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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.
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Archive for December, 2009

Newark Airport is by definition THE WORST

Posted on December 24th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hello from Newark International Airport. I’m never flying out of here again. It’s not even that I don’t like Newark in and of itself, or that I’m prejudiced against New Jersey–it’s that Newark is THE WORST NY metro area airport to get to, BAR NONE. Let me give you a little snapshot of the day.

(I’m going to preface this by saying that, while I felt very prepared for this travel experience, I apparently was not and now realize that. Whoops. Live, learn, never fly out of Newark again–that’s my motto!)

(Let me also preface this by saying that I’m posting this blog because I paid $8 for Internet access. Normally I would not do this on principal, because I believe every airport should provide free wifi for everyone as long as they insist on sucking so much, but my flight isn’t taking off for approximately 3.5 hours and $8 is actually less money than I paid for the terrible chicken caesar wrap I’m eating for dinner, so I think it’s justifiable under the circumstances. Happy Christmas, Jarzab. You deserve it.)

Anyway, my flight to Chicago was originally supposed to leave at 7 PM. Okay, says I to myself. It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Newark using public transportation. I’ve done it before (coming home from the airport, not going there–VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION), it wasn’t hard at all. So I’ll leave the house at 4 PM. Wait, on second thought, I’ll leave at 3:45. Give myself a buffer (YEAH RIGHT).

First, I got on the subway. My bag weighs 49.9 lbs (right under the limit! booyah, who’s a packing genius?), and I had to lug it down two flights of subway stairs. Awesome. Then the station agent yelled at me when I didn’t know to push the turnstile before I went through the special access door. Okay, I never do that, so whatever, sir–it’s Christmas, stop yelling. Then I get on the train, which goes to 59th St and then…stops. Like, doesn’t move or plan to move for an unspecified amount of time. So I drag my bag down another two flights of subway stairs and cram onto an A train, which takes me to Penn Station.

EXCEPT that I don’t know how to find the NJ Transit from the A, C, E trains, only from the 1, 2, 3 trains. You’d think all you’d need to do would be to read the signs–you’d be wrong. So I wander around for a while looking crazy, then buy a ticket to Trenton because my iPhone told me to. This was stupid. I look up at the schedule and get so confused–some trains go to Secaucus Junction, some go to Newark. Even though it is the day before Christmas Eve, only a few trains go to Newark. Great. The next one is at 5:05. Super, duper great. I leave Penn Station and decide to take a cab.

Not a good idea. Can’t get a cab for my life, and even if I was able to find one, it would definitely not take me to Newark and would cost me about $70. Forget it. I decide to walk to the Penn Station entrance near the 1, 2, 3 trains that I’m familiar with and find the NJ Transit center that I’m familiar with. I do that, same thing: 5:05 PM train to South Amboy goes to Newark Airport. Okay, I decide to get on it. It’s 5:00.

I cram on the train and am literally standing in the aisle with my giant suitcase, which I can’t even lift onto the rack. I’m afraid I’m going to get yelled at by the conductor, not only because I don’t have a ticket but because my huge, 49.9 lb suitcase is totally blocking the aisle and he can’t get through. Thankfully, an entire huge family gets off at Secaucus Junction and me and my suitcase get our own bench. Across from us sit three boys from Minnesota (actually, I think only two are from Minnesota–the other was from New Jersey). They were really friendly and helpful and sweet and probably too young for me so whatever, but it was nice to be helped instead of jostled around and cut in line and sniped at. It’s almost six by the time we reach Newark International and my flight leaves at 7. Awesome.

I get on the Air Train and realize that my terminal (A) is the last terminal on the route. Just keeps getting better! Also, the Air Train is ridiculously slow considering the distances it travels between each stop and also how many stops there are (like four). Finally I get there. The one mercy was that there was a relatively short line at check in and at security. When I got through security, I saw it–my flight to Chicago is delayed till 10:30.

So here I am, blogging about my travel travails on $8 Internet, double- and triple-checking the flight status board to make sure this isn’t one of those nightmares where I’m in the wrong terminal and going to miss my flight except for real this time. So far, it looks like I’m in the right place and it’s not yet the right time. So I sit. And read my woefully neglected Google Reader. Maybe I’ll watch the season finale of Glee–are you allowed to do that on rented Internet? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out.

Audio sneak peek

Posted on December 21st, 2009 by annakjarzab

I meant to post about this a while ago, but I forgot, because I forget everything these days, because I’ve left my already pretty terrible memory somewhere in the great wilds of NYC and have yet to locate it. Ugh. Whatever, so you know that All Unquiet Things is going to be an audio book with the same release as the physical book (January 12), because I told you that a while ago. BUT, what I discovered is that the audio cover is just a little bit different than the physical book cover, in the coolest way ever (besides saying that it has an interview with the author, which it does, by the by)–it has the full picture of Carly on the front.

The full picture, as you can probably imagine, is even more arresting than the half picture. I never actually got to see any of the photo proofs for the AUT cover, so when it popped up in my Google alerts the other day (on Amazon UK of all things, is this book being published in the UK?) it was quite a surprise to me, too. Behold:

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Some people ask me if I’ve met the people who read the audio book, and the answer is no, but I’m assuming that Mike Chamberlain and Allyson Ryan are really cool cats. Everyone involved in the Listening Library production of All Unquiet Things has been wonderful.

There’s also an audio sample that you can listen to on Random House’s website. I don’t know how big of an excerpt they’ve put up because I’m a baby and can’t listen to it for more than a few seconds without cringing and asking myself, “Why again did you publish these silly scribblings of yours?” But that’s just a reflection of my own weirdness, the recording is quite fabulous and worth listening to. I feel like most of my blog posts for the next month or so are going to end with me thanking various people for their hard work, which I understand might be a trifle boring, but they do work hard and I am thankful, so I’m doing it anyway. Thank you Rebecca and Dan and Mike and Allyson and everyone else at Listening Library that made this happen. You are awesome, obvs.

