My thoughts on THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

I just finished my second reading of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I can’t say that I enjoyed the book. Those of you who have read it understand. It isn’t enjoyable. But it is good.  Ultimately, though, for me, the author’s hamartia is far more fatal than the characters’ disease. The story itself is a tragedy, but the heroes’ tragic flaw is not fatal pride, like Oedipus; fatal passion, like Romeo; or fatal optimism, like Gatsby. Their flaw is in themselves – literally – the cancer that kills them IS them. Unlike the classic tragic heroes, Hazel and Augustus are fully aware of their tragic flaws. They are not in denial, not surprised by death. They know their days are numbered, that their...

REVOLUTIONARY Giveaway Winner…

Thanks to all of you who entered the REVOLUTIONARY giveaway. My TBR pile has grown by miles and miles…yay!! I love book recommendations from fellow readers. Even though the contest is over, keep them coming! Since I am at school this morning, I asked one of my students to pick a number between Comments 1-24. He  chose… So, Joel Bremer, CONGRATS! You won an ARC of REVOLUTIONARY. If you didn’t win, don’t worry — I’ll be giving more away. Keep checking back here for details on the next giveaway. And if you didn’t win, comb through the comments, you’ll find plenty of great books to fill your...

Conflict is Good

“You need more conflict.” This is a note I get every time I turn in a manuscript. I tend to make life too easy for my protagonists. I need a push to add in difficult situations, to create tension. It reflects who I am in real life – a hater of conflict, a “wisher” that life could be problem-free. But my editor knows what makes a good story is the conflict the characters have to overcome in order to achieve their goal. Think of Cinderella. Would we love that story as much if she was born into a loving home, treated like a princess as a child and became a princess as an adult? No! It is only after Cinderella has overcome the conflicts presented by her father’s death, her stepmother’s mistreatment, her stepsisters’...

How Does a Book Get Published?

Until a few years ago, I never really thought about how a book goes from someone’s head to a bookstore. I’ve always loved books and bookstores. A lot. In fact, if there were “frequent reader miles” like airlines have “frequent flyer miles,” I would never have to buy a book again. But the journey those books take? Never really cared. Until it was my book making that journey. Suddenly, I wanted to know everything. What I learned was that the author is just one-third of the equation. Once you have a book written, you need a publisher. And to get a publisher, you need an agent. Unless you self-publish. But that takes a lot of work. And a lot of money. And a lot of business savvy. I am 0 for 3 there, so I knew I’d need to go the traditional route. So the first thing I...

Why So Cranky?

Many of you who have read Luminary (don’t worry, if you haven’t read it, no spoilers here) have commented that Thalli is really cranky at the beginning. In fact, it gets a little annoying. I know. I did that on purpose. Why? It actually was because of a book I read a few years ago: 90 Minutes in Heaven. A guy wrote about his experience dying, going to heaven, and coming back. When he came back, his body was broken from a horrible car accident, and he was angry. He had been in heaven! No pain, no sadness, no hospitals. It was SO much better than earth. He wanted to stay. When Anomaly ended (*spoiler alert if you haven’t read Anomaly*), Thalli was ready to go to heaven. She had made peace with her imminent death, and she knew that what awaited her...

The “Stitches Story” Winner…

Wow, you guys are SO creative! I loved reading your stories of how I got my stitches. ALL were much better than the real story! I had a hard time choosing just one tale. It took a couple read-throughs. But my choice for best “stitches story” is Kristin’s, in which I am a dragon’s apprentice, keeping the world safe. I love it! Thanks, Kristin. How I Got My Stitches by Kristin The room began to spin and the bitter taste of blood began to fill my mouth. It seemed as if an eternity had passed since I had been called to war, and yet, I still wasn’t used to the gruesome visage of death. I gripped the hilt of my sword and prayed that I wouldn’t lose my composure. Keeping calm was the difference between life and death for me, as well as my young...