Friday, April 18th, 2014

The Book Is the Arrow

Remember when I said the book was done and locked? A couple of weeks ago Viking surprised me with a second set of page proofs to review, to make sure the changes I made to the first proofs went through OK.

So I marked those proofs up too and sent them back. I forgot that finishing a book has a bit of a Zeno’s paradox feeling about it: the book is the arrow that can never reach its target.

But I think now it really is done. Or at least it’s asymptotically approaching done-ness.

It’s even getting reviewed, though so far only in what we call “the trades,” meaning book-industry magazines like Publishers Weekly that cover books a couple of months before they come out. The feeling is unnerving—The Magician’s Land still seems like an intimate part of me that I can’t believe people are actually looking at. Reviews so far have been really great, which makes me happy. But still.

Meanwhile it’s time to get the promotional apparatus up and shambling. (For some reason I picture it looking something like the giant steampunk spider in Wild zithromax generic brand Wild West.) A lot of people kind of lament the promotional part of being a novelist, but I don’t really mind it. I’ve got a product to sell, I’m not going to pretend it’s special just because it happens to be a novel.

I’m not very good at selling it. But I don’t mind trying. Most of the time I actually enjoy it.

A giant spider that has Kenneth Branagh inside it

So my summer’s filling up with events, most of which haven’t been announced yet, and I’m probably not supposed to announce them here, so I won’t. But I’ll be popping up all over the place and then touring properly in August. For now I’ll just mention something that’s happening at Rutgers on May 1 that involves Catherynne Valente, so you know it’s going to be quality.

And on May 31 I’ll do a public conversation with Deborah Harkness in New York as part of BookCon. Again: quality.

And if you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, scrawl August 5th on your calendar. That’s the official pub date of The Magician’s Land, and I’m planning an event that night that should be be a bit special.

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Up for Air, Briefly

The Magician’s Land is currently at Viking for copy-editing, which means I get a breather. It’s not done, but it’s very done-ish. Done-esque. Meaning that my editor has ruled the current draft final enough that it won’t need any more major surgery, and has given it to a clever person who knows about dangling participles.

portrait of the artist as a submarine

That person will go through and fix the grammar and spelling and catch the bits where I say “all six of them” when there are actually seven characters in the room. (Hopefully. To this day there’s still one of those in The Magicians. A No-Prize to whoever spots it.) The process is always a little painful, because I like to mix colloquial constructions in with the shmancy literary ones, and they get flagged as incorrect, and then we have a big fight about it.

Also I repeat words slightly more often than most writers, because I think the clunkiness of it is funny, and I hate the artificiality of  when buy zithromax suspension online you’re writing a paragraph about horses and you keep having to come up with ever-more-elaborate synonyms for “horse” (“steed,” “mount,” “equine beast,” etc.) to avoid repetitions. Just say horse again already! But no. Against the rules.

This is why my manuscripts come back with a lot of “repetition intentional?” in the margins.

For now it’s a relief to spend some time not-writing, or rather just writing journalism. I love writing fiction, it’s the greatest kind of work I know, but even I get tired of constantly watching the clock, figuring out when I’ll next have a sliver of free time (meaning time with no children, and no work, when I am reasonably well-rested and also not drunk) in which to move the chains on my book. My family is definitely tired of it. Enough living a double life. I’m sticking with a single one for a while.

At least till the copy edits come back.

p.s. fun event with Lauren Oliver in March

Saturday, October 5th, 2013


So much of what I’m working on at the moment is either semi- or fully secret that I just don’t have much to talk to you about right now. Some of it has to do with The Magician’s Land, some of it’s Magicians-related, some of it’s all-new. This is has been a time-biding year, but I’m hopeful that next year I’ll have some interesting announcements.

But meanwhile it’s awkward. The silences. There’s a new coldness between us. I know you feel it too.

This -- this is the coldness between us. Brrrr.

At least I can brief you on a few upcoming events. New York Comic-Con is next weekend, which I haven’t been to for a few years, maybe partly because the first time I went was in 2009, a couple of months before The Magicians came out, and not only did nobody have any idea who I was, my signing was right next to Lou Ferrigno’s. Most of the people in my line were just there so they could try to cut into his line.

But I’m going back this year. On Friday at 1:30 I’ll be talking with B.J. Novak about his new book One More Thing, and on Saturday I’ll be on a panel called Ode to Nerds, which I don’t really know what that means, but given the personnel I’m pretty sure it’ll be interesting.

