Friday, June 20, 2014

Support Strange Chem Blog Hop



 
This morning, I was staggered to read that Strange Chemistry – a YA imprint I’ve always been fond of for gathering talented authors, unique storylines and diverse casts – has come to an end.

I was horrified as I read authors I know discussing future titles that have been canceled, the staff’s reeling from the decision, and the looming concern that even released titles might not be in print for much longer.

Quite a few authors have requested that readers keep them in mind, but I don’t want to leave it at that. I want to give some support to the books that I’ve enjoyed, and the authors that I know will find new, wonderful opportunities and homes for the stories that they’ve woven so brilliantly.

With that in mind, I’d like to organize a Support Strange Chem blog hop.

What would the blog hop entail? It depends on you.

Personally, I’d like the idea of a post highlighting what you’ve enjoyed about Strange Chemistry, and possibly focusing on a particular title you’ve enjoyed. If you’d like to host a giveaway, that would also be a wonderful way of these authors continuing to bring in new readers.

For inspiration, I’m adding a link to the list of Strange Chemistry’s authors here. I hope that we can do something to bring them comfort in this hard time. I know publishing has its ups and downs, but this has been a real sucker punch to all of us today, and it is going to be difficult to find a new normal after this – particularly if you were directly affected.

If you’d like to join in on this, I’m adding a link widget below. I am planning to post on Monday, the 23rd, so keep that date in mind and get your post ready.

This is a crucial period to turn the tide in favor of these books remaining in print or available in some manner to new readers. Let’s make this transition a bit easier, if we can, and give back to the authors whose words have given us a lot.

As always, if you have suggestions or an awesome idea I haven't thought of, the comments are open to you. Let's make this awesome! 


ETA: Rachel Neuimeier, one of the Strange Chemistry authors, has a comprehensive post on the options available for authors affected, and how she plans to go forward. It is well worth the read.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cover Reveal! Will The Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up by Ella Martin


So, I originally drafted this post with a lot of oohing and ahhing over the cover, the design and the colors (all for you to see at your leisure, if you scroll down right now and ignore my yammering on here) -

But you know what?

I'd like to devote a few moments to praising the person who celebrated this cover reveal, who has been looking forward to it first and foremost, and who is the force behind the words within the cover.

Let's talk about Ella.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

{as i #amwriting.} Ready. Set. Write.

Back into the fray, that’s our Kaye!

(No one has ever said this about me. But maybe one day, someone will. And it rhymes, right?)

If you can remember back to my participation in the YA Buccaneers’ Spring Writing Bootcamp (and before that, Writer Recharge), I started out strong but did a little of a “I don’t want to post!” downward spiral at the end. Overall, though, it was a nice experience and I had a lovely team alongside me, and if there is one thing I need, it is accountability.

So, when I saw a few friends discussing a new online summer intensive in the same vein as the boot camp, I had to take a look.

Organized by the same group of ladies behind Writer Recharge, Ready. Set. Write. is meant to provide accountability while being easy-breezy with the updates. Considering last time, the idea of writing paragraphs of updates for each section got me down, I like the idea of quickly dropping in what I’m up to, and then moving on.

In any case, it sounds like a lovely idea, and I’m gladly hopping in. If you want more information, check out Jaime Morrow’s post (where I started) or look up the other hosts!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Road Trip Wednesday! - From YA to Movie



This week's topic: Which YA novel would you most like to see turned into a movie?

Oh, boy, oh, boy. So usually I just message back in response to Road Trip Wednesday (hosted, of course, by the lovely ladies at YA Highway, if you are not in the know) but this was a question that set up such a spark in me that I had to write a blog post.

So. The prompt says movie, but why stop at just one? This seems to be the start of a Golden Era of movies based on YA books - why not make the most of it?

And of course, with all the buzz right now around #WeNeedDiverseBooks - and always, diverse and well-done film - I couldn't help but put my own twist on this: the diverse YA novels I'd love to see turned into movies!

The caveat: I went for a few titles that aren't out yet. Who knows, maybe this might get some minds going on possibly optioning them, yes? 
 

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

The scoop:

In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetic Alternate twin, raised by another family, before their twentieth birthday. West Grayer, 15, has trained as a fighter, and has one month to hunt and kill her Alt. A tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Guilty, grieving, she feels unworthy, and runs from her Alt and from love - both can destroy her.

Why take this to Hollywood?

