wrote so much on this blog when I was using my real name (well not as much as you do now ๐Ÿ˜› ), but MidK did, perhaps she could guess too ๐Ÿ™‚
    My name starts with C and has 6 letters. I was actually named after my great grandfather only obviously he had the masculine version of the name. I don’t know why that would be a hint but I just feel like rambling, I’ve been stuck in the house ALL DAY LONG!!!!!!!!

    @Middy Gietzen – it’s so cool you’re German!!! I’m learning German myself you know, but I’d probably sound stupid to you, I don’t really know that much ๐Ÿ˜›
    You speak/write English really well, by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the medieval zombie ting sounds interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a story like that.

  2. @Middy Gietzen – ok that was weird. Sorry, I wrote the comment without reading what you said that you don’t speak German. Sorry!!!!!!

  3. Haha! That’s awesome that you speak German! I wish I did! We mostly just use it o say please and thank you around the table. ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. Well I don’t really speak it, I just know a few of the basic words, and questions like “what does this mean?” or “how do you say this in German/Spanish?” because the teacher insists on always explaining words in German, so most of the class I just guess at what he’s saying. It’s pretty funny, though. It’s a really cool language, also ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. @Middy Me: Uuuuuuuh….Cabela? Catena? Chaila? I dunno how “Mexican” those names are, but they kind of sounded like it to me.

    @Middy Gietzen: Yeah, as a native English-speaker (and writer, no less), I can affirm Middy Me’s statement: your English is great. Sure you make a few small mistakes, but goodness knows I would make a heck of a lot more in a different language! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Plus, it’s always harder to speak/write a new language than it is to understand/read one, so double kudos!) I’m assuming if you wrote a book it’d be in your native language, right? (Gosh, I can’t imagine attempting to write a novel in a different language!)
    All you bilingual people make me feel so bad about myself! I should at least know Spanish! (I just know a handful’s worth of Spanish and Latin. I fail.)

  6. @Middy Gietzen: Oh, wow… I wrote that big long post before I saw the new comments… I feel like a fool. :\

  7. @Roxanne – well you’re kind of on the right track. The second letter is an A.
    On the other hand, I have not heard of any of the names you say, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you if they’re Mexican.
    Another clue: the last letter is an A too ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I felt like a fool too ๐Ÿ™‚
    It happens.

  8. Haha! That’s the second time that happened! And no worries! We all make mistakes especially me with spelling! ๐Ÿ˜›

    what do you think of my AP History paragraph?

    For three thousand years Egyptian embalmers worked to preserve the dead through a process called mummification. Although the Egyptians themselves never wrote about this practice in their own recordings, a Greek historian recorded a little about in himself. First, they scrape the brain out of the bodies using a hooked peace of metal through their nostrils. (just imagine the scraping sound) They then proceed to make a cut in the side of the abdomen; tearing out every organ with a satisfying rip. After that’s done with, they take the bloodied organs and wash them in palm wine giving them a milky sheen. Next, the embalmers put the organs in a stone vessel which serves as a lovely air scent to those who visit the deceased. Then, with the smell of deteriorating organs in the air, they wash out the body. When they’ve finished that chore, they stuff the body full of spices. Later the embalmer comes back and covers the body with natron. (BEAR WITH ME!) For the next to months the embalmer covers the body with natron, taking full advantage of the air scenters. After the natron has worked it’s wonders, the embalmers return to a dried out body with brittle skin that would remind you of the average chip. The embalmer continues his work; he washes it and covers it with fine linen. To finish off the beautifying process they decorate the dead’s final home… his coffin. This special ritual was reserved for Rulers, Aristocrats, and wealthier commoners. It also served as a great way to get away from stress. Just have a relaxing picnic! Food, wine, and the sweet smell of putrefaction will make for a relaxing evening!

    I’m not crazy or creepy… they asked me to write this.

  9. Well that’s something….it’s a weird take on mummification, but it’s nicely written. You are a good writer, let me tell you that ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just some small spelling mistakes, I think. “Greek historian….about IT himself”, “hooked PIECE of metal”, and I think that’s it.
    It’s quite good ๐Ÿ˜›

  10. AH! Spelling will be the death of me! Imagine how scary that would be! Being killed by spelling… Or maybe that’s deaths middle name….

