Showing posts with label Blackbringer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blackbringer. Show all posts

Friday, April 09, 2010

See you next week!

Off to Seattle tomorrow for SCBWI, yay! I do so love an SCBWI weekend. As always, the night before going somewhere, here I am at 1 am trying to get organized: printing out my speech, wondering what to wear while giving that speech (I'm thinking polka dots), etc. Getting sleepy, though.

Have a wonderful weekend. Maybe I'll see you in Seattle?

(P.S. Check out this cool post on p.o.v. in Blackbringer. Thank you, Allyson. Awesome blog!)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Most innovative review of Blackbringer yet!

I lovvvvvvve this:
Talking potatoes, whoever you are, you rock :-)

[update] Oh wait! I found the home base of the talking potatoes! And I have discovered their secret identity. They just happen to be honorary Rathersting warriors :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Great Blackbringer Chocolate & Tattoo Bribe of 2009

Would you like some nice chocolate and maybe some tattoos on your face? Well then, it's your lucky day, because I am here to bribe you with exactly those two things!

And tattoos (as here modeled by my lovely niece Bella):
The tattoos are temporary, of course. Never fear. The chocolate is temporary too, really. But you know what is not temporary? What is forever?

Amazon reviews. But I'll get to that in a minute.

First of all, why chocolate and tattoos?

Well, if you've read Blackbringer, you might recall that Magpie is fond of chocolate. I adore this drawing done recently by awesome Lexi, one of my favorite young readers:
As a fan of chocolate, Lexi liked the chocolate passage in the book, which is as follows. (To set the scene, Magpie and her crow companions are camping overnight in the attic of a human school - along with Talon Rathersting and the scavenger imp Batch - and the crows have looted food from the humans, bringing back a picnic of white cake, sugared plums, walnuts, and damp, dirty radishes just pulled from the garden. Oh, and they brought back one other thing . . .)

. . . Mingus tossed Magpie a little square wrapped in paper. "Here, Mags," he said.

"What's this . . . chocolate?
Chocolate?" She swooned. "Ach, Mingus, you always were my favorite!"

The other crows squawked in protest and Talon watched with curiosity as Magpie unwrapped the paper to reveal a simple brown square. She sniffed it and swooned again with rapture, and it all seemed a bit of a fuss to Talon, over a little brown square. He could tell Mingus was pleased, but the crow didn't say much until Magpie insisted he take the first bite.

"Not on yer feathers. I stole it special for ye. Eat, lass, eat."

"I'll save it for dessert," she decided. "I like that, cake for dinner and chocolate for dessert!"

Talon found that hunger did in fact win out over exhaustion, and he dragged himself within reach of a walnut, a plum, and a bit of cake. Between six crows, two faeries, and an imp the feast didn't last long, and soon they were listening to Batch lick and suck every last dribble of plum syrup from his fingers and toes.

Magpie caught a glimpse of his pink tongue gently probing between his toes, and she grimaced and turned toward Talon, producing again the little brown square. "Ever tried chocolate?" she asked.

He shook his head and she grinned. "You won't believe this," she told him, breaking off a corner.

Skeptically he took it, and he saw she was waiting to watch him eat it, and he squinted at her. "This some prank?" he asked.

"Neh! It's why humans aren't all bad. The Djinn might've dreamed up the cacao tree, but humans made this from it! Go on."

So he tasted it. His eyes went wide, then closed, and he sank back into the silk and let the flavor overtake him. He could hear Magpie and the crows laughing at him, but wasn't nasty laughter and it didn't bother him at all . . .

So there you see. In the eyes of faeries, the processing of chocolate from the cacao pod is one of the few things humans have ever done right!

Why tattoos? Well, that character Talon from the above scene happens to be a prince of the fierce Rathersting clan, notable for the tattoos the warriors have on their faces. I [heart] Talon, and I am very proud of the creation of him: a sensitve warrior prince with a knack for unusual magic. Oh yeah, he knits :-)
When I was trying to think up some cool promotion item that my editor might send out with the ARCs of Silksinger, I thought of temporary tattoos, and here they are! Tattoos for your face (or wherever).

So, what do you have to do? I mentioned Amazon reviews. Now, Amazon reviews don't mean a whole lot, I guess, just like Amazon ranking is sort of mysterious (fellow Putnam writer Royce Buckingham once compared writers checking their Amazon ranking to befuddled cats batting at TV birds, which I love). But it's one of the few visible signs we authors have that people have read our books! And I, for one, take note when browsing Amazon of whether a book has a lot of reviews or not. A lot of great books don't, so I certainly don't snub books with few reviews, but I *notice* it. And I'd like Blackbringer, which is coming out in paperback next month and currently has a respectable 24, to have MORE, and so I'm asking you, if you've already read the book, to please post a review, for which you will be rewarded :-)

If you have been meaning to read the book, now would be a great time!

(As a bonus, if you did post a review on your blog some time over the past two years, you could repost it now with a reminder of the imminent paperback release and this preorder link :-) You know, if you wanted to. Oh, pub date is May 14!)

For right now, this is an open-ended bribe. If it gets out of control and chocolate purchase threatens to bankrupt me, I shall bring it to an end. But for now, I'd just like to see how many reviews I can get! I hope you don't think this is unethical. I should be clear on a few rules:

Rule #1: You must have actually read the book! That doesn't mean the review has to be long or in-depth. My own Amazon reviews are brief and do not recap the story, just say in some way how much I liked the book.

Rule #2: You must have liked the book!!! (Of course you are absolutely welcome to not like my book, but I will not be personally rewarding such questionable taste! I reserve the right to deny chocolate and tattoos to all haters.)

So, what do you do?
Email me, with the subject heading: CHOCOLATE BRIBE, and include:
1) the text of your review (Blackbringer Amazon page HERE.)
2) the name under which it is posted
3) your mailing address
4) your chocolate preference. I make no promises here, but for those first reviewers at least, I will make an effort to send dark chocolate to dark chocolate lovers, milk to milk, etc.

Here, for the initial phase, is the selection:
Pomegranate dark chocolate. This is cool, because, if you've read the book, you know that there is a very special pomegranate that is integral to the story.
An extremely limited supply of both pear dark chocolate and coconut white chocolate. Personally, I love white chocolate, which I know is not really chocolate. But still.
And Ghirardelli milk chocolate, which I have the most of. Myself, I prefer milk chocolate to dark, but the real reason I have more of this is because it was on sale, and you know, good chocolate is expensive so I took advantage. So if you want dark or white chocolate, act fast! If and when I need to restock, I will.

Here again are the steps:
1.) Post a review on Blackbringer's Amazon page.
2.) Email me (subject header CHOCOLATE BRIBE): the text of the review, the name it's posted under, your mailing address, and your chocolate preference.
3.) Check mailbox frequently for a 6x9 white envelope with stickers on it, in which is enclosed both chocolate and tribal faerie facial tattoos.
4.) Eat chocolate, wear tattoos.
5.) Send me photos of you (or your children, or your husband, or whoever) wearing tattoos and I will post them all together in a special blog post linked in my sidebar.)

And that's that. Thank you in advance for participating in my bribery scheme!

Now all that remains is a short tattoo tutorial:

Here are my fabulous tattoo models, my brother Alex and his daughter Bella:
Some of you might be familiar with another picture of my brother, which I have posted before:
(smirk smirk smirk.)

Anyway. The tattoos come as a small rectangle. To best fit them into the angles of the face, I suggest cutting off the corners before removing the front plastic and then applying as so:

Then you want to wet the back of the tattoo with a wet cloth and press, holding there for about 30 seconds, making sure you've gotten the whole design. Now, remove paper carefully and voila!

See how one side says Dreamdark and the other says Silksinger? You get two symmetrical tattoos. If left alone, they supposedly stay on for a few days, but can also be easily removed, so never fear you will be stuck like this!

Have a great day, and I hope to start getting emails soon . . .

Oh, and a quick reminder, there are 7 hours left on the Silksinger ARC auction, signed and with a one-of-a-kind illustration by the fabulous Jim Di Bartolo! Last-minute bids can be placed HERE!!! Item closes at: Apr-13-09 18:00:00 PDT. Cheers!

Hey, cool! The Silksinger ARC went for $134.99! Yay! That's awesome! And NOW, the Lips Touch ARC, also with an illustration (this one in ink) by Jim, is on the auction block. If you want to bid, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Die Elfen Von DreamDark -- Magpie goes German!

Look! Die Elfen Von DreamDark!! I just received the catalog pages from the German publisher of Dreamdark, Bertelsmann. And just look! My book in a foreign language!!! This is so cool. Whenever I travel, I like to buy children's books in foreign languages -- in exotic alphabets, so much the better. And I've been looking forward greatly to the day when I would see my own book in another language. I hope there will be many more. And look what they did. They changed the title. I do not speak German, but I am fairly sure that "Krahenmadchen" translates to something like "Crow Girl" or "Crow maiden" -- which is cool, don't you think? I think "Blackbringer" would be "Schwartz-something" and wouldn't have sounded so good. Anyway, yippee yippee yippee. It'll be out in Germany in April. Can't wait to get an actual copy and try to read it out loud in a thunderous faux German accent!

It occurred to me when I saw this: Aus dem Amerikanischen von Cornelia Stoll und Friedrich Pfluger (which I'm guessing means translated by, but I could be totally wrong), that somebody actually translated it. I mean, I knew that already, but I guess it hadn't really struck me, over the past months, that somebody was sitting with my book trying to translate crow colloquialisms into another tongue, and making up alternative for my invented slang words, and all that stuff. It's kind of crazy. Kind of wow. And so weird that I will never know what choices they made or how they sound. (So, any German speakers, please tell me!)

Also, obviously, they chose to use Jim's art, which I am stoked about because I lurve my cover. (I'll be able to show you the Silksinger cover soon!) Here's the catalog cover, with Dreamdark in the bottom row:
And the catalog page:
Ooh, there is another catalog page, but I didn't scan it in because I thought it was just my author photo, but I just realized it's the inscription in Magpie's almanac from her parents, the one on page 54 where it says, "There is a hole in the pocket of the world, and the magic is slipping through it." I always loved that line. So cool they chose to reproduce the note in the catalog!

So, yippee yippee yippee. Here, reprinted from last year when we first got the news, is Happy German Penguin, which Jim drew and painted for the Penguin Young Readers foreign rights person, Farah, in celebration:

And, to finish on a totally random note, I pulled this photo off Haven Kimmel's hilarious and awesome blog, because I love it so much. Squint to read the caption. It says "There was no pain, just the feeling that he and I were playing tug-of-war with my body."

Monday, November 12, 2007

I made a 10-year-old boy swoon.

Yes, I did. I made a ten-year-old boy swoon! It made my whole day. I had just arrived at the stage where I would be reading at Wordstock, when I saw a boy fall down on a bean bag chair in that dramatic way boys have, limbs every which way, and he sort of lay there looking paralyzed and I thought he was just being a boy. . . but a few minutes later I found out he fell down because of me!!!! He picked himself up and told me my book is the best book ever. Made my day. Here he is:
(Hi, Owen! Thanks!) (Oh, and I photoshopped my roots in that picture. Is that wrong?)

The reading went well. I was, of course, nervous. I decided to read not from Blackbringer but a chapter each from Silksinger and Goblin Fruit. Attendance was pretty good; sales afterward were pretty good. Alexandra (erstwhile blogger) threatened all sorts of shenanigans, like how she was going to ask me if I would estimate Magpie is more the size of a KFC chicken drumstick or a Thanksgiving turkey drumstick, but in the end, she asked nothing. Nothing! Alexandra, passing up the chance to ask a silly question, and this right after declaring she'd missed her calling by not becoming an interviewer! I think her true callling is as a blog commenter (come on, let's see what you got!)

