Tags: jones

too fond of books

To be read . . .

I have a terrible confession to make: I haven't been reading all that many books lately, largely because life got busy (divorce, S moving to college in Charleston, M starting junior year in high school, etc.) and I ended up with a health issue (my rheumatoid arthritis flared).

But M has been busily reading things, and she assures me that I need to put these books on my TBR list:

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. We bought it because (a) Maureen Johnson, (b) it's set in London and (c) Jack the Ripper. Also, there was a wee bit of (d) "cool cover!" going on. M has been a fan of Maureen's books since she read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and she's a huge fan of the Scarlett books as well. M hasn't told me much about it, but she found it so riveting that she pretty much didn't put it down.

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel. We bought it yesterday because (a) Carrie Jones is M's favorite author ever. (Take that, J.K. Rowling and others who are in the top tier of M's list of must-read authors!) Also, there was a bit of (b) "cool cover!" going on. M is a bit behind on her French homework because she was more interested in reading it than starting her homework before she headed off for her part-time job this evening. I suspect she'll finish it tomorrow, since she seems quite fond of it.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. We bought it because (a) OMG! we both loved Anna and the French Kiss with a love that was epic and true, which really amounts to (b) Stephanie Perkins. M tells me there's plenty of Anna and St. Clair in the book, and that makes me happyhappyhappy. She also tells me that things are painfully wrong before they are set right. Win!

I am positive that M is correct on all counts, and so all three books are going on my TBR pile. If I can, y'know, get them back from M at all . . .


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a book at her side

Sarah Emma Edmonds Was A Great Pretender by Carrie Jones, illus. by Mark Oldroyd

Guess what? I'm about to review a book I read on Net Galley. How cool is Net Galley? So. Cool. (As long as, y'know, the publishers give you permission to read the books you want to read so you can review them. But I digress.)

The full title of today's book is Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy, and it's by my good friend Carrie Jones. Yes, that Carrie Jones - the one who wrote Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend, Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) and Girl, Hero and Need, Captivate, and Entice. And she is actually a friend, so you might expect me to be biased and I am, frankly, not going to tell you that you're wrong, because being biased under the circumstances is entirely logical. I am, however, going to tell you what I think about the book anyway, even with you knowing that I'm biased, and we'll go from there, okay? Okay.

The thing is, I was inclined to love this book before I read it, not because Carrie wrote it, but because of the following reasons:

1. I know a lot about the subject of the book. I did a shload of research on Sarah Emma Edmonds as part of a project I co-authored with J. Patrick Lewis (poems about spies and spying, still looking for a home).

2. I have a thing for girls in drag, as I believe I've mentioned before. And Sarah Emma Edmonds decidedly walked that walk.

3. I have a rather strong feminist bent, and nothing says feminist like Sarah Emma Edmonds (even if she died long before the actual word/movement exists). Grrl power!



Sarah Emma Edmonds was a fascinating individual. Born in Canada, she made her way to the United States alone, becoming so dedicated to the country that when the Civil War broke out, she decided to serve in the military. (What I didn't know until I read Carrie's book is that Edmonds had a history of dressing as a male that dated back to her childhood. Way interesting.) At that time in history, her being a woman should have made military service an impossibility, but Edmonds didn't let a little thing like gender hold her back: Dressed as a man named Frank Thompson, Edmonds enlisted as a private in the Union Army, where she was assigned to work as a nurse in field hospitals.

Looking for an opportunity to use her ability to wear disguises serve her country and hopefully decrease casualties, Edmonds volunteered to become a spy. She made several trips into Confederate territory to seek out military secrets, dressing first as a young African American male, then as a female Irish peddlar, and finally as an African American laundress. If Carrie's description sounds a little bit like something from the movie Victor/Victoria, it's understandable:

This time she pretended to be Bridget O'Shea, a chubby Irish peddlar. She was a woman (Sarah) pretending to be a man (Frank) pretending to be a woman (Bridget).

This would be confusing for most people, but not for Sarah.

As Edmonds herself said (and is quoted as saying in the book), "I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic—but patriotism was the true secret of my success."

The book is due out on April 1st, just a hair too late for Women's History Month. With its evocative artwork and clear narration, the book manages to be a tribute not only to Edmonds, but to the power of imagination.


