Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Recommendations: THE BURNING SKY and THE PERILOUS SEA by Sherry Thomas

I'd seen these books around, but it wasn't until I stumbled on Michelle's excellent reviews that I finally sat up and took note. When she mentioned that the second was even better than the first, I decided to give them a try--and thank goodness I did!

Thanks to his mother's visions, Prince Titus, whose kingdom has been all but taken over by Atlantis, knows that someday he'll discover an elemental mage who will have the power to overthrow the Bane, Atlantis's mysterious dictator. When he witnesses a lightning bolt called down from a cloudless sky, he figures he's found his brother in arms. But what he didn't count on was that brother being a sister. Now Iolanthe will have to pose as Archer Fairfax at one of England's premiere prep schools if she doesn't want to blow the cover that Titus has spent years building for her. But with Atlantean agents closing in--and doubts about her so-called destiny--she might not last at Eton College long enough.

And that's just the first book.

These books have it all--fantasy, adventure, romance--but what endeared them to me was the dialogue. Both Titus and Iolanthe are too clever for their own good, so their arguments are as colorful as a Shakespearean insult contest. I also appreciated how Ms. Thomas was willing to turn the story--not to mention the structure--on its head in THE PERILOUS SEA. Told in alternating timelines, THE BURNING SKY's sequel features not one but two climaxes--and within the first few chapters, Titus realizes he got his mother's visions wrong.

If you like wyverns, witty banter, or magical books you can get sucked into (literally), definitely check out this series. The last installment, THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS, is set to come out in October, but trust me, you don't want to wait. If you get your hands on these two now, you'll be able to read them several times between now and October.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING Is a Junior Library Guild Selection!

I'm so pleased to announce that THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Now, if you're anything like me, you've heard of Junior Library Guild selections, but you don't really know what they are or what that means, so here's a brief explanation (insofar as I understand it):

The Junior Library Guild is essentially a book club for teachers and librarians, so members can order books, often at steep discounts, for their classrooms and libraries. But the Junior Library Guild is more than just a clearinghouse for cheap children's books. They pride themselves on their selection--"Bringing future award winning books to your library's shelves today" is their tagline--so their editors accept submissions from publishers around the country and cull out the ones they want to share. According to their website, they receive more than 3,000 submissions annually and select anywhere from 700 to 800 of those titles to add to their list.

In addition, because they're a book club, they have to license subsidiary rights from the publishers they choose to work with, which means they also have to pay royalties to those publishers (who in turn pay royalties to the authors). I'm not exactly sure how all that works, but it's cool to think that Steve will have another way to get into potential readers' hands.

Have you gotten any good news this week?

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's 2015?

Well, it's 2015. (Actually, it's been 2015 for, like, a week, but I'm sure you already noticed.) In my personal life, it feels like time is speeding up, but in my writing life, it feels like time is stretching out. THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING comes out in a little less than four months, but that doesn't mean much to me right now. The same thing happened to me before Honey Bear came home from his mission. I remember staring at a calendar the week before his homecoming and thinking, "Wow, he comes home in a week," but it didn't feel any different than the previous week/month/year had felt, so it didn't feel real. This doesn't feel real, either.

This is the roundabout way of saying that I'm planning to do things a little differently around here. I'm trying to think more like an almost-published author, so you might notice a decline in my agent-focused content. (If you've been hanging around for any amount of time, you've probably already noticed a decline, but let's pretend you hadn't.) That said, I love "Agent-Author Chat" too much to give it up, so I'll probably keep posting those interviews occasionally. Writing friends, take note!

As I mentioned above, I'm trying to think more like an almost-published author, but I must admit that I'm kind of at a loss for how to implement it on the blog. Which kinds of posts would you like to see more of, and is there a part of the process you want to know more about? I'm always on the hunt for great ideas.