Monday, November 28, 2011

Must Reads

We just had Thanksgiving and it got me thinking about books and being thankful. If you're visiting this blog, you're obviously a book lover. Books give us SO much. I honestly can't imagine my life without reading. But there are books that are good and books that are incredible. Books that can be life-changing. Books that no matter how many times you've read them, they never get old. You can get something new from them with each read.

That's what I'm curious about today. What are your MUST READS? The fiction book that you think ALL YA readers should read (or adult book)?

Also, if you had to pick one book you're thankful for. A book that pulled you out of a hard time, that changed your life, helped you find your love of reading or writing. Whatever the reason may be, what is the one book you're thankful for?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Chemistry of Strange Fiction: Interview with Amanda Rutter

Last week, YA readers rejoiced at the announcement that Angry Robot is starting a sister imprint for lovers of teen fiction called Strange Chemistry. Launching in September 2012, Strange Chemistry will release five titles, and then a new book each month after that.

Taking the helm of this speculative fiction venture is editor and blogger Amanda Rutter. She took some time with me to talk about what readers can expect from Strange Chemistry and where she sees YA heading in the future.

Sharon: Would you tell us a bit about how the new imprint came into being?

Amanda: Well… Over the last two years, Angry Robot has become more and more recognized for producing very high quality SFF novels – and Marc Gascoigne (being the head honcho and all-round Robot Overlord) started to think about how to achieve world domination in this particular market! In actuality, he saw the massive impact that YA fiction has had, and the superb novels that are being published in this arena already, and figured that it would be a brilliant direction for Angry Robot to move into. He had discussions and meetings with various important people, who agreed that YA was a natural progression for the company, and the result is Strange Chemistry.

Sharon: What type of book submissions are you hoping to come over your desk?

Amanda: The very best in Science Fiction& Fantasy YA, of course! In all seriousness, I am hoping for novels that showcase strong protagonists (both male and female) and explore the issues and themes that concern teens. I would like to see more science fiction oriented submissions. I think we’ve seen a healthy mix of fantasy, horror, dystopia and romance within YA, but where are all the robots and spaceships? If I could introduce more teens, via YA science fiction novels, to fantastic adult authors such as Peter F Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds, I would be more than happy.

Sharon: Strange Chemistry is currently only open to submissions via an agent. Will Strange Chemistry have an 'Open Door Month' like Angry Robots?

Amanda: I hope so! I am in discussions with Marc and Lee about what form their Open Door Month will take in 2012, and whether the YA will be directly included in that or whether we’ll do it completely separately. After the wonderful success of the AR Open Door Month, it really appeals to me to reach out to all those unagented YA authors who potentially have brilliant novels that we can publish.

Sharon: Do you have any books already in the works for the Strange Chemistry imprint?

Amanda: I’m afraid I can’t reveal too much at this stage, thanks to discussions going on behind the scenes and contracts being negotiated, but I can say that I have read some WONDERFUL manuscripts and I’m so excited about bringing more information about these first few titles to you as soon as I am able! The quality has been amazing so far.
Strange Chemistry Editor: Amanda Rutter
Sharon: Tell us a bit about your background and how that helped you land this gig?

Amanda: As the press release for Strange Chemistry mentioned, I have been a blogger for a few years now (on my personal blog Floor to Ceiling Books; on as a contributor to the Malazan re-read; and on Fantasy Literature as a guest reviewer). I also took on a freelance editing gig with Morrigan Books, and was one of the organizers of the Genre for Japan appeal. Basically, I took every opportunity to be a part of the brilliant SFF community, since fantasy and science fiction have always been an interest of mine. During that period, I have had contact a number of times with Marc and Lee – for instance, Angry Robot was one of the first publishers to commit auction lots to Genre for Japan. Interestingly, I do believe it was a negative review of an Angry Robot book that first brought me to their attention, which just goes to show that negative reviews can be useful! I think the real clincher in the role being offered to me was the opportunity I took to become a reader for the AR Open Door Month. I spent a great deal of my own time reading through over half of the 994 submitted manuscripts, and I believe this demonstrated my passion and commitment. It doesn’t hurt that I am a massive advocate of YA novels! In the SFF field, I fear that the role of YA novels is still not entirely understood, and so I welcome the chance to make real connections between those who read SFF and those who read YA. It will be fantastic to see younger readers of Strange Chemistry novels move onto adult SFF novels!

