Writer's Resources for June 9th through June 29th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for June 9th through July 18th:

Writer’s Resources for June 9th through June 29th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for June 9th through July 18th:

Diana Rowland 'Impromptu Contest' Winner

I apologize for the delay, as I said I would draw the winner on Tuesday. And I completely forgot.

This is what working 6 days/50 hour weeks at Ye Olde Day Job (henceforth to be known as YODJ) does to me.

To choose the winner, I numbered each entrant’s comment (skipping over any replies). By my count, we had 5 unique entrants.

So, according to Random.org, our winner is:  *brazen fanfare, please* (Drumrolls are so ’80’s.)

Commenter #1 or jacabur1. Congratulations, Jackie B, you are our winner! Please email the address where you’d like the book sent to kiara [at-squiggle] waitingforfairies [dot] com.

I  hope the rest of you will stay tuned, as I know I at the very least have an extra copy of Mark Henry’s Battle of the Network Zombies to give away as well! (And probably more than that – I need to check my shelves again…)

Diana Rowland ‘Impromptu Contest’ Winner

I apologize for the delay, as I said I would draw the winner on Tuesday. And I completely forgot.

This is what working 6 days/50 hour weeks at Ye Olde Day Job (henceforth to be known as YODJ) does to me.

To choose the winner, I numbered each entrant’s comment (skipping over any replies). By my count, we had 5 unique entrants.

So, according to Random.org, our winner is:  *brazen fanfare, please* (Drumrolls are so ’80’s.)

Commenter #1 or jacabur1. Congratulations, Jackie B, you are our winner! Please email the address where you’d like the book sent to kiara [at-squiggle] waitingforfairies [dot] com.

I  hope the rest of you will stay tuned, as I know I at the very least have an extra copy of Mark Henry’s Battle of the Network Zombies to give away as well! (And probably more than that – I need to check my shelves again…)

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

I didn’t even know they had this, so I’m especially pleased to be hearing of it in time for nominations.

From the BBAW blog:

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is a week long festival celebrating the community of book bloggers and their contribution to preserving a culture of literacy through book reviews and recommendations, reading reflections, and general bookish chat.  BBAW also includes an awards component.  For more information on the BBAW 2010 Awards and how to participate, please visit the BBAW 2010 Awards Blog.  BBAW events include daily blogging topics, blogger interview swaps, special guest posts, and so much more!

So in order to be nominated (in a Niche category, which is where WFF would fall), a book blogger must link to 3 reviews and 2 other posts written between August 2009 and June 2010 for consideration by the BBAW judges.

Looking back over the last year or so of blogging, I’m awfully proud of everything Waiting for Fairies has managed to do in that time frame. I hope the next 12 months are just as exciting. With that said, the following are the 5 posts I believe are “tops” from the past year.

My review of Rob Thurman’s Trick of the Light – which, sadly, the publisher has declined to pursue. So the September release will be the last in this series.

The massive, Waiting for Fairies Holiday Gift-Buying Guide. (And I still recommend books as the perfect gift!)

My favorite post from my birthday celebration, the Kiaras Festivus Author Focus post on Rob Thurman.  (I tried, I really did, to find something different than another Rob Thurman post – but I believe this one is the best written out of that series of posts.)

Probably my favorite review ever – for Robin Becker’s Zombie-tarian novel Brains: A Zombie Memoir.

And, finally, the review for the 2nd volume of my newest favorite vampire series: Jaye Well’s Mage in Black.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week this year will be held from September 13th – 17th. I hope you’ll all look up your favorite book blogger that week and tell ’em how much you appreciate them.

Guest Post: Review – Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire

by: Kristin Cashore

Genre: Fantasy

November 2009

Dial Books

ISBN: 978-0803734616

461 pages

Last year at DragonCon, I sat in on a panel run by the Young Adult Literature track that focused on strong female protagonists in YA lit, and  I came out of it with a list of authors and novels to check out. Among them was Kristin Cashore’s debut novel, Graceling. Months later, when I finally remembered that list of recommended reads and gave Graceling a chance, I kicked myself for not reading it immediately. I fell in love with the world Cashore created, with the strength and vulnerability of her protagonist, and with her writing in general. I was delighted when I learned that Cashore had written a companion story titled Fire. Fire shares with Graceling the larger world, though it is set in a kingdom that is separate from those featured in the previous novel. Fire also shares one character–who I won’t spoil–with the other novel. Set before the events of Graceling, Fire stands alone as its own story, so you can read either book first.

In The Dells, it is dangerous for anyone to travel the roads without an armed escort of at least six, rebels are building armies against the king, and monsters–terribly beautiful creatures that can capture a human’s mind–roam the wilds. It is in this place that Fire, the protagonist, lives. She is the last of her kind, a human monster. Being a monster means that her mere presence can overwhelm a weak human mind, and she can, with concentration, control the minds of those around her. She is loved, feared, and hated because of what she is. The populace of The Dells know well the damage she is capable of: her father had been the monster advisor of the late King, and the two men had driven the kingdom into the ground, both men known for their excesses and her father especially known for his cruelty. When we meet Fire she is living in the shadow of her father’s brutal and frightening legacy, maintaining a quiet life in the remote holding where she has grown up.

Fire is desperate not to become her father. She keeps herself covered to avoid influencing others with her appearance, lives in relative isolation, and uses her ability to affect and control the minds of others sparingly. Fire’s desire to stay out of the politics of the realm, to remain out of the public eye, is pushed aside when King Nash sends his brother, Lord Brigan, to bring her to the royal family. They want her to use her ability to help them uncover plots against the king. Fire must make a choice. Does she embrace the power she inherited from her father, who had so horribly abused it?

It is for Fire as it is for many of us: only in leaving the comfort of home, in taking a risk in moving forward, and stretching her ability as she never has before, can she grow into herself. As she spends time with the royal family, four siblings who also live in the shadow of their father’s dark legacy, that she begins to understand that she is not required to follow in the footsteps of her father. She sees them struggle to keep the kingdom in one piece, to work past the damage their father the king and her father the monster advisor inflicted. “Not all daughters were like their fathers,” she realizes. “A daughter monster chose the monster she would be.” It is a turning point for Fire and, of course, for those around her.

Reading Fire is reading the best kind of coming-of-age story. The world is richly described, the characters are accessible, and Fire is a complex and mutli-faceted protagonist who at turns made me cheer and made me cry, and I quite literally chewed my nails in anxiety at points in Fire’s journey. It’s a beautiful tale, one I’m glad to have read. Now go read it.

Review: Magic On The Storm by Devon Monk

I love this series.

I will just open with that and have done with it. I first picked it up just as Devon Monk was promoting what I think I remember as being the 2nd book. I’d followed another author to a blog (Perhaps it was the Deadline Dames?) and found a post by Ms. Monk about setting goals and following them through. I set one, I followed through, I gave her my mailing address… And ended up receiving sometime later the cutest little frog, with his tiny green butt pasted to a scrap of cardboard. And a magnet (which is still on my fridge). And a pen (which I still use, when I can find it in the heaping mess that is my Writer’s Corner).

Anyone who knows me is well aware that the path to my heart lies through office supplies. Especially pens. From that day forward it was a done deal.

I suppose it helps that I really, honestly love the books. The characters are real. The magic system takes such a toll that using it is almost more than it’s worth. (Admit it – this is how magic would work in real life. Nothing is ever easy!)

We’re currently 4 books in and Allie still has no clue what the heck is going on. This is a beloved contrast to some (a lot) (most) other urban fantasies, where the heroine has it all figured out and has whooped the bad guy by the last page of the first book. Then we have to sit through sixteen more books where she continues to get stronger & stronger until you just want to scream ‘Mary Sue!’ and throw the book across the room. [1]

You can find a description of Magic on the Storm, as well as the other books in the series over here. Now. If you haven’t read any of these yet, go get them and quit bothering me. You know I’d never steer you wrong.

If you have read them, let’s dish!

  • How much do you love Stone? Who doesn’t want a loyal, man-trampling gargoyle for a pet. So cute!
  • This whole ‘My dead dad lives in my head’ thing? Not cute. Really creepy actually. Gives me shudders every time I think of it. I’d be showering blindfolded for the rest of my life! Hope this gets resolved soon…
  • And Zayvion Jones! SWOON! Allie’s understated interracial relationship  is a total win. Yes, I’m only saying that because this particular white chick married a black man. Who doesn’t want to see a reflection of themselves in fiction? (That’s part of the whole point, right? People want to read books about people like themselves.) And I love that it’s not a big deal. Heck, maybe it’s not in Seattle; I live in the Midwest. Huge difference.
  • Loved the magic free-for-all at the climax of this one. It cranked the stakes up about a dozen notches or so, and I can’t wait for the next book.
  • P.S. ~ If the publisher gods are listening, I’d go all Thunderdome for an ARC of the next book. A girl can dream, right?

[1] I said you’d want to. I do not recommend actually throwing books. That is a crime against literature. And bad for the foreheads of anyone living with you. Do not ask me how I know this.

