So like a boss genius, I locked myself out of my office last night.

I left the key on my desk and locked the door behind me and I couldn’t find my spare anywhere and the landlord K (who lives two doors down) wasn’t home to open it and All My Book was on the office computer and I stood outside like a Victorian waif pawing at the window.

I called the landlord, left a message, ate dinner. We went back to see if we could get a window open–we could not. In frustration, Dmitri tried the door again, which had DEFINITELY been locked before dinner–and it was open! Hooray! Christmas is saved!

We figured K had come and opened it for us and just hadn’t bothered to call back or anything. Got my daily work done and didn’t think anymore of it.

K called this morning to arrange meeting me to open the office. I explained that it was open a few hours later and we thought she’d done it–she had, clearly, not.

Whereupon K laughed and said “Oh, well, that’s the building, though. It has a history of things like that. Radios turning on and off, that sort of thing. All benign, but I’m sure it won’t be the first time something strange happens there! Have a good day!”

Oh my god, I love this island. And New England. And Maine. My office has a friendly ghost that lets me in when I lock myself out. Of course it does. Caspar the Friendly Locksmith.

Best haunting ever.

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Well, hello there, Internet.

I am sure it has not gone unnoticed that I have fallen into a black hole of radio silence the likes of which I have not indulged in since, well, before I started blogging in the first place.

YOU GUYS. THIS JUST IN, HOT OFF THE PRESSES: DEPRESSION IS NOT AWESOME.

I’ll try to thumbnail this as best I can: I’ve been depressive all my life. And for the last eight years I have run as far as I can as fast as I can as hard as I can, using myself up on every level in order to make it as a writer, in order to get out of the morass I’d made of my life in my early twenties, in order to get to Maine and get to self-sufficient and in general get to where I am now. I have had to face up to the fact that energy, my energy, is actually finite.

In short: you know how you guys keep asking me how I write so many books and blog and write articles and go on tour for months and make circuses and cook and knit and raise a billion animals? And I always answer “Badly,” and everyone laughs? The answer is badly, it has always been badly, and I only held it all together by sheer force of will, desire to do what I do forever, a fair amount of good Puritan shame at not Accomplishing Everything At The Same Time All the Time and must be Perfect Provider and Perfect Housewife Both At Once, and the energy that comes from being young and driven and compulsive in one’s work habits.

After all, if you can work so hard you lose sight of everything else in the world and pitch yourself face-first into an exhaustive breakdown, anything less than that is slacking, right? Well. Quite so. 2012 was meant to be a year of mostly rest and then touring like a mad Wheeler for the autumn and winter. Instead I was sick for the first four months of the year, which put every single other thing on my schedule back four months and left me no time to recover from the craziness of 2011. And then I spent the summer in Europe (poor me, I know, but it was mostly working) and had a bare breath of being home before a tour that ran six weeks and god knows how many cities and just took everything out of me.

Tours are magic, tours are a gift from the publishing gods these days, tours give so much beauty and love. Some truly, truly amazing things have happened to me in the last few months. Holy shit you guys, I was in Time Magazine. Twice. But touring takes a level of social energy that borders on a superpower. And it takes time to recharge. And I haven’t had a moment to recharge in two years.

And I am writing the third Fairyland novel. When a novel is going well, I am Chipper and Glee and Want to Talk to Everyone. When it isn’t, I can’t bear any kind of communication that isn’t between me and the book. I think this book and I are finally starting to get along, and my chest is starting to feel less heavy about anything involving typing.

I have neglected this blog and the Internet and the world most heinously. I am going to try to be better, without hurting myself. That’s probably a good mantra for the year. But I knew my depression was a horse of a different color this time because I stopped blogging. I’ve blogged for twelve years, no matter how dire anything was. I stopped playing video games. I stopped knitting. I stopped all the things that brought me pleasure because experiencing pleasure caused me so much anxiety I couldn’t even face it.

This is personal stuff, I know. I’m talking about it because I know so many people suffer from depression and it’s not talked about and especially not talked about if you are an Type A Over-Accomplisher Semi-Semi-Public Figure. So I’m saying: I’ve been in a dark place. Exhaustion and sickness and hitting the energy wall and Overly Dramatic Life Things I won’t get into. I’ve sought medication for depression for the first time; it didn’t go so well and I’m debating whether to pursue that course further. At least I’m home for awhile. Catching up on everything I’ve let slide. And making fiction again.

But I’m trying to come out. It’s not a popping out of the ground with YMCA arms thing. It’s a process. And step one is coming out of online hiding.

