Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad, bad blogger. It's been ten full days since my last post. But I have a good excuse. Actually, I have ten.

1) I was stuck under an elephant.

2) A crocodile ate my computer.

3) I was distracted by a shimmery vampire.

4) I transformed into a bird.

5) And then into a manatee.

6) And I was embarrassed because everyone kept calling me "sea cow".

7) Including the shimmery vampire, who was actually kind of hot, though I prefer werewolves in general, except for the whole alpha male thing, which is annoying.

8) I fell into a rabbit hole and refused to eat the mushroom. (Never eat unidentified mushrooms, especially on the say-so of an obnoxious caterpillar.)

9) My house was sent to Oz via tornado, and the Munchkins only have dial-up. I hate dial-up.

10) I was writing (which is difficult to do from beneath a pachyderm and in the presence of a shimmery vampire, a crocodile, and three hundred Munchkins... especially since manatees don't have hands... please don't call me sea cow).

Luckily, while this was going on, other people have been blogging about me...

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast h
osted a tri-review where bloggers Jules, Eisha, and Tadmack discussed Out of the Wild at length. Very cool.

And there's a brand-new interview with yours truly up on the brand-new Nebula Awards website.

I also found a whole bunch of new reviews of Out of the Wild, thanks to the wonders of Google Alerts. If you're interested, you can see them on the Reviews page of my website (a.k.a. my Happy Page).

Upcoming Event

Now that the whole manatee/vampire/pachyderm incident is over, I will be doing a book signing in Long Island this Saturday morning. Here are the details:

Saturday August 2nd from 9am to noon

Waldenbooks - Lake Grove
Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, NY

It's the morning after Breaking Dawn comes out, and the bookstore manager invited me to be part of their festivities. I'm kinda afraid people will think I'm trying to impersonate Stephenie Meyer... So I made this sign to put on the table in front of me...

This amuses me to no end. But I'm easily amused, especially by my own jokes. What do you think? Does this come off as funny, or jaded and bitter?

In any case, if you're in the area, please stop by and say hi!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Readercon, Northboro Library, and Fitchburg Trip Report

One Reason Why I'm Glad I'm a Writer

After arriving at my dad's house last Thursday night...

Me: "I have to wake up early tomorrow. Maybe I'll see you before you leave for work?"

Dad: "What time are you leaving?"

Me: "My talk is at 8:30 in Fitchburg. I think I'm going to leave by 7. What time do you leave for work?"

Dad: "5:30."

More Reasons Why I'm Glad I'm a Writer

This weekend, I had three book events:

AP Institute at Fitchburg State College

On Friday morning, I spoke with a class at an AP teacher training institute and had the chance to thank one of my high school English teachers (Ms. Tsang, who was teaching the class) for believing in me and encouraging me. How often do you get to say thanks to someone like that? I'm so pleased I was able to do this.

Northboro Free Library

On Friday afternoon, I talked about and read from Out of the Wild at the Northboro Free Library (my childhood library and
the library that appears in chapter seven of Into the Wild). I think this was one of my absolute favorite book events. To understand why, check out this photo of the audience:

My Heroes

There are more people on the sides (maybe four or five more girls on either side) that I didn't manage to fit in the photo. But the cool thing isn't just the size of the audience on a random Friday afternoon. No, the cool thing is this:

None of these people are related to me.

Okay, one of them is a childhood friend who I haven't seen since fifth grade, but the rest... They came because they like my books. Or because the librarians bribed them to come so that I wouldn't feel unloved. Either way, I want to thank everyone who came. You made it a really special day for me. I hope that you use the bribe money to purchase something extra-nice for yourself. Like a chandelier composed entirely of gummy bears. (Seriously. It exists. How awesome is that?)


Friday evening, I began my weekend as a progr
am participant at Readercon. (Readercon is a Boston-area science fiction and fantasy convention with an emphasis on books -- in other words, it's not about costumes, LARPs, filking, or panels about Babylon 5, but it is about 2am discussions on the narrative function of werewolves.)

I did seven programming items (a reading, an autographing, a kaffeeklatsch, and three panels) and talked with precisely one bajillion people over the course of the weekend. I had a fantastic time.

One highlight was my kaffeeklatsch (a "meet-the-author" session, in which con-goers can sign up to chat for an hour with a particular author). People came! I was shocked. And they even laughed at my jokes, wh
ich is even more shocking since one thing I learned from school visits is that my sense of humor is precisely fourth grade. Again, I suspect the Northboro librarians of bribing people...

Another highlight was hanging out with the YA author brigade. Friday night, I was up to the wee hours with Holly Black, Theo Black, Cassandra Clare, Josh, and Sarah Rees Brennan discussing werewolves and other pressing issues. Saturday evening, I had a lovely time out to dinner with Sarah, who talks exactly like her hilarious blog and is super-awesome. And Saturday afternoon, after a YA panel, a group of us lingered in the panel room for about two hours talking about writing and books. Very cool and very fun.

The YA Brigade (Cassandra Clare, Nancy Werlin, Me, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan)

From beginning to end, it was a great weekend. I met lots of really fun and friendly people (way too many to even try to list them all here) and hung out with lots of friends, both old and new.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Readercon, Northboro Library, and Fitchburg State

This Friday, July 18th, I'm heading up to Massachusetts for not one, not two, but THREE book events. Yes, three. This is a new record for me. Hmmm, perhaps I've overbooked myself ever so slightly...

8:30am - Fitchburg State College

My high school English teacher, Ms. Tsang, is giving a course at an AP teacher training institute (teaching teachers to teach AP English) and invited me to be a guest speaker. Should be very cool.

