Friday, November 30, 2012

First Line Friday No. 16

Welcome back to First Lines!

Shannon Hale blew me away with her debut novel, The Princess Academy, and though I haven't had as much time to read until this year, I've kept track of her and what she's been penning.  I will say, the title of the book we're talking about today didn't draw me in and I think the reason why is that it doesn't sound like the story it is enclosing.

Book of a Thousand Days is a re-imagining (broadly) of an ancient Eastern tale -- Mongolia, a princess and a serving maid, an evil warlord (who just might not be entirely human) and the problem of status in a land where pretending to be someone you're not might end in death.

The cover and title made me think it was something along the lines of American history and, frankly, I don't read much of that any more (having consumed a shockingly high number of American historical novels growing up).  So...I guess the lesson here is, "Don't judge a book by its cover and/or title"?  (Although if I'd seen the other covers, I might have picked it up sooner!)

And now, without further ado, let us peek into the life of one Dashti, serving maid to a lady of high standing:

"My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.

Lady Saren is sitting on the floor, staring at the wall, and hasn't moved even to scratch for an hour or more.  Poor thing.  It's a shame I don't have fresh yak dung or anything strong-smelling to scare the misery out of her.

The men are bricking up the door, and I hear them muttering and scraping cement.  Only a small square of unbricked sky and light still gape at me.  I smile back at its mean grin to show I'm not scared.  Isn't it something, all this trouble they're going to for us?  I feel like a jewel in a treasure box, though my lady is the --

My lady suddenly awoke from her stupor and sprang at the door, clawing at the bricks, trying to shove her way out.  How she screamed!  Like an angry piglet."

-- from Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Reasons to Read:

1.  Um...shut in a tower for seven years?  I must see how this turns out.
2.  Who is Lady Saren?  Why is she being shut up in a tower?
3.  Fresh yak dung?  To "scare away" misery?  What other crazy beliefs does this serving-maid have??
4.  I like this serving-maid -- she grins back at something scary.  She's strong.
5.  I can just picture the Lady screaming like a piglet.  I'm...giggling, although I know they're in danger!

This book sucked me right in and I read the entire story in one sitting (I even took it to a friend's house to finish it...yeah, I'm that friend).

Does the unnamed narrator's story tug at your curiosity? 

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday -- with a review!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt!

Just thought I'd mention this:

A 72-hour (opening today) Scavenger Hunt through the Blog-o-Sphere featuring new, exciting books and fabulous prizes!  I'm joining in today and if you want to come with me, enter here: YA Scavenger Hunt

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Write Wednesday: Post NaNoWriMo Blues...

Hello, hello!

Today I'm keeping it short and sweet.

I won NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) at 50,052 words. 

However, I am not done with my novel.

It's getting harder to write now that I'm past 50k, as I've never traveled further before.

So...what now?  How do you keep up the steam you generated during NaNo so that you're still scribbling come February or April or December 1?

A short list of ways to keep the inspiration (and word count) up while you wait for Camp NaNoWriMo (April and July next year) and Traditional NaNoWriMo:

1. READ -- I've been reading such lovely books -- particularly Wonderstruck (see my review below), Book of a Thousand Days (review coming on Monday) and Liesl and Po.  Being enveloped in these wonderful stories has reminded me that I want to tell my own stories -- of high quality, like these.  They inspire me to try harder, and write [more] often.

2.  Keep up with other writers through blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  I follow several authors using Facebook, Pinterest and the occasional blog, and there's a ton of writing advice to glean (and pin).  Free education, with the occasional giveaway...what's not to like??

3.  A writing group/beta readers: I have yet to firm this up for myself, but I have been part of two writing groups and have critiqued a few manuscripts.  It's loads of fun getting personal feedback from people you know, but if you can't find them in your area, try an online writing community (perhaps through NaNoWriMo?).  Keep talking about your stories with one another -- creativity and inspiration will abound!  (You can also co-write a project if you feel overwhelmed at the thought of going it completely alone)

4.  Make a goal -- set a daily wordcount or a weekly goal, plan ahead and see how much you can accomplish!  My goal this year (the next month) is to finish my NaNoWriMo novel (aiming for 60-65k) and finish the next edit of my futuristic sci-fi short story.  I'll be making new goals near the end of December to make sure I stay on track next year.

