For those of you who don’t know (and I, despite years as a rather avid reader, had no idea until I started figuring out how to get published) an ARC is an Advance (or Advanced) Reader (or Reader’s or Reading) Copy (the C seems to always be for copy). They are also sometimes called galleys, for additional confusion. They’re sent out to booksellers/librarians/reviewers before the book itself is published so people can decide to stock or sell or review it, and they also send them to authors in order to get the little quotable endorsement phrases (blurbs) on the covers or on posters or t-shirts or whatnot. (Blurbs on t-shirts might not be a thing, actually, but someone should look into that. For BEA, maybe.)

So you have likely all seen blurbs on books. You may have already seen blurbs by me on books, of which there are two that are already in book form and two more on their way to being books (I shall give you a peek at the third at the end of this post). I have, to date, blurbed four whole books. I have been sent a lot more than that, though.

This is my current pile of things received late last year & year-to-date, with a bunny on top:

giant arc pile with bunny


It’s already more books than I could read in a year, especially a year where I should be writing a novel. (A novel which is requiring reading other not-in-the-pile books for research-esque purposes, too.) Which brings me to a sad but true confession:

I’m a slow reader.

Not like, glacial slow but it takes me a good chunk of time to read a standard length novel. I’ve been trying to keep track of everything I read this year and so far I’m managing about four books a month. So, no too shabby, but not enough to keep up with my for-my-own-entertainment, for writing research *and* please-blurb-me books, especially since the blurb-requesting ones are time sensitive. Like little book time bombs. Luckily they remain readable after the time limit expires. I am working on a way to stop time in order to read more, but so far I haven’t mastered it.

I’ve been trying my best to reply to the expired ones (just sent another batch of analogy-filled emails today) as much as I can, though sometimes I can’t find a specific contact email, and one of the emails I sent in this batch came back with an autoreply stating the editor no longer worked at the publisher. Oops.

Luckily I still have some time to possibly read a decent percentage of the pile but the other thing I have learned through this whole process is that I am absurdly picky. I like a lot of books but the ones I love enough to press on others and put my name on in blurby endorsement form are rarer.

Maybe there’s a book I’ll love in the pile somewhere or one will arrive in an envelope sometime soon (they arrive quite frequently) and hopefully I’ll manage to read it in a timely manner. It’s strange to be asked for such things, and even stranger to me that my name on someone else’s book makes any sort of difference. But I’m glad to be able to help boost the signal when I read something extraordinary.

So the next thing that will be appearing on bookshelves with my name on it is a book I mentioned very briefly in my list of books I read & enjoyed last year. It’s called The Resurrectionist, it unfortunately doesn’t come out until May but I was given an early copy and it’s even more gorgeous than I’d expected.



resurrectionist blurb


I got to use so many of my favorite words in that blurb.

That’s another thing, for things I do blurb I try to avoid the “This book is better than kittens” generic sort of quote and try to be as descriptive and evocative of what I liked about it as I can. I won’t tease you with anything about blurbed book #4 since it won’t be out until September, but I seriously spent hours coming up with the right combination of words and I’m still mildly bitter that I didn’t manage to get the word “salt” in there somewhere.

And the moral of this post is I need more time to read. Or more time in general, that would be nice.

three small deaths

three small deaths on the back gate

When I found the deaths hanging on the back gate I went back in the house to tell my mother, but once she came outside to see them for herself she didn’t seem very concerned.

Oh, they’re just small deaths, she said, picking up the whispy corner of a tattered robe. It slipped through her fingers like water and returned to its ominous hovering. I think the skeleton-face wearing it frowned, but it was difficult to tell.

What’s a small death? I asked.

Death of a hope or a dream, maybe an opportunity, and that slightly bigger guy on the end could be the death of a relationship, but if he is I doubt it was a particularly long one. 

Three seems a lot of deaths all at once, I said. She nodded.

Life insists on happening all at once, she said. So does death.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

ginger & honey & jazz

I have a cold. It’s mostly gone, down to a lingering cough, but I spent most of the last week preoccupied with being good and thoroughly ill, which was not so fun. I drank a lot of things that involved ginger and honey and whiskey.

Before I succumbed to the Head Cold That Ate Tokyo, I did spend a wondrously lovely evening at The McKittrick Hotel’s Valentine’s Dance.

valentine's dance

There was lovely music and champagne and dancing, of course, and during the Sleep No More portion of the evening I did indeed manage to see things I’d never seen in all my previous visits. And the jazz age attire required rule made everything a bit more surreal in a delicious time-warp way.

Now I’m trying my best to get back up to 100% healthy (I’m probably at 90% right now) and reading an advance copy of Kate Atkinson’s upcoming Life After Life which is absolutely marvelous so far, though I’m only about a third of the way through.

Also I’ve been knitting since my congested brain hasn’t been up for much. I’ll post a picture of the scarf I’ve been working on for ages when it’s finished, which could still be a while.

Still brain-fuzzy and tired but getting better. Still have Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen playing around the back of my mind.

valentine self portrait

on the beach in purgatory

on the beach in purgatory

The beach was cold and partially covered in lingering snow and completely deserted except for a fluffy black dog near the shoreline, he trotted right up to me when I came near.

The dog wore a collar with tags so I checked them but they were only medallions of silver carved in designs with no discernible words.

“I’m not lost,” the dog said, cocking his head at me. “I’m just waiting.”

“Waiting for what?” I asked. He paused before he answered. I straightened his tags because I’d put them askew trying to read them.

“For things that I have no control over to change,” he said after a moment. “Or maybe pirates.”

“Me too,” I replied, and we waited together after that.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

I am mostly hibernating but I went outside to play in the snow on Sunday.


