I was lucky enough to be selected for The Book Doctors’ Pitchapalooza event.
They’ve posted my pitch for Random Acts of Nudity here.
There are two prizes, one to be chosen by the judges is an introduction to an agent. The other prize is voted on by readers for the fan favorite, to receive a consultation with the Book Doctors.
Voting is done here.
If you’d like to cast your vote for me, that would be awesome. Or one of the other pitches, many of which are pretty darn good.
For the last couple of years I’ve kept a running list of the books I’ve read over the course of a year. My slightly compulsive brain likes having a record. This year’s list is a little shorter than past ones. I attribute that to working on three separate manuscripts (two completed, plus major rewrites) an editing class, querying agents, and a busier social life, taking up some of my reading time.
2012 by the numbers
25 books read since January. (That doesn’t include single issue comics or the many picture books I read to my insatiable niece.) – 11 graphic novels/12 novels/1 short story collection
24 audiobooks listened to. (Coincidence that it’s equal to the number of books.
Breaking it down by category
6 read on my Kindle
4 of the 6 Kindle reads were unpublished manuscripts reviewed for my critique group. (I’m not counting the many times I read and reread my own work as I edited.)
4 books I’d read in the past and wanted to revisit.
5 borrowed from friends
3 from the library
16 young adult – 5 books/10 audiobooks
7 middle grade – 4 books/3 audiobooks
4 nonfiction – 4 audiobooks
Favorite Author numbers
2 Neil Gaiman – 1 book (Fragile Things)/ 1 audiobooks (The Graveyard Book, one of the revisited)
2 Jane Austen (Mansfield Park) (Emma, one of the revisited)
1 Jasper Fforde (the Last Dragonslayer)
2 Brian K. Vaughan (False Faces) (Ex Machina vol.9)
1 Douglas Adams (the Salmon of the Doubt)
Currently, I’m reading Bumped by Megan McCafferty and listening to Cold Days by Jim Butcher. But I’m only counting the books I finished before the end of the year. Alright 2013, show me what you got!
Edited: I finished Bumped this morning so I went back and added to the totals.
How big of a Neil Gaiman fan am I? Here’s a hint.
I was first exposed to Neil Gaiman as a teenager by my sister, albeit a indirectly. She lent me the Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll. I devoured it in a few days. I raved over it to her (it’s still one of my all time favorites). She mentioned that it reminded her of a particular arc of a comic book series called Sandman. I filed that away for future reference. About a year later, I was perusing my local Borders. I spotted a few Sandman trades. At that time I didn’t have a lot of money or many possessions to my name. Every purchase was carefully considered. I read each volume’s description until I found the one who’s plot sounded the most like Bones of the Moon. It was A Game of You. I took it home, hoping I hadn’t wasted my twelve dollars.
It probably wasn’t the best place to jump into the series as it was the most self contained arc, without many links to the series overall. It didn’t matter, I was hooked. Over the next year I read the rest of the series in order of what was in stock at the book store at any given time. I had already realized that I liked comic books before I left home, but I doubt I would be as into them as I am if I hadn’t spent that time in the graphic novel section searching for Sandman volumes I hadn’t read yet.
Once I’d devoured the entire Sandman saga, I snapped up everything else with the name Neil Gaiman on the spine. And they didn’t disappoint. Neverwhere, Mr. Punch, Stardust, they all sparked my imagination and made me see the world in a new way. I love the way he writes, often in a personal but slightly esoteric style. I love the way he mixes myths and everyday life in a way that makes me feel like this is the way the world has always been, I just hadn’t noticed before. And I love listening to him read his stories.
And my love of his writing sent me down many unexpected paths. It led me to delving into comic books. It led me to going to signings and conventions at a time in my life when getting out of the house for things other than work was a challenge. It led me to other artists who spoke to me, like Jill Thompson, Dave McKean, and Susanna Clarke.
What it didn’t do was spur me to do was write. Oh, it inspired me and made me long to be a writer. But I wanted to write like Neil, which I couldn’t. I would start a story and give up after a few paragraphs. I just couldn’t do what he does. It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not supposed to write like Neil, I’m supposed to write like me.
Occasionally I hit on something that feels like it plays in the same sandbox as Neil’s work (such as the story I posted on Halloween) and it pleases me immensely, but I’m no longer trying to imitate my idol. After all, he does an excellent job of being Neil. We don’t need another one. And I get to create something that only I could have created. Maybe I’ll never reach his level of craftsmanship, but I’m going to keep trying. And that is one of many reasons I’m a fangirl.
I’m a big fan of Jane Austen.I’ve read all but two of her books. I like to space them out between readings, so first readings of Northanger Abby and Persuasion are still in the distance. I also enjoy adaptations and retellings of her works, though the quality often varies. When FYA announced they’d be doing a Pride and Prejudice theme week, I might have responded with a loud “booyah!” You can read their many hilarious posts here.
