Friday, May 30, 2014

Small Things and Short Novels

Today on My Pet Blog, I'm returning to a pair of bloghops that I haven't taken part in in a while. I hate missing out on these things, but occasionally life requires my attention elsewhere. But I always come back eventually. Like a boomerang. A very slow boomerang that's prone to wandering off and disappearing for weeks at a time.

Anyway...

First up, is VikLit's Celebrate The Small Things where participants blog about whatever it is they're celebrating from the past week. (Click on the link for more information and a complete list of participants...) 

Here's what made my list this week:

—My lilacs aren't dead! I first mentioned my newly-planted lilacs last spring and was amazed that I didn't kill them. My gardening skills are pretty much non-existent. Unless it's a weed. I can get those to grow like crazy. Anyway, I was concerned what this monstrous winter might have done to the lilacs, but not only did they survive, they're flourishing. I think one will even have flowers on it at some point. Maybe not. I don't know, but I'm thrilled they're still alive.

—The Red Sox have won four games in a row! That's so much better than that whole losing ten games in a row thing they were trying out earlier in May. Guys, you know I love you win or lose, but do you have to lose so much all at once? Try to space it out a little. Or, you know, not do it at all. Just a suggestion.

—If all goes well today, I shall be sending Effigy off to the printer and ordering myself some proof copies over which to obsess. I'm not sure I've ever been this excited and terrified all at once. Well, except for maybe when I first watched season three of Sherlock. Anyway, this means the formatting is done, the cover is done, the damn blurb is done, and I am running out of reason to not publish my first novel. Hmmm...maybe I'll have to come up with some more.

Today's second bloghop is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse hosted by the Armchair Squid where participants share the best book they read over the past month. (Again, click on the above link or the picture to the right for more information and a complete list of participants...)

I'm cheating a little bit with my selection this month. I didn't actually get a lot read during the month of May. I have chronic wrist problems that plague me every now and then, but this part month it was so bad that I had a hard time holding books. Even turning the page on my Kindle was painful, so my reading was reduced to not quite a complete halt, but pretty damn near close.

So the book I've chosen to talk about today, I actually read in March. But as I didn't get to talk about it then, I hope it'll be all right to talk about it now.

The book is called The Assassin's Blade and is comprised of five novellas telling the origin tales of Celaena Sardothien, the main character in Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

Here's the synopsis, courtesy of Goodreads

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.


Back in January, I read the first two books in this series. The second one blew me away with its awesomeness, and as I waited (and still am waiting...the next book isn't out until September.) for the third installment, I picked up this book.

I was curious about it because I haven't always been a fan of the 'in-between' stories some authors put out to supplement their series (Janet Evanovich, I'm looking at you.) but as it's a concept that I've been recently toying with doing for my own fantasy series (Mercenary Guy now thinks he needs a spin-off), I considered this book to be research.

It was a good decision. This collection is well done. This collection makes me like the novella supplements because I loved these stories. I really did. I loved getting to know how Celaena Sardothien became the Celaena Sardothien I met in Throne of Glass. I loved getting to know the supporting characters (especially you, Sam Cortland...). It made me want to go back and re-read the entire series again, in order this time, just to see if that changes anything for me. I haven't had the opportunity to do so just yet, but I'll get to that eventually.

Maybe in September.

That's going to do it for me today, kids. Have any celebrations and/or books you care to share with the class? I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend...

57 comments:

  1. LOL, of course Mercenary Guy thinks he deserves a spinoff. Many of my own characters are the same way... XD

    Also, how exciting about Effigy! Have fun obsessing over your proof copies once they're in your possession... ;)

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    1. I don't think he'd be Mercenary Guy if he didn't think he merited a spin-off. =)

      And I'm not sure how much fun will be had once the proof copies arrive, but I guess we'll find out...

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  2. Congrats on taking the next step with your book. Don't despair when you see a lot you want to fix or change. Those things stand out more when a story is in print. For all of us.

    I tend to kill plants. They do better if I just chuck them outside and let nature care for them.

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    1. Nooooooooo! No more changes! I can't afford them! But yeah...I know that's what'll happen. Blurg.

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  3. I have actually managed to kill plastic plants. Don't ask.

    Very exciting about the proofs of Effigy! :)

    And sorry, but I need the Rays to beat Boston this weekend. At least once.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. You killed plastic plants, eh? Curious...but again, I've never had a plastic plant, so maybe I'd end up doing the same thing.