2pm - Northboro Library (17 Lyman St, Northboro, MA)

I've been looking forward to this for a while. I'm doing a library visit in Northboro (my hometown and the setting for Into the Wild and Out of the Wild) at the library where I spent a large fraction of my childhood. I'm really, really excited about this event. The Northboro Library is where I learned to love books. It's where I discovered Lloyd Alexander and Tamora Pierce and David Eddings and Diane Duane and Diana Wynne Jones and... My
mom used to take my brother and me there all the time, and we'd leave with this huge L.L. Bean bag full of books. (My mom eventually had to put limits on me, or I would have walked out with entire shelves straped to my back. And by "limits" I don't mean "you can take one." I mean, "Sarah, please try to limit yourself to twenty.")

And check this out. I've even got a picture of myself, at age four, signing up to get my first library card at the Northboro Library. A newspaper photographer happened to be there at the time, covering
some sort of card registration drive at the library, and I happened to be absolutely adorable, so I got my picture in the paper! And my mom kept the article for the past thirty years! Take a look:

Hey, that's me!

Plus, this library also features prominently in Into the Wild -- an entire chapter takes place there! So, yeah, I'm kinda excited about this event. I'll be talking about, reading from, and signing copies of my books. And I'll probably tell a few embarrassing tales from my childhood. So, if you're in Northboro this Friday (7/18) at 2pm, come on by!

6pm (and the rest of the weekend) - Readercon

After Northboro, I'm hightailing it (I love that expression -- where does it come from?) over to the Marriott in Burlington, MA for Readercon. Readercon is a Boston-area fantasy and science fiction convention with an emphasis on literature. It's attended by lots of excellent authors and is always well-run and well-organized. I'm really thrilled with my schedule this year. My first event of the weekend is a reading from Out of the Wild at 6pm (thus completing my book triathalon). Here's my full schedule:

Sarah at Readercon 2008:

* Reading - Fri. July 18, 6pm - Sarah Beth Durst

* Autographing - Sat. July 19, 11am - Ellen Datlow, Sarah Beth Durst

* Panel - Sat. July 19, 1pm - Beth Bernobich, Suzy McKee Charnas, Michael J. Daley, Sarah Beth Durst, Walter H. Hunt, Ellen Kushner, Judith Moffett - "Are You Writing a Sequel?"

* Panel - Sat. July 19, 3pm - Judith Berman, Cassandra Clare, Michael J. Daley, Sarah Beth Durst, Charles Oberndorf, Nancy Werlin - "Gatekeepers to the World of Letters"

* Workshop - Sun. July 20, 10am - Kay Kenyon, Sarah Beth Durst, Walter H. Hunt, Elaine Isaak - "Stop Making Sense: Next Stage Dialog"

* Kaffeeklatsch - Sun July 20, 11am - Paolo Bacigalupi, Sarah Beth Durst

* Panel - Sun July 20, 1pm - Shira Daemon, Sarah Beth Durst, Scott Edelman, Louise Marley, Ann Tonsor Zeddies - "Finding Hamster Huey's Head: The Nature of the Childhood Favorite Story"

And after that, I collapse into a little puddle of tired (but happy) Sarah.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Real Alive Breathing Living Fairies That You Can Buy

Webstats are awesome. Beyond just letting me know how many people love me (click on my website) at any given time, they tell me what phrases, when Googled, have led to my site. And I just found the best one ever. Yesterday, someone found my website by Googling the phrase:

real alive breathing living fairies that you can buy

How awesome is that?!?! I like to imagine the progression of Google searches that led to this phrase. Perhaps the fairy-seeking Googler starts by simply searching for


only to find some Disney website. No, no, no. She wants

living fairies

But that doesn't work either. She wants real ones.

real living fairies

Arghhhh!!! No luck. Leaving nothing to chance, she goes with

real alive breathing living fairies

Stupid computer! She's not looking for Wikipedia entries or stories about fairies. She needs a real one, that she can order online, and get delivered right away!! And of course, this leads her quite naturally to

real alive breathing living fairies that you can buy

And this brought her to my website. I have no idea why. But I LOVE it! Though I imagine she was quite disappointed...

Intrigued, I tried this out for myself. And Googling "real alive breathing living fairies that you can buy" does indeed bring you to my website, but only after scrolling through FIVE pages of search results! Wow, someone was very serious about tracking down an online fairy dealer!

While I'm honored that such a noble pursuit led to my site, I'd really like to work my way up the search results page, which of course, is why I wrote this blog post. Once Google finds this entry, it will definitely become the #1 search result for "real alive breathing living fairies that you can buy"!!! That is, unless Amazon decides to go into the overnight fairy delivery business...

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Monday, July 07, 2008

And More!

Locus Magazine, the trade magazine for SF/fantasy publishing, has a special issue out this month about young adult fiction. As you can see on the cover, it features essays by Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, Graham Joyce, and more! A closer look reveals the secret identity of "and more!" to be uber-editors Sharyn November and Ruth Katcher, National Book Award finalist Kathleen Duey, and MEEEEEEEEE!!! Hee hee! How cool is that?!

I am beyond excited that they published my essay along with essays from all these giants of YA SF/fantasy, though keeping myself from singing a certain classic Sesame Street song has been a struggle. One of these things is not like the others...

Nevertheless... SNOOPY DANCE OF JOY!!!

Ooh, and I just noticed, there's also a nice review of Out of the Wild in the very same issue of Locus. Too cool!

I wish I could give you a link to my essay, but it's not available online, only in print. My title is "Why YA?" to which my answer is pretty much, because it's awesome!

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