Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Sightings

One of the most exciting things about being an author is not only seeing my own books in print, but seeing other books by authors I know in the bookstores. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of these books face out at one of the local Barnes and Noble here in Austin:

Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) by Cynthia Leitich Smith. The summary: At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight.

Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala.

In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.

With diabolical wit, the author of Tantalize revisits a deliciously dark world where vampires vie with angels — and girls just want to have fangs.

Golden Girl: A Bradford novel (Simon Pulse, 2009) by Micol Ostow. The Summary: Spencer Grace Kelly has it all, and then some...especially with two new arrivals at prestigious Bradford Prep: Spence’s ex-boyfriend and first love, Jeremy, and Regan Stanford, a frenemy with a mysterious past.

Micol, a recent graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program for Writing for Children and Young Adults, is also the author of Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa (Razorbill, 2006) and So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) (Flux, 2009).

Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2009) by Saundra Mitchell. The Summary: Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared.

His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.

Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy."

Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.

What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret.

So, go out and buy books. Support the chains and the independents (like Bookpeople and The Flying Pig).

And be sure to check out 28 Days Later at The Brown Bookshelf. We'll be profiling established and up-and-coming African-American authors all during the month of February!


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Friday, May 18, 2007

A Good Time to be a Flux Author (and some other stuff)

Over at the Flux blog, Andrew has been announcing some pretty great news about the Flux authors. Carrie Jones and Brian Yansky received some very nice reviews for their novels, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend (Carrie) and Wonders of the World (Brian). Christine Kole Maclean and Simone Elkeles won an Independent Publishers Book Award (Gold for Christine and Silver for Simone). And Flux has rolled out the new covers for the fall books. (Scroll to the bottom of the Flux blog for the slideshow showing the covers. Or, take a look at all of the upcoming books at "the Mothership".)

Getting back to Carrie--I just finished her book last week, and I absolutely loved it. Tips is the type of book that will make you laugh and cringe (but cringe in a good way) at the same time. Belle is a sweetheart; a sweetheart you have to root for. And while I wanted to hate Dylan (like I think Belle did at first), Carrie really did a good job of showing him as a conflicted and compassionate three-dimensional character, not just a stereotypical gay guy that dumps his girlfriend. And--saying this in the most heterosexual way possible--if I was a girl, I would be all over Tom Tanner.

I'm really looking forward to the sequel, Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape), and I'm hoping there's a lot more of Emily in it.

And just to throw some good news in about me, my book is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. January 2008 doesn't seem quite so far away anymore.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Book Release Day

I'm sure that most of you know this by now, but if not, Cynthia Leitich Smith is currently guest blogging at Greg Leitich Smith's blog.

And...Happy Release Day, Cyn! Her new YA novel, Tantalize, came out today.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Story of a Girl

I finished Sara Zarr's wonderful debut novel, Story of a Girl, a few weeks ago. There's not much more I can say about this novel that others haven't already said. Great characters. Great dialogue. Great story.

I like that Zarr began the novel three years after Deanna's incident (getting caught with an older boy, Tommy Webber, in the back of his Buick), instead of at the time of the incident itself. While the event is important, I think it's even more fascinating to take a step back and see how the characters deal with the aftermath. And while there are certainly characters in the book that make bad decisions, no one is clearly the "bad guy" (although you can make an argument that Tommy is pretty rotten). Everyone is a fault, at least a little, which makes the novel ring with authenticity. Also, I like that while the novel doesn't tie everything up nicely, it leaves the reader with a sense of hope.

My favorite scene is where Deanna and her father finally have it out. It's an argument that's been brewing for three years. Zarr, with her mastery of dialogue and pacing, does not disappoint.

This novel is highly recommended. Check out more about Sara Zarr at her website. Also, check out Cynthia Leitich Smith's interview with Zarr.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Author Bebe Moore Campbell Passes Away

Bebe Moore Campbell was one of my favorite authors. She will be missed.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Super Cyn

Save for some useless facts about my agent, I didn't write much about the Austin SCBWI Conference. However, The Wonderful Cynthia Leitich Smith has listed a bunch of reports on her blogger site. See the listings here.

And while you're there, take a look at her entire site. It's a wealth of information for those interested in children's literature. I recently picked up a copy of her and Greg's new picture book, Santa Knows, for my niece. I also I picked up The Hidden Feast, illustrated by Austin's own Don Tate (I love the promotional movie on the August House website).