Over the last few years there has been a rash of authors embarrassing themselves and damaging their reputations by responding to negative reviews on blogs and sites such as Amazon. It is a shocking phenomena, with both indie and traditionally published authors making a spectacle of themselves. These authors seek out the negative reviews of their work and lash out and attack the reviewers. It is a terrible idea on their part. Bad reviews are no fun, I’ve had my share and should I mange to publish something I’m sure I’ll have many more. And yes they sting and sometimes I get defensive and dismiss the review as “not getting it.” But only in the privacy of my own head. I would never attack someone else for their opinion of my writing. Watching these meltdowns from the outside can be a bit of a head desk moment. What on Earth are these writer’s thinking? No matter if the review in question is well written and thoughtful essay or a single sentence along the lines of “This author sucks, they should stop writing.” A tirade always does far more damage to an author’s career than a bad review could. In short if you can’t weather a bad review here or there, maybe publishing isn’t for you.
Which is a long winded explanation for what I’m about to lay out. I posed myself the question. If the experienced, successful authors of today, who should know better, can’t resist the lure of railing against a bad review, could one of the greatest of all time?
Jane Austen Gets Into a Flamewar With Her Fans
To the editors and readership of the “Austentonian Times,”
Before I address the comments which compelled me to put pen to paper, I would first like to ask that you cease appropriating my name for this “publication” which I most certainly do not endorse. I would also like to point out that while you purport said publication to be an outlet for so called “fanatics” of my work, it seems to me that it is more a place for uneducated lunatics to criticize and ascribe meaning to my work that was never intended.
I would like to refute the anonymous contributor who accused me of having a bias against the clergy. On the contrary I have the utmost respect for men of God as a whole. I am in fact a rector’s daughter, and consider the loss of my excellent father to be the great tragedy of my life. To suggest that because I painted characters such as Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton, both clergymen, as undesirable and comical is evidence that I have no respect for the church is utterly ludicrous! Must I explain the function of fiction to your readership? Must I defend my choice to create characters with foibles regardless of their profession? I fear even if I were to try, they would not have the intelligence to comprehend.
To the young lady who wrote to lament that “Fanny Price is so dull! As is Mansfield Park on the whole. La, what happened to the liveliness of Pride and Prejudice? It is by far my favorite.” I must ask, did I force you to read Mansfield Park if you were not enjoying it? Were you perhaps stuck at the bottom of a well, with only my third novel to pass the time? Did you burn Pride and Prejudice on acquiring my next book, and therefore can no longer derive enjoyment from the less mature piece? Am I not allowed to explore new themes in my work? Must I rewrite Pride and Prejudice time and again? Only changing the lovers names to Miss Traliza Bonnet and Mr. Pitzsimmon Farcy? Is that what you would have me do? I suspect it is.
To Mr. Currer Bell, if that is indeed your true name, I detect a feminine hand behind your words, but that is neither here nor there. I do not take offense that you and your family believe I concern myself too much with propriety and not enough with “poetry and passion” as you so eloquently put it. If you cannot detect the turmoil within my characters regarding the conflicting pulls propriety and passion, then you are not the audience to which I write. I encourage you to take the next few years, you will excuse me for presuming you are still quite young, there was much in your letter to give me that impression, to seek out books written with your sensibilities in mind. Perhaps if no one is writing such literature you can do it yourself, you clearly do not believe it is the least bit difficult. I look forward to someday seeing the overwrought, sensational, and likely sentimental stories you come up with in print.
There is much more I would like to say, but I have decided you are no longer worth the paper it would take to do so. Good day to you all, and God’s grace on all your future endeavors.
Miss J. Austen, authoress.
Thanks to J Lenni Dorner for asking me to be a part of this. You can see J’s answers by clicking here.
***Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Random Acts of Nudity
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I kinda stole it. NOT REALLY!!! I did not steal it, but my idea was sparked from reading someone else’s concept. I participate in a board on Amazon where authors post their pitch and get help from other authors in making it as appealing as possible. About two years ago I read a pitch there about a person who saw themselves in a viral sex tape. It got me thinking. The other author’s idea was about an adult male, who didn’t remember making the video, and the book was a psychological thriller. But the idea of being in a viral sex tape stuck with me. I started thinking about how most kids these days have recording equipment and how easy it is to distribute video online. I began weaving the story of a teenage girl who casually makes a sex tape with her boyfriend, not expecting anyone but themselves to see it. Then after they breakup, it’s seen by their entire school.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There aren’t many actors that fit the description of my main character, since she’s plus size. There isn’t an abundance of teenage plus size actress working today.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A shy honors student is mortified when her ex releases their sex tape to the whole school.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m submitting it to agents now. Fingers crossed, one will like it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wasn’t keeping track, somewhere between five and eight months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read a lot of other contemporary YA.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See the first answer.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The MC has a snarky, self deprecating voice. The way she handles being humiliated and ostracized is (I hope) unique and entertaining, while still being believable. And the supporting characters rock, if I do say so myself.
Did you know that? I didn’t, but it is. Why not go and buy a book? I did. I bought the Academie by Amy Joy. It’s a dystopian young adult novel which was an entry in ABNA this past year. I read the excerpt during the contest and really enjoyed it, so this was a great excuse to go buy the whole novel. Let me know what you buy.