Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bye-Bye, 2013!

This year has been awesome in a lot of ways, but also kind of shitty in others and I can therefore say quite emphatically that I'm looking forward to 2014! 

But. This is not a post that will dwell on the rubbish parts. So here's me looking back at the best bits of my 2013. (And yes, I'll probably remember in a couple days that there were other best bits that I've forgotten to include. Oh, well.)

1. My son turned two this year. TWO. He might as well be twenty. Where does the time go?!

2. I rewatched pretty much all my favourite episodes of Doctor Who this year. That's a good forty episodes or so. At least twice. Which means my toddler is now a fan too. He can identify all the Doctors and comes running the moment he hears David Tennant's regeneration music; he only recently learned to say "please" and "thank you", but he's been able to say "Doctor" for months. (Yes, I am that parent who lets her child watch the Doctor change faces so that she can write her book. I AM NOT ASHAMED.)

3. Favourite book I read this year? I don't know! I've read so much great stuff this year and the problem is I'm quite fickle, which means the most favourite books that pop into my head are the ones I read and loved most recently and not necessarily the ones I loved the absolute most. But I'll have a stab at it and name a few: Sarah Rees Brennan's Untold, Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity (or did I read that one late last year? Damn it.) and both of Jenny Colgan's Rosie Hopkins sweetshop books (if you haven't read them, DO IT. They're so fuzzy and funny and awesome.) There are definitely others I've loved as much, but I just can't think of them right now!

4. I wrote a book. I started it in November of 2012, but it's very much my 2013 book. I've worked on it literally all year and am working on it even now. And I discovered today, on the very last day of the year (thanks, Wendy and Soumi!), that it's up on Goodreads. Yay! 

I have no confirmed title, cover or pub date to share with you yet, but I'm going to copy in the teaser here because hey, what a great way to bring in 2014!

To those who don't know better, Greymaren is a glittering city of order and great invention, its skyline spiked with spires and its shadows playing host to enchanted, dangerous markets where anything may be bought for the right price.

But beneath the city's surface is a much older and darker place: a city where the bitter winters can kill, where witches sometimes have the answers, where memories can be bought and sold and stolen, where mad mothers are locked away - and where Elizabeth Graves is about to risk everything to punish a thief.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

So it's Christmas Eve (how exactly did it come round so fast?) and I just wanted to pop in to say I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas - or equivalent holiday season - and a fantastic New Year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

How to Survive the Apocalypse, YA Style

Exactly what it says on the tin. Here's what I've learned from YA dystopian, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels (mostly quite general, but there are a couple of specific books noted next to the lesson or example they inspired.)

1. The whole "safety in numbers" thing is a myth. If you're going to follow the YA Survival Guide, it would seem it's very, very unwise to hang around with more than a couple of other people. You'll start fighting for control (This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers), at least one of you is bound to be a lunatic, and - the clincher - it's so much easier to hide and go unnoticed when there are only a couple of you (The Outside by Laura Bickle)

2. But that's not to say all of you will survive anyway. Nope. Always remember that: even if there are only two or three of you, one of you is bound to be eaten/shot/killed in some other dramatic way (The Outside). So make sure it isn't you. Betray everyone around you if you have to and shoot innocent people if they're in your way. (Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins)

3. Go shopping. (Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer) The instant you get a whiff that something's up, be it from the news or because the moon's changed position or because you saw your formerly dead neighbour get up and start munching on a squirrel, go stock up on everything non-perishable. Tins, cans, bottles, you name it. Don't forget tons of bottled water and batteries for flashlights. Water and electric supplies inevitably go on the fritz when the apocalypse arrives. It's probably a good idea to keep a few weapons handy too. Apparently the apocalypse turns previously nice human beings into thieving, murdering scum and you're going to want to defend yourself.

4. Barricade yourself somewhere safe(ish). Supermarket, house with an awesome security system, wherever. Find a spot, take all the supplies you can possibly find with you, and lock yourself in. Waiting out the apocalypse seems to result in a lot less drama and a lot more survival than wandering the streets.

5. And once you've done that, don't let strangers in. I know, I know. Do you want to turn into that person? The horrible one in all the stories that doesn't let the intrepid and bleeding hero/heroine in? Probably not. But do you want to be the one who sweetly and trustingly lets the bleeding stranger in, only to then be killed and robbed? There is no such thing as an unpunished good deed in post-apocalyptic YA.

There you go: how to survive the apocalypse, with or without your conscience intact.

You're welcome.