New WKAR Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Current StateIn this installment of WKAR’s Current State, I review the new book by famed YA author Holly Black. It is entitled The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

You can listen to my review on WKAR’s site here (http://wkar.org/post/book-review-holly-blacks-coldest-girl-coldtown). You can also read the script of the review below, after the jump.

Holly Black also was interviewed on Current State about the book and her successful career in young adult fantasy. You can hear her interview via this link.

You can find Holly Black’s new book on Amazon.com here. I hope you enjoy my new book review. Continue reading

Advertisements

10 little nuggets of writerly wisdom to consider: From one struggling writer to another

One thing a writer can not avoid is someone asking their opinion about writing or their advice for trying to make it in the field. Here, I must admit that I used to ask the same question all of the time to my writing professors or writers I would meet. It is like there is a great secret we all want in on, and the trick is finding someone that will teach you the magic handshake.

The truth of the matter is there is no magic handshake. Yet, there is a mountain of books that claim to know— everything from how to put a pen on the paper to how to get that elusive publishing deal. Personally, I’ve always found these how-to sections at bookstores overwhelming. A person could drown in those murky waters, struggling to find the right voice and advice that works for them.

Yet, when I am confronted by new writers who ask me about writing, my advice usually falls into the following ten points; they are ideas, suggestions, lessons, or hot air, in many ways whatever you want them to be or what works best for you. Continue reading

Fighting the Power Rangers… and Losing

I am an entertainment parental snob. Which means, I am NOT about to just put anything on the TV to entertain my child like some parents do.

Yes, other parents I am silently judging you right now… OK, maybe not silently.

Oh, yes, there is a bar for me and children television, and I expect a show or movie to reach it; because, frankly, I want my kids to enter the world of the arts (books, movies, music, etc.) with an idea of what is aesthetically good and enriching, what is bad, and what is just generic noise. And, hopefully, in other words, I will have 12-year old kids someday who will consider books like Harry Potter over books like Twilight.

So even before my first child was born I had a list in my mind of starting points of what I was going to do my utmost to avoid; a partial list would include:

  • Barney
  • The Wiggles, or any facsimile of it
  • Anything related to princess and fairies
  • All Dreamworks animation films (especially any film related to that horrendous green creation named Shrek)
  • Power Rangers Continue reading

My Coke (Zero) Addiction

Ah, sweet nectar of the Gods!

What was life like before Coke Zero, and dare I even try to remember?

With two kids, early mornings, and a life that always feels like it is running and then suddenly asleep, Coke Zero has replaced the blood in my veins and my heartbeat now beats to the tempo of “I would like to teach the world to sing…”

This is my life force.

It wasn’t always like this. No, for a time I was off soda.  Four months of semi-consciousness, bumping into walls, speaking incomplete sentences, losing words, forgetting to—I don’t know—wear socks. But thanks to my baby daughter’s teething, I was brought back into the fold and I am once again collecting My Coke Reward points like nobody’s business. Subscription to Entertainment Weekly? Nah, I’m hoping to earn enough points to take over their editorial staff (I have a strong opinion regarding their obsession around Twilight, reality shows, and Glee). Continue reading

Why This Writer Feels Guilty For Loving SHERLOCK

Let me say this off the bat– SHERLOCK is one of the best written TV series I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

I love all the twists and turns and surprises in each episode. I think the actors are great in their parts and I look forward to each new episode. I’ve already seen two of the three new episodes of season two, and it is even better than the first season. As a fan, I hope the series goes on for another 10 years.

OK, I got that off of my chest.

Now, let me say I feel slight tinges of guilt for loving and supporting the series, because it is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision. Oh, they are his characters (the main ones, albeit with cell phones), but they are not his stories, his world, his words, his adventures, his time period. The creators are–to put it bluntly and completely on the table–taking what they want from his stories in piecemeal, and remaking it for their own profit.

Again, I love the series. I want it to go on, but it does set a precedent that makes me a little concerned. Because of this series’ success are we going to see “new versions” of classics all over the place? Is that a good thing? And more importantly, does it give the respect to the original artist that they deserve for their own creation?

Consider this, if SHERLOCK wasn’t such a well-made, well-written series would we be as happy around the enterprise?

If it was crap, I can guarantee you that the Sherlock Holmes fan sites around the world would have risen in protest around it. The fact it is good, helps. So do we say, it is OK to “reinvent” an artist’s creation as long as it is good?  And who defines good? I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t trust TV executives to make that call for me. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Harry Potter, Lucy Pevensie, Alice, and Compasses…

Here’s a confession- I’ve always wanted to write Children’s literature.

Oh, not any typical children’s lit/young adult book, I’ve always dreamt of doing something groundbreaking, stupendous. So, in other words, I’ve built up the idea so much in my head that I can’t even begin to start. None of the ideas I get reach that level. Of course, none could.

Why do I love the idea of writing a book in this genre? Because this is the gateway drug for all good readers (I plan to stop the drug references there). We don’t start by reading War and Peace; we start by reading Lewis Carroll and his Alice. A good children’s lit book will inspire a reader (and writer) for decades afterwards.

I can go on about this for pages–and I’ll probably talk about it again at some point–but let me focus today on one thing I love and two things I think children and young adult lit needs help on. Continue reading