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you are a pretentious prick who is also a transphobic piece of trash, go to hell


There is so much of this stuff in my ask box, and most of it not even anonymous, but I don’t want to call out any particular user because I know they’ll then get a lot of hateful asks and the cycle will just continue.

First off, there’s a comma splice in your ask. I just have to let you know that, on account of how I’m a pretentious prick.

I hope that I’m not transphobic. I’ve been public and vocal in my support for the rights of trans people for years, and I’ve tried over the years to amplify trans voices, from T Cooper to Stephen Ira Beatty, rather than pretending to be able to speak for them. 

Look, I am a person, and I am not a particularly good one. I am screwed up and make a lot of mistakes. But I am not a piece of trash. I would imagine that you are also screwed up and make a lot of mistakes, but you aren’t a piece of trash either.

But it is still hurtful—very hurtful—to hear people call me a piece of trash. It just makes me sad to hear, the way I think it would make most people sad to hear. The certainty and lack of nuance in that characterization reflects a broader lack of nuance in online discourse these days that just bums me out. 

Stuff like this? It’s not activism. It’s hate mongering. 

And it’s not even correct. Just because you levy an accusation at someone doesn’t make you right about it.

This is the kind of stuff that will ruin the internet, if we let it. I hope we can get ourselves together and end this so we can have good things.


Today…I’m going to call it…is the first properly beautiful spring day of the year. And in keeping with my yearly tradition, that means I play this song.


Robert Plant on stage with a dove, 1973. Photo by James Fortune. 

I can’t stop looking at this, so let’s discuss.
1. Creepy smile. So creepy. Creepy smile pointed at dove. Fly, dove! Fly!
2. Cigarette. Because 70s.
3. Denim vest with puff sleeves. No shirt. Sure. Why not. Let’s just go with that.
5. Friendship bracelet. From dove? Probably not.
6. Creature behind has hands for feet.
7. Faceless masses behind.


Robert Plant on stage with a dove, 1973. Photo by James Fortune. 

I can’t stop looking at this, so let’s discuss.

1. Creepy smile. So creepy. Creepy smile pointed at dove. Fly, dove! Fly!

2. Cigarette. Because 70s.

3. Denim vest with puff sleeves. No shirt. Sure. Why not. Let’s just go with that.


5. Friendship bracelet. From dove? Probably not.

6. Creature behind has hands for feet.

7. Faceless masses behind.



Let me get this started WAY UP TOP here with the headline. THE SHADOW CABINET, the third book in the Shades of London series, is now coming out on MARCH 5, 2015. That’s in the United States. Dates in other countries will follow, and I’ll post them as soon as I get them.

Now, this book was supposed to come out in September, and now it’s March. WHY????

If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to tell you a little about the year 2013, as I experienced it. And a bit about publishing, and about being a human person.

Starting in 2010, I developed a few problems with pain and excessive tiredness. I just thought I was having an odd ache or two, and just sleepy, or possibly lazy. By mid-2012, though, it had gotten bad. I was often woozy on my feet, and the pain was, at times, kind of extraordinary. It capped off at LeakyCon 2012. Once I had done my job and it was over, I felt all my energy leave me in a big WOOOOOSH. I tried to get up for the final breakfast and ended up having to go back to bed immediately. I went to the doctor that week and just casually laid this out, and he was like, “OKAY, WHAT? WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THIS BEFORE?” And he did an ultrasound and found that I had a large mass in my abdomen. (It wasn’t cancer. It was LADYSTUFFS. But I’m not going to BORE you with the details.)*

This is approximately things went, as I look at my calendar:

November 2012: Surgery scheduled, but Hurricane Sandy hits instead. Surgery canceled. Out of house for a week with no heat, water, or power. Live with Libba Bray. Get two root canals. Oscar decides it is time to move to US as clearly I will be swept out to sea unless something is done.

December 2012: Get surgery. Think will be up on feet within a few days, but not really how things work. Took more like three or four weeks.

January 2013: Get infection, which knocks me down for two more weeks.

February: Fly to England to help Oscar pack, then go immediately on tour for release of Madness Underneath.

March: Oscar moves over. Go immediately on tour with Cassie Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.

April: Went to Houston and LA for more touring/conferences. New apartment opens with more space for two people, away from famous neighbor in 8A. So, we move, even though, at this point, as you can imagine, I’m a bit worn. Also, still dealing with some post-surgical stuff that starts to abate by this point. Told by my physician to stop moving boxes or my insides will fall out. Continue to move boxes.

May: Unpack and settle into new apartment. A lot of LeakyCon planning. So much LeakyCon planning. (I run the Lit Track along with Robin Wasserman, and the planning phase goes on all year, but really heats up the month before the conference and is basically an everyday thing by that point.)

June: Go to England with Oscar to see family, do appearance. Spend a week writing with Cassie, Holly, Sarah, Jen Lynn in Cornwall and finish up Bane Chronicles stories.  Then…LEAKYCON (a non-stop week in Portland).

July: GET PUPPY. Other stuff, but once you have a puppy it’s ALL JUST POOP AND WEIRD SLEEPING.

August: Oh my god we have a puppy. WHAT HAVE WE DONE. The August schedule is all word counts and puppy training.

September: Much the same as August. These are the months of 2013 that were the most relaxing and also when I began to realize that I was running on fumes.

October: UK tour (which I get sick during and lose my voice), week of appearances in Vancouver (with a bit of a voice). Zelda (the puppy) begins to develop what will be ongoing medical issues.

November: Now writing book in every second of every day. Find out about World Book Day! Have to write novella, now. Stop everything.

