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Sirengate: My Two Cents

I’ve not wanted to say anything about Sirengate (which, despite happening in January, has only come to light recently) because, although it saddens me, it doesn’t affect me directly. I don’t follow the Story Siren (because I don’t enjoy her reviews) and I’ve kept to a small section of the book blogging world (Goodreads) until recently.

But now I’m breaking my silence, for what it’s worth. Not much, I know, but still.

Not to talk about the Story Siren. Well, not directly. More to talk about her fanbase.

Let me clarify: there are people who have lost respect for the Story Siren and have dropped all ties. There are people who have forgiven her for her transgression and moved on. And there’s a third group, who have taken it upon themselves to attack the original victims of the Siren’s crime. The people who run the blogs she plagiarised. The victims whose words she copied, knowing full well what plagiarism is.

I’m clarifying again, because it took me a few moments to realise myself: the plagiarist’s fans are sending hate mail to the victims of the plagiarism.

I don’t know what the hate mail is saying, but I can guess. It’ll be along the same lines as Cassandra Clare’s fans when they conveniently forget her fanfiction was deleted off Fanfiction.net for plagiarism. Clare never confessed to her plagiarism, spinning a story that it was a game between her friends. The Story Siren has spun another story that takes the blame off her: that she didn’t realise, that it was a mistake or wasn’t deliberate, that she was confused, that she’s sorry and she doesn’t expect anyone to understand.

The similarities between the two events are somewhat similar, but the overwhelming similarity is how the fans who love her have reacted.

I’m not saying the Siren’s a criminal, but it’s similar to the family of a thief going to arms against the police when the thief is arrested. Someone has been wronged, and it’s not the Siren.

I don’t agree with going after the Siren with pitchforks, because everyone screws up every now and then. I don’t want this swept under the rug. But I certainly must condemn the fan reaction and backlash against the innocent bloggers who ‘dared’ to reveal the plagiarism. They didn’t even name her. It was the book bloggers who revealed who the plagiarist was.

It makes me terribly sad, and a little angry.

Since when has popularity been a replacement for integrity?

Guest Interview: Suzanne Korb of Bang Out The Prose

imageYesterday Suz hosted my first guest interview on her blog, and today I’m returning the favour. We met due to the magic of Twitter: Suz is also an expat living in the UK – but she’s from the USA whereas I’m from Australia – and she also write YA fiction. And we both wear glasses! She’s kindly taken the time to answer some questions I had about her writing.
You can
follow Suz on Twitter here and check out her website here.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you enjoy writing YA fiction.
I’m an expat of the USA now living in Britain. In 2009 I wrote a supernatural Chick Lit novel. That book turned out to be practice. When I started writing YA earlier this year, I realised this was my chosen genre. My own teen years were rebellious; I read trashy romance novels, joined an erotica writing group and led quite a debaucherous life! My adolescent years really shaped me into the writer I am today.
In my 20s I read many different genres whilst holding down writerly non-fiction day jobs. I’ve always practiced fiction writing over the years and as for the non-fiction day job, I’m now the Best of Malvern blog author.

Tell us more about your novel (plot, characters)
I’m writing a paranormal YA novel at the moment. But like most young adult books, it’s a crossover story that adults and younger readers can enjoy as well.

Do you remember the details of the first story you ever finished? Will you share it with us?
Yep, my first published short story is here, on the Boston Literary Magazine website. I was so pleased when my story was picked up!

Who are your favourite authors?
Derek Landy, J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Meg Cabot and I’m sure there are many more. Notice how I answered this question straight away? I like what I like!

If Hollywood made a movie out of your novel, who would you like to see play your main character?
Chloe Moretz from the movie Kick-Ass would be perfect; when she turns 15.

Where do you get your ideas?
From my brain. Everything a writer experiences and reads contributes to the stories she tells. I’m a big fan of supernatural, magical and paranormal novels. I’m especially keen on Heaven and Hell, because in those make-believe worlds anything can happen!

Do you write one-off books or series?
The book I’m writing now is the first in an intended series. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a trilogy yet, or a trilogy of trilogies. What? Writing a series of 9 books is a piece of cake, right? lol

Foreign Cover Friday: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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Foreign Cover Friday is a weekly meme hosted by The Reading Fever, where foreign covers of the books we know and love are spotlighted and discussed. To join, either pick your favourite foreign cover, or pick many foreign covers, and start discussing!

This week I’m going with Unearthly by Cynthia Hand for two reasons: point the first: it’s the book I’m currently reading and point the second: it’s my birthday and I’m going to try to keep this post short so I can finish Unearthly and start on Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, my present from my hubs-to-be. It was published in 2011 so there aren’t a lot of foreign covers as yet, but the covers they do have are all interesting in their own ways.

Clara is part-angel. Through terrifying visions of a forest fire she is shown her purpose: to save a beautiful, unknown boy. When she finds Christian, the boy from her visions, he’s everything she could wish for. But Clara discovers there’s a darker side to her purpose. And if Christian is so perfect, why does she have feelings for someone else?

