Monday, July 15, 2013

Booknerd Boutique 7/15/13

 Oh kiddies, there's lots of cool stuff from the interwebs to share with you this week! Enjoy

I still have no idea what pictures should go with the Boutique posts :)
  • Funny/interesting article from Cracked about the private lives of 6 famous authors. You will NEVER look at Shel Silverstein the same way again.
  • You know, as I often remind you, that reading makes you smarter, thinner and sexier, right? Well, it can also help you from getting dementia when you're older. You're welcome.  
  • Interview about the upcoming movie adaptation of Joe Hill's novel Horns with director Alexandre Aja. The movie's going to star Harry Potter as a guy who wakes up with Horns that make everyone act nuts. Very excited about this one.  
  • Writing tips from Ernest Hemingway, though not one of my favorites, I like his tips which include: write, exercise and have sex (if he added eat cake that would make it pretty much perfect, amiright?)
  • As a wayward youth I specialized in reading books that were age inappropriate for me (here's looking at you Stephen King) and it has clearly made me more awesome. Here is YA author Patrick Ness' list of "innapropriate" books for youth. Very cool.
  • A ranking of Stephen King's film adaptations here. Some of my favorite adaptations: Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Pet Sematary (scared the bejesus out of me when I was in middle school. like, embarassingly) Carrie (I'm still sometimes afraid Carrie's mom is waiting behind the door with a knife), The Dark Half (the sparrows are flying again!). Then there are ones that I watch on repeat constantly while writing/procrastinating: The Stand miniseries, IT miniseries (bad casting, IMO and cheesy effects, but my favorite book), Creepshow (love it!) Bonus list of adaptations here.
  • Want to go to Diagon Alley? Of course you do, silly muggle. Google maps can help
  • Oh, and speaking of Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling has another novel out under a sneaky pseudonym!  (also, I have just decided, just now, that The Sneaky Pseudonyms is a great band name)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

  • ISBN-13: 9780062200570
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Pages: 704
  • List Price: (Hardcover) $17.33

 Kayso, as you know, I love me some Stephen King. Also, though, I am a big fan of his son: Joe Hill. I have read everything he's written so far and liked it all (my review of Heart Shaped Box: here). So, as you can imagine, I was very excited for the release of some tasty new Joe Hill, and I was not dissapointed.

So, title = vanity license plate, which, yeah, is kinda dorky, but who doesn't like a Nosferatu reference? And is the book about vampires? Sort of. Is it about spooky Christmas vampires and a magic bike and a cool tattooed lady? Well...yes.

Plot: there is a girl named Vic. When we first meet her she's a sassy little kid who has a magic bike (yes, this reminded me of Silver from King's IT) that will take her across a magic bridge to find things that are missing. After it happens she's sick and doesn't really remember it 100%. But, as anyone who has a special ability and then two sets of memories to cover it up (because that's a pretty common thing, right?) Vic is not totally mentally stable as she grows up. She meets another gal who has powers and she tells Vic that she is the only one who can stop Charlie Manx. Who's Charlie Manx? Ah - that's right - the creepy vampirey dude who steals children and takes them to Christmas Land (which sounds fun, but totally isn't) in his magical death car (which yes, is sort of sentient, like Christine). Of course Vic tries to find him and terror ensues.

NOS4A2 has a lot working in it's favor: Vic - she's a really cool main character. She's kinda mean and nuts and has tattoos and it basically a total badass. Her lover, Lou, is a comic book nerd and has a hilarious conversation about being Browncoats with a dude nurse at one point. The bad guy - Charlie Manx, is totally creepy and his little demon kids in Christmas land are chilling (who's up a rousing game of Scissors-for-the-drifter? Anyone...? Hello...?) There's just lots of good here. The thing I like about it is that the characters are all really interesting and engaging and you root for them, and that's in addition to being super creeped out by the bad guy. It's no wonder that this book has inspired a lot of icky/awesome fan art.
Uh...I think I'll walk, thanks...
For more on Mr. Hill - you can check out his tumblr.
Soundtrack: Of course, an old school Christmas song. (and there's something definitely spooky about a Christmas song in the middle of the summer -especially when it plays on a radio that you didn't turn on)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Potent Quotable + Fun Facts - Rejection Edition

“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” 

                                                               ~ Sylvia Plath

So, as I've mentioned, I have been querying literary agents with my first completed YA novel. Today I got my first personalized rejection. For those of you who are not foolish enough to try to be a writer, mostly agents (who receive a gajillion queries a day) send back a form letter that looks something like this:

Dear wanna be-writer,
Thanks for sending your mediocre/pile of crap/nothing new here manuscript to me. Unfortunately, I make my money selling art, and this isn't gonna cut it. Better luck next time,

Just kidding, they are usually much nicer than that, but it's clear that they are just plugging your name in and send it. This makes sense, of course, they have lots to tend to. Sometimes they say encouraging things about how so much of writing is personal preference so it's just not for them, but maybe for somebody - and that's always nice (even though it's a little like it's not you it's me, let's just be friends). I did get one a few weeks ago that had some helpful links at the bottom about making your query more appealing, which was kinda cool.

