Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Obscure Fairy Tale: Molly Whuppie

If you've ever picked up a fairy tale collection with the word "complete" in the title, you'll know that there are a LOT of obscure fairy tales out there. And when I was researching my novel INTO THE WILD, I read a LOT of obscure fairy tales. Some of them were absolutely fabulous; some of them were absolutely bizarre. So when I started this blog, I decided I wanted to include a recurring segment where I tell you about some of the tales that I found. You know, kind of give them a day in the sun.

Today's wonderfully warped Obscure Fairy Tale is "Molly Whuppie." I first learned about this tale from a fabulous collection called FEARLESS GIRLS, WISE WOMEN, & BELOVED SISTERS, edited by Kathleen Ragan. If you like tales with strong heroines, be sure to check it out. Anyway, without further ado, I give you:

Molly Whuppie (an English tale)

OK, I know I haven't even said "once upon a time" yet, but we already have the First Thing I Love About This Story: the name. Molly Whuppie. Doesn't she just sound like that girl you knew in high school who looked totally demure in front of teachers but had this wild glint in her eye, the one you always wanted to hang out with on the weekend even though you seemed to get in trouble every time?

Once upon a time, a man and a woman have too many children so they take their three youngest and leave them in the woods.

First Thing I Hate About This Story: lousy family planning. I guess if the kids had had a nice home life, then there wouldn't be a fairy tale about them. But still... not kosher.

The three girls wander and wander until they find a house. When they knock, a woman answers and says she can't help them because her husband's a giant and will kill them if he finds them. The girls beg, and the women relents.

Naturally, the giant finds them and utters the traditional "fee, fi, fo, fum." At which point, the woman tells her husband, "Ye won't touch 'em, man."

Thing I Love #2: the giant's wife. She stands up to her cannibalistic husband, and she has a fabulous accent.

The giant invites them to stay the night and to sleep in the same bed as his three daughters. The youngest girl (whose name is Molly Whuppie) notices that before they all went to bed, the giant put straw ropes around her and her sisters' necks and gold chains around his daughters' necks.

In most versions of the story, Molly is described as "very clever" for noticing the straw ropes. How unobservant would you have to be not to notice a giant putting a straw rope around your neck? Seriously, was this a common thing? You visit a house, someone puts a rope around your neck, and off you go to la-la land. Apparently, Molly's sisters took it in stride, which makes them Thing I Love #3: super-laid-back siblings.

Once everyone falls asleep, Molly switches the straw ropes for the gold chains. During the night, the giant sneaks into the room, feels for the necks with straw, and then beats to death the three girls (his own daughters) with the gold chains. When the giant goes back to bed, Molly wakes her sisters, and they flee.

Did I mention that the siblings were super laid-back? How could they sleep through that? Also, here is Thing I Hate #2: the giant's wife, who did nothing wrong, loses her three daughters. Not fair.

The sisters run until they reach a king's house. Molly tells the king her story, and the king says, "Great job, but if you outwit the giant a second time by stealing the sword that hangs on the back of his bed, I'll give your eldest sister to my eldest son in marriage." So Molly goes back to the giant's house, sneaks in, waits for the giant to fall asleep, and steals the sword. He wakes and chases her. They run until they reach the "Bridge of One Hair," which she can cross and he can't. She yells to him, "Twice yet, carle, I'll come to Spain."

Thing I Love #4: "twice yet, carle, I'll come to Spain." What the heck does that mean? No idea. But I love it. Think I'll start saying that. Next time a car cuts me off, I'm shaking my fist at the driver and shouting, "Twice yet, carle, I'll come to Spain." And the driver will yell back, "Who's Carl?"

Next, the king tells her, "Great job, but if you outwit the giant again and steal the purse under the giant's pillow, your second sister will marry my second son." So Molly sneaks in, waits for the giant to fall asleep, and steals the purse. He wakes and chases her. They run to the bridge and she yells, "Once yet, carle, I'll come to Spain."