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bibliogasm

David Levithan and Wesley Stace

Intrepid friend Lisa and I went to the Free Library this evening for readings by David Levithan and Wesley Stace, and we left feeling as if we'd been given a lovely present.

David Levithan read from The Lover's Dictionary, his marvelous book about "post-teenagers" in a relationship, written as an alphabetical series of dictionary entries. David took marvelous words - words like kerfuffle and yearning - and wrote entries for them, which, when read together, tell the story of a relationship. It is a wonderful, funny, poignant, moving book, and David's reading was all that and more. The audience laughed and mmmmed in all the right places as David's comments - some comical, some poetic, some profound - hit home.

And then David sat down in the front row of the auditorium, and Wesley Stace (sometimes known as singer/songwriter John Wesley Harding) took the stage to read from his latest novel, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer. He has a marvelous reading voice (I am a sucker for an English accent - or perhaps any accent, but Wesley Stace has a rich, melodious voice made of YUM!), but in addition to that, he has Serious Writing Chops. Lovely turns of phrase. Evocative writing. Truly good stuff.

The passage that Wesley read was about a classical musician out looking for English folk music in the early 1900s. And he meets a shepherd, who sings a gorgeous rendition of a ballad. And then, after reading the passage, Wesley turned into John Wesley Harding, and pulled out his guitar and played and sang the ballad he'd just read about, all about "Little Mossgrave". It was fabulous and, as Lisa said, felt just as if we'd been given a marvelous gift.

Both authors took the stage for a Q&A, which yielded some interesting information. Like that the gender of the parties in The Lover's Dictionary is deliberately unspecified, so you don't know if it's a homo- or heterosexual couple. David said, in essence, that with this particular story, being set as it is in New York City now, and featuring a 20-something couple, it didn't matter if they were gay or straight, because they'd behave pretty much the same way. Boy did that do my heart good to hear - I remember too well the sort of prejudices that friends faced out of college back in the mid-80s, and it's wonderful to think how far we've come since then, even if there is still a way to go! The last question (to both authors) was from the realm of the bizarre - in essence, how do you know when to end a chapter and start a new one - but it yielded up thoughtful responses nonetheless. What lovely authors*, and what a lovely evening!

Truly, if there are free author events in your area, I hope you'll take advantage and go. Sometimes the evenings are only so-so, but sometimes, when you get lucky as Lisa and I did tonight, they are magical.

Oh - and speaking of lovely authors (were we not?), I have to thank Jo Knowles and Carrie Jones, both of whom are friends and truly lovely ladies as well as being lovely authors, for pimping my auction items on Facebook and Twitter. It appears that at least there have been opening bids on my items for the Kidlit 4 Japan auction, and that makes me happy. Thank you, lovely friends! Oh - and both of them have items in the auction, too. Jo's auction closes on Thursday at 11 a.m. (Carrie's items will go up next week, I believe.)


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Tea

Good morning!

I know it is after 7 p.m. where I live, but I am finally up for the day and able to use a computer and process information, at least for a few minutes.

When I woke up in the actual morning time, I regretted it immediately, due to an astonishingly blinding sinus headache that managed to sneak up on me unawares while I slept. I blame my lack of Claritin-D over the past few days, since I'm allergic to the molds that go with downed leaves, and the leaves, they've been coming down lately, and we aren't near the "hard frost" stage that manages to alleviate this issue. Anyhoo - this sinus issue came complete with vomiting (again, I blame snot for this), and I spent a miserable day trying not to move - driving to pick M up after school (she stayed for math help) was a truly nauseating experience. However, the last nap stage (from about 4:45-6:30) seems to have reduced the headache to a dull roar, and now I am (relatively) raring to go - a term which here means "sort of awake for a little while".

Things to tell you:

1. Dan Maguire's poetry reading last night was splendid. Not just because of Dan, although that was a large part - he was the featured reader and did about half an hour's reading of his work. He's a marvelous poet who reads really well, so that alone would have been a pleasure, but I got to hear some fine work by other local poets including Tammy Paolino, Bruce Niedt and more.

2. I got an email from B&N today telling me to preorder ENTICE by Carrie Jones NOW, since it comes out on December 7th, a date that will live in infamy. I know one almost-16 year-old here in my house who is going to be over the moon about this!

3. S seems to have found a college she really wants to go to. Here's hoping that James Madison University will really want her to come there in return!

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at the boardwalk

ALA 2010, part three

I left off at bedtime on Saturday. Sunday morning found my roommates, Tricia Stohr-Hunt & Laura Purdie Salas, and me back at the Convention Center for a few signings. I'd taken very few books from home to D.C. with me, even though I already own a fair number of books I'd have liked signed (including Will Grayson, Will Grayson - it was very silly of me not to take it, since John and David were signing together. Le sigh), but one that did come with me was All the World, written by my friend and fellow Poetry Princess, Liz Garton Scanlon, and illustrated by the wildly talented Marla Frazee. There they are on the right, signing copies for Tricia and me.

Next up, I went to Carrie Jones's signing to make sure that she had the line I'd assured her would be there. And of course she did, in part because she was signing with Simone Elkeles and Jessica Day George, although - truth be told - there were far more copies of Captivate and Need in line than anything else. In fact, I went back toward the end of their signing hour and Carrie was still signing away.


From left: Simone Elkeles, Jessica Day George, and Carrie Jones

Life is full of small coincidences, which is undoubtedly how I met Laurie Halse Anderson while we were both in line for lunch, so she joined Tricia, Laura, Tanita S. Davis and her husband, D, and me for lunch. It was great to catch up with her, and greater still for me to hear Laurie read from FORGE on the stage set in the middle of the convention floor. Laurie read two selections, and I cried at both. I cannot wait to read Corazon's story, and seriously, neither can you. Just the bits I heard assured me how very compelling and well-wrought it is. (The wrought/forge thing was initially accidental, but now that I've spotted it, I quite like it.)
By mid-afternoon, it was time to head back to the hotel in order to shower and dress for dinner, and to bid a fond farewell to Tricia, who had a full day of teaching ahead of her on Monday.

Here's me with Laurie during cocktail hour. She was positively glamourous in her gown:


Laurie Halse Anderson et moi

And here are Adrienne Furness (from What Adrienne Thinks About That) and Sara Lewis Holmes before dinner:


Adrienne Furness and Sara Lewis Holmes

During the banquet, I met Elaine Magliaro, long-time internet friend, in real life. Elaine is a bundle of energy, that's for sure. I only wish I had a filmed account of her meeting with Joyce Sidman, when Elaine quite literally dropped to her knees and bowed to Joyce in a Wayne's World, "I'm-not-worthy" sort of way. Joyce, who I'd just met, may or may not have told me to get on my knees when I requested a photo with her, but there we are standing happily together in the photograph to the left.

My meetings with both Joyce and Elaine were both far too short, since dessert and awards arrived to cut them short. Fortunately, I have photographs to remember them by!

And here's one with me and a simply stunning Liz Garton Scanlon while she waited in the post-banquet receiving line. I'm so happy for her book's success, which is entirely well-earned:


me with Liz Garton Scanlon

Later today, I'll post about Monday, which held so many high points of its own that I am still recovering from the excitement!

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books as best friends

ALA 2010, part two

Before leaving the Convention Center to head to Georgetown on Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the Scholastic Book Fairs booth, where Linda Sue Park was signing. Let me just say this about Linda Sue Park: she has a fantastic sense of style. This photo doesn't do justice to the dress she had on, which had an asymmetrical zipper set down the front. It seriously put my Target dress to shame:


Stylish Linda Sue Park with me

Laura Salas and I piled into Sara Lewis Holmes's car with Sara and her editor, the extremely stylish Cheryl Klein, both of whom where dressed in khaki green for Sara's signing at the Scholastic booth. I really wish I had a photo of the two of them together, because they were both so pretty and so well-dressed! Once in Georgetown, we went to Tami Lewis Brown's house, which is gorgeous, just like Tami herself. I confess to being somewhat anti-social upon arrival, because the U.S./Ghana game was on and I reallyreallyreally wanted to watch it. So I did, along with a handful or so of other people. Not that the outcome was what I'd hoped for. *headdesk*

While at the party, I worked up the nerve to introduce myself to Katherine Paterson (I kinda felt like I was approaching royalty - I was that excited/nervous about it). Katherine does not seem to realize that she's royalty. She is just a smart, witty lady. Still, I sure didn't want to stand there and slobber on her, so I kinda made it quick. Because as I said earlier, I was nervous.

I was only slightly less nervous about approaching M.T. Anderson, who was also there. But I reallyreally wanted to tell him how much I love his book. No, not Feed, although it's great, and I like it alot. No, not award-winning masterwork Octavian Nothing, although I admire how gutsy it was to write it, and I especially admire his decision to immerse himself in 18th-century prose in doing so. My favorite of his books is The Game of Sunken Places. Maybe it's a quirky choice on my part (it wouldn't be the first one), but I do so love that book. And I wanted to be certain that the rumors I'd heard of a sequel weren't false. And they weren't! In fact, I have a copy of the first of three or four sequels in my possession now (after a signing on Sunday), and it's called The Suburb Beyond the Stars. Tobin told me he'd filmed a movie, which may or may not involve his mysterious death or disappearance, so I checked it out just now, and it's decidedly worth watching. Here's the link to the non-book trailer book trailer for The Suburb Beyond the Stars.

I was excited as well to meet so many blog friends in real life, including Lisa Madigan (for whom I was on the lookout - I hope she remembers to deliver the hug I sent for Lisa Schroeder!) When the party wound down, Tricia, Laura and I went to dinner with Carrie Jones and Jackie Dolamore. What great company these women are! I really wish we all lived in the same physical neighborhood. Seriously.


Jackie Dolamore, Carrie Jones and me at dinner

After dinner, Tricia, Laura and I hopped a cab to the Renaissance hotel (across from the Convention Center) so we could meet Tanita and her lovely husband, D, for a chat. Shortly after arrival, Tricia, Laura and I made a break for the ladies' room. Blame it on the iced tea with dinner or the extremely scary, death-defying cab ride. Anyhow, what should I spy just outside the alcove where the restrooms were located but these metal statues on the right. One male, one female, both . . . holding themselves? I'm sure the artist was thinking "Adam and Eve", but all I could think was "pee-pee dance". Because I am classy like that.

About our time with Tanita and D: I could tell you we had drinks and not be lying, but it was just tall glasses of ice water. We chatted for a few hours, which, in retrospect, was probably not all that nice of us to do, since Tanita and D were still adjusting to East Coast time from Scotland time, which is five hours ahead. and many photos were taken. Seriously, D has a professional camera and mad paparazzi skills, and he's not afraid to use them. Here's a shot he took from my camera of me with my lady friends:


Me, Laura Purdie Salas, Tanita S. Davis, and Tricia Stohr-Hunt

And now, I'm off to do something productive with my day. Like laundry and cleaning. And maybe some writing. Even though this blog post only takes us to Saturday night, which means that I still have THREE DAYS to talk about!

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M

Review of CAPTIVATE and M's Top 10 of '10 list

M is nothing if not a rabid fan of carriejones's books (and with good reason, I might add). And so it is no surprise to me that CAPTIVATE is #1 on her "Top 10 of '10" list, which lists off the books coming out this year that she most wants to read. In fairness, I have to point out that she's already read ARCs of four of them (lucky girl that she is to have a mother with at least some access to these things). But first, her review of Captivate.

CAPTIVATE

Well, it's number 1 on my "Top 10 of '10", and I was super psyched for it. Carrie Jones's Captivate does not disappoint. Once again [as in Love and Other Uses for Duct Tape, the sequel to Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend], Carrie made me fall even more in love with each character. I mean, Zara's ass-kickingly awesome (more than ever) and Nick is just super swoon-worthy throughout. Don't even get me started on Devyn and, of course, my bunny-loving favorite, Issie.

Each character shines (and a few leave behind shiny things) in Captivate. But even more impressive is how Carrie manages to make Norse mythology cool. (There's something I never would've thought possible.) The way Jones incorporates the old tales into this new, action-packed book is "mind bottling."*

I honestly loved every minute of it, and yes even when I was crying at 1 a.m. while reading a particular scene, I STILL loved it. Carrie Jones continues to (oh yeah, I'm going there) Captivate me.

*yes, I mean "mind bottling". Blades of Glory.

And here, as promised, is M's Top 10 of '10 list. I should note that these are books she is looking forward to either because they are sequels, or because she especially loves the author(s). There are books to come that she will undoubtedly adore, and if asked at year's end, this list might look significantly different - although I rather expect she might leave Captivate at #1 - she really, truly loves Carrie's writing.

