Coming out of the dark. Again.

Today I woke up and showered and cleaned my kitchen and answered emails and these were all things that seemed impossible a few days ago. Then I CALLED MY SISTER ON THE PHONE because I was wanted to talk to someone and she tried to act like it was totally normal but I am forever afraid of the phone and when I hung up I realized that for the first time in a very long time I feel like I’m coming out of this very long depression. It might only be a glimpse of temporary light or the beginning of a good period but whatever it is, I’m taking advantage of it to tell you two things:

ONE: There is a very elderly man and woman who I see walking (very slowly) together in my neighborhood sometimes and they are always wearing masks and at least 10 feet apart and each of them is always on the opposites side of the street from the other and at first I assumed it was a couple who were so fed up with each other they wanted distance but today I was in the front yard with Dorothy Barker and I overheard them shouting encouragements at each other and the guy was like, “You’ll have to call your granddaughter and tell her you broke your walking record today!” and she was all, “Hell, I’m going to make my husband put this on the Facebook!” and he was like, “Yeah! Carl is gonna be so proud!” and now I love them even more.

TWO: I just saw Queen Elizardbeth on the porch and she looked MAGNIFICENT. And I realize it’s possible that it is another lizard entirely but she had a look of quiet dignity that made me think that it was totally her.

I realize this isn’t much for a blog post I feel good today and I miss you and I just wanted to share.

Step into my office for 10 minutes because you need to see this shit.

I’m coming out of a depressive funk where everything that should take 5 minutes takes 180 years and still isn’t done right so I’m taking a break and you should take a break too and we can look at the instagram posts I’ve saved for you because we have the same weird senses of humor and because maybe you also use instagram to feel like you’re visiting people without actually leaving the house. And by “people” I mainly mean “people’s pets”. The usual.

Starting with this pep talk, which I totally needed:

I needed that. Now back to work. And by “work” I mean “doing the same load of laundry for the third time in a row because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer”.

Strangelings, activate!

Hello! I fell a bit behind this week but I’m here now so we can discuss last months Fantastic Strangelings Book Club pick and to announce next months.

So first off, January’s book is Swallowed Man by Edward Carey. It sounds weird as hell but bare with me. It’s about Geppetto (Pinochio’s father/creater) during his time trapped in the belly of the whale and it is so very good. A tiny summary to whet your appetite:

The ingenious storyteller Edward Carey returns to reimagine a time-honored fable: the story of an impatient father, a rebellious son, and a watery path to forgiveness for the young man known as Pinocchio.

With all the charm, atmosphere, and emotional depth for which Edward Carey is known—and featuring his trademark fantastical illustrations—The Swallowed Man is a parable of parenthood, loss, and letting go, from a creative mind on a par with Gregory Maguire, Neil Gaiman, and Tim Burton.

My advance copy of the book was digital so you have to use your imagination to picture the ever-present Dorothy Barker peeking over the top.

And if you’re like me and one book is not enough to get your though a month my optional bonus book for January is You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. This book was hilarious and horrific and the same time and I can’t recommend it enough.

So, discussion is open for last month’s book, The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar, which made me cry multiple times. No spoilers here, so I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments below and you can feel free to leave yours there if you like. The Fantastic Strangelings facebook page usually gets more discussion but I always do a blog post here as well in case you’re not a Facebook fan. And as always, there are no rules in book club. It’s okay if you haven’t finished the book yet as the discussions always stay open for whenever you have and no worries if you’re more of a lurker than a discusser because honestly this is the most introverted book club ever and we all totally get it.

As a quick aside, I can’t believe it’s been a full year since we started this book club. Your membership has sustained us and our employees and I need someone from Guinness to call me because I suspect we might have a world record for the longest running independent bookstore that has still never opened its doors to the public. Fingers crossed that one day soon the vaccine will be available to all and we’ll be able to see you all in person. I can’t tell you how much your support has meant to me, the Nowhere Team, and so many authors during this incredibly strange time.

You created a small miracle and you continue to be one.

Internationally Broken

Today I was feeling really meh because I’ve been in a funk and have fallen way behind on deadlines because I can’t focus, but then I just opened the mail and found a proof of the UK version of Broken (coming out in April) and because they used a different cover (you’re killing it, Fleece Witherspoon) it almost feels like it’s a whole new book and now I almost feel like I’ve accomplished something special today even though I’ve literally done nothing.

Dorothy Barker is yawning but let’s pretend she laughing uproariously at the book, okay?

So yay for magic mail and yay for this hesitantly strange emotion I’m starting to feel, which I think is maybe…hope? Maybe that’s too strong of a word. How about…cautious optimism?

Yep. Cautious Optimism in 2021.

That feels about right.

PS. That link was for the UK but if you’re in the US this link is for you. You can preorder it at your local indie bookshop.

Happy birthday to us!

Once read that in some Slavic countries some people believed that those who were born on “the unclean days” – from Christmas Eve through Epiphany (January 6th) – were given special powers and may become vampires or vampire hunters. Seems like a weird sort thing but since I’m half Slavic and I was born today I think that makes me half vampire and half vampire hunter and that probably explains why I self-sabotage so much and also why garlic gives me a headache.

But since it’s my birthday that means presents! But I don’t need anything so instead I’m giving you a present because I just found a box of hard-cover copies of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and they literally don’t even make them anymore. (The hard-cover version, I mean. You can still get the soft-cover.)

Want a signed copy? Just leave a comment and I’ll pick 10 of you at random for a vampire birthday surprise! (Just make sure you leave me an email address that you check.) Also, I only have pre-paid flat-rate US mailers so I can only send to America. Sorry, Canada et all. I still love you. You’re just really expensive. (Because you’re special.)

PS. If you already have a copy of LPTNH you can go over to the NowhereBookshop instagram where they’re giving away a gift card today for my birthday. YAY FOR ANY BOOK YOU WANT!

HAPPY UNCLEAN VAMPIRE BIRTHDAY TO US ALL, BITCHES!

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