Avery made himself comfortable in the chair closest to the window.  The mirror he faced was scratched and cloudy, and covered on all sides with stickers, taped-up photos, and Magic Marker graffiti.

Then she was there, standing behind him.  Nona.  She finished tying on an apron and pushed at his head, this way and that, roughly.

Hey, I have the same shoes!

Is this the obligatory self-interview meta-joke?Kind of weak.Should I reveal how long it took you to come up with that?

These days, it can be hard to believe in corporate publishing.The proliferation of pink-covered chick-lit beach reads, of C-list celebrity memoirs, of “literary fiction” seeming to have morphed into “morally inspirational books that appeal to middle-aged-lady book clubs”—well, it’s enough to all but make a girl give up on the galleys she receives from the Big Boys of New York publishing.I mean, sure, the occasional intimidatingly-smart, ultra-hip book by a twenty-or-thirtysomething white boy with shaggy hair still slips in among the drivel now and again to give us all a thrill; sure every year or so one or two foreign-born writers get championed as that season’s exotic thrill . . . but these moments can seem not only fewer and further between, but somewhat repetitive in and of themselves.Is there, for god’s sake, anything new and daring happening at the big conglomerates these days?