Freebasing the frosting

I’m sitting at Tea Lounge borrowing their unpredictable WiFi to post an entry. For almost two weeks, I’ve had no internet/email connection. I thought it was the modem, but according to the guy from Time Effing Warner Cable (my pet name for them) who came out and tested the line, it’s “working fine.” Yeah, kind of like my government’s working fine. The hell? DUDE, I CANNOT CONNECT TO THE INTERNET! NO EMAIL! NO ONLINE BROWSING OF ARCANE FACTOIDS THAT HAVE NO RELEVANCE TO MY LIFE AT ALL SAVE TO HELP ME PROCRASTINATE! No early morning reading of Broadsheet in No accidental wanderings to web pages of creepy information and even creepier socks. I can’t even order refrigerator magnets. And really, you can never have too many magnets.


The kind and technologically sound husband has gone in search of a new router. I hope this fixes the problem. Wish I could just order a new router in my brain to help me through the rewrite. I’ve pretty much decided to scrap about, um, 2/3rds of my novel and start over. I would be caught in a vortex of doom, despair, and vomit-worthy panic except for one thing: Denial. Yes, denial is the way of my people, and as a coping mechanism, it doesn’t completely suck. Denial allows you to say things like, “But I always throw away a lot of my novels.” (You say this while smiling through tears and stirring your coffee very, very deliberately as if it is the only thing tethering you to the earth, which it is, but that’s another matter.) Denial stands with you in the kitchen at 10 pm while you’re feverishly baking roughly 1,487 cupcakes for your son’s combo birthday party/school Thanksgiving luncheon and says, “Hey, plenty of time to get that novel knocked out. Oooh, let’s do sprinkles! Pretty, pretty sprinkles!” Denial is the little voice in your ear that whispers, “Novels with plots are so yesterday. How about just 600 pages of free association? And line drawings of your navel dressed as a pirate or Queen Elizabeth I.” Denial allows you to slip out one evening and watch “Borat.” Denial will never tell you that the novel you’re writing makes you look fat.

Then there’s Denial’s evil twin, Reality. Occasionally, as you’re staring at your blank screen, eating leftover Halloween candy gone to seed and stealing glances at that really hot picture of Jamie Bamber in People’s Sexiest Men Alive issue (have mercy!), Reality will sneak up behind you and karate-chop your ass. Then, as you’re lying on the floor, cringing in terror and pain, Reality will say, “Have you been freebasing the frosting on those cupcakes, bitch? Can I just mention that you have TWO MONTHS. TO COMPLETELY. REVISE. A 600-PAGE. MANUSCRIPT? You don’t know what time it is with the big, bad Winterlands creatures! You need to write the origin story for the Tree of All Souls! You need to figure out the whole Wilhemina Wyatt angle! What’s up with the Order and the Rakshana and Lily Trimble and Circe and Tom and Dad and Pippa/Felicity/Ann/Gemma/Kartik/Gorgon/Philon and that creepy spider-like guy who keeps popping up in the Borderlands? Focus! And FYI? if I have to listen to a moody iPod playlist of Roxy Music, Sigur Ros, and Echo and the Bunnymen ONE MORE TIME, I will go insane! Download some Stooges or Fishbone. Sheesh.”

If Denial is Rachel Ray, Reality is Samuel L. Jackson. And I think you should always put your money on Mr. Jackson and whatever’s in that briefcase.

On Sunday, when I’d reached a point of sweetly pirouetting about the house while singing the phrase, “I am so f—-d” to various showtunes, Holly Black, Cassie Clare and Emily Lauer staged an intervention. Or maybe they’d gotten sick of hearing me whine via email. They met me at Tea Lounge North where we took over one end of an absurdly long table directly under the world’s loudest speakers, and they proceeded to grill me on magic, origin stories, and that troublesome ending (the phrase, “BATTLEHANDS!” brings me a giggle even as I type this). I think we were there for four hours and I ingested enough coffee to make me as fidgety as a toddler. But the ending came into glorious view. Thank God for the generosity of other writers. I’m really lucky to know such brilliant, talented people. Thanks, ladies. Dinner on me.