Forgot to mention Thing I Love #5: Bridge of One Hair. What sort of engineer makes a bridge of one hair? And how is she able to cross it? And why doesn't the giant petition the town to have a sturdier bridge built? It can't be good for trade.

Finally, the king says that Molly can marry his youngest son if she steals the giant's ring from his finger. So she sneaks in again... but this time, the giant wakes before she runs. He says, "Now I have you, mwah-ha-ha-ha! If you were me and I were you, what would you do to punish me?" To which Molly says, "I would put you in a sack with a cat, a dog, a needle, a thread, and a shears, and then I'd find the thickest stick I could and beat you to death."

Is it just me or does Molly have a few psychological issues?

The giant put Molly in a sack with all the items she mentioned and wanders off to find a nice stick. Molly says, "Oh, if ye saw what I see." And the giant's wife begs to be taken up into the sack so that she can see what Molly sees. Molly uses the shears to cut a hole in the sack, helps the giant's wife into the sack, and then sews the sack back up with the needle and thread. Molly then hides and waits.

Serious psychological issues. If she has shears and can escape, why not just escape? Why torture the giant's wife? Think I Hate #3: Molly Whuppie is NOT a nice girl.

The giant returns and begins to beat the sack. The giant's wife cries out, "It's me, man!" But the giant can't hear her over the cat and the dog.

Molly then runs, and the giant chases her to the Bridge of One Hair. Molly escapes and shouts, "Never more, carle, will I come again to Spain." And then she marries the king's youngest son and never sees the giant again. And they all live happily ever after.

Except the giant's wife, who hopefully will be filing for divorce sometime soon...

For more Obscure Fairy Tales, check out:

The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Donkey, and the Cudgel-in-a-Sack

Jack My Hedgehog


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your travels be swift and your bellies be full.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

SFWA Mill 'n Swill

Last night I headed back to the big city for some more book industry schmoozing...

The Event: SFWA New York Publishers Reception, a.k.a. the Mill 'n Swill. (Now that I'm a SFWA member, I'm legitimately invited to this shindig and don't have to rely on kind souls to take pity on me and let me come as their guest.)

The Location: Society of Illustrators, a.k.a. cool Manhattan place with much cool art on the walls.

The Invited Guests: Lots and lots of editors, agents, writers, and others associated with science fiction and fantasy publishing. And moi.

The Outfit: Black skirt, black camisole, purple sheer-ish top (same color as my cover art -- I swear it was a coincidence), and my lucky INTO THE WILD bracelet (see WFC trip report).

The Pre-Event Dinner: Sarabeth's. Love this restaurant, even though it's spelled without an "h". Best tomato soup ever. I also had baked brie. Yes, I ordered only appetizers. I have a thing for cute food.

The Book I Read on the Train: WOLF CAPTURED by Jane Lindskold. Best book of the Firekeeper series (which are my favorite human-raised-by-wolves books). Read it. Love it. Hug your inner wolf.

The Schmoozing: My evening went pretty much like this...

Famous author: "Hi. Nice to meet you. How are you?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

Important magazine editor: "Hi, Sarah. So what's new with you?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

Influential book editor: "Where's the bathroom?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

I like to think I was a bit more articulate than that, but I do have to admit that when I walked in through the door and saw the room was chockfull of editors and big-name authors and so forth, I froze like the cliched deer in headlights. The moment probably only lasted 30 seconds, but it felt like 30 minutes. I very nearly turned and bolted. But then Liesa Abrams (editor at Aladdin/S&S) rescued me -- thank you, Liesa! -- and from that point on I was milling and swilling like a pro. I talked to lots of cool people, including the fabulous Delia Sherman (author of THE CHANGELING, one of my favorite books of the year), the always-sweet Sean Fodera (contracts manager at Holtzbrinck and SF writer), the brilliant Ginjer Buchanan (editor at Ace), and the very cool and phenomenally-talented couple, Holly Black and Theo Black (Holly is the author of TITHE and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, and Theo is an artist who designs drool-worthy websites like that of Melissa Marr).

