Books Received and Bought: NYC, First Second, Tor, McNally Jackson, and More

(The wonderful Gina Gagliano, publicist for First Second Books, at their offices in NYC)

(At Tor with the amazing Dot Lin and incredible Liz Gorinsky)

Just back from New York and heading back into the novel, but thought I’d post some photos of books we picked up and that were given to us…

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Voting for Obama

With his endorsement today of Barack Obama, Colin Powell began to rehabilitate himself from his shameful performance at the United Nations during the Bush administration’s run-up to the Iraq War.

I am voting for Obama without reservation. He is just about the complete opposite of George W. Bush in approach, temperament, and substance. This is someone you can vote for, rather than against the other guy.

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This is the introduction you didn’t get at the beginning of the week.

Hi. I’m Tessa. I’m not a ninja. I’m not the ghost of Malcolm X either. I’m merely a humble data entry operator. Yah, I don’t have much going for me.

Occasionally I’m a writer, in an erratic and entirely undisciplined fashioned (the most accessible samples can be found here). Occasionally I’m Ann’s editorial assistant for Weird Tales, and it bears repeating that if you don’t want your story to come anywhere near me, your only course of action is to write a piece so gobsmackingly genius that Ann buys it right then and there without requiring a second opinion.

Regular readers have probably figured out I’m the one who started the penguin war, and Jeff has linked to my blog so often he gave up and stuck a link to it in the side bar. If you, for personal and private reasons we shall not dwell on here, have enjoyed the wreckage I’ve wreaked in the last few days…well, don’t visit to my blog. I’m not really in the habit of hijacking my own site. That would just be silly.

For the record, I don’t have anything against pirates. Really. Some of my friends are pirates. I’m sure the pirate antho will be just lovely, and delightful, and, er, nice. And stuff.

As the Big Bad Bear said, “… guests always come when the house is cleaned, the food is ready and there’s only fun left to be had.” They also leave a right fucking mess (sorry, Will!), which is a sure sign of a job well done. Thanks for playing along, you guys have been awesome!



While it is important to be prepared for everything, no one really expects to run into their arch nemesis at the supermarket.

Hmm. Awkward.

Recognition is instantaneous, and in that instant both ninja and pirate are frozen. It is not fear or surprise that traps them, but an acknowledgement of consequences. Their honour and reputation is at stake, they cannot walk from this encounter without triumph, and yet to engage in battle would be to earn themselves an inescapable and unchangeable fate; to be forever known as that dude who got into a fight at the supermarket over a carton of milk.

Hmm. Awkward.

Such is life.

Pirate reaches for pistol. Ninja flings handful of shuriken, and at point blank range hits the pirate right in the vulnerables – the cocoa pop box. Cocoa pops go everywhere. Pirate yelps, having been pricked by the shuriken tips, and reacts the only way a pirate can, and punches the ninja in the face. Ninja rolls with the punch and does some insane twisty thing that results in the pirate going face first into a fridge door, at which point further stormtrooper security guards, having received complaints of someone riding the trolleys down the aisles at high speed and of someone else prowling in the produce, pile on and drag them apart.

In the all the kerfuffle and crushed cocoa pops, no one notices a little old lady shuffle up and make off with the one carton of ElvisCow milk.


You pat your pockets surreptitiously, locate your smoke pellets, and immediately hurl a handful on the ground. POOF! Smoke thick and noxious doesn’t so much as billow as bellow upward, quickly enveloping the entire street.

Hmm. Possibly that was overkill.

Oh well. At least you weren’t carrying the lavender-scented ones.

You turn, for the umpteenth time, to the supermarket doors, only to have the stormtrooper security guard tap you on the shoulder.

“You know these helmets can see in more than one spectrum, right? What did you go and do that for? Now the fire alarms are going to go off-”

You spin and execute a lightning fast jab to the throat, which is protected only by some thin foam. The stormtrooper chokes, drops, and something in his armour shorts out. He convulses violently in the sparking circuitry before something else pops and hisses and then all is still.

Yikes. Definitely over kill. You examine your fingers, but they don’t look like they’ve grown special electrocution powers in the last minute. Oh well.

Finally, at last, you enter the supermarket, and stealthily slink through the produce section to the back of the store, where the freezer section lies. The milk cabinets are full, and glorious, and there is one carton of Uncle Retsudo’s preferred brand of milk hidden on a low shelf. The end is in sight!

You sneak up to the cabinet, reach for the door and-

-there is a pirate.

And this pirate is going for your milk.


b. Excuse me, that’s my milk, I was here first, and the HONOUR OF MY CLAN and my toes ARE AT STAKE.


Pirate# a. Arrrrrrr!

“Yeah, yeah,” the stormtrooper mutters, “fine, “arrr” backatcha, whatever, just…move along.”

You feel a moment’s pity for the poor stormtrooper security guard, who obviously isn’t in the throes of jobs satisfaction, but don’t go as far as to offer him a position in your crew. It wouldn’t do if word got around you were taking on Imperial rejects.

You saunter into the supermarket, reloading as you go. Shot and powder isn’t cheap. This is turning into one of your more expensive trips to the store. You steal someone’s trolley and ride it down the cereal aisle, snatching a box of cocoa pops as you pass on your way to the back of the store, where the freezer section lies. The milk cabinets are full, but this particular carton has a picture of a cow dressed as Elvis on it, and that seems appropriate.

You crash your trolley into the display, reach for the door and-

-there is a ninja.

And this ninja is after your milk.

a. ARRRRR!!!!!!

b. I be pirating this milk, avast ye!

c. Shoot the limey little landlubber.

Ninja# b. Er, I think they have some brains in the store, I’ll just go check for you…

You back away from the zombie towards the store. The automatic door hisses open behind you. Bugger. Why couldn’t it be a swing door, easy to barricade and what not? There be no shelter here. Plenty of other targets for the zombie to choose from, though.

The zombie cowboy shuffles after you, with the intense focus of a puppy having discovered someone eating ham.

A stormtrooper emerges from the store, a sticker bearing the logo of a security company stuck crookedly on his arm. He looks at you. He looks at the zombie cowboy. He looks at you. You shrug.

He sighs, and muttering something about not being able to find good trolley boys these days, he blasts the zombie cowboy. It doesn’t jolt the zombie, but sets it on fire. The zombie doesn’t notice this at all.

The stormtrooper security guard appears to have had practice with this particular scenario, and proceeds to stroll away, making sure the zombie is following him, and keeping the zombie’s attention while it burns up.

The smell is kinda gross. You make to finally, at last, enter the damn store.

A second stormtrooper taps you on the shoulder. “You mind telling me what happened to our trolley cowboys?”


b. Dude, I’m just here for milk.