WonderCon Day Three Highlights-All About Writing

Hello friends :)

Happy Easter, information pills if you celebrate it, or if not, Happy Bunny Appreciation Day! Hope you guys all had a WONDERFUL Sunday!

Today was the last day of WonderCon :( Sad Face! Its always kind of a bittersweet ending, the last day of con. On one hand, you’re exhausted, your feet are killing you and you just to get some GOOD sleep. On the other hand, you’ve had a GREAT weekend and you never want it to end because you know the next con isn’t for awhile.

Friday was all about Harry Potter and promoting the 21 and over Harry Potter group that I’m part of, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, and promoting our event that’s taking place April 13th, the second annual Harry Potter Roller Skating Night! You can read all about that here.

Yesterday was all about being a Shadowhunter, while I attended the City of Bones panel, where they premiered the first FULL LENGTH trailer of City of Bones, which hits theaters August 23rd. The trailer is slated to premiere tomorrow, on iTunes, and I will do my best to post it on here as soon as I know. I was also granted a rare opportunity to have a personalized meet and greet with Cassandra Clare, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins and Kevin Zegers. Read all about it here, complete with PICTURES.

Today was alllll about writing.

We all know I want to be a writer…well, lets rephrase that. I AM a writer, but I would like to make it my actual career. I write this blog as MUCH as I can, and I have two novels for the Kindle and I’m dabbling with a third. Writing is very important to me, especially in the young adult area.

Today there was a panel titled ” Capacity for the Fantastic: Writing for Teens and Tweens”.

To make description matters easier, this is straight from the program: “Given their flexibility and ability to embrace the fantastic and wondrous, what can’t one write about for middle graders and up? LeAnna Herrera of Mysterious Galaxy bookstore queries the limits with authors Jenn Reese (Above World, Mirage), Jessica Brody (Unremembered), James Morris (Skybound), Nancy Holder (Wolf Spring Chronicles), Cecil Castellucci (The Year of the Beasts) and Greg Van Eekhout (The Boy at the End of the World).”

I immediately saw this and was like YES! Love it! I love getting writing advice, and hearing from other authors. This is what inspired the section of my blog, where I collect writing advice.

And it was a TRULY great panel. Check out some pictures below.

authors

From left to right: Nancy, James, Cecil, LeAnna, Jessica, Jenn and Greg.

authors right side

authors left side

Since young adult/new adult is the sort of genre I focus on, it was definitely the perfect panel to attend. They all had great advice and great insight on how writing for these age groups can be. Jenn and Greg write for mostly middle grade, and pointed out that it was a fun thing to be able to open up things for the age groups that are really starting to discover the world outside of home. Greg pointed out that it was fun to write science fiction for middle grade because you could be so straight forward with it.

The young adult authors like Jessica, Nancy and Cecil were super awesome as well. They really pointed out how the variety of what they can write has really stretched, how we can have contemporary and science fiction and fantasy or all three at once. They also expressed that there doesn’t seem to be limitations on the subject matter and how books are so open nowadays.

They also gave great advice on writing, and to keep pushing it. A member of the audience asked about balancing writing with, well, life and they all just sort of agreed that you just have to write. Even if its just 100 words a day, like Greg said, or a couple hours, like Jessica said, the point is to just write! And a great, quotable piece of advice from Jessica, “Don’t be afraid to write badly. When you write crap, crap makes really good fertilizer”. I chuckled a bit at this one but its true. I think I spend a lot of time wondering if what I’m writing is GOOD, when I should just be straight out WRITING.

Then, a pleasant surprise, Cecil Castellucci was holding a writing workshop on Heroes and Villains immediately after and I HAD to go. I couldn’t stay the entire time but I got a lot from it.

cecil writing

I think that writing a character, a defining character that people remember is difficult at times but Cecil came up with a good sort of outline on how to do it. Basically, a main character, a good one will have the same five things that Superman has:

1. Super Power (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a SUPER power)
2. Something that he/she loves
3. a Weakness, which can often times be connected to #2
4. An enemy
5. A Secret Hiding Place (which can get metaphorical)

It was SUPER interesting, and really helpful and I was glad I was able to attend that for a little bit, because I always love getting me some writing advice!

I also got the chance to personally meet Jessica Brody afterwards, at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (I totally wish their stores were closer to me!). She was super sweet, and signed a book plate for me to put in her book, Unremembered. I’m reading it on Kindle but now I must buy a copy to put my bookplate in!

jessica brody

We talked about her book a bit, and about writing and of course, I told her I was trying to be a writer. The best part was her response: “Don’t try to be a writer, just be one.” It was a VERY great piece of advice.

I also picked up a book by James Morris, one of the other panelists. The book is called Skybound, and its the first in his planned trilogy, The Three Kingdoms trilogy. I purchased it while checking out the Mysterious Galaxy booth, and picked myself up an autographed copy while I was at it.

james morris

Now the other authors’ books all sounded really super interesting as well, but I think I went for this book because of two reasons. One, I do like the premise of the book. The earth is split into three kingdoms: the sky, the surface and the ocean. The main character lives in the run down, and terrible surface kingdom and wants to escape to the sky kingdom, and kind of gets involved in a war, and of course, finds himself more important that he would have ever thought. I can’t wait to read it. However, I also picked it up because I admire James a lot. He’s 18 years old, a high school senior AND self-published. I really admire young people, like me (though there’s a 7 year difference), that write and really pursue it. And I find it extremely admirable and impressive that its self published and he’s been getting noticed. He’s going to be appearing at an event in San Diego in May, I believe, and he’s going to have a booth at Comic Con so DEFINITELY check it out.

*     *     *

All in all, a great day and a great weekend at WonderCon. It was my first time at this convention and I hope its not my last. I know that it’ll probably make its way back to San Francisco next year but I’m happy to travel to San Fran for this convention. It could be a nice little mini vacation.

I hope that all of you who were able to attend WonderCon had just as much of a blast as I did and I was super excited to meet all the new people that I did, and hand out my blog calling cards!

Watch out for posts on the new Doctor Who episode, Game of Thrones and more this week!

Book of the Week: Clockwork Princess

Its been a really good month to be a Cassandra Clare fan, there especially in my boat.

First, recipe we had the release of the much anticipated final chapter in the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Princess, which incidentally this blog post is about.

Then Cassie went on a CP2 tour, mostly West Coast dates, one of which includes this weekend’s WonderCon, where she will appear with Lily Collins (Clary Fray), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace Wayland) and Kevin Zegers (Alec Lightwood) and the first official theatrical trailer appears. The trailer is slated to premiere on Monday for those who are unable to catch it at WonderCon, though there isn’t really an exact time.

Also, this last weekend, Cassandra Clare talked about the plans she has for the future when it comes to the Shadowhunter chronicles. As of right now, we have our Infernal Devices, which takes place during the late 1870s, and it is finished. The Mortal Instruments takes place in the more recent years, 2007 to 2009ish? The next series to be written is the Dark Artifices, which will follow the story of Emma Carstairs in Los Angeles, about five years after the events that take place in the last Mortal Instruments book, City of Heavenly Fire.

Well, she’s revealed that there will be TWO more Shadowhunter trilogies. The first one will take place in 1903, with the children of the Infernal Devices series as the protaganists. Clare has give us the acronym for the series, TLH, but that is as far as its gotten. There’s an outline to the series, the characters are going to be in the 16 to 17 years old range and we don’t really know when they will be released.

Also, there’s an additional fifth series that will eventually come out. It has no title, no name, NOTHING. We know that it will take place three years after the ending of the Dark Artifices series but that’s about it.

So its been a good week to be a Shadowhunter (I’ve always wondered what fans of Cassie were called and she said last Friday that she thinks of us as Shadowhunters, so there we go), and since I’ve read Clockwork Princess THREE times since it’s come out, I’m ready to discuss it in my blog

So this week’s book of the week:

Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead. Don’t read if you haven’t read this book yet, I’d hate to have to ruin it for you.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 

-Clockwork-Princess-official-book-cover-cassandra-clare-31431560-1266-1920

Genre:
young adult, fantasy, steampunk, historical, romance

Part of a Series?:
The third and last installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy

You May Like if You Like: 
The Mortal Instruments series, Tithe by Holly Black, The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

Plot Summary:

Its all been sort of leading up to this last installment. Tessa Gray is still struggling to figure out who she is, or better yet, what she is. It has been hinted that she definitely has part demon in her, though her brother claimed in Prince that she was half Shadowhunter. Tessa is engaged to Jem Carstairs, but is also in love with his parabatai, William Herondale, and of course, they both love her back. Charlotte, the head of the London Institute and sort of mother to all these people, is pregnant. Cecily Herondale, Will’s sister that he hasn’t seen in YEARS, has appeared on the doorstep of the Institute, ready to train as a Shadowhunter. The evil Magister is preparing for his revenge. The Lightwood boys, Gabriel and GIdeon, are suddenly helping out the Insitute, especially after we learned their father had demon pox. Everything comes to a catalyst here: the love triangles, the mysteries, the relationships that could be, Jem’s sickness, and everything gets solved, in good and bad ways.

The Bad:

I had something for the bad part. I did. But after I read the book a second time, and then again, for the third time, I really realized that it isn’t bad, and I really understand what happened, and why she did it.

I would say I thought it was a little bit cheesy that everyone kind of ended up together: Cecily and Gabriel, Henry and Charlotte, Gideon and Sophie, it was all pretty and wrapped up with a bow haha but I honestly didn’t mind it that much.

But I had an issue, at first, with the way Cassandra wrapped up the Tessa-Jem-Will triangle. Jem decides to become a Silent Brother, to avoid dying from his sickness. This prevents him from being able to marry so he breaks off his engagement to Tessa. Tessa and Will end up together, they eventually get married, have children and grandchildren. Of course, Tessa is immortal (and confirmed to be half-demon and half-Shadowhunter) so she outlives Will, and they talk about his death and its horrible and heartbreaking.

