Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Eternity Cure: sequel to Book of Awesome

What? Oh... why yes! That IS an advanced copy of Julie Kagawa's The Eternity Cure on my iPad...

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet the oh-so-stellar, Laurie McLean, at the San Francisco Writer's Conference. Laurie is the ROCK STAR agent for Miss Julie Kagawa, who wrote the Iron Fey series, as well as (my favorite), her new vampire dystopian series, Blood of Eden. Blood of Eden made a smashing debut last year with the Immortal Rules, and, seriously guys? If you haven't read it yet... PUT IT ON THE TOP OF YOUR TO-READ LIST!!!! RIGHT! NOW!

Its amazing. 

Before I'd read the Immortal Rules, I thought I was done with vampires. Stoker, Rice, Meyer... I'd pretty much read 'em all, and I wasn't really interested in yet ANOTHER vampire book. 

Oh. How. Wrong. I. Was. 

I was completely sucked (hardy har!) into this world that Julie Kagawa created. Its basically a vampire dystopian. If any of you have read I Am Legend (not the movie, which is different than the book), or The Strand, it has a similar vibe, in which vampires are the next step in evolution and humans are raised like cattle. I could NOT put it down!! 

Anyway, after I gushed to Laurie about HOW MUCH I FREAKIN' LOVED THE IMMORTAL RULES, she told me she'd try to get me an advanced copy of the sequel. Like, no big deal, right?

This was me: 

[Closed captioning: EEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

There also may have been some serious finger crossing going on. And a bit of freaking out. And probably some embarrassing exclamations of joy. Just a few.

Anyway, now that I've got my handy dandy advanced reader copy of The Eternity Cure, I plan on settling in for a long day of uninterrupted reading! Are you totes jealous yet?


Its a hard knock life, ya know? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

San Francisco Writers Conference: Wisdom Noted

Wow. Its Thursday. And I STILL have not posted a SFWC update... I may or may not be a bit of a slacker. I blame the fact that my brain was fried and needed time to recoup. 


Talk about awesome-writer-advice-brain-overload... $@#*!! 

But now that I've been fed, watered and properly rested, I feel its time to make another virtual appearance. Here are a few things I learned this weekend at the writer's conference of awesome:

R.L. Stien? For being the writer of a notoriously goosebump-y scary series, he was surprisingly, well, UN scary! In fact, he originally wanted to write comedy. Who knew?

Mount Doom is in San Francisco... don't believe me? Try hiking up this every morning:

Forgive me if its unclear, but that's like a freakin' FOURTY FIVE DEGREE ANGLE! I suddenly have strong feelings of empathy for Frodo. 
Cable cars are a beautiful, beautiful invention. 

It IS possible to write 3-4 books PER YEAR (You go, Anne Perry! You adorable little British woman, you!) Pretty sure she's up to like 80 books now... and I feel I shall never live up to her awesome-ness.

Anne is the one with the crazy smile... Haha! I heart this pic!
Laurie McLean, Julie Kagawa's agent, is a FREAKIN' ROCK STAR (and I'm not just saying that because she promised a possible advanced copy of the Eternity Cure...hehe!) She really is awesome. 

Writers make the best friends (Holla LAURA, PERRY, and ASHLEY!!.. Missed you, LAUREN and TERRY!)

Three two-stall bathrooms are inadequate for a conference boasting 500-ish strong. Ew.

Laura Perkins, from the Andrea Brown agency, is also a ROCK STAR! I have big plans to do an entire post on her session "Crafting A Can't-Put-Me-Down First Chapter for a YA Novel." It was sublimely superb! Thank you, Lara!

And last but far from least... Reaffirmed: I LOVE BEING A WRITER!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Slump Breakout

In high school, I was a band nerd. 

[cue gasps of shock and awe]

Unlike the cheer and jock crowd, who I'm pretty sure had chests of gold handed to them (pirate booty style), us poor nerds had to salve to raise money for band tour every year. One of our more notorious and highly-anticipated fundraisers was called the "Rock-a-Thon." 

