This is it! Our last newsletter for 2022! And I have so much to tell you 😊
Hot young artists who sell human bones and 500-year-old codes
First of all, I really need to point to this article about a young man who developed a fascination with bones as a kid, and now makes a comfortable living selling human skeletons (not whole ones, although sometimes whole ones) on the ‘medical bones’ scene. Medical bones are exactly what it says on the tin: human bones sold to medical teaching institutions or other establishments that allow trainee doctors to learn the rudiments of skeletal anatomy with real human skeletons.
But a lot of medical bones are also sold as obscura, antiques, or oddities to collectors. And there’s definitely some question marks around the medical bones industry – particularly related to the dodgy historical tradition of bone merchants, and about the issue of the exploitation of colonized and marginalized peoples’ remains. At the end of the day, it’s about whether we think of these bones as a commodity, or as what is left of a person… Anyway, I encourage you to read the article and form your own opinion.
Oh, and because it’s relevant to my interests, I also wanted to share this article about how a research team has finally cracked Emperor Charles V’s secret code in his letter to his ambassador in France, asking about a plot to assassinate him. I mean, you really can’t say there are a lot of letters still around containing a message that remained impenetrable for nearly 500 years, so well done, Charles V! Good job!
Oh, one more thing! I fell down a weird rabbit hole recently about how commoditized the internet has become – I mean, this is the global town square (hello Twitter!) and yet it’s completely plastered in advertising (hello Google!) which is apparently fine and normal? And it’s mostly owned by billionaires who, in their benevolence, have gradually persuaded us that harvesting our personal information for their ongoing profit is another fine and normal thing? (hi Amazon!) Anyway, I found this article on how the internet may have reached peak clickability really interesting! (is the internet really dying? You be the judge) and also this podcast episode about online shopping had a strange synchronicity, and I thought you might enjoy them too!
I’ve gotten into this habit – encouraged by an awesome friend – to write down a list of all the things I accomplished or just plain ole ‘got done’ over the course of the year, and I have to say it’s been really enlightening. I do way more than I initially expected - because it’s easy, at this time of the year, for everything to kind of mush together into an unrecognizable paste, and then wonder why I’m tired. But writing everything down (I go through my daily planner to jog my memory) is useful and makes me feel like, wow, I really did some shit.
Here's a few of the things I did in 2022:
✨moved into my new home office! (it has changed my life)
✨taught my final term of high school, then went on leave
✨went to a bunch of climate strikes
✨edited a book (The Killing Code)
✨finished writing another book (Some Shall Break)
✨edited a second book (Some Shall Break)
✨dealt with some complicated personal medical stuff, go me
✨promoted the crap out of a book release (The Killing Code)
✨wrote two new book proposals (secret!!)
✨went on holiday (Bali, I love you)
✨travelled to the USA for the release of The Killing Code (wow!)
✨did a trillion book release interviews and promotions
✨taxied my kids basically everywhere
✨taught one of my kids how to drive
✨wrote the first 65 pages of a new book (secret!!)
…I mean, this is only a partial list? So there’s a lot of things I did that I haven’t even added here.
I’m being transparent with my list, because I’d like to inspire you to write your own: what were the myriad things you did this year? What hoops did you jump through, or obstacles did you leap over? What were you unable to complete but still feel like you gave it a good shot? What are you still working on?
What can you pat yourself on the back for this year? I know there’s something – there’s always something. So please reward yourself, now we’re at the year’s end, with a little treat and some good feelings of achievement, that you’ve made it through what has actually been another tough year.
THE KILLING CODE news
It was very delightful to see my kickass codegirls make the Readings Best YA Books of 2022 list – so lovely! And I’ve been thrilled to see how many people have responded to this book, and sent me messages about it. Thank you all! If you’d like to buy it for someone (or yourself?) for Christmas, you can do so here. And if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, I’d like to humbly ask if you could review it somewhere – that would be wonderful, and I’m very appreciative of every review my books receive!
What I’m watching
WEDNESDAY is seriously fun. I know a lot of people have not liked it (for reasons I can’t fathom?) but honestly I watched it with my 14yo and we loved it.
Jenna Ortega is completely brilliant in the role of the titular Addams now attending her parents’ boarding school Nevermore, Gwendoline Christie and Christina Ricci (the OG Wednesday) both play school alumni/teaching staff, and while it’s very light weight, it’s incredibly fun to see it all unscroll. Highly recommend!
SOME SHALL BREAK
I just did a big giveaway on my socials (did you see it? I told you to keep an eye out!) and one of the things I gave away was an arc copy of the sequel to NONE SHALL SLEEP – that book is SOME SHALL BREAK, and it’s going to release June next year.
I’m super excited about this!! I mean, I’m really excited, because this is the book I thought would never go to my publisher (it’s been a whole thing – I chatted about it a lot in my paywalled newsletter, Nailbiters).
And hey, if you’re as excited about SOME SHALL BREAK as I am, you might like to preorder the book already (you can do that!), or vote for it on GoodReads lists, or add it to your reading list on GoodReads, or even mention it on a social media post? I don’t know, you do you. But if you are preordering or adding or voting or whatever, please accept my thanks – getting early buzz going for the book is really important, and I honestly think if you loved NONE SHALL SLEEP, you will be very happy when this book finally arrives 😊
If you’d like to get regular updates about what books of mine are arriving when, please consider subscribing to this newsletter! And if you’d like more in-depth behind-the-scenes info about the None Shall Sleep sequence, and what I’m writing next, plus backstory info on books I’ve already written, you might like to support me and my work by subscribing to Nailbiters
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What I’m reading on holidays…
I’m going away for the holidays with family, as is our wont, and I’ll be taking a whole box of books with me so we have something to read while camping.
My Tiktok video with my stack of holiday reads will be going up soon, so keep an eye out for that!
Our last book of the year is usually designed to take us across two months (Dec-Jan) as we don’t announce another title until February. So this year our final title for 2022 bookclub is THE KILLING CODE, which is as much of a surprise to me as it might be to you – I’ve never scheduled one of my own titles in bookclub before, but my co-mod Emmaly is in charge of December, so it was her call! Anyway, I really hope you like it 😊
Last Newsletter for the Year of Our Lord 2022
This is it – we won’t chat to each other again until February next year (I always take a break through January, and try to dedicate that time to writing and family and finding my feet in the new year).
I would first like to say ‘thank you’! Writing these newsletters has been an absolute delight this year, and I can only assume – given that you allow me to prattle on, and there are now nearly 800 people reading – that you all enjoy them. It’s very special to be given a chance not to throw out pithy sentences (Twitter) or show off my silly face (Tiktok) or share pretty pictures (Instagram) but rather to engage in a longform conversation with the people who matter to me most, and that is all of you.
I’d also like to say that if you’re trying to get in touch with me (beyond simply commenting here on this email) my out-of-office placeholder will be going on very shortly – please be patient after that, as I’m unable to reply once that happens (I mean I am literally physically unable to reply, as I won’t be in a place that has either electricity or internet). I should also say that my out-of-office messages are fairly renowned for being silly and fun, so I hope that goes some way to salving the wound of no-reply-until-Feb.
Finally…it has been a time this year. I know we’ve been through it, and some of you have had it really tough, and I wanted to say I’m thinking of you all. I wish all good things for you for the holiday period and into the fresh year. May your season be merry and your New Year bright ❤ Much love from me and my family to you and yours, take care of yourself until we chat again, and happy 2023!
What a year! Congratulations, Ellie! 🙌 I hope you have a relaxing break 🥰🎄 See you next year!