Ten Authors I first Encountered in 2015 // also, last week to enter the SS contest!

Before we get started I would like to remind you all that the deadline for the SEA Scribblers short story contest is December the 12th. If you haven’t entered yet then what are you waiting for?! Amazing prizes, epic photo prompts, a smallish word-count — what’s not to love? *bribes all the talented Writer Humans with chocolate chips* Oh! And you should totes remind/tell all your friends about it too. Go forth and write!

Actually read the post first. Then go forth and conquer the blank page.

The theme for this Tuesday is Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I read for the First Time in 2015.

16052012

1. Kate DiCamillo.

I was first introduced to the magical writing of DiCamillo by my friend Amanda. She read Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and squealed over it and begged me to get it out of the library and read it. I devoured that book in a few hours. It was sweet, unexpectedly moving, and had a refreshing, childlike uniqueness about it. Plus, some of the scenes are done in adorable comics and interspersed throughout the book. And seriously, how could you go wrong with a squirrel who types poetry and flies at impromptu moments? Not to mention the children. THE CHILDREN. Ack. I love them so much.

I also did a read-along with Amanda of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was beautiful.

23734176

2. Suzannah Rowntree.

Right now, I’m reading Pendragon’s Heir and delighting in Rowntree’s writing all over again, but the first book of hers that I read was The Rakshasa’s Bride, which is a novella re-telling of Beauty and the Beast set in ancient India (the book is actually available for free when you sign up for her newsletter.) You all know how much I adore Beauty and the Beast and I fell head-over-heels for the richness and beauty of Suzannah Rowntree’s writing. I like pretty wordage (who doesn’t?) and I especially love how she weaves in the description and character emotions and interactions, and historical detail so effortlessly — the talent, people! O.O Her books are like cake to me, but better because I never feel like I’ve devoured too much. tho if you think about it, who feels like that about actual cake anyways.

25674742

3. Ashlee Willis.

I’ll be honest, I did not expect to love this lady’s writing as much as I do now. I hadn’t heard much about her around the blog-sphere or Goodreads, but I was curious when I learned she was publishing a darker re-telling of Cinderella. It sounded like one of those stories that lingers long in a reader’s mind once you’ve finished it — the kind you mull over several cups of coffee with. And those are my favorite sorts of books.

I read A Wish Made of Glass and it hit so much closer to home than I ever imagined it would. Reading it helped heal a part of me I didn’t even realize was aching, and this book is so precious to me now. Also Willis’ style is immersive and quietly beautiful. I’m always recommending her to people. Speaking of which, READ THE BOOK MY FRIENDS. Annie has spoken.

“Her words are fire and I am only a fluttering moth.”

4. Austin Kleon.

Allow me to tell you a thing. I have a particular bookworm quirk: I do not dog-ear. Ever. To me dog-earing a book is akin to tearing a page out. It is simply not done. This is why bookmarks exist, no?

So it might give you a decent idea how much I like Steal Like An Artist when I tell you that there are so many inspiring gems in it I have actually started to dog-ear the book. And not just once, but multiple times. I can not believe I just admitted that. What’s next? Flattening out book spines? *cringes*

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”
Austin Kleon

18047809

5. Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Technically I shouldn’t include Stengl since I read the first book in Tales of Goldstone Wood after Christmas last year, but I read the rest of the eight books this year so I’m mentioning her anyways.

This lady is one of the most talented and incredible authors whose work I’ve ever read. And when I say that I mean it wholeheartedly. I love her books to the point where I actually spent all my Christmas money on the first four and bought the next five as soon as I was able to (and I hardly ever buy books for myself.)

If you love fantasy, if you crave rich world-building and lifelike characters, if stories with depth and beauty and emotion and heart-stirring moments call your name, if you like pretty writing, if you want to be swept up into a magical, vivid world and never be able to escape again…

Read Stengl’s books.

Then come and tell me all about it.

monster21

(I’m using one of the author’s graphics because I’m not keen on the book cover.)

6. Mirriam Neal.

I’ve been following this young woman’s blog for years now and she has been one of the most inspiring writers in my life. So I finally bought Monster in September. Sweet T.A.R.D.I.S of Gallifrey, it was every bit as heart-wrenching and beautiful and deep and unforgettable as I expected it to be. Mir broke my heart and I don’t think I’ll ever recover. pretty sure I have no wish to.

Neal is an author to watch out for, humans.

And she just recently landed a publishing contract for her fantasy Paper Crowns so excuse me WHILE I FLAIL AND TOSS GLITTER AND PAPER STARS EVERYWHERE.

img_8673

7. Gaston Leroux.

I thought this book would be beautiful and dramatic and mysterious and sad and riveting.

