Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review of "Fang of Fenrir" from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!

The Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers blog posted a lovely review for "Fang of Fenrir" last week. Thank you, Gina, for the wonderful review! She sums up the story beautifully and I am more than humbled and flattered.
Take a look at the review, plus all the other fun book reviews on this blog! There are book giveaways and lots of other goodies to be found!

http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com/2015/03/fantasy-friday-with-scholar-sphinx-and.html

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Author TweetChat on March 19 #askARCook

So who wants to join me for a TweetChat tomorrow, March 19, at 8:30 p.m. EST? We can talk books, writing, or just come say hi! Couple of pointers if you've never done Tweetchat before:
1. First, you'll need a Twitter account. If you don't have one, it's harmless and free to set up at twitter.com.
2. Go to Tweetchat.com
3. Enter the hashtag ‪#‎askARCook‬ on the main page and click GO.
4. You'll be asked to login to your Twitter account.
Then you'll be taken to the chat, and you can start tweeting me questions. It's that simple! Please share this with your friends; the more the merrier!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thank You to Moore Middle School!

A big, big thank you to Moore Middle School's students for being such an attentive audience on March 12 during my author visit! What a great group of kids! And thank you to Giselle Martinez for helping me to arrange the visit. Video of my talk to come soon!

Monday, March 9, 2015

So What's Coming Up...

Got a couple of events coming up...in case you haven't checked out the new author website (as you should! Go to http://scholarandsphinx.wix.com/arcook before you do any other single solitary thing!) here's what's on the plate for the month of March:

Author School Visit to Moore Middle School
March 12 @ 10:00 am
Moore Middle School 
1221 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Author School Visit to Gainesville Middle School
March 19 @ 11:00 am
Gainesville Middle School
1581 Community Way, Gainesville, GA 30501

Looking forward to talking to the students and sharing a little bit about mythology, stories, writing, and creativity. Should be fun!

And in the next week or so, I'll be doing a chat on Twitter, so here's your chance to ask me anything you want: about writing, about upcoming conventions, about lasagna, about narwhals, about Five Nights at Freddy's game theories (because everyone has one, apparently)...

I would love to chat with you, so stay tuned for the time and date!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Legend of Zelda Netflix series? And they need writers?? Show me how!

I'm not normally one to do this kind of thing. I realize the odds of me even asking in any way, shape or social-media format and actually finding an answer is astronomical...

Some of you may have heard by now that Netflix is in the development stages of creating a "Legend of Zelda" live-action television series...a family-friendly "Games of Thrones," if you will: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/08/entertainment/zelda-netflix/

If this will even come to fruition is a big question. Nintendo is extremely protective of their property, and I have a hard time seeing them let this happen in the hands of Netflix. The past attempt to create a Legend of Zelda TV show (remember that 80's cartoon paired up with the Super Mario Brothers Super Show? You don't? "Well excuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!") remains a strike against trying to resurrect the video game franchise as a show, and the abysmal "Super Mario Brothers" movie from that same decade nearly put a nail in the coffin for video game-turned-film adaptations (among many others).

Also, what more or new can be done with the "good guy saves princess from evil monster/wizard/insert-your-baddie-here" genre? And how to you build an entire series around a main character who, in none of the video games, has ever spoken a word? (Maybe Link will be good at charades...)

But now the reason I'm writing this in the first place. Because this project is still so early in development, Netflix is still looking for writers for the show. So...how does one offer their services for this?

I know, I know...there are a million raving, foaming-at-the-mouth Zelda fanatics who will be pouncing all over this opportunity, people who have played every Zelda game, read every conspiracy theory, dissected every plot-line and plot-hole and so on. There are people who live, eat and breathe this franchise. More importantly, there are more than enough writers out there in California, and I'm sure Netflix already has a list of their own writers they are sorting through.

But this is a fantasy writer's dream come true. It feels weird and a bit narcissistic to stand up and shout, "Hey! Perfect writer for you, right here!" but thanks to my husband, I am pretty well-versed on the Legend of Zelda universe (he's played just about every game in the franchise, and I've watched him) but I'm not such a crazy unyielding Zelda literalist that I wouldn't be willing to try and take it in a fresh, unique direction, while remaining faithful to the source material. I have three fantasy novels (the 3rd will be out in November 2015) as well as several fantasy short stories under my belt, and I've got a TV screenplay in the works...so how's about giving this dreamer a chance?

