"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pflugerville Signing at Blue Marble Java

If you live in Austin, Pflugerville, or anywhere in the general vicinity, come see me

Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 3:00 (until whenever)
at
Blue Marble Java

I'll be selling and signing books, and I'd love to see some new and familiar faces! Did I mention what a great gift The Emerald Tablet makes? Here's a perfect chance to stock up for all those birthday parties you have in the coming months :) Kids love fantasy and sci-fi books, especially when personalized to them!

Books. Coffee. Does life get any better than that?
If you buzz over to the Blue Marble Java website, the cover for The Emerald Tablet is front and center! (actually front and left)

See you there!

And I just want to point out they have free WiFi if you're looking for a new place to write!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Fair Five on a Friday

Posting early as I'm off to test in Kung Fu tonight (First Brown for anyone who follows this kind of stuff). After this, my next test will be black belt! Wish me luck!

---

I love the school book fair! Not only does it bring back awesome childhood memories, but I get to buy great new books, support the school, and see kids immersed in the joy of picking out books of their own!
So I've been volunteering at the book fair the last couple times, and in honor of that, here's my Book Fair Five on a Friday!

1) I love seeing friends' books for sale at the book fair!!!!!
Here we have TX Bluebonnet list book The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman.

And here we have Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart!

You gals rock!

2) Guess what the most popular book (still) at the book fair is?

(Notice how empty the table is. That's an order form you see.)

3) With my son in 2nd grade, we finally paid our initiation dues and joined The Diary of a Wimpy Kid club. Yes, we got all four books.



4) For anyone who thinks there is no more room for another ABC book, check out our awesome ABC purchase. I give you SuperHero ABC by Bob McLeod.
(I highly recommend this if your little one likes Superheroes!)


5) Other purchases included:
Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan
39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman
The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins (I've read the opening scene which has to do with tooth extraction of all things)
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Scooby Doo: The Movie Star Mystery
Marvel Villians Poster Book


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shifting Emotions on the Fly

So in the realm of interviews and book giveaways, head over to the awesome Christy Evers blog to read an interview with me and enter for a chance to win a copy of The Emerald Tablet.
I divulge some of the secrets behind my genius in the interview (or at least the inspiration behind some ideas. Everything is relative).
Anyway, check it out!

And while you're surfing, if you love time travel as much as I do, check out my blog post over on The Spectacle on time travel. There's also a way cool photo of Data's head (name that episode).

---

So I'm at Kung Fu tonight talking to one of the other parents, and here is our conversation:
Him: We saw your book displayed prominently at BookPeople this weekend.
(thanks, BookPeople, BTW)
Me: Cool! Thanks! So did you buy it?
Him: Uh...

But see, I put the pressure on. And had quite a bit of fun while doing it.

---

You know you're obsessed about writing when:

Who remembers my problem tooth?
So Monday morning I head to the oral surgeon to get the thing removed. I get my blood pressure taken. Normal. But I'm starting to get nervous. And with each second that passes it's getting even worse. I get the shots of Novocaine. I start shaking. I ask for the blanket. I'm clinging onto it in a death grip, teeth chattering, and my heart pounds a million beats a minute. I'm trying to calm myself down. But honestly, I feel like I'll burst into tears at any moment. My calming exercises are futile.
Nothing. Is. Working.
So I try to analyze the situation. Because you see, I'm a calm, collected person for the most part (just don't ask my husband). And here I am—I've been turned into a character from a book who's in a horrible situation and can't control her nervousness.

Shifting emotions

How do I feel? How would I describe the situation. I think about these things. I think about how quickly my feelings can shift to something so extreme. Because lots of times I'll read about character's emotions shifting and not believe the shift.

So where was I? Oh, yeah. When you're faced with a situation like this in life, try to use it to your writerly advantage.

*I'm happy to report the tooth fairy (in the form of my 7-year-old son) did visit that night.

---

Reading update: I'm reading The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel (who is also of The Spectacle acclaim). It's great and engaging, and I believe I'll sign off now and go finish it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grounding, Objectivity, and Dav Pilkey

So I was hoping to make a cake this weekend in honor of Mardi Gras, but it didn't happen. And for anyone familiar with the tradition, I was not going to bake in a small plastic baby a la King Cake as this whole thing always creeped me out. Honestly, if I know a cake has something in it I might bite into, I can't bring myself to eat it.
But the cake didn't happen. Instead we spent Sunday raking leaves and watching Tasha Yar die on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, I totally teared up during her memorial scene. Only three more episodes until the season end!

---

So I always count on my kids to ground me. Take, for example, my son's answer to this question:

(If you can't read the answer, it's Dav Pilkey, best known for Captain Underpants. My son tells me The Emerald Tablet isn't funny enough.)

---

So you know how they always saw Kill your Darlings? I watched the deleted scenes with commentary from Scooby Doo (the awesome movie with the CG Scooby). The directors talk about how hard it was to cut certain scenes because they loved them so much, and the reasons why each scene was cut. Totally fascinating.
And really, it's just like writing books, right? We love different scenes or jokes or even single lines of dialogue for various reasons. Someone may have read our WIP and commented on how much they loved a certain line. And for this reason, we latch onto this line and keep it when truly it needs to go. We may have written a location from one of our favorite places, and for that reason hold onto that setting until we're forced to cut it.
It's where objectivity comes in—something so hard to get!
For me, I find TIME above all else helps me gain objectivity.

---

Anyway, has anyone else noticed the trend with butterflies and book covers?



Have a great week!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Five on a Friday

Edited to add:
Check out my fun interview over on Barrie Summy's blog with the fabulous Kelly Couric. Bonus photo of me in seventh grade! Oh, yeah, plus there's a book giveaway over there!

---

So it's been a good week! We've gotten some converts for The Scorpion King 2, we've won the Pinewood Derby (at least the Best Detail part of it), and we've had some amazing weigh-in on 4th graders reading Twilight.
Thanks!
(And really, you should see some of the derby cars from our school. Some people spent WAY more time on theirs than I did. Way, way more.)

Here's my five for the week:

1) Sometimes I amaze myself with how natural shameless self-promotion has become.
I'm in the library on Wednesday during my volunteer stint, and I head over to shelve some fantasy books. There's a kid looking so I say excuse me and move around him. And then I see it. My book on the shelf. It's the first time I've actually seen it there (which is a good sign as it's been checked out previously).
Me: Want to read a really great book?
Kid: Um, yeah, sure.
Me: (hands him The Emerald Tablet) Here. You'll love it. And I wrote it....But no pressure (um, yeah, right).
Kid: Thanks! (I see him checking my name badge for confirmation that I am indeed the author. Then he checks it out. I assure him he doesn't need to tell me if he doesn't like the book.)

That's one more kid reading The Emerald Tablet :)

2) And later that day...
...while heading out of the school, I experience twenty seconds out of my fifteen minutes of fame.
A kid catches my eye and gives me a huge smile.
I smile back.
Ten steps later, he looks at me and smiles again. And then he stops.
Kid: Are you PJ Hoover?
Me: (smiling) Yeah, I am.
Kid: I'm reading your book. It's really good. (goes on to say how a kid in his class recommended it to him).
(I like this kid! He's really smart. I can tell.)

That's one more kid reading The Emerald Tablet :)

Anyway...

3) Did I mention I get to have a tooth pulled on Monday morning? Yes, yanked out of my mouth with a pair of pliers. Did you read my commemorative post about it over on The Spectacle?
(I did ask if I could keep the tooth. I'm hoping the all-mysterious Tooth Fairy will pay me a visit. I'd say a permanent molar must be worth at least $100.)

4) Bargain hardcovers at Amazon.
Yes, support your local bookstores. Really, do. But I couldn't help but mention these two bargain hardcovers at Amazon:
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante for $3.99
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen for $7.99

5) I have an odd urge to rake leaves on Sunday. Yes they are left over from the Fall, but sometimes it takes Spring to re-inspire me to do some yard work.


If you're going to be in Austin on Saturday, head to BookPeople at 11:00. Mark Mitchell will be speaking at out local SCBWI meeting on The Profits, Pleasures, and Pitfalls of Author Visits to Schools.
See you there!

And have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Banter, Coraline, and The Scorpion King

So how's everyone doing on their reading for the year? Of those who joined the fun for the 50 Book Challenge, how's it going? I've read 12 so far.

--

Now Coraline.
I LOVED the book. And I LOVED the movie. Seriously. This has to be the most far-exceeding-expectations movie I've seen in ages. Granted I was not a Nightmare Before Christmas fan. I just didn't care much for the story line. So my thoughts for Coraline were that it was going to be much like Nightmare.
Not. At. All.
This movie was like eye candy. It was a work of art. See it in 3D if at all possible. The mouse circus alone pays for the extra cost of the 3D glasses.

