I bring my child to Sony to teach more grown-ups about Instagram

A few weeks ago, I brought my 11-year-old daughter to Random House in NY, where she gave a presentation on how she and other kids and book fans are using Instagram to essentially create an interactive online community celebrating books (and the movies made from books). Today she got to reprise her presentation at Sony, to a roomful of their worldwide marketing staff, and the heads of production at Columbia Pictures. She did a great job! Thanks for having us!




I take my child to Random House to teach a bunch of grown-ups about Instagram

My 11-year-old daughter is constantly on Instagram. She has an account with 6700 followers on which she discusses all the books she loves (and the movies made from these books) with other people all over the world. I'm usually harassing her to get off her phone, BUT... today I brought her to Random House in NY, where she gave a presentation to my editor, a bunch of marketing people and the head of Random House Children's Books on how she and other kids and book fans are using Instagram to essentially create an interactive online community celebrating books. So possibly I could harass her a bit less...


The German version of Resurrection comes out today

I'm happy about my first translated work. The German title is "Resurrection: Lost Light."

German friends, let me know what you think!

Resurrection on Amazon.de


News starting to trickle out about trilogy...

Some trade press on my upcoming trilogy. There's a little blub about the story which is hopefully intriguing and also deeply unsatisfying...

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/tag/arwen-elys-dayton


Resurrection back at #1 on Amazon's Historical Fantasy list

About a year after this first happened, Resurrection is back at the top of Amazon's Historical Fantasy bestseller list. 

Yes, in a large part this is because Amazon is selling it for 99 cents this month, but I'm very happy that so many people are buying and reading the book.

I hope you enjoy!


First announcement of my new series SEEKER for Random House's Delacorte Press

I'm very excited to be with Krista Marino at Random House's Delacorte Press with my new YA series SEEKER.

Here's a little blurb in today's issue of Publishers Weekly:


Book Deals: Week of March 11, 2013





To This Day, Shane Koyczan - you must watch this video

I need to share this video because it's amazing and devastating and beautiful and important, which is a lot things to be.

It's also an example of what can be created when artists collaborate. Volunteer animators did the animation, and the result is a train of breathtaking styles, each completely different, and yet as powerful as the next.

I hope anyone who does creative work aspires to create something so meaningful. I know I do.

To This Day, Shane Koyczan

Today I'm studying our ancestors and early modern man

It's been kind of a long haul to our present form.


Cro Magnon



H. heidelbergensis
File:Homo heidelbergensis (10233446).jpg

H. Ergaster


H. erectus
File:Homo erectus Steveoc 86.jpg
A. afarensis. Lucy!!!
File:A.afarensis.jpg


Today I'm looking at monasteries


Polar opposites of the junkyards in my last post, and yet they are united by the research I'm doing right now...




Reading list, last 12 months...

In case anyone is interested in what I read in 2012, I thought I'd post a list. I reconstructed it from my Kindle, and so is probably missing the occasional book I read in paper, but I certainly have included my favorites from last year.

ben_franklin.jpgBenjamin Franklin
Walter Isaacson


Fantastic biography of an amazing man. Franklin seems to go in and out of style from generation to generation, and the book even manages to talk about the changing face of his legacy.




Cloud atlas.jpgCloud Atlas
David Mitchell

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
Completely absorbing book, and the author's ability to effortlessly span centuries in his writing style left me in awe.






The Name of the Wind

Patrick Rothfuss

I'm not usually a big fan of fantasy, but when the writing is this good, this classic, and the world is so well drawn, you can't help but love it.





Cover

Reamde
Neal Stephenson

I am a huge Neal Stephenson fan and I totally loved this book. Russian gangsters, Chinese hackers, crashing private planes and multi-national kidnap victims all brought together through an MMORPG that ends up spilling over into "real life" in many unpleasant ways.





AFeastForCrows.jpgA Feast For Crows
George R.R. Martin










The Casual Vacancy.jpgThe Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling

You can debate whether or not this book was actually entertaining, but I took this as Ms. Rowling's wake-up call for complacent people everywhere who are not doing enough to help others. With this book, she seemed to say,  "This is the world as it really is. Roll up your sleeves and help." I was inspired.




The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern FinanceThe House of Morgan
Ron Chernow

A banking dynasty and a detailed look at parts of American history that are often overlooked.






Front cover of book showing upside-down bird with stamp on beak.The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley









The Fault in our Stars
John Green

Kids with cancer is a tough topic, but he might be the one writer to tackle it with with the right mix of humor, irony and honesty.






Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska
John Green









Riverworld PosterRiverworld: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Philip Jose Farmer









Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)Anna Dressed in Blood
Kendare Blake









First Edition of The Door into SummerThe Door Into Summer
Robert Heinlein

Heinlein is comfort food for me.







Wool
Hugh Howey

Wool came out around the same time as Resurrection and it's been my great pleasure to watch its amazing success. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.





Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
John le Carre









Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson











Books I read with the kids (who range in age from 7 to 12):

The Cumbersome Collection (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-11) [SHRINK WRAPPED]A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-7
Lemony Snickett









The 39 Clues Book #1: The Maze of Bones The 39 Clues, Book 1: Maze of Bones
Rick Riordan









Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.jpgHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling

I am reading the series for at least the third time, this time with my seven year old. I never get tired of it!






Goblet fire coverHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling









Divergent
Veronica Roth

My middle child became obsessed with this series and we had lots of fun deciding which factions we (and the rest of the family and all of our friends) belonged in.





Insurgent
Veronica Roth









The ApothecaryThe Apothecary
Maile Meloy

Such clear, graceful writing framing a story that blends history with historical fiction.






Matched (Matched, #1)Matched
Ally Condie

My middle child greatly enjoyed the author's writing style and the world she created, and said child charged immediately into the rest of the series.

WRITERS HOUSE

I had a fun visit to Writers House when I was in New York the other day. In a dense warren of rooms winding through two adjacent old houses are some really great people, including my agent, Jodi Reamer.

A lot of good things happened when Resurrection hit all those Amazon bestseller lists this year. I mean, hitting the bestseller lists was obviously the main good thing, which is why I'm taking this convenient opportunity to mention it again. As a writer, you feel a whole lot better when your stories are being bought and read by thousands and thousands of people, rather than read reluctantly by a few close friends and relatives who are obligated to (but don't always) say something nice to you. It doesn't really have to be that way -- the job is "writer," not "seller of books," but still I am pretty happy about selling books.

Writers House.
Great old building with offices tucked away in a rabbit warren.
Aside from the thrill of seeing Resurrection climbing up (and down, and then up again, and then, yes, down again) Amazon's bestseller lists (I'm using way too many parentheses here -- Jodi would definitely complain in the unlikely event that she ever used the Internet and saw this -- but I would like to mention that Resurrection did briefly displace two Hunger Games books in the kindle store, during the absolute peak of HG rabid buying), it's been fun hearing from people who've read the book and so great to watch all the nice reader reviews going up.

And to the few readers who didn't give me a very nice review, I'd like to say that I'm still super happy you bought my book. Maybe it can double as a paperweight or doorstop or something. I guess you could write grocery lists in the margins, or use the pages to start a fire, or as toilet paper. (Don't try this if you only bought the kindle version of the book. That would be an uncomfortable/expensive mistake.)

A kind of weird side effect of the book doing well was getting to talk to several really interesting agents who wanted to represent me. I had a terrific agent years ago, but we hadn't worked together in a long while, and I decided to put myself back on the market (to make an odd and inappropriate dating reference out of this).

I spoke to some great people, but ultimately Jodi was the perfect fit. She represents a few #1 NY Times bestselling authors you may have heard of, like Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), John Green (The Fault in Our Stars -- just selected as Time Magazine's #1 fiction book in 2012), Ally Condie (Matched). This is shameless name dropping on my part, since I (a) don't know any of them and (b) may be slapped with some sort of Cease and Desist order for using them to plug myself. But I'm doing it anyway. 

Despite her amazing list of authors, she makes me feel like her only client when she's talking to me. You can't ask for more than that. Okay, you can ask for more than that, but this is still pretty good.

I'm thrilled to be represented by Jodi Reamer and I think she's happy to have me as a client too -- at least, I can't think of any other reason she'd agree to do it.

Since the world did not in fact end on 12/21/2012, I am cautiously optimistic about good things to come in 2013.

Arwen


Urban Wildlife in Portland, Oregon

I'm finishing a novel in Portland.

To clarify, I'm in Portland myself. The novel does not take place here. If a novel were to take place here, it would probably have to feature a sub-species of humanity endemic to the area, which I have mentally been calling hobo hipsterus urbanus. They are usually quite young, and they work very hard on their facial hair, tattoos and graffiti tags but not so much on taking showers or doing laundry. However, as I discovered, they are actually pretty nice, and they often have very cute dogs.

But back to me: I've discovered that three days holed up in a hotel by myself equates to about a week and a half of working at home. A lot of this is fueled by guilt about not being at home. It's  a virtuous circle.

I have a wonderful new agent (more on this to come) who is pounding the table for the revised manuscript. There's no literal table pounding, but it's nice to imagine some dramatic gesticulation going on alongside our very friendly phone conversations.

The lovely thing about this hotel is that it's situated right by the river, and there are four miles of walking/biking paths along the water where I can get some exercise for an hour or two and look at something other than a computer screen. And what I get to look at a lot is hobo hipsterus urbanus in all his many forms. Any natives of the Northwest reading this, please let me know if there is an actual word used to describe this sub-culture. I'm dying to know.


For some reason, I've had a hankering for bad 90's music, so I actually walked around today (okay, and yesterday too) with big headphones on, while listening to Third Eye Blind. Don't judge me. It made an interesting soundtrack for crossing very highly trafficked footpaths while being trailed by said hobos.

There were some other things to look at as well. I really do like Portland's bridges.







Arwen