Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Importance of the Novel

Kevin Martini
As technology continues to boom why does the written word stick around? Why when movies, television, and you-tube videos are so accessible do we still read novels? After all, many of our favorite books like Twilight and The Hunger Games (at least those are among my favorites) are made into movies, and it takes far less time to watch a movie then read a book. Why spend more time to read a book when we can watch a show?

I believe the reason is that the written word conveys something that visual and audio media simply can’t grasp. A novel expresses a character, their thoughts, sensations, experiences, and emotions in a way that looks at the character from every angle. Our understanding of that character is complete and well-rounded where to watch that character on TV we only get one angle. We can only see them on the outside in movies and television, but in a book we get into their head.  Some may argue that a movie offers you the visual stimuli to actually see what’s going on; but I think a well written book shows me more visually then any movie.
There is something special about the feelings words can create.  Something beautiful about finding that prefect phrase that encompasses everything the author is trying to express. For example, here are a couple sentences I wrote in one of my unpublished pieces.
The fan clicks spinning and creaking like a door with a rusty hinge. Incessantly, eternally, round and round rotating on an uneven axis; an involuntary metronome keeping the tempo of my silence in key.
I don’t think any video of a fan could capture the essence of my silence as the words written on this page do. Technology may continue to grow but I don’t think it’ll ever replace the written word. We may use technology to help spread the written word, such as e-book readers like the Kindle and Nook. But, the written word will never be eliminated. Proof of this is seen every time someone says the phrase “the book was so much better,” I’ve yet to find a movie that I liked more than the book because they can never include all the details that the author did.
So, let’s celebrate the novel, the written word, and never forget how important reading is.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Into the Deep Cover first look

Image property of Lauryn April
Sorry about the watermarking, I'm probably just being paranoid, but with their being a good amount of time yet before this book is published I'm feeling very protective over my artwork for it. I've drawn this myself and I'm quite happy with it so far. There's still some tweaking to be done, but I thought I'd share where I am so far.

Keep your eyes out for "Into the Deep" coming out in 2012. For more information click here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

YA and the Need for Adult Themes

Patrick Wilken
What does YA really mean? It should stand for Young Adult, but I feel like there is this idea out there that YA means “12 and up” or early teens, I’ve even heard children as young as 9 or 10 are reading YA, but I would not consider kids in their or the early teen years to be young adults. I would consider 15 and up to be young adults. I feel like there is too large of a gap between YA and Adult, when they should be butted up right against one another and because of this I feel like we have one genre of books that are kept fairly clean, YA, and then another genre, Adult, which more or less has no holds barred. So where’s the middle ground? Where are the books actually for young adults, the ones that talk about coming of age issues in honesty and don’t gloss over them?

I loved the Hunger Games, and I felt like there were adult themes there that are relevant to a young adult person, obviously there must be other books out there that touch on these issues as well; however I felt like in THG series we were given an immense amount of graphic violence while most other young adult issues were glossed over. Katniss and her relationships with Peeta and Gale were very real, but I felt like the author didn’t spend enough time showing us them. We were given a few lovely moments and then told about the rest. This is a beautiful story to show the adult themes of violence, corruption, war and loss, but is lacking in the adult themes of love and sex.
I feel like from the age of 15 and up, relationships, love, lust, sex; these become huge themes in people’s lives. They are the things that young adults are thinking about and yet I find few books that tackle these issues in a useful way. Not in a graphic way, but in a way that brings the reader through their experience to really feel their emotions and learn something from what the character has been through. Young adults need to know how to tackle these themes in their lives; they need some insight into messy relationships and mistakes in love. Ignoring these issues does not help young adults, but romanticizing love is even worse.
Twilight, which I still love, holds on to the premise of abstinence in which the main characters Bella and Edward wait to be together until they are married. I find this unrealistic and while it certainly sends out a positive and ideal message about love, marriage and sex, it doesn’t give the reader anything useful about navigating the realities of love, marriage, and sex.
Often when I’m reading a YA book (mostly YA paranormal romance) I find that it is either lacking sex entirely or its main plot is about the main character and her love interest whom she's drawn to for no reason (and is still often lacking sex). Where are the books that have a plot which can stand on its own and still have believable relationships which look at the complications of love and sex to help teens as they deal with adult issues? Often times in YA I feel violence, sex, and language are seen as big “no no’s” but I feel these are the things we should be talking about when dealing with a YOUNG ADULT audience. Obviously some of these themes are not appropriate for children, but then why are children reading YA?
Does anyone have any good recommendations for a mature young adult read? Maybe I’m the one that’s missing where these books are, but I feel it is important that they not only exist but are good reads.

Other Blog Posts I liked on this topic:

Can There Be “Inappropriate” Content in YA?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Into the Deep" first look

Here's the first sneak peak at my debut novel to come out summer 2012.

Into the Deep
Ivy Daniels is a high school junior still trying to figure out who she is. After almost drowning Ivy finds herself with an ability she doesn’t want. An ability that quickly begins to redefine what she thinks about the people around her as well as herself. Ivy finds herself able to hear people’s thoughts. With her newfound telepathy Ivy becomes the one thing that stands between an angry teen and the death of every student on campus, the only problem is she doesn’t know who wants everyone dead.
Through her search to do the right thing Ivy discovers that knowing the thoughts and secrets of those around her may just tear her apart. Luckily an unlikely ally becomes a shoulder for her to lean on.


This book is about growing up. Ivy may be faced with a paranormal ability but she’s also faced with real, normal, coming of age situations. She has to deal with learning to do the right thing, learning to stand up for what she believes in and have a voice of her own. She makes mistakes, but she also learns and grows from them.
This book is about learning not to judge people as they appear to be and realizing that people have more in common with one other then they think they do.
Everyone feels alone, even those who people think have it all.