Friday, April 30, 2010
The clock hasn't switched over, so I can still call this a Friday post. :) Also, points to everyone who thought Battlestar Gallactica when they saw the word "frak" in my title.
Today was not the best day, mind you it wasn't the worst either so I really can't complain. Anyway since I've finally reached a state of calm and I'm not currently overwhelmed by the desire to curl up in a ball and cry for no apparent reason, I want to share some things that make me happy.
And one more....
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Paperback: 400 pages
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
The Lightening Thief hooked me instantly and never let me go. It's full of fantastic little one-liners that had me laughing out loud as I read. Riordan spins a wonderful tale of Greek mythology in a modern world and he fills it with fantastic, real characters, which makes it that much more easier to relate to.
I heard about this on a fellow blogger's site actually, Icy Roses over at From Elysium, and I had to go find a copy, because I absolutely love mythology. I bought the first one and devoured it and went back to Wal-Mart (no joke it was the ONLY store that had them) and bought the other 3 in paper backs (The Last Olympian was in hardback and I was broke, so I thought I should hold off on it). I let my mom read book 1, and, because I had to stop reading to pack and move back into my dorm, she got to read the others before me. (She also ran out and bought the last book because it was driving her nuts. That's my mom. :) )
Anyway, book 1 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians was fantastic, I loved it. It had action, mythology, humor, and the hint of a love interest.
However, it did remind me of Harry Potter as I was reading it, only instead of a school, a trio of friends (2 guys and a girl...) go to a summer camp to learn their skills instead of a wizard-ing school. Not that that's a bad thing; I love HP.
I also really liked that for the first time in a while, there was actually a family life, which made me really happy. There wasn't just an absence of parental guidance or presence at all; Percy's mom is in every book (and she worries a lot) and even Percy's dad makes an appearance or two! Who knew MG/YA lit could have parents! :)
If you liked Harry Potter and you like Greek mythology, or even if you don't whatever, I highly recommend this series. The books are quick to read and loads of fun.
The Sea of Monsters (Book 2)
Paperback: 304 pgs
(I swear this will be shorter than the last one!)
In Riordan's sequel to The Lightening Thief, Percy discovers more about himself, his family, and the mythological world he belongs to. There is more of everything in the second book: more mythology, more monsters, more humor, more love. Riordan definitely delivers another hit; as soon as I put this one down, I was itching for number three. I'm actually incredibly happy I didn't have to wait for the next book to be released, or I might have gone a little bonkers. (Yes, I said bonkers.)
The character voice rings true, and we get to see Percy grow up a little more as he realizes he isn't an only child and his image of his father is a little skewed. Rick Riordan creates a magnificent world and keeps you on your toes throughout the novel. The Sea of Monsters does not disappoint by any means.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It's the first draft, but it's coming out so much better than the last one did. I know this is the one I'm going to query, and if all goes well I'll be ready to do that next Spring. This one looks like it'll be about 60k when it's finished so I'm already a quarter of the way through the first draft. The only problem is that I don't have any betas, but I'll cross that bridge when I finish the 1st draft I suppose. Besides, one of my English professor's is an editor and she specializes in children's and YA literature, so I might have her butcher it for me, too. :)
Anyway that's what's up with me and my WiP. How are things with you and yours?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
So anyway, a little more of chapter 1., but first let me fill in the gaps. Taryn told her little brother, Luke, the monsters would get him if he didn't stop pestering her, and, naturally, Luke runs to their mother and Taryn gets chastised. Here ya go:
Lady Gaga was blaring in her headphones when her father appeared beside her. Taryn screamed and threw the book she had been reading at him without thinking. Mr. Jacobson caught it and handed it back to her, laughing. Taryn stared up at him, her hand on her chest and her face pale.
“What is wrong with you? Don’t you ever knock?” She shouted, not taking her eyes from her father’s.
“Well, Taryn, I knocked three times and never heard anything from you. Not a single response. Maybe you should think about turning the music down before you bust something. Speaking of which, I think you may have given your mom a heart attack when you screamed bloody murder.” Her father said, smiling. “Can I talk to you for a second, kiddo?”
“Not if you’re going to give me another lecture about being nice to Luke.” Taryn said with a scowl. Her father cracked a smile and sat down on the edge of her bed.
“Look, I know Lucas can be a handful, and I know your mom and I don’t always say thank you for everything you do around here, but we really do appreciate it.”
