home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Author Insight: Publishing Misconceptions

What was the biggest misconception you had entering the publishing industry?

"I thought that it moved at a lot faster pace than it actually does. Early on I was convinced that I had to work as fast as humanly possible on my end, because surely everyone else was doing the same thing - right? And the book would be out in six months, tops? But in actuality, the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace. There are furious bursts of activity, then radio silence for weeks or months. Which is why it's so important for writers to cultivate a sense of discipline - those silent weeks can lull you into a false sense of security." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I guess I thought: If I write a book, it will get picked up by a publisher and then I'll buy a nice house with a swimming pool and have a swim and hang out in the sun.  The truth: The work is HUGE and it goes on and on.  This is not a profession that allows you to hang out by the pool, at least not after two books (and a third coming).  Get ready to work (of course, you also get to meet great people and do fun stuff -- you just work a lot, too)." - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"That everything happens glacially. That has not been the case for me. Born Wicked sold in a week; I got my edit letter three weeks later, on the same day the deal was announced in PW. My deadlines were quick; we were basically done with edits within three and a half months. There were only six months between the deal and ARCs arriving at my house. It’s been crazy. Crazy and amazing." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

"That if I worked hard on a book for years I'd be able to get it published! I have several picture books that I absolutely slaved over, and although I got great responses from workshop groups, and personal rejections from editors, I never broke through. Grrrr.... (Not that I'm bitter, or anything.)" - Marianna Baer, author of Frost.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dreamland Winner

And the winner of a copy of Dreamland (Riley Bloom #3) by Alyson Noel is...

Janet S.

Congratulations! I have sent your information to Macmillan and they will get it out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered and to Macmillan for allowing me to host this giveaway. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Author Insight: Publishing Misconceptions

What was the biggest misconception you had entering the publishing industry?

"That I’d been ‘discovered,’ and it would be smooth sailing ever after." - Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow.

"Probably that you revise your book a kajillion times to get an agent, and then you revise a bajillion times to get a publisher, and only then does the real work begin. Also, that no matter how well you negotiate, you'll never be able to get 'Free Tickets to the U.S. Open' included in your contract." - Brodi Ashton, author of Everneath.

"I did my research, so I wasn’t particularly disillusioned. I will say I was disappointed to discover that agents or editors are likely to demand changes, and then forget the manuscript they wanted the changes on. That bothered me the few times it happened to me." - Anna Sheehan, author of A Long, Long Sleep.

"I think my biggest questions were about the editorial process. How much would I have to change and for what reasons. I was lucky though to find editors at Scholastic who were solely concerned with making sure the book was the best it could be." - Jeff Hirsch, author of The Eleventh Plague.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon
Description: Goodreads
All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

I love Past Perfect. It has everything I love- a unique take on a classic story, fun and quirky characters, a sweet and slightly steamy romance, and fantastic writing- in just the right doses.

The classic story is the Romeo and Juliet-esque forbidden romance of narrator Chelsea Glaser and the off-limits boy Dan Malkin. The unique twist? They are on opposite sides of a prank war between two historical reenactment attractions. Chelsea represents the Colonial Essex Village (a fictional version of Colonial Williamsburg), Dan is a member of the Civil War Reenactmentland, and these attractions are located across the street from one another. Seriously. I just love that. I know it’s the VA girl in me, the one that still loves people in period costumes, that completely adores this. It’s a fabulous way to take an age-old story and make it new again.

From there, it only gets better. The cast of characters caught up in these pranks simply enhances the random. They take their role in this long-fought war very seriously, participating in each prank as they escalate uncontrollably to almost the point of no return. Tawny, Essex Village’s war general, is a particular favorite, resorting to an actual fistfight in her plight to emerge the victor. She’s like a colonial Oliver Wood, successfully rallying her team to battle no matter what the task may be, even when it’s to shovel poo throughout the grounds of Reenactmentland. Quirky, ridiculous, and fun.

Chelsea is the perfect mixture of snarky and sweet. She is deep without sounding fake, hilariously sharp yet also sincere, and I loved spending time with her. Specifically, I think her struggle to deal with her break-up from first love (and “the one who sucks”) Ezra is so interesting and real. Even when she makes the not-so-smart decision, I am still on her side.

And Chelsea with Dan? So stinking cute. You’re cheering for them to find a loophole to this historic gang war from the moment the flirting begins. My only complaint would be the decision Chelsea makes at the end to get a leg-up on the Civil Warriors at Dan’s expense. It is a little hard to forgive something that heinous, but the manner of which Sales presents it makes it more believable that I thought possible. Regardless, I loved Chelsea and Dan’s sincere sweetness, especially in that trampoline scene.

Though, as much as I love Dan the Southern Gentleman, my favorite relationship here is Chelsea and her BFF and fellow ice cream judge Fiona. They are the best kind of best friends- they are always there for one another, they cheer each other on, and they hold each other accountable when they screw up. I’m kind of bummed I can’t hang out with these girls for real. I mean, they eat tons of ice cream, and they love having real conversations—that’s my kind of girls.

Simply put, Leila Sales is awesome. Her writing is delightful, expressive, and straightforward and it’s paced exactly the way it should. I literally couldn’t put this down, and I know this will be one of those books that I read over and over again. No matter what I say, it won’t do this book justice. Past Perfect has a very universal quality while still managing to stand out in an original way. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Graveminder & Enthralled Winner

The winner of Graveminder and an ARC of Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions, both signed by Melissa Marr is...

Ashley G.

Congratulations! I will ship the books out next week. Thanks to everyone who entered. Check back soon for more giveaways.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Author Insight: Trying a new genre

If you tried your hand at any other genre, what would it be?

"My particular blend of genres is a big enough pool for me to splash in - I already get to play with elements of paranormal, sci-fi, historical, horror, etc. I do like a challenge, though, so maybe I'd try some sort of fantasy novel. I'm normally not a big fan of fantasy, so at least I'd have creating a fantasy world I was fond of as the end goal!" - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I'm totally interested in mysteries. A good mystery just kills me and I can't put the book down.  I will go there one day!" - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"I think I will always write fantasy. I can't help it. It's just the way my brain works. I was that kid who always checked her closet for the entrance to Narnia, who always put "magic wand" on her birthday wish list, and wrote extensive missives to the Tooth Fairy. I think fantasy is (or can be) a literature of hope and empowerment. I love the themes of love-conquers-all, little-guy-defeats-the-massive-evil, and I-have-a-telepathic-dragon-and-you-don't. That said, the genre of fantasy is quite wide from fairy tales to vampires to... well, anything that couldn't actually happen. Sky's the limit. I can see myself playing in all sorts of subgenres and for all different ages." - Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay, Love.

"Before Born Wicked sold, I was working on a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that I’d love to finish. I love reading retellings, studying them. The idea of borrowing themes and touchstones from traditional myths and molding them into something that has contemporary resonance fascinates me." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Author Insight: Trying a new genre

If you tried your hand at any other genre, what would it be?

"I always figure that when I’m old I’ll write a scandalous memoir, for reasons of revenge, mostly." - Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow.

"Sci-Fi. I'm a geek at heart and I would love to write something like a Battlestar Galactica (the revamped version) with a cool female character like Starbuck." - Brodi Ashton, author of Everneath.

"I’m addicted to YA, so that’s a tough question. But I would also love to write science-fiction serials – things like Star Trek and Star Wars and Doctor Who, those massive conglomerates with such a huge fanbases that they almost don’t care who writes their characters, so long as they do it well. And I’d do it because I’m a fangirl myself, and I simply would love the chance to have my name under the official 'Star Trek' et. al. label, and contribute to these huge, exciting universes." - Anna Sheehan, author of A Long, Long Sleep.

