Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Books! (January 2011 - June 2011)

So I've been seeing a lot of people give themselves reading goals for the year and I thought, since I'm reading like crazy lately, that could be fun! But I don't really have a goal in mind, but I do have quite the list of books I've read since the year started. So I'm just going to list all 42 of them here.

YA:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Urban Fantasy:
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Summer Night by Jim Butcher
Death Makes by Jim Butcher
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
White Knight by Jim Butcher
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
Changes by Jim Butcher
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kisses by Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Thriller:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larson
The Running Man by Stephen King
Deadline by Mira Grant

Historical Fiction:
People of the River by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
People of the Earth by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
People of the Sea by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
Fire the Sky by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear

Fantasy:
Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams
Cold Magic by Kate Elliot
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Post-apoc:
Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
The Long Walk by Stephen King

Science Fiction:
Titan by Ben Bova
Ark by Stephen Baxter
Treason by Orson Scott Card
Darkwar by Glen Cook
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Romance:
The Billionaire's Bridal Bid by Emily McKay


I don't read much Urban Fantasy normally, but once I got hooked into the Dresden Files at book 4, I had to finish the series. Same with the Mercy Thompson series by Patrica Briggs (though I really didn't like River Marked). It also helps that, aside from the last few Dresden books, these are very short, quick reads. Some of them I read in one day. I also read Divergent in one day, as well as Tales from Watership Down.

You'll also notice a romance novel on my list, which is the only one I've ever read. I met the author at my BONI workshop, and figured I'd give one a whirl to support her and experience the genre first hand. I'm amazed at how fast she puts out these novels (which are about 50k with a hard word count cap) and how much of the subject matter is decided by the publisher. An interesting read, but it did confirm that I, as I supsected, am not a romance reader! :)

I also started and put down some books in this time frame, which inclue Solar by Ian McEwan, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, Autumn bu David Moody, The Road by Cormic McCarthy, Blood Red Road by Moria Young, Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson and The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi.

Gardens of the Moon simply got pushed aside for books I was more excited to read, like the release of Naamuh's Blessing, finishing A Game of Thrones (on HBO and reading the novel afterwards) and being excited to start A Clash of Kings. I might come back to that one. The Road, The Reapers are the Angels and Blood Red Road had a writing style that simply isn't my taste. Solar was a little to "boring real life", things were moving too slow in Autumn and The Quantum Thief was just too...weird (and jumped to a new character that I didn't find interesting right when I was starting to adjust to the weirdness).

Yesterday I started A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, and expect to be reading that series until I finish it - including A Dance of Dragons, which releases in July. Those books I will not be reading in one day, that's for damn sure.

(edit: opps, forgot a book!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The P Word

Not too long ago I was having a conversation that I think many writers end up having with their loved ones. Mine was with my mother, around the time I was deep in the query process, full manuscripts out to agents, and (though I didn’t know it at the time) a few weeks away from an offer of representation. The gist of the conversation was: “How exactly does this process of getting a book published work?”

This is the good question, and one that doesn’t come from every person you have a casual conversation with about your dream of being a published author. This question comes from the people who are truly invested in your success, in most cases out of love. My parents have always been supportive of my dream (including when I decided to get my BA in something-that-will-never-get-you-a-real-job-aka-liberal-arts), and I was happy to share the excitement, the woes, and everything in between.

So I gave my mom the rundown of how querying works, including all the research involved, the dreaded query letter, and, of course, the waiting and the rejections. We also talked about what exactly an agent does and why (in my opinion) they’re a good thing to have. Once I had offers and needed to make my choice, I shared that process with her. Once I signed, I explained what comes next – including revisions and the submission process, which includes more waiting and more rejections!

During one of these conversations, my mom said she was really proud of me for being patient. At the time, I got warm fuzzies and said thanks.

But now I’m pretty sure being patient doesn’t have a damn thing to do with this process.

I’m the most IMpatient person I have EVER met in my ENTIRE life. This ranges from jittering in my seat when I have to sit still and be quiet too long, to buying everything I want the moment I see it which results in angry friends when they don’t know what the hell to buy me for my birthdays or Christmas. When a website takes too long to load, I flail around and whine about it, and even cuss it out – then return to my shiny, happy self as soon as the website/computer program/life does what I wanted it to do five seconds ago.

For example, I was at the bookstore yesterday, and instead of just ordering Clash of Kings since B&N was sold out, I bought the boxed set which includes a book I already had so I could have it NOW (even though I had two books I wanted to read before I’d start Clash of Kings anyway). And consider this: If Erik goes to the bathroom while we’re out at a restaurant, I make him leave his smartphone with me so I have something to do while I wait for him to come back.

And while I was on query, I stared at my inbox for hours, feeling like I was going to burst into flames if I didn’t get an email in the next two seconds. I was impatient the ENTIRE TIME. Statistics and logic didn’t sate me, nor did average response times or website guidelines or encouraging blog posts or success stories. It didn’t matter than this is my greatest dream – it only made me MORE impatient because I wanted my dream to happen YESTERDAY. And now that I have an agent, I'm STILL impatient!

So say thank you when someone compliments your patience, because it makes them proud of you and, quite frankly, makes you look all mature and shit. But behind closed doors where no one can see or hear? Stop those feet and whine like crazy if it helps you cope. It just means you're normal.

But the P word they’re really looking for is perseverance. And I don’t think any of us would be wherever we are – be it writing a first draft, revising, querying or on submission, or even waiting for our book’s release date – without it. I don't hold any high expectations that I'm going to magically become patient any time soon, but I certainly have no intentions of giving up.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Motivation.

Watch this and put whatever you want to do in place of the word "bike."

Honestly though? I'm a little jealous he figured this all out at like five years old.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spreading Some Happy

After emailing back and forth with my buddy Marisol today, she shared this link she found with me. It gave me warm fuzzies!

I'm lucky to have Marisol and Beth as two of my most trusted writing and critque buddies, and this post about sums up my feelings on the topic. It's so awesome to have goto people, ones who are in the same boat as you (or in places you've been or are going), and who are there for anything from emergency reads and critques in a time crunch, to questions or sanity checks, and sometimes just for an ear.

You guys rock. Of course you know that, but I just wanted to remind you.

Do you have rocking writing buddies? Share that link with them and take a read. It's a really nice post.