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Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Giveaway winner

The winner of Magnolia League by Katie Crouch, Mercy by Rebecca Lim, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and the bookplate Veronica signed to go along with her book is...

Shannon P.

Congratulations! I will get your winnings in the mail to you shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep checking back for more contests!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Resolved ain't always happy...

Disney has ruined us. Sorry Disney, but it's true. We've lived in fairy tales full of curses and witches and castles and princes for so long that we've forgotten a vital truth.

"Happily Ever After" isn't always how it ends.

I know, I know. I'll give you a minute to recooperate from this revelation before we move on. Are you okay? Maybe you should sit down and catch your breath a minute. Here... Breathe into this paper bag while I continue.

I've been reading and talking to people a lot lately about the endings of young adult books, and frankly I've been shocked at the at the amount of griping I hear over endings. And usually it's because there's no happy ending. In some, usually trilogies, you can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What I tell people is that  resolved doesn't always mean "happy."

I'm not blaming anyone for wanting a happy ending, but life isn't always sunshine and roses. Trials and tribulation make a story interesting, and that means that the sun'll come out tomorrow. Or, in the case of a series, about two weeks from Wednesday. But you get my point.

Life isn't a fairy tale. It's unlikely we'll get a "happy ever after," so we have to settle for "happy for now." I don;t know about you but singing birds don't help me get dressed in the morning, and Prince Charming has yet to show up to slip my lost Converse onto my woefully unmanicured foot.

When you think about all the sticky, raw, emotional mess in real life you have to wonder why we expect anything different out of books. It's a combination of hope and escapism that makes us want something better. I understand that, but let's face facts. It's unrealistic.

I feel like the problem doesn't just lie with readers and their expectations. I've noticed that more and more series books are ending with extreme cliffhangers, and it always gives me pause. Not because I'm floored by what just happened or cursing the author for making me wait for the next book. I pause because I'm wondering if it was necessary.

Is it because author's feel like if they can't give happy until three books from now they'll just leave the story where it lies?

What I love more than a cliffhanger is a sort of "installment resolution" that doesn't tie up all the strings. In some subtle, nagging way it leaves me wondering. These bits of mystery are what cause me to stress over a book for days after I've put it down, not the cliffhanger.

This goes back to that "resolved is not happy" thing I was talking about earlier. You can have a resolution without tying everything up in a pretty bow. I suppose I think about it in short-term and long-term problems, much like a TV show. Episodes are the here and now. The series tells the whole story.
One episode can be wrapped up and still leave you itching to know more without making you feel cheated. It’s a crude example, but an abrupt cliffhanger that leaves nothing resolves is the literary equivalent of…

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jennifer Murgia Event & Giveaway

I love getting the chance to see Jennifer Murgia at events. I recently went to see her at her release party for Lemniscate, the sequel to Angel Star. There was a promise of cupcakes!

I've been to see her twice, and both times she's been sweet and funny and takes every attempt to engage one on one with her readers, which I think is awesome. It always makes for a great event. I just wish getting to them proved easier.

Late last year, Meaghan from A Bookworm's Haven and I jumped in the car early one morning to make the long drive from Virginia to Pennsylvania. We hit a little bit of traffic, but it wasn't until we got into Easton that we hit problems.

The GPS drove us in circles for a while and tried to take us down a road that didn't go through to our destination. We thought we were totally lost, but it turned out we were right around the corner. *headdesk* Then we'd made plans with Jennifer to eat lunch at a restaurant that didn't open until 4pm. *facepalm*

This trip didn't prove to be much better. Again, we left super early, leaving plenty of extra time for traffic, GPS screw-ups, rampant zoo animals, alien abduction, etc. The supposed three and a half hour trip took five grueling hours. Needless to say, we were late.

As soon as we escaped the car the day instantly improved. We found our way into the Exton Mall and to Waldenbooks to find Jennifer introducing herself and her latest book, Lemniscate. And there were cupcakes, as promised!

Jennifer did a reading from Lemniscate then took questions from the 20 or so people who had come out to see her. Meaghan and I wanted the store while others got their books signed then made our way over to get our books signed. I got a pair of books signed for you guys too! Just fill out the form below....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life has temporarily interupted this blog.
Maintenance is working on the problem.

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. Thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

May ARC Giveaway

I thought I'd pass along a few ARCs to one of my readers since I got duplicates of a couple of forthcoming titles for May. So here's your opportunity to win Magnolia League by Katie Crouch, Mercy by Rebecca Lim, and Divergent by Veronica Roth. And as an extra special treat, I have a bookplate Veronica signed to go along with her book!

Just fill out the form below and throw your name in the hat.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Winners Galore!

Eek! I'm behind on announcing winners. I even noticed today that a contest from early last month went unannounced. This post should take care of all my recent contests. You ready?

The winner of the L.J. Smith giveaway and a complete set of Nightworld books is...

