The Sara(h)s: My Nemeses!

I’m in an upbeat mood today, so I’m going to reveal an inside story: Agents have nemeses. And I mean that by the strictest definition. I bear no actual enmity or ill will to my nemeses, but I do consider them an agent – pun intended – of my downfall!

Nemeses are those agents that always seem to get the projects I want. Granted, nearly every agent out there represents something I’ve wanted and lost, never got the chance to consider, or didn’t even know I wanted until I saw the announcement. But there are an elite few who keep cropping up. Namely, the Sara(h)s!

For clarity’s sake, I repeat, these agents are awesome agents and probably awesome people (I haven’t met them all), but the number of times I’ve lost something to a Sara or Sarah… it feels innumerable.

Why am I telling you this? Because there are always going to be people whose successes you envy. That crit partner who seems to get it without even trying. That author whose debut did sell for six-figures. The point is that another’s achievements do not negate your own. Be happy for them! They’re probably cool, and anyway, a rising tide carries all boats. Do your thing.

XOXO

Tor

Amazon’s Best-Seller Ranking System: The Myth and The Magnificent

Bemoaning Amazon is not really my thing. Enough rants & raves about the corporate giant already exist. So, if you’re itching to leave a comment about Amazon’s business model, practices, processes, or place in the market you are out of luck.

I’m here to simply educate Authors and aspiring authors about the Amazon bestseller ranking system, and the misinformation and assumptions that prevail about its actual meaning.

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, here. My goal here is not to de-wind your proverbial sales, but rather explain why a high Amazon bestseller ranking does not necessarily equate to mammoth sales figures.

Amazon’s rankings are hourly, rather than weekly or cumulative.  New York Times Best-Sellers, for example, are determined via weekly sales data from various booksellers. The idea being that it’s a more rounded average of what consumers are buying.  An hourly ranking may not be inaccurate, but it can be misleading at times.  Let’s say you write an awesome memoir, Amazon’s hourly ranking means that if someone bought your memoir twice in one hour, and Cheryl Strayed’s WILD once in that same hour, your memoir earns a higher-ranking. Does that mean your memoir is out-selling Ms. Strayed’s? Probably not.

Additionally, the categories and sub-categories can be misleading. There are categories than can get really specific. For example, Non-fiction, Memoir, Travel, Asia, Russia is it’s own category, so you’re Russian travel memoir may be ranked # 1, but it’s only against other Russian Travel Memoirs sold within the hour.

Am I saying you shouldn’t be proud? NOT AT ALL. Your book is published and ranked on a best-seller list. That is magnificentand by all means share it with everyone. What I am saying is that you should practice realistic expectations when it comes to how a “best-selling” title translates to actual sales.

Amazon is so non-transparent about actual sales figures the rank amounts to an arbitrary number; there’s no measurable context or value associated with it.

 

XO

-Victoria

Hard Truths: Why being unpublished is better than being poorly published

Aspiring is a tough infinitive. It’s one of those painful words like “Almost” or “Nearly.” You’ve probably got the Google Reader set to success stories, and your friends and crit partners insist you’ll get there.

So you go through this excruciating process: [see this publishing process in Gif’s]

But what happens if you never got an agent? or you got one but the book didn’t sell?!?

Wait, a minute. That’s not right. I have an agent. This is the part where my book sells, right?

Yes and No. Agents don’t have a measured ratio that magically predicts your success. Some say the average agent success rate is 50%, some say it’s 85-90%. I’ve seen as little as 30% noted. The point is, even the best agents don’t have a 100% success rate (NOTE: 100% agent, if you are out there, please be my yoda.)

So, Dear Unsold Author, when PUBLISHER X approaches you and/or your agent, you jump at the chance. I can see why. You don’t know much – okay, anything - about PUBLISHER X and there’s not a lot of information available, but they are joyfully full of promises and they want to publish your book.

