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I am a Lying Liar who Lies

It occurs to me that I said I was not giving away any books in June, and yet have already stolen from one of my friends in order to give away a vampire anthology in return for pictures of Demon's Lexicon!

And a rule worth breaking is a rule worth jumping up and down on repeatedly.

Advance Reader's Copies make me generally happy, because they are books, and they come to me early, and I love them. But then I find myself getting edgy, because - what did I do to deserve lovely, lovely early free books? Should I not support authors by buying them?

Therefore, I came up with a solution! Give away Advance Readers' Copies, therefore both forcing myself to buy my own copies and doing a Good Deed.

So this lying liar who lies is giving away Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, two chilly treats upon a summer's day.

The fact I have an ARC of Shiver is almost miraculous.

Maggie Stiefvater asked me if I'd like an advance copy of her first book Lament, I said 'OHMIGOSH yes' and the copy arrived: it was before bound ARCs had been made, and so super special. I was delighted to get it! I decided to take an afternoon off and go to the park.

Oh, SELF. How many years have you lived in Ireland?

There I was, lying on my stomach in the grass happily falling for a minor character, when of course the heavens opened and wind and rain pelted down in my direction. The pages went flying and I shrieked my head off and grabbed at them wildly.

Picture this:

A PARK: weather stormy
A GIRL (shrieking and running around searching for papers): LAMENT! LAMENT!
SPECTATORS: We realise that this is unfortunate, but we were not actually expecting her to scream in mourning.

I went home and wept into half a soggy manuscript, both saddened not to have more of James the Beloved Minor Character and because I was now convinced Maggie Stiefvater would hate me.

MY FRIENDS: Just tell her what happened.
SARAH: TELL HER THAT THE BOOK BLEW AWAY? Nobody will believe that!
SARAH: So... uh... Maggie... not sure how to tell you this but uh... the book blew away?
MAGGIE: Huh. I would not normally believe this, but it is a totally ridiculous thing to happen, and since it's you, your story does check out.
SARAH: Ridiculous things happen to me daily, it's true.
MAGGIE: Hey, you want an ARC of Shiver?
SARAH: Ohmigosh yes.
MAGGIE: And you won't let it...
MAGGIE: Just read it indoors, that's all I'm sayin'.

Mostly with books I'm giving away, they're already out, and I figure, well, I'll put spoilers under a cut, and people who click instead of going out and buying the book want to be spoiled! But it is not actually possible to buy these books, so I thought I would go with a different method of talking about them: focusing on the details about them I found cool and unusual! And thus saving people who cannot wait from themselves. And also dwelling fondly on the things that don't get much attention in reviews.

So all right, Shiver in overview: A Girl. A Werewolf. It is Fate!

I may have already mentioned Minor Character James in Lament, because he was my favourite! Now I have Strong Views on minor characters. I like them. I want to like them: I want them to have full lives outside the protagonists, to have all sorts of things going on besides the protagonists, I want them to be believable and often I want them to be awesome.

In some most excellent books, the supporting characters are my favourites: Felicity Worthington from Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty (the aristocratic blonde in a feisty redhead's novel), Stefan from Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series (the Scooby Doo van-driving vampire in a werewolf-filled world) and Valefor from Ysabeau Wilce's Flora Segunda books (soul-stealing gender-bending butler in a feisty redhead's novel).

My favourite from Shiver is Isabel 'Did That Werewolf Just Eat My Chihuahua OH HELL NO' Culpepper. You may have seen such blondes as Isabel as Regina in Mean Girls and Sharpay in High School Musical.

... Or you may currently be judging me for my movie-watching habits, and that's fair.

I have always liked mean blond people myself. I'm not sure why: probably Colin from The Secret Garden ruined me at an early age. So I approved of Isabel from the get-go. But like all minor characters should, Isabel has a lot going on besides being that girl you didn't like at school: she's smart, she's brave, she's sensible, she's the planner, and she has lots of sisterly devotion. I'm such a sucker for familial relationships. It may be an even bigger weakness than the mean blond people.

The mystery of how I got Ice is less mysterious.

SARAH: Gosh I hear you're editing Ice gosh I sure do love fairytales gosh I sure do love Beauty and the Beast gosh I sure do love-
EDITOR: If I send you Ice, will you be quiet?
SARAH: ... I make no promises.

Ice in overview: A Girl. A Giant Magical Polar Bear. It is Fate!

Something I have Views on besides minor characters is the heroine's life. Namely, she has to have one besides the hero. (And obviously, you know, vice versa, fair's fair. I do not personally demand that my boyfriends spend their time crafting shrines to me in all my glory as I read, rock out to country music and construct elaborate theories about long-past historical events.)

Cassie lives on a research station in the Arctic. She tracks polar bears all by herself, she wants to do undergrad science courses remotely so she doesn't have to leave the station, and she has a T-shirt that says 'ALASKA - WHERE MEN ARE MEN AND WOMEN WIN THE IDITAROD.'

I believed in Cassie's passions and hobbies, and that made me invest in her as a person and in her romance. Another writer who does this marvellously is Robin McKinley: she did baking in her vampire novel Sunshine and beekeeping in her high fantasy Chalice, and I looove it. Though it does mean that there exists in this world a vampire novel which makes me totally ravenous.

There is naturally a lot more to both Shiver and Ice than Isabel and the Arctic, but you will have to read them to find out! Hands up who wants one of them - two winners will be picked randomly, and announced later this week, possibly when I put up a short story in accordance with My Big Idea, if that works out!

And of course, I would love it if you talked in the comments about minor characters you have loved, and heroes and heroines with fascinating hobbies.