5.  Last and definitely not least, KEEP WRITING.  Even if you wake up and don't feel like you're a storyteller that day.  You know what?  None of us are consistent enough to feel like being the same thing every day.  It just doesn't happen.  So slap some words down and keep moving forward (and if you really can't work on your current project, try penning a letter, writing a comic strip, coming up with greeting card lines, or write a poem or blogpost.  Write SOMETHING.  It'll become a habit).

What do you do to stay inspired?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Almost forgot to post today!  Vacation is over and tomorrow begins the four week march toward the Christmas holidays.

Luckily, I have a slowly dwindling stack of books to comfort me in the meantime.  Since Friday I have consumed eight books and am in the midst of three others.

I have been thinking lately about the feel of books, which is something like the voice of the character + setting/tone + the font, for me.  D you see what I mean? Hearing the voice of the character in my head while seeing the story unfold in my head and watching the sharp or soft words fly by...

The first story this week that presented itself harmoniously to me was Wonderstruck.

I was already a huge fan of Mr. Selznick because of his beautiful, breathtaking work The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  I was thrilled when I spied Wonderstruck and realized it was told in the same way.

Mr. Selznick is something of a trailblazer, innovator, revolutionary, when it comes to sharing stories. He twines people together and between the words explains with the most wonderful, emotive drawings.  The words and pictures blend together in a smooth, satisfying panorama and as you are completely engulfed in wonder, you begin to understand what a story really is.

There's no magic or fantastical elements, yet the stories feel magical.  It's one of those things that you carry around secretly in your mind that will still hold meaning years down the road.  These are stories that will stay with you forever, like oldest and best friends.

Wonderstruck was perfection.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nevermore by James Patterson


The above shows an accurate image of my brain while reading Nevermore.

Nevermore is the last Maximum Ride book (No. 8) by James Patterson does not disappoint.  I read all the Max books earlier this year and was shocked and dismayed to learn I'd have to wait for the last one to appear (I hate waiting).

My emotions had been wrung to the extreme during the prior books and having to wait to resolve them was...absolutely the worst torture imaginable (I survived by reading probably 50 books in between, if not more).

All that to say, if you haven't read Maximum Ride, buckle up and borrow them ALL AT ONCE.

One of my favorite things about James Patterson's writing (at least in this series) is how FAST it goes.  He writes so smoothly that you don't even notice the pages flipping OR how much time has passed.  I've read these usually all in one sitting because once they hook, they hook hard (And usually right away).  If you ever sit down and say, "I'm just going to read one chapter," you realize how short the chapters are (usually a few pages) and allow yourself to read half the book before you realize what's going on.

So, this was the end for Max.  I thought I knew where Patterson was heading with this.  I was really, really worried and prepared to be devastated by the loss of my favorite characters.

AND JAMES PATTERSON IS THE WORST because right near the end he writes a beautiful, tragic moment and it's "The End" and you're all like "HOLY CRAP THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING WHERE'S MY THERAPIST'S NUMBER?!?!?!?!" and then you turn the page -- "And then..."  I don't think my heart has ever plunged to the depths and flown into the stratosphere with such speed!

The unexpected, crap-your-pants twists (there's really no other way to say it!) were breathtaking (in good and bad ways).

Although I love this book, there were a few tiny things that weren't wrapped up to my satisfaction:

-- one character just decided to switch loyalties at the last second (not a major character so not a major problem with me) and I still have a hard time trusting them (the explanation was "Brainwashed" and we don't get an explanation of how they just happen to change their mind)

-- one character just decides to not care about a VERY BIG ISSUE anymore (less of a problem since I'm happy with the way things ended between two other characters because of this)

That's basically it.  The ending, while completely unexpected, is a refreshing change from all the heartache, running, fighting, and killing the team has had to do for THE ENTIRE SERIES.  So I'm cool with it.

Although I'm really sad I'll never read a new Maximum Ride book ever again.  It really is one of the best series I've ever read, for its characters (exceptionally real), its pacing and plotting (excellent material for writers to study), and the emotional gut-wrenching that has probably given me health problems.

I am now driven to drawing Maximum Ride fan art and re-reading the entire brilliant story over and over again.

The good news?  Patterson has written lots of books, including adult fiction.  I shall seek out more.  AND, the even better news, Patterson is co-writing a new series entitled Confessions of a Murder Suspect and included the first few chapters in Nevermore.  I'm already hooked.

Thanks for the amazing Ride (ok, that was lame and I'm sorry), Mr. Patterson.