** TREAD CAREFULLY **

 Publishers believe in their promises, vision, and ability. Rarely, does a malicious criminal mastermind lurk behind a curtain intent on taking your hard earned royalties. But even the best intentions, in the hands of an entity that cannot execute them, don’t make the experience or outcome more bearable when promises go unfulfilled and communication breaks down.

Now, it’s important that you understand two things:

1.) I’m not talking about mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. If your editor forgot to send that blurb request on Monday… it’s not a reason to run screaming into the hills.

2.) Does this mean you shouldn’t give small presses a shot? No, not at all. I’m a fan of the small press. Houses like Other Press, Angry Robot, and Merit Press are doing wonderful things. Does this mean avoid start-ups? No. I was a start-up agent once… but I was never a bad agent. It’s about learning the difference.

So how do you know if you’re dealing with a bad publisher? Alarmingly, you may not. Hopefully your agent will guide you, and there are questions to protect yourself.

First, I can’t stress enough the importance of talking to others about their experiences.

Talk to the authors you know are already working with this publisher. Are they happy? Why or why not? How are their books doing? Would they keep working with that publisher? You check-out YELP before taking your in-laws to dinner, and this is way more important than your in-laws.

What are the advances like on average? Are you getting one? And if you’re not how good are these folks going to be at selling your book? Are the royalties competitive? Will your editor be freelance or fulltime (a.k.a. do you really have a champion there?). Who is handling foreign rights? Sub-rights? Publicity? Marketing? What’s their business model? What are the digital and print distribution plans? What’s an average print run? Marketing Strategy? What industry contacts do they plan to send review copies to? Will they be paying to advertise? Ask them to name some books they’ve released. How are they selling? They probably won’t tell you, but do your homework. Action will always speak louder than words.

All I am really saying is: An announcement on Publishers Marketplace, does not a publisher make.  

But, having any publisher is better than having none?

Nope. Dip that thought in some wrong sauce and take a big ole bite.

Here’s a few things that can go wrong. (Bearing in mind that ALL of them can go wrong and you wind up in a bath robe face down on the kitchen floor crying into the grout because the tile feels cool and you’re too upset to get to the sofa).

1.)    Publisher promises you that your book will be in digital and paperback and they’re getting a major distributor. But you’ve not asked the right questions and you soon discover that “paperback” means print on demand and the cover is designed by createspace. No hate to POD or Createspace, they do a great job! But this means you’re paying the publisher to have your book self-published. Granted, I’ve heard of some legit houses using KDP successfully, thanks to genius editors, publicists, and rights managers –> all firmly in the plus side when considering the legitimacy of a house.

2.)    You could hate your cover. Like hide-your-book-from-people HATE your cover.

3.)    You could wind up without a publicist, without a sub-rights manager, with out a marketing plan. There’s no budget for advertising or promotion and because your advance was twelve dollars you certainly can’t pay for it.

4.)    No one reviews it because the Publisher doesn’t have the network to get people talking about it. You’ve been promoting and promoting and promoting to no avail.

5.)    Or you’ve been promoting it gangbusters, and all your fans rush to the intertubes to discover the list price is outrageous. Your readers are upset that they have to pay so much for the book. You just keep apologizing.

6.)    Publisher won’t negotiate. They require all your rights: film, television, Graphic novel, video game, first born, and merchandising.  You lose enormous chunks on the license of rights.

7.)    Publisher goes bankrupt. So your novel technically belongs to the creditors at this point? It depends on how the contract is worded. It’s likely assigned to successors and assigns.

And you want to know the worst part about this disaster?  The Publisher Still Owns Your Book. You can’t just change your mind. Generous houses might let you petition release. And even then, though grateful,  you’ve paid to not be published. And you know what? It will have been worth it.

Because signing with a disreputable publisher can hurt your career. Even more than being a debut author? Yes. You know how my Dad was always like “Victoria Elise Marini!! get over here. You spent WHAT on those shoes?  The only thing worse than bad credit is no credit?” **

This is not like that. Bad is worse than none. Why? Because when that novel comes out from a shady place and sells badly (it will) it’s going to be extremely difficult to sell it again and in some extreme cases, future prospects will be wary.

