book deal with Katherine Tegen Books!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have sold my first novel! Here is the announcement:

“Kali Wallace’s SHALLOW GRAVES, about a murdered girl who finds herself resurrected and must reconcile her old, happy memories with the magical underworld of creatures to which she now belongs, a story which pulls from international folklore of monsters terrorizing children, avenging murderers, and consuming the dead, to Anica Rissi at Katherine Tegen Books, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary Services (World).”

I am so excited to be working with Anica Rissi and everybody else at Katherine Tegen Books! And all the thanks in the world to my agent Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary Services for everything she’s done.

two books about one infamous failure

A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by James Horn (Basic Books, 2010)

Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller (Penguin, 2000)

The story of what happened to the colony of Roanoke is one of those odd enduring myths in American history. Roanoke certainly wasn’t the first or the last colony in the Americas to fail miserably. (Both the French Huguenots and the Spanish Jesuits beat the English “planters” in the “Establish A Colony, Everybody Dies” game by more than a decade.) Roanoke stands out in American lore because its 115 people supposedly vanished without a trace (if by “without a trace” we mean “actually there were all kinds of traces, some of them literally carved into trees”). That mystery allows for all kinds of interpretations, ranging from the mundane to the (hilariously) supernatural, often with a focus on the colony itself rather than the context in which it failed. Understandable, from a narrative perspective, but not terribly robust from a historical perspective.

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a book, a universe, several potential band names, and all the zeros

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 is a very large number.

An observation from the Obvious Things Are Obvious Department, but it’s an interesting one to think about, if you’re the sort of person who finds massively incomprehensible things interesting to think about. (You should be.) That’s 10^100, a 1 followed by 100 zeros, a number so many times bigger than our usual yardsticks for very large numbers that we have a hard time conceptualizing how big it is:

For example, the number of grains of sand on all the beaches in the world is often trotted out as an example of an incomprehensibly large number. However, a rough estimate shows that the total number of sand grains is about 10^23, a 1 followed by 23 zeros, a big number but still hopelessly inadequate to the task. How about the number of stars in the sky? The number of stars in our galaxy is close to one hundred billion, again a relatively small number. The number of stars in all the galaxies in our observable universe is about 10^22, still far too small. In fact, in the entire visible universe, the total number of protons, the fundamental building blocks of ordinary matter, is only 10^78, still a factor of ten billion trillion times too small!

From the introduction to The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin (Touchstone, 1999). It is the authors’ first attempt at explaining the scale of their chosen topic: the past, present, and future evolution of our universe, all the way from its beginning 14 billion years ago to a distant era 10^100 years in the future, the point at which, while the universe may still exist, “interesting” things will stop happening. In that context, as big and weird as it is to us now, the universe is still in its infancy. It has a long way to go.

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