Sharon: You're well known in the blogging community, are you going to feature blogging as part of Strange Chemistry?

Amanda: Definitely! I have already published a post to the Strange Chemistry website, detailing how the imprint was named. In the future, I have plans to blog about the process of picking submitted novels and details about the day-to-day job of being an editor. I will also be showcasing interviews and reviews with Strange Chemistry authors through the website. Most of all, I will be looking to connect with YA bloggers and readers, and inviting them to contribute to the Strange Chemistry website. I want it to be fully interactive! 

Sharon: Is there anything else readers and authors need to know about Strange Chemistry?

Amanda: Basically, Strange Chemistry aims to bring the YA market fantastic books through a variety of exciting mediums. We are embracing the eBook revolution, we are recognizing that bloggers have voices that should be heard in the championing of excellent books, and we are intending to introduce more people to the progressiveness of YA fiction.

Sharon: Where do you see the YA publishing industry heading over the next few years?

Amanda: I see it as a time of great excitement and turbulence. The increasing numbers of people who are using eReaders makes this a fascinating period in the publishing industry. In terms of YA specifically, I believe there will be more award recognition for sterling works (after the success of such authors as Patrick Ness); I think even more adult publishers will look to move into the YA market; and I think there will be an ever-increasing adult readership. Personally, I’m hoping for another massive series (like Twilight or The Hunger Games) to make a splash and lead the YA market in a new direction – it would be even better if Strange Chemistry were to publish it!

Sharon: What creatures and themes would you like to see more of in YA writing?

Amanda: I’m more of a themes person than a creature person. Themes can embrace various different settings, situations and characters, and allow great freedom in publishing. We’ve seen a lot of novels carrying themes such as eternal love, survival, and growing into adult roles – I would love to see now themes such as optimism and hope for the future. The world has become such a dangerous and depressing place that I think YA fiction should provide some escapism. Not to the point of ignoring the fact it is happening, but allowing teens to see that there might be a way out.

I would also like to see fairytales embraced as a means of telling a story. Authors such as Charles de Lint and Robert Holdstock have used this to great effect (in fact, Charles de Lint has also written some novels in the YA arena as well), and I would like to see more of this.
Rapid Fire Questions:

Cats or dogs CATS!

Ghosts or Aliens ALIENS!

E-book, hard back or paperback PAPERBACK!

Salad or veggies SALAD!

Unicorns or centaurs CENTAURS!

You can subscribe via email or follow them on Twitter to keep up to date on Strange Chemistry's news.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't Give Up - Unless That's What You Want

Maybe it's the stress of the holidays, but I've seen a lot of writers talking about calling it quits lately. Maybe I shouldn't be so upset by this, seeing as how they're my competition and all, but I can't help myself.

If you want to give up because you genuinely don't enjoy writing any more? OK. That's a good reason to quit. If you want to be an author only because you want to make money, PLEASE go ahead and quit.

But if it's because you got another rejection, heard a published author complain about how hard the industry is, got a bad critique?

If writing is what you truly want to do, if you get a kick out of creating characters you love and putting them through the worst crap possible before they get to their happy (or not) ending, if you know your life wouldn't be the same without writing, if you have something that needs said - Don't Quit. 

Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, we have to suffer quite a bit of rejection before we get a yes. Yeah, not everyone will like everything we write. Sometimes we won't even like what we write. Maybe you need to take a break, but (again: if it's something you truly want to do) don't pack it in all together.

What would our literary world be like if JK Rowling had decided it was too hard? If Shakespeare had buckled to peer pressure and locked his writing away? If Jane Austen believed them when they told her a woman shouldn't write? Aren't you glad they didn't quit? You'll soon be glad that you didn't either.

Have you been thinking about quitting? How do you handle it when you think "maybe it's not worth it?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some changes on the horizon...

If you haven't already, we'd love it if you'd head over to Chanelle's post from last week and chime in!

In a little more than a month, YAtopia will be celebrating its one year anniversary. We've had a ton of posts, pitch sessions, interviews, and a couple of guest posts, all of which were absolutely awesome. And, to celebrate our anniversary, we'd like to switch some things up a bit. Which is why we'd love your opinion to know what all of you would like to see more (or less!) of.

In other news, Happy Thanksgiving this week to those who celebrate! And those who don't, well, never hurts to be thankful for things every day of the year, right?

To wrap thing ups, have a few quick reviews of some stuff I've been reading:

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. 

It wants the truth.

Review: First of all, like many others when I first saw this cover, I was expecting horror. Even when I read the blurb, I expected horror. But after reading through some of the GR reviews, I was able to go into this book knowing what to really expect.

I loved the artwork. It reminded me of the 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' books I loved as a kid. Eerie and beautifully done inkwork-looking art.

The story itself was short and I got through it in less than two hours. I wasn't sure what I would think of it, but...yeah, I cried. Three or four times, even. My heart broke for Conor and his mom. It's hard to explain everything I loved without spoiling the entire book, but even for as short as it was (125 pages in the ebook version for $10), it was well worth it.

This is going on my top fave reads of 2011 list.

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.

Review: Exciting and unique, TOUCH definitely stands out among all the other paranormal romance out there in young adult land. Kale was such a charming and adorable love interest, and I even had a soft-spot for Alex. While there wasn't exactly a love-triangle going on, I thought the way Dez reacted to both boys was spot-on and didn't leave me wanting to strangle her for being indecisive. She knew what she wanted, but sometimes fell back into old habits. Something I think so many teens have done.

Dez was a fun, kick-ass narrator. She was determined and brave, but not without her faults. It was refreshing to have a female lead who wasn't either a.) so down on herself despite the fact all the guys are all over her, or b.) gorgeous and well aware of it. Dez was confident, but aware of her flaws. She knows her strengths and how to flaunt them..

Jus' writing is lovely and flows well, and the humor is always giggle-worthy. Kale really was the highlight out of all the characters, what with his clueless remarks about the world and everything in it. I just wanted to give him a hug. (Despite this, though, I thought all the characters were well-formed and a lot of fun. I hope one particular character whose name I can't say gets more page-time next book.)

I haven't been into a lot of paranormal lately, but this was an exception I'm glad I got to read.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writing Prompt

Today, instead of talking about myself or my own writing, I'd like to focus on YOU, our lovely followers! Below you'll find an image and lyrics from a song, which are meant to jumpstart your creativity and inspire you to write something short, like a poem or the beginning paragraph of a new story. You don't have to tie the image and the song together, nor do you really have to use these items for inspiration. All I care about is that you write something :-).

Leave your writings in the comments, but please keep them short so we don't overflow the comment section. Good luck and I can't wait to see what you all come up with!


please do not repost image


Take me back to those summer days when the sun shined down on your golden face and I won't forget the way you smiled at me. Just take me back to those summer days when we got so lost in that summer gaze and I never believed in love... ~ Summer Days by Breanne Duren

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where I ask what YOU want

As the readers of this blog, YOU are the most important voices. Not us as the bloggers, but you the readers. So what I would like is for you guys to answer the following questions in the comments. This blog is for you guys and I want to make sure you're getting the most out of this blog as possible. Here goes!!

1) What is your favourite kind of post to read about on YAtopia?
2) Your least favourite?
3) What could we do that's more helpful?
4) Anything you'd like more of?
5) Is the layout and scheduling good for you? Too many posts, not enough?
6) What first drew you here?
7) If we were to hold a Giveaway, what kind would you like and what prizes should we offer?

That's it guys! You don't have to answer all, but whatever you can answer will be amazing. Thanks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Books I am DYING to read

There are a ton of books coming out soon that I can't wait to read. So many I had trouble narrowing it down for this blog post. Just keep in mind there are more... so many more. LOL. Here are a few that I really, REALLY can't wait for.

Some people spend their whole lives looking for the right partner. Nate Schaper found his in high school. In the eight months since their cautious flirting became a real, honest, tell-the-parents relationship, Nate and Adam have been inseparable. Even when local kids take their homophobia to brutal levels, Nate is undaunted. He and Adam are rock solid. Two parts of a whole. Yin and yang.

But when Adam graduates and takes an Off-Broadway job in New York—at Nate’s insistence—that certainty begins to flicker. Nate starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it is the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.

Super excited for this. I'm curious about the long distance relationship. About the blog and controversy and about the characters. Plus, I really like the cover and love boy POV.
Release date Dec 27

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

Want. Want, want, want, want. Love books that take place in a night. Love the graffiti aspect. Sounds really unique.

Releases February, 14

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.

Love the cover. Love the synopsis. Sounds super fun.

Releases December, 1

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life...and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last....

Sarah Ockler. Awesome writing. Enough said.

Releases January, 3

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.

Curious about the connection to the boy. Like the road trip and bringing the sisters ashes. Sounds like the kind of emotional read I love.

Releases Nov 22

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't Spoil the Fun

Ack! Dont' tell me!!!
I wonder if you're like me. I wonder if you hate any spoiler, no matter how teeny-tiny. Or if you're one of those people who starts by reading the last line of the book. *GASP* The very idea makes me want to scream, "Noooo!"

I don't read back covers/pitches/blurbs/reviews before beginning a book. Nope, nope! They give too much away. Part of the fun of reading a story for me is discovering things as the characters discover them. For example, in Bree Despain's The Dark Divine, I had no idea what, if any, paranormal creature we were dealing with at first. There was a delicious mystery shrouding everything, and I loved that!

Oh, no.

My fellow blogger and bestie, Kelley Vitollo, will often sell me on a story and then send an excited message saying something like, "The guy is a jerk at first, but he's actually really sweet, and --"  "Noooo!"  LOL - I have to cover my eyes and type, "Don't tell me anymore!" She, on the other hand, will get so into a book I've recommended that she'll send me messages begging for information. "Do they get together? Oh please tell me there's a HEA!"  I'm so mean; I won't tell her anything. :)

For those who don't know, it's called a SPOILER ALERT. I've seen so many accidental spoilers online lately. We forget sometimes that many of our conversations are very public, especially on Twitter and Goodreads. I urge you not to talk specifics openly - send each other an email or direct message, or just put a little (*spoiler alert*) message before discussing.

This picture is a spoiler!
My apologies to those who haven't read or seen Marley and Me, but this was too funny.

So, which one are you? Do you love surprises or are you one of those pesky people who enjoys it more if you don't have to worry about the outcome?  :-)  Happy reading and discussing, everyone!

Hugs, Wendy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fast moving YA relationships

I want to tell you a story. Let me know if you've heard this one before:

There's a girl - a little bit shy, a little bit nerdy, the type of girl that the guy at school look over. Then along comes this new guy, who is instantly popular. He's bad-arse, has a tattoo and seems to be more mature than the "boys" at school.

Shy girl is infatuated, but bad-arse boy is cold and aloof towards her. He rebuffs her attempts to strike up conversations, and leaves her feeling confused cause she knows she's got the hots for him. Then suddenly he admits he likes her and they start going out - and kissing...a lot. Shy girl knows that he's "the one" and hates it when he doesn't turn up to school, only wants to be with him, ditching her friends.

Does it sound cliche? One minute he's giving her the cold should and the next minute they're making out. Shy nerdy girl gets the popular jock and falls hard and fast.

I've been reading a lot of reviews lately and the biggest complaint I've been reading is fast moving relationships, how a guy and girl fall for each other so fast. Now I'm all for making stories realistic, but my beef with these reviewers is a lot of relationships do move fast for teenagers. Girls are scratching into desk's the latest guys that they "love", wishing these guys would notice them. Not all teenage girls are like this, but a lot of them are.

When I went through high school a lot of couples would become couples because they kissed at a party, and then they start going out. Others do form relationships though friendship, dating and taking it slow. New guys or gals are particularly exciting to teenagers as they've got this X-Factor about them.

If authors have a fast moving relationship in their stories, for me they are depicting a stage of life that a lot of teenagers go through. Admittedly, relationship and dating dynamics change in the "real world" and that could be why reviewers who are in this "real world" judge fast-moving relationships harshly, or because they think writers have an obligation to get girls to tackle relationships in a more mature and responsible way.

Looking at a show like GLEE, plenty of kids hook up quickly on the show without that developing friendship. But if a paranormal element is thrown in, people will criticise it for moving too quickly.

Think about your high school (or if you're no longer in high school, think back to when you were) and the relationships in them.

Was there relationships that seemed to pop up out of nowhere? Did you ever kiss a guy or girl before being in an official relationship with them or after only being going out after a short amount of time? Where there girls that were just SO in love with their boyfriend?

AND - tell us your favourite literary couple.

Share them with us, cause I've already shared mine with you. That cliched story at the top of this blog, that's how I met my husband.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dare to NaNoWriMo

Raise your hand, who's doing NaNoWriMo?

No, seriously, raise your hands. But... you know, virtually. In the comments - and don't forget to leave your username. Because YAtopians connecting on the NaNo site is a beautiful thing! And trying to write a novel in a month that's only 30 days long and has a major holiday weekend? Not crazy at all, promise.

I've participated in NaNoWriMo for three years, but not this year. Not because I don't want to, but because I'm moving and starting a new job and I'm really not a sleepless vampire like some people like to think.

I wanted to talk about NaNo not only because I want y'all to connect and become NaNo buddies and cheer each other on - but also because I'm kinda cranky about some things I've been seeing online written by some people: the NaNoNaySayers, if you will.

These people will say you shouldn't do NaNo because there's no way you can pump out 50k words of quality material in a month - so why bother? Or even worse, they'll look down their nose at you and say you should do it to "exercise your creative muscles" and then on December - throw that shit away and never look at it again! The worst part is they say these things with a "I'm better than you because I don't try to stretch my limits or do anything out of my comfort zone" kinda air.
So I'm going to give you some NaNoWriMo advice: Don't listen to any NaNoWriMo advice!
If you're intrigued by the idea of writing 50k words in 30 days (or 22 days! go ahead and start now, it's totally do-able), dare to do it!

If you like pumping out your first draft very quickly and editing later, dare to do it! 
If you've done NaNo before and loved it, but are having second thoughts because your favorite professional author/agent/editor has said the event is for untalented amateurs? Accept that they can be wrong every now and then and dare to do it! 
If you like the discipline of NaNo, but like to write slower, finely crafting every sentence as you go and maybe would like to set a different goal like "write for two hours every day in November," dare to do it! 
Bottom line: If you want to do something, do it. Simple as that. Don't let anyone tell you that you "shouldn't" or "can't" or that what you write is "crap." Don't you dare give up because some person with a keyboard who doesn't even know you has said not to.

Tuesday Twaddle - Hijacked...again.

Yep, you've guessed it.  I've hijacked the Tuesday Twaddle this week for a few announcements. 

Firstly, did you see the gorgeous cover of Wendy Higgins's, Sweet Evil?  I mean... holy hotness. Check this baby out.

Kai has got the smolder down. NOM NOM.  Now that you've drooled over the smolder, go check out Wendy's blog for more info on this beauty.

And speaking of covers I got my Hardback Italian edition of Carrier of the Mark yesterday.  It's so pretty, it needs some blog time. So here it is.

Carrier of the Mark came out in first edition Trade Paperback in the US. I have to admit, I was happy with that decision.  As a debut, you expose yourself to a much larger audience by having your book come out in Trade Paper, as it's more affordable, people will take a chance on the unknown author. But (and you know how I love a good but) seeing Carrier in Hardback, and how gosh darn beautiful it is, makes me a little sad that you guys in the US won't get such prettiness. *sigh* I didn't expect to feel this way about a's hard to explain.  It's like a coming of age thing...a realization that your book is out there, forever, on shelves, in different languages, and it feels good.

Anyhow, enough of blubbering.  *wipes eyes*

Talk to you in two weeks for an actual Tuesday Twaddle.

All the best and talk soon.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Conducting author interviews

Did everyone have an awesome Halloween? I did. I carved my pumpkin in the shape of John Lennon's self-portrait.

With my book's blog tour coming up at the end of November and going on through December, I've been introduced to the world of writing guest posts and answering interview questions. After doing so many, I've developed one good piece of advice for anyone performing author interviews:

Do your homework and be creative.

An author doing ten, fifteen interviews in a row will grow weary when every interview feels like a mirror of the rest. The same questions crop up again and again. Personally, my eyes start to cross and my brain hurts from trying to come up with ten different ways to answer the same question, until I'm eyeing the unanswered interviews still waiting in my inbox like this:

To be fair, I expected some of my questions to be the same because I'm doing them for a blog tour. These are blogs doing me an immense favor by giving me a spotlight on their blog for a day, so not all of them might have a chance to read my book beforehand. Still, it's really exciting when I get questions I know are meant specifically for me.

(Obviously, some questions are going to get repeated. 'Who are you, what's your book about?' That goes without saying.)

When conducting an interview, you can make an author's life a lot more enjoyable by really doing your homework. Obviously, it helps to have read their book(s) so you can tailor specific questions on characters/plot. It also helps to read the author's bio and learn a little about them, where they come from, and what their hobbies are. One of the most amazing questions I've gotten to answer was the result of the interviewer reading my bio and plucking info out of it to ask me questions and they were brilliant.

