Friday Reads + Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers

I’ve been a terrible reader this week. I’ve mostly shelved Clockwork Angel and The Broken Kingdoms so that I could finish Angelfall. Then I went ahead and bought another Kindle book so that I could have something to read when my insomnia acts up and I end up awake but don’t really want to have to turn the light on. Yeah, I know. I’m lazy to boot. In my defense, I’m back on both books , but am also having some serious fun with Luck of the Devil.

Luck of the Devil by Patricia Eimer

Faith Bettincourt has some issues with her family– but what daughter of Satan wouldn’t?

This is not a deep read. It doesn’t have a lot to say about the human condition. It’s a light-hearted paranormal romance and is meant to be read as such. So far, I’ve picked out a few quibbles that I intend to flesh out when I review this later, but so far, it’s perfectly good at being what it is: humorous romance. I’m interested to see how it will progress once I get past all the introductory bits– I’m already fairly sure that Matt is an angel of some sort, which gives me the giggles considering that I still have Raffe on the brain and he would be absolutely mortified that Matt even exists. But enough talk of angels in my head (I’m not crazy, I swear!) and on to this Friday’s second topic: Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers (AKA Two Summers Well Spent).

I applied to Alpha for the first time the year that I turned 17, after stumbling upon while browsing Tamora Pierce’s author website. I had a story that I had been working on for about a month, so I polished it up and sent it in, thinking, “Well, this might be a nice summer thing for me.”

Guys? Alpha is a lot more than a “nice summer thing”. Alpha makes casual writers into serious ones, and gives you the experience and intent to possibly pursue authorship as a career. It also takes shy, socially awkward introverts (like me) and gives them the confidence to “let their nerd flag fly”, as my mom would say. You spend two weeks being instructed by writing greats such as Holly Black, Tamora Pierce, David Levine, and Ellen Kushner, while writing and polishing your own short story for submission. The atmosphere is great, and the people who you will meet are absolutely indispensable– the sort of people who will gladly hash out details of your plot with you at 2AM when you’re stuck. I attended in 2011, and returned as a “Beta” or counselor in 2012, and both times, I had an immense amount of fun and learned so much about the path that I am on. If you are aged 14-19, and you write fantasy/science fiction/horror, then I would strongly recommend that you apply.  The deadline is March 1st, 2012, so get writing! 🙂

If anyone reading this blog would like to help support Alpha, there’s a fundraiser going on right now over here. There are tons of awesome books, critiques, and oddities up for auction, and anyone who donates ANY AMOUNT to the workshop will receive the 2012 Alpha alumni anthology e-book of illustrated flash fiction, which contains art and stories contributed by several years worth of Alphans. This is a great opportunity for the teen writers in your life, and your donations help it keep going year after year! Thank you!

Until next time, dear readers– I’m off to make some headway on my new short story and get showered and fed before Supernatural comes on tonight! That review will be going live on Sunday along with my review of the premier of BBC’s The Fades.

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Waiting On Wednesday: Black Heart by Holly Black

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

 

Holly Black? Check. Crime and crime families? Check. Magic? Check. Tons of romance, adventure, and angst? Check, check, and check.

I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to this series–I purchased the first book during my first Alpha and had it signed and doodled in by Ms. Black herself. On the way home, I ended up stranded in an airport for a few hours due to weather and devoured the entire book while I was waiting. I pre-ordered Red Glove and read it during spring 2011, while in the midst of some serious life changes, and it was my solace during that time. This book, which I’m assuming is the final installment, comes out exactly one day after my 19th birthday, and I simply can’t wait to go back to Cassel’s world of curses and crimes one last time.

What books are you waiting on? Feel free to comment below or link back to your own blog and let me know!