"I'd love to try my luck with a detective novel. I think tackling something so story driven while keeping it tied closely to characters would be fun and a challenge. The genre also seems to allow for a lot of experimentation." - Jeff Hirsch, author of The Eleventh Plague.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 288
Buy: Amazon
Description: Goodreads
"Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?"

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive.... 
I wanted to like Invincible Summer more than I did. While I did enjoy Hannah Moskowitz’s second novel, it left me feeling a little unsatisfied.

To start, I wholeheartedly think this book suffers from a misconstrued campaign. Both the cover and the blurb all point toward a light beach read- a story about a boy, his brother, and their love of the same girl. These topics are even hashed out by the author herself on her blog. This is very clearly a story about a family- their struggles, their triumphs, their sorrows. It’s all about the dysfunctional McGills, more specifically Chase “Everboy” McGill, following them through four consecutive summers at their beach house. Every summer is told through Chase’s eyes, culminating in a life-changing experience on his birthday every year.

The entire novel felt very disjointed, never really gelling until it was almost over. The plots hopscotched around too often, not just from summer to summer but even within each summer. The 2nd Summer in particular felt choppy, concentrating large chunks on Chase’s exploding libido and his lust after his brother’s girl Melinda as well as his concern over Gideon’s communication issues, Claudia’s personality experiments, and Noah’s disappearances. These topics never combined in a way that flowed well, and too much time was spent on each topic in turn. Also, much of the conflict and the twists, especially the events at the end of the 3rd Summer, smacked of misery for misery’s sake. Life isn’t always fair, but it was just too much.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Giveaway: Dreamland

Macmillan has given me the chance to host another awesome giveaway. This time it's for a copy of Dreamland by Alyson Noël, the third book in the Riley Bloom series.

Riley's finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer's dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it's her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who's been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.
*Description from Macmillan.

Fill out this FORM to enter.
Visit Alyson Noel at her website or become a fan on Facebook.

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special news bulletin...

There's been a development here at Wastepaper Prose that I never actually thought would happen, and that leads me to my announcement. Well, our announcement...

Introducing, Jessica!
That's right. It's no longer just little ol' me here. Now it's double the trouble because I've taken on a  partner in crime-- Err, I mean blogging. Her name is Jessica and she is wise and wonderful and a whole lot of fun. But don't get your hopes up. She's no more sane than I am. You can learn more about her HERE.

And how we got to be where we are is kind of a funny story. It makes this whole "I now have another reviewer on the blog" thing even more surreal because of the fact that I did not meet Jes in the blogosphere.

Our tiny Virginia high school.
We met in high school, but I can't honestly say we were friends. We were friendly to each other, yet we never hung out. I knew her brother from playing tennis, albeit not well because he was a senior when I was a freshman. Then later she and I had AP physics and Spanish together. Still, we never did much more than chit chat.

She graduated. Then I graduated and we never really heard from each other again until nearly 10 years later.

It happened last year when I saw a very enthusiastic tweet about the Caster series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. You know, Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, and the forthcoming Beautiful Chaos? I replied to it because I love the series too. I had no idea until I checked the profile that it was Jes.

We've tweeted over the past year and a half, but still didn't become tight or make plans to hang out. Things changed about a month ago when Jes asked me if I had a copy of an upcoming book because she was desperate to read it and wanted to borrow it. Well, before I could stop myself,  I said "Sure, and you can review it for the blog if you want."

She agreed, and we are one month and several books to the wind and we haven't tried to kill each other! Be on the lookout for her reviews and leave her some love.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Graveminder & Enthralled Giveaway

Up for grabs today are a hardcover of Graveminder by Melissa Marr and an ARC of Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. Both are signed by Melissa! I'm also throwing in one of the Graveminder toe tags she had made.

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.
*Description from Amazon.

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.
*Description from Goodreads.  

Just fill out the form below to enter!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Creature Feature Friday: Zombies

I let everyone else go first because my favorite paranormals aren't going anywhere. Today it's my turn and I'm talking about the the undead. No, not the swoon-worthy kind. The risen from the grave, shambling, hungry for your innards, flesh-sloughing kind...

