April 30, 2011

::blinks:: and random links

Greetings, interwebs.

Just realized it's been a few days -- okay, weeks -- since I've crawled out of the revision hole and looked around. Meanwhile, I've been noticing much but commenting little, celebrating National Poetry Month with the various fantabulous poets and I've enjoyed getting a Poem-A-Day in my inbox from Knopf. If you want to continue that poetry love all year long, Your Daily Poem is here to help!

I also wanted to share a few things which you've all probably seen sixteen times on Facebook - but, whatever. I like these funny and "historically hardcore" museum posters from Geekosystem, and loved the discussion of what could be America's Dr. Who, the awesome 2008 - and canceled after one season - tv show, The Middleman. I geeked hard over the model of Dune, as depicted with two-foot gummy worms and candy crystals, snickered at yesterday's very annoyed flower girl at a recent royal wedding, whose cross little face is going to be everywhere for awhile, and snorted adolescent-ly over the most controversial - but honest? - picture book for adults, ever, Go the _ to Sleep...

I'll continue wrestling the revision, but I'll also hopefully be popping out to celebrate May as National Mental Health month, review two books, one of which is a reissue from the 2007 Cybils which I somehow never wrote up the first time, and generally giving a great, excited boogie that Spring finally seems to have sprung for good, no tag-backs, no do-overs, and no more snow.

For the moment, anyway.

Off to find a sunny spot to read a book. Happy Weekend.

April 28, 2011

Toon Thursday: The Return of Writing Dos and Don'ts!

You'll note that, rather ironically, the "corrections" to the "Writing Dos and Don'ts" title of the cartoon are, in fact, not correct. Just a little editing humor. Click to view larger.

Psst! Hey! Looking for somewhere to donate those ARCs? Or are you a school looking for books and authors to connect with readers? Take a peek at the freshly-launched, brand new site Reach A Reader, which can help you do just that. (Full disclosure: I helped with the site.) If you've donated to the ARCs Float On campaign at The Reading Zone, you'll be pleased to hear that it will soon find a permanent (searchable!) web home at Reach A Reader.

April 26, 2011

WANT. Badly.

How much do I wish I had this awesome bookshelf?

Or this one?

Check out these and more on 20 Insanely Creative Bookshelves, which I found via Twitter today. They ARE insanely creative, although some of them, in my opinion, are also just insane...

April 25, 2011

Writers' Worst Fears

Recently in our writing group we were talking about the satirical (yet oh-so-true) piece in The Onion about tiny audiences for readings.

It came out that this actually happened not a few days ago to a friend of ours. This friend, confronted with just one audience member, handled it bravely and with poise. I don't think I would have handled it nearly as well.

Then, as it turned out, today was Mortification Monday over at Shannon Hale's blog. No attendees at readings, introduced by the wrong name, strangers accusing her of stealing their ideas--all of this and more has happened. REALLY. And not just to Shannon Hale, of course, but to authors at large.

Thanks, I suppose, to misery loving company, I feel marginally better about my minor embarrassments: a YA book launch with no actual teenagers in attendance. (Sigh.) A school visit at which 75% of my audience were confused ESL students, and the only ones asking questions (except for one student) were the teachers and librarians. Profuse nervous sweating that was probably noticeable enough to see from space.

I have no doubt I'll have similar reports in the future, or worse. It's the life of a writer--the not-very-glamorous part. And if you're an introvert like me, sometimes you do sweat the small stuff (uh, no pun intended), regardless of the cliché advice not to.

If the prospect is getting you down, check out the Shrinking Violets' interview with Nancy Ancowitz (and basically anything on the Shrinking Violets' blog), and Nancy's website, Self-Promotion for Introverts. And remember that you're not alone! You aren't. In fact, if you have any embarrassing or just frustrating reading-related incidents haunting you, feel free to get them off your chest in the comments. We're here to listen. :)

Thanks go to Tanita for most of these links. 

April 24, 2011

Happy Pesach! Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Really, the main thing to remember is: Peeps are to PLAY WITH. Not to eat.

April 23, 2011

Ooh! Purty Cover!!

"This book is -- intense. There just aren't a lot of YA novels about midwifery, inbreeding, and hemophilia, but the information is gripping and spot-on (I mean, in terms of making it realistic. I'm not into any of the above, thanks). The post-apocalypse survival narrative is excellent, and as she gets deeper into trouble, Gaia has to make agonizing, hair-trigger decisions based on only what she feels is right. Though she thinks on her feet, and does all the right things, situations just get darker and worse as she goes on, based on the cruelty of the Enclave and the utter selfishness of her society. This is dystophia at its finest - allowing the reader to think and say, 'What would I do?' I hope there's a sequel to this one, too."

This we said when we reviewed this fab book for the Cybs.

If you haven't read it yet, bump it up in your TBR list - we loved it to bits. The cover wasn't quite the typical "girl's face in profile," either, but it looked dark and dangerous. And now, enter the UK cover, due out May 1 -- not quite the typical girl-in-profile thing, but she's there. And it's not at all dark and dangerous looking, what with the flowers, but the words tell the tale. I think I like it. Good luck to Caragh O'Brien - hope the new cover draws new readers like bees to blooms.

April 21, 2011

Thursday Review: EONA by Alison Goodman

I acquired an Advance Review Copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in January. This review is based on that version. The hardcover version is out now.

Reader Gut Reaction: Eona: The Last Dragoneye is a worthy sequel to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (reviewed here), and ultimately wraps up the story with a very satisfying and also somewhat surprising ending. Be warned, though: this is an epic tale, and as such, it is LONG. Fans of high fantasy will enjoy being plunged into this absorbing adventure and taken along for the ride. Despite some moments where I felt the pacing slowed a bit for me, I enjoyed watching Eona learn to use and control her newfound dragon power, and struggle with those who want to use her abilities for their own political and personal ends.

Concerning Character: This is an epic story with an appropriately sweeping cast of characters, but the author does an excellent job of developing and distinguishing the important personages and not letting the sheer number of people get out of hand. I was happy to see some favorite characters from the first book return and reprise their roles, often with a new twist—Lady Dela, the Contraire and Eona's loyal friend; Lord Ido, with whom Eona has a disturbingly strong attraction-repulsion dynamic; Kygo, the rightful heir to the throne. However—and I felt this way about the first book—I couldn't help feeling a bit distant from some of the characters, including the narrator, Eona, despite the story being told in first person. I can't put my finger on exactly why. It could just be a matter of taste, but I felt it might be because the society depicted in Eon and Eona is so bound by tradition and social stricture that it was difficult to relate to the motivations of the characters sometimes. On the other hand, that's a testament to how well the author has developed her world and the people who inhabit it.

Recommended for Fans Of...: Fantasy with Asian influences and strong female protagonists, like Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix and Malinda Lo's Ash and Huntress. Books in which characters bond with dragons, like Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders books.

Themes & Things: Eona struggles to make some thorny, convoluted, difficult moral decisions in this volume of the story—what is more important, friendship or power? Can you trust someone when they haven't been entirely truthful with you, and can/should they extend the same trust? Should you sacrifice one person's life to save countless others? Eona—and the reader—are shown that regardless of the ultimate decision, each choice has a cost, and sometimes the cost seems unbearable, even if you feel you've done the right thing.

Authorial Asides: Although I love the depiction of the swashbuckling girl on the cover, I'm debating with myself whether this is an example of coverfail...after all, this is an Asian-inspired setting, and the girl on the cover looks...I don't know. She's a brunette, at least. But not particularly Asian.

You can find Eona at an independent bookstore near you!

April 18, 2011

Spreading Poetry and Why We Love YA Fantasy

If you haven't checked out Greg Pincus's Kickstarter project Poetry: Spread the Word, you're missing out on a great opportunity to help support poetry in California schools, at a time when we're continuing to see funding dwindle and kids' access to the arts curtailed. Has there ever been a time when arts funding for schools hasn't been dwindling? Not in my lifetime, but if Greg's project succeeds, it will be a small beacon of hope that individual grassroots efforts can help combat what sometimes seems to be an inevitable slide toward seeing arts curriculum and creativity as optional and unimportant.

If Poetry: Spread the Word meets the $5,000 fundraising goal, Greg will do 40 or more school visits at no cost to schools and make original poetry available for free on his blog. If you've ever read Greg's poetry, you'll know that this is a real treat. There are 3 weeks left to pledge, and the more you pledge, the more goodies Greg will give you...