Thank you SO MUCH to Kim and Natalie and Jennifer and Camille for coming! And of course, my parents and Penny and my photographer/bodyguard/illustrator/spouse Jim (just kidding about the bodyguard part -- sort of!) And to unknown folks who came, and serendipitious encounters, Matthew and the poet-men and Karla. And Owen. Thanks, all. The day was a good illustration of one of the things we love about Portland: crossing paths. We had just arrived when we ran into a guy I used to work with at one of my first jobs in Portland seven years ago. He worked in the bakery and I in the restaurant of a well-known Portland dessert place, but he left to go and be in a Tom Cruise movie with his twin (seriously -- they were the pre-cogs in the pool in Minority Report), and later they both went to get MFAs in poetry in Austin, TX. Cool, no? Well, he was reading with another Oregon poet yesterday and they were both amazing: Matthew Dickman and Mike McGriff. So that was one Portland serendipity.

The other turned into a serendipity later in the day. Owen, my new favorite ten-year-old, happened to be the son of the director of the festival; I met both his parents, who are both awesome. Imagine: a dad who directs a literary festival and a mom who owns a chocolate shop. Books and chocolate: this kid's got it made! Anyway, after we got home that evening, Jim was flipping through a magazine that had been delivered to the house: It's called "Mix" and it's "Portland's Magazine of Food & Drink" and Jim paused on a photo and said, "Funny, that looks like. . ." and it was. It was Owen's mom, Sarah, who owns Alma Chocolate on NE 28th, in an article on how to throw a fuss-free awesome friday night dinner party with margaritas and braised beef tacos. Ha ha! The cool thing is that this sort of thing happens all the time in Portland. Not exactly this, like meeting someone at a book festival and then later that same day seeing them smiling in a glossy food magazine, but just paths crossing. Or happening upon a poetry reading by an old co-worker. Portland: small town feel with the accoutrements of city.

I also got to chat with Michael Hoeye, a local author who also publishes with Putnam! I had heard him speak at SCBWI three or four years ago and he was a truly fabulous speaker. He had bright orange hair at the time, but no longer. Maybe he was a subconscious influence on my own hair choice? Maybe. Here's an interview in which he tells how his first book came to be written (very interesting story!)

Here's me with Owen again. He's reading some manga on the big book statue while I am having my picture taken.

And one last slightly weird story: I was on the phone at the festival, while walking, trying to find Alexandra who had vanished (as it turned out, she had left kind of like Cinderella without saying goodbye) when some guy said he liked my hair and I, distractedly, said thank you and was turning away with phone to ear when he put out his hand and said his name, and I, distractedly, shook it. I was barely paying attention, I admit, but then he asked, bluntly, "Are you single?" and right then Jim walked up which was nice and I just said no, thankyou and went on my way, but the reason I am telling this story is not because I may or may not have been hit on but because it was so weirdly blunt, and this is what it reminded me of:

Some time in the past weeks or months Jim and I rewatched some of the first-ever episodes of Angel on DVD (the vampire show, not Dark Angel), and there was an episode about a demon creature that [gross alert!] had to have a new human host body every day and the bodies fell apart so fast he kept having to transfer to new ones, and the way he did this was by picking up lonely hearts in the bars of LA (of course, all these "lonely hearts" were way too hot to be as desperate as they were supposed to be, this being TV). The demon-inside-the-hot-human would use the same pickup lines every time, and then at the end, being thwarted by the forces of good from his transition to a new body, and stuck in a falling-apart body, he was going up to women with his face half falling off, saying his pick-up lines, desperately trying to find a new host. It was grotesque-funny (anyone remember that episode?) Anyway, this guy's face was not falling off (yet), but do you think it is just possible he was a demon in desperate need of a new human host? Maybe? I'm going to say he was. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. The day the desperate demon asked me if I was single. ha ha. Maybe I should have alerted security?