And for the record, my kids are 4 (girl) and 7 (boy). They both loved the movie. It really wasn't all that scary all things considered. When Other Mother turned into a monster is was a bit frightening. But frightening in that my daughter sat on my lap at that point but still totally watched it.

And priceless comments kids make:
While driving away, my kids asked why Other Mother wanted to steal Coraline and I said that Other Mother just wanted someone to love and to love her.

My daughter pipes up: I'd go live with Other Mother.
Me: You'd leave me and go live with her.
Her: Yeah.
Me: But Other Mother is a mean monster.
Her: Well, that's OK.

So maybe I need to cook a nice big turkey for dinner and make another cake.

Have you seen it? What did you think? If you haven't, I really can't recommend it enough! Loved it!

---

On a different movie subject. I have a movie which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I'd be shocked if anyone who reads this blog has seen the movie, but I'll put it out there:
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior

Yes, I love the original Scorpion King, but this is a new one. It just came out in August (straight to DVD).

What I love about SK2:
OK, there's the amazing cool scenery.
There are the costumes.
The main character's not all bad :) I'm sure I could find him a role in some future book. And to be fair, ditto on the female main character.
There are a bunch of scantily clad people with kick-butt weapons running around fighting.
There's an awesome trip to the underworld.
And a goddess who does a great job seeming like she's young and thousands of years old all at the same time.

But above all else, there is the banter between the main characters. It is priceless. I could watch certain scenes over and over again just to pick up on the subtle jokes and innuendos. There is one scene in particular where the male and female leads banter back and forth. It like perfect choreography. And the best part is the subtle smile the male lead character keeps on his face throughout. That perfect mix of cockiness and confidence and determination.
In short, I want to write banter like this. I love banter. Actually, I just want to write this story. Ah well... I'll just watch the movie again.

So watch this movie, too. Or if you are one of the lucky people who has actually seen it, don't be shy! Speak up!

What dialogue have you seen or read which keeps you coming back for more?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's all in the Details

Happy President's Day! The kids are both off school, so I'm pretty sure we're heading to Coraline 3-D. My son says he's game and doesn't think he'll be scared. And I figure my daughter can snuggle and close her eyes.

In honor of my wonderful trips to the dentist last week, hop over to The Spectacle where I have a fun post celebrating the Power of Teeth in writing!

---

Now, onto the big stuff. Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for. The unveiling of our Pinewood Derby car. All along we were going for creativity, not speed. Our car did win 3 out of 4 races, though didn't place for speed in the top three. Nonetheless, it did great, crossed the finish line, and went warp speed.

Um, yeah, you knew it was coming. I give you the Starship Enterprise. NCC-1701-A in case you want particulars.


And this beauty won us this awesome trophy! First place for Best Detail out of the entire pack. Over 100 cars, and we got first.


(On a side note, my husband wondered if I'd prepared my acceptance speech for the awards ceremony.)

--

Today I had the joy of talking with an awesome 8th grader for an hour. He interviewed me for a school project he's working on. Can I tell you how much fun this is! He asked the greatest questions from where I get ideas to how I use math in my stories. And he gets to make up a math word problem using me. I'm really curious to see what he comes up with!

I love when kids love The Emerald Tablet! I also love when kids love it enough to use it for school reports and projects! This is such a treat!

--

And lest anyone think that I think I am perfect when it comes to details, I give you our Valentine's Day cake. It was a heart, but my son didn't want icing, so we cut off the bottom of the heart for him.

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Five on a Friday

Hope everyone had a great week! Our Cub Scout derby car is ALMOST complete! Look for a picture next week (after the big race this Saturday). So tomorrow I'll be finishing that up.
Wait. How much of the car is the cub scout supposed to do himself?

Anyway...

Here's my five for the week!

1) I'm organizing the 2nd grade Valentine's party tomorrow. Wish me luck leading the Valentine Bingo. B-I-N-G-O.
Not to mention I get to pick up the cupcakes. Do you think anyone will notice if I show up with only 23 instead of 24?

2) OK, maybe I'm naive, but I was just a tad bit shocked when my 5th grade neighbor told me she'd just finished up all four Twilight books. And she said a bunch of her friends had read them, too.
Ugh. Really? 5th grade? I guess I was under the misguided impression this would wait until middle school.
How young is too young for Twilight? Please do weigh in; I want to know!