Most of all, be creative. Give your interview something fun and flavorful that no one will find from an interview anywhere else.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Once Upon a Time....

"Once upon a time" -- these four words are words we've all heard and read thousands and thousands of times. We've come to know little girls who get eaten by wolves, a stepsister who loses a glass slipper, and a mermaid who trades her voice for a chance at human love. Growing up, my favorite was "The Little Mermaid" because A) I was obsessed with marine animals (dolphin power!) and B) I really liked the love story. It may not give the greatest message to girls, but the mermaid's struggle is tragically beautiful.

As I'm sure many of you have noticed, fairy tales are making a comback. Then again, they've never really gone away, have they? There's an innocence to these stories that speak to us as children and even more so as teens and adults. Sure, they're fantastical, but there's always something we can identify with. And I think it's this universal-ness that has made them so timeless and popular

What fairy tale is your favorite? What do you think of all the recent adaptations/interpretations? I'm really loving ABC's "Once Upon a Time" and Jackson Pearce's retellings. Are any of you writing retellings? If so, have you faced any problems in making a tale your own?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo anyone?

Anyone participating this year? I wanted to, but I'm trying to slow down with my writing. I can get out a novel within a month anyway, which tends to mean that I rush through it all and have loads of things I need to add, edit, change during revisions.

But that doesn't mean that's everyone's problem! So, are you participating and what's your username? Put them in the comments and add each other so we can all support and rally and cheer!

A quick reminder, though...

Agents have been tweeting, blogging and discussing about their influx of submissions come January. If you're writing a novel in a month, you're going to need more than December to edit, so take your time and really make sure your story is the best it can be before querying. That means no January queries unless it is perfeeeeect.

I wish you all luck and I hope you're all winners :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Tuesday Twaddle is back!

I've been frantically busy these past few weeks and my YAtopian friends have been flying the flag for me in my absence.  Apologies if you've missed your fortnightly dose of Twaddle, but fret not my lovelies, I'm here with twaddle...and lots of it.

Today's twaddle is on promotion.

Firstly, let me say. I hate promoting me and my book. I don't think any author actually enjoys flogging their wares to anyone who will listen, but alas, it comes with the job description.  For the last few weeks I've been working the PR and marketing trail, doing guest posts on blogs, gazillions of interviews, live chats, radio interviews, magazine interviews, and of course my fingers are surgically attached to my keyboard with a direct link to Twitter and Facebook, the two lifelines for the debut author. 

Don't get me wrong, it's fun doing these things, and the people you meet along the way are awesome, but it sucks up writing time, and writers by nature are usually solitary animals, happy to while away their time tapping out a new idea on their computer or immersed in a great book.

Self promotion is a necessary part of the writing process, and it's one that is accepted in the writing / reading community.  In general, bloggers and readers alike, open their welcoming arms to debuts and are happy to listen to the stories, and help promote new titles.  There's a whole community and a thriving business built up around doing just that, and it works as long as writers don't go overboard and talk about nothing but themselves and their 'literary masterpieces', which I think most authors do beautifully, creating a balance with promotion and entertainment.

But I've recently read a few posts, by authors from higher up the food chain, about self promotion, and how they don't really approve of it. And they kind of got by back up.  You see there are authors out there that don't really have to self promote.  They have full backing of their publisher, and huge marketing budgets to put their book everywhere, on TV, on the radio, in newspapers and magazines, and in the hands of all the right people with the connections to get it noticed. They come out with a huge hoohaw, fantastic blurbs, sparkly confetti, the works. The release is usually followed by book tour in several cities, with high profile events and conference appearances.  It's all amazing, I hope that someday I'll have all that too, but in the meantime, I have to make best use of the resources I have, which is you guys, the readers, the bloggers, my friends, my time, and sanity.

So to the authors with all the sparkly confetti in your hair... you are awesome, I aspire to be just like you, but have sympathy for the authors who have no other option but to self promote, please try to remember there are many of us who don't get the confetti.  So until I do, I'm going to be emptying my hole puncher all around me creating my own confetti, because this is my time to shine, and we only get a small window of opportunity. And to all the other authors out there without the the sparkly confetti, I'll save some of my hole puncher confetti for deserve it too.

Talk soon guys.