  11. “For the next TWO months,” is what I’m assuming you meant. Also, the period should be on the other side of the parentheses in “nostrils. (just imagine the scraping sound)”. Otherwise, the sentence within the parentheses should be capitalized and punctuated appropriately. I think that’s about it.
    @61: Have you seen the trailer for The ABCs of Death? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Wow, so many people are on! I leave for like six hours, and boom! This makes me happy.

    @Middy Gietzen: That paragraph seriously had my eyes bugging out. I had to learn that, then promptly forgot it (because me and those kinds of things equal blue faces….literally my teacher told me I was turning blue), and the way you wrote it was so detailed! With sensory details! My English teach would be very proud of you. She used to rant about sensory details. Anyway, didn’t the guy who pulled out some organ (I’m not actually sure which one it is) get chased away with rocks thrown at him? Like, as a tradition, or something? I remember something about that….Wait, maybe it was the guy who made the initial cut to remove all the organs?

    @Roxanne: Yes, in front of Getty. I freaked out when I read that, because I was like “How do you know him?!” then Facebook haha. The chances of me getting one are slim…. But you know Abby, right? I asked about you on the first night there, when we waited until like ten to pick up Abby from the airport. (A lot of flights got delayed and Abby’s was diverted because of a huge thunder storm and tornado warning; we got there literally right when the warning went up.) I was with Middy Miles (she was the first person I met, other than my sister and the friend that I traveled with) and then Mara came. Abby and Mara were second-years, so I asked….All I had was your middle name, though, so they weren’t sure. But you know them, right?

    @51 (Middy Me): I remember when you changed your name….Did you just use your real name before? It was so long ago, but it might take only….ten posts to find? Maybe fifteen? I don’t know….but Scott doesn’t blog a lot anymore….

    And I feel like I like I still missed half the conversation, but there you go. I got really drowsy all of a sudden in my second ballet class tonight, so the computer screen is swimming. And I just looked at my laptop’s clock….and it’s one a.m. But then I realized that Bovril is still on Pittsburgh time. XD That’s just shows how long I’ve been away from my computer since Alpha.

  13. It’s so funny how you guys are continuing like five different conversations!

    @midshipman k: that means a lot to me. And everyone else is sooo nice. The propinquity (YES I got to use that word!) of this chat room amazes me!

  14. SO MANY COMMENTS. I’ll reply properly soon (or tomorrow because I have orchestra tonight ๐Ÿ™ )

    @Middy Gietzen/Roxanne – you can always write books in your native language and then if it’s successful someone could translate it!

  15. @Middy Gietzen: Yeah, we have REALLY long conversations here. Scott stopped blogging a lot and we just talked…. I haven’t been here as long as some of the others (about a year and half for me now), but this is basically what we do. I’m happy to count you as one of us now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously, sometimes, I used to sit in front of my computer refreshing the page going “Talk to me, frieeeendssss!” Well, not aloud, but you know.

    @Zac-la: You have orchestra? You mean, like a class? That’s so cool!

  16. @Middy Gietzen – yeah, the zombies too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @MidK – yes, I started commenting here using only my real name but then I changed it. It’s pretty weird why, see: I told the guy I have a crush on about this blog, told him maybe he could check it out, because he likes Scott’s books too. Then that was the day I found out he liked someone else, so I changed my name here in case he ever did check it out, because I said something about that (him liking someone else) here.

    Now that I’ve written all that, it sounds kinda foolish, because I think he never has been on this blog…….and I ramble again!!!

  17. Does “Afterworlds” have to do with a future after the Mayan calendar end date of 10/28?

  18. @midshipman K: Hate that feeling… But it always shows you something about that person you didn’t realize originally. It’s worse when they like one of your friends. ๐Ÿ˜›

  19. An observation:
    Scott-la mentioned how books are always released on Tuesdays, which apparently has some significance to our novel, but Oct. 28 of this year is on a Monday. It WILL be on a Tuesday in 2014…..
    I’m flummoxed. I have no idea.

