#WeeklyBookPic, The Game!

You might have noticed a couple of posts recently with the tag #WeeklyBookPics. This is going to be a regular feature on the blog, appearing every Friday (my time – Thursday evening in the US I think). Every week will feature a different category, and I’d love it if you’d join in! Take a picture of the book that best fits the category for you* and post a link in the comments and/or reblog/retweet with your picture and the #WeeklyBookPic hashtag! Hopefully it’ll be a fun and easy way to be introduced to new books that we can all love :o) Hurrah!

* Feel free to interpret as loosely as you need to 😉

(PS Link to last Friday’s #WeeklyBookPic in case you missed it. The theme is “First Book” – the first book you read, the first book you read by yourself, the first book someone in your family read, or, you know, if you need to, feel free to get creative: the first book you read in a genre, the first book you laid your eyes on after reading the post, the first book you could think you… You get the gist 😀 )

7/7/7 Challenge

I’ve been challenged by my writer buddy Beth Overmyer to complete the 7/7/7 challenge. The rules of the 7/7/7 challenge are:

Go to page 7 of your work-in-progress
Scroll down to line #7
Share the next 7 lines of your manuscript in a blog post

Tag 7 other writers (with blogs) to continue the challenge.

I have two WIPs at the moment, so why not, I’ll post seven lines* from each. If you’re following along on Twitter, the relevant tags are #SekritNovel and #FoxBook 😉

#SekritNovel:

Lights flashed in my eyes, gold with edges of red. I blinked rapidly, trying to clear my vision.
“You right, Becca?” I could hear Carly’s voice but even when I turned away from the body the lights sparked, faster and faster and brighter and brighter.
My stomach whirled—or was that the room?—and I only had time to gasp for air before something hard and heavy and cold smacked me in the shoulder and the side of my head, and everything went blessedly quiet and still.

#FoxBook:

“What?” Sunmi straightened like a hound on a scent.
Dad cut sharp eyes towards her and I rolled my own again. “Dad, he was in her year at school. She’s going to find out.”
“Find out what?”
Dad chewed his mouthful of [food] so carefully, I half expected him to regurgitate it on Sunny’s plate—his precious little baby bird. I sighed and turned to her. “Blake Johnson? From school?”

*I may have interpreted this a little loosely for the sake of making sense. Just saying.

As for tagging other people… Um, consider yourself tagged? Post a link in the comments and I’ll come check out your 7/7/7 🙂

A Reading Meme, Because Because.

So, I totally thieved this meme from Laura K Curtis, who, by the way, has an excellent post up at the moment about protecting yourself and your data online that you should all go read right now. It’s okay. I’ll wait until you’re done… 🙂

Done? Okay. Cool. On to the meme-ing……..

A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From: Terry Pratchett. Hard to compete with a series that is 30+ books long 😀 Although if you counted rereads and not just individual books, the Harry Potter series is up there (27 reads since beginning of 2007, more prior to that), and Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books come in close too (20 reads total). Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is probably second for single read throughs, at 18-with-no-rereads.
B. Best Sequel EverCross My Heart And Hope To Spy by Ally Carter (although the final book in the series is the real clincher); Linger by Maggie Stiefvater; Red Glove by Holly Black; or something from the four aforementioned series.
C. Currently Reading: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Parang by Omar Musa.
D. Drink of Choice While Reading: Tap water, or hot water with the juice of one lemon plus a generous tablespoon of honey. Or peppermint tea. These, strikingly enough, are pretty much all I ever drink anyway. O:) 🙂
E. E-Reader or Physical Books: Physical, hands down. I have a kindle, prefer the Sonys my last school had, and yet still infinitely prefer the weight of a book in my hands that tells me how far I have to go, and allows me to flick back and forth to admire authors’ foreshadowing Skillz.
F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Not that I ever had a crush on him (I never had any fictional crushes, am I weird?), but he’s a really sweet, genuine, lovely person who knows how to handle a respectful relationship. *fistbump*. Gansey, from Stiefvater’s recent Raven Boys series, is also on the list I guess, mostly because I am like him in oh-so-many-terrifying ways. 🙂
G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: As an adult, Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites. Yup, the same Ilona Andrews whose books I have read more often than nearly any other author. It took me THREE GOES to get through the first three chapters of her first Kate Daniels book, and I am SO glad I did, because this is one of my favouritest series in the whole wide world.

Also, as a child, I was excited to discover that the book an aunty had given me for Christmas and that I had delayed reading for years because I thought it would be boring actually turned out to be fabulous: The Lost Princess by George MacDonald. Actually, I realise now this exact description also applies to another novel Christmas-gifted to me by another aunty: Eucalyptus, by Murray Bail. It was dense to get through, but gratifying.

H. Hidden Gem BookThe Night Rainbow by Claire King. Oh my gosh you guys, THIS BOOK. I bought it purely on a whim because I’d seen it in an airport bookstore and the hardback cover is GLORIOUS, but it literally blew me away. Such clever, gorgeous, lush, poetic storytelling in a genre I am HORRIBLY, **HORRIBLY** picky in (lit. fic.).
I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life: Most important reading moment: my best friend introduced me to Terry Pratchett in Year 8 (Moving Pictures, if you’re curious). Previously, my reading had been pretty exclusively horse-focused: The Saddle Club, Thoroughbreds, lots of horsey non-fiction, The Silver Brumby, etc. I’d read the Narnia series, because of course, but Moving Pictures was my first introduction to a) adult books and b) the fantasy genre, and I fell in love.
J. Just Finished: Most recently, Free Agent by J.C. Nelson. An awesome urban fantasy debut with a really original setting and worldbuilding. Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.
K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Horror (my childhood fear of the dark tends to re-emerge if I expose myself to the horror genre ;)) and anything bleak or depressing. I loathe depressing books with an unmitigated passion.
L. Longest Book You’ve ReadGone With The Wind, though in truth I never read the last two chapters because I got bored. Milton’s Paradise Lost FELT like the longest book I’ve ever read (and to be fair, it IS pretty long); I appreciate its skill but it’s a story I’m intimately familiar with and it bored the socks off me (I had to read it for uni). Otherwise, books from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel Of Time Series; I’ve still never made it past book 6, even though I really want to. Last year I started listening to them as audio books in an attempt to make it through the series… I’m midway through book 4 still 😀
M. Major Book Hangover Because Of: Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. Actually, just most Stiefvater books generally. And Ilona Andrews’ Magic Rises. Man, that book suckered me in emotionally. Also anything from Small Favors onwards in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series.
N. Number of Bookcases You Own: 5, but one is half height because it has drawers in the bottom, and one is a display bookcase, so is only half full. The other three are packed and in places double-stacked to bursting point.
O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times: Er, see question A. Harry Potter series, Kate Daniels series, Gallagher Girls series, anything by Maggie Stiefvater. These are my comfort-reads. Also Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, and Draco Malfoy, Amazing Bouncing… Rat?, which is an awesome fanfic by Sarah Rees Brennan written before she was an Officially Published Professional.
P. Preferred Place to Read: Anywhere I can recline 😉 Our lovely comfy recliner lounges, bed, or the bath.

Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You: It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
R. Reading Regret: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Look, I get why this is an Important Book. I really do. But it’s depressing as hell and twice as dark, and it just…. Urgh. I hated it for everything it was and represented and made me feel. …I need a shower now.
S. Series You Started and Need to Finish: Robert Jordan’s The Wheel Of Time series. See L. Plus all those series I’m currently following that haven’t been completed yet.
T. Three Of Your All-Time Favourite Books: Trying to list books I haven’t mentioned yet: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh, and Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, which is technically a play, but never mind.
U. Unapologetic Fangirl For: Ilona Andrews, J.K. Rowling, Jim Butcher, Maggie Stiefvater, Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, Liana Brooks.
W. Worst Bookish Habit: …Um, yeah. See, when I’m reading, I tend to get really absorbed in what I’m reading. So if you interrupt me… Well, let’s just say it’s a little like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuRuwR2JSXI *

* Apparently I need to include a trigger warning in this for male-criminals-calling-women-Girl. It’s a parody of how cranky readers get when they are interrupted – so cranky we might as well be crooks, right? Get it? *sigh* I hope someone out there gets it or I will be left feeling very stupid.

V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other: OHMYGOSH BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE COMES OUT IN JUST OVER A MONTH. A WHOLE ENTIRE MONTH HOW WILL I LIVE DEATH TRAGEDY DESTRUCTION. Even MORE impatient for this impending release (book III in Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys Cycle) because I will get my copy of Sinner, a companion novel to Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series, at the SAME TIME. SIGNED. WITH PRETTY PICTURES DRAWN IN IT.

OH MY GOSH I WILL DIE BEFORE THEN.

If you haven’t read The Raven Boys series yet, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL CALL TO ACTION. GO AND READ THEM. Maggie Stiefvater is my writing hero; her prose is beautiful and lyrical and layered and literary, while her plots are pacey and explosiony, and her characters are so profoundly real it feels like she is just writing a biography rather than making these people up. YOU GUYS. MAGGIE STIEFVATER IS A WORD GENIUS AND YOU NEED TO READ THE RAVEN BOYS CYCLE if you AT ALL like well-written characters in contemporary fantasy settings. READ THEM. READ them NOW.
X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book)Magic Strikes, book III in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. (YES. THE ONE I HAVE REREAD MILLIONS OF TIMES AND THAT YOU TOO SHOULD READ IF YOU LIKE URBAN FANTASY AND AWESOME ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY.)
Y. Your Latest Book Purchase: Online, Free Agent by J.C. Nelson. In person, Here Come The Dogs by Omar Musa.
Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late): Worst ever was Ilona Andrews’ Magic Rises. I literally had to stay up until 2am, and it was the night before school started for the year, because I was too emotionally wired to sleep until I knew that the hero *mild spoiler* wasn’t actually jerking the main character around. Phew. That was a killer.

So there you go! My A-Z of reading. Feel free to join in with the meme (or not). If you do, I’d love to read your answers, so let me know – leave a comment, or tweet me, or something 🙂

Have a grand week!

Because Of You

A somewhat sappy title, but it’s the truth: there are days when the only thing keeping me going with this whole writing thing is the fact that I have people reading the blog who have, if not expectations, then at least knowledge of my expectations, which is nearly the same thing, and I hate to disappoint people.

Which is not to say I don’t love writing!! It’s just extremely hard to make the time right now, and I am exhausted, and it is lovely to know that there is possibly maybe an actual reason that I am bludgeoning my brain with all this thinking, and it is probably possibly to do with you.

So: thank you.

There will probably not be a short fiction post this week, unless I can manage to write something VERY short, because I am trying to force my brain to focus on the world building book (sensible, given it has a deadline and all, doncha know), and I have limited brain to spare.

But anyway: I just wanted to say, ‘Thanks.’ 🙂

Nine Things

Because I have found Fun Things recently, and if you really expect me to write a thinky post between Christmas and New Year’s, you’re madder than I am.

1) Nine traits of creative people. This is, somewhat surprisingly, a very insightful article that made me sit back, smiling, and give the happy sigh of the Understood.

2) Photos from the 18 & 1900s of various dog breeds. While some pics demonstrate the sad lengths that breeders will go to, I feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that Labradors look very similar, then and now. Moral of the story: the more quinessentially DOG your dog looks, the more likely it is to be hereditarily health. #AmyWisdom.

3) Yoga for Handstands. Pics of the various yoga poses you can practise to help you learn how to do a handstand. New Year’s Resolution #1: learn to do handstand.

4) The Curiosities. A collection of short stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff, with random, illuminating, and sometimes hilarious annotations by the authors. Hands down THE BEST short story anthology I have ever read to date.

5) The Midnight Rainbow. A pretty, pretty, PRETTY book full of hope and imagination and the real, genuine magic that only comes from the mind of a five-year-old. You’d think a story narrated by a 5-yr-old girl would be simple; you’d be wrong. You’d think a story about a mother suffering postnatal depression after a stillbirth would be horribly, horribly sad; you’d be wrong. You’d think a story about night rainbows would be fantasy; you’d be wrong. You’d think that, because it’s not fantasy, there would be no magic; YOU WOULD BE WRONG*. This is the most beautiful, quirky, hopeful book I have read in a very, very long time. Also one of the most genuine. Please go read it now.

