Friday, August 28, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

What it is and where it stops nobody knows
You gave me a life I never chose
I wanna leave but the world won't let me go
Wanna leave but the world won't let me go



In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

This a book that takes place years after a zombie apocalypse and has so many great things about it. I think that the most interesting aspect about it relies on the aftermath of the apocalypse. Mary grows up in the world that people create in the need of survival and must deal with the few choices she has within this tiny bubble. So many stories take place at the beginning of the apocalypse, but I have seen very few that talk about how it shapes the lives of the far future and how they live (
the movie Fido being one of the them). This book provides that viewpoint and explores the questions you might also have if you lived in such an existence where you had no real choices and the choices you have have dire consequences or don't follow your heart's desire. Carrie Ryan really gets inside the confusion that this girl faces and also has the reader asking "What happens next?", which is the heart of any zombie story.

So, if you want a great zombie book, I totally recommend this one. If you want a feel of the book, check out the book trailer and the links listed below.

There will be three books in this series. The second, The Dead-Tossed Waves, will be out in Spring 2010. I have a feeling we will be seeing some more zombie literature coming up in the future, as well as other undead events. I can tell you, I won't be complaining about it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Where I'm Going

Poem by Thomas McGrath

How could I have come so far?
(And always on such dark trails?)
I must have traveled by the light
Shining from the faces of all those I have loved.


There is a big change coming up in my life, but I can't say much more about it until next week. This will prevent me from updating a lot over the next two months, but I will force myself to update here at least once a week. This is a good thing, so nothing to worry about. I just hope you won't become sick of me chattering on about it when the time comes.

The "big change" will take up a lot of my time as I already mentioned. This concerns me since I did some writing on my trip, but haven't done much since then. I am at the part that will lead up to the conclusion. With being busy, I don't want to ignore it, or my writing or reading in general, so I wrote down some goals today. I also need to write down things for the "big change" and for panels at Core Con. I can never say my life is boring!

I needed my writing goals to be light, but looking at them combined, it is a bit overwhelming. We shall see how it goes. Here's the list:
  • Read at least 2 chapters a day of the novel that I am editing for a friend.
  • Type up handwritten part of KIN I did during vacation.
  • Write at least 2500 words a week until KIN if completed.
  • Update blog once a week.
  • Complete short story edits on "secret project" and decide who writes what next. Find people to edit them for us.
Writing the last goal I realized I am full of secrets! I promise I will say more once we have the first wave of short stories edited. Our vacation and the "big change" have really pushed this project back more than I like. Need deadlines!

Also, another great thing I love about goals is that it is a promise to myself. Writing adds so much to my life and how I feel about myself. The accomplishment that it brings really brightens up my life, and I really enjoy splashing around in the worlds so different than my own. I hope someday when you read the stories, you will feel the same. For now, keep moving onward!

Natasha

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"New" Novelists

Things have been quite busy here, for reasons I can't explain at this moment. I am still trying to walk gently around in my surroundings. Everything seems surreal, but in a wonderful way. I am hoping the next few weeks will be a bit less hectic.

Anyway, I have been wanted to talk about this blog post called Why New Novelists Are Kinda Old, or, Hey, Publishing is Slow. I have been struggling with my age a bit since I have graduated from college four years ago (already!?!). I expected to be published at this point, at age 27, but I have my first novel written and the sequel ready to be started. I wrote another novel, which I think of as more of an exercise. KIN then can really be seen as my second novel. I have struggled with rejection, and keep moving forward. I know now the first novel I have written might not be the first one published. Still, it could be published later.

This article really gave me some hope since now I know that I am not the only one going through this struggle, and the reasons make complete sense (even though I sometimes hate to admit it). These reasons are the ones that I give people to keep writing and to keep growing. That is exactly what I am doing right now, and for this reason:

"Most first novels are no damn good. Second ones are often better, but not always, and often not by much. Third and fourth novels, the same thing. Fact is — and this should not be news at this late date — ask most debut novelists how many novels they wrote before they got one published, and you’ll find out the answer is: two, three, four — sometimes more. Debut novels are almost never first novels; they’re just the first novels you see. And all those other novels you will never know about? They took lots of time to write, too."