Slowly, slowly it’s starting to take shape. I’m still panicked but I’m also having those tingly moments where I go, “Oh. OH! Right! Got it!” Revision is not for the faint of heart. And let me tell, when this sucker is turned in sometime in January (my editor, who is probably reading this and wondering how I dare to take time from the furious writing to post, is smiling and going, “Nice try, Lib. January 15th, baby. Mark it in red.” My editor is lovely and kind and gracious. The best editor in the whole wide world. And I will be ducking her calls all day on the 15th.) I’m going to do nothing but stare at my ceiling and chew Double Bubble and maybe make a replica of the David out of the chewed pieces. I think I may take a suggestion from folks on this list and post some of the scenes that won’t make it into the book as soon as I know what’s hitting the cutting room floor.

***SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS IN MONTREAL: I will be speaking at the Jewish Public Library on Monday, November 27th in beautiful Montreal, Canada. I think it’s at 7pm? If you’re nearby and so inclined, come on down. I’d love to see you there.

And to the American side, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

141 thoughts on “Freebasing the frosting

  1. Re: rilly?

    Well… I meant the video in the link I posted. I actually still haven’t seen the movie. I’m sure its horrible…in that awesome bad movie kind of way…

  2. The cut bits…

    If you do post any of your cut parts of TSFT, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaseee… let it be one with Gemma and Kartik in it!!!! And could you come and visit the U.K sometime?? Like on a book tour thingy?!

  3. Re: rilly?

    ya, thats what my friend said and i quot…”it’s funny stupid, but you’r in to books and if you see a movie the guys have to have there Tees off and have to have a 6 pack” end quot whitch I had to agree with that but I also love the romance!

  4. borat

    So I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I’m behind on my word count (I’m just assuming you know what NaNoWriMo is…) so I went to see Borat yesterday.

    Perhaps it was a bad idea to see it with my mother…

    Anyway, reading your LJ post has helped me procrastinate by reading it about as much as it has helped you procrastinate by writing it.

    Thanks. ;>

  5. Gemmas necklace

    Im doing a book report on Rebel Angels and I need a large description
    of Gemmas necklace. Can any body give me one? The cresent eye.

  6. your books

    you’re one of my favorite authors!!! Are you ever going to write another book about Gemma, Ann, Felicity, Kartick, and all the rest ?????

  7. Ooer…

    I hate having no internet! Our cable goes out sometimes, but I don’t ever have a 600 page manuscript.

    Ooer…. Lily Trimble? Seriously? I think I actually looked her up on google once. Was kind of interesting. Kind of not. A creepy spider-like guy around the Borderlands? Is that the border between the Winterlands and the rest of the realms? Yeah, you’re probably not going to tell me that. Hey, it was worth a try!

    –Holly Spencer

  8. You’re Great

    I’ve just finished Rebel Angels and it makes me wanting more, I can actually feel the sexual tension between Gemma and Kartik or maybe that’s just me anyway I can’t ’til the third comes out. wish you the best with that. I know how hard it is to gets things down in ink (I’m an amateur writer) to quote a book (I forget which), “Writing a book is like having a baby, conception is great but pushing out in the world hurts like hell”
    best of luck, an admirer

  9. I have the flyer for your Montreal gig right here. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get away–I’m kinda chained to my house in the evenings–but I’ll see if I can figure out a way to get these chains off in time to come on down.

  10. i know how your feeling Ms. Bray. For the past month of been procrastinating and panicking over a paper i have to write for Language Arts. It may not be a 600 page manuscript (i think that would just about give me a heart attack) but it sure as hell feels like it. Its due in three days and guess who only has a paragraph done…yeah little ol’ me. But your journal gives me hope (though i was only looking for a way to not have to start on my paper again, it was nice to see that my Wonder Woman was having trouble too) now if only i had Holly Black to walk me through MY PAPER.sigh…that would be nice.

