What’s Up Wednesday

June? The year’s nearly half over already! The frigid cold and endless snow are distant memories now… at least down here. We seem to have skipped Spring. Oh well. The sunshine and warmth is a nice break. So, what’s happening with me?

What I’m Reading

I finished CHARM AND STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn, a nicely written and somewhat disturbing story of a teen with deep psychological issues (see my Goodreads review HERE). I also read an ARC of SWAY by Kat Spears, which is essentially a 21st century high school re-telling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Contemporary YA’s not usually my thing, but Kat’s Agent, Barbara Poelle was giving copies away on Twitter, and the premise looked interesting, so I took a chance (both on the giveaway and the book). Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a fun and thoughtful read, and one I think my Contemporary YA friends will enjoy when it comes out in September (see my Goodreads review HERE). I’m currently reading TAKEN by Erin Bowman, and I’m already getting drawn into the story, which is a good sign. It’s a dystopian story (at least it seems dystopian to me so far) that centers around a society whose males disappear at midnight on their eighteenth birthday, an event they call “The Heist.” Clearly there’s more to it than that, but I’m only a few chapters in, so I’ll talk more about it next week. This has been a great WAR AND PEACE break, but I’ll probably get back to Tolstoy after I’ve finished TAKEN.

What I’m Writing

For my next project, I’ve decided to re-work a novella I’d written some years ago into a novel. It’s a complete change of genre from my last couple of novels: Adult (not FIFTY SHADES Adult, you understand) mystery, but it was fun to write and I’ve been meaning to work on it for a while. We’ll see how that goes.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Yesterday, I blogged about the query trenches and linked to Dannie Morin’s “How I Got an Agent” article. That article has been very helpful to me as I wait for responses, and think through the what-ifs of the querying process. You can jump to yesterday’s post HERE if you’re in need of some query encouragement.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing strange or startling. But right now, that’s good. I’m too easily distracted as it is!

How’s your week been? To participate in the What’s Up Wednesday meme, visit one of the founders’ blogs: Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. There you’ll find details and the linky list of participants.

BONUS COMMENT QUESTION: If you’ve read any Maggie Stiefvater books, which would you recommend I read first?

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30 Responses to What’s Up Wednesday

  1. What? You mean you’re *not* a secret erotica writer, Colin? :P

    Hmm, I might have to get Sway for a friend when it’s released…

    Good luck with the novella. Sounds like a good change of pace.

    • I know–shocking, isn’t it? You’d think I’d be all over those kinds of books… ;)

      Thanks, Cole. The first challenge is making the novella a novel. Whether I stick with it may depend on that. :)

  2. Ahaha, Colin, I’d be so surprised if you started reading or writing *that* kind of adult. Doesn’t seem like your cuppa tea.
    (I do love and support my fellow writers who choose that lucrative side of the industry, though. They’re talented folks!)

    Best of luck with the novella. :D

  3. Hey those books on your ‘what i’m reading’ list sound really good. Particularly Taken and Charm and Strange. Will have to put them on my ‘to read’ list!

  4. I can relate to the craziness of being in the Query Trenches! It can be inspiring to read others’ stories, because these things rarely happen overnight.

    Good luck with the novella!

    I’ve not read all of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, but THE RAVEN BOYS and THE SCORPIO RACES are both fabulous!

    • THE SCORPIO RACES was the one I thought of getting first–I just wanted to see if others agreed, or had a better idea. Thanks, Emma! :)

  5. To answer your bonus question… I’ve read most of MS’s books and they’ve all been fantastic. THE SCORPIO RACES is my absolute favorite of hers. It’s beautiful and atmospheric and utterly unique. So, I’d start there. Then I’d read THE RAVEN BOYS books because they are fantastic too. Best of luck reworking your novella, Colin. Don’t you love how you have to qualify when you tell people what you’re working on? I always tell non-writers that I write books for teens and, no, they’re nothing like TWILIGHT. ;-)

    • Thanks, Katy! Especially given the popularity of YA, it’s good to let people know whether the project is YA or Adult, but…yeah… “Adult” can be misunderstood! As can “teen,” which is why it’s better to say “YA,” I think. For some reason, when I think “teen,” I think young teen. “YA” makes me think much more broadly of the whole teenage experience.

      Another vote for SCORPIO RACES! Thanks. :)

  6. Or else I’ll say “fantasy, but not the kind of fantasy you’re thinking of.” Wow, the world sometimes has a dirty mind. :) I’m interested to see if you enjoy Taken or not. It hasn’t quite made it to my TBR pile, but it is hovering there. Have a wonderful week!