Notes: I figured out why the photos in the tutorial I posted are not showing up (are they showing up for you?) so I'll be fixing that this week.  Remember, no Wednesday or Friday posts, but I WILL have another review for you on Monday.

Also, there's still a day or two left of Rachel Aaron's Eli Monpress Raffle!  Enter here to WIN FREE BOOKS!

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Line Friday No. 15

This is a book that I have read several times, but every time I try to find it I invariably forget the name and can only picture the front cover.  Time and again I've described it to librarians and finally, last time, there was an invention that let you search the subject/main character's name/objects in the book instead of the title.  It might have been invented for those librarians who had to deal with me.

The front cover is gorgeous, inviting, mysterious and I'd just love to have a print of it.  It's a perfect cover for such an enchanting story.

Here's a glimpse of the first page:

"Phew!  Made it."  Copper collapsed into her train seat.  The train was due to leave in three minutes.  "Made it, made it," she repeated breathlessly.  "Now please, train, go!"  

The train carriage alongside hers shifted slowly past, and for a second Copper's heart raced expectantly, thinking she was moving, but then the platform across the rails came into view and she realized what had happened.

Hurry, hurry, she urged.  We must go.  We must get away.  She stared nervously through the train window at the grey mass of people and suddenly she saw them: even though she'd never seen them before, even though she didn't know what they looked like, she knew it was them

--from Copper by Rebecca Lisle

Isn't it thrilling?  5 Reasons to keep reading:

1.  The urgency.  Why is Copper trying to get away?  And from whom?
2.  Copper.  I love it. I love the color, the sound of the word, I love it as a name.
3. You're dropped right in the middle of the action -- no backstory to wander through -- will Copper get away, or won't she?
4. I like that Copper apparently talks to herself.  Or is she talking to someone?  I want to read further and discover which it is.
5. Who are "them"??

What do you think?  Have you read this one?

Next week I'll have a review of James Patterson's last Maximum Ride book, Nevermore.  If you've ever heard me gush about that series, prepare yourself.  I have ALL THE FEELS from reading this one -- it is tearing me apart!

Since Thanksgiving is next week, I will not be doing Write Wednesday or First Line Friday.  Keep eating your bountiful feasts and I'll see you the Monday after.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tiny Book Tutorial

Here it is!  The picture post!

I'm going to show you how to make tiny books that you can customize and use for earrings, keychains, necklaces, bracelets, Christmas tree ornaments, or even for a doll or dollhouse.

I found an excellent tutorial through Pinterest (link here) but changed up a few things -- so this is my process.

Step 1: gather your materials -- paper (plain or notebook or colored), Elmer's glue, fabric (I prefer t-shirt as it is stretchy and hardy), scissors, cardboard, a pencil, and something to spread the glue (I use square-ended popsicle sticks, leftovers from laying a wood floor in a dollhouse).

Step 2: Cut a piece of the paper and fold until you get the size of the book you want.  This will be your template for the book cover AND the pages, so keep it!

Step 3: trace onto cardboard, and cut out.  The cardboard will be the book cover.

Step 4: Find the middle of your book and draw a line on each side.  Pinch the book together, making the space between the lines the book's spine.

Step 5: use the original paper template and trace onto the paper you're using for the book pages (you want rectangle strips, not squares -- the rectangles will be folded in half to form the pages).  Cut and fold in half, then place in book.
(Forgot to add these important materials: needle and thread)

Step 6: Mark where the holes need to be (you'll be sewing the book cover & pages together).  This is why I like using lined notebook paper -- so much easier to line up the holes!)

Step 7: Poke holes in the cover and pages (the cover first, then the pages -- don't try it all together, you'll jab yourself like I did).

Step 8: Thread your needle and tie a double knot.  Start from the outside lower end of the cover (lowest hole), then through the middle hole, then end up top ( think S).  Then go back through the middle and lowest hole.  End in middle and knot (figure 8).

Step 9: Bend the pages a few at a time so that they are "ruffly" instead of just spreading from the middle.

Step 10: Lay out the book on your fabric and trace around it -- see below for pattern.

Step 11: After tracing and cutting out the pattern, snip a slit on top and bottom (not a triangle -- just a straight snip).  This slit will allow the fabric to be wrapped on either side of the pages/spine without using two pieces of fabric.

Step 12: Squeeze some glue onto the inside (the marked side) of your book cover.  The glue needs to cover every bit fabric which is why you need the spreader.  You may need to hold the fabric back so it doesn't roll in on itself (the reason my fabric has dark spots on it in later pictures -- hasn't finished drying yet!).

