Sunday, March 30, 2008

LOL-Aslan Contest Entries

Time's up! Pencils down! The Through the Wardrobe LOL-Aslan (LOLcats about the Narnia books) contest is now officially over. I had so much fun reading all your entries! They were all so fabulous!!! Perni (my cat) and I will spend the next 24 hours deliberating, and the two winners will be announced tomorrow.

To facilitate the selection process, and so everyone can enjoy all these gems of Narnia wit and wisdom, I've decided to re-post all the entries here. Enjoy! And please feel free to let me know, in the comments, which LOL-Aslans are your favorites! Perni and I can use all the help we can get.



Stone Table, NO WANT!


Im teh wite wich I jus ned a har dreyr to thwaw

Enna Isilee #1:

Enna Isilee #2:

Enna Isilee #3:

Enna Isilee #4:

Enna Isilee #5:

Enna Isilee #6:

Enna Isilee #7:

Faith #1:

Faith #2:

Faith #3:

Faith #4:

jo-no-anne #1:

Broke ur stone table. Time 2 diet.

jo-no-anne #2:

Oh hai. I raise ur ded.



Q #1:

Gimme da yellow and green ringz and nobody getz hurt.

Q #2:

Hay! You therez! Geddaway frum ma boi!
[Imagine picture of horse]


Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

LOL-Aslan Contest

Let the Narnia contest begin! As promised, it's time for me to give away two copies of the new BenBella essay anthology, Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, in which I am thrilled to have an essay! It was edited by Herbie Brennan and features essays by Deb Caletti, Diane Duane, Sarah Beth Durst (hey, that's me!!!), Brent Hartinger, Susan Juby, Sophie Masson, Kelly McClymer, O.R. Melling, Lisa Papademetriou, Diana Peterfreund, Susan Vaught, Zu Vincent and Kiara Koenig, Ned Vizzini, and Elizabeth Wein. I'd originally thought the pub date was in March, but now I'm told it will be available (exclusively in Borders stores) in April. But the mailman brought my author copies yesterday, and one of them can be yours, if you make me laugh...

The rules are simple. You've heard of LOLcats, right? (For those who haven't, you can learn about them on Wikipedia here, and check out some hilarious examples here.) Well, what I'm looking for are LOL-Aslans -- LOLcats about the Narnia books. To enter the contest, just think of a funny sentence in LOLspeak about any aspect of the Chronicles of Narnia, and w
rite it in a comment to this post. Something like:

Im in ur wardrob, drinkin tea wit ur Tumnus.


Can I haz turkis deelite? Kthxbai.

You can enter as many times as you like, but please include only one LOL-Aslan per comment, so I can easily keep track. Funny photos to go with your sentence would be great, but are not necessary. If you would
like to include a photo with your text, please post it elsewhere on the internet (your own blog, website, flickr, etc) and put the link in your comment.

As I am a firm believer that success in anything requires equal parts skill and luck, two winners will be selected, one for skill and one for luck. The "skill" winner will be the person whose LOL-Aslan makes me laugh the hardest. The "luck" winner will be chosen at random from all the entries, so the more you enter, the better your chances. Since this a LOLcat contest, I've decided to let my cat, Perni, choose this second winner. I'll as
sign each entry a number, write the numbers on scraps of paper, and arrange the numbers in a circle around Perni. Whichever number Perni walks toward will be the "luck" winner.

The contest starts... wait for it... right now! And you have one week (until the end of Sun March 30) to submit all your LOL-Aslans. Perni and I will take a day to select the winners, and I'll announce them on Tuesday April 1st. Check back then (April Fools Day!) to see if you've won! Good luck! I'm so excited to read these!

And remember, soon after this contest ends, another will begin. On Thursday April 3rd, I'll announce another contest where you'll use your creativity to win an ARC of my forthcoming book, Out of the Wild.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lunacon 2008 Trip Report

I got back from Lunacon on Sunday, and I want to tell you all about it, but first things first...

The Contests Are Coming!!!

In the year and a half that I've been keeping this blog, I've yet to host a contest. But that's all about to change. Over the next few weeks, you will have not one, but two (and maybe even three) opportunities to win free books! And, honestly, what could be better than free books!?!

Contest #1 -- The Narnia Contest -- will start this Monday March 24th. What's in it for you? Two copies of the new BenBella anthology, Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, in which I have an essay. What's in it for me? I'm gonna make you be funny to earn your prize.

Contest #2 -- The Out of the Wild ARC Contest -- will start on Thursday April 3rd. What's in it for you? An ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Out of the Wild, the sequel to Into the Wild. What's in it for me? I'm gonna make you be creative to earn your prize.

Rules, deadlines, and all details will be revealed on those start dates. Stay tuned...

And now back to my Lunacon recap.

Lunacon Trip Report

You can count on two things if you attend Lunacon (a fantasy and science fiction convention in Rye, NY):

(1) You will meet lots of super-friendly people.
(2) You will get lost in the hotel at least twice.

The Rye Hilton (aka the Escher Hilton) is famous for what is fondly known as the "transdimensional corridor." You start out on the fourth floor, walk down a seemingly level hallway, and discover that you're suddenly on the seventh floor without ever climbing any stairs. And if you lose focus, time shifts as well as space, and you can find yourself momentarily transported to Victorian times, where people will mock your lack of a corset but admire your fine dental hygiene.

I had a marvelous time. I spoke on five panels, plus did a reading and a signing. I also got lost three times instead of the standard two, but then I've always been an overachiever.

A few moments from Lunacon really stick in my mind. One is Josepha Sherman singing Memory in the original feline ("Meow, meow! Meow-meow-meow meow meow..."). Another is my panel "The Novel That Changed My Life." For this panel, we talked about the one novel that played that pivotal role in shaping who we are today. My choice was Alanna by Tamora Pierce.

I first read Alanna when I was ten years old. My friend Gillian had taken it out of the Northboro Public Library, read it, and then handed it to me saying, "You'll love this book. This is your kind of book." Since the book was out on her library card, I was absolutely petrified the entire time I had the book that I would return it late to the library and my friend would be blackballed from ever taking out another library book again and she'd never forgive me and no one would want to be my friend because word would spread and... I was a somewhat anxious child.

Anyway, I read it, loved it, and returned it on time and disaster was averted. But that's not why this book is important to me (though I am glad that I did not cause my friend to be declared a library pariah). This book is important to me because this was the book that made me say, "I want to do this. I want to write books like this. This is what I want to do with my life. This is why I'm here."

And it's also the book that first told me that I could become a writer, if only I tried hard enough. Alanna is about a girl who, by sheer force of will, triumphs over near-impossible odds and achieves her dream. I like that message. A lot. And I believe in it with all my heart. The key component to achieving any impossible dream is not talent or brains or even luck, though they all help. It's sheer pig-headed stubbornness.

So that was my answer. How about you? Is there a book that played a pivotal role in shaping who you are today? What novel changed your life?

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lunacon 2008 Schedule

Upcoming Event

This weekend, I will be a program participant at Lunacon, a science fiction and fantasy convention in Rye, NY. (Click here for my trip report from last year's Lunacon and then scroll to the bottom to read the report in chronological order.) Here's my schedule for this year:

FRIDAY (3/14)

8pm Panel - Sarah Beth Durst, Louis Epstein,
Virginia McMorrow - "Harry Potter Goes to Hollywood"


12pm Panel - Sam Butler, Sarah Beth Durst, Josepha Sherman, Delia Sherman - "Danger in Children's Fantasy"

1pm Panel - Sarah Beth Durst, Hildy Silverman, Lew Wolkoff - "The Next Generation"

6pm Panel - Ellen Asher, Sarah Beth Durst, Jennifer Heddle, Jeff Lyman - "Faeries in the Alleyways"

9pm Panel - Mark L. Blackman, S
arah Beth Durst, Sharon Foster, Alexis Gilliland, Andre Lieven, Jonathan Maberry - "The Novel That Changed My Life"

SUNDAY (3/16)

12pm Autographing - Sarah Beth Durst

1:30pm Reading - Sarah Beth Durst

Hope to see you there!

Public Service Announcement

Worried about the Wild invading your hometown? Here are two examples of early warning signs:

Photo courtesy of Christina Gonzalez. Thanks, Christina!

Photo courtesy of the LOLcat site I Can Has Cheezeburger.

If you suspect the Wild is invading your town, please email me your photos and/or drawings.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Through the Wardrobe

I love, love, love the Narnia books. I love Faun Tumnus and the Beavers and Reepicheep (the brave warrior mouse) and the lone lamppost and the stone statues in the witch's castle and the dawn run with Aslan... One of my most treasured books is a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with beautiful illustrations by Michael Hague. Inside it says, "To Sarah, Merry Christmas 1983! Love, Mom and Dad." It makes me think of Christmas mornings, when my brother and I would wait in my room until it was late enough to drag my parents downstairs to see first the stockings then the tree (always in that order -- I was a tad bit obsessive compulsive about family traditions). And Uncle Bill and Aunt Julie, our close-enough-to-be-family neighbors, would come over for bacon and eggs in a breakfast feast worthy of the Beavers. And I'd help my mom set the dining room table with the china for Christmas dinner. And I'd sneak-read bits of whatever books I'd received whenever I thought no one was looking... Anyway, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of those books that makes me smile inside when I see it. I think I've read it at least several dozen times.

So this fall, when an editor from BenBella Books contacted my agent and asked if she had any authors who would like to write an essay for an anthology about the Narnia books, I jumped at the chance. (Or m
ore accurately, I channeled my inner teacher's pet, stretched my hand in the air, and shouted: "Ooh, ooh, me, me, me!")

