Another Sick Day: Staying Home to Read Insurgent

You need this book, dude.

I think you should know there’s, like, a ton of spoilers in this post. And not the good kind of spoilers, like when your grandma used to buy you tons of candy even when your parents told her not to.

For a guy with a solid immune system I sure seem to get sick a lot. Totally left-field for me, I swear. Usually I get one super nasty bug and then I’m Superman for the rest of the year. Not this time though. The Übermensch of cold viruses decided to invade my nasal passages two times this season just to remind me that it could make me its baby boy biatch whenever it wants.

The upside of having a license to ill (that’s a Beastie Boy reference there, FYI) is that I get to stay home from work and do nothing all day–and by “nothing” I mean read Veronica Roth’s new book, Insurgent. Don’t be jelly, people! I’m about 50% through this thing (gotta love the progress counter thingy on the Kindle, right?) and I’ve got a few first impressions to share with all you peeps. I’m assuming you all know the gist of the Divergent Trilogy story line so I’ll just skip the whole synopsis thing and get straight to what I think so far.

The Good: The dialogue has been super dope from the start. The tension between Tris and Four was totally believable, and the snappy banter between Tris and the other Dauntless–especially Uriah–had me cracking up. The description of various places was totally off the chain too. The way Roth laid out the Amity headquarters made me feel like I was right there, strolling under the thick canopy in the orchard. And the way she described the Candor headquarters with the black and white everywhere? Get outta here! What a fricken awesome way to decorate the headquarters of the faction that sees only truth and lies, right? Actually, the way she has painted the headquarters of all the factions has been beyond pro, each one reflecting the character of the faction members. So well done, Ms. Roth.

The Meh: The only thing I thought was a little bit of shenanigans was how seriously mature Tris seemed at times. Perfect example: the scene toward the beginning where she and Tobias were about to do the no-pants dance, but Tris puts the kibosh on old Mr. Grabby Hands before he made it to second. Tris says something about how she doesn’t want to get freaky with him because she feels like its for the wrong reasons, namely to distract herself from her grief. This, I didn’t buy.

Before you get all worked up let me explain what I mean. I get that some people mature faster than others. I, for instance, still get a kick out of typing 58008 on old calculators and then turning then upside down. The thing is, Tris seems waaaay too insightful for a sixteen-year old with almost zero life experience. I know she saw some serious trauma in the last book, but I don’t think that accounts for some of the next level introspection that Tris has going on. Maybe it’s possible for a kid to be that mature, but I just think it’s unlikely.

But hey, what do I know? Girls are supposed to mature faster than guys anyways, right?

So yeah, that’s where I’m at for now. I know I’m the new mayor of Sucksville for breaking my own rules and not posting on Monday, but I like I said, I was super dooper sick. As soon as I finish this book I’m going to be up on here giving you the low down on Veronica Roth’s next installment.

Until then, Dear Reader. G’night.

[image sourced here]


Only Crazies Don’t Like Free Stuff

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Crazy people, that’s who. Whether it’s a signed book or a flimsy little bookmark, getting free swag is always a kick in the knickers.

So it’s with FREE in mind that I write to you, Dear Reader. For the last few days I’ve been perusing the Internets for a few of the awesomest YA giveaways out there and I figured I’d post a few here to give everybody a chance to get in on the fun.

  1. Veronica Roth’s Giveaway of Many 4’s — The author of Divergent and the soon-to-hit-the-shelves YA novel Insurgent is giving away four ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of Insurgent and four copies of Divergent to four lucky folks. This is a whole new level of dopeness.
  2. Aaron M. Ritchey — This cool cat just did a guest post on Marissa Meyer’s blog and is giving away a signed copy of his debut novel The Never Prayer to one lucky commenter. Get on there and leave a comment!
  3. YA Scavenger Hunt — This thing has already kicked off so you better get rolling if you want to get in on it. They’re giving away twenty signed books. Is your mind blown? I hope so.
  4. Forever Girl Giveaway — Rebecca Hamilton, the author of this book, just started following me on the Twitter machine. I’m glad I decided to follow her back because I found out about this neat giveaway of her book. Take a looksie if you live you some Urban Fantasy.
  5. Ex Libris Giveaway for Chopsticks — One day left on this one, friends! Head on over to the Ex Libris site to get in on the power of free.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Be sure to check out the links and drop your name in the hat.

Sequels Are Good For Writers

The other day I read this post from a blogger who had a serious problem with book sequels in YA. The blogger claimed to hate waiting for the next book in a series and would rather see a bunch of stand alone books from now until the end of time.

To this, I call shenanigans.

Getting stories published is tough business. In the three years I’ve been submitting short stories (I’ve been writing for about six) I’ve managed to get just three picked up. It’s that experience with loads of rejection that makes me totally down with writers selling as many books as they can, even if that means I have to wait a while to read a sequel. Plus, it gives me an excuse to read lots of books so as to never feel like I’m waiting for anything.

What’s your spin on this thing? Are you down with a good series, or are you more the one-book-wonder sort?

Getting Over the I-Suck-At-Life Blues

You know those times where you feel like you can’t write worth a crap? Yeah you do. I can see it in your beady writer eyes.

I don’t know if those periods of feeling crappy are just a matter of perception or if I’m really just striking out when it comes to putting words on the page, but I do know that it doesn’t matter. Nope. Not one little bit. Whether it’s reality, or just perceived reality, the result is still the same: I feel like I suck and that’s no bueno for producing anything worthwhile.

