Monday, December 24, 2012

Monica Never Shuts Up

Popping my head in to say: MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP, a collection of my adult short stories, is now available for download. CLICK HERE.

There is good news and bad news. 

Bad news first:

Kobo closed down for the holidays on the 21st of December and won't be up and running again for authors until January. So, if you shop locally (YAY!) and you want to download the book for your Kobo (YAY!) you will have to wait until January (BOO!). This seems to be the case with Barnes & Noble Nook as well. Don't quote me on that. Could still happen before Christmas.

iBooks will have to wait, too. 
Just the way the cookie crumbles for all of us indie-loving readers out there. 

Good news:

If you use a device that can read Kindle files, you can download the collection now.

Indifferent news:

I ate Peanut Butter Capn' Crunch for breakfast today and that made me really happy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The last post before the 2012 best-of post

I have to title this post like that to remind myself to do a best-of-2012 post.
I'm using you now, it seems, as a memory aid.
(Funny typo story: I accidentally wrote mammory aid up there. Ha ha.) (Yes, I know that's not how you spell mammary. But still.)

I was probably supposed to write this blog post last weekend, but I was paralyzed by the same grief you were probably paralyzed by. I haven't commented much on what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School because I wasn't sure what to say.

A kindergartener lives in my house.
My family is full of teachers.
I have been a victim of gun-related crime.
Also, I lived most of my adult life in a country where guns are illegal and it made me feel hella safe. (Compared to the feeling I get when waking up to the sound of nearby semi-automatic target practice, which I did on Saturday morning.)

I will say this to anyone who produces any sort of, "If it was me, I'd have done this" reaction. Believe me. Until you're looking down the barrel of an unexpected gun, you don't know shit about what you would do. It's very convenient to [blame the victim and] say you'd have done something differently. It's also very insulting. And base. And pretty despicable in this example. And yet, when I tuned into the Internet this week, which wasn't very often, I saw a lot of that sort of shoulda/woulda/coulda talk.

Humans, man. Sometimes they just don't know when to STFU.

Anyway. I felt wrong promoting anything. I felt wrong working. (I couldn't work, truth be told. I tried, but finally gave up last night and decided not to force it.) But I reckon there's a time to start back to life again and today seems to be it.

Before I do, I urge you: make it a lifetime goal to be kind. Life is so freaktastically short. Give love. Be the change you want to see. Act up. Hug freely. Volunteer. Jump to fewer conclusions. Judge more rarely. Be positive. Look for the best in things rather than the worst. Work toward joy.

And so, here's some random linkage.

The Well-Readheads put me in some seriously great company here in their Year in Books post over at Book Riot.

The Ask the Passengers cover story is over at the awesome Melissa Walker's B&N blog which you can reach if you click on this link. 

There was a fantastic review of Ask the Passengers in the Register Guard.

Don't miss this one. We taped "10 questions in 1 minute" with my Little, Brown BFYR peeps when I was up in NYC the other week. I took this challenge very seriously and I almost pulled it off.
Here's the link. Or click on the picture.

Where Fielding Mellish meets Peanut Butter Capn' Crunch.

In A.S. King News...

We have nothing but good things to report.
Please Don't Hate Me: Nichts ist wichtig, wenn man tot ist, also known as the German version of Please Ignore Vera Dietz, has gone into a second paperback printing. Woot.

Are you ready for a winter read from me?
I hope so.
In a few weeks, on an e-reader near you...Monica Never Shuts Up is coming your way. Twelve short stories in one sweet package.

It will be available in all e-formats. If you get a Kobo reader (which are awesome little machines) from your local independent bookstore, you can get any ebook you want for it through an independent bookstore and still support your community! I call this the badassest and bossest way to e-read.

Way way way back in the life of this blog, you may remember that my story "Monica Never Shuts Up" was nominated for Best New American Voices. It was previously published in Washington Square, the nationally-distributed literary journal from NYU. Most of the stories in the collection have been published in magazines, print journals and a few web magazines as well.

The collection is considered an adult book. Since most of my readers are 15 and up and already reading adult fiction, I'm thinking it probably won't shock people who know how I write.

If it shocks others well then, score, I say.

See you in a week or two.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

So, tomorrow I start back to work on the weird book...

Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for. The day I get to dive 100% into Max Black again and fix it up all pretty for my genius editor. There is a lot of work. Hard hats will be required. Safety goggles. That kind of thing.

This means less blogging. It may even mean I play the the card. 

But who gives a shit? I have good news!

