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It's Been Ages Since I Did A Giveaway

And I'm not doing one now, but Saundra Mitchell asked if she could, and of course I said yes absolutely! She also said smart things about boys and girls: about which I agree completely. a) A girl is not a machine you put kindness coins into until a relationship falls out and b) a girl is not responsible for a dude's feelings.

She puts it more stylishly, of course. She writes historical: she wouldn't say dude.

"Do you know what I've missed since coming here? Books. I do miss reading novels, don't you?"
-Zora, The Springsweet

Even though there are two guys and one girl in THE SPRINGSWEET, it doesn't feature a love triangle. Instead, what it features is—I'll be honest—my reaction to a weird pop culture insistence.

Namely, the insistence that if a guy really, really likes a girl, she's somehow obligated to be his girlfriend.

If he makes a crazy big grand gesture like, I don't know, watching you sleep every night, or watching your whole life through a telescope, or following you around with a boom box*, then obviously, that's true love and you must respond in kind.

Except, no. There are lots of perfectly great people, but the brilliance of being an individual with agency means you get to decide your own destiny. You're in charge of yourself and your feelings. Other people's persistence isn't currency. They don't get to buy your love with enough extraordinary acts of attention.

So, I haven't written a love triangle at all. (I'm not sure I could, they're pretty complicated to get right.) But I have (I hope!) written a young woman who has agency and who uses it. I think if she weren't stuck in 1891, Zora would get along splendidly with Mae, actually.

You can make up your own mind, though. Enter to win a copy of Sarah's THE DEMON'S LEXICON, and a signed set of Saundra's THE VESPERTINE and THE SPRINGSWEET. All you have to do is comment in this entry, and leave an e-mail address where we can contact you.

And tell us about your favorite book, too. Growing a TBR pile is the best gardening there is! This is the only stop on the blog tour that will be open to international entries.

A Companion to The Vespertine
by Saundra Mitchell
Hardcover & E-book
From Harcourt

“A high-quality, absorbing drama.”

– Kirkus Reviews, 02/01/12

* A boom box? Whoa, this IS historical fiction... - SRB


( 120 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 19th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
You can reach me anytime: elucreh AT gmail DOT com ; I must admit I'm very intrigued by the premise of ladies who make up their own minds, and I never turn down a (fourth? fifth? ...maybe sixth) copy of Sarah's books to hand out to all the literate people I know
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes please! ravelingv.unravelling@gmail.com - a girl finally getting to say no to the Nice Guy sounds great.
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Please count me in facecat_1@yahoo.com - Thanx!

I don't have a fave book & the one I just finished reading is SciFi.
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
I am going to send that kindness coin quote to my neice, non-historical or not. I wish I'd known that earlier in my life! Such truth! Maybe I should send her some books that illustrate it, too :) naiadkitty at gmail
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
Absolutely adore Saundra's other books, so: Want want want. twistedlilstar@gmail.com
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
Oooooh, count me in! lochnessasaur at gmail. Also I can't pick a favorite book, I'll..I'LL TRY TO DECIDE AND GET BACK TO THIS.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, I hear good things about that one. ;)
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
I've gotten so tired of love triangles, because usually it's just the two guys fighting over the girl like she's a piece of meat, without even caring what she thinks. So gross.

I'd love to enter, you can reach me at prollabee_a_wallabee@hotmail.com

As for favourite books...aside from The Demon's Lexicon? ;)
One of my favourites is Into The Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville. A girl and her grandmother get chased through a church, grandmother tells the girl to jump off the roof...she does. But wakes up in a different world. Also featuring a teenage unicorn with an attitude problem, and scary conspiracy things with unicorns. And unicorns!