* Although if you are defining ‘magic’ narrowly as ‘supernatural occurences and the like’, then yes, you would be right. Not wrong. Moving on.

6) Paying for People’s Drive-Thru. Because there are people out there who know how to be Decent Human Beings, and we should celebrate them.

7) The Art of Oversharing, by Fizzy Grrl, because Important.

8) Earth’s poles are shifting due to climate change. Trufax. New Scientist said it so. /nodnod. One day, I could live in the NORTHERN hemisphere, y’all!!!*

* Without moving out of country. Obviously I could live in the northern hemisphere if I emigrated to, say, Russia.

9) And last but not least, if you haven’t seen the silent monks singing the Hallelujah Chorus, you’re in for a treat. Hurrah! 🙂

 

So there you go. 9 things, just for you. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season :o) *cookies*

Made Of

So, there’s this fun link (here) where you type in ‘your’ name, and it tells you what you are made of. I typed in my name, and here is the result:

Amy Laurens is made of waffles, octopi, and shadows. With a dash of Twitter.

Which I take to mean that I am am sweet, quirky, and have a dark side – and I talk a lot. Sounds about right! 😀 hehe.

Amusingly enough, it works pretty well for characters, too. Liana has convinced me to pull out How Not To Take Over The World again (which is good; I’ve been wanting to, but there was one timing problem in the story I couldn’t solve, and Liana, bless her, has solved it for me) and I ran a couple of the characters through:

Mercury is made of jade, Rock, and lies. With a dash of gambling. <– Which, like, duh. This is her to a T, including the random capitalisation.

Deviran is made of frowns, Metal, and kindness. With a dash of explosions. <– Also spot on, especially if you consider that the frowns are usually directed at Mercury 😛 😀

Chiara is made of pencils, coffee, and dullness. With a dash of derp derp. <– I think she’d argue the dullness (and I would too), but we have the right general impression: officey, with a dash of madness 😀

 

So. Thus my random post of randomness for the day. Go try it out, and tell me what you’re made of! 😀

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

Lookit me, meme-ing… And yes, I totes copied and pasted, because I am technically out of town right now (it’s complicated), and net access is limited. Meh. 🙂

 

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But there are soooo many more books out there just waiting to be discovered. And that’s what this blog hop is all about.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags a few other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag five new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

 

1: What is the title of your book? The one I am working on at the moment – one that I actually hope to make available by the end of the year – is Marked.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? A lot of my favourite works-in-progress have stemmed from dreams, but Marked is a notable exception. It started with a phrase – the hunter and the hunted (which was originally the title) – and a concept – tigers as gods of the people. I think, reading the original notes document, that it was possibly also a documentary that I watched about tigers.

3: What genre does your book fall under? Fantasy, I suppose. The characters are sentient tigers, and there is a little magic involved 🙂

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? …Any who were furry and orange and striped? O:) This would probably have to be CGI if it were made into a film 😉

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A tiger guard is driven by starvation to defy his religion’s greatest commandment and eat a human, sparking war between the species and driving him into a destructive spiral of guilt.

6: Who is your publisher? Unpublished as yet.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Sept ’09 to Feb ’10, off and on. This is possibly the point to mention that it’s a novella, about 25,000 words, not a novel 😉

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? …You know, I honestly don’t know of anything else like this! If anyone does, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book? Oddly enough, the main character. Once I had the idea of a tiger who was charged by his god with guarding humanity, driven by hunger to eat a human, I knew I had to write the story for his sake. It sounds silly, I know, but poor Avinash is so broken over the resulting war and the destruction of his tribe, I wanted to write the story to show him that no one is beyond redemption – no matter what great evil we may do, there is always hope if we want it.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Tigers! Magic! Interspecies relationships! Telepathy! Death in stone jungle temples! Guilt! Despair! More death and fighting! MORE TIGERS! Crazy twisted, deeply disturbed characters (well, one at least)! A happy ending! Marked: coming soon to an estore near you 😀

 

And now I’m supposed to nominate someone to pass this on to, but I’m not really into tagging people with memes, so instead, leave a link in the comments if you decide to complete the meme! 🙂