My bad

Wow. Four whole months since my last post, huh. It’s, um, (counting off in her mind)…October. Hoo-boy.

I thought I’d be much better at this cyber navel-gazing thing than I am. It’s good to see that I am just as disorganized here as elsewhere. Well, huh. Guess I’ve been busy.

I spent the better part of my summer hammering out my second novel, REBEL ANGELS. Once I turned that sucker in, I am telling you that I did not want to do anything but sit in a corner rocking and spinning a quarter. Seriously, somebody could have put on a CD of Celine Dion singing Songs About How Much I Agree with Everything George W. Bush Says, and I wouldn’t have uttered a whimper.

But now I’m back, and so is the novel, complete with revision notes. And I just have this to say: WAS I SMOKING CRACK WHEN I WROTE THIS THING????

Because I just came up from the literary shallow end where I’ve been happily floating for the last two months and actually read from the beginning to page 221 (It’s topping out at 475 pages, folks) and I gotta tell you, I have to laugh to keep from crying. What the hell was I thinking. “Oh, this is what the novel’s about…” p. 75 “No, wait…THIS is what this novel’s about…” p. 143. “I put this in here because….why again?” I am soooo confused, and I’m guessing this is not a good thing. Lots of Greek chorus stuff where people come forward to give information. What my friend Laurie calls the “housemaid on the phone in an old play”, i.e.:

“You say your brother left his bed? But he’s an invalid! And he was last seen heading for the woods? Not the woods where the Morris girl was murdered? The gun? I’m sorry, but it’s missing from the wall, sir!”

Those rewrites are due in a month, two weeks of which I am on tour. I am awash in the fruity lather of panic.

So I’ve got about three weeks (if I beg…which I have been known to do) left to try to correct this aimless, unhinged, free-floating, weird sequel that I’m sure is a horrible mess and derivative and so bad that it will actually give people brain cancer and they’ll go on Oprah to talk about “The book that gave me brain cancer,” and Oprah will give that “I’m too appalled to even speak” head shake as she touches the thigh of this drooling shell of a human being who is ruined forever for having read my terrible, plotless book with the stilted dialogue and the camera will zoom in meaningfully on the Oprah logo while they play the “serious, downer” theme music and there will be a recall and a public flogging and I’ll be forced to do community service bandaging the bed sores of demented people who have a raging hatred of writers and who scream out “you suck!” at me while forcing me to watch the commemorative Franklin Mint video of Ronald Reagan’s funeral and making me get up to replay endlessly the bit where Nancy kisses the flag-draped casket and I will have to stand there and take it without even so much as an Extra-Strength Advil to dull my senses and they’ll show my misery circus on the Brooklyn public access channel every Wednesday night at 9:00 and again on Mondays at 11:00 in case anybody missed the public humilation of the author whose book was such a horrible, godawful disappointment that it gave people brain cancer.

Oh wait. But then my book will be on Oprah. Cool.

So, I’ve got major work to do. I am, however, going on tour next week for YM magazine’s Book Club contest. I’ll get to meet with the winners who will read their essays, and I’ll have dinner with the girls and five of their friends. Very, very fun. I’m off to North Carolina and Maryland next week followed by Chicago, LA, and San Francisco in November.

Till then, I’m wrestling with the Angel and remembering my promise to my editor that I wouldn’t throw in something like a Talking Dolphin who narrates the whole thing from his perch at an existentialist SeaWorld while she’s on sabbatical just to mess with her.

43 thoughts on “My bad

  1. Woah

    Um… yeah. You need some wine or something. (or something=something much stronger than wine)

    Hang in there. One page at a time. What are the twelve steps? Can they be applied?

    Remember the cheerleaders. We’re out here.


  2. Welcome back!

    Oh Libba,

    Lord love you for summing up the whole revision process so well. I suppose the answer is always, “Yes, we are all on crack!”

    L.A.!!!!! When where? I must clear my schedule and be there.

    woo hoo! keep the faith, hang in there little camper!

  3. Hang in there, girl. I’m sure the book will shape-up.

    And I promise to read it, even if it does give me brain cancer, because then, yay, I’ll get to be on Oprah. *winks*

  4. Yes. Well I skipped over your part about how you think it sucks because I am filled with unutterable joy at the fact that you’re writing another book. I checked your first book out of the library, and read it four times in two weeks, so much did it rock and it is the next book I buy when I have money. Thank you so much for writing that AMAZING book. I really really mean it. 😀

  5. Well, despite all you say on how the book is turning out, I have high hopes for it, the first book is evidence that you can do this 🙂 Im cheering for you! And good luck with the revisions. Any idea when this book can be expected to come out?


  6. Off topic- Rutgers

    It was great hearing you and Barry speak on the panel at Rutgers this past weekend. Didn’t get to chat with you in person, but I wanted to let you know I enjoyed GATB and look forward to RA!

  7. Your description of how horrible the sequel was and the punishment you will be given was so funny that I might have fallen off my chair laughing except for the fact that I am all too familiar with the feeling of having no time to do something…..don’t worry *too* much, you’re a great author and I’m sure it won’t be that bad! ; )

  8. You amuse me ^^

    The description you give of the sequel is fun, though it was better in person getting to see your facial expressions ^^ Personally, I think it’d be pretty spiffy if it gave people brain cancer, think about it, it’d be the first book ever to actually give people brain cancer, how many people can say that about their books? Granted, it’d suck ’cause I’d get brain cancer, but I’m sure it wont be that bad, so iss okie ^^

    I hope we showed you a nice time in Maryland an’ that you have fun in California ^^
    Good luck with your next coming books 🙂

    Have a nice day ^^

  9. ::waves:: Random stalker, dropping by… and I’d just like to say, your incredible run-on sentence about what will happen to you made me giggle so hard I spit tea all over my monitor.

    In other news, there is a commemorative Franklin Mint video of Reagan’s funeral? That’s so wrong! That doesn’t work! That totally destroyed my theory that he didn’t really die, he found the entrance to the Hollow Earth and is now living with the Nazis!

  10. a message from a fan

    if i knew you in everyday life, ms bray, i would have to say youd be my best friend..your LJ is going on my favorites list (and as bad as i feel for saying this) i hope your daily life continues to be a source of humor…

    a great and terrible beauty is AMAZING i read it in one night (being unable to put it down) and i commend you!!!!

  11. Don’t give up!

    While hearing about your suffering with your is a great source of humor for me and apparently many other people, I’m sure you’ll work it out somehow and we won’t have any more comedy in our lives *grin*. Very…nice…description of the revision process! :D. And I loved your first book, so no matter what you say about the next one I will read it. Even if it does give me brain cancer. Then I’ll get to be with all of your other fans with brain cancer with Oprah…guess that part wouldn’t be so bad.
    And I wouldn’t mind if you revised less (:D) cause then we’ll all get to read it sooner, whatever the quality.

  12. Down-to-earth author- YAY!

    I just want to say how cool I think you are. Other authors that have their own blogs/diarys/journals, etc., still come off so snobby sometimes. You seem really down-to-earth, and pretty cool. I loved A Great and Terrible Beauty by the way, one of my favs. Who knows maybe one day when I’m an author, you might read one of my books.

  13. Here I am again.

    Hey Libba. This is Sophie. (Girl you met in Chicago. Curly hair, overopinionated I looked up your livejournal on google, ended up on some message board where some girl posted this site. (This livejournal is actually my little sister’s, who I think has inherited some sort of cynical style from me. I don’t know if I should be proud of her or ashamed of myself). Before I found it however, I found all these things girls had written about you in the exultant state that girls have for whoever wrote their newest favorite YA book. I felt cool and important, and a bit arrogant, hahaha, I met her, I know her, you don’t. It’s 14 year old girldom at its near most obnoxiousness. Sorry.
    Not much is new. Since two nights ago. What can I say, its suburbia. I don’t think I ever got the hang of suburbia. It’s not terrible, I’ve got coffee, the Chili Peppers, and a huge crush to drag myself through. I haven’t resorted to pot or top 40 radio yet, so I think I should get out of this not too damaged. If you have any manual for being exactly where I am in life, I would greatly appreciate it. No, I think I’m lying. I’m doing all right. How are you? How’s the book. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. (Or maybe not. Brain cancer is a terrible thing, I wouldn’t want to inflict it on Oprah or anyone else. Except maybe you should have me write it, and send copies to the white house. I’m sure Bush can find someone to help him with the three syllable words.) My email is You can email me when you know you should be writing your book, but the ideas just won’t flow, and youre ready to hurl it at the nearest lamp, hoping it will catch and set on fire, and out of the fire the story will come. Ah, the writing process. Good luck!!!

  14. we’re rooting for u!

    me and my friend started a book club this yr… no, no not a dorkie one. in fact, we’re trying to erase the negative connotation of the word “book club” when linked w. “high school” haha anyway, i discussed ur book A Great and Terrible Beauty for my independent reading this month =) I love it! Keep it up!!

  15. hello! A fan. Happened to be looking online for stuff on your book and stumbled across this…yay! BTW:love your book and cant wait for the book that seems to be giving you so much trouble. Now i must get back to my book report on none other than A Great And Terrible Beauty.