3) If you haven't had a chance, head over to The Spectacle! Parker Peevyhouse, author of the upcoming Last Midnight (Disney-Hyperion), has a great post up about why teachers love dystopian fiction. And if that isn't reason enough, we're doing a book giveaway. Go enter! Free books!

4) Who knew the public library was closed on Thursdays? The empty parking lot should have been a clue, but I still pulled in and went to the door. And for the record, my house does have way too many distractions for anything that requires total uninterruption.

5) In a Valentine's Day sampler, my favorite is always the peanut cluster. Oh, but now I realize with this whole peanut thing and all, I will have to skip this one. If I had to pick a non-nut favorite, I'd go with the coconut chocolate cluster. I just like that texture.
And you? What's your favorite in the heart-shaped samplers this happy holiday is so well-known for?

Happy Friday! Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In which I steal ideas from my kids

First - huge shout out to Cynthia Leitich Smith for the release of her brand new novel Eternal. This cover is awesome, Cyn is a fabulous author (not to mention a super person). I'm so excited to buy/read it. So what are you waiting for? Go buy this book! And while you're at it, recommend it to a teen you know or love also!

---

OK, so am I the only parent that does this?
My son brings home his Monday folder filled with the week's classroom work, and I pour through it looking at the various creative stuff he's done. I'm not consciously checking for this; it's just sort of what I do. And then I see it: a perfect idea. Right there in front of me.

I hold it up and start reading it to him. He's getting kind of embarrassed—like he thinks I'm making fun of him. But when I finish reading aloud it I say, "Can I use this is a book?"

OK, I'd post the gem I found this week, but it's just too good! I don't want to share it. Look for it in print in five years (once I write it, revise it, get it sold, get is published...you know, all that easy stuff). And for the record, he granted me permission to use the idea, so when it pans out, I will fully credit his genius mind for the spark.

---

So I'm about a day away from sending back my final revisions for The Navel of the World (The Forgotten Worlds Book 2). I'm happy to say revisions from my editor were minimal. Really minimal. But here's the thing. I wrote the first draft of this book four years ago. And then I let it sit. Then I did a major revision and let it sit again. Repeat this process a few more times, and by the time my editor finally read it, it was pretty tight. The plot stayed on track. Subplots had been reduced to a minimum. Not that it didn't need work at this stage. Just not the same amount of work as it would have needed had she read it after the first draft/revision.

Time between revisions = critical

It's number two on my most important lessons in revising.
Number one?

Full manuscript feedback from an editor/agent/author


Nothing can beat a totally objective opinion on your work by a qualified individual.
We just become too blind to our own work. It's why editors are needed.

---

And finally, in addition to reading Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller, I just started The Host by Stephanie Meyer on audio. Anyone read it? Liked it? Didn't like it? No spoilers please!
As for audio, I just finished The Giver by Lois Lowry. When it started, I was actually thinking it was a bit slow and sterile. But wow. What a story once it gets moving.

One thing of note on The Giver. People are giving The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman a hard time for the opening scene, suggesting it isn't for children. Um, The Giver was way more vivid in its not so pleasant scenes. Seriously. No spoilers here, but I would read The Graveyard Book aloud to my 7-year-old but would totally not yet read him The Giver.

Also, anyone read The Giver and The City of Ember of Jeanne DuPrau? Hmmm...there are some similarities here, aren't there? Or was it just me thinking this? Don't get me wrong. I loved both books. I just think the common elements are interesting.

Hope everyone is having a great week! Mine has included (count them) three dental visits, but I'll save that for another post :)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why I Bought it, Edition 1

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I finished The Luxe by Anna Godbersen and have moved on to Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller. I'm really excited to read these Kiki books!

Head over to The Spectacle where I'm blogging about the stigma associated with reading science-fiction and fantasy.

The topic of beautiful dresses on covers and costs of hardbacks got me thinking. See most of us write books, and the end goal for many of us is to have people actually buy our books, right? Yes, there's the old theoretical question of whether you'd write even if you never sold a book, but we'll put that aside for today.

It got me thinking about why I've bought certain books I've bought. And I'm not talking borrowed. And I'm not talking read. I'm talking about books I've bought with my cash, and what compelled me to do so.