So hi. It’s been awhile.

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Hi guys–I’m at an airport on my way to Houston. I have eaten a fried chicken sandwich for the first time in a year and I’m not really sorry!

Big correction–the Book Cellar Event in Chicago is on Saturday, October 13th at 7pm, not Friday, October 12th, as previously reported. Some confusion on the office side. So sorry if this is confusing! I hope to see a bunch of you in the Windy City.

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You never know what’s coming next in Fell Beneath, and the most roundabout and whimsical turns always come back around to the main story and its payoff…As masterful as the first novel.

–Cory Doctorow

OMG Happy Book Birthday The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There!

Fairyland is a grown up series, officially. It has a pretty purple baby sibling and I’m just hoping, with fingers and thumbs crossed, that it touches you all the same way.

It’s still nearly impossible for me to believe that the dashed-off motif in Palimpsest has become this enormous thing, a five book series, illustrated and gorgeous and a few people even love it. And now it has the sequel–the one I intended to write as soon as I put the last sentence on Circumnavigated. The one about September’s shadow.

This would never have happened without those who were so supportive, who gave their energy to the book, who told me not to give up. That means my editor and team at Feiwel and Friends, but it also means everyone who read Fairyland when it was online and thought it was important. Thank you so much. I’ve never known anything like the life of this series. The internet, every once in awhile, can be magic.

This is only the beginning of the journey. Fairyland is a series, and we will all get to go back quite soon in the third book. But for today, it’s beginning again, and I wish you all shadows and dodos and Revels as we set off for fairy shores once more.

Which is a nice way of saying ZOMG FAIRYLAND IS OUT HOLY CATS.

Thank you to everyone–simply, everyone who has been there, who supported the project, who donated, who read along, who pre-ordered, who bought the first book and told me how it made them feel, who talked about it online. Thank you to my tribe. To parents and librarians and teachers. And to my publishers who have been a dream of support and love. There are not enough thanks in the world.

And here’s everything you need to know about The Girl Who Fell Beneath!

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows — and their magic — to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookseller, and basically anywhere you care to look for books. You should be able to get it on the ground at all the big booksellers, too. It’s available on the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, and most other electronic formats.

AND GET THIS. The audiobook? Is read by none other than s00j! S.J. Tucker lent her astonishing acting talents to the story–and I cannot think of anyone better to read to you in the night than she. You want to hear this, I promise.

If you want your copy signed, mail it to me with the cost of return postage and I will sign it for you. Email me for my address if you don’t already know it. Or find me on the tour at any one of the readings and conventions I’ll be doing in 2012. There are a lot.

I know there are some of you who just can’t afford it, but genuinely want to read it. If you really, really honestly can’t afford it, I have a few spare copies and I’ll consider trades. Good old bartering system.

How You Can Help (if, you know, you’re inclined to do things like helping out authors. And if you like the book.)

Buy the book. Obviously, this is the best way to support the book–and ensure that there will be many more in the series. Buying a copy during the first week and even doing so today is a huge slice of awesome–it’s the most important week in a book’s life. It’s when the strange math of the NYT list can inexplicably blow your way, as it did with the first book. If you want to do me a solid, buy it this week. I really appreciate it.

Amazon (Kindle, Audiobook)
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Powell’s

Come to my readings in the next month. Come the show, be part of the tribe. I’m in Denver this week, and the first reading, and therefore launch party, is at The Boulder Bookstore tonight at 6:30 pm. Please come if you’re in the area! All my other tour dates are here.

Review it. On your blog, or elsewhere if you work for a review site or a magazine. I can send a PDF if you haven’t gotten the book from other sources. Physical ARCs are also available. I’d like to hold review copies for people who review for venues, however.

Put up a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Totally easy and a nice way to say what you thought even if you don’t review professionally. Don’t be shy!

Ask your local booksellers to carry it, if they don’t already. This is important, as it is still the place where a whole lot of people buy books, and the brick and mortar ordering system determines a lot of a book’s success.

Check it out from your local library. If they don’t have it, request it. This can result in both you reading the book for free, and increased library orders, which are awesome. Also, libraries: we need them, yo.

Link to the book in your journals/Twitter/Facebook/websites–Spread the word! And if you know kids who might like it–tell them. Please do get the word out, if you can. All books need help to get in front of readers’ eyeballs. If you want me to cross-link to any of your work in exchange, let me know.

If you link to Fairyland in your journals, blogs, Twitter, or Facebooks any time in the next week, leave a comment with the link in THIS POST and I will enter you in a drawing to win a Fairyland prize package! You can use OpenID if you don’t have an LJ account.