  16. hi

    i dont want to give great words of wisdom, nor praise u endlessley for ur book… u prbably get enough of it already… so, simply, i read it, and i liked it… alot
    which is saying something (i’m a picky, finicky short little old lady stuck in the body of a 16 yr old… or a bratty five yr old… take ur pick)
    well, i’m just a nerd who randomly descided to google something, and i picked u, and this site popped up, and i thought, hmmm… i should say hi…
    so hi!!
    oo, and u remind me alot of me in many, many ways… as weird and freakish as that may be…
    oh well… i hope thigs go ur way… w/e thigs maybe…

  17. GaT

    I am so glad to hear that there is going to be a sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty! Thank you soo much! I loved GaT! I borrowed the book from the library, and even thought I finished it I can’t return it! I love the characters, especially Gemma. She isn’t the perfect, sterotype main character. She seems like me, as in she isn’t perfect. She fights with her mom, she doesn’t become immeadite friends with everyone. She’s normal! I love it!

  18. 😀

    Hey, I finished A Great and Terrible Beauty and its one of my faves now. Your writing is captivating and I just couldn’t put it down! I lost sleep because of this book!
    The characters are so wonderful and vivid, and the relationships between them all are great,
    especially Gemma and Kartik, in a frustrating way.
    I can’t wait for the sequel. Can’t. Wait.
    Good luck wiv da writing!


    Libba, please come back to BookDivas. Please, please, pleeeeaaaasssseeeee! Seriously, you were the funniest guest author EVER. You really were, and the woman we have now is…………..just please come back!!!! Remember, you are a honerary diva, YOU CANNOT LEAVE US.
    Angie (I am quoted on your site, but I am 17 now. LOL)

  20. I’m so excited!

    Revisions can drive you bonkers, but it will end eventually! And we’ll have an awesome book to read. I’ve been waiting for the sequel for so long! I loved the book and I hope that you have a very long and happy writing career.

  21. Hello there! I’m a writer and a bookseller who positively adored A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. I just stumbled across the journal of bgliterary and whole heartedly agree that there are many “teen books” which should be read by “adults” as well. I commented there as I will here: I have had tremendous success with hand-selling …BEAUTY to teens and adults alike. I look forward to REBEL ANGELS.

  22. Crazy girl wishes to speak

    Libba, I LOVE YOUR BOOK! Its like the best book to read, inbetween waiting for J.K. Rowling to get her butt moving, and quit holding out on the harry potter fans.
    I first saw your book, on the shelf of borders, and I though that it looked cool. I started reading it in the car, and absolutely couldnt, put it down. I am a really fast reader, and have had over a twelth grade reading level since I was 13, I just cant spell well. I am now about to be sixteen in febuary, and want a sequl to A great and terrible beauty. I got it when it first came out. Im sick of waiting, but I guess I have not choice.

    One day, Ill have a book out, and I put the title on the jornal. Till then,
    Anna Barish

  23. Ha! Thanks. I loved the review a friend passed along that talked about my “flat, Texas accent.” Made me laugh. I don’t realize that I still harbor a bit of one until I’m in a recording studio and suddenly every word has about twelve syllables.

  24. Re: You amuse me ^^

    MEG!!! Hey, how are you? You guys were a lot of fun. I was sorry we had to rush back to NYC. Also, I think by the end of the night I was in desperate need of either coffee or a pillow ’cause I was wiped from all the traveling and lack of sleep.

    And I’m so lame that I still haven’t gotten my thank you notes out to Asheley and the rest of the winners. They are stamped and partially addressed and still sitting on my nightstand. I am lame, lame, lame.

    I’m glad you stopped by. I lost your LJ addy. Care to share it again?

  25. Re: Here I am again.

    SOPHIE!!! Welcome! Whatever you do, don’t resort to Top 40 radio. That way lies madness, I tell you, madness. It was so great to meet you and everyone else in Chicago. I had a blast.

    Keep dropping by. It’s nice to hear your voice.

  26. you’ll be fine

    yo libba dont worry about the new book ull get it done! the other books were amazing, my mom had to force me to put it down, just keep doin whatcha luv to do, Write! ur an amazing writer with incredible talents. im sure the book will be awsome. Cant wait to read it!

  27. you’ll be fine

    yo libba dont worry about the new book ull get it done! the other books were amazing, my mom had to force me to put it down, just keep doin whatcha luv to do, Write! ur an amazing writer with incredible talents. im sure the book will be awsome. Cant wait to read it!
    p.s. could u tell me when u are airing on oprah i’d love to watch it


  29. A third book?

    I really enjoyed your 2 books, infact they were quite addicting I just couldn’t stop reading! Will their be a third book following Rebel Angels?

  30. I just Finished reading Rebel Angels…it was so good! I read it in 2 days (i have no life) I thought it was even better than the last one (which was also very good)-ne way i just thought u should know that i don’t think u were on crack while writing the book and graet job!

  31. hey Libba,
    I just finished your books.I read the Rebel Angels in three days,I loved it so MUCH.Writing the book was really that hard? Well i thought you did an amazing job.Is there going to be a third?Gemmma is so deep,i can`t believe you captured a person that deep so well. Hope you can write another one soon!

    An adoring fan

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