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Archive for August, 2009

False alarm

Posted on August 30th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Remember how I said I was going to completely rewrite CH yesterday? Well, this is where it helps to actually read what you’ve written lately instead of just go upon the impression that you’ve formed of your own story as you’ve written it. I sat down yesterday to rework CH, start from the very beginning and rewrite the whole damn thing, and I started to think about what I’d already written. I opened up the full manuscript document I’d been dumping all of my chapters in and started reading. Well, the beginning could use maybe a little tightening–something closer to what I’d started to write in the do-over–and I can fix that when I start revising.

But actually, I think the first draft is pretty good. The only part where it veers off course is about ten pages from the end of the manuscript as it stands, when I have a couple of scenes that I thought would throw the main character’s family life in sharp relief by comparing it to another family life, but after having written those scenes I don’t think they add anything. They’re just a distraction, and also they make the main character’s relationship with her boyfriend-y person a little more serious than I want it to be at the moment.

So, to make myself feel better about the whole thing, I deleted those scenes and am now writing again. I realize that the most important part of this scene for the main character is not how her encounter with her boyfriend-y person’s family compares with her family–she sees her family situation pretty clearly, and it almost seems mean for me to be like, “Here’s a functional family in which the siblings are close and have no secrets and totally love each other!” when she already knows that her family isn’t like that–but how much she’s willing to tell him about her family situation, and the bad relationships she’s building and the fault she bears in all of that.

So yeah. No rewrite as of yet. Possibly later, if I find it necessary, but once I took out the scenes that weren’t working it made me feel a lot better about the manuscript as it stands. Trial and error, ugh.

Starting over (plus a rant, because I just can’t help myself)

Posted on August 29th, 2009 by annakjarzab

It ain’t just a TV show.

(Remember when Starting Over was a TV show? Is that still on? I never watched it.)

As you know if you read my last entry, things on the writing front have been productive, page-wise, but not book-wise. I thought maybe I’d keep on keeping on, change directions/tone/whatever to get the book on track to the end and then revise the crap out of it to make it all blend and fit nicely together into a cohesive whole, but I think I’m too far gone to do that. I decided two days ago on the subway to work that I was probably going to have to start the whole thing over again.

And actually, I’m not freaking out about that. After all, I’ve started a book over before, and it’s being published in January, so it’s not an intrinsically bad thing. For one thing, I think I might have settled upon a name for the book (er, several names; I’m in the process of narrowing it down)!

What’s stopping me from diving into a rewrite is strategy. When I rewrote AUT, I rewrote AUT. Not a tiny shard of the originally book remains. I don’t even think I could locate a copy, digital or otherwise, of AUT version 1 at this point. I didn’t back then, either, which necessitated me starting completey over, plus I had an entirely new plot. This is not the same–I’m going to keep the same general plot, but de-emphasize some elements that I’ve been focusing too much on in an attempt, I realize now, to avoid the real meat of the story, which is of course more difficult to write, and also bring an entirely different series of events to the forefront of the story. There’s a lot of good stuff that I want to keep, but I’m always wary of taking things apart and reassembling them with new material. Bumpiness can be smoothed out in revisions, but still. Maybe I should just write everything anew, I don’t know. If you know me, you know I’m loathe to lose a good joke, so it’ll be hard to let go of some of these scenes.

But, of course, onward and upward and it’s not like those scenes can’t be picked up and molded into the new version if I want them to. Right now I’m focusing on research; I’m going to start reading Slaughterhouse Five, and I’ve been listening to Paddy Casey’s “Saints and Sinners” and Ingrid Michaelson’s “Soldier” over and over.

On an entirely different note, Diana Peterfreund has talked many times about how damaging book piracy is to authors, publishers, and most importantly readers, because if you don’t buy books or check them out from libraries it sends a message to publishers that you don’t want to read them, and I’m pretty frustrated that she keeps having to say this, that it keeps happening to her and lots of other authors, and that it will probably happen to me in no time.