Another of my favourites, Animist by Eve Forward. A school of people trained to connect with the minds of animals, a boy who accidentally binds his mind to that of a rat. Boy accidentally does terrible things and tries to set them right.
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
Love triangles are like most other writing things for me: terrible when done badly, awesome when done terribly. But I've never been able to write one I think of as a proper love triangle yet. So. One day!
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
I could not agree more and would love to be entered in. My e-mail is drabsalom@gmail.com and a favorite book is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. There is a movie, but I wouldn't recommend seeing it (ever) because I think it misunderstands the most important part of the book and the reason it always banished my nightmares when I read it under the covers as a child - Ella saves herself.
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
I looooooooove that book. I fangirled all over Gail Carson Levine when I met her. Em-barrassing!
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
Oh man, spork.of.fire at gmail dot com.

Recs, recs, recs...um...The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, was extremely good. Couldn't put it down.
Apr. 19th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
Ladies with minds of their own, huzzah! I must thank you for the recommendations; my TBR pile is slowly piling up and I'm delighted.

My favorite book of all time is Little Women, with wonderfully flawed Jo determined to blunder her way through life on her own terms, thank you very much, Teddy! While I ruthlessly ship Jo/Laurie, I admire her strength in standing her ground, even when it would have been so easy to just say yes.

Also, yay to international entries! Thanks for remembering the fans in far-flung areas, very much appreciated indeed. charisma3377@hotmail.com

Apr. 19th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
I would love to say that The Demon's Lexicon trilogy is my favorite book, but that would be pandering.

So assuming that what you're asking is my favorite book OTHER than by the authors in question... Just about anything by Peter Beagle. The Last Unicorn is an obvious choice, but I recently got to fall in love with Folk of the Air again, plus who could forget Tamsin?

Try me at fey queen mab @ yahoo dot com (remove the spaces, of course.)

Edited at 2012-04-19 03:50 pm (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
Saundra Mitchell is soooo smart, wants all her books (ditto for SRB). An ultimate favourite book is so hard to choose, so I'll just pick one I loved very much - 'Liar' by Justine Larbalestier. Soooo good! My e-mail is bakerjodie at googlemail dot com .
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Two books I always like to encourage people to add to their TBR piles are Jeri Smith-Ready's "Wicked Game" (first in her WVMP series- I know it's vampires but it is so good, and the characters are complex and flawed and get called on their BS and are not teenagers!) and Lynn Flewelling's "Bone Doll's Twin" (first of a YA fantasy trilogy that is awesome... the romance in this trilogy is very understated but is one of my favorites, and the world-building is awesome).
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hey, I love vampires. AND Jeri Smith-Ready. And Bone Doll's Twin, too--you have excellent taste.
(no subject) - igrab - Apr. 19th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Apr. 19th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 19th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, man; favorite books, favorite books.... too many to list! Just re-read "Sorcery and Cecelia" and the two following books, because they are awesome and I adore them, and especially with the first one, you can just see these two fantastically skilled authors writing back and forth and building this world as they do it-- it was originally just the two of them playing the Letter Game, not thinking, "Hey, we are writing a book!" so there are all these terrific moments where they are sort of volleying ideas to each other, back and forth.

Also, those statements about boys and girls are SO VERY TRUE. And useful to have on hand when needed!

ETA: Gah, bother: janedrew@hotmail.com

ETAA: Patricia Wrede, Caroline Stevermeyer, Regency England with magic, in case you are wondering-- real fore-runner for the "fantasy with manners" sub-genre.

Edited at 2012-04-19 05:49 pm (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
This! Thank you! There's actually been a discussion of sorts on this topic on imgur recently... about how the 'friend zone' is a really awful, terrible concept because it promotes exactly that idea - that if a girl doesn't want to go out with her nice-guy best friend because he's an amazing friend and that means something to her - that that's somehow bad and that she should give him her body in exchange for all that kindness. No, damnit! That is not how these things work!

Also, it's relieving to see a two-guys one-girl setup without a love triangle. They're so difficult and I always just end up wanting all three of them to love each other, together.

