What Will J.K. Rowling's Big Announcement Be This Week?

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling teased the world with a “big” announcement following the launch of her new website Pottermore last week. The announcement, which will air Thursday (you can follow the live countdown here), is rumored to be about Rowling’s new book, which will more than likely be another entry into the Potter canon. While nothing is for certain, the site name Pottermore, reveals that there is a good chance it will be Potter related.

While everything is pure speculation at this point, none of the Potter insiders are giving anything away. “I know nothing about that whatsoever,” actor Daniel Radcliffe told Hero Complex. “I’m sure that Jo will be writing a lot more in the coming years.”

So, if Harry Potter himself isn’t tipping his hand, all we can do is watch this really cool new Deathly Hallows trailer and use our imagination to fill in the rest of the holes. My guess? A Potter prequel, a Harry Potter/Hunger Games Triwizard Tournament/Hunger Games crossover, a Potter cookbook, the opening of a Hogwarts private school or she’s buying us all two cars each in an effort to one-up Oprah. I look forward to any of these scenarios coming true.

Monday's Writing Links

This week’s writing links highlight a myriad of subjects including Noah Wyle’s foray into Spielberg produced sci-fi television, weighing the financial pros and cons of book appearances, a new $150,000 writers grant from Yale University and unearthing where Gene Hackman has been for the last seven years (apparently writing).

The featured link (more sci-fi than literary, but oh well) highlights TNT’s new series, Falling Skies, a Spielberg produced, Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot) scripted narrative about aliens invading earth, much to the displeasure of former ER cast members. The pilot aired last night and I missed it, but I hope to catch the encore tonight.

– Reviews of TNT’s Falling Skies (sfsignal, hitflix, latimes, sfgate, ign)

– Literary Agents Try New Role as Self-Publishing Consultants (PBS)

– K. Tempest Bradford Profiles The Clarion West Write-A-Thon (sfsignal)

– The Financial Concerns Of Book Tours And Appearances (jakonrath)

– Why Does It Take So Long For Your Book To Be Published? (pimpmynovel)

– A Writer’s Estate to Yield $150,000 Literary Prizes (nytimes)

Parks And Recreation Book On Pawnee Coming In October (latimes)

– Neil Gaiman Talks Dr. Who And The 10th Anniversary Edition of American Gods (neilgaiman)

– Kayleigh Reviews Said 10th Anniversary Book (nylonadmiral)

– Alexis Grant: Why I’m Keeping My Day Job (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Gabriel Reviews The Curious Life Of Human Cadavers (gabrielreads)

Lost’s Evangeline Lilly Join the Cast of The Hobbit (imdb)

– The AV Club Reviews Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well (avclub)

P.S. Did anyone notice that Gene Hackman has been retired from acting since 2004 and has co-written three books in his spare time? I’m picking up Justice For None because I’m undoubtedly interested in seeing his writing style. I expect most of his characters to be stoic personalities that have screaming fits when people disappoint them/try to mutiny a submarine away from them. I must admit, I’ve always been a fan of Gene Hackman. One of the last movies he did is still one of my favorites (wikipedia).

Monday's Writing Links

I know many people are generally turned off by science fiction or genre fiction in general, even though they occasionally encounter, read and love books that fall into both respective categories. There is often a stigma attached to genre fiction that it is inferior literature chock full of cliched characterization, gunfire and explosions. While this may be true in some genre books, it does not represent the entire genre. So, today’s featured link is designed to ease you into genre fiction, specifically science fiction, with kirkus reviews’ guide on how to start reading science fiction.

One of the biggest problems with reading science fiction is that often readers are in denial that they are in fact reading science fiction. People who have eaten up the Hunger Games series will readily admit it’s YA, but might ignore the fantasy and science fiction elements, rather choosing to classify it as a literary YA novel like Lord of the Flies (which it really isn’t). The same goes for books like The Time Traveler’s Wife, which is often categorized as a romance novel, even though it’s technically a science fiction romance novel.

So, how do we get you into sci-fi and readily admitting that you’re reading such material? Well, kirkus reviews suggests that you start with the award winners of the genre. While this isn’t a bad strategy for conquering science fiction, I would recommend tackling more accessible books in the genre first (some of which are actually award winners themselves). Books like Michael Crichton’s Timeline, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Robert J. Sawyer’s Flashforward are a great place to start. They won’t bombard you with new languages to learn (Crichton can get a little technical sometimes, but it’s not too bad) overtly dense prose or complicated bloodlines or backstories. They are as I said, accessible reads. After these, I feel like you will be able to transition into heavier award winning sci-fi novels like Dan Simmon’s Hyperion, Frederik Pohl’s Gateway and Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. It’ll be a cinch. Anyways, Links!