M's Top 10 of '10

1. Captivate by Carrie Jones
2. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
3. The Dead-Tosses Waves by Carrie Ryan
4. The Hunger Games Book 3 by Suzanne Collins
5. The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig
6. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
7. Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
8. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
9. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
10. Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

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books as best friends

Last-minute gift ideas

Allow me to recommend the following books, all of which make outstanding gifts:

For the picture book crowd, any poetry fan and any person especially interested in peace & harmony: ALL THE WORLD by Liz Garton Scanlon, edited by Marla Frazee. You can read my review of it here, which features some lovely inside spreads. This is high on my list of books I'd like to see win a Caldecott next year, and has made it onto a raft of "best books of 2009" lists. (Not that I care about other people's lists, really, but I figured you ought to know I'm not alone in my adoration for this title.)

For the picture book crowd and/or their grandparents: ME WITH YOU by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Christopher Denise may be just the ticket. This quiet story in rhyme tells the tale of a wonderful day spent together, and how sometimes the best thing in life is spending time with a loved one. Here's my review.
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Got boys?: One for the picture book AND middle-grade set: If you've got boys, then I highly recommend LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, which has been a tremendous hit with boys from 1st through 6th grade (I tested it, as you can read in my review of the book, which included reader feedback from angeladegroot's sons, who I called "Luke" and "Obi Wan" for purposes of the review.

For the middle-grade set:

THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z by Kate Messner is high on my list of recommended books. Not because Kate is a friend (although she is), but because this is the sort of book that sticks with you long after you've put it down. A perfect gift for an upper elementary or middle-school-aged girl, this book combines humor and pathos and friendship and just a hint of budding romance. You can read the rest of my thoughts on it in my review.

OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes is a great pick for middle-graders. It includes male and female characters and should appeal to readers of both genders: it takes place primarily in the school on a military base, and features a rather unusual (and wonderful) teacher, and a dilemma that the kids have to find a way out of on their own. Powerful, funny, engaging, thoughtful, and entertaining, just as you might expect if you've ever met the author (and I have) - she is all of those things and more.

THE THIRTEEN CLOCKS by James Thurber, illustrated by Marc Simont, foreword by Neil Gaiman is highly recommended for middle-grade fantasy lovers, and extraordinarily delicious as a read-aloud that works for the younger set as well. The wordplay and poetry and magic of this story is simply enchanting. You can read more about it - and how to find it - in my review.

For the YA fantasy reader:

Man, was this a banner year for YA fantasy or what? Here are a handful of the books I especially adored:
NEED by Carrie Jones is a must-buy for any teen fantasy lover who hasn't read it yet - especially since it is now available in paperback, and its sequel, CAPTIVATE, is hitting store shelves in a matter of weeks. Get it now, while you will still look prescient, before it blows up into a bestseller and then you'll just be a bandwagon-rider. (And yes, Carrie, I know you read this blog, and I am entirely serious on this point. And not because it will cause your agent to have to wear plaid flannel.) Better yet, give it along with a gift card or pre-order for CAPTIVATE. Your teen reader will thank you - I guarantee it. (Not in an "or I'll give you your money back" way, I'm afraid, but I am 99.44% certain that I am correct on this point.) You can read a review by an actual teen reader (my daughter M) here or my review.

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Historical fiction YA fans really ought to like: Mare's War by Tanita Davis. During a road trip with their rather ebulliant grandmother, two teen-age girls learn the story of what makes their grandmother tick. Do they gain increased understanding of and respect for their eccentric grandmother? Sure - as does the reader, who learns what it was like to be a "colored" woman during World War II, and what the treatment of women (and African-American women in particular) was like during that time, as well as learning about the contributions to the war that were made by women at a time when they were not fully integrated into the United States armed services. This one is an interesting blend of contemporary and historical fiction (contemporary road trip, historical story from grandmom), but the historical fiction very much puts you in the "now" - and it's interesting to trace the changes in Mare's diction and vocabulary as she polishes herself along with her Army boots.

For horror fans, humor fans and/or haiku afficianados, get one or both of these books: VAMPIRE HAIKU and/or ZOMBIE HAIKU by Ryan Mecum, both of which are just the right size for a stocking, as long as the stocking belongs to a teen or adult who is into black humor and the macabre. I reviewed VAMPIRE HAIKU here and at Guys Lit Wire. It tells the story of a vampire who came over on the Mayflower, and offers a clever reimagination of various events in United States history, all of which are vampire-related.

ZOMBIE HAIKU tells the story of a future zombie plague from two perspectives - that of a young man who begins as a normal poetry-writing guy and becomes a haiku-writing zombie (with disgustingly funny - and in some cases, plain disgusting - haiku to show for it) and that of a man who finds and reads the journal while himself morphing into a zombie. I reviewed it extremely briefly here and at greater length over at GLW.

For younger horror fans: The MONSTEROLOGIST: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Adam McCauley, book design by Cynthia Wigginton, is the way to go. I wrote an extremely enthusiastic review of this book a while back, and I stand by this one. It's a guaranteed hit with anyone who enjoyed FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH and/or FRANKENSTEIN TAKES THE CAKE by Adam Rex, and really, who didn't enjoy those?

For fans of graphic novels, history buffs (esp. those interested in the Dust Bowl): My favorite this year, hands down, is THE STORM IN THE BARN by Matt Phelan. This graphic novel includes fantastic artwork, a quite literary story including references to the works of L. Frank Baum, and an attention to historic detail and the conventions of tall tales that will blow your mind. You can read my review here, or my other review at Guys Lit Wire.


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anybody want a peanut?

Quoteskimming - the SBBT edition

The quote in today's icon is, as many of you will immediately recognize, a line from The Princess Bride.

This week I had the privilege opportunity great fun to be able to participate in the Summer Blog Blast Tour again, for which I interviewed three authors who I consider rock stars, basically. Here are some quotes from those three interviews, plus a couple from other interviews that took place this week

From my interview with Carrie Jones, author of NEED (and several other wonderful books) on Monday:

A lot of contemporary fantasy novels for adults have incredibly confident, butt-kicking heroines but that dominance hasn’t completely taken over the young adult genre. There are still a lot of damsels in distress, which is okay, but I wanted some variety, some female leads who become tough and still are girls, who have bravery and empathy. Zara’s development is like those adult protagonists for a reason. Girls deserve stories where the butt-kicking and the saving isn’t ALWAYS done by the guys. They deserve stories where the female isn’t always the damsel in distress. She can be in distress sometimes, but not all the time.

There are teens out there who are smart, athletic, socially conscious, and whose lives aren’t defined by their boyfriends. They deserve stories where the main character is like them.

From my interview with Maggie Stiefvater, author of LAMENT and several forthcoming novels, on Wednesday:

[I]n a lot of urban fantasy, the female lead has to become a super kick-butt leather-bodice-wearing chick in order to have the same level of coolness as her supernatural hero. I didn’t want Grace to be that girl. I wanted her to be a strong, level-headed character who was cool without leather and rivets and Taekwondo. So Grace became this extremely practical, loyal girl capable of great things in a very ordinary way . . . and she also has fun backstory which I will NOT TELL YOU.

From my interview with Ryan Mecum, author of ZOMBIE HAIKU and the forthcoming VAMPIRE HAIKU, on Friday:

2. How did you come up with the idea to write ZOMBIE HAIKU?

The idea came from my wanting to write haiku in the voice of a broken and gross narrator. Zombie films have a special place in my heart, and giving a zombie a poetic (yet jarring) voice seemed like a wonderful pairing.

I love the novelty and gimmick of the 5-, 7-, 5-syllable structured haiku. Haiku has become the Las Vegas of the poetry landscape, where it is mostly cheap and clichéd. However, through that you can also find beauty that shines a bit brighter due to its limitations. A great haiku is like finding a circus freak with a wonderful singing voice. A great zombie haiku is like that, too, but the circus freak wants to eat you.

From Colleen's interview with Jenny Davidson over at Chasing Ray:

I find biography a particularly evocative genre - a well-written biography offers a whole slice of social and cultural history as well...

From Vivian's interview with Kristin Cashore over at Hip Writer Mama:

Writing is all about listening to the voices that tell you you can’t do it, you’ll never do it, what you’re trying to do is impossible, particularly for a talentless bonehead like you; saying to the voices, “Well, aren’t you sad and pathetic, the way you’ll do anything to stop me? You’re wrong, you know. I can do it. Here, have a hug”; accepting that the voices will never go away and that a part of you will always believe them; and writing anyway.

You can see the full schedule of Summer Blog Blast Tour interviews over at Chasing Ray. Colleen Mondor, organizer extraordinaire, has even annotated them for you, so you can see a bit of what's going on at each of the "stops" on the tour.

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