But what to write about? When adults talk about the Narnia books, there's often much discussion of religious allegory and such. And, of course, the books are clearly religious allegories. But when I was a kid, in all the times I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I never once had the slightest clue that there was even the tiniest bit of symbolism in there. Some kind soul finally pulled me aside (much in the way that parents through the ages have sat down with their kids to give them "The Talk") and repeated the w
ord "Allegory, allegory, allegory!" in increasingly frustrated tones until I finally said, "Oooh, so the whole Stone Table scene..." And then they said "Yes!" and went away muttering under their breath and rolling their eyes.

So when I sat down to write my essay for the BenBella anthology, I decided to embrace my obliviousness. My essay is called "Missing the Point", and in short, it's about why it's okay to be completely clueless.

The essay anthology is called Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. It was edited by Herbie Brennan, and includes essays from the following writers:

Deb Caletti
Diane Duane
Sarah Beth Durst (me!!!)
Brent Hartinger
Susan Juby
Sophie Masson
Kelly McClymer

O.R. Melling
Lisa Papademetriou
Diana Peterfreund
Susan Vaught
Zu Vincent and Kiara Koenig
Ned Vizzini
Elizabeth Wein

And check out the awesome cover:

It comes out this month (March) exclusively at Borders stores, and despite the fact that my essay includes several embarrassing personal anecdotes, I'm really excited about it. Narnia! Aslan! Faun Tumnus! YAY! Seriously, I feel honored to be included.

The very nice folks at BenBella have offered to give me a couple extra copies of Through the Wardrobe to give away on my blog. So in a week or two (once my copies arrive), I'll be hosting a contest here. I hope you'll drop by and enter!

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

NYRSF Reading

I have discovered the downside of public appearances. Sooner or later, someone (like the normally-very-nice Jim Freund) is going to snap a photo of you in which you look possessed by the spirit of a deranged sprite. I think I remember the exact moment this photo was taken. I was expounding on something deep and profound: "Look!" I said, waving my book in the air. "It's purple and shiny! I like shiny!"

Me, Possessed

Well, at least no one can say I'm not animated in my presentations. :)

This was taken Tuesday night at the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series, a monthly event held at the South Street Seaport Museum. Paul Witcover was the guest curator. (Click here to see his report on the evening, including a more sedate photo of me.) I read from Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, and Felix Gilman read a gorgeous passage from his debut novel Thunderer. Afterwards, we all (the readers, the organizers, and almost the entire audience) trooped over to a nearby pub for dinner. Very, very fun. Any dinner that involves a discussion of Thundarr the Barbarian gets two thumbs up from me. (Any of you remember that? How about Voltron? Thundercats? She-Ra, Princess of Power?)

Thanks to everyone who came out to the reading, to Paul Witcover for inviting me, to Jim and Barbara Freund for organizing the event, and to Eugene for saying my reading of New Little Red's dialogue was "creepy". (If you know the scene, you'll know this was a compliment.)

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Some Pig!

Just got some lovely news from Ms. Editor... Into the Wild has been nominated for the E. B. White Award! Snoopy Dance of Joy!!!

The award is presented by the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) and its full name is the E. B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers (they give another award for picture books). I am so, so, so excited to be nominated.

For one thing, being nominated for an award is tangible evidence that someone out there likes me (or at least likes my book). And this makes me really, really happy for I am a needy and neurotic person in constant need of affirmation to fuel my self-worth. Second, I'm particularly excited because nominations for this award are submitted by children's booksellers, who are (practically by definition) experts in children's books. Third, it's named after E. B. White, as in the author of Charlotte's Web! What could be more awesome than Charlotte's Web?! And finally, I love that the award is meant to honor works that are terrific books to read aloud. I love thinking about people reading Into the Wild to each other. Sometimes I get emails from readers that talk about reading the book together as a family, or with friends, or in class, or at bed-time... and I just think that is so cool. As I think I've mentioned before, my absolute favorite customer review is this one, reproduced below:

Dear Sarah-

Me and my dad had a great time reading this book. Although I'm only eight, my dad is REALLY old, so he qualifies to help me with this review! I love stories about mysteries, and I thought Puss 'n Boots was really funny.

My dad and I read this over a couple of weeks, a little bit every night. My favorite part was when Julie was a princess, and they had the test. That was really funny.

I think you did a great job, this being your first book and all. I also liked the part when the wild escaped. Another part is when she met her dad. I liked when her bike came alive, too.

We live in Shrewsbury, next to Northboro. I liked when Spag's was the wizard's house, the ogre's castle was Higgins Armory. I liked it when you used places that I knew in your book. Keep up the good work!

Pam and her Dad

Thank you, Pam. And thank you, ABC booksellers!

The winner will be announced in early April. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Upcoming Event

If you're in or near NYC... I will be doing a reading this Tuesday night (March 4th at 7pm) as part of The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings at the Melville Gallery of the South Street Seaport Museum. Felix Gilman, author of Thunderer, will be reading as well. Should be a fun night. I hope you'll come join us! I will be reading scenes from both Into the Wild and Out of the Wild.

Labels: , , ,