Come trailer way

Posted on December 18th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Geddit? “Come Sail Away”/”Come trailer way”? You get it.

Anyway! You might’ve already heard about this on Twitter, but my publicist sent me the finished All Unquiet Things book trailer and I wanted to share it with you.

I really like it. I think it’s so unique, and trust me when I say that, because I have seen a lot of book trailers. I think the concept is clever and well executed, and I’m very impressed with the outcome and all the work my publicist and the videographer did to bring AUT alive.

It was interesting, though, because watching the trailer brought to the surface this tiny insecurity that I thought I’d gotten over when I first started editing AUT back in the day. When I was just writing for the fun of it, I used to get really embarrassed when talking about what I was working on, because I didn’t think anyone was taking me seriously and I sounded like I was a four-year-old talking about the inner life of her imaginary friend.

Then when people actually started taking me seriously, it was so strange to me, and I thought I’d gotten over it, but apparently not. As cool as it is to see my story made into a trailer, it’s also a little uncomfortable, because in my heart of hearts AUT is still just a story I’m telling myself. So it’s like someone’s out there reading my mind instead of just, you know, reading my book or whatever.

So there’s your “writers are neurotic” anecdote of the day. Enjoy the trailer and let me know what you think! Props must go out to my publicist, RHCB, and the person who created the video (whoever you are) Christopher–thanks everyone!

The sophomore slump

Posted on December 11th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I can’t believe this, but I signed on to WordPress for the first time in weeks (yikes, I’m not doing a good job keeping up with the blogging, am I?) to blog about a very specific thing and I’ve totally forgotten what that is. So instead of a thoughtful, collected post about an interesting topic, you’re going to get a brain dump.

I guess the first thing on my mind is my second book. I wrote it the summer before I got my deal for AUT (so that’s summer 2008), finishing it in August. I sent Joanna the first three pages, which is a prologue, and she included it in our submissions to editors in early September 2008. My editor bought two books from me, with the understanding that MB, of which she’d only read three pages, would be book 2.

Fast forward to this past summer. I revised the book myself, then Joanna had a look at it and she gave me an editorial letter, which I used to revise a second time. Then we sent it on to my editor. I’m due to get revisions back next week, and I’m nervous. I spent a long time writing AUT, and I revised it many, many times for many, many people. Joanna and I did two rounds of revisions, and then Danielle (Egan-Miller, the president of Browne & Miller, Joanna’s agency) looked it over and sent me notes, which I used to revise a third time. I revised twice with my editor, and then went through a round of copy edits and two rounds of pages (where the book was laid out in exactly the format it has in the ARC and finished book)–and I just remembered what I came here to blog about, stay tuned for that. It wasn’t a particularly long process for publishing, but it was a considerable amount of work and time and consideration. In each round of revision, I cut and added, and I think the book ended up being rather robust and meaningful, as well as exciting.

If you utter the words “book 2” to debut authors, you’re going to get a bunch of wincing and grimacing. It’s so hard to follow up something you’ve spent a long time crafting with something you haven’t spent a long time crafting, simply because your publishing schedule encourages publishing every year or year and a half, sometimes more. It’s not that the second book in its first draft is any worse than your first book in its first draft, it’s just that you have less time to turn it into something good and publishable. That’s where I am right now. My second book was written in months, where AUT took years. My second book has been revised twice, and AUT was revised five times that. It was hard to show it to my editor, who bought it basically sight unseen, but I did it anyway, and now comes the hard part–realizing that it’s not in as good of shape as AUT was when it left my hands, coming to terms with that, and doing what needs to be done to make it just as good–or better!–of a book as AUT was, in way less time.

I get now why there are a few authors out there whose second books are a long time coming. I thought that because I wrote my second book before I sold my first, I was safe from the sophomore slump, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that I’m not. I’m trying not to freak out about it. I’m trying to trust in my ability to do exactly what I did with AUT–take the skeleton of my first draft and carefully prune it where necessary, and add to it where necessary. I write bare bones first drafts. The introspection and explanation and deep characterization everything that goes into giving a book a story, not just a plot, comes later for me. I like to get all the action and dialogue down before I go for the meat of the thing. It’s just my process. But since I’ve only really done it successfully once, it’s hard to trust that process.

As I reach the end of CH (I’m quite literally down to the last fifty pages), I realize just how messy of a draft it is. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And the part of me that’s into organization and planning is stressed out by what a sloppy chaotic disaster of a manuscript it is. MB is obviously better, but maybe not very much so. But there’s another part of me, and I hope it’s a bigger part, that knows that the revisions process is so much more than fixing problems–it’s an opportunity to get to know better a narrative geography that you’ve mapped, but not yet explored. I think the next six months are going to be a lot of work, but MB will be better for it, and I’m glad, because I love MB, and I want my editor to love it, and I want readers to love it. If getting to that place is going to be hard and long and arduous, so be it–I’ve got time, and I’ve got endurance.

So, back to why I originally came here to post. My editor passed this along to me today. It’s an AUT chapter sampler! Okay, so it’s the same chapter I have on the site here, BUT this one is from the interior of the actual book, so it has the full design layout of the book that you’ll see in stores come January. It’s gorgeous. Go look at it!

Because when it rains, it pours, I’m headed over to The A-Team blog (it still exists! I promise I’ll post more! Moving kind of took the wind out of my sails) to talk about reviews (which you can always find here), because I’ve been getting some as of late. Join me?