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Tuesday Tidbit: Ballad Sellers

One girl in a blue short cloak and a torn gown stood in the center of the Square, singing.  A ballad seller—the printer sent her out with broadsides of song lyrics, and she advertised them by singing the songs...The ballad seller’s voice rose and swelled.  She had a beautiful, clear tone, and the sad melody she sang floated and dipped like the undulations of a river.  A dead soldier, his lover in search of him, vows never to rest or love again—the ballads from the print shops were full of such sentimental drivel. Torn

Among all the eighteenth-century peddlers working the city streets, broadsheet sellers were among the poorest.  Some saw selling broadsheets, including those printed with ballad lyrics, as basically one step up from begging; artwork depicts these salespeople as impoverished, wearing ragged clothing.  At the same time, they provided a vital service in terms of disseminating popular culture at a time when your new material came in print--not records, films, radio, or the we…
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Delayed Celebrations and GIVEAWAY!

If there's one thing (pick just one!) that's frustrating about the writing and publishing sphere, it's how often the things you really want to celebrate have to be kept quiet..for ages.  Centuries.  Aeons, even.

Ok, but even a few weeks or months on the silent circuit can feel excruciating when you really want to run around like a toddler on a cookie high with a fistful of sparklers and order MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE A REAL BOOK AND BE PUBLISHED AND STUFF! on a cake.  You maybe haven't quite refined the cake wording yet.
Which is why I've never really blabbed much about how, a year ago today, I got a quick text from my Agent of Awesome to see if I had a minute to chat.  I was at work at work, at a community college writing center, and a minute something I had to scrape up given that it was nearing end-of-semester time and I was neck-deep in papers submitted to the online tutoring portal I managed.
But that minute was going to have to give, because I Just Knew that th…

Tuesday Tidbit: Cries of London

One of the places I found inspiration for Galitha City was in the artwork depicting eighteenth century London.  The "Cries of London" are actually a catchall for quite a few series of prints, one of the more famous of which is by Francis Wheatley.  Wheatley may have idealized his subjects a little bit; comparing his work to, say, Paul Sandby's sketches, his criers tend to look better-kempt, less dirty, and significantly less likely to steal something.

Wheatley:


Cheerilee, I'm selling prettypretty primroses! Tra-la-la!
Sandby:
From the Yale Center for British Art
Get your liver for your dogs, or don't, I don't give a ****.
It may be little surprise that I prefer Sandby for historical research purposes...if he depicts someone with a certain cap or their apron tied in a knot (y'all are seeing that, too, right?) it's pretty sure that's because someone *actually did that.*

Still, Wheatley's work also gives insight into a busy, bustling, *loud* city li…

Event March 31! In Which I Get to Hang Out With Mary Robinette Kowal in Chicago!

I'm excited to share that on March 31, I'll be at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago to talk about fantasy, writing, and Torn with the incredible Hugo-award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal!  (If you haven't read her Shades of Milk and Honey, you are in for a treat!) 



Join us at 7:30 (Central time zone)!  I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

More on the event here!

In Which My Debut Novel Releases

Release dates are weird things.

See, this book has felt "real" to me for a while now.  From seeing pass pages (and marking up pass pages and wow a novel means a STACK and a half of pass pages!)



to getting an ARC of my book, to a box of author copies arriving on my doorstep


to handling REAL ACTUAL copies of MY BOOK for the first time...

I've met my book as a book.  It feels real.  
It's been out there dipping its big toe in the world, too--there have been trade reviews and book blogger's reviews (like this one, this one, and I'm missing quite a few but I'm typing fast here, this one).  People have read my book.

I've had that stop and breathe moment--*PEOPLE have read my BOOK.*

(Whether people liked it or not isn't even registering--people have READ it.)

And all that happens before the book releases into the wild of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your favorite corner bookshop that's hanging despite the odds.

So what does happen tomorrow? Well...I hav…

Bookmark Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY!! TORN comes out next week—I kinda can’t believe it! To celebrate I’m giving away handmade-by-me, fabric-accented, signed bookmarks. Open anywhere the mail goes, enter on Twitter or Facebook! Open through midnight Sunday (ET).

I'm giving away five bookmarks minimum in each place, so feel free to enter in each!


Good luck!

Giveaway!! Seamstress Prize Pack

Two months from today, Torn will be released!
I'm already excited--and I want to celebrate ahead of time a little bit and give one you a gift!  In the spirit of the trade employed by the main character, Sophie, in Torn, this is a "Seamstress Prize Pack." I'm giving away a copy of the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking and a sweet little pair of embroidery snips.


Why these items? Because my (sometimes obsessive) love of sewing and historical textiles was a huge part of the inspiration for Torn, and I am *loving* how this book by Lauren Stowell and Abby Cox makes the process of sewing historical gowns so accessible.  If you've ever wanted to dive into sewing historical garments, this is a wonderful entree.  And if you've been sewing for ages, there are still excellent patterns, tips, advice, and general prettiness to enjoy, too.  Frankly, even if you never intend to sew a stitch, it's a beautiful book to look at it and it certainly enriches …