Monday, January 31, 2011

A detour to Westeros

Flirty eyes
What's new in Marselis these days? Very little. Magnus is still sick. I'm still under the weather. The cats are still cute. Words still stick to my fingertips.

There is one fresh element, though. This week and the next I'm copy editing the Norwegian edition of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I know I should be concentrating on Twistrose, but sometimes it's necessary to do some extra work to bring in some money.

Besides, A Game of Thrones is one of my favourite novels, so I quite enjoy it. I love the world Martin has created, I love the northernness of it, I love the sheer scale of the unfolding doom, and I adore the characters (though I often wish Martin were a little gentler with his literary offspring). I can't wait to see the HBO series that's airing sometime this spring.

Another nice thing about meticulously scouring Martin's (or rather, the translators') text for flaws, word for word, paragraph for paragraph, is that the construction work that binds it is revealed. Martin is a clever craftsman and a fine writer, yet even he must build his story with the same tools and material as everyone else.


Whether we're making a gothic cathedral or a ramshackle shed, writers need nails and screws and mortar. We all have to keep adding one bit to the next until we have a house.


And even the prettiest of castles have seams and construction scars to show for it. I find this most encouraging after a week of endless and rather frustrating construction work on particularly nut-and-bolt-heavy chapter of my book.

Her bor kungen

In other good news I recently found out that the sequel to the fabulous The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is out this March. Moreover, the next installment in my very favourite fantasy series, The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch, is rumoured to be released this spring, too: The Republic of Thieves . That one I've been craving for a long time, and I'm not ashamed to admit that it's partly because I have the biggest crush on Locke Lamora. Last I saw him, he was dying. But you're better now, right, Locke?

So there's good stuff ahead. Until then I guess there's nothing for it but to hunker down, get lost in the world of Westeros, and wait for spring.

(photos by Lin: Balthasar as kitten, brick wall in Oslo, wooden cottage in Innerdalen, the Swedish royal castle.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I bet November is on sale

Fjellet vårt i kontrastbad
Aaaand then it was Magnus's turn. Poor sweetheart.

I think I'd like to return this particular January. It really has been no good. (Well, except for the stellar agent news, but technically that happened over Christmas, so I'm not crediting January with that. Oh, and except for the trip to Kristiansund. That was nice.) I'm thinking I could get a November. I've always been partial to Novembers. And since everyone else seems to hate them, I bet they're cheap.

Bottom of the woods

If I'm lucky, I might stumble upon a forgotten August. I adore August, when the nights finally deepen, and the bugs grow wise, and the cafés fill up with new beginnings.


But really, I'd take March. Or even a different January. Just not this one.

(photos by Lin, who by the way has been sick for ten days, too.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In which I am twelve years old

Pims: So, Tone, tell your readers. What have you been up to while you've been sick?
Tone: Er... I've watched some tv.
Pims: Some tv?
Me: Well, some, a lot, what's the difference? Anyway, it was mostly educational, interesting stuff that is sure to land me points in the next Trivial Pursuit game.
Pims: Really? Care to share some of that enlightenment?
Me: Sure. Ancient Egypt was... World War Two... I mean, the referendum in Sudan... I mean... Oh, all right. I've been watching The Vampire Diaries.
Pims: You have, haven't you. I bet you managed to squeeze in a few episodes, then, since you've been slouching on that couch for days now.
Me: Well, you see, I only had the one episode on my tivo. But I've seen that quite a few times.
Pims: The whole episode?
Me: .... No. Just this one scene, where Damon tells Elena he loves her, and then makes her forget afterwards, and he cries while he does it. And there's this really sad song in the background.
Pims: I see. And how old are you?
Me: Pims! That's rude. Besides, I'm not too old to swoon over a little romance. I don't think you ever get too old for that.
Pims: You tell yourself whatever you like, sniffles. Now delete that episode, or I'll be forced to intervene.
Me: But it's so sad! So romantic! So fantastically cheesy... I can't...
Pims: (produces withering stare of a quality only cats aspire to)
Me: Okay, okay. It's gone.
Me: (mutters to self) Good thing you don't know about youtube.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I just want to snuggle and snooze

Ugh, I have such a terrible cold! Ear and throat infection, too I think. This does not compute well with teething toddler and no proper sleep for about 16 months. And my poor Pan has to mangage all daycare drop-off and pick-up and as well as night soothing while I cough and sneeze and slip in and out of fever dreams. I'm off to see the doctor, when really I just want to stay in bed. This bed:

I just hope the sparkly things don't make twinkly noises, because all sound acquires a metallic twang in my bad ear, and it's a little disconcerting. And if someone could bring me honeyed tea in this cup:

And then, if I could just get a kiss from this little one, that would really make me feel better. Wait, I already got that.

The bed and cup are from Anthropologie, the kiss is a snap of the very first time Pims and I met.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Strap on your fiduciaries, people!

Barcelona...another point of view (II).-
There are words that fit their meaning perfectly. Slob, for one. And lozenge. But then there are words that are entirely unsuited to their designated semantics. It's as if they've slipped through the cracks of a dictionary and landed on the wrong page. They are chained to the mundane, the drab even, when really they should set eyes aglow just by bouncing off the tip of someone's tongue.

