Archive for May, 2012

Chasing the Book Interview Series: Bryce Moore

Vodnik is Bryce’s first novel with Tu Books, a YA and middle grade imprint with a focus on fantasy novels with ethnically diverse characters, specifically people of color.  In Vodnik, Tomas, a teenager of Roma heritage, explores Slovakia and encounters dangerous creatures from Slovak myth and legend.  I have to say I love this book.  And that t-shirt on the cover?  One of those could be yours.

So, Bryce.  Tell us about Vodnik.
Teacups: great for tea. Really sucky as
places-to-live-out-the-rest-of-your-eternal-existence. Very little
elbow room, and the internet connection is notoriously slow. Plus,
they’re a real pain in the butt to get out of, especially when you’ve
gone non-corporeal.

When Tomas was six, someone–something–tried to drown him. And burn
him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him
freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia
to the United States.

Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and
that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. Ready to drown him again
and imprison his soul in a teacup.

Then there’s the fire víla, the water ghost, the pitchfork-happy city
folk, and Death herself who are all after him.

All this sounds a bit comical, unless the one haunted by water ghosts
and fire vílas or doing time in a cramped, internet-deprived teacup
is you.

If Tomas wants to survive, he’ll have to embrace the meaning behind
the Slovak proverb, So smrťou ešte nik zmluvu neurobil. With Death,
nobody makes a pact.

Now, let’s say you’re a fugitive.  You’ve skipped bail, and a bounty hunter is looking for you.  What
three things do you bring with you?
My Leatherman (I don’t leave home without it. Ever.), my car keys (you
need to have wheels if you’re going to get anywhere in this country),
and my wallet (to get as much cash as I can as quickly as I can–and
then ditch the credit cards right after).

Where does the bounty hunter find you?
He finds me? That’s disappointing. But assuming he does, I’m probably
holed up in a hotel somewhere, watching movies while I wait for the
hunt to die down. Probably crime movies: Snatch, The Transporter,
Oceans Eleven. That kind of thing.

Now you’re the bounty hunter.  When three things do you bring with you
while tracking your skip?
My Leatherman (see answer above), my car keys, and my iPad (because
I’ll need to be doing a lot of research on the fly to find this guy or
girl, I’d imagine. Then again, I’m a librarian in real life–research
is really important to me.)

Through your diligent research, you’ve found your skip, right where you thought they would be.
Describe your location and approach.
It’s in the middle of a busy train station, and she’s about to leave
again–but I’m one step ahead of her at last. I know which train she
has tickets for, and I got to the station before her, getting
everything set up just right. I pull the fire alarm to cause more
confusion, then, herd her into my trap: a taxi driver I’ve paid off
ahead of time to take her to a prearranged location. My plan threatens
to fall apart a few times, but I manage to improv things together into
a happy ending.

You’ve just caught a skip, and you’re surprised to find them
attractive.  What three things make them irresistible to you?
Spunky attitude (everybody loves spunk), her justification for
committing the crime she’s accused of (she’s really innocent, of
course), and the fact that she laughs at my humor.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I’d be a terrible bounty hunter in real life. I probably would never
get within the same county. Sad, but true. As for trying to evade the
law . . . I just hope I never have to.

Aww, I’m sure those librarian superpowers would get you farther than that.  

Want to know more about Bryce?  Find him on twitter, his blog, or his website.

Feels Like Summer

Chasing the Book Interview Series: Michelle Davidson Argyle

The Breakaway is Michelle‘s second novel with Rhemelda Publishing.  Michelle writes fairytale fantasy, literary short stories, and adult thrillers, and handles all those different genres with style.  Thanks, Michelle, for doing this interview with me.

First, tell us about your book.
When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, her one plan for escape is to convince
one of her captors she is falling in love with him.

Now, imagine you’ve skipped bail, and a bounty hunter is looking for you.  What
three things do you bring with you?
I’m assuming you’re speaking beyond things like clothes and shoes? So
I’d take money, a gun, and a car.

Where does the bounty hunter find you?
Eating at a sushi place. I was desperate!

Sushi is a great choice.  Now you’re the bounty hunter.  When three things do you bring with you
while tracking your skip?
I’m not sure what a bounty hunter usually brings along, but I’m
assuming a weapon like a gun and a car and binoculars to watch from
afar, if needed.

You’ve found your skip, right where you thought they would be.
Describe your location and approach.
I caught the skip eating at a small sushi bar. I knew she couldn’t
resist her favorite food. I’ll wait until she’s completely distracted
with the food and close in on her.

You’ve just caught a skip, and you’re surprised to find them
attractive.  What three things make them irresistible to you?
I’m assuming I’m male as the bounty hunter, hah. I find this skip
attractive and irresistible because she has a great body, she has
managed to elude me for months, and she when she looks at me, it’s a
direct challenge. I like a challenge.

