As the final space shuttle launch for the foreseeable future goes up today, and the melancholy of that finality tinges the excitement of a spaceship leaving the atmosphere, I thought: wow, I never posted about the launch last year. I livetweeted, but never posted. Bad internet kitten.

So. Last year, as part of the Nebula Awards, a bunch of science fiction and fantasy writers got to see the launch of STS-132, also shuttle Atlantis, on a very sunny Florida day in May.

Now, the only reason I actually attended the Nebula ceremony was to see the launch. I had no hope of winning, see. (History makes lulz of us all.) But it was userinfojustbeast ‘s childhood dream to see a shuttle launch, and I consider it part of my duty in this world to make userinfojustbeast ‘s childhood dreams come true. Also, I was one of those dorky kids who watched Spacecamp like 900 times and worshipped Christa McAuliffe and was gonna be a for-real astronaut when she grew up, not like how little kids want to be an astronaut, but how big little kids want to–with some actual plans, but ultimately shitty follow-through. I went to Florida for that little girl, really.

As an odd aside, when I told my mother that I was going to see the space shuttle launch she said: "Oh! Did I ever mention that I was there to see the moon landing guys go up in ’69? We were living in Florida back then, and the ground shook like an earthquake." OH MY GOD NO YOU NEVER MENTIONED THAT HOLY CRAP. The things our parents forget to tell us! I’ll bet when she saw that ship go up she promised herself she’d tell her kids. But then so many other stories crowd in and before you know it your daughter is thirty and going to see a launch of her own. Much like I meant to post this, last year, and so many things got in the way, other stories, other triumphs and failures crowding in, asking their due.

That hot May day last year, we bused out to the site, and sat in the bleachers in the blistering sun, and watched the giant red numbers count down (then count up a little, then down again). We talked about writing, and about space shuttles, and we watched the big, shining ship out there on the pad.

I expected it to be a pretty cool thing to see, but I was unprepared for just how extraordinary it was–the sound of it roaring and the ground shaking, yes, like an earthquake, and the clouds of pale exhaust pluming out. But what I felt wasn’t really any of that, it was the collective desire of everyone in those stands, holding hands instinctively, just willing it to go up and up and up, to carry all our hopes with it (and yes, a simple research mission, but it didn’t matter what they were going up for, just that a handful of humans were flying, flying into the heavens, further than any of us would ever go, better and faster and brighter, the hope that fuels all those novels and all those kids clutching toy shuttles), a group of earthbound advanced primates, our want and wonder so focused and sharp, willing everything to be perfect, for nothing to hurt, for the world to be as it should be, as it sometimes is in our books–us, our little folk, reaching further than our grasp, and for nothing bad to happen on the way there.

Because as it rose higher and higher I realized that the last time I had seen a launch was on a television screen in my first grade classroom in 1986. I watched the Challenger and my hero Christa explode into pieces that morning, and cried only later, when I understood what had happened. Then I just watched in total shock and disbelief. And it was the same image, the shuttle rising into a perfect blue sky. Until that moment I had no idea how much my heart had held onto that image of the Challenger, the instant before it was obliterated. And watching the Atlantis, my whole being just held its breath, thinking: please don’t explode, please make it, please don’t burst into flame and fall out of the sky.

And it didn’t. And only later did the clouds of we’re not going up anymore, for all these sensible and not sensible reasons roll in. In that moment, all I felt was hope and joy. Unalloyed, unironic, full of ascending fire. And I cried again, just so full of wonder and optimism, as the image of the Challenger inside me was replaced and redeemed by a new one: the Atlantis, dwindling away from us, looking like nothing so much as a perfect, brilliant star.

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I swear, I am not dead. Or even maimed, mute, or mangled in any fashion.

Instead, I have been on tour for the last two months, which is a little liked being mangled by the sweetest, cuddliest, cheerfulest book bear ever. I’m not done yet–I’ll be Guest of Honor at Mythcon in Alberquerque next weekend–but I’m nearly there. While I’ve been gone, we’ve moved into a new house, summer has stickily and greenly arrived, I’ve gotten behind on just about everything imaginable, and I’ve spent more time in airplane cabins than humans are actually probably meant to.

And I’ve completely let the blog slide. When I’m working so hard for so long, I tend to default to a kind of baseline cavegirl state: eat, move, perform, eat, sleep, eat, move, perform, eat, lather, rinse, repeat. And I keep going until someone stops me or I collapse. Which means a lot of things which are not in that list of basic mushroomless starless actions slide. There were so many amazing moments on the tour, for the book, for me personally, for all my amazing friends all over the country and the world–but they were paid for by a very exhausted and ragged Cat who is only now beginning to recover.

But! I am back, and the summer is beginning (for me at least! I’m like three weeks behind the rest of the world) and I will be blogging again, god willing and the creek don’t rise. (It took forever even to get net access in the new house. I find myself in the odd state of googling for net help, a stackable washer and dryer, and Plymouth Rock laying hens, one after the other. MAINE LIFE YO.)  I miss you all and I miss being alive on the internet and seriously, y’all, some STUPID things have gone down since I blinked out online (looking at you, The Guardian).