On October 29 I’ll be competing in a charity spelling bee to benefit the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. I actually used to be a pretty good speller, and in fact the first year they held this particular event, which I think was maybe 2004, I won it. Then the next couple of years I bombed out almost instantly. Then I became too ashamed to even show up.

But now I’m making my triumphant return. You can be pretty sure I will once again bomb out instantly.

Lastly, on November 9 I’ll be in Charleston for Yallfest, which has a really amazing list of authors. If you’re anywhere near Charleston’s gravity well you should consider coming out.

(Yes, it’s a young adult books festival. Am I a young adult author? Hell if I know. Plenty of young adults read me, so QED?)


Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This Weekend in Atlanta

I’ll be in Atlanta this weekend!

But I guess I blew the surprise with the subject line.

I’m not doing much traveling this year, but the prospect of going to a con and a festival in one weekend in one city was too good to pass up. So starting Friday I’ll be vibrating between Dragoncon and the Decatur Books Festival at speeds barely visible to the human eye.


(Absurdly, Worldcon and PAX Prime are also this weekend. People, we have to start spreading this stuff out.)

My schedule looks something like this:

Friday, 4:00 pm: DragonCon panel where I talk about the gory details of my 2005 interview with J.K. Rowling. (Location: International North – Hyatt)

Friday, 5:30 pm: Dragoncon reading. I’ll bring a snippet from The Magician’s Land. (Location: University – Hyatt)

Saturday, 11:30 am: Dragoncon signing. This one kind of explains itself. (Location: International Hall South – Marriott)

Saturday, 3:00 pm: A Decatur event called “My Literary Brother.” This is going to be a conversation between me and my literary (twin) brother Austin. Such conversations rarely happen, at least in public, because Austin and I are rarely in the same place at the same time. I never know what’s going to get said, but it’s buy generic zithromax always interesting. (Location: Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage)

Sunday, 12:00 pm: A Decatur panel with the ominous title “Do Book Reviews Matter?” I’m pretty sure we’re going to settle this one once and for all. (Location: Old Courthouse Stage).

Sunday, 4:00 pm: a Dragoncon panel called “The Logic of Magic.” Holy cripes, this panel has on it, in addition to me, Larry Niven. I consider Niven to be one of the all-time greats, and a major inspiration to me personally (also, I completely stole the idea of a demon-trapping tattoo from him). Come watch as my fanboy squealing shames us all. (Location: Regency VI – VII – Hyatt)

Sunday, 5:30 pm: a Dragoncon panel called “Why Men Should Friggin’ Love Fantasy Literature.” I have no idea why men should friggin’ love fantasy literature, but I’ll think about it more before then. More to the point, this panel also includes Peter Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and Richard Pini (who co-created Elfquest). So something interesting will get said. I friggin’ guarantee it. If nothing else I will be pretty punchy at this point. (Location: Embassy C – Hyatt)

I got tired just writing all that. Now I have to go to bed.

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Australia, LeakyCon, Etc.

Hello all. I apologize for having been so silent for the last … no, I can’t even look at the date of my last blog post. Nobody look. Let’s all just agree it’s been long enough.

I spent the past month in Australia, where my wife is from, and which is getting to be a kind of second home to me. This was the first time I’d brought all my kids with me, which resulted in some valuable life lessons, which I will now pass on to you:

1. If your toddler throws up on you during a snorkeling cruise, they will give you a free shirt

2. In any father’s life there will come a moment when he is asked to open a coconut. It is best to prepare in advance

I began this post on a cross-country flight to Portland for LeakyCon, which is a kind of Harry-Potter-centered but basically pan-fandom convention, and it had a whole part in it about how much I was looking forward to it. Now I’m on my way back, temporarily becalmed in Seattle, and I’m thinking about how deeply, deeply excellent it was. It was my third time, and I’m here to tell you, LeakyCon is a special thing. It is not like anything else.

There are not many conventions where you can watch Anthony Rapp in a money-blowing booth, Amber Benson wriggling through a play tunnel, and Maggie Stiefvater playing bagpipes, and that doesn’t even cover what happened at LeakyCon in the space of 90 minutes yesterday afternoon. (For example you could also have seen me face-plant into a ball pit.)

But more to the point, LeakyCon feels authentic to me in exactly the way that massive commercial events like Comic-Con don’t really, not anymore. (LeakyCon : Comic-con : : PAX : E3, roughly, if that means anything to you.) Basically if you have any interest in seeing a bunch of smart, funny, kind, weird, interesting people who love the same things you love and want to talk to you about them, there is no better place to be. I respectfully recommend that you go. It will give you hope for the future.