I got to say hello to Gordon Van Gelder (the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), Lucienne Diver (agent at Spectrum Literary Agency), Rachel Vater (agent at Lowenstein and Yost), Steve Saffel (Del Rey editor), Stanley Schmidt (Analog magazine), Diane Turnshek (SFWA Eastern Regional Director), Carol Burrell (of Children's Book Council), and lots of really cool writers. My only regret is that I never really got a chance to chat for more than 30 seconds with Keith DeCandido and Terri Osborne, authors who I've known for years now, having met at various conventions. Every time I was milling, they were swilling, and when I was swilling ... well you see where this is going. Next time.

Anyway, the point of all this name-dropping is: I didn't turn and bolt. It was terrifying when I walked in the door and saw no one I knew, but I stayed and it was fabulous. Guess that's the moral of not just this post but my entire blog: if something matters to you, don't turn and bolt. Stay. Just stay.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Re_Mused Writers

Do you love fairy tales, myths, and legends? Do you love books that are based on these classic stories? Do you wish there was someplace on the internet you could go to chat about these stories and their retellings with the retellers themselves? If so*, then look no further. This week saw the birth of a brand new livejournal community devoted to classic stories re-told.

[Brief break here to help out those who are thinking, "What the heck is a livejournal community?" It's a blog, like this one, where a specified set of community "members" can post thoughts, comments, questions, etc. Usually it's organized around a particular topic, and all the members are encouraged to keep their posts at least loosely relevant. Non-members can read along and add comments to any post.]

This one is called Re_Mused Writers and was created by Elizabeth Bunce (author of the forthcoming Rumplestiltskin retelling, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD). I first learned about it from the blog of Melissa Marr -- thanks, Melissa! From the community profile:

"Re_Mused is a community of professional writers whose work includes retelling classic stories: fairy tales, myths, legends, and more."

When I heard about this my brain started doing jumping jacks. Yay! Could this be any more up my alley? I think not. It would be fair to say that my debut novel, INTO THE WILD, contains one or two fairy-tale references. Or maybe it's more like five or six. Okay, maybe more like a zillion! (If you're new to this party and want to learn more about my book, click here!)

Anyway, I was so excited to join this group. And so I did! And now I'm a Re_Mused Writer!

The group currently has 13 members and is open for more. So if you write stories based on fairy tales, myths, legends, etc., please come join us. If you don't write retellings but do like to read them, please come hang out with us. Looks like this is going to be a lot of fun. Come check us out!

* If so, then you might be interested in a certain book that will arrive in bookstores on June 21, 2007 -- a little purple number called INTO THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst... ;)

Thursday, November 16, 2006


There's still time to nominate books for the Cybils! Nominations are open until November 20th!

Imaginary Person Asks: Um, what are you talking about?

Me: The Cybils!

Imaginary Person: Do you mean the oracular seeresses of the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean???

Me: No, no, no. That's the sybils. I'm talking about the Cybils!!!

Cybils = the Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards. It's a brand new award created by a group of fabulous kidlit bloggers. The awards will be given out in eight categories: fantasy and science fiction, fiction picture books, nonfiction picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, middle grade and YA nonfiction, poetry, and graphic novels. Here's a link to the Cybils website itself. And here's a link to a Publisher's Weekly article about the Cybils. And here's a link to the song Personal Penguin, which is mentioned in a totally unrelated article about a Sandra Boynton board book that just happens to appear on the same page of Publisher's Weekly as the article about the Cybils.

I'll wait here while you go dance to the penguin song.

[dance break]

Welcome back.

