Tuesday, December 11, 2018

YA Guy Hosts... Jamie Beth Cohen, author of WASTED PRETTY!

As you can tell from my past several months' posts, YA Guy loves hosting debut authors, especially when they live in my hometown of Pittsburgh. But it gives me particular joy to host Jamie Beth Cohen, whose debut novel WASTED PRETTY comes out in April, 2019. I first met Jamie years and years ago when I was a counselor at a day camp in Pittsburgh and she was (no kidding) one of my campers, so to see her succeed as a writer is the next best thing to watching one of my own children grow. Now, before I embarrass myself (or Jamie) even more, let's hear from her on the artistic and commercial sides of being a debut author!

Have you seen this image floating around the interwebz? I love it!


Writer Erin Dorney made these suggestions, and I think they really speak to the fact that although publishing is a business, there are still ways we can engage with it that don’t involve money. 

As a debut author, with a young adult novel coming from a small press in April 2019, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to engage with the commercial side of my art. 

And let me just stop myself right here, because I actually don’t consider myself an artist. I tell stories in order to connect with other people and -- if I’m doing it right -- the stories will help them in some way. A reader might feel less alone after reading something I’ve written or might feel better about a tough choice they’ve made after seeing how tough choices are handled in my work. Whatever it is, language and craft are not my top priority. It’s the connection to others that is most important to me.

Art is amazing. Art is important. I love art! And maybe some people consider what I do art, but if they do, I hope they’re talking about the kind that is accessible to everyone and integral to life, not the kind that is set apart from it (hung on walls in expensive museums or unintelligible without an advanced degree).

But I digress…

The truth is, I want my book to be widely read, not because of any monetary goal, but because I did that thing people tell young adult authors to do: I wrote the book I needed when I was a teen, and I believe there are teens out there today who still need it. 

To get the book into the hands of people who don’t know me, I have to engage with the commercial side of publishing. To that end, I have to spend money -- money I don’t really have -- to promote my book in various ways. I will throw parties, I might do giveaways, I may pay for ads, and to make up that money, I will need to sell books.

This is the vicious cycle of capitalism that many writers don’t want anything to do with. They feel it corrupts their art or takes time away from writing, but, as I said, I don’t consider myself an artist. I feel this story is important and to get it out there, I’m going to jump in with both feet and try to figure out this balancing act.

Side Note: Here’s another paradox that people have been asking me about lately: I will make about five times as much money per book if you buy it directly from me, but sales I do “out of my trunk” don’t count in the measure of “how well” my book is doing. My book will be available online directly through my publisher, on Amazon and through other outlets, but in order to quickly make up the money I spend to promote my book, I’m going to have to sell a fair number of copies “out of my trunk.” 

And to be clear, it’s not just small press authors who have to spend their own money on these things. Check out Josh’s great post about what he spent promoting his debut (which came out with a big house) and his other great post about what worked and what didn't.

So, all of Erin’s suggestions above on ways you can help an author are great, but there are some things my writer-heart and my writer-brain are struggling with right now. Taking the lead from Josh, I’m letting you in with the hope that transparency is the way to go. Because people ask all the time how they can support my debut, but I’m never sure if they really want the truth…

My writer-heart wants you to love this story.
My writer-brain wants you to buy this book for yourself, your family, and your friends!

My writer-heart wants you to buy enough books through your local indie bookstore that the next time I want to sell a story, people think I’m a safe bet.
My writer-brain wants you to place an order with me so I can recoup my marketing costs and maybe see a movie with my family.

My writer-heart wants to sit over coffee and talk to you about this story.
My writer-brain wants you to tell everyone you know to buy this book!

My writer-heart wants you to write honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
My writer-brain wants you to keep your criticisms just between us. Tell me what you think so I can be a better writer, but please don’t put me on blast.

My writer-heart wants to travel the world visiting my friends and coming to book clubs they set up with their friends.
My writer-brain knows I don’t have the kind of time or cash to make this happen, but I hope I can video-chat with lots of fun book clubs.

My writer-heart wants you to buy my book and love it without me ever having to mention it again.
My writer-brain knows it takes roughly seven mentions to influence behavior... apologies in advance…

About Jamie: Jamie Beth Cohen is a writer, storyteller, and community organizer whose writing has appeared in TeenVogue.com, The Washington Post/On Parenting, Salon, and many other outlets. WASTED PRETTY, her debut YA novel about a sixteen-year-old girl who faces wanted and unwanted attention when she accidentally goes from blending in to standing out, will be published by Black Rose Writing in April 2019.

Stalk Jamie here:


Saturday, November 24, 2018

YA Guy Lists... His 2018 Top Ten!

Here's the bad news: YA Guy didn't read much this year. As discussed in a previous post, I took a bit of a hiatus from reading in 2018, my hope being that this would free up time for my own writing.

Here's the good news: it worked. I produced two novels in 2018 (both of them already published), plus a collection of short stories (also published). Two additional novels are in the final stages of revision, and should be published next year. So that's all very exciting for me personally.

And here's the even better news: I didn't stop reading entirely during 2018. I read what I needed to for the classes I taught, as well as reading a few novels that were recommended to me (including Nabokov's truly bizarre Pale Fire, recommended by, of all people, my fifteen-year-old son). I also read some YA novels--nowhere near the fifty or so I've been reading each of the past few years, but enough to produce a Top 10 List.

And so, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order:

S. A. Bodeen, THE TOMB. If you've read any of Bodeen's previous novels--including her acclaimed THE COMPOUND--you know she likes to play with your mind. THE TOMB does that in a big way, and in the service of a gripping sci-fi narrative.

