Wicked City book day


Well, Zephyr has landed. With any luck she’ll be at a bookstore near you (though if that bookstore is a Barnes & Noble, that will be the MAINSTREAM section, NOT Fantasy/SF—and god, don’t ask me why, the story is too long for the telling).

I am very happy to have this book finally released in the wild. I love the cover and hope that it might entice a few more people to read about my supernatural filled, “Other” Lower East Side. This book has a lot more of Gentleman Jimmy Walker, with some extreme liberties taken (It’s a supernatural New York!) It has some scenes that I’m very proud of, just because I think it’s hard to write humor, and that kind of old-school, droll quasi-British rompery is some of my favorite stuff. Hopefully a few of you will find this about as quarter as amusing as I did (being amused at my own books is one of my greatest sins).

Anyway, even if you can’t buy or read the book right now, I’d appreciate any signal boost for this that you can spare. And if you’ve read it, and have the time, please leave a review on one or a couple of the big retailer sites. It’s always a huge help!


There is a FREE Zephyr Hollis short story up right now on I am extra lucky because it got its own beautiful illustration by Jonathan Bartlett, which is marvelously moody and very twenties. It's called "The Inconstant Moon" and is a prequel story about how Zephyr first came to New York and started to rethink what she'd always been taught by her demon-hunting daddy. As this is free, it's a great thing to send to someone who might be interested in the books but wouldn't jump into the more expensive novels.

AND, potentially even better, I wrote a long essay for Heroes and Heartbreakers about one of my favorite book couples of all time: Vicky and John from Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss series. I ended up re-reading all of the books, flagging my favorite sections and then painstakingly organizing my thoughts into a multi-thousand word essay featuring many quotes and even something vaguely resembling a thesis statement. I spent about ten hours writing it (after the re-read) and then had strange, fevered anxiety dreams about having to finish an essay for a class the next day. Hmmm....

I think there's a couple other guest bloggy things going up in the next few days. Perhaps I will pop in here and link you to them, since otherwise me and the blog content are not very good friends.

In even more other news, some potentially cool things are developing on THE SUMMER PRINCE front, which I will announce as soon as I can. And I'm working working on a new YA novel that makes me very happy, though it is a little tricksy. Like all the best novels, of course :)


Wicked City cover


Do you want to win an advanced copy of Wicked City?

Wicked City cover

The situation:

I have four copies of the ARC of Wicked City, the sequel to Moonshine that is being officially released on April 10. They are doing me no good on my bookshelf, but I have been procrastinating in the difficult work of, uh, giving them away.

Know nothing about Moonshine? Reviews and an excerpt here. Curious about Wicked City? PW review and the first two chapters here.

The Solution:

I have four books, and I am attempting to use four different social media platforms. So I will use them in a (hopefully successful) experiment. Each media platform will give away one book. So, on Tumblr, reblog this post and I will put your name into a (virtual) hat. On Twitter, retweet it. On Facebook, comment/post to your own wall about it (liking is good, but won't get your name in the hat). And finally, on my home base, dear old Livejournal, you can comment on the post and/or write something on your own LJ (or Dreamwidth!) and link back to me. If you are on more than one social media platform, you can get your name in as many "hats" as you desire. If by some strange coincidence the same person gets drawn out of more than one "hat," I will arbitrarily re-draw for one of them, so that the books go to four different people.

The Wrinkle:

I really have no idea how many people have read Moonshine, or are really keen on reading the sequel, but just in case there are people out there who are REALLY EXCITED, as opposed to just curious, I offer you a bonus. In your reblog/retweet/facebook comment/LJ post, if you ALSO list a food or drink that Zephyr enjoyed in the first book, you will get your name put into the hat twice. I figure you'll only know that if you read the book, and that way you double your chances of getting a copy. Again, this goes for each "hat" separately. Yes, I know you can game this system; no, I won't stop you.

