Thursday, February 21, 2013

L.A. Book Prize Finalist News & Mark Your Calendars!

St. Paul! I will be in you NEXT WEEK. Public Events are:
Avalon School on 2-27 10-12am Assembly
Merriam Park Library on 2-27 at 6pm
Addendum Bookstore on 2-28 at 7:30 pm
Visit! Bring friends. Wear togas. It's all good.

* * *

Arizona, I will be in you in two weeks. It will be my birthday week. You really should come and sing to me. I like when people sing to me. 
Changing Hands Bookstore 3-7 at 7pm
The Tucson Festival of Books on 3-9-13 at the following times/places:

10:30-11:15 Teen and Author Meeting Place Lisa McMann and I will read aloud from one or two new books to a small group of teens and answer questions, etc. 

 1:00-2:00 Panel, Overwhelmed? Teens Facing Difficult Issues. With Tom Leveen and Erin Lange. Followed by book signing in the room 

 2:30-3:30 Meth, Death, and Trust: Difficult Times/Difficult Choices. Panel with Jackie Woodson and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Featured session, followed by book signing in the outside booth

In other AWESOME news: ASK THE PASSENGERS is a 2012 L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist. So thrilled to see on that list with me two of my favorite books of 2012, both from Little, Brown, Matthew Quick's BOY 21 and Paolo Bacigalupi's THE DROWNED CITIES.

I am excited to get out to L.A. and see Margaret Atwood accept her award and maybe find her and tell her how much a story collection of hers broke my heart 20 years ago.

Now...back to planning my takeover of the whole world. It's coming. Get ready. There will be dancing and frizzy hair.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A little piece of GLORY for Beth Kephart

One of my favorite books of 2012.
My good friend Beth Kephart wrote a blog earlier this week in which she shared part her her work in progress (WIP.) The work, as usual for Beth, was fantastic. She also asked us, many of her writing friends, to share part of our WIP. Anyone who knows my process knows I don't share my work when it's a WIP. But for Beth, I'd do just about anything, including this.

My WIP has had many names. It was called MAX BLACK. Before that, it was called "project lice & porn."  Now, it is called GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE.

A mouthful, I know. And it may change again. For now, we call it GLORY for short. So here's a part of it....


I got my first camera from my mother for my fourth birthday. It was a very simple Leica M5 in a leather case.  Not a digital camera. Darla O’Brien believed in film. She believed in emulsion and silver halide. She believed in something called The Zone System, which was developed by two photographers named Ansel Adams and Fred Archer around 1940. (Incidentally, Darla O’Brien’s mother was born in 1940. She was a saint. That’s what everybody always told me. She'd been fighting cancer since age fifty. She did not own a microwave oven.)
            The Zone System divided the tones in a black and white photograph into eleven zones between maximum black and maximum white. The challenge was to make an image that represented all eleven zones. Maximum white was a ten. Maximum black was a zero. Max white was blown out. Max black was nothingness.
            Max Black was my code word for dead. Max Black would be what I secretly called the petrified bat because I was picky about saying something was what it wasn’t. The bat was not petrified. Minerals couldn’t have replaced its cells. It was just dead. Zone zero. 


So there you have it, Beth Kephart. You made me do something out of my comfort zone. Next you'll have me shopping or wearing mascara or something.

In other news, I have no other news.
But I'll be back later this week, I bet.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day bonus video

More on Read Brave! St. Paul, I can't wait to be in you!

A Valentine Poem

Mr. King and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Never did. I've got 26 years of practice not caring one bit about February 14th (outside of V-Day, of course.) (Which reminds me: Are you rising today? I am.)
It's not that we're not romantic. Anyone who knows the story of our beginning knows we're saps through and through. But we're also non-consumerists and Valentine's Day just gives us the willies, you know?
But anyway.
There is one thing I've noticed about these holidays and it makes me sad.
Otherwise-happy couples sometimes have spats because they expected more or they wanted something different or they realize that the magic is a little less shiny than it once was, or something just messes up the whole day and it's a bummer.

This poem is for you. Try to have a nice day anyway. Life is short. Send love. It helps.

Silly Little Things

by A.S. King

The little things. Things that
block gutters. Things stuck
in the blades of hairdryers
smell of burning dust.