Franny Billingsley is the author of the new fantasy novel Chime. In the latest Horn Book e-newsletter, Mr. Read Roger asks her about YA fantasy vs. adult fantasy, and her answer really resonated with me:
I do read some adult fantasy, but I find it often lacks the intimacy I crave from any novel. Either the cast of characters is too large, or the landscape is too big, or the stakes are too broad (I’d rather read about saving the character’s soul than saving the character’s kingdom), or the protagonist feels somehow distant. This last is probably a function of one or more of the foregoing, all of which add up to a kind of psychic distance from the character that in turn, distances me from the story.
I feel like this answer applies in a much larger sense to the question I often get asked, which is "why YA?" Adult fiction really can be distant and lack intimacy with the character. A character-driven book becomes a dry study, observing from above, rather than delving deep into the heart of the character. Thanks to Franny for articulating some of the reasons why I love YA so much--as a reader and as a writer.

April 16, 2011

If I were in charge of Sesame Street shorts?

I would FULLY choose this.

Because, seriously. I would have watched this all day as a kid. And hey! I'd then know all about sorting algorithms.


Actually, my first thought when I saw this was, "Oh NO! Tell me we're not going to have to do that sorting thing at Axel's wedding!" (Our friend Axel is Romanian, and is having a big traditional do in June.) Actually, though this is a Hungarian dance, I really wouldn't mind. I just want to see all the guys in flounced tops and hard-soled boots.

April 14, 2011

Toon Thursday and Rock the Drop!

Hey, did you Rock the Drop yet today in honor of YALSA's Support Teen Lit Day? It's not too late to download bookplates to print and paste inside your favorite book, which you will then sneakily leave for some lucky teen reader to find. Yes, you. Go!

Also, apropos of Tanita's post and the ensuing discussion below on whether kids are attracted to the dark and/or gruesome, here's an interesting article about the rather grim stage interpretation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden--an article that starts with the premise that the book really isn't a children's book. I can't say I agree with that. Maybe that's because I do, to some degree, think kids have a tolerance for certain types of grim, even if I don't think that all kids "like a bit of gore." Beyond that, though, I'm not sure how I feel about a musical interpretation of the book. Turning beloved books into musicals can be such a touchy endeavor...

Aside from that, we present you with a brand-new installment of Toon Thursday. Click to view larger (i.e., if you actually want to READ the thing). Enjoy!

April 12, 2011

HAPPY D.E.A.R. DAY, Love Wonderland

D.E.A.R. Day!
Be a DEAR and don't disturb us -
We are reading books today!
We have forts of sofa cushions
On the floor in disarray.

We'll read Ralph on motorcycle,
Cows that type on desks of hay,
Gilda's mysteries need solving
Calcifer would like to play...
True-fact books give questions answers,
Nonfiction the world portrays,
We'll read cookbooks, science books, and poems,
Tales of giants, orcs and fae...

Be a DEAR and don't begrudge us
Hours of reading fun today,
We'll be spies, adventurers, pirates,
Reading, all the livelong day.

When I was teaching, my slight obsession was bulletin boards... I changed them about every four minutes, put up poetry, book covers, artwork, and other random stuff that I happened upon. This is one of those spur-of-the-moment poems that would have gone up during National Poetry Month with lots of book covers, and I would have asked my kids to identify the books in the poem, and write their own.

Beverly Cleary, that splendid woman, was born in 1916 on this date, and is responsible for the lovely Drop Everything And Read celebration today. I wish her happy, and many more fabulous years of reading - and I wish the same for you.

April 11, 2011

Monday Review: HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo

I acquired an Advance Review Copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in January. This review is based on that version. The hardcover version is out now.

Reader Gut Reaction: I enjoyed Malinda Lo's earlier fantasy novel Ash, so I was really looking forward to reading Huntress and seeing where the author would go next. In this case, it felt like a prequel that really allowed her (and the reader) to explore the setting in much more intimate detail. And that had been my main quibble with Ash--I wanted a more fleshed-out glimpse of both characters and setting, and with Huntress, I was happy to find it was provided in spades. I really like it when authors can put a new twist on high fantasy, and the Asian influences on the setting and cultures in this book make it stand out. The unique details really help draw in even the more jaded fantasy reader such as (ahem) myself.

Concerning Character: I was a little surprised at first by the omniscient viewpoint that lets us get a glimpse of all three main characters—Kaede, Taisin, and Con. It was a very close third person whenever we were in each character's head, but the different viewpoints weren't kept apart in separate chapters the way many books with multiple POV do it. Rather, it felt more like traditional storytelling, letting us see Kaede and her growing sense of herself as a protector and hunter responsible for their party; Taisin's growing magical power and her fears of loving (and losing (Kaede); and Con and his care for both girls as well as his unexpected love for his guardswoman Shae. Once I got more accustomed to the style, though, I thought it worked well, and gave the story a classic fairy-tale feel.