Like fiduciary. It means, among other equally boring stuff, 'a person who holds assets in trust for a beneficiary'. But just swirl it around in you mouth for a bit! Fiduciary, fiduciary, fiduciary. See what I mean? Couldn't it, shouldn't it rather be the word for a technomagical contraption that you strap onto your back so you can jump up on rooftops with a mere flex of your bottom?

As in 'Albert! Put on your fiduciary and get up here! You have to see this!'

If I were a masked dictionary vigilante, you could consider yourself rescued, fiduciary. Ah well. Maybe if I change careers again.

But what was there to see on the rooftop, you may wonder? Sadly, I don't yet own a fiduciary, so I'm not sure.

Fox on roof #1


Someone to play with

(Barcelona rooftops by Toni Camara, fox by markkilner, rabbit by Mecaniques, fussball gnome by gnomebomb.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dusk marked, cranium pale

Veien inn eller utThis whole winter has been a succession of fierce cold spells and heavy snows. But today the sun showed its face through a January veil, illuminating my skin through the café window without cutting my eyes. It was so glorious to sit in the light for a while.

One of my favourite poems is one by the Norwegian author Stein Mehren. It's called 'Fattigdom', or 'Poverty'. But really it is about light, of a different kind than the one I basked in today. At the very least it lights my mind on fire. So much so that it the feeling it evokes is weaved into the fabric of the second part of my story, the part concerning Balthasar Lycke. In Norwegian it goes like this:

I min barndom kunne du fremdeles se
hvilke gater barn kom fra
Fattigdommen skinte som en måne
under huden på dem. En bakgårdssol

Fra et steinloft inne i lyset
Barn, skumringsmerkede, kraniebleke
som var de fødd opp
på koks, skummet melk og måneskinn

I hesitate to translate it myself. It's probably been done before and by someone far more competent. But a quick search revealed nothing, and I'm afraid the internet is the very worst sort of crowd for my inherent impatience. If I can't find something immediately, I simply ramble on. And so, with apologies for my character flaws, here's my rendering:

In my childhood you could still see
which streets the children lived on
Poverty shone like a moon
beneath their skin. A backyard sun

From a stony loft within the light
Children, dusk marked, cranium pale
As though they were raised
on coal, skimmed milk and moonlight.

Erin Bow, author of Plain Kate, named the poem The Writer by Richard Wilbur as one of the things that 'kept her going'. And I get why. It really is inspirational. Do you have a favourite?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good one, Mum!

Magnus på tur
See, whoever came up with the idea that Magnus and I should go to Kristiansund to my mother's this weekend is a genious. Pan is off on a mountain trip with his buddies, and with the prolonged misery of massive teething, (we're talking mountain ranges, not peaks) there was a lot of sleeplessness ahead for the kid and me. Instead I've slept two nights in a row, and today I slept in.

For those of you who don't have kids yet, or have kids that sleep well, this obsession with sleep must seem outlandish. But it's been 16 months since our young padawan joined us, and I can assure you, there is nothing more wonderful than uninterrupted, peaceful, deep sleep. I'd choose it over cake, latte and chocolate any day. And that's saying something.

Besides, I don't have to choose. There's cake, too, and we get to hang out with my sister and mother all day long. So nice! On the downside, there is very little writing going on here out west. No space and no time and no daycare to look after Magnus while I hurry up and work. But it's only for a few days. Much as I love being here, I'm glad. Writing is going really well these days. Maybe I'm spurred on by the good agent news? Or maybe it's the gloom of January. It's perfect for sitting by the fire, sipping hot, sweet tea and getting lost in the crooked, snowy alleys of Sylver.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Secret revealed! Yay!

Booklover - cool version
Finally I can tell you the great secret! And let me assure you, it is great! So great that I don't really know what to do or feel about it.

You know in Love Actually, when the two body doubles have been on a date, and it went really well, and she's incredibly cute, and they're standing on her doorstep, kissing? After she closes the door behind her, he jumps off the steps and lifts his hands in an awkward but very happy HA! That's how I feel. I'm Martin Freeman. All bubbly inside, but too flabbergasted to really show it. Or get it. Or believe it.

But it's true nevertheless!

I, weird little debutant Norwegian me, have an agent. An agent. In Los Angeles. And not any agent, either. She is the wonderfully fantastic and almost unbelieveably cool Jane Putch, who is also the agent of the equally fantastic and dauntingly talented Laini Taylor. I'm Laini's agency sister. You could actually mention us in the same sentence, if you wanted.


In the spirit of Stephanie Perkins, who broke out the rainbows and unicorns to celebrate when she got her agent, this calls for some sparklers:


Wohoooo! Yay me! Yay Jane! Yay Laini and everyone who has ever helped me with my story! Happy New Year! With sugar on top!

But what does this mean, you may ask. What will happen now?

Hey, don't look at me, I've just landed on the street with an awkward and astounded HA! But I hope it means that some day, in the not so distant future, in a galaxy quite near to you, my book will find its way into the hands of some nice editor who will love it. And then, if everything works out, the book will be published. In English. So you can read it.

Let me rephrase that:

All things important


(photos, always, always, by my best friend and sister Line)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Secret continued...

Actually, I'm just teasing. There are things that must happen before it's official, I feel. But they're formalities, and will soon be in order, and then I'll tell. Promise!

(Though in fact, I suspect that many who read this blog already know.)