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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Look Back

It’s been a banner year for Wastepaper Prose. We’ve read some great books, met amazing people, made great friends, been to awesome events, added reviewers to the site and expanded our approach to blogging.  

In late 2011, a random Twitter conversation about the Beautiful Creatures series reconnected me with Jessica, an acquaintance from high school, and not long after that she came aboard as a reviewer. She joined the team and dove head first into the world of YA lit, including reading, reviewing and attending conferences. The New Year marks Jess' first full year on the blog. She’s been a tremendous addition!

Lynsey linked up with Wastepaper Prose in February  when her life got a little crazy and she was trying to figure out a way to stay in the game. Knowing it would be a great loss to the blogging community if Lynsey, who also runs Narratively Speaking, stopped blogging all together, I extended an invite and she accepted.  She’s become our resident New Adult expert, reviewing a new title on the last Friday of every month.

Come Spring, I hopped a plane to New Orleans for the launch of my critique partner Suzanne Johnson's debut novel, Royal Street. We spent about four days in the city touring places that inspired the book and eating some damn good food. Ooo-weee! I was the youngest member of what Suz termed "The Cougar Tour of N'awlins" but it was a blast.

I came home for a little less than two weeks, popping into Fountain Bookstore to see Aimee Agresti, author of Illuminate, who made the trip down to Richmond for a signing. We had lunch before and had a wonderful time chatting. (If you ever have the chance to meet her, dooooo eeet! Aimee is a sweetie.)

Me and Katie from Mundie Moms.
After my brief stop at home, I was Texas-bound, making my first trip to The Texas Library Association annual conference. Christin from Portrait of a Book was nice enough to house Stacey from Page Turners Blog, Jen from Novel Thoughts and myself and we had a blast. I got to see some far-flung friends like Yara from OnceUpon a Twilight and meet friends I’d known online but never had the opportunity to meet like Katie from Mundie Moms. I even met Neal Shusterman, author of lots of awesomeness! The conference was pretty laid back which was a nice change of pace given the normal speed of conferences and trade shows, which is "roadrunner on crack" if you aren't familiar.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012

Yet another year is coming to a close and we've racked our brains and come up with a list of our best reads of 2012. Don't mistake this list though! This isn't a list of the best books released in 2012. It's actually a list of the best books we read in 2012, so here goes...

Best Romance

Best Contemporary

Best Paranormal

Best Social Issues Novels

Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Author Insight: Turning Pro

Can you recall the moment writing went from hobby to career? Was it a long-term goal made reality or a happy accident?

"Writing for a career has always been a long-term goal of mine, but making the decision to actually do it kind of evolved over the years. I wrote my first novel in my teens, but didn’t contemplate writing for publication until my twenties. That was a while ago." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"It never really felt like a hobby. I was a very driven twelve-year-old (read: pyscho-ambitious) so I always wanted to get a book published. I didn't have a clue how to do so, but the goal was definitely always there in one from or another." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"Even now, with two published books, I still look at writing as my hobby. Which is odd, since I’d always wanted to be a writer, and I sort of stumbled into my profession as a nurse. But nursing pays the bills, and writing stories is what I do for fun. I have to keep reminding myself that when I’m stressing out about reviews or marketing plans." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"From the moment I started writing, I was super disciplined about it, so it always felt like more than a hobby. That said, it wasn’t until I quit my day job as an engineer that I really felt like writing was my career instead of just something else that I did. Quitting the day job was a well-planned out event that was definitely part of goal planning." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile 
Pre-order: Amazon / IndieBound / Barnes & Noble

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

Why can't I wait? 
Born Wicked was one of my favorite surprises from last year. Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but Jessica's writing and the amazing Cate Cahill demanded my adoration. I'm so curious to see where the Cahill sisters will take me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

The Wastepaper Prose team is taking the day off to enjoy the holiday. Whatever you're celebrating this season, we wish you all the best. We'll be back later this week with our Best Books of 2012, the Year in Review, New Years Resolutions, and our Most Anticipated Books of 2013. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Author Insight: Turning Pro

Can you recall the moment writing went from hobby to career? Was it a long-term goal made reality or a happy accident?

"Writing was never a hobby for me--and each writer I mention this to stores up a little hate—I made the decision to write approximately six months before I sold my first series." - Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen.

"I’ve always been a writer. In high school, I had my first paid writing job as a teen columnist for the Dayton Daily News, and I’ve been an advertising copywriter for over ten years now. It only really occurred to me that fiction was a possibility after starting my book blog and interacting with authors." - Lenore Appelhans, author of Level 2.

"I sure can. It went from a hobby to a career the first time I got paid! I’m not being crass, I’m being objective. You go from an amateur to a professional as soon as money changes hands. That said, I was committed to being a professional even when I was an amateur. Becoming a paid writer was something at which I worked long and hard. Writing requires such a committed effort in terms of time and application, and getting your writing seen and read requires such all-out hustling, I don’t know how it’s ever a happy accident. But anything’s possible, I guess." - Lili Peloquin, author of The Innocents

"If 'career' means that I'm making a living at it, then I definitely recall the moment--it was when my agent sold The Wrap-Up List (which publishes this coming January) to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It was a huge moment for me. I'd been laid off from a decade-long academic job teaching creative writing at a local art college. I was on unemployment insurance, looking for work, writing, and struggling to pay my share of the rent. I remember picking up the phone to hear that the book had been sold. My wife and I went out for dinner, and had a toast: 'To keeping on trying.' I'll never forget that." - Steven Arntson, author of The Wrap-Up List.