I made a snow bunny.

snow bunny

And a tiny snowman.

tiny snowman

And I ran around Narnia-looking Central Park in the sunshine getting all pink-cheeked from the cold and had a lovely snow-day day and now I’m back to trying to catch up on life and writing and such.

me in the snow


snow tree


make love stay

love will be there in the morning

I thought that love had finally decided to leave me alone.

It had come and gone before and never stayed for very long or hurt too much, so when it left I was mostly okay, just standard sad and lonely.

Then one day in February there was a heart on my front door.

I figured it was a mistake or an early, meaningless valentine but I left it up anyway because it was pretty.

The next morning it was still there, along with another heart.

The day after that there were more, different sizes and shades of red and pink but all bright and warm and they made me smile.

It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t a mistake, that they were really for me.

It’s been a year now and all the hearts are still on the door, they haven’t faded in the sun or anything.

All the love is still here, too.

There’s more of it every day.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

I’ve been staring at February strangely because I am confused and annoyed that it has arrived already, but it’s been five days now so I think it’s here to stay and didn’t make a mistake or anything. I am going to choose not to think too much about my unfinished January to-do list and instead make new lists, probably without months on them this time.

Still settling in here, hanging things on walls and re-arranging lamps. I’m slowly but surely putting together my office, a process that has become slightly more complicated by the fact that my new desk does not have drawers. Most of my office stuff is in cardboard boxes, still, helpfully labeled things like “office – papers” and “office – fragile” and hopefully soon I will be able to put the fragile things and the paper things in places that are not cardboard. Cardboard feels so temporary.

I put my newly pared-down bulletin board up, which makes it look sort of office-y. This is the third space I’ve had this board in and I’ve stripped it clean before hanging each time, which feels appropriate for a new space. I added a row of my Nick Bantock postcards which have hung in every space I’ve lived since I was in college and are beginning to show their age around the corners, but having them up above my desk makes it feel more like a space I can write in. Also the fact that I have a desk chair now helps with that. Chair not pictured, but comfy.

board with bantock

(Also pictured on board: lower half of a print from Etsy, torn playing card procured at Sleep No More & postcard from one of several stays at the Royalton Hotel.)

I am still waiting on a few more pieces of furniture, and I keep encountering things that are in need of other things, like rugs that need those non-slippy rug pad things to keep them from slipping, but it’s looking more and more livable every day. I’m trying not to think too hard about how the estimated delivery date for my bookshelves is March, but at this rate that’ll be any day now.


And now, a word about email.

I am finally pretty much caught up with my personal email. For about three hours on Sunday I had nothing in my inbox and it was magical.

I am woefully behind on website email, and when I say “woefully behind” I mean I think my autoreply still says it’s October.

The important part: I simply do not have time to respond to every email I receive.

I tried for awhile and I can’t keep up. It takes away from time I should be writing* and also I have this creeping social anxiety that spreads to email answering and I need to think about how to respond properly so it takes me longer to respond and some people could probably handle quickly jotting off replies but I can’t. I’m sorry. I wish I could because it makes me feel terrible that I can’t respond individually to each and every message I get. I do try to read absolutely everything, though, even if I can’t read in a timely manner.

If you need to contact me for professional reasons, there is contact information for my agency in the sidebar of the blog. There is also a Random House contact for press-related inquiries.

I took my own email contact off the website for now, I am trying to figure out the best way to manage it in the future. Please be patient with me, I’m still comparatively new at this.

I’m hoping to spend most of the next few months working on a novel and in order to do that I need to basically live in my head. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I need to sort through and explore and figure out how best to tell the story of the particular bits that I’m sorting through and exploring for this novel. Also there are characters in there who are getting annoyed with me for neglecting them for so long.

I am trying to find a good balance of social media and hopefully that means the blog will be updated with actual Thoughts on a fairly regular basis.

The best place to say hi or ask questions that can be answered in 140 characters or less is and likely always will be Twitter. I do try to answer all directed-at-me @ replies, though I think sometimes Twitter eats them.

I’ve had a lot of stuff to deal with in the last two years, both personally and professionally, and I’m still working through a lot of it and trying to figure out what works best and how to handle, well, life. And when I say “a lot of stuff” I mean I would not wish my last two years on anyone, and for every high-high there’s been a low-low that I can’t tell the internet about. It’s tiring. Sometimes I need to walk away and make gluten-free salted caramel brownies. If I could I would share them with everyone (unless for some reason you don’t like caramel or chocolate or sea salt).

So, please bear with me while I settle in to new spaces and new life and quickly-moving new year and attempt to figure all of this stuff out. I greatly appreciate it.


*this includes time doing writing-related things like soaking up inspiration or reading or figuring out where to keep the pens with my drawerless desk.

dinosaurs on holiday

dinosaurs on holiday

The dinosaurs showed up near the end of tourist season when we were all starting to get bored but before our welcome smiles had completely worn out, which was good timing. It was something unexpected to break up the routine and the dinosaurs were much nicer than the typical tourists.

They were never really extinct, one of them explained. They went to live on an island and they said it wasn’t anything like that movie island with the dinosaur park, though they all liked that movie anyway (but only the first one).

They were here for a quiet vacation so after the initial surprise everyone in town left them alone unless they needed directions or someone to take Instagram photos for them. They ate at all our best barbecue joints and clam shacks and wandered around sightseeing. It was hot that week, so we mixed them big tubs full of complimentary strawberry limeade.

They all bought souvenir t-shirts that were much too small for them and they claimed were for friends but we think they were just being polite.

Before they left they wrote a thank you note on the one of the blank billboards by the beach and we kept it up all through the off season.

No one wants to say it out loud and jinx it, but we’re all hoping they’ll come back again this year.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.