Cynthia Leitich Smith writes a variety of great books; I stayed up late one night enjoying the twist on vampires and angels in Eternal, for example, and my household has collected a number of her other works, like Rain Is Not My Indian Name, which has been near the top of my to-read pile for a while now. (The delay is not the fault of the book–rather, my to-read pile is too big, and my progress is regularly interrupted by have-to-reads.) In addition, Cynthia has a blog, Cynsations, that always has something good on it, whether it’s an interview, a guest post, a giveaway, a link write up, or something else.
The other day, Cynsations hosted a guest post by Franny Billingsley, author of Chime (which has a lovely slippery feeling to it). In the post, there’s a discussion of plot and character informing one another; while of course they do, we so often break out plot and character that it’s easy to forget how intertwined they are.
Separately, I am pleased to report that I’ll be returning as a first-round panelist for the Cybils in the young adult speculative fiction category (formerly SF/F). I’ve never done much book blogging on this site, but I have on Undusty New Books on Blogger; I am still in the long, slow process of combining blogs. (It was much easier the last couple of times I moved e-house!) I’ve adjusted this site to pull an RSS feed of reviews over.
Nominations for the Cybils open October 1 and close October 15; anyone may nominate books according to the eligibility rules. It’s great to know that someone nominated you–you have a fan! Publishers and self-publishers can nominate as well, but look closely at the rules; there’s a separate process.
Coming up, I’ll be away at Sirens, a conference-slash-retreat on and for women in fantasy. This year’s guests include Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, Robin LaFevers, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. The theme for 2013 is “reunion”; since it is the conference’s fifth year, we are revisiting past themes of warriors, faeries, monsters (and the monstrous woman) and retellings. I love the opportunity to sit down and talk about things like this, as opposed to the scenario where I sit down and am talked at. I still sway toward talked at, because I tend to absorb before speaking, or being on the talking-to side of the table, because I like to prepare, but there are opportunities at Sirens to be part of conversation, as an official presenter or not.
A recent irritation: ordering a new hardcover book and having it show up as a paperback ARC. Did you think nobody would notice? In a different vein, I’ve been thinking about reality-show or entertainment behind-the-scenes types of stories, like Elimination Night and Confessions of a Backup Dancer. I suppose The Hunger Games and Catching Fire fits in here too. What else goes on a list that starts here?
And finally, last in my list of only slightly related things, I have been for many years looking for a children’s/middle grade/young adult book that was on the library shelves in 1989 or earlier. (The library I used for closed for renovations for several years starting in that year; I vaguely remember that I read less during that time period. I also think I remember that this book lived in the back left-hand corner of the children’s room in the pre-renovated version, on a mid-level shelf….) I believe that there was a girl who was part of an elite that could play a game of sorts, and that there was a boy who couldn’t understand the game at all. I think it used some combination of music or perception not open to everyone. Eventually, they ran away, and at some point, got food from a vendor. The girl was very surprised to find out that the food was rabbit. Perhaps she didn’t eat meat? The book probably had to have a neutral cover or a girl or it, or I might not have picked it up. I sought out books with girls in, you see. I’d love to find this book again. I’d also like to find a(n equivalent of today’s middle grade) book wherein there are witches and one of the spells involves saying the alphabet backwards. I read that spell over and over and I can still recite starting from Z.