Monthly Archive for September, 2012

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Harry Potter and the teamTEENauthor Topic

Every month, members of teamTEENauthor write a blog post for teens on a specific topic. September’s topic is Harry Potter. For links to more posts on this topic, scroll to the bottom.

I came to the Harry Potter books pretty late, a little before the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, was published. I had heard of the series, but it wasn’t until the recommendations from friends came in force that I decided to give them a try. I was so confident I would love them that I ordered the first three books from the Science Fiction Book Club, and started reading The Sorceror’s Stone while I was trapped in an airport overnight. It was the best book I could have had with me, because I was immediately hooked, and once I’d caught up, I was looking forward to the next one along with the rest of the world.

For some reason I’ve only ever re-read the first three books though, maybe because the later ones are so much longer and I barely have time to read new books, let alone visit favorites. Or maybe it’s because I always hit my favorite, Prisoner of Azkaban, and then don’t feel the need to read more. I consider the third book to be Harry Potter at its best: It had just begun to deal with some darker themes, it was delving into Harry’s past, and yet it still had a sense of innocence about it that diminished with later books.

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we have a winner

At last, I’ve managed to select a winner in my giveaway for Hal Johnson’s critically-acclaimed Immortal Lycanthropes. After creating a list of all the entries, I randomized and numbered the list, and then selected a random number at random.org. And the winner is…

Kari!

Kari will receive a copy of Immortal Lycanthropes signed and illustrated by its, uh, illustrious author, Hal. And seriously, if you haven’t checked out this book yet, what are you waiting for? Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing calls it “a YA novel unlike any other.” And while you could say that about any number of YA books and not mean it as a compliment, he clarifies this with: “Take one part Lemony Snicket, one part Boy’s Life adventure, three measures of Daniel Pinkwater, a dash of Tex Avery mixed with Carlos Castenada, and you’d get something like Immortal Lycanthropes.”

That sounds great to me. My copy arrived last week, and I’m looking forward to diving in as soon as I finish The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls.

Thanks, all who entered the contest and read the interview! I’d like to do more of these soon, so stay tuned to the same immortal-lycanthrope-bat channel.

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back to school

I really miss summer vacation. When I was a kid, summers meant weeks of uninterrupted reading time; every morning began with a trip to my local library, where I loaded up on seven or eight books. I lugged them home, settled into my favorite armchair, and devoured them all one after the other like literary Pringles. My school would have a summer reading challenge to see who could read the most books. It’s no surprise that the summer I read more than 100 books, at the start of the fourth grade, I suddenly needed glasses.

Now, as more or less of an adult, there’s no such thing as summer break. (Cue the violins.) Even when I get a vacation, I’m constantly working on something: My idea of “time off” is several days of uninterrupted writing time. But I remember what it was like as the summer dwindled away and September approached with its promise of full school days and nights and weekends doing homework. As much as I enjoyed learning and reuniting with friends at school, it was always a tough adjustment.

Literary Escapism is hosting a unique blog series this month, featuring thirty authors who are sharing stories about their book characters returning to school. I was delighted to be invited to participate. I contributed a short piece starring some characters from Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, in which Nathan Mackenzie finally steals some of the limelight from his best friend, Ephraim Scott.

Many of the posts include giveaways of the authors’ books, and Pyr has generously offered up a copy of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin to be given together to one lucky winner. More details will follow when the post goes up near the end of the month. In the meantime, here’s a list of all the stories, which will be updated throughout the month, including one from K.D. McEntire about Wendy, Eddie, and Piotr from her books Lightbringer and Reaper.

Listen… The bell’s ringing for first period. You’d better get to class and crack open those books!

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you never forget your first Dragon*Con (especially if you blog about it)

Miss Star Trek Universe 2011, Drexy the Tribble, wandered by while I was signing at the Pyr booth. In last year's competition, she performed a Star Trek cover of Lennon's "Imagine".

I’ve been to conventions before. My very first was a Star Trek Creation Convention during high school, and you can probably guess what that was like. In college, my best friend and roommate talked me into going to what I think was the first Xena: The Warrior Princess convention ever, where I was in the minority because I’m actually more of a fan of Hercules. Our university science fiction club and games club hosted the con suite at Lunacon for a couple of years, and since then I’ve been to Readercons (my favorite), Worldcons, World Fantasy conventions, and Wiscons. But none of them are anything like Dragon*Con.

I’m really glad my editor, Lou Anders, convinced me to skip seeing all my friends at Worldcon and attend Dragon*Con instead, as they both overlapped Labor Day weekend (along with PAX). Pyr Books had a large booth at Dragon*Con–the only science fiction and fantasy publisher in the massive, three-ballroom dealer room. It’s a decision that paid off for them, and for me, because there are a lot of enthusiastic readers at the convention who have both the desire to spend large quantities of money and a passion for discovering new books and new authors. So many times I heard someone announce, “Give me a book recommendation!” “I am looking for something new to read!” “I would like to give you cash for your books!” Music to a debut author’s ears.

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