I miss real blogging, and I hope/plan to return to it this spring. In the meantime, I wanted to mention these upcoming events:
March 16: I'll be in Winston-Salem, NC at Salem College with Kami Garcia, Brendan Reichs, and Carrie Ryan. The event is at 7pm at the Drama Workshop in Elberson Fine Arts Center. It's free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
March 25: I'll be at the Midwest City Library in Oklahoma City, OK from 10am to 11am. This event is free and open to the public.
March 25: I'll be at the Northwest Library in Oklahoma City, OK from 6pm to 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.
March 26: I'll be at the Edmond Library in Oklahoma City, OK from 7pm to 8pm. This event is free and open to the public.
April 11: I'll be at YALLWest in Santa Monica, CA. Some of the events will be ticketed. Check their website for details.
May 12–17: I'll be returning to the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, TX. Registration required to attend.
I'm especially excited for the Oklahoma events, because they'll be my first in the state. I hope some of you will be able to come and say hello!
Before I sign off . . .
HAPPY (early) ST. PATRICK'S DAY! As per my annual tradition, I'll be making Storyqueen Shelley Moore Thomas's delicious corned beef with marmalade and watching Once, my favorite Irish movie. Do you have any fun traditions?
New York City! I'm packing my luggage!
And so are Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, and Kiersten White!!!
(Okay. Not Gayle, Jenny, or David. They already live there.)
But—that's right—*NINE* out of us twelve anthology authors are coming for *TWO* very special events in your city this week.
That's so many authors!!!
Plus, I'm doing a bonus reading with a bunch of other cool people this Wednesday at the Jefferson Market branch of the NYPL. Here's my full schedule:
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3rd
6–7:30 PM at Jefferson Market branch library (corner of 6th Ave and 10th St)
Teen Author Reading Night
Featuring: Anna Carey, Sarah Beth Durst, Margaret Gurevich, Daphne Grab, Claire Legrand, Stephanie Perkins, Kieran Scott, and Rebecca Serle. Hosted by David Levithan.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4th
4 PM at Barnes & Noble Tribeca
My True Love Gave to Me: Panel, Q&A, and Signing
Featuring: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, and Kiersten White.
Additional details: Priority seating with purchase. Guests who wish to sit must purchase a book from B&N—either My True Love Gave to Me *or* any book written by one of the featured authors. If nothing is purchased, guests will have to stand. No purchase is required to attend the signing.
7 PM at McNally Jackson
My True Love Gave to Me: Holiday Reception
Featuring: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, and Kiersten White.
Additional details: This party is also in celebration of McNally Jackson's ten-year anniversary. Hurrah! Wear your ugliest holiday sweater. THERE WILL BE PRIZES.
SPECIAL AWESOME SUPER BONUS: Matt de la Peña pre-signed the stock at both stores, and Laini Taylor sent signed stickers. Yes! You'll be getting the anthology signed by *ELEVEN* of the twelve authors.
But . . . but . . . what about Rainbow Rowell?
As you may have seen elsewhere online, Rainbow was scheduled to be here. Sadly, there's been a family emergency, and she'll be staying in Nebraska. We'll miss you so much, Rainbow.
We will also miss this FREAKING OUTSTANDING cardigan that your equally talented husband made especially for these two events:
To be clear: We will miss you more, Rainbow.
We're totally gonna miss your cardigan.
South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia . . . we're coming for you!
In fifteen minutes, I'll be hopping into my car and driving to YALLFest. Hurrah! I assume that if you're planning to attend, those plans, well . . . they've already been in the works for a while. But for everyone else in the South, you can still catch David Levithan, Jennifer E. Smith, and me at the following events this week:
CHARLESTON, SC: Saturday, November 8
Various panels and signings at YALLFest.
DECATUR, GA: Sunday, November 9
2:00 PM reading and signing at Little Shop of Stories.
ATHENS, GA: Sunday, November 9
7:30 PM party and signing at Avid Bookshop.
CHAPEL HILL, NC: Monday, November 10
7:00 PM reading and signing at Flyleaf Books.
ASHEVILLE, NC: Tuesday, November 11
7:00 PM reading and signing at Malaprop’s.
And if you don't live in this region, there's still time to enter this sweepstakes to win a free copy of My True Love Gave to Me and these cute holiday cookie cutters!
If you live in the United States, you can enter here now through November 13th to win either: 1 of 10 grand prizes (a copy of My True Love Gave to Me, a holiday cookie cutter, and a gift tag) *or* 1 of 115 holiday cookie cutters and gift tags.
The gingerbread lady cookie cutter is inspired by something in my story, “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown.” So much fun!
Okay, gotta dash. I hope to see some of you soon!!!
Happy November, friends!
The first snow of the season began falling on Asheville at midnight between Halloween and the first of November. It was magical. It felt like a gift just for me. I love snow, and I love November. It's my favorite month.
My lucky month.
Good things happen in November.
Last month—my second favorite month, and, yes, I rank everything—Jarrod and I participated in horror author Daniel Kraus’s annual 31 Horror Films in 31 Days Challenge. The idea is simple: Watch thirty-one horror films during the month of October, and tweet about each one with a brief description or review.
There's no prize. Just the glory of getting to say you've done it.
Well . . . WE DID IT.
Here's the full list of films we watched. Some of these tweets were more clever than others.* We watched these movies pretty late at night, okay?? My brain was tired.**
*The best were written by my husband.
**That's my weak excuse for two Kevin McCallister jokes. Cripes.***
***Also, I just really like Home Alone.
1. THE MIST (2007): Andrea, Dale, & Carol from THE WALKING DEAD get trapped in a grocery store & fight a parking-lot octopus.
2. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983): Crop tops and short shorts are killed in delightfully creative ways. Lock up your curling iron.
3. ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006): Unfriendly friends go to a ranch for blow jobs. Heads are blown off instead.
4. RAVENOUS (1999): Cool setting cool cannibals OH NO THIS MUSIC AGAIN. Guy Pearce, you're great, but I *think* it's a comedy?
5. COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (2012): It'll make you wish the elderly were used more often in climactic chase scenes.
6. GRABBERS (2012): Irish island gets drunk for protection against alien sea monsters. Great characters. Gorgeous setting.
7. THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (2008): Poor choices abound as Bradley Cooper photographs a butcher doing his work on the subway.
8. OLDBOY (2003): Keep your mouth shut. For multiple reasons.
9. FUNNY GAMES (1997): If their son had been Kevin McCallister, this home invasion would have gone very differently.
10. [REC] (2007): Blair Witch Outbreak in Barcelona.
11. SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE (2011): Some guy = ice cream man. People = bullies. Sad. Sweet. Funny. Quiet. Not really horror?
12. DETENTION (2011): Peeta and Dane Cook star in this 90s edition of Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture.
13. HORNS (2013): Townspeople can't lie to Harry Potter's pointy nubbins.
14. DRAG ME TO HELL (2009): Rests beside CORALINE in the pantheon of films about evil buttons.
15. CANDYMAN (1992): It takes longer to call him than Bloody Mary, but it's worth it for his coat alone.
16. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2009): I'm having a hard time digesting this one.
17. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (2011): What's black and white and brown all over? That one scene.
18. THE VANISHING (1988): Why you should never buy coffee at a gas station.
19. THE GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959): Teenagers, hot rods, and ukeleles. A regular gila monster. And then more ukeleles.
20. CURSED (2005): (A) Wednesday Addams, Mark Zuckerberg, Pacey, Kitty Sanchez, Ron Swanson, Lindsay Bluth. (B) Werewolves.
21. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974): The call is coming from inside the sorority! A modern slasher made pre-HALLOWEEN. Impressive.
22. THE RETURNED (2013): Zombies have been cured! Oops. Medicine's gone. Cue humanity at its worst.
23. FRANKENSTEIN (2011, Cumberbatch as Creature): Wow. WOW. Been waiting to see this for three years. Danny Boyle did NOT disappoint! Outstanding.
24. THE HITCHER (1986): Killer hitchhiker finds perfect victim—a guy who, inexplicably, will never describe him to the cops.
25. PROM NIGHT (1980): Disco dancing! And other things that go bump in the night.
26. FRANKENSTEIN (2011, Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein): Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller switch roles. Creature becomes Creator. Phenomenal.
27. THE GINGERDEAD MAN (2005): Gary Busey is a tiny homicidal cookie. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, you should watch it.
28. ERNEST SCARED STUPID (1991): When fighting booger trolls, don't forget the miak.
29. YOU'RE NEXT (2011): The Wet Bandits were lucky Kevin McCallister didn't use a blender, unlike this film's Final Girl.
30. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004): My favorite horror comedy. Period. (You've got red on you.)
31. SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999): Is it weird that I've always wanted to live on this set? Christopher Walken's pointy teeth and all.
All of these films were new-to-us with the exception of Ernest Scared Stupid, which we watch every Halloween Eve while carving pumpkins, and Shaun of the Dead and Sleepy Hollow, which we watch every year on Halloween itself. Obviously, we love them! Tease me all you want about Ernest, but I'll still maintain that it's massively underrated. It actually did scare me as a child. And the troll in it (a man in a costume) is ickier than 95% of modern CGI monsters.
As for the new films, Jarrod and I were unanimous in our top pick: Sleepaway Camp. This one was BONKERS. And so, so wrong. I never use this verb, but: Bless this film for existing.
Also, thanks to everyone on Twitter who told me to listen to the Sleepaway Camp episode of How Did This Get Made? It made me laugh (almost) as much as the movie.
Seriously, guys. That movie is ridiculous. And I mean that as a compliment.
The other films that I loved: Grabbers, Oldboy, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Candyman, Horns, The Vanishing, Black Christmas, and both versions of Danny Boyle's filmed play Frankenstein, which I saw in a movie theater via Fathom Events.
I also really, really, really liked Some Guy Who Kills People, though it seemed like it would be better friends with Little Miss Sunshine than Nightmare on Elm Street. It was great to see Kevin Corrigan, one of my favorite weirdos, in a leading role.
There was also plenty to enjoy about these: The Mist, Ravenous, Cockneys vs Zombies, [Rec], Drag Me To Hell, The Human Centipede, Cursed, The Returned, The Gingerdead Man, and You're Next.
As for the SCARIEST film, my tolerance for horror is high, so . . . none of them frightened me. I'm sorry! I know that's not helpful. But Candyman was the only film that made me vocally jump, and [Rec] was the only film that made me sick to my stomach. But that's because it used shaky cam. (Death to shaky cam!)
Funny Games was the hardest to watch. An hour and forty minutes of unrelenting misery. It wasn't graphic. Just bleak. And frustrating. With my least favorite type of ending to boot. The director accomplished exactly what he set out to do, and I can admire that, but I still hope I never have to see it—or anything like it—ever again.*
*I can't help but feel like the director (of both the original and the remake), Michael Haneke, would see this as a victory. Kudos to you, Haneke.
A few final thoughts:
Best title = The Midnight Meat Train
Runner up = Some Guy Who Kills People
Best title screen = You're Next, it's part of the actual plot
Runner up = Ravenous, vomiting Guy Pierce
Best kill = You're Next, blender
Runner up = Sleepaway Camp, curling iron
Best chase scene = Cockneys vs Zombies, elderly man with walker vs zombies
Runner up = Frankenstein, the entire film(s)
Best worst quote = Sleepaway Camp, "Eat shit and die." "Eat shit and live, Bill."
Runner up = The Gingerdead Man, "Got milk?"
Best costume = Candyman, the title villain's wicked sweet coat
Runner up = Sleepaway Camp, male crop tops and short shorts
Seriously, guys. You HAVE to see Sleepaway Camp.
Even though it's November.
Welcome to the world, My True Love Gave to Me!
I'm so PROUD of this book. (Four starred reviews!!!) And I'm excited that you can finally read it. It's available everywhere—your local indie bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.
I want to talk about it in greater detail here soon, but today—as it always seems these days, eep!—I'm in a rush. I'm packing for the Texas Book Festival, which is tomorrow, and I'm obsessing over Serial, which I SWEAR Ira Glass dreamed up just for me.
From their website:
"Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story—a true story—over the course of a whole season. We'll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in order, starting with Episode 1."
The first season is about Sarah's investigation into the murder of a teenage girl in the late nineties.
This American Life! Podcast! True crime!!!
If you have any interest in any of the above subjects, I can't recommend it highly enough. I've listened to each episode three times. (I told you I was obsessed.)
Okay, back to the Texas Book Festival . . .
If so, I hope you'll drop everything (because obviously I'm writing this at the last second) and come see me this SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25th.
1:15–2:15 PM: ”SA-WOOON” in the Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca). Every reader has their literary crush; admit it, even you. These authors are the experts on creating those seemingly perfect characters that make readers swoon, and now are sharing their insights into the field of romance. Join Stephanie Perkins, Rebecca Serle, and Jennifer E. Smith and hear what they have to say on everything from the first butterflies to happily ever after.
A book signing will immediately follow the panel.
Okay, time to return to packing! Because. You know. The festival is in less than twenty-four hours. And I'm still in North Carolina.
The randomly selected winners—I always use this handy tool—for the Kiersten White signed books giveaway are: Chloe Smith for Illusions of Fate and Janna Jinahon for In the Shadows. (I've emailed you both. If you haven't heard from me, let me know!)
And a quick reminder:
I'm leaving for tour THIS SUNDAY! If you live in one of these cities, I hope you'll join me and my friends:
Oakland, CA: Sunday, September 7
4 PM at A Great Good Place for Books
San Francisco, CA: Monday, September 8
Not Your Mother’s Book Club event with NINA LACOUR
7 PM at Books, Inc. Opera Plaza
Oceanside, CA: Tuesday, September 9
Illusions of Fate launch party with KIERSTEN WHITE and NATALIE WHIPPLE
New York, NY: Wednesday, September 10
Milk & Cookies event with GAYLE FORMAN
6 PM at McNally Jackson
Doylestown, PA: Thursday, September 11
with JON SKOVRON
6:30 PM at Doylestown Books
Haverford, PA: Friday, September 12
with DAVID LEVITHAN and CHRIS VAN ETTEN
7 PM at Children’s Book World
Houston, TX: Saturday, September 13
with KIERSTEN WHITE and JENNIFER MATHIEU
2 PM at Blue Willow Bookshop
Extra-special reminder: Did you know Kiersten White and I sign each other's books? We do! If you'd like, you're welcome to ask us to do this at any of the events we're doing together *OR* at any event I'm doing, period.
More autumn events listed here. And even more to come soon!
We're one week away from the release of my dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear dear friend Kiersten White's latest book!
It's called Illusions of Fate, and it's her strongest yet. It's so *ROMANTIC.*
This novel contains: a headstrong heroine, a swoony young lord, witty banter, a mysterious shadow, a gossipy best friend who talks like Jane Austen, fiery-red island flowers, a frightening nightmare man, magic sugar bowls, fateful Tarot cards, and a delightful black bird named Mr. Bird.
You know how Everything Leads to You is my favorite contemporary love story of the year? This is my favorite fantasy love story. It's like if Downtown Abbey and Howl's Moving Castle were baked into a single mouthwatering pie.
Bonus note for readers looking for diverse titles (all of you, I hope): Jessamin is a dark-skinned heroine!
I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it.
To celebrate its forthcoming release on September 9th, I'm giving away a signed advance copy *and* a signed hardcover of last spring's release, In the Shadows.
In the Shadows is half text (Kiersten) and half illustration (Jim Di Bartolo—whom you may know from his work with his wife Laini Taylor), two stories that combine to create one marvelous, mysterious, and wholly original tale.
Here's the starred (!) review from Booklist:
Maine. 1900. Five teens are living in a boardinghouse beneath a hill at the top of which stands a witch’s home. Attracted one evening by the sound of music, the five—Thomas and his desperately ill brother, Charles; sisters Cora and Minnie; and mysterious Arthur—arrive at the witch's abode. While peering in the windows, they see the witch wildly dance and then—to their horror—hang herself. Running for help, they return with the deputy sheriff to find her gone. What has happened? Could it involve the three strangers who have come to their town: two men—the sinister Alden and his ominous, bearded companion—and the elegant woman who accompanies them? What is Arthur’s dark secret? And what on earth is the Ladon Vitae?
These questions and more drive the tantalizing mystery that unfolds in two twinned stories: one told in the intriguing text by author White, and the second told in artist Di Bartolo’s wordless, enigmatic images that are interspersed throughout the narrative. The result is an enthralling, page-turning Gothic mystery infused with hair-raising horror. The well-written words harmonize perfectly with the lushly executed, haunting images that, at first, seem to have nothing to do with the textual story but are gradually revealed to be an integral part that, ultimately, brings light to the darkest of shadows.
It's a remarkable achievement. There's truly NOTHING like it, which is one of the highest compliments I can give.
To get an even better sense of the book, here's a flip of its pages:
I'll be giving away these two books—both signed by Kiersten White—separately.
To enter, please leave a comment here on my website telling me: (A) your email address, and (B) if you'd like to be entered for ILLUSIONS, SHADOWS, or BOTH. This giveaway is open internationally. I'll randomly select and announce the winners here this Thursday.
And while you wait to see if you've won, why don't you mark Illusions of Fate to-read on Goodreads here and In the Shadows here? :-)
[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.]
[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.]