It was.

Go you, Leroux.

*cries over Eric forever*

174852

8. G.K. Chesterton.

Other than Sherlock Holmes and certain Agatha Christie books, my favorite mysteries are now the Father Brown books. Not every mystery is a murder, they generally have some very simple yet eerie twist, not every mystery is solved, and the villain doesn’t always get caught — it’s like Chesterton read my wishlist. And Father Brown is so adorable. I want to pat him on the head and give him peppermints.

I started The Man Who Knew Too Much and by the end of the book I had (metaphorically) flung it across the room and (literally) cried. In the best way possible, it messed with my brain and emotions and it is a genuine favorite.

Chesterton is very wise with an eccentric way of expressing his thoughts. He also nearly always hits the nail on the head. Also, more pretty writing, y’all.

“The thousand arms of the forest were grey, and its million fingers silver.”
― G.K. Chesterton

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
― G.K. Chesterton

8590002

9. Rosemary Sutcliff.

Her characters captured my heart almost at once, but what I really, really love is how sharply gorgeous her writing is — the sort that makes your breath catch from the wonder of it.

I feel as though there is a theme about pretty wordplay in this post….

19839391

10. P.G. Wodehouse.

Ahhhh, Wodehouse. I love thee well. ^_^

I shall just leave you with my mini reviews for Leave It To Psmith and The Code of the Woosters.

Carry on, lovelies!

In which I answer my Party tag + Emily’s blog launch tag

  

Well, today is an exciting day! I get to answer two taggy things, not just my own Curious Wren questions. 
My lovely friend Emily just launched her blog, The Hero Singer, exactly a week ago. She’s a charming girl, and I did Camp NaNo with her in July which was heaps of fun. Make sure you drop by her bloggy home, and say “Hi!” I know she’d be delighted. 

Alrighty, time for tag fun. *gleeful grin*

The Hero Singer party questionlings:

1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee and tea! I like drinking my coffee black, or with honey and hot milk — café au lait, to be precise. Peppermint and citrus teas are my favorite. Chai tea is amazing too. 

2. Rainy days or sunny days?

I am a pluviophile all the way. There’s something so deliciously cozy and inspiring about a good, misty, dim rainfall or a crashing thunderstorm. 

3. What is one food you couldn’t live without?

I am going to be completely unoriginal and truthful and say, pizza. Also, chocolate. And taco salad.

4. Give three words that describe you.

Lively. Loquacious. Imaginative. 

5. What would you do if you had a free hour and could do anything you wanted to?

Anything at all? I think I would either go for a long four-wheeler ride again, or a flight in a small plane. I miss both very much. Or a long, long walk by myself in a woods. 

Oh! CLIFF JUMPING. Someday I will do that. 

6. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

I have so many I don’t know how I could choose just one, so I’ll go with two instead. 

-The Lord of the Rings extended edition is brilliantly done (I could go on about it for multiple paragraphs, but I won’t). It captures the essence and epic story so well, the characters are splendid, and the changes are few enough that they don’t irk me too much. Plus, the score is amazing — if you haven’t heard it before, go listen to it ASAP.

-BBC Bleak House. In a word, perfection. 

7. If there was one location from a book you could go to, where would it be?

I’ll skip the obvious answer (Middle-earth) and say the worlds of Goldstone Wood (Tales of Goldstone Wood). That would be pretty incredible, methinks. And I would love to drop into the world of steampunk and smog and winding streets in my current WIP. It would be majorly helpful. O.o 

8. If you could meet one character from a book, who would it be?

Definition of torture? This is it. 

These are by no means conclusive, but I’d love to spend an entire day with Jane from Jane of Lantern Hill. I think we would get along well. And as for the guys? Having a chat with Mir from Monster would be amazing and eye-opening, and I know I’d be in tears (I cried just reading the book, for goodness sakes).

9. If you could ask one author of the past a question, who would it be? What would you ask?

I want to know just exactly how Elizabeth Gaskell planned on ending Wives and Daughters. Can you imagine reading a few really sweet scenes between Molly and You Know Who? *fangirls*

 10. If you could change one event you didn’t like in a book, what would it be?

A certain woman dies in Bleak House. I wish I could give her a happily-ever-after.

  

Curious Wren party questionlings:

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I loved the humor, the wit and the characters, but I’d be leery of recommending it. Lots of swearing basically, and there’s an undercurrent of rebellion that’s throwing me of. Still sorting my thoughts, actually. 

2. Describe the perfect reading spot.

A window seat piled with comfy cushions sounds amazing. Preferably with either rain or snow falling outside, and hot chocolate on hand. But I think there would be something magical about curling up in a huge armchair in a room stuffed with books. The soft glow of reading lamps, a hushed atmosphere… the thought-ambiance makes my heart sing. 

3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?

As much as I enjoy tea and cold coffee, for reading I would choose hot chocolate. It’s such a cozy drink and always gives me colly-wobbles of happiness.

Readers’ tears are saved for special occasions. I keep them in a Certain Flask in a Certain Cupboard of my old, old home. 

4. Share favorite quotes from four books.

(I know I said four quotes, but this is my tag. I AM ALLOWED TO CHEAT. *maniacal laughter*)

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities”

~~~

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King

~~~

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

~~~

“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. “And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain. […] “Good morning!” he said at last. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.

“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

~~~

“This won’t do, my Jane. You must know the stars. Not that I blame you for not being well acquainted with them. Humanity in its great lighted cities is shut out from the stars. And even the country folk are too used to them to realize their wonder. Emerson says something somewhere about how marvelous a spectacle we should deem them if we saw them only once in a thousand years.”

So, with dad’s field-glasses, they went star hunting on moonless nights and Jane became learned in lore of far-off suns.

 “What star shall we visit to-night, Janelet? Antares…Fomalhaut…Sirius?”

Jane loved it. It was so wonderful to sit out on the hills with dad in the dark and the beautiful aloneness while the great worlds swung above them in their appointed courses. Polaris, Arcturus, Vega, Capella, Altair… she knew them all. She knew where to look for Cassiopeia enthroned on her jewelled chair, for the Milk Dipper upside down in the clear south-west, for the great Eagle flying endlessly across the Milky Way, for the golden sickle that reaped some harvest of heaven.” — L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

~~~

“And what will they do to you when you have told them this story?’ 

Esca said very simply, ‘They will kill me.’ 

‘I am sorry, but I do not think much of that plan.’ Marcus said.” — Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth

~~~

“It was what her mother had always been. A place to put down her heart. A resting stop to recover her breath. A set of stars and maps.” — Katharine Rundell, Rooftoppers

~~~

“Summer, and he watches his children’s heart break. Autumn again and Boo’s children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” — Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?

-probably most everybody knows how much I love The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, so I’ll leave that out and say Shadow Hand (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #6) instead. It speaks to me in many ways.

-Monster (Mirriam Neil) probably doesn’t count as an actual dystopia, but I’ll pretend it does for the sake of the tag. (don’t tell on me!) This story is good, folks. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

-Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Magical, humorous, endearing, and surprisingly feels-destroying.

-Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. The science is stellar, the charries heart-gripping, the plot and action fantastic, and the ending makes me cry every. single. time. 

-I have too many favorite classics so I’ll list five that pop into my mind instead. Jane Eyre, Bleak House, The Horse and his Boy, An Old-fashioned Girl, and North and South.

6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.

I’m not currently at home, but running through my bookshelves in my mind, I’d say C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?

I like there to be clearly defined boundaries. For instance, if the magic is from a creator or inherent gifts, etc, I don’t mind that. But if it’s witchcrafty or from demons, I don’t want to read about it unless it’s a villain and there’s very little detail given. I won’t read a book with good wizards (no, Gandalf wasn’t a wizard, lovelies), or good witches, or with main charries using magic for dark purposes unless they realize their wrongdoing and change — character development and all that. Fairytale magic doesn’t usually bother me. 

8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.

Here are a few that thrill my sense of aesthetics. (Bear in mind that other than Golden Daughter, Cinder, and The Secret Garden I have no clue if these books are any good; I simply adore the covers.)

  
  
  
  
  
  
  

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.

For some bizarre reason it’s Chakkas from Halo: Primordium. His storyline is heartbreaking. From inquisitive young man, to trapped on a hellish, dying Halo, to insanity, to life as an automated guardian monitor of sorts who forgets he was even human except on rare occasions. And he loses his best friend, peoples! *sobs* I would never recommend Primordium because it’s evolutionary and depressing and bleak, but the ENDING. Anyone have a tissue?

10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?

I like people to love the books I love,  so if the person in particular is someone I know will take good care of it, and I can badger them if they’ve had it for months then I’d lend the book out. Not any antique copies though. Not the precious, old books. 

Tomorrow morning I will be announcing the winner of the giveaway!! Excitement much?

(all images via Pinterest)