Category: Miscellaneous

Help Kickstart the Beyond Words 2016 Fantasy Author Calendar


For the second time in a row, I have the pleasure of being part of this amazing calendar with photographer Lauren Zurchin to help raise money for First Book and Worldbuilders. All proceeds from the calendar go straight to those two fantastic non-profits. Last year, I had the great honor of designing the full calendar spread to accentuate the gorgeous photos that Lauren had taken. I urge you to consider donating to this project and help us make it happen again! Below is the press release for this year’s project with links to the Kickstarter. I’d love it if you could check it out and consider donating!

The BEYOND WORDS 2016 Fantasy Author Calendar is Currently Being Kickstarted, with Lots of Exclusive Author Signature Rewards
By Lauren Zurchin

June 23, 2014

Pittsburgh, PA—Award-winning photographer Lauren Zurchin is currently running a Kickstarter to fund the creation of the 2016 BEYOND WORDS Fantasy Author Calendar, in which twelve New York Times bestselling fantasy authors will pose in custom costumes and fantasy-themed photographs for a 12-month calendar.

With the success of last year’s Kickstarter and subsequent calendar, she decided to continue the project with an all-new set of fantasy authors. The line-up includes:

  • Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Series)
  • Jim Butcher (The Harry Dresden Files, The Codex Alera)
  • Melissa de la Cruz (The Blue Bloods series, Witches of East End)
  • Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles,  The WondLa series)
  • Kami Garcia (The Beautiful Creatures novels, The Legion Series)
  • Lev Grossman (The Magicians series)
  • Robin Hobb (The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Rain Wild Chronicles)
  • Tahereh Mafi (The Shatter Me Series)
  • Garth Nix (The Abhorsen Trilogy, The Keys to the Kingdom Series)
  • Ransom Riggs (The Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series)
  • Margaret Stohl (The Beautiful Creatures novels, The Icons Series)
  • Scott Westerfeld (The Leviathan Trilogy, The Uglies Series)

Zurchin is offering limited edition signature rewards on the Kickstarter, including bookplates, photos, and personalized packages. There are also higher end rewards like bookplate and photo combo packs, and photo shoots with the authors’ costumes and props.

Once the calendar is funded the current intent of the proceeds is to go to charity. The Kickstarter goal is $15,000, with a stretch goal of $20,000, at which point author Patrick Rothfuss will be added to the calendar.

The BEYOND WORDS Kickstarter is running through July 10th, 2014.

Link to the Kickstarter:

Link to Zurchin’s website where she talks about the charity aspect:

About the Photographer:
Lauren Zurchin been doing photography for over 15 years, founding her business in 2008. She has countless hours of experience photographing dozens of weddings, various types of portraits, and events. She was awarded a reader’s choice award in 2010.

In addition to photography Zurchin is the managing book editor at scifi/fantasy site, and has co-hosted the Inheritance Cycle Book Club Podcast.



Lambda Literary Award For LGBT YA Announced

LambdaLast night was the gayest night in literary culture. Until next year. It was the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. So many fantastic Young Adult authors were in attendance representing their LGBT stories, including: David Levithan, Tim Federle, Aaron Hartzler, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Bill Konigsberg, and so many more. The finalists represent books that were published in 2013. Every single finalist is deserving of the Lambda Award for LGBT Children’s/YA. Here’s the long list:

  • Better Nate Than Ever, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster, Inc./ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Boy In Box, Christopher R. Michael, Hubbub Publishing
  • Girls I’ve Run Away With, Rhiannon Argo, Moonshine Press
  • If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Algonquin Books
  • Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Rapture Practice, Aaron Hartzler, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Secret City, Julia Watts, Bella Books
  • The Secret Ingredient, Stewart Lewis- Author, Rebecca Short-Editor, Delacorte Press (Penguin/Random House)
  • The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • What Makes a Baby, Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press/Triangle Square

But only one could come out the winner. Usually. This year, there was a TIE.Lambda-Medal Between David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing and Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine. Both of these books are so special and deserve to be read widely. I’m so happy for these authors and cannot wait to see new editions of their books with the shiny gold award sticker shining from the front cover. Congratulations to both David Levithan and Sara Farizan!

Could ‘Paper Towns’ Launch Wave of Contemporary Teen Movies?

paper townsWe all remember the classics…you know, like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, Some Kind of Wonderful, etc. These are some of the most popular teen romance flicks of the 80s…but for some reason, the desire to make such films as good as these has dwindled monumentally since he 80s.

In the 90s, we had such films as Ten Things I Hate About You, Clueless, She’s All That, Never a Been Kissed, among others. While some of those were good movies, they still never reached the same mood as those from a decade before.

In the 2000s, we were given Mean Girls, The Girl Next Door, John Tucker Must Die, Juno, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Why is it that movies like these are few and far between these days? Has the need for teen romances dwindled or is the audience determining that action films like Avengers and Transformers are better suited for the modern movie goer?

I, for one, would love to see a resurgence of contemporary teen movies in the mainstream media. We’ve been given the amazing adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012 and will be seeing The Fault in Our Stars in June, but we need more! Why are production companies only buying up and making The Hunger Games and Divergent instead of contemporary love stories? Easy….money. Companies are willing to buy into a potential franchise for more money in the long run, but not dishing out for a slow burning indie or smaller budget contemporary one off much like those from thirty years ago.

With the announcement of Paper Towns moving forward with pre-production due to the buzz surrounding the release of The Fault in our Stars, it makes me hope there is a resurgence of this genre of films. The team behind TFiOS are even coming back almost in full to produce and write Paper Towns, showing their support for this type of movie plus their faith in the fans of John Green.

I can only hope that through the making of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, even Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (currently in post-production), more contemporary books will be eyed for adaptation for the big screen. Even if on a small budget or by an independent company.

I’ve compiled a list of contemporary books I loved and think would be a great success on the big screen. Read below to see each book and why I think movie goers would want to see it!

paper towns 3

1. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Seriously. In similar vein to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, this band book has roadies, music, small towns, dank venues, and is set in the Pacific Northwest. You can’t go wrong.

2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is one of those books that has been in the pipeline for a while now. It is one of those stories that strikes a chord and, with the right main guy character, could become classic status.

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Speaking of classic status, this book could bring back what it means to be an 80s teen movie. With its setting and characters that are easy to fall in love with, toss in some mixtape and it’ll be a blast from he past. This book shatters the norm giving two main characters not widely discussed in movies and literature, one is a lit-loving curvy redheaded girl and the other a music obsessed Korean boy.

paper towns 4

4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
We’ve already established that music works in films for teens. Sarah Dessen is one of the most widely recognized YA contemporary authors and could seriously pull in a crowd to the theaters with this one!

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
It’s Stephanie Perkins. Done. One of the reasons I think ANNA would work so well on screen over LOLA is the travel aspect. As fantastic as ANNA is, adding the local of Paris is what sets it above the rest. It’s the “City of Love and Lights” for goodness sake!

6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This book is hard to describe. It’s so complex and takes you somewhere that most books scrape the surface of. It’s a poignant, emotional book that readers around the world have adored.

paper towns 5

7. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
British boy. American girl. Travel to England. Full of everything you want in a love story.

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Another travel book that blew me away. I am a sufferer of wanderlust and will read any book involving travel. Plus this one is full of Shakespeare and guys with accents.

9. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
One thing seriously lacking in theaters is LGBT love stories. And who better than David Levithan to help this take off? Boy Meets Boy has spoken to thousands of teens and readers everywhere, helping those who were afraid of speaking out and finding their voice.

What contemporary books would you
like to see become films?

New Year, New Crew

First of all, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! I can’t believe it is already 2014, the year that marks the 4th blogging anniversary of Novel Thoughts! These past four years have gone by so quickly giving me so many grand opportunities and long-time friendships I never would’ve received outside of this amazing community. So I would like to start this year fresh and full of excitement for the year to come!

Some exciting things have been happening lately and I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to a new team here at Novel Thoughts! We’ve added a few more reviewers which will give us the chance to share more book reviews of all genres and age groups with you from young kids to old, literary fiction to hard sci-fi to middle grade to young adult. I would like you to meet the rest of the team and re-introduce you to our previous writers.

JeremyJeremy West, Chief Editor and Adult Editor
Jeremy is the creator and moderator of Novel Thoughts. He is 22 years old living in a New York City with big dreams to be a graphic designer and photographer. He currently works as a bookseller and Scholastic intern as well as a freelance graphic designer for authors, publishers, and bloggers.




Jeffrey West, Entertainment Editor
Jeffrey is a self-proclaimed Doctor Who fanatic! He is currently a student and desires to work in the Film industry one day. He loves reading, listening to music, and watching movies. Some of his favorite authors are: J.K. Rowling, John Green, David Levithan, Neil Gaiman, Cassie Clare, Margie Stohl, Carrie Ryan, and Holly Black. He can also be found on his YouTube page, GingerBookNerd, where he hosts This Week In YA as well as posts video reviews.

JenniferJennifer Dee, YA/MG Editor
There was a glorious time in Jennifer’s life when she was paid to read books. Sadly, she was eight then and no longer gets that deal from her mother. Now she gets paid to schlep books around first Borders, then Barnes and Noble and has been doing it for many years. She’s been around the book blogisphere for over 6 years and finally committed to reviewing for Novel Thoughts in January 2012 in order to inflict her opinions on others. Originally hailing from Texas, she’s recently moved to New York City to pursue publishing. She’s also the Middle Grade Editor at Feel free to watch her babble about books and bagels on Twitter at @JustlyJennifer.

When she’s not working with books (which is nearly never), she indulges in watching Sherlock while knitting, shopping at Target, drinking copious amounts of coffee, seeking out on the best Mexican food and loving anything and everything Percy Jackson.

headshotJustina Ireland, Young Adult/Adult Reviewer
Justina Ireland lives in a house made of books. At least that’s the excuse she gives when people trip over one. When she isn’t accidentally killing house guests with her TBR pile she writes books. Her first book, Vengeance Bound, is available now from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and her second, The Promise of Shadows, releases soon. When she isn’t reading she enjoys eating, sleeping, and watching Judge Judy on her DVR. You can usually find her on Twitter @tehawesomersace.

Sarah Weiss, Young Adult Reviewer
Sarah is a native Brooklynite who is now living in Milwaukee, WI. She loves reading, writing, and is an avid lover of coffee. She enjoys writing book reviews and blogging about her daily musings… while drinking coffee of course. When not doing one of these three things, which is rare, she is most likely singing and maybe even attempting to dance.

Charlee Vale, Adult/Young Adult Reviewer 
Charlee is a literary intern, bookseller, the Young Adult editor at Riffle, and team member at Red Creative Design. When she’s not reading and reviewing, she can be found doing fun photoshoots, binging on netflix, and hanging out with NYC book friends. Also, she loves tea.

Support a Book Charity this Holiday Season

If there’s one thing that is consistently bought at the end of every year, it’s a calendar. It’s one of those things that there is always a constant need for. And there are literally calendars for everyone whether you love One Direction (my crowd) or Yoga Cats (we don’t talk about those people). But one area not so strong is calendars for book lovers! That is the reason for this post.

I was given the awesome opportunity to design this year’s calendar for Worldbuilders, a fantastic charity started by author Patrick Rothfuss, alongside amazing photographs taken by award-winning photographer Lauren Zurchin. Every year they have a new theme, always literary, used to raise money for their charity as well as First Book. All proceeds of the calendar goes completely to support these two charities, not the pockets of rich big wigs.

The holiday season is a season for giving. And what better than give to a charity that gives back! So I urge you to consider purchasing this year’s 2014 Fantasy Author Calendar which gives the entire $20 to Worldbuilders and First Book.

Another awesome thing is that through the end of the year, all of the money raised through the purchase of the calendar or other donations through Worldbuilders and First Book will be TRIPLED due to the generosity of Random House Kids. Now is the best time to buy! Also, I would love to have something I designed adorning your house walls for the next year. Check out some of the designs below and click the link to purchase!




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