The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

You might find this surprising, but the series that most inspired me when I was writing the Anya Balanchine books was Anne of Green Gables.

This article by Sarah Mesle captures so much of what the Anne books meant and mean to me.

I love the quote Mesle uses at the end:

“Dear old world,” Anne murmurs, in what is to me her most important moment, “You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

Is there going to be a third book in the All These Things I’ve Done series because I need to know How her buissness goes, what scarlet names the baby, if win is still mad at her,when leos wedding is going to be, if noriko learns english, how fats is doing with the buissiness, if theos ok, what natty learns at genius camp, if anya goes to college, and much much more.

The third book is called In the Age of Love and Chocolate, and it publishes at the end of October. Every single one of these questions is answered. But the story is really about what happens when someone who has always been incredibly strong finds herself in a position where she has to ask for help. The story is about being mistaken, and how a person can be both super smart and super wrong. The story is about recognizing how much real beauty and sweetness there is in life. The story is about love in its right time, and about the women who want more than love out of life. The story is not a dystopia—my darlings, it never was.

It’s my favorite of the series, and I think even some of you who didn’t read or like the other two books might enjoy this one.

P.S. To answer one of your questions… Scarlet’s baby is a boy, and my editor named him. I wanted a name that wasn’t one I would choose myself. He’s called Felix, which means happiness.


Forgive me, I wanted to say to him. I knew I would hurt you and I did it anyway. I don’t know why I am the way I am. I don’t know why I do the things I do. Please, don’t give up on me. Love me a little even though I’m flawed. 

Anya Balanchine in Because It Is My Blood


BECAUSE IT IS MY BLOOD hits stores this week. The hardcover versions of the series are especially delicious because the books under the jackets look like bars of chocolate. All These Things I’ve Done was a bar of Balanchine Special Dark. Because It Is My Blood is Balanchine Bittersweet. I’m rooting for the third book to be Balanchine White. (White chocolate is not really chocolate, by the way… but it will make sense for the story.)

I’ve got 7 signed copies for my friends on the internet. I’m talking to You. I’ve just finished writing my seventh book. My last name rhymes with seven and um, seven’s lucky right? Anya’s such an unlucky girl… born under the wrong star and all… We both wouldn’t mind a little luck headed our way.

There are many ways to enter, and I’m guessing you know the drill. Post your favorite quote from one of my books on your blog or facebook or twitter. (You can find many of my book’s quotes here.)  I love fan art like this or this, and I’d be seriously delighted if you made something. Take a picture of one of my books out in the wild. Or you can just tell people about Because It Is My Blood on the social network of your choice. But honestly, anything is fine with me. I just want to know that the books are going to good homes: ie., places where people who really like me will really like the books. NOTE: If you’ve already bought Because It Is My Blood, feel free to enter anyway. You can choose from any of my other books (Elsewhere, Margarettown, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac,  All These Things I’ve Done, The Hole We’re In), which I will happily sign and personalize for you.

If only seven of you enter, seven of you will win. If only five of you enter, two of my imaginary friends are getting copies.

Because many of the readers that write me are not from America and because the series takes place in many different countries, it only seems right that this giveaway be open internationally.

Contest ends October 17, 2012.

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thursday chocolate, no. 8: this one’s about coffee, which frequent readers of my various ramblings will know I prefer to chocolate anyway. According to this piece on NPR, Sultan Murad IV, a ruler of the Ottoman Empire, used to decapitate people for drinking coffee!

Other interesting bits:

“If you look at the rhetoric about drugs that we’re dealing with now — like, say, crack — it’s very similar to what was said about coffee,” Stewart Allen, author of The Devil’s Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History, tells The SaltIn Murad’s Istanbul, religious leaders preached on street corners that coffee would inspire indecent behavior. As the bean moved west into Europe, physicians rallied against it, claiming that coffee would “dry up the cerebrospinal fluid” and cause paralysis.

But apparently the motivation was really political:

Monarchs and tyrants publicly argued that coffee was poison for the bodies and souls of their subjects, but Mark Pendergrast — author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World — says their real concern was political. 

 “Coffee has a tendency to loosen people’s imaginations … and mouths,” he tells The Salt.

And inventive, chatty citizens scare dictators.

According to one story, an Ottoman Grand Vizier secretly visited a coffeehouse in Istanbul.

“He observed that the people drinking alcohol would just get drunk and sing and be jolly, whereas the people drinking coffee remained sober and plotted against the government,” says Allen.

British anti-coffee manifesto from the 17th century:


Drink Coffee? Off With Your Head!

Most folks who resolved to cut down on coffee this year are driven by the simple desire for self-improvement.

But for coffee drinkers in 17th-century Turkey, there was a much more concrete motivating force: a big guy with a sword.

Sultan Murad IV, a ruler of the Ottoman Empire, would not have been a fan of Starbucks. Under his rule, the consumption of coffee was a capital offense.

The sultan was so intent on eradicating coffee that he would disguise himself as a commoner and stalk the streets of Istanbul with a hundred-pound broadsword. Unfortunate coffee drinkers were decapitated as they sipped.

Murad IV’s successor was more lenient. The punishment for a first offense was a light cudgeling. Caught with coffee a second time, the perpetrator was sewn into a leather bag and tossed in the river.

But people still drank coffee. Even with the sultan at the front door with a sword and the executioner at the back door with a sewing kit, they still wanted their daily cup of joe. And that’s the history of coffee in a bean skin: Old habits die hard. —Adam Cole

Tuesday Hijinks, No. 4:  An interview with me about the paperback version of All These Things I’ve Done and title reveal for the second book.

Something I wanted to put in the interview but didn’t. All the titles of the books in the series add up to form a synopsis of the series. At this point, you have half the sentence: All these things I’ve done because it is my blood… etc. 

P.S. The jacket on my tumblr is – I believe – the final version; it’s a little bit different than the one on BookPage.