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Happy Chinese New Year! Goodbye, Year of the Bunny, you were wondrous and strange. Hello, Year of the Dragon! I hope you toast marshmallows. In a good way.

I like to think of the beginning of the calendar year as practice and Chinese New Year as the actual new start. Appropriately, I feel much better today than I did on January 1st. I got myself a dragon to wear, because I am fond of totems.

The little card that came with him informs me that dragons are magical creatures that have the power to see all things clearly and they are emblems of good fortune and protection. Sounds like a good thing to have around my neck, especially layered with my bloodmilk poet’s heart.

Starting the Year of the Dragon off on a spectacular note, too! While I was making my coffee this morning my phone started alerting so much it didn’t know which alert sound to make (seriously, poor thing was quite confused) and they were all congratulating me because The Night Circus won an Alex Award, which is given by the ALA to “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.” (I am in very good company with this year’s recipients.)

Now, this I find particularly awesome because several years ago, way back when the circus was not nearly book-shaped, I read The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly and the informative bits on the back cover included the fact that it had won an Alex Award with a brief explanation of what an Alex Award was for and I remember thinking to myself: that sounds like a really cool award, and also: that is the kind of thing I would like to write, adult books that also appeal to younger readers.

Never expected to actually win the award, though. So I am surprised and delighted and honored and thankful. I love librarians.

In other news, this is my week:

Tuesday, January 24

7:00pm Joseph-Beth Booksellers/Reading & Signing
2785 Dixie Hwy Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Wednesday, January 25

7:00pm Joseph-Beth Booksellers/Reading & Signing
161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, KY 40503

Thursday, January 26

6:00pm reception Salon@615 Series/Reading & Signing
6:30-7:30pm program Nashville Public Library,
615 Church St, Nashville, TN

Friday, January 27

7:00pm Foxtale Bookshop/Reading & Signing
105 E. Main Street, #138, Atlanta, GA 30188

It’ll be a busy week but nothing compared to the whirlwind of the fall so I think I should be okay. I am taking lots of vitamin C, though, just in case. I leave tomorrow. Right now I am packing. And by “packing” I mean “making lists of things I should probably put in luggage at some point and staring at my to-read shelves trying to figure out which books to bring.”

Also I am out of tour practice so I might just be extra chatty during these appearances, you’ve been forewarned. And I shall do my best to keep tweeting & blogging while I’m on the road, with a dragon around my neck.

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