Apr 17, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

This is a meme hosted by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!

Funniest Moment in the Series

Oh boy, there was so many! Weasley twins covered pretty much all of them, from the jokes to their inventions. I cannot possibly pick just one! There's also Malfoy getting what he deserved every few times, and Filch, and Lockhart! And even McGonagall can be hilarious, even though she probably doesn't plan it.

Weasley twins farewell

I adored how the twins left the school. Fireworks and the swamp that Umbridge couldn't get rid off was a brilliant idea, and if that wasn't fun enough, all the other professors just pretended not to know how to help her. She was running all over the place, effectively proving anyone how lame she really was. Served her right.

Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs (also known as Wildfired Whizz-Bangs) are enchanted fireworks created by Fred and George Weasley. They are part of the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes range of products. They are unstoppable fireworks that are charmed to explode when struck with a Stunning Spell, and to multiply by ten when hit with a Vanishing Charm. They include shocking-pink Catherine wheels, fire-breathing dragons, sparklers that spell out profanity, rockets with long tails of silver stars and firecrackers. When any two types collide, they make new kinds such as flying silver and pink pigs. It cost nine Sickles and twenty-four Knuts.

Sources: gif - text

Apr 16, 2014

London Book Fair recap - Part II

Day 3 - LBF Day 2
Day two of the fair (and day three of London trip in general) was even more tiring than the first one. Leah and I had a lot of seminars lined up again so we went in early again. Early being 10 am but I was still tired from the day before, and from the bad sleep (I am SO not used to the city noise, living in a teeny tiny village; I was pooped).

We split a little on second day as we were interested in different seminars. Leah was more oriented on publishing industry, I went after seminars aimed for authors. We went for another walk around the fair, looking up things we haven't seen before or had a proper look at. The thing was so big we probably haven't seen it all in the three days we were there - three days is not enough for such an event anyway!

We ended up at the 'Behind the 'Cover': Reworking HP the Illustrators Story' seminar at Children's Hub before we had to go to the planned seminars. The speaker was Andrew Davidson (with Val Braithwaite), who presented his work. He designed the covers for one of the adult Harry Potter redesigns that happened recently. I adore those covers and it was amazing to see how they came to be.

Amazing work by Andrew Davidson.
(Photo source)
Andrew had a lot of work with them, but he did an amazing job. He did sketch after sketch until it got accepted by the publisher, before he carved it all into wood. And I wish I had actual pictures, because his work is amazing. His attention to detail is astonishing, and there's so much work put into those images you cannot not appreciate them. He even managed to sneak some things on them, like a mouse by the train tracks and a bottle of milk by the Hogwarts entrance, which is brilliant! It was an amazing seminar with a really charming speaker, so it was a shame Leah and I had to leave early to not miss our planned seminars (which we still kind of did). Read more about the covers here.

We split to go different ways, me ending up at the 'Negotiating Author Contracts' seminar at Author HQ. I am not sure if I missed a seminar before that, I was supposed to go to 'Know Your Rights' seminar as well, but I ended up only at the contract one. It was a hectic place with so many people and stalls we got lost more than once. It would be no surprise I skipped an event by mistake or because I made a typo in my schedule.

Negotiating Author Contracts summary
The talk was happening with four guests, Alison Baverstock, Louise Lamont, Isobel Dixon and Gordon Wise. They talked about contracts in general, agents and authors, their rights and their duties. Since the seminars were so short, there wasn't much time to cover everything, but we got to learn a lot of interesting things.

The most important points were:
× Publishing dates. It takes a long time to get the book out, from actually finishing the first draft to finding an agent, an editor... then getting through edit after edit before you are halfway done. You have to make sure you finish in given deadlines because there's still a lot of work to follow, like feedback, edits etc. But you also have to know about your rights about dates - if the publishing house is not putting your book out in time, they're dragging it out, postponing it, slacking in general, you can get your rights back. Contracts are not just for the authors, they're also outlining duties for other parties involved in book-creating.

× Usually, you are asked to sell your rights. It might be just for the country where you're getting published, maybe for the world. Maybe also for merchandise, TV show and movie rights... ('Rights-grab', a thing to look out for!). But you can get them back if the other party in the contract is breaching it somehow - slacking, not publishing etc. as mentioned before.

× Knowing and understanding contracts. That's the most important part. You have to read it, you have to understand everything. Sometimes there might be some wording or a phrase that proves different to what you think it is and you can get 'swindled'. If you don't understand, ask for explanation! You must be on the lookout for reversion clause and cancellation terms. Your content is precious so treat it so! Make sure you are covered long-term, think of the future! Don't just jump on first opportunity.
The speakers offered an example of a woman that found a publisher through a friend of a friend and got rushed into a deal, asked to sign in a matter of days. She refused which was lucky because she would get a terrible deal. That's why the next point is imperative:

× Having an agent is so important! They can warn you of such things, help you negotiate the contracts. You don't just make a deal with the person that deals with your case, you make a contract with the company that employs them! So having someone that's been through many contracts before, and someone who knows what to look for is really important!

Useful links

After the seminar on contracts, Leah and I met up to go upstairs in search for our next ones. I went to 'The Perfect Partnership: How to Get the Best from your Publisher' with author Tracy Chevalier and Nicola Solomon. It was an even more informative and sort of upgraded version of 'Negotiating Author Contracts' and I think I learned a lot more about contracts and agents and editors from this one.

'The Perfect Partnership: How to Get the
Best  from your Publisher' with Tracy
Chevalier and Nicola Solomon.
The Perfect Partnership: How to Get the Best from your Publisher summary
The most important points were:
× Self-publishing is not worth it. At least that was the opinion of Tracy Chevalier. She explained it's too much work and you don't get out as much as you could if you had an agent, an editor and a publisher with a PR team. Having a publisher also means you have people that trust in your work and are willing to risk publishing you, which is nice - knowing 'somebody has your back'.

× That doesn't mean you should just accept anything and everything you are offered. Don't jump on first contract you get because it might not be the best and you might get something better. Also don't just accept anything written in one because it's not just about getting published; it also covers your rights and those are very important!

× When it comes to foreign rights (to publishers in other countries that wish to publish your book) Tracy said it's probably best to sell them rights one by one, to those who wish them, and not just sell the bunch to one person so they can sell them on. You might not get out as much as you could selling the whole pack, and you can keep some of the control over it if you sell them separately.

× Rights reviewing. You have to keep up with the evolution of the world. With technology advancing, you get to have your book not only in print but in e-format as well. So make sure you are up to date with happening and that you know your rights. Usually, regular rights get reviewed every 10 years or so, but you might get dropped after the first deal is up. For e-books, Tracy suggested that you have it in contract (special clause) that rights get reviewed every two years.

× There can be a lot of traps in contracts like rights-grab (mentioned above), print of the book (sometimes 'print on demand' is in a contract and can be overlooked, but this must be avoided because it means your book isn't even getting printed unless people ask for it!) etc. Make sure you know all about your contract. Read it carefully, make sure you understand, look out for 'traps' and avoid them if you possibly can.

× You also have to make sure you do not breach any other contracts that are already in place. If you quote someone in your book, like song lyrics etc., make sure you have permissions! There's also such thing as international permissions, so make sure you have that if your book goes foreign!

× When it comes to covers, don't expect to be included in the decision making. You can tell them what you want the covers to be like, but you will most likely be left out completely. Tracy herself managed to get a say in this but it took her years to build trust with those making such decisions.

× Rates. Make sure you know what and how you are getting paid. Knowing percentage is not enough! What's important is % OF WHAT. People often don't know exactly what is the source of their income so make sure you know where you are getting your cut from!

× Relationships. Be kind, but not overly so. Be friendly, but not overly so. If they see you as a pushover, your deal will be a bad one. Make sure you get what you deserve, put your foot down when necessary. Don't be cocky, don't be mean, don't demand too much, but don't be too kind and accepting either. Also, don't be annoying. Having an agent can help you with that as they can be "the bad cop". With an agent, you get honesty!