Here are six random books I bought (in no particular order), and why I bought them:

1) Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
I've seen it around here and there, and after BookPeople had a Kiki Strike summer camp where I had to sneak in a secret document, I was tempted. But it was really seeing the cover of the second book in Barnes & Noble that pushed me over the edge. So the short answer: seeing the cover of the second book in person compelled me to buy both.



2) The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie
April is and awesome Austin author, a terrific person, and we share the same agent. That said, even though I would have eventually bought it, the thing which really made it an immediate must-buy for me was reading a writing sample of hers at a workshop and being just awed. Yes, this book is that good, too.





3) Bliss by Lauren Myracle
Recommended by Cynthia Leitich Smith as a great example of voice. Add in the paranormal element, and I was sold.










4) Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
I bought all 27 Class of 2k8 books, so it was a gimmie that I would buy this. But what really sold me on this was the mystery element. Two friends go biking cross country and only one returns.





5) Screwball by Keri Mikulski
Keri is a fantastic blogger, always positive and energetic. Not to mention she went out of her way to comment on my blog :)










6) The Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus
Recommended by Topher at BookPeople. He also recommended The Lightning Thief which I loved, so I went with the recommendation.


Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Five on a Friday

Let's get right to it. Happy Friday!

1) Attention to detail
So it's totally my job to think my children are geniuses. It's just part of being a mom. It happens from the first time you spot your newborn staring at some random toy and remark how intelligent their eyes are. Yes, I've totally done that.

Anyway, I'm not here to post about my genius children, but I do want to mention this.
Regarding my daughter.
Attention to detail.
She's got it.
AND I WANT IT!!!!

Take for example this finely crafted rendition of our favorite mouse (no, not Stuart Little. Despereaux!) After seeing the movie, she insisted upon coming home and making her own craft version.

So note two things:
1) The red thread around him.
2) The tail on the flip side.
These came out of her own mind. These two items were important to her. And these two items are incredible details. Details that turn a regular two-dimensional mouse into our three-dimensional Despereaux. Which is quite a bit for a 4-year-old.

OK, where was I? Oh, yeah. My children are geniuses.

2) Hardbacks.
I say this, even realizing my own book, The Emerald Tablet, is in hardback. But I wonder more and more at the choice to put some books in hardback. Some I understand, but for instance there was one particular ARC I got last fall of a kid's book that is much in the spirit of Captain Underpants or Supernatural Rubber Chicken. I handed the ARC to my son to read, and he handed it back 20 minutes later proclaiming he read it, loved it, and wanted more.
Great!
But...
I checked the back of the ARC and noticed it was to be released as a hardback for $15.99.
Yes, I love the book industry, and I want my children to read. But even I'm going to hesitate (and probably not buy) a $16 hardback that my kid will read in 20 minutes. My cost per minute is too high.
I don't know. Thoughts on this?

3) Reading update
Read. Loved. SHIFT by Jennifer Bradbury. Buy it!
I had another book all set to read next, but then my shipment from Amazon arrived (yay)! Now I have my Kiki Strike books and my Luxe books. And I'm going with The Luxe by by Anna Godberson.
OK, so admittedly, this is not my normal reading genre. But I'm reading it for two reasons:
i. I love the dresses on the covers of these books.
ii. It was Jen Robinson's book review of The Luxe which really pushed me over the edge and made this a must-read.

4) BLISS
Turns out BLISS has a sequel, except it was written two years earlier! Has anyone read Rhymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle?

5) Head over to The Spectacle for some great discussions on post-apocalyptic kid's books and gratuitous extras in sci-fi and fantasy.
Up today - An exclusive look at Magic Realism with agent Jennifer Mattson of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. What are you waiting for?

Have a great weekend! Do something fun! Do something spontaneous! Read a book. Mop the floor. And by all means, if the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is next weekend, get that derby car painted!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Book Review Club: BLISS by Lauren Myracle

Welcome to my very first contribution to the Book Review Club organized by the fabulous Barrie Summy, author of I So Don't Do Mysteries. Barrie had this great idea to organize a monthly roundup of book reviews posted on the first Wednesday of each month. And seeing as how today happens to be that Wednesday, and seeing as how book reviews are one thing I wanted to add to this blog...well, here you go.

Up this month: BLISS by Lauren Myracle

SUMMARY:
A girl (Bliss), who grew up on a commune, goes to live with her grandmother. She begins the new school year at a private academy which used to be a convent and soon finds out a girl died by flinging herself out of a third story window many years before. And guess what? The dead girl is now communicating with Bliss.

