Sunday, May 30, 2010

Of Covers and Craft Projects: A New Life for Old Books

I can't claim credit for the idea because I first saw it on etsy a few days ago. The seller, thelorestore, describes this item as a romance novel end table. What's in a name? The complete description of the item, in this instance. The top of this end table has been covered in old romance novel covers.

Photo credit to thelorestore

My first thought, what a cute idea!, was quickly followed by a second, I can totally do that.

Naturally, there was an issue. My biggest problem with recreating this cute table was the materials. I have a plain end table of the exact measurements, all purpose scissors that can cut through anything and a big jar of modge podge that hasn't been opened since 2005. What I didn't have were books.

Do I own old romance books? Of course. Do I own old romance books I'm willing to destroy? Erm, that's a no.

I have ideological issues with destroying books. Big, blatant, in-your-face ideological issues that apply to all books. Even books I hate, even books by people I don't admire, even books espousing ideas I'm fully against. It's the latent freedom fighter in me; books represent ideas and ideas are meant to be explored, not destroyed. So what to do?

I went to the Goodwill. The Goodwill is a waiting room for books ready to take that final push cart ride to the big library in the sky. In short, most of the books in the store are falling apart. Check it out for yourself sometime; the bindings are broken, the covers are creased, the pages are yellowed and loose. We're talking books that have been used, abused and all but recycled.  More to the point, exactly the type of book I needed for my project. I can't, in good conscious, destroy a book. But, if the book is already one accidental drop away from the trash receptacle, I can rescue it from certain doom and use it in another creative way.

And so, one Goodwill trip later, I had 6 beautiful, battered, barely-recognizable-as-books books for my decoupaging pleasure. I did take a different approach than thelorestore in creating my table. Instead of using only book covers, I used the actual pages to cover the table surface before using only a few covers to add a splash of color. Once I had everything as I wanted it and glued down, I spread two coats of mod podge over the surface to seal it, letting it dry and set for 20 minutes between each coat. I'm quite happy with the end results:
I also covered the entire top section of the table, instead of just the surface area.
Please ignore the cat toy, my animals dominate my life.

Here's another view of the end result.
Let's pretend the dachshund is pictured purposely for scale.

I tried to choose books that still had mostly intact covers.

I had a lot of fun with this project. It was quick, easy and I'm happy with the results. I'm also happy I was able to preserve what looked to be some interesting books in some small way.

*A few books were harmed in the making of this table. Rest in peace my friends, your cover lives on.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Of Hell Weeks and Redemption

Ever have one of those days? I've just had seven in a row. Yes, it's been one of those weeks, the kind when even getting up in the morning is depressing because you know it's all down hill the moment your feet hit the carpet (or in my case the cat, who doesn't seem to enjoy being stepped on first thing in the morning).

(With feet and life, Simon is unamused)

Maybe because it's been one of those weeks, or maybe because he's just wonderful, my DSTBH (darling soon to be hubby) Nick decided to surprise me with a one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. While gallivanting about this afternoon, he bought me a copy of New Moon on Blu-ray. He even got the one in the cool metal case. And this is on top of him surprising me last week with season 2 of True Blood on Blu-ray. I don't collect things (with the exception of books and movies that I love) and we aren't big gift-givers, but the thoughtfulness of these surprises has been both completely unexpected and really, really sweet. It's totally the little things that make even horrible weeks worthwhile, like an unexpected present from someone given for the sole purpose of making things seem a little better.

You know your guy is a good one when he listens enough to know the path to your heart is paved with vampire romance ;) 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Of Steampunk eBooks and Self-Bribery

I've had some good news befall me lately, so to celebrate I did what any book obsessed, research loving, anal retentive pararom writer would do; I treated myself to some shiny new steampunk ebooks.


Ahhh, they still have that new ebook smell.

While I'm loading my new books onto my trusty Nook, I thought I'd share my new pretties.

My first purchase is Avalon Revisited by O. M. Grey.

"Arthur has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance."

The second is Maeve Alpin's As Timeless as Stone.