When Jem becomes a Silent Brother, he makes a pact with Tessa, to meet her once a year on Blackfriar’s Bridge, so that they can see each other, if only for a short while. The epilogue takes place in Tessa’s mind, where she explains her life with Will, and his death, while waiting to meet Jem, as Brother Zachariah, in 2008. When they go to meet up though, Jem is normal again, more normal than he was before, his original coloring coming back. Tessa and Jem end the book, finding their way together. I had a HUGE issue with it. Whether I’m Team Will or Team Jem, I didn’t think it was right that Tessa got both of them. It seemed too much a cookie cutter ending, an ending to please the fans. However, after reading it twice more, I really get it and I will now discuss it in the “good” section.

The Good:

Tessa marries William Herondale, they get to live together and have children together, all the way until Will’s old age in 1937, and then Tessa and Jem find their way back to each other in 2008. I really didn’t like this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I broke it down, the more I really understood and the more I liked AND the more I realized that…its one of the most realistic endings I’ve ever read.

Let’s face it, we don’t love one person in our lifetime and its rare if we do. And its okay if we love more than one person in our lifetime. We lose people, we move on, we fall in and out of love. This is normal. We have different degrees of love, we have the same degrees of love but we love in different ways.

Tessa loved both Will and Jem, in equal but different ways. She was able to love Will, spend his life with him, have children and travel and do wonderful things with him. She experienced so much with him, including the journey that she took to find out who she is. She also took this journey with Jem, and she truly loved and cared about Jem. Seventy years after the death of her husband, Jem is able to live again. Now, at first I thought that was a little too good to be true but its been over a century since he became a Silent Brother and I believe that a cure for his affliction could be discovered. And it only makes logical sense that they’d find their way back to each other.

This was hard for me to understand and accept at first, but I did realize it, and I love that Cassie made that point. Most authors make the point, in a love triangle, that the girl (or boy, in rare cases) has to make a choice but Cassie makes the point that…there isn’t a choice. Sure, in real life, we can’t make someone wait while we love someone else but we are able to love more than one person in their lifetime. The circumstances in this book are obviously different because of immortality and all that. But she makes a great point, a point I haven’t seen made in a book in a long time, and I really enjoyed it. The last time I saw something like this was in the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce.

I love that Cecily Herondale is able to come into Will’s life. Now that Will is aware his curse isn’t real, and he can love freely, its still really hard for him to show it and I think Cecily coming in really helps him to become the person that he truly is and that is has been hiding for all these years. I love that Cecily also has an effect on Gabriel Lightwood, who still has a loyalty to his father, despite what his father has done that is against Shadowhunter law. I love that she comes to the Institute to bring Will back home but she stays because she loves training to be a Shadowhunter.

The ending of the Will and Jem friendship was absolutely heartbreaking. They had a wonderful friendship, a brotherhood. They were parabatai, a pair of warriors linked together for life and that makes them closer than blood. This is the first time that we see parabatai separated. We know that Luke and Valentine were separated in TMI but we don’t get it. We obviously don’t get it in the parabatai relationship of Jace and Alec. When Jem becomes a Silent Brother, and the way it effects Will…its just heartbreaking. The end of a friendship is one of the hardest things to deal with it, even worse than losing a relationship and it hurt that Jem and Will did not get to grow old together.

I also liked the way the story ended with the Magister. We find out that Tessa is half demon and half Shadowhunter, and that she was created for a purpose, to become the Magister’s father, in her shape shifting abilities, to find out how to harness demons into the clockwork army that the Magister has created. He does this and creates an almost impossible army to beat. The fact that an angel, angel Ithuriel (from City of Glass, yes), has been protecting her in her clockwork angel necklace her entire life was surprising and awesome, and the fact that she used the angel to defeat the Magister, was also surprising and awesome.

Oher awesome things: Charlotte having her baby, and becoming the Consul for the Shadowhunters, Sophie Collins Ascending and becoming a Shadowhunter, Magnus Bane just being badass, and loving and caring, and a friend to Tessa through all the years, Jessamine kind of redeeming herself from Prince.

Rating:

Five out of five Stars. Easily. Great ending to the trilogy and worth the wait.

Recommended or Not?: 

Yes. Definitely. Easily. Obviously you should read the Clockwork Angel and Prince first but I recommend it. Its a great book and a great ending to the series. Secrets are revealed, questions are answered. We find out the secret of the Clockwork Angel, and that Will Herondale really does have a tattoo (ON HIS BUTT!). We find out how the Herondales get their little star scars, that Jace Herondale and the rest of them all have. Its a great ending, worth the wait, and a book that I will always remember.

*      *      *      *      *

Don’t forget! You have until April 1st to enter to win an autographed copy of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

photo-1

I met Cassie a week ago, and had her sign my extra copy of Clockwork Princess for the fans! Its free to enter and you can enter here! Good luck!

*      *      *     *     *

What did you think of Clockwork Princess? As always, share below in the comments!