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Hardcover (Trade)

Published February 2014
Hardcover (Trade) price: $30.00
Weight: 2.06

ISBN-13: 978-1-61037-304-3
ISBN-10: 1-61037-304-9
Page count: 416
Book Size: 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"

Letters to the Pumpkin King

This text relates to the 1st edition • Hardcover (Trade)

by Seanan McGuire

This is the first collection of Seanan McGuire’s non-fiction works. It contains everything from essays about “My Little Pony” and being a geek girl, to her advice on writing and things she’s learned since becoming a published author, to poetry reprinted from her two out-of-print, limited-edition collections, Leaves from the Babylon Wood and Paths Through the Babylon Wood.

“This book is bursting with Seanan-brain. You should read it.”
—Jim C. Hines, author of Libriomancer

“Seanan McGuire knows how to beguile with the very best. She can whisper spells and secrets by the ballad and the bushel. But here she simply tells it as she has seen and lived it, with bravery and a loud voice, and that is magic, too.”
—Catherynne M. Valente

“Seanan is rough and potent magic. Her work may not change you, but it is likely to change your experience of the world.”
—Elizabeth Bear

“I’ve read Seanan’s fiction and nonfiction for years. Because she’s smart. Because she’s funny. Because she’s insightful. Because she uses the word ‘f***’ in original and interesting ways.”
—Jim C. Hines, author of Libriomancer

Introduction: The Opposite of Silence by Catherynne M. Valente
Introduction: An Appreciation by Elizabeth Bear

Table of Contents


  • The Opposite of Silence
  • An Appreciation
  • Second Breakfast Introduction

Essays and Entries

  • The Periodic Welcome Post
  • Things I Have Been Called
  • A Traveler’s Phrasebook to Writerland
  • Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Published Author
  • My Little Pony is FUCKING METAL
  • A Letter to President Obama
  • Adventures in a Brand-New Cat Tree
  • Let’s Make a Horror Movie
  • Cybernetic Space Princess on Mars
  • Across the Digital Divide
  • Pondering the Princess
  • My Narrative Kink is Okay, Yours is Kinda... Well, Okay
  • Open Space in the Dialog: Why “I Didn’t Like It” and “Bad” Aren’t the Same
  • The Commandments of Coyote
  • Komodo Dragon Love
  • Body Bag Blondes: Why I Break Up with Stories
  • On Ownership and the Story
  • I Know a Little Girl and Her Name is Mari Mac: The Misuse of Mary Sue
  • Seanan Loves Her Some Fanfic, Yes She Does: On Transformative Works
  • Civility on Public Transit, or, Keeping Me From Killing You
  • National Honesty Day
  • Congratulations, You’re You
  • Odd Duck, Normal Platypus
  • Thinking About Spoilers, and My Personal Policy
  • Dear Girls of the World Today...
  • Navel-Gazing
  • I Believe...
  • Show, Don’t Tell: Why We Need to Be There
  • Some Thoughts About Gender and Literature
  • Person and Persona and Riding the Line
  • What Do Disney Princesses and Urban Fantasy Girls Have in Common?
  • Growing Up a Girl Geek and Becoming a Geek Girl
  • America’s Next Top Author
  • Still Life With Blue Cats
  • Australia! The Hugos Occur, Seanan Does Not Die
  • Things Seanan Isn’t Allowed to Discuss with the Reporter
  • Five Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Became a Published Author
  • And Then Seanan Won the Pegasus Award
  • Small, Medium, and Large: How Clothes Fuck Us Up
  • Explaining Fat Shaming to My Mother
  • Being a Female in the Age of the Internet
  • Like a Girl
  • Poverty and Schools
  • Adventures in Self-Promotion
  • Sometimes You’ll Never Know Why
  • Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Marilyn Munster
  • Money for Floods: Poverty, Humanity, and the Social Contract
  • Clothes and Covers, and Why Sometimes, Characters Choose
  • Things I Will Not Do to My Characters. Ever.
  • Things I Have Learned, Things That Make Me Proud, and Clarifying Things
  • In Which Seanan Is Briefly Thoughtful About Awards
  • You Sunburnt Sicklemen, of August Weary...
  • Surviving Snakebite, Surviving in the Desert, Surviving in Space...and Surviving Sudden Stardom? What?
  • What Gay Marriage Looks Like
  • Micro Aggressions, Slut-Shaming, and Book Covers: Some Thoughts
  • “As to hanging, it is no great hardship...”:
    Internet Piracy, and Who It Hurts
  • Yo Ho, Heave Ho: International Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day
  • The Horror Movie Survival ABCs
  • The Endless Alienation of Media
  • George R.R. Martin Is Not Your Bitch, But I Might Be
  • Life Is Not A Zero-Sum Game: Kickstarter and the Veronica Mars Movie
  • In Which ASL and Stephen King Make Everything AWESOME
  • I’d Like To Belong Here. Do You Think That I Could?
  • Once
  • Horror Movie Trivia Challenge
  • Why Authors Have Agents
  • Literary Limericks, Take One
  • Cover Me, I’m Going In
  • My Father Says, When You Gonna Live Your Life Right? Twenty-Five Things I Want To Do Before I Die
  • Please Don’t Be That Guy
  • Bitterness, Bullying, and Breaking the Cycle
  • Do Research
  • The Art of the Breakup
  • Ark of the Covenant, Covenant of the ARC
  • Rich, Lazy, Author? Which of These Doesn’t Apply?
  • On Character Death
  • What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay in Vegas. Seriously
  • Of Authors and Agents, Take Two
  • Flowers, Chocolates, Promises You Don’t Intend To Keep...
  • A Vague Disclaimer Is Nobody’s Friend
  • I Will Not Grow Up To Be Sinistar
  • The Three Sisters: Fantasy, Horror, and Marchen
  • Invisible Conditions and the Hyperkinetic Author
  • Write! Right? Fifty Thoughts on Writing
  • Write! Right? Fifty MORE Thoughts on Writing
  • What Makes a Book
  • Of Authors and Agents
  • How To Write a Book
  • Plot with Porn vs. Porn with Plot
  • Don’t Let Famous People Make You Batshit
  • Bad Behavior from Smart People: Toys Aren’t Worth It
  • And Then Seanan Got Angry
  • You Say “Bitch” Like It’s a Bad Thing
  • Matters of Control
  • Blurb It! A Game the Whole Family Can Play
  • Fairy Tale 101: Are You in a Fairy Tale?
  • Serial Killer Fun
  • Ten Somewhat Silly Facts About My Writing Process
  • Jellyfish Love
  • A Traveler’s Phrasebook to Writerland, Part II
  • Happy Limerick Day
  • Muses