The prize box contains:

A complete set of all my novels and standalone novellas
A box of local Maine chocolates
A bottle of Maine blueberry mead
My reading copy of Fairyland 2 at the end of the tour–with all my notes, bookmarks, and a few fun things from the journey tucked in.

My heart is very full today. I hope I can hug as many of you as I can on the tour. Magic happens, for reals, and I thank you all for helping to make this spell do its work.

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A couple of corrections:

The Schuler Books event is at the LANSING store, not Grand Rapids. Please come to the Lansing store! I really hope to see the Detroit gang there as it’s been FOREVER since I’ve been able to get out to Michigan.

I’ll be at the Southern Festival of Books all weekend, but my panel is on SUNDAY October 14th, “Saving the World When Grown-Ups Can’t”.

I have free days in Cincinnati and Philadelphia (I have one in Chicago, too, but I’m pretty booked up socially for that one). I’m hoping some of my Cleveland friends will be up for making the drive, and that my Philly friends have some free time! (Cincinnati on the 16th, Philadelphia on the 24th.)

I’m flying out on Monday morning. This is not the longest tour I’ve ever done (Palimpsest clocked in at about 4 months total, and I don’t see anything beating that because oh god I’d die) but it’s the most packed and professional. I’ve toured on my own dime, couchsurfed, sold books out of the back of a truck. This time I get to stay in hotels like a grown-up and that is awesome. But having toured so much in my brief eight years as a professional author, I’m starting to get a handle on the things that become precious when you’re on the road. I WILL NOW TELL YOU ABOUT THEM. (In case you guys go on tour, or business trips, or whatever. If you have other advice, leave it in the comments!)

Fresh, Homecooked Food

Honestly, you eat like crap on tour. You’re in all these strange cities where you don’t know anyplace to eat well. Your schedule is so crazy you just grab whatever you can find and put it in your face. Then you end up having to sweat out your lunch in an auditorium in front of a couple of hundred kids. On the very rare occasions when you can get food that is cooked at home and not at a restaurant, or something leafy and dark green (not the anemic green of fast food salads), or anything that feels wholesome and not like another layer of extruded protein product from the labs of Pluto, your body just weeps from gratitude.

Alone Time

On tour, you are on all the time. You put on your best extrovert pants and smile and laugh and try to make connections. It’s great. And it’s exhausting. If you don’t find a way to be alone (and awake, sleeping doesn’t count) at least a little every day, you’ll break yourself. Or at least I will break myself. Like willpower, social shininess is a finite resource and it needs recharging. It’s part of taking care of yourself–which I am, as nine years of this blog can attest, not very good at.

Familiar Faces

As much as you need alone time, it’s always the most amazing feeling when people you’re close to, real, solid friends, show up to see you and take you for beer after. It’s like a warm bath–these are people you know how to interact with, they’re easy to be around, and they’ll understand when you can barely remember your hotel’s name. They’re a connection to your personal life, rather than your professional identity. OMG, friends are the best.

Patterns

Like the Kim Stanley Robinson quote which is my new mantra says, patterns are important. Shipboard life is still life. You need some kind of patterns to carry you through. Doing yoga every morning, trying the local beer in every city, collecting some piece of kitsch from every state. Getting some original writing done, even if it’s a paragraph a day. My Clevar Plan for this tour is to figure out a knitting project that I can complete within the timeframe of the tour, yoga in my hotel in the mornings, and to write whenever I’m on a plane. Planes are boring, anyway. But you have to build in stable patterns from day one, so you can have a solid psychic base for everything else. I suppose there are personality types that don’t need this, but I am not one of them.

I’m a little nervous. This is a giant tour. I hope the second Fairyland book is as successful as the first was. When the first came out, thousands of people had already read it. This is a brand new thing. It is scary. And this tour is huge-normous. A solid month away from my husband and animals and home. (But at the end I get a new Maine Coon kitten! Complete tour; receive kitten.)

Touring is amazing. Magical things happen–straight up. I cried a lot on my last tour, just because all this love and emotional resolution stuff kept happening (helps when your tour dates are in cities you grew up in). When you see a gymnasium full of kids holding your book it’s better than any coffee you’ve ever had. But all that amazing, and all that travel can overload you, and I’m trying to find ways to recharge on the road. It’s a process. I hope to unlock that particular achievement.

I’ll try to blog while I’m gone–the issues with the wordpress posting are FINALLY fixed–I know I’ve been off the grid like whoa. I’m slowly making my way back on.

Wish me luck.

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