Parker Peevyhouse, THE ECHO ROOM. Peevyhouse impressed me a couple of years ago with her debut WHERE FUTURES END, a collection of linked short stories that fused magic with dystopian science fiction. THE ECHO ROOM is even better, a literary Escape Room with a twist you'll never see coming, even when you're sure you see it coming.

Fonda Lee, CROSS FIRE. This sequel to EXO, about an alien colonization of Earth and the human factions that develop to contest (as well as support) it, is my favorite novel so far by my favorite YA science fiction writer. If you don't read this two-part series, you're missing something truly exceptional.

Lisa Maxwell, THE DEVIL'S THIEF. Every bit as good as its predecessor THE LAST MAGICIAN, this complexly plotted, densely peopled, mind-bending historical fantasy proves beyond a doubt that Maxwell is one of the most talented and inventive YA writers of this or any time.

Eliot Schrefer, ORPHANED. The concluding book in Schrefer's "Ape Quartet," each of which focuses on a young person's relationship with one of the four great apes--bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas--this book imagines the meeting of prehistoric gorillas and humans due to a changing volcanic landscape. It's told from the gorilla MC's point of view, and it's a satisfying conclusion to one of the best YA series I've ever read.

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, OBSIDIO. I'll admit that the graphic pyrotechnics of this third book in the Illuminae series are nowhere near as excitingly radical as they were in the first book, and the endless teen-snarky emails are a bit wearying. But this is still a solid ending to a revolutionary series that suggested all kinds of new directions for YA science fiction.

Erica Cameron, WAR OF STORMS. The third installment in Cameron's epic fantasy The Ryogan Chronicles, this book wraps up a story and a world so immersive, so fully realized, you'll believe you're actually there. Read the books in order to get the full experience, starting with ISLAND OF EXILES and then SEA OF STRANGERS.

Thomas Sweterlitsch, THE GONE WORLD. This is the one book on the list that isn't YA, but I couldn't resist, because any book by Pittsburgh author Sweterlitsch is a major event. His first novel, TOMORROW AND TOMORROW, is set in large part in a virtual Pittsburgh that's all that remains after the real city is destroyed in a terrorist nuclear attack; THE GONE WORLD takes place in a variety of (possible) futures where a military investigator travels to try to unravel a shocking crime from the present. Both books are wildly imaginative, beautifully written, and mind-bendingly original works of science fiction.



Joshua David Bellin, ECOSYSTEM and THE DEVOURING LAND. My own books, the first two in a three-part series, tell the story of a future Earth in which the physical environment has developed into a sentient, and predatory, being. I decided to self-publish the series so I could realize a vision I've had for many years, and I couldn't be happier with the results. Look for the final book in the trilogy, titled HOUSE OF EARTH, HOUSE OF STONE, in early 2019.







Wednesday, November 7, 2018

YA Guy Hosts... Natasha Garrett, author of MOTHERLANDS!

YA Guy is super excited to introduce my friend and colleague--and fellow writer--Natasha Garrett, whose debut collection of essays, MOTHERLANDS, is available now! A book that explores the modern migrant experience, MOTHERLANDS is particularly timely in today's social and political climate. Natasha talks openly about her experience as a writer in the guest post below, and then you can find out more about (and order a copy of) MOTHERLANDS! 



AN OCCASIONAL WRITER

I am curious about other authors’ writing spaces and habits the way some people are interested in celebrity homes. Some writers, like Hemingway and Dickens, wrote while standing; in contrast, Truman Capote wrote while lying on his couch. Mark Twain’s office was painted mauvish-pink and contained a pool table. Benjamin Franklin wrote in the morning, after waking up and stripping naked. I enjoy learning these tidbits and browsing through photos of writers’ offices, because I am being reminded of the behind-the-scenes work that happens before a book is finished, and the various routines and locations that support one’s writing life. I am also a bit envious of the writers, famous and not-so-famous, who allow themselves the time and space to write with regularity.

In my recent collection of personal essays, Motherlands, I write about my discomfort with calling myself a writer, because in many ways, I feel like an outsider to writing. I have a full-time job that doesn’t require literary skills, a busy family life and a great social circle. My approach to writing lacks the routine and the structure of many of my favorite writers: I don’t set aside a time to write. I don’t have a designated workspace in my house for writing—no pretty desk with a view; actually, no desk at all. I don’t belong to a writer’s group. I have never attended a writing workshop. I write in English, my second language. Perhaps not labeling myself a writer is a defense mechanism: I am free of all the pressure, expectations, anticipation, and disappointment that real writers seem to experience. It may be a way of creatively avoiding the responsibility of regular writing while claiming all the pleasure from it.

Desk or no desk, writing and publishing essays, poetry, and translations inevitably makes me a writer. I don’t have a writing schedule, but I do have a method; otherwise, nothing will ever be done. I am not a freewriting-type of person, though I swear I have tried to be. Once I get an idea for an essay, I let it live in my head for a while. I work on it in my mind as I am doing something else, like driving or taking a walk. Once I know what the opening paragraph or two will look like, I start writing. The act of writing typically generates more ideas, and I slowly but steadily unspool the essay. Since the piece lives in me for quite some time before it sees the light of day, my first draft is not that removed from my final draft. I let it sit for a few days, and I go back to it for revisions. I often ask a trusted friend (a “real” writer) to read it before I deem it finished and ready for submission.

