Smart Chicks Kick Some Answers

I was super lucky to get to interview Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr about the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour. Some great answers here I hope you guys are going to some of the dates. If you are let me know in the comments what venue and signing you will be at!

Smart Chicks has an awesome website full of a ridiculous amount of information. If you need to know what venue, what time, or even why all this came about click the image and check out the website.

Credit: John Marr

Melissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.

Visit Melissa on the web and on Twitter.

Credit: Curtis Lantinga

I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. My earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce “normal” stories failed. Today, I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon.

Visit Kelley on the web and on Twitter.

Pam:Where did you get the name for the tour?

Melissa:I had to look at the old email for that one, actually! In August 09
during the preliminary planning, I sent an email to Kelley & Alyson in
August that (among other things) says, “We need a name.” Kelley pulled
our ideas together and suggested “Smart Chicks Kick It” and succinctly
summarized that we were focusing on books about “Strong heroines, smart
heroines, capable heroines…real girls with real strengths, not
necessarily out there kicking butt, but able to handle themselves in
tough situations.”

Kelley:Yes, I vaguely recall coming up with that one. Also, if I’m right, I
wanted “Smart Chicks Kick Ass” but knew that would pose a small problem
for booksellers putting up event posters!

Pam:How many years have you been going?

Melissa:This is the first Smart Chicks tour. We started planning a year ago;
the tour is in September.

Kelley:Yes, it’s the first. As Melissa said, we did start planning very
early, but that was the only way we could get commitments from so many
authors. We had to make sure they could blackout those dates before
their publishers started arranging their own tours!

Pam:What city are you most looking forward to on the tour?

Melissa:I’m a travel addict, so they all look great to me. However, I’m
probably most excited about Jackson because it’s the only one I haven’t visited already.

Kelley:Toronto! As a Canadian, I really wanted to make sure we had a
Canadian stop. We usually get overlooked on book tours. It wasn’t easy
keeping this one either–the first store we had arranged with closed at
Christmas.

Pam:Why do different dates have different authors?

Melissa:The tour is a large, author-funded, attempt to get a lot of busy
authors with crazy schedules together. As a result, we needed to mix
and match. Doing so enabled us to include more authors and more cities.
Despite that, we still didn’t get to include all of the authors we
wanted to. The YA market is so filled with amazing authors that we could
have doubled our final plans (which are already double the initial
plan!) and still not fit everyone we want to invite.

Kelley:Ditto. We really wanted to feature as many authors as we could.
Even at six per stop, though, we’re pushing it for store space (most
have to be held at an off-site venue) so they only way we could get more
was to mix-and-match. And as Melissa says, we still had a wish-list of
authors we’d have liked to invite.

Pam:Why did you design a tour featuring fantastic female writers?

Melissa:Actually, we weren’t aiming to only have female authors. We were
looking at the characters in the books, not the writers! Hopefully, if
we continue, we’ll be adding male authors (& other female authors) to
future line-ups. Why a “smart chicks” focus? I’m a mother & a feminist
who taught gender studies and lit. Celebrating smart chicks simply makes
good sense to me.

Kelley:Yes, the “female authors” focus definitely wasn’t intentional. It’s
a result of paranormal YA fiction skewing very heavily toward female
writers. We need more male writers in this genre!

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Seriespalooza and me!

seriespalooza

Michelle over at Galleysmith.com is having a fun challenge this week. Seriespalooza is well pretty much what the awesome title states it is. For this week (and this week only buahaha) you read only series books. I know all of us have at least one series we are following so I say to thee bring it on!

I will be reading from these series:

  • Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden Series.
  • Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe Series.
  • Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning Series
  • More to come I am sure I can finish these and more in this week.

So what are you reading this week? Sookie Stackhouse? House of Night? Let us know!

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Review: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

I discovered Kelley Armstrong about two years ago. I picked up a copy of a book from her “Women of the Otherworld” series and really enjoyed it. So when I heard Kelley was working on a new trilogy well I had to pick up “The Summoning”. This book was quite a lot different from what I have previously read from Armstrong. It was meant more for a teen audience, when I am used to reading her adult series. It was a bit over simplified even for a teen plot. The book took a while to get going, the main character was a bit too self conscious and not confident to the point you got annoyed and if Chloe Saunders was in front of you, you would probably slap her and scream at her to stop being such a baby. The character whines a lot for a character who is constantly showing how tough, and out of the box thinking she is supposed to be.

The plot was super slow through two thirds of the book and it gave me the feeling the ending was rushed, the plot unties itself in the last small bit of the book and I felt it moved too fast after the first part of the book dragged on so slowly. I felt the book ended in a weird way. Like ending in the middle of a chapter, not ending a story. I understand the first book of a trilogy needs to end open, but this was like WAY OUT IN LEFT FIELD open. Like middle of a conversation open. I was really disappointed in the ending. When something ends like that, I really don’t want to read the second book, its apparently really not worth my time if it is going to upset me and if I don’t like the writing style.

All that being said, the book does have three stars for a reason. The book flowed together well. Armstrong understands the supernatural world like no one else. When she fits several genres of supernatural together it doesn’t ever feel meshed or complicated. It just fits. The Lyle House where the supernaturals are being held on the pretense of mental illness was described well. You feel like you are also inside the walls of the house while you are reading.

If you are a fan of Armstrong or really like teen supernatural books, like Meyers or Bray have written then I suggest you pick up a copy of The Summoning. You may really like the character of Chloe and her friends. I did think the supporting characters of the book were awesome. Simon and his foster brother Derek are especially well developed and also are supernaturals. So yeah go ahead and read it. I am hoping on my personal feelings of Armstrong’s previous works that the second book coming soon is going to tie all this together for me and not end in such an open way. I think the Darkest Powers series is worth a chance.

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