Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your–satellite? The third installment of the brilliant Lunar Chronicles introduces readers to Cress, the clever young Lunar who’s been keeping an eye on Cinder. Her escape from the only place she’s ever known as home–a satellite orbiting Earth–doesn’t … Continue reading
Feeling fierce? Toronto certainly was after a fantastic stop by the talented and gorgeous ladies behind Macmillan’s 2013 Fierce Reads. Christa and I were lucky enough to be chosen as the official bloggers for the Toronto stop of the book tour, and we had an amazing interview with all five authors: Anna Banks (Of Poseidon, Of Triton), Gennifer Albin (Crewel), Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm), Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14, Monument 14: Sky on Fire) and Jessica Brody (Unremembered, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father).
Gennifer Albin: Okay so first question is?
Angel: Introduce yourselves?
Leigh Bardugo: It’s gonna be rough for you. Hi! I’m Leigh Bardugo–I was looking at you!
Jessica Brody: I was looking at you!
Leigh: I’m Leigh Bardugo, I wrote Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. They’re the first two books in the Grisha trilogy.
Gennifer: Hi I’m Gennifer Albin and I wrote Crewel and the upcoming sequel Altered, the first two books in the Crewel world trilogy.
Anna Banks: (affects a deep Southern accent) Hi y’all, this is Anna Banks and I wrote Of Poseidon and Of Triton.
Jessica: You don’t have to–
Emmy Laybourne: She’s laying on the accent a little thick…said Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14 (all five authors erupt into laughter) and Monument 14: Sky on Fire.
Gennifer: She does that all the time–introduce herself in the third person.
Anna: (pretending to be Emmy) ”I mean, those were the books that I wrote…”
Jessica: Hi, I’m Jessica Brody. I wrote Karma Club, My Life Undecided, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and the latest, Unremembered, which is the first in the Unremembered trilogy.
Leigh: Yay! We made it through that.
Up here in Toronto, we’re celebrating a gorgeous sunshine-filled week, and I know I’m not the only one thinking about hitting the beach. Happily, I’ve got a copy of the second book in Anna Banks’ funny contemporary take on the mermaid … Continue reading
Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to interview the amazing Ally Carter when she came to visit Toronto. If you know me, you know that I am a vocal fan of both of her series, the Gallagher … Continue reading
Another year, another installment of the fabulous Lunar Chronicles series! This time around, we get to learn all about the quiet-but-kickass Scarlet Benoit. Scarlet’s grandmother is missing, and as Scarlet embarks on a journey to find her, she runs into … Continue reading
Welcome to the ninth stop on the official Shadow and Bone Blog Tour! I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts so far, and discovered some awesome new things about Alina, Ravka and the amazing Leigh Bardugo. Today, I’ve asked Leigh to dig … Continue reading
Welcome to the first stop on the official Of Poseidon Blog Tour! As an early reader, I’ve been spreading the word about this wonderfully entertaining novel to everyone I know, and I’m so excited to be part of this tour.
Today, author Anna Banks stops by to talk about the numerous depictions of mermaids in art. Despite the uncertainty of their existence, mermaids have continued to captivate people the world over. The visual media ranges from paintings to sculptures and each piece of art tells the story of an undying fascination with the sea and its mysteries. Take it away, Anna!
Mermaids A La Art
Okay, so when I was doing research for this guest post, I figured I’d dissect some old school paintings of mermaids, make fun of a few, and call it a day (because yes, I’m that mature). Well, I still might do that a little, but I want to point out something important first. Something that bothered me a little.
So. I Googled “Mermaid paintings” and “Mermaid art”. All the old reliables pulled up. You know what I’m talking about. Lovely mermaids with long flowing hair and elegant fins who are perched on sea rocks luring fishermen to a most pleasant death. Kind of like this very famous painting, A Mermaid (John William Waterhouse).
The thing that bothered me was: All the mermaids readily Google-able were European-looking. Not that this painting is not beautiful and the mermaid is not glorious. It is. She is. I even love that she doesn’t have a perfect body, that it’s a realistic build. There’s beauty in that.
