Tag Archives: McNally Jackson Books

Pre-Order THE LEFT-HANDED FATE, Get a Present from Me!

Well, we’re in the home stretch: just 24 days (as of July 30) until the launch of The Left-Handed Fate! And I hope like anything that you’re counting down the days, too.

9780805098006_FCSo, hey! Let’s talk about pre-orders. Some of you might know that I have strong feelings about the importance of independent bookstores. So for folks pre-ordering The Left-Handed Fate, if you pre-order from one of these bookmongers, I have a special gift for you. Actually, four special gifts, because each shop has something different. Order from any (or all!); they’re all happy to ship books anywhere in the country.

McNally Jackson Books, Soho, NYC

The first 40 customers to pre-order from McNally Jackson will receive a numbered and signed paperback copy of Bluecrowne from the original 200-copy printing funded by Kickstarter and printed in the store on the Espresso Book Machine. Bluecrowne, for those who don’t know, is the first adventure of Lucy Bluecrowne, one of the main characters of The Left-Handed Fate, in the city of Nagspeake. It’s a standalone story, as is LHF–you don’t have to read Bluecrowne first–but you’ll definitely have special insights and information if you do. Order here. 

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

LHFWithCopperplateThe first fifty customers to pre-order The Left-Handed Fate from Little Shop of Stories will receive a letter-sized print of an architectural drawing of the topsail schooner letter-of-marque vessel, the Left-Handed Fate. This is a drawing I made for my own reference while writing and revising the book, only I fancied it up for you with some walnut ink and nice paper and some charmingly wobbly copperplate. (Note: by the time you receive your copy, the copperplate might be less wobbly and amusing, but I had to put something here to get this page up.) Order here.

Porter Square Books, Boston, MA

20160730_081545Customers who pre-order from Porter Square will receive a signed (and personalized, if you choose) handmade cut-paper bookplate. This is a thing I should probably not have done because I’m really not to be trusted with a knife this sharp. Also I cannibalized a vintage trigonometry book to do it. BUT THAT BOOK HAD IT COMING. (Note: Colors may vary, because I made this one before I knew what color the inside pages were.) Order here.

Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY

20160730_082301Customers who pre-order from Oblong Books will receive a bookmark in the form of a prayer card for Saint Pontila of Nagspeake, Patron Saint of Messages Sent in Bottles (to be clear, she looks out for the messages, not the senders or receivers, so invoke her at your peril). Those of you who’ve read The Broken Lands will already know a little about my fascination with prayer cards, although they have a different significance in The Left-Handed Fate.  Order here.LHFplusStPontila

Coming soon: launch party information! But if you’re in the vicinity of NYC or Annapolis, MD, or plan to be at the end of August or need an excuse for a trip, mark your calendars!

NYC Launch: McNally Jackson Books, Tuesday, August 23 7pm. All ages welcome.

Annapolis Launch: Barnes and Noble Annapolis, Thursday, August 25, 6pm. All ages welcome.

FAQs: The Left-Handed Fate and Bluecrowne

As of today, 35 DAYS TO THE LAUNCH OF THE LEFT-HANDED FATE!

9780805098006_FCAnd, predictably, I still keep forgetting to post here. On the other hand, I do have at least one good reason: I’m working like crazy to get The Illustrated Bluecrowne PDF ready for release before the LHF launch at the end of August. And since Bluecrowne is so closely related to The Left-Handed Fate (and since a forthcoming review actually refers to LHF as a sequel to Bluecrowne), I thought it would be good to talk a little about these two books and how they’re related.

Bluecrowne_Cover2Bluecrowne is part of an endeavor I call the Arcana Project, which is a series of short novels set in the same world as The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, Greenglass House, and The Left-Handed Fate—all of which are related to one degree or another, but all of which are stand-alone tales that can be read independently of the others. The Arcana books are meant to provide additional tales and, in some cases, show how certain books are related to others. I don’t publicize them heavily because I imagine them kind of like Easter eggs—if you find them, good for you! Enjoy. If not, no big deal. I had fun writing them. So far, there are two books, The Kairos Mechanism and Bluecrowne. The Kairos Mechanism takes place after the events of The Boneshaker; Bluecrowne takes place before the events of The Left-Handed Fate. Here are some FAQs I get about how these books are all connected.

Q: I see that some of the characters in The Left-Handed Fate appear in an earlier book, Bluecrowne. Is The Left-Handed Fate a sequel? Do I need to read Bluecrowne first?

A: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ BLUECROWNE FIRST. The events of Bluecrowne take place first; however, both are truly standalone stories. (Bluecrowne is also the backstory of the building of Greenglass House, for instance, and explains the origins of two key clues to the mysteries Milo and Meddy solve, but I am completely certain that most people who read Greenglass House are entirely unaware of Bluecrowne‘s existence.) If you have (or do) read Bluecrowne before The Left-Handed Fate, hooray! You’ll definitely have insider information, including insight into Liao’s pyrotechnical gifts and the reason Lucy and her father aren’t excited to return to Nagspeake. But if you haven’t or choose not to read it, no big deal.

Q: Ok, cool. How do I get Bluecrowne if I want it?

A: You have three options.

  • You can get the ebook right now in the format of your choice from any of the usual ebook retailers. You’ll see that there are two versions, and one is more expensive than the other. The more expensive version is called the Kickstarter Edition, and it includes a bonus story from The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (which you will know of if you’ve read Greenglass House).
  • You can get the paperback very rapidly (how fast depends on your shipping preferences) from McNally Jackson Books, where the books are printed using the Espresso Book Machine. If you want your copy signed or personalized, there is a field in the online order form where you can request that (note that I’m only there once a week, so signed copies might be delayed until I’m next in). Order here, or you can call the store directly to order by phone (212-274-1160). Bonus: on most Saturdays, if you call between 10 and 6, there’s a high probability I’ll be the one answering the phone! Hi!
  • You can read it free (or pay what you choose) starting sometime in August when The Illustrated Bluecrowne ebook is released. Right now I’m waiting for the last few pieces of original art from the young illustrators, but I expect to have it finished and available for download by mid-August or thereabouts. It’ll be a PDF, so it should work for you whatever kind of reader you use, and I’ll add a link here as soon as it’s ready. The art, by the way, is really outstanding. I can’t wait to share it with you. Preorder here.

Q: A free illustrated version? What’s that about?

A: As part of the Kickstarter-funded publication budget of the Arcana books, I included funds for a digital edition that would be illustrated by young reader artists and offered free or pay whatever, with the idea that I wanted the artists to be able to share their work at no cost to their friends and families. (Any money contributed by readers who do choose to pay goes into the pot for the next book’s illustrators.) The artists are between 11 and 21, and each used a style of his/her own choosing. It is, hands down, my favorite part of the project.

Q: I see the Bluecrowne paperback says “Arcana, Volume 2” on the spine. Do I have to read The Kairos Mechanism first? WHY IS THIS SO CONFUSING, KATE?

It was odd because they were strangers, and because they came in on foot. It was odd because of what they carried.

A: You do not need to read The Kairos Mechanism before Bluecrowne (although if you want to, you can follow all the same info above to get it in ebook or paperback (order the paperback here, and the free-or-pay-whatever illustrated version is here). Like Bluecrowne, it’s a standalone story, although it is definitely more closely tied to The Boneshaker. As for why it’s so confusing: I overcomplicate things. There. I said it. It’s just who I am.

Q: I’ve read the Arcana books and I was really hoping you’d have one coming out this year, but I haven’t heard anything. Are you doing another Arcana book?

A: Yes. Two more at least. But not this year. I have discovered to my shock that my ability to turn out three thousand words a day disappeared the day I had a kid. So here’s what’s coming down the pike: hopefully first, possibly as early as next fall, will be The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book. Additionally, I have an as-yet-untitled adventure featuring Sam and Jin from The Broken Lands. Kickstarter backers of Bluecrowne will get an advance peek and free digital copies, because this book arose from a short story I promised as a bonus reward during the Bluecrowne campaign that turned out not to be a short story at all.

Here’s hoping that clears up the relationship between Bluecrowne and The Left-Handed Fate. Any other questions you have, pop them into the comments!

 

In Which I Sneak onto a Very Important Panel by Organizing It (Please Come)!

Yes, folks, I get to talk upper middle-grade with Rebecca Stead, Mariko Tamaki, and Nancy Paulsen! I’m kind of dying of joy, in part because, as an author, bookseller, reader and mom, I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of these women, and in part because this is a conversation I want to have as often, and as loudly, as possible.

Last year, I was really fortunate to be able to take part in a panel discussion at last year’s NESCBWI conference with Laurel Snyder and Aaron Starmer on the subject of upper middle-grade fiction. We called the panel “The Blurry Space of Thirteen.” It was a phenomenal discussion, and I’ve been on the lookout ever since for another chance to dive back in. After all, before Greenglass House, all of my books fell squarely into this awkward upper middle-grade range. My next book is upper MG. Nearly every book in my head is upper MG.

Now, if you have visited this site before basically ever, you know that I’m terrible at updating it. In the last year, I’ve blogged exactly twice, and one of those posts was this one: Just One Reason Why THIS ONE SUMMER’s Caldecott Honor Matters a Lot. 

You can read the whole (excessively long) thing if you have time, but basically my thesis is, books for the set of readers who fall in the icky transitional space between kid and teen are hard to serve in the kids’ book world for Reasons (see post for specifics). But it’s critically important that we serve these kids–they’re going through some of the worst years of their lives, if my memory is to be trusted at all (and I had it better than most kids). To serve them, we have to understand that their needs sometimes include books that touch on subjects that can make adults uncomfortable, and as book creators, we have to acknowledge that those stories often don’t seem to fit comfortably in either traditional MG or in YA.

That post scratched the we-have-to-talk-about-upper-MG itch for a while. Then this spring, I got my hands on an advance copy of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger, which lives squarely in the aforementioned blurry space,  alternating between middle-school and high-school POVs in its discussions of Things That Adults Are Uncomfortable Thinking About Kids Dealing With.  Cristin Stickles, through some magic that only she possesses, convinced the wonderful Nancy Paulsen, President and Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books at Penguin Young Readers, to moderate our discussion, and NOW IT’S HAPPENING, GUYS! IT’S HAPPENING NEXT WEEK! I hope you’ll join us if you can. I truly believe this is an important conversation to have. All ages are welcome.

And now I leave you with the words of the wonderful Cristin Stickles, my partner-in-crime at McNally Jackson Books:

A great rule of thumb is to never trust someone who enjoyed middle school. It’s a miserable time for any halfway-decent human, that murky area between being a kid and a teenager, between Charlotte’s Web and The Outsiders, between elementary and high school.

The right books can be key to surviving this purgatory, but writing for the 11-14 year old set poses its a very unique set of hurdles. Join three authors who are up for the challenge in conversation about the not-so-wonder(ful) years and the books that can help kids get out (relatively) unscathed.

Join us, won’t you?

It’s the Greenglass House Launch Party, and You’re Invited!

The Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture 
Cordially Invites You to Join Author Kate Milford and Illustrator Jaime Zollars 
in Celebrating the Launch of 

ggh__jkt_nospine (1)

Tuesday, August 26th at 7pm
Hosted by McNally Jackson Bookmongers
52 Prince Street
Between Mulberry and Lafayette Streets
Soho, NYC

Light refreshments and a story will be provided. All ages are welcome. 

Can’t join us in person? The first 20 web preorders at McNally Jackson will include a copy of the special-edition novella, Bluecrowne, free.

Novellablog: It’s Time! PRE-ORDER THE KAIROS MECHANISM! And while you’re at it, PRE-ORDER THE BROKEN LANDS!

Boyohboy, guys, here we go! It’s time. It’s really, really time! It’s all over but the formatting, so I’m pleased to announce that The Kairos Mechanism will be available in paperback and your choice of digital formats created with Vook (PDF, iBooks-compatible, Kindle-compatible, and Nook-compatible) on Friday, September 7th, and you can preorder it right here, right now.

Because the paperback of The Kairos Mechanism winds up costing a bit more like what an “adult” pb costs than what a middle grade or teen pb does (the list price will be $12.99, due to the cost of printing on the EBM), every paperback copy of The Kairos Mechanism comes with a DRM-free Kairos digital edition in your choice of format. 

Possibly the coolest option for getting The Kairos Mechanism actually isn’t from me, and also involves getting it on the cheap. Between now and September 1, if you pre-order The Broken Lands in hardcover from one of the most excellent independent bookstores listed below, you can also pre-order The Kairos Mechanism from the same store for five bucks. (Shipping is subject to the individual bookstores’ policies.) Also, since The Broken Lands will be released on September 4th, Kairos will ship early with those orders. Want your copies signed and/or personalized? You got it.

Planning to get The Broken Lands from your local indie, so you just need The Kairos Mechanism? Not a problem.

Pre-order The Kairos Mechanism in paperback ($15.99, including shipping):

Pre-order The Kairos Mechanism in a digital edition ($3.99):

  • DRM-free PDF
  • DRM-free iBooks edition
  • DRM-free Kindle edition
  • DRM-free Nook edition

UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 2012): Digital editions are now available through Vook.com. Go here to purchase them.

Pre-orders handled through Clockworkfoundry.com are securely processed by Gumroad. Paperback pre-orders through Clockworkfoundry.com include domestic media mail shipping (international buyers, please add $10).

If you’d like to be put on the mailing list for the reader-illustrated edition, please email me directly at kate(at)clockworkfoundry(dot)com. Due to the involvement of 13 different artists with different schedules, the release date is TBD.

Want The Kairos Mechanism sooner, and you can come to New York for a party? Join me at McNally Jackson Books on Thursday, September 6th at 7pm for The Broken Lands’ launch party. You can hang out with lots of book-loving folks, hear me read from The Broken Lands, and see the EBM in actual real life. Hopefully I don’t need to remind you that The Broken Lands is the reason this novella exists, but just in case: The Broken Lands is 465 pages of awesomesauced historical fantasy full of horrifying and wondrous things, including (gasp) a love story (whether you classify that among the wondrous or the horrifying is entirely up to you). Kirkus has already raved about it; surely they won’t be alone in their applause. Come out and celebrate with us if you can! All ages are welcome.

Lastly, if I may, I’d like to leave you with some praise for The Kairos Mechanism from some really awesome folks who’ve given it an early read. I’ll sit quietly over here and blush until you’re done.

From Laurel Snyder, author of Bigger Than a Breadbox:

“A dark and wonderful machine, built of magic and history and held together with intricate prose. I loved this book.”

From Elizabeth Bird, NYPL youth collections specialist and author of A Fuse Eight Production blog:

“Youthful corpses, smooth talking villains, war, fate, and the occasional odd albatross. For readers left gasping and grasping after the marvelous The Boneshaker comes a sequel that’s every bit as crisp and scintillating as its predecessor, with marvelous prose and even better characters. I’m torn between wishing I lived in Arcane and offering thanks to every god in creation that I’m safe merely reading about it instead.”

From Rachel Swirsky, Nebula Award-winning author of The Lady Who Picked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window:
“Milford’s Arcane stands at the crossroads of eerieness and adventure. Every visit begins with the best kind of shivery dread and ends with the fun of watching Natalie gin up her courage to tackle whatever stands in her way.”
From Nathan Milford, long-suffering husband of Kate Milford:
“Yeah, I read it.”

Novellablog, BEA Edition: My Beautiful Advance Copies and the Grammatical Error on Page One

First of all, LOOK AT THE PRETTY!!

Beth at McNally Jackson took my PDFs of The Kairos Mechanism‘s book text and front matter and laid them out all sorts of pretty. Then, since I won’t have Andrea Offermann’s cover illustration until about mid-July, Erin at McNally made a basic cover from my title page (the back cover has the disclaimer on it about this being an advance copy and to check all quotes against the final text). Then, ten minutes later, there it was. The books come out warm, like cookies out of an oven or something. It is honestly and truly a really beautiful little book. I am going to be so proud to show it off.

Now. For the second half of the title.

You heard me. I literally have a grammatical error on the first page. Plus I also somehow deleted two lines of text from the last page that make the first line of one paragraph seem a bit like a momentary non-sequitur. Neither are things that will spoil the read, if I stifle my emotional reactions and look at them academically. Still. Perfect brackets, on the first page and the last. Plus, reading it through last night, I decided that Christine Johnson, the final editor to comment on this before my last round of revisions, was right about my needing to spend more time explaining how the mechanism of the title works.

Having read my previous posts about the editorial panic attacks I’ve been having, you might be thinking that I’m having a bit of a nutty here at Milford Command Central. The truth is, I’m not. On the one hand, the grammatical error on page one (although it’s such a common error that most readers are likely not even going to catch it) is exactly the kind of thing I don’t want happening even once in the book, and I certainly can’t have issues of the “this needs more explanation” variety in the final copy.

On the other hand, this will be the third time I’ve experienced the exasperation that is the Advance Review Copy.

The first time I saw the ARCs of The Boneshaker, I was ecstatic. I was over the moon. My book, in actual-book form for the first time, with its beautiful shiny red cover and everything. I was too starry-eyed about that to freak out about the typos inside that were still being ironed out behind the scenes. With The Broken Lands, it was a bit different. I got the ARCs a week after I’d mailed the first mechanical pass back to Clarion, and the number of corrections I made on that mechanical pass made me look sideways at the ARCs because I knew none of those changes had gone into them, and because they were being mailed out to reviewers all over the place. The changes were mostly cosmetic matters of verbiage and poetry and that sort of thing, but there were a LOT of them, and I knew the ARC had been printed from a draft something like three iterations before the one I’d just edited. You can’t freak out about that. You just have to make sure everything’s caught before the final manuscript goes to the printers.

So, although it goes against every instinct I have, I am not going to freak out now, either. Well, not much, I’m not. I’m going to fix what needs fixing, and pass the ms on to the copyeditor. (This is not her fault, by the way; she only just received the manuscript last week. I’m the smartypants who up and decided last week that she wanted some ARCs for BEA. It’s also not the fault of any of the readers who edited the manuscript up until this moment; I’m the genius who somehow deleted the sentences at the end while formatting the manuscript to the specs required by the Espresso Book Machine.)

And ultimately, the professionals of the book world understand what an advance copy is: it’s a snapshot of the book at a stage when it is (to the best of everyone’s ability), fully presentable while still being decidedly still in-process.

Plus, they’re just too pretty and–well, too real not to be overjoyed about. I love them, and with the help of some wonderful, brilliant, dedicated friends and a hundred or so Kickstarter angels*, I made them myself.

So, in the immortal words of Vampire Weekend, who gives a f*ck about the Oxford comma?

*There is still time for you to become one of those angels, you know. The campaign ends June 9. No big deal. I’m just sayin’.

 

Announcement: THE KAIROS MECHANISM, an Experiment in Combining Self- & Traditional Publishing

I promised news, and here it is. I’m embarking on an experiment using indie bookstore-friendly services to self-publish a novella companion to my second traditionally-published hardcover release. I want to see how the two sides of the publishing world can be combined and support each other. So I’m publishing a novella called The Kairos Mechanism this fall, and I need your help to do it. The writing’s done, and I’m really pleased with the manuscript. But I need your help in publishing it.

The TLDR in advance: it’s a Kickstarter Project, and it’s here.

If this is as far as you get, just click the link above to go straight to the project home page.

My second book, The Broken Lands, comes out this September from Clarion Books, and to accompany it, I’ve written a novella that I am publishing in three editions:

  • a beautiful paperback edition with a brand-new cover illustration by the very-brilliant Andrea Offermann and designed by Lisa Amowitz. This edition will be created using McNally Jackson Books’s self-publishing services and Espresso Book Machine.
  • a digital edition through Google Play.
  • a special digital edition illustrated by tween and teen reader artists. Each artist will be given a chapter and commissioned to create one illustration of his/her choice, in the style of his/her choice. This edition will be available here at clockworkfoundry.com, pay-what-you-like.

To finance this project, today I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to pay the contributors as well as the setup and printing costs. It’ll be a tiny printing; my budget covers 300 copies. The goal for the Kickstarter campaign to pay for all of this is a whopping $6500, and by the rules of Kickstarter, I need to raise the full amount within 60 days; otherwise no money is collected at all.

See where I need your help? I need backers, and I need folks willing to spread the word about this project. I repeat: with your help, I need to raise the full amount of the goal by June 9. If we raise more, I’ll first raise the artists’ paychecks; after that, I’ll print more books.

Want to back this project? Fantastic. Go here, as soon as possible. What’s in it for you, other than the satisfaction of being part of bringing this little book into the world? There’s a full menu of rewards for contributors at any level from $10 up. Those rewards include both digital and printed copies of the novella, signed copies of my books, signed prints by Andrea Offermann, school and library visits, weird mechanical ephemera you can use as paperweights, and more.

Got questions? Here are a few answers.

Q: Why are you self-publishing? Don’t you have a publisher and a book that’s coming out this year?

