Tag Archives: Mindy McGinnis

12 Great Book Ideas for Holiday Gift-giving.

Here are a dozen books for the holidays from Rob’s Recently Read, Ready to be Read, and Requested to Read piles. And as James Wells  reminded me, “that most or perhaps all of the books you list are available at local booksellers including Village Books, Cozy Corner, and (we can call them local because they support local authors) our Bellingham Barnes & Noble store.”

Rob’s Recently Read

Also available as an audiobook.

Just finished The Great Symmetry by James R. Wells, I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for those true Science Fiction fans. Far future, what-ifs and a tightly plotted story. Really a 4.5. From my blurb: Mr. Wells does a wonderful job of beginning en media res and jumping from the tense opening sequence into a media race to propagate competing versions of reality throughout the author’s well-developed setting. The theme of infoterrorism and the power of the media control gives us, like all great science fiction, a thoughtful what if to consider in our own time.

The Immortal Game by Joannah Miley. A great blend of Science Fiction, Greek Mythology with a touch of Romance. Oh, and Chess.

Ready to be Read

Started Elements, Book II in the Biodome Chronicals by Jesikah Sundin. This series will satisfy the fantasy and science fiction. Sort of a historical fiction meets a Blade Runner prequel universe. Book I – Legacy is out and currently on-sale for ebook at $0.99.

Also started The Ariadne Connection SaraStameyAriadneConnby Sara Stamey. A science fantasy about a plague healer in a near future earth damaged by changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, a grand epic fantasy by Selah J Tay-Song is also on sale for ebook at $0.99 and its sequel Dream of a City of Ruin is on my TBR pile!

GirlattheendoftheworldThe Girl at the End of the World by Richard Levesque features a tough teen after a strange virus has killed off most of humanity.

The Eternity Series by Mike Hartner, historical fiction told through generations in I, Walter; I, James and I, Mary.  I, Walter is currently free on Amazon.

For another historical jaunt, check out Jacob Kilgore’s Vagrant Prince also on sale as an e-book $0.99 at Amazon.

Harry Takes Off: Astounding Stories of Adventure (Iron Pegasus Book 1) is a steampunk novel by Steve Turnbull that I am looking forward to reading.

Requested to Read – On my list, but not yet on my pile:

Noble Smith’s Spartans at the Gates, sequel to the gripping Sons of Zeus, has been out and the third book in the trilogy: Sword of Apollo is out now, too.

Mindy McGinnis has released a book unrelated to my recent apocalyptic faves: Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust. A Madness So Discreet is a dark, historical novel of mystery, madness and murder!

And finally, not that any of you get to read it yet, but I am reading a beta copy of my brother, James G. Slater’s space opera, Claustrom!

Happy holiday reading!

Book Clubs and Classrooms – Study Questions on All Is Silence

Now that ALL IS SILENCE has been out for a while, folks have started doing bookclub readings of it. In order to help out, I have created discussion questions for ALL IS SILENCE.  I found questions written for Mindy McGinnis’ awesome book, NOT A DROP TO DRINK and adapted them.

I would be very excited to visit your book club in real life if you are within Western Washington or virtually if you are not. We can meet online via Skype or Google Hangouts. If there is another venue you would like to meet virtually on, please let me know.

If you are interested in doing a book club or class study of ALL IS SILENCE or STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, please contact me about special prices for larger quantities of the book. Every 10 books will get you a free book and free shipping. Smaller quantities will get a graduated discount.

Here are the questions. If you have questions that go deeper into the meanings of the ALL IS SILENCE or the rest of the Deserted Lands Universe, please share them below.

AIS Half-Title BastardDISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Download as word or pdf.