In lieu of actually updating my Events page—which I would do except that I have developed a nasty allergy to raw HTML—I’ll give you a short list of places you can see me this summer. After LeakyCon I’ll be at Readercon in Massachusetts in July, then at the Decatur Books Festival and Dragoncon in Atlanta at the end of August. Oh, and I’ll be at Tor.com’s 5th anniversary party at Housing Works on July 24th.

OK, that was even shorter than I thought it was going to be. But I’ve been turning things down in order to work on The Magician’s Land. It’s due at the end of the August, and that’s not a deadline I want to screw around with.


Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Cat, Kate, Kingsley and YOU

I could post my events on the actual Events page of this site. But I thought I’d switch it up. Keep you guessing. I’m not really supposed to have any events at all this year, because this is really a writing year for me and not an events year. But these were too good to pass up.

Tomorrow night —  Thursday, April 11 — I’ll be talking with Catherynne Valente at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn. This isn’t my event, it’s her event, but I get to be part of it, and bask in her reflected genius. Which is pretty serious genius.

On Sunday morning, April 14, I’ll be part of an event at the Downtown Literary Festival. The event is of a slightly mysterious nature, which even I do not really understand. Perhaps it will only fully be grasped by future generations.

Next: more basking. Kate Atkinson is speaking in Brooklyn on April 16, and I’m introducing purchase azithromycin uk her. Her new book is beyond brilliant. I’ll be stunned and indignant if it doesn’t win the Booker Prize.

I’ve basked, and basked—but is it enough? No. On April 29 I’ll be talking to my brother at Greenlight Bookstore about his new book You, which is also brilliant. Austin and I don’t do many events together, so it’s actually a pretty rare opportunity to see us talk books. We’re like John and Hank Green, except older and less popular!

Finally—and this may not have been announced yet, but I’m throwing caution to the winds here, and plus I can’t be bothered to do a separate post about it—there will be an event on May 6 at the Half King in Manhattan to celebrate the reissue of a couple of great Kingsley Amis novels. I’ll be saying a few words.

If we all drink enough, we can recreate the famous hangover scene from Lucky Jim.

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

August in the Midwest, New Year’s Eve in Havana

I just completed a long car trip on a Sunday in August with two small children, which believe me is enough to convince you that Samuel Beckett was right about everything.

I’m blissfully home for I think two days, and then — I have to check my own Events page here — on Tuesday I’ve got a reading  at Boswell Books in Milwaukee, and on Wednesday I’m at The Book Stall in Winnetka.

I’m really happy about these events, because I don’t get sent to those parts of the country too often for some reason. Also I feel a funny kind of connection to the Midwest because even though I grew up in Massachusetts, my father’s family are all from Minnesota.

According to family legend — which was compiled by that one saintly individual in every family who takes charge of these things — an ancestor of mine, fresh off the boat from Ukraine, told a travel agent how much cash he had in his pocket, and the travel agent gave him tickets to the city that cost exactly that amount, which happened to be Minneapolis. Thus were begat several generations of really cold Jews.

I include, because it is excellent, a photo of two of my Minnesotan ancestors, ready to tear shit up circa 1918:


The caption appears to read: “the two wampires.” Sic? Though that would explain a lot.

The woman on the right was named azithromycin order amoxicillin Jennie Berman, and  she is said to have been a great beauty. She was the first wife of my grandfather Lou, who owned a successful car dealership. I, of course, am only distantly related to this great beauty, because I’m descended from Lou’s second wife, Beatrice (though Beatrice and Jennie were in fact first cousins, so I probably got like one good-looking base pair in there).

Here, because it is very weird, is a picture of Lou and Beatrice, on New Year’s Eve, 1937, sitting on a sled, in a road, in Havana:

I can’t explain any of this. But the point is: if you’re in Milwaukee or Winnetka, I want to hang out with you.

Then Thursday through Sunday I’ll be at LeakyCon. If you’re coming to LeakyCon already, you’re stuck with me, and it will be hard to avoid me, so there’s no point in my hectoring you. (Though I will say: of special interest is my conversation with John Green on Friday. Because John is interesting.) If you’re not coming to LeakyCon, but you’re around Chicago (and didn’t come to the Winnetka thing), and you’d like me to sign your book, there will be a signing that’s open to the public. Laini Taylor, Holly Black, Stephanie Perkins, Megan Whalen Turner, Dan Ehrenhaft, Robin Wasserman, and Maureen Johnson will also be signing there. It’s going to be mental.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I Am Two With Nature

I’m in the country.