× Finally: keep an eye out for termination clauses, non-compete clauses and auction clauses! Have everything on paper, make sure your demands are put on paper. Read carefully, make sure what it all means and that you understand everything! If you can, get someone to review the contract with you.

× And p.s.: if you plan on coming to the Fair next time, DO NOT bring your manuscript and try to sell it at the booths!

After this, Leah and I met up again. We went to 'Middle Grade Fiction: Keeping Kids Reading' in Old Press Centre, where the speakers were Jane Hardstaff, Sophia McDougall, Jamie Buxton and Alison David. In all honesty, though, we didn't stay long. We left after a while when the talk was focusing on schools and how to make sure the education programmes are keeping kids at books. It wasn't as interesting as we hoped it might be, so we left early.

In the end, we decided to be done for the day. We were tired and barely half the day passed, so we went. We did make just one more round around the fair and got another ARC. It's Red Rising by
Collective haul by Wednesday!
(Photo by Leah)
Hacker, Instructions for a Heatwave, The Radleys, The Red House (finally a paper copy, and it matches other Haddon's works!) and The Song of Achilles (I finally have my own copy, ahhhh! Love this book!). In short, a very successful day! Afterwards, we went to buy the tickets to see Divergent the movie later that evening.

After dinner, which was just another amazing thing that happened in London that week, we went to see Divergent. I wasn't too sure what to expect. I am not a big fan of movie adaptations, as you might know already, because most often than not they are a huge let down. I mean I won't even go into Vampire Academy and the second The Hobbit movie... But I decided to give Divergent a chance, especially after a bunch of bloggers said it was a good movie.

Divergent recap
I kept my mind open for this movie, and it didn't let me down. I must admit I frowned over some things (Like casting of Four. I am just not a fan, sorry!) but in general, I really enjoyed the movie. The actors didn't let me down, the portrayal of the world even less so. It was well done, pretty accurate and very enjoyable.
There was a lot of action and that part was my favorite. It kept the pace with the novel and it covered the most important things without adding some made up stuff that's so often the case in other movies. It had the right speed, it made sure you understood what's happening... The only thing bothering me was the intro, where Tris, the main hero gets into narration, explaining what happened and why the world is as it is.
Another small thing I commented on was the love story. It was too fast and a bit awkward. I understand it cannot be as nicely developed as in the story, as it has less time, but it felt too hurried. I honestly don't think I have any other complaints. It was a quickly developing movie, but if it was to evolve as the book did, it'd be twice as long. They did very good job in the time they had so I am pleased with the outcome.
Apparently movie after book three, Allegiant is already in the talks and will span over two movies. That is something I am not too happy with.


Apr 15, 2014

Book review: Every Day

I also didn't love the characters. A was alright. I had no strong opinions on the main character whatsoever, except maybe feeling bad for them because of this condition. And I wished I knew more about it. But Rhiannon... man she pissed me off at times. She had a terrible sense of humor (or a terrible lack sometimes), she was in a stupid relationship and seemed like she had no will to leave. And she was lashing out on A when he messed up, and not because they had a choice in the first place. So she really wasn't my favorite human at all. And seeing how she was the center of the story, that was a problem.

A really good read!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own

I feel like I just did a post like this not long ago, but I guess I can make another one. This one is more material than the previous post. I am just going to borrow a few things from the last time.

1. Having a personal library
I have gotten small shelving unit for my birthday in November and it's almost completely full already. I also just put up a new wall shelf, and it's full already... I am already planning on buying three more of those because I am absolutely going to need them. But when I get to move, have a big place of my own, I want to have a huuuge library, maybe a separate room just for it.

2. Having a book nook
I keep seeing this amazing book nooks online, nice small holes where you can hide away and read, have peace and quiet to enjoy your favorite novels... I really want to have that, preferably with a small fridge and a microwave so I don't even have to move places. Too far? Don't think so.

3. Owning Harry Potter collections
There are two collections that are Potter related - with books and with movies, and I want them both! They would cost me about a grand, collectively, so that dream is faaaar off right now, but maybe someday when I am grown up and rich. Apparently they're nothing special and don't have that many extra things as advertised, but I still want them!