  20. @Middy Gietzen – it is worse! It’s actually one of my best friends he likes.

    And no, actually my first language is Spanish. Viva Mรฉxico!
    But I read much more in English, so that’s how I came to be here ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. @46 Um, actually the museum is in Missouri… It’s in Kansas City so lots of people get mixed up. Anywaaay… I went there right after I finished Goliath and they had a bunch of flight suits and things, and all those silly helmets Alek wore… Yeah, I annoyed my parents that day…

  22. Well I try. Most of the time I can’t get past the first two chapters, but I think I’m getting better, though I still can’t complete a story longer than six pages, haha.
    Though I have one now that’s a bit longer, hopefully this one I’ll finish ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Well the thing is, I’m writing it in Spanish. I kept writing in English but then realized I kept comparing it to other books and that didn’t work, so I thought I’d try in Spanish, see if that worked out, and it sort of has ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can tell you what it’s about, though:
    It’s set in the present, in this world where suddenly these digital glasses appear and everyone starts buying them. The glasses, they’re like Iron Man’s helmet, they sort of give you information on everything you see, breaking it down to pure information. Everyone’s pretty psyched about them but one girl, whose glasses break. She’s the one that starts thinking that perhaps the glasses aren’t so cool, because people aren’t paying attention anymore to the meanings of things, and only to the information they can get from it. I don’t really know what else to say because that’s as far as I’ve gotten ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s a weird idea, and I still haven’t decided what it’s about, but it’s the longest story I’ve written so far.

  24. That’s a cool idea…. Kinda reminds me of how everyone now adays always has an iphone or some technology on them

  25. Here’s a snipit of mine:

    Cameron Gietzen
    August 8th 2013
    ?A load snap made Shane yelp, as his former hand hold became a useless twig.
    โ€œBlazes!โ€ he whispered to himself. Luckily for him he had gotten another hand hold before gravity could get a hold of him. He looked down as the stick bounced around the branches, and finally to the floor in one piece. The Stick was in way better condition than he wouldโ€™ve been from this height.
    ?He wiped his hands on his pants, one at a time, slowly and carefully, then started to look for a path up the towering tree. He had been climbing for more time then he would care to think about and was hardly near the top.
    ?Again he started climbing. One foot here, one hand here, one foot here, one hand here, until the branches were too weak to hold his small body. From here he could see to the corners of his world. The forest, the fields, and the main road that split the village into two and led straight to the castle walls were all easy to spot from his perch in the treeโ€™s branches.
    ?He watched the villagers going about their business, the field hands slaving in the fields, and a couple of castle guards walking back and forth on the rampart. It was so perfect, so unrealistic that Shane had to squash the feeling of longing rising up in his chest. For 11 years of his life he lived in that village, with his father. Itโ€™s funny to think he would give everything he owned, which wasnโ€™t much, to hear one more annoying chastisement from his father. He glared angrily at the castle; it was them after all who took his father away in the first place. The only thing they ever gave him was the news.
    ?Tearing his eyes away from the castle and the village in its shadow he scanned the woods for game. His father had started to teach him how to draw back the string of the bow before he could write, in secret of course. Teaching your children to use weapons wasnโ€™t exactly encouraged in the village, but his father would teach him anyways. Every chance they got, his father would take him to their cabin in the woods, and shot arrows with him for hours, until Shane could learn nothing more from his father.
    ?A slight movement in the forest caught his eye. Curious, he made his way down the tree, one branch at a time as to not scare the what-ever-it-was away. As he dropped quietly to the forest floor, he realized that it wasnโ€™t an animal, but a human. Not just any human eitherโ€ฆ it was Count Sargon! A Knight whoโ€™s bloodline could be traced back to the King himself! He was amazing in battle, and known for being one of the best tacticians in the whole kingdom! Not only was he related to the king but he was the advisor to Baron Cadeph, the man who sent his father off to be killed.
    ?Just watching this important Count walking through the woods alone made him curious, and he quickly slipped into the foliage to follow him. Shane watched this man as he walked through the forest acting as if a red carpet had been laid down in front of him. Back and neck straight, slow, even step. He was obviously a noble, even without his uniform and armor on. Watching this man march through the forest, made Shane wonder how close this man had been to his father. Sargon couldโ€™ve worked along side his father during the war; he couldโ€™ve seen him fall in battle! At this thought Shane decided to have some fun with him.
    Nobody noticed Shane disappear after his father died, and just assumed he was dead when they finally did notice. He was a nobody, dismissed and forgotten. Nobody would ever accuse him of making a fool of this stuffed up pigeon, walking around like he owned the world.
    Slipping his bow off his shoulder, he silently extracted an arrow from his quiver. TWANG! Shane quickly ducked and somersaulted away from the spot of the noise. He peaked from the bushes to observe his handy work. Sure enough, his arrow protruded from the tree directly to the left of the Count, who was staring in the direction from which it had come from. ?Working quickly, Shane released another arrow from quarter way round the clearing landing it on the same tree. Again Shane ducked and rolled away from the sound. This time, though, he went back the way he came, thinking to confuse the Count.
    The Counts face was priceless; confused and surprised as he assumed he was surrounded by multiple people. Shane had to stop himself from laughing as he let go another arrow that snagged Sargonโ€™s cape, pinning it against the tree. This time, the Counts face flashed with irritation.
    โ€œCome out in the open!โ€ The Count demanded. Shane answered with silence, snickering to himself. This was the most fun he had, had in a long time!
    Looking in no particular direction the Count addressed him; โ€œThe Baron has summoned you.โ€ He said simply, tearing his cape from the tree, spun on his heel and did his little bird walk back towards the castle.
    Shane held his breath as the Count passed by within easy reach, his torn cape fluttering pitifully behind him. Shane watched him disappear into the blend of trees that he knew so well.
    โ€œWhat does the Baron want with me?โ€ he wondered aload.

  26. Well that was the main thing I got my inspiration from, how sometimes people barely even notice you’re there cause they have a screen glued to their faces.
    Only the thing is, I haven’t worked out how the story will unfold.

    Your story seems pretty cool!! You are a very good writer.
    I would really love to read more of it, is it a complete story or are you still writing it?
    Just one thing I didn’t understand, was Shane’s dad killed by the Baron, or did he die in the war?

  27. Hey was killed in the war… But that character blames it on the baron. As for your other question, this is what I’ve completed so far.

  28. In my defense, I’m using a tiny little keyboard with fingers that are twice the size of the keys… (I’m using my phone)

  29. @65: I know Abby, Mara, Lauren, Marina, and Tiera. Getty just seems to be one of those people who friend-requests everyone, and we talked once on AlphaChat (which we both need to go on more frequently!), and guess what? WE LIVE 20 MINUTES AWAY FROM EACH OTHER! What are the odds? No one seems to be from Dallas! So I wanna get together with him, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. (Of course now is when I’m gonna move away to Colorado for 4ish months.) Did you hang out with him a lot at Alpha? I know we all pretty much hang out together as a mob, but was he one of the people you knew better?
    Gosh, I hope we can all go to Alpha together next year!!!!

    @84: That’s really good! There weren’t many mistakes either. You’re very descriptive. Is this the story about the medieval apocalypse? (Also, August 8th??? It’s only the 6th here in the States…)
    As for your other question. I am a writer, yes. I currently working on my first novel, a comedic fairytale about two maidens created by a wizard and their “adventures.” I have 9 chapters so far, and 47,654 words! ๐Ÿ˜€ *happy dance*
    And MidK’s a writer, too. We’ve both attended the aforementioned “Alpha: the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers.”

  30. Oh. So that’s what this alpha is? Very interesting…. I’ve never heard of it before

  31. @Middy Gietzen – oh right. Now that’s cleared up ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you finish it, it’s looks like a really cool story!

  32. And as for the story Ill try to keep you guys posted… as long as you promise not to copy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Naw! I was just joking! I must’ve gotten the date wrong! I think I got into a habit of putting incorrect dates during the school year; I would always put the date of the day it was assigned so that the teacher assumed I worked on it right away! ๐Ÿ™‚ pretty petty, but I think I earned some browny points

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