HOLY CRAP SOMEBODY PINCH ME.

Ask the Passengers has been seen lurking on the Kirkus Best Books of 2012 list in very good company. This makes us very happy. What a good run the book has had, eh?


In other news
A HUGE thank you to the high bidder in the YA for NJ Sandy Relief auction. Your donation to the NJ Food Bank is much appreciated. You Rock.

Also: My awesome kid got her green belt.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

On balls.

This is what NYC looks like on a very bouncy bus.

LA Times Gift Guide!  Ask the Passengers is in there! Woot.

Anyway.

Someone wrote to me this week after reading Ask the Passengers and told me I had balls. She said I could quote her, so I will.

It takes real balls to write about giving love and respecting love the way you did.
I don't know.
Does it?

I was in NYC on Tuesday being spoiled by my Little, Brown BFYR peeps and we got to talking. We talked about the idea of organized love and I mentioned that there are many organized groups who are formed for the single task of hating random strangers. You know, based on race, religion, political leanings, who they love, their basic philosophies on life. Etc.

Offshoot:
If we take it a step further, there are people who hate random stuff. I know a woman who "hates" Hot Topic. Dude. It's a store. I hear from people all the time about how they "hate" swearing. I don't allow swearing in my house, but I'll toss this out there: I'd rather my kids swear than hate. I know a guy who "hates" pick-up trucks. I asked him why. He said all pick-up truck drivers were trying to be rednecks and big and tough and scary with their big trucks. Look. WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS SHIT? Who cares? Seriously. Even if that idea is 100% true, which is can't statistically be, why are you wasting time caring about this?

Anyway:
The hating of random people is something that's just normal to us, isn't it? It's just an everyday thing.

In my mind, there are not as many or enough groups who aim to randomly love people. Just sending love and goodwill out there wanting nothing in return.

And it seems writing about it means I have balls.
Part of me doesn't get that. But part of me really gets that, too.

We live in the world of cool snark. If you have an opinion and you're putting it on the internet, then it's best to snark it up a bit to get more attention. Bitchy gets attention. And maybe it's true. Maybe snark is cool. Maybe nice guys finish last. I have no idea. Nor do I give a shit about my finishing time. It's not going to stop me from being nice.

I really do think that if we all sent love to random strangers the world would be a better place. I think respecting other people's privacy, ideas, space and lifestyles is a good thing. If writing a book about it means I have balls, then I'll take that compliment.

This week, a teacher on Twitter told me that her student said Ask the Passengers "made her think & not be so judgmental of others."

Sweet sweet words for this author.
You know, sometimes people think authors are trying to make some huge argument with their books or trying to promote some crazy idea when you know what? Most of the time, it's entirely impossible to guess what an author's real intention is.

And so, I'll give you one of my favorite Whitman poems to make my intention clearer. Or not.


When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

BY WALT WHITMAN
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Wrong Screenshots


Continuing with our theme of: Let's clear Amy's desktop of random screenshots.


You expect this from a diet supplement company.

But did they have to gouge out her back like that? 
Okay, no.
Just no.
This is what's wrong with the world, you guys.
We all can say it's fake and we know it, but our eyes saw
and the message went to our brains.
 



P.S.--Nobody has legs like this.



File this one under Dear Hotels, WTF?

This is the second weird hotel message this month.



Fact: You cannot buy naked ladies with your Hilton Honors Points.
Also, ladies: You probably don't want to wrap hotel curtains around your naked body.
Dear Hotels,
I don't stay in you for the sexytimes.
All I want to know is do you have free wifi?



Here ends the screenshot bonanza. 
NEW JERSEY: DON'T FORGET. Clinton Book Shop. Saturday, Dec 1, 7pm


On Spam and Sugar Daddies

Here begins the cleaning from my desktop of screenshots I want to share with you.

> > >

I get a lot of spam just like you do. I delete it. I've never shared spam with you before (sans the creepy preying-on-facebook guys) and I feel this one was really special so I wanted to toss it at you.

Maybe you've seen it before. I haven't.
It really bummed me out.

Here you go. The "Marry Me Sugar Daddy" spam email:


Let me start with the subject line.

Why Settle for Mediocrity when you can Date a Millionaire Today

What's with the random capitalization?
And where's the question mark?
And who the hell ever said that not being a millionaire made you mediocre?
These people don't know what mediocre means, I don't think.

It works for quantifying things, like, say, a love life. "She said her love life was mediocre."
Or a movie script. "Wow. The script for Batman Begins was mediocre at best." <---I said that.
Food: He made mediocre pancakes.
I had mediocre sweetcorn two nights ago. Tasted like water.

Yes, Mediocrity is the word for a mediocre person but who ever said money made a person?
Charles Ingalls is not mediocre. Not by a long shot.
Nor was Socrates or Jesus.
Or Mozart.
Or, you know, name your poor-but-awesome person here.

The subject line might say:
Why Settle for Being Dirt Poor when you can Date a Millionaire Today?
Why Settle for Middle Class Ennui when you can Date a Millionaire Today?


Here's where I get pissed off/concerned/annoyed: The Marry Me part.
So...the only prerequisite for marriage is that the guy has money?


I met a girl in college. This was her goal--to marry a millionaire. I hope she did and I hope she's happy.

I married a poor guy. He's sitting right here next to me and he doesn't mind that I tell you this. He was poor as all get out growing up. This made him a hard worker, humble, funny as hell, daring, brave, smart, good with his hands, versatile, loving and warm. We've been married over 20 years. It's really freaking awesome.

I've been around a little while. I've met a lot of people who are married to someone who is not loving or warm. I've met people who got married but have zero in common. Money has nothing to do with this. I know warm and loving millionaires. I know cold and not-at-all loving dirt-poor people. The idea is: marriage is a big step. You don't make it based on something as silly as money. It's serious. Hardest work you'll ever do--trust me.

I admit, I sure wouldn't mind a few weeks living in luxury somewhere. My gods. Imagine having a cook. Every. Single. Day.

But you know: Love has gotten me through times of no money more than money has gotten me through times of no love.

You can keep your sugar daddy.

(You are encouraged to listen to TLC's "Silly Ho" immediately following this blog.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On six, the Ingalls, New Jersey with a bonus creep round

On Six

I did something new today. I was in my local library working on something library-board-related and these two teenage boys were walking around trying to find something to read. One was telling the other one, "You don't read novels." The other one answered, "I do so." The other one said, "Let's just get a DVD or some shit."

I was sitting at a table, the YA section to my left, and when they wandered back my way I said, "If you need me to get out of your way, just tell me."

The one kid said, "Nah. He doesn't read novels."
The other kid said, "I read novels. I read everything James Patterson ever wrote."
I said, "You like James Patterson?"
"Yeah."
And then I did the thing I never did before. I reached up into the stacks and pulled out my own book. I handed him Everybody Sees the Ants and showed him James Patterson's blurb on the back and said, "James Patterson liked this one. I bet you would too."

At this point they were both looking at me like I was nuts. All my library policy papers were scattered on the table behind me. My leather jacket was half hanging on the chair, half lying on the floor. I admit, my hair was messy today. I may have seemed crazy.

So then I told them that it was my book. They were pretty freaked out by this.
And then I told the kid who was holding the book that he didn't have to get it today. No pressure. But that it was there if he wanted to read it. I told him it was set here in this town and about a kid that might live here just like he does. I did not tell him that it uses the word vagina over 20 times.

I'm pretty sure that would have freaked him out more, but it may have also guaranteed that he would come back for it.

Anyway, I never did that before. I don't recommend my books to anyone. Instead, I recommend other people's books to people. It's easier because even though it's all you see me do here on the blog, I don't ever actually talk about being an author in real life.

Seriously. It takes a lot to get me to admit what I do for a living to strangers. Usually I say I'm self-employed. That's not me being coy. It's me being shy. Or modest or something. It's just how I am. It's also me avoiding all those odd questions people tend to ask once they know you're an author. (Offshoot: Why do people think it's okay to ask authors how much money we make? That's so weird. I have never asked anyone how much money they make.)

Anyway, where am I going with this?

The six stars. And what it's like to be me this week with all this good news.
Only so many people know me.
I think that's true of most of us.
I was surprised last week when someone I consider a good friend referred to me as a social person.
I am equally surprised when others here in my town say the opposite of me.
Fact: I am both. I am neither.
Some people in my life tell me I need to be more positive/celebratory while others are so damn sick of me being a celebratory, taco-eating optimist that they want to strangle me.

Here's the deal.
I'm a realist.
I like the truth.

And the truth was, last year when Everybody Sees the Ants got six starred reviews, which is a rare thing, my agent and my editor and I all said the same thing.


This will never happen again. Do not get used to it.

This wasn't negative thinking. It was realist thinking. It's the kind of thinking you do when something spectacular happens to you and you have to continue working on new books.
But now here we are.
We were wrong.
This is the nicest I've ever felt about being wrong in my life.

> > >

I was watching Little House on the Prairie the other day and I realized that I am a pretty simple person. I have only ever bought myself about three nice splurge-y things: A stained glass lampshade that hangs above my kitchen table, a pair of red Spanish boots, and a really special painting by a favorite artist. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I lived a long time without a penny and I wanted it that way. I am often in the company of people who do not understand that idea at all, the same as I will never understand those who actually enjoy shopping for clothing.

Anyway, about those stars. I feel grateful more than anything. What an outcome! From a book that I thought wasn't going to make it. From a book that had to have a third of it replaced. From a book about love and compassion and no-labels in a world full of judgements, snark and labels. From a book that made me worry about how I would handle it never happening again. 

What I've realized is: Inside my head, I will always be Caroline Ingalls married to Charles Ingalls. We will work hard, will probably not have much and we will be happy regardless. And when we get good news we will celebrate with our family and dance like fools in our kitchen. We will get a lot of splinters.

> > >

LAST TOUR STOP IN 2012--NEW JERSEY, I'M LOOKING AT YOU.

Clinton Book Shop Saturday, Dec. 1st, 7pm.

Come chill out (and boogie down) with us at Clinton Book Shop this Saturday. We always have a great time and Rob has promised to turn down the holiday music and crank up the funk in my honor. I'll be reading a bit from Ask the Passengers and since it went down so well in Haverford, I plan on reading a little bit of 2013's Reality Boy as well. 

Come into town early! Christmas shop. There are so many great family owned and run stores in Clinton. In case you need a reminder of how shopping locally improves the economy and community, here's a great piece about it. 

See you then!

> > >


And for fun, I figured I'd toss these out. Just a sampling of the winners I get on Facebook, still. Remember, I'm 100% non-searchable and private on FB. If you're a stranger, you can't find my personal page unless you're trawling. So those of you with kids on FB, remind them that these creeps are out there and want nothing else but a reply in order to hook a fish. If you think a smart kid can't get snagged, think again and read my original blog on this subject and the accompanying book. (Sarah Darer Littman's Want to Go Private?)

Angels on earth. Dude. Also, you are so not from Dublin, Ireland.
But my day was blessed, so thanks.

You don't know me well enough, but if you did, you'd know that
multiple punctuation marks really annoy me.
Your fishing isn't going to yield much with bait like this.

Oh Clark. You are smart.
I bet plenty of girls and women answer you, too.



Remember to check your  kids' "Other" folder from time to time in their message area. Facebook is pretty good about detecting spam. But remember, this isn't any old spam. These people are out to pick up girls/women/boys/men. Facebook has made their reporting system a bit more vague and lame since I first reported this situation in the above blog, but remember to report these creepers anyway. That way they can't stay lakeside (under that account, anyway) and catch another mother's fish.

Thank you!

Anyway. Today I finished the library policy book I'd been working on since July. Now to finish a secret project. Then, tomorrow, to get back to Max Black.

Adding: Wow. How many times can I start a sentence with Anyway?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PERMISSION GRANTED.

Permission has been granted to share this news and this gorgeous picture.

ASK THE PASSENGERS just got news of its 6th starred review in the January issue of The Horn Book. That's my genius editor, Andrea Spooner, with the heavily-blinged copy of the book.



And if you missed this news from earlier today, you can read that with a simple click.

So, if I told you I had more to share would you even believe me?



It's like a good news jam.


Outside of the fact that this was what my commute to the bus station looked like this morning, which had me turn around halfway (already far too late to catch said bus) and not go to NYC to see my awesome Little, Brown team of daring cohorts, this month is turning into a good news jam.

And I'm entirely okay with that...even though some of that news has to wait.

But hey--here's something I didn't see until today.

Ask the Passengers made a really cool best of the year list. This is Library Journal's Best Books 2012: Young Adult Literature for Adults list. Check it out.  It sure is nice being one of ten on that list. Some of my favorite authors are there. If you haven't yet read The Drowned Cities, Every Day or ANYTHING by Margo Lanagan or Libba Bray, I suggest you get to it. (And I have some catching up to do myself during my required SSR in the coming months.) Also, can I squee at this line please?
This contemporary fiction, from an author who just gets better with every book, is a testament to the transformative power of self-love.

Since we're linking, do you remember James? From this blog right here? The high school freshman (now sophomore) who, while some were happy to brush off the V-Day movement with "50-year-old-white-woman" talk, was actually doing something to help women and girls?