4. Bookish tattoo(s)
I love tattoos and I really want to have more. A bookish tattoo has been on my mind for ages now, but I cannot get one at the moment. But the moment I can, I am getting something off my 'bookish tattoo' list. It's pretty long.

5. More author signatures
I have 5 or 6 signed books and cards by authors but I really hope to score some more in the future. They don't have to be in a book, a piece of paper will be enough. I get all excited for those and I admit I often pick up the signed items I have to look at them. No, you're weird!

6. Bookish paraphernalia
I love collecting book-related items: cards, clothes, memorabilia from events... I store it all in a big box I have at home and I love going through it. I have tickets, photos, and even a tie and a wand. Stuff like that always makes me happy.

7. Book-related house decor
Posters, pillows, blankets, bed spreads, that sort of thing, all book related. You can never have enough of that! And so far, I have nothing, so I'll have to acquire some of it asap!

8. A bookish job
I haven't studied anything connected to books and literature, but as I will begin my employment search any day now, I'd love to get a job with books. That'd be one of the dreams come true.

9. A copy of my own book
Maybe, someday.

10. A bookish trip
This is not really an 'own' thing but you get to keep the memories so... I'd love to go around Potter places, ASoIaF places (like Ireland, Dubrovnik etc.), especially if the places actually exist. That'd be one hell of a trip, a sensory overload for sure!

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

Apr 13, 2014

London Book Fair recap - Part I

The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.

For 5 days in April I have been in London! You may have seen it on my Twitter account, as Leah and I have been tweeting the whole thing.

I was there from April 7-11 to attend London Book Fair, and it was absolutely amazing! But let's not get ahead of ourselves... While trying not to freak out and get lost in amazing memories, I'll try and recap the five highly eventful days in a few parts, along with some seminar summaries and pictures! I'll be sharing some of the content with Leah so make sure to check out her blog as well!

The fair covered authors, readers, business aspects (brands, licenses and more), gaming, film, TV, publishing industry, foreign markets and translations. It also hosted Market Focus Korea where Korea was in focus for business opportunities for UK in literary field.

My first pub! Prince of Wales near Earls Court.
(Photo by Leah)
Day 1
I left Slovenia at about 11 am, flying to Stansted Airport in London. I met Leah from Uncorked Thoughts for the first time ever a few hours later in Oxford Street. Heavy hugging and fangirling followed by immediate rush to Piccadilly Waterstones. Naturally! Hauling my suitcase around, I bought 3 books in my first 2 hours in the UK. I bought signed copy of Tigers in Red Weather, a copy of Half Bad (I have been wanting this one for ages) and Days of Blood and Starlight to finally have my own paper copies as well.

After returning the load to the hotel - which was really nice, and definitely better than the hole we've been to two years ago *shudder* - Leah took me to a Pub. My first one ever, yay! It was so interesting for me, I had my tourist eyes on the entire week! It's like I was living in a cave before!

All in all, it was a quiet but fun first day of London, meeting one of my best friends for the first time and having good food. We also made preparations for the fair the next day because we planned to see so many things!

Day 2 - LBF Day 1
First day of the Fair was very eventful. We went in early to sort out our badges, orient ourselves in the huge (absolutely enormous!) space that is Earls Court (we didn't master it by the last day...) and start our seminars.

There was so much to see and to go to I was having trouble processing it all. We were wandering around, our mouth hanging open, fingers pointing in a million directions. First thing we did was score some 'Books are my bag' bags to strut around with. We finally have those and are as cool as everyone else!

After finally getting our fill, we went in search of Author HQ (one small square of the fair for seminars) for our first seminar. It was 'Introduction to Publishing' with Sara O'Connor, Juliet Mushens, Julia Wisdom, Nic Bottomley and Fiona Marsh. We came early enough to score seats as well. All the seminars were full really fast so we usually went for them very early on so we had somewhere to sit.

The first seminar covered publishing in general, from pitching your novel to getting an agent, from cover design to launch parties and sales. They shared some great tips for writers and agents alike, and for publishers as well, and what really stayed in my head was how important the spine of the book is. Since the books won't always be in the windows and such, it's important your book stands out from the shelves as well. It was a very interesting first seminar that passed really quickly.

Stephen Baxter (left) and David Bradley (right) with
Terry's message on the screen beside them.
Next up was 'A Celebration of Terry Pratchett's Work' and Leah and I hurried over to English Pen Literary Salon to get first row seats, super excited to meet Terry despite not really knowing him too well. I must admit I only started one of his books ages ago but I am determined to read him in the future. Authors Forum has designated 8 April International Sir Terry Pratchett Day so there was celebration of that as well.

Sadly, we didn't get to meet Terry; his Alzheimer's is really advanced and his health had worsened so he had to pass on the fair. We did meet Stephen Baxter in his stead, the co-author of The Long Earth series he's writing together with Terry.

Stephen told David Bradley (the host) how he met Terry, and that Terry and himself do a lot of back an forth on their novels, each writing their own parts and then putting them together. Terry mostly writes funny parts while Stephen mostly writes the sci-fi parts, but Stephen did say some of the jokes are his as he is in fact funny himself. The talk was interesting and funny despite a few people's disappointment over Terry not being there. He did send a video message for visitors of LBF. After the talk, Stephen signed books, and visitors were also encouraged to go vote for the favorite Practhett's character. You can still cast votes here.

We were off to next two seminars immediately after. We were off to Conference Centre on the third floor (the venue is really really enormous, mind boggling!) for 'How to Get into Publishing' with Miriam Robinson, Lauren Ace, Anna Faherty and Ellie Pike, which was more for Leah than me. I just tagged along but I still found the lecture quite interesting. They talked about their careers and how they got to the point where they are now, which was interesting to hear about. A lot of them started really low, in like McDonald's even, so there's hope for all of us! I think more information on that will be available over at Leah's blog.

The other seminar was in the same room, and it was sort of an upgrade of the previous talk. It was 'How to Get Ahead in Publishing' with Stephanie Milner, James Long, Matt Haslum and Oli Munson. We didn't really find it as interesting as the previous one so we didn't stay for the Q & A that followed every talk. We left early to stroll around the fair some more.

We managed to score some ARCs then, at the Harlequin stall. They had a very nice arrangement of books, even Maria V. Synder and Julie Kagawa, but Leah and I both took a copy of The Good Girl each, and I also took a copy of Virgin. Thank you Harlequin for that! We also went to the platform above the main fair room and took some pictures of the room. It was only one part of it since there was Earls Court 1 and 2, the platform itself, and floors 2 and 3 with rooms for seminars as well.

After that we were off to find Foyles store in Soho. We kind of messed up the map study of where exactly the store is and where to get off, so we had to walk a really long time to get there, but it was worth it. The store was really big and they were really stacked, so we were browsing for absolute ages! I managed to score a book again - The Runes of the Earth. It sounded really intriguing so I picked it up.

Aren't we fancy?
(Photo by Vicky)
After a quick bite on foot we were off to meet Vicky from Books, Biscuits, and Tea. We talked before London we'll go to a Speakeasy event in Drink, Shop & Do near King's Cross where we met her. She's such a lovely person and it was so nice meeting her! Hope to see you again, Vicky!

We had a table reserved so we got seated right away. I got myself some tea and it was the proper one - a whole kettle of it! Ooft, I've never had so much tea in my life at once! After about an hour the even itself began. There were three readings by authors from their books and later some fun games followed. It was a fun and interesting evening spent in a really nice bar with great company. We returned to the hotel really tired, but happy tired.

Author reading at Speakeasy event
In short, the first day was a total blast! We had so much fun, we saw so many amazing things, met great people and heard some really interesting lectures. I was tired to the bone having my day so full of everything, but it was an amazing day. I was even more excited for more the next day!

More photos
(click to enlarge)

Apr 12, 2014

From the Shelves Reviews: Deception Point

Very exciting!

Apr 11, 2014

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday free Kindle e-books are

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