Jessica Day George

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whitney Awards and all. . . .

I know, I haven't blogged in forever.  What have I been saying about the editing fairy?!

But I just this minute finished the first "pass" of what we shall now call Princess Under Stone, so I shall blog about my weekend. 

First off: I totally killed with my keynote address at LDS Storymakers.  At first people were kind of staring at me, because it had been a long day.  They'd been bombarded with publishing advice, many of them had just met with an editor and/or agent about their books, and they were feeling dragged through the wringer just a bit.  (Or so I was later told by several people.)  But once I got going, and confessed that I could not read my own handwriting and so was having trouble with my notes, I think things went well.  By the end I was getting laughs (in the funny places), and was asked, "Are you like this all time?"  (In a good way.)

And then came Saturday, and the Whitney Awards.

The Whitney Awards are a new award for LDS (Mormon) authors.  There's never really been something like this before.  They had nominees in categories from Best Romance to Novel of the Year, and they announced them at the gala, after a wonderful dinner.  It was like the Oscars: we were all dressed up, the Best Novel nominees read from their books, there were Lifetime Achievement tributes.  Really, very cool.

Also, I got to wear a sparkly top!  And lots of jewelry!

I borrowed from my sister one of the greatest ensembles EVER.  A fitted, short-sleeved black top beaded with green and blue sequins, some of which were shaped like stars, and others like SHAMROCKS!  I had a big, poofy back taffeta skirt, and really tall heels, and found a jeweled barrette shaped like a crown for my hair.  I had big dangly emerald earrings, and my mom gave me a bracelet with a shamrock charm.  (It sounds like a bit much, but really it all worked, I swear.)

I was nominated in three categories: Best Speculative Fiction (along with Shannon Hale for Book of a Thousand Days and Brandon Sanderson for Mistborn: Well of Ascension), Best Novel by a New Author, and Novel of the Year.

Drumroll, please: I won Best Novel by a New Author!  YAY!

And I got to present the award for Best Mystery/Thriller.  Sanderson was my co-presenter, and we thought it would be hilarious to rib the MC for the bad joke we had to tell when we announced the nominees, and later we found out that this sweet woman named Kerry Blair had written the joke.  Oops! 

But Josi Kilpack won for her book Sheep's Clothing.  Josi was at my table, which turned out to be the luckiest table, with me, Josi, and Brandon Mull all getting awards.  Mull won for Fablehaven 2 as Best Children's Book.  He was sitting by my husband, and was really a hoot.  The stork (not to be confused with the editing fairy), had just visited the Mulls, so Brandon brought his brother as his date, and watching them both freak out every time someone took a picture of them was hilarious.  ("We're together, but like, because we're brothers!  Not 'together-together'!")

Shannon won for  Book of a Thousand Days as best Speculative, by the way, and her acceptance speech was awesome.  She said that people who are jealous because they didn't win, rather than be happy for the winner, are going to hell (I'm paraphrasing).  It became the catchphrase of the evening, "I'm going to hell!"  When I won, I said, "Yay, I'm not going to hell for this one!"

But it was a great evening, and I'm excited for next year.  This was the first year, and I think it will just continue to be bigger and better.  And how cool is it that I got to be involved with the very first year?!

In other news:

I'm reading Inkheart (I know, I'm a bit behind) and loving it.

I just found out that Robin McKinley is having a new book out in September, called Chalice.  Pre-order it today!

And I'm going to have my webmaster/husband put some updates on the "Meet Jessica" page: in May I'm going to be all over town!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Me? Keynote Speaker?

So, the Editing Fairy, she is a harsh mistress.  She makes me work.  And think.  And write.  And cry. 

I just have to keep telling myself that it's worth it.

Yes, yes it is.

And while I've been wandering from room to room, moaning and pretending to work, I got an email.  From a nice lady named Annette.   Who is in charge of a local writers' conference that's going on this weekend.  It seems they are in a bit of a pickle: the Friday night keynote address was supposed to be given by Chris Crowe.  He's a professor of English at BYU, a renowned author, local character and bon vivant.  Sadly, he's also had a family crisis arise, and cannot speak on Friday night.

So naturally Annette thought of me.

Yep, me.

So Friday night I'm giving the keynote address for the LDS Storymakers Conference.  They are estimating about 200 people.  No sweat.  No sweat at all.  (Oh, please!  Please don't let me start sweating like a monkey in front of all those people!)

I'm coming up with some good remarks.  I think it will be fun.

And it will take my mind off Saturday night, and the Whitney Awards.  They're a new award being started by the LDS Storymaker committee, to celebrate LDS (Mormon) authors.  I'm up for THREE awards, and also co-presenting one of them with Brandon Sanderson.  So I have to not spill anything on myself during the dinner (and yes, I will be wearing fancy clothes.  For once.)  And then I have to not trip over my fancy clothes going up to the podium. . . .

Wish me monsters, as Buffy would say. . . . .

(Not sure why, but do it anyway!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hello, Editing Fairy!

Yes, folks, the editing fairy has laid another egg on my doorstep. Literally.

Our UPS guy is a NUT.  You can hear your package smacking down on the doorstep even as he's ringing the doorbell, and in the time it takes to walk across the living room and into the little entry and open the door, the dude is back in his van and driving away.  DRIVING AWAY.  In less than one minute.  I'm not sure if he hates me personally, or is agoraphobic, but even when  I have been standing IN the entry when I hear the box drop, I have not been able to see his face. 

So, he threw a padded envelope at my front door and ran again today, and I opened it to find:

Black Wool Chain

The manuscript complete with millions of tiny little editorial suggestions from my editor.  This is a long-awaited arrival, though, so I'm not complaining.  According to my contract, I was actually supposed to have edited it and turned it back into Bloomsbury by last Saturday.  So I've actually been wearing a hole in the floor with my pacing, wondering when it was going to come.  And, for once, I'm really excited about this edit.  I've been a bit of a whiner in the past: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a touchy subject for me, editing-wise.  There were a number of things that I would in no way change, in my anxiety to do justice to the original tale.  This one is based on a fairy tale too (The Twelve Dancing Princesses), but I'm more flexible about it.  The biggest problem that we're having with this one is the title.

Yep, the title.

I've mentioned this before, but I am not a good titler.  Titling does not come easily to me, it is not my gift.  Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was the original title for that book, and neither my editor nor I was really in love with it.  We came up with about ten other titles, and the marketing department pooh-poohed them all.  Dragon Slippers was originally Dragonskin Slippers, then The Dragonskin WarsDragon Flight was going to be called Dragon Helm, but then I didn't end up using the word 'helm' in the book, because it actually kinda annoys me.  And really, those are the least changes books of mine have undergone, title-wise.  My first novel ever has been called about six different things over the years, and I'm working on a story right now that after four years of kicking around in my brain and computer files, is still called Untitled Desert Project.  My titling bone is broken.


Black Wool Chain.  I actually like it, myself, as much if not better than I've ever liked a title of mine.  My editor, on the other hand, hates it.  She would really, really like to put 'princess' somewhere in the title, because (like 'dragon') it is an eye-catching word.  Unlike, say, 'wool'.  (She has a very, very valid point.)  Her title suggestions, on the other hand, don't work for me.

So here it is, the alternate title I've come up with.  And you, gentle reader, must use the comments to tell me what you think.

Princess Under Stone

It's got 'princess' in it, it's intriguing, easy to remember, and I think quite catchy.

Anyone care to comment?