He's written a fantastic review of Ask the Passengers and I want you to read it. My favorite quote is the closing. "Love, love, love, and when you think you're done, keep loving."

More good news coming.

Also: It's still snowing. My kid is going to dig this.


Friday, November 23, 2012

With a cork

That's how you hold in good news.
With a cork.
Or a sock.
Or whatever keeps you from blurting out what is happening.

Publishing: when you're in it, you live in the future. I am writing this post from 2014, where MAX BLACK lives. I was writing last week from 2013, where REALITY BOY lives.

When we hear good news, it is often accompanied by a date. Like: Here's your good news. Oh by the way, you can't tell anyone until January. 

Seriously.
January.

So what happens is: you celebrate with family and by the time January comes you are happily in 2015 writing a new book and it's as if nothing happened at all. Not to sound ungrateful. No no no. It's just a snag in the time-space continuum, really. It happens and it's exciting and wonderful, but you just can't celebrate it in real time with others who will be happy about it also right that very minute. Instead, you just have to stick a sock/cork/piece of leftover red velvet cake in your gob and go back to work.

My five year old enjoys the celebrations, though. We usually eat tacos. She loves tacos.

As for the work, I was glad I did that. This week finally saw the beginning of an exciting new project that you will love.

So, until I can tell you more good news (don't worry, you don't have to wait until January for all of it) check out this awesome piece of art by Bruce Nauman.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Since you asked, here are some pictures.

What an amazing response to my last blog post. Thank you! Dudes. I'm all shy about sharing my family on the Internet because the Internet still creeps me out. So I don't plan on doing it all that often, but since you all were so nice here and on Facebook and Twitter about my recent reorganizing of priorities and about my kid's 10th birthday, allow me to share a few pictures from this weekend/today.


This is a homemade red velvet cake. With buttercream icing.
It is the most glorious thing on Earth.
This particular specimen was slightly dry if you ask me, but
I am my own worst critic.
(Robyn, love, there are several chunks of this waiting for you in the freezer.)

You may recognize those glasses from my blog about YALSA St. Louis.
Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance, you have added a new
tradition in our house. The birthday glasses.
FTW.
Ten candles out all at once to the sound of a 5-year-old's maracas.
Random fact: we all still wear those birthday hats every year.
We bought them for her 2nd birthday a week after
we moved to America.  

Today's trip to the Pagoda. Because if you could visit
the Pagoda why wouldn't you?
We listened to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
for the trip. It is still as good as it was in 1998.
A quick reminder that 1970 babies are boss.
Also note: still a snazzy dresser. 

And look! I didn't have to be at ALAN in Las Vegas.
Ask the Passengers is there in all her starry glory while I get
to do fun stuff like hang out at the pagoda and
eat dry-ish cake.
Thank you LBYR for your support and
Alvina the Awesome for this picture. 

Tomorrow is going to be an awesome mother/daughter field trip and I can't wait. We're going to one of my favorite places and I have a feeling she will love it as well. Hint:



Random Book News: Everybody Sees the Ants is a nominee for Missouri's Gateway Award. Thank you awesome Missouri librarians!

And Ask the Passengers is on the ALA Rainbow Project's final nomination list for 2013. Thank you Rainbow list committee!




Saturday, November 17, 2012

There are sacrifices and then there are sacrifices.


Ten years ago, I was an incubator/builder/snazzy dresser.
For the last three years, I've been away for my daughter's birthday. I never thought much of it. Work is work. I work hard. My work feeds us. I pretended like it was all fine and I'd simply celebrate her birthday with her when I got back. We'd Skype and I'd sing to her. I'd be on camera for the opening of presents sometimes, but usually I was off doing things at the conference I usually attend this time of year.

That conference, the ALAN Workshop, is a very important conference to me. I've never had my time solo on the main stage but I hope one day to have ten minutes up there to tell the audience of English teachers, librarians, professors/teacher trainers and fellow advocates what they mean to me. Which would be: a lot. They mean a hell of a lot to me. Many of them know Mr. King is in college to be an English teacher himself, and they know that I have dedicated much of my life to literacy, whether as a literacy tutor, a tutor trainer or a library advocate. I have been a paying member of ALAN since I knew ALAN existed. We share a passion. What's better than that?
ALAN 2011 w/ Sara Zarr.

The conference is a reunion. I feel I am with family there. We are friends. There are fellow authors and advocates who share the same passion. It is awesome. We hug and laugh and it's that one time of year I can see these friends in person, and more importantly, add something to their fantastic conference.