Silly things. One minute
throat eats stomach, scared
your hair in flames. Upon
inspection, no fire or smoke.

Each twig the robin brought
was twice his weight. Laid
in a bowl, a nest. This is
why we argue. Silly little things.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Goodreads Giveaways!

I'm so excited about sending my 2014 book into my editor, I'm giving away books over on Goodreads.

First, for my German readers, the PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ translation:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Please don't hate me - Nichts ist wichtig, wenn man tot ist by A.S. King

Please don't hate me - Nichts ist wichtig, wenn man tot ist

by A.S. King

Giveaway ends March 13, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

And for my short fiction fans, you can enter to win a paperback of MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Monica Never Shuts Up by A.S. King

Monica Never Shuts Up

by A.S. King

Giveaway ends March 13, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Now, I will shower and go outside. I will not reveal how long it's been since I did either.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Soup for Authors: Corn Chowder

First post of many on this subject.

Something Andrew Smith left out of his brilliant online writer's conference: If you want to be a writer, then you better know about soup. Don't get me wrong. Andrew's conference is worth all the money you pay for it and all the chocolate you toss into the chocolate hole.

But he left out soup.

So I'm here to pick up the slack.

Today's soup: Corn Chowder.

Groovy dinner for a snowy night.

  • A 16 oz. package of frozen corn. (If you want to go fresh, and you know I'm a corn freak so you know I must do that, then you want about 6-8 ears of fresh. Only cook about 5 minutes--blanch it, pretty much. And remove it from the cobs, of course. Don't be silly. But of course it's mid-winter and I don't waste my frozen real corn on soup. So I used bagged frozen for this batch.)
  • 1&1/2 cup peeled, cubed potato (Small-ish cubes, guys. You want soup sometime soon, right?)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of instant chicken bouillon granules (I only use Knorr cubes, so I chop up 1 of them. They expand more than you think.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1&3/4 cups of milk
  • 1 Tblspn butter
  • 2 Tblspn flour

Easiest ingredient list ever.

That's simmering. Make sure you
keep it covered.
So you put the onion, corn, potato, boullion, pepper & water into a saucepan, covered. Bring it to boiling and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the spuds are just tender. Stir a few times. Of course. I mean, who doesn't stir a few times, right?

Here's where I interrupt myself to say: As I write this, I am listening to Cuban radio on Pandora and Ibrahim Ferrer's "Ay, Candela" has come on and it's fantastic.

All soup tastes better if you make it to Cuban music. (You get that advice for free.)

Added the milk. 
So, once your spuds are tender enough (Seriously. Make sure of this. If you do the next part too early, you will have hard spuds in your chowder and that would suck.) you add 1 & 1/2 cups of the milk and the butter. Then combine the remaining milk with the flour and mix it well and add it to the pot.

Cook and stir until it's thick. It should get pretty darn thick.
Then, serve.
My favorite garnish is fresh parsley. Some people put crumbled crispy bacon on it, but those people are crazy.

I also serve with saltines and butter or fresh bread.

This should make enough for a family of four hungry people who skipped lunch.

Best bet: make double so you don't have to actually put on pants tomorrow and dinner is already made.

Until next time, write well.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 NYC Teen Author Festival

Check it out! Here's the schedule for the NYC Teen Author Festival this year. 
David Levithan has the coolest ideas, doesn't he?
You can see me on Saturday and Sunday!

2013 NYC Teen Author Festival

Monday, March 18  (Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8):    

I’ll Take You There:  A Change of Scenery, A Change of Self
Description:  In their recent books, each of these authors have plunged their teen characters into new places as a way of revealing their true selves.  We’ll talk about this YA journey narrative – where it comes from, and what it can lead to.
Gayle Forman
Kristen-Paige Madonia
Bennett Madison
Jennifer E. Smith
Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

Tuesday, March 19  (WORD Bookstore,  7-8:30, 126 Franklin St, Greenpoint):