On the other hand... I've recently had an incredibly moving realization about someone who's loved me for years and years and years and only just now have I been able to realize that it's okay to be loved, and that I might actually love them in return. I felt so guilty for the longest time because I felt like our friendship was unfair when I knew it was unbalanced. Thing was, that friend loved me for me - no expectations on her part. And I think, that's an okay dynamic too. For a guy (or girl obviously but we're speaking of the guy→girl pressuring affection trend) to love a girl and express that and support her... in ways that are non-creepy, actually supportive, and without expectations of sexual/romantic favors. And maybe she gets won over, maybe she appreciates that, maybe she can't return his affection but doesn't belittle him for having feelings. As long as he doesn't act like his feelings give her an obligation.

Now that I think about it, one very excellent example of that is in a video game. Final Fantasy IX, the unsung masterpiece. The main character, Zidane, is a thief and a ladies' man and a flirt - but when he meets Garnet, he basically drops everything to help her cause (big save the world type thing). And he doesn't flirt with anyone else, stops when she says stop, just simply makes it clear that he thinks she's beautiful from the inside out no matter what. He never tries to force anything on her, he's just... himself, which is a funny, smart, deeply caring guy (who, yes, thinks girls as fantastic and belongs to a gang of thieves). And eventually - after quite a long time and many heartrending worldending adventures - he comes back to her and she welcomes him with open arms and tears in her eyes. (And then punches him in the chest because he was gone. To which he laughs.) I think they've always been one of my favorite models of a beautiful relationship.

And, uh, aside from that game as a recommendation...

I'm going to have to go with the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale, which I usually rec for a number of other reasons, but in this case it's because the author takes the mold of a typical love triangle relationship - and absolutely crushes it, grinds it up, and spits out something far more complicated and amazing and real. The sporty girl Bobby kisses within the first chapter, as he tells this to his nerdy best friend, is not the girl he eventually comes to love. And the sporty girl, instead of fading to the background, goes on to be a kickass character in her own right, along with the nerdy best friend, they have adventures of their own and she has agency and learns the difference between puppy crush and actually liking someone. And Bobby meets another girl and another guy, who are never even hinted at having a thing even though they are friends, it's about Bobby falling for the new girl and making a new amazing friend just because they are all cool people who save the world.

Seriously, I can't rec Pendragon enough, it's one of those kids' series that just. Stops being a kids series at about book two leaving nothing but amazing amazing awesome jawdropping pageturning wonderfulness. Also, unrelated to this discussion? Best villain in any story, book or other media, I've ever encountered. I swear.


And, right. raduysia[@]gmail[dot]com.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
I'd be thrilled to get to read these two books, methinks I'll have to pick up a copy of them in any case! But just to try my luck, I can be reached at chelle_scerri at yahoo dot ca

And choosing one favourite book is so hard! But whenever I'm asked this I always go back to Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. I always love her fantasy, but this is fantasy happening at a fantasy convention and she just expressed so well in it why some people need fantasy so desperately in their lives, how it makes all the difference sometimes, and I love the contrast in it of how fantasy readers have still learnt how to ground themselves in reality to the point where when actual fantasy takes place around them they end up rationalizing it. I'm not too good at describing what it is the book does but it just kind of resonated with me when I read it.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
Diana Wynne Jones. *weeps* She did everything so amazingly.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh sorry and also, a book with an amazing female lead with agency and independence and so much passionate badassery? Soulless, by Gail Carriger, first of the Parasol Protectorate.

Actually, now that I think about it it has the same kind of sharp, quirky humor that TDL has. I really hope you've read this already, because if you haven't, you need to.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
I have: Gail Carriger and I have the same agent (Kristin Nelson). An agent of taste. ;)
(no subject) - igrab - Apr. 19th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I love this entry so much. I have so many guy friends that I keep trying to explain this to. I may be stealing the line about kindness coins.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I should clarify: not that all my dudefriends are jumping up and down for my love, I just watch them make the same mistakes with different girls all the time. I am not that egotistical.

