Friday, November 6, 2015

Tidbits and Interestings #3

Cool things I have to tell you 'bout - I got ARCs for A Drop of Niiiiiight!

They spelled the title wrong, clearly. Where are all the extra 'iiiiiii's to indicate terror/excitement/surprise at being eaten by things in underground palaces? (Just kidding, no one gets eaten. Do they? No. I won't tell you. I also won't tell you what's down there or what happens to the poor trapped teenagers. It's a secret. But no one gets eaten. It's worse.)
Anyway, is it not lovely? I love the red font. ARCs are the worst because you change things and correct things after the advance copies are printed, and regardless of whether or not they're big things, it's scary knowing people are reading something that's no longer final. That being said, I WILL OVERCOME MY DISCOMFORT and give some away to you guys shortly, and just hope whoever wins doesn't come across a typo or a terrible phrase repetition and be like:


Also, if you're on Twitter you can keep an eye out for a giveaway there verrrrry soon.

Also-also, I'm going to go all self-promo-y for a second to say that you can pre-order A Drop of Night all over the place now, and Claire Legrand wrote a hilarious post about how pre-orders are in fact THE EXACT SAME THINGS AS UNICORNS (aka, very important) so if you are inclined to get the book, you would be awesome. :)

- Also: The German paperbacks of The Peculiar and The Whatnot just came out (October 28th, I think) and the artsy primary-color-covers have been replaced by the US images, and look how pretty. I will always like that bird on the cover of the first book. I remember staring it at for ages and memorizing every detail while in a state of slight shock.

(I totally cross-posted this from Twitter, which is why the postcard is in the picture. So on that note, Cabinet reprinted again, yay, thank you, People Who Are Buying It! And speaking of Cabinet, we're all super busy and so we're on a hiatus from writing stories for The Cabinet of Curiosities, but we will probably be coming back to posting at some point when we're not dying of the busy.)

Favorite art - Arthur Rackham for sure. His pictures are the best. Google him and you will be happy for precisely as long as you decide to look at his pictures.

Random developments - I have to go military this December. I know, everybody's like "Haaaaaaha?" and then like "Wait, you're serious?"

Let me explain: I am not at all the military-going type. I'm terrified of guns and I have a deep loathing for orderly conduct, communal showers, and people screaming at you. That being said, I don't actually have a choice in the matter, because as a Swiss citizen you're obligated to do basic training, and while they have other options, they made sure to make them even more incredibly complicated and unpleasent than basic training. So, in December I have to do a bunch of tests, psychological and physical, and will then be shoved into some branch of the military, unless of course I have an untreatable illness, like leprosy. One can always hope.

(Just kidding, leprosy is bad.)

I used to be kind of angry at the prospect, but now I'm like whatever, food for writing, which is pretty much my mantra now whenever something less-than-ideal happens.

Awkward thing happens at school: whatever...

Someone dies: food for...

I trip and break my ankle: ...writing.

BECAUSE WHO EVEN CARES ABOUT ACTUAL LIFE when you have books to write, right? rite. :)

Future stuff - I'll probably start posting video blogs on mah youtube channel in the future, because they're quicker to make that written blogs (mostly because my editing skills are non existent and they just kind of happen how they happen.) I have a grand total of one video up from ages ago and that's it, so this is my intention. It's on my to-do list. I am determined.

Current favorite music - Aurora. She's from Norway and she's fantastic. Cannot wait for her album next year.

That's all I have. I hope everyone's hale and happy, and having a great November. :)


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Venice Adventures

I went to Veniiiiiice!

I had reasons, I promise. I feel like every second blog post is just like "Stefan in a different country, being a brat," but I HAD TO GO. *wipes brow* *finishes justifying self*

Anyway, it was beauteous.

Venice, being beauteous.
Let me show you pictures:

Fish market in Rialto. Not fantastic-smelling.


One dog will stand against them.

And Pinocchio will, too.
Gelatoooooo. Last time I was in Italy I was ten and I remember basically living off gelato for two weeks. In my old age I have become lame and boring, and only had it once.
Speaking of old age, I love this street and I want to live in it when I'm 95, and shout at neighbors from one of those little balconies, because 95-year-olds don't curr.


On a boat. Going slow.
I like this picture. I took at all by myself. *pats self*
Those two slightly discolored pillars are where the death sentences were read to the adoring crowds below.

He looks like he's anticipating flowerpots from above.

Do let's.
Just in mah gondola, gettin' groceries. 