Honestly, this is ridiculous. Yes, I know books are expensive and take up a lot of room–hence the state of my apartment, which is overflowing with books, and my bank account, which is, you know, anemic. I GET IT. Books are a luxury. But for God’s sake, if you want to read them, do the decent thing and buy them, or check them out from the library. That’s what libraries are for! To democratize–actually, socialize–reading. Libraries are free! You can get a (free!) library card in no time at all, and then you can check out as many books as you can possibly read–for FREE! But the cool thing about libraries is that, while it’s free for you, they actually buy books, so publishers stay in business and authors can afford to keep writing the books that you can read, FOR FREE!

Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but also there’s something I’d like to talk about that is tangentially related–selling ARCs on eBay. Working in publishing, and being a writer myself, this is something that really frustrates me. ARCs are NOT for sale; they are very expensive for the publisher to print, but they do it for publicity purposes, so that booksellers and reviewers and journalists can read the book in advance to prepare for when the book is sold to the public. If you get an ARC of a book, it’s because you are one of the lucky people who gets to read the book early. The last thing anyone should be doing is SELLING an ARC, because they say right on the cover that they are NOT FOR SALE and it is ILLEGAL.

I know some authors who get excited when their ARC is being sold on eBay, because it proves to them how much some people want to read the book, but honestly they should be upset. Because however much money that ARC goes for, it doesn’t matter–it’s not going to the author, and it’s not going to the publisher. It’s going to the seller, someone who got it for free in good faith. Some people might say that it’s the same as selling used books, that that money isn’t going to the publisher or author, either, but it’s actually not the same, because selling a used book is legal and selling an ARC is not. Also, somewhere along the line that used book was bought new, and that money did go to the publisher and author (well, maybe the author, but definitely the publisher). ARCs were never purchased, and they cost so much money to produce.

So please, don’t sell or buy ARCs. Get them from the publisher, lend them to your friends, read them, love them, pass them around, but please, for the love, don’t sell them. And don’t buy them. And don’t download pirated books. Rant over.

To turn again

Posted on August 26th, 2009 by annakjarzab

There is a moment, I think, in many a writer’s life when they look at a book they’re halfway (possibly more, in terms of pages anyway) done with and go, “I’ve lost it.” Not their “muse” (oh how I shudder to type those letters in that sequence with that meaning!) or their mojo or anything like that. They’ve lost the book. Somehow, in the grocery store of life, while they’re throwing things into a cart and checking nutritional facts and prices, their growing child hops out of the cart or lets go of their hand or whatever and wanders away.

Don’t panic! First of all, it’s a hypothetical child. Second of all, it’s not like the child is really lost. It’s somewhere in that store, and is this metaphor making any sense? Probably not, and it might be a little unnerving as well, at least to those among my tens of readers who have children.

Whatever, my point is, somewhere along the way of writing a book you realize that you’ve lost your focus, or maybe it was never there to begin with. You’re not sure what you’re trying to say, and even though you’re chugging along, adding pages and piling up plot points, you’re not really going anywhere.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been working on two projects this summer, GR and a second, family drama with no name because the name I gave it in my head would never, ever sell in real life and I can’t think up another one at the moment no matter how hard I try. We’re going to call that one CH, the initials of the two sisters in the story. It’s a story about sisters, have I mentioned that? It is. Two sisters, dramatically apart in age, divided for a long time by the older one’s choice and now reunited and trying to mature in their own separate ways while also dealing with the messiness the older sister’s defection years earlier caused in the family and in the younger sister’s life specifically.

It’s a story about secrets, as so many of my stories are (no idea why, I’m terrible at keeping secrets, I have this almost pathological need to be honest about everything to everyone). It’s about deciding not to know someone, or to “know” them as someone different than who they really are, which NEVER WORKS, do you hear me? Just a little tip from me to you, that never works. Spoiler, I guess. Not really.

It’s a story about anger, as so many of my stories are. It’s about the way in which growing up is the single most terrifying and exhilarating period of your life, where half of you wants to soldier on into the future while the other half is dying to crawl into your mother’s lap and be protected from the world. It’s about guilt, and how denying yourself the right to grieve is the most damaging thing you can do for yourself. And it’s about making choices based on fear, and about how that sometimes doesn’t work out so well probably.

And you know what? As the manuscript stands, none of that is even remotely clear. Except for the anger part, my main character is pretty obviously angry, bitter and resentful. But she’s fun at parties, so who cares?

When I think back on the process of writing AUT, it seems so easy to me. When anyone asks, “How did you do it?” (granted, this happens almost never) I go, “I dunno. I just did.” My memory is pretty awful in general, and also I tend to remember mostly good things, which is why I don’t really have any lingering resentment over being teased in grade/middle/high school, even though I know I probably was.

All that remains of writing AUT in my memory is the good stuff; it feels like I snapped my fingers and it happened. Logically, I know that’s totally untrue. It took me seven years to get to this place with AUT. That’s a long time when you’re only twenty-five. And I’ve lost count of how many drafts it’s been through. And let’s not even mention how seven years ago–four years ago!–it was an entirely different book with a different plot. So…yeah, it took me a while. And it was hard. And I suffered, and I agonized, and I beat myself up about it and doubted my ability to write it and despaired and floundered. I’m sure I did. Plus, for a long time it just wasn’t very good.

But I don’t remember any of that, really. I just know how that book makes me feel, and can appreciate how perfectly it expresses so many things I thought and felt and experienced during the time that I was writing it.

I feel similarly about MB, although I reserve the right to feel differently when I actually have to edit it this fall. That book captures in many ways how I felt while I was writing it, in an entirely different way than AUT does. I don’t feel that way anymore, but I can remember it and look back on it somewhat fondly, I guess.

But GR and CH…something is not cohering the way it should. Maybe I’m not opening myself up to these books enough. GR is my albatross–I want so badly to be writing it, I really love the premise and the characters and the research I did to prep for it, and it’s not happening for me right now. I came up with a possible solution to my problem, but part of me is afraid to try it because it might fail and then I am Out Of Ideas.

So I’ve been working on CH, and I thought it was going really well, until I realized yesterday that the Jell-O is not setting properly or something. (That’s right! I’m a writer! Dessert metaphors for everybody!) I think that’s because I just recently decided to take it in a darker direction, and I’m starting to get more insight into an important character who has remained something of a cipher so far (which is sort of part of the point I’m trying to make about deciding not to know somebody, but characters cannot remain ciphers to me, or the reader), and now what I’ve written, which is largely light teen romance, is clashing with the new tone.

I could finish the book and go back and change this in revisions. I might just have to do that, because I’m not yet comfortable with this new tone–I haven’t worked in it for long enough to feel confident enough to go back and weave it through the previous chapters, tint them with the darkness that I’ve added to the pallette. Not yet. Not now. But I’m having a hard time with the transition, fully accepting the new plan and committing to it.

I’m a bundle of writing neuroses, as you can probably tell. This might have something to do with the fact that I haven’t finished a book in a year. Which is, really, a stupid thing to fixate on, but I want to be a productive writer and I’m starting to doubt my ability to complete projects. My new mantra is, “You wrote two books, you can write a third,” no mention of the fourth, fifth, sixth, twenty-eighth, two hundred and seventh book I want to write in my long dream career (probably not going to finish two hundred and seven books, though). I can’t put too much pressure on myself, or I will crack under it. I’m already starting to see the fissures forming.

I cannot lose patience with myself. This is very important, I think. I can’t go to my computer every night and say, “Write ten pages, and write them well.” It’s my inclination, but it’s too unfair and it won’t make me produce any good work. I just can’t squeeze it out. It has to be a little more organic. I need to give myself the space and time and room to write another good book. Two of them. More eventually, but just these two for now.

At the risk of making this my official Longest Boringest Blog Post Ever, I’m going to close with a quotation from The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong. It’s a quote about reading and listening, but I think it applies to writing as well:

You have to open yourself to a poem with a quiet, receptive mind, in the same way as you might listen to a late Beethoven quartet or read a sonnet by Rilke at a party. You have to give it your full attention, wait patiently upon it, and make an empty space for it in your mind. And finally the work declares itself to you, steals deeply into the interstices of your being, line by line, note by note, phrase by phrase, until it becomes part of you forever…If you seize upon a poem and try to extort its meaning before you are ready, it remains opaque. If you bring your own personal agenda to bear upon it, the poem will close upon itself like a clam, because you have denied its unique and separate identity, its own inviolable holiness.

Brightly Woven + Interview

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, first off, the lovely folks at Teens Writing for Teens saw fit to interview me, and so of course I took this opportunity to talk shit about creative writing classes. Go ahead and dissent if you must.

Second of all, I got to read Brightly Woven by my friend Alexandra Bracken. JEALOUS?! I know. Alex and I live in the same city, which is awesome and allows us to get to goss about publishing and writing and the whole nine, plus exchange ARCs because we are just that impatient!

Can I tell you how much I hearted Brightly Woven? I have to say, I’ve been raving about Tenner books, and yes, these people are my friends, but also I am critical so when I say I love something I mean it! Brightly Woven is wonderful. I’m not just saying that because Alex is wonderful, which she is. I’m saying it because I truly loved the book, loved every second of reading it, loved North and Syd and the world she created. I’m not a high fantasy person, not going to lie, but when I picked up BW I knew I was going to enjoy each line and I did.

Because you know what? Syd is no wallflower. I love a good, headstrong, stubborn main character who makes decision based on gut instinct. Sometimes they screw up. That’s the best part! Syd is amazing–she is never once unsure of who she is, even when she’s unsure of everything around her. She knows what she wants and has from the beginning. She also has a huge heart and great reserves of sympathy, which is really important, because being headstrong and stubborn is all well and good, but if you don’t use that for good you’re just kind of a jerk.

I know I’ve been kind of MIA recently, and I know I said I was going to try to update more, and I realize I’ve been largely absent from Twitter as well, but a new era is being ushered in–I’m getting an iPhone! Probably. So I can Twitter from ANYWHERE I WANT soon. The tweets won’t stop. I want to blog more, too, but there’s not a whole lot going on with me at the moment. I’m just working and writing. I really need to find a name (or at least an acroynym) for the family drama (which has taken on some mysterious elements, because I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF) so I can talk about it without writing a huge sentence like I just did, but basically that book is going well. Almost 150 pgs, and I can tell this book will be smaller than AUT and MB, so that’s probably 2/3 done. GR is stalled, but I figure I’ll go back to it once I’m done with…the family drama with mysterious elements. It’s more of a dramedy, really. Dramedy/romance/coming-of-age/mystery. Shoot me.

Still waiting on an editorial for MB so that I can start revisions on that, and that’s pretty much all the news there is to use on the publishing front. Oh, and I visited the Listening Library offices the other day to drop off my audio contracts, where I met the lovely Rebecca Waugh, who acquired the AUT audio rights. She took me to the audio closet, where they keep all of their extra copies of the audio books, and I got to wander through and pick out a couple. I got Feed by M.T. Anderson and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and Rebecca and I had a talk about how I really love YA novels that deal with the issue of spirituality in a smart but not evangelical way. This discussion was sparked by Madeleine L’Engle, whose audio they do.

So I think that’s it for me. Oh, and because I have them up in my browser right now, here are some things that are inspiring me currently. Random, huh? I promise, someday it will all be very clear.

