Out of the Mud and Into New Jersey

Hello, Cleveland!

I have emerged, like unto Inanna, from the depths of The Orphan’s Tales revisions. The first book is ready to go back to the depths of Bantam, this time with 60% more centaurs, pumpkins, stars, and firebirds. It was really pretty embarrassing to go back to that book–I wrote it four years ago, and while the backbone of a really good book is there, I knew only vague things about writing a novel which was even a little bit traditionally plotted. I knew how to be a crazy person and throw poetry around a couple of hundred pages. But I’d been writing poetry for a good decade in 2002, and all the fiction I had under my belt was The Labyrinth and one little short story. I bit off an epic and didn’t really know how to implement, especially since, like Tolkien, it grew in the telling, and insisted on becoming huge and sprawling, rather than sweet and little and tame.

So The Book of the Steppe (Book I) was an intensive course in really complex plots, and between it, Yume, The Grass-Cutting Sword, and about ten other short stories, I had gotten, well, a lot better at that sort of thing by the time I started the second book, whose revisions I’m starting today, and I can only thank my editor at Bantam–who is, by the way, the best editor I could have asked for–for seeing through a lot of beginner’s mistakes to what the book could be.

I know it’s uncool to admit that a writer doesn’t know everything the second they emerge from the womb (with a contract in each hand, naturlich) and that even after their first novel, even after their second, they still have a lot to learn, especially if, like me, they’re kind of obscenely young when they start on all this craziness. But I did, and I did, and four years later I can wrangle that first-time novelist’s dream–the novel that contains everything–into something that’s really pretty wonderful. I feel kind of good about myself today. Again, when it comes to this series, I also make no apologies for loving it like a big lovable thing, and being unable to have any kind of authorial objectivity. I’m its biggest fan. So,  you know, I should probably get to work on the wiki. Won’t it be funny, the book will have a wiki all its own, and me without even a wikipedia stub. Alas.

The wonderfulness will be on full display at Lunacon–I hope I can convince other cons to let me do this, because I think it’s the perfect reading venue for the Tales. My full schedule is behind the cut (if you want to arrange something with me, contact me now, while I’m not fully booked), but on Friday at 9pm in the Princeton room, I’ll be doing a full hour-long reading of various and sundry from the book. It’s a bedtime story reading–there will be cocoa and caramels and everyone will cuddle up, there will be teddy bears (BYOTB) and if anyone is missing a cuddler, I’ll be giving away a goose (yes, goose) stuffling to those who can answer appropriate fairy tale trivia. We’ll even see if they’ll let us turn the lights down low. Come one, come all–kids are encouraged, though make sure they’re not squeamish about talking animals and the occasional squidge of blood.

Friday: 8:00-9:00 p.m.
Phil Brucato , Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Catherynne M. Valente, Roberta Gellis

Bad-Ass Faeries
about the dark side of faerie, the intimidating ones who think the Faerie
Queen’s problem was that she was way too sweet and nice….

Friday: 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Catherynne M. Valente

Fairy Tale Bedtime Stories For Children and Adults
Readings from Catherynne M. Valente’s series of fairy tales coming out
from Bantam/Dell this year. The stories appeal to all ages, like the Arabian
Nights. A “bedtime story” reading for adults and kids, complete with cocoa and
teddy bears, where everyone can enjoy these new-fashioned stories in a uniquely
comfortable environment. Bring your own teddy bear.

Saturday: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Andy Wheeler , Jack Hillman, Virginia McMorrow, Catherynne M. Valente, Irene Harrison

Children’s Fantasy
So many of the classics and biggest sellers in the genre
started out life as kids books – even though a huge percentage of the audience
is made up of adults. What’s behind our continuing fascination with children’s

Saturday: 3:00-4:00
Coffee House
Josepha Sherman, Catherynne M. Valente

Writing Fairy Tales

Saturday: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Coffee House
Jill Bauman, Darrell Schweitzer, Scott Grimando , S. J. Tucker, Catherynne M. Valente

SF Poetry Readings
Come listen to poetry or bring your own for open mic
reading. Emceed by poet and artist Scott Grimando.

Sunday: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Salon Entrance
Jack Hillman, Catherynne M. Valente


I’ll probably be at part of the LJ meet up (only part, as sooj is singing and I will not miss that!), too. Hope to see some of you there!

Now, on to the greatest thing that has happened since this morning. Dr. Oppenhagen-Petrescu got an email today asking her to fact-check the Elizabeth Bathory section of a to-be published honest-to-god real Canadian book. What say you, LJ? Shall I advise her to accept or decline with a *ahem* gentle explanation?

PS–will get the reading recording up tout suite, I promise!

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