Leaves from the Babylon Wood

  • Dedication
  • Build a House
  • Facts of Life
  • Bridges in the Night
  • Tower
  • The Bells in Chinatown
  • Wounds
  • The Winter Winds
  • Mermaid Wedding
  • To Candy a Kiss
  • Cinderella on the Rebound
  • Goblin Dances
  • My Dear Marie
  • Goth Girl
  • Jack’s Diner
  • Love Letters Home
  • Rain
  • Riding Hood I
  • Riding Hood II
  • Riding Hood III
  • Dear Prince Letters
  • Angel of the Airport
  • Back to Goblin Town
  • The Girl
  • The Sea-Gods’ Jamboree
  • Fallen Angel
  • Hello, Olympus
  • Now Rest
  • Spring
  • The Meaning of Gods
  • Build a Bridge
  • Elephant, Page Three
  • Vampires
  • In Velvet
  • Come
  • Lace and Skin
  • Express Imaging
  • Fractal Roses
  • Mathematics
  • Light-Bringers
  • The Bride
  • With Roses
  • Ache
  • New Houses
  • Farewell
  • Farewells in Babylon
  • San Francisco’s Ghosts
  • Types of Rain
  • Letters of Apology
  • Cobweb Wedding
  • Ever After

Paths Through the Babylon Wood

  • Sit Down with Me
  • Story Sacrifice
  • Invitation
  • Here (in the Moon Tent)
  • Here (Offerings)
  • The Puzzlebox Trees
  • Three Princesses
  • Arachne
  • Circe, and Glass
  • The Sister on the Shore
  • The Heartbeat of the City
  • Pigeons
  • Stone Lions at Rest
  • The Sideshow
  • Dreamers in Hades
  • Fairy Muffins
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Monday Morning
  • Anything At All
  • Cravings
  • A Prince’s Dilemma
  • Queen of Romance
  • Fairytale Loves
  • Context
  • Leaded Glass
  • Public Relations Department
  • The Godmother’s Child
  • The Godmother’s Song
  • We’ll Go Dancing
  • Discount Store
  • Surprises
  • Maybe
  • My Sister...
  • Cuckoo
  • Changeling Song
  • But Only a Trace
  • Tolls
  • Banshee’s Warning
  • The Selkie Bride
  • The Songs of Allomai
  • The Pipes of Pan
  • Circe
  • Watch the Tides
  • The Ocean’s Rose
  • The Wife’s Tale
  • Stories
  • Flood
  • Leave Me
  • For the Snow
  • Dreams as White as Snow
  • Snow, and Seven
  • The Triad of the Forest
  • Her Father’s Delight
  • Starwolf Snapshots
  • Seasons in the Wood
  • Wedding Days
  • Summer’s Queen
  • The Queen of Moonlight
  • Liar....
  • The Sybil Sleeps
  • The Wood Next Door

Printing History

Book produced for Boskone 51, February 2014.

978-1-61037-305-0 boxed hardcover $50.00, 140 signed copies numbered 1 through 140 (and 10 signed copies reserved for presentation purposes, lettered A through J).
978-1-61037-304-3 trade hardcover $30.00, limited edition, 660 copies, numbered 141 through 790.


The copyright page in this book erroneously states that the total printing was 650 copies. There were actually 800 copies printed, counting the boxed and trade states of the edition, and including the ten lettered presentation copies.

Edited by Sheila Perry
Cover art by David Palumbo
Cover & interior design by Alice N. S. Lewis