Donna S.

The winner of The Gathering and Huntress is...


Monday, April 18, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Atria
Age Group: Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 256
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Amazon
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. His ability to connect with the outside world is limited to a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His choice to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Warm Bodies is a strange and wonderful merger of the sick and twisted and the sweet and poignant. It is a gritty, graphic love letter to life penned by a dead man relearning what it truly means to be alive.

Isaac Marion's debut novel will forever change the way you think of zombies. In a matter of pages, I had almost forgotten that R was one. (And no, he's not some hot guy who just happens to be deceased. He groans and shambles.)The set-up to this novel is so well done that I bought in instantly. Instead of seeing R and his kind as "zombies" and the living as "people" I found it easy to subscribe to R's worldview.

Zombies are the Dead. Everyone else is Living. Pulse or not, they are all human.

That was what amazed me about this book. Believability was never an issue. Through R and Julie's friendship it became easy to see both sides as a struggle for survival. The curse is at fault. It is the root cause of R's condition and Julie's misery. It has ruined the world they share and made for a bleak existence.

The world and characters Marion has created force you as a reader to question what makes us human. Is it as simple as a state of being? Is the ability to articulate and outwardly express emotion what defines us as people? Does having a pulse make you any more or less human?

Well, read it and find out...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My thoughts on verse novels...

Hey guys and gals. I'm over at The Hate-Mongeing Tart today guest posting about novels in verse for National Poetry Month. Emily asked me if I wanted to be part of her month-long tribute, and I couldn't say no. Head on over to her blog and check it out the whole series!

You can find my post HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Author Insight: The End

  How do you know when your book is finished and ready to leave the nest?  
(NOTE: Don't forget to enter the huge giveaway. It ends today!)

"I guess I never really know; if I could look at a manuscript every day for the next century, each day I'd find some flaw to buff, some new idea to wedge in there, but there comes a point when I have to trust that I've tied up all the loose ends and created a strong story. It will take several rounds of back-and-forth revisions with my editor and then my copyeditor before it's ready to leave the nest. I know I'm "done" done when it's all copyedited, at which point I tell myself to stop looking at the manuscript as a work-in-progress." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "I don't think it ever is.  The truth is, I'd still be working on Deathday if I could.  It's out there now and I haven't read it since I finished my copy edits because I'm afraid that I'll want to continue to change it.  And that's not saying that I'm not happy with it, but each book you write is imbued with what you were feeling or going through at that particular time.  Also, I hope that I'm a better writer now, that I've learned a few things since writing Deathday.  But there does come a time when you have to let it go, and for me that usually happens when I catch myself rearranging sentences obsessively." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"When my editor tells me it's ready :)" - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"Honestly? I don't! If I didn't have a deadline, I'd probably whittle away at it forever. It takes a certain leap of faith to send your book out into the world, and like most leaps of faith, sometimes it begins with a shove." - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author Insight: The End

How do you know when your book is finished and ready to leave the nest?

"When it's due?  LOL. Sometimes I think it's impossible to know because there's always 'just one more tweak' you could do to make it better.  But this is a business driven by deadlines, so that really needs to be the focus of when to let go." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.


"I knew when I finished Across the Universe because I knew there was nothing else I could do to make it better. Before, when I finished a novel, I'd think it was 'good enough.' With Across the Universe, I consciously made the decision that 'good enough was never good enough.' That made me push to be my best. I knew when I finished the second book to the Across the Universe series because the deadline hit me!" - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"I don’t think it’s ever finished. There just comes a time when it has to be submitted. To use your analogy, a bird in a nest is hardly a bird at all; its “birdness” (forgive me) is defined by its taking flight. Similarly, a book on my laptop is not a book. Its status as a book is only conferred upon it when it becomes communal property." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"When my agent starts asking where the book is J. It’s so hard to know when it’s done, done. I think you just have to find a point where it’s as good as it can get for the moment and promise yourself that you won’t open the file again until you’ve gotten feedback. Nothing worse than sending a manuscript off to your agent and then tweaking it so that it’s ‘better’. They really hate it when you tell them to put down your book because you’ve got a new version coming." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Open call for Author Insight

Wastepaper Prose is gearing up for another round of Author Insight, and I need your help! I've got a handful of questions and several authors committed to participating, but there's still more to be done.

That's where you come in! Do you have burning questions you'd like the authors to answer? Is there an author you'd like to see participate in Author Insight? Are you an author who'd like to participate? Fill out the form below and let me know.

I'd love to hear what questions you have for the authors, and find out which authors you'd like to hear from in the future. So...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dark Days of the Supernatural Winner

I am little late on announcing this, but I've been sick and haven't felt up to much so cut me a break. I mean, the books didn't get any less awesome. And in case you forgot, those books are signed ARCs of Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, Afterlife by Claudia Gray, and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting.