Elsie is no stranger to this blog by now. You guys must know much I adore her and her writing, and if you haven't read Dualed - just look at that summary. The book itself is heart-pounding, tense and with plenty of moments where you want to throw it across the room, screaming, "If West dies, I'll never forgive you!"
...Ahem. Not that I have experience with tossing books or anything.

In any case, with the buzz still holding strong around dystopians - The Hunger Games, Divergent and now The Maze Runner coming up in theaters soon - this would fit in perfectly and have a good deal of hooked fans. 


Origin by Jessica Khoury

The scoop:
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home―and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin―a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Why take this to Hollywood?

You probably remember my review on Origin from the last time I went to BEA. If not, my three buzz words for it were as follows:

Overpowering.

Lush.

Green.

With a heroine who has her own agency and a muddled past, and such a gorgeous backdrop to explore, what more could viewers want? And there's a jaguar, okay?

A jaguar.

(Not the car.)


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The scoop:

Laia, 17, is a coward and so far, it’s kept her alive. As a Scholar living under the brutal rule of the Martial Empire, Laia knows that courage will only get her killed. Then the Martials imprison Laia’s brother for treason. To save him from execution, Laia must step out of the shadows and embark on a quest that will take her from the haunted catacombs of her city to the halls of Blackcliff Academy, where the Empire trains its most feared soldiers. She must find the courage to defy everything the Martials stand for in a place where defiance has one outcome: death.

Elias, 20, is Blackcliff’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Sickened by the prospect of hunting and killing Scholars who oppose the Empire, Elias decides to desert the military. But before he can run, he’s ordered to participate in the Trials, a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. Elias must wage war in the Trials with skill and ferocity while struggling with a deep inner ambivalence. For while losing the Trials might cost him his life, winning them could cost him his soul.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at Blackcliff, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the Empire itself.

Why take this to Hollywood?

Okay, so I'm cheating slightly with this one, because it's not coming out until 2015 and it's been optioned, but maybe this will be incentive to get both the book AND the film out and in my grabby little hands sooner than later, right?

(Sabaa, when you have ARCs, you know where to find me. I'm just saying.)

Anyway, haunted catacombs? Scholars? Trials? A brilliant Muslim author?

Does any of that sound like you can't toss it together and get an epic, Oscar-winning movie?

Nope. Nope, it doesn't.


Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

The scoop:

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.


Why take this to Hollywood?

Yet another one that isn't out and isn't in my life yet. But just take a gander at that cover. Just look at it.

Okay. My longing aside.

There's time travel involved. There's a labyrinth involved. There's TIME TRAVEL involved.

(Note that as I get more excited, I get less coherent. Take this as a warning that if gorgeous, exciting titles are dangled before my nose months ahead of the release date, I can unravel fast. And it's not pretty.)


Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

The scoop:

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it

Why take this to Hollywood?

It's a Phantom of the Opera retelling, with a diverse cast and an actual ghost that isn't afraid of getting its hands dirty. I fail to see how this wouldn't be a good thing to play out on the big screen.


Legend by Marie Lu

The scoop:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Why take this to Hollywood?

Do you like Les Mis? Good. This is the loosely based, dystopian version. With a lot of high-paced action. And a girl prodigy who doesn't pretend she isn't an awesome genius. 

 
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

The scoop:
A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

Why take this to Hollywood?

It's so well-researched. I know Amber is going to get tired of me telling her this (and I haven't even gotten around to my review yet!), but I am proud of her efforts for Muslim representation and the beautiful, evocative world she created. We need good Muslim fantasies, and those good Muslim fantasies should become good Muslim movies, right? 


Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

The scoop: 

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. 

Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

Why take this to Hollywood?

As I've stated before, I'm very fond of Jackie and her stories that always feel reminiscent of the classic fantasies I loved as a kid. Nimira is a wonderful, brave heroine, and our fairy gentleman inside the automaton is charming and heartwarming in his own way. This would be gorgeous as an animated film, I think. 


The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The scoop: 

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work —or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

Why take this to Hollywood?

This is topping many people's BEA grab lists (including mine, but more on that in another post).  Take a gander at that summary - and that cover! - and you can probably see why.

Labyrinths seem to be back in the game this year, and this is a particularly enticing rendition that sounds like it would be awesome rendered in CGI - all the sudden, heart-pounding turns, the street gang fights...


What YA novels do you think would make epic movies?