Recommended for Fans Of...: Fantasy with an Asian-mythology twist, like Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix and Alison Goodman's EON: Dragoneye Reborn. Fairy-tale retellings with a dose of romance, like Robin McKinley's Beauty.

Themes & Things: This is a sweet, poignant, hopeful love story as well as an intriguing fantasy adventure. The romance is not limited to the two girls, Kaede and Taisin, and their growing feelings for one another—in a world where same-sex relationships do not necessarily seem to be viewed with negativity—but also includes their friend Con and his love for Shae...a nobleman in love with a humble guardswoman. So there are themes of both gender and class at work here, but neither theme is overemphasized as such. And I liked not being beaten over the head with issues. It's simply a good story.

Authorial Asides: You can check out Malinda Lo on her blog/website and on Twitter, as well as on the fabulous site Diversity in YA Fiction, which she co-created with YA fantasy author Cindy Pon.

You can find Huntress at an independent bookstore near you!

April 09, 2011

"Well, all kids like a bit of gore, really."

Behold the humble executioner, with a little entertaining gore...

Be told, as the Scots say: this is going to be one of those think-y sort of blog posts wherein I share something that's swimming through the brainpan. It has no conclusion, and no... um... point, really. Just, some thoughts:

Bit of a weird story: Because I'm a writer, I get asked almost every time I'm in a social situation my two cents on someone's writing. This past week, an acquaintance asked me about doing a picture book series illustrating nursery rhymes, wherein the penultimate drawing would be ...someone being beheaded.

"Do you think that would sell?" she asked, squinching up her nose. "It's part of the song."

"Um, wellll," I stalled, then gave my usual caveats. "I don't write picture books, I don't have a British publisher --"

"Oh, well, I know. But you still know so much more about this stuff than I do!"

I thought a bit. "Well, here's my two cents. If you put together a good enough book dummy, it might sell. Here. Maybe a crossover into Europe. You'd not get a crossover into the American market, especially since it's a British nursery rhyme, one we don't have, and -- well, we don't show beheadings in our children's books."

"Well, all kids like a little gore, really," she said dismissively.

::crickets chirping::

I looked from my childless acquaintance to my childless self, and stuttered, "Oh. Oh, um, right." Even though most of me was not sure I agreed.

And I'm still not.

Thing is, it's not the first time I've heard this, nor, I'll hazard, the first time you've heard it either. Italian illustrator Isabella Labate quotes Nikolaus Heidelbach at a recent Bologna Book Fair Illustrator's Café saying that "children have a natural taste for the wicked" and tailoring his illustrations to that end. A recent Children's Literary Salon in New York City opened a discussion between Betsy Bird and several children's authors, including Adam Gidwitz, teacher and author of A Tale Dark and Grimm, who started researching the horror-filled origins of children's fairy tales as a result of a storytelling curriculum at his school. (He teaches various grades at a school in Brooklyn.)

So, many accept as a foregone conclusion that children like gore and wickedness, and book sales back them up... or, at least back up the idea that ADULTS will buy books with a little gore in them. But, what does " a little gore" mean? What does gore mean, really? It's all so subjective.

And that's what pulled me up short. When people say that "all" children or that children in general do anything, I go on the defensive. All children at one time or another are SHORT. That's about the only "all" I can deal with. So, I disagree with the statement right there, to begin with.

Also, "children" is open to interpretation. What ages are we talking, here? Many adults were leery of The Graveyard Book, though others found odd little Bod charming and precious. Who's to say what most children thought? - In most cases, the gatekeepers are the ones who open things up for discussion - and close the discussion and remove the book when they're closing those gates they keep.

How do these people even know what children like? Are they even asking? And, in their position as gatekeepers, is it their job to care about things like liking/disliking? Or is it to simply keep the young readers ...protected behind the ideological gates?

Same road, but changing lanes for a bit: Last August, there was a PW piece on the violence in Mockingjay. There was a lot of response from the blogosphere - from agent Nathan Bransford's asking his readers what they thought, to agent Susie Townsend's blogged response, part of which was:

Kids today are just different, and they’re not going to read about Scout and Jem Finch and be moved the same way some of us adults were. There’s a reason that most of the high school kids don’t actually read. (Reading cliff notes or asking the one kid in class who does their reading doesn’t count, obviously. I will wage money, that even in my Honors classes, less than 10% of my students actually read all of the required reading in its entirety.) Even The Catcher in the Rye has a disconnect to the majority of the youth of today. They think Holden’s whiny, and they don’t get what the Big Deal is.

