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Showing posts from June, 2010

hither and yon!

Just a quick note to say that INTERN has been summoned to England very abruptly and will attending to Important Matters in the Mother Country until mid-July. Specifically, INTERN is going to Penzance (yes, as in the Pirates of Penzance...tra-la-la!)

INTERN will try to update a few times from abroad, perhaps to report on The State of Publishing in Great Britain or maybe just to complain about her books getting rained on while waiting for one of those double decker buses.

Long story short, INTERN requires three things from you, knowledgeable readers:

1. Tell INTERN which book she absolutely must read on the plane. INTERN only has about forty-six hours to figure this out, and it is a matter of CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE!

2. Alert INTERN to any amazing bookstores she absolutely must visit in Penzance and/or Saint Ives.

3. Alert INTERN to any mysterious old hermit writers living in Penzance and/or Saint Ives who might be interested in having a cup of tea with INTERN. Pirate writers especially…

discoveries whilst packing

As some of you may know, the lease on Casa de INTERN+Techie Boyfriend/Hippie Roommate/Vampire Roommate is up at the end of this month (there is, in fact, already a craigslist post out there trying to snare the next renter with extravagant promises of vibrant white walls and sometimes-functional power outlets). Hippie Roommate has already decamped for her biotech manfriend's more upscale digs, leaving behind packets of millet flour and organic apple cider vinegar which INTERN is scrambling to use up in the next two weeks. Vampire Roommate's worldly possessions consist of a bare mattress and a giant bong in whose glassy chamber he could almost certainly take up residency if it weren't so wet. INTERN has been vigorously putting things into a Giveaway Pile, and Techie Boyfriend has been removing things from the Giveaway Pile with about 3.7 times as much vigor.

This morning, INTERN was putting together a box of the free books she's collected over the course of her variou…

acquaintances don't let acquaintances be awkward about free books

A few days ago, INTERN got an e-mail from a reader who had a question about the etiquette of asking recently-published acquaintances for a free copy of their book. This reader has a family friend whose first book has just come out in (oh, snap!) hardcover. "Is it cool," inquired the reader, "to just ask her for a copy? Or would that be awkward?"

Good question. Really good question. Question to which there are many possible answers.

Possible answer #1:

If you were a recently-published author, which of the following would you rather hear from a family friend:

a) "I bought your book at the local independent bookstore and simply devoured it, dah-ling!"

or

b) "Soooooo, where can I get a copy of your book?" (eyes stack of review copies on author-acquaintance's desk meaningfully**).

Not only does answer (a) knock a few dollars off the advance your family friend is trying to earn out, but it reassures her that you are actually interested in the book a…

hardback mountain

A few years ago, INTERN read an essay (a rather irate essay, if INTERN recalls correctly) by an author who argued that nobody who doesn't buy new, hardback literary fiction at its full price should be allowed to write literary fiction (or at least, try to get it published). This author set the minimum new hardback purchase quota at something like twelve books per annum. Her reasoning was that authors and publishers of literary fiction rely on hardcover sales to make the whole kerfuffle worth kerfuffling, and that one is simply hypocritical (and a big meanie!) if one wants to see one's name in big letters on a hardcover book but, er, declines to buy them.

INTERN still thinks about this essay from time to time, especially when she's in a bookstore ogling and then regretfully putting down someone's luscious new hardcover. Confession: INTERN has not bought a new, fullprice hardcover since...hmmm....definitely not in the past few years....or the few years before that....…

from the annals of YA clichees

INTERN has been avoiding her computer as if it were a dreadful viper and instead been taking lots of 20-mile walks in the hills, where she is ironically much more likely to encounter an actual viper. This weekend, INTERN and Techie Boyfriend went to visit Techie Boyfriend's family, and INTERN got to hang out with his 16 year old sister, who is an eleventh grader at a bonafide American Highschool.

Now, you need to understand that for INTERN, American highschools are somewhat mythical places she's only ever apprehended through movies like Clueless and the dozens upon dozens of YA manuscripts she's read that take place in their locker-bejewelled halls. INTERN herself went to a Canadian highschool, which is a whole different animal. INTERN's highschool did not, for example, have a cheerleading team, or a stadium, or even the omnipresent Lockers that nerds at American Highschools are routinely stuffed into. INTERN's highschool did not have a Prom (the significance o…

of unicorn hunting and hamster wheels

Lately, INTERN has been overwhelmed by the sense that she should stop jabbering so much and free up her head to learn something—empty the proverbial cup so it can be filled with better and more sparkling waters. INTERN has spent the past week wandering around town having very earnest internal debates over how best to do this. Questions arise like "is it possible to spend so much time on one's laptop and still soak one's soul in Deep Truths, or should INTERN throw everything 21st century-related on the stinkbarge and toil at her typewriter?" and admonitions also, like "INTERN, you have not been doing Serious Writing! You have been fooling around with Unserious Things and writing Unserious Books and your brain is not getting any smarter!"

Then last night INTERN and Techie Boyfriend watched a movie about a French painter who lived a life of back-breaking drudgery and died friendless and abandoned in a mental asylum, but made beautiful, wild, enchanting paint…