July 30, 2010

DPI: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

This question has been nagging me for the past few weeks while I've been here at DPI. I've been learning so much, and it's (almost) all fascinating: the ins and outs (at least at the layman's level) of the industry; the life of the book, from conception to publication; all the different players... It's enough to blow your mind, so it's no wonder that I've also been wondering how and whether this experience will change me as a reader.

This may seem like a silly thing to wonder about. A roundabout answer to this question may be: Everything changes you as a reader, because all of your experiences change and shape the person you are. But I do think there are some veins of experience that can really take the method by which you read, and turn it on its head. Getting into "the business," I believe, is one of them.

One thing I've learned here: Everyone says they want to go into editorial. This, like the fact that my class is composed of 90% women, is a fact of the industry. But this is what I wonder: If I go down the editorial rabbit hole, will it be akin to revealing the man behind the curtain? (Was two movie references in one sentence too much? Please advise.) If I learn too much about the nitty gritty of creating books, cutting, pasting, reworking, polishing, and finally ushering them toward and through publication, will that dispel the magic? Will the awe I feel about an absolutely perfect work of prose be dampened by my knowledge of what went into the making of it? Will I begin to read "like an editor," always considering the ways I would have changed a book, rather than enjoying the finished product?

People do not enter the book business because they want to make money, especially not right now. They start this journey because they love books, and I'm sure they continue to love books throughout their careers. If committing to a publishing career changes the way they see and love books, then maybe it's the way they love them that changes. And maybe I don't want my way to be changed.

Maybe I'm over-thinking this. The ways in which I evaluate and appreciate literature have certainly changed throughout my reading career. One more change in perspective does not a love-of-books-killed make. And I've certainly gained in appreciation for the miracle of books themselves, since I've been here. The amount of time, effort, love, support, and people that go into the making of a book is staggering, and it's inspiring to see that many people still do care about the written word in this day and age. Knowing more about the publishing industry has helped me understand this.

In the end, maybe it's all in what you believe. I can choose to believe that working in the publishing industry will not dampen my delight over new and wonderful books - instead, my love will be enhanced by knowing the work put into every book that makes it onto a shelf. And a few years down the road, maybe I'll find my belief validated.

What do you think? Given a choice, would you be fascinated if you were shown the precise journey of a book, manuscript to publication? Or would there be a part of you tempted to close your eyes, and ignore the man behind the curtain?

July 29, 2010

Got Books?: The book recommendations

So I solicited book recommendations during my Got Books? event of the past weekend. Why? Just because I love knowing what people recommend. And adding to my endless to-read list. Yep. So, a few interesting facts...

Most recommended authors (all YA, not surprisingly):
1. Suzanne Collins (13)
2. Maggie Stiefvater (10)
3. Kiersten White (7) -- the only one here whose book is NOT YET out
4. Becca Fitzpatrick (7)
5. Cassandra Clare (7)

Most surprising (to me):
Maria V. Snyder (the author of Poison Study) came in 6th place, with 5 recommendations. Why is this surprising? Well, I suppose because I first discovered Poison Study about five years ago, promptly read it and its sequel (Magic Study), and thought nothing more of them. Honestly, I had her shelved in an area called "good, but obscure" books. Apparently I was wrong, because many of you know of her (and many more of you on the blogosphere have been posting Poison Study reviews in the past few weeks). What gives? (Not that she's not awesome, of course - but I thought only I knew that!)

Most interesting book I'd never heard of before:
The Dust of One Hundred Dogs, by A. S. King.
Mozart's Blood, by Louise Marley.

Most encouraging:
Multiple recommendations for Neil Gaiman (awesome!), as well as recommendations for some of my absolute favorite authors (Charles de Lint and Juliet Marillier). And, of course, my all-time favorite book: Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.

Anyway, that all goes to say that you are all very interesting people, with a vast array of reading habits. All told, I got 236 unique recommendations. (In case you were wondering, I'd only read 55 of them.) That's enough to keep me busy for a year! Thanks, all!

What do you think of these (brief) factoids? Maybe I should think about doing some more scientific statistics... The aforementioned are just the ones that jumped out at me at first glance.