Not being “only” a writer gives me a wider field of inspiration to draw from. As a Macedonian living in the US, an international student advisor, a mother to a bilingual child, a wife, a translator, a traveler, an avid reader, and an occasional and somewhat hesitant writer, I draw from a range of personal and professional experiences--which are often in conversation with one another—when I write personal essays like the ones in Motherlands. This collection in particular benefits from the weaving of the professional, personal and literary, because it tackles topics that are naturally multidisciplinary, such as cross-cultural living (cooking, gardening), language, identity, and education.

I have two writing projects percolating at the moment—an idea for a novel (part travelogue, part love story) and a poetry collection. I’ll let them live in my head for a bit longer, but eventually, I will have to sit down and start writing, perhaps at my own desk this time.

About MOTHERLANDS: In this collection of personal essays, Natasha Garrett explores various facets of the modern migration experience. Weaving academic and literary sources, as well as personal and professional experiences, Garrett uses transnationalism as a springboard for discussing topics such as home, motherhood, identity, bilingualism, family, education, and travel. The essays in Motherlands offer a well-researched, witty and heartfelt look into migration both as a global phenomenon and as a deeply intimate experience.

Buy MOTHERLANDS here: https://www.amazon.com/Motherlands-Natasha-Garrett/dp/1897493665

About Natasha: Natasha was born and raised in Macedonia and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she serves as a Director of International Student Services at La Roche College. Her poetry, personal essays, and translations have appeared in Transnational Literature, Gravel, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Arts and Letters, and other publications. She is the editor of Macedonia 2013: 100 Years After the Treaty of Bucharest. She obtained her PhD in Education at the University of Pittsburgh, and her Master’s in English Literature from Duquesne University.

To find out more about Natasha's books and the events where you can meet her in person, visit her website: https://natashagarrett.pittsburgh412.com

And if you're in Pittsburgh, you can come see Natasha speak at the Squirrel Hill Library next week:
https://www.carnegielibrary.org/event/meet-the-author-natasha-garrett/

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

YA Guy Hosts...Barbara Barrow, author of THE QUELLING!

One of the nicest things about being an author is meeting other authors--and authors-to-be! This year, YA Guy's been thrilled to see a number of friends realize their dream of authorship with their debut works of fiction or nonfiction. Though not all of these fellow authors write YA, I wanted to celebrate their achievements and spread the word about their books.

So I'm going to be running a series of guest posts over the next several months to do just that! First up is Barbara Barrow, whose psychological thriller THE QUELLING was published last month. Barbara has kindly written a post about her path to publication, and after you read her story, you can find out more about THE QUELLING and its author.



Ever since my debut novel, The Quelling, was released, people have asked me two questions. 

The first: What inspired your book? 

This one is easy! I love Gothic novels like Wuthering Heights and The Woman in White: sinister books about madhouses, gender, hysteria, and crime. So I wrote a contemporary Gothic novel about a couple of bloodthirsty siblings, a murder, and a rare psychiatric disorder. I told the story through multiple narrators: two sisters, their doctor, and their two nurses. 

The second question: How long did it take to get published? 

Well. 

This one is hard. The truth is, my road to publication was less a direct path and more of a long, meandering detour, the kind that can leave you feeling stranded and lost and desperately behind schedule. But just as a detour can make us slow down and pay attention to new scenery and unexpectedly beautiful vistas, so too did my winding path to publication teach me invaluable lessons about the publishing process, and about my own writing. 

The road to publication began with an email and a phone call from an editor at a small press. I had revised the manuscript five times, over the course of several years, and had been submitting for a few months when he requested the full manuscript and showed it to the lead editor. He liked the manuscript very much, he said, especially its elegiac and mournful mood. However, he felt that the characters’ voices needed to be “peeled apart” more, to be made more distinct, perhaps with different vocabularies and ways of speaking. Would I be willing to make revisions? 

Thrilled that a press liked my book, I said yes right away. And I began the revisions. I re-read and studied classic multiple-narrator books like William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and began to peel two of the first-person narrators apart. I gave my learned doctor character more of a scientific vocabulary and a clipped, businesslike tone, and my loutish nurse character Simon a frank, talky, and arrogant voice. I worked through a revision or two with my beta reader friend, and I sent the chapters in. 

Then…silence. 

Finally, the editor emailed back. He appreciated the revisions, especially to Simon’s chapter, he said, but he felt that with the new voices the book had lost some of the lyric, elegiac quality that he had admired so much in the earlier draft. What did I think about trying a close third-person omniscient narrator who could get into all of the character’s heads? 

So I went back to my desk. I studied novels with a close third-person narrator like Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, and, over the course of one bleary weekend, I switched my whole novel into third person. I sent the revised book back in, and waited. 

And waited. 

This was the hardest part. Months elapsed without much other than a few lines of acknowledgement, and I began to wonder if the novel would ever be published at all. I dallied. My creative life felt stalled. At the encouragement of my friend, I kept submitting the original version of the manuscript, since I hadn’t yet had much feedback on the third-person revision. And I waited and waited. It was a long, agonizing summer.  

At the same time, that interval deepened the third-person revision for me. I began to think of my characters in the third person. Whenever I read fiction or watched television I paid even more attention to perspective and point of view. Whenever I listened to a friend tell a story, I noticed the switch between the I and the They. In that time period, my novel went from being written in the third person to actually becoming a third person novel.  

Then, one day, I checked my email and found some correspondence from a small press that specialized in the “weird and strange.” Expecting another rejection, I clicked on it to discover the opposite: the editors had read my submission, loved it, and felt that the style was a great fit for the aesthetic of their press. Was the manuscript still available? 

I was elated. I reached out to writer friends (including YA Guy!) for advice, I parted ways cordially with the first editor, and in a week, I had a contract with the new press. A year later, after some revisions and some copy-editing, the book came out: with its original cast of first-person narrators. 