If you go to Venice I so recommend the north part/Ghetto above all else. It's so much quieter, but just as pretty as the tourist-y parts.
How I imagine Lady Gaga's good friends address her.
Romeo and Juliet 2: The Venetian Honeymoon - A Ghost Story

Ok, so I texted this picture to some friends and tweeted it and was all kinds of effusive, because this fellow reminds me of that Pixar short and is just generally cool-looking, and some people thought it was horrible, because who wears a funnel on his head voluntarily, and surely he was being exploited for tourists' amusement, and he should be at home with his grandkids or something. Um. Let's break this down: would this guy *normally* wear a funnel on his head? I don't know. You don't know either. Let's assume not, though. So A) if wearing a funnel-hat and looking ridiculous interesting and eccentric is how you earn your living, and you can manage to look as chill as this guy did, that's pretty admirable, and B) there should be nothing embarrassing about wearing funnel-hats or playing accordion in the street. Maybe he likes it. Maybe he doesn't. He wouldn't be the first person with a job he doesn't like. It's called performing. Basically, none of us know what he thinks, but implying he *shouldn't* be doing it because he's elderly/funnel-hats are stupid, is also kind of rude, no? People don't just reach an expiration date and then sit around with their grandkids all day. ALSO, MAYBE HE HAS NO GRANDKIDS.
I can't believe I had to type that whole paragraph. End of subject.

IN ACTION. The guy with the roller suitcase is PETRIFIED WITH AWE.
Window full of water.

It was actually a window reflecting the canal, but it's kind of surreal, no?

Basically me after four hours of practicing.

Ok, this painting. It's at the Ca' d'Oro museum, and I forgot to check who it's by but it's pretty great. I can't tell if he's grief-stricken or annoyed or a psycho wondering how he wants to cook your liver. He's got like a Rohrschach Test face. Theories? WHAT IS HE THINKING, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Pastaaaaaa. With shriiiiiiimp. My favorite food everrrrrr.
These little bridges. I love them.

Found a secret garden and wandered through it. Gardens are kind of rare in Venice.

This house struck me as Dark and Mysterious. The picture doesn't do it justice. And you can't see how that door opens directly onto the canal, which is cool for, like, throwing out annoying guests.

LIMONCELLO. (If I remember right, this is what Bartholomew's mom and their neighbor are drankin' in that scene in The Peculiar where Bartholomew finds out about the Raggedy Man.)



I thought this said Rio de La Toiletta, so imagine my disappointment.

There are many mask shops in Venice. This was the one we went to. . .

. . . because of its cool shutters.

Sassy cat people.

Do you see?
(I recently saw someone wearing a full-on top-hat in Zürich, and I tweeted about it like "AHHHH" and now this? Coincidence? Probably I think not. Victorian time travelers are among us. They have backpacks.)

So that was nice. :) I had never been to Venice before, which is weird because it's fairly close to where I live. But now I have been there! And I loved it, and it was book-inspiring, which I was not actually expecting, and I was only there briefly but there's great art and architecture and ATMOSPHERE. It definitely feels a bit like an amusement park, which is odd for such a historically significant city. There are so many tourists, of which I was one, and we flow through the streets and buy things and eat things and then leave. It made me wonder how the city must have been 30/40/100 years ago, when there were, like, Italian people living in it. Ya know? The Victorian time travelers definitely know.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tidbits and Interestings #2

This is a miniature Tidbit and Interestings, so it could also be called a Midbit and Semi-Boring, but!

Current thing I need to tell people 'bout - I've got an event at a book festival in Köniz on September 6th,  2015, and we only have an hour but apparently there will be a panel of kid readers and an actor and I will also be playing THE ORGAN. So. . . that should be wildly interesting. From what I've gathered, the book festival takes place in a cathedral and the organizers heard that I play the organ and were no doubt like:

"Hmm. Stefan + Organ. That can't go too wrong, can it?"
(A: it can)
Also, on the subject of appearances, this will most likely be my last appearance in relation to The Peculiar and The Whatnot everrrrrr! I have lots of feelings about that. :) Basically, to summarize those feelings, I adored the entire crazy experience of these past three years and am ready to move on. Barring a whiny phase in 2014 where I was tired and busy and stressed out of my mind, I'm super grateful for every single one of the awesome readers I got to meet, and the places I saw, and the many terrifying and interesting experiences that were had. I've slowly come to realize that the things I got to do for my first published books are definitely not what everyone gets to do for their first published books, and so I count myself very fortunate. At the same time, those three years seem like decaaaaaaaaaaades to me, and I think people change a lot between 19 and 22, and honestly I feel really far removed from my faery books. In 5 months A Drop of Night comes out. It's pretty much a 180 from anything I've written before, AKA I WILL BE SHIVERING IN A CORNER WHEN IT RELEASES, but at least it's a new thing and I'm ready for new things.

All that to say, if you want to see me talking about faeries one last time and maybe hear me play something grand and gothic on a pipe organ, come see meeeeee! We will send these books off in style.

Current favorite music - Schumann Lieder. The way he reflects the lyrics in his music is genius. I thought this song was ugly for a while and then we analyzed it in class and now I'm obsessed.

Reign of Fire soundtrack by Edward Shearmur. The movie is not nearly as good as movie about a post-apocalyptic world overrun by fire-breathing dragons *should* be, but the score is dark and harsh and interesting and I like it.

Current Cool Thing - I have a story out in a scary anthology! From Penguin/Random House! My story is called 'M' and features a blind girl who unwittingly stumbles across a murder as its taking place in a grand country house in turn-of-the-century England, whereupon she decides to discover the killer's identity and catch him before he catches her.

Thazzit. Bye. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Serbia Adventures

Serbia! I went. It was great. And different. Let me tell you about it.

Things I didn't know about Serbia, and you maybe didn't either:

- The food is delicious. And cheap. And good quality. And what's better than delicious cheap food of good quality, NOTHING, I tell you.

Ok, this doesn't look delicious at all. But it's a massive amalgamation of deep fried dough and bacon and cheese, so. . .

- The people are super nice. Whenever they talk on the phone they sound like they want to kill the person on the other end, but actually that's their friendly voice.

In all seriousness, though, everyone I met was lovely. It's almost like they're a bit worried whether they'll make a good impression and be hospitable enough, especially if you're American. Which. . .  interesting. I know very little about Serbia or its history, and I heard maaaaaaaany different opinions on the NATO's bombings of Serbia and the Kosovo secession and other divisive topics from the locals. But regardless of what happened, they don't have many reasons to like America, and I still did not meet a single unkind person on this trip.

David, in the middle, was our tour guide extraordinaire. The guy on the right is Aleksander, and the one in the beanie is MEH, and we are standing on the castle hill in Belgrade.
- Novi Sad is nicer than Begrade. I thought. When we first drove into the city, there were Roma bicycling along with vast quantities of cardboard, and there was also lots of trash, and flea-markets, and shanty towns, but then we got to this part:

It's so pyootiful.

- Apparently the name "Stefan" is a very popular name in Serbia, which made me all like:

- People get married wearing crowns! We stumbled across this wedding while visiting the big cathedral in Belgrade. I was like, "Ooooh, a royal wedding!"

Royalty, in the process of being wedded.
But nay, good friend. Everyone is a king and queen on their wedding day. Or something. David explained it to me. He also said that Serbian weddings involve walking in circles and drinking wine from a ceremonial goblet. They can also last up to six hours. Ah wud dah.

- Speaking of royalty: Serbia does have a king. He lives in Chicago.

- Have you ever wondered how a brogue looks when cut neatly in half? No? Well, now you don't even have to not-wonder anymore:

Ta-da! Extra breathable.
- There are bombed-out buildings. Here's a bombed radio tower we went to see.

- Serbians lurrrrrv Russia. David asked me what I thought of Putin and I may have expressed some slight distaste toward him, which seemed to confuse David a lot. Oops.

- Police will sometimes pick up foreign-plated cars with A CRANE and SPIRIT THEM AWAY, because foreigners can be charged heftier fines. Our car narrowly escaped this fate thanks to some dramatic gesticulating and 20 euros.

David being like, "No, no, we were just next door, PUH-LEASE, PUT DOWN OUR CAR, AND WE SHALL DIMINISH AND GO INTO THE WEST!"
- We found an abandoned railroad track and followed it for no reason. After a while we were told that the track was not abandoned and a train was coming. We fled.

Blue suede shoooooes, cat, dog, something-something, don't step on them. . .

David Quotes

I was standing in the middle of the street, like the dumb tourist I was, about to be run over by a tractor, and David was like: "HEY, MOVE!" And then very quietly and politely: "Please."

Upon passing a cop along the side of the road, driving well over 20 kilometers above the speed limit: "On Fridays, police are sleeping probably."

So that was that! I hope everyone is having a maaaaaahvelous last bit of summer.

Bye. :)