Friday, August 30, 2013

truth telling

I was a guest blogger over at YA Highway yesterday and I've been a little afraid of telling people I know because, well, if you head over there you'll see. The post is about writing, but it's also about having priorities and dreams and how the people around you don't always get those those priorities and dreams and how that's okay. It's a really honest post, and being honest can be a scary thing, which is why I've been afraid of sharing it. Anyways, check it out if you want to. It was an honour to blog for them. YA Highway rocks.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ten Reasons Why Being An Independent Bookseller Rocks (Cuz It Totally Does)

1. You get to write poetry on the sidewalk whenever you feel like it. Sometimes your boss pesters you until you do.
2. You get to read books before they’re published. Uh huh. It's awesome.
3. You get to correspond with authors you adore. You get to hand-sell their books and plan their book events and generally fangirl all over the place.
4. Your coworkers are smart, funny and kind. (And some of them are cantankerous curmudgeons, but this only makes you love them more.)
5. You know your customers by name, and they know you by name, and that’s a beautiful thing.
6. Your bosses treat you well, dude.
7. You get a huge say in what books get ordered and displayed and recommended and, therefore, sold.
8. You get handwritten notes from Dustin Kurtz, accompanied by pretty, pretty ARCs. (Seriously. This happened yesterday.)
9. Your whole job basically boils down to you reading and falling in love with and being changed by books, and then putting them in the hands of other people so they can read and fall in love with and be changed by them too.
10. Most of all, though, you get to take pride in your work, and your coworkers, and the community that loves you, along with an industry that has at its heart a reverence for books.

So support your local indies. They make local economies healthier and communities stronger. And they know your name.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I agree with a lot of the criticisms that exist regarding prologues. They can be lazy. They can be useless. But I would just like to say this: If prologues vanished completely from the world, my heart would be broken.

As a reader (and a bookseller) I adore prologues. I always have. And no, I don’t think this means my taste is compromised. See Chime by Franny Billingsley: There’s a prologue AND the book was a finalist for the NBA in 2011, received six starred reviews, made the Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2011, and was an ALA 2012 Best Fiction pick. I really don’t think it achieved all those things despite the prologue.

A prologue done well (keyword being well) very often determines whether I will read a book or not. It tells me if a story is going to be worth my time. And it’s a little bit sad to me when someone declares all prologues worthless. Just like most things in the publishing world, this is a subjective opinion.

Here are some examples of books I love (and have read multiple times) that begin with prologues:

Chime by Franny Billingsley. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. Sabriel by Garth Nix. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. (It’s debateable whether or not this contains a prologue, but since the narrative begins before chapter one, I’m including it.) Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. (I’m wiling to hazard a guess that Maggie likes prologues too.) I could go on, but I think that's enough.

These books are NYT bestsellers and/or serious award winners. Prologues can and do work.

Monday, August 5, 2013

on repeat

You can tell a lot about my writing patterns just by perusing my iTunes, seeing which songs play on repeat when and for how long. I always make playlists for a particular thing I'm working on - usually, this is a form of procrastination. If I'm struggling to get a thing started, I very quickly decide that the reason I'm struggling is: No writing playlist!

This a ruse. You do not need a writing playlist in order to write.

Anyways. So I always make playlists. But what ends up happening, usually very quickly, is that I get to a song and instead of moving on to the next one, I realize that I don't want the song to stop. So I put it on repeat. Or, with my most recent iTunes updates (where I can no longer find the repeat option) I make playlists of just one song copied twenty or thirty times... which is kind of labor intensive, so if anyone knows how to play songs on repeat with the newest version of iTunes please feel free to tell me.

This is how I end up listening to the same song, over and over, for days and days. Finally, when I'm ready (usually after a scene or chapter or whatever is finished and I need to move on to the next one), I'll take the song off of repeat, or go back to the original playlist... until I hit another snag, and it happens all over again. I am perfectly okay with this system of listening to music. My partner, on the other hand, is not. Which is how I end up writing in cafes, with my earbuds in.

Basically, all of the above is just as an excuse for me to post this - All I Want by Kodaline. It is my newest obsession/snag.