July 26, 2010

Well, hello

Well, hello! There are far more of you out there than there used to be. If I were in a room with all of you, I'd probably be scratching my head and wondering how we all fit in there! Since there was such an enormous leap over this past weekend (due to the recent Got Books? event), I thought today would be a good time to do a few introductions.

Hi, I'm Rebecca Wells. (Not that Rebecca Wells. In case you were wondering.) I love many things in life, especially reading and writing, hence the blog. Here, I talk a little about writing and a lot about reading, among other things. I've been blogging here since December, but I still consider Elephants On Trapezes a work in progress - I tend to fiddle with things: my pages, features, formats... If you have any recommendations for things you like to see on your favorite blogs, I'd love to hear them.

Astute readers may notice that Elephants On Trapezes has been bereft of book reviews recently. There's a reason for that. I graduated from college in May and in lieu of immediate job hunting, I chose to attend the Denver Publishing Institute, where I have been for the past two weeks (and will remain for the next). Since I took a plane out to Colorado, I was sadly limited in the number of books I brought with me. (Also, this program is intense - we're in class from 9-5, which leaves rather less time for reading.)

All this means I haven't been reading nearly as much as I usually do. Which means less book reviews on this blog than there usually are, especially since I don't have a library membership here in Denver. I expect the number of book reviews on this blog to pick up significantly in two weeks, once I'm back home. In the meantime, you can expect to hear some thoughts about reading and writing, as well as some of the fascinating things I'm learning here at DPI.

I think that's all for now. I've been checking out all your book recommendations from the Got Books? event. They are wildly diverse and pretty awesome, all around - so awesome I'll probably write a whole post about them in a few days. Cheers!

July 25, 2010

Got Books? Winner!

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com 
 


Wow. Wow. Wow.

Well, the Got Books? event turned out smashingly, if I do say so myself. I discovered a ton of great book blogs, and here at Elephants On Trapezes, I got an overwhelming number of excellent book recommendations. Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by! (And welcome to all my new followers! I hope you stick around!)

I'll have to do a formal entry all about this (just because it was so interesting), but it looks like the top recommendations were Paranormalcy, The Hunger Games, and Shiver/Linger.

So, to business: 270 of you entered, with a total of 718 entries! (Wouldn't it have been awesome if there had been 720 entries, though?) With the help of random.org, the winner was...

#309: Gaby of Oh My Books! 

She recommended The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. (One of my favorite books! An excellent choice - I also highly recommend it.)

Gaby has been contacted, and has 72 hours to get back to me before another winner is chosen. Thanks again to all who stopped by and entered!

July 23, 2010

Got Books? Giveaway!

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com


And now, the event you've all been waiting for! As I said in my last blog about the Got Books? event, I've been learning a little about how hard it is to make it as a debut author these days. So I thought that for this giveaway, I'd share some debut titles I'm most excited to read, and spread the debut author love around just a little!

   Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)  The Line (Line #1)   The Rise of Renegade X   Other (Other, #1)Guardian of the Dead  Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)



















As you can see, I've picked out (pretty much at random) six of my most anticipated YA debut novels of 2010. The winner of this giveaway will have a choice of ONE of these six novels, which will then be shipped by the Book Depository. (If you pick a title that has not yet been released, it will be pre-ordered.)


THE RULES:
1. Fill out the form (below) to enter.
2. This contest is open to any country the Book Depository ships to.
3. This event will close at 11:59 PM EST, July 24. The winner will be announced on or by July 30.


What are you waiting for? Just fill out the form to enter!

July 22, 2010

Life without books

I'm exaggerating when I say that as of this moment, my life is without books. Indeed, I told you all about the books I brought to Denver with me. I was deliberately conservative in my estimate (I brought eleven), and as of today (a week and a half through), I've finished four. Of course, I tackled the quickies first - others, among them Guns, Germs, and Steel and The Brothers Karamazov, remain untouched.

