In which I went to YALC and so did that guy from Game of Thrones apparently

Attending YALC this year was a last minute decision, by which I mean I bought my ticket on the Wednesday and went on the Saturday. I thought it might be nice to visit as a reader, because it’s this heart-warming day of bookish people who are really friendly and polite talking about books with other bookish people who are friendly and polite. It’s also a great place to pick up books on the cheap without resorting to Amazon or ripping off any authors, which I think justifies the train fare and ticket entry. You also rub shoulders with those authors, who are also bookish and friendly and polite. Everyone is just… there for books. IT’S HEAVEN.

(Side note Jason Mamoa was there on Saturday. Not as a guest, apparently he just wandered through on the way to Comic Con downstairs. That is why you should go to YALC.)

I also went to do some work for The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, and by work I mean ‘hand out some hastily-designed business cards to the cool indie publishing houses and sit in on the agents’ arena talks’. This was probably less successful, as a) even most indie publishers won’t take unsolicited manuscripts even if they did look up the project, and b) by putting the book on Patreon myself I might have accidentally harmed my chances of it getting picked up by an agent. It was really good to hear more about getting an agent from agents, because it highlighted what I could do if I were to pitch The Princess and the Dragon a second time around. Possibly I should have pitched it as YA, not middle grade, a thought that did not occur to me until I was doing the second big round of edits and realised that it’s not really a middle grade book. Possibly my cover letter could have been stronger. Possibly the agents I pitched to just didn’t, you know, vibe with my weird angry princess and her strangely Catalan-esque kingdom. It’s hard to know for sure when they’re too busy to provide feedback.

Basically, pitching to an agent is as soul destroying as applying for a job, except the process is even slower.

ew from sunshinethekatt.tumblr
(from Tumblr)

That being said, I learnt a lot and I met approximately 473638 different booksellers and agents and publicists. Everyone is so genuinely friendly that even if an agent says something you’re not happy to hear, like ‘the market is kind of saturated with fairy tale retellings’ or ‘if you re-pitch your book, you could just not mention your Patreon’, you don’t particularly mind. Even if I was writing The Princess and the Dragon before all those retellings came out and I’ve never even read any and even if I’ve put more effort into my Patreon than I did most of my GCSEs.  But let’s not dwell on that.

I  popped downstairs to Comic Con for a bit while I was there. It was way too hot and crowded but does have a very cool artists’ alley that’s also probably worth the ticket price. I met a handful of artists I would kill to commission Princess and the Dragon art from. There were a few cosplayers I would commission clothes from. The talent floating around these conventions is intense. If I were genuinely wealthy and needed some artwork made for my house or something, I’d just hang around Comic Con all weekend. Life goals, huh.

 

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Holiday Post 2: Literature Appreciation Post #2

I wanted to talk about Tim Minchin, but my Internet’s so slow that going on YouTube is futile. Instead, writing this the day before I leave, I’ve decided to make a list of holiday literature.

  • Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I’ve wanted to read this ever since Life on the Murder Scene, and found it in Waterstone’s for an absurdly low price. All I know so far is that it’s written by a Scottish guy and is about drugs, so I’ll let you know how I get on…

  • Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean.  Got this on the same Waterstone’s trip. It’s supposed to be good, what with it being “the most successful graphic novel of all time”. It was written by a Scottish guy who’s done a lot of drugs, so we’re on the right track.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’ve actually already read this (I started it in Greece two years ago, then picked it back up when I got into Pencey Prep at the end of last year). Holden Caulfield is becoming a character I really, really want to have a conversation with. We agree on phonies, so it’ll be fun to flick through.

  • The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audry Niffenegger. Whose surname is wonderful to type… I started this then got distracted by Jane Eyre (which, incidentally, you should read). My mum’s copy has a TARDIS sticker on it. No Doctors so far, but we shall see.
  • Skullduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy. Light entertainment that Ellen, Bel, Ross and Maxim – the Inner Circle, as they should probably become known – love. I have yet to finish the series. But it’ll happen, damnit.
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. Mum’s been telling me to read this for years, and since it’s on my recommended book list for next year and is set in Kefalonia, I figured I should make hay while the sun shines.
  • The Umbrella Academy by Geezy Way and Gabriel Bá. More light entertainment, because I love it dearly and heard rumours (reading that back I just noticed what I did. Bazinga!) of a new installment in the next five years. Dallas is my favourite of the two because there’s Vietnam and ice-cream.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Not to reread (BUT YOU SHOULD READ IT. NOW), I just want to write fan fiction about Mayella Ewell. We’ll see how that goes…

My mum’s also talking about getting Fifty Shades of Shit Grey at the aiport.

Insert my disgusted face here.

**Update 07/08/12**

It occurred to me on holiday that while I credited the writers of the comics, I did not credit the artists. This has now been amended.