I had some glorious witty wrap-up planned, but my eyes hurt.

XO

Victoria

** I have stellar credit. Thanks Dad! Love you!

Totally Digging These Books

Every once in a while  (often) I don’t have legitimate advice to give, at least none that you can’t already get from agents far more wise than I. I think “what to blog about that’s useful?” I work on tome-sized posts about three-dimensional characters, what makes a bad agent vs. a good agent (coming soon), how to reign in your characters when they start running away from (with?) you. Craft and business aside, what shall I talk about, I wonder. 

How about books I’ve really enjoyed/loved. Research – knowing what a prospective agent loves and/or has  represented – is the most important step, I think, for an aspiring writer to find the right agent. So, it’s at least semi-useful for me to talk about the books I’ve been totally digging recently. 

Making the list, y’all, in no particular order:

NOBODY BUT US by Kristin Halbrook

January 29th 2013

Harper Teen

Image

The Copy 

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger….

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love…and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr. – (image and copy owned and courtesy of HarperTeen, y’all)

My Thoughts: I thank the Galley Gods that I got the chance to get an early review copy.  This is a wonderful debut for Kristin. Bonnie and Clyde-ish, with that careening sense of inevitable disaster, it’s literally the perfect blend of contemporary and suspense. I’m a huge fan of literary YA  that, while contemporary, still feels tense and nerve-wracking. Without serial killers or stalkers (not that there’s anything wrong with a good serial killer or stalker villain) this was enthralling and intense and I want one of my own. 

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

June 19th 2012

St. Martin’s Griffin
 
Image
The Copy:
 
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually wantto live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? (image and copy owned and courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin).
 
My Thoughts: Oh Courtney, you wild literary devil. So this is one of the books that rocks the commercial hook, paces like a bat out of hell, and also follows this incredibly stunning character arc that  just twisted my big, softie heart. The hook got me interested, but it was the voice and the gritty emotional core of the novel, that kept me rooted. 
 
 
KEPT IN THE DARK by Penny Hancock
 
Plume
 
August 28th, 2012
Image
 
The Copy: When her neighbor’s fifteen-year-old nephew goes missing, Sonia is the last person that anyone would suspect. At forty-three, she is a strikingly attractive wife and mother. And like the River House, her lovely home overlooking the Thames, Sonia’s life is a picture of perfection and normalcy—until she meets Jez. From the moment he shows up on Sonia’s doorstep, the gorgeous teenage boy awakens a torrent of memories that threaten to reveal a terrifying truth. Drawn to Jez by a compulsion that she scarcely understands, Sonia takes him captive—prepared to sacrifice everything to keep him. (image and copy owned and courtesy of Plume)
 
My Thoughts: Polarizing, as so many psychological thrillers are, this books seems to be casting people on sides of a great divide: those who love this and those who most certainly do NOT. I side with the former. This is straight-up, all-out creepy. At times, it grossed me out. Freaked me out. Gave me a stomach ache. I can understand why not everyone would feel as enamored as I. It’s not an easy book, but it’s visceral, gripping, and utterly unique. Bravo, I say.  

Synopses

Working on a  long, complex post about building three dimensional characters got me thinking about other impossibly difficult writer tasks. Namely, the synopsis.

I hate synopses. I’ve always hated them because they demand the kind of prioritizing skills that I just don’t have. Everyone is important! Every plot point is major! How am supposed to just leave out that whole section?!?! Alas, the ability to write a synopsis is a worthy skill. My client Karen Akins wrote her own synopsis because she’s so good at it and then she got a two book deal (granted, the book is awesome so that might have had more to do with it… but the synopsis didn’t hurt).

Karen should really be the one giving you advice on this, but she’s busy writing her next novel so I’m here as a proxy.

