The Week: 7th – 13th October

Back to normal here – crazy cat is still crazy…

So, here I am, back home from Europe. Even though my unpacking still hasn’t been completely successful, I already feel like I’ve been here for a year!

Now the “fun” begins. I’m doing some huge edits on my next book, which at the moment my editor and I are calling “The Landowner’s Secret 2” (because I don’t want to come up with a title, and she hasn’t yet, either!). I plan to add several thousand words into the manuscript to expand on a few things, which is going to be a big task to have done over the next two weeks.

I also have the third book to finish, and I want that done before Christmas (which is frighteningly close now!).

Harlequin’s Free Reads

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Book Feature: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

silver silence (psy-changeling trinity, #1; psy-changeling, #16) by nalini singh

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is a favourite of mine. Though now she has sadly given writing away, I’ve loved every young adult book she put out. Her characters react like human beings, not Book Characters, and her teens actually behave like people their age.

The Unwritten Rule is no different, and enough time had passed for me to enjoy the book like it was new all over again.

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she’s thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It’s wonderful… and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…

Out Now: All is Fair by Dee Garretson

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

This one sounds interesting. I’d like to see more young adult historical fiction. People involved in major world events (such as wars) were often very young, so there’s no reason why more books like this couldn’t exist.

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

When Lady Mina Tretheway receives a telegram at boarding school, she doesn’t want to read it. In 1918, with war raging, she dreads telegrams, knowing they never bring good news.

At first she doesn’t understand the cryptic message. Then she realizes it’s written in code, and the message leads her home to Hallington Manor. When Lord Andrew Graham appears with a dashing young American, Lucas Mueller, Mina learns that the two of them must work together on dangerous project for the war effort.

Thinking Mina is just a spoiled aristocrat, Lucas tries to complete the project alone, fearing her inexperience will give them away. But when the project goes very wrong, Mina and Lucas are thrown together to complete the mission before more soldiers disappear into the darkness of war.

 

Harlequin Teen Rebranded

This week Harlequin Teen – the young adult branch of Harlequin books (obviously) – is being rebranded as Inkyard Press.

Maybe an attempt to attract more diverse readers who are turned off by Harlequin stereotypes…? The stereotypes frustrate me, but I kind of understand if that’s the case.

There are some interesting books in this line due out next year, covering the kind of topics that wouldn’t be accepted by other Harlequin lines (e.g. abortion).

Harlequin Teen Becomes Inkyard Press++

The Week: 22nd – 28th October

White Spring Flowers Blue Sky Canberra Australia 25th October 2018 Sonya Heaney Sunshine Garden Nature

Spring sunshine – and a spring sunset – in Canberra.

Only days to go before I fly to China!

A Book for the Anniversary: Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Babies in Young Adult Fiction

Revisiting Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Out Now: A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister (author) and Alice Lindstrom (illustrator)

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories By (author) Angela McAllister Illustrated by Alice Lindstrom

On this day: British women prepare for invasion

The_British_Army_in_the_United_Kingdom_1939-45_Second World War Two 23rd October 1941 Women of Britains Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) operate a rangefinder during anti-aircraft

On this day 80 years ago

A Word on Book Adaptations

To All the Boys I_ve Loved Before by Jenny Han Movie Tie-In Cover

Over the years, when it comes to film and TV adaptations of books, I’ve seen a million comments in a similar vein:

  • Why didn’t the author cast a different actor?
  • Why did the author let them change a scene from the book?
  • Why didn’t the author pick different music?
  • Why? Why? Why?

(On a side note, this applies to book covers, too.)

This has come to my attention again with the release of the movie version of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. As successful as the movie is, Han has come under attack from the male Asian American community, and has been suffering abuse all over the internet.

Much of this centres on her making the Asian heroine’s love interest white.

However, some of it is about the inclusion of actor Israel Broussard in the film. With the actor’s newfound fame, people have been digging into his social media accounts. He is from Gulfport, Mississippi – deep Trump country – and it’s been discovered he made all kinds of horrific, racist, discriminatory (now deleted) tweets over the years.

Here’s the truth about adaptations:

THE AUTHOR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.

Nothing whatsoever. When you sell the rights to your book, YOU’VE SOLD THE RIGHTS TO YOUR BOOK.

You get no say in the casting. You get no say in the writing of the script*. You get no say in filming locations, or music, or costumes, or what the movie posters look like.

It is no longer your story.

Please remember that before attacking an author about something they have no control over.

 

*Added to say that very occasionally an author might get a say in some script choices. Usually this only happens with very famous authors of a very well-established series. And even then the input they get is minimal.

For example, Diana Gabaldon is listed as a “consultant” for Outlander, and yet that still doesn’t mean she writes the scripts, nor that she gets a say in the overall production.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Yound adult author Jenny Han’s book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has been made into a movie, and the trailer is out now.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

And here’s the trailer:

The Week: 18th – 24th June

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Sonya Heaney 19th June 2018 Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree Canberra Australia Australian Capital Territory Nature

Winter sunshine in Canberra.

And at the cemetery near the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory state border on Friday afternoon.

And Lake Burley Griffin on Saturday afternoon.

R.I.P. Errol Pickford

Errol Pickford as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet © Leslie Spatt Royal Ballet Royal Opera House

Happy Birthday to an Icon

Oksana_Chusovitina_(vault)_04-2011

My review of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

My review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Beyond my limit!

How much more ridiculous can it get?

Cockygate apllication to trademark the word BIG cockybot

Beyond my limit!

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

We all know that many a book cover in historical fiction has questionable historical accuracy, but the cover designer has gone too far this time!

A Mad, Wicked Folly is supposed to be set in 1909 – the Edwardian era. This canary-coloured prom dress, the long, flowing hair… I’ve heard this is a wonderful book, so the author definitely deserved better.

Is it because it’s young adult fiction? Do they assume younger readers are too stupid to pick up a book unless it looks like every other prom princess cover on the market?

Here is a fashion plate from the *real* year 1909 for comparison:

August 1909 Fashion Edwardian era.

Readers are the world’s smartest, most knowledgeable people! Stop treating us like idiots!

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Does life go on when your heart is broken?

Since her mother’s sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still there. She’s being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.

Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important—grades, crushes, college plans—Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her—Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma’s own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Several weeks ago I was thinking about the confronting and downright disturbing book Living Dead Girl, a book I read years ago and still remember vividly, and got to wondering what Elizabeth Scott had written since. Her books deal with topics not all young adult fiction would, and I think they could qualify as general fiction as much as YA.

And so I looked the author up, learnt about a few terrible things that’d happened to her since I last checked in, and then discovered that Heartbeat (2014) was the last book she wrote. After the poor reaction to the early review copies, Scott bought her way out of her contract with her publisher, and I thought: how could it possibly be that bad?

And so I knew I had to read it. The problem? Australians can’t buy her books on Kindle, which meant I had to order a paperback and wait weeks.

When my copy finally arrived I read it in one sitting, and – honestly? I feel anger at some of the reviewers intent on tearing the book to shreds.

I can see why Heartbeat is a difficult read. It takes place not long after Emma’s mother died suddenly, in the weeks after Emma’s stepfather decided to keep her mother’s body alive artificially in order to save the baby she was carrying, without Emma even getting a say in the decision.

This is a book about anger, and it’s an anger that barely leaves Emma from the first page to the last. Her mother is gone – but not. She has to see her body, changing as death takes over, in the hospital every day, while a baby grows inside it. She has to live with a man who seems obsessed with this potential baby, and nothing else.

I can see that some readers struggled with the main character, but I also think she was realistic. I think that many teenagers – hell, many people in general – would have reacted exactly the same way Emma did.

I thought the troubles between Emma and Dan, her stepfather, were handled so well. It’s messy and they fight, and they both react to the death in totally different ways, but underneath it all – and by the end – you can see that they’re finding a way back to each other.

The love interest in the background, Caleb, has his own awful, awful issues, and I like that Scott holds back on making everything perfect for everyone by the end. Nothing of hers I’ve read has had a totally happy ending, and it’s brave and realistic.

Mostly, and apart from the book itself, I’m sad that a book that I’ll still be thinking about well into the future was the one that made an author think she needed to end her career.