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Archive for March, 2011

It seems that since the film adaption of City of Bones was announced, Alex Pettyfer was the lead contender for the role of Jace Wayland. Few can argue that Pettyfer resembles the description of Jace. He looks like he could’ve posed for the cover of the book, but I’d like to move past the physical likeness and discuss the problems with Pettyfer. Before I begin, I’d like to preface by saying that I was once a major Alex supporter, but the last two months have really sent me in the opposite direction. Now, I’m pleading with fans to throw their support behind another more deserving actor and I’ll explain why.

Alex has an attitude problem. He’s had some well documented issues on movie sets. Most notably, the Hollywood Reporter and other news sources reported multiple issues during the filming of I am Number Four. Apparently, Alex was miffed that another actor was making more money than he was. That led to him refusing to cash his paychecks for two months which gives me the mental picture of a toddler stomping his feet. During that same period of time, he also had issues with the director and the situation got so bad that a DreamWorks CEO had to intervene. The bad behavior continued when he missed marketing meetings for Beastly and left producers waiting for more than two hours. Recently, he was late to his own premier. Reports initially said it was because of the house fire, but the actor wasn’t home during the fire. Alex was late due to personal issues, but his PR company tried unsuccessfully to sweep additional bad press under the rug. In addition, the fire was limited to the garage and very little damage was done. Some have said that the press is picking on him, but too many people have come out with detailed accounts of this behavior. At some point, you have to use common sense. If it walks like a spoiled brat and acts like a spoiled brat then he’s probably a spoiled brat.

Alex has shown no passion for the role when he should be grateful. Jace Wayland is an incredible character and every actor in town seems to know that except for Pettyfer. Alex was offered the role, but insisted on a 10 million dollar paycheck when he only received 250K for his previous role in I Am Number Four. So what constitutes the huge raise? Surely it’s not tickets sales because both of his 2010 movies have under-achieved at the box office. So why does he deserve it? The answer is he doesn’t. He’s banking on the fact that fans want him in this role. His priority is the money. My guess is that he will land with whichever franchise is willing to pay out whether it’s City of Bones, The Last Apprentice, or Hunger Games. In addition to poor tickets sales, I wasn’t impressed with his acting talent and I’m not alone. Most of the extremely poor critical reviews of both movies have said that Alex has failed to deliver any emotion in either role. Mortal Instruments fans know that Jace is a complicated character who requires an actor with range. Alex is unproven, if not disappointing.

This is where I am hoping the book fans pay attention. I love this series and I want to see all the books brought to life. Jace is the essential role and everyone knows it. Do you really want to take a chance on an actor with obvious issues? An actor who hasn’t delivered on talent or ticket sales. What do you think will happen if City of Bones is the success that I expect it will be? Do you think his ego will get bigger or smaller? The answer is bigger which means he could mess up the entire chemistry on set. Is this the chance you’re willing to take with your beloved series because Alex happens to look like the Jace your mind? I’d prefer to have an unknown come in with acting talent who can give us the Jace we deserve. An actor who wants the role and would bite off his own arm to get it. That’s the commitment I’m looking for and certainly what Cassandra Clare deserves for writing such an outstanding series.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in my articles or has spoken about it on the Mortal Instruments message boards. Whether you agree with me or not, I am truly honored to be part of your discussions. You can find me on my website, the YA Fantasy Guide or on Twitter.

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This morning, I was a guest on The Eclectic Artist Cave. The show is hosted by YA author and publicist, Joann Buchanan. Each week, Joann discusses all aspects of publishing with various guests including writers, bloggers and industry insiders.  

My particular show discussed the importance of social media to aspiring or recently published authors. You can listen to the full thirty minute interview here.

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the premiere of Mythic Faire: A Celebration of World Creation, Time Travel & Fantastic Realms. The event was held on March 11th – 13th 2011 at the Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn. Medieval, pirate, faerie, fantasy, and steampunk themes were incorporated throughout. Many of the vendors and guests wore elaborate costumes and some even acted in their roles.

The three day affair featured appearances from master painters of the fantastic Daniel Merriam, Don Maitz, Jean Baptiste Monge and Larry MacDougall, author and folklorist, Raven Grimassi and themed entertainment concept designer, Don Carson. My favorite moment of the weekend was when I had the opportunity to meet best-selling author and artist Janny Wurts. She’s written fourteen fantasy novels, short stories, and the internationally best-selling Empire trilogy, co authored with Raymond E. Feist. I haven’t read Empire, but I did enjoy Traitor’s Knot and To Ride Hell’s Chasm.  

Panel discussions highlighted topics that ranged from magical medieval meals to European myth and folklore. I personally attended a session regarding the philosophy of steampunk. If you follow me on twitter then you’re already aware of my love for all things steampunk. I enjoyed the discussions of the origins of steam powered ideas and images that have captured imaginations around the world. The images left me with a craving for some new toys.

Along with the panel discussions were rooms of some of the most beautiful merchandise I’ve ever seen that included books, music, artwork, jewelry, clothing, and items for your home. Saturday and Sunday closed with the Time Travelers & Keltic Worlds Masquerade Balls. We got to enjoy live music from Delhi 2 Dublin, Abney Park, Woodland String Band, Adam Hurst, and SJ Tucker. I had a great time, but felt a bit undressed next to some of the amazing outfits the guests wore. They truly outdid themselves. 

The Mythic Faire was everything that I’d hoped it would be. I will for sure be back next year and am looking forward to FaerieCon 2011 this November! I may even dress up in my new faerie outfit. Well, we’ll see.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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I’m not a big fan of high fantasy; I never have been. I will admit to liking the old fantasy favorites like J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Terry Brooks, Phillip Pullman, etc. Those guys are some of the ones who put high fantasy on the map, but where have we gone since then? Imitators at best. I can’t tell you the last time I read a high fantasy that truly blew me away. So what’s the problem with high fantasy? Why isn’t it selling as well as it once did? High fantasy isn’t selling because the stories are all the same. To prove it, I will write one for you right now.

In the beginning of my story, my main (male) character will be threatened by an unknown danger. His parents are dead so he has no knowledge of his family history. He is bored with his current life and ready for an adventure. Suddenly, he is attacked by scary creatures. He’s saved by a mysterious, magical, male, older character who will become his mentor. This mentor will teach him about a prophecy/legend where he alone can save the world. There’s also a beautiful damsel in distress ready to be saved. She will be part of the prize because our main character will fall in love with her usually within one or two conversations. Of course, he must first find a hidden magical object that an evil one-dimensional dictator will also be looking for. Predictably, our main character goes on a journey where he will grow into our hero. During this quest, he will be trained to use magic and to fight with swords. He will join a small group of rebels just before his inevitable confrontation with the bad guy. The story will end in an epic battle where our hero will get hurt, but survive, so that we can have room for books two and three of our trilogy. The end.  

So you hate me now, right? You think I just flushed an entire fantasy subgenre into one long cliché? Let’s test my theory. I need only look to the NYT Bestsellers list and see that I am not alone in my opinion. Teens are flocking to urban, dark, and paranormal romance. They have been for some time now. Not to mention that most literary agents that I’ve spoken with won’t consider YA high fantasy. Why? Because most middle grade and especially teen readers aren’t interested in world’s they can’t recognize. Sure, there are always exceptions, but not many. Two highly successful exceptions are J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson’s series, but I don’t consider them high fantasy. They both exist in world’s that are part of ours, but not seen by everyone. The characters have mostly human lives and experiences except that magical element that makes them special.  

Okay, so how do we save high fantasy? Easy, come up with an original idea just like all the greats I listed in the top paragraph. They set the standards high so I want more of what they gave us and I want it on a teen level. Show me that and I will be happy to eat my own words.

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THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

The winner of the contest will receive a personal Query Letter Critique from Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Tamar is not interested in prescriptive/practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books or children’s books (meaning anything younger than YA). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters.

How to Enter :

Paste your Query Letter into the Submission HERE. Submissions to Tamar Rydzinski directly will not be accepted for this contest. Please make sure to include all your contact information within the query letter.

Rules :

This is contest is for novel submissions only. To enter, your manuscript must be completed and not a work-in-progress. We will accept one query submission per person. If you submit multiple projects, then you will be eliminated from consideration. Deadline for submissions will be March 31, 2011 .

Judges :

The YA Fantasy Guide will pick the winner of this contest. Our decision is final. The winner of this contest will be announced on our website on April 15, 2011.

Special Message from Tamar : ” A fantastic query letter is essential – You need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it, within those first couple of paragraphs.”

Good Luck & Happy Writing

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