It’s amazing here. We got stressed out in Brooklyn, so we rented this old house a couple of hours outside New York City. Nothing fancy, but it has a pool, and when you sit on the front porch you can see about five miles of woods and meadows and exactly one other house.

It’s beautiful. It’s enough to make you feel like all of human civilization was a bad idea. Like, the trees got it right the first time.

Halcyon found a frog in the pool this morning, drunk on chlorine, and we rescued it and it hopped away. You should have seen her face: I don’t think Halcyon realized frogs were real — I think she had them grouped with hippogriffs in the mythical category.

Part of the time here I’ll spend working on a long piece for Time. But most of August will be consecrated to fiction. I’ve been frustrated lately, and to be honest kind of take ativan for depressed, trying to make time for novels and do my job and promote my books and so on. I think the balance got a little out of whack. Time to whack it back into balance. So this is the next couple of weeks.

Then I’ll be doing the third and final leg of the Magician King paperback buy azithromycin london tour: a reading at Boswell Books in Milwaukee on August 7, then another reading in Winnetka, IL, on August 8, then Leakycon, which will include an on-stage conversation with one of my very favorite contemporary writers, John Green.

I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging here as much lately. Partly it’s the business/depression, partly it’s that my vital blogging fluids are being diverted to Time‘s entertainment blog, where I’ve been writing a weekly books column. In the past few weeks — for example — I did a piece on the hallucinatory effects of reading children’s books aloud that I think came out well, and one on reading and walking at the same time. You can tour my rare-and-not-so-rare book collection. And here’s my response to a New Yorker piece about literary fiction and genre fiction.

And so on. For tomorrow I’m doing a piece tentatively titled “On Hating Books.” The column’s a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it. Feel like I’m exploring my critical voice, that sort of thing. Saying things I don’t get to say in reviews

All right, back to work. By the way there’s no Wifi here, so I’m talking to the Internet through my phone, with images off. It’s like I’m back on an old Lynx browser. Hence no image to go with this post.

Picture a drunken frog.

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Coming Up Next: July!

OK! I’ve been home for a week and a half now. I’m starting to recognize my kids on sight instead of just snapping my fingers and pointing. Screw this. I’m going back on the road.

This time: Florida. I’m reading in Miami on July 11th, then I’m spending the rest of the week at Ascendio, the Harry Potter conference in Orlando.

This means that, for the first time in four years, I won’t be going to Comic-Con in San Diego this summer, because they’re the same weekend. Which was a tricky choice. But love it or hate it — I do both — bottom line, Comic-Con isn’t really about authors. It’s about directors, actors, screenwriters, comics artists, costume designers, animators, and people who design disposable novelty tote bags. After that, it’s about authors. As a novelist at Comic-Con you kind of have to fight for oxygen.

I needed a break from that. I mean, I knowingly signed on for it: fighting for oxygen is what novelists do. But sometimes it’s nice to go to a convention that’s about books first, where everybody is glad you’re there just because you’re a writer. Ascendio is such a conference, and I am stoked for it. (LeakyCon, which I’ll be at in August, is another such conference. So is Readercon, which unfortunately is the same weekend as Ascendio.)

As soon as I get back I’m on for a couple more events in New York City: a conversation with G. Willow Wilson on July 17, and a conversation with Erin Morgenstern on July 18th. Both of those evenings will be deeply awesome. As regular visitors to this blog know, I have a habit of getting onstage with people who are smarter than me. I’ll be happily continuing that grand tradition.

I have nothing else to add except that Metric’s Synthetica is, like, destroying me with its goodness right now.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Four Days in San Francisco

Tomorrow morning I’m going to San Francisco. I’ll be there for four days. Probably that was already clear.

It’s a bit weird that my publisher booked me into one city for four days. Usually tours are a-city-a-day, town to town, up and down the dial. We’re challenging the conventional wisdom on this one!

It goes like this. Saturday I’m reading as part of the SF in SF series. Draggily enough my reading in Palo Alto on Sunday got cancelled, but happily enough I’ll read at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland at 3:00 instead. Then on Tuesday I’m at Rakestraw buy zithromax at walgreens Books at noon and then at Books Inc. at the Castro that night.

I am posting this post, even though it’s virtually identical to my last post, because I’m really hoping people will come to the events. I read in Massachusetts on Tuesday and it was standing-room-only. We talked. We laughed. We played Scrabble. I read from the new book. I gave stuff away. Somebody brought me ice cream. It was incredibly energizing.

I loved it. I want to do it all over again. But I can’t do it without you.

Well, I could, but it wouldn’t anywhere near as fun.