So I am reading. I read a little every day, when I can. But the contrast is simply stunning. As a student, I found two or three hours every day to read. As a consequence, I regularly blew through at least one book a day. Here, where I am out the door by 8:30 and back (and exhausted) no earlier than 5:00, I'm reading half an hour. An hour, maybe. This translates to a book every three or four days. More than the average American reads, perhaps, but quite sluggish compared to the rate I'm accustomed to. Though the situation is certainly not so dire as that, it does almost feel like my life has become a life without books. (Without, at least, the utter submersion I used to find.)

It's saddening, and it makes me respect those readers who also have full time jobs much more - I'm only sitting and listening to lectures, and coming home earlier than most workers do, and I'm still finding it tiring to pick up a book at the end of it all. People who make time for reading? Respect. (This from the ex-college student thrown for the first time into a quasi-real-life arena.)

I'm rather enjoying one part of it, though. Back when I read a book a day, I often didn't take the time to really sink into the book. Instead, I sprinted. And while that's just the way I naturally read, there is a certain pleasantness in holding a book in your head for a few days, letting it linger. Today I had almost reached the end of my latest, The World Without Us, and was savoring the strangest feeling: Being excited to reach the conclusion. Reading a book a day, I often regretted approaching the end. But carrying the same book around day after day, taking the journey slowly, in sips and chapters - now, at the end, I can say I savored. And it's a lovely feeling.

July 21, 2010

Got Books? is coming...

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com


This Friday, July 23, the blog doors will open to hundreds of people rushing the contest forms, searching hungrily for books! Don't you just love it?

I will be hosting a YA debut author giveaway. I've spoken already about the importance of supporting debut authors, especially debut YA authors, so be warned: The winner of my giveaway will be receiving a book. Not just any book, but one of SIX carefully picked YA debut novels I haven't yet had the chance to read (but that I am very much anticipating). This book will be shipped by the Book Depository, so if you live in a country TBD ships to, you're in luck! Check back here on Friday to find out the excellent picks!

Can't wait? Check out Got Books? for more information. And be warned... Got Books? is coming. Are you ready?

July 20, 2010

DPI: The best advice I have for writers

Okay, I have exceptionally good advice for writers all the time. I write the best possible advice, all day, every day.

Kidding, obviously. But I truly believe this is excellent advice. (So excellent, I'm following it myself.)

Advice here: I strongly strongly recommend that every writer take a line editing or copy editing class. You'll learn so many things about what editors look for in trying to improve manuscripts and how they go about suggesting improvements, and even about why that marked up page looks the way it does.

Writers are amazing. I know how scary difficult it is to write a book, because I have been trying myself. So, props to all writers who have the gumption to complete even one draft of a novel.

Now once you're done, it's tough to finish that draft and then come back and look it in the eye, flaws and all. But when you sit down to edit, it'll be easier if you have a few "real editor" tricks up your sleeve to help you along the way. Knowing even a little about the editorial side of things will make you a much better critical reader, especially once you sit down to revise.

After spending two days in an editing workshop here (with more to come), I can say I am going to be looking at my drafts with a much more critical (and I believe much better) eye. So if you come across a good one, take a class. They are totally, totally worth it.

July 19, 2010

DPI: Editors are friends, not food

I've been learning a lot. And a lot of what I've been learning boils down to this: Editors are friends, not food.

Now, I'm an aspiring writer, but I haven't gotten so far as an agent or editor - I haven't even gotten far enough to have a draft I'd call successful - so I can't really know what the author-editor relationship is like. And certainly it's different from person to person. However, I can imagine that there are authors out there who get frustrated at times when their editors don't quite see eye to eye with them regarding the status of those shiny, lovely books. It must sometimes feel bad to get a fifteen page editorial critique, or see an endless stream of line edits in colored pencil down the page.

When this happens, it's important to remember: Editors are friends. (Not food!) Your editor is your book's biggest fan/cheerleader/advocate in your publishing house. Your editor is the one who will wring more money out of the house for an advance, she is the one who will convince marketing to put more money behind your book for its release, the editor is the one who will work tirelessly for your book because she believes in it, because she doesn't want that book getting lost in a mile-long publishing list. Trust me, your editor is your book's best friend. And those endless critiques? The marked up manuscripts? It's all because your editor wants your book to be the absolute best book it can possibly be.

So kids, remember. Love your editors. They are the ones who are behind your books all the way.