The reason I'm telling you about the Cybils is that I've been lucky enough to be named a member of the Judging Committee for the Fantasy and Science Fiction Award. (The awesome power! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!) So go nominate something good for me to read. Nominations close on Nov 20. The Panelists will then narrow the nomination list to the Top Five. The Panelists for Fantasy and Science Fiction are:

- Sheila Ruth, Wands and Worlds

- Michele, Scholar's Blog

- Gail Gauthier, Original Content

- Erin, Miss Erin

- Kim Baccellia, kbaccellia

After Jan 1, the Judges will read the Top Five and deliberate. The Judges for Fantasy and Science Fiction are:

- J.L. Bell, Oz and Ends

- Fairrosa, Fairrosa's Reading Journal

- Sarah Beth Durst, Sarah's Journal

- Greg Fishbone, Greg R. Fishbone

- Cassie Richoux, Bookwyrm Chrysalis

I'm really excited about this. First of all, it's a brand new excuse to read a bunch of great books. (I know, I know, I didn't need an excuse, but it's still nice to have one. Part of me will always be that little girl sneaking books under her covers late at night. This is a nice legitimate excuse to sneak books.) And second, the other panelists and judges seem like really cool people. (I've already enjoyed checking out their blogs. Go visit them. Very cool.)

Anyway, to nominate a book for the Fantasy and Science Fiction category, click here. Main rules are: the book needs to have been published in English in 2006, and you can only nominate one book per category. The winners will be announced in early February.

Only a few days left! So get nominating!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vodka Pizza

I am about to let you in on one of the best-kept secrets of publishing: the stuff you get after you sign your contract. First and foremost, there's access to the private jet. Technically, it's for use by all writers, published or not, but the trick is that it's an invisible jet (modeled after Wonder Woman's) and it's only after you sign your contract that you're sent a copy of the invisible keys and a map to find the invisible runway. I haven't had a chance to use the jet yet, partially because it's been in use pretty continuously since I signed -- first Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld used it to fly to Australia and then Sam Enthoven claimed it to return to the UK after World Fantasy Convention -- and partially because I keep losing the keys.

If you write for kids or teens, you get additional perks. When you get the Call telling you that you have an offer, the news is followed up by a singing telegram from your favorite Muppet. (Not a kid dressed up as a muppet. I'm talking the actual Kermit-the-Frog -- or in my case, Kermit's nephew, Robin.)

And if you write for teens and live near Manhattan, you also get invited to Teen Author Drinks Night (TADN), where you are introduced to a fabulous collection of YA/MG writers and a marvelous concoction called vodka pizza. The latest TADN was last night, and I had a great time.

Vodka pizza is not, as the name implies, alcoholic. Ever had penne alla vodka? Vodka pizza is regular pizza but made with vodka sauce instead of plain old marinara sauce. And it is delicious. I first tried it last month, the first time I attended TADN, but I was afraid if I told you about it, I wouldn't be invited back. Now that I've been twice, I feel safer telling you (though I am still taking a risk here so I hope you appreciate it).

As to the fabulous collection of YA/MG writers, this time I got to chat with... yes, here comes the name-dropping... Coe Booth (author of TYRELL), Erin Downing (author of DANCING QUEEN), Sarah Darer Littman (author of CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC), Bennett Madison (author of LULU DARK CAN SEE THROUGH WALLS), Leslie Margolis (author of FIX), Lauren Mechling (author of THE RISE AND FALL OF A 10TH GRADE SOCIAL CLIMBER), Adrienne Vrettos (author of SKIN), and Robin Wasserman (author of WRATH).

Everyone was super-nice. Can't wait for next month!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


A couple days ago, I went into the big city (again) for some meetings with Razorbill/Penguin folks and to have lunch with my wonderful editor. (It's quite clear that I'm still a total newbie at all this because I can't help but get a big grin across my face upon even thinking those words ... lunch with MY editor ...) Anyway, lunch was delicious and the meetings went really well, but the highlight of my visit came when Ms. Editor handed me a big stack of galleys for INTO THE WILD. Yes, you heard me right: I've got GALLEYS!!!