I kid you not. People would actually pledge money (REAL money!) for us to rock in a rocking chair for 24 hours. Straight. (The things desperate kids will do for money, I know...) 

I bring this up because my "2013 Books Read" numbers are currently quite low. Pretty sure I haven't even broken into double digits yet. Its sad. In an attempt to inflate my numbers, I was thinking of starting Julie's First Annual "Book-a-Thon." 

I mean, if people are willing to pay me to rock in a chair for 24 hours, certainly they'll pay me money to read books, right? 

...[insert pensive expression here]...

I think its worth a shot. 

Anyone willing to pledge money, please see the collection tin at the end of this post.

Okay, okay... so although the numbers are low, I admit, I have read a FEW books recently. One worth mentioning, is by author, Aurora Smith, who asked me to read and review her debut novel, My Stupid Girl

All seventeen-year-old David really wants is to fly under life's radar. In a typical cold winter day in Montana he does something extraordinary: rescues smart, funny, gorgeous good-girl Lucy Peterson from drowning in a freezing lake. As their friendship grows, David realizes that risking his life was the easy part. His friendship with a girl who is different from him in every imaginable way forces David to challenge himself and those around him. He must face the abuse of his past and the uncertainty of his future as he struggles to keep Lucy by his side.

When Aurora sent me this book, she described it as "adorkable." [Eeek! Love!] So of course, I was EXPECTING the totally rock-awesome witty dialogue and descriptions that ACTUALLY made me giggle out loud... (which totally doesn't happen very often, peeps. I'm a stone cold reader... grrr!) It was awesome!

What I was NOT expecting was the way in which Aurora was able to seamlessly tie in some seriously serious topics of discussion with all the lighthearted humor and whit! I've read YA books with some pretty heavy topics.... Wintergirls, by Laurie Hals Anderson and Drowning Instinct, by Ilsa J. Bick (both fabulous--ESPECIALLY Drowning Instinct, just in case you were wondering!). However, I can't say that I've read a good "adorkable," funny kinda novel that ties in such serious-ness with the humor. Most attempts end up coming across as insincere. 

Not so with My Stupid Girl!

Aurora balanced the humor and serious perfectly! I absolutely adored David's pack of miscreant friends (especially Isaiah)! At the same time, I found myself in serious contemplation about the kinds of trials and life changes David had to go through. Some of the topics explored included: adoption, death, forgiveness, teen pregnancy, and religion. I especially liked how, through the book, the characters started out judging each each other as one way based on their outward appearance. And how eventually, they realized the importance of seeing past the public mask to the person within. It reminded me of how very wrong we can be when we judge a book by the cover, so to speak!

Oh, and I totally want David to design a tattoo for me. Cause he's just that awesome. 

One thing I did not like, though,  ***SPOILER ALERT*** was that David almost seemed TOO understanding at the end. Miss Lil' Sweet Cheeks Lucy Pants comes to him with a doozey of a mistake that she made, and instead of having a bit o' heart ache over the matter, David (almost) immediately jumps back with ITSOKAYISTILLTOTALLYLOVEYOUSOMUCH!!! 

Which, considering the issue in question, seemed a bit quick to me. In my experience, boys usually stew over things a little longer than a half hour.

I also thought that some of the witty descriptions went on a little long. For the most part the dialogue and running whit inside David's head were nothing but hilarious! But in the first chapter especially, I thought some of the stuff was "one joke too much," and it dragged down the action a bit. 

Okay, and it was probably just me (and quite possibly cause I didn't bother actually reading the summary of the book BEFORE hand)... but I didn't know if David was a girl or guy for the whole first chapter! Haha ( : Perhaps I missed the "Hi, my name is David, and I'M A BOY" part, but just in case you miss it too? David is, in fact, a boy!

Overall, this was definitely a fun read! I would easily recommend this book for anyone looking for something quick and enjoyable! Its got "thinker" and "humor" all rolled up into one nice, neat package! You can find Aurora's blog HERE, on Facebook HERE, and can buy the oh-so-fabulous read on Amazon, HERE. Choose your virtual weapon, readers, and ENJOY!

Thanks, Aurora! Can't wait for your next David n' Lucy masterpiece ( :

P.s. Does she not look like the coolest person EVER? The socks. The tat. The necklace. I kind of want to be her friend. Just sayin'. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dialogue Overrated

Thought this was "adorkable".... can YOU tell a story without dialogue?

Disney can ( :

Friday, February 1, 2013

eBook Revolution

Peeps, I'm headed to another Writer's Conference! 

[Woot, woot! Three cheers!]

Its the San Francisco Writers Conference in--wait for it--San Francisco, CA.

I know, crazy, right? Naming the conference after the city? I thought it was weird too. Heehee.

ANY-way... Whilst stalking the agents I shall be meeting my doom with during the Agent Speed Dating session, I ran across THIS article, that one of the agents posted on her twitter page. To save you the long boring and--might I add--somewhat unnecessary introduction of the article, I will summarize the underlying sentiment: 

Writers, bloggers, readers and the publishing industry are focusing on the wrong part of the "eBook revolution."

Instead of being threatened by the introduction of the eBook, and its implications on the way we CURRENTLY do things, we should instead focus on the limitless possibilities of the FUTURE. What can the eBook do for us? His words:

"The novel has helped foster publishing’s success since it was invented by Cervantes over 400 years ago, and yet readers—more than a decade into the arrival of ebooks—are experiencing stories on a screen in much the same way they do on the page. In fact, Apple recently filed a patent for an “animated graphical user interface,” which is basically digital page-turning. Where we could be innovating, we’re just creating another skeuomorph.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The screen was supposed to be limitless, a portal to another dimension. A magical mirror in which truly anything could appear: words, pictures, movies, sound. And yet novels have merely traded one container for another, with stories trapped inside. Because of this, the future has so far proved to be an illusion, if not a setback."
The author then introduces his own interactive novel, wherein the reader has the freedom to choose the book order, the contents, narrator and the ability to mix n' match everything like an iTunes playlist. He also included book websites, fake email addresses for the characters, photos, and music. 

The switch to this new, interactive style of storytelling, the author claims, is inevitable. 

"Stories began before the invention of the book: as oral tales, recited poetry, knots in a rope or even just sound and rhythm. And stories will continue to evolve. But we can’t let the fact that these are new iterations of something we hold dear deter us from embracing them."

Honestly? The guy kinda sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder about this. Just sayin'. 

Besides that, though, the dude DID make some solid points. 

Don't get me wrong, die hearts! I am, and will forever be, a traditionalists when it comes to reading. NOTHING is as good as feeling the rough grain of the page beneath my fingers... smelling that ink-and-paper smell waft up with the turn of a page... or hearing the crack of a brand-new-book spine. I love real books.

Always have. Always will. 

But still. 

I was fascinated by this writer's point of view. And I have to admit, I'd never even considered eBooks in this fashion. This new, interactive, weirdly WEIRD way of approaching a book. It kinda reminds me of a high-tech, futuristic pop up book for e-readers. Heehee. 

In a conceptual form, it sounds interesting. And I have a certain amount of fascination that comes with the idea. But then I really think about experiencing a book that way and go: 

Eww. Gross. 

Where is the imagination in this new book universe? The ability to create, shape and develop your own personal world as a reader? Because that's what good books do, right? Give you just enough of a boost to push your imagination into its own interpretation of the world? Books challenge creativity and inspire the mind. If all that imagining is done for you, doesn't it kinda take away part of the thrill and excitement? 

I mean, lets be honest... how many of you were disapointed when you finally saw someone ELSE's onscreen interpretation of Twilight. Or Harry Potter. Or the Hunger Games... [insert any book-made-into-movie]... 

You get my point. 

Then again, maybe I'm just one of those ol' timers in denial about a world that is rapidly changing, with or without me. Maybe this author is right. Does my hesitation to embrace this new kind of reading is really have any merit?

Your thoughts, peeps!! I wanna hear 'em!