I'm especially excited about Cynthia's new YA book, Tantalize. Read what some other authors and booksellers are saying about the book here.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fugging John Green

John Green is a fugging1,2,3 genius.

Just like with Markus Zusak, I am insanely jealous of John Green. Looking For Alaska, his Printz-winning debut novel, is easily one of my favorite books off all time (JG is a master of dialogue). And now, JG had gone and written another brilliant book, An Abundance of Katherines.

I got a copy of the ARC from Brian Yansky, whom I think got a copy from Super Cool Editor Guy4. I devoured the book. In fact, I liked it so much, I spend all afternoon last week driving around fugging Austin just to get my hands on a fugging copy from fugging Borders5.

An Abundance of Katherines combines break-ups and math. Unfortunately, like the main character, Colin, I'm well versed in both subjects. JG wrote this one in third person, but after reading the novel, I totally get why he did so (it would have been pretty tough to subject the reader to all that time in Colin's head). This novel isn't as heavy as Alaska, but it's just as fun, and the chase scene between Colin, Hassan, and the khanzeer6 could rival the chase scene in Alaska, with Pudge and the mother-fugging fox7. Now that I think about it, I think JG must have a thing for chase scenes involving animals. At least this time, the mc didn't get bit on the ass by a swan.

I could spend a bunch of time telling you about the novel, but JG talks all about it on his website. In addition, he's doing this whole blog tour thing, which is a brilliant idea. He was just on Sara Zarr's8 site last week.

Rhombus, the novel that I just sold to Flux, is about a math tutor, so it was refreshing to see JG's take on a novel where math is so prominent. Rhonda, my mc, isn't quite the prodigy that Colin is, but she is pretty damn smart, and is very logical. One of my main revision tasks is to make sure that her math background shines through in the novel.

But, I can always talk about my books later. Go buy An Abundance of Katherines. It's good. Really good.

1: Yes, there is a good reason that I used the word fugging.
2: Yes, this is supposed to be a footnote.
3: Yes, I know that the number for footnotes is supposed to be at the top of the word, but blogger won't let me fugging format the text like I want to.
4: In the words of fellow Fluxonian/Fluxinite/Bad Mother Fluxer,
Carrie Jones.
5: Incidentally, I believe that this Borders is the only bookstore in Austin still carrying
Red Polka Dot, so I had to buy the book at that point.
6: Arabic for pig. Again, there's a reason that I used Arabic.

7: Takumi.
8: Sara's book, Story of a Girl, is on my must-read list for 2007.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Banned Books Week

Break out the confetti. Pop some champagne. Why? Well, because it's Banned Books Week.

Every year, the American Library Association celebrates the Freedom to Read with Banned Books Week. From the ALA website:

"Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

Given the current political climate of the country, I think it's important for us to remember that there are certain freedoms that we cannot compromise. I know that times are difficult and people are scared (I certainly am), but we cannot turn our backs on the ideals which make this country great. If we do, they win.

Take a look at the top ten books that were challenged in 2005, and decide for yourself how threatening these books are. Or better yet, run to your local library or bookstore and pick one up.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Damn You, Markus Zusak

I mean this in the nicest way possible: I hate Markus Zusak.

I finished I Am The Messenger almost two weeks ago. Even now, I can't stop thinking about the book. He wrote the type of novel that is both inspirational and entertaining. He wrote a moral story without being too moral. He reminded me why being an author is so important to me.

I know what you're asking yourself: So if the book is so great, then why do you hate him?

Simple: He broke the rules.

In my opinion, he broke a big, big, big rule at the end of the novel. At first, when I realized what he was doing, I was furious. There's no way an author like me could have pulled a stunt like he did at the end and still got published. In my opinion, it was something that a first time author would do.

But in spite of myself, as much as I want to hate the novel, I can't. Because, quite simply, it's brilliant. Over the two weeks since I've read the novel, I've found myself thinking about how well he pulled the novel together. He manipulated the readers of the novel just as much as he manipulated the characters. But for some reason, I'm okay with the deception. He wrote a book that I will never forget, and for that, I can overlook the path he took the reader's on.

Markus Zusak is the messenger, and a damn good one at that. I highly, highly recommend this novel.

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