I always said that if I couldn't attend the ALAN Workshop as an author, I'd attend as a member. That's how great the conference is. But this year, the conference is in Las Vegas, which is a long way from home. And if you know me, then you know I am a non-consumerist, modest, frugal country girl so...Las Vegas is a little like kryptonite for me.
But I still hoped I'd go.
And then I found out I wouldn't be going, which was a bummer but...

Photo cred: the kid
...I realized I'd be home for my daughter's 10th birthday.

And in that realization I realized that missing her birthdays for the last three years broke my heart a little because a mom should be with her kid on a kid's birthday when they're little. And she was probably too young to see it like I'd seen it--just a work thing. Mommy has to go on a plane and go somewhere again...no big deal.
It was a big deal.
It was her birthday.

There are sacrifices we make for this career. Quite a few, in fact. And here's the thing about sacrifices. If you make them enough, people forget to notice that you're making them...which leads to a lack of respect. For you. For your family. For your time. For what you do. For what you offer. For what you've given. But MOST importantly, if you sacrifice too much, YOU will overlook what's important to YOU because if you're anything like me, you will want to work as hard as you can to succeed and to get the message of advocacy out there. And you can forget things like...it's nice to have your mom around on your birthday when you're 7, 8 and 9.

As much as I'd like to give a speech on some stage in Vegas about Ask the Passengers and acceptance and love and how contemporary literature and Socrates can help teach tolerance in high schools, which was the plan a year ago, I'm glad I'll be staying home today, making a proper red velvet cake for my kid, throwing a family party tomorrow and then being here to hug her on the day she turns ten.

That's us and Ben Franklin. 
I feel like I let my priorities get mixed up there for a year or two. Or maybe, I had to and now I can come back to what's really important. What's better than sharing a passion for adolescent literacy and literature? Um. Being lucky enough to have a healthy, happy, funny, goofy, loving, beautiful family.

Anyway, soon Mr. King will be a member of ALAN and the Workshop will be a King family affair, which will make it even more special. My book family and my blood family all laughing and being together. Maybe one day I can get the ALAN audience to sing "Happy Birthday" to my kid. I bet she'd love that.


Credit to: Beth Kephart for inspiring me to write something personal on my blog. She does it so well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Last night rocked.

My event at Children's Book World rocked. It always does. Heather and the crew always make me feel like I could just curl up on that top step and sleep over. For the second year in a row, my audience was 100% adult with many local writers whom I adore.

Beth Kephart writes better blogs about stuff like this than I do. Here's a link.

And here's a picture I stole from Beth's blog because it's so awesome. There's another one that's even awesomer, so you should really go and check it out.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Great squid may have spoken too soon...

...because the good stuff keeps pouring in!

First: Everybody Sees the Ants has made the Texas TAYSHAS list. Huge excitement here! Check out the great list at this link.

Second: Ask the Passengers has been selected by School Library Journal for their Best Books of 2012 List. Massive news! Thank you SLJ. (I have no link for you, so you'll haver to trust me at this point.)

Third: I didn't get killed by the two deer I hit that jumped in front of my car last night.

Fourth: DON'T FORGET--tonight. Children's Book World. I'll read from Ask the Passengers but I'll share the intro to Reality Boy. It's heavy stuff. Bring your hard hats. (And deer whistles.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Great Squid has spoken

I just made that title up. I'm not sure it has much relevance to this blog post. I am a little cross-eyed and probably a tad insane after the last two weeks of deadline-induced late nights and middle-schooler-induced early mornings.

What it really means is: I have sent REALITY BOY copyedits in. This makes me a very happy lady.

It also means: I have a lot of crap to catch up on. I have no idea which bills are due or what. I just got a new prescription for glasses and now I have time to get get them made. (Woot! Sight!)

It also means: I get to take a little time off to see my family and read a book for pure enjoyment.
*gasp*
I might even take a freakin' nap some day this week.

But before all of that, I have a little work to do.
A Skype visit today.

Then TOMORROW: the rescheduled Children's Book World event at 7pm where I will be reading from Ask the Passengers, talking about stuff and SHARING A BIT OF REALITY BOY WITH THE AUDIENCE.

See how I all capped that to get the base all riled up?

Spread the word. Come see us at CBW tomorrow. Thursday. 7pm.

Children's Book World
17 Haverford Station Rd
Haverford, PA 19041
November 15, 2012
7pm


Other news: I'll be the keynote speaker at the Backspace Writer's Conference in NYC in May 2013. I am very excited by this, as Backspace is a place I credit with teaching me much of what I know about this business. Also, their motto is: Writers Helping Writers. And who couldn't get down with that?