ONE INTERESTING CHOICE:
BLISS is set in 1969 which, though a brave choice, totally worked for me. Every few pages, insert pages were added to texture the timeline around us. These included clips from the Andy Griffith Show, landing on the moon, Charles Manson murder trials. Having the novel set back in time gave it a fresh feel, like something that hadn't been done before.

And on the note of being fresh, I'll be totally honest about something. I knew nothing about this book going in. I didn't even read the jacket flap. All I saw was the cover with a blond girl and the word "bliss" written in blood. So when girls and blood and scary things were first mentioned in the book, my initial thought was, "oh, is this a vampire book?" And I was a little disappointed, because let's face it, there are a ton of vampire books out there. Not that there isn't room for more, just that it wasn't what I was expecting. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out a chapter or so later that it was not in fact a vampire book at all, but a spooky ghost story with blood and occult and scary voices speaking in people's heads.
Way cool.

ANOTHER INTERESTING CHOICE:
The girl on the cover is not the main character of the book. This is not Bliss. She's not even the second main character. Throughout the book we start to become fairly confident we know who the cover girl is, but it isn't solidified until the end. Though I do love the cover, I wonder how this decision was made. This may just stem from the fact that I am highly interested in cover stories.

QUASI-SPOILER BELOW...


WHAT WORKED SUPERBLY IN BLISS:
So the author leads us down a certain path in the book. We go with it, and we believe it because we have no reason not to. We're intrigued by it and are waiting to find out more.
But then, all of a sudden, we're given a clue—a very small clue—that what we'd been led to believe may not be the case. So we skim back to check if we read something the way we thought we did and find out we did.
And here's what I really like. As soon as this clue is given, the author does not treat us like we are stupid at all. She knows at this point that she's given us a clue, and we've started munching on it. And so she continues on that path and starts to reveal more clues rather than treating us like we didn't pick up on it. Truly it's done masterfully.

Also Voice. The Voice in BLISS is exemplary. Read it for that alone.

WHAT COULD HAVE WORKED BETTER IN BLISS:
Honestly, I'm coming up short on this one. It's that good.


In short, I loved reading BLISS. It's a fast read, much due to the fact that the author stays on track with the plot and also due to the many inserted pages of quotes and journal entries. I highly recommend BLISS to anyone who's into paranormal fiction, though I would not suggest it to anyone under 12 as there are a few creepy, weird elements. But all in all, go buy BLISS, read it, and recommend it to a friend.

And if you're interested in being part of the monthly Book Review Club, contact Barrie Summy!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

When is it OK to stop?

Oh wait - before I forget, there's an awesome new group blog just getting started by a bunch of writers of speculative fiction. And since my stuff pretty much falls into that category, well, I'm a member :)
Check out my post over on The Spectacle on post-apocalyptic fiction.

--

OK, on to the big question I have for you. When you start reading a book, do you always finish?

My answer - I do not always finish. In fact many times I stop. And normally it's for a variety of reasons. I've put aside books in the last year that were too slow, too depressing, had characters I didn't care less about - all that kind of stuff.
And just this weekend, I put aside the book I was currently reading and funny enough, swapped it out for one I'd put aside last year after about 50 pages.

So why did I put it aside? I tried to analyze this, and the reason I came up with was that I did not want to get inside the main character's head. It was so well written (the voice was right on), and I cared about the character, but it was sad and kind of depressing, and it wasn't a happy place I wanted to dwell in.

I put it aside and picked up Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I'd put this one aside last fall after about 50 pages because it was a little slow getting started. And I'm so glad I picked it back up as I finished it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do think it could have been about 2/3 as long as it was, but it was engaging, beautifully written, and wonderful all around. I totally recommend it to anyone who has yet to read it.

Party of me is sad when I put a book aside. I mean after all, there was a reason I picked it up in the first place. I wanted to enjoy it. But that said, when I put a book down it reaffirms something very important to me:
Not all books are for all people.

Simply put, what one person loves another won't be able to stand. And what one person can't stand, another person will love. And the beauty of it is that there are enough books out there for everyone to find something they love.

Next up on my reading list: Shift by fellow-Class of 2k8 member Jennifer Bradbury. I've been wanting to read this one for a year!

So what's your opinion about stopping reading? Do it? Never do it? What's the last book you put down mid-way?

And Happy Monday!