Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photos - Cambria and San Simeon

Finally downloaded my photos from my trip to Cambria and San Simeon with my Mom. We had a blast, ate very well, tried some delicious local wines, saw how the (very) rich lived at Hearst Castle, and watched the elephant seals battle and snooze. My normally amazing digital Canon Rebel camera was giving out error messages like pancakes, so getting shots at times was a struggle. It pooped out royally at the elephant seal beach, alas. I really wanted more shots of these elegantly schnozzled beasties.

You can see the entire photostream here on Flickr.

And here's a taste of the beauty we imbibed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Teens' Top Ten 2009

Eleven thousand teens voted on their favorite books of 2009! The official list page is here, but I've cut and pasted the list below.

Listed author E Lockhart notes that books with pink covers never get on these lists. Hmm. An anti-pink conspiracy, perhaps?

1. Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
2. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
4. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
5. Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
7. Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
8. Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin)
9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion)
10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Scarily or fabulously, I appear to be somewhat in sync with teen readers. I've read five of these, all excellent:

The Hunger Games
City of Ashes
The Graveyard Book

And I have a sixth (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) waiting on the shelf. Looking forward to Paper Towns as well!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flu Addled

Sorry I haven't posted recently, but I've been house-bound for nearly a week now thanks to the flu. At least I think it's the flu. Mostly I'm just exhausted, with sinus fun to complete the picture. But I haven't had a fever spike in two days and today is slightly better than yesterday, so I do think I'm (slowly) mending.

It's tough to be so tired. I don't know how the chronically ill manage! I haven't been able to read much, let alone write on my second novel or brainstorm my next script. I haven't generated any new query letters or been able to sit down and play the piano for more than 15 minutes, and that rather poorly.

It all makes me grateful knowing that I will get better, that this shall pass, and that my usual vigor will return. I'm a bit impatient, but am trying not to overdo things and relapse. It's a struggle not to give in to the feeling of uselessness and lumpiness being sick brings on. I keep thinking that I serve no purpose, that I'm not contributing, that I'm not creating.

But sometimes I guess you just have to lie still.

So that's what I'm doing. Within the next day or two I hope to be back at the keyboard, working on a story.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fave YA Books II

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden is, quite simply, one of the most riveting books you'll ever read. Teen or adult, if you like a page turning, thought provoking late-into-the-night read, you'll love this.

Teenage Ellie and her six friends return from a camping expedition in the Australian bush to find that their country has been invaded and occupied by a foreign army. Everyone they know is a prisoner of war, so they must find a way to stick together, avoid the enemy, and eventually - fight back.

Marsden's got a great premise here, but it's the voice of narrator Ellie and the way she and her friends grow and change under the pressures of the plot that make this book so riveting, honest, and real. Beware, this is the first in an addictive series. Read this one and you'll want to get them all.

Only Book 1, this one, was available in the US when I first read it. But I was so determined to find out what happened that I ordered the rest of the series through an Australian bookstore and paid the high shipping fees to get the sequels as soon as I could. Later, when a TV producer asked me if I knew of any books that would make good TV, I instantly recommended this series. Her company ended up losing a bidding war over acquiring the rights to the books. And still they haven't been made into a series or a movie. If the rights have become available again, producers would be wise to snap them up. It's that good.

Update: I just found out that an Australian movie of the book is now filming! It started shooting in late September. Keep your eyes peeled in six months or so. I can only hope it's half as good as the book.