Writing Links:
– How To Start Reading Science Fiction (kirkus review)

– What Makes Good Sci Fi (kirkus review)

– 10 Things You Should Know About Chicago Authors (chicago tribune)

– Writers Conference: Ocean Park Writing Event In Maine (GTLA)

– HBO Greenlights 6 Seasons Of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (io9)

– AV Club Reviews China Miéville’s Embassytown (av club)

– 9 Things I Learned From Other Writers (GTLA)

– The Emptiness Of Literary Fiction And The Stereotyping Of Genre Literature (sf signal)

– Nathan Fillion Reads 3 Chapters For P.J. Haarsma’s The Softwire Audiobook (ign)

– Profile of George Lucas (flickering myth)

The Harry Potter Kids Sum Up Their Experience In One Word

The young cast of Harry Potter say goodbye by summing up their experiences working on the films in one word. Oh how they’ve grown. Now they will be individually whisked away to other franchises based on lesser books/comic books that will probably never yield them the same satisfaction they got when they were six years olds pretending to cast spells with wooden sticks (Tom Felton already finds himself in the Planet of Apes reboot. My money is on him playing a disgruntled lab tech who often makes disparaging remarks to the apes for being different from him).

It’s kind of tragic in a way. At least the Lord of the Rings cast was old enough to have been around the block once or twice before they were cast back out into the cruel world where they had to pay rent doing Adam Sandler movies. The Harry Potter kids might be in for some hard times, but I hope they all land on their feet. For now, let’s collectively pray that Rupert Grint doesn’t end up in Transformers. Because I don’t want to hate him.

Proofreading Services: Diana Cox

I’m not big on pushing people or services on this site, but it’s hard not to give a glowing recommendation when you’re completely satisfied with someone’s services. Which brings me to Diana Cox.

If you need proofreading help, even if you just want to polish your manuscript before submitting it to agents/publishers, look no further than Diana Cox. Quick, efficient and affordable, without sacrificing any shred of professionalism, she embodies what you look for in a quality proofer. And if you give her a manuscript that’s not too messy, she might even say nice things about it. Visit her website to learn more about her services, rates and turnaround times. You won’t be disappointed.

Douglas Adams And The Kindle Prophecy

It was recently noted by a user in the reddit community that Douglas Adam more or less predicted the Kindle many years before it hit the market. Here is the passage from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“He also had a device that looked rather like a largish electronic calculator. This had about a hundred tiny flat press buttons and a screen about four inches square on which any one of a million ‘pages’ could be summoned at a moment’s notice. It looked insanely complicated…”

I’m a big fan of Douglas Adams and although he’s often given credit for his humor, I don’t think people realize how smart his writing really was. His satire was more spot on than most people acknowledge. The best usually are though. (media bistro)

'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' US Trailer

Even though this is a remake of the fairly solid original Swedish version, where the character of Lisbeth Salander was played by the very capable Noomi Rapace, I can’t deny that David Fincher’s US remake doesn’t look somewhat enticing. Calling on his music video background, he’s cut a trailer that undeniably gives you chills if you’re familiar with any of Stieg Larsson’s source material. Now, we just have to see if the movie can live up to the quality of the trailer when it is released this year on December 21 (a Christmas movie, really?).

Are you a fan of these books, or do you think they were overrated/overhyped? Will you go see the American remake? How well do you think it will be received by American audiences? And how much censoring do you think they’ll do for this version?

Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest (June 4-5)

If you are a Chicagoan or live around the Greater Chicago area, you should take note of the Printers Row Lit Fest kicking off its annual event this weekend. This year’s fair will feature authors like Chuck Palahniuk and JA Konrath, and will gather over 160 exhibitors, booksellers, publishers and literary organizations. I myself may stop by to see some of the events. For more info visit the Chicago Tribune. So, hop to it and get out there to meet new people, be inspired and buy some new books. No excuses!

Alternate Cover For "The Exiles of the New World"

Talented artist Maciej Rebisz was kind enough to provide me with an alternate cover for my upcoming book, The Exiles of the New World. Between this new cover and the original, I’m not sure which one I am going to use. They’re both really cool and they both really echo that feeling of isolation I was looking for.

Eventually, they’ll both have to be cropped, which will be disappointing to lose some of this visual information, but I guess that inevitably happens. It’s too bad there are no science fiction coffee table books out there, cause this cover would be prime.

If you have any thoughts on which of the two covers you like better/is more visually interesting, let me know. I would appreciate any opinions. Also, do you have any cover art for an upcoming book that you have recently acquired? If so, were you happy with what you got? Have you ever fought a publisher on a cover you thought was subpar?

Kickstarter Campaign

In an attempt to try to grapple with the mounting editing, proofing, illustration, publishing and marketing costs for The Exiles of the New World, I’ve put my book up on Kickstarter to try to help out with the costs.

Kickstarter is an indie fundraising site that allows people to raise money for their projects by offering rewards to donors in return. In this case, it’s also doubling as a bit of a pre-order site for my book as some of the rewards offered are copies of The Exiles of the New World. So, please stop by and check it out here. Even if you don’t donate, leave a note or just say hi. It would be greatly appreciated!