The Details:

My twitter is @alayadj, my Tumblr is, my Facebook page is Alaya Dawn Johnson, my LJ is here. You have from today (Monday, 3/12/12) until midnight EST on Friday 3/16/12 to get your name in the drawing.

The Winners:

I will contact you via whatever platform on which you won, and we will work out the shipping. I humbly request that all entries live in the US or Canada (or be willing to Paypal me a couple of dollars to help with shipping fees to their country). If I don't hear back from a winner after three days, I'll draw from the hat again.

The Fallout:

You are in no way obligated to review the book by winning this contest, but of course I would be thrilled if you do.

Good luck!

ETA: You can tweet at me about the giveaway as many times as you want, it doesn't have to be a strict RT. And since there's space constraints over there, it's no problem for the food to be separate from the rest. (Of course, no matter how many times you tweet, you'll only get 2 entries in the hat, but don't worry about cramming everything in one tweet).

The Summer Prince

It can finally be told…my YA debut is coming out next spring from Arthur Levine/Scholastic, and I am so excited!

You can read the announcement on PW’s Children’s Bookshelf (scroll down). Here’s the description, though:

Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince. Set in a utopian city in a futuristic Brazil, it’s a coming-of-age story about a rebellious young artist and her unlikely friendship with the city’s “summer king,” who is destined to be sacrificed after one year of rule, as they spark a revolution that threatens to overturn the city. Publication is set for spring 2013.

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new things

Hello, world! Happy new year? Yeah, I know, this livejournal has been gathering dustbunnies lately. So of course I started a Tumblr yesterday, since what my life needs is more social media platforms I never update! Yeah! Hmmm...the idea is that Tumblr might be a little easier for me to update regularly, since I won't feel like I have to, you know, write things. But of course the first thing I ended up posting was a long essay. Whatever, life, it is weird. But since I wrote it there, I will repost it here, in case anyone is strange and is interested. Also, consider this a PSA to follow me on Tumblr if you have one, and that way I will be able to find cool people I wish to follow as well. Oh, and I discovered recently that there are people who have actually and literally drawn fanart for my books and that really needs some celebration--and a forum where I can easily repost them :)

I ought to update this LJ a little more often this month, anyway, since Wicked City is coming out on April 10, which clearly necessitates something that might vaguely resemble promotion. Or at least a method of getting rid of the ARCs I currently have sitting on my bookshelf. I'm thinking a contest revolving around drinks/food Zephyr had in the first book. This means that if you are one of the two dozen people who read Moonshine, your chances are very good for having me mail you a signed ARC! Excited? Heh.

Anyway, welcome to my Tumblr, and here is the story of the very first Altered Fluid retreat to Woodstock, wherein your heroine drives a pinto in a snowstorm up a mountain:

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Wicked City arc up for auction

A quick note to let you know that if you'd like to read Wicked City many months early, you can drop by the magick4terri auction community and bid on a personalized copy. Also, you can browse through the many other amazing things on offer, all to help out Terri Windling. Terri's work has been a huge part of my life since I was thirteen, and I was recently lucky enough to participate in an anthology set in her Bordertown world, so I figured this was the least I could do.


What to do with ARCs?

So I just got ten advanced reading copies of Wicked City (sequel to Moonshine) and I'm wondering what I should do with them. Right now they are sitting around my kitchen, which is lovely when I get a drink of water, but not, I suspect, particularly useful. I was thinking of maybe some kind of giveaway? But I don't really know, and it's not like this LJ gets much traffic (I know, I know, because I never post). But if anyone out there happening to read this has some suggestions or pointers, they'd be much appreciated.

In other news (since I'm here), I have been working very hard on a completely new adult novel that's set in an imagined Tenochtitlan and surrounding area (equivalent to 200 years after the Conquest, if it had never happened). This thing is going to be a monstrous door-stopper, and I probably won't finish it for the next two years (mostly because of a contracted book that I can't announce yet that I have to write first). Anyway, the research is kicking my butt, in a good way, and it's really thrilling to be doing something completely different from my previous work.

And finally, I seem to have a thing for parentheses when I write blog posts. Good thing I don't write them very often!

abolish the [expletive] death penalty

I am so gutted over Troy Davis I hardly know what to say. I only heard of his case late, and I have absolutely no personal connection to it, but it so perfectly encapsulates the medieval, racist, morally stunted blood circus that is the death penalty in the US. No, I don't think my country is better than this. No, I don't think we've betrayed our ideals. I think my country has been pulling this bullshit for going on a goddamned third century and I am not okay with that. I have always loathed the death penalty, but if it's possible to loathe it more, well, there you go.

The best thing that could come of this is a country-wide consciousness raising, where perhaps people finally meaningfully ask what moral logic allows them to murder another human being for anything less than immediate self-defense. Revenge is not a reason. Deterrence is laughable. It is a racist institution, a modern-day form of lynching that allows the ones who advocate it to feel morally superior even while indulging in the most immoral of actions.

This article is particularly relevant, discussing the racial aspects of how the death penalty is carried out in the United States (it's a decade old, but still damming).

This bit struck me as so bleakly relevant (Troy Davis was sentenced in '91; his Georgian prosecutor expressed embarrassment that the execution had taken so long):

University of Iowa law professor David Baldus found that during the 1980s prosecutors in Georgia sought the death penalty for 70 % of black defendants with white victims, but for only 15% of white defendants with black victims.

Prosecutors have unfettered discretion in deciding which cases become capital cases, seeking the death penalty in approximately 1 percent of all capital eligible cases. Notably among the 38 states that allow the death penalty, approximately 98% of the prosecutors are white.

But it's all about justice, right? It's just about the case, isn't it? Race and class have nothing to do with it, huh?

I want to curse a lot more than I have, but let me just say this once more, with profanity: abolish the fucking death penalty.

Gay YA: a question of intent

It takes a lot to make me overcome my inertia and actually make a blog post, internets, but that time has come.

So, you might not have heard the YA blogosphere blow up yesterday, but it did! Here are good summaries:

cleolinda makes an excellent and well-reasoned overview of the situation, complete with many links to the major players that you should follow

oyceter offers very good thoughts about where any effort at change has to start (try: everywhere)

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Narrative Pet Peeve

So, you know how sometimes your heroine will fall in love with a cad? A hustler, a deadbeat, a no-good, low-down playa? And you know how betrayed she feels when she finds out what we, the long-suffering audience, have known since episode/chapter two? She has several choices of how to behave, but generally, the reaction falls into two categories:

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Pretty Cover!

Hello friends! Yes, I know this is one of those rare-as-unicorns posts of mine, but I have something exciting to share! First, Moonshine officially has a sequel, which is called Wicked City. It will be out in April, and I have just gotten the official cover and permission to share it with you from the publisher. I am SO EXCITED about this one, I can't even tell you. It is actually coming out as a hardcover this time (gulp). Here's the pre-order listing on Amazon--a kindle edition will be forthcoming, I'm sure. And here's the cover!

Wicked City Cover!

I don't have a publisher's blurb, but this book involves more djinni antics, a huge political fight over the "vampire liquor" and our intrepid heroine finding herself on the wrong end of a police investigation. So...I'll just post a decent blurb when the publisher sends me one, how about that? :) I am planning to write a novella this fall, which is loosely supposed to be Zephyr's "origin story." I'm going to use it as an either free or very cheap ebook teaser, so if you already like this series, hopefully that's something to look forward to. But I'll post more about that when I'm closer to having it finished.

I also have some other awesome news I will hopefully be able to announce soon. In the meantime, I had a great time at Readercon this year. I met some very interesting people, had conversations about subjects dear to my heart (Mexico! Urban design! The gentrification of DC!) and learned a few things that I think will be very helpful to me in my writing. I came away furiously thinking up story ideas, which is a good way to leave any convention.