Monday, January 31, 2011

Guest Post on GreenBeanTeenQueen

I just did a guest review of The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima for GreenBeanTeenQueen. Feel free to check it out by clicking here

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Adult Fantasy: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

About the Book: What happens to legendary heroes when they grow tired of saving everyone, no matter what the cost to themselves. How do you motivate a hero. How does someone go from being an ordinary, albeit talented child to being the greatest hero in a generation. Kvothe already has most of those answers, but the answer he needs the most is the one that he cannot seem to find within himself. Maybe a chronicler who is asking about the past, a plague of demon attacks, and a worried magical friend will help him discover the passion he needs to reclaim who he used to be.

My Thoughts: Relayed mostly through a series of flashbacks, this story is fun fast paced and exciting. Rothfuss has a wonderful writing style and the voice clearly changes when he is writing in the past versus writing in the present. Kvothe is a vivid interesting character, who you cannot help but want to know more about. I had this book highly recommended to me and after reading a bit about it I was excited to read it. I was really enjoying it so much so that I actually turned off playoff football. (granted the game was out of hand and so I did not feel bad about turning it off, but still I turned off football!) My enjoyment of the book was not to last however, as the ending was perhaps the most disappointing end that I have read recently (well, excluding Mockingjay). It was like Mr. Rothfuss lost his voice with 70 pages left to go in the story. One moment he was writing a riveting story with a past and a present voice, then suddenly it switched into a slow boring monotone. Furthermore, the ending was soft and the climax seemed sudden and disjointed. It seemed like this book was cut from a larger book and definitely could not stand on its own but had to because the full book would be too long. Kvothe is a strong enough character that I want to keep reading the series to find out more about his past, but so much of the book is dedicated to Kvothe's past that I am not sure that unless the series goes for 6 books or so that there will be enough pages to tell the rest of the story of the present and the future. The other major flaw of the book is that we are told that Kvothe is a legendary warrior and hero and we are told that there are legendary stories about him. However, since the reader has yet to hear these stories and since references to the stories are frequently made in the story, I felt frustrated that I could not use these stories as reference points the way that many of the characters could. The flaws are not enough to stop me from reading on, unless Mr. Rothfuss cannot find his voice again. I give this book 5 out of 10, which is disappointing because if the story had continued as strongly to the end and it was in the beginning and the middle it would have been an 8 or a 9.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo and SEX?

I suppose this is one of those big YA questions. Should sex be in YA, how much, and how much should be "on screen."

I think that writing about sex is part of writing for young adults. So I have no problem dealing with sex in my writing. But I have come to a part of the story that I am not sure how to get to the sex that I know is coming.

My main character is currently traveling with a beautiful but distant/mean girl that he studied with at school. He thinks she is beautiful but has not worked out whether he likes her or not.

The girl feels that the main character is interesting due to his potential, but really sees him as inferior to her because she is street smart and he is book smart. She thinks he is cute, but cannot get over how naive he is. So there is room for this to grow into something, but in her mind he is more casual friend material. However, if he started up some trouble it would be a different story.

Now comes the interesting part. While traveling they have met a handsome farm boy who is charming and witty, but also has shown an ability to protect himself when danger is around. The girl is completely smitten with him, and has been reduced to giggles on more than once occasion.

So here is the question. The girl would totally have sex with farm boy, like right now, if the opportunity arose. But, if this happens, main character will be turned off of her for good. However, if I throw the brakes on the sex for now and let the relationship develop more it could turn into an interesting series of love points to explore in the story.

So that is my dilemma, any advice?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Distractions

My return to NaNoWriMo today was less than successful as I was interrupted by family members calling, wanting to talk, or just wanting to cuddle (this would be my dogs/wife).

First, my wife wanted to cuddle on the couch, but I told her I needed to write so she let me go.

Next, my brother texted me and wanted me to get on skype to talk. While we were talking my other brother got on and so it conversation went way longer than anticipated.

Then, my father-in-law called and spent 25 minutes talking to me about sports.

Then the internet went out. (which I use the internet a lot when I write so not having it is like missing a hand.)

So now I am frustrated, my creative energies have been totally thrown off, and I just want to go to bed.

How do you deal with family distractions? Would this series of events put you off your writing, or am I just being silly?

Well, I suppose some good can come from this, I can tell my wife I am ready to cuddle now. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Midwinter Institute Gushing part 2 #alamw11

This is the part where I get to tell you about my honorary Master's degree. but not yet.

