Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Angry Robot Open Door Month

So, y'all knew that I was involved with the Angry Robot Open Door reading of manuscripts. I wrote a blog post about it HERE stating which of the manuscripts I sent through for final approval to Lee and Marc.

Today I received a rather exciting press release from Angry Robot, which explains that two of the authors who submitted through the Open Door process have been signed up. And... well... they're two of mine! I am utterly over the moon about this and I cannot wait for you to read The Mad Scientist's Daughter and The Dead of Winter. They were such different novels, but both so great!

Here is the press release in full:

Like most successful publishers, Angry Robot only accepts submissions through literary agencies. Earlier this year, however, the company ran a pilot programme to see how many unpublished – but talented – authors there were without representation. During March, Angry Robot invited all un-agented authors to submit completed manuscripts as part of an “Open Door Month”. Over 990 novels were submitted during that period.

Today, Angry Robot are delighted to announce the first acquisitions from the first Open Door Month. Two new authors, each with a minimum two book deal, have now joined the Angry Robot family.

Cassandra Rose Clarke was the first signing to come through this process. Her two novels for Angry Robot show the versatility of this important new talent.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist. The Assassin’s Curse is a fantastical romp, starring Ananna, a no-nonsense lady pirate, born into pirate royalty.

Clarke said: "I'm beyond excited to have Angry Robot publishing my first-ever novel, and not only because of the delightful coincidence that my novel involves a robot who is, on occasion, angry. Angry Robot’s reputation is stellar and their author list incredibly impressive – I’m humbled to be included amongst their ranks!"

We take a somewhat darker turn with a pair of books from Lee Collins – The Dead of Winter and She Returns From War. Both novels follow Cora Oglesby, a bounty hunter with a reputation for working supernatural cases.

Collins said: "As excited as I am at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with Angry Robot's outstanding authors, publication was really a secondary goal of my submitting to them. My primary reason was the hope, however slim, of cybernetic augmentation."

Both deals were negotiated by Angry Robot’s editor, Lee Harris, who stated: “There is an enormous amount of talent out there, waiting to be discovered, and I am thrilled we have found two great new talents as part of our search.”

Both authors’ debut novels will be published by Angry Robot in autumn 2012, with their second books scheduled for spring 2013.

I'm jumping for joy - and very much hoping to be involved with the Open Door again next year!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget

Take a moment today to remember those who have fallen in the protection of the innocent.

We shall always remember.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Rosebush was a seriously compelling read. I started it over the course of one evening, and felt aggrieved at having to put it down to go to sleep. I then spent the next day picking it up every chance I had. I just HAD to know what was going to happen, and which of Jane's friends was responsible for what happened to her.

Jane's voice is very strong - written in the first person - and means that the reader ends up living every nightmare that Jane suffers. Her descent into doubting herself and possible madness is chilling and kept me absolutely gripped.

The whole "rich gal with secrets" thing has been done before on TV, but it was the first YA novel I'd read with that sort of theme, and it lends itself well to the short snappy chapters that Jaffe used to construct her novel. I also liked the flashbacks and the confusion that left me guessing all the way to the end who would turn out to be the would-be killer.

I felt a little strange at the fact that Jane was snogging three different guys during the time that she was in hospital - it went against the way that I "felt" she should act. I would have preferred to see just David and Pete as the guys that Jane feels drawn towards - Scott is a strange addition to the story.

This definitely has more depth than a lot of the YA that I've read, and has a deliciously dark edge. I would warn against starting this when you have other things that need to be done, because you won't be able to put it down. Enjoyable, and psychologically scary.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: in winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human – or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The positive of Shiver is the prose. It is delicate and fragile, like ice crystals and the wind through leaves. It is haunting and desperate, like the best parts of Romeo and Juliet. Maggie Stiefvater writes beautifully. I found myself drowning in the loveliness of the prose - to the point where I was *almost* able to ignore the flaws of the novel. If Stiefvater had managed to take the plot to the same places as the prose - stratospherically good - then this would have been an AMAZING book.

As it is, I think the best words to describe Shiver are ephemeral and fleeting - much like the summers that the wolves experience as humans before turning back to animals. As I read it, I was drawn into this story, but I can't imagine that it will stay with me beyond a few days.

Even while reading and luxuriating in the stunning writing, I found myself frustrated by Grace's character. She loves Sam just because. Why does she love him? Why is she so obsessed? Why is she willing to overlook the fact he is a wolf half the time?

I also found the background around the story very limited. Why are there werewolves anyway? Why have they settled in Mercy Falls? Why does Beck need more werewolves? Why did he decide that Sam should be a werewolf?

Why doesn't Olivia - who is such friends with Grace, apparently - come to her friend about the issues she's having? Why is the ending so very artificial?

Ack, just writing all of these questions makes me become more frustrated. Shiver should have been a superb novel. A brilliant book. A book that you are dying to share amongst all your friends. As it was, I enjoyed it and will want to read Linger and Forever, but it wasn't the classic that it deserves to be.