What are zombies?
They are the undead! And they are hungry for braaaains! (Okay, you knew all that.)

How a person becomes a zombie is up for debate. A zombie sinks his teeth into you, and you turn. You get some inexplicably mutated virus, and you die and don't stay dead. You could be raised by a reanimator or a necromancer looking for information or an undead army. Or, if you believe everything you see on television, then some tech executive makes a poor decision about laptop technology, the laptop gets dropped by a line worker, the power goes out, milk spoils, a not so bright guy drinks it anyway, and BAM! Zombie apocalypse. Game on! (Anybody have a twinkie?)

What do you love about zombies?  
I'm not sure I can say I love zombies. Intrigued might be a better word. I don't actively seek out undead media, but when it finds me I seem to have trouble turning it away. I suppose it's because zombies are unpredictable. They can be laughable or gruesome or scary. They might even try to find a way to express everything they're unable to put into words. Zombie luuurve.

Yes, they are super-fun in action movies. There's no shame in blowing a zombie to high heaven right? Everybody loves to see the hero take down a zombie hoard with heavy artillery. Admit it. Ving Rhames in Dawn of the Dead. Woody Harrelson in Zombieland. Etcetera, etcetera. You've watched someone blow a hoard of zombies to smithereens. And you enjoyed it.

But why are zombies frightening? Is it the threat of rotting grey flesh and a new taste for raw meat? Or is it the existential consequences of becoming undead? One little nip from a hungry straggler and, once the agonizing illness is over and the death tremors have subsided, the victim is entirely stripped of their humanity. Words, mobility, feelings... They're all gone, and what used to be a person is now a rotting husk desperate to sustain itself for one more day. Worse than that, no one is immune.

Favorite zombie in fiction:
R from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Who says zombies can't be gentlemen?

Favorite zombie in pop culture:
It's not real a favorite zombie so much as a particular incarnation of zombie. In the TV show The Walking Dead the zombies aren't the slow-moving, mockable things they've been portrayed as for so many years. They are frighteningly twisted mutation of humanity that can do some serious damage.

If you like zombies, you should read...
You'll also need this shirt from Shirt Woot. Trust me. It's proof that brains are an acquired taste.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More Author Insight: Where to start...

When you’re starting a new book how do you know where the story begins?

"Beginnings are harder for me than endings - but I can churn out potential beginnings at a rapid rate. My editors and I normally go through about three or four of them before settling on the right one, and I appreciate their input. My storytelling style is flexible enough that I'm comfortable with multiple starting-off points...I never feel 'wedded' to one particular vision." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I usually have an idea of a big event that kicks off a story.  Then I have to figure out how to introduce that event.  For Felton, it was the 600 yard dash in gym that really kicks off the story, but I needed to set up what a big deal that was.  Took me awhile to figure out how to set it up (same thing with the sequel, Nothing Special... I knew the event, but had to play around to find the way to introduce it correctly)." - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"You start when something interesting happens... A stranger comes to town. A boy meets the girl of his dreams. A girl sprouts wings. A kid finds a dragon's egg. A vampire is staked through the heart by a were-unicorn... It's both that simple and that difficult because first, you need to identify what your story is. And sometimes you don't know that until you've written a hundred pages or so. I love writing beginnings. They're so... bursting with possibility. Kind of like the first bite of a pie. You don't know yet whether it's going to be apple or blueberry or an ill-conceived cauliflower pie." - Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay, Love.

"I try to start when something changes for the protagonist. I used to think I had to establish character and setting first before anything happened. I was wrong! Showing how your character reacts to change is way more interesting." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tweet News (19)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

Harper Teen shared a message from Die for Me author Amy Plum...TWEET.

Scholastic revealed the new site for Wonderstruck...TWEET.

Penguin Teen unveiled the trailer for Heather Brewer's The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill... TWEET.