And it’s not that Europeans didn’t spot them some mermaids from time to time. Even Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen three mermaids. But from his description, he wasn’t very impressed, because they “were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like a man.” (May propose this: It could have very well been a merman? And also: Duh.)
But scientifically, not all mermaids could be like the painting above, right? You see, there are many different kinds of people from many different places on earth. There are many different kinds of fish from many different parts of the ocean. It would be reasonable to assume then that there are many different kinds of mermaids as well, yes? And if so, surely these many different kinds of people have seen mermaids in their many different places on earth, right? Right???
The answer is yes. Mermaids have been sighted everywhere, apparently. And here are some of my favorite depictions of non-European-looking mermaids:
Africa has the Mami Wata, or Mother of Waters, pictured above. They believe her to be a water spirit. Pictured below is another rendition of her in wood sculpture form, called Dona Fish, created circa 1950-1960, originating from the Ovimbundu peoples. Cool, huh?
Even the Japanese have their version of mermaids. In fact, a very famous ”mermaid” is thought to have originated from the Japanese, who perfected the art of sewing the torso of a monkey to the bottom half of a fish. Below is the famous Banff Merman, fashioned in this art style and on display at the Indian Trading Post:
So what is the point of all this? Of course, it is to prove that mermaids are real. They have
to be. Everyone, everywhere has seen them. Even ones with buttcracks, apparently (sorry,
couldn’t help myself):
Thanks Anna! My own favourite depiction of mermaids isn’t exactly classical art, but it’s absolutely breathtaking, and hearkens back to the original legend of The Little Mermaid:
Want more Of Poseidon? Comment below or on my review of the book with your email address and/or Twitter handle to win a finished copy or an audiobook! I’ll be picking winners at the end of the tour. (US/Canada only)
Tuesday, May 22: Two Chicks on Books
Wednesday, May 23: Live To Read
Thursday, May 24: Jana The Book Goddess
Friday, May 25: Moonlight Book Reviews
Saturday, May 26: A Cupcake and a Latte
Sunday, May 27: YA Sisterhood
Monday, May 28: Into the Hall of Books
Tuesday, May 29: The Book Cellar
Wednesday, May 30: Bookalicious
Thursday, May 31: Good Choice Reading
Friday, June 1: Pretty Deadly Reviews
Saturday, June 2: That Artsy Reader Girl
Watch the beautiful trailer:
Anna Banks grew up in a small town called Niceville (yes, really). She now lives in Crestview, Florida, with her husband and their daughter. Of Poseidon is her debut novel.
Welcome to the eight stop on the official Lexapros and Cons Blog Tour! With such a funny book making the rounds, I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed the previous posts.
Today, Aaron Karo stops by the blog to talk about his signature brand of brash humour and the experiences that informed Chuck Taylor’s story. Quite honestly, my blog may never be the same, and I love it.
Angel: One of the highlights of Lexapros and Cons is Chuck’s particular brand of humour. Did you ever have to draw a line between teen-appropriate humour and the things that made you laugh while writing the book?
I didn’t have to draw a line between teen-appropriate humoUr and the things that make me laugh…because the things that make me laugh are probably teen-appropriate. I think people forget how sophisticated kids are these days. There’s very little I find funny that I don’t think they would too.
Angel: OCD is so commonly discussed these days that it has, sadly, become a joke. What did you find most challenging about Chuck’s disorder and its presentation in popular culture?
Aaron: I think what people don’t realize about OCD is that people with OCD know that they have OCD. In other words, they know what they are doing is irrational and are cognizant of the fact that they suffer from an affliction, but can’t do anything about it. Also, being OCD and being really anal or neat are two very different things. That’s why Chuck gets upset in the book when other characters say, “I have a little OCD, too.”
Angel: How much research went into writing the story?
Aaron: Well, Chuck Taylor is basically me. All of the OCD symptoms in the book I have suffered from at some point. I actually counted how often I masturbated for an entire year (luckily that was in ninth grade and I don’t do it anymore!). All of the stove checking and the obsession with hand sanitizer – those are all things I do now. So writing about OCD was very personal and really required introspection rather than research.