  1. In what ways is Lizzie forced to mature and take on adult roles? Provide examples of this.
  1. Lizzie notes that she’s always breaking promises as she decides to go outside. Does she always break her promises in the book? What are the exceptions?
  1. Lizzie’s relationships with adults are rarely positive. What about her life sets this up?
  1. Lizzie cares deeply about many things. What is important to Lizzie and why?
  1. How far in the future do you think the novel is supposed to take place? What makes you think that?
  1. What do you think is the theme of ALL IS SILENCE? Trace the theme throughout the book and provide examples.
  1. How do the teen-agers face the end of the world differently than the adults and why? How do they differ from each other? Why?
  1. One of the aspects of ALL IS SILENCE readers have questioned is the continuation of electrical based services. Talk to someone in your local area about power sources, cell towers and how long would it take to lose what services and why?
  1. The title of the novel is a reference to a rock and roll song. Which song does it reference? If you are unfamiliar with the song, once you locate it, read it. What do you think the novel has in common with the song that would cause the author to choose this title? Think critically and creatively.
  1. Each of the sections also has a rock song title. How do they connect to what happens in that third.
  1. This novel has been described as both dystopian, post-apocalyptic and apocalyptic. Which is the better definition and why?
  1. Outside of the human equation what will the effect be on other animals, domesticated and wild, as time goes by?
  1. If 95-98% of the human population dies, how long will the food last? Most apocalypses immediately assume that people will be fighting over food and valuables. This author takes the opposite approach—there is suddenly plenty of everything.
  1. What is the role of parenting in this novel, and who plays the role of parent and in what ways?
  1. Different communities have responded very differently to the crisis, from hippy-peaceful-sharing to martial law. Which way do think things would be likely to go in your local community.
  1. The author has created a subset of survivor who has been impacted, losing many of their higher reasoning skills. They are variously referred to as drones, dog-people and the simple ones. Which of these terms is most appropriate and why? What would be the best way to help these people?
  1. Are there clichéd characters or plot elements in this novel that either escape the cliché or are sunk by it?
  1. Many people consider the level of profanity excessive in ALL IS SILENCE. Do you think it is excessive, why or why not? Would it work as well if the language was tidied up?
  1. The writer who wrote ALL IS SILENCE is a forty-something male? Are there moments where the character of Lizzie does not seem to be a teen girl? Does it matter what the gender of the author is?
  1. According the American Library Association, Young Adult Literature is a term that refers to literature written for an audience of 12-25 year olds, with a median age of 18-19. Though some disparage literature labeled such, in fact much of classical literature taught in high schools and colleges has been designated for youth or even children, including books by Dickens, Twain, Austen, and even Shakespeare. Given that the target audience of books such as this novel seems to be this age group, discuss why it might especially appeal to the young adult audience or be especially relevant for your generation. Why might you also want adults of an older generation to read and consider this work?

Adapted and inspired by questions on
Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink.

3W: Weird Wiki Request, Winning on Wattpad & Writer Worries…

WIKIPEDIA: This is a weird request for me. As I ready myself to release my second novel, I feel like I should have wikipedia entry, so people can find me and I believe it also gives an air of respectability! Since the first novel has one some awards, has decent sales, and the newer works are also getting good press, I think it is time. I know I could write it myself, but that feels even more weird than asking for someone else to do it! If you are a wikipedia editor, know one or would like to become one, I’d like to invite you to practice on me! 😉 Thanks.

WATTPAD: Today, ALL IS SILENCE is #21, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is #17, and TOILS AND SNARES is #72! I miss being #1, but happy with the staying power… Come read it for free if you can’t afford to buy it or you live in the Philippines! 😉 Seriously, 17% of my 108,000+ Wattpad readers are from the Philippines!wp05232015

There have been a few burps and hiccoughs as they adjust their algorithms. At times ALL IS SILENCE has disappeared from the charts while having some of the best numbers ever. I think it’s impacted the number of new reads and followers, but since I’ve gotten 2300+ followers and they are helping me out, I can’t complain much!

I put a request for reviews on Wattpad and within a few days I had five new reviews! This alone is probably worth the price of the time I’ve spent. On the bittersweet side, I am getting so many questions and comments [40-60 a day] that I can’t even begin to think about answering them all. I used to answer each one, but now, if I did, I would get no fiction written and that would kind of make answering the fan questions sort of moot!

WRITER WORRIES: This week I put STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS up on Amazon as a presale. [Please don’t buy it yet! If you want to know why, read this post: PLEASE DON”T BUY MY NOVEL.] That means I have 76 days to finish it. It is by far more challenging than the first novel was: hree major plot-lines/point of view characters and no road trips! I’ve got the Second Novel Omnipresent Blues as Mindy McGinnis calls them.

In addition to writing the novel, I need to continue to maintain my web presence: this blog, my personal blog, twitter, facebook, Google+ and more. I’m hoping to have a bit more time next year to focus on the writing, but we’ll see if my day job agrees to help!

Thanks for reading, please check out the newest page on the website. R U There?, a page to send Lizzie messages and get responses… Thanks Amanda J. Hagarty, excellent editor, writer and media maven!

Coming to the end of 2014! Thanks and more…

Looking forward to 2015 as we wrap up 2014!

What’s to come? 2014 was amazing for me as an author. It was everything I hoped for, if not everything I dreamed of. Where is that contract for the foreign rights, and the option on the screenplay? 😉

indiereadernextpicsSeriously, I hit some top ten lists, got reviewed by Don Sakers for Analog magazine, won an award, rubbed elbows literarily with Veronica Roth and Scott Westerfield and literally with Hugh Howey, who complimented my pagination! In addition to Hugh, I met Matt de la Pena, Corinne Duyvis and Mark Leslie. I sold more than half of my first printing, plus a whole lot more e-copies. I’ve exchanged e-mails with Mindy McGinnis and been retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself!

I wrote more than 100,000 words of new Dystopian-compactfiction by the 1st of December, setting a new record. I am sending out a newsletter tomorrow with information on how to get beta-reader copies of my Deserted Lands novella, TOILS AND SNARES. I’m filling in the gaps in the ALL IS SILENCE sequel STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

WattPadWorldMap-AiS
Readers of ALL IS SILENCE on Wattpad. Darker blue is more reads! No one is reading me in Mongolia. Neither upper nor lower.

As of tonight ALL IS SILENCE has had 91,000 reads on WattPad–over 1000 folks have read the first 12 chapters. AiS averages about 150 unique readers each day, 27% of which are in the Phillipines! It hit #2 behind Scott Westerfield’s UGLIES back when Wattpad allowed each work to be listed in two categories. Now that it’s only listed in Science Fiction it has gotten as high as #13. Maybe tomorrow it will break into the top 10! Thanks to Amanda Hagarty for all the advice and support. And to everyone else who has been so amazing this year:

  • The readers. The readers. The readers.
  • My beta readers, my family, my students, my friends… [many of you fit more than one of these categories.]
  • Brendan, Sam, Christina, Paul, Rachel and everyone else at Village Books
  • Don Sakers and Analog
  • Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Reviews
  • Bellingham Writer’s Group and Cozy Corner Coffee and Books for hosting it and selling my book, too!
  • The Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library
  • Harbor Drug in my hometown.
  • Mark Leslie and the crew at Kobo Writing Life
  • Whatcom Community Library System
  • Bellingham Public Libraries
  • My editors, proofreaders
  • Upstart Crows and the Whatcom Writers & Publishers
  • Pintado for an amazing cover
  • Damian Vines for amazing author photos
  • The Heinlein Forum on Facebook
  • All the writers who inspired and inspire me
  • And everyone else I forgot!

THANKS FOR THE AMAZING YEAR. See you in 2015!

New Books I’d Nominate for Awards & IndiesFirst

As I came to the realization that my debut novel is coming up for its first awards season, I thought about what I’ve read in the last year and what books I think are deserving of awards. I’ve read many great books this year and have even more to read thanks to a number of conventions. ALA was the clear winner I took 10 copies of my book to give away and brought back 36 new books. Well, actually mailed them from the handy-dandy temporary post-office at ALA. Of the four books, two came from that book-booty.

I’m not certain what books these awards are up for. After reading the rules for half a dozen awards, I find that the definition of a year of publication and where things fall is confusingly difficult to decipher. Nevertheless, each of these books has some great reasons to be deserving.

I’ll also be talking about these books at Village BooksIndiesFirst presentations from 4:00pm to 5:00pm on Small Business Saturday—11/29/2014. So, I’ll be talking to patrons about books that I am passionate about including these four. If you’re in the area, come say hello. On another really cool note, when I tweeted about doing IndiesFirst, Neil Gaiman, retweeted my tweet! Yeah!

Without further ado…

#1 – Not A Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis. One of the descriptions: Little House on the Prairie as written by Cormac McCarthy is especially appropriate. This book is so amazing, I am now the proud owner of three copies: e-book, paperback and hardcover. The paperback disappeared as soon as I got it to school. I wouldn’t let the hardcover leave the room, but I had to share it with two students in order to read it! It will make you laugh and cry, it has pain and joy, love and hate. Another book set in the same universe with some of the same characters, In A Handful of Dust is already out, so no waiting

#2 – Otherbound – Corinne Duyvis. A young man in the real world has been plagued with seizures, including one that caused him to lose his foot in accident. When he has a seizure, he gets stuck in the mind of an abused female slave in an alternative universe. She is an incredible drawn, strong character with special healing powers that require her to take on the injuries of the person she’s curing. Couldn’t put it down. Gender identity and disability issues.

#3 – Sons of Zues – Noble Smith. When I first started reading, I was a bit put off by the really short chapters, but then my life got busy. It was actually the perfect book for sitting down and reading a chapter or two. Action, politics, espionage, sex, history, family relationships. Athens versus Sparta in ancient Greece. Oh, and Pankration. [I’ll make you look that up if it doesn’t mean anything to you.] I’d give it a PG-13/R sort of advisory.

#4 – The Living – Matt de la Peña. Okay. First spoiler. It is a cliffhanger. Almost literally. Three pages before the end, there is a cliff and people being chased and then… Well, you’ll have to read it. It’s got a great, believable character in Shy, the teenage Hispanic narrator. He takes a cruise ship job to help pay some bills for college or family, but then things go south by southwest. I would call this an apocalyptic thriller genre-wise. De La Peña is great at capturing modern teenage colloquial language. It’s definitely a page turner, some of the coincidences are a bit far-fetched, but why write a story about an average ordinary time? Perfect for the young adult reader.

All Is Silence is eligible for a number of awards this year. The biggest of which is the Andre Norton Young Adult Award sponsored by SFWA and the Nebula folks. It is also eligible for The William C. Morris YA Debut Award.