The blog of author Harper Alexander

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Matchy-Matchy and Deadlines

Book Hands

Today I was reading a bit more of The Night Circus, when I closed the cover and was delighted by the sight you see above. I hardly ever paint my nails, and while I wear rings now and then (they are my favorite piece of jewelry), I tend to get irritated with how much they get in the way of functioning and I don’t end up wearing them as often as I’d like to if style were the only factor. So I was quite tickled to find I’d randomly done my nails (while waiting on my silly ancient computer to snap out of its ‘Not Responding’ vacation) and put on a ring that matched the color scheme of the cover perfectly. I had to snap keepsake pic.

In other news, the re-release of Paradise is right around the corner on the 29th, and I still have two scenes to edit. Every single time I sit down to edit them, something else waltzes in and distracts me. And not just frivolous distractions, but actual events that prevent me from editing. I’m feeling a bit cursed, but am determined to get at least one of the remaining scenes edited tonight. Worst case scenario – I’m going to take Friday off work in order to finish, so I can format everything Saturday and get all the files submitted no later than Saturday night, which does still give me a day’s leeway.

Wish me luck!

Book Hands

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Those Tricky Book Stores, Always Trying to Sell You Books

I strongly considered going to the book store today, but decided against it for one very compelling reason: if I went to a bookstore, I would want to buy books.

I know, why else do you go to a bookstore? But this is a conversation I have with myself quite frequently: “What should I do today? Well, what sounds fun? I could go to a bookstore – that sounds fun. No, wait a minute, if I go to a bookstore – I’ll want to buy books!”

To be honest, ‘going to the bookstore’ is just what comes to mind when I think about what sounds fun. I honestly don’t think about the ‘buying books’ part until later. The book store is just that place that I want to go. Other people want to go to the park, or the bar, or a coffee shop, and I want to go to the bookstore.

But when that’s your place to go, you go there a lot. And if you buy books every time, it starts adding up. It’s not like the bar, where you go, drink your drink, and take nothing home (at least, I myself don’t take anything or anyone home. I know that’s not the case for everyone). So, okay, let’s use a different example. It’s not like the coffee shop, where you go, consume what you went there to consume, and go home with nothing. When you go to a bookstore, you bring home what you’re going to consume. And it doesn’t disappear when you consume it.

You have to buy shelves to house what comes home from the bookstore. Though, in hindsight, once the stacks have overflowed from the shelves and taken up every spare corner of your living space anyway, you realize you might as well have skipped the shelves, since they’re now only being used to house a fraction of your books.

So it becomes a bit of a problem. But you can’t rid of any books, because that would be like getting rid of your children. And by and by you find yourself at that bookstore again, because where else are you going to go, and home come more children – they needed homes, they really did! – to be stacked on top of the others.

At this point I really have no more room for more books. ‘Well, why don’t you switch to ebooks, then?’ I hear you asking. WOULD YOU SWITCH TO HAVING E-CHILDREN, IF THAT WERE MORE CONVENIENT?

Excuse me, but I like the living, breathing thing.

It’s just that the book adoption center is where I find myself in all my free time. All those beloved characters, needing someone to love them… All those stifled worlds, needing someone to set them free…

That is why I’ve taken to thinking through what happens at a bookstore before going there. To most people, that’s how they do it every time. The logical cause-and-effect process. They think ‘I want to buy a book; I’m going to go to the bookstore’. But to me, the initial cause is ‘going to the bookstore’, simply because it’s a glorious, wondrous, marvelous place. I don’t consider its temptations; I consider its hominess.

But today I thought it through. I stayed one step ahead of what I consider the tricky scheme of the place. You got me last time, Book Store (and the time before that, and the thousand times before that), but I’m onto you now. I know what you’re about. You’re the place that tries to sell me books whenever I go there. And I always fall for it!

But not today. Today I outsmarted you. Today I avoided your brilliant scam.

Don’t worry – I wont be gone forever. But when I want a book, I’ll tell YOU. Not the other way around.

Especially because you always seem to tell me I want five.