Question number one is always “How long should my synopsis be?” The Answer is “as long as it needs to be.” I know it’s frustrating. Some people say 1 page, 3 pages, 5 pages and so on. But for anyone reading your synopsis length isn’t nearly as important as content.

Does that mean you can write a novella? No.   The goal of a synopsis is to summarize the overall trajectory of the novel and to not be boring while doing it.

First, imagine you have to write the jacket copy for your own book (but with a synopsis you include the ending). Copy is always brief, succinct, and engaging. It will cover major plot points, characters and that all important “hook.”

Beyond that, your synopsis needs to include major climaxes, conflicts and relationships between characters.  As you’re writing, try to demonstrate the emotional and physical obstacles between your characters and their goals.

The synopsis needs to be equal parts plot and character, and where I most run into trouble is transitions. How do you move from one point to the next without going all and then this happened and then she goes here and this happens (DO NOT DO THIS EVER).

The key is to recognize whether the transition is important (remember when you were writing that novel and you realized that you don’t have to document every literal step your protagonist makes?) and smooth over gaps with your own paraphrasing.

Try to engage with the storytelling  the same way you did when you wrote your query letter. Not only must a synopsis provide us with an account of your novel, but we also need to get a sense of the energy and spirit as well.

I know, I know, I still haven’t told you how you’re supposed to do all that. Sadly, I don’t quite now. It’s a matter of organization, priority, and time.

And a lot of research!
XO

- V

Aside

I am looking forward to Autumn. It’s my favorite season and this summer has not necessarily been a kind or easy one. Among my favorite Autumnal accoutrement:

ankle boots
cider
sweaters
pumpkins
leafy smells
twilight
chestnut brown. mustard yellow. navy.
stew
barley wine
crunching sounds
school supplies (fresh notebooks, sharpie fine-tip pens, AHHHH the smell of new BOOKS!
that moment where decide to play Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington) on repeat because I worry that incessant summer-ness (and consequent sexual metaphors regarding the heat and the melting of one’s “popsicle”) of Katy Perry has actually made me dumber.
pumpkin. spice. lattes.
the mood to bake (not the actual baking)
squash

And finally – these upcoming releases I’m looking forward to checking. I’m conentrating on YA and MG stand-alones, but will definitely throw a mention to the sequals I’m excited for!  In no Particular order …

1.) The Peculiar – September 18th 2012 by Greenwillow Books

Seriously. Freaking. LOSING IT. This has all the magic, fantasy, weirdness, that I want in a good Autumn park read.

check the copy: “THE GRAVEYARD BOOK meets JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL in this gothic steampunk page-turner for readers of all ages.
Bartholomew Kettle won’t live long. Changelings never do. The child of a human mother and a faery father, Bartholomew is a secret, despised by both his races. If the English don’t hang him for witchcraft, the faerys will do something worse. So his mother keeps him locked away, hidden from the world in the faery slums of Bath.
But one day Bartholomew witnesses a mysterious lady kidnap another changeling through a shadowy portal, and he realizes the danger is closer than ever before. Changelings are surfacing in the rivers, their bodies empty of blood and bone and their skin covered in red markings. A powerful figure sits in the shadows, pushing the pieces in place for some terrible victory. When a sinister faery in a top-hat begins to stalk Bartholomew’s steps, he knows it’s his turn. Something is coming for him. Something needs him. But when you’re a changeling there’s no where to run..” – from goodreads.

Also, I’ve already pre-ordered this one and you can see why with this excerpt

2.) The Amber House – October 1st 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books

“‘ I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . .”
Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that’s been in her family for three centuries. She’s never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she’s never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.
But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds–and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house’s past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house’s secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever”

3.) Alice in Zombieland – September 25th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

I mean, it’s Gena Showalter. I think that’s enough.

“She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.”

4.) Butter – September 18th 2012 by Bloomsbury

I think this is just the most terrifying, fascinating premise and I’m so thrilled to see how Erin Lange managed it. I expect with grace and skill.

“A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?”