    • I guess it depends who you’re talking to, Melanie. I know some people that I would definitely have to qualify what I meant by “fantasy” if I told them that’s what I was reading/writing at the time! :)

      I’m enjoying TAKEN so far. I’ll post a review on Goodreads when I’ve finished.

      You have a wonderful week too! :D

  7. The only Maggie Stiefvater books I’ve read are The Raven Boys and it’s sequel The Dream Thieves, and I would definitely recommend them! I’ll eventually get around to reading more of her work.

  8. Good Luck in the query trenches! I haven’t ready any Maggie Stiefvater’s books but I want to. I hear nothing but good thingd.

    • Thanks, Leslie. I’ve been meaning to read at least one of Maggie’s books because of all the great reviews I’ve seen, and I’m thinking I should do that soon. :)

  9. Just followed the link to Dannie’s agent story, and wow! Just goes to show that persistence pays off. Definitely encouraging for all of us whether we’re in the query trenches or not. Hope your query trench experience is going well so far!

    • That’s what I like about Dannie’s story–it shows how much patience and persistence matter. Also, how important it is to find an Agent who really cares about your story. For all we fret over query minutia, attracting an Agent who “gets” your story and really wants to be a part of seeing in through to publication covers a multitude of query sins.

      Thanks, Jaime! :)

  10. Ooh- definitely read The Raven Boys first… ALTHOUGH, maybe not since the third isn’t out yet. But that series is my fave by her by far.
    I was so bummed when I saw that contest with Barbara Poelle- not because I didn’t win because that book stole my title!!! Ha, just kidding. Well, I WAS bummed, but I’m not surprised that title has been snapped up already (twice!).

    • Another RAVEN BOYS vote! Thanks, Melanie. I’m not too worried about starting an incomplete series, so I’ll definitely consider it. :)

      Kat Spears’ SWAY is a good read, even if Kat stole your title! ;) You could still use it. At the query stage, I think it’s better to have a killer query, excellent pages, and an okay title. Your Agent and Editor will all have their opinions on the title, and one of them could easily change it. Only you can make your story awesome though. I think most Agents would prefer a great novel with a sucky title over a great title to a sucky novel. :)

  11. Arghhhh the waiting is absolutely the worst part of querying, I feel you there, Colin. Good on you for keeping motivated, as well as working on other stuff to fill in the time and stay productive!

    TAKEN looks intriguing, I might have to try and nab a copy from my library – I haven’t done dystopian in a looong time, so it may be time for a revisit! Have a wonderful week! :)

    • The waiting absolutely is the worst part. I would go as far as to say it’s even worse than a form rejection. Which is why I really don’t like the “no reply means no” policy many Agents have adopted. Not only is it a form rejection, it’s a form rejection with a really long wait added! I’d sooner know you’re not interested ASAP so I can move on to the next batch of queries.

      TAKEN is good so far. I call it dystopian because that’s how it reads at the moment. I have no clue if that was Erin’s intent, or if that’s what the publisher says. I harp on about genres I don’t usually read all the time (such comments are then followed by a discussion on how much I enjoyed a book in a genre I don’t usually read), but let me tell you the big secret…

      *checks no-one is listening in*

      … there are very very few genres I will not read on principle. I care far more about good stories than I do genre. If the premise is intriguing, or I know that author usually writes good stories, I’ll read it. Even if it’s Western, or Romance! :)

      So there you have it. Don’t tell anyone now Caitie, will you? ;)

  12. I’m throwing in a vote for THE SCORPIO RACES!

  13. I blogged about querying and revisions today on Literary Rambles and just remembering the whole thing was hard! Gah, it’s not easy…but totally worth it :)

  14. I’ve only ever read Shiver which was pnr but I wasn’t hooked with it. I like the couple the story revolved around (a huge improvement from Twilight, Mortal Instruments etc) and the take on werewolves was interesting but it didn’t quite capture enough interest to go dashing for the next book. Maybe in the future but I’m in no rush. Actually, here’s the full review if you’re interested:

    http://r-moran.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/book-review-shiver-by-maggie-stiefvater.html

    • I’ve heard similar mixed reviews about SHIVER, which is why I thought perhaps THE SCORPIO RACES would be the one to start with–but I wanted to see what others thought. Thanks, Robin!

  15. The only Maggie Stiefvater book I’ve read so far is The Scorpio Races, which is a standalone. So that one might be a good one to start with. I’m definitely going to be reading more from her very soon.

    Good luck with the novella!

    • The fact that SCORPIO RACES is a standalone is a definitely a plus when trying out a new writer. Thanks for that tip, Stephanie! :)

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