Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tidbits and Interestings #1

Current Favorite Artiste - Viktor Vasnetsov. He did lots of paintings of Russian-tinged folklore, and winged people, and knights looking heroic and vaguely stupid while standing on battlefields. 

But seriously, he's great. You should google him. :)

Bird Lady #1 is like, "Girl, your singing. Stahp. It's giving me a headache."
But Bird Lady #2 is just like, "LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA."

Current occupation - I started work on my next book! In earnest! I had about 30k words done that I had been writing off and on last year, but then I realized the main character was junk, so out the window that draft flew. It was for the best. This book is middle grade again, and after the TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS of writing A Drop of Night, it feels like a lovely vacation. Which probably won't last. But right now yay, and I love it, and it features Moon People and steam-ships shaped like fish and superheroes and strange monsters and quiet wars and good stuff like that.

Current Thing I Need to Tell People 'bout - I'm on a jury for a kids writing competition. It's organized by the national radio here in Switzerland, and if you are a kid between the ages of 7 and 14 and can write in German, go forth and enter! Deadline is July 27th. I will read your stories along two other jurors who are no doubt marvelous, and you can win cool prizes and your story will be read on the radio, etcetera. Link here.


Current Travel Obsession - Serbia. I'm going soon. I'm very curious. I've almost never been to that part of Europe. Older Brother and Sister recently went to Chernobyl (of nuclear disaster fame) and Albania and Croatia and Bulgaria and Mount Olympus and other places I can't remember, and came back with many pictures and stories of bribing Albanian officials and the mafia running through town with sirens so you knew to stay away. . . (Which doesn't sound like my idea of a good time at all, so I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me.)

It was also kind of bizarre because Older Sister and Brother went to Ukraine last year, too, right in the middle of the Crimean Crisis and they stayed at a hotel on Independence Square, which was totally blackened and full of rubble and burnt out buildings. I was in Kiev about ten years ago and remember it being a fairly clean, beautiful city. So when I saw the pictures I was like, what is this apocalypssssse?

(I also remember that ten years ago was when the Orange Revolution was going on, and our Ukrainian interpretor told us how most of the outraged sign-wielding people on the streets were students who the political parties payed something like one dollar an hour to be outraged. I mean, I'm usually outraged for free, but ok. . . Definitely a career path worth considering.)

Current Favorite Book - Emma Trevayne's new middle grade. It's about grave robbing and imprisoned faeries and still somehow manages to be gentle and lovely. It's out very soon. Go buy it!


Current Favorite Music:

It's Ok - Ben Rosenthal



The Red Violin OST - John Corigliano



Running to the Sea - Röyksopp and Susanne Sundfør


I'm alwaysssssssss looking for new music, and would not be averse to book rec's either, and while we're at it, if you're particularly fond of anything this month, maybe do your own Tidbits and Interestings post and link up? Hope everyone's having a good summer!!! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

COVER REVEAL: A Drop of Night

Guess what.

No, you have to guess.

Ok, I see you are uninterested in shenanigans.

A Drop of Night's cover has just been revealed on Epic Reads along with three other beauteous covers from Harper's Winter 2016 list, and it also has a release date and everything! :D March 15th, 2016!

And since you probably skipped over all that to see the cover anyway, here it is, BASK IN ITS SINISTER RADIANCE!



Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been chosen to participate in an exclusive program that will allow her to fly to France and explore the Palais des Papillons - the Palace of Butterflies - a vast underground Versailles buried a hundred feet below ground as a refuge for 19th century aristocrats wishing to live out the French Revolution in safety and luxury. Along with four other teens from the United States, Anouk will be one of the first people to set foot in the palace in more than two hundred years. But the expedition is not all it seems, and as Anouk soon learns, the palace is deadly. . .

A fast-paced teen debut from Stefan Bachmann, surprising and haunting, for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s thriller The Cabin in the Woods.


I'm like this right now. I'm those three bouncy people at the door, and e'erbody else is that guy in the brown cardigan wondering what on earth is going on.
Just look at that title treatmennnnnnt. I didn't like the title A Drop of Night much at first. This book went through approximately 9,999 titles, and it sold way back in 2013 under the name Dead Man's Palace, and I still have a soft spot for that title, but some people thought it would have pirates in it, and pirates are sorely lacking, so it HAD TO CHANGE.

