Unbound (All Good Things #1) Available on Amazon/Smashwords/Unknown (All Good Things #2) coming soon.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mine, Yours, and Ours

One of the first year university courses I took was Lit 101. I sat in an overcrowded, soft-seat theatre that had been converted into a student lecture hall, clipboard balanced on my knees, sweating in my winter coat, listening to my prof speak about selected topics in English literature. I remember almost nothing else about that course except that I was completely blown away by the fact that I had been given permission to interpret a story, in whatever way I liked. All through high school, I had laboured under the delusion that there was one right way to understand plot and theme. That my job was to try to figure out what the author was trying to say. Imagine my surprise when I found out that although anyone could debate the merits of one interpretation over the over, it was truly up to me to figure out what a story meant. Like a literary Rorschach, I could make whatever pictures I wanted to, and ultimately, no one could say I was wrong. It was liberating.

If you're a lover of YA, you will not have missed the release of Allegiant this month and the kerfuffle (that's a literary term) over the ending. I haven't read Allegiant yet, and so have no idea what the ending might be, but it sure seems to have gotten under the skin of some Divergent Trilogy fans. It also seems to have sparked debate about readers' expectations and the author's responsibility to meet them. As a reader, I can understand and relate to the intense disappointment that results from a beloved character dying, or a storyline that veers in an unexpected and unwanted direction. Who hasn't shaken their fist and yelled "No!" at the pages, or wanted to toss a book across the room when things go south (really, just me?)? But as a writer, the prospect of writing to please people scares the pants off of me. As soon as someone else's expectations are introduced, I'm blocked. That's not to say I don't try to please people when I write - of course I do. But trying to please everyone will result in a storyline that is as bland as the food they serve on airplanes. Instead, I write the stories I like to read and hope that others will, too. I think the answer, if there is one, is that both author and reader own the story and neither has any claim to the real estate on the other side. Don't like the ending? No problem. Review, rant, and rave. It's your right. And authors? Don't answer to us. Write your version of the story. Keep things spicy, and surprising, and yes, even disappointing.

Friday, 25 October 2013

10 Random Thoughts: TVD edition

This is totally self-indulgent so please forgive me. Instead of a full TVD recap, I've decided to begin a 10 Random Thoughts feature that sums up my reactions to the latest The Vampire Diaries (TVD) episode. If you're not TVD fan, feel free to just move along. Nothing to see here.

The Vampire Diaries Episode 5.04

1. Awesome car crash scene with Stefan and Damon. I like amnesia Stefan. He's way cooler.
2. Damon is bugging me in this episode.
3. I love that Mystic Falls has all of these made up traditions that involve alcohol.
4. Um, Elena? You have a boyfriend. What the hell are you doing?
5. Seriously, I like Stefan more than ever right now (but don't worry, not with Elena).
6. Sometimes I really, really like Caroline. And I totally buy her and Stefan as best friends.
7. Am I the only one who really doesn't care that Bonnie is dead?
8. Elena really does a good ugly cry.
9. Why does Tyler look like he's been starving for weeks? Has he been struck mute?
10. Another evil professor? Must be Thursday.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Jack and Diane

I sense a theme emerging.

I fall in love with fictional characters easily. And typically without good judgement. I get so swept up in a good romance that, at the end of a book, I find myself liking characters and couples that I'd likely hate if I met them on the street. But there are some couples that really, really work. Even after the book is over. Couples that make you believe in honest-to-goodness-head-over-heels romance. When I began Unbound, one of my goals was to create a couple that I could fall in love with. I think Eaden and Rachel embody some of what I find so appealing in other twosomes (and I hope you do too). Below is my list of favourite couples, drawn from books, movies, and television. Let me know who would be on your list.

1. Claire and Jamie - Outlander
When I read Outlander for the first time, I could not get enough of these two. I loved how feisty Clare was and how their relationship unfolded. No insta-love in this relationship. I also liked how brawny and gruff Jamie was, and at the same time, how he could be so loyal to his family and those he cared for. I liked how you could like him, even though he was a d-ck sometimes.

2. Henry and Claire - The Time Traveller's Wife
Have I mentioned how much I loved this book? Like really, a lot. The last time I was in Chicago I walked around the city imagining I was Clare, trying to find Henry. Something about their relationship was so genuine, perhaps because they knew so many parts of the other person, over time. Their whole darn relationship made me swoon.

3. Buffy and Angel - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Back before DVR and Tivo and apple TV there was this thing called VHS. And I would lose my sh*t if my VHS did not properly record Buffy, because even if I was home to watch the latest episode, I needed to rewind many times to savour my favourite Buffy moments. And most of them, right up until the bitter end, had to do with Angel. It was all about the angst.

4. Angela and Jordan Catalano (because you have to say both his first and last name, every time) - My So Called Life
Oh, Angela. I could so relate to her awkwardness and uncertainty about who she was, or wanted to be, as well as her all consuming obsession with Jordan Catalano. That was me. Exactly. And the guy, just as much of a loser. And I loved him still.

5. Romeo and Juliet - Romeo and  Juliet.
My first real experience with Shakespeare was reading Romeo and Juliet. I think it set the stage for my love affair with tragedy (also see #4). And both versions of the movie (Zeffirelli and Lurhman) reduced me to a snotty, blubbering mess.

6. Veronica and and Logan Echolls - Veronica Mars
I came late to the Veronica Mars party, but damn, I love her. And him. Which is awesome because I never saw it coming. I hated Logan Echolls for most of season one, and then one day I realized I didn't hate him quite as much. And then, just like Veronica, I started to see him in a different, very exciting, way. And together, they were hot. Their break up never rang true to me. I'm hoping the movie addresses this.

7. Damon and Elena - The Vampire Diaries
If you are a TVD fan, you already know. Chemistry, baby. They have it in spades. Pretty sure they are the world's hottest fictional couple.

8. Arwen and Aragorn - LOTR
I read LOTR for the first time at a very young age. Before I really understood what romance was, or why anyone would  care. But I still remember my heart pounding during Arwen and Aragorn's few scenes together. The idea that destiny and responsibility could so control a relationship overwhelmed my formative mind. It's just seemed so epic (also see #6 for best use of this word).

9. Penryn and Raffe - Angelfall
My newest, most favourite couple. Penryn rocks. She kicks ass in so many ways I just can't count them. And although Raffe is playing his cards close to his chest, you just know he's so into her. And I can see all the qualities I love beginning to emerge in their relationship (integrity, passion, loyalty). Can't wait for The World After!

10. Edward and Bella - Twilight
I know. I hate myself, okay? But if I'm truly honest and ignore that part of me that wants to completely dissociate myself from Twihards, I did love Bella and Edward. Before the movies, before Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and the media sh-t storm that surrounded them, I loved them. There, I said it. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

How Do I Love Thee?

If you're going to follow this blog, you should know, up front - I like romance. I usually follow this up with a statement that goes something like "but, not, like, bad romance, you know...good romance." But as I spend more time thinking about the genre, I realize I'm not doing romance any favours with that explanation. That by qualifying my love for romance, what I'm really doing is acknowledging that I think the genre is less than. Less than other genres, less valuable, less worthy of my time. Trivial or frivolous. Or juvenile. And that's simply not true. Because almost every book I have ever truly loved has ultimately been about...well, love. And romance. Even if it never found its way to the romance section of the book store. Regardless of how brilliant the other story lines or plot devices, good old fashioned sexual tension, infatuation, and animal magnetism reel me in and keep me there. And unrequited love? Gets me every time. When done well, a romance leaves me as breathless as the main characters, my oxytocin levels rising in sync with the protagonists, my world shrunk down to the basics of breath and blood. As a vehicle for personal growth, value exploration, and naval gazing (my specialty), romance is unparalleled.  In the words of e.e. cummings, "Unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense."

My Revised Top 10 Romance List (Old and New) 

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
2. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
5. Easy by Tamara Webber
6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
7. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
8. Lover Eternal by JR Ward
10. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
4. One Day by David Nicholls

What are your favourites? 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Cover Art

I'm so excited to share the work of the very talented Andy Patrick, who has helped bring my ideas for Unbound to life in these covers. I'm still not sure which one I'll choose, but am thrilled to have such a great choice to make. Which is your favourite?

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Vampire Apologist

Hello, my name is Georgia Bell and I like vampires.

I used to be able to say this without a blush. Without feeling as if I just outed myself as a lunatic or a sad, lonely loser who has nothing but her Twilight novels to keep her company. Vampires used to be cool. And scary. Now, I feel like mentioning my love of pop culture vampirism is something that I would only tell people once they get to know me. And won't judge me. What happened to vampires?

I can trace my attraction to the long toothed undead right back to 1979 when my mother and I were living at my aunt's for a few weeks. Pretending to do my homework, I was both terrified and mesmerized by a television miniseries they were watching about vampires. Nightmares ensue. Flash forward to 1985. My best friend and I go to the movies with her older sister. Not wanting to act like the kid I was, I pretend that Fright Night was a great choice. Nightmares ensue. For weeks. But I was hooked.

And how could I not be? The sex, the angst, the immorality, the cravings for blood. Essential ingredients for great storytelling, no? So many creative, talented people have done vampires right (Bella Lagosi, Anne Rice, Joss Whedon, Charlene Harris and my girl crush Julie Plec, to name only a few), but in one fell Stephenie Meyers sized swoop, the coolness has been sucked right out of the genre. Or perhaps Meyers is blameless and instead the Twihards and Twimoms (ugh) that took to the streets in droves to proclaim their undying love for Edward and Bella should bear my wrath. Regardless, I'm now much more discreet about my love of this genre, quietly rejoicing in finding the Jeaniene Frost Night Huntress series this past summer, or secretly anticipating the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries. I'll bide my time, until the Twihards are forgotten, and sparkly vampires, like acid wash jeans, are a punch line to a joke that hardly anyone remembers.