Step 13: Fold the cover over -- Top, then Bottom, and the sides LAST.  Press hard to make sure the fabric is glued together tightly.  You might want to pull the top and bottom as close together as possible.  The t-shirt fabric, again, is great for this since it is stretchy.

Step 14: Let dry.

Step 15: add the hardware to your book with embroidery thread.  If you want to do earrings, you just need the earring hooks and embroidery thread.  If you want a necklace, just a chain and embroidery thread.  I did a keychain since I already have a necklace/earrings (which you can see below).  All you're going to do is thread your needle with the embroidery thread and pull the needle under the first stitch (behind the pages).  Knot at the appropriate length.

Step 16: Pull the knot around to the inside of the book and you have a nice, clean loop.  Attach to hardware.

Ta-da!  Your tiny book is done!  Now you can add a favorite quote, verse, or passage to it -- practice your handwriting beforehand, and use colored pens (or if you want to get fancy, print the words in small font and trace over them)!
Here's my book on my keychain (see my Where the Wild Things Are library key thingie?  It's so handy and cute!)   


Here are some of the other books I made: my favorite pair of earrings (in mustard yellow t-shirt fabric)...

Black pleather earrings (I found some pleather pants at the thrift store and cut them up for various jewelry projects)...

A bigger book on a blingy necklace.

Hope you enjoyed!  This is my first tutorial, so if I haven't been clear on something, leave me a question in the comments. 

See you tomorrow for First Lines!

No Pictures YET -- but they're coming!

Just saw the winner for Day 2 of the Eli Monpress raffle is up -- if you want to win Rachel's last book (which looks most exciting), remember to comment on her original post with where you've talked about the contest/her new book.

You can use:

Pinterest (you can follow Rachel and pin the Raffle pin)
Blog post

...anything else you can think of that will spread the word, including putting up posters!

Enter HERE.

And tonight, I'll be posting some pictures and a link to a tutorial about how to make some book-themed jewelry...!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Write Wednesday: Donald Maass, Jim Butcher & Me

Welcome back to Write Wednesday!

Today I'm going to be talking about the "Breakout Novel" (some great advice from Donald Maass), the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and my own current WIP (my NaNoWRiMo novel), specifically focusing on SUBPLOT(s).

The subplot(s) in a novel should either support or parallel the main plotline, says Donald Maass.  Although subplots are not entirely necessary, if you have one or more that complicate, bear upon, mirror or reverse the main plot, this adds value to the overall story.

Oftentimes, a romantic subplot is included in a story (when it's not romance.  If you're writing romance, it better be the main plotline!) to complicate things.  Books like the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander and A Series of Unfortunate Events contain romantic subplots. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events has one of my most favorite romantic moments (in book 10, I believe -- The Slippery Slope) that adds a layer of emotion to the story.  In one moment it turns from a sibling adventure/survival story to a growing up story and complicates things that way.

Another common subplot is for a secondary character to have their own story arc (think Professor Severus Snape or Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter series), heroic, antiheroic or villainous as the case may be.

Great examples of both of these types of subplots are The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  I've read the first three books (can't wait to dive into four and five!) and am always amazed at the quality of writing.  The effort put into the books to carry storylines through the series (instead of standalone plotlines) with a myriad of characters astounds me. 

The romantic subplot carries through the first three books, becoming stronger as the story continues (And I've heard a little spoiler that it comes back in a later book -- poor Dresden).  The character involved in the romantic entanglement complicates things because of her job and her personality (both of which intertwine nicely).  This combination serves to heighten the stakes and add a touch of romance in Dresden's world.

Side characters are introduced as well and although I haven't spotted huge character arcs for them (yet), Jim Butcher doesn't really leave anything to chance and always seems to bring a semi-forgotten idea, character or item to the forefront just when it is needed.

It's encouraging to read these books and realize that I am in fact growing as a writer -- I intentionally wove in a romantic subplot (combining a friend/love interest of the MC) and I have discovered a rather violent, social commentary subplot in a seemingly throwaway character.  I'm not saying I'm handling it well (I'm still stumbling around my first draft) but to see how my writing has changed over the last few years (partially due to all the fantastic books I get to read) is, well, encouraging.

If you're writing (or taking part in NaNoWriMo as a super fun Fall activity), what are your thoughts on subplots?  If you're not writing, are there certain stories' subplots you love?  (How about in TV shows?)