For those not in the biz, galleys are like book prototypes. They haven't been proofread and don't contain all the bells and whistles, but they're bound and have cover art on the front and back and include all the page formatting and such. Sometimes they're known as Advance Reader Copies, or ARCs, or Galley Proofs, and mine says "Advance Uncorrected Proof" across the cover, but it's all the same thing. And I think mine is beeeeeeautiful! It looks like a REAL book! Check it out:

I first learned about galleys/ARCs a year or so ago when I was reading the blog of Diana Peterfreund, debut author of a fabulous chick lit novel called SECRET SOCIETY GIRL. Diana had just received her ARCs and was so excited that she posted a picture of herself lying atop a pile of them. So cute. I remember feeling really happy for her, if a bit jealous. Well, now that I have my own ARCs, I know just what to do. It's my turn to take that picture. So I did! And here it is:

I regret only that I don't have more copies. If I did, I'd fill up my bedroom and swim through them!

Recent Reads: Enthoven and Trent

Non-Existent Person Asks: Sarah, since you've been in so many planes, trains, and automobiles lately, I bet you got to do a lot of reading. Read anything good?

Sarah Answers: Hello, imaginary blog reader! Nice to see you here again.

Since you asked, I'll let you in on a secret: I can't read in cars. Motion sickness. Not a pretty sight. I even have to be careful not to read too many billboards. Especially if I'm in the back seat. But trains and planes... Happily, I'm fine in
those, and yes, I've read some cool books lately. Here are two of them:

On the way down to the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) in Austin, I read THE BLACK TATTOO by Sam Enthoven, a fellow Razorbill author. It's about a 14-year-old boy without a shred of magic who has to outsmart all the demons of Hell in order to save himself, his friend, and oh, pretty much the entire universe. Very cool. Great pacing, inventive storyline, and a fun sense of humor. I gobbled it up.

On the way back from WFC, I read IN THE SERPENT'S COILS by Tiffany Trent, a fellow 2k7er. You can't buy it yet. It doesn't come out until next Halloween. But I scored an advance copy while at WFC. Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Anyway, it's the first book in a ten book series about a teenage girl who confronts vampiric fey in just-after-the-Civil War America. If you're looking for gothic spooky, this novel is for you. It's the kind of book that makes you want to snuggle up on the couch with a cat and some hot chocolate. Tiffany does a fabulous job creating an eerie atmosphere. Seriously, you look up from the novel and expect to see fog around your ankles and a taloned hand reaching for your neck...

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

World Fantasy Convention (my reading)

And now for the highlight of my WFC trip -- my reading -- my very first reading from INTO THE WILD -- my very first reading ever! I was soooo nervous. In the days leading up to the convention, I practiced at home by reading out loud to my cat. She heckled. This was not encouraging.

Nevertheless, as part of the Young Adult Reading at WFC, I read the beginning of chapter ten of INTO THE WILD to a very kind audience of about two dozen people. Oh my, wow, it was such a high.

The reading itself was the brainchild
of Tiffany Trent, the matching bracelets for the four readers were created by Jo Whittemore, and the chocolate for the audience ... yeah, that was my contribution. (See my prior post about the role of chocolate in writing.) The audience was composed of primarily strangers, but I did know a few people: Sam Enthoven, John Joseph Adams, Jeri Smith-Ready, Mark Williams, Faith Stencel, Clover Autrey, and Heather. I swear I didn't twist their arms (much) to come.

The room was set up the same way I'd seen for a hundred other convention readings: long white table at one end and rows of those standard-issue gray conference chairs. I know those chairs well, but this was my first up-close-and-personal experience with
the Long White Table. Did you know that the skirt doesn't go all the way around? And it's surprisingly light to lift. Ahh, the secrets that are revealed to program participants! But seriously, it was damn cool to sit facing the audience and put up the official table tent with SARAH BETH DURST on it in front of me.

