Considering that I started my first blog in 2002 you would think I would be a little more assiduous about maintaining it, but frankly these days I haven't the energy for much beyond Twitter. Plus, I have been so busy beating my head against the first draft of Quicksilver and all the associated research (which will NEVER END, I swear) that I have neglected even to report on my weekend at the Nebulas. But really, does anyone care about all that? Except for possibly wanting to hear how I (along with four other authors) ended up serenading Neil Gaiman in an elevator?

(Before we got on the elevator, however, I should mention that he also serenaded us with a rendition of Derek & Clive's "Jump", which is pretty much the sort of song one would expect Neil Gaiman to perform on short notice. He has quite a nice singing voice and can even keep a tune unaccompanied; clearly his wife has trained him well.)

(And before that he told us a few bits of trivia about his Bradbury-nominated [and later winning] script for "The Doctor's Wife", such as that it was called "Bigger On The Inside" until practically the last moment, and then Steven Moffat decided to change the title on the grounds that it was too spoilery. To which Neil objected, saying that he could think of any number of other story ideas that could be called "The Doctor's Wife", but Moffat said patiently, "Yes, but in the case of your story it's actually true.")

(All this happened late on the Saturday afternoon before the Nebula banquet, because Ellen Kushner, Diana Peterfreund, Franny Billingsley and E. Lily Yu had decided to sing folk ballads in an out-of-the-way corner, and invited me to come and sing along. Neil came looking for Ellen because she's an old friend, and the best bit was sitting across from Diana and Lily when they realized what was going on and watching their jaws simultaneously drop.)

(And that's about the whole story I think, except that the song we sang to Neil in the elevator was "Greensleeves", in four-part harmony, which dwindled to three-part and two-part harmony as we got off at the various floors, and Neil later described it as the best lift ride he'd ever had, which I have to agree with because it was tremendous fun and would have been even without him, but it's always nicest to have an audience.)

(Also, you should read E. Lily Yu's Nebula-nominated short story "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" because it is really clever and she is a lovely person, whom I hope I shall meet again some day. Ditto on Ellen, Diana, and Franny, of course, and also on Delia Sherman, whose Freedom Maze is utterly wonderful and thoroughly deserved to win the Norton, so I am thrilled for her and not even sorry I didn't win.)

(And I also met Genevieve Valentine who is delightful, and then I bought her Nebula-nominated novel Mechanique to read on the plane ride home, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

ANYWAY, after that truly epic series of parentheses, the actual point of this post was to mention to any of my readers in the Toronto region that I will be signing the Canadian paperback release of Arrow this Saturday at Chapters Brampton along with Megan Crewe (The Way We Fall) and Leah Bobet (Above), and we will even get to speak and answer questions for a few minutes first, which makes it more of a Proper Event than any bookstore event I've done yet. So I am quite excited about that, and if you should happen to be in the Brampton area around 2 p.m., please stop in and say hello!

(And now I must go and put dinner in the oven, and then I shall collapse.)
Good news! My lovely and generous (not to mention talented) fellow Debut 2009 author [livejournal.com profile] deva_fagan is giving away copies of the UK paperbacks of Rebel and Arrow on her blog, as well as Ellen Booraem's recently released and critically acclaimed Small Persons With Wings, to US/CAN readers only!

If you'd like to enter, go here and check it out.
I've seen other authors doing this and it looked like fun, so here I go!

The first excerpt is from Arrow, so it comes with a mild spoiler warning for that book and a not-so-mild one for Rebel a.k.a. Wayfarer:

'May I ask you a personal question?' )

And the second is from Ultraviolet, coming June 2011 in the UK and September 2011 in the US:

I was sitting in the library... )
Monday 31 January: LONDON
12:30 p.m. -- Foyle's, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London
1:30 p.m. -- Blackwell's, 100 Charing Cross Road, London

Tuesday 1 February: LEEDS
4:30 p.m. -- Waterstone's, 93-97 Albion Street, Leeds

Wednesday 2 February: NEWCASTLE
4:30 p.m. -- Waterstone's, Blackett Street, Newcastle


Getting excited now -- so close!
I am thinking that perhaps, to keep my hand in and warm up for Swift, I should write some fanfic short stories about the faeries of the Oakenwyld (and/or elsewhere).

