Friday, June 5, 2009

My TBR pile runneth over...

Or teetereth dangerously at my bedside while I sleep. Ah the perils of the To Be Read pile.

Moreso some days than others, for I like some of the other Girls, I sometimes have a tough time reading when I'm writing. And this summer, I'm gonna be doing a whole lot of the latter. Right now I'm in the beginning stages of Book the Third and that will keep me pretty heavily occupied for the next couple of months at least. Plus I also just got my first-pass page proofs on DARKLIGHT (Book the Second's official title - have I even mentioned that yet?? I'm so scattered these days!) in the mail yesterday, so I'll be going over those with a fine-tooth pen for the next week or two until I'm satisfied I've done all I can do and send that baby back to my lovely editrix to be made into galleys.

So... yeah. A lot of the words I'm gonna be reading will be my own.

That being said, I will - of course - make provisions for diving into A BUMP IN THE ROAD and A STROKE OF MAGIC!! I can't wait for these and I'm so excited for my fellow Girls!

Alongside those, I just started Cynthia Leitich Smith's fab ETERNAL before I got my proofs so I'll finish that. I'm also in the middle of reading Adrienne Kress's fantastic middle-grade adventure TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE - which is entirley too much fun (if you have kids - boys or girls - grab this one!) so I'll finish that up shortly. And I'm waiting for Lisa Mantchev's debut EYES LIKE STARS to hit the shelves so I can re-read it in finished book-form. I have also been waiting for just the right moment to delve into the latest Jim Butcher novel from his awesome Dresden Files series, TURN COAT. (Butcher's stuff always takes me out of the game for a few days until I'm done reading them - so much fun!). I'd also like to have the chance to finally immerse myself in the YA Percy Jackson/Olympians series because I've heard such good things and I love greek mythology! And then there's Kelley Armstrong's YA series with THE SUMMONING and THE AWAKENING that I'm waiting to devour. That might get me through to September when the sequel to The Hunger Games, CATCHING FIRE, hits the stores. Or it might not.

I've also got several non-fiction, research-type tomes adding to the unstable structure growing skyward beside me as I sleep... I'll get to it all eventually.

That's if the pile doesn't collapse and bury me first. Death by storyfication. Hm. I can think of worse ways to go.......

Now, faithful TNG readers - you tell us!! What are you reading this summer? What's your can't miss/must read/ best thing/ can't wait book of the season?? TELL!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why I Need a Bigger Night Table . . .

My to-read list is always a mile long, and my night table is so overrun with books that I have some overflow piles on my nearby dresser. The thing is, I have so many books I want to read, and so very little time to read them. And it doesn’t help that I have a bit of a “rule” that I don’t read other people’s books while I’m writing a book of my own. It’s too hard for me to concentrate on my own characters if I get involved with someone else’s. So I have long stretches where I write and write and write, and then a few weeks where I won’t write anything and I’ll read everything in sight.

A few weeks ago I began writing my next YA novel, and I’m about 50 pages in now which means I’ll most likely spend June and July writing rather than reading. Not that I won’t make a few exceptions. I’ll definitely take a short writing break to read A Bump in The Road next week and A Stroke of Magic at the end of the month. (I’m so looking forward to both of these books!). I’ve also been dying to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and my copy just arrived from Amazon a few days ago. I’m so tempted to pick it up and read it, but I think I’m going to save it to read as a reward for myself when I finish writing my own first draft. I’m also really looking forward to Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever, which comes out in July, so I’ll be reading that at the end of the summer as well.

I have some serious catching up to do with my YA reading. I haven’t yet read Twilight (I know. I know. I’m the last person -- or at least the last YA writer -- on Earth who hasn’t read it.), and I’ve heard so many great things about Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games that I want to read that one, too, even though it doesn’t sound like the type of book I’d normally pick up. Other YA books on my summer to-read list are: The Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen.

I just put the question of summer reading out on Twitter and got a few great suggestions that I’m going to add to my end of summer list: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.

All this thinking about summer reading has made me itching to get over to Amazon and start ordering, so then at least I can have one more pile of gorgeous books to stare at while I finish writing my draft.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Read baby read

I gotta say, I am one happy person when summer rolls around. It makes me glad to be alive. When the days are longer I feel like I'm on an extended vacation. We grill out more and the sound of the blender grinding fresh peaches for a scrumptious adult beverage is dormant no more.

I'm not the only happy person in my family when summer arrives, my youngest son is beside himself to actually have 3 months away from books. Wish I could boast that this excludes his summer reading books, but alas, I didn't get a reader . . . yet. (I'm not giving up. I wasn't a big summer reader in high school either. I much preferred a pool party myself.) By the time July rolls around and I declare it's what you call past time to check out what's on his summer reading list, the enthusiasm for that statement takes on that of a polar bear living at the Miami Zoo. Nevertheless I'll go out and buy the mandatory book and while I'm there pick up the shortest book on the list for his elective.

One would think that if a kid's mother had actually written a book and had a galley with a great cover to hand over to her son he might consider reading that book. Not my kid. "Not tonight, Mom." he says. "I'm not in the mood."

Bless his future wife's heart.

As for me, I can't wait to dig in. Here's what on the nightstand so far:

1. A Bump in the Road - Duh
2. A Stroke of Magic - Another duh
3. The Help - by Kathryn Stockett
4. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells - due out July 7th. I'm holding its spot.
5. The Guernsey Litarary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
6. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
7. The Kite Runner - (I was also the last one to get a CD player - what can I say?)
8. South of Broad - Pat Conroy (The genius finally reimerges. I've got his spot saved for August!)

I'm sure I'll add more but that's a great start don't you think?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Of Stress and Summer Reading

Summer reading for me used to mean dropping multiple zeros at Borders and forgoing clothes in my vacation suitcase for more books. When it was between another pair of shorts or more Marian Keyes, Marian always won out. But now, sadly, my summer reading isn't quite as prolific, thanks to this little midget running around--my toddler.

Last year, my husband and I went on vacation for the first time with our son. I think I packed 6 books for the week, slightly nervous I'd have to make a trip to the local bookstore for more. Let's all say it together, now--HA! I think I finished half a book. I forgot that kids don't just disappear or play quietly because you're at a really, really good part of your book.

But summer reading this year is a bit different. Different like Twilight Zone levels of strange. Because some people will be reading my book this summer--while on vacation, on the beach, on an airplane. WHOA. Awesome but sort of scary and surreal. (God knows what I'll do if I ever see someone in public holding my book. I'll probably run over to them, wave my hands wildly and screech an introduction. Then, they'll probably have to clobber me over the head with my book just to get away.)

Despite all of the summer craziness and book launch nerves, I still have a good list of books I'm hoping to read this summer, God-and-Toddler-willing. I'm hoping they'll at least serve to distract me from Scary Publishing Things like sales, signings, launch parties and returns.

1. TIME OF MY LIFE--Allison Winn Scotch
2. PRETTY IN PLAID--Jen Lancaster
3. LOSING THE MOON--Patti Callahan Henry
4. EVERNIGHT--Claudia Gray
5. A STROKE OF MAGIC--Tracy Madison
6. ARCs from fellow Novel Girls (You WILL send them to me. Oh yes, you will!)

Now, I'm off to go eat a dozen donuts and stress about pre-orders!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Reading

Ah, long sunny days, fresh lemonade, and a good summer read. I'm definitely getting ready for summer by making sure my TBR pile is in order, and I've already ordered the few new books I know I'm going to want.

So, my summer reading list looks like this:

  1. Book after book in The No. 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I don't think I'll finish the entire series this summer, but I love these books. I love the characters, the setting, and the stories.
  2. The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano. I accidentally came across this title while looking possibilities up on Amazon just a few days ago, and I ordered it immediately. It's about a girl who grew up in the witness protection service. I'm really looking forward to reading it.
  3. Black Hills by Nora Roberts. Nora's one of my faves, so of course her book is on my summer list.
  4. And of course, without a doubt, A Bump in the Road... by Maureen Lipinski. That's on preorder, and I am so excited to read this story!

That's all I'm planning to read, but I have a lot of other (read near 100, and no, I'm not joking) of books in my TRB shelf...okay, shelves. And I'll get more books this summer at the RWA conference, so I will not be lacking in reading material. But that's good. I like it that way.

One of my favorite memories from my teenage years was sitting by the pool (yes, my parents had a pool. Sigh. Wish I had one now!) in the summer, with a really great book, and just vegging out all day. Sounds so nice!

What about you? What's your favorite summer reading memory? What summer books are on your radar?

Have a great week!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Novel Girls News!!

Happy Sunday, Novel Girls Readers!

A lovley bit of news came down the pipe this week for Novel Girl Lesley (which is good because the rest of her week imploded and she couldn't even manage a post on this week's topic! Just as well that her compatriots were far more on the ball and managed to post all the cool sites she uses for research, anyway!! Bad Novel Girl Lesley - no cookie!)

Anyway - without further ado...

It was announced in Publisher's Marketplace that: "Lesley Livingston's WONDROUS STRANGE has been optioned to screenwriter David Hayter's Dark Hero Productions (Watchmen, X2, and XMEN) & Jeff Sagansky, with Hayter penning the script, by Brendan Deneen on behalf of Objective Entertainment and Jessica Regel at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency."

And this is what David Hayter himself had to say in response to the announcement being posted:

Speaking for Dark Hero, "We are incredibly excited to translate this remarkable book into the world of visual media. Ms. Livingston is an amazing new talent, and the world she has created is rife with fantastic images, compelling story-lines and complex characters."

Keep you fingers crossed that Sonny and Kelley and company will soon make their way to a screen near you!