What I’m Reading
I’m going to the World Fantasy convention at the end of this month so I thought that I’d take a peek at books by those I know will be there. So far, I’ve finished Abhorsen by Garth Nix and Vamped by Lucienne Diver, and enjoyed both.
Abhorsen is the third book in a series, and it says something about the author’s skill that when I opened my mind to his world, I had no trouble at all following what was going on. (Admittedly, that’s a skill of mine, but if the author hasn’t put the hooks in place, I’m just as lost as someone who can’t do that.) The story is an end of the world/good vs. evil tale with likeable characters who are struggling to handle what they’ve been given. Both of the main characters, Lirael and Sam, grew up expecting one thing only to have another thrust upon them. They have to figure out what to do without help from their parents or anyone with knowledge, though they do have the somewhat mysterious support of the Disreputable Dog and Mogget, a talking cat. This story is told in a complex world at the border between what we’d consider normal, and a land where magic is alive and powerful. The culture clash doesn’t get a lot of play in this book (though the implication is that more was in the earlier books), but the crafting of magic and how it works is beautifully creative. I already started another book of his, and will probably be picking up more.
Vamped is an interesting choice to read because Lucienne Diver is one of the agents I would love to have. I picked up her book in part to see what attracts her, but that dual purpose was lost after about chapter two. Everyone is clear that chicklit is dead, but me, I see chicklit is actually undead :). I first ran across this in Michelle Rowen’s fun vampire novels, and Vamped is another along these lines, if aimed at a younger crowd. The main character, Gina, is an unrepentant popular girl with her attention fixed firmly on clothes and shoes, only she wakes up in a hideous dress her parents forced her to have…oh, and she’s dead. While part of me doesn’t understand the appeal of the popular girl when so many readers don’t fit that profile, it doesn’t stop Vamped from working, even with me. Gina is quickly forced to accept a much more complex reality, and watching her struggle with no longer being the top dog, the choices she makes, and how she matures makes for a wonderful read. Now I have to track down Revamped next year, not because I want to understand Diver, but because I can’t wait to see what Gina will be up to next. I’ve already passed the book on to a friend because it’s too fun not to share. Almost makes me regret not having a girl child :).
Forget about the guilt. Think about what you are writing for in more than monetary terms.
Exploring a definition for YA:
I like this post because it contradicts a “should.” I have problems with “should.” All writers have one thing in common…we write. How we write, how we function creatively, though, is pretty unique from writer to writer, so how could there be a one solution for everything?
Don’t know whether to put this in writing or social, but it’s an interesting look at positive and negative space:
An excellent blog post on staying true to yourself as a writer:
I like the balance in this view of writers’ required tasks:
A breakdown of promoting your novel:
A peek into the editing process post acceptance:
One writer’s perspective on social networking online:
A breakdown of expectations, suggestions, and costs for self-promotion:
An agent’s perspective on unrealistic expectations from authors:
Tips on making a successful author event from the perspective of an indie bookstore owner:
An editor’s perspective on what authors should expect of editors:
A very straightforward look at author websites:
How to get an agent:
Solid in-person pitching techniques and suggestions:
Agent Query’s list of publishing blogs to follow:
Interesting list of environmentally friendly options coming in the future:
The Mayan die-out interpreted thanks to space-based observations:
A wonderful breakdown of what YA is, and what it isn’t:
I couldn’t pass this up. A while back, I adopted the tagline of Tales to Tide You Over for my business cards with the visual of a message in a bottle, so a list of real stories with the same theme is perfect to share: