Ten: Outstanding Author Websites

We’ve talked about author blogs here before, but often the blog is only part of a website full of book and author information, extra resources, writing advice, and other materials. This week’s Ten highlights author websites that present truly exceptional content.

Neil Gaiman
Author of Coraline and The Graveyard Book
Love Gaiman’s work? Wondering what he’s up to lately (really, it could be just about anything)? Stop by his website to read his journal, find out where he is, talk about his books, or access his collection of online video, short stories, essays, and other works. Continue reading

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Ten: Moody Books

Along with all their other powers, stories can have considerable influence on our moods. Whether you’re looking for something that reflects your current mood, or something that will change it, sometimes a good story is just the thing. The challenge is in knowing what book to pull off the shelf. You probably have a few reliable favourites for such purposes — I know I do! This week’s Ten focuses on picture books for their simplicity of focus, but I think most will appeal to readers of any age.

When you’re feeling disgusted by injustice
The Paper Bag Princess written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
When a dragon burns down Princess Elizabeth’s castle and kidnaps the prince she was supposed to marry, she picks herself up, puts on the only thing left to wear (a paper bag), and sets off to correct the dragon and retrieve her prince. Whether Prince Ronald is worth keeping around post-rescue does nothing to diminish the value of Princess Elizabeth’s take-charge heroism. Continue reading

Blog Review–The Clockwork Foundry (Kate Milford)

Kate Milford, author of The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands and The Kairos Mechanism (a self-published companion novella) has maintained a blog since May of 2009—the first entry mentions the upcoming publication of her first book, under the earlier title Gingerfoot. Posts provide updates on her publications and appearances, glimpses into her writing process, and musings on literature and related topics. Links along the top and right side of each page point to reviews, background information on published books and current projects, an ongoing crowdfunding initiative, and encouragement to connect with Milford in other ways (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest).

Milford’s blog has great things to offer and a few weaknesses. On the downside, her post frequency is inconsistent—readers may find new material a couple of times a week, and then nothing for up to a month—and some of her posts are very long for online reading. However, those longer posts are often the ones most worth reading. A recent post on Lois Lowry and the need for dark stories for children was both engagingly candid and insightful about what dark stories might do for young readers and why they tend to worry adults. For the most part, the blog appears to be written with adult readers in mind, but the majority of the material would be quite accessible to readers of her YA novels. Although there is little evidence of an active community built within the boundaries of the website (i.e. no comments made in response to posts), Milford expresses a strong interest in connecting with readers of both her novels and her blog, from the expected Twitter link to her suggestions of self-addressed, stamped postcards to be sent to classrooms, Skype chats to answer questions, and shared journal projects.