I cannot absolutely guarantee that said stories will happen, but... if I were going to do such a thing, or things, what characters/incidents would my readers be most interested in hearing about?

I will screen comments, so as not to spoil anyone who hasn't read Arrow (or perhaps even Rebel / Wayfarer) yet.
I am happy to announce that today is the official UK and Ireland release date of Arrow! It should now be widely available in bookstores, and I hope my readers will like it.

***

I can also now share a little more detail about my planned trip to England at the end of this month. I'm still waiting for confirmation on a few times and locations, but I'll be splitting my time between London and the North, and the general run of events will look something like this:

31 January:
Book Signings at Foyle's (Charing Cross Road) and Blackwell's (also Charing Cross Road), London (PM).

1 February:
Author Visits to Rossall Junior School, Lancs. (AM) and Benton Park High School, Leeds (PM).

2 February:
Author Visits to Royal Grammar School, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (AM) and other school TBA (PM).

3 February:
Two more school visits in London and Area (details when available).


I'll also be in London on 4 and 5 February, as my plane doesn't leave until the 6th -- so if there's anybody in the area who would like to get together on the Saturday (or can recommend a reasonably priced hotel in central London for me to stay in on Friday and Saturday night!) then I'd love to hear from you.

***

I am now wonderfully close to finishing my last major revision of Ultraviolet before it goes to the copyeditors and gets turned into galleys. I plan to get the final chapter written today, then spend the next three days reading it over and giving it one last polish before it's out of my hands.

And then, gentle readers, I shall collapse, because 2010 has been by far the busiest and most demanding creative year of my life. I guess that's what happens when you have a book coming out every six months in 2011/12. But it's been rewarding and enlightening, too.

Belated best wishes to everyone for a happy 2011!
I discovered a Most Exciting Thing this morning -- it appears that Arrow is already on the shelves at some bookstores in the UK!

I am not sure about Ireland, since last year Rebel was kept off the shelves until the official release date, but perhaps one of my Irish friends can let me know about that one?

Meanwhile, I am working like crazy** on my revisions for Ultraviolet and am so far happy with my progress. But I still have a ways to go, so off I must dash...

Hope all of you are healthy and safe and enjoying a semi-relaxing holiday season!

--
* Sorry about that pun. I just thought of it and... well... yeah.
** I should probably be sorry about that too.
My UK publisher continues to surprise me with trailers. It is like Christmas and my birthday and the anniversary of my first taste of chocolate, all rolled into one. With a lovely cup of tea on the side.



I don't even. I think I am going to lie down now.

(Dear Orchard Books people: By which I mean to say, it is lovely. Thank you.)
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ARROW Front Cover
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
I've been teasing people with this all morning on Twitter, so now that I've finally got the high-res image from my UK editor, it's time to pony up and share it with the rest of the world.

Meet Rhosmari, the heroine of Arrow, which will be released by Orchard Books UK on 6 January 2011. Less than six months away now...

I am ridiculously excited about this book. And also nervous. I hope everyone will like it!

(You can find the high-res image here, if you want a better look at Rhosmari's face. And her epic hair, which I adore. Brown faeries FTW!)
*steps very cautiously outside into the Big Wide World*

*sniffs*

*blinks*

Oh, look, there's a big shiny yellow thing up in the sky! *squints at it* I think it's called the sub, or something of that sort?