And editors? You rock. You are awesome. Just saying.

July 17, 2010

Quarterly #2

Ooohhh... I've been reading good books lately! So many that I should probably make the quarterlies a monthly thing. Which I will. Starting next month. For those of who missed my last quarterly, you may find my ultra-recommended books from the first quarter of 2010 here. And now, on we go! 

Graceling & Fire, by Kristin Cashore.
So I was late in coming to these, but I still get to say they're still awesome and worth reading. Graceling is about a land where everyone has a special talent, a "grace," and a girl whose grace is to kill. Fire (review here) is the semi-sequel/prequel, which is also excellent. I can't wait for Bitterblue. Can't. Wait. 

The Physician, by Noah Gordon.
In the 11th century, Rob Cole leaves England upon the death of his parents and falls into the company of a peddler whose medical cures go from bad to worse. Nevertheless, Rob learns a great deal at his side, and, when he discovers his own, very real healing power, he makes it his goal to become a real doctor - a physician. A sweeping, imaginative portrait of 11th century Europe. 

Time and Materials, by Robert Hass.
Poetry, lovely, lovely, poetry. I am not so much of a poet that I can easily classify Hass's style for any poetry connoisseurs out there. Instead, all I can say is that he writes beautifully. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.
I reviewed this book here. To quickly recap, this is a slow-moving book with beautifully simple language and narration. Fans of Little Women might enjoy this one. 

Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles.
I don't read that many YA YA books. You know, the ones about high school, the grind, boyfriends, girlfriends, good old backstabbing over boys and grades and stuff. So when I pick one up, it's going to be good. Or I'm gone. Let me tell you - this one is good. No, GREAT! Elkeles's writing is superb, and the story she crafts is just suckable. You know - it just...sucks...you in. I am SO picking up the next one. 

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver.
I reviewed this book here. A lovely coming of age story with a twist, and the effervescent taste of redemption. 

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
Suicide is most often greeted with one question above all others: Why. In Thirteen Reasons Why, Clay Jensen learns he will discover the answer from Hannah Baker herself, a classmate who recorded messages detailing her reasons for killing herself before committing the deed. This is an absolutely one-of-a-kind novel that takes the hardest question and attempts to form a response. 

Birthmarked, by Caragh M. O'Brien.
Gaia Stone, a midwife apprenticed to her mother in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by climate change, thinks she knows what her life will hold. But she finds there are dangerous secrets hidden in her family when her parents are arrested without justification, and the Enclave authorities are asking her about a strange, puzzling code, one she knows nothing about. Birthmarked is another excellent first novel in a series, and another whose sequel I am anxiously awaiting. 

Ilustrado, by Miguel Syjuco.
I reviewed this book here. The Philippines, presented in a mind-twisting work of fiction/fictional autobiography/cultural snapshot. It's a book of complexity, both in structure and in tone, and one with an entirely unexpected, thought-provoking ending. 

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, by Julie Halpern.
Natalie Whipple recommended this book highly highly highly, and Julie Halpern herself has a lovely blog where she talks about lovely things, including (most recently) the treasures found in her basement. Any former high school geeks out there? (I'm talking to you, girls...) This one is for you. 

The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga.
India, India. Goodreads says it's a "first-person confession of a murderer," but it's really so much more than that. A sweeping portrait of the inequalities rampant in one of the largest countries in the world, unique and exquisite. 

Spider's Bite, by Jennifer Estep.
Everybody loves assassins, right? I know, I don't really get the seductive appeal of cold-blooded killers - except sexy paranormally-abled ones like Gin with morals, of course. This is a genre I've been in remission from for a while, but this one just might have gotten me back into it... Too bad there are only two of them so far, and those two are recent. 

The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima.
I loved this book, absolutely loved it. It's certainly not a standalone novel, and I was okay with that...until I found out the second book isn't out until September! I seem to be having the worst luck with starting series before they're finished. Normally I wouldn't mind, but these first books are just so good. 

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger.
I reviewed this book here. Such a great middle grade novel, and so innovative! Origami Yoda! It just has to be. 

Seven Tears into the Sea, by Terri Farley.
I have problems with this book (for one thing, it just doesn't end - the story is so unfinished). But there's something hypnotic about the writing, how it slips slowly into your eyes and down your throat. And the quietly paranormal part is excellent in its quietness. 

Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott.
I reviewed this book here. Horrifying, brilliant. I think those are the only two words necessary. Or you could go read the review. Or just buy the book already. 

Forest Born, by Shannon Hale.
I am so very in love with fairy tale retellings, and I have been in love with Shannon Hale ever since The Goose Girl came out. It was just so original. I mean, it's kind of easy to write bad fairy tale retellings. But this one was delicious, with just that touch of darkness... I loved that it kept the original flavor of the tale. Forest Born takes place some time after the events of The Goose Girl, although some characters make a chilling return...

July 15, 2010

The voyeur inside you

So let's say you're in a bookstore. And let's say you're hanging around, doing your thing (which is almost always covertly checking where the other people in the store are going). And then one of them picks up a book, and instantly you are just dying to know what that book is. Or you're on the subway/BART/train and you see someone reading, and you almost get a neck cramp trying to contort your head enough so that you can read the title, or at least get an identifying glimpse at the cover. (I must admit I may have, in the past, subtly followed people around, trying to get a peek.)

What is it about books, that the second they're picked up by someone, they get infinitely more interesting? That book with three pandas on the cover is not going to be interesting until someone picks it off the shelf and starts browsing - then, of course, I must go over and check it out myself. (Except let's face it; three-panda-books will always be interesting, so there's a flawed premise.)

This translates (not as dramatically or voyeuristically) into reviews/blogs as well, I think. There are many books I would not consider until someone pointed them out to me in a review. Which makes me think maybe we're not all complete voyeurs (thank god, right?). Maybe the world is just too big a place (did you know upwards of 175,000 titles are published in the United States every year?), maybe it's kept manageable by the lists and the reviews and the recommendations, even if it's only barely manageable at that. (See my to-read list on Goodreads for evidence of that - 2800 and counting...)

But I still have to confess, even if we seek out others' habits to nurture our own, there's still more to my people-watching addiction. Just like the urge to eavesdrop on other people's conversations (and it can't be my fault if they make it so flipping easy), I'm often struck by the urge to know what other people are reading. Not to get recommendations for myself (everyone knows I have far too many already) - no, this is just because of my infinite curiosity about other people. What they do, where they go, who they see. What they read. The bookish voyeur, that's me.

What do you think? Do we all have a little voyeur inside of us? I've certainly yet to meet another reader who isn't immediately interested in a book (in knowing, at least, which book it is) when they see another person reading.

July 14, 2010

Got Books?

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com


You may have seen this button floating around on the internet, or even on my blog! Yes, you guessed right. I'm going in on this one. And it's going to be good - I mean, just look at the cookie!

This event is all books, all book blogs, all the time - from July 23 to the 24th, anyway. And that's coming up! Just next week!

Now you're all wondering what I'll be giving away, right? Well, this I've picked up here in Denver: Being a debut author is hard. First you have to convince an agent you're worth something without any (or few) publication credits, then that agent has to convince a publishing house you're worth something, even though there's no prior book to project sales from, and even then, that publishing house has to be convinced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on you - even before the book comes out.

Sooo... I've decided to give a little love to debut authors. Specifically, to debut authors I haven't read. Just because everyone should take a chance, right? Especially on debut authors who have spent years working on these books with no guarantee that anything will come of it.

I will be giving away one book, one book by a debut author in 2010, to one lucky person. The winner will have his/her choice of five 2010 debuts I am eagerly anticipating reading. (Just in case you were wondering, I haven't chosen which yet.) This book will be shipped wherever the Book Depository ships.

Excited yet? You should be...

Stay tuned for the announcement of the giveaway books.

July 12, 2010

DPI: Day one, or, some people do amazing things

Well, today was the first day. Lovely breakfast complete with round tables and tablecloths, served by students at the school for hotel management here at DU. Beyond that, though, we heard from some really awesome people.

These people were... Michael Jacobs, formerly of many houses and now the President and CEO of Abrams Books; Andrea Schulz, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; and lastly, Kirk Farber, the author of the newly released Postcards From A Dead Girl.

Wow. Let me just say... Wow. All of the lecturers were just amazing, in different ways. They all had such interesting and illuminating and inspiring things to say about the publishing business, this business they are all so clearly passionate about. I learned a ton just sitting and listening to them talk, but I also learned something else: There is a lot of stuff that I already knew. How? Because of all of you.

I'm serious. For an aspiring writer/publisher/whatever-I-am, discovering so many quality blogs of writers and agents and editors has been an incredibly educational and eyeopening experience, one I didn't fully appreciate until I heard these very important people talking about their experience in a field that many people know nothing about...and realizing that I knew some of that already, just by keeping my eyes open and my ear to the ground - or internet, as it were.

So I'm having a grand time so far. I've heard from some amazing people, and visited an amazing bookstore (Tattered Cover Book Store). I would have pictures to post from the bookstore, but I got there only to discover that I'd forgotten to put my battery back in the camera after recharging it! Sigh. I will be back, though, so I will take pictures then.

Until the next time! Must sleep now...

July 10, 2010

Denver Publishing Institute: The Bookshelf

I'm anticipating many more posts having to do with the Denver Publishing Institute, all of which will have much more substance than this. Why? Because I haven't done anything yet. Well, I flew out and unpacked. Bought some groceries. That sort of stuff.

I will share the books I chose to bring, though. I'm anticipating not having much time, since I'll likely be occupied by assignments and networking (I think that's what they call it once you're out of school) and such. The only thing they have in common? I haven't yet read any of them. No tried-and-true favorites. No comfort books. Just the abyss of the unknown. Which in the end is what this month is all about, right?

1. Changeless, by Gail Carriger. I've talked about how much I am newly in love with Carriger already - this is the sequel to the first book, and I've been slowly meandering through it.

2. The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Apparently this person is famous? Or something? Just kidding, I know all about how much people like Le Guin. A friend recommended this book specifically to me, and I ended up paying $1 for it at a library book sale.

3. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo. I am not completely sure why the title was changed from Notre-Dame de Paris, but okay. Les Miserables is possibly my favorite book of all time, so I figured it was time to read some more Hugo.

4. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky. My dad gave me a lovely old edition of this for Christmas...and I still haven't gotten past the first few chapters.

5. Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus, by Rainer Maria Rilke. Have read a few things by Rilke, and was drawn to this one because of Orpheus. I am always a sucker for mythology.

6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. Got a gift card, made a pledge to use it on something I hadn't already read. I'm anticipating quirkiness and some deep thought.

7. The Dream of Perpetual Motion, by Dexter Palmer. I received this forever ago from Goodreads First Reads, and just haven't finished it. Which is ridiculous, since I need to review it before I can get another First Reads book...

8. Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, by Robert B. Reich. This one's on loan from my roommate. You may not know that I've always described myself as an economics major, born too late. (As in, it was in my second to last year that I discovered a love for economics...and it was too late to change.) I've since resigned myself to making it a hobby, although there's a sneaking half-plan to get a Masters degree in economics in later life.

9. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, by Milton and Rose Friedman. See above.

10. Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. My dad gave me this one even before he gave me Karamazov, and I haven't finished it. YAR!

11. The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. I wasn't going to bring this one. Really, I wasn't. I thought ten was the perfect number (probably since we've been conditioned to think that in this base-10 society). But then I was talking with my brother and I saw it on his shelf, and it had only recently been added to my humongous to-read list on Goodreads, and... Well, one thing led to another, and now it's here. Ta da!

Lots of dry books that likely appeal to few people other than myself, when taken collectively. But there you have it - that's what I'll be occupying myself with while in Denver. Making this list also reminded me that I haven't done a quarterly yet for April-June. I'll have to get that done in the next few days...and I'll likely move to monthly features after that, since I tend to overwhelm even myself with recommendations if I have to hold back so long.

Also, in case you haven't been eying my sidebar hungrily, I will be participating in two upcoming blogfests: Got Books? (July 23-24), and BlogFest 2010 (September 10-12). Stay tuned for more news on those. Haven't quite made up my mind on what to give away... Any suggestions?

