It’s that time of the year where I take a lot of my macro photography indoors rather than outdoors — which usually means seeking inspiration in strange places, like staring into the pantry for a half-hour. Which I’m sure doesn’t look at all weird to my family. When they ask what I’m doing, I just mumble, “Staring at a portal into forever,” and let them wonder.
Anyway, I am freshly returned from the Elgin Literary Fest — ELF! — and thanks to the organizers for having me and the nice folks who came out to see me. I like small conferences like that sometimes; they let you connect with people on a more personal level because you aren’t shuttled from one thing to the next.
Though traveling to the fest created a few minor travel woes, coming back was neat in a couple ways, particularly as it relates to this writing career that sustains me: first, while in the Chicago airport (ORD), I found some of my Miriam Black books at Barbara’s Bookstore near gate E5, and for the first time, I signed them! I’ve been hesitant in the past because I’m still vaguely certain that me putting my name in books actually destroys what little value they already possess — but this time I went up and asked, “Hi, I’m that weird beardo who wrote those books, do you want me to ink all over them,” and the nice man behind the counter knew who I was and was happy to have me sign them. (Maybe he burned them afterward, I dunno.)
And then — then! — on the flight, I sat next to a young guy, early-20s. We didn’t talk during the flight outside of the cursory HEY HI HELLOs and SORRY I ACCIDENTALLY ELBOWED YOU BECAUSE THESE SEATS ARE DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE TWO MALNOURISHED TODDLERS.
But then, as we were landing, he turned to me and said, “Can I ask you something?”
And he said, “Is this you?”
Then he tilts a magazine toward me.
And there is a two-page ad for Del Rey’s STAR WARS books, featuring AFTERMATH and BLOODLINE, and there is my big ol’ dopey face staring back at me. So, of course, I said, “No,” and he said, “Are you sure?” and then I said, “YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME, COPPER,” and I threw my pretzels in his eyes and ran for the exit, except the door hadn’t been opened to the gate yet so I had to sulk back to the seat.
Okay, no, I said, “Yes,” and then laughed because it was weird.
And then we talked for a little while — he had my books but his brother took them first, he was a huge Claudia Gray fan, he loved the new canon stuff and TLJ (whew), and it was nice. Also a pretty strange moment where someone not only recognizes me, but has a magazine with an advertisement in it. He had just bought the magazine, by the looks of it, in the airport — it was specifically some kind of Star Wars magazine, so I guess that was probably pretty weird for him, too. “I think this guy on the page is also the guy sitting next to me.”
What else is going on?
Well, The Raptor & The Wren came out last week — and I’m getting the exact reports I hoped to get, which consists of various shocked and flummoxed and soul-crushed mouth-noises. This book is definitely one of those “twist of the knife” books, so I’m glad my stabby bits landed appropriately. (Seriously, storytellers are monsters and you should never trust us for one hot second.) Launched the book at Let’s Play Books, and that was a hoot. Get it? A hoot? Because there’s an owl on the cover? DON’T YOU JUDGE ME.
If you want a signed copy, Let’s Play Books can get you one.
And here I will make the earnest plea that if you have read my books…
Reviews seriously matter. Please go to your favorite REVIEW RECEPTACLE and deposit your review there, if you’re willing and able. Those reviews lead others to the books, and they also contribute (sadly) to algorithms that make the books show up more strongly in search results. Thank you in advance. Mahalo for your kokua.
I think that’s it.
Now I go, and I begin editing the mega-book that is WANDERERS.
Wish me luck.
*puts on chainmail bra and asbestos pants*