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Showing posts from August, 2012

Friday Reads: Lord of the Rings

To be fair, this has been an off and on read of mine for about a month (and I'm still not done--I keep going back to it and reading another book from the story).  My Nook died in the middle (the MIDDLE!) of Martin's A Dance with Dragons and I needed a chunker to get me through.  I found this in my husband's section of our library--yes, that's right, I'd never read it:

Genre: Fantasy--in all its original epic-ness.

By: JRR Tolkien.

What's it about?  When accessories go bad.  

Why did I pick it? Aside from just needing something to read, I felt my geekiness was not complete unless I read these books.  I love the movies, and no nerd should see the movie and not read the book, right?

Who will like it?  If you like immersive, loooong books, give this one a try--lazy summer afternoons and long winter evenings would be a good backdrop.  There's also something nearly anthropological about Tolkien's exploration of the cultures and places the characters visit, so it&#…

Reviewing Books: What's a Writer To Do?

You'll notice something about my blog: I don't write book reviews.  I do Friday Reads every week, but I don't tell you if I'd recommend the book or not, or pick apart what I thought worked well and what I thought   was a little meh.

This is deliberate.

I've noticed something in a lot of writerly blogs and Goodreads reviews--we're squeamish about truly reviewing books.  We're happy to recommend and gleeful about sharing what we love, but we're hesitant to say "This wasn't up to par for reasons I shall enumerate herein."

Yes, there are nasty reviews out there.  And yes, there are still honest, forthright reviewers, too.  But for the most part?  We as writers are kind of yes men to books.

Maybe it's because we're all reading things we truly, truly enjoy and can find nothing negative to say.  Maybe it's just because we appreciate the work and dedication that go into a book and gloss over anything we're not fond of relatively …

Friday Reads: Throne of Glass

Reading this Friday: Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

By: Sarah J Maas, about whom more can be found here.  Debut novel.

What's it about?  What if the pretty princess was an assassin, and the big event was a competition to be King's Champion instead of a ball?  But you still kept romance and intrigue in the mix and threw in some mystery and magic for good measure?

Why did I pick it? I've been an avid reader of the blog PublishingCrawl ever since before it was PubCrawl and was Let the Words Flow.  Sarah has been a regular contributor and I've loved her story of how Throne of Glass evolved from being a FictionPress story to a published book.

Who will like it?  I won't say you  have to like fantasy to like this book, but if you are a fantasy fan, this is a great pick.  It also helps if you like strong but complicated heroines and love interests with some depth.

Judging a book by its cover: Can you for this book?  I love the nearly etched look of the Glass Castle in the backgrou…

YA Highway Road Trip: Dear WIP, I Think I Like You

I love a good blogaround, and YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday is pretty much one of the best.  I couldn't resist this week's topic:  A "this is why you're awesome" list to your WIP.

Dear WIP,

You know I love you to spend this much time with you every day.  But just in case you forget how much I like you, a few gentle reminders of the things that make you grand:

Based on my favorite fairy taleArtificial intelligenceRooftop gardens and fantastical poolsBiscuits and silver-grey catsAcerbic old ladiesGirl technical geniusesBoys who dig thatInsecurityVillains who aren'tUnwanted immortalityTchaikovsky shout-out, tulle and organza Weirdsies genetically modified fruitThanks for all the awesome,
Rowenna
And now I think I want to get back to writing and discover a few more things to love...
How about you?  Are there a few things in your WIP that have you head-over-heels? Meet me in the comments!

Cliches: You Can't Swing a Dead Cat Without Hitting a Dead Doornail

Writer's Digest website had a fun little article on the top 12 cliches to avoid like the plague (ha! sorry) and invited readers to contribute their own.  Yes, most of these turns of phrases have been overused to the point of complete staleness (though some contributions I had never heard of...making me wonder if some folks were stretching a little too hard to contribute an "original cliche" which may be my new favorite contradictory phrase).

Still, they're not the worst cliches in writing, in my view.

These are just sloppy description, placeholder ideas.  They're easily seen and easily edited out.  You might stumble across one while revising on your own, or a crit partner will point it out to you.  You'll see right away how it made the paragraph in which you unwisely included it as bland as beige.

The worst cliches are the storytelling cliches.  Everyone has their pet peeve cliche or two, but cliched storytelling is when the characters feel "done" …

Friday Read: Shadow and Bone

So it isn't strictly a #FridayRead since I finished two days ago.  But I can certainly recommend it as a future read for you!


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

By: Leigh Bardugo, about whom more can be found here.  Debut novel.

What's it about?  Magic, monsters, an overwhelming darkness and a girl who can master light.

Why did I pick it? I have a weird obsession with all things related to Russian folklore and Russian culture.  Don't get me started on Russian short fiction, either.  And this book was not only awesome for its own story, but also kind of a giant homage to imagery and tropes familiar to the Russophile.

Who will like it?  Fantasy fans who are looking for something a little different, and nonfantasy fans who like a good yarn.  I may have covered a pretty broad range there.   But so does the story--besides magic and adventure, there is a great story of friendship and love, plus court intrigue.

Judging a book by its cover: Can you for this book?  Most definitely--the image c…

Thinking About Sex...In My YA WIP

When it comes to sex in my young adult novels, I've come to the Decision Point.  I'm surprised, honestly that I haven't before--but none of the YA stories I've written or plotted up to this point demanded that I broach the question of what to include and how to include it.  The characters, the situations, the cultures--all of it added up to books where sex just wasn't going to be an issue.

To preface--I have no issue with sex in young adult lit.  Teens have sex.  People writing for teens include this realistic scenario in their work.  Yep.  No biggie.

Still, I do think that every author has to answer the question for herself what she's comfortable including.  I tend to believe that sex isn't always a great choice for teenagers--not in all cases, but often enough to warrant being cautious about how and when I as an author present it.  I don't want to treat it flippantly, nor do I want it to be some hulking Big Deal or Moral Issue.  Yet, regardless, it&#…

Recipes for Writers: Versatile Fruit Tart

I've been thinking about this lately.  A lot of writers I know love to cook (or love good food, or both).  Yet talk about a difficult choice--bake a gorgeous chocolate cake or write?  Make a homemade, from scratch meal or write?  Kitchen or computer?

I thought about my favorite recipes.  They're versatile, they're easy, they don't take much time.  They get me back to my keyboard quickly.
Then I thought--why are they sitting in the box on my kitchen counter instead of getting shared?  Therefore, a new series: Recipes for Writers.  
Fruit Tart
The reason this recipe is so perfect for writers?  One, it's easy.  And it takes barely any hands-on time, so if you have, say, a weekend afternoon to write or an evening after work, you can easily take a fifteen minute break, whip this up, and get back to the words.  Two, it's versatile.  All the ingredients are either pantry staples or totally swappable depending on what you have on hand.  So--no wasting time you could be …

Agented: An Update and Announcement and Plea for your Patience

I've been worried about writing this post.

That seems kind of silly, actually, to be worried about sharing good news.  But there it is--worried that this somehow changes things or, worse, sounds awfully braggy.

The skinny: I signed with an agent and am now represented by Jessica Sinsheimer (who is awesome).

Whew, that wasn't so hard.

Needless to say, I am very excited to tackle the next step in my writing career, and very excited to be working with Jessica (did I mention that she is awesome?).

I know that this blog has a short history, but I've been plugging away at this whole writing thing for a while, and though I know there have been times I've been quiet about where I've been at, this was not my first visit to the querying rodeo.  Not by a long shot.  At some point I'll write a big, giant "the long road up until now" post to illustrate this point (including, for instance, that I completely thank the economy tanking and the small business I worked …

E-Readers: In Which I Am Addicted

A year and a half ago, my husband gave me a Nook for my birthday.  I've never been against the introduction of e-readers, though I probably wouldn't have been quite so early an adopter without his gift.

It's been my constant little companion ever since.

I still love hard-copy books, don't get me wrong.  I love paper and bindings and that inky smell.  I really love old books--I've always chosen to buy vintage or antique copies of classics because they look so darn gorgeous on a shelf.

Still, I really love having the Nook.  It comes on vacation with me and amuses me for days with hardly any luggage space taken up.  It can hold the three books I'm reading at once on my bedside table without falling over.  It's a giant help when I'm beta reading friends' projects because I can just pop a pdf on it and go anywhere.  And when I'm reading a Giant Tome my hands don't get tired or fall asleep from trying to hold five pounds of book.

Then it happene…