While I’ve found that those periods of feeling crappy are always going to happen, I try to take time to balance them out whenever they start to crop up. My most recent means of feeling better is reading through the “How I Got Published” section of James Dashner’s blog. In this little section he talks about how he busted his heiney to go from a schmuck with a scrap of writing talent to author with a whole boat-load of publishing credits including the NTY best-selling Maze Runner trilogy. How awesome is that?

So check out Señor Dashner’s blog right here. Once you get to his page scroll down a whole bunch and look on the right. The link is kind of hard to spot but I know it’s there (I just checked!).

That’s it for today. Happy writing, ya filthy animal.

All My Friends Live On The Internets

I fricken love the internets. Seriously, there’s so much awesome stuff out there just waiting to be seen, read, and loled at. Just take a second to think about anything that’s not on the internet. Nothing, am I right? It’s all there. Why just the other day I bought a new pair of glasses online. Yeah, dude. Glasses. And I got them on the cheap for just $89.00  What a screaming deal! You can’t beat a deal like that with a stick.

Know what else the internets are good for? Finding people who are into the same stuff you are into. Think about it. Before the web was super accessible, geeky kids like me were enjoying more than our share of lonely lunch periods. Now all you have to do is type a few key words into the Google machine and blamo! You’ve just found loads of people who are as excited as you about the new [insert fandom here] episode/book/comic/movie.

Seeing as I love the internets so much, you can probably guess about how much time I spend on computers. Mostly I like reading made-up stuff (check my Spec-Fic tastes at the top of the page!) but I’ve been known to pass the time watching interesting videos, reading what other bloggers are up to, or checking out assorted lulz.

It’s boring, but it’s my life.

It was during one these typical perusing sessions that I found something pretty darn sweetical (that’s a combo of sweet and radical–use it if you need to). It’s a YA fiction blog straight out of the Windy City and run by a lady named Anna. I know, I know, there’s a bajillion blogs about YA fic, but her blog really struck my fancy when I saw this post.

The post is about trends that the author would like to see in 2012–more straight up sci-fi, less hot-and-heavy romances–and I can get down with almost all of them. While I’m definitely on board with her desire to see more sci-fi without all the woe-is-me dystopian overtones, I’m not so much down with her point about seeing more stand-alone novels.

See, I think book series are wicked fun to read. That’s why finishing a book that is packed with characters I’ve fallen in love with is the bummer to top all bummers when it comes to reading. However, if I know the series is going to keep going then I know I’m going to get to see those characters get wrapped up in a whole new mess of wacky adventures.

But that’s not even the most important part of the deal.

Maybe you didn’t know this, but writing is really really hard. Seriously, it’s tough–one of the hardest things in the world to do well. Believe me, I know. I write a lot. That’s why I think it’s awesome–and I mean super amazing crazy awesome!–when a writer gets a book deal and the books take the heck off. Considering that a writer puts so much of their lives into a book there’s not many sweeter payoffs than being popular enough to warrant a series.

So yeah, check out the link to Anna’s blog, and don’t forget to like her post. Maybe even give the old follow button a click, eh? Oh, yeah, and read lots of books.

Bon weekend!

High-Five Me If You Love Iron Codex

I love me some book trailers. Granted, some of them are totally weak-sauce and suck super bad, but the new one from from Caitlin Kittredge’s Nightmare Garden looks wicked sweet. I’m reading the first book in the series right now and it is a prime example of steampunky goodness. Honestly, watching this trailer gets me super pumped (mathematically pumped!) to drive on through these things. So pumped, in fact, that I would high five you through your monitor right now if I could.

Check it out!

Also, you should def check out Caitlin’s website for all the goodness that is her writing. You’ll thank me. I promise.

Sweet Black Magic

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like music. Well, that’s not entirely true. My grandpa didn’t like music at all. Movies either, actually. In fact, unless you count the organ jams they cranked out during mass on Sundays I don’t ever remember the guy listening to music one single time. I guess he was just a weirdo like that.

So let me do that last paragraph over: With the exception of my grumpy old grandpa I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. It’s like pizza for your ears, you know? Everybody can find their own spin on it–cheese or no cheese–that makes it perfect for them.

Almost everybody has had one of those friends that is always on the hunt for something new when it comes to music. You know the person I’m talking about. She’s the one who always seems to know about the next big thing before it hits mainstream. For me, that someone is my wife. Some of my favorite music is from artists that I never would have found if she hadn’t showed them to me. If it wasn’t for her I’d still be listening to the same ten groups I’ve been bumping since high school.

One of the things I think is extra cute about my wife is that she likes to mix her interests together and come up with some whole new thing. For instance, when she reads books–The Hunger Games is the first thing that comes to mind–she makes these playlists for them based off her favorite music that end up like soundtracks for the novel. I thought the idea was so fricken cool that I asked her to do the same for me. Click the songs below to check out what she came up with:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

As you might expect I am pretty darn stoked that I have this little list of music to write to. My personal favorite is going to have to be the Metric song. I feel like it totally fits the way my main character feels about everything that is going on in her life.

After she made the list for me I went ahead and burned the list to CD. That way I can listen to them on the way to my current favorite writing spot and get myself all pumped up before I start working. How sweet is that, right? Yeah, she’s pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but you guys should all be crazed with jealousy over how awesome my wife is.

But her amazing talents don’t end at just picking out great songs to put to her favorite books. Oh, no. She also keeps a wicked sweet blog that you should all take the time to peek at. If you like adventures in anime, cooking, YA lit, music, crafting, and assorted geekery then I can guarantee you’ll dig it.

That’s it for this installment. I really need to hit the sack so I can plow through more of the manuscript tomorrow. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment, follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter.