Posts tagged with: author
This month’s Book Hungry pick comes from our newest member, Blake Leyers. We’re so happy to have you join us, Blake!
Cassandra Clare’s first book in The Mortal Instruments series and soon to be a movie is about 15-year-old Clary’s newly-discovered ability to see the Shadow world and all the creatures of stories gone by like vampires, demons, and the like. Also part of the Shadow world are the Shadow Hunters, like the adorable Jace and his troop of demon hunters, Alec, Isabelle, and Hodge. When Clary’s mom disappears under highly mysterious circumstances, Clary turns to the Shadow Hunters for help.
As far as stories go, it’s got something for everyone. There’s the cute boy, the best friend, the love triangle, the special powers and magical lore. My only complaint is that it gave me a little sense of deja vu. First, Clary and BFF Simon are ‘mundies’ — which means mundane. They can’t see the Shadow World. Until Clary suddenly can. This sounded a lot like ‘muggle’ to me.
SPOILER ALERT: Then, you’ve got a whole Star Wars family dynamic that took the story into ‘creepy’ territory for me, but this is book 1. I’m curious to see if what we know in book 1 is true or just supposition.
Finally, some of the dialogue felt way older than teen to me. I don’t know any teens who even know what ‘laconic’ means, let alone use it in a sentence.
If you can forgive a few little issues like those, you’ll enjoy this book. The action and the fight scenes are vivid and the emotion/angst is gripping. Overall, I’d give 3 out of 5 ‘cups’. Why ‘cups’? So glad you asked! In this story, whoever holds The Mortal Cup gains all the power.
Don’t take my word for it! Please visit my Book Hungry sisters’ website for their reviews.
Have you read City of Bones? What did you think?
Ever since SEND was released last August, I’ve been talking about bullying and ways to help end it.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of addressing my day job colleagues at a Lunch & Learn event. Every month, our Parenting Network schedules a different hour for parents looking to benefit from the experiences of other parents on topics ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to filing for financial aid. December’s topic was bullying and I was honored to have been asked to present.
Honored but also terrified.
After all, I’m not an expert on child development. There are no impressively-lettered credentials following my name. All I have to share is a personal experience with my own son that led to a book called SEND. I didn’t want to flub this opportunity. I didn’t want to mess up. So, I researched and queried lots of people. I compiled statistics and facts and resources. I designed a flashy PowerPoint deck. And then last Wednesday, I stood up in front of twenty-eight people with only two things:
A photograph of each of my sons.
I shared Rob’s frightening ordeal and then I introduced Chris. I admitted to my own shortcomings and mistakes as their mother. I shared my deepest fears as well as my biggest hope — that maybe, just maybe, there ARE things we can do, as parents, that can better prepare our kids for living in an online but disconnected world.
Sounds like an oxymoron, yes, but it’s not. Internet technologies like social networks, smart phones, game worlds and so on have connected us in ways we couldn’t have imagined even a generation ago…but despite all this 24×7 connectivity, there’s something that’s getting lost, muted, maybe even forgotten and that’s our ability to feel and sense the emotions someone else is experiencing. Instead, our online actions insulate us from empathy and in some extreme cases, encourage just the opposite.
Empathy is not something most children are typically good at. Have you noticed that? As parents, we’re almost continually saying things like “How would you like it if I took your toy without asking?” And, generally, our children get better at exhibiting empathy as they grow.
But somewhere along the line, we as a society have grown indifferent to empathy. Don’t believe me? Look at the number of sites devoted to celebrity gossip and not just of the banal kind but of the voyeuristic kind — the Britney Spears breakdown, the Lohan escapades, the Sheen implosion and the recent Kristen/Rob breakup. It’s like we’ve somehow decided that as long as we’re watching online from the privacy of our homes, we’re not truly hurting anybody. But when the subject isn’t a celebrity, but a girl in the next town, we’re all shocked and horrified when that child crumbles under the public scorn and commits suicide, STILL failing to acknowledge our own parts in the tragedy.
Parents, we have to remember that we are our children’s first teachers. When we buy them technology of any form — video game, computer, cell phone — we need to teach and constantly model appropriate use. I follow my sons’ online activities closely and frequently intervene when I object to their behavior. Recently, my oldest son tweeted my entire family’s whereabouts which I believe constituted an invitation to rob my home. Know who they’re chatting with online. When I noticed a Facebook friend on my son’s page who is older than me, I contacted her directly to ensure she understood he was a minor and being monitored.
During last week’s Lunch & Learn session, one parent said this: “The internet is like a sewer.”