And don't forget, you can enter Rachel Aaron's awesome giveaway of the last Eli Monpress book, Spirit's End, HERE.

Come back tomorrow for a post WITH PICTURES! :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Win Books!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming (or not, since I don't usually post on Tuesdays...) to announce that Rachel Aaron (author of the fabulously fun Eli Monpress books) is doing a giveaway on her amazing blog!  You can win some books, an Amazon gift card, and Rachel's undying gratitude for spreading the word about her books!

Enter HERE.

And good luck!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who Could That Be At This Hour?

If you've never read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you're missing out.  And this review might not make as much sense (as amidst the SQUEE-ing and EEK-ing there'll be a few minor spoilers or plot points only recognizable by those who've been keeping track of the V.F.D. and the whereabouts of the Baudelaires).  So go to your local library and check them out!

Who Could That Be At This Hour? is Mr. Snicket's first book in his new series, All The Wrong Questions, which uncovers the beginning of Mr. Snicket's life for all of us who were wondering just how he got involved with the V.F.D. (and the Baudelaires).

First off, I love the writing style -- reminiscent of A Series of Unfortunate Events but more like...Lemony is developing his style (a quite clever 'beginning' in and of itself).  He's quite young in this story (thirteen) and hasn't become the slightly embittered, sad older man, although he does have a prolific vocabulary and is already secretive.

Second, the surprises in the book (the truth about Lemony's parents, the reveal about who he was going to meet in the city, the mysterious question-mark creature -- an answer to a question from A Series of Unfortunate Events!) were brilliant -- most I didn't see coming but made sense (which is my favorite).

Third, I love the names he comes up with.  Ellington Feint is a new favorite.

Fourth, of course Lemony would leave us with MORE questions rather than fewer.  But I believe some of our questions in regards to A Series will be answered obliquely throughout this new series.

Fifth and last, His worldbuilding is fantastic.  I feel as if I know the places, can see them, and that they are very close by...Lemony can create atmosphere in just a few words.  I don't know many authors who are as capable.

I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in this new series!

Also, if you haven't already done so, visit Mr. Snicket's site and sign up for the newsletter -- I've been receiving delightfully mysterious illustrated rhyming notes about the books.  You can sign up HERE.  (Exploring the site further will get you access to the first two chapters of Who Could That Be At This Hour?)

See you all on Wednesday -- as well as Thursday for a Special Post (With Pictures)!  Friday will still be First Lines.

Keep reading!

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Line Friday No. 14

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary (!!) -- by eating at our favorite "special dining" place, Outback Steakhouse (hey -- there's only so many restaurants in Columbia that we both love that's within our price range!) and then browsing through Barnes and Noble for an hour or two (books + good food + favorite boy = perfect).  I went right to the childrens' book section, of course, and found some interesting new titles.  Including a sequel to Princess Academy by Shannon Hale!  Ahhh!  Anyway.  That's not what I'm talking about today.  But it's newsworthy, just the same.

One of the books I found was simply titled "Wildwood" (the beginning of The Wildwood Chronicles) and featured a fabulously illustrated front cover -- somewhat in the style of The Mysterious Benedict Society (the first book of which is merely ok...I could never drag myself through the second one).  Which makes sense as it is the same illustrator, Carson Ellis (she creates wonderfully old-fashioned, intriguing illustrations, I just love her!).

I wrote it down so I could add it to Goodreads later and promptly put it out of my mind until today when I was trying to think of something you all probably hadn't read yet.

Here's a little peek into what is surely a very mysterious and exciting story:

"How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.  In fact, if she were to list her worries right then and there as she sat spellbound on the park bench and watched her little brother, Mac, carried aloft in the talons of these five black crows, puzzling out just how this feat was being done would likely come in dead last.  First on the list: her baby brother, her responsibility, was being abducted by birds.  A close second: What did they plan on doing with him?"

--From Wildwood by Colin Meloy (who is the singer/songwriter for The Decembrists!)

Is that not fabulous?

1. Right away we are intrigued.  Five crows?  Carrying a BABY?
2. Where are they that this could happen?
3. Why is she still sitting there?
4.  Is she going to try to rescue her brother?
5. What ARE the crows going to do with Mac??

I'm on the hunt to see if it's at our local library.

Also: On Monday I'll be posting a review of Lemony Snicket's Who Could That Be At This Hour?