Netflix, if you just so happen to be Googling and by some act of God comes across this, check out my work and drop me a line. The fans are all abuzz with excitement, and we could make the next big television epic. Sometimes what you need may come from the most unlikely place, and sometimes it just takes a leap of faith and imagination.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thank You All for a Successful Book Launch!

On Thursday, Jan. 22, Brenau University hosted my book launch for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Fang of Fenrir." It was a spectacular night, sold lots of books and everyone had a great time. We even got a few young girls from the community who are aspiring writers and wanted to learn more. I commend them and anyone who wishes to pursue their dreams of writing.

Thank you to David Morrison, Danielle Miller (who helped me make everything so nice and pretty), David Cook and Nick Dentamaro (who took pictures), Aramark for catering, and all who attended for making it such a special evening.

Also, please visit my new author website at http://scholarandsphinx.wix.com/arcook! It has lots more updated information, included upcoming events, book purchase links, reviews and more!





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What I Learned about Young Adult Romance Novels (and their Fans)

*This post was originally written for the Mithras Books website for their blog, but for some reason isn't showing up on there, so I decided to post it here.

I had a unique experience this past September 2014 during Labor Day weekend when I attended Atlanta’s DragonCon, the largest science fiction/fantasy convention on the East Coast, to participate in an author panel. The panel was called “Kissing Optional: Does YA Need Romance?” My views on this question going into the panel did a 180 degree turn after concluding the event.
When you think of the most prominent YA series in the past decade—TwilightDivergentThe Hunger Games—one cannot imagine these stories without their romantic plot-points. Given that these books are directed at an age group where romance is a budding sensation, replacing the childhood “ew, cooties” view that most have prior to middle and high school, my belief going into this panel was, “if you write a YA novel without romance in it, good luck getting anyone to read it.”
On the one hand, it’s been said that every story is, or has elements of, a love story. It’s almost unavoidable especially if you have both male and female characters of similar ages as protagonists. But as I sat on the author panel aside Delilah S. Dawson (author of the Blud series), Shaun Hutchinson (author of The Deathday Letter and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley), and DragonCon moderators Lil Watson and Alexa Donne, the audience proved to not only have a different standing on the topic, but they guided me to a different outlook on YA romance.
For one, while most YA books have a touch of the romantic, many stories have it as a background element while there is a greater conflict at the center of the plot. This is particularly true of “genre” novels (i.e. science fiction, paranormal, dystopian, etc.) where the protagonists have an action-driven plot as opposed to a “slice-of-life” story (teenagers in a realistic setting that deal more with exploring their emotions than saving the world). So while romance may be present, it doesn’t have to be what sets the story in motion or drives the plot.
But are there popular YA novels where romance is absent entirely? Again, you may have to dig around in the “genre” category to find them, but novels such as The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Protectors of the Small series by Tamora Pierce, and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott were all mentioned by the audience, all wildly popular books that don’t need romance to captivate young readers.
Then the audience took the discussion into a completely other area entirely: the presence of homosexual, asexual, and pansexual relationships in YA. The question, ultimately, is why these orientations aren’t more widely represented in young adult fiction, as these orientations are increasingly becoming accepted by society. I hated to point out the marketing reasons most likely responsible for its under-representation—while there is a reading audience for it, as the people at my panel clearly proved, it is simply a smaller group than what publishers prefer to mass-market to demographically—but it did raise an interesting point and time will tell if there will be more sexual-orientation diversity in YA books in the future.
Yes, young adult fiction can be popular, even award worthy, without romance. There is no need for authors to follow a formula to mimic what made other YA books hit the bestsellers list, but it still must speak to young readers and provide characters and obstacles with which they can identify. It will be up to readers as well as authors and publishers what trends persist and what bold new risks are taken with YA books, both in terms of romance and the treatment of character genders/sexual orientation  overall.