She makes a valid point — would you permit your kids to go to a bad section of town unaccompanied?
So why would you permit them to do so online?
What are your thoughts about kids and the internet? How do you encourage empathy both online and in the real world?
Amber Arnett ~ “I started reading this book yesterday and couldn’t put it down....” (More)
slsmitty25 Shannah ~ “What a great book! I was immediately hooked from the get go...” (More)
Kimberly Sabatini ~ “My heart simultaneously breaks and soars for the characters in this book…” (More)
Ever since SEND was released back in August, whenever I get any sort of fan mail or reviews, the same comment comes up over and over.
“GAH! Did Dan click Send or not? Did Julie return? What happens?
Well now’s your chance to know.
Tell me what YOU’D like to see in the missing epilogue… a happily ever after? A gruesome end to Kenny? Dan’s first semester at college? A JK Rowling-like ending set 19 years after the primary story ended? You tell me and I’ll write it. Post comments here or on Facebook, your choice.
Depending on interest, I may make a contest out of this, so comment, share, discuss with friends.
I’m blogging over at YA Outside the Lines today about November being a time for profound changes.
I saw Breaking Dawn, Part 2 tonight and I am blown away. I’m sad to see the series end. It’s kind of like saying goodbye to friends. But I made some new friends tonight.
*waves* Hi, Dawn and Brittany and your friend whose name I can’t remember! It was very cool to hang out and watch the movie with you. Thanks for saying hi and making me feel a little less awkward.
I did it. I saw Breaking Dawn by myself ’cause I just couldn’t wait to coordinate schedules with friends and what-not.
Dawn was on my left, saw I was alone, held out her hand to introduce herself and then offered me some of her dinner!
I won’t reveal any spoilers here, but you should know this movie was awesome. The cast’s performances were the best yet, the action got kicked up a few notches to the point both Dawn and I were surprised it kept its PG13 rating and there is a heart-twisting scene that–
I nearly spilled the beans. *laughs*
This movie picks up just where Part 1 left off. It follows the book (no silly ecology center field trips in this one) and though it may feel a bit rushed, trust me — it’s worth it.
Go see it, say goodbye to the series that helped rekindle the Young Adult book market.
Dawn, Brittany — I really hope you enjoy SEND. It was great meeting you and sharing that sparkly fun.
The lovely Joy Preble – also a Sourcebooks author! — has invited me to take over her blog. Come on over and say hi!
So… one of my Book Hungry friends – the READING MACHINE Karla Nellenbach, suggested I do an ARC Tour of SEND.
What the $%&*!@ is an ARC Tour?
Glad you asked. Here’s how it works.
*Of course, honest opinion in this case means it’s the best book you’ve ever read.
Okay, not really.
No, no! I apologize. No pressure here!
Still on the fence?
Take a look at the fabulous SEND book trailer made by the amazingly talented Jeff Somers! (If you think the trailer’s cool, check out HIS books!)
SQUEE! ! ! !
Please forgive the abuse of exclamation points but SEND HAS A COVER AND IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVAH!
Do you love it?!? Tell me you love it. Lie to me if you must.
It’s really happening. My precious is A REAL BOOK! *happy dance*
I um… *coughs*… went a little overboard and created a video cover reveal. Sincerest thanks to Abby Mumford and Laurie Boyle Crompton for sending me SEND pics and to the GENIUS at Sourcebooks. You guys are ROCK STARS!
Also did a playlist of Dan’s favorite songs — and the songs Kenny would play to annoy him. Apologies: I messed up the sizing and can’t figure out how to fix it. There are about 14 songs total; just hover at the bottom of the list.
In the wake of the Franzen frenzy about Twitter this week, I thought I’d write this homage. Out of all the social networks, Twitter has a special place in my heart for helping me achieve a life-long dream. Twitter made me an author.
Here’s how it happened.
Back in 2009, a new boss encouraged us to start incorporating social networking into our daily responsibilities. I’d never heard of Twitter prior to this directive, so I began researching it and set up my own account. My research frightened me – there were privacy issues, viral pictures, all kinds of scary stuff. That research planted the story seeds to what eventually would become my novel, Send, a story about a former bully trying to cope with the suicide he caused with a single key click.