( 268 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, no - the book blew away?! How awful for you at the time and yet extremely amusing to read about. :)

I am always interested in reading the books you talk about - I have bought one or two because of your recommendation, since it is quite hard to get my hands on them in our libraries. I would totally love to be counted in the draw for one of these two. :)

Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
My favorite minor character of all time is Jerott Blythe, from the Lymond books. He's a priest! A defrocked priest! He's judgemental about Lymond sleeping with other boys! He marries Lymond's practically identical sister!

...I went to Catholic school for many years, and it screwed me up big time!
I'd love a free book, too.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
The Lymond books gave good minor characters: my very favourite from those books was Lymond's older brother Richard. Oh, Richard. Your mental younger brother pretended to have an affair with your wife! He let you beat the hell out of him for the sheer angsty joy of it! And your furious wee heart was still too good to do anything but stop short and pick up the crazy-baby-brother pieces. *dreamy sigh* Oh Richard, why were you not a bigger part in the later books? Who cares about that Francis chap, you are the brother for me!
(no subject) - darkveela7 - Jun. 22nd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
*raises hand* Me! Me! Me!

I would *love* an arc of either of these, particularly Shiver. Having read Lament, and lusted after major and minor character alike, I just adore Maggie's writing :)

Plus, my icon is a book AND a heart, and I think I should get points for that :p
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Ooh, these sound fabulous! *sticks her hand up and waves it around like the world's biggest teacher's pet*
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty keen on all those things also: Heroines with lives and hobbies & minor characters who are people! Fantastic! *jazz hands from Australia*

I just finished reading A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper. It was published last year here in Australia. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone.

It has tiny Island kingdoms going to ruin! Sisters! Cousins! Mad Kings! Practical heroines who aren't redheads! Library hideouts! Secret tunnels and crypts! Unexpected!Nazis! (It is set in 1936 and they aren't totally random!)! ENDLESS HOUSEHOLD CHORES! *delight*

I was utterly charmed. :)

Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
I would love to be in the draw.

I'm waiting for Chalice to come out in paperback. I own all of Robin McKinley's other works, and I want that one... but Hardcover books are expensive, especially since now they are import books for me. So I'm waiting and hoping that it comes out soon...

My favorite minor character... Hmmm.... It would have Forrest from Tara K Harper's Cat series. He ends up being the love interest to the main character and really, he's not really in most of the book. And yet I have a deep abiding love for him. I want more written about him. XD
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
There are many minor characters that I have adored, but the first to come to mind is Kitty Hall from E.M. Forster's Maurice. While everyone fawns over her brother Maurice, she's the only one who doesn't step down from giving him lip over his sometimes insufferable arrogance. Even their neighbor, Dr. Barry, recognizes her as the only one in the family with some grit.

Anyway, I'm always up for an opportunity of finding more characters to love, so count me in on the raffle.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Who could not love James? Miss Zombie Ryan keeps taunting me with Ballad! I would totally make out with James.

... It is possible I would also make out with Isabel.

Remind me to tell you sometime of The Many Horrible Adventures I Had with Leviathan ARCs. Hurricanes aren't in it!
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea - Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
I have to run to work, but I just wanted to mention that my mum has the "Women Win The Iditerod" sweatshirt, from back when it first came out. It is black with pink lettering and made of sheer awesome.

Will talk about minor character love later!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
*raises hand* ^_^ As for favorite minor characters... I have many, but I tend to go for misunderstood villians or henchmen more than mean blonds. :) I always want to know how they turned away from the "good side." Was it a lust for power or money, something they had to do to protect someone they cared about, or were they just bored one day and thought, "Well, why not?" When authors include some backstory about *how* the antagonist became to be so, it makes me a very happy reader. ^_^

Also, Ice sounds a bit like The Polar Bear King which I loved when I was younger, but have not seen for many years. Have you ever heard of it?
Jun. 22nd, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
I just thought of a good one: Mummy Fortuna from The Last Unicorn. She is awesome but we never get to learn much about her. :(
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
I'd love to stick my name in the pot.

I find I have a tendency to always fall for the minor characters, I think it is because your imagination can run away with itself wondering what exactly they got up to whilst the here/heroine was off saving the world.

What caused their hair to get so windswept?
Why are they crying?
How between Chapter 2 and 4 did they get that HUGE Scar?

But I am strange so that may just be me
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Both of those books sound very good, and I've added more books to my library list just based on your description of the secondary characters.

I love capable female side characters, but I try to not get too attached, because a capable secondary woman is most likely going to die to provide a bit of angst, or end up being useless so the main character can show off his superiority. Now that I think of it, perhaps I'm just reading the wrong books.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
See only you. Other people you wouldn't believe, you, it's completely plausible.

Oh Picked up your book in Sainsbury's because a) I saw it, had promised it to myself when I saw it and also b) they were offering it at £5!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Dude, Sainsbury's? That is so cool! I was always in there buying fizzy wine when I lived in England As a responsible YA author I never drink, but it is a fine establishment!
(no subject) - wyvernfriend - Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
Ooh, please enter me in the drawing!

I loved all the minor characters in Buffy - as much as I liked Buffy herself, the minor characters were always the most fun, especially Giles and Anya.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
I would love to have my name in the drawing. I feel I deserve to be in a drawing for books because I am not allowed to buy yours. I realize that it's probably very nice for you that you're always selling out the hardcover stock at my local bookstores, but could you please chill out on being so incredibly awesome long enough for me to get my hands on a copy? :(!

And I would tell you about my favorite minor characters except I got two hours of sleep and now need to go to work and I cannot remember a single book I have read EVER.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I shall cross my fingers that there will be a single copy lying around for you to grab soon, and pop your name in the drawing. ;)
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( 268 comments — Leave a comment )


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