Angel: Are there any issues you feel are disregarded when it comes to literature for teen boys?
Aaron: Yes and I think I’ve tried to touch on them all in Lexapros and Cons: masturbation, bullying, first love, and depression.
Aaron: “Don’t worry, dude, one day you will get laid a lot.”
In 1997 Aaron Karo wrote a funny email from his freshman dorm room that eventually spawned his celebrated column “Ruminations,” the humor website Ruminations.com, and three books: “Ruminations on College Life,” “Ruminations on Twentysomething Life,” and “I’m Having More Fun Than You.” Also a nationally headlining comedian, Karo has performed on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and his one-hour special “Aaron Karo: The Rest Is History” premiered on Comedy Central in 2010. “Lexapros and Cons” is his first novel.
Want more Lexapros and Cons? Comment below or on my review of the book with your email address and/or Twitter handle to win a finished copy! I’ll be picking winners at the end of the tour. (US/Canada only)
Monday 4/9 A Not-So-Rough Outline @ Wastepaper Prose
Tuesday 4/10 Funny Business @ Abby the Librarian
Wednesday 4/11 Interview @ YA Librarian Tales
Thursday 4/12 First Person Prose @ Hilary Wagner
Friday 4/13 A Discussion of OCD @ YA Bibliophile
Saturday 4/14 Q & A with Aaron Karo @ Stacked Books
Monday 4/16 Review & Interview @ Letters Inside Out
Wednesday 4/18 Lady’s Book Stuff
Thursday 4/19 Book Sake
Friday 4/20 Chick Loves Lit
Saturday 4/21 Haunted Orchid
Welcome to the Hemlock blog tour! I’m so happy to be part of a tour that celebrates Canadian talent in literature. The first book in the Hemlock trilogy is a great addition to paranormal YA fiction, and I’m pleased to be hosting Kathleen on the blog today.
Among the many things that intrigued me about Mac’s story was the setting. Hemlock is a quiet town, but it contains explosive secrets that leave its residents forever altered. I took this chance to ask Kathleen about the inspiration for Mac’s hometown and the way it shaped its people.
It never occurred to me that Hemlock could be set anywhere other than in the United States. The world I wanted to portray involved a massive government response to a virus, and saying an agency is like “a cross between the CDC and the CIA” has more of an impact than saying it’s “a cross between Health Canada and CSIS.”
But even though I knew the story would be set in the US, I didn’t necessarily want to be tied to a real town or even a specific state. I wanted the freedom to describe a location that suited my needs and (hopefully) would give me a little leeway to hide the fact that I’m a Canadian who has never ventured farther than Maine.
I wanted my own Sunnydale and I found the inspiration for it close to home—primarily in the Canadian city of Fredericton.
In Hemlock, I wanted a clear divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” without resorting to an actual railroad track. Fredericton was the ideal muse. The city straddles a river and is divided into distinct north and south regions. The downtown area (which is uber quaint and charming) is practically right on top of the river bank; you constantly catch glimpses of water from certain streets. There are also a ton of historic houses—many of which have been converted into apartments like the one Tess and Mac share.
That’s not to say that Hemlock is a carbon copy of Fredericton. Far from it. My city is almost three times Fredericton’s size, has a completely different economy and socioeconomic groups, has a single community college (as opposed to Fredericton’s numerous postsecondary institutions), and—river and downtown aside—much of the geography is different.
Still, basing parts of the city on a real place helped me flesh things out in my mind and on the page. It made Hemlock seem more real to me which, I hope, will make it seem more real to readers.
For a practical guide for what to take into account when creating a fictional city, check out my guide to creating a fictional town on The Other Side of the Story.
Kathleen spent most of her teen years writing short stories. She put her writing dreams on hold while attending college but rediscovered them when office life started leaving her with an allergy to cubicles.
Hemlock, her first novel, will be released on May 8th by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.
Be sure to check back on Friday for my review of Hemlock!
Bubble Talk is where I interview some truly amazing authors and tell you all about their books! I am absolutely tickled to share this interview with all my readers. Her book The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a beautifully insightful look at the afterlife and the value of real, unconditional love. I was stunned by the writing, the plot, the characters–basically, I loved everything about this book. Please welcome the super talented writer/editor Jess Rothenberg!
Angel: How did you fall in love with children’s/YA fiction?
Jessica: I never stopped loving children’s and teen fiction. I’ve got so many wonderful memories tied to the stories I read growing up, and always hoped I’d end up either writing books for young readers or editing them (or both). When I was ten or eleven, a teacher saw my summer reading list—packed with things like Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club, and plenty of classic stories by writers like Lois Lowry, Jean Craighead George, and Scott O’Dell—and made me promise I’d stop reading “those kinds of books.” I was pretty devastated, but did my best to put them aside in favor of more “sophisticated” (as she put it) reading. Thirteen years later, when I landed my dream job at Razorbill as a children’s book editor, I couldn’t help wanting to call her up and say, “Guess what?”
Jessica: That’s a great question and one I’m still figuring out all the time. I like to think my training as an editor has made me much better at asking those tough, big picture questions you’ve always got to be thinking on—things dealing with concept, story arc, plot, character, world building, and even where a book fits in the crowded marketplace, for example. Of course, when it’s your own writing it’s much harder to see the answers clearly (Reason #1068 why everyone needs a great editor!). But now that I’ve been through the editorial process from the author’s side, I do feel it has changed the way I approach editing. There’s a definite empathy you learn having to write and revise and take constructive feedback again and again and again… to deal with the occasional isolation of being a writer, not to mention all the anxieties and excitement of a first release. Overall, it’s pretty cool (and very humbling) to bring both perspectives to the process.
Angel: Who are your musical influences? Is their presence felt in The Catastrophic History of You & Me?
Jessica: There’s no question I’m a child of the ‘80s/early 90’s, and I think it’s pretty obvious in the book. Artists like The Police, Genesis, Madonna, Roxette, Crowded House, Depeche Mode, The Smiths… all of their music was very influential to me growing up and I had a great time incorporating some of their lyrics into the soundtrack of the story. (You can listen to them all here: http://www.jessrothenberg.com/playlist.html) The songs I associate most with love and heartache are all from that era, since that was when I was experiencing my own first crushes and broken hearts.
Angel: The title is one of my favourite things about the book. How did you come up with it?
Jessica: I’m so glad you love it, thank you! I really enjoy the challenge of titling and started out by making giants lists of words that felt interesting, fresh, and true to the story. For weeks, I worked on narrowing the lists down, asking friends and teens in my family to vote on their favorites along the way. In the end, The Catastrophic History of You and Me just felt fun, quirky, romantic, and different from so many of the one-word titles out there. And I also really like that the “you and me” is a little ambiguous, and can work in different ways depending how you read it.
Jessica: It’s very tough to pick just one, but I’d probably have to go with either “Walking with a Ghost” by Tegan and Sara or “Forever Young” by Alphaville.
Angel: What do you hope readers take away from TCHOYAM?
Jessica: I suppose I hope it reminds us all to look for the humor in dark or sad situations, and to be a little more thoughtful in how we interpret the actions and words of the people around us—especially the people we love the most. Nobody’s perfect, and in matters of love and loss and heartache, I do believe everyone deserves a second chance. But overall, I really just hope readers enjoy the story. : )
Angel: What would you tell a sixteen-year-old Jess?
Jessica: Ha, probably not to worry so much—to kick back a little more and enjoy being sixteen! If I’d known I was going to end up living in freezing cold NYC and sitting in front of a computer year after year, I would have spent even more time romping around in a bikini, enjoying the sunshine!
Again, thank you for letting me interview you and I can’t wait for February to roll around so everyone can read Catastrophic!
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning…. Welcome to forever.
BRIE’S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.
But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.
With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
The Catastrophic History of You and Me will be in bookstores everywhere on February 21, 2012.