Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Odd Thomas

It has been a long time since I've read a book that literally kept me up at night reading page after page, devouring multiple chapters at a time. This book did that and so much more. The writing is superb, some passages and descriptions so good that I read them twice, like letting good wine sit on the tongue. That kind of writing is hard to find anymore. The dark sense of humor was entrancing, and much like my own in many ways so it was something I could relate to and understand. The deep rooted morals of a tormented soul who managed to do good despite what he'd been through in the past, and what he went through each day, was inspiring.

Sure, at times the references are too old for the character, he sometimes speaks directly to the reader, and the violence portrayed within isn't prettied up, but then if you saw dead people, you'd be a bit of an old soul too. And it is written sort of as a memoire after all. So, this won't be for everyone. But it was definitely for me. Five stars, and it passes the ultimate test, I will absolutely be reading the next book.

Find it on:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vampire Academy Needs Your Help

When the Vampire Academy movie came out in my area I attempted to rush out and see it. The problem was, showings were limited. I figured, I'd catch it the following weekend. It was pulled by then. One week released in this area. I had a sinking feeling it must sort of blow chunks. I was wrong. Having just seen it, I kind of loved it. Sure, Dimitri isn't how I pictured him, but I can live with that. I absolutely loved the books, devoured them, in fact, so I was really psyched to see and support the movie. Alas, I was unable to. Until now. 

Turns out they are considering a sequel, but they need to see more buzz on social media to justify it. So I'm doing my duty for a series that blew Twilight to bits and then some. Seriously, it is that good. If you haven't read it because you feared it was just another teen vampire series, you are really missing out. This series is far more Buffy than Twilight. It kicks some serious butt. Click like your life depends on it to check these books out then Tweet, FB, and post your hearts out to help support books that empower young women. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Book Review: Dragons & Dirigibles

This book started out strong and very interesting. It's an alternate Europe that mixes supernatural and steampunk, which is part of what drew me because I love it when the two are mixed. Don't be deceived by the title though, dragons aren't gallivanting through England. I don't want to give away too much there, but let's just say they are more of a metaphor than a physical thing, so this novella in the series isn't as heavy on the fantasy as it sounds. I found myself cheering for Melody and warming up to Victor despite some of his old-fashioned (then in fashion) ways and beliefs.

I knew this was a novella getting into it and that didn't bother me. But, I found that I liked the characters and the story so much so that I wanted more of it, and not just more of the series, but more of this novel. With a few things fleshed out fully this would have been outstanding. As it was, it was a good, quick read that felt a bit rushed in places. I would recommend it for fans of romantic steampunk. I give it 3.5 for great characters and an interesting world.

Find it on:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Update on the #WritersRoad Twitter Chat

In the vacuum created by the loss of our favorite chat years ago, a friend, Tee Tate, and I created the #WritersRoad. We also have a Facebook group, though the live chat occurs on Twitter (via Tweetdeck is one of the easiest apps to use).

Tee and I co-host this chat every other Monday night on Twitter at 6:00pm Pacific Standard Time (9:00pm for our east coast friends). We chat about everything related to the writer's road. We decide on a topic based on the needs of our chatters (suggestions are welcome on both Twitter and our Facebook group) and we announce it the weekend before on Twitter. On the off weeks that we don't chat, we engage in #WordWar (still using the #WritersRoad hashtag as well), an hour long writing sprint where we check in at the end with out word count and encourage each other along the way.

We often have outstanding guests be they authors, agents, editors, or another type of publishing industry professionals. This is a great opportunity to network with other writers or agents, perhaps find a critique group, learn about the craft of writing, or just enjoy the support of our fantastic writing community. This chat is often trending so be ready for a hopping time!

Please note: We are ecstatic that #WritersRoad has become a common hashtag on Twitter now, used for many things besides the chat. Thank you to all who have made us a household name! We only ask that you refrain from using the hashtag during the chat on Monday's for things that aren't related to the chat. Any other time, we are honored. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review: Wicked as they Come

This is a book that I read not because the author is a friend of mine, or because I got the e ARC on NetGalley, but because I needed something fun to read and I found this. When I asked for a recommendation for a good steampunk adult novel, a friend on Twitter recommended Wicked As They Come and I bought it. Wow am I glad I did because this novel had just the right mixture of romance, humor, and steampunk that I was totally hooked. Even better, I got to meet the author, Delilah S. Dawson, at the RT Book Lover's Convention when I was in New Orleans and picked up a signed copy! She was very sweet and fun, just like her book. She is one of those authors that makes you want to support not just her great books, but her as well.

If you enjoy steampunk filled with humor and romance then you have got to check this out. It deviates from a lot of traditional steampunk in that it doesn't take place in London, or even in this world, but you'll love it, trust me!

Find it on:

Amazon / B&N 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Kind of Agent do You Want?

A recent chat we had on the #WritersRoad inspired me to write this post to help those writers who are currently querying or will be soon. When researching agents to query or pitch to, I often research who their clients are and what they say about them. This is an important part of the process for me because it reveals a lot. Having been agented before, this time around I was very careful in who I chose to even approach because I wanted it to be the right agent, the kind I'd have likely for the rest of my career. It's all about a great match with someone who is passionate about your work.

Beyond that, you need an agent whose working style meshes well with yours. You must know if you want an editorial/developmental agent or one who takes your highly polished work and barely changes it. You must also know if you want an agent with a strong online presence, and/or one that attends a lot of literary functions like BEA, RT, RWA events, etc. Figure out if you want a new agent vs. an experienced one. Both have advantages and disadvantages. New agents will have a smaller client list, giving them more time to interact with you. However, they may just be establishing themselves in the industry and may not have all the contacts a more experienced agent will have. Decide before hand if you want an agent for just the one book/series, or for your entire career. While you'll likely sign for the one book/series, you'll know from talking to them whether or not they are interested in more from you.

The most important thing to know is that you don't want just any agent, you want the right agent. Do your research before and after you query. When they offer representation don't immediately say yes. Ask questions about their style, their plans for your book and you. Remember that the wrong representation is worse than no representation at all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Big 6 Publishers Revisited

A few years ago I did a post on de-mystifying the Big 6~now 5 really since the merge of Random House and Penguin~publishing houses. A lot has changed since then so I thought it was time for an update. Whether you're on submission, or hope to be soon, it's a good list to have handy.

Here they are in no particular order (some subsidiaries may not be listed. Click on the links for a full listing):

Random House: There are a lot of publishing groups each with their own imprints under this huge roof. Here the groups: Crown Trade Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing, Random House Publishing Group (including Ballantine, Bantam, Dell, and many others), Random House Children's Books, RH International, RH International.
Click here for Merge announcement 
Penguin: Ace Books, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Avery, Berkly Books, Blue Rider Books, Celebra, Current, Daw, Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Books, Dutton Children's Books, Firebird, Fredrick Warne, Putnam Sons, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers, Gotham Books, Grosset & Dunlap, Hudson Street Press, Intermix, Kathy Dawson, NAL, Nancy Paulson, Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, Penguin, The Penguin Press, Perigee Books, Philomel Books, Plume, Pintail, Plume, Portfolio, Price Stern Sloan, Puffin Books, Razorbill, Riverhead, Sentinel, Speak, Tarcher, The Viking Press, Viking Books For Young Readers, Viking Studio.

Simon & Schuster: Atria, Folger Shakespeare Library, Free Press, Gallery Books, Howard Books, Pocket, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Threshold Editions, Touchstone/Fireside, Aladdin, Atheneum Books, Beach Lane Books, Little Simon, Margaret K. McElderry, Paula Wiseman Books, BFYR, Simon Pulse, Simon Spotlight, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Pimsleur.

MacMillan: Bedford/St. Martin's, Bloomsberry, Entangled (distributed publisher), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Farrar Straus & Giroux Books For Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends, First Second, Gray Wolf Press (distributed publisher), Hayden McNeil, Henry Holt & Co., Henry Holt & Co. Books For Young Readers, Kingfisher, Macmillan Audio, Palgrave MacMillan, Papercutz (distributed publisher), Page Street (distributed publisher), Picador, Priddy Books, Roaring Brook Press, Scientific American, Square Fish, St. Martin's Press, Tor/Forge, Bedford/St. Martin's.

HarperCollins: Amistad, Avon, Caedmon, Ecco, Eos, Harper, It Books, Rayo, William Morrow, Balzer & Bray, Greenwillow Books, Harlequin, HarperFestival, Harper Teen, Katherine Tegen Books, Walden Pond Press.

Hachette Book Group: Grand Central Publishing, Faith Words, Center Street, Hyperion, Little Brown & Co., Little Brown & Co. For Young Readers, Orbit, Yen Press.

Now when your agent puts you out on submission and tells you he/she has submitted you to Perigree Books you don't have to wonder who in the world that is, you'll know it's Penguin! For those who haven't reached the editor submission stage yet, keep this handy, you'll need it someday soon. Don't forget, there are still a lot of great houses out there that aren't part of the big six.