Also in front of me, I put an 8x10 photo of my cover art, which my glorious husband had mounted on foam board. He gets very excited about these sorts of arts and crafts projects. Though he did a bit of swearing when he accidentally stuck the photo to the wrong part of the foam board, his little project turned out great in the end, and it was nice to be able to display my cover art as I read.

We read in the following order:

- Deborah Millitello from THIEF'S LUCK
- me from INTO THE WILD
- Jo Whittemore from ESCAPE FROM ARYLON
- Tiffany Trent from IN THE SERPENT'S COILS

Check out these pictures of the four
of us, stolen from the blog of Faith Stencel. Thanks, Faith!

I'd love to share with you my feelings upon reading my own words to an audience for the first time, but the words seem inadequate... Fun. Empowering. Kind of like flying. People laughed at my jokes. They applauded at the end. They didn't throw tomatoes. Or even candy. They said very nice things afterwards. And I felt like I could fly.

After everyone read, we had a Q&A. Mark Williams broke the ice by asking the first question -- thank you, Mark! The second question was just to me and was from a total stranger. (I swear! I didn't bribe her! Unless you count the candy...) We answered a few more questions, and then it was over.

I didn't know it would feel so awesome. Can't wait to do it again!

Monday, November 06, 2006

World Fantasy Convention (trip report)

Home from World Fantasy!

For those of you who don't know, the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) is an annual gathering of imaginary beings and mythical creatures. It has a variety of panels on topics such as, "Unicorn Mane Maintenance," "Vegetarian Vampires," and "Best Pumpkin Coaches of 2006." This year's Guests of Honor were Zeus, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Monster Under Your Bed. I had a fabulous time. Got to meet the Monster Under the Bed -- I'm afraid I gushed like a fangirl, but he was really gracious. Had dinner at a great seafood restaurant with some mermaids (they were on a first name basis with their food, which was a bit disturbing, but told some hilarious anecdotes about Neptune -- apparently quite the old letch). Saw a fascinating panel on dragon molting and even captured a leprechaun (no gold, unfortunately, just cereal). Only downer was that the dragons had to stay outside most of the time because it was a non-smoking hotel.

Hee hee hee. OK, I'll stop. Sorry about that. Just trying to keep myself amused as I'm writing this on the plane back from Austin... For those of you who don't know, the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) is a conference for adult and young adult fantasy readers, writers, artists, editors, agents, librarians, and booksellers to meet, greet, and rejoice in our joint geekiness. I love this convention, despite the lack of dragons and griffins.

This year was extra special for me because it was my first convention since I got the Call. In other words, it was my first convention as a published (or soon-to-be-published) writer. It was also my first convention as a program participant. (I had a reading -- more on this later.)

I had been hoping (see prior post) that as a program participant, I would get a ribbon on my nametag that said "participant" or even "please talk to me for I am shy and totally intimidated by your awesome brilliance." But no such luck. I had to be brave on my own -- and dammit, I was brave! I talked to lots and lots of fabulous people and had a fantastic time. Here are some of the highlights:

1) My reading. Such a high. I think this deserves its own blog entry so I'm going to save it for later. :)

2) Jo Whittemore and the Bracelets. The wonderful Jo Whittemore (author of ESCAPE FROM ARYLON) made bracelets for all of us on the Young Adult Reading. Mine says INTO THE WILD (the title of my book) in black-and-white beads. When we held our wrists together before the reading and said "wonder-writer powers, activate!", we all turned into tigers and bears, which was pretty cool. (Understandably, no one wanted to be the Wonder Twin who turned into the bucket of water.)

3) Tiffany Trent and the Cheesecake Factory. When I left the Green Room, sad about no "participant" ribbon and no miniature griffin, the fabulous Tiffany Trent recognized me from my Class of 2k7 picture -- she's a fellow 2k7er and author of the HALLOMERE series. We then embarked on the first of two cross-parking lot adventures to the Cheesecake Factory, which totally made up for the lack of griffin.

4) YA Dinner. The first annual WFC YA Dinner was Friday night. In attendance were: me, Tiffany Trent, Jo Whittemore, Mark London Williams (author of DANGER BOY), Holly Black (author of TITHE and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES), Cassandra Clare (a fellow 2k7er and author of CITY OF BONES), and Barry Goldblatt (agent-extraordinaire). Awesome, awesome people. I hope we do it again next year so that the word "annual" is actually applicable.

5) Anti-Banquet Dinner. (Are you noticing a food trend here? I thought I noticed you noticing. If I were doing this chronologically, you'd also notice that I actually went to dinner twice on Saturday... Food = good.) Anyway, the anti-banquet dinner is the brainchild of Laura Anne Gilman (author of GRAIL QUEST), who wanted a dressy event that didn't involve $50 to listen to speeches. Attending this year: me, Laura Anne, Lucienne Diver (agent-extraordinaire), Cat (whose last name I didn't catch but is the husband of the writer of the super-cool WEATHER WARDEN series), David Coe (author of CHILDREN OF AMARID), Rosemary Clement-Moore (author of PROM DATES FROM HELL and also a 2k7er -- we're everywhere! Mwah-ha-ha!), and Jay Caselberg (not his real name; name changed to protect the innocent -- author of WALL OF MIRRORS). We went to a fancy steakhouse, and Laura Anne and Lucienne had me laughing my socks off with anecdotes involving very famous authors and substances like green Jell-O. Don't ask. Or at least don't ask me. Go ask them. They'll tell it better.

6) Autograph Session. Best event at WFC is the autograph session. All the writers are corralled into one room to sign books. You can talk to dozens of people and they can't run because they're trapped behind tables. (Cue the evil cackle.) Kidding. Sort of. I did talk to a whole slew of fabulous people in the span of those two hours, including Jane Lindskold (author of the best raised-by-wolves books EVER), Leah Cutter (author of PAPER MAGE), Shanna Swendson (author of ENCHANTED INC.), Sam Enthoven (author of BLACK TATOO and fellow Razorbillian), Michael Jones (reviewer at Realms of Fantasy), etc. If you ever go to WFC, don't miss the autograph session. I'm serious here -- it's the one time when everyone's in the same room.

7) Paranormal Romance Writers. Fairly recently, Harlequin started a new romantic fantasy imprint called Luna. Not only are all their books cool, but every Luna writer I've ever met has been super-nice. On Friday night, I got to hang out with Jeri Smith-Ready (author of EYES OF CROW) and Maria Snyder (author of POISON STUDY).

8) The Nicest Writer Ever. Top contender for the "nicest ever" title is Tim Powers (author of THE DRAWING OF THE DARK), who was kind enough to introduce me to people and let me join him, his wife, and his friends for lunch. Plus he said he wants to read my book. :)

9) Barflies. Always at conventions, you can find many fabulous people at the bar. I was up way past pumpkin time talking to... yes, I am going to name-drop again... Sharyn November (editor-extraordinaire, who already knew about my book -- how cool is that?), Diana Pharoah Francis (author of PATH OF FIRE), Chris Nakashima-Brown (who may win the title Coolest Person at the Con because he actually checked out my website while at the con), Gavin Grant (Small Beer Press), John Picacio (awesome artist), and others.

I am positive that I've missed mentioning someone -- like the three very cool writers (Faith Stencel, Clover, and Heather) that I met at the Cheesecake Factory and had breakfast with on Sunday. Also Shaun Farrell, who does podcast interviews with authors. And John Joseph Adams, reviewer at SCI FI Wire, another contender for Coolest-at-Con because he allowed himself to be dragged to my reading. Ooh, ooh, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I totally did the fangirl gushing thing to her, and she was really nice about it. (A FISTFUL OF SKY is one of my favorite novels.) And Charles de Lint! His writing is so awesome that I don't know how I managed to talk to him without hyperventilating. I choose to believe my bravery was due to the power of Jo's bracelet. Wonder-writer powers, activate! (See above note on my geekiness.)

