Tag Archives: Rob Reads

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.

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”