Friday, March 21, 2014

Megan Shepherd Takes the Truth

Today I'm answering a tough truth: What book do you lie to people about having read?

I’m going to be very honest with you guys, and admit something I never admit to anyone. Are you ready? It’s a doozy.

I haven’t read the Harry Potter series.

I can feel the shame crashing down on me already. It’s okay! Judge me! I deserve it! Here’s the thing—I adore the Harry Potter world. I’ve seen all the movies multiple times. I have pictures of Alan Rickman on my office walls. I’ve been to Harry Potter world theme park. I am constantly inspired by J.K. Rowling and have watched every interview and speech she’s done. I first knew Harry Potter was special when I worked in the mailroom at a boys’ summer camp. One day we got in 300 thick manila envelopes, because it turned out every single camper had begged their parents to send them a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on its release day. Camp activities (cool stuff like hang-glide training and windsurfing) had to be suspended so all 300 boys could sit down all over camp and just read straight through the book. It was magical.

I even own the entire series…see?

But I haven’t read them. Why? There is no valid excuse. I just started off with the movies, and loved the movies so much I didn’t want to read the books and spoil what was going to happen. (I’m going through the same thing now with Game of Thrones.) Then when the movies ended I had every intention of going back and reading the series, but by then I was writing full-time, and just didn’t have time to devote to pleasure reading.

There is a happy ending to this story, however. Now that the third and final Madman’s Daughter book is turned in, and I’m well under way for my next series, The Cage, I’m finally starting to have time again. And first up on my to-do list?

Harry Potter read-a-thon.

So now you know my secret shame. It feels good to get it off my chest. Hate me if you must, but let this photo of me with a butter beer mustache be proof that I really am a fan at heart.

Megan Shepherd is a young adult writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She is the author of The Madman's Daughter (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins) and its sequel, Her Dark Curiosity. The third book in the series comes out January 2015. She’d love to hear from you at her blog, TwitterFacebook, or on Goodreads.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Alexandra Duncan Takes the Truth

I have a lot of guilt. It comes with being raised Protestant. So when I tell you about my guilty pleasures, you should know that I actually feel guilty about these things. Sometimes. (Okay, most of the time). It isn't just a turn of phrase.

Guilty pleasure #1: chocolate fruit

I will eat all kinds of chocolate fruit, but this is the kind I snack on most often.  ------------->

I tried to swear it off this summer, because chocolate is not good for you when consumed in great quantities, but I can usually talk myself into getting some anyway. Well, you need to buy some so you can take a picture of it for this blog post, I told myself earlier today before tearing into the package. You can't just go take a picture of it on the grocery store shelf. You don't want to be the weirdo in the deli taking pictures of sweets, do you? Point taken, brain. No, I do not.

Guilty pleasure #2: reality television

I'm in love with Project Runway and Face Off, which involves makeup artists constructing fantastical creatures. My husband will actually watch the second show with me, because it sometimes involves monsters.

The one show I've been really obsessed with lately, though, is Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet. It's all about people who are killed or mauled by their exotic pets. I'm not talking about hedgehogs or iguanas, although both of those can give you a nasty case of salmonella. Most of the people on the show seem to think they have a special relationship with their Bengal tiger or cobra that will prevent the animal from striking when they aren't looking.

Obviously, this is not how things play out. Given the number of times my housecat has attacked my feet in the middle of the night, I don't know how anyone could think things would go differently with a tiger.

Why do I like this show so much? Probably because when I was a kid, one of the stories I would always beg my mom to tell was the one about the teenager who broke into the Washington Zoo, stole a Gaboon viper, took it on a city bus, and then (after it bit him, naturally) had to be treated with all of the rattlesnake antivenin on the entire Eastern seaboard before stumbling back from the brink of death. She is a nurse, and was on duty when the paramedics brought him into the hospital. Her account was even more entertainingly weird than this New York Times article.

This is the show I watch to unwind in the evening. Sometimes I even fall asleep to stories about people being trampled by buffalo, partly because being raised by a nurse warps your brain a little bit and partly because I'm so tired in the evening. Which leads me to my third guilty pleasure. . .

Guilty pleasure #3: falling asleep on the couch

I have a lovely, comfortable bed. I sleep much better in it than I do on the couch. I'm much less likely to be sat up on by cats or wake up with a crick in my neck. And yet, there's something inexplicably wonderful about a couch nap.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Tell us about it and you'll be entered to win an ARC of my book Salvage, coming April 1st! (No kidding.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ETA: Our contest winner is Xander! Xander, we've sent you an e-mail about how to claim your ARC.

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books on April 1, 2014. Her short stories have been featured in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi, to name a few. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her web site.