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Because I live in the UK, this is my cover. It’s SO gorgeous. I first saw this cover on Amazon and didn’t realise it was the UK cover, so I was pretty stoked when I walked into the bookshop last week and found this baby waiting for me. Also, I have a thing for white hair – the heroine of my YA high fantasy, Innocence Frostcaller, has white hair. I’m drawn to it. I love the trees, which are important to the plot, the ethereal appearance of who I suspect must be Clara (even though it’s not entirely accurate) and the art designs over the top. It also doesn’t hurt that Richelle Mead, my favourite contemp YA author, has a comment on the cover.

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This is the HarperTeen US cover. Although I don’t like the overuse of the blue palette, the girl is quite pretty and I love her dress and all the arty-farty stuff around the cover text. The ever-so-important trees are still there in the background, but I wonder what on earth is a girl in such a gorgeous dress doing wandering the woods outside?

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This is the HarperCollins Australia cover. I like my cover better! Sorry, homeland. Although the girl is a more accurate description of Clara with the orange hair (and maybe the dress, I don’t know because I haven’t finished it yet). I love the pose Clara is using and the trees framing her, and the use of the pale orange in  the background which, as anyone who’s ever lived through an Australian summer will tell you, is the red-orange rays of the sun filtering through the smoke of bushfire – an all too common occurrence in any Australian summer. Nice touch there, HarperCollins, appealing to this market directly!  I think the text is a bit too basic to grab my attention, although the dress totally makes up for that. It’s gorgeous!

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This is the Portuguese cover. I don’t like it very much. For a start it’s all blue. And then Clara appears to be naked. What’s up with that? She’s not a woman, she’s a teenager.

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These three covers are clearly heavily inspired by the US cover. The Croatian cover on the left is actually pretty cool. It’s toned down on the purple and it shows Clara’s wings while turning her blonde. The Polish cover in the middle lacks the wings of the Croatian version but has paled the purple even further, which I like a lot. Clara’s hair colour has also changed for this cover and the Spanish cover on the right, which out of all of them I believe I like the text design the best.

Croatian Translation: Angel Wings
Polish Translation: Unearthly
Spanish Translation: The Design of the Angel

What are your thoughts?

Which covers do you like? Which do you hate?

Check back at The Reading Fever for her Foreign Cover Friday!

Foreign Cover Friday: Sabriel by Garth Nix

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Foreign Cover Friday is a weekly meme hosted by The Reading Fever, where foreign covers of the books we know and love are spotlighted and discussed. To join, either pick your favourite foreign cover, or pick many foreign covers, and start discussing!

This week I’m going with Sabriel, one of the first YA books I ever read, and probably the first Australian fantasy I ever read as well. That also reminds me that I need to read it again very soon, because I love it. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face to face with her own hidden destiny.

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Here’s the cover it had when it was printed in 1995. Not very inspiring, right? We get a character that we can only tell is a girl because she’s got a hint of boobs, she’s wearing a very unattractive overcoat with a bandolier of – wait, what is that? Bells? That’s right, enchanted bells play an enormous part in this book. AWESOME! And that black thing behind her? That’s Kerrigor, a Very Bad Guy. Scary!

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The left cover is the 2001 version from Allen and Unwin, which, from what I can remember, was like a re-launch or something. Suddenly these books exploded all over Australia. That’s a charter mark, by the way, if you haven’t read the books. The cover on the right is the hardcover version from 2004. It shows Mogget the white cat and some of the bells, and a hint of moon. Pretty, but not pick-up-able.

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The cover on the left is the version I have, and is the CollinsVoyager 2004 print run. It’s SO pretty. Especially with the matching covers from the other two book from the trilogy, Lirael and Abhorson. The middle cover is also from 2004, from Eos, and the cover on the right is from 2008, by HarperTeen. I really like the simplicity and the gender-neutrality of these covers.  It encourages boys as well as girls to read it.

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This is the 2007 Italian cover, the 2009 Indonesian cover and the 2006 Russian cover. The Italian cover fails in my opinion, because it’s just too busy. it’s got the image at the bottom of the cover, the charter mark, the blue band across the top and then the author’s name and title in a random artwork that is meant to look like parchment? I don’t like it. However, I LOVE the Indonesian and Russian covers. The Indonesian cover has a touch of anime to it, while the Russian cover looks dark and intimidating. I can’t offer a translation for the Russian cover, sorry.

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Here we have two French covers from 2009 and 2003, and a Portuguese cover from 2002. I really love the 2009 French cover. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Action-packed, Mogget cameos, the charter mark is there and it’s set in the snow, which is one of the more memorable scenes I can think of. I don’t like the 2003 version. Sabriel looks like a child, and she’s eighteen. The Portuguese cover is awesome, Sabriel looks totally bad-ass. It translates to The Mission Sabriel according to Google Translate.

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Last, but not least, is the 2002 version by German publisher Heyne. Although this cover is totally gorgeous, with the purple border around the man with a sword in a blood-red cloak, it’s also just totally fail. The title translates to The Seventh Gate (which is important in the book) and the figure is clearly Sabriel’s dad, who has a very small role. This stands out because it doesn’t have Sabriel on it, and I wonder why they decided on this artwork. Did someone screw up the memo to the art department? The book is about a teenage girl, not a man.

What are your thoughts?

Which covers do you like? Which do you hate?

Check back at The Reading Fever for her Foreign Cover Friday!

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