December: Write novella. Write book. Write, write, write.

I was writing — both on the new novel and also all the kinds of things writers write as part of the promotion for their novels — throughout all of the above, and doing all the other parts of my job. (The actual writing of books is only part of the “author” job now, something I will be talking about in a FUTURE POST. Finding time to write amidst all the admin that needs doing can be weirdly hard.) But those events were the highlights (and what’s written on my calendar).

By December, the problems that lead to the surgery in the first place began to reappear. The condition I have is an ongoing one, that’s not unlike garden weeding. You cut it out and it comes back, and then you cut it out and it comes back, etc. This came back a bit quickly. When I could no longer pretend it wasn’t happening, I went to the doctor. This confirmed it was back, and I was scheduled for a series of tests, the last of which was on Tuesday. I found out a few weeks ago that another surgery is inevitable. The question was and is when that surgery will happen. And I’m totally going to be okay. It’s annoying, but there are SO MANY WORSE THINGS TO HAVE.

I informed my editor at Penguin that—ha ha ha! —-this was happening again. This wrinkle meant I might be about two weeks late on getting the book in, but by this point, two weeks was a bridge too far. Books are seasonal, and there was no time left. So, the book was preemptively moved to allow me to take care of myself, to tour when it comes out, and do everything properly. It was really good of them, and I am deeply appreciative.

Now, why did I tell you all of that? Why did I list what sounds like A SERIES OF COMPLAINTS? It’s not. Much of the above was FANTASTIC! Almost everything about it was lucky. I love writing and I love touring and I have a medical issue that is completely manageable and the resources to get care. I have a wonderful Oscar and a wonderful Zelda. Someday I’ll finish moving into the apartment (that never quite got done—when we go Zelda all progress on that front basically froze). I’M NOT COMPLAINING.  I’M EXPLAINING. I SWEAR.

I feel deeply responsible to everyone who reads my books. You are the reason I am here. I LIKE YOU. And I left the end of Madness Underneath on SUCH A CLIFFHANGER that you are owed a decent explanation as to why you have to wait for THE ANSWER.

For my part, I thought I was chugging along just fine. In retrospect, I know I wasn’t. In the end, my body just threw down a roadblock that I couldn’t ignore. I don’t mind this at all. And like I said, it’s not that bad. But it pays to listen, sometimes, and remember that the first job is to be human.

Otherwise, how would we write?

All that being said, THE BOOK IS COMING and I have some VERY good news to share very soon. And I thank you for sticking with me.






Take care of YOURSELVES.




* Possibly too late on this one.



I am only on page 2 of your HPA fanfic, but the way you did Hank's dialogue is so accurate that I almost peed my pants, tbh. THANK YOU.

No sweat.




Have you heard of Ban Bossy? It’s the new initiative from Lean In and the Girl Scouts that’s trying to ban “bossy” and similar words that are used to bring down girls that are ambitious, take risks, and speak up. By changing the way we treat girls who lead, hopefully our generation will soon see more women in leadership roles. 

You can watch the 1:00 video with Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Condeleeza Rice, and Jennifer Garner here, or visit the Ban Bossy website

I have been told I’m shrill and overly ambitious.

Managers of venues at LeakyCons have condescendingly called me “hon” (and instantly regretted it, because I don’t put up with that BS. Steph Dornhelm, Maureen johnson and Matt Maggiacomo know the stories).

It has been assumed with every A/V company except the one that now has our business forever, that we simply have no idea what we’re talking about with regard to sound and production, because we are female.

I have literally had a security manager turn from discussing an issue with me to the man to my right, who was my bodyguard (see: stalking) and in no way authorized to speak on behalf of the conference, and whom he has never met before that moment - but he was male, I was female, and clearly he was the worthy recipient of information, right? I had to jump in front of the security manager’s face and remind him that *I* was his client and my femaleness was not a factor.

In short, I’ve heard ALL the code words for “you are a female in business and I can’t accept that, so I will assign negative behaviors to you where I would celebrate them in a man.” 

Bossy is one of the worst ones.



Hey, I'm sorry if this is super weird, but you're beautiful, and I wondered if you'd ever thought about doing any topless pics?

Thank you for your kind inquiry. If you do not mind, I will impart some gentle advice to guide you in further communications.

Weigh the probability. I am an author of books for young adults. Does it strike you as likely that I would go casting about in my public tumblr box for people to take photos of my chesticular bookends? Normally, I find questions about books. And while everyone likes a change now and again, there is such a thing as too much change. If you were to work the numbers,  what do you think the actual chances were that I was going to reply in the affirmative? Were they high? If they were, it seems within reason that you might have been in a similar condition. No. The chances were never good. So either you are an eternal optimist (and we certainly need optimists), or this was written with some other intent in mind.

I realize you didn’t come to me looking for advice on how to communicate, much in the same way that I did not come to you looking to have topless pictures taken—but here we are together. Let us make the most of it!

The key to any effective letter is this: know your audience! Everything stems from that critical piece of knowledge. You had a moment of self-awareness in the first part of your sentence. Pause there and reflect. Asking women you don’t know (or often those you do) if they want to take some topless pictures is almost a guarantee of weird. This is why Hallmark doesn’t make a “how about some topless pictures?” card. You hovered on the edge of wisdom, and you retreated. Do not retreat, my friend.

With that, I must offer my regrets. But I do not want to leave you without recourse. Have you heard of the author Nicolas Sparks? Perhaps you could make a similar inquiry to him? Or would that not be appropriate?

I will leave it up to your best judgement.