Well, maybe I haven't been quite that dramatically isolated in my First Draft Cave since mid-January, but it feels like it. All my usual activities went out the window when I set myself the challenge of finishing Arrow by the end of March, and then somewhere in the middle of my frenzied typing I came down with Baby's First Sinus Infection, which was a lot of No Fun At All.

However. I am here now, poking my head out of my burrow and sniffing the virtual wind, and by that you might rightly conclude that I have, in fact, succeeded. To wit, I wrote the last sentence of Arrow this past Saturday. Yay!

Of course, my work is not quite done yet; I have the month of April to revise the really rocky bits of the manuscript and give it a last polish before I turn it into The Lovely Sarah (my UK editor). But for me, the first draft is by far the hardest part of writing any book, and revision is much less stressful. So I'm giving myself a few days to relax and breathe and catch up on all the things that have gone by the wayside in the past three months (like certain household chores, and my shockingly neglected e-mail inbox), and then I'll print the whole ms. with a new font and double-column layout so I can look at it with fresh eyes, and start marking it up like crazy.

In any case, some interesting things have happened since my last post, and I look forward to telling you all about them. You may expect to hear from me a little more often in the next few days...

But in the meantime, you might check out this (now slightly outdated) video I made for Adele over at the book blog Persnickety Snark, giving a little update on what I've been doing and what's coming up in future.

First, to all my lovely readers in the UK who have finished reading Knife and Rebel and are now e-mailing me to ask when Arrow will be published and whether I can make it happen any sooner -- I am afraid that January 2011 is the very soonest the book can possibly come out, because I have still not finished writing it yet! But I am working on the story just as fast as I can. Believe me, I want to know what happens next, too!

***
City of Barrie

City of Barrie, Ontario  |  Image via Wikipedia


Second, I'm delighted to report that I will be one of the guest speakers at the SCBWI Canada East "Spring Thing" conference, to be held at the Kempenfelt Conference Center in Barrie, ON (1 hr. north of Toronto) from April 23-25, 2010.

Over the weekend I'll be giving a seminar on "Revision: The Magic Key to Successful Writing", as well as participating in a couple of panels and doing some manuscript critiques. I'm very excited about it, as I love SCBWI events and this is the first time I've been able to attend one as a speaker. If you're within driving distance and are interested in writing for children and teens, you might want to check this conference out...
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2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 31

Image by Nic's events via Flickr

The good news: Since I started work on Arrow in the second week of January, I have written over 41,000 words.

The bad news: I still have to write at least another 35K, if not more, before this book is finished. And then I need to revise it at least a bit before I can send it to my editor... and all that has to be done by the end of April.

So if you've been wondering why I'm not around much in any of my usual online haunts, that would be the reason, yes.

But I leave you with a teaser! Because I am either nice that way or mean that way, depending on what you think of such things:

He was even taller than she remembered, his skin more tanned, his eyes greener. There was a smear of blood high on his forehead where something had cut him, and he was wearing the fireplace poker like a sword stuck through his belt.


See you on the other side!
It's been a long weekend, but I am determined to get at least SOME words written in the midst of it, and I discovered this week that having other people writing at the same time and checking in together on a regular basis is quite motivational and helpful.

So although it may be a long shot on a Sunday evening, I'm opening up a call for writing partners this evening. I myself won't be able to start until 8:45 p.m. EST, but you're welcome to start any time you like, and I'll check in on the hour to see how everybody's doing.

All you have to do to join is leave a comment, with as few or as many details as you like about what you're working on, how much you've written so far, and how many hours/scenes/words you plan to get done this evening.

Me, I'll be working on Arrow, of which I have so far written one chapter (~4,000 words), and this evening I hope to get at least 500 words written on the first scene of Chapter Two, more if possible. I'll be checking in at 8:45 p.m. and out around 10:30 - 10:45 p.m.

Are we ready? Comment -- and go!

ETA: Signing out for the evening -- 580 words, with which I am quite well pleased. Thanks to everybody who joined me, and feel free to carry on as long as you like!
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