I have dreamed of becoming a writer since I was ten years old. Since that moment, I have been a writer. My real dream is to become a published author and those goals have changed and grown over the years with the college education and conventions I have attended. Those goals are ones that would be exceptionally wonderful if they happened.

Recently I was reading a blog post by Cindy Pon about a a workshop that Holly Black did at the most recent SCBWI in Los Angeles on career planning. This, to me, is the next step once I achieve my goal of being published. Holly Black had the attendees list ten scenarios from most desirable to least. I think when I am published I will have a better idea what I might want and will revisit this, but thought I would just share the list itself.

1. Writing a critically acclaimed, award-winning book.
2. Writing a series / several books with a huge fan base.

3. Writing a book that is read through the ages and taught
in the schools.

4. Being able to live off the earnings of my writing alone.

5. Having your book translated into many languages.

6. Getting a movie made of your book.

7. Networking with other writers.

8. Becoming famous because of my work.

9. Writing one single perfect book.

10. Writing a hundred books and publishing all of them.


I think it is great to have a dream and I believe the age that they come true will be the appropriate for myself. I want to publish my best work and it will be worth the wait since then those scenarios above will have a better chance of happening.

Natasha

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Comic Con 2009: Little Things

I plan panels for Core Con and I am amazed at the luck that we had going to the ones we did at Comic Con. What else is there to do at a large convention? Well, there is the standing in line for the panels, running into people expectantly, pacing back and forth on the exhibit hall floor to find toys or freebies, collecting autographs from authors or other guests, and the masquerade. I am probably missing something, but doesn't it all seem overwhelming and wonderful at the same time? Good thing we had four days to experience it all! Here are some of our favorite little things!

Stargate is one of favorite shows. In addition to seeing the Stargate: Universe panel, they had this beautiful set-up to advertise the shows. We also picked up some fun Stargate items, including a mirror, coasters, and more action figures to add to our collection. We now have both SG-1 and Atlantis Stargates complete!



There was this strange Feed Your Fear booth by MGM at the convention that you put glasses and headphones on and they show you a bunch of scary clips. There was a lot of fun booths throughout the convention. We found out the middle of the floor, where the big names like Fox and Warner Brothers have their booths can become quite insane. We found that you can only hang out there so long and then off to the "better" part where you can enjoy what you are looking at.


We dressed up as Jedi on Friday (Star Wars Day). We had to change clothes before the Dollhouse panel since it was becoming unbearable while standing in line all day. We have learned our lesson! Next year if we go I am thinking of dressing up as Kaylee. I bought the bear patch from the Browncoats. I went Firefly crazy. And for good reason....








One of my favorite pictures from the convention! We were standing in line for Ballroom 20 when I walked across to re-fill my water bottle. Next thing I know, Alan Tudyk with a group of his friends walked past me. I then went to my husband as the group stopped to ask some questions, and then Felicia Day happened to stop and chat with Alan. Fun to see two actors of the show before I even go inside to see Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku! Also, as I was waiting, one of my favorite authors, Shannon Hale, walked by. No picture, though.




Another unexpected surprise was running into our Captain at the California Browncoats booth. We were walking around picking up some last minute things (I bought my bear patch and Kaylee statue the day before from them), and out of the corner of my eye I see Nathan Fillion signing things! I was super shocked. The line was closed, but then he had to leave and started down the line. A few people jumped in and then so did we. We bought a limited Serenity comic to help the Kids Need to Read and donated money to The Waterkeeper Alliance. It was so quick, but I really liked that an actor would go out of his way for two charities and sign things, rather than charge outrageous prices for pictures and autographs. Yep, he is our captain!