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Currently Reading

currently reading

While the list of books I’m currently reading is actually quite huge, these are the three I’m actively focusing on right now:

‘The Autobiography of Henry VII’ by Margaret George

‘Pathfinder’ by Orson Scott Card

‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas

I’m enjoying all three, though Pathfinder a little less than the other two. Actually, I think I’m enjoying Henry most of all, which I find interesting because it isn’t my regular go-to genre, though I love the time period. It’s just written well, and I like the perspective being from Henry himself, making him more of an interesting character than a mere terrible one.

Pathfinder dizzies me with its philosophical back-and-forth musings pertaining to the loop-holes of time-travel, which I find very interesting and helpful as far as sparking critical thought if I were to, say, ever write my own time-twisting story. But if I’m reading it at bedtime I tend to have to keep shaking myself out of the muddle and re-reading paragraphs, or just pretend I know which theory the plot is running with at present.

Throne of Glass… I’m not quite sure of my opinion yet. Sometimes I feel it’s a little amateurish, or as if the main character isn’t well-developed (I don’t find her consistent, and she keeps surprising me, not necessarily in believable ways. One might find that interesting, but I tend to think ‘that’s not what this character is supposedly geared to do’. Maybe that’s just the writer in me, seeing things my own way, but still. It’s a bit of an issue for me.) I do find it entertaining, however, and the setting and themes are right up my alley as far as what I love in the YA market (indeed, what got me into reading YA and fantasy to begin with). So I’m certainly going to keep reading, and see no reason why I won’t read the sequels as well.

So there you have it! What I’m currently reading. What is everyone else reading this January?

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Writers, Readers, Riders

Writers are also readers. Which means, I read a lot of books probably just like the ones that my readers read. One of the books I just finished was Kristen Britain’s Blackveil, the fourth book in her Green Rider series. This has been a particularly favorite series of mine because, not only am I a reader as well as a writer, but I’m also a ‘rider‘ myself (that is, a rider of horses).

I’ve been with this series since the beginning, and while apparently (from looking at the release dates of the previous books in the series) there has regularly been 4-5 years between books, I somehow managed to sort of skip over the wait (or felt like I did) up until now. I knew there was a fairly big span of time between releases, but I never knew it was THAT big. That means I’ve been following the series for over a decade, and suddenly I just can’t believe that I have to wait THREE MORE YEARS before I can read the next sequel! (Why did I never find this so distressing before?! What did I do to distract myself and shrug it off all those other times?)

Perhaps it’s because this latest had more of a cliff-hanger ending than the others, but I think it was actually just a very good installment, which really makes me want to keep reading.

Sigh. Time to bury my nose in my own manuscripts for awhile and see how many I can get done in the time it takes the regular publishing industry to churn out something that (in my eager and unsympathetic opinion) should be more-or-less habit by now.

Anyway, it’s a good series! And if you’re not a horse-lover like the rest of us crazy horse-lovers that love the series, don’t worry – it’s much more epic fantasy than it is hardcore-horsey stuff. I just appreciate that it has that aspect, and that the author is actually an educated horsewoman, which translates into her work and makes the horse-and-rider aspect really authentic.

What are all the other authors out there reading right now?


A Few Book Announcements

Alright, I guess it’s time to post an update on where I am with the current books I said I’d have done by now, as well as tentatively announce my next project(s).

I currently have about 500 out of 700 pages for The Tournament of Eden, which isn’t reflected in my progress bar because I’m hand-writing this book and only update the word count when I’ve typed something up and can accurately DO  a word count. And I’m WAY behind on typing everything up. For awhile, I was really good about writing and then typing what I had written before writing again, but once that started to slip it all went downhill from there. But I do have 500 out of 700 pages done (and that’s hand-written pages, so the book isn’t actually going to be 700 pages long when in computer-format. My guess is more like 400 or 500.)

I’m about halfway done with Crooked Bird, but since that’s a shorter book I anticipate it will be quite easy to finish once I’m not concentrating so heavily on Eden. I do expect to have both finished and (hopefully) released by summer.

Which brings us to plans for the summer. I was planning on getting the Breathtaker sequels out of the way soon anyway, but especially in light of the sudden mermaid craze that I have accidentally secretly anticipated and jumped on board with… Those are definitely going to be a go for this summer. (And what better books to write for summer than beachy mermaid books?!) So you can expect more updates and progress on those as soon as Eden and Crooked are complete.