I continued lurking on Twitter, and began adding writers – both technical writers (my day job) and fiction writers alike – to follow. I noticed many of these folks posted links to blog posts and articles about various writerly topics. I devoured these posts and by the time I was ready to start searching for an agent, I’d already learned what I believe to be the equivalent of an undergrad degree in query letter writing. Comprising that education was
YALitchat, a website run by the amazing Georgia McBride, was my first testing ground. I had so many versions of my query letter, I was paralyzed by fear of wasting my one shot at making a great first impression on the wrong letter. I let a bunch of them loose in the query-kick around group and finally gathered the guts to try the Agent Mailbox group. Georgia and her team vette out queries to be forwarded to a group of real agents. My very first attempt resulted in a request for the manuscript from Laura Bradford. (Laura will always hold a special place in my heart for that.)
Janet Reid’s Query Shark slush uncovers a few gems here and there. I happened to find her site just when she found Dan Krokos, a writer whose first shot at a query letter had her begging to see his work. Dan’s debut, FALSE MEMORY, comes out this summer with Disney-Hyperion. I added Dan and Janet to my list of writerly folks to follow. From them, I learned about Sean Ferrell, Jeff Somers, Bill Cameron, Robin Becker, Steve Ulfelder. I usually read romances, but I have bought and read books written by ALL of these writers and loved every single word. Sean’s NUMB is literary fiction. Jeff’s CATES series is dystopian sci-fi, Bill and Steve write crime fiction and Robin’s BRAINS is a zombie comedy – all books I would NEVER have bought – indeed, wouldn’t even have borrowed from the library – had I not first ‘met’ these folks on Twitter. Twitter expanded my reading horizons by letting me interact with talented writers I’d never have had the opportunity to discover any other way and I am so grateful.
“Interact” is a key concept on Twitter. I think it’s important to note that these folks took the time to talk to me as a person, to engage, and even to exchange opinions on subjects only tangentially related to our writing. I consider more than one of them friends. There are always those who use Twitter as a broadcast medium and log in, make a sales pitch, and log out and worse, ignore tweets from us ‘little people’ - even when directly addressed. Honestly, nothing kinks my colon more than to be ignored. I may or may not read their books and that’s not to be punitive. Rather, it’s simply because I’ve developed loyalties to the friends I’ve met via Twitter and would rather devote my precious free time supporting one of them instead of someone who can’t find the time to say hello in 140 measly characters.
*clears throat* Where was I? Right. Twitter.
Now would be a good time to point out I’ve never read a Franzen book and after his Twitter-bashing, find myself even less inclined to do so.
While I was still struggling with Send, a woman on Twitter convinced me not to delete it when I was convinced the only thing I was qualified to do was sell hotdogs on a New York City street corner. Her name is Kelly Breakey and I need to give her a great big kiss. On Twitter, I also met a woman who has since become a close friend: Jeannie Moon tweeted me one day to invite me to a meeting of the Long Island Romance Writers. I was thrilled to find a local writers’ group, and joined soon after that first meeting. The support, the wisdom, and the camaraderie are priceless. Jeannie, who works as a school librarian, organized a teen read of my manuscript and boy, those kids were AMAZING. I made extensive revisions based on their feedback, just in time for the group’s annual Editor and Agent luncheon held each June, where members practice pitching their WIPs. I pitched Send to Aubrey Poole, an editor from Sourcebooks, Inc. and to my astonishment, she loved it but wanted more revisions, including a different ending.
When I could breathe again, I went straight to a much-admired author I ‘met’ on Twitter and asked for help. Bill Cameron didn’t just read the manuscript; he sent me a ten-page email that outlined the problems as well as advice for tackling them.
I still have that print out. I keep it with me as a reminder that there is still genuine kindness in this world.
I made the revisions to the story and in November, learned Sourcebooks would publish Send AND a second novel currently called TMI. Send will be released August 1st.
So, let me sum it up. Without Twitter, I would not have my first book coming out from Sourcebooks Fire this August because I would not have been able to revise the entire story without the plan Bill helped me construct if I hadn’t met Aubrey, because I wouldn’t have been invited to the luncheon if I hadn’t joined LIRW, which wouldn’t have been possible had Jeannie Moon never friended me on Twitter and Kelly Breakey hadn’t convinced me to keep the story instead of deleting it to sell hotdogs on a New York City street corner.
Got that? Wait, there’s more.
Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have fallen hard for a toothless killer named Avery Cates. I wouldn’t have laughed so hard I wet my pants reading about a professor-turned-zombie. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have heard about Cartopia in Portland or cried when Conway Sax’s dad tumbled down a chasm. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have tasted bacon jam!
Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have become a real author.
Still lost? No problem. I drew a diagram.
So, to Franzen and anyone else who says Twitter’s a waste of time, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.