My Guest Post on Terrible Minds

I’ve had a few pretty big fanboy moments in my life, and one of them happened just last week. In conjunction with the release of the Red vs. Blue book, I also had the honor of writing a guest post for Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds.

My post: Bad Writing Habits I Learned from Video Games (Plus a Few Good Ones, Too)

If you’re wondering who Chuck Wendig is, he just happens to be the best-selling author of the brand new Star Wars novel Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi story in the new order of Star Wars EU. He is also the author of some of my absolute favorite books of all time, the Miriam Black series.

You should do yourself a favor and read those books, by the way. Miriam Black is a woman who can see how you’re going to die, and just happens to get caught up in really dark, twisty, horrifying plots. She’s a total tornado of a woman and one of my favorite main characters ever.

But I’m fanboy-ing again. Just go read those books. After my guest post.

What a Day, What a Lovely Day

Today was kind of crazy.

Only Nux’s mantra can sum up what it felt like to see Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide finally make its way into the world.

I could round up the many amazing tweets I saw from happy fans. Or how I shed a few tears when I saw the thing in print for the first time today. Or how I could barely sit still while I was at work, wondering what people who were reading it felt about it.

But really, I just want to say that I’m extremely grateful to the Rooster Teeth community for how they’ve responded to the book. Sometimes when you spend a year and a half (!) working on something like this, it’s really easy to lose sight of it. There were long stretches of time where I pored over this book in a vacuum, and there were a few moments where I wondered if it was any good.

Reading it tonight in print for the very first time, I had a thought that doesn’t come often to us perfectionist writers: you know what, maybe I did alright.

What Is This Red vs. Blue Book Exactly?


Next Tuesday marks a pretty big day. On November 17, there will be a book in book stores with my name on it. That I wrote! Funny how that works.

For the last year and a half, I’ve worked on Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide, a book brought to you by Dey Street Books (a division of THE Harper Collins) and Rooster Teeth.

I’ve met tight deadlines, watched enough Red vs. Blue to question my sanity, dealt with tons of art to organize, missing assets, deleted Dropbox folders and notes (and more notes) from a variety of sources. But it’s done, and people are finally going to get to read it next week, which has me completely Freaked the Eff Out.

Some of you may not even know what Red vs. Blue is, who Rooster Teeth is, and what the heck this book even is. I get asked about all 3 of those, particularly from friends, family and co-workers. In certain (and quite large) corners of the internet, these questions don’t even need to be asked. Continue reading →

John Green Nails the Writer’s Life

John Green, the author of the wonderful book, The Fault in Our Stars, which sits on the precipice of a huge, huge opening weekend, offers an apt metaphor for what the writer’s life actually is: a game of Marco Polo.

The sandy-haired author said the process of writing a book is like a long, lonely game of Marco Polo.

“In which you’re in your basement alone for years and years, saying, ‘Marco. Marco. Marco. Marco. Marco. And then if you’re lucky, someone writes you and says … Polo.”

The Scorpio Races

One of my favorite books I’ve read in recent years, Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES absolutely blew me away. Built on a simple, strange and interesting premise, this is a book about a girl who decides to enter her island’s annual horse race with her pony. The catch is that the other entrants are man-eating horses.

Filled with stunning language, captivating characters and some real emotional hooks, THE SCORPIO RACES is one of those books that totally catches you by surprise and doesn’t let go. I read the book in just a couple of sittings and cried like a baby as I read the last few pages on a plane. It’s an instant favorite. And hey, it’s about horses, so there you go.

From Amazon:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.

Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

When You Reach Me

I’ve always had a soft spot for time travel. Particularly when it’s done with as much precision as Rebecca Stead employs in WHEN YOU REACH ME, a high-concept middle-grade novel about a young girl who starts to receive mysterious (and quite frankly, creepy) messages from the future.

Set against the backdrop of 1970s New York, WHEN YOU REACH ME is a book about game shows, young love, losing your best friends and how to treat people. Spectacularly written, the book winds to a riveting conclusion that ties together all the book’s many threads in a way that’s a joy to see on the page. If you’re into time travel, check this out.

From Amazon:

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

The Bitter Kingdom

THE BITTER KINGDOM is the third and final book of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson. I have previously doted upon these books for being well-written, unique YA fantasies that feature a brave-but-terrified Elisa, who undergoes a physical and emotional transformation while trying to puzzle out God’s will for her in a world full of dangerous animagi desperate to hunt her down.

THE BITTER KINGDOM maintains a relentless, nail-biting pace that gives you just enough space to breathe before ramping things up for Elisa and her friends, each time with more dire consequences. The amount of ground covered in this book is astonishing, and makes it among the best finales I’ve ever read. Yes, ever. Do yourself a favor and read this series. 5/5

From Amazon:

Elisa, the seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen, will travel into an unknown enemy’s realm to win back her true love, save her kingdom, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny…the third and final book in the trilogy takes the young queen on a journey more dangerous than any she has faced before. Elisa will stand before the gate of the enemy. And she must rise up as champion—even to those who have hated her—or her kingdom will fall. Full of sorcery, adventure, sizzling romance, and secrets that challenge everything she believes, this is a bold and powerful conclusion to an extraordinary trilogy.

Ancillary Justice

Having just finished ANCILLARY JUSTICE, I’m still reeling from one of the most imaginative sci-fi books I’ve ever read. ANCILLARY JUSTICE stars Breq, a former AI indwelling a human body that happens to be thousands of years old, and on the hunt for revenge. Yeah. Wrap your head around that for a bit. If you’re looking for a great space opera, I’d highly suggest jumping into the Radch Empire with this book. 4/5

From Amazon:

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

The Last Policeman

Finished reading The Last Policeman last week. A unique detective novel set at the end of the world with a squarish yet lovable protagonist who won’t let impending doom by asteroid slow down one mother of a case. Loved it. 4/5

Plot synopsis from Amazon:

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The Booket List: April-May 2013

Since I’ve spent much of the last few months writing, I neglected to put up my Booket Lists for both April and May. In addition to the words I was putting down on paper, part of that stems from the fact that one of the books I read in April (I’m looking at you, Stephen King) was absurdly large, and I didn’t want to create a Booket List with so few titles. Hence, I made up for it by reading a poopton in May.

You’re welcome. Continue reading →

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