As you can see, we picked up a lot of toys (and books! Those I will talk about more in another post). You can see our Stargate mirror, my Kaylee statue, a little jewelry box from Disneyland (more on that later too), my prints from Sue, Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, and Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi. I also now have signed copies of The Golden Compass, Kushiel's Dart, Runaways (colorist Christina Strain was down a few tables from Sue), The Zombie Survival Guide, and Silver Phoenix (the author was just a delight!). It was fun trying to get this home and a few other things!

Before I forget, we did go to the masquerade Saturday night. Joey and I were impressed (we have only been to minor ones in the past). We had VIP tickets scored by our friend Sue and we really enjoyed seeing all the different types. Here are some favorites:

She-Ra and Friends (Womanizer)
Bring it On: Rock the Mouse
Welcome to the Dollhouse

I cannot believe the experience that we had at Comic Con! The Force was truly with us with the amount that we did after just seeing everything. It might convince to go again next year. We shall see. To read more about our adventures, check out my husband's blog post (and his comic if you haven't already!).

I plan on writing a bit on the other things we did in our additional days in California and some write-ups on the books that I managed to grab. Husband and I are still trying to recover from a bit of sickness and our messed up schedule. I hope to resume KIN in the course of the next two weeks. I did some writing while on the plane and need to type up that progress at some point, as well. Where is this summer going? And how can this girl complain?

Natasha

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Comic Con 2009: Panels Edition

Joey and I finally returned from our trip to San Diego and we had an amazing time! I would love to post everything in one post, but it truly isn't possible. So, I will start with the one of the main reasons we went: Comic Con! I will post our pictures and tell stories as I go along.

The first panel we attended was Avatar. We almost didn't get in at all because of the Twilight panel (not saying more about that!). We caught a glimpse of James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, and Zoe Saldana.






Terry Gilliam has an imagination that I would love to play in someday. His next movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, will definitely be a fun treat to see. We also saw one of the stars of the film, Verne Troyer, who seemed very excited to be there to talk about the film. I skipped out at the end of the panel to run upstairs to nab autographs from authors Jacqueline Carey and Cindy Pon (I recommend their books totally!).






More Stargate! We went to the Stargate: Universe panel and cannot wait for the premiere of the new show in October. It was fun seeing Robert Carlyle, who stars in one of our favorite obscure movies (Formula 51). We picked up some fun Stargate toys at this convention, and even a picture in front of the SG-1 Stargate. Stargate, Stargate, Stargate!




One of the most amazing panels that I will never forget was the Disney Animation panel. We lucked out and were able to get inside to see a peak of Beauty and the Beast in 3D, and then what I waited for more than anything was the preview of Ponyo and the appearance of Hayao Miyazaki. John Lasseter, the director of Disney and Pixar animation, interviewed Miyazaki (one of his friends and mentors) with the help of a translator. I still can't believe we lucked out to see one of Miyazaki's rare American appearances.


Even though we had to run between Ballroom 20 and Hall H on Friday, we managed to catch the Dollhouse panel! They showed us the unaired episode Epitaph One and then brought out Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku. Two other stars appeared to our surprise (can you guess by the picture?). We picked the exclusive Comic Con DVD, but didn't manage to nab autographs. We did have a few other Whedon related surprises, but those will come later! Also, many more comics to come (Book! Dr Horrible!). *Fangirl squeal*


Last, but not least, is the Doctor Who panel on Sunday complete with our favorite doctor David Tennant (in the stormtrooper shirt!). The rumor of the movie was shot done pretty much instantly, and then we watched some shiny previews of the upcoming last episodes with Tennant. No sneak peaks with the new Doctor, but I wasn't too disappointed. I was charmed. We didn't make it to the Torchwood panel with John Barrowman, but maybe another time!

Those are just the panels! I have a few other fun photos to share, but will post those at a later date! Now time to relax after some unpacking, eating, and so on!

Natasha