The lucky reader whose number came up is...

 Audrey (holesinmybrain)

Congratulations! I will send the books out to you ASAP. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Author Insight: What I've learned...

  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about yourself in your journey as a writer?  
(NOTE: Don't forget to enter the huge giveaway!)

"I've learned that I never want to plateau. I always want to be reading, and writing, and rewriting, learning and improving at every opportunity. I want to find new reasons to be excited with my work even if I'm at this gig for a hundred years (which I will be, if I live that long)." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "The most important thing I've learned about myself is that I am one lazy dude.  Seriously.  It takes a lot for me to get up and sit in front of the computer and write.  I have all kinds of ways that I trick myself into working.  Few of them actually succeed.  But I've also learned that I love writing more than anything else.  I love creating characters and sharing them with the world." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"That sometimes the road can lead you to exactly where you've always longed to be." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"I am not as patient, calm, or rational as I previously thought." - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Author Insight: What I've learned... (And giveaway time!)

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about yourself in your journey as a writer?

"That I need to have balance.  I'm capable of writing a first draft in 25 days, but it's not a healthy way to live.  :-)  I also know that writing one scene a day as a goal helps me avoid being too wordy and also allows me to have a real life beyond writing.  That was the point of this career in the first place: to be able to pursue a creative career from home that was flexible enough to let me enjoy my real life too.  That didn't happen much in the first two years, and I learned a lot from that mistake.  Writing isn't my life, it's my job.  I need to be out there in the world too." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.


"That the ten years I spent writing before publication were not a waste, and were not a mark of failure. I thought I wouldn't be a real writer until I got that dream of publication, but really, I was a writer from the moment I decided I would be one, and started working towards that dream. Success wasn't publication: success was the pursuit of the dream." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"I’ve learned that I can take criticism. I’ve also learned that being a published author is not some kind of panacea for life’s problems, worries, and stresses. My life really hasn’t changed much. I’ve actually realized that as much as I enjoy being a published author, I don’t need to be in order to verify my worth. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I could stop writing today and be perfectly content with my life as is, and now that I’ve achieved that goal, I may at some point decide to pursue some other of life’s experiences." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"That the best writing is done when I shut down my conscious mind and just let it flow. Thinking about things too hard only gets in the way, which is really hard for me, because I’m usually a total planner. That, and I’ve finally found something I don’t completely stink at." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spoiling for a Fight

In the last two weeks, I've had two different people spoil the end of the same book for me. A lot of people I know would be livid about someoneone telling them the ending of a book they've been anticipating since mentions of it first started flying around the internet.

Not me.

I can't blame you if you think this is weird. Most of my friends feel the same way. They do their best to dance around spoilers in an effort not to tip me off about how a book or movie turns out. They do it do it because they can't get past it once they hear a spoiler. Hearing spoilers makes them delay reading or watching or possibly skip the book or movie all together.

My recent experience with spoilers sparked a conversation about the topic with my critique partner, Suzanne Johnson of Preternatura (Royal Street coming from Tor, 2012), who runs screaming at the mention of spoilers. Here's what transpired...

SJ: Suse, I'm sorry I accidentally spoiled the ending of Wither for you. If I were you, I'd kill me.

WPP: Eh. Spoilers don't really bother me.

SJ: Seriously? How can they not bother you. I'm still gunning for the idiot on one of my email loops who spoiled the last Harry Dresden book for me. Haven't even had the heart to read the book. Why do spoilers not bother you?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moon Called Winner

The winner of a signed copy of
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs is...

Robin K.

Congratulations! I will put the book in the mail to you shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more giveaways.

Friday, April 1, 2011

When the book fair comes to town...

For a book lover there is absolutely no place better to spend a day than a well-stocked bookstore, except maybe a warehouse full of books. Having that many books around you at once is pure bliss, and the buildings that house it all open just six times a year.

Yes, I know. It doesn't look like much, but trust me when I say it's awesome. (There is another whole warehouse sized building to the right there.) It's located in western Virginia, and there is a cow pasture next door. However, they have a little bit of everything and advertise over 500,000 unique titles per opening. It's a danger zone for any voracious reader with a little cash to spare.

It's a little over an hour and a half drive to the Book Fair from my house but it's well worth it, so this past Wednesday I hopped in the car and headed out. I know you're shocked. Me? Drive? Noooooo.

I normally go on the first day of the fair because the selection is larger. They still had plenty of stuff though. See?

I left with two giant bags of books. It wasn't the most I've ever come away with, but it was a good haul. I also found something else cool and I bought one to give away to one lucky reader. It's a "got books?" hoodie!

They only had one color, and, despite the picture messing up the color a little, it is pretty. It's like a goldenrod yellow and it's size XL. (A small XL.) Just fill out the form below and enter for your chance to win. You want this hoodie as part of your bookish wardrobe!