"Though society stands in their way, can love transcend time with the aid of robotics and ritual? In peril for her life, the Priestess Seshat turns herself to stone in ancient Egypt. Centuries later, Ricard, a dashing nineteenth century Frenchman, repairs a broken statue and reads its incantation--unprepared for the gorgeous flesh and blood woman who steps forth. Seshat is drawn to the brass robots Ricard creates and the glamor of the Victorian age, and most of all to Ricard himself. But the society of his day cannot accept a woman like her. How far will Ricard go to secure her happiness? Is their love strong enough to transcend time itself?"

I can't wait to tear through both of these novels, just as soon as I finish polishing up my current manuscript. If this doesn't count as incentive, nothing does.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Launch Parties and YA Worlds: Sherrilyn Kenyon Edition

There are few things I love more than a book launch. The books, the fans, the discussions...the books. Yeah, my mind has several tracks, but all of them lead directly to the closest book repository. Fortunately, May has been literally littered with book signings and launch events. Earlier this evening Jody Wallace and I attended the release of Sherrilyn Kenyon's YA debut, Infinity: The Chronicles of Nick, at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin. 

And let me go on the record as saying, when Sherri launches a book, she does it right! Tonight's launch was fantastic. There were delicious (and healthy!) hors d'oeuvres, costumed attendees, and prizes galore. I even won a t-shirt, which is shocking considering my absolute lack of luck in the face of any raffle/lottery/diet/game of chance. What really set this launch apart? The level of attention and caring Sherri has for her fans. Tons of people, and every single fan got the opportunity to meet and speak with Sherri. It's inspiring, really, how in touch she is with her readers.

Good times, thanks to Sherri, event host Sherlock's Books, and my wonderful date for the evening.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Reblog: Jeaniene Frost at The Last Word

Fantastic paranormal author Jeaniene Frost is at The Last Word, answering questions and disparaging Captain Jack Sparrow's occasionally wayward "compass." Stop by for fun, a look at blogmistress CJ Redwine's amazing husband-created cupcake, and a chance to win a signed copy of Frost's First Drop of Crimson. You don't want to miss out!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reblog: Trends in YA

Publishing Trends posted an interesting article about the current trend in the YA market towards series.

"Take a look at BookScan’s bestselling juvenile titles for the week ending April 25: an astounding 73% were titles from one of several series."

Read the full article here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Of Book Signings and Brothers: JR Ward Edition

I was fortunate enough to attend JR Ward's book signing for her new release Lover Mine yesterday. Naturally my partners in BDB-related crime, Sherri and Lara, were with me. Can't go to a Brotherhood-fest alone. And I thought I'd share the tale of adventure, leaving out small details like driving a 30 miles out of our way because none of us are capable of reading road signs that aren't entirely relevant. Ahem.

Lover Mine is the 8th novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

(I ask you, do covers get any hotter than this? No, I didn't think so. )

Since JR does not fly, all of her signing locations are within driving distance of her Louisville, KY home. Yesterday's locale was The Book Store in Radcliff, KY. It's a quaint little shop that was bursting at the seams with fans of the BDB, each anxious to hear what JR had to say about the newest release. She did not disappoint.

These signings are notorious for spoilers, the primary culprit being JR herself, who always speaks with excitement about the latest book and where the series is heading. This book signing was no exception, and while it was standing room only, the wait was well worth it. It's been confirmed that the series has no planned end to it, she's going to keep on writing as long as the readership is there. She also confirmed some upcoming stories.

***Spoiler Alert***

Manny and Payne, unsurprisingly, are slated as the hero and heroine of the next BDB installment. Quinn and Blay have been confirmed as a future couple, though their story will likely be told in novella form as she doesn't want to alienate any of her readers who may feel uncomfortable with their relationship. Layla will receive her own book, as will Tohrment, No'One and Muhrder, though she has not confirmed whether or not any of these characters will be paired together. She also alluded to the Shadows, Trez and iAm, getting their own HEAs.

JR confirmed that she's sent her publisher 2 smaller novellas tracking the lives of some of the brothers who already had their own books. Wrath and Beth's story will be continued in one of the novellas, and Rhage and Mary will finally have a child in the second.

Great times were had by all and I'm already excited for the next Book Store signing, which will likely be for Crave, the second novel in her Fallen Angels series, set for release this fall. If you are a fan of JR's writing and ever get the chance to see her in person, I highly recommend you jump at the opportunity.