  11. Great idea here!!

    You should totally make your LJ into a book. Because it is VERY entertaining. Dunno if anyone ever suggested that before. but, i know I’d buy it. on the release date. mmmhmm.



  13. This is very appropriate, considering I’m procrastinating on a gigantic paper that needs to be done by the end of the day. it’s about penguins, and the research i did on them. my results section? consists entirely of “i looked at the pretty colored trendlines on excel, and these two were closer together.” but the reality/denial thing is so true. I’m going to have to link this.

    good luck with your router and manuscript. I recommend Goldfinger for writing music; there’s just something about alternative/punk to get the fingers flowing. now if you’ll excuse me, mr. samuel L is knocking.

  14. ha gingerale

    that gingerale plate is something my brother would do. i generally pour large amounts of sugar into his sprite but when im feeling particularly crafty salt does the trick. Just some hints for a more bitter revenge!!!!

  15. i was the comment below yours and i saw penguins, so i read the rest of your comment, and if you are doing research on penguins, you should go to see happy feet. *because that is totally research!!!*

  16. date?

    i have not been up to date with what’s going on with the new book. so could someone tell me about the expected release date fot the new book? and is there really going to be a movie for AGATB? thanks! ~Gemma

  17. So I just finished reading Rebel Angels literally five minutes ago. I think I have just read both books in three days. They are amazing and I CAN’T WAIT for the next one to come out! Best of luck in finishing it! I’m sure it will be amazing!

  18. Re: You do know……

    Yes that dose make sense! and your right its nice theres a light at tha end of tha tunile ( would that be the right way to put it?????)

  19. Release date?

    Two months, eh? Does that mean that you have a (vague/uncertain)release date as to TSFT? Cause we have a fansite countdown we’d like to add the book to . . .
    Montreal? Augh! I live in Hamilton! So close, yet so far . . .

  20. hey

    Today i was sick from school so i read both of ur books in about 2 hrs. dont worry about getting ur manuscript in on time, because u know u will, even if you dont want to.
    i love your journal entrys! you always make me laugh
    but then funny authors of funny books are usually funni

  21. Re: Gemmas necklace

    hmm…i would look in the part of rebel angels when they’re on that island and the poppy warriors are chasing them and its glowing. and maybe when nell hits it and bends it. sorry i dont know the exact description, but maybe this will help. good luck!

  22. Re: NaNoWriMo

    Yeah. Well I got to the 50k last night, but I still have 10k-15k left in the actual novel, which I’ll have to finish over December…

    This was definitely my hardest NaNoWriMo and procrastination was at full-speed all month long. I encourage you to try it even if you don’t have much hope for yourself. It’s amazing what you can overcome and accomplish sometimes ;]

  23. Time Warner Cable

    I’m so glad you had your friends to help you through your rewrite! I have no doubt in your ability. Oh and by the way I have Time Warner too and there are many times were for hours at a time I am unable to connect. I feel your pain in that area. I hope you don’t mind but I have the same pet name for them too. 🙂 Good Luck with all your writing. 🙂 I hope you still find time to enjoy the holidays!

  24. lol

    ok just to say that you are right about the time fing warrner. i drop them as soon as they bought over comcast they sux. LOL

  25. oh by the way

    dont worry about the book im sure it shall be great all authors are worried about the book till it is out in stores. I know i was but then you again you have more exp than I. I just want to say your books are really good and i can wait for the next one.


    ps. did you have any actors that you would like to see in the movie?

  26. That whole post was delightful. I’m always so curious about writers. It was fun reading that. I’m a fan of your books, by the way. It was nice to hear that you’re working on the third in the set…I’m looking forward to reading it!

  27. “Time Effing Warner Cable”

    I can’t agree more. My cable stops working too often. They weren’t much help when I called them. Good thing I know people. XD

    Another thing..the book trailer was a bit odd to me. I thought Ann would have been more plump and that Gemma was the girl on the cover of the book. So now, as I read Rebel Angels, the images from the cover and the trailer kind of..blur in my mind >.

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