Archive for April, 2012

I just finished reading four books, back to back, and each one was STELLAR. That never happens, so you better believe I’m excited to praise these reads, all of which have a common thread–each features a flawed, unconventional protagonist.

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells.

Six Second Summary: (From flap) John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. To keep his obsession with serial killer under wraps and under control, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal high school life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation. After a string of brutal murders terrorizes his town, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

I loved it because: Wells’ voice is electric–he keeps the action moving at a fast clip, but all the while, we feel the misunderstood, melancholy wounds that John Wayne Cleaver tries to conceal. There are twists and unexpected turns of fate that make I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER nothing less than stone cold amazing–don’t miss it.

Shelve it between: DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER by Jeff Lindsay and your copy of SUPERNATURAL: Season One, two other chilling, thrilling diversions.

BLACK HEART by Holly Black

Six Second Summary: (Adapted from flap) Cassel Sharpe comes from a long line of con artists and curse workers. Everyone wants him–the crime families and feds, but he’s just trying to stay out of trouble and protect the headstrong girl who’s always held his heart. Cassel will need every ounce of wit and will to make one last score, a final play to win his freedom once and for all.

I loved it because: It’s no secret I adored WHITE CAT and RED GLOVE, but Holly Black outdid herself this time–BLACK HEART is a David Mamet meets Mario Puzo masterpiece, one of the very best trilogy conclusions I’ve ever finished. Get thee to a bookstore right now and pick it up.

Shelve it between: David Mamet’s sleeper con-artist flick, THE SPANISH PRISONER and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER. Yeah, it’s that good. A top shelf trilogy.

DROWNING INSTINCT by Ilsa J. Bick

Six Second Summary: Jenna Lord hides a lot of scars–her psycho dad and drunk mother haven’t protected her in life, and when Jenna meets Mitch Anderson, her chemistry teacher and coach, she’s drawn to him. He’s the one person she can trust, the one honest adult who makes her feel safe. In Drowning Instinct, lines are crossed and we’re left to wonder: Who’s the monster, who’s the victim, and who should live happily ever after?

I loved it because: I can’t resist stalker-ific stories or tales of obsessive love. DROWNING INSTINCT is both, and it’s just the right kind of unsettling story. One that’s filled with desperation and doomed affection–the kind that makes you weep and that won’t let you look away.

Shelve it between: Emily Bronte’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS and TEACH ME by R.A. Nelson, two more breathtaking, catastrophically heartbreaking tales.

 

 

CAN I SEE YOUR ID? by Chris Barton

Six Second Summary: (From flap) True crime, desperation, fraud, and adventure: From the impoverished young woman who enchanted nineteenth-century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the lonely but clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, Barton’s ten vignettes offer riveting insight into mind-blowing masquerades. Each scene is presented in the second person, a unique point of view that literally places you inside the faker’s mind. The psychology of deception has never been so fascinating or so close at hand.

I loved it because: Who can say no to the ultimate choose-your-own adventure experience? I loved slipping into the minds of these sometime ne’er-do-wells, people who pulled off the ultimate deceptions. Second person POV is risky, but Barton pulls off a gutsy move to great success. CAN I SEE YOUR ID? is a rare non-fiction treat, a book that unspools like a series of suspenseful capers.

Shelve it between: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Frank W. Abagnale and FLAWLESS: INSIDE THE LARGEST DIAMOND HEIST IN HISTORY by Scott Andrew Selby, two more ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ thrillers.

 

Hungry for more? Try this recipe for ultra-dark, super sinful BLACK MAGIC CAKE.

Binge!

I have news! The University of Texas at Arlington contacted me about developing/teaching a few courses for writers. This spring, I’m teaching Writing Young Adult Books. You do NOT have to be a UTA student. Anyone can enroll.

The class will run for five sessions, Monday Evenings from 7-9 p.m. CST.

Session one: April 30th
Session two: May 7th
Session three: May 14th
Session four: May 21st
Session five: June 4th (No class on May 28th for Memorial Day).

Basically, during the class, I’m sharing every secret I’ve ever learned about writing, querying, revising, landing an agent. And here’s the thing…You won’t just be learning from me and from the other students in the class…You’ll be learning from some amazing industry pros!

Check out these STELLAR SPECIAL GUESTS!
GWEN HAYES lives in the Pacific Northwest with her real life hero, their children, and the pets that own them. She writes stories for teen and adult readers about love, angst, and saving the world. Gwen’s first novel, Falling Under, was released in March of 2011 by NAL/Penguin and followed up by the sequel, Dreaming Awake, in January of 2012. She is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. You can find her at http://www.gwenhayes.com/

Gwen will be sharing her expertise in creating chemistry between characters!

Jeff Hirsch is originally from the suburbs just south of Richmond, VA. Growing up, he always knew he wanted to do something artistic but it wasn’t until he started writing poetry and short stories in Junior High that something really stuck. Jeff  graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with an MFA in Dramatic Writing and is the author of The Eleventh Plague and Magisterium (Scholastic).  He lives in Beacon, New York, with his wife. Visit him online at www.jeff-hirsch.com.

Jeff will wow us with his expert skills in writing taut action with emotional intensity!

Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her family. Her fantasy novel The Siren was self-published in 2009, and The Selection is her young adult debut. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. You can keep up with her at http://www.kieracass.com/

Kiera will be Skyping into class to answer all your burning questions about the writers’ journey! (Did you know CW snapped up The Selection, and a pilot is in the works?! You might want to ask her about it.)

Rosemary Clement-Moore is the author of award-winning supernatural mystery novels for young (and not so young) adults, including Texas GothicThe Splendor Falls, and the Maggie Quinn: Girl versus Evil series. Her books have been included on the YALSA list of best books for teens, the New York Public Library’s Books For the Teen Age and Kirkus Reviews best teen books of 2011 and received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. A recovering thespian with a master’s degree in communication, she now puts her drama queen skills to use writing novels and posting on Twitter. She loves coffee, dogs, history, Jane Austen, archeology, fantasy novels, comic books, Gilbert and Sullivan, BBC America, Star Wars, books with kissing and movies with lots of explosions. You can visit her webpage at www.rosemaryclementmoore.com.
Rosemary will appear (in person!) to teach us all about making magic on the page–creating rich narratives that sing with romance and  crackle with adventure.

Sara Crowe  is an agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc. where she represents adult fiction and nonfiction and children’s fiction. Her clients include NYT Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, Nina LaCour, Michael Northrop, Lisa Schroeder, Kristen Tracy, and Dan Wells. Her authors have been nominated for Edgars and the Morris Award and have been on the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults list and in the Top Ten. She is consistently ranked among the top three YA agents in Publishers Marketplace. You can check out her submission guidelines at http://saracrowe.com

Lucky for me, Sara is my own (WONDERFUL!) agent.  She’ll be chiming in to offer advice and answer all your burning questions about agents and the industry in general.

In case I hadn’t mentioned it yet, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS CLASS!  https://www.uta.edu/wconnect/CourseStatus.awp?~~12CO1722001