Seriously, this reading thing is problematic.

I read The Hunger Games trilogy in four days. Then I read The Near Witch (I have an advance copy, but will be buying the Kindle version when it comes out in a few weeks). I want to eat All The Books. READ. I want to read all the books. (Between you and me: eat.)

I don’t feel like doing anything but reading.

The A stands for Adult.

Oh for fuck’s sake. Yet another idiot is complaining that books are hurting “the children.” I don’t know why the Wall Street Journal printed this op-ed as a book review (seriously, what the hell?), but I think that the author’s attitude is about as harmful as they come.

There’s been a huge response on Twitter and on YA authors’ blogs (Stephanie Kuehnert and Courtney Summers to name two who happen to be friends of mine) and the Wall Street Journal, to their credit, posted a response (which seems to be labeled “Hot Topics,” rather than Book Reviews OR Op-Ed).

The blog posts I’ve seen talk about how books helped the authors deal with bullying, abuse, and more; the WSJ response talks about how children are exposed to the world anyway, and parents can open a dialogue with them rather than ineffectively attempting to shield them. Both of these viewpoints are important. There’s one thing that I haven’t seen covered anywhere.

Why has no one addressed the fact that YA readers aren’t children? Sure, a child might read a young adult novel. But the intended audience is teenagers, and I just don’t agree that teenagers are children. Also, I am FUCKING SICK of YA literature being referred to as children’s books. THE A STANDS FOR ADULT. If publishers and reviewers would just stop lumping YA in with children’s books, this wouldn’t be an issue. (Well, I’m sure the whiners of the world would find a way to make it one. But it wouldn’t be THIS issue.)

I am going to cry.

I’ve been working on a concept for a knitting book for a year or two now. It is something that’s never been done. I have a title and part of the proposal written. I had plans to ask several other knitters to participate.

I just found out that the same exact book is coming out this spring, down to the title, with contributions from several big-name knitters. My book will now never happen. It is too specific a topic for the market to have room for another book just like it.

I am so fucking depressed about this. It is a GREAT idea, and I shouldn’t be surprised that someone else thought of it. But damn it, I WANTED TO WRITE IT.

Kicking Resolution Butt

Yesterday I tweeted a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions. Several of them were nonsense.

Picture 9

(Is this one nonsense? Or am I being totally serious? You tell me!)

Picture 10

Nonsense, but I achieved it! Within that ten minute time frame, even!

Picture 11

I know. Read a whole book? Me? The girl who never has time to read? Well, I hope you’re sitting down, because I’ve got something to tell you: I started it yesterday afternoon.

Don’t stand up yet.

I finished it two hours later. It was really good. (Amazon link)

I could probably get a lot more writing done if I still started with the TOC.

My father just emailed me this transcription of a scrap of paper he saved from the mid-late 1980s. I present it here without comment.



By Annika Barranti

Table of Contence:

1 Elizabeth p.1
2 The Missing Ring p.4
3 The Hounted House p.7
4 The Hidden Chamber p.10
5 A Suspect p.14
6 A Kidnapping p.17
7 The Rescue p.20
8 The Ghost’s Secret p.24

Oh all right, just one comment: I read a LOT of Nancy Drew “Misteries” in the mid-late 1980s. CAN YOU TELL?

Near Witch cover! (I am very excited!)

You guys! Okay, here’s the deal: I have not read The Near Witch yet, because it has not been published yet. But I am SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

First of all, the description? Sounds like a book someone write after wondering what it would take to excite me and Will both about a book:

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.


Second of all, Victoria is the most adorable person ON EARTH. Seriously. Check out the video she made to reveal her book’s cover:

Seriously. Don’t you just want to shove her in your oven and then eat her up?

Wait. Wrong witch.

Anyway. If you’re feeling super-nice, you might head over to her blog and let her know what you think. Or you could leave a comment here if you prefer–she’ll see it.

Edited to add Amazon link because The Near Witch is available for pre-order!

Reeling, Writhing, and Fainting in Coils

Here’s the trick: I need to find time for both reading and writing. I am not currently getting either done.

