I wrote this post four days ago. It was that kind of week, running in circles, getting on airplanes. I had a delusional notion that I’d somehow actually post a long and thankful blog on a day when I had a book coming out. I nearly managed it, and then I collapsed.
Now I’m in Key Largo, for two days, where I plan to catch up on things while my man dives in the only underwater state park in the country. My stepdaughter graduated from the University of Miami yesterday, and I’m feeling victorious. Two children, out in the world. There will be a blog posted at the Penguin Author Desk this week which talks more about the craziness of birthing books versus birthing babies. There’s also another blog linked below, having to do with classical vampires, which I posted at Penguin the other day.
Without further ado, some thanking.
It’s Thursday. Queen of Kings has hit bookstores!! Well, some bookstores. Not, for example, the bookstore nearest my house. Here is a photo of Queen on the Williamsburg Bridge, though. My excellent friend Sully took her there. I hope she’s dancing and not considering a leap.
I’m told, or at least this is what a pile of emails from frustrated people indicates, that there’s a large shipment of books delayed somewhere in Arizona, which is awesome, so I haven’t actually seen a copy of my book in the wild yet. If you HAVE seen one, do me a favor: take a picture and post it either at my facebook page or put it up on Twitter. I’m @MARIADAHVANA over there, and if you put my name in the update, I will see it and repost. Also, I will be super excited.*
There are many places to see as much, or more of me as I’m putting up here today. For example:
My dear friend Matt Cheney interviews me at length – well, really, we converse via gchat, and then post the gchat, hardly edited, (but a little – there was one place in which I declared that I could type faster than a Kraken, which Matt wisely edited out) on topics ranging from monsters to politics to In Cold Blood – over at his blog The Mumpsimus. Matt has been one of my favorite people on earth for years now. He is profoundly brainy, wickedly funny, and you know, strange like me.
HERE IS THE MUMPSIMUS INTERVIEW. If you wonder what it would be like to get drunk with me, this might give you a sense of it. The conversation was free ranging.
If you’d like to ACTUALLY get drunk with me, I’m going to be at Book Expo in NYC very soon. I’m signing in the autograph tent at 10 am – 10:30 on Weds the 25th. We won’t be drinking at 10 am (I don’t think, anyway, though it depends on how stressful BEA is) but I’m going to be around the conference. Let me know via twitter, if you’re there. I’m going to be wandering.
And at Penguin’s Author Desk, you can read a long post about Vampires, Cleopatra, and Bloodsuckers of the Classical World which goes into why I’d write a book like Queen of Kings.
At Largeheartedboy’s BOOKNOTES feature, I made a soundtrack for Queen Of Kings. One of my favorite things I’ve done in weeks, actually. I love music. This has everything from Sxip Shirey and Amanda Palmer to Iron Maiden and Stevie Nicks.
At Kelley Eskridge’s blog, there’s something very damn nice. Also, if you don’t know Kelley, read her newly reissued novel Solitaire. It’s beautiful. At some point soon, there’ll be an entire Kelley blog, not cause she did one for me, but because she is wonderful in 1630 different ways.
What else? My husband cooked me breakfast this morning and he sang Happy Book Birthday To Queen Of Kings.
That was excellent.
Sxip called me and we did what we always do, since I met him a year ago, which is accidentally talk for two hours, miss deadlines, and laugh so loud that everyone around us wants to run away. This is Sxip. There will be a longer post about him in the near future, but for now – check out this WSJ article about him, from a couple days ago. Sxip is amazing. He did the music for the Queen of Kings trailer. He makes magic.