OK, that was probably way more detail than you wanted about my weekend. Too bad for you! I've still got lots more to tell! Next entry: my WFC reading!!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I'm still in Austin, having a fabulous time at World Fantasy Convention -- stay tuned for more about WFC -- but I just had to tell you about some really cool news. My editor just emailed me to say that Tamora Pierce has submitted her blurb for INTO THE WILD. Yes, for those of you who missed my earlier post about this, Tamora Pierce -- my all-time favorite author -- was wonderful enough to agree to write a blurb for my book! And now she's finished reading my book! And she wrote a blurb! And here it is!!!!!!!!!!!

"INTO THE WILD is VERY cool, with a unique look at the great fairytale characters. I couldn't put it down until I knew how this brave, extraordinary girl could face such powerful magic!" - Tamora Pierce

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! How awesome is that?! I just had to blog about it. And plaster it all over my website! And tattoo it across my forehead... OK, not that last one, but as you can see, I'm rather excited about this. I can't wait to see how it looks on the finished book.

OK, back to the convention for me. I promise to give a full report on WFC after I get back.

P.S. - I just learned that Tamora Pierce's latest book, TERRIER, just debuted at #2 on the NY Times Children's Chapterbook Bestseller List. Yay! Congrats, Tammy!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

World Fantasy Convention

This Thursday, I'm heading to Austin, Texas, for the 2006 World Fantasy Convention (WFC). For those of you picturing lots of Klingons (not that there's anything wrong with that)... WFC is a book-oriented professional conference where fantasy writers, editors, agents, and readers gather to discuss both adult and young adult fantasy literature.

I love this convention. I've been attending as an aspiring writer for several years now. In my opinion, it's one of the best conventions out there, mostly due to the high percentage of professional writers, editors, and agents who attend. Over the years, I've had the chance to listen to a lot of great panels and readings, meet a lot of fabulous people, and learn a lot about the craft and the industry.

This is the first year that I get to attend as a professional writer.

(Snoopy Dance of Joy!)

For the first time ever, I can introduce myself as a published writer! I can tell people about my book! I can hand out my snazzy new business cards!

And it gets better... I just found out that I've been selected to be a program participant! I'll be part of the

Young Adult Reading
Saturday, November 4, 2:30-3:30pm
Sarah Beth Durst, Deborah Millitello, Tiffany Trent, Jo Whittemore

where I will be doing my very first reading from INTO THE WILD!!!

(Super Snoopy Dance of Joy!!!)

I'm soooo excited about this. For the past few days, I've been practicing reading out loud, just to make sure I don't get up there and start clucking like a chicken. So far, no clucking, but you can never be too careful...

And I'm so glad that I get to read alongside these three fabulous authors: Tiffany Trent and Jo Whittemore, who I already know, and Deborah Millitello, who I'm looking forward to meeting. This should really be a lot of fun.

Plus, as a program participant, I will have my name and book listed in the Program Guide for everyone to see. I will get a ribbon on my nametag that says "participant" or something like that. And I will get access to what's known as the "Green Room."

Every convention has a Green Room. This is a special room designated for program participants only. I am told that all Green Rooms are painted emerald green with actual emeralds studding the ceiling. By law, every Green Room must have at least one chocolate fountain, one raspberry-sauce fountain, and one Fountain of Youth. In the Green Room at World Fantasy Convention, program participants can choose to chat with the ghosts of late literary giants, ride telepathic dragons, or experiment with time travel. Every program participant also gets their very own miniature griffin to take home.

If you're attending WFC, I hope you'll come to my reading. If you promise not to heckle, I'll even let you play with the griffin.