This impressive debut novel is the first book I’ve read in a long time that made me feel a perfect balance of tension between wanting to keep reading and wanting to write because I’m so inspired by what I’m reading. When I read something this good, feeling exactly what the writer wants me to feel, it reminds me that I could inspire the same feelings in readers.
In September 2001 I was sixteen years old and living in northern France. I was a high school exchange student, living in a family that wasn’t working out as well as I’d imagined they would. On September 11, my older host siblings told me there was something I needed to see on TV, and I watched the Twin Towers collapse live.
As 2013 comes rolling in, here's a quick look back at my favorite books of 2012.
One of the best pieces of writing advice I've received didn't come from a writer. It was probably from a teacher, considering that she was talking to a group of students about taking our first trip to Europe. She told us to always look up.
It made sense as she explained it: most Americans are so focused on seeing specific things (the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame, etc.) that they forget to look up. They keep their noses in their guidebooks and their feet focused on the fastest route to their next destination. And by doing so, they don't noticed the amazing ceilings in the Louvre, or the precision with which Gothic arches fit together to become a cathedral's bones. And yet these things defined the places I was going to see even more than did the objects that drew the crowds.
Whenever I talk to people about e-publishing, the first thing I say is, “It's easy!” And it is, in a way. I can't think of many ways to make the actual act of e-publishing easier: all you have to do is fill out a webform or two. The hardest part is troubleshooting file upload issues.
But that's not actually what we talk about when we talk about e-publishing, as I was reminded recently by two excellent blogs; Iain Broome's Write for Your Life and Chuck Wendig's post, "The Precarious Portentious Perils of Self-Publishing." They're both absolutely right: e-publishing isn't “easy,” and just like traditional publishing, it must be done right in order to succeed. I even say it myself, over and over in my tweets and my e-publishing e-book: being a successful e-publisher necessitating making a lifestyle change for me. Easy? Yeah, right.