Then I sat at my desk for…well, I’m still sitting here. Shortly, I’m going to get myself together, and have a celebratory drink -(NOTE FROM SUNDAY NIGHT – HERE’S WHAT I WORE TO HAVE SAID CELEBRATORY DRINK. RED, BACKLESS, TWO YEARS WORK ON THAT BOOK! ENOUGH SAID. )
Not that I don’t like typing. This is, after all, my chosen occupation. I type like a motherfucker all day long. Life could be worse. Had I been raised in a time in which I had to write with a quill, I might not have been a writer at all. I’m left handed and I smudge the ink all over myself by dragging my hand through my words. I’d have been one of those writers whose work is “lost” but in my case, the work would have been “obliterated” by mucky ink.
Today, as well, I want to say a public and passionate thank you to the authors who gave me early blurbs for Queen Of Kings. It’s a big deal, getting a quote from an author you admire. Often, they are some of the first people who actually read the book – besides one’s husband, who in my case, read the book like 19 times – and the fact that they’re willing to take time out of their own crazyass lives (and more importantly, their writing) to offer their support is, well, priceless. So, here goes. They each get a public lovenote, right now. Alphabetically.
And yeah, yeah, yeah, none of these people are Sirs. I’ve knighted them myself, for acts of benevolence to the realm of my Queen.
Ed Brubaker, the Eisner and many-other-award-winning graphic novel king, who wrote, among many other things, Incognito, Criminal, and, perhaps extra notoriously, THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA gave me a kickass quote.
This is Ed, and a cover for Incognito, his pulp noir series. You should buy it. Visit his website linked above, to find out where best to find it. It’s in many places, I just want you to buy it where Ed wants you to, and not in a random link somewhere off the edge of the world.
His blurb isn’t on the cover of the book, because we had space problems. This was a bummer, although, let’s be real, it’s a cup runneth over kind of bummer. Still, though, it bites, because Ed is awesome. Ed has a long and fascinating history as a creator of stories, an encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds of books, in genres other than the ones he writes in, as well as in those he does, and he generally cracks me up. He is wildly impassioned, totally opinionated, and tends to injure himself writing. As I do the same thing, (I seriously somehow ripped my shoulder writing Queen of Kings) we’re very much in sync. Ed is also generous with his time and conversation, and he manages to be both exuberant and caustic simultaneously. I like all these qualities too. Ed’s on Twitter. Go tell him you love him. And also, go and read his stuff.
(Actually, reading stuff is a very good way to tell a writer you love them. In fact, you can tell ME you love me by reading any of the work of any of the writers below. Um, after you read Queen Of Kings. )
Neil Gaiman is a friend of mine, which makes me a very lucky person, not least because Neil is the sort of person who could get lost in a rare bookstore for days and days and only come out because he’d finally found something he hadn’t read there, and wanted to get a look at it in the light.
I love people like that. I like to talk to people about obscure books, and Neil happens to share a favored obscure book with me, a book I can’t even bear to share with the internet because if I do, I’ll never be able to find a copy of it again. It’s rare like that. (Though, you know, beg me, and I might.) I know Neil because of his wife, Amanda Palmer, who deserves, and will get her own blog. Suffice it to say that I am as lucky to know Amanda as I am to know her man. She is extraordinary. Back to Gaiman: I also love people who manage to combine a skillion different things into everything they write, beautifully, comfortably, and without seeming to be working at it at all. I first encountered Neil’s work through Sandman, and embarrassingly, I was quite sure I wouldn’t like it. It was a comic book. I thought I didn’t like comic books. I was very badly mistaken. (See Also: Brubaker) That series is filled to the brim with magic, deeply inventive sentences and possibilities, complexity, and literary balls to the wall kickassness. There’s even a bit involving Augustus, who also figures in Queen of Kings. So, yeah, I could go on. I could also post a whole lot about all his other work, and talk about how he just wrote a Dr. Who episode and it apparently was spectacular (I haven’t seen it yet, but I will soon, I swear). I’ll just post this cover of the 10th Anniversary Issue of American Gods, which is a terrific novel, and which I read just as I was finishing the first draft of Queen.
What I really want to say is that Neil took time out of the most travelpacked life, read the book, and gave me a quote, and for this, I am grateful as all get out and in. He is, of course, on Twitter. And if you don’t know his work, well, get some. There’s lots. You will love it.
Garth Stein is the excellent author of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. This is Garth.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it too. There are enough copies of it for everyone. Garth is funny and deep and weird and twisted, all at once. He’s a terrific writer, and also a very good friend. I know him because we met doing a radio panel one morning, maybe two years ago. We started talking about bourbon. Later we talked about how all readings should take place in venues with moodlighting and alcohol. It was 8AM. I knew instantly that we would get along. Garth is deeply in deadline on his own new novel, but he willingly put it aside to read mine. Not even the finished version of mine. No. The rough, uncopyedited manuscript. He rocks. Garth’s on twitter too. He is also spectacularly fun to spend any amount of time with, and he is a big part of the reason I ended up becoming part of the Seattle7Writers last year. It’s like it sounds, although there are way more than 7 of us. We raise money for literacy, put on crazy events, and sometimes just hang out with Seattle’s large and fabulous community of writers in all imaginable genres, and, you know, do what writers do when they get together. (Bourbon.) Last fall, a quick plug for a project we did together, 36 of us wrote a novel in 2 hours shifts. (Bourbon.) You can get it now, as an ebook. I wrote chapter 5, with a 104 degree temperature.(Hot toddies.) It raised lots of money for charity. Buy it, and help us raise more.
I’ve never actually met Peter. Yet. But he is known throughout the literary world as a gentleman, a hilarious raconteur, and an excellent friend.I’ve been a fan of his for years – Ghost Story is, if you’ve not read it, a classic and a holy terror. The film version of same actually made me vomit with terror, when I inadvertently viewed it at a sleepover when I was around 8 years old, and I’ve really been haunted by it ever since. Peter’s been decorated with every imaginable medal. Google him and check it out. This is Peter in his office, photographed by Kyle Cassidy, who photographs tons of wonderful people. Not me yet. I look forward to the day when I qualify, because damn, Kyle’s photos are fine.Peter and I share an agent (See: Gernert), and also a friend (See: Gaiman) and both of these things conspired to get Queen of Kings onto Peter’s desk. The same desk where his most recent book, A Dark Matter, was born. He wrote me a tremendously kind blurb, after reading my book on a tight damn deadline. I was rapturous, because, well, idol. Peter’s on twitter. There are also a couple of faux Peters there. Here’s the real one. Go read some Straub. You will not remotely regret it. He goes everywhere, into terror and into Nordic myth, into alternate universes and into creepy rooms filled with questionable collections. I love a person who does it so large and with such complexity.
Yeah, yeah. I know. She’s a girl. I hate Lady, though. It’s not as satisfying to type “lady.” I myself would much rather be a knight than a nightingale. If I could find my camera cable, I would post a photo of Danielle and I in France a couple weeks ago, but since I can’t find it anywhere, I can only say that we hung out recently, much to my delight, and that the photos are very nice. So, Danielle is the author of two books, FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH, and ANGELOLOGY. Like me, she wrote a memoir first, and then a novel with history and supernatural content.
We met when we were just about to publish said memoirs, about…5 years ago. Angelology is selling gloriously all over the world right now, and Danielle deserves it. She’s brainy and intense, profoundly inventive, and also, just a damn fine person to hang out with in the middle of the night. A lot of our history has been middle of the night conversations, and I’ve been cheering about Angelology for about three years straight. The fact that we got to drink wine together a couple weeks ago was very nice – we had many things to celebrate. She took time out from ANGELOPOLIS, the second in her trilogy, to read an incredibly messy manuscript and give me a quote, and I love her for it. Go find her on Twitter. Tell her you can’t wait for her next book. I can’t.
And that is all from Sunday night in the Florida Keys. I must post this now so that I can sleep. And then, tomorrow AM, write more blogs, very due blogs, for people who shouldn’t have to wait for me to get my crazy mind together.