Monday, 13 October 2014


In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

I pretty much read everything Patrick Rothfuss (Author of "The Name of the Wind") supports. This book showed up on Pat's Goodreads feed, and thus it was fortold that Dan would pick it up. If you're a fan of this blog, than by all means go check out Pat's blog ( ASAP. You won't regret it; and if you do regret it, then you shouldn't have been a fan of my blog in the first place.

*Mic drop*

Anyway, on to the review:

A lot of folks think whimsy is just for kids. And in a sense, our society has pressured adult literature to become that way. If you want to be noted as a venerable writer, write pain and story sorry. 

I've been trying to read more of said 'adult' literature, but it comes at a price. The price of whimsy and the tax of youth. Reading serious, non-speculative fiction can leave one feeling broken-hearted, helpless, and lonely. With the onset of adult literature comes the feeling (at least for me) of growing old and losing the warm veil of youth. Which is of course the natural progression of life; but that doesn't mean it's fun. 

 Luckily, there is a literary medication for those woes. Youth is a state of mind, a vitality, that can benefit any age group. And in this sense, a bit of youthful whimsy a day can keep the gloomy away. 

Stories like "The Last Dragonslayer" are perfect balms for soothing the emotional stretch-marks of growing up. 

Fast-paced, whimsical, and with a nice underlying message, "The Last Dragonslayer," is perfect if you don't want to think to hard, but you still want quality fantastical world-building. The dialogue is often very witty and Fforde's playful turns-of-phrase will have you cackling out loud. 

And if Hasbro doesn't make Quarkbeast plush dolls, than they're missing out on some serious moolah.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Next Big YA Book Event

Calling all YA authors!

If you have ever hashtagged #amwriting, #MSWL, or #IWantToBePublishedSoBadlyMyEyeballsMightPop, than pay attention.

From September 17th through October 1st, Hipso Media Publishing and Jenny from Supernatural Snark will be hosting the ‘Next Big YA Book Event.’

Why is this good news for #amwriters?

Here’s how the event works. Most publishers work exclusively with agents, which makes it difficult (more like close to impossible) for up-and-coming writers to get their work seen. Well, Hipso Media Publishing will be opening their doors to all YA writers who dream of traditional publication, but can’t seem to catch a break. Writers who have mountainous ideas, along with an actual mountain of rejection letters. Hipso wants to pick one of those writers, and treat them like the literary rock star they are, showering them in every publishing perk someone of their caliber deserves:

-  Publishing contract with a generous royalty program

-  Custom cover from Seedlings Design

-  Candace Book Blog Book Tour

-  Exclusive front-page podcast on AuthorsOnTourLive, iReadBooksRadio and iHeartRadio (which gets an average of more than 1 million hits a year)

-  Novel as an eBook on all major retailers – Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, around the world

-  A featured post on Supernatural Snark

-  Awesome book swag, and more…

Once the winning manuscript is picked, Jenny from Supernatural Snark (Owner of Seedlings Design) will work with the author to create a custom cover that will be sure to shout, “NEXT BIG YA BOOK”. And then she’ll do a featured post on Supernatural Snark, to make sure the world hears.

No agents, hoops, or hassles. The only criteria are that your YA manuscript be finished, you must believe it’s great, and it must not already be published somewhere else.

Here’s the link to the submissions page and contact info:

Good luck and happy writing!



This event is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. 
A. It was my idea (yup, I just name-dropped like a boss)
B. I'm in charge of pretty much everything
C. I get to work with Jenny from Supernatural Snark
D. I wish I had something like this when I was starting out

My love-affair/ hate-affair/ passion/ test-the-water/ sink-or swim relationship with writing has been interesting to say the least. One thing though, it that writing certainly is hard enough BEFORE the publishing part comes around. 

Because the last thing you want after dripping your life-blood on paper is for the world to reject it. 

Writing for me is like stepping on the gas pedal and the brake pedal at the same time. You have to observe and remove yourself from the world at the same time, and it's enough to make your engine fall out. 

And since mind mechanics aren't cheap, writers should be rewarded. The publishing world is a brutal place filled with rejection and envy and status, and it's enough to make you want to give it up. Hopefully events like these will help keep a few brave souls in the game. 

Cheers :)

Monday, 11 August 2014


-Happy Shark Week, Everyone-

Sometimes Random House does these really funny Tweet challenges where the have a theme and challenge you to have some pun with book titles.

 For example. 

They did #conspiracybooks as the theme and people revised titles to the likes of:

'Goodnight Moonlanding'
'Everything is Illuminati'
'Where The Wild Things Are Secretly Held Until Further Notice'

And so on.

So in honor of SHARK WEEK, I thought #sharklit might be in order. Here's what I've come up with so far.....


'Megalodon Quioxte'

'His Shark Materials'

'The Adventures of Huckleberry Sharkfinn,' by Shark Twain

'Noah's Shark'

'Great White Oleander'

'The Twibite Saga'

'The Old Man and The Deep Blue Sea'

'Mansfield Shark'

'Wuthering Bites'

'Great White Fang'

I've been Tweeting them out from @hipsomedia (where I work) so if you have any #sharklit ideas to add, please comment below or tweet them to me there! 

Review: "Rainey Royal," by Dylan Landis

Expected pub date: 9/9/14
Publisher: Soho Press
Source: BEA
Genre: Lit Fic
Rating: 4.5/5

I was fortunate enough to pick up a signed galley at BEA.

This year's goal is to read outside of my comfort zone. I normally geek out over sci-fi/ fantasy/magical realism/ genre fiction, so starting off my BEA haul with a piece of literary fiction I knew nothing about was a leap. I devoured RAINEY ROYAL in a few sittings and couldn't have been more pleased with my choice.

This book is filled with that sort of complex emotional yearning I often find in the best short stories; but it also has a fulfilling narrative that leads the reader into a powerful relationship with the characters. Rainey, Leah, and Tina are all so fleshed out I felt like the book was 'Pearl Dropping' me through the pages. It surpassed want: I NEEDED to know where the story was gong and how the characters would react. The story was tense and unpredictable. The wordplay was seductive and elusive and every temporal change made perfect sense.

I can't recommend this book enough, although I will certainly try!


Goodreads is having a galley giveaway. Enter here: 


Expected pub date: 10/28/14
Publisher: Hogarth
Source: BEA 2014
Genre: Literary Sci-Fi

One of the best books I've ever had the pleasure (and anxiety) of reading.

I was lucky enough to come across a galley of this at the BEA. An attractive cover and even more attractive page tips (gold!) caught my attention. The synopsis didn't sound like something I'd normally read, but thanks to my motto this year 'read (live) outside my comfort zone' I dove into this one with open expectations.

The introductory letter written by Molly Stern, SVP and Publisher at Hogarth, mentions in its summation 'emotional complexity'. I know trying capture a 500-page masterpiece in any two-word net is usually tough to do but yes; just yes. Emotional complexity.

Besides a fantastic premise with VERY believable characters (even the Oasans [i.e. aliens]), this novel whips your emotions around with enough human complication to make you dig your nails into the earth both to keep grounded and to check our planet's temperature. In 'The Book Of Strange New Things,' I felt the boiling mayhem of our planet from light-years away. An impressive tour-de-G-Force by Michel Faber.

I try not to talk to much about plot for spoilers sake, so I'll just say that although the story follows an evangelist in space, bringing the word of the Bible to a group of aliens, this book is not particularly religious. Basically, one does not have to be an Christian to find unbelievable meaning from this book. If my last name didn't give it away, I am not Christian; and I promise this book resonated in a big way. This book is about crisis and yearning and faith and the longest-distance relationship ever. It's about freedom and hard choices and... and... ugh, EMOTIONAL COMPLEXITY. Gah, this book squeezed my heart.

Anyway, put this book on your TBR list. I'll put in on my TBRR list (to be reread) and lets all hope this makes the bestseller lists; as I think this novel will hit home (whatever solar system that may be in) with a lot of people. 



It's been a while, Why Fiction.

 Why so long, you ask? 

(I must shake off dumb jokes before getting back into the meat of this blog. Bare with me. They'll stop soon*)

((*I hope))

A lot has happened, a lot has not happened, but all in all I'm excited to be back. I'll pepper the upcoming posts with fill-the-time-gap stories, but the main thing that has led me back here were the words 'THE END' on page 572 of a manuscript I didn't think I'd ever finish.

It's entitled 'The Inventor In The Sands' and I am so very proud of how it turned out... but I'll get there another day.

First, feature your eyes on the extremely bald saxophone player in the picture above. Bald saxophone players are obviously cool, you might be saying, but why picture one on a blog about books?

Well I wouldn't have, if I hadn't lost so much darn hair. 

Yes, that stunningly smooth sax-man is your truly. I've spent the last few years focusing on my music career and amazing things gave come out of it. I live in Austin, Texas (the live music capitol of the world) and play out almost every night. 

If y'all (I can say that now since I live in Texas) want to hear a tune I wrote/played on for the band WAKING FABLE, here's a link that'll take y'all to it:

Anyway, this is just me saying 'hey' after a long hiatus. I have a broken ring finger right now so I'll keep this short, but it's good to be back.

 I look forward to tackling the Y's with you once again

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Check it out folks! This is a new book from Spencer Hill Press (my writing family). I'm stoked about this one, because there needs to be more male voices in YA. Yeah, I said it :)

Cover by Lisa Amowitz.

Fourteen-year-old Michael Stevens has never been ordinary; no orphan who hears music coming from rocks considers himself a typical teenager. But life gets a lot more complicated when two-foot-tall, albino, doll-like men sneak into his room one night, transforming the harmless music into a frightening ability he cannot control.
Soon, strangers in black suits begin to ask unsettling questions while unnatural animals with mismatched eyes haunt the streets. They are hunting, and not just Michael: anyone he cares about is in danger.
With the help of a mysterious drifter, an annoying girl he's accidentally mutated, and one of those creepy doll men, Michael finds himself in the middle of a war that could forever change the world he knows - reconstructing the very definition of humanity.
Title: Awoken
Author: Timothy Miller
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (
ISBN: 978-1-937053-53-6
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book
It can be added to your Goodreads TBR list here: