Today I thought I'd share the contents of two beeeeautiful packages that I received late last week. Can you guess what was in them? Here's a hint: it was books. OK, that was just the answer, but honestly I'm impatient to get onto the pretty part. So first up, I want to share the Polish translation of The Swan Kingdom, published by Egmont Poland:
Now, I had to work to get my hands on this. Technically when translations are made I'm supposed to get two or three copies, but even though I'd chased this up several times, years had gone by and clearly it was just not happening. So I went online and searched around and found a single copy for sale through Amazon. I felt a bit silly ordering it (yes, that is my own name on the cover there, Amazon employees, keep moving on) but I'm so incredibly glad that I did because just as with the Egmont Poland version of Shadows on the Moon, this book is an object of transcendent loveliness.
It has the same unique supersoft velvet finish to the cover, the same flippy cream paper that makes it possible to bend the book completely in half, the delicate traceries of spot UV on the title and the details of leafy spiny branches (on Shadows, these were bamboo branches, here they seem to be hawthorn, if I'm any judge WHICH IS PERFECT) and my absolute favourite: French flaps. IT IS GORGEOUS.
So this is mine, my own, my precious, but something else came unexpectedly before the weekend and this bounty I'm willing to share, after a fashion. It was my Candlewick Press editions of THINGS I'LL NEVER SAY, the anthology to which I contributed my very first short story written as a professional writer:
It, too, is replete with loveliness. The colour hasn't come out brilliantly in these pictures, but writing on the spine is blue and the endpapers are leaf green. The cover itself is taken from a piece of vibrant collage artwork which was specifically created for the book - and it's incredibly gratifying to see my name there on the inside flap, and a quote from my story on the back, too (the third one down).
My story in this anthology, 'Storm Clouds Fleeing from the Wind', is effectively a short prequel to Shadows on the Moon, and is the story of how Akira came to dance at the Shadow Ball years before she ever met Yue, and how she was chosen as Kage no Hime. I've talked before about how special this story is to me - it's not only the first short story I've ever had published, it's also a story that my father encouraged me to write, and which I completed shortly after his death in order to fulfil my promise to him to keep writing.
When my two author copies of this book arrived, the temptation to flick through and find my own story and reread it before doing anything else it was irresistible - and I was thrilled and surprised to find that it literally brought up the short hairs on the back of my neck and completely arrested my attention. I was spellbound by it. And I wrote it! I think it may be the best thing I've written to date, and I don't say that lightly.
A lot of people want to know more about Akira and see more stories in the world of the Moonlit Lands (and I am working on that last one, too) but although US readers will be able to buy this book for themselves or borrow it from the library come the end of the month, there's no word yet on when or if Walker Books will bring out a UK version. And it doesn't seem fair that US readers can get more of the stuff everyone's asking for but UK ones can't.
I wish I could offer up one or both of my author copies, but my mother stole one when she dropped by to see me on Friday (curses!) and, you know, I do want one for myself.
Luckily, I've discovered that this book, too, can be had through Amazon for a reasonable-ish sort of price, although still not until the end of March. So I'm going to order two copies, sign 'em, and give them away to two UK readers when they're available. How does that sound? Good? More details when I have the books in my hot little hands.
Read you later my lovelies!