My brain is smarter than I am

I said that in my last post. It’s something I say quite often, in fact, and I mean it most sincerely. It comes from years of self-observation: I work and work (consciously) but still sometimes come up short. Then I stop working (or so it appears) and suddenly the answer comes welling up as if out of nowhere.

But it’s not really out of nowhere, and it’s not that mysterious. There is a part of my brain that doesn’t have easy access to words, but is still able to reason, think, and make connections. In fact, I think it thinks better than the part of my brain that is aware of thinking. The challenge is that I can’t see it working, can’t monitor its progress, and can’t force it to produce on any kind of timetable. I have to sit back, hands off, and have faith in it.

This can be much easier said than done. I’m finally getting good at it, here in middle age, because I’ve seen the pattern so many times before. I still get impatient sometimes, however.

Anyway, when I wrote that last post, a friend of mine (who’s heard me make that exact statement a hundred times before) sent me this article about a recent test of unconscious cogitation: Your subconscious is smarter than you might think.

To which I respond: a) obviously, and b) it’s always so gratifying when science finally catches up to my anecdata.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

And the first of our Morris nominee interviews is live! Today, Steph Kuehn (last year’s winner, who I interviewed here) talks to Isabel Quintero about her debut novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.

The interview at Steph’s site

Isabel Quintero’s site

Shadow Scale, German cover

Seraphina has done well in Germany, so it’s no surprise that my German publishers are quick off the mark with their Shadow Scale cover.

Dragon fight! Stand back!

Dragon fight! Stand back!

Titles often get changed in other languages, of course, and I’m sure Shadow Scale will see this a lot. Those two words won’t always make sense, shoved together like that. The German title translates as “Seraphina: the Shadow Dragons Rise.”

Ooh! That kind of gives me shivers, right there.

The stars align

Or two of them do, anyway. Some of you may have already seen that Shadow Scale has gotten a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. Well, it has also received a star from Booklist.

Cue Count Von Count: “Two beautiful stars, Ah-ah-ah!”

Those are stars, not bats. Yes, I'm sure. AH-AH-AH!

Those are stars, not bats. Yes, I’m sure. AH-AH-AH!

Seraphina got eight stars, an unbelievable number, a rare convergence of the literary heavens. It took some work for me to stop feeling, neurotically, that the second book had failed before it was even written, because how could it ever live up to the first? It couldn’t, on the star front anyway.

But we don’t judge our second children by our first — or at least, we shouldn’t — and now, if nothing else, we can say: “Shadow Scale got some stars!” Then we can back away gently from the glittering constellations, and maybe leave the counting to our publisher and the Count. He, at least, can’t seem to help it.

Sparkers Launch Party at Red Balloon


Happy book birthday to Eleanor Glewwe! I blurbed Sparkers, in fact, and encourage you all to check it out.

Originally posted on Eleanor Glewwe:

Today is the official publication day of Sparkers! It’s out in the world. It’s hard to believe this day has finally arrived, and yet today also feels like any other day. I’m grateful to everyone who has taught me, advised me, cheered me on, and kept me company along the way.

Last Friday, I had my launch party at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the children’s bookstore where I met Eoin Colfer when I was in middle school. During my volunteer year, I lived in the neighborhood and loved being able to walk to Red Balloon whenever I wanted. It was a dream come true to have the Sparkers release party there.

A lovely crowd came out to celebrate with me, including much of my extended family, several of my high school friends, parents and siblings of high school friends who have…

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In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Today’s Morris nominee interview: Elizabeth Bunce talks to Cat Winters about In the Shadow of Blackbirds. This one sounds great, too! I was particularly interested in the fact that she had a long, bumpy road to publication, and that the book came out slightly after her 40th birthday. That was my story too. 

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

In today’s Morris finalist interview, Blythe Woolston talks to Evan Roskos. I have not yet read Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, but now I can’t wait. It sounds fascinating, and like it would have some interesting overlap with Charm and Strange – this old Comparative Literature major is itching to compare the two!


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