Pre-nap Linkage
Before nap time I have to spread the joy of these three links that came to me in the last 24 hours.

First: Here is a piece I wrote for the Nerdy Book Club. It's called How Paul Zindel Saved My Life and is about how books change people with honesty. Or, at least that they did for me.

Then there's this great piece in the Reading Eagle newspaper about the Oct 25th launch party for Ask the Passengers.

And then this...I saved it for last because I am so excited by it.

A review from the site AfterEllen.com.

Why am I so excited by this review? Because the reviewer speaks very clearly to those who pit people against each other during times when it might be more helpful to just drop all the labels and expectations and be freaking nice to each other.
Hell yes she does.
That right there is why I write books.
When people get it and get it well enough to write it down so poignantly and powerfully, it makes me want to skip the nap and keep writing more books.
Thank you AfterEllen.com for your support. It means a ton.

Also, if you managed to stick with me this long, here's a snippet of the VOYA review for Ask the Passengers which arrived in my inbox this week.
Main character Astrid is a model of strength and compassion, even when adversity attacks from every front.  Short passages describing thoughts of troubled passengers who receive Astrid's unconditional love reinforce the novel's message of tolerance for all. 
Okay.
So now I have to go to the post office. And the bank.
The Great Squid has spoken.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

On being retweeted and mistreated.


I never liked the word "tweet" when it comes to Twitter. I don't much like the word "retweet" either. But I like Twitter quite a bit. I didn't think I would at first, but as social media goes, I prefer it over Facebook which is creepy and weird.

Twitter has its own kind of creepy and weird going on, I know.
But Facebook is creepier and weirder to me.

But anyway. This week I got retweeted a bunch with this post I made and I was pretty happy about that considering the tweet in question.

If you read my About Me over there ------> you will see that I don't talk politics on my blog.
I don't.
I do, however, talk about equality and the importance of talking about uncomfortable things. If you read this blog you know I am very involved in my local Vagina Monologues and V-Day organization. I have no issue talking about rape because rape is a very serious reality in our society and yet few rapists go to prison (especially the ones who rape little little children: under 5%, guys.)
We rarely talk about it.
And it's widely ignored.
There is a correlation here. We all know it.
We imprison people who smoke pot more than we imprison child rapists.
What kind of place is this?
Who made these rules?

Anyway. I think during the campaigns of 2012, rape was discussed quite a bit in the media, but usually in the what dumb thing about rape was said by which guy today? sense. Not many people seemed to talk about it seriously and openly or discuss that rape is a huge problem in our society for both women and men, adults and children.
Eve Ensler talked about it. Of course she did. Other brave women (and men) came out and talked about their experiences or opinions. But for the most part, the majority of what we heard were soundbites from candidates with often-insane ideas about rape.

  • That it is just another form of conception.
  • That it prevents pregnancy.
  • That it (and any pregnancy resulting from it) was a gift from god.
  • That it's just like having a baby out of wedlock.
  • That there are real rapes and not real rapes.
  • That some girls "rape" more easily than others.
  • That one type of rape is more legitimate than another.
  • Etc. 

So that happened.
We heard all that talk. And people voted. And not one of those insane rape idea guys won. But I reckon they were the only ones who got caught talking out loud about it. I'm sure plenty of people were elected who think these insane things.

And now the talking will stop because rape makes the media uncomfortable because it makes humans uncomfortable, and uncomfortable viewers change the channel.

We will go back into day-to-day life inside a society that calls women who have or enjoy sex "sluts" and that tells a mentally-handicapped wheelchair-bound, mute rape survivor that she "should have fought harder" right before the judge releases her rapist.

I tweeted this on election night. I don't tweet politics, either. But I do tweet about equality and uncomfortable things. I would like women to continue to value themselves while surrounded by these insane and insulting ideas about rape. I do not think caring about rape survivors is a partisan issue. I think all people care very much about this subject, but aren't sure what to do about it. The first step is talking about it. I would like to continue on a path to equality. I would like state and federal lawmakers to make and pass laws that protect victims, not their rapists. I would like to give my daughters a world where someone cares about this shit for real.



Hey! Over there ----> You can find my V-Girls badge. Join us! If there's something we can do, why aren't we doing it?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The St. Louis Photo Recap: I am a verb.

I just got back from St. Louis where ALL THE AWESOME LIBRARIANS (Okay. A few couldn't make it. But still.) were hanging out at the YALSA Symposium.

As I boarded my plane in Philly, I got some groovy news:

A starred review in Shelf Awareness! Sweet!
★ "Printz Honor author A.S. King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz; Everybody Sees the Ants) has delivered yet another YA novel that may well have booksellers chasing customers around the store to handsell it."

And THEN, if that wasn't enough awesome news for one day, I found out that Ask the Passengers landed on the Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012 list.

No kidding.
Click here to see the entire list. 

Fantastic news and many thanks to PW and Shelf Awareness for the honor.

While I'm talking about awesome reviews, I should really link to this one at Stacked. Here's a teaser:
This is a story about being a person, not a label. Good readers will see that. I think defining this as simply a book about sexuality belittles the depths to which King aims to talk about the varied human experience. 
A deep bow of gratitude to the ladies of Stacked for that. *bows*

Now, here's a picture recap of St. Louis because I've got copyedits due in 2 days and I still haven't finalized the library minutes from last month and I just realized the meeting is on Thursday. Oops.

Friday: Heather Brewer, Andrew Smith and I met in hell. (See the flames?)
We ate dinner and talked world domination.
Photo cred: Mr. Brewer

On my walk back to my room, I snapped this next shot.
Courthouse, moon, arch.


A picture of me and a nice man from Canada with the
Dred and Harriet Scott statue outside of the courthouse.
If you want to know why I was fascinated with this, read below.



This is Dred Scott's hand on Harriet's hip.
Something about it made me wonder if that court had a problem
with Dred and Harriet's right to marry.
I bet they didn't.
Married slaves made...new slaves.
Very convenient for the people in charge.

I spent Saturday morning at the St. Louis Art Museum with my good friend Andrew Smith. It was an awesome museum. Andrew has a picture of me in the museum. I'll link you if he posts it. The museum's collection of Beckmann is large and lovely.

After lunch, I wanted to see the Gateway Arch because I knew it would be my only chance to see it. By pure luck, Terry Trueman happened to call me while I was on my way. And so, a few hours of very inappropriate banter commenced. Also, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to capture the enormity of the arch with an iPhone camera. I tried, man. But I failed. The arch is huge.


Terry Truman with the Gateway Arch being awesome.

Me with the Gateway Arch. Photo taken by Terry
who stopped traffic to stand in the road to take this
because he is completely insane.

The only picture I took that seems to give that arch any perspective.

After this, the YALSA Symposium started for me. The funny part: I have no pictures.
Other people took pictures of me.
But I don't have them.
So, picture a really awesome book signing on Saturday night.

Then, picture a great panel on Sunday morning with the amazing Helen Frost and Scott Westerfeld run by awesome librarians Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance.

BONUS AWESOME PICTURE ADDITION thanks to Carrie Kausch!

We eventually removed the glasses, though I was tempted to wear them the whole time.


The panel was called "Collapsing Boundaries and Blurring Lines" and we talked about how books are big (Westerfeld) and language is expansive (Frost) and how things don't always fit neatly in a box (me.) Awesome librarians live tweeted the panel. Here are some gems.








You're wondering what that last one means, aren't you?
The question from the audience was, "Do you ever want to correct people who get your books all wrong when they review them?" That line was part of my response.


Bonus weird stuff picture time.

Okay. No.
First, he's got her cornered at the back of a boat.
Second, he's leaning into her in a really creepy way.
And third, This is NOT where Hyatt bonus points take you.
Hyatt bonus points cannot buy women on boats.
And really: imagine all the cool travel pictures they could have used.
Instead, this odd shot of a ferry to somewhere flat in early winter?

Also, for the ladies who are collecting Hyatt bonus points, I'd like to
point out that bonus points are not useful while being cornered at the
back of a boat by a creepy guy.
Use your knee. 

BEST. SIGN. EVER.
Seen in my taxi on the way to the airport.
The driver will pull over FOR FREE, you guys.
Free. 

I wanted to buy this for a friend, but couldn't.
Do you know why? Look closely.


STL airport gem. Sweet.

Maintenance man fixing leak of hydraulic fluid in landing gear.
Awesome.
Landing gear got fixed.
I got to hang with my favorite Philly librarians (Yo Philly) in the airport.
I got home pretty late.

I will not be on a plane for another four months or so and I am entirely okay with that.

Now. Copyedits and library minutes. Then a week to read my favorite book and then I GET TO WRITE THE SECRET PROJECT. Finally. I've been trying to get to it since January.

Now is the time.
I am a verb.