I feel vaguely bad that I’ve kept up reasonably well with Twitter, but not with LJ. I suppose that’s what Twitter is, something that requires less mental energy and lifting, but still, it feels like I’ve been seeing a girl on the side, and yeah, maybe she’s not as nice or pretty or smart as my main squeeze, but she’s easy and doesn’t demand much? And that is a sleazy feeling, friends. So fiddlesticks to it, no matter how long it’s taken me to write this post while being all: everyone will have abandoned LJ and/or forgotten me, I shall begin shining up my dusty digs here.

If there’s anything I missed while I was gone, tell me–I seriously have no idea what’s been shaking, personally or otherwise, with anyone anywhere.

Hello world! I missed you!

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I swear I will get back on here–I’m recovering from the tour and kind of hiding from the internet. Stuff has happened! I want to tell you about it! But I am le tired.  However! I owe a prize winner!

The winner of the Fairyland prize package is userinfoladyof_sherwood ! Email me your mailing address!

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I don’t even know how to write this entry.

I never thought this would happen. I remember telling Carrie Vaughn a couple of years ago that this was not something that could possibly happen to me, considering what I write. The story this tells is an amazing one, and I can’t believe I’m living in it.

Um.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
debuted at number 8 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

O.M.F.G.

That icon was me all day, except with more crying and calling my parents and userinfojustbeast  and userinfoseanan_mcguire . I keep trying on the idea in my head and laughing because it’s so unlikely and so awesome and OMGTOPTENWHAT.

I still have no coherentness. I am a third grade girl who just got the best pony ever for her birthday. That’s how loud I screamed when I got the call. In the middle of a restaurant.

I am just so grateful. To all my citizens of Fairyland who had faith in me and this book. I keep dorkily thinking of the line from Babylon 5: Faith Manages. Oh, how it does. Thank you, all of you, thank you so much.

I wish I could hug everyone. I will do some straight-up hugpunking gleebouncing at Powell’s tonight. Until then, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting–I’ve barely had a moment to breathe on the road. Prize winners will be drawn tomorrow.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the world is made of magic and we land in the right timeline.

Fine print: the deal is that in order to stay on the list it has to sell as many copies this week–so if you were thinking of buying one, now would be an awesome time.

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A glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian fairy tale, done with heart and wisdom.

–Neil Gaiman

It really is wonderful: whimsical and lyrical and shot through with an imagination that simultaneously renders the traditional furniture of fairy tales fresh, and manages to make the author’s own inventions seem as mythic as the first story told in the first cave in front of the first fire.

–Cory Doctorow

I honestly can’t really believe this day is finally here. I am posting this from 30,000 feet, high above the clouds, on my way west, to the cities where I grew up. It seems appropriate.

Today, Fairyland goes out into the world–I hesitate to say as a "real book," because it was always real. But it is a printed book now, full of gorgeous illustrations, sent out wrapped in red and with a Wyvern on the cover, with blurbs by my heroes and starred reviews and good god, even Amazon’s best book of the month. How did this happen? I’m not really sure. Most of what I’m thinking about today is a morning two years ago when I started a story and you all came away with me to Fairyland. I’m thinking about how much you guys have meant to me, and what an extraordinary ship we made together. There is nothing I could say to equal the faith and energy that have swirled and danced around this book. I am honored to have been at the center of it.

This is only the beginning of the journey. Fairyland is a series, and we will all get to go back quite soon. But for today, it’s beginning again, and I wish you all leopards and pumpkins as we set off for fairy shores.

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

Thank you to everyone–simply, everyone who was there, who supported the project, who donated, who read along, who pre-ordered, who talked about it online. Thank you to my tribe. And to my publishers for taking a chance on September. There are not enough thanks in the world. And here’s everything you need to know about Fairyland!

  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making 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.
  • 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 2011. There are a lot.
  • I know there are some of you who just can’t afford it, but genuinely want to read it, even at Amazon’s 30% off. 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, and I really appreciate it. I know a lot of you waited to read it until it was in print–now’s your chance.
  • Come to my readings in the next month. Come the show, be part of the tribe. I’m in LA this week, and the first reading, and therefore launch party, is at the Huntington Beach Barnes & Noble tonight at 7pm. Please come if you’re in the LA area! All my other tour dates are on my website.
  • 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. 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.
  • Use one of the icons around LJ and forums. made these gorgeous icons for us! In order not to clog your pages, I will use ye olde link: go see the beautiful icons, comment if you take one, and please credit her!

  • Link to the book in your journals/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 signed copy of Fairyland
A signed copy of Deathless
A copy of the Deathless comic by myself and  
A unique woodburned Spoon (a witch is nothing without one)
A box of pumpkin truffles
A jeweled key necklace made by me
A lace hat knitted by me–green, to keep you warm in the town where the Six Winds live
A variety of anthologies including Whedonistas, Teeth, and my short story collection, Ventriloquism.

Fun Stuff

Fortunately, Feiwel has collected all the fun stuff on one website over at MacKids. You can find a bestiary, a cast of characters, illustrations, the book trailer, and  ‘s beautiful music (yes, there will be a full album!) and the beginning of Nine Lessons from a Wyverary Governess–a serial short fiction easter egg hunt with chapters all over the net. There is a whole lot of awesome over there, I tell you what. Check it out, explore, and you can still read the first eight chapters for free on the original site.

My heart is very full today. Whatever happens form here on out, I believe in this thing, this mad impossible thing that somehow came possible. 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 casting this spell with me.

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