Want to know more about Michelle?  She blogs at The Innocent Flower, and also has an author website, where you can learn more about her books.  You can also find her on facebook and twitter.








Dark and Light

Rainy Day

Chasing the Book Interview Series: Lissa Price

Today I’m proud to host Lissa Price, author of STARTERS, a new dystopian YA novel.  Starters is available now.  After reading the premise, it’s definitely going on my to-be-read list.

 Lissa was kind enough to answer my questions about what she would do in various bounty hunting situations.   Welcome, Lissa.

First, tell us what your book is about.
In the future desperate teens rent out their bodies to seniors so they
can be young again temporarily. But one senior plans to do more than
party.   She plans to murder someone.

Now, for the bounty hunter questions.  You’ve skipped bail, and a bounty hunter is looking for you. What
three things do you bring with you?

A Diet Coke, my iPad, and a SuperTruffle.

Where does the bounty hunter find you?
At my favorite beach.

Now you’re the bounty hunter. When three things do you bring with you
while tracking your skip?

My iPad, my phone, and night-vision glasses.

You’ve found your skip, right where you thought they would be.
Describe your location and approach.

They’re hiding in an abandoned office building, on the roof. I call in
a helicopter assist (a favor owed me). I snab the skip, cuff him, and
grab the ladder to climb into the copter.

You’ve just caught a skip, and you’re surprised to find them
attractive. What three things make them irresistible to you?

He’s funny, smart and knows Shakespeare.

Want to meet Lissa? Here’s where you can find her:
5/19 At Costco Los Angeles, on Los Feliz Blvd 1pm-3pm.
6/2 Klindt’s Bookstore, The Dalles, OR
6/16, 1-3 at Costco Westlake Village 5700 Lindero Canyon Rd
7/11-15 ComicCon
8/3-8/5 SCBWI Century City giving three talks

Can’t make it to any of those appearances? You can also find Lissa online in the following places. Check out her website for links to contests for a chance to win a copy of STARTERS.
LissaPriceAuthor on FB Official Random House website
StartersBooks on FB for game app


The Levels System*: An Organization for Critiques

Once upon a time, I was catching a ride home with a friend after writing group.  The group had spent a good twenty minutes going on about the various flaws of the piece I’d submitted.  I held in my hands several pages of notes.

“I can’t believe that chapter was that bad,” I said.

My friend was shocked.  My chapter was fine, he told me.  In fact, he quite liked it.

I couldn’t believe it.  The group had elaborated on the problems of my chapter  for as much time and with as much enthusiasm as they had another submission, which I felt needed a lot of work.  In fact, I realized, they went on about the problems in everyone’s work with this same passion every week.  Good stuff, bad stuff . . . all the criticism was punctuated equally.

“How then,” I asked, “am I supposed to know how much work I need to do, if we all critique everything with equal fervor?”

(Okay, I didn’t really use the word fervor.  I probably didn’t use any of these words.  I just counted the number of years since I had this conversation, and it took me two hands.)

Huh, my friend said.  That is a problem.

And on that car ride, the levels system was born.  What we needed, we decided, was not to tone down our excitement about various critiques, but to find a way to label them, so the writer can tell whether a problem is small or large.

When we critique, we always start with good things.  No matter how many problems a piece may have, there are always good things to be said.  Listing them first helps to set a positive tone to the discussion, and helps the writer not to feel despair when the problems are numerous.

Then come the Level Three comments, or the problems that, if you encountered them in a published book, would cause you to put the book down and walk away.  In an ideal world, there won’t be any level threes.  (But sometimes there are.  That’s why we have writing group.)

Next come the Level Two comments, or other things that bothered you about the piece.  And last are the Level Ones–line-level problems, funny typos, and issues that you want to mention but that you really don’t feel that strongly about.  (Level Two is best defined as everything that is not Level One, or Level Three.)

My writing group has changed a lot in the intervening years since my friend and I invented the system, but we still use it, and I still love it.  I don’t mind when the group carries on enthusiastically about my typos or miswritten lines.  I know they are Level One problems.  I dutifully write them down, but I don’t have to feel like I need to rewrite the chapter over it.  I can begin to sort the comments everyone feels strongly about from the ones that are just idle conversation, right from the beginning.  (It also helps keep us on topic–inevitably when the conversation wanders, someone will ask, “what level are we on?” and we get back to work.)  I get better feedback, I’m better able to organize my thoughts for others, and I can begin to decide what magnitude of changes need to happen when I get ready to revise.

It makes my organizational heart happy.



*I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m pretty sure the post is lost somewhere in the depths of my livejournal, so here it is again.  Sorry if this is a repeat.

Ultraforge Treewoman

I finally finished painting my Ultraforge treewoman–one of my two favorite minis of all time.  I kept putting off finishing this one, because it intimidated me, so it’s been in varying stages of completion for over a year.



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