First to the swag. The book that GreenBeanTeenQueen got was called Glow, but I am not sure of the author. I received a free audiobook copy of the latest Wheel of Time book called Towers of Midnight. On the last day of the conference most display items are for sale or are even given away free so I made the most of that time too. I got the whole set of the Ranger's apprentice books, I got a hard cover edition of The Ring of Solomon the final book in the Bartimaeus series, I got the hard cover graphic novels of The Amulet of Samarkand and the Lightning Thief. So I was pretty happy. Wife got a lot more we wound up shipping or packing over 200 lbs of books for her teens at the library.

As for the rest of the trip, it was fun but rather uneventful until we went to a meetup with some of GreenBeanTeenQueen's blogger/librarian friends. We had dinner a couple times and walked around San Diego, until they decided that they were going to start their own library called The International Library of Awesome or ILOA for short. I was feeling a little left out since I was the only one who was not technically a librarian due to the fact that I do not have a Master's in Library Science. They solved that problem for me by granting me an Honorary Master's of Information and Library Science.

They also came up with an idea that will be a new segment on the blog. Once a month you will get to watch a video blog entitled P&G. This stands for Puke and Glitter, I will coordinate with another ILOA member to read the same YA book and give it a review on a one to five scale of buckets of puke if I did not like it, and buckets of glitter if I did like it. The book choices will generally be books that we expect will elicit a puke response from me and a glitter response from my co-host that month. However, you never know when I might give out some glitter (it will be manly glitter though, like blue glitter or camo colored or something.) So watch for that.

I guess that is it. Starting tomorrow I am going to try to finish the second half of NaNoWriMo. So I will post back with updates and you will see how I progress...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Midwinter Institute Gushing part 1 #alamw11

WARNING! Major gushing to follow.

Sorry it has been so long, but I hope to make up for it this week with my updates from the American Library Association's Midwinter Institute from sunny San Diego California.

GreenBeanTeenQueen and I arrived Wednesday night and made our way to our fabulous hotel - The Gaslamp Hilton and our room has a wonderful view of the convention center and the bay behind. We have been treated to beautiful sunsets and gorgeous mid 60s weather.

Thursday we woke up and made our way to the San Diego Zoo which was even better than advertised. I grew up going to the Brookfield Zoo which is considered the third best zoo in the United States, but I can fully understand why San Diego is number one. The landscape was beautiful, and I saw animals there that I did not know even existed. It was so much fun, I highly recommend it.

Then we went to the San Diego Maritime Museum and got to go on several ships. First we went on a 1874 merchant ship, then we went on a replica of a pre-civil war era warship, we went on a retired soviet submarine from 1974, then a retired American submarine from 1968. We also went on a steam liner from circa 1870. It was incredible to see all the craftsmanship and we got some great pictures that I will post later.

We closed our evening walking around the beautiful gaslamp district.

Yesterday we woke up and did all of our registration for ALA. Then we went to lunch at the wonderful Yard House. It was amazing, a lot of bar food, but it was bar food the way that a culinary school would do it. So good! Wifey got 3 cheese grilled cheese with tomato bisque soup and I got Parmesan crusted chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and 3 mushroom sauce.

After lunch wifey had a committee meeting so I wandered over to Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play. They have a beautiful stadium and you can walk all the way up to the outfield fence to take pictures of the field.

After wifey's committee meeting, we got to go to the opening of the exhibits. It was awesome, we ran into some friends, and then when the doors opened rushed to get all of the freebees. Within 11 minutes I was heading back to the hotel with bags bulging. After 3 additional hotel runs we went to the Yalsa Not so Silent Silent Auction. It was fun but a bit to rich for us so we left early for our YA Librarian/Blogger meetup. When we got there we found that a publisher had come and comped us drinks up to $500. We had a couple authors and many blogging librarians, it was an absolute blast. The publisher who came had worked for Tor and for Random House before moving to Baen, so I was his shadow for a lot of the night learning all that I could about those publishers. He also recommended a epic fantasy series by Steven Erikson which I am very excited to read. Eventually as the meetup slowed down we went back to the room, ordered room service, and went to bed.

Today has been amazing. We got up and went over to the convention center, and we got tweeted that Macmillan wanted to meet with us. We went over to the booth and found that that the amazing library marketing team had seen my tweets. I had tweeted about how upset I was that neither Tor nor Wizards of the Coast had come to midwinter institute. I had also tweeted how I was carry bags for GreenBeanTeenQueen and that I could use encouragement should anyone see me weighed down with books. Turns out that they had a surprise for each of us. For wifey, they had an ARC of a book that will not be published for more than a year to do a special review on. For me, they had a free audiobook from Tor! I can't give titles until after the conference so come back and I will tell all.

This totally made my day and gave me a whole new respect for Macmillan. I am so grateful for the gift and I promptly tweeted Macmillan's praises.

Now, I am off to lunch, and wifey is in committee today so I think I will take in some NFL playoff football. I would love to hear your thoughts.