Mockingjay.net shared a little about the Hunger Games movie teaser... TWEET.

Cory Jackson, author of 2012 debut Touched, announced a foreign rights deal... TWEET.

Harper Teen announced the new Pitch Dark Days authors... TWEET.

Publisher's Weekly Kids Bookshelf passed on news of a film deal for Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis... TWEET.

Penguin Teen told you where you can read the first three chapters of Legend by Marie Lu... TWEET.

Author Elizabeth Miles revealed the trailer for her debut novel Fury... TWEET.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Author Insight: Where to start...

When you’re starting a new book how do you know where the story begins?

"I don’t always. Sometimes the first words I write stay the first words forever. Sometimes when I start a story I’ve written a hundred pages before I get to the beginning, and I have to rearrange. The beginning has to be dynamic, addictive, and unputdownable, so I think a writer always has to be open to changing the beginning in revision. I don’t think there’s a formula for finding it." - Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow.

"My first thought in answering this question was, 'Well, obviously it begins at the beginning.' But that might not be helpful, or insightful. Sometimes, as in Everneath, the beginning scene comes to me first, and I write the rest from there, even though half of the important stuff has already happened before the first chapter. But I don't suggest that, because it's very confusing. Instead, I would suggest something I learned from my critique partners and various instructors: An author should always ask herself, on the first page of the book, what makes today different?" - Brodi Ashton, author of Everneath.

"I don’t, always. Usually the rule is 'start where the action is' but finding that can be a challenge. Sometimes I’ll have to go back and rewrite the beginning to match the end, or slice off a prologue that isn’t helpful." - Anna Sheehan, author of A Long, Long Sleep.

"I wish I was more scientific about it but basically I start a story when the opening image pops to mind. Once it does, I just work on figuring out how that opening image amounts to the character taking their first step toward changing themselves or their world." - Jeff Hirsch, author of The Eleventh Plague.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The problem with being a book person...

...is, well, all the books.

They are a blessing and a curious. A joy and a pain. A magical escape and an unbearable burden. And I love them. All shapes and sizes. Every format and itteration. I adore the brand new, uncracked and smelling of freshly pressed paper. I cherish the used, well-loved and reeking of age.

But they are my downfall, my weakness, the focus of my shiny object complex... I see a cover, hear a recommendation, read an awesome review, or learn one of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book, and I get the itch. I want to buy a new book, even if I have an amazing to-be-read stack at home.

These new additions overrun my shelves, stack up on my desk and in corners, and generally invade whatever space is available. I actually told someone once that, if I had to, I would build them a bed out of books because the futon in my office was covered while I did a little reorganizing. Why was I reorganizing? To fit more books of course.

If you're anything like me, you stick to the party line when a knew one comes into the house. You'll just shift a few things, make a space on the shelf, and you'll read it soon. Scouts honor. Sound familiar?

I'm not ashamed of my love of all things literature, but I will admit I'm kind of a book floozy. I gravitate toward whatever will hold my attention, and that's true of shopping and reading. The impending avalanche of books that is my home office (those who know me can attest to this)  is actually what spurred me to participate in September is Read Your Own Books Month. The books I spend my hard earned money on deserve just as much attention as the ones sent to me for review, and this month I'm giving it to them.

So ladies and gents, fess up! Are you a book floozy?

Tell me what your TBR looks like these days. Is it a small pile, a shelf, or a whole room? Are books taking over your space? Do you have enough to build furniture out of? Would you if it weren't for your e-reader?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Scorpio Races Winner

I'm excited to giveaway a signed ARC of The Scorpio Races (Scholastic, 10/18). Maggie Stiefvater's first standalone novel has been highly anticipated, and my interest was piqued further when she started referring to it as My Little Pony meets the Deadliest Catch. Who wouldn't want to read that?

But the real question is who gets to?

Kate N. 

Congratulations! I will send your book out as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone who entered. Be on the lookout for more giveaways soon.