The Only Way Out is Through:  Engaging Truth through YA

Description:  Pain. Confusion. Loss. Mistakes. Revelation. More mistakes. Recovery.  One of the things that makes YA work is its desire to engage the messy truths of both adolescence and life in general.  Here we talk about what it’s like to engage this messy truth, and how to craft it into a story with some kind of form.  
Crissa Chappell
Tim Decker
Ellen Hopkins
Amy McNamara
Jessica Verdi

moderator: David Levithan

Wednesday. March 20 (42nd St NYPL, South Court room, 6-8):  

Imagination: A Conversation
Description:  It’s a given that authors’ minds are very strange, wonderful, twisted, illogical, inventive places.  Here we talk to five rather imaginative authors about how they conjure the worlds in their books and the stories that they tell, along with glimpses of the strange and wonderful worlds they are creating at the present.
Holly Black
Lev Grossman
Michelle Hodkin
Alaya Johnson
Robin Wasserman

moderators:  David Levithan and Chris Shoemaker

Thursday, March 21:
SOHO Teen night, 6-9pm (Books of Wonder, 18 W18th St)

Celebrate the launch of SOHO Teen, featuring readings by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Joy Preble, Margaux Froley, Elizabeth Kiem, Heather Terrell & Ricardo Cortés, and Lisa & Laura Roecker.


Friday March 22, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Berger Forum, 2nd floor, 2-6)
2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: He Said, She Said

Description:  Not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.
Ted Goeglein
Gordon Korman
Lucas Klauss
Michael Northrop

Susane Colasanti
E. Lockhart
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah Mlynowski
Leila Sales

moderator:  David Levithan

3:00-4:00:  Taking a Turn: YA Characters Dealing with Bad and Unexpected Choices
Description:  In each of these authors’ novels, the main character’s life takes an unexpected twist.  Sometimes this is because of a bad choice.  Sometimes this is because of a secret revealed.  And sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice at all, but rather a reaction.  We’ll talk about following these characters as they make these choices – both good and bad. Will include brief readings illuminating these choices.
Caela Carter
Eireann Corrigan
Alissa Grosso
Terra Elan McVoy
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Elizabeth Scott
K. M. Walton

moderator:  Aaron Hartzler

4:00-4:10:  Break

4:10-4:40:  That’s So Nineteenth Century
Description:  A Conversation About Playing with 19th Century Archetypes in the 21st Century
Sharon Cameron
Leanna Renee Hieber
Stephanie Strohm
Suzanne Weyn

Moderator:  Sarah Beth Durst

4:40-5:30:  Alternate World vs. Imaginary WorldDescription:  Of these authors, some have written stories involving alternate or parallel versions of our world, some have made up imaginary worlds for their characters, and still others have written books that do each.  We’ll discuss the decision to either connect the world of a book to our world, or to take it out of the historical context of our world.  How do each strategies help in telling story and developing character?  Is one easier than the other? Is the stepping off point always reality, or can it sometimes be another fictional world?
Sarah Beth Durst
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Lauren Miller
E. C. Myers
Diana Peterfreund
Mary Thompson

Moderator:  Chris Shoemaker

Friday March 22, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30)
Eireann Corrigan
Elizabeth Eulberg
Jeff Hirsch
David Levithan
Rainbow Rowell
Nova Ren Suma

Saturday March 23, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL,  Bergen Forum, 2nd Floor, 1-5)
1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:10 – Defying Description:  Tackling the Many Facets of Identity in YA
Description:  As YA literature evolves, there is more of an acknowledgment of the many facets that go into a teenager’s identity, and even categories that once seemed absolute now have more nuance.  Focusing particularly, but not exclusively, on LGBTQ characters and their depiction, we’ll discuss the complexities about writing about such a complex experience.
Marissa Calin
Emily Danforth
Aaron Hartzler
A.S. King
Jacqueline Woodson

moderator:  David Levithan

2:10-2:40 -- New Voices Spotlight
Description:  Each debut author will share a five-minute reading from her or his work
J. J. Howard
Kimberly Sabatini
Tiffany Schmidt
Greg Takoudes

2:40-3:30 – Under Many Influences: Shaping Identity When You’re a Teen Girl
Description: Being a teen girl is to be under many influences – friends, parents, siblings, teachers, favorite bands, favorite boys, favorite web sites.  These authors will talk about the influences that each of their main characters tap into – and then talk about what influences them as writers when they shape these characters.
Jen Calonita
Deborah Heiligman
Hilary Weisman Graham
Kody Keplinger
Amy Spalding
Katie Sise
Kathryn Williams

moderator:  Terra Elan McVoy

3:30-3:40 – Break

3:40-4:20 – Born This Way: Nature, Nurture, and Paranormalcy
Description:  Paranormal and supernatural fiction for teens constantly wrestles with issues of identity and the origin of identity.  Whether their characters are born “different” or come into their powers over time, each of these authors uses the supernatural as a way to explore the nature of self.   
Jessica Brody
Gina Damico
Maya Gold
Alexandra Monir
Lindsay Ribar
Jeri Smith-Ready
Jessica Spotswood

moderator:  Adrienne Maria Vrettos

4:20-5:00 – The Next Big ThingDescription:  Again, not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.
Jocelyn Davies
Leanna Renee Hieber
Barry Lyga
Maryrose Wood

Saturday March 23:  Mutual Admiration Society reading at McNally Jackson (McNally Jackson, Prince Street, 7-8:30):  
Sharon Cameron
A.S. King
Michael Northrop
Diana Peterfreund
Victoria Schwab
Nova Ren Suma

hosted by David Levithan

Sunday March 24:  Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4):  

Jessica Brody  (Unremembered, Macmillan)                          
Marisa Calin  (Between You and Me, Bloomsbury)              
Jen Calonita  (The Grass is Always Greener, LB)                  
Sharon Cameron  (The Dark Unwinding, Scholastic)                        
Caela Carter  (Me, Him, Them, and It, Bloomsbury)             
Crissa Chappell  (Narc, Flux)              
Susane Colasanti  (Keep Holding On, Penguin)                                 
Zoraida Cordova  (The Vicious Deep, Sourcebooks)                         
Gina Damico   (Scorch, HMH)                                   
Jocelyn Davies  (A Fractured Light, HC)                   
Sarah Beth Durst  (Vessel, S&S)                                
Gayle Forman  (Just One Day, Penguin)
Elizabeth Scott  (Miracle, S&S)          

T. M. Goeglein (Cold Fury, Penguin)                                     
Hilary Weisman Graham (Reunited, S&S)                                                                             
Alissa Grosso  (Ferocity Summer, Flux)                                 
Aaron Hartzler  (Rapture Practice, LB)          
Deborah Heiligman  (Intentions, RH)                        
Leanna Renee Hieber  (The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, Sourcebooks)          
Jeff Hirsch  (Magisterium, Scholastic)                        
J. J. Howard  (That Time I Joined the Circus, Scholastic)                  
Alaya Johnson   (The Summer Prince, Scholastic)      
Beth Kephart (Small Damages, Penguin)                               
Kody Keplinger  (A Midsummer’s Nightmare, LB)

A.S. King  (Ask the Passengers, LB)                                     
Emmy Laybourne  (Monument 14, Macmillan)                                  
David Levithan  (Every Day, RH)     
Barry Lyga  (Yesterday Again, Scholastic)                            
Brian Meehl  (Suck it Up and Die, RH)                                 
Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper, RH)   
Michael Northrop  (Rotten, Scholastic)                      
Diana Peterfreund  (For Darkness Shows the Stars, HC)                  
Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing, Penguin)                       
Rainbow Rowell  (Eleanor & Park, St. Martin’s)                   
Kimberly Sabatini  (Touching the Surface, S&S)                   
Tiffany Schmidt  (Send Me a Sign, Bloomsbury)

Victoria Schwab  (The Archived, Hyperion)  
Jeri Smith-Ready  (Shine, S&S)
Amy Spalding  (The Reece Malcolm List, Entangled)                       
Stephanie Strohm  (Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, HMH)                      
Nova Ren Suma  (17 & Gone, Penguin)                     
Greg Takoudes  (When We Wuz Famous, Macmillan)          
Mary Thompson  (Wuftoom, HMH)  
Jess Verdi  (My Life After Now, Sourcebooks)                                             
K.M. Walton  (Empty, S&S)  
Suzanne Weyn  (Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters, Scholastic)                          
Kathryn Williams  (Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous, Macmillan)