5.) The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls – August 28th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Loving the cover desperately, and having spoken with the author briefly – she was so darn effusive – I’m pumped to get my hands on this.

“At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)
But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t’ come out at all.
If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy”

6.) Ten – September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

I am a sucker for thrillers. Straight-up, Agatha Christie meets Lois Duncan style Thrillers and this could not fit the bill more succinctly. Also, I remembered this book since I first the tag line “Ten Teen. Three Days. One Killer.” Bravo to Gretchen and her editor and copy-writer, cause this book has been in my brain for ages.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”

7. Colin Fischer – November 8th 2012 by Razorbill

This is one I had the pleasure of reading. It was a BEA buzz book and I read it in one sitting, fell in love, and wrote the editor the next day to tell her as much. It’s truly a DELIGHT of a book. I recommend to everyone – YA, MG, Adult, Sherlock Holmes fans… Whoever. Read it.

“Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions. But Colin is Wayne Connelly’s best–and only–hope of proving his innocence after Wayne is accused of blowing up a birthday cake in the school cafeteria. Colin and Wayne quickly set off on a journey to prove Wayne’s innocence, but neither realizes just how far their investigation will take them or that it will force Colin to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.
Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He’s a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who sees clues in the unlikeliest of places, and whom readers will root for right up until the case is solved . . . and beyond.”

8.) Blind Spot –  October 23rd 2012 by Harcourt Children’s Books

This cover. This premise.Gah!

“Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name … to find a murderer. “

9. What Happens Next- October 9th 2012 by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) Checking out the goodreads advance praise for this, I was totally convinced.

“Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.
Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks.
witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.”

10. ) Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris – September 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris

I’m a longtime fan of Marissa Moss who has published something like a bajillion (50 or so) books for kids. This is no exception.

“Mira is shocked when she receives a postcard from her missing mother from Paris Her father decides it’s time for a trip to France to search for her. While visiting Notre Dame, Mira touches a gargoyle and is whirled into the past. There she meets the famous painter Degas and catches a brief, shocking glimpse of her mother. Mira begins to suspect that her mom didn’t run out on them but is a prisoner of the past. Can one family on an incredible worldwide adventure stop a plot in time?”

11.) Starry River of the Sky- October 2nd 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

- img coming soon-

‘The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can’t help but notice the village’s peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper’s son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?
But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.”

12.) Crewel – October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

So, you know how I knew this was going to be good? Fiance grabbed my ARC just to “check it out” and didn’t stop “checking it out” until he was finished. At home, on the way to work, on the  train. Then I read it, and I understood.

“Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.”
13.) Out of Reach – October 16th 2012 by Simon Pulse
Out of Reach
“How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.
Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.
With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.”
And then finall, and of course, the next pieces in two of my favorite trilogies:

Days of Blood and Starlight

The Evolution of Mara Dyer

Where have I been all your life (or, since the winter)

It seems I’m back. Where I have been? That’s a long story. The short answer is: been busy.
The long answer is the same, but perhaps  deeper and truer.

I’ve been avoiding the intertubes. For the most part because I can’t share the good news or the hope-to-be-good news until all systems are “Go.”  And I’m certainly not going to tell everyone about my many suffered miseries because they’re few and (truly) harmless. No one likes a Negative Nancy.

So that left me with what felt like two topics: food and my cats. There’s only so much one can say about the glory of the doughnut or the cuteness of the “M”  on Neville’s forehead.

There was and is more to say, of course. Querying, Inspiration, Books I love, Books I didn’t love, but the past 6 months have used up so much of my energy it seemed blogging or tweeting about anything even remotely “not priority” was impossible; like win-the-lottery impossible.

To metaphor it: If my brain is a giant computer… it has been churning that damn hourglass over and over again. (or, for you mac users, the dreaded pinwheel of loading!)

But rejoice (I am)! My mental CPU has stopped over-heating. I’m back, and attempting to be more consistent.

If there’s anything you want to talk about, hit me up! I’d love help on choosing a topic.

XO

V