      If the Red Sox lose a game, we could be in last place...I much prefer the Rays to be in that position. But hey—in what bizarro-world do we currently live where Boston and Tampa are at the bottom and Toronto's at the top? It's like the early 90s all over again.

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  4. I'm impressed your plants are alive - I'm very bad at gardening. Exciting to have the proofs!

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    1. I'm impressed that the plants are alive, too. It's really quite the miracle. If you saw my garden, you'd understand just how big a miracle it really is.

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  5. Sounds like a great read. I'm a huge supporter of the "spin off" mentality--because I'm addicted toe series books. And, sometimes it's cool to get a book from a secondary character to fill in the gaps of the main story line.

    Good luck on your wrist recovery. Sorry, as a White Sox fan I can't be sad for the Carmines losing--thoughh I can commiserate over squandered seasons...

    Enjoy your proofs! Congrats!

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    1. That's how I've viewing my potential spin-off, as a chance to explore some of those secondary characters who don't get as much screen time in the main books. I have no idea if I could pull off such a thing, but it'll be an interesting experiment nonetheless.

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  6. Great progress on Effigy and I hear you on the the whole green thumb thing. I'm not very good with plants either unless they're the sort that don't require any care!

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    1. My mother-in-law helped initially plant the garden, and I told her upfront to only select plants that don't require any care...and I still managed to kill most of it.

      Better luck next time...

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  7. Two blog hops in one! I love the cover to The Assassin's Blade. It's not my type of book really, but I can still ooh and ahh over the cover!

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    1. I love that cover, too. I want to be that girl.

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  8. The Assassin's Blade sounds like one to recommend to my husband - his list always grow after I've read reviews on Cephalopod Coffeehouse. Hope your wrist improves.

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    1. My TBR list always grows on these Coffeehouse days, too. It's part of why I love it so much!

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  9. That Assassin's Blade sounds like an exciting read . . .must add to TBR list. :) Love that your flowers aren't dead, too. Great celebrations!

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    1. The Assassin's Blade is a great read—especially if you've read the other books and are slightly obsessed with the series the way I am. =)

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  10. Had no idea you were getting so close to putting her out in the world, MJ! Huge congrats, lady!

    "I'm not sure I've ever been this excited and terrified all at once."

    It'll feel that way every, single time. Enjoy the roller coaster. :) As a writer of a shorter fiction series (novelettes to be accurate), I wasn't sold on them either. I'd only read a few I really enjoyed over the years. (The Green Mile by King was pretty great.) But I LOVE comic books, graphic novels, and TV series that seem to tell entire stories in every episode. (Battlestar, Walking Dead, Lost, etc.) So that's what I shot for. I'm still trying to master it (some of my 'episodes' feel more complete than others--sometimes intentionally), but the idea of writing shorter work has really stuck with me.

    In fact, I'm putting out my first novel later in the summer and it'll be around 60k. It's contemporary New Adult, and it's definitely in the mold of some of my favorite YA contemps from John Green, etc. which tend to be shorter.

    You being a fantasy author, I'm sure you're thinking, "60k, that's a goodish length for an epilogue." :P

    Seriously, congrats again on the upcoming release. And let me know if you do any blog touring, would love to have you on to talk about the experience. :)

    Best,

    EJ

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    1. I've been reading more comic books this year. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 8 and 9 (10 is out, too, but I haven't gotten that far yet) and there's also a line of Serenity comics that I'm pretty obsessed with. And I agree that some have felt more complete than others...but all of them are too short. Of course, I'd want them to go on forever, so any length would be too short.

      I'm quite interested in reading your contemporary New Adult novel...anything in the mold of John Green catches my immediate attention.

      And thank you for the blog touring offer. I do intend to put one together when I have an actual release date, so I'll be sure to keep you in mind. Also, you're more than welcome to take over My Pet Blog for a day if you'd like to this summer.

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  11. Woot woot! Effigy is that much closer. :)

    I put a hold on the assassin books at my public library! I'm so going to read them now.

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    1. I hope you enjoy them...I certainly did. And still do. My goodness, I love having books over which to obsess.

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  12. I loved The Assassin's Blade, although I got very nervous towards the end just because I knew what was coming. So heartbreaking!

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  13. How do you do it all? Looks like you had a pretty good week!

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    1. You haven't seen the list of things I didn't accomplish this week... =)

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  14. Yay for your lilacs! Yay for Efigy! Yay for M.J.!

    Hugs and chocolate!

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  15. Woot! Congrats on your process with Effigy!

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  16. Congrats on getting to the proof stage--very exciting! :)

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    1. And terrifying. Don't forget that. =)

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  17. You and I share the talent of being able to grow weeds like crazy. Glad the lilacs are alive still, look at you one-upping me! :P

    Yay for Effigy! I'm excited for you and this new stage!

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    1. Well, they won't be alive for long if I don't do something about the weeds taking over their space...

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  18. No more excuses for you on not publishing that novel. You've only left me a handful of unused excuses at the bottom of the box, but they're all mine. Mine, I tell you!

    And I kind of like those side stories authors write to fill out the world they've created in a series. I've written a couple of short ones for my series and may do that little trick of releasing them between novels…if I ever actually get to that point. Crap, it takes a long time to get a novel out the door.

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    1. It really does take a long time. But mostly I assume I'm just doing everything wrong, therefore it takes me twice as long to put out a novel as anyone else.

      That's part of the reason why I don't think I'll ever get around to putting out side stories, no matter how much the characters want them. =)

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  19. Sometimes boomerangs are slow! It happens :)

    That's great news about Effigy! How exciting. I hope you really are completely out of reasons.

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  20. Ding dong, the damn blurb is done! :-)

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    1. That it is. Don't know if it's any good or not, but it's done and out of my hands.

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  21. My lilac bushes (which I thought were impossible to kill) have a powder fungus. I've been spraying the fungus with an organic fungicide. The fungus is still there, but the shrub seems to be perking up. Fingers crossed.

    I am tired of blogfests (I know it's unpopular to say that, but I am).

    Tonja

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    1. A powder fungus, huh? It's good the shrub's responding well to treatment though.

      And I do participate in fewer blogfests/hops than I used to. I tend to be more selective these days.

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  22. You're just like me... Al I can grow is weeds, and boy am I good at it!

    Great news about your book!

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  23. Hooray for your lilacs! I'll bet you get a million blooms next spring. Sometimes they need a year just to get the feel of the place.

    Those novella's must've been well done if they've whet your appetite to dive back into the novels. Hope your wrist is doing better very, very soon.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Egads - I completely forgot to say take a bunch of deep breaths and do NOT put off getting that book out into the world! Congrats on sending it to the printer.

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    2. I am trying not to put it off. Sometimes it's been out of my hands, but when progress is in my control, I really have been trying to follow through in quick, efficient manner.

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  24. Congrats on sending your book off to the printer. You're going to do this. That's so awesome!

    And methinks you need one of my handy-dandy pyramid pillows for your Kindle. You can't not read!

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    1. Oh, I remember those pillows...will it turn the page for me? Holding the Kindle is only part of my problem.

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  25. Yikes, sorry to hear about your wrist! Glad to have you back at the Coffeehouse. A series you're inspired to re-read - very strong sell.

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    1. It's all the characters. If a series can make me love the characters, I will read and re-read everything they're in.

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  26. Lots of stuff going on here. First, yippee on the lilacs. We had a gorgeous bush in our yard in Maryland, but it gets too hot here in Georgia to even try planting them.

    Bummer about your wrist. Maybe you'll have to resort to video books for a while?

    Congrats on your book, and good luck with it.

    And finally, your book for the cephalopod group. Like Nicki said, the novellas must be well-written if they managed to keep your enthusiasm up for the next novel. Oh, and I agree with you about Evanovich's in-between books. Pretty sophomoric.

    Nice to meetcha. Count me in as your newest groupie.

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    1. My neighbors have beautiful and big lilac trees. I someday hope to have one, too. We never have to worry about it being too warm here. =)

      And I really do need to just stop reading and writing and typing for a little while to give my wrists time to recover, but...reading and writing and typing is kind of what I do. It's hard to stop.

      Thanks for the follow!

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  27. Congrats about your book! So exciting. I need to watch some Sherlock. I had a dream about Benedict the other night, but he was in bed with David Tennant, and I wasn't invited. Geez, even in my dreams I get stuck holding the camera.

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    1. This comment made me laugh so freaking hard.

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  28. Congratulations on the proof stage! As others said, you see things you might have missed, and also (the unexpected reward) - it's as though you are reading it for the first time and you actually enjoy your own work. Good luck,and enjoy!
    oh - and do come out my way. I have some dandelions I'd love to have you kill!

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  29. It's got a cool cover, but I'm not completely sold.

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