...About this.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I am so keen! My email is clare.vanboh@gmail.com

My favourite book atm is probably Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. Lots of awesome female characters but no love triangle at ALL because our MC is actually a lesbian, which, while obviously important to her, makes very little difference to the plot at all. And she is STRONG and FAST and (literally) FEARLESS but she's still written as a real person with real flaws who feels real pain.

It's just spectacularly awesome in general.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Namely, the insistence that if a guy really, really likes a girl, she's somehow obligated to be his girlfriend.

That drives me absolutely bloody crazy. And leads to a lot of writing friendship-centric things.

(Though in Lloyd Dobler's defense with the boom box thing, she didn't actually not want to be his girlfriend in the first place; she really liked him but her dad didn't...)

Oh, right. As long as I am commenting anyway, may as well pretend I might win a thing. ;) My favourite book remains The Grey King, in which Wales is basically a character. Or two characters. Though if anyone has not yet read Diane Duane's Young Wizards books, they most definitely should, as they are my favourite sort of 'it does not matter if the characters are boys are girls and also they are all good friends'. Relevant to this discussion quote:

"You do have the idea of being 'just good friends?'"

He gave her a sidewise look. "For so high and honorable an estate," Roshaun said, "'just' seems a poor modifier to choose."

It's aeluratrix at gmail. :)

Edited at 2012-04-19 04:34 pm (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Although to be fair, even though Sloane wanted to be Lloyd's girlfriend, she HAD told him to go away. Whether that was her heart or her intellect doesn't really matter. This doesn't mean I didn't love the movie, though. And I love the snot out of In Your Eyes and I ALWAYS WILL. John Cusack too. And Joan for that matter. /pinesforthefjords /the80s
(no subject) - ashkitty - Apr. 19th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed The Springsweet very much, largely on account of the massive amounts of agency the ladies have (plural! ladies! with agency!), and also partly because of its dialogue with the Little House books (much-needed).

My favorite book of the moment is Above by Leah Bobet. Monsters! Storytelling! Gender and sexuality politics! Gorgeous, atmospheric voice. I've heard some people complain about the language, but I found it very intuitive; it put me into the story, rather than jolting me out of it. There are not enough words in the world for how much I love it.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
I do love monsters and storytelling. ;) Noted! And yes indeed on Springsweet.
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
So my favorites of everything tend to be super, like, ephemeral and quixotic, or at least they change a lot (<--is too lazy to look up those words to make sure they are the correct ones). Right now, and probably right up until Unspoken comes out, my favorite book is John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. He's said he's spent years trying to write this book, and it shows in how well-crafted it is... but it's not just that. TFIOS is a sweet, funny, sad, emotionally and metaphorically resonant book about two kids with cancer. (Specifically about kids with cancer, not just about cancer.)

I don't cry about fiction. I didn't cry at His Dark Materials or Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress or The Last Unicorn or The Time-Traveller's Wife or anything, ever, that wasn't actually a part of my own life. I finished TFIOS and (having not moved for a good several hours) got up to go to the bathroom, and then just sat there for like half an hour sobbing. What I'm trying to illustrate here is that TFIOS is a sad book but that's not all it is; it's incredibly hopeful and resonant and relevant for anybody who is ever going to die, and anybody who wants their life to have meaning. It's... peaceful. It's just amazing. I don't even know how to tell you how brilliant this book is.

Also, it is a book written by a guy who regularly says this: "The Venn diagram of 'boys who don't like smart girls' and 'boys you don't want to date' is a CIRCLE." So that's pretty awesome.


Email address: draconia underscore chan at yahoo dot com
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Curse that John Green, showin' me up at every turn. ..
(no subject) - lap_otter - Apr. 19th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
I love that observation about girls: not a mechanism that dispenses affection.

sign me up for a giveaway, thank you! dancingcrowdesigns at gmail dot com
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
Welcome to my house where new books are always welcome! =)

wiredwizard42 at gmail dot com
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