Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's Time for Some Changes Around Here: The New Format and My Summer Reading List

There are many literary matters to discuss today, all of which you will no doubt find illuminating, but I'd like to open with a reflection on my last post. Remember that little caveat I put at the end? Telling you I'd be available for editing on June 11? As the teens in all their infinite wisdom say, "JK, LOL." I can remember thinking to myself, "I'll take it slow. It's only the first week of June. I'm going to just relax a little."

So cute I thought that was going to be a thing.

So, just to provide a little update, my editing availability now begins July 30. As always, you can contact me at if you're interested in any of the services I provide.

Now, on to the good stuff.

My blogging has been, as you'll recall, somewhat less than regular in the past. Graduate school and near-death experiences (good times) did have something to do with that, but I've decided that in light of my relatively light schedule this summer, I'm going to impose some order on this blog of mine. And so now, without further ado, is the GRAND AND ALL-ENCOMPASSING REORGANIZATION (as indicated by the preceding text, this is super important and you should pay attention).

Here are the features I'll be rolling out, starting next week:

Trend Tuesdays:

I really enjoy discussing writing tactics with you guys and providing different tools, but knowing how to write without knowing what's popular in the industry is kind of like going for a hike with one shoe. You need both boots to make the hike a success. Otherwise you're going to get one hell of an infection and/or write a story about an 11-year-old boy wizard named Gary Topper who's just received a letter via raven to attend Frogforks, a school for witchcraft and wizardly located in scenic Scranton, Pennsylvania. You don't want to be behind the curve.

And that's where I come in!

I'm going to, at least for the time being, resume my ninja-like agent's watchfulness of the industry, and report my findings to you every Tuesday. Expect some mind-altering wisdom.

Feature Fridays:

This will be a little more variable. I could feature an author I've worked with, open a contest, offer general writing advice, report on an event, or print an interview. The possibilities are pretty wide. Often, however, I imagine I'll draw from my...

Summer reading list!

I am so excited to finally be doing this. One of my great mantras for improving writing is to always be reading, and it's a rule I adhere to myself. Beyond that, I'm often asked what kind of editing projects I take on and am always forced to answer that my tastes run across the board. But now you can actually get an idea of what's fresh in my head. So what's on the schedule during these hot, lazy months?

1. Viper Wine, Hermione Eyre (Hogarth, 2015--Historical fiction/fantasy)

Venetia Stanley is a great beauty whose charm is legendary among the aristocracy of mid-17th-century England. As her looks begin to fade, however, she enlists the help of a dangerous concoction--viper wine--whose miraculous rejuvenating power comes at a dark price. 

Saw this and knew I had to have it! History and fantasy are probably my two favorite things (besides spaghetti), and so a book that combines both is a high priority for me.

2. The Creeper, Tania Carver (Pegasus, 2014--Horror/mystery)

Suzanne Perry thinks the man standing over her when she sleeps is a nightmare--that is, until she finds the Polaroid. A snapshot of her in bed captioned with the words "I'm watching you." Perry and Detective Phil Brennan believe the intruder is a serial killer who's murdered other young women in the city, but what they uncover as they investigate is far more terrifying. 

I've always been that person who can't sit through a horror movie, but I still like to scare the crap out of myself, and the good thing about doing that in book form is that I can just fold the page if things get too intense. This'll be a midnight-and-flashlight type of read.

3. Kindred, Octavia Butler (Beacon Press, 2003--Historical fiction/fantasy/African-American fiction)

A 26-year-old black woman from California is transported back through time to 
a plantation in the antebellum South and must figure out why she's been taken there and whether she can ever resume her normal life. 

This is another example of several amazing things colliding. Historical fiction? Check. Time-traveling fantasy? Check. Social equality issues whose implications are still relevant today (and are maybe even more relevant than when the book was written a decade ago)? Check. Very excited to start this.

4. In the Woods, Tana French (Penguin Books, 2008--Thriller/horror/mystery)

Four boys went into the woods that day in 1984, but only one came out--drenched in blood, sobbing in terror, and with no memory of what happened. Twenty years later, the boy has moved on from his traumatic past and established a stable career as a homicide detective...just as another child goes missing in the forest.

What can I say? The idea of something dark lurking just behind the treeline touches on a primeval chord in us. I'm hoping this won't keep me up at night.

5. Lady of the Eternal City, Kate Quinn (Berkley, 2015--Historical fiction/romance)

Life in the politically poisonous atmosphere of Hadrian's Rome was already difficult for Sabina, and that was before her husband the emperor fell in love with Antinous, the beautiful teenage son of her former lover Vix. Hadrian's passion for the boy pushes Sabina out and invites chaos in. Now her marriage, Vix's career, their very lives, and even the future of the Roman Empire are at stake.

Another historical fiction, this one loaded with the grandeur of Roman power and the taboo of ancient pederasty. I do, for the record, enjoy the occasional romance, and this book is probably the most different from any other on my summer list.

6. Eternity Road, Jack McDevitt (Harper Voyager, 1998--Science fiction/fantasy)

More than 1,000 years after the United States was wiped out by a mysterious plague, what's left of society has devolved into small pockets of early-modern-level settlement separated by vast tracts of wilderness and peppered with ruins from the ancient culture known only as "the Roadmakers." No one can remember anything about the country that build the massive, crumbling highways, but an elderly academic and an impetuous explorer are determined to find out.

All of these books will, I'm sure, be a blast to read, but this one is really just for fun. It's a bit older than anything else on the list, but with its surreal and dystopian elements it was something I couldn't resist. I've already started this one.

So that's the list. Tell me: what are you reading this summer?

1 comment:

  1. Kindred sounds really interesting. I'm reading The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin. Then I have a big pile of middle grade and YA books I'm reading, which I consider enjoyable and research for my own writing.