Will has finished some revisions on his novel. I’ve been trying to read them for TWO WEEKS and am only about 50 pages in. I could (in theory) get through it quickly if I were just reading, but I’m taking notes as I go because I don’t see any point in being his first reader if I am not helpful. Because a manuscript is such a large thing, I can’t read in any of my usual spots (tub, toilet, comfy chair), so I have to reserve quiet time in the bedroom. This is why it’s taking two weeks–it has actually been two weeks since I last looked at it. Horrible.

I also have a stack of books I want to read, including Freefall. I am SO FAR BEHIND in my reading! I keep sneaking newer books to the front of the line, which is oddly not doing anything to make the pile smaller. (Hint: if you want me to read your book, your chances improve if 1. I know you, and 2. You put my name in it. I am cheap, but also easy.)

And then there is writing, my constant bugbear, my bête noire. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) Lately I have had so many ideas. SO MANY. But when do I work on them? Never, that’s when. I do have down time–I’d be a pretty crappy liar if I tried to tell you otherwise–but it is never distraction-free and I am lousy at focusing.

I did decide something recently that has opened up a WHOLE NEW WORLD for me: if I want to write young adult and middle grade stories, but I don’t feel that I have novels in me, then by gum (BY GUM!) I am going to write young adult and middle grade short stories. As far as I can tell, there is no market whatsoever for them, but I don’t give a damn. I am going to write them anyway. If I can ever find the goddamn time.

In other news, I think I need a writer’s group but I kind of hate most other writers. Crap.

Happy October!

You guys! It is my favorite month! Will and I have always talked about having a Halloween baby, but I’m actually kind of glad we didn’t manage it. Likewise we originally discussed getting married on Halloween, and decided not to because I didn’t want our anniversary (which is the 16th instead) to have to share a day. The children deserve their very own birthdays! It’s bad enough that Grace’s is so close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

ANYWAY. It’s October. HOORAY! We’re reading our book, we’ll get out the decorations soon, and if the weather ever cools off I can start with the fall cooking. (Technically I already started, with this vegan butternut squash soup.) And! Trader Joe’s has canned pumpkin back in stock! That national shortage had been making me very nervous. I bought two cans even though I don’t need them right now, just in case I have a pie emergency.

Today is my friend Mindi‘s birthday. Please say Snappy Birthday to Mindi! This year she is getting a really terrific present. Or maybe it is more like she’s giving a really terrific present. Her debut novel, Freefall, comes out on Tuesday! Amazon shipped my copy yesterday.

Here is the trailer for Freefall:

OMG, doesn’t that sound incredible?! I read a very early draft and I feel pretty confident in telling you that is IS incredible! I can’t wait to read the finished version.

Art: Harlan Ellison

An author I greatly admire has announced that he is dying. (Give that a click, it’s a terrific read.)

Another writer has written a beautiful and personal tribute to Ellison (give that one a click, too), and is asking his fellow fans to consider donating to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in honor of his life.

If you have to wonder whether Ellison is an artist, you have not read Strange Wine.

Art: the art of the novel

I’ve just finished reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a lovely novel set at the turn of the last century that feels as though it might have been written at that time. The style reminded me of the Anne books. The story is slow and meandering and while there is most assuredly a plot it doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get through it. Also it is told in past tense, which feels very old-fashioned to me. Maybe because it is the PAST tense. Har.

I picked up the novel in the first place (at the library) because I’d seen its cover online (mentioned, I think, by Victoria Schwab) and fell in love with its beautiful paper-cut silhouette. I had no idea what it was about, but the story of a young girl, the only girl of seven children, destined to a life as a housewife, who discovers science and yearns for another life–that story, that girl caught my attention and held it.

Jacqueline Kelly doesn’t appear to have any other published work, but I’ll be keeping an eye out. (On Googling her I discovered that she has an event in Los Angeles this Saturday. I will be at the Republic Pictures 75th Anniversary all day and will miss it. What bad luck!)