Ramble ramble ramble

Posted on August 16th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I know! Where have I been this week? Oh boy, you don’t even want to know. So this post is just going to be a quasi-coherent ramble about almost nothing. Lucky readers!

So first of all, I’ve been writing. I have quite a few pages done in my family drama, over 100 now, which is nice, and I think I know where it’s headed. In fact, maybe I should plot out the second half of the book so that I can just follow along with that and it would get done quicker. Sigh, you know that I won’t. But that’s going well, and I think when it’s done I can really focus on GR, which needs my full, undivided attention to really work well and get somewhere. It’s going to be a long, dark fall.

Also, let me tell you about a couple of Tenner books I read this week. I’ve been so in love with the quality of the Tenner books I’ve read so far–I can be quite critical, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful these books are. For instance, Suzanne Young’s The Naughty List. SO! AWESOME! I’ve been describing it to people as Bring it On meets Clueless meets Veronica Mars. The main character has a very unique voice, and she’s just so fun. Plus, I could not figure out where Suz was going to take the story. I knew what I wanted to happen, but I just couldn’t be sure if that was going to happen or not. I was kind of right. At least, my suspicions about a certain character were proven correct in the end–I never trusted this person, and I was right not to! That was a relief. I loved The Naughty List, and I’m excited for the sequel.

I also read Jennifer Hubbard’s The Secret Year. It was exactly the kind of book I like, exactly the sort of narrator I love and get invested in, and you’ll see why in January. It’s a slim novel, but it’s emotional and affective and poignant. I think people will really like it. Now I’m reading Brightly Woven; I couldn’t wait till I got the ARC through the Tenner tour, so Alex and I agreed to swap ARCs at dinner last night. I started reading on the train ride home and stayed up till 4 AM reading. I’m a third of the way in and love it so far. Alex and I had a long talk about a lot of things last night, but one of the things we talked about was how we don’t like empty or “perfect” characters–we’d much rather write characters who have moods, who make poor decisions based on their own convictions, who can be difficult and a pain in the ass at times.

We just think that when you get to know and love a character like that, it’s so much more rewarding. In one way or another, all of my MCs have what my mother would call “a bad attitude” about something. Sometimes you get it, because they’ve been through something traumatic or been betrayed or lost their sense of self, but sometimes (I’d say one out of every two MCs I write is like this) it’s just because they’re regular people, and regular people are sometimes spoiled or snobby or bratty. It doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them human. And I think that’s interesting. What’s more interesting is charting their progress, through a series of events, from spoiled/bratty/snobby to much more enlightened, understanding, empathetic people. That’s what most of my books are about, at the core of it–learning how to see people for who they really are, and loving them for it.

Just as a side-note, let me introduce you to my new computer background:

normal211

Yeeeeeeah! Who’s excited for the return of Gossip Girl? That’d be me, for defs.

So yeah, okay, I’ve been writing this week and reading this week and working this week. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and hanging out with my friends. Did I tell you guys my friend Kim is moving to New York? Long Island, really, to work at a university out there, but that’s so close! I don’t know how I got so lucky, having my three best friends in the world all live in New York. I keep thinking that I’ll wake up and be in my bedroom at my parents’ house, working at Thomson, with all my friends in SoCal and only my parents and dog for company. These past few years have been such an incredible whirlwind of good and bad, and I’m finally beginning to think it’s not going to disappear if I close my eyes.

Tubular Tenners

Posted on August 11th, 2009 by annakjarzab

When do you suppose the last time someone said “tubular” non-ironically was? Someone look that up and get back to me.

Anyway, you know what’s cool about being a Tenner? Besides all the other things that are cool about being a Tenner? Getting to read books by other Tenners. For a long time I wasn’t reading any, because I’m not known to be very quick on the buzzer and I ended up not being the first, second, or even third person on any of the ARC lists, but now that ARCs have been circulating for a while, I’m getting the opportunity to read quite a few! (Actually, this is sort of a lie; I was number 2 on the Hex Hall list.)

First I read fellow RHCB-er Jame Richards’ Three Rivers Rising, which is a novel in verse about the Johnstown Flood, a topic I knew approximately nothing about. If there was such a thing as negative knowledge, my awareness of this event in American history would be -167. Anyway, it turns out that it’s quite a fascinating topic! Not to mention a tragic, tragic topic, ripe for a really lovely novel in verse. Three Rivers Rising reminded me a lot of Titanic, or A Northern Light (or what I imagine A Northern Light to be like, since I haven’t read it). All in good ways! It’s a sweet love story, and not just between the two star-cross’d lovers. It’s a sweet family love story in parts, too.

I owe Three Rivers Rising to Tara Kelly–sorry, Tara, for not getting it out to you sooner! I will mail it tomorrow.

Alex (Bracken) gave me Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall yesterday, and I just finished it. IT. IS. HILARIOUS. I mean, I knew Hawkins was funny, but this really drives it home. I laughed on every page, sometimes multiple times. Hex Hall is kind of Harry Potter meets Vampire Academy, in a way, but a little lighter than both books, although since it’s a series I’m going to guess it’ll get darker and scarier as Sophie comes up against more dark witches, more vampires, and more crazytown peeps out to rid the world of “monsters”. It actually has already, but still maintains its humor, which is awesome.

And today I just got a package from Jen Nadol with Suzanne Young’s The Naughty List inside, along with a little note saying “Now you don’t have to steal one from work. :)” I’m so excited to start reading.

Matryoshka Monday!

Posted on August 10th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey guys! It’s Monday, and according to the precedent I set two weeks ago, it’s time for your weekly matryoshka fix. This one comes from the comments of the last Matryoshka Monday post, actually, so thank you Jody for gifting me with this link to GadgetHer’s “25 NOT Your Traditional Grandma’s Russian Nesting Dolls”, which, aside from the sort of weird title there, is a collection of some freakin’ awesome matryoshki. You can find my favorite below, and MORE! MORE! MORE! by visiting the article.

linux-penguin-matryoshka-dolls

Penguins! Apparently these are Linux penguins, but I don’t know what that means. To me they are just cute.

star-wars-matryoshka-dolls

Live long and prosper! Oh, wait, that’s Star Trek right?

the-beatles-matryoshka-dolls

I grew up watching Yellow Submarine, so this struck a chord of nostalgia in my heart.

mobile-phone-evolution-matryoshka-dolls

This is LOL my favorite, I think. Not only do I appreciate the REALLY non-traditional interpretation, I just think it’s clever.

Bitten

Posted on August 10th, 2009 by annakjarzab

What follows is a typical FAIL story from yours truly.

Tha Dubbs has a really nice apartment in Hell’s Kitchen that came with its very own private garden. Dubbs finally got the key to that garden a few weeks ago, and she invited us all over for happy hour on Friday. I was atypically late to this social gathering, and I ended up arriving right at dusk, which is when the garden closes. So I was there a grand total of five minutes before we moved the party upstairs to their apartment.

As I discovered Saturday morning, in the few minutes I was in the garden with the rest of the crew, I managed to get about 20,000 mosquito bites on my legs (I was wearing a skirt). It is so awful, you guys! I’m so itchy and miserable, and nothing is helping. They’re all over my legs and feet, these huge welts that make me want to cry.

Yesterday I wore pants, which exacerbated the itchiness, so today I wore a skirt to save myself from some of the discomfort. I had brunch with the totally awesome Alex Bracken, author of the sure-to-be-wonderful Brightly Woven (I haven’t read it yet, but can’t wait to), and then headed to my best friend’s apartment to hang out before another appointment later in the afternoon.

Bri was hungry, so I accompanied her to Shake Shack, and we sat on a bench outside the Museum of Natural History while she ate her food. While we were sitting there, this woman came up to me and offered some typical New Yorker unsolicited advice.