July 9, 2010

Blog Hop! (Round three)


Joining the hop! The Friday Blog Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, and it's pretty much what it says it is. Every Friday, bloggers who blog primarily about books run around like headless chickens, visiting other bloggers who blog primarily about books.

It's Friday again! Since I last participated, Jennifer started asking questions each week - all in the spirit of getting to know one another, I suppose. This week's question:

Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

The Reading Ape argues against the existence of a "favorite author," and I tend to agree. But there are a few authors who have captured me recently... First, Sharon Shinn. I love love love the way she world-builds - I think her Samaria series is brilliant because of it, and her Twelve Houses series is in a world I want to live in. Not to mention those characters are so awesome I want to be them all. At the same time. My second favorite author at the moment has to be Gail Carriger. I mean, how could you not love an author whose series is called The Parasol Protectorate? Victorian werewolf/vampire historical sci-fi with a twist and a light dash of steampunk, British wit, and just a smattering of steamy romance - yum! Goodreads says she's been contracted for five books... I'm certainly looking forward to that.

Here are a few blogs I found (and started loving) through the last Blog Hop:

1. Dead White Guys. The girl over there (yeah, the one who makes her own musicals in public) gives her own take on the classics, period. None of this YA nonsense - we're talking those doorstop tomes. Oh... Just go, okay?

2. What Miss Kelley Is Reading. The adventures of a middle school teacher who reads with an eye toward her students: every review comes attached to a ruling on whether she'd make the book available to the lovable munchkins she teaches. She had an excellent post recently about what all her shelves look like right now, which I found fascinating.

3. Ex Libris. The thing I like best about this blog? That Stella's spotlighting different genres each month. This month's genre? Paranormal Romance!

July 8, 2010

Cue freakout here

Sooo... I haven't really been here (read: that weird nether-space called the internet) lately. Why? Because I've been freaking out about the Denver Publishing Institute.

I'm a big freaker-outer. It comes from being mildly obsessive about knowing the plan. How we're going to get there, when, why, in what vehicle... Right now, I'm worried worried worried about packing the wrong stuff, forgetting things, ending up in Denver and realizing I don't know anything about publishing and would never ever make a good editor/anything in the publishing business... It's all there.

Cue deep breath. Two, maybe three. It's times like these (which would be just about the entire past week) where I need to grab myself by the neck and dunk myself in cold water. I'm positive (absolutely positive) that once I get there, I will have an incredible time. It's just the getting there part that's messing me up.

Okay, that was a rather long indulgence in my freaker-outer-ness. Moving on... I'm leaving on Saturday, and I'll be there for a month. That means less reading and book reviews for you to peruse (I'm restraining myself from packing too many, since I know I'll be swamped by DPI stuff and really won't have time to read). Instead, I'll be writing about the coolest things I learn about the publishing business. Hopefully that's a decent substitute.

Coolest thing about Denver so far? They have a bike-share program (B-Cycle), which as far as I can tell is the only one of its kind in the country, although there are plans to change that. That's awesome.

July 5, 2010

Just when you thought you were done with BEA...

...People start giving away BEA stuff! (Awesome, right? Definitely awesome.) Rebecca T. at Sonshine Thoughts is having a great week-long giveaway (today through Friday) of all the awesome ARCs she got at BEA. For more information (and to enter), head over to Sonshine Thoughts! You also might want to stick around there, because she works in retail and has the most hilarious feature every Wednesday...

July 2, 2010

Denver Publishing Institute

So, the Denver Publishing Institute! I'm going! Yay!

You can check it out if you want, but the gist is: It's one of only two such programs in the US (the other's in New York), and while I'm there I'm going to learn all about publishing. Its ins, its outs, editing manuscripts, marketing reports, tons of stuff I probably haven't even heard of yet... I'll be there for a month (most of July, some of August), and it's going to be brilliant.

After tackling some of the advance assignments, including two manuscripts and five children's book proposals, I can already say I have far more respect for editors (and the publishing business) than I used to. It's work! Occasionally frustrating and mindboggling, but so so brilliant and interesting! (You may be able to tell that I'm ridiculously excited about this.)