A: Very good question. I’m making an experiment. In part, it has to do with being curious about how authors can use the many platforms available for self-publication to support traditionally-published books. In part, it’s because I’m obsessed with the Espresso Book Machine. But the biggest reason is that I’m also obsessed with the worlds I write about. I never stop thinking about them, and I never stop having ideas about additional stories, and I’m curious about what I can do with that extra content. I’m hoping this experience will work well enough to continue doing something similar alongside each hardcover release. I’m calling this ongoing effort my Arcana Project. I’ll talk more about this in future posts in this series, but you can read a bit about my plans for the Arcana Project here.

Q: Why all this trouble to have a print edition?

A: Because I don’t have an e-reader, and I’m in love with books as objects. This could be done cheaper, but I wanted to make sure the paperback I wound up with was something I’d be proud to see on the shelf next to my traditionally-published books.

Q: If The Broken Lands is a companion and prequel to The Boneshaker, how is the novella you’re publishing related to those books?

A: That really deserves its own post, but the short answer is this: The Broken Lands is part of the backstory of the drifter Jack, who Natalie met in The Boneshaker and who, if I have anything to say about it, she will face again. However, The Broken Lands is set in 1877, and Natalie, obviously, isn’t in it. The novella is a self-contained Natalie adventure set just after the events of The Boneshaker. It’s related to both The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands.

Q: This all sounds kind of cool. How can I help?

A: Most importantly, you can become a Kickstarter contributor. Second-most importantly, you can help to spread the word. For instance, if you are so inclined:

  • You can post Lisa’s beautiful Kairos Mechanism badge on your blog or website. It links directly to the project homepage. The code is here.
  • You can invite me to your blog for tea and a discussion of this insanity I’m embarking on.
  • You can re-tweet, comment, re-blog, etcetera.

Q: Is there a mailing list?

A: Yes. If you’d like to be emailed occasional updates on the project, email me (kate (at) clockworkfoundry (dot) com) and I’ll add you to it. Press inquiries, please use (press (at) clockworkfoundry (dot) com).

Q: Is there a waiting list for the book, or a place to pre-order it?

A: Yes and no. Yes: if you contribute to the Kickstarter campaign at one of the levels rewarded by a copy of the book (there are several levels rewarded by either the digital or print versions), you are guaranteed a copy as a thank you, as long as the project reaches its funding goal. No: there is no separate waiting list or preorder system at this time, because right now I need to focus completely on making the funding campaign a success. To paraphrase: if you want a copy, back the Kickstarter project as soon as possible.

Q: Where will the book be available once it’s released? When will that be?

A: Kickstarter contributors will get their thank-you copies between July and mid-August. The novella will be released officially at The Broken Lands’s launch party in September at McNally Jackson. On that day, it will be wildly cheap with purchase of The Broken Lands, and free with purchase of The Broken Lands and The Boneshaker.

After that, it’ll be available in print from McNally Jackson Books, and I’m working on making arrangements so that it’ll be available as a print-on-demand title from other bookstores and libraries with an Espresso Book Machine. The digital editions will be available through Google Play and here at clockworkfoundry.com

Other questions? Comment here, or email me. In the meantime, the clock is ticking. Here we go!

The NYC Teen Author Festival comes to McNally Jackson

Tonight, tonight, it’s coming tonight, hot damn, tonight!

Ten points if you can name that tune. In the meantime, clear your schedule right now.

Ever since I started working at McNally Jackson, I’ve been trying to get YA onto the store’s schedule of events, and I am about to get my way at last! Tonight, Tuesday March 27th, the NYC Teen Author Festival makes it’s first-ever station stop at my beloved home-away-from-home, McNally Jackson Books. This is the Mutual Admiration Society Reading, and it is seriously, not to be missed.

Your panel for this evening:

Madeleine George, reading from The Difference Between You and Me

Ellen Hopkins, reading from Perfect

Jennifer Smith, reading from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

John Corey Whaley, reading from Where Things Come Back 

And the incomparable David Levithan, moderating and reading from Every You, Every Me

If you know anything about YA, then you know this is a rock-star panel. If you don’t know anything about YA, then whether you are a teen or a creature somewhat more aged (but still desirous of excellent literature), I can think of no better introduction.

This is how it happened:

  • 1) David Levithan stops by one day last year when I had some of his books on our summer reads table.
  • 2) Kate strikes up conversation and delivers her “Look how awesome this store would be for YA events” stump speech.
  • 3) Kate stalks Mr. Levithan mercilessly by email.
  • 4) Mr. Levithan is awesome.
  • 5)…
  • 6) PROFIT. (TEEN AUTHOR FESTIVAL EVENT AT MCNALLY JACKSON FTW!)

So come by tonight. How can you not? LOOK AT THAT PANEL!! Plus I will have a bag of cookies. Don’t ask me why, just listen to what I’m saying: ask me for one and I’ll give you one. So: round-trip subway fare to Soho: $4.50. A cup of Stumptown coffee from the McJ Cafe: $2.00-$4.25. A night of rock star authors, secret cookies, and helping Kate to vindicate nearly two years of asserting that YA events are THE WAY OF THE FUTURE?

Priceless.

McNally Jackson Books

52 Prince Street, between Broadway and Lafayette, in Soho; get there via the N, R, B, D, F, M, J, Z, and 6 trains.

Subway Literature: Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER

Not long ago I was in Orlando at a company conference when I got a phone call from a very nice gentleman at McNally Jackson, one of my favorite bookstores. My copy of Boneshaker had arrived and was waiting for me when I got back to NYC. Hooray!

No, not my forthcoming first novel, in which a young girl battles the demonic forces of a traveling medicine show with the help of, among other things, an antique bicycle. I’m talking about Cherie Priest’s novel of the same name, which broke my heart when I first heard about it, despite the fact that the second I read the description I was immediately dying to read it. (Here’s Cory Doctorow’s review on BoingBoing: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/09/29/boneshaker-cherie-pr.html.) Well, last weekend, I finished reading it. This much I’ve already said on Twitter and Facebook: if I gotta share a title, this is the book I want to share with.

I’m a newbie novelist. Of course I hated the idea that my baby, my firstborn, after a long and painful title change process, had to share. I first learned about Ms. Priest’s book when I wrote a post about the agony of finding the perfect title (it’s here, for anybody who’s interested: http://community.livejournal.com/enchantedinkpot/21833.html). The first comment was a concerned poster wanting to be sure I was aware that the new, perfect title I’d changed mine to was a duplicate. I was, needless to say, not aware. But it turned out my publisher was, and Clarion had decided that, for a number of reasons, the duplication was a non-issue. My book’s for ages 10 and up; Ms. Priest’s is for adults. Her boneshaker’s a drill, mine’s a bicycle. Mine’s coming out six months later, and in a different format. No biggie, basically. Which makes me happy, because, as I said, I just finished reading BONESHAKER, and it’s so very good. If you like zombies, airships, Seattle, or maniacal inventors, you should really go pick this book up right now. Love steampunk? Love horror? This book is for you.

In Cherie Priest’s imagined Seattle, it’s 1879 and the Civil War is stretching on, and most of the city has been enclosed in a wall to hold in the disastrous effects of a blight gas loosed by the Boneshaker of the title. (Sixteen years ago, Leviticus Blue built and tested the Boneshaker, which was intended to expedite mining in the Klondike. Instead, it tore through the underpinnings of the city, releasing the Blight, which turns those who breathe it into flesh-eating undead “rotters.”) Ezekiel Wilkes, son of Leviticus Blue, is desperate to redeem the memory of his father, and finds a way into the enclosed city to search for something to prove Levi wasn’t the monster history has made of him. His mother, Briar, goes in after him when she discovers him missing. What follows are spectacular and deadly hijinks in a nightmarish landscape peopled not only with zombies but those who have, for one reason or another, chosen to make the deadly heart of Seattle their home. It’s a tremendous adventure (it’s going to make an insane film for somebody—I’m looking at you, Terry Gilliam; get cracking) but what I love best about it is the city Ms. Priest has built on the historically mutated bones of her hometown. Cities are and always will be my favorite characters, and although both Briar and Ezekiel are wonderful, it’s the scrappy survivor that is blighted Seattle that the author brings most vividly to life: a place that is at once hellish and awesome. This city is the perfect embodiment of Freud’s uncanny: homely and unknowable all at the same time.

So anyway, I recommend it. Highly. Go get it, why don’t you? And since you might have to order it, why not go ahead and order both Boneshakers? Just make sure you have Amazon or whoever send them separately. My book you’ve got to wait until May for, but Cherie Priest’s zombie phantasmagoria is out now. It’ll at least get you through October. Then you’ll only have four months to wait for mine.