They want to read about sex, drugs, and violence because that’s the world they live in right now. Those are the topics that will move them and open up dialogue and allow them to think.

That statement kind of traumatized me. If I really and truly believed that the current generation of young adults and children had an inability to be moved by the things which move me, I'd probably find the nearest bridge and jump. Not that I even got the Big Deal about that whiny Caufield boy -- dude, what was his damage??? -- but I believe I see, at least in part, what Ms. Townsend is saying: books have to meet readers where they are. Every book, however, is not going to meet every reader.

(An interesting response from Suzanne Collins herself, to the violence level in Mockingjay was in this past Friday's New York Times. The Hunger Games wasn't a game -- it was a war.)

Every kid does not like a little gore. I think every kid might want to, because other kids are liking it -- but it's not an "everybody" thing. Few things are.

You'd think that was obvious, yes? Well, it is, and it isn't.

I long ago came to the conclusion that the gatekeepers in our society, though they (we? Who gets to be a gatekeeper?) pay lip service to the idea of rejecting violence, gore, or whatnot, are much, much, much, MUCH more concerned about sex in film, music, and children's lit. Violence? Meh. We're a country formed at the roots by religion and revolution, and at present we're holding records for the title of Warmongers of the World. All of us like a bit of gore, and it's no big deal. This is us! This is who we are!

And yet...

Betsy Bird recently blogged about the Bologna's Ragazzi Award recipient, a beautifully redone collection of Aesop's fables, which are stark, dark, and streaked with, as Betsy puts it, a "thin vein of cruelty." It's such a gorgeous book, with dark colors, beasts in nice suits chasing each other, and a very large knife or two. It's shivery fare -- the stuff of nightmares -- and will no doubt be cherished by all kinds of kids.

I guess I'm good with that. On a purely technical level, we need the dark; without it, we wouldn't be able to appreciate light. I'm just left wondering how much darkness is really necessary for that process, and if we're pre-conditioning ourselves to... something darker.

I'm also sometimes very relieved I don't have to make the decision of "how much is too much?" for anyone else.

My acquaintance the illustrator continues this week with the sketches for her book dummy. You might be relieved to note that I believe I've talked her out of her idea for the beheading, and urged her to substitute an architectural drawing instead (don't worry -- it will make perfect sense within the scope of the book). It's a small victory -- one which will more likely reward her quest for publication, anyway, and overall I think it will make for a book that will more easily cross continents from these damp islands.

She still thinks I'm oversensitive about beheading: amusingly squeamish, silly, and, ultimately, wrong.

And I can only shrug, and say, "Maybe."

April 07, 2011

Thursday Bits: Are You Ready to Rock...the Drop?

That's right, Teen Literature Day is coming up on April 14th, and this year the Readergirlz are teaming up with the folks at Figment to Rock the Drop. Buy your favorite book, print a bookplate, stick it in the book, and leave it for some lucky YA reader to find. Go to the Readergirlz site to download banners and printable bookplates!

Have you signed up for Alyssa @ The Shady Glade's 2011 YA Book Battle? Check out her post on the rules of the contest--you've still got 3 days left to nominate your two favorite overlooked books of 2010, and then the brackets begin! Sounds like fun. I did not volunteer to assist, because if I volunteer for anything else my husband will strenuously object (and with good reason), but there might even be a few spots left for volunteer judges. There's even a Goodreads group so you can keep up with the action. Go check it out!

And, just because it's cool, children's books in Laos, delivered by elephant, and a 1980 Mercedes bus that's now the Bumper Children's Book Bus in Russia. (Via SCBWI's Expression newsletter)

April 06, 2011

Feeling the love.

Paolo Bacigalupi, quoted on SF Signal, discussing his favorite literary dystopian novels:
"Feed by M.T. Anderson. Genius, and devastating. It's classified YA, but that's only because it's too smart and too on target to be sold as an adult novel."

::melty sigh::

Find out what M.T. Anderson, Ekatarina Sedia, Carrie Ryan, and others have to say about their fave dystopians.

Did you know that there was a Terry Pratchett book award? Uh, neither did I, but the Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Book Prize exists:

The award, launched in 2010 by Sir Terry Pratchett and Transworld Publishers, is for an unpublished first novel “set on Earth, although it may be an Earth that might have been, or might yet be, one that has gone down a different leg of the famous trousers of time.”

The 2011 Nominees are on Locus Online.

Strange Horizons has a compelling essay on race and the fantastic on tap today.

It's a tough topic, race, and for those of us who LOVE science fiction and fantasy, but most often don't see ourselves reflected in the writing, TV shows, or films, it's a touchy one. I'm really impressed that author and journalist Nisi Shawl has taken this on. I first ran into her work during Tor's Steampunk Fortnight where I read quite a few diverse steampunk - or cotton-gin punk - stories which took place with non-white characters during the faux Victorian Age. Shawl has consistently and unapologetically taken on some of the thornier aspects of being overlooked in this genre, and announces that she'll be at WisCon 35 as Guest of Honor, and will be talking about her recently edited anthology, WisCon Chronicles Volume 5: Writing and Racial Identity.

That should be quite something.

Ooh. Excerpt from The new Carrie Vaughn on Tor.com. If you're not reading this chick, you should. Voices of Dragons was a Cybils nominee, and it was quite good; can't wait for the sequel.

For my "entertainment reading," I'm reading through all her Kitty Norville books right now (thanks, Colleen, for the recommendation) and I LOVE how this woman writes. Can't WAIT to get my hands on STEEL.

Happy Midweek.

April 04, 2011

Monday Sci-Fi Bytes: SHADOW WALKERS by Brent Hartinger

I acquired an Advance Review Copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in January. This review is based on that version. The official version is out now.

Reader Gut Reaction: Right away, I was happy to see a supernatural suspense novel with a gay teen character in which the protagonist's sexual orientation was neither treated as a social "issue" nor seemed to be a source of undue psychological stress on the character. Zach is lonely, yes, but mostly as a factor of living with his grandparents on a really small island off the coast of Washington state. His parents are dead, and he's only got his grandparents and little brother...and an interesting array of internet friends, who he's recently been forbidden to contact. So when Zach discovers a book about astral projection, he figures it might give him a way off the island, a means of escape. Soon enough, though, he discovers that astral projection has its dark side...and that he's not alone in the astral realm.

Concerning Character: Zach is a really likeable guy. I felt for him being one of very few teenagers (and even fewer gay teenagers) on the island where he lives, and I loved the depiction of his relationship with his little brother Gilbert. He's pretty much a regular kid, but desperately lonely. So when he meets Emory, his potential astral love interest, I wanted to cheer for sure. The characters are quickly drawn, but effectively, making this a fast and absorbing read rather than a study of character or an in-depth examination of what it's like to be a gay teen. As I mentioned, it's not an "issue book." But that's one of the things I liked about it. Not to beat it over the head, but we need many more books like this in which being a gay teen is treated as normal.

Recommended for Fans Of...: Lois Duncan's books about paranormal powers, especially those about astral projection like Stranger With My Face. Suspenseful books about battling mysterious dark creatures who live in the liminal spaces, like Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy.

Themes & Things: I'd say this book is more plot-driven, but one of the key themes is, of course, first love, and learning that it's what's inside a person's heart that's important, not what they look like or whether they're differently abled or gay or straight or what. Family bonds are also a big part of this book, and so is the idea of having the courage to do the right thing and to be your own person.

Authorial Asides: Brent Hartinger is a fellow Flux author and all-around nice guy. (And I'm not just saying that because it's in his bio. He really is.) He's also the author of Geography Club, Project Sweet Life, and a number of other books. You can visit his website and pick his brain on a number of writerly and non-writerly topics, and you can follow him on Twitter.

You can find Shadow Walkers at an independent bookstore near you!

April 01, 2011

Yeah, April. That Again.

Normally, I hate April 1. I don't consider myself particularly gullible, but I tend to take people at face-value, and this is the one day a year I have to be actually, you know, careful. I find that more annoying than amusing, but Out of the Box has managed today to make me smile. Check out the REST of the fine fiction that's come into Horn Book Magazine today. Apparently, this whole thing had something to do with Travis from 100 Scope Notes. Can you tell??

Apparently, on my LinkedIn, the "people you might know" has been expanded. J.R.R. Tolkien and Ernest Hemingway have finally updated their LinkedIn pages.


You can't find this book at an independent bookstore near you, but don't let it stop you from trying. I mean, everyone wants to read a Charlie Sheen children's book, don't they??

Fine, fine. Here. Read this excerpt from John Scalzi's new SF book. The first sentence alone should make you feel ...something. Possibly blue in the face...