“I noticed your legs,” she said to me, a strange blank crazy-eyed look on her face. “I had a rash just like that.”

“Actually,” I said, completely taken aback and also WTF, “they’re mosquito bites.”

“Oh,” she said. “Well, when I had the rash I used athlete’s foot cream on my legs and it went away.”

“Um, thanks,” I said. “But I was just sitting in a garden the other day and got really bitten up…it’s not a rash.”

“Okay, letting you know,” she said, walking away.

“Thanks!” I called, because I was raised in the Midwest, damnit, and we’re polite in the Great Lakes states. Thanks, Professor Skin Rashes. I’m not worried, because you’re on the case!

I’m having a bit of a crisis, because I bought an adorable skirt on sale at the Gap yesterday and I was going to wear it to work (there’s also this problem where I can only wear a certain pair of sandals right now because I broke my toe last Sunday and it still hurts to wear real shoes, although I haven’t tested it since Monday so I might now be in the clear on that score–anyway, I have to wear stuff that matches the only shoes I can walk in without crying) tomorrow, but I’m afraid it’s unprofessional and unseemly to show up at your job showing off legs that look as though they’ve got a horrible case of cystic acne (GROSS!). On the other hand, wearing pants will probably make me want to die from the itching. My life is so hard.

I’ve used some cortizone cream on the bites, which has offered no relief but has left a sticky, shiny residue that makes me look like the welts are leaking (TMI, sorry friends, it keeps happening), and my roommate looked up “mosquito bite remedies” on the Internet and suggested I use deodorant on them, so I did that. Surprise! It didn’t work.

I haven’t yet tried athlete’s foot cream. Should I? Vote in comments.

Apologies

Posted on August 8th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey guys! I’m sorry, it looks like I’ve abandoned this blog, but I think about it all the time, I swear! As some of you know, I started a new job on Monday, which, while TOTALLY AWESOME, is really overwhelming and time-consuming and all-encompasing at this point. There’s so much to learn and do, and right now I’m treading water in the hopes of learning to swim like an Olympic champion or some such badly constructed metaphor.

My writing life is pretty quiet right now. AUT is done done done, at least when it comes to me, and I should hear back from my editor about MB sometime at the end of August/beginning of September. AUT audio is still in the works, but unfortunately there were some contracts snafus, which were nobody’s fault but possibly UPS’s. And I’m writing. Er, sort of.

This summer has been something of a whirlwind, so I can’t wait for it to settle down so I can get some real work done on the books I’m writing. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little stuck on GR, and I hope to be unstuck soon. My other project, the family drama, is going okay but I’m not sure I’m striking the exact tone that I want to be, and I know it’s time to get going with the hard work of the book, so, as with GR, I’ve reached that fork in the road where you pause and go, hm, what next? How do I do this right? To be at the same immobile place in both books is totally frustrating, but I think it’s just going to take some thinking and massaging and writing bad stuff until the good stuff starts coming. Isn’t that always the way?

I would like to say that I did have a Matryoshka Monday post scheduled to go up, buuuuut I don’t actually know how to use the WordPress post scheduling function, so it didn’t. Whoops! It’ll go up this coming Monday. And look forward to next Monday, when I show you the awesome matryoshka giftie that Tha Dubbs sent me via inter-office mail (sort of), a Happy First Day At Work present which was unfortunately way-laid by my lack of a mailbox and didn’t reach me until Wednesday, even though Dubbs actually works about fifteen feet away from me.

I know some people have emailed me about AUT review copies, and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you yet–I will answer all those emails, I promise, please cut me some slack because of new job craziness. Rest assured that I will be passing those on to my publicist as soon as I know who that person is. If you want a review copy, please read this and then email me. So sorry in advance, but do know that not all review requests can be fulfilled because there are a limited number of copies. Thanks guys!