So I’m slightly late on this month’s Fantastic Strangelings book clubdiscussion because Texas. That seems like a sentence fragment until you remember how fucked up Texas was last month. But currently we’re almost totally recovered except for one pipe that froze and burst (luckily right on the outside of our house rather than inside) so yay!
So if you haven’t gotten to last month’s book (The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec) no worries because there are no deadlines in book club, but I’m going to go ahead and open up the discussion on our Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page and here on the blog just in case you’re ready.
And in case you missed it, this month’s book is Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. I read an advance copy and it was absolutely inspiring and heartening and I think comes at time when we could all use an encouraging pep-talk from a friend. So good.
And I always pick an optional book for people who need more than one to get them through the month so may I recommend Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Shiguro? I was crying on the couch while I was reading it and Victor was like, “What the fuck?” and I could only point at the book and he was like, “I don’t think I understand reading. Maybe you should stop?” and then I filed for divorced and married the book.
Just a reminder that I’m doing a zoom call tonight with Genevieve Gornichec so I can show her how bad I am at pronouncing Norse words so if you RSVPed come and join us! As always, we’ll put the zoom call up on our Nowhere page later so you can watch me embarrass myself in front of so many authors.
Because my publisher is giving out 100 cross-stitch kits created by Subversive Cross Stitch and inspired by quotes from Broken to people who are preordering. WHOOP! Why cross-stitch? Because I spent a whole chapter talking about how embroidery got me through my Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments since I was able to stab things with needles while being metaphorically stabbed in the head with magnets. (I swear that sentence will make sense after you read the book.)
There are 100 kits that will be given away by random drawing but every single person who preorders and enters the drawing will be emailed all five of the cross-stitch patterns so that you can create your own. AND I loved the patterns so much that I’m doing all five of them myself and five “lucky” winners will get a finished frame work that I stitched myself and I apologize in advance because I’m on my fifth right now and I have literally fucked up EVERY SINGLE ONE. But the great thing about embroidery is that fucking it up makes it look like it’s hand-crafted and it also gives permission to everyone else to fuck up their cross-stitch a little.
In my defense, I’m dealing with a number of embroidery obstacles, including a cat whose anxiety is only calmed by listening to my heartbeat and who I wear like a terrible, furry brooch.
All you have to do is take a pic showing you preordered the book (like a screenshot of your order or receipt) and upload it here. It’s only for America and Canada because of legal reasons but I’ll let you know if any of the international publishers do something similar. (And if you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club you’re already getting a signed copy next month so just upload a pic of one of my strangeling emails I’ve sent you or anything else that shows you’re a member because that totally counts as a preorder.)
So if you want to enter the drawing and get the free pdfs of the patterns just click here for details. It’s very easy.
And if you haven’t preordered already I HIGHLY recommend checking out your local indie bookstore. Nowhere Bookshop is doing really well thanks to your support but there are a lot of indie shops that are really struggling so check out Indiebound to see what local stores are near you. We’re sending thousands of signed copies of Broken to indie bookshops everywhere so check yours out.
And thank you to every single person who has recommended my books or read them or used them to prop up wobbly tables. I super crazy love you. Publishing during this weird time is more than slightly terrifying and I’m so grateful for you.
So. Yesterday my dad had his second covid vaccine. Day before my mom had her first. Today I get mine. WHOOP! I’m a bit nervous about being out of the house and so near another person but I’m incredibly relieved to be on the shot schedule in spite of the fact that one person told me that the covid vaccine contains the “mark of the beast” and another said it will change your DNA and turn you into a lizardperson. True story. Meanwhile my doctor said that the biggest thing I should be concerned with is a day or two of feeling rough after the second shot (she said she was fine after a day) and that the reports of lizard people are highly exaggerated at least as far as she’s seen.
This week’s wrap-up sponsored by my friend Alison, the creator of @get_the_f_outside, an instagram full of very funny, lovely and strange posts she shares while being an extreme solo backpacker. Personally, I very much enjoy watching her adventures because she shows me all the most amazing and gorgeous places to get the fuck outside in spite of the fact that I won’t because it means exercising and leaving my house. But I don’t have to leave my house because she solo treks all over the place and shows me what it looks like when she gets there and it’s exactly the same thing. I assume. Regardless, if you’re looking for a way to feel like you’re traveling even when you can’t, I highly recommend checking her out.
Y’all. WTF. I wrote this post yesterday morning and published it and then last night Victor was like, “Didn’t you post something new on your blog? Because I don’t see it” and then I realized that I hadn’t pressed the button after the “Are you sure you want to do this?” part and then I sighed loudly and went to bed. But then this morning I was like, “Fuck it. Let’s just publish it and then do an update under it.” So that’s happening.
What I wrote yesterday:
A week ago today it was Valentine’s and I was going to do a blind-date-with-a-book thing outside of Nowhere Bookshop and give out free copies of lightly damaged books (mostly covers with tiny imperfections that we can’t sell) or older arcs of wonderful books but then Texas froze and we entered a week of mild hell. Personally we had a lot of rolling blackouts and no water but as of today we have had power for over 24 hours straight and we finally have water again (although it still looks weird and has to be boiled) AND I had so many wonderful people get tickets for my book tour (they’re still available here) that I melted into a pool of relief.
We don’t have broken pipes (I think) and I was really worried that Nowhere would have been damaged because the building is older but it seems fine and to celebrate we are doing the postponed blind-date-with-a-book today. Also, giant apologies if you ordered something from Nowhere and it’s slow to get to you. Yesterday was the first time I saw a mail truck in a week so I know Texas is behind in general and we gave everyone at the store the week off since they were all dealing with the same bullshit weather and water and all that jazz. Thank you for your patience!
So if you want to stop by the store I’ll be waving through the window as I wrap up more books and a table of free books will be outside. I’m not there yet (gotta pack up the books here) but check my twitter or instagram because I’ll update them when I’m there and it’s set up.
What I wrote today:
So I did the blind-date-with-a-book thing and it was awesome and I suspect I enjoyed it even more than the recipients:
My personal favorite was when a lady saw the table of free books and loudly said, “Oh no! They’re going out of business and I never even visited them!” and Victor yelled though the glass that we’re actually doing great in spite of the fact that we still have never opened our physical doors to the public and she was like, “Oh, thank goodness! We need books!”
A giant thanks to everyone, especially to the very patient people who may have ordered recently and had their order a bit delayed because of mail or weather. We’re getting back into the groove and most of us have power and water (although most of us still have to boil it) and we’re open again starting tomorrow for curbside pick-up. Thank you for your patience!
Me: Yes, I am. If you are reading this I am talking to you. About my book tour!
You: Awesome! But…wait aren’t you still without water in the middle of snow storm?
me: And also no electricity since yesterday. And I realize it seems odd to be announcing my book tour for Brokenduring a day when we’re dealing with rolling black-outs and are currently melting snow in the bathtub since we don’t have running water and can’t leave the house because of the pandemic and also frozen roads, but what I have learned over the last year is the importance of celebrating the small victories and looking with hope to the future. And this tour is the epitome of that for me and I think we all need a little something to look forward to.
You: Agreed and socially-distanced high-fives all around. But I can’t come to your book tour because we are still living in the plague years.
Me: Well, it’s not a normal tour (which is pretty on-brand for me anyway.) A normal book tour means travel and visiting with people and seeing people actually reading your book and wandering through bookstores, but times are not normal so this tour will be a bit different, but hopefully just as wonderful in a different way. It will be virtual so that means that you don’t have to leave your house or put on pants to attend! This is an extra special perk for those of us with anxiety and it’s my hope that so many of you who couldn’t make it to a live event in the past can make it for one of these online stops.
You: A book tour without all the social anxiety? TELL ME MORE.
me: So last week there was a very loud kerfuffle on twitter about how “your author friends are not your friends because they are your competition” and that is ridiculous because 1) we need a shitload of books to make the world go around and there is room for everyone and 2) because if you’re looking for an example of author friends being incredibly important and wonderful you should look no further than the six amazing authors who volunteered to moderate each of my six events ENTIRELY OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF THEIR HEARTS.
You: But what if I already preordered a copy from somewhere else or I can’t afford a ticket?
me: Well, signed first-editions make excellent gifts for family and friends and bored-looking strangers so there’s no such thing as too many books, but if you can’t afford a ticket or already bought a copy then no worries because I’ll be doing a free unmoderated zoom at Nowhere eventually, but probably not until much later in the year because touring -even virtually- takes a lot out of me and I always need a few months to recover.
You: Got it. Buying a ticket to every stop right now.
me: That seems excessive but incredibly supportive.
You: Okay, maybe just to one or two.
me: You are my special angel. Thank you. For real, you don’t know how much it helps me and the bookstore. Pre-orders make an AMAZING difference in the success of a book and I’m terrified about releasing this one in the middle of a pandemic where so much is unknown. And as a special thank you I’m giving away something.
You: Is it something dead?
me: It is not and it’s weird that you went there.
You: Technically this is all coming from your mind so I think maybe you should be questioning yourself here, friend.
me: Fair enough. But no, it’s not dead. I wanted something special on the end-pages of Broken so we decided to use one of the sketches that Omar Rayyan did when he was painting the book cover and that means I have a few loose pages of proofs I can give away. Just leave a comment and I’ll pick a few people randomly and sign them and slip them in the mail.
You: Ooh. That’s cool.
You: Well then, I guess I’ll see you in April on tour. Which will be nice because this conversation is the most interaction I’ve had in weeks.
On Sunday we kept hearing that there was going to be a big winter storm but I didn’t think much of it because San Antonio snow is very rare and never seems to stay for more than a minute.
I expected it would last a few minutes.
The next morning:
Texas has no infrastructure for snow and soon my neighbor was driving over my lawn because he couldn’t see where the street was, but it was really pretty.
And it was amazing.
For slightly less than 24 hours.
Last night I posted the above (before turning all the faucets on to drip) and then at 2am I woke up and looked outside and all of the snow was gone and I was like, “I AM A FUCKING WIZARD“. And then when I got up this morning I looked outside again and there was still snow everywhere and turns out I apparently just dreamt that the snow was gone. So maybe not so much of a wizard. And then I realized that every faucet in the house was frozen and we officially have no water. So, like, the opposite of a wizard.
But we have power (at the moment) and that’s a wonderful thing and I think most people from the Victorian era would think electric lights are totally magic, so I’m considering myself a wizard again.
Amateur Intellectuals: A podcast where two friends bring a thirst for knowledge (and alcohol, obviously) as they untangle cerebral topics. Join them as they challenge their minds (and livers, obviously).