It’s tempting to think of my experience as roundabout: almost as if I had to walk in a very long circle in order to get back to square one. And there were days, especially during that long summer, when it felt that way. But the process taught me patience, and also a kind of creative flexibility, a willingness to re-imagine my characters and story and structure in radically different ways. 

It also reminded me that the editorial process is subjective. At the launch party for The Quelling, someone asked me about the revision process, and I talked about the third-person alternative version. Afterward, a colleague and writer friend who had read the book said, “Oh, I don’t think this would work in the third person at all.”

Was he right, and the editor wrong, or vice versa? Probably neither. In the end, I learned, the best stylistic choice is the one that a publisher and author agree is right for this story. There is another version of The Quelling that exists in an alternative universe, and I’m okay with that. It also taught me the importance of always submitting up until you have a signed contract in hand. It’s important to revise, of course, but it’s also important to find a press whose aesthetic vision merges with yours. 

Finally, the process taught me that editorial feedback has a long, rich afterlife. For my next novel, a multiple-POV book, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of richly contrasting voices, about other uses for the different versions of the two characters I revised, and the lessons I learned from studying other books and re-thinking my own manuscript.

As it turns out, even a long, agonizing detour can be worthwhile.


Thanks, Barbara! Readers, when you dive into THE QUELLING, I think you'll be pleased to see that Barbara stuck with her vision and her gut (while also cultivating the flexibility to make the editorial changes needed). It's a taut, tense story with great characters and tone, and I can't wait for the next book to come out of Barbara's (dare I say slightly twisted?) imagination!


About THE QUELLING: Addie and Dorian have always been together. They're clever, beautiful--and hopelessly violent. Diagnosed with a rare psychiatric condition and accused of murder in childhood, the sisters have spent most of their lives in a locked ward under the supervision of eccentric researcher Dr. Lark. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Addie has a plan: start a new family to replace the one she lost. Dorian struggles to quell her violent tendencies in time to help raise her sister's child.

But Dr. Lark sees these patients as key to the completion of his revolutionary cure, and he will not allow Addie's absurd ideas to get in the way. As his "treatments" become increasingly bizarre, they put Addie and Dorian's safety at risk. The girls' only lifeline may be Ellie, a ward nurse with troubles of her own, who's never felt the need to protect anyone--until now.

Harrowing and bittersweet, at times claustrophobic, this gritty debut explores the fragility of familial bonds and the sometimes intractable tension between freedom and safety.

Order THE QUELLING from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Quelling-Barbara-Barrow/dp/1941360181
Or directly from the publisher: 

About Barbara: Barbara Barrow is a literary critic and fiction writer who loves all things Gothic and strange. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, The Forge Literary Magazine, Folio, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of English at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. In her spare time she eats mangoes and binge-watches old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. THE QUELLING is her first novel. Anca L. Szilágyi calls it a “ferocious, tender, astonishing” book that “lays bare our animalistic drives toward violence and love.”


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

YA Guy Participates in... The Fall 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt!


YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's FALL YA SCAVENGER HUNT! This is my sixth Hunt, and I've got a new book, the YA fantasy ECOSYSTEM, out this year, with the sequel due in another month. So I'm totally ready for the Hunt, and I trust that you are too! (I mean, why would you be here if you weren't?)

As you can probably tell by all the green lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the GREEN TEAM, along with the other awesome authors you see below:



The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! Add up the clues on each GREEN TEAM page, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in our team! There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! But don't delay: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will be online only until noon Pacific time on OCTOBER 7! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, through October 9.)

HOW IT WORKS

Directions: In the author biography below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the Green Team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 7, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. For more information, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Personal Giveaway: In addition to the prizes named above, readers who enter my personal giveaway will have a chance to win a signed copy of my forthcoming novel THE DEVOURING LAND! The sequel to ECOSYSTEM, this novel is having its cover revealed right here, right now! Like the Hunt itself, the personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Got all that? Then let's meet the author I'm hosting, SHANNON KLARE!

Shannon Klare is a writer, teacher, reality TV fanatic, and movie connoisseur. A born and raised Texan, her writing is heavily influenced by small town living and year round sports. When Shannon isn’t writing or daydreaming new plots (22 of them to date), she can be found frequenting Starbucks or hanging out with her family. SURVIVING ADAM MEADE is her debut novel. It's available in stores now!

To find out more about Shannon, go to her website!

About SURVIVING ADAM MEADE: Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire―Adam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.

Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants . . . until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist....

With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.

To buy the book, follow this link!




****************************************************************************************************
But wait, there's more! Enter below for a chance to win one of two signed copies of my forthcoming YA fantasy novel THE DEVOURING LAND! This personal giveaway runs through October 9, and the cover is being revealed to the world for the first time ever!


About THE DEVOURING LAND: On the day of Miriam and Isaac's wedding, Sarah’s village is overrun by monstrous creatures from the Ecosystem. With the community’s leaders dead and few Sensors remaining, Sarah shepherds the survivors into the deadly forest surrounding the village. Her own Sense badly damaged in an earlier attack, she must fight through a host of new threats in hopes of discovering the place where her mother was born, rumored to be home to a community of healers.

When another attack decimates her band, the survivors are rescued by a group of people under the leadership of a man named Gabriel. Taking Sarah and the remnants of her village to a sheltered city ruled by healer-women known as queens, Gabriel instructs Sarah in the Ecosystem’s origins and teaches her a new way of coexisting with its creatures. But the City of the Queens is haunted by a dark secret from the past, and Sarah will have to learn the truth of her lineage in order to save the people she loves and protect the world she knows.

The second book in a fantasy-adventure trilogy that begins with Ecosystem, The Devouring Land will be released on November 20, 2018. Sarah’s story concludes with House of Earth, House of Stone (2019).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fall 2018 Hunt is over, but my personal giveaway is still going on for a couple of days. Thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope to see you back in Spring 2019!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

YA Guy Announces... SKALDI CITY!

YA Guy is thrilled to announce that my novel SKALDI CITY will be published by Entangled Teen in 2019! Here's the formal announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Skaldi City is a survival story, a horror story, and (maybe most of all) a love story. It features one of the characters from my Survival Colony series, but it takes place fifty years before the events depicted in those novels, so readers can enjoy it whether they're familiar with Survival Colony 9 or not. And if I do say so myself, it includes some of the scariest monsters and most intense scenes I've ever invented.

I'll have more news as the publication date nears, but for now, I just wanted to let you all know. Thanks for reading the blog, and please feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, July 16, 2018

YA Guy Reviews... CROSS FIRE by Fonda Lee!


YA Guy's favorite YA science fiction author is Fonda Lee.

There. I said it.

While I like and admire lots of YA science fiction writers--Paolo Bacigalupi, Amie Kaufman, AdriAnne Strickland, Parker Peevyhouse, M. T. Anderson--Lee is at the top of my list. I've loved all of her sci-fi books, starting with ZEROBOXER and moving on to EXO and, now, CROSS FIRE. (I'll confess I didn't get into her fantasy novel JADE CITY, but that's not a reflection on its quality; it just wasn't my type of story.) I love her world-building, character development, eye for action sequences, and--in particular--her willingness to explore moral problems without settling on simple answers. In too much YA sci-fi, the world is neatly divided into nefarious (often adult) villains and virtuous (typically teen) heroes, who might have some superficial character flaws but who always manage to do what's right in the end. In Lee's books, the picture is much more complicated.

Take CROSS FIRE. It's the sequel to EXO, which featured a future Earth colonized by the alien zhree. Unlike most races in alien-invasion narratives, the zhree didn't come to destroy Earth but to colonize it and, to some extent, to share their superior technology with the human race. Thus they've rebuilt Earth's cities, incorporated many of Earth's citizens into their government and trades, and biologically enhanced a select group of human beings, including main character Donovan Reyes, to share the zhree's virtually indestructible battle armor. But there are some people, including the radical group Sapience, who hate the zhree and those humans who work along with them. Sapience wants to take Earth back, and they'll fight and kill to do it.

With this kind of premise, it's hard to draw clean lines between the "good guys" and "bad guys." Sapience is viewed by many in Donovan's world as a terrorist organization, and there's validity to that viewpoint--but at the same time, their admirable desire for human independence complicates the reader's response to them. By the same token, if the zhree seem generally willing to share their technology and their resources with humanity, there's no doubt that humans are second-class citizens in zhree society, and that becomes all the more apparent in CROSS FIRE, where the zhree decide that Earth is too costly to maintain and make plans to evacuate, knowing full well that their departure will leave the planet vulnerable to other alien races bent on the annihilation of humankind. Under that scenario, Donovan is faced with a wrenching choice: to stay behind on a threatened planet in order to defend his own species, or to accept the zhree's offer to take a tiny percentage of the human population, himself included, with them.

It's just at this point in the narrative, though, that I feel Lee adopts a course that reduces some of the moral complexity she's established. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that the book takes a turn at its approximate midpoint that makes Donovan's choice no less physically demanding but somewhat less ethically challenging. Later in the book, a second turn--one that, like the first, hinges on the sudden appearance of a fresh threat just at the moment of a critical decision on Donovan's part--similarly serves to draw somewhat cleaner lines between heroes and villains. I wonder how Lee would have worked out the issues she set up if these plot twists had not occurred, and whether that resolution would have been more morally murky but intellectually satisfying.

That being said, I loved CROSS FIRE and found it in some ways even better than its predecessor (which is rare for sequels). If you're interested in reading Lee's book, leave a comment on this blog post; I'll be giving the book away to one person chosen at random from the comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

YA Guy Publishes... Short Stories!


Way back when, before YA Guy was (officially) YA Guy, I published short stories--science fiction, horror, and fantasy mostly, though occasionally I'd dip into contemporary realism. Short fiction was my way of getting back into writing after a long hiatus, and it was incredibly rewarding to finish a story and, from time to time, see my name in print.

Though I've focused on writing novels in the years since, I've felt for a long time that it would be fun to collect some of my short stories--most of them originally published in obscure places that are hard to track down--for readers to enjoy. Thanks to my recent discovery of self-publishing, I've done just that, and I'm happy to present the result: TEN TALES OF TERROR AND TERRA, an e-book collection that's available for free on Amazon, B&N, and other online bookstores.

Of the ten stories, one or two might be considered YA--at least, they have youthful protagonists. But for the most part, the stories are aimed at a mature readership (which is not to say they're full of sex and graphic violence!). Some of them experiment with language, such as an apocalyptic tale told from the point of view of a non-human character and a horror story about a man who's losing his ability to speak. Others are fairy-tale adaptations, including the lead story, "Scarecrow," which is narrated by the straw man from The Wizard of Oz. There's a deep-space colonization narrative, a story about demonic possession and/or madness, a tale (narrated in the second person) about the invention of a technological afterlife. There's some pretty cool stuff, I think.

And, like I said, it's free. So pick up a copy, and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

YA Guy Experiences...Self-Publishing!


YA Guy's self-published novel Ecosystem came out last month. A survival story set on a future Earth in which the physical environment has evolved into a sentient predator, it's on sale for only 99 cents through May 25, if you want to check it out.

Ecosystem isn't the first novel I've self-published--that distinction goes to The Passing of Boss Krenkel, which came out several years ago--but it's the first self-published novel I've taken seriously. I splurged a bit on cover and interior design, and I'm doing much more to market the book than I did with Boss Krenkel. I don't expect to become a millionaire on this book or any self-published book--but then, I wasn't becoming a millionaire on my traditionally published novels, either. I do, however, see Ecosystem (which is the first in a three-book series) as the start of what might turn out to be a viable alternative path for me as a writer.

The decision to take the self-publishing route is a personal one, and I'd never be one of those writing-advice gurus who tell people that the ONLY way to go is to self-publish. (By the same token, I wouldn't tell anyone that traditional publishing is the only legitimate option.) Having experienced both forms of publishing, I can confidently state that they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I won't belabor the obvious, but I will take a few moments to talk about the three major factors that appeal to me about self-publishing.

1. Creative control. This is huge for me, as it probably is for most authors who self-publish. To start with, I like the idea of not having anyone tell me that a story concept that intrigues me isn't "marketable" enough or doesn't fit into a convenient category. Ecosystem is an ecological, post-apocalyptic survival story with elements of both science fiction and fantasy, featuring a teen protagonist but possessing crossover adult appeal. That might be a hard sell for many, possibly most, traditional publishers. By self-publishing, I can forego these gatekeepers and put out a book that's close to my heart as a writer. I did hire a freelance editor--I think every self-published writer owes it to themselves to do so--but in the end, the final decision about form and content was mine; I didn't need to convince anyone that my creative vision was sound, or argue with anyone who didn't like a choice I'd made. I'm not going to badmouth anybody, least of all the editor for my first three books--who undeniably made those books better than they were when they left my hands--but I felt the need to spread my creative wings and venture out on my own, and through self-publishing, I had that opportunity.

2. Speed. Traditional publishing is incredibly slow. It was two years between the two books of my Survival Colony series, which is an awfully long time to wait. With self-publishing, I can make books available to readers as quickly as they can be written, revised, edited, designed, and published. Ecosystem came out in April, I'm currently preparing a collection of science fiction short stories for publication no later than July, the sequel to Ecosystem will appear by November, and the final book in the trilogy will be available by early 2019. Putting books out quickly isn't necessarily a good thing in itself, but as with my desire to control my books creatively, I like having the power to control when and where they appear.

3. No pressure. For me, this is probably the biggest benefit to self-publishing. As a writer, I hate pressure: the pressure of external deadlines, the pressure of other people's expectations, the pressure to sell large numbers of books. Maybe some writers thrive under such pressures; I find that they kill creativity and strip the joy out of writing. I've wanted to be a writer since I was six years old--and I've wanted to be a writer because I love telling stories, not because I want to become rich and famous. But in traditional publishing, the pressure to meet certain standards or hit certain targets is always there, whether that be the pressure to "earn out" your advance, to have a new book ready to satisfy the option in your contract, or to "outperform" your previous books. With self-publishing, the only pressure I feel is internal, and it's a good pressure: the pressure to tell the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them.

At this point, it's too early to say which direction I'll ultimately take as a writer--whether I'll go hybrid, self-publishing some books and traditionally publishing others, or whether I'll settle into self-publishing exclusively. For the time being, I'm still working with an agent on some of my projects, including one that she's shopping around right now. I'm not fretting about the future; I'm just enjoying the moment. And I hope, if anyone out there is weighing the possibility of self-publishing, this post will help you to make your decision.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

YA Guy Announces... The ECOSYSTEM Blog Tour!


YA Guy's got a new book coming out: ECOSYSTEM, the first in a YA fantasy trilogy about a future Earth where the physical environment has mutated into a sentient being. The book releases in e-book and paperback on April 22, which just happens to be Earth Day. Here's the back cover blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.

Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of FREEFALL and the Survival Colony series, ECOSYSTEM is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes THE DEVOURING LAND (2019) and HOUSE OF EARTH, HOUSE OF STONE (2020).

To launch my latest venture, I've lined up a group of amazing YA bloggers, who've got exclusive interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other goodies including a giveaway of signed copies of ECOSYSTEM! The tour starts on April 17 and concludes on April 30, and here's the lineup:

                The YA Gal
April 18: Kristi Helvig
April 19: Jean BookNerd
                Katie L. Carroll's Observation Desk
April 21: Work in Progress
April 22: RELEASE DAY!
April 23: Margo Kelly
               Darlene Beck-Jacobson
April 24: We're taking a mid-tour break!
April 27: Erin's Rhewsings
April 28: Sarah J. Schmitt
April 29: Christina Farley
April 30: Larry Ivkovich

You can also check out the cover reveal that's running right now on YA Books Central, which includes a giveaway. Or, if you simply can't wait to see the cover, you can check it out right here!


Finally, you can enter the giveaway I'm running during the blog tour, with a chance to win one of two signed copies of ECOSYSTEM! The giveaway starts right now and runs through April 30, when the tour ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm very excited about ECOSYSTEM, and I hope you are too! Drop me a line to let me know how you like the cover, how you're enjoying the tour, what you think about the book, or anything else!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

YA Guy Participates in... The Spring 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt!


YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's SPRING YA SCAVENGER HUNT! This is my fifth Hunt, and I've got a new book, the YA fantasy ECOSYSTEM, due out on April 22. So I'm totally ready for the Hunt, and I trust that you are too! (I mean, why would you be here if you weren't?)

As you can probably tell by all the purple lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the PURPLE TEAM, along with the other awesome authors you see below:



The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! Add up the clues on each PURPLE TEAM page, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in our team! There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! But don't delay: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will be online only until noon Pacific time on APRIL 8! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, through April 11.)

HOW IT WORKS

Directions: In the author biography below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. For more information, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Personal Giveaway: In addition to the prizes named above, readers who enter my personal giveaway will have a chance to win a signed copy of my forthcoming novel ECOSYSTEM! Like the Hunt itself, this personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Got all that? Then let's meet the author I'm hosting, EVA POHLER!

Eva Pohler is the USA Today bestselling author of The Mystery Book Collection, The Mystery House Series, and four series for young adults: The Gatekeeper's Saga, A Gatekeeper's Spin-Off Series, The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens Series. (That's a lot more than 22 books, if you're counting!) Her books have been described as "thrilling" and "addictive." A Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper's Sons that it was "sure to thrill Hunger Games fans."

To find out more about Eva, go to her website.


About THE GATEKEEPER'S BRIDE: Unrest brews among gods and mortals alike when Hades makes a deal with the Fates to end his loneliness in the Underworld. But when Persephone proposes to conspire with him in a plot against Demeter, things get out of hand.

Find out the truth of how Hades and Persephone met and fell in love and the impact it had on the rest of the pantheon during these tumultuous times. Learn how their children--Hypnos, Thanatos, Megaera, Tisiphone, Alecto, and Melinoe--came into being. Discover why they were assigned their respective duties as Sleep, Death, the Furies, and the goddess of ghosts. Find out the real reason why the Olympians possessed such profound disdain for these Underworld gods.

This prequel to The Gatekeeper's Saga is more than a retelling of the Persephone myth. Many more of the ancient myths are woven together to reveal the conflict, tension, and relationships among the gods in one of the most beloved pantheons in human history. The Gatekeeper's Bride can be read before or after The Gatekeeper's Saga.

To buy the book, follow this link!

*********************************************************************************
But wait, there's more! Enter below for a chance to win a signed copy of my forthcoming YA fantasy novel ECOSYSTEM! This personal giveaway runs through April 11 (which also happens to be the day a cover reveal for the book runs on YA Books Central)!




About ECOSYSTEM: Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.

Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).

a Rafflecopter giveaway *********************************************************************************

The Spring 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt is over! Thanks for playing, and happy reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

YA Guy Hosts... Kai Strand, author of I AM ME!

YA Guy is tickled to host one of my favorite authors, Kai Strand, whose latest novel, the YA contemporary I AM ME, is now available. Kai's here to talk about how she manages to be so prolific as an author, and then, as a special treat, she's provided an excerpt from her new book. Read on, and then find out about Kai and where to buy I AM ME!


Just Ger ‘Er Done!


Inspiration from Kai Strand


People often think I’m a fast writer, but I know plenty of authors who write faster than me. They’ll post their daily word counts of upwards of 5,000! I’m lucky if I hit 1,500. What I am – or have been – is consistent. Think: The Little Engine That Could or the tortoise from The Tortoise and The Hare.

My first book, a middle grade fantasy, The Weaver, was published at the very end of 2010 and I immediately began a quest to make it the world’s best-selling book. When I wasn’t even successful in scheduling my first book signing until March of 2011, I realized that marketing a book was both harder than I expected and very time consuming. I didn’t understand that I needed to concentrate more on writing the next book until well into 2011. Therefore, my second middle grade – a contemporary titled SAVE THE LEMMINGS – wasn’t published until 2012. But the second book in my Weaver Tale series was also published in 2012, The Wishing Well. I discovered that I liked publishing two books a year. I liked it very much, so that became my goal.

My first young adult book, King of Bad, was published in 2013 and I got a taste of good sales and that bestseller title I’d hoped for. In 2014, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing with a couple young adult novellas, all while publishing two different titles with publishers – making my publication count for the year FOUR books. I found it difficult to promote, though, and learned I wanted to keep it at two books a year. In 2015 I added a new pen name (L.A. Dragoni) so I could write romance for the grown-ups among us.

Needless to say, in order to publish all of these books, I had to keep writing. And if I average fewer than 1,500 words a day, that means I have to sit down and write on a regular basis. It isn’t always easy. I get sucked into social media or composing blog posts. There are plenty of times I have simply forced myself to open my WIP and just put some dang words down. And the crazy thing is…when you do that…seven years later, you have FIFTEEN books published.

It’s hard for me to comprehend that I’ve accomplished that, but with more books in the pipeline and several others underway…I know it won’t stop there.


I Am Me by Kai Strand
YA Contemporary

Despite—or perhaps because of—her fancy car, private school education, and life of privilege, Lola Renaldi has become a volunteer junkie. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the elderly—if it’s a good cause, she’s done it.

Lola’s favorite stint, building affordable houses, puts her directly in the path of Rodney. He refuses to discuss why he’s doing community service, but it’s clear he’s hiding something dark about his past. As their friendship grows, Lola begins to question the true reasons for her obsessive volunteerism and her view of those she has pledged to help.

She is only beginning to understand how lucky she truly is when her life falls apart. After losing friends, her boyfriend, even Rodney, Lola finally recognizes which parts of her life she wants to hang onto and what specifically she wants to go after. But with all she’s been through, will she be able to hang onto who she wants to be? Or will she lose all that defines her?


Excerpt: 

“Have you ever been completely surprised to learn the truth behind someone’s circumstances?”

Rod freezes, paintbrush held high overhead. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I have a friend who seems to have everything, you know? I’ve always known how far from the truth that is, but she’s got a rock solid façade. Or, she did until last weekend.”

Rod’s rigid posture relaxes, and he resumes spreading paint along the fascia. “Wasn’t last week homecoming?”

Tipping my head up, I stare at Rod in surprise. “Yeah, how did you know?”

I see one side of his mouth quirk. “You weren’t here last week. Hank said something about hair and makeup and fingernails.”

I continue to stare up at Rodney. His long frame at the top of a tall ladder makes my head spin in some reverse vertigo thing.

He stops working again and shifts sideways on the ladder. “Hey, are you okay?”

“Oh.” If I shake my head, will the myriads of thoughts spinning through it dissipate into dust, or at least fall into a nice orderly pile that I can sort through later? “I’m…it’s just…” Shrug.

Resting the brush in the paint tray, he somehow adopts a super casual pose on the ladder, perched precariously sideways, with his arms crossed over his chest. His tone is unexpected in its gentleness. “Is this 'friend' really you?”

“What? No!” I leap to my feet and his eyebrows arch, which for some reason makes me mad. “Rodney, why would you even think that?”

His head cocks sideways in consideration. “Someone who seems to have everything. Someone you know well enough that you’re the only one to know she doesn’t.”

I slam my hands on my hips, though really, I want to slug him. “It’s a friend of mine. I’ve known her forever.” A strange expression passes over his face and my anger wafts away on the chilly breeze. “Do you have any friends, Rodney?”

He gives a strange one-shoulder shrug that he probably hopes appears dismissive but is actually an admission of truth. The question of what he did to earn community service—tons of hours of community service, apparently—flashes through my mind and for the first time I wonder if befriending him like I have was really so smart.

A tinge of anger darkens his caramel colored eyes making me think of toffee.

“We’ve moved a lot.”

Oh. Not what I expected. Before I can reply, he continues.

“Poor people do that, you know.”

I open my mouth to voice my offense. His tone is so accusatory. But I see guilt and regret and embarrassment flash in his expression, so I slam my lips shut.


Here's where to buy I AM ME:

Amazon
B&N
iBooks

About the author: When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers, Kai entertains children of all ages and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

To connect with Kai, go here:
Mailing List
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Amazon

Thursday, February 1, 2018

YA Guy... Stops Reading!

YA Guy loves to read. What writer doesn't?

Over the past seven years, as I've launched my career as a YA writer, I've averaged between 50 and 60 novels per year. Many of them were YA, but many were not. I dipped into classics, science fiction, historical novels, whatever struck my fancy (or was related to my own writing project) at the time. So if you add it all up, that's about 400 novels all told, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 pages.

I've learned a lot from these novels about craft, storytelling, character development, genre expectations, you name it. I've also read some truly great literature (both YA and non-YA), as well as some real clunkers. I've reviewed many of these books--primarily the ones I loved, because I'm not in the habit of writing negative reviews. And I've tweeted about and otherwise promoted many of the books I read, all in the interest of supporting others who are pursuing this very difficult job called writing.

So overall, it's been a great run. I'm glad, for both personal and professional reasons, that I made a commitment to upping my reading content these past seven years.

But for 2018, I'm taking a break.

Here's the short version of why: I'm beat.

Here's the longer version:

I'm not a fast reader. I average about 30 pages an hour, maybe 40 with YA. So the roughly 160,000 pages I read over that seven-year span represent somewhere around 4000 hours spent reading, or almost 600 hours per year. Which translates, in turn, to almost two hours of reading per day for the past seven years. And that's not counting the time spent reviewing and otherwise promoting the books I've read.

The above numbers might not seem like a lot to some people. But the other things I do during the day include, to list only the most important and time-consuming:

--work a full time job
--spend time with my wife and children
--spend time with my aging parents
--spend time with friends
--attend or otherwise participate in political, cultural, and artistic events
--coach
--travel
--shop
--do chores and other housework
--promote my books, on social media and via live appearances
--write

Again, that's no different from what most writers do. But if I'm spending almost two hours every day on reading, it tends to curtail my ability to do some of the other things. Including, most importantly for me as a writer (if not as a human being), write my own books. This is especially true since I'm an even slower writer than reader, taking an average of six months to complete a draft. And that's not counting revisions and all the other things that are involved to transform a manuscript into a published book.

This year is going to be particularly busy in regard to writing, for at least two reasons: I have multiple projects in the hopper (one of which my agent is currently shopping around, the others of which are in various stages of completion), and I'm contemplating self-publishing another project, thus requiring time not only to perform the necessary actions but to learn a whole new form of publication.

Hence my plan to take a break for a year. I'll read a few things that I absolutely have to--like the novels and other materials I'm teaching, or the occasional 2018 publication I'm so excited about I simply can't pass it up--but for the most part, I'm going to go reading-free for a year and see what happens. Certainly, some 2018 books I'd like to read will pass me by, and I'm not sure I'll have a chance to catch up on them. Possibly, I'll find myself so bored I'll regret my decision. But ideally, I'll be freed to focus for a year on all of those other things in my list, including, most importantly, writing.

Every writer has to figure out how to make all this stuff work. There are only so many hours in a day, a year, a life. Some writers (maybe the ones who read and write faster than I do) find ways to do it all. I'm not one of those writers, and I'm trying to be honest with myself about my limitations.

So if you're putting out a book this year and hoping I'll read it, I'm sorry to disappoint you. If I seem ungenerous and you decide not to read my books in retaliation, that's okay. If all goes according to plan, I'll be too busy writing to notice.