“You and mom want to go out tonight, don’t you?” Taryn asked.
“Only if you don’t mind putting Lucas to bed in another hour. If he’s been too much trouble, we can stay in tonight. It’s up to you, sweetheart, if you don’t want to babysit just speak up.” Taryn closed her eyes. Good game, Mom, she thought, send Dad in to get your way. Well played.
“It’s fine,” she sighed, “you guys going to go catch a movie?”
“Yes. We thought we’d go and see what’s new.” Taryn nodded. “Thanks, Taryn,” her father said, “we won’t be gone too long. You know the drill. Lights out for Lucas by eight, and make sure you lock all the doors and leave the porch light on when you go to sleep if we aren’t already back,” her father said.
“Yea, I know the drill. I’ve got everything under control. Have a good night, Dad,” Taryn said.
“Thanks, kiddo.” He kissed her forehead and left with one last smile over his shoulder as he closed the door behind him.
“No problem,” she whispered into her empty room, “not like I have a life anyway.”
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It is Wednesday, so I'll give you all an update on the WiP. I just started chapter five the other night, and I'm still giddy about it; we haven't hit the rough patch yet, though I am right around 13k in. Progress, I'm making some. (I'd make more if I didn't have school. *grumbles*) Anyway, I'm having lots of fun with that. I told my lovely Alpha reader, Katie, what was going to happen with a character since she expressed worry and a certain iffy-ness; I think she hates me now. But in a god way, I hope.
In other news, I finally got Katie to admit that she's a writer, too. She's finally starting to post on her blog, and she has a wonderful "coming out" post that recounts her struggle with her writerly side. Katie also plans to start doing reviews on hr blog, so you should all go give her a chance. She's my bestie, and I'd like to show her how amazing the writing community really is.
My blog reached 91 followers today! I think that's awesome. :) And scary, because I always thought I would do a contest when I reached 100, but I don't think that's financially possible at this point. SO, instead I'm going to hold off until next semester (mid-August) and we'll see where we're at then. In the mean time, I'm open to suggestions. Personally I like winning books and writing swag. What would you like the chance to win? A gift card? A book? Inquiring minds (actually just inquiring mind, but who says that?) want to know! Just keep in mind I'm a college student and I don't have awesome connections (meaning I don't get ARCS lol).
Alright, moving on. I'm currently in the process of reading Percy Jackson #4, but I'm super busy so I've technically been reading it for about a week now. It's ridiculous. Anyway, since I haven't reviewed the previous books, I was thinking about taking a step back and reviewing them all before I review the fourth one instead of just jumping straight into the next to last book in the series. So look for those. I'll try to post one every week. And actually, I'm going to try posting reviews on Thursdays if I have one that week.
I know, I know, Amanda following a blogging schedule, what? I'm doing my best people. :) Any teasers will be posted on Tuesdays, though I do not foresee participating in that every week, and Wednesdays will continue to be reserved for WiP updates. I'll try to be more consistent with those, too. Mondays and Fridays are still up in the air, and I won't be posting on weekends since so many people are unplugging these days. If you have suggestions or requests for Monday and/or Friday posts just let me know; I aim to please!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Did I mention there's a contest?? Oh, my bad. Because there is. :) You can win your favorite item just by spreading the word and why you like your favorite.
This one's my fav because as a writer, when I start talking about how my characters talk to me people start calling me nuts. But I'm not. No really, I'm just getting a feel for the plot. I swear! So this shirt is totally me, and I love it. :D
So go check out the site and see if there's anything there you might like the chance to win!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Unrelated side note: Regular-ish posting should resume this week now that blogger is cooperating and not making everything disappear. Hope you guys like the new blog, it's not going anywhere for a long, long time now. :)
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thanks for your patience!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Also, remind me to never post on Sundays, you guys don't seem to care for that. At all. :(
Sunday, April 11, 2010
There don't seem to be any rules, so I'm passing this on to Candyland over at The Misadventures in Candyland.
No Rest For The Lazy. Thanks!
You guys must really like me. : ) If you don't know these lovely ladies, go check out their blogs!
Thanks again you guys!
Also, my review of Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox is up, it's the sequel to Dreamhunter, which I love. And in case you missed it, last week I interviewed Natalie Whipple because she's awesome and she's on sub to publishers right now, which is cool.