Anyway, today I got one that was personalized to me, to the specific letter I wrote and what the agent thought my manuscript was lacking. Very cool. Of course, even though it gives me something to ponder, any rejection always makes you feel a little butthurt.

Apparently Isaac Asimov felt butthurt about  rejections too - here's a much more dismal quote about rejections from him (just to contrast the one from Ms. Plath above)

“Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” 

                                                ~Isaac Asimov


 So there ya go, and if it's possible, I feel both ways about them. In order to be less butthurt - please enjoy some fun facts about famous authors' rejections:
  • Dr. Suess' first book And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times before an old pal of his said they'd publish it - it was thought to be too different from the juvenile books being published at the time
  • Slobbering Sled-dogs! Jack London wracked up nearly 600 rejections in his day, and you can see them all at his estate, creepily named "The House of Happy Walls"
  • Nicholas Spark's The Notebook was rejected 24 times, then Ryan Gosling made it happen with his magical pecs. Okay, I made that last part up. 
  • Gone with the Wind was rejected by 38 publishers before it was printed.
Also, for funsies, here are two websites which list some other famous rejections. Go here for 50 writers who were rejected
or for one that actually has some harsh rejection letters included, go here.   
Also, YA author Barry Lyga (who despite awkwardly flirting with at TBF a few times is not my boyfriend) posts lists of his rejection letter on his blog, here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Booknerd Boutique 7/2/13

Hey there! I'd like to introduce a new feature on the blog. Booknerd Boutique - these entries will be weekly (or so) collections of cool nerdy links that I have found through the week. Author stuff, news about new books, film adaptations, that kind of thing. Or, you know...whatever I feel like...because it's my blog (insert evil laugh here).

  • First up: in series new: True Blood season 6 has started, the show based on Charlaine Harris's super successful Southern Vampire series. Also, the 13th and last Sookie book has come out recently: Dead Ever After I'll be picking that one up soon, so you can expect a review this month.
  • Under the Dome - the CBS television adaptation of Stephen King's 2009 novel started up last week. After I watch a few more episodes I'll cook up a review/snarky comments for y'all regarding that. You can watch it: here.
  • Enjoy two snippets of video clips of a lengthy Stephen King interview - one on his compulsion to write: here. And one calling him Walt Disney's evil twin: here.
  • Three Neil Gaiman tidbits for you: New Sandman cover has been released, check it out: here. My review of Sandman: Dream Hunters: here. Gaiman's novel American God is going to be a 6 (!!) season show on HBO, that article: here. My American Gods review: here. And, even cooler: Neil Gaiman's 8 rules for writing. Enjoy those: here
Not sure what kind of photo to put, so yeah, I decided on a pig reading the newspaper. You enjoy that.

Enjoy! and Happy 4th of July everyone!

Holy Crap - I met Neil Gaiman!

We are very excited
Kayso, on June 21, I turned 30. The Beau threw me a party - there was punch and pie - and my Florida parents surprised me : it was awesome. But, the day before something even more awesome happened: The Beau drove me like 5 hours to Saratoga Springs so we could see Neil Gaiman speak. That's right, beyotches...I met Neil Gaiman. We are totally best friends now.  Here's how it went down:

Neil's (Because we are close personal friends now I'm going to refer to him as Neil - because we are clearly on a first name basis. Deal with it.)Anyway, Neil's new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane just came out. He was doing his "last" book signing tour, and one of the stops was in Saratoga Springs, hosted by Northshire Books. Neil came out and was interviewed by Joe Donahue of the Book Show - but I'm not sure if it aired yet.
Neil talked about the new book and his inspiration for it. He talked about how he was writing it for his wife, Amanda Palmer, when she was away and he missed her. He hadn't planned on it being a novel, but it just kept growing. This was really interesting to hear, because just maybe a day or two before, I'd read Amanda's take on the book. Her version is slightly more personal and emotional, which is cool. Kind of neat to hear them both talk about it from their own point of view.
Cooler than you

  Then Neil read a selection from his book. Very cool to hear him read it; he's a great audiobook reader but in person he was awesome. He also read (because Donahue happened to have a ARC copy of the book) a selection from Fortunately, the Milk his next children's book coming out in September. That was cute and funny, and I can't wait to get that as well.

After that he talked a little more candidly about why it's his last tour: so get this, there were 1500 people in Saratoga to hear him speak, and I would guess that about half or more stayed and waited in line to get their books personally signed. That's a butt load of signing. We waited in line for about 3 hours, and we were not the last people. Imagine signing books and trying to be cheerful to fawning strangers for upwards of 4 hours. How exhausting! Gaiman said that he loves it, but it's too much to do such large events, so he plans on doing more ninja signings in the future - like Twittery flash-mob type things. But he also said he loves reading to an audience so he won't stop doing that.