So I merrily sent lots of lists of suggestions to my agent and editor, and A Drop of Night was just one of many, and then my editor said everyone loved that title in-house. I was like "Whaaaaat."

But then I saw it in context with the cover and was like "Nevermind, I love it TOO."

And I do. I *adore* this cover. I think it's quite dark and ominous, and I have been waiting for a dark and ominous cover for some time now.

Anyway, I hope you guys like it! :) Give me your thooooughts!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Budapest n' Stuff



THIS BLOG, THO. It has been neglected. I had a bunch of university exams, and university exams kick you off the edge of the world and you can be like, "NOOOOO, SEMESTER EXAMS, STAAAAAHP!" but they won't.

So I don't know if any of you still check this blog, but if you do, hiii! *waves wildly at you* I went to Budapest about a month ago. Here are pictures.

That picture is courtesy of Little Brother. You can tell because it's good. I take my pictures on a point-and-shoot with a cracked screen. I'm not that fancy.

Backstory: I had one week of spring break and Mom wanted to take Little Brother somewhere, and since I had time off I OBVIOUSLY felt I should spend it travelling. The plan was to go to Venice, but last minute we decided on Budapest instead. Off we flew.

The problem was, I was right in the middle of revisions. And I knowwww, I've been right in the middle of revisions forever. Someone wrote to me a while ago and asked why A DROP OF NIGHT was not out yet, and why am I still working on it when it sold like 500 centuries ago, aka in 2013. It's because it's the hardest, hardest book I've ever written, and it's weird and complicated and slightly ridiculous, and I basically had to learn how to write all over again, because it's not my style. (So why did you write it, Stefan, if it's not your style. DON'T ASK ME THESE THINGS. I don't know. My brain and I don't talk much.)

Anyway, I'm kind of a nightmare to travel with when doing revisions. I get very quiet and tense and annoying, and I can't really focus on anything else. You know that Marina and the Diamonds song? ONE TRACK MIND LIKE A GOLDFIIIIIIISH. Yeah?

(Ok, but do you, because it's the best song, and if you don't know it you need to.)

That song was my anthem a few years ago. I can only think about one thing at a time, and since I had already missed basically every deadline I was given for this book, I was in panic mode. I spent most of the Budapest trip sitting in the herb garden of castle and tippity-typing madly away.

Which is not a *bad* thing. I mean, it's an herb garden. In a castle. In Budapest.
I didn't see a lot of Budapest, but I saw the river, and the parliament, and I saw the church on the hill and the church in the city and a square and another square and some streets and the opera house. 'Twas good.

The shiny parliament building.
I became fast friends with this portly gentleman.
Also, look, Londoners, they have Costa Coffee! You cannot hide from it.

This cow creeped me out for some reason. Doesn't it look slightly disapproving?

I'm OBSESSED with these little streetcars. They need to be in my next book and they shall ferry the dead into the afterlife or something
The guy's like: "Do you like my tutu?" and the girl's like: "It's not your color."
On Buda Hill.

Corpses.

I love this shot. It captures the atmosphere of the city really well, I think.

Colors.
This burger was amazinnnnng.
Almost dropped my camera down this well while taking this picture, because I'm skilled like that.

Ok, this guy. He was just standing there, smoking his cigarette, looking grim and like he was about to assassinate someone, but he was also like 4 feet tall.
Lots of tea.

Checkin' out that loom.

So those were my very limited impressions of Budapest. I don't know if I'm traveling much this summer. Last summer I went to Tokyo and Dubai and San Francisco and Vancouver and Portland, but this year I have a lot of work to do, and a lot of writing to do, and also I hate hot weather, so I think I'm just going to stay in Switzerland and go traveling in the winter? I might go to Serbia, though, with my older brother. He has a bunch of friends there and goes often, so if that happens I'll blog about that and it will be an ADVENTURE, as I've never been even in the remote vicinity of Serbia before.

Hope everyone's wellllll! And if you have any secret travel recommendations let me knowwwww!

Bye. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ireland Advenshaaah - Part 2

Stefan on a cliff.
Hi, you! :) Here's the actual Ireland post. It's long. I contemplated splitting it into two parts, but then I remembered that I'm senile and will probably forget to post the second part, so here it is, one Very Long Post about Ireland.

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen some of these pictures already. Also, you'll notice this post is very monochromatic. Ireland in winter boasts a lovely palette of gray, gray, and gray.

Just kidding, there was green, too. And black. And brown. And what am I even saying, it was perfect and I adored it. Ok, shut up, Stefan, pictures.

I like to imagine these trees house giant birds that only come out at night and feed on annoying tourists.
Muckross House

This is an estate near the town of Killarney. We stayed at a hilarious hotel where everyone was very snobby. I mean, so maybe I had taken to wearing sweatpants 24/7 on this trip, but I felt like I was being polite. I was like, "D'you have space for three people?" and the desk-guy was like:

"Call a rat-catcher, the plague has arrived."
They let me play the piano in the lobby, though, so I liked them after that. I was in piano-withdrawal at this point in the trip.

I lovvvvvve this picture. The carriage looks like a hearse. A hearse for live people. Which I suppose could be called a carriage.

There's Muckross House in the background.
I would not be opposed to having this as my backyard.

Trees, but reminds me of brocade wallpaper.

Muckross House! According to our guide, it was built for the 3-day-visit of Queen Victoria, then bequeathed to the builder's daughter who died on the voyage over to claim it. Such is life, I suppose.

This tree is my FAVORITE TREE OF ALL THE TREES. And I had a lot off favorite trees.  Ireland is quite full of marvelously-shaped trees.
The Ring of Kerry

This is a driving route in southern Ireland, where everywhere is pretty.We would do random stops to stare at a rock formation, or a mirror-pond, or a particularly eccentric-looking tree.
Called so because Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting were pretty thrilled with. . .
. . . this view. I don't know if the men were like, "Psh, whatever" but if so, they're dumb.
There were also sheep!

This sheep was chilling next to the road. Becca was like: "STAHP. WE MUST PET IT."
But the sheep was not interested in being petted.


So it left.
On the road up to Dublin. . .


We saw the Holy Well sign by the road, and obviously we were like, "Ooh, spontaneous adventure, let's go!" and we did a dramatic spin-around and went to the holy well.
It was very creepy. It was a clump of trees with hairbands and clips and little shoes, and old rain-stained pictures of children in hospitals or elderly couples.


I once wrote a short story about trees that ate people unless you left a tribute. It got published, and I was terribly proud, and I won't link up to it because it would probably burn my eyes. Anyway, we didn't leave a tribute so perhaps the trees are still coming for us.

Back on the road

Pretttyyyyyy!
Prettyyyyyy!
Cliffs of Moherrrr!
So pretty you really don't even have to know how to take picture to get good onessss! This was a random abandoned castle along the coast. . .

. . .that we climbed in.
What was interesting about that castle was that it was cut off by the tide usually, but right then it wasn't completely, so Brother actually waded barefoot through the freezing water, like a tough cookie. I found rocks and skipped sure-footedly across (HAHAHAHA, I almost fell and died), but we made it.

This grasssssss! You can't tell, but it was incredibly soft and springy, and it moved and slid around under your feet, so it felt like walking on the back of a huge furry animal. Like in a Dr. Suess book.

Blarney Castle




Blarney Castle is kind of an imperative when going on an Ireland trip, I feel. We did early it on, and it saves a lot of time, because Ireland is full of castles and this one has all the the things one would imagine an Irish castle should have (a poison garden, tiny passages in the foundations that tourists are allowed to crawl around in, wishing steps, THE BLARNEY STONE), so you don't actually have to visit any other ones afterwards if you're in a hurry.

I don't have a picture of me kissing the Blarney Stone, ALAS. But I did it. Also, The castle is still very castle-like inside, and not nearly as tourist-i-fied as one would maybe expect. Meaning, it's low and narrow and slippery, and the spiral staircases up to the stone are super tiny and steep. People who are claustrophobic or afraid of heights will not be happy campers.

The Blarney Stone is on the inside of that battlement. Someone holds your waist and dangles you backwards through the hole, you kiss the stone, you feel instantly more eloquent, and you go on your merry way.
Murder Holes and how to protect yourself from them.
I want this garden. I would wander about it by moonlight and collect herbs to use against my enemies. Who I don't have. But I hear they're easy to come by.

Wishing Steps! Ok, here's how they work: if you can walk down and up them with your eyes closed, without stopping thinking of your wish once, it's bound to come true. Certain members of our party COULD NOT TAKE THE PRESSURE, but I was pretty determined. I figured walking up and down stairs with eyes closed was way easier than a life of toil and heartache, so I did it. I'm still waiting for that WISH, Wishing Steps, whenever you're ready.

We thought the animal was a Llamaaaa at first, but it's actually a gryphon who has lost his wings. Poor gryphon.
This was my second favorite tree in Ireland. It's on the grounds of the Blarney Castle and we all climbed all over it and took all the pictures, and I want to go back with a book someday and lie in it and read in the summer sunshine.


Glendalough Graveyard

I like graveyards. I especially like looking at the names and the birth-dates on the gravestones and imagining who these people where and what their lives might have been like. As far as graveyards go, there is no better graveyard anywhere EVER than this one. It's like Graveyard Disneyland.

This picture looks weirdly summery to me, but it was bitterly cold that day.


Those tall stone towers are apparently fire watch-towers. I prefer to think it's Rapunzel's tower presiding over the graves of her victims.

Old gravestones.
Ivy hats.
Kesha.

Other places whose names I can't remember

A pre-historic tomb.
Who lives in that house way out there, whoooo?
Random castle. Definitely haunted.

This shop feels necessary, actually, because it definitely died sometime in the last decade.


Temple Bar in Dublinnnn!! The entire Temple Bar district is named after this pub.

LOOK, LITTLE BROTHER, AN IRISH LEGO STORE.
Derry

Derry is one of the hubs of Irish-English relations. Relations = fighting, FYI. They have massive murals up, and signs explaining the conflict, and pictures of the victims, and it was very sad and annoyed-at-humanity-making.




The hole in the walled-up door is a real-bullet hole.
The Giant's Causeway

Top 3 favorite stop on the trip along with Blarney Castle and Glendalough. It's a massive collection of hexagonal rock columns on a really pretty seaside, possibly built by giants, possibly built by volcanoes, but obviously I prefer the giant theory.


I wanna go baaaack!
Laaaaahva.
This next picture doesn't actually capture anything at all, so I will have to explain: my travel-mates went running off to climb a mountain next to the Giant's Causeway. (Literally they were like, "Hey, a MOUNTAIN. Let's climb it." And so I wandered off the road and came to a little path that wound around through the hills. I came to the sea, and the sun was just peaking through the clouds, on its way down, and there was no one else around, so it felt like I was the only one seeing it.


And then we went home! It was a great trip. We laughed a lot. We ate a lot of candy. Nothing else is actually necessary for a good trip.

*happy sigh* Every time I travel somewhere I feel a little bit more relaxed about everything in general. While we were road-tripping and I was playing all of my pop-playlists to satiate my companions' need for driving beats, there's this one lyric that goes, "Life's too short to even care at all" and I love it, and we'll ignore the fact that the song is actually about the hallucinogenic properties of cough syrup. Obviously life's not quite that short that you shouldn't care about anything, but I worry about everything, and it's good to remember that most things one worries about don't actually matter in the scheme of things. Travel puts these things in perspective.

Also!!

- I'm doing a Thing! In Köln, Germany on Thursday, February 26th, 21:30

From what I've gathered it's a radio interview with WDR, but it's held in a bar and is public and entry is free, and I'll be reading some passages from Die Wedernoch in German. It's super late, and I have to fly back to Zürich at 6AM the next morning for class (Arghhhh, I will perish) but if you're in the area, come say hey!

Longest post ever. Bye. :)