Saturday, March 31, 2007

In the Jungle, the mighty Jungle . . .

Dudes, dudettes! Fellow fellows, and laid back ladies! I am officially on Amazon! YAY! You can like totally pre-order my book! As if it were a real book! As if it were, like, Harry Potter or something!

Granted it is only the American version that is currently available, but still! And okay there is no picture of my cover yet, and sure no reviews because, well, it isn't out yet . . . but still! Guys!

Enough with the exclamation marks!

Check it out:

The fantabulous link to Adrienne Kress's page on for the American publication of her book Alex and the Ironic Gentleman (evidentally now coming out September 18 2007, who knew?).

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I was commenting on Maprilynne's blog today, and I found myself waxing philosophical about the nature of perfection in writing, and I realised as I went on and on, that maybe this would be a good topic for a longer discussion.

And lo and behold a blog post was born!

Basically the thing is, I am seeing books in whole new light now that I have a much more intimate knowledge of how the publishing world works. Books to me have always been very concrete things, unlike something like theatre which is more transient (ooh, transient, good word Adrienne). You can take pictures of a play, write a detailed report of it, even video it, but none of those methods can actually reflect what it feels like to sit in the theatre and watch it. But a book, like a painting, is a thing. A thing that people have been looking at for possibly generations, a thing that hasn't changed since it was first produced (okay so yes there can be newer editions, and subsequent edits, but the To Kill A Mockingbird of today is the same To Kill A Mockingbird of yesterday).

So my point is books are permanent. When we do research papers and use a book, we are diligent to footnote our source. We get into debates over the specific quote from a novel, "No it isn't 'in a house' it's 'within a house'." A book, you see, is like a bible. Which is also a book. And while we may not respect the object itself, my books are always quite tattered, we respect the words within them with an almost religious fervour.

Okay now you are an author. Writing your merry little way and you get an email telling you that your copy edits are due ASAP and you need to go over everything. You get last minute editorial requests where you assumed there was not possibly anything else to change. And it keeps happening. Things keep changing. Up to the very last moment (I'm not at the very last moment yet, but I am pretty darn sure of this statement nonetheless). And it has suddenly occurred to you that books, this work of art, this tangible unchanging thing that you revere so highly, is actually, the best all parties could do at the moment with the time they had.

I don't think there is an author out there who reads over their finished product and doesn't wish for some changes here and there. How could there be when each time I and my friends read over our work, for some new form of edit, we can find a ridiculous number of things to fix. Okay again, sweeping generalisation, possibly there is an author out there who feels there is nothing more they could have done to their book. But I am almost positive that most of them do not.

Oh sure you don't hear them speak about it often. But this is like the movie stars promoting these films that they know suck (Will Smith talked once of how guilty he felt promoting Wild Wild West because he knew how bad it was). It isn't quite that extreme, I mean just because the MS could be fixed, doesn't mean the author still doesn't love it, but you don't go around promoting your work pointing out every typo and inconsistency in your writing. And so we the readers see the confident author, reading aloud from their book. And we the readers pick up the beautiful turned out MS and relish every word as if they were the only possible words that could have been picked. And if there is an error that we stumble across we shake our heads and wonder why the author chose to do that.

In the end, perfection is impossible, everyone knows it. But I have to say I am comforted slightly by the knowledge that most every book out there was subject to a deadline, to pressured edits, and plain human error. It makes the pressure I put on myself a little less daunting, knowing that like most every author before me, I will never fully live up to my own expectations. That that's just the way it is, and how it has always been.

And that while the author of that work you so admire still did everything in his/her power to write the best possible book, and that while often a piece of writing can seem to be so close to flawless there is little point in arguing why it isn't, that that same author is out there somewhere with clenched fists staring at page, 135 let's say, and thinking, "If only I could just fix that one bit, then, then it would be perfect."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Fortnight Has Passed!

Has it really been two weeks? I guess it must be because here I am the day after returning from Arizona and both my UK and USA copy edits are finished and with their respective editors. Still . . . weird that whole passing of time thing . . .

So briefly. Arizona was amazing. The state itself is just gorgeous. Yes okay the fresh air and sunshine did not exactly agree with me and I got terrible allergies (I've never had allergies before), and my skin got so dry I felt like I was sort of melting (I'd show you a picture of my face, but I would hate to ruin the illusion I know you all must have of me as some fabulous goddess creature [yes. . . a fabulous goddess. . . erm . . . ]). I am back in the lovely polluted grey that is Toronto and already feeling worlds better. My friend Penny, and the bride of the hour, looked ridiculously gorgeous the whole visit, but of course especially on the day itself. Our friend Carrie who went wedding dress shopping with her originally had told us that choosing the perfect dress was really tough as Penny could be a wedding dress model, everything looked stunning on her. The ceremony was short and lovely (they kissed too early and the guy who was officiating had to say "You may now kiss the bride"), and the reception beautiful. The whole thing was outdoors and just unreal, like a movie set for some old western.

Oh and I just love cacti!

Here is a picture of the gang (all the girls met in our first year of university and despite vast distances have remained very close. The two men are new additions, Aaron married Courtney I believe two years ago, and Drew was the groom on this trip. You will notice that we walk all over them. As it should be).

(left to right: Courtney, Me, Drew, Carrie, Penny, Paula, Aaron, Emily)

A pic of just the girls (taken by the always obliging Aaron) on Penny's front lawn posing with the various flora native to Arizona:

(left to right: Courtney, Paula, Emily, Penny, Me, Carrie)

As for the edits. Well I finally got them done, but it was quite a rush and a lot a lot of work. If I didn't have Team Kress (aka my parents) helping me out, I seriously don't know if I would have had them done in time before the trip. I am very happy to say I am thrilled with the changes. I was even asked to expand on a few points, write extra paragraphs and such. And heck if there is one thing I love, it's to write more words after having to cut so many! I have seen the US cover, which is just gorgeous, but I have not been given permission to post it yet. So you will all have to wait with bated breath until that glorious moment where it is unveiled. I haven't seen the UK cover, but have seen sketches for it which were quite awesome, and the concept behind it sounds really cool.

That's really all for now. I've been working like a crazy lady today, sending out emails and filling in an author questionnaire, and working out bank details. It's funny. Some days it feels like I have a joke job, I sit at my computer and create characters and write silly things. And then other days, when the writing just won't come naturally, or when I have to correspond with three different countries, along with two different kinds of agents (writing and acting), well on those days I really feel like this is a very demanding business I am running. Fortunately I love what I do, and will do whatever it takes to do it in the best way possible. I'm really pretty darn lucky!

And on that note, back to work!


PS A major shout out to Patricia Wood whose novel Lottery is featured on the cover of her publisher's catalogue! Not that she needs the publicity from my blog, as Miss Snark has personally congratulated her and linked her. Still I just think it is awesome and wanted to offer up my own personal public congrats!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Vant to Read Your Book

Ladies and gents let us welcome Romania to our list of the conquered!

Yes, my glorious agent has sold my book to this loveliest of countries (my grandmother's father was born there, so it must be sensational), specifically RAO International.

Moreover my plan for world domination is slowly but surely taking firm hold. There is no fighting it my friends, soon the whole of the earth shall be mine! Mine I tell you!

Now back to our regularly scheduled hiatus, and edits.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Au Revoir (which does not mean "goodbye", but rather "until we meet again"- which will be soon, don't worry. Not that you are worried.)

Hey all!

I just wanted to share that right now I am planning on taking a two week break from blogging (though of course if something really utterly amazing that you all just need to know about happens I'll happily come back to blog about it). I am dealing with my copy edits at the moment, both the British and American ones, and I just want to focus and get the work done. Then I am off to Arizona for a friend's wedding (yay!). So once I am back from there, things will go back to normal!

I imagine you'll manage to get by just fine. I, on the other hand . . . I'm really going to miss you guys!!

Okay okay, I'm good now.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First Truck Stop on the Road to The Daily Show

Some of you may be aware that I have decided to be on The Daily Show. This has something to do with the fact that I think Jon Stewart is totally amazing and very cute. Please check out past posts on the subject here and here.

Anyway, I thought you should probably have a progress report.

I figured in previous posts that the only way I could get onto The Daily Show was to become famous, and so, even though I still believe the only way to become famous is to already be famous, I am working as hard as I can at it.

And I am pleased to say that I am now, a teensy weensy bit famous. Let's have a look at where that register's on the scale. Okay so you can't really see it, but trust me it's there.

Yes folks, I have received the first fan mail associated with my books.

Some of you may recall that I did a reading at an elementary school at which my aunt is a librarian, and that it went really well and we all had a great time.

Well I have since received the most lovely thank you letters from both classes. Evidently I project my voice very well (always good to hear as an actress), I sound enthusiastic, and my book sounds very mysterious. And they all insist they'll buy a copy when it comes out. I intend to check up on them that they do so, and there will be serious consequences if they do not. And don't you dare tell me they are just children, a promise is a promise!

But seriously it was very sweet of them to write the letters. And I am so pleased that they seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves, because I had such an awesome time too. They were a great crowd and I can only hope to have such an attentive audience as classes 7P and 6W from Rosedale Heights (shout out to ya'll!) in the future.

So you see Mr. Stewart, I wasn't joking. It's only now a short step to your show.

A short step made of liquid acid and guarded by eight rabid dogs.

But a short step nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Very Literary Week

Courtesy of the lovely Lesley, this past week was one that was incredibly, I guess you could say, literary.

It began with a book launch for the anthology "Under Cover of Darkness" published by DAW books, where Lesley and I gathered with some other folks to listen to some readings and then get our books signed (and also to eat yummy things - free yummy things, which always makes yummy things even yummier).

Then last Wednesday we went to the Harbourfront Reading Series to see specifically Jon Clinch read from his book "Finn". We had met him on an online writers' forum called Backspace, and since we were the only people he sort of knew in Toronto, we went to be supportive, and then more importantly for drinks after. For a more detailed account of the event, read Lesley's blog.

And then on Saturday I fulfilled my destiny as the next Vanna White at Ad Astra (a literary convention in the genre of Sci-Fi/Fantasy), located at the Crown Plaza in the way east end of the city (way way east).

It was a heck of a lot of fun. But I have to say I am not sure I truly got the whole convention experience.

See, yes I did spend a few hours showing off items to be auctioned, and yes in the evening went to listen to some music based on the books of Guy Gavriel Kay and Caitlin Sweet, but really most of the hours from between 11:30am to 12:30am (that's just after midnight folks, not the lunching hour), were spent in the hotel bar sitting with a large group of people, writers, editors and the like, having some food. Having some drinks. Having some chat. Taking goofy pictures. And that's really it.

It was very university common room of us. Sitting on big couches and comfy chairs, or on the floor and laughing like very very silly people. I went to no panels (aside from the one that directly preceded the auction which was about the history of the Sunburst Awards, for which we were raising the money in the first place). And aside from the odd Jedi Knight passing by the bar, saw little to no costumes for the masquerade that night.

But who cares! I had a blast!

As for the auction itself. Well let me just tell you. I rock at being a prize girl.

Like seriously.

I mean, for some reason my body knew exactly how to pose, and how to hold the various prizes and show them off to the audience. And it wasn't even done tongue in cheek, a bit of making fun of the whole prize girl concept. No. It was really quite good. If I do say so myself. Which I do. But only because I am so surprised with me.

Lesley, Caitlin and I were dressed in very fab tight red dresses.

(left to right: Caitlin , Me, Lesley [aren't my lips ridiculously red!])

The two of them got to be all sparkly and stuff, my red was more matte, but that was okay. We looked hot. And slightly ridiculous. The auction itself was an hour and a half, and I am quite grateful I was just the prize girl because all the talking that Lesley and Caitlin had to do just seemed exhausting. By the end of the whole thing we were pooped and starving (the auction ended at 4:30pm and we hadn't eaten yet). Quickly we changed and then met with the others again in the bar.

Some of the guys asked why we changed and didn't stay in the red dresses. I replied they should try wearing heels and a thong for several hours and then ask me that question again. What do men think? That somehow our tolerance of discomfort is higher? That we don't ever get uncomfortable? Sheesh.

And then we ate. And then we hung out. And then it was early the next morning and Lesley and I went home.

It was fun! And I highly recommend going to a conference if you get the chance. Though I'm not really sure what it's like to actually attend some panels and stuff. I imagine it could be quite interesting.

Anyway, that's my story. Caitlin has so kindly provided a link to some pictures from the event (some of which you have already experienced here). If you feel so inclined check them out here!