So back to the signing part, like I said, we waited a long time. We talked with a guy who is planning on taking a road trip based on Gaiman's novel American Gods. We saw lots of cool t-shirts. We saw Neil sign a ukelele. Neil was signing in sort of an assembly line and you could tell that he was tired, but that he was trying to talk to everyone at least a little. There were like 6 employees laying out the books and pushing them to him. There was a lady who was wrangling different colored sharpies. It was intense. Then it was my turn. I was all nervous, because I wanted to say something cool, but I'm usually a fangirl dork and I end up sounding like a herb. But he was cool and smiled at me and I told him I put his quotes up in my library all the time and he goes: "You're a librarian? I love librarians! They're my people!" and he cheered for librarians a little. I swooned and was all: "We love you too!" So now Neil and Amanda and I are all married and living happily ever after. Or not, but either way, I got my book signed and it was awesome :-)
Yes, he signed everyone's with a heart, but ours was obviously a love connection...
Me looking 12, Neil smiling at my sparkling wit, and the Sharpie wrangler
           My book review of Ocean at the End of the Lane will be coming soon. For other Gaiman reviews by me, go here.      For Neil's website, go here. For his Twitter, go here.                     

Monday, June 3, 2013

In which I get a sign from my dinner

So, okay, I am a school librarian, as such, I have the summers off. (If you say something douchey like "Must be nice" I will bust through your screen and punch your mouth off - every job has pros and cons!) Anywho, as a result, I make summer goals much like most people make New Year's Resolutions. Every summer I work on writing pretty much like it's a full time job, either writing a draft of a new project, or editing. (More on this summer's new project to come.)

Anyway, the product of the last two summers (and of course, all the months in between) is a YA novel that I'm trying to find an agent for. I have queried agents before, but now, I have heavily edited both my manuscript and my query and am making a clean new go at it. I plan on sharing the process (in convenient, sexy blog form - now with more snark!) as I go. My current goal is to send an even 100 query letters before school lets out. So far I have sent...13.
I know, that kinda sucks, but I'm working on it. Anyway, I sent out the first batch yesterday morning, then later, Boyfriend and I went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant where we chatted about my ideas for my upcoming Summer First Draft and my Querying Process. Then the bill came and...
 So, I'm gonna go ahead and assume that's a good sign. Wish me luck!

My name is bee, and I'm a Constant Reader

Kayso, when I was about 11 or so, I started stealing my sister's Stephen King books off of her shelf and reading them in frantic, stolen snatches. I didn't understand a lot of what I was reading, probably, and I think it began as me looking for another book like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Boy, did I find ever so much more than that. I don't know when I started to get it, when I became what King calls a "constant reader," but every summer from the time I was 13 til the time I was in my 20's I reread IT. I still vividly remember the first time reading a book gave me honest to Jesus, actual chills. I was laying around on a hot summer day reading instead of being outside making friends, and I was reading Pet Sematary. I think one of the best books about writing is King's On Writing. Speaking of his writing advice, please enjoy these 20 quotes (you know I love quotes too!).

True Story
Anyway, I'm telling you this because this summer there's a lot to look forward to as a King fan. Under the Dome is gonna be a tv show, which I sincerely hope doesn't suck.
Also, he's got a new book: Joyland. This one is from the Hard Case Crime publishers and is supposed to be a good pulpy old-school creeper - review coming some time this summer, I'm sure.

Oh, and by the freaking way - he has a musical!? (We'll talk about my need for an interobang key another time) Yeah... you heard that right, and yeah, it's making my 15 year old cast geek self all aflutter. Seriously, kids, I love some musically goodness. (I am like freaking Florence + Motley Crue + Idina Menzel in my car/shower.) Anyway, he cowrote this with John Cougar Mellencamp (yeah, I know he dropped the "Cougar" but a heart doesn't forget, John) And you can check it out/gleek out over it here.

Anywho - King was recently on the Today Show talking about the new book and musical and his general awesomeness. He also gives recommendations for summer - which include his sons' works. I haven't read any Owen King yet, but I am reading Nos4a2u right now and it will be my next review. (You can read my review of Hill's Heart Shaped Box here).
Enjoy the video here:

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So, that's all happening. Also, what the hell, here's a picture of me in my "MidWorld Lanes" t-shirt - a reference to the Dark Tower series.
Oh! And when you have a pal who's a photoshop god, you occasionally get things in your inbox like this, unbidden, and awesome (Thanks JK!):
So, yeah, I know I seem a little Annie Wilkes right now, but you know, I'm just an enthusiastic kinda gal.