[xrr rating=5/5 imageset=default]
Visit the author’s blog.

And buy the book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s, or your other favorite book seller.

Would You Like To Guest Post? And Other Miscellanea

Okay, first off, I know it’s incredibly short notice. But. I’ll be out of town the week of May 24th and am interested in hearing from anyone who’d like to guest post on WFF that week, or possibly early the following week.  Readers, writers of the published or unpublished variety, or anyone vaguely interesting would be welcome. Topics should relate to books in some way, but I’m open to exotic variations. If you’re interested, email me at kiara AT waitingforfairies DOT com, and we’ll talk. We’ll work in some extreme pimp-age for your own website/Twitter feed/other (non-pr0n) site while we’re at it. And I’m open to returning the favor at a later date.

If I can manage to get some rest from all the overtime at Ye Olde Daye Jobbe and from family obligations, I’ll have reviews for you from:

  • Devon Monk’s MAGIC ON THE STORM [link]
  • Leanna Renee Hieber’s THE DARKLY LUMINOUS FIGHT FOR PERSEPHONE PARKER [link]
  • And I still need to say a bit about Jim Butcher’s CHANGES (I think I’m still recovering from that one! Brutal!) [link]
  • As well as the fact that I’ve just received my copy of Peter V Brett’s DESERT SPEAR [link]

So I hope you’re all looking forward to that. I know I’m looking forward to having all that stuff written and the work gone from over my head. Ha!

The short story I promised my writing partner, which is now over a month late, I think (It was an arbitrary deadline, but a deadline nonetheless.), still continues, although slowly. But I’ll take any progress rather than none at all, at this point. I’ve promised myself 15 minutes a day on it. If, at the end of those minutes, I want to quit working, then I can. I usually don’t want to, but must, because I’m typically scribbling furiously in a tiny notebook during a coffee break at work.

Ah, well. A writer does what a writer must. Right?

Review: Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Blood of the Demon is the second book in Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series from Bantam books. Click here for more information (post is from our Kiaras Festivus giveaway in February). Visit the author here.

The Blurb

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, MAN AND DEMON, SHE’S ABOUT TO FACE THE ONE THING SHE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SURVIVE.

Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.

It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.

Rapid-Fire Review

Rowland proves the strength of her debut was not a one-hit wonder in this second installment of the Kara Gillian series. The mystery is bigger, the stakes are higher, and Kara has even fewer resources to turn to than before. (And we get to see more demons! Not a bad thing…)

This time I figured out “whodunit” early, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story one bit.

[xrr rating=4.5/5 imageset=red_star]

Review: Brains, A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker

Having a fascination with unique, humorous zombies (Shaun of the Dead), I was pleased when I recently had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker.

Brains is an autobiographical accounting of the “undeath” of Professor Jack Barnes, who is bitten by a zombie during the outbreak of an unusual man-made virus. When Jack comes back to himself after his death, he realizes that he still possesses one of the talents he had when he was alive: Zombie Jack can write.

So he sets out on a journey to recruit others like himself and track down their creator, Howard Stein, inventor of the zombie virus. Once there, his plans are to use his written words to persuade the humans to give zombies equal rights. “The pursuit of life, liberty, and brains,” Jack writes.

On his journey, he meets Joan, a nurse with a deft hand for repairing zombie afflictions; Guts, a boy who can run like the wind (an unusual feat in a crowd of undead shufflers); Ros, a former soldier who has the unique ability (for a zombie) of speech; and Annie, a teenage girl with a pair of pistols and the aim of Annie Oakley.

At 192 pages, this book shouldn’t have taken me the several days that it did to finish; but somewhere in those several days I came to realize that Jack’s story isn’t just a zombie story. The zombies’ limitations speak not only to the plight of the undead, but also to the elderly, the infirm, and the mentally or physically impaired. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Perhaps I am. My maternal grandmother died very quickly of ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) when I was 16, and the mental image I have of her possessing a perfectly sound mind while her body deteriorated around her has haunted me ever since.

“The pursuit of life, liberty, and brains,” Jack writes. It sounds humorous – and it is. But written between the lines are the further pursuits of open communication with other sentient beings, the ability to be cared for, of having ones needs met when one isn’t able to do for oneself. Of not being hated, feared, or mocked for what one looks like, or for being impaired physically or mentally.

I had no idea when I picked it up that I would read this short, humorous, light-hearted story so seriously. But I have, and I think that the plight of Professor Jack Barnes, zombie author, will be staying with me for a very long time.

[xrr rating=4/5]