In regards to the books: I finished them all while we were away apart from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I finished about an hour ago. This is because I also read Murder Most Fab by Julian Clary, one of Isobel’s books, and took a break after Trainspotting – two days of reading crappy magazines. Mum didn’t get Fifty Shades, thank God, and my favourite story was Captain Corelli for the plot, followed by Trainspotting for its insane brilliance, and Arkham Asylum for Grant Morrison’s notes at the end.

Ahem. Read on.

**Second update 07/08/12**

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin isn’t set in Corfu, it’s set in Kefalonia. My Family and Other Animals is Corfu. This too has been amended. I am an idiot.

On One Trip, Pugsley and I Saw Eight Muse T-shirts. On Eight Different People.

  Technically I don’t become a whole year older until around ten thirty this evening, but I’m sitting in the back garden warming my feet on the chimnea. Since I’ve actually put this weekend’s photographs on the D drive already, I thought I’d be a total techie geek and upload them for you lovely people now. In the garden.

 

 

 

 

And yesterday’s trip with Cinderella and my family to London to see The Secret of Sherlock Holmes:

 

 

  In case I forget, thank you to everyone who forked out for exercise books, fineliners, Shakespeare compilations and toe rings for me. Best weekend ever.

This Is Probably the Only Blog Post You’ll Ever Read Linking My Chemical Romance and the 1947 Polish Elections

  It’s become something of tradition, I think, to blog around this week every year. Not because I lost someone on 9/11. I was only five years and three hundred and sixty-four days old when it happened, after all… Most people my age probably can’t even remember it. I know a girl at my school who thinks Osama Bin Laden is a member of the Beatles.

Osama bin Laden cartoon

Not because it’s Mikey Way’s thirtieth birthday today either.

  Or that it’s nearly nine years since a depressed twenty-something artist on his way to work saw the aforementioned disaster and formed a brilliant rock band with his aforementioned brother.

  But because, despite all the odds, I have survived another year. Amazing, innit? I haven’t been run over by a bus, set myself on fire during a Chemistry IAA, contracted cancer, crashed a car, slit one vein too many, been assassinated or fallen over attempting a roundhouse kick, cracking my head open on the dojo floor.

  I’m prepared to bet a few of you have considered killing me, setting me on fire or chucking me on the dojo floor. Thank you for refraining. You know that theory Charles Darwin came up with, the survival of the fittest? That if you’re unable to hunt or climb trees or run really fast from whatever’s trying to eat you, you’ll get cast out of the pack and eaten.

  I kind of cheated with the ‘survival’ part of the saying. It’s not my fault, okay? I didn’t ask to get born eleven weeks early. It just happened. I didn’t ask for Rochford and Southend hospitals to stick pipes in my side and kick-start my respiratory system either, but I’m grateful to whoever signed the pipe-insertion contract.

  Every year I reflect on the shithole that is September 11th and the excellence of My Chem, and wonder how something so good could be born out of something so bad. If 9/11 hadn’t happened, would MCR be doing what they do? I like to think that terrorist attacks notwithstanding, yeah.

  Let’s face it, Gerard wouldn’t have done art for the Cartoon Network forever, Ray was going to pick up the guitar again at some point, Mikey had to get over his stage fright one way or another and Frank… Well, Frank is one of those insane blokes who sort of manages to kill demon sharks wherever the van takes him.

       

  Same with Darwin’s theory of evolution. If I’d been born circa 1950, I’d be in a shoebox sized grave right now next to my mum, and Maxim would be an unexistent annoying little brother. But I was born in the nineties, dude, and there’s no point having a pretty comfortable privileged life and not doing anything but surfing Twitter. So regardless of my serious hatred of birthday celebrations and all the grief that accompanies it, I’m rather looking forward to Sunday.

  It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, according to the proverb. Well, it ain’t over till I say it’s over, so anyone still going on about medical science not being a good idea can go the same way as the homophobes and Qur’an burners. Down the fucking drain.

  When the USSR rigged the Polish vote in 1947 to ensure it became communist, Stalin wasn’t worried about cheating. He was worried that Germany might kill more Russians if there was another war, and he wanted Poland to protect them. I don’t like Labour, but Moustache Dictator Guy Two had the right idea.

I Want What He’s Smoking.

  I was going to write about something completely different. Then I found this picture on DeviantART, from San Diego Comic Con 2010.

  Figured I haven’t ranted about the elder Mr. Way since February when he contracted throat cancer, so since he’s holding a fag, it’s time to state some opinions.

  When I first saw this picture, I thought, ‘Gerard has had a midlife crisis at the age of thirty-three. Los Angeles has warped his mind so he wants to become a surfer.’ I was half expecting to see Mikey with a surf board and wetsuit instead of his wife.

  Thankfully, the sun has not gone to his head.