In other news, I'm working on chapter 4 of my new paranormal YA, and it's fabulous. I love it. I just wish I had more time to dedicate to it. *sigh*
My friend Katie is finally (seriously) trying her hand at writing, and I'm super excited about it. We came up with the idea when we were in the car and just started going back and forth until we had a basic idea, and if she hadn't decided to write it I would have. As it stands, she's decided to take it in a different direction than I would have, so later on I can totally write mine, too. When I get finished with the one I'm on now, and editing Rise of the Phoenix, and any of the other ideas that came first, of course. Hehe.
What's new with you? Had any Shiny New Ideas hit you over the head lately? Making lots of progress?
Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox
Paperback: 464 pgs
Publisher: Square Fish
The dreamhunting began as a beautiful thing, when Tziga Hame discovered that he could enter the Place and share the dreams he found there with other people. But Tziga Hame has disappeared and Laura, his daughter, knows that the art of projecting dreams has turned sour. On St. Lazarus's Eve, when elite citizens gather at the Rainbow Opera to experience the sweet dream of Homecoming, Laura, determined to show them the truth, plunges them into the nightmare used to control the convict workers. The event marks the first blow in the battle for control of the Place, the source of dreams. Then, when Laura's cousin, Rose, uncovers evidence that the government has been building a secret rail line deep into the Place, Laura follows it to find out what lies at its end. As she struggles to counter the government's sinister plans, a deeper mystery surfaces, a puzzle only Laura can unravel, a puzzle having to do with the very nature of the Place. What is the Place, after all? And what does it want from her?
Dreamquake is the companion novel to Dreamhunter, which I mentioned quite happily in one of my earliest posts, saying. "It was fantastic, I loved it and I can't wait to get my hands on the second one." It really was great; so great in fact that I freaked out when I finally found a copy of Dreamquake a good six months after reading the first one and snatched it off the shelf in a frenzy, determined to not let anyone else get it.
The beginning opens with a recap of the ending of Dreamhunter through the eyes of others involved in the incident at the Rainbow Opera. This was fine, but it made it a little hard to care, as Knox jumped from person to person, not spending enough time with any one character to actually connect with them. Once she was finished giving a full retelling, she then progressed through time so fast it felt like nothing was happening. Something happened, and then two months later something else happened.
After the first hundred pages or so, it finally felt like Knox settled into her story and stopped darting all over the place and she win me back over. There are definitely surprises that come out of no where, and things you think you have figured out turn out to be completely different. The characters are true to book one while still managing to grow, which they do beautifully even though sometimes it makes you want to cry. Knox doesn't answer every last question, leaving you wondering just what happened and hoping for more.
The epilogue was good, but it felt a little rushed. I had to flip back a page or two to double check something because she didn't spell everything out. In fact it made me think of the epilogue in Deathly Hallows, only with more plot and less cheesy.
If it wasn't for the jumpy beginning that made it hard to get into, I would have fallen in love with this book as much as I did its predecessor, Dreamhunter. However, Knox made up for it and won me back over fairly quickly. It was a pleasure to read, and I recommend both novels of the Dreamhunter Duet.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Today is a special day. Why? Because today I welcome the wonderful Natalie Whipple, writer and artist extraordinaire for an interview! (Also, the font size is being really difficult today, so I apologize if it shows up wonky.)
If you don't know Natalie, I honestly don't know what you're doing with all of your blogging time, because she's awesome and an inspiration to writers. No seriously, she writes first drafts faster than I can write a paper (it's kind of ridiculous- in a good way), and she's got some of the coolest ideas and is full of helpful advice and tips.
But you aren't here to listen to me ramble on about how amazing she is, you're hear to listen to her talk! So, without further ado, Natalie Whipple:
Alright Natalie, almost everyone knows that you’re represented by the amazing Nathan Bransford – we aren’t jealous a bit, nope, not one bit – and that you are a wonderful writer with a book on submission – which you won’t give us any details about. But what’s something we don’t know? Are you and Kiersten White secretly writing a screenplay together…about yetis and cyborgs?
Hmm, something you guys don't know? I am pretty open on my blog when I can be. And while that screenplay with Kiersten sounds amazing, I'm afraid we aren't working on anything together. Though I must say the two of us combined would make one seriously awesome writer. Could you imagine? With her wit and my, uh...weirdness...we'd rule the world. No, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Um...something you guys don't know. Oh! I got it! I eat my Cup o' Noodles with a cheese stick. (This just goes to show how much I tell you people. I can't think of much writing-related that I haven't told you that I'm allowed to tell you. Does that even make sense? [maybe it's a little late to be answering interview questions.]) (It's never too late for interview questions! hehe) I heat up my noodles, then I stick a cheese stick in a let it get all gooey and then eat it. I know, probably a little gross and definitely strange, but there's a reason. I'm hypoglycemic, and it's important for me to eat protein with every meal to keep my sugar levels even. Protein slows the sugar down, so to speak, and helps it release more evenly through the blood stream. Thus, cheese stick with my Cup o' Noodles.
That actually sounds intriguing enough to try, I'll look into that when I can afford to eat again!
Those who follow your blog know you have an incredible talent for drawing as well as writing; is there one (type of) thing you like to draw more than anything else?
Well, I like to draw anime a lot. I've always been best at cartooning, and anime is the coolest cartooning. (At least in my opinion, hehe.) I may not be the best artist out there, but drawing is fun for me. (Amanda would like to interrupt to say that not only does she agree about anime, but that Natalie is pretty darn good at it!) It's my hobby, my escape. I don't let myself be too critical about it—I never plan on doing it professionally. I don't want to treat it as a job. When I was younger I could never decide which art to take seriously. I dabbled in so many things! Visual arts, writing, drama, music, even dancing. I loved everything—I was even pretty decent at all of them. So I was a Jack of All Trades, and a Master of None. Finally I chose writing, knowing I had to pick something to Master. I draw for enjoyment. For me that's cartooning. I get over-critical if I try realism, and I have enough areas in my life that require criticism.
Well, you're absolutely fantastic at it, and if you ever decide to do a graphic novel I'll buy it. You majored in Linguistics in college, was there something in particular that drew you to it? As an English major myself I find it fascinating.
I've always loved language, and in particular I loved English! But I quickly realized near the end of high school that it wasn't the literature I was interested; it was the actual language. Like, I wanted to know more about the grammar/declensions in Beowulf's Old English than the actual story. I wanted to know how Chaucer would have pronounced the Canterbury Tales, not what they meant about medieval society. Luckily, the year after I started at BYU, they opened the English Linguistics major. I jumped on it, minoring in editing. Farewell, literary analysis. Hello, morphemes and phonemes. Oh, baby. English is a very unique and amazing language—largest vocab in the world, most flexible at integrating new words/structures, and essentially a pure hybrid of a language. Seriously, English did not exist until the Germanic languages smashed into the Celtic. Old English was a creole (a mother tongue [as in new generation is taught it as 1st language] from two languages), that evolved from the pidgin spoken between native
and their invaders.
Throw in a little French in 1066, bam, we've got Middle English. Toss in the Latin Enlightenment Era and we have Early Modern. And so on and so forth.
Why yes, I could talk about this for hours, but I'll stop now.
I guess I felt like knowing how English works would help me be a better writer and editor. Perhaps I should have analyzed more plots, but it just didn't fascinate me like gender dialects and back formation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_formation). Britains
I wish we had at least a minor in linguistics; it's so interesting!
But back to writing, what is your favorite part of writing a new work-in-progress? Is it the rush of a first draft, the seemingly endless revisions, the time spent on Twitter talking with other writers about your Shiny New Idea, or is it something else altogether?
You know, this is a very interesting question for me right now, as I am kind of struggling with why I write and how much I really love it. I'm starting to realize I have to wear two hats as a writer—the Egotistical First Drafter and the Humble Reviser. You have to have serious confidence in yourself to pull out that first draft. You can't think about your mistakes or you'll never finish. Basically, you have to think you're the best writer in the world to get to "The End." And then you have to tear it all apart in revisions, admit you actually kind of sucked, and figure out how to fix it. It's HARD to switch hats. I go through this phase of doubt every time I have to switch. When I have to revise, I beat myself up for being so confident. Then when I have to go back to first drafting, I seize up for a while because I can't remember how to believe in my writing. I definitely don't like this phase, but it passes. I guess what I love depends on what hat I'm wearing at the moment. If I'm first drafting, I love when my characters surprise me or when I figure out pieces of the story I didn't know before. I love having this big pile of blocks and being able to stack them however I want. I love living in the world for the first time, when everything is fresh and exciting. If I'm editing, I love when things click together. I love when a character opens up and shows me their true story. I love finding the exact right word or description. I love that feeling of FINALLY getting it right.
If you could take credit for writing one book/short story/play/screenplay/poem/etc. ever written, what would you claim as your own? (Personally, I’m kind of torn between
, and Hamlet haha.) Penelope, Australia
I hate to be lame, but I don't think I'd claim anything! I've always been the kind of person who wants to do their own thing. I don't follow recipes when I cook—I make it up as I go. When I quilt, I make my own patterns because I hate using other people's ideas. I could never write fanfic because it just feels weird to use someone else's characters. There are a lot of movies and books and plays I love, but I don't wish for any of them to be mine. I can't imagine having written Phantom of the Opera, for instance, though I love the musical. I have my own stuff. It may not be as awesome as Phantom (okay, not even close), but it's mine and I like it that way. Even when I wish I could be better, I wish I could be better for MY ideas, which I so often fail.
And last question, what is your favorite
movie and why? (It’s a mean question, I’ll admit it!) Miyazaki
That IS a mean question! But I'm going with Kiki's Delivery Service. I identify with Kiki a lot. As a creative person, that movie resonates with me every time. When Kiki loses her powers and worries she'll never get them back—yeah, been there, AM there. I love that scene when she's at Ursula's cabin, and this artist is telling her to basically stop worrying so much. I need that reminder, and I need it often.
Thank you, Natalie!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Yat-Yee was nice enough to give me the Prolific Blogger Award. Thank you!!
You have no idea how nice it is to feel popular- I was not the blond cheerleader in high school; I was the nerd in band, orchestra, Spanish club and honor society, math honor society, and English honor society. Yea. It's nice getting these lovely awards from such really cool people. Seriously, you guys are awesome. :)
Alright, the rules:
1) Pass it on to seven prolific bloggers.
2) Link to the person who gave it.
3 & 4) Link to the Advance Booking post where it originated and sign into Mr. Linky there.
I'm passing this on to the following people (and trying to make it people I've never given an award to AND people who don't already have this award):
I also got the Sugar Doll award from Lydia Kang. Thanks, Lydia!
I'm passing this on to:
Kristin Briana Otts
Shannon Whitney Messenger
Congratulations everyone! Have a wonderful weekend! :)
I have a special treat for you all later this week; I'm super excited, and I think you will be too. Natalie Whipple, who's made of awesome, has agreed to do an interview! It's my first, and I hope it's just the beginning.
I plan on waiting a few days to post since this past week the blogosphere has been packed with interviews from all kinds of amazing authors, so stay tuned for Natalie's interview. Look for it on Tuesday!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Paperback: 336 pages
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
On reading the back cover, I wasn't fully convinced I would enjoy the story. It's been out since 2007, but I'd never seen a copy until the other day and I was actually looking for it. (I'm doing a paper on Beauty and the Beast, and this is a retelling of it.)
That being said, as soon as I opened Beastly I was hooked. Flinn opens with a hilarious chatroom scene that I found refreshing, and it is the only time that Flinn plays with other fairy tales in the book.
Now then, Beastly is the story of hot-shot perfect Kyle Kingsley who gets cursed by a witch and turned into a beast. Having been the center of attention and the perfect guy, Kyle doesn't know how to deal with his new looks, not that it matters, because his father basically sentences him to exile in a large house away from everyone but his maid and a blind tutor. Kyle must learn to live with his curse or find someone whom he can love and who will love him in return, only with true love's kiss will the curse be lifted.
Flinn kept me turning pages. She had me laughing out loud and telling my friends about it from the moment I started reading. Kyle is a convincing prick, and his transformation is fairly believable. I had a few problems with some of the things he said as the book came to a close, but so did Kyle so I guess that's fine.
The story is well written, and there were only a couple of places where the action lagged a little and left me wanting more and feeling a little bored. But Flinn made up for it quickly and had me chuckling to myself again in no time.
Anyone that knows the Beauty and the Beast tale might find a couple of things a bit predictable, but Flinn adds enough of her own creativity and changes enough of the tale to keep her audience wondering what is going to happen for sure and how she's going to make things happen.
Over all, it was an enjoyable read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
If you're interested, Beastly is being made into a movie, and is scheduled for release Summer (July 30) 2010.