December 31, 2012

Favorite Books - 2012

My list of literary 2012 favorites is ordered as I read them throughout the year, but only includes books published within 2012. (If I read an indie-pubbed book in 2011 and it was republished by a traditional publisher in 2012 - you won't find it here; I consider it to have been published when the author published it originally. These - and new-to-me faves from previous years - can be found on my Goodreads list. As an author, I don't "rate" books. If it's included, I read it and liked it.)

I had less time to read in 2012, and that trend will probably continue over the next several months as I meet publishing deadlines that are now contractual. My list contains the books that affected me strongly as a reader and a writer. They not only inspire me to write, but to keep trying to write better.

Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

Slammed/Point of Retreat - Colleen Hoover

This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers

Outpost - Ann Aguirre

Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry

Fall Guy - Liz Reinhardt

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Hopeless - Colleen Hoover

Every Day - David Levithan

December 26, 2012

Foreign Publisher Roundup 2012

Often, I hear from readers and bloggers wanting to know if Easy will be translated into their native languages. In many cases, now, the answer is yes! Thanks much to my wonderful foreign rights agent, Lauren Abamo of Dystel & Goderich, who put together the following list of the publishers planning to produce translations (by country, linked to the individual publishers' websites):
Albania: Pegi
Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese): Verus Editora
Catalonia (Catalan): Grup 62/Columna
Denmark: Gyldendal
Hungary:  Könyvmolyképző
Israel: Kinneret
Norway: Cappelen Damm
Romania: Editura Epica
In addition to these, English language rights for Easy and the Between the Lines series in UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Commonwealth are owned by: Razorbill/Puffin/Penguin

December 22, 2012

Will the Real NA Please Stand Up

I've been biting my tongue, but I can't take it any longer. Articles and posts like this one from The New York Times - which group Easy (and Slammed, by Colleen Hoover) with any book ever labeled "New Adult" bother me. Yes, I realize it's human nature to mass-define seemingly similar things… but often, those definitions just don't fit.

My publisher is probably thrilled that my book was mentioned on the front page of the Arts section of The New York Times, but Easy is NOT more sexually explicit than other novels found at the mature end of YA. It was not written for anyone expecting "Harry Potter meets 50 Shades of Grey," nor does it include "significantly more sex, explicitly detailed" than typical mature young adult books like The DUFF, Perfect Chemistry, The Sky is Everywhere, Where She Went or Such a Rush. (Also: "Vampire and wizard fans are apparently ready for characters who shed their robes and show a little more skin." Really? So this is all about sex and… genre-switching? Huh. That's odd. Because the mature young adult novels named above are contemporary, not paranormal.)

Look - I didn't set out to start (or join) a new category of novel, though (as I've pointed out before) I'm happy to label my books with whatever tags assist buyers in finding them. As a woman working as an academic advisor on a university campus, a survivor of sexual assault at the hands of a classmate/friend in my early twenties, and an indie-published author of three novels featuring main characters in the 17-22 age range, I wanted the setting of Easy to be a college campus. To many readers, that fact alone constituted the "New Adult" tag, and I had no problem with this until recently.

Peruse the content of YA books at your local bookstore, and you'll find a range from sugary-sweet to downright steamy where sex is concerned. This is nothing new. When my oldest entered the YA market over a decade ago, I sat in the Young Adult aisle at the Barnes & Noble (on the floor, usually), perusing each book before my kid purchased it. Yes, the advent of online books has made this parenting duty more difficult in some ways. Boo-hoo. Don't make me enumerate the obstacles and inconveniences I faced as a parent of young kids when there was no Internet for them - or me - to surf for products and information. Parenting is a difficult job. It always has been; it always will be.

Maybe there does need to be a New Adult section (though ugh, I do hate that name), or at least a labeling system within Young Adult. Since I'd be dreaming to assume the US might mimic Canada or the UK and understand that our 16-year-olds are the real beginner adults, "Mature Young Adult" or "New Adult" in the US could begin at age 17. (Like R-rated movies and M-rated games. Which. I've. Said. Before.)

But please. Stop tossing every novel containing main characters aged 18-23 into the supposed New Adult Sex Pool. Some of us don't intend to swim there.

December 16, 2012

Tag Teaming the UK

Rebecca Donovan and I are doing a joint blog tour over the next four weeks entitled Love Hurts. (Actually, I think love shouldn't hurt! Just the opposite! But I guess Love is a Healing Balm Compared to all the Crazy Awful Unfair Things Life Throws at Us wouldn't have been as catchy.)

There will be Q&As, novel excerpts, weird facts about both of us, and giveaways galore!

Click on the interactive banner below for more info:

December 14, 2012

I Solemnly Swear, So Help Me Jane Austen

I hadn't realized until recently how thoroughly my book-buying habits have changed. Pictured here is the current stack of books on my night table. I want to read these books - all of them - and I've had several of them since the day they released.

Note my Kindle, charging happily at the top of the stack. Why is my Kindle happy? Because it knows that I will pick it up first.

How. Did. This. Happen?!?

Two years ago, I was positive I would never be one of those people who read books electronically. If anyone had produced a Bible or a first edition of Pride and Prejudice, I'd have slapped my hand right to it and sworn as much.

I was certain that ereaders represented yet another Big Business attempt to create some unnecessary gadget for techomaniacs to ooh and aah over. Go ahead and add "dagnabbit" at the end of that. I deserve it.

With existing accounts at Amazon and B&N, downloading reader apps was simple enough. And reading on my computer was every bit as annoying as I'd assumed. So there! I thought, haughtily concluding that the digital reading experience wouldn't be much better on an ereader. In a last-ditch effort to prove that those devices were either useless or from Satan, I bought one. I  purchased and downloaded a couple of inexpensive indie-pubbed books to it. They weren't bad... and what's more, reading them on that newfangled device also wasn't bad. (Tammara: 0 / Satan: 1)

Still, I continued to purchase the majority of my books in hardback or trade paperback, because I wanted them for my personal library - a wall of bookcases in my study that gives me warm and fuzzy contented bookworm feelings whenever I look at it.

And then the worst possible conflict occurred: I read the online sample of a book I'd forgotten to pre-order, and I wanted it badly. I could have it on my ereader in about a minute. Uh-oh. Book in my hands in two days versus immediate gratification. Well, damn.

Since that day, my paper purchases gradually lessened as my digital purchases increased. I now do what many of my readers do: I buy nearly everything in digital form, and re-purchase my favorites in paper. Much of the time, they remain untouched. Those shelves are, more than ever, housing art.

I still occasionally buy books initially in paper form, especially from favorite authors. They sit prettily on my nightstand, or stacked in other "as yet unread" spots in my house. But apparently, it could be months before I get to them. (Who knew?) My personal stats for the books I read in 2012: 15% were read in paper; 85% were read on my ereader. Hence my Kindle's smugness.

Proposed solution: Someone needs to come up with a way for readers to buy the hardback edition and receive a code to get a free or deeply discounted digital download of the same book. (Or vice-versa.) Sort of like the "complete-the-album" incentive on iTunes. (For the record: The non-fic technical publisher O'Reilly is already doing this. Successfully. My husband is a huge fan.)