AND since I didn't post anything on Wednesday, I'll be doing a post WITH PICTURES sometime next week.

...Keep reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Wednesday apparently blew right by me!

Apologies for the lack of post!

I'm in rehearsals all week for a production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" since we are performing it this weekend.

...I'll write you an extra post next week, I promise.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Sorry I didn't post this yesterday -- le husband has a sinus infection and I'm desperately trying to not get sick as the musical I'm in is being performed in a few days (!!!).  So I was taking care of him, running errands, in get the idea.


I have a nice new review for you, AND, next week, we'll take a look at Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket!  I have a wonderful friend who let me borrow their copy!!  Exciting!!!

And now, for a review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi:

I found it a bit difficult at first to get into this book.  The story switches between two characters and they are so different that going back and forth took real effort.  I put the book down for a few days and did other things and when I came back to it -- something had changed.

I'm not sure if I just got to the point of the story where it became easier to switch between characters or if I was just too interested in what was happening to care, but whatever the reason, Under the Never Sky sucked me in and didn't let go until I'd turned the last page.

Literally -- I was laying on my couch reading and when I was done my arm hurt so badly from holding the book!  I was sore for hours.  It was ridiculous.

Oddly enough, one of the big things I liked is that the characters are so different.  There's the Insider and the Outsider and the way they see each other.  Of course, when they are thrown together, they have to learn to survive (each other and the elements) and throw their prejudices to the wind.  They're all each other has.  This makes for great story because you have internal and external conflict and there's so much you can do with that -- not just life-and-death situations, but the day to day living with someone you don't know/trust.

Over the course of the story, things take a romantic turn, but it wasn't a mushy, gooey, cheesy high school romance.  These are two people who have survived -- almost being killed, starved, living in the wild, etc.  They are tough.  They are brave.  They are willing to do whatever it takes to find their loved ones -- even if it means having to go their separate ways.  This means the love story is also tough (they know they probably won't be able to stay together), brave (they decide to be together anyway) and take the risk to be with each other, which ends up making them better people -- it brings about healing in their own lives, which is what real love should do.

It isn't completely tragic, but I know the book is the first of a series, so I'm wondering what the eventual conclusion is -- everything is set up as if they won't be able to stay together -- they're from different worlds, really.

I also want to mention how real the world felt, even though, again, there are two very different ways of life portrayed in the books -- one sci-fi and one primitive.  It made me consider how hi-tech parts of our world are, some right next to still primitive settlements.

The story isn't as much about the romance (thank goodness) as it is about the human spirit and what we'll do for love (familial love, romantic love, love of friends, etc.).

If you like science fiction, survival stories, epic romance, or exploring strange new worlds -- Under the Nevery Sky is for you.

Check it (and the sequels' covers) out here:  Under the Never Sky

See you on Wednesday -- I'll be discussing writing habits and more from Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass!

Friday, November 2, 2012

First Line Friday No. 13

I was browsing in a Barnes & Noble last night when I spotted a familiar name: Jasper Fforde (Which I thought for sure was a pen name -- it's too cool to be real!).  I'd been hearing the name the last few weeks among NaNoers, so I picked up his newest book and read the inside jacket.

I immediately scribbled down the title to add to my Goodreads list.

Here's a peek at the first few lines:

"It looked set to become even hotter by the afternoon, just when the job was becoming more fiddly and needed extra concentration.  But the fair weather brought at least one advantage: dry air makes magic work better and fly farther.  Moisture has a moderating effect on the mystical arts.  No sorcerer worth their sparkle ever did productive work in the rain -- which probably accounts for why getting showers to start was once considered easy, but getting them to stop was nearly impossible."

-- from The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (which is actually his real name)

Reasons I'm intrigued:

1.  A place with magic is ALWAYS exciting.
2. "No sorcerer worth their sparkle..."  That phrase delights me for reasons unknown.
3. The explanation about rain - very practical and grounded in what feels like reality.
4.  Was "once" considered easy?  Is Magic leaving?  Why?
5. The title -- doesn't The Last Dragonslayer sound incredibly epic???

What do you think -- does this make you want to rush to the bookstore (or as in my case, the library) and peek in this book to find out what exactly is going on?  I can't wait to read more!

Happy NaNovember, by the way!  I'm over 2,000 words in and am happier than I have ever been with a story.  It is completely plotted (although some of it is a bit vague) and I've got a title.  If I feel like procrastinating later, I may come up with a cover...!

See you on Monday for a review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi!