anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
We had ONE...

We had TWO...

...and now The Dragons Heroes and Wizards review blog has weighed in with THREE.

We have liftoff.

Nice to have the entire series reviewed all together like this.Gives a nice overview of the progression of the story from the point of view of the reader.

And, of course, I very much appreciate the "go out and GET these" tone of all three reviews...
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
The Dragons Heroes and Wizards review blog liked "Gift of the Unmage".

Now they're more with the liking, with "Spellspam"

Watch that space for a review of #3 in a few days (it's listed as a "currently-reading").

Happy author.


May. 4th, 2009 10:34 am
anghara: (Default)
A bit more linkery - I did a guest blog for Apex and it's up this week - here's a taste:

You will know my tribe - sometimes it will take a touch of a moon-sharp shadow to reveal us, but you will know us by what we carry, by the burden we bear, by the darkness that lingers in our eye - because we are of the shadow, because we are the tellers of tales, and the shadows are where stories are born.

Read the rest over there. Comments welcome.

Also, the Dragons Heroes and Wizards blog reviews "Gift of the unmage" and likes it a lot - too many nice things to quote, go read it - but here's something just to give you a glimpse of the review:

If I could open a door and step into this world, I believe I could live happily there without too much of an adjustment and never look back. Does worldbuilding get any better then that?

Watch that space for a review of "Spellspam", which is listed as currently being read, very soon... I look forward to it!
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
Read the full review here, but here's the money quote:

While these are wonderful adventures, they are also dealing with the issues that many young people have to deal with as they try to figure out where they stand on the major issues that will effect their lives. Where are the lines you won't cross? What are the important values that you're willing to fight for and maybe lose your life for? They may be young, but that doesn't mean they aren't aware of the world and its problems and their roles in society.

The characters have grown over the series and their actions and reactions reflect that. You can read the books out of order and sequence or as stand alones but they become richer when read in order so that you can see the growth and know what leads to their decisions.

Highly recommended.

Happy author.
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
I hear that there is a resurrection in the works. This is pretty cool news.

The issue-that-was-to-have-been-the-last is out now (although I haven't, myself, been able to put my mitts on a physical copy yet) - and it contains a review of "Cybermage", by our own [ profile] oneminutemonkey who has graciously allowed me to repost it here for others who may have the same problem as me in the getting hold of the actual magazine:

" Thea has finally come into her own as an elemental mage and world
weaver - not bad for a girl formerly lacking in magic. For the time being,
she’s still stuck at the Wandless Academy until she masters her
abilities. Then she’s called in to help with the mystery of a strange
white cube, which leads into an epic quest that spans multiple worlds and
times in order to restore the power of the greatest mage the world has ever
known. Once again, she’ll have to face off against the enigmatic Alphiri
and the cunning Coyote, with more at stake than ever before. She’ll need
all of her wits and powers, as well as her friends, to solve this problem.
With its unique blend of alternate history, oddball magic theory, memorable
characters, and a fascinating plotline, Cybermage is a satisfying
conclusion to the Worldweavers trilogy. I hope the author returns to this
setting someday. "

(Re. that last... there is, of course, an idea... but it's all very nebulous at the moment, more later when it coalesces into something solid... But in the meantime, nice review, that - and from now on these are my BOoks of Oddball Magic Theory. That has a lovely ring to it [grin])
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
Money quote: "Alexander’s blend of computers, magic, and Native American myth is unique."
— Krista Hutley

Rest here
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
Remember that Shortcovers experiment?

I had a comment on the "Spellspam" excerpt by somebody pseudonymous whose profile was "private" on the site, and now apparently the same dude (same language, same kvetches) has taken the trouble to trawl for the book on the Net and has left the following 1-star review on Amazon:

Ugh, not worth reading. , February 28, 2009

By Literate1 (IN)

Ugh. Mindless drivel, and a knock-off of Harry Potter combined with a poor imitation of the cyberpunk genre. Not worth the time to read. I threw it away after the first chapter, seriously. If you want to read Harry Potter or Christopher Paolini-type books, stick to those. And if you want cyberpunk, stick to Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, and Neal Stephenson. But don't waste your time on this steaming pile of words.


Do you KNOW what steampunk is?...

Do you know how utterly silly it makes you look when you use it as a yardstick for a YA FANTASY novel which has no pretentions to be cyberpunk at all...?

[shrug] them's the breaks, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but REALLY now - saying that you hate a piece of work because it isn't something that it never aimed to be in the first place seems a little... out there...

Oh, and PS - if anybody out there who has actually read more than one chapter of the book, and it doesn't matter if you lurve it to death or have issues with it, would you consider adding some (more coherent) reviews on Amazon...? I'm not looking for backpats and sympathy, but a build-up of word-of-mouth would be great...
anghara: (New Worldweavers Icon courtesy of Jim Hi)
I have a handful of ARCs for book 3 of Worldweavers.

If you have a venue where you think you can review this book and you would like an early ARC, let me know in comments (which I shall screen) - but I really do have only a handful, so make it a good venue! (Anyone who can give me something really widely read like, say, Green Man Reviews is a shoe-in...)

Leave a snailmail address in the comments, or at the very least an email where I can go to get a snailmail address - remember, comments are screened so nobody sees this information but me and thee. Thanks in advance for any potential review offers - look forward to hearing from you!
anghara: (Default)
Well, now. There's a review of "Embers of Heaven" by yours truly on this site

The reviewer calls the book "beautifully written" and "absorbing", and highly recommends it.

She gets the name of my heroine right, and even spells it correctly.

However, we then run into a lot of trouble almost immediately. )

Don't get me wrong. I love getting my work praised.

But not when it's *someone else's book*...

We can haz Japan...? Or China? Or a mystical land called Syai?

anghara: (worldweavers animated)
Of BOTH the Worldweavers books. Which is interesting seeing as it gives a SERIES perspective as opposed to just a response to individual volumes.

Some nice quote-bites:

About "Gift of the Unmage"
The mythology is rich, the characterization full, the coming-of-age portrayed realistically and patiently, the tension while personal is compelling, the dialogue smoothly handled, and the physical detail sharp and vivid.

About "Spellspam"
Thea’s character remains fully formed and we continue to see her mature at a realistic pace, complete with self-doubt, mistakes, backsliding, regrets, etc.

...a richness, depth, and true emotional impact that close the book out strongly.

...a strong likable central character, an original and intriguing mix of magic and technology, and a richly veined core of mythos.

You can read the whole thing here.
anghara: (worldweavers animated)
Stephanie from Someone's read it already has finished book 2 of Worldweavers - you may recall she reviewed book 1 back in late April. And I get ANOTHER lovely review from her! I'm particularly fond of this quote:

I’ve always loved the speculative fiction idea of creating a world with something strange about it (such as magically inert computers) and finding out what happens when this core belief of the society goes funny somehow. It’s always interesting to see how a society reacts when it is turned upon its ear, and Thea and her society have firmly been turned upon their ears. In addition, Ms. Alexander has set up a great overarching plot about creation and creativity and dreams, and I much await the third volume in order to see how that will be resolved.

She gives me 4.5 out of 5 stars for this one!

Read the rest of the review here.
anghara: (worldweavers animated)
For those who know YA, one of the big awards in the kidlitosphere is the the Michael L. Printz Award, given to "...a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."

Well, what people may NOT know (I certainly didn't) is that the the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, consisting of 74 public libraries in New Jersey's Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties, are running something called the Mock Printz Awards.

And I only just found out that I GOT a nomination

Here's what librarian Susan Rappaport of the Rutherford Public Library had to say about the book:

Mock Printz: Spellspam by Alma Alexander

This fantasy is excellent and my very favorite so far this year... The world is well-thought out, the premise of using the computer as a venue for an alternate world is cleverly pursued and the characters are interestingly developed since Gift of the Underworld, the first book in the Worldweavers series. This second book stands beautifully on its own. Alma Alexander creates a world where spellspam is a play on the word "spell". Some malicious person is sending magic or "spells" through e-mail. Once again Thea, an underestimated seventh child of two seven children displays remarkably original talents as she puzzles out the solutions for her changing world. Dare I say it but this book does remind me of Harry Potter. Thea attends a school for kids who have no magic talents, and with her four other friends, she confronts the mysterious and sometimes playful problems. Because the magic is changing, the adults do not have the answers here. Unlike Harry Potter, it is not so strictly black and white. Thea feels compassion for the villain who turns out to be a literal lost soul. This is a highly imaginative story and I really loved it. Read it and see what you think. Thumbs up and three cheers for Alma Alexander!

THANK you, Ms Rappaport!
anghara: (worldweavers animated)
I just got a very nice review posted out there in the blogosphere. Stephanie from "Someone's read it already" has given me four out of five stars - ant it's a terrific review.

The star that got taken off? Well, here's what she says in the review:

The writing style on the book was perhaps the only part I did not find excellent. Alexander has quite a turn for poetic language, but sometimes her paragraph-long sentences did not quite match the intended audience for the book. These sentences are not in the dialogue, which was fine; they were in the narration. Again, individual parts of these sentences were lovely, and they were all grammatically correct, but the length was sometimes oppressive. I can’t imagine that fourteen-year-olds would find these more appealing than I do. For example:

Grimoires were temperamental books, sometimes with a life of their own, unpredictable and often dangerous; they were usually kept well apart from the main part of any library, but even so accidents happened every so often and the consequences could be dire.

Again, the story was lovely, and a nice introduction to Thea’s world. I’m very interested to read the next book in the trilogy (which I have on a shelf, quite nearby), and I’m sure I won’t be able to wait for book 3. This book comes recommended to readers who like interesting settings and vibrant characters, but who wouldn’t mind waiting a few months for book 3, and for whom short, choppy sentences aren’t a necessity.

To which my response is, well, yes, but it isn't a bug, it's a *feature*.

Perhaps I am underestimating my readership, at that. Perhaps there are folks out there for whom short and choppy sentences ARE a necessity. But that's just the thing - I've never been able to write them. Short choppy sentences exercise no fascination for me - I get no charge from creating them and therefore I cannot see any reader getting a charge out of reading them, and if I TRIED to write like that I would come off sounding like the very worst of what I've always tried to avoid both reading and writing - someone who is *writing down to her readership*.

When my first ever solo effort got published, a slim little volume of three Oscar Wilde-like fairy tales called "The Dolphin's Daughter and other stories" (you could try AmazonUK, or occasionally you get lucky at Amazon US, but at any rate you can see the cover art if you scroll down to the bottom of this page) what they did was put together these three stories that I had written *for an adult readership*, written in as lush and complex and uncompromising a manner as I knew how, and they had put them together in this little book which was aimed at a 15-year-old demographic. When the proofs of that book came to me to check, I remember holding them out to my father in a hand that literally shook, and saying "You look, I daren't, they must have eviscerated the language." Because I figured they had to have done, in order to make it palatable to a young readership.

You know what? They hadn't. Those proofs remain one of the most lightly edited sets of proofs I've ever seen. Longman trusted the audience; that the trust wasn't entirely misplaced is that - although it currently seems to be on the outs with both Amazons - the book, published in 1995, STILL brings me a trickle of royalties every so often. Still being read. No, it wasn't Potterological, it didn't sell ten million copies, but it sold a respectable number of copies for a thin little book that was never published commercially but only under the auspices of a strictly defined reading project by an educational publisher.

So I throw it out to you. What do you think? Should children's books in general, YA books in particular, be written in short choppy sentences - or is it all right to be lush and complex? [ profile] sartorias, [ profile] cynleitichsmith, [ profile] tltrent... others who are involved with/write/write ABOUT/review YA... what do you think about this issue? How important is language? Should we be making readers stretch beyond what they thought might be the limits of their linguistic capabilities, or should we be writing to the LOWEST common denominator and using language that will make a work of fiction accessible to the less well linguistically endowed? Is it the level of language used or the themes within a story that differentiate a children's book from a YA book?

I was very aware of my audience, of the changed demographic at which the Worldweavers books were aimed, when I wrote these books. And yet... I was writing them for the reader who was once myself, a reader who always wanted more, bigger, brighter, wider, mroe complex, more dramatic. In my own family I was always treated as though I had a mind of my own, and the rule was that if I picked up a book that was in my house and I could understand it and it interested me there were no borders or bans enforced on what my reading material "should" have been. In point of fact I pretty much skipped the whole YA demographic altoghether - which isn't REALLY unexpected, seeing as how recent a marketing bracket that particular genre actually is - and I simply read what were considered to be adult books by the time I was in my early teens. The classics - Austen, Bronte, Stendhal, Hugo - as well as the more "modern" oeuvre which encompassed several Nobel prize winners (Henryk Sienkiewicz, Ivo Andric, Pearl Buck, Sigrid Undsett, John Galsworthy). I thought lush and complex was the way language was SUPPOSED to be.

So. Am I - are writers like me - asking too much of our young readership...? Or can we be said to be nursing these fragile hopes that some day those readers... will grow up as blindly, powerlessly, hopelessly tenderly in love with the lushness of language and word, and believe in it with the same kind of deep and all-encompassing faith...?
anghara: (worldweavers animated)
SFRevu reviews "Spellspam".

Money quote:

"Once again, Alexander gives us a story that is engaging, complex, and filled with young people who must face decisions and actions that will impact them for the rest of their lives."
anghara: (worldweavers)
Well, its first Cybil review is out - here. Thank you, Tasha Saecker of Caestecker Public Library of the City of Green Lake and the Town of Brooklyn,and the Kids Lit Blog!
anghara: (worldweavers)
Blogcritics weighs in on "Gift of the Unmage"... and in other news, the book has garnered a Nebula and an Andre Norton Award nomination! I'm hoping that this will at least put it on the genre radar - perhaps some other SFWAns out there might be moved to take a look at the thing...

Not a bad day all around.
anghara: (worldweavers)
People are liking "Worldweavers" so far, it seems (touchwoortouchwoodtouchwood)

Cara Chancellor from Hollywood FL writes in "Kliatt", amongst other things )

And a bookseller from Mysterious Galaxy in California is just as enthusiastic )

All good. All good.
anghara: (Default)
Just got a heap of contracts for the Israeli (that's HEBREW, eh! My first really STRANGE alphabet! Whee!) and then [ profile] prestoimp had some very nice things to say about the book here. My thanks!

I am hatching a plot for something involving books and giveaways and whatnot, but I'm still waiting for one key piece of essential material before I can do anything specific - so watch this space...

May 2009

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