Friday, May 31, 2013

Ask-A-Dude: Male Argument Syndrome

A HUUUUUUUGE shout out to our very own Special K, a.k.a. Karen Amanda Hooper, whose second book in the Kindrily series comes out today!! You can read about Amanda here and get your own copy of Taking Back Forever here.

Congratulations, Karen!!!!


Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!


Today's question is:

  
Q: What is it with guys not backing down, especially when they're wrong?

A: Excellent question, disembodied voice in my head. The best way to answer this one is to ask that you imagine a male shark. So, I guess a shark with a bad mustache and terrible fashion sense. And a shovel.

You got that image? Now imagine that shark digging, digging, digging. What's it digging for? It's an imaginary mustachioed digging shark, you really want to get into its motivation?

So Digging Shark, because it's a shark, needs to keep moving or it'll die. I don't actually know if that's true, but I've heard it so many times, I believe it as much as I believe the story about the babysitter and the clown statue.

OMG, you haven't heard that one?! The babysitter puts the kids to bed and notices a creepy clown statue in the corner staring back at her. She calls the parents and asks if it's okay to cover the statue with a sheet because it's freaking her out. The parents tell her to take the kids and run because THEY DON'T OWN A CLOWN STATUE!

Of course, you know that story isn't true because who doesn't own a clown statue?
Side note: I am constantly amazed that no matter what nonsensical combination of words I type into Google Image Search, I always find SOMETHING. Stay classy, Internet.

So where were we? Right, sharks with shovels.

So Digging Shark has to keep moving to stay alive. The hole it digs gets deeper and deeper as silt swirls around like a tornado cloud. Sunlight from the surface no longer penetrates the deep trench he's in. If he even thinks to stop and look around, he'll see that his situation has changed, he's no longer in control. Whatever he was digging for is now lost to the washing machine action of the muddy water kicked up by his shovel.

Digging Shark is just like your male friend. And his digging action is the equivalent of not backing down while the silt of reason boils around him. Why do Digging Sharks do what they do? No one knows because I made them up a few paragraphs ago. 

Why do guys do what they do? Why, in the face of mild opposition, authority or concrete evidence, do they fight like Digging Shark, clinging to the belief that if they simply argue more, dig deeper, they're going to. . .what? Hit paydirt? Find some kind of buried factoid that will prove them right and cleanse the dirty water?

I know, I know, it makes no sense whatsoever. And yet, guys can't stop it from happening. We'll hear someone argue an opposing point and, no matter how mildly the opposition is stated, there's this switch that gets flipped in our brains, this sense that our world is being challenged, that our very manhood is being called into question.

A typical argument starts with an innocuous comment like, "You know that babysitter clown story is just an urban legend, right?"

But this is what we hear, "You know your penis is small, right?"

The proper, mature, reasonable response would be, "Oh, that's interesting, tell me more."

Instead we'll say something like, "Your mom's a good kisser."

And the digging begins.

All guys do this! I do this. My male friends do this. I bet Ghandi did this. People would go up to him and be all, "Just TRY these Birkenstocks for, like, a day, your feet are gonna thank you!" And Ghandi was all, "Fuggedaboutit." I'm totes sure that's how Ghandi talked.

Just a reminder, I know more funny names for my junk than I know actual historical facts.
Pictured here is the lead guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad
It's possible that male oppositional defiance is some kind of hereditary trait, a remnant of some behavioral quirk that imparted a survival advantage back on the savanna.

Whelp, only one way to find out if that's true. Let's use my time machine to spy on a prehistoric exchange between two early males. Yeah, I have a time machine. What's that? Can you use it to watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Booooring!

Grok and Lightning (he had proto-hippie parents) are discussing something they found in the tall grass: 

Grok: Watch step! That sabertooth poo. 
Lightning: Maybe just stinky mud. 
Grok: Maybe stinky mud inside your skull. 
Lightning: Your mom's a good kisser. 
Suddenly!
Well, there you have it. Obviously defiance in the face of mild argument or observable fact seems contra-indicated to survival. The more time early man spent arguing about some pointless fact, the more likely he was to end up as something's dinner.

So how and why did males evolve this inability to back down, to take a gentler path, to stop being douchebags and simply say, "I'm wrong, you're right, let's have makeup sex?"

My theory is that, back in the (prehistoric) day, arguments had bigger consequences. The longer you sat there arguing about whether that shadow on the wall was a cooking fire stain or a sharp-clawed land octopus (totally a real thing), the closer you were to having your brains sucked out through your nose by some vile creature.

Over time, we developed communities and with them came comfort and safety. Now you can waste time arguing and being obstinate because no matter how long you debate which search engine algorithm is "better," there's no modern consequence other than dying a lonely virgin.

In other words, men of today argue every little point viciously and bitterly because the stakes are so low.

What to do?


Newton's First Law of Argument states that a man in a state of argument will remain in that state until acted upon by an outside force. A sledgehammer, for example, or the start of 2-fer-1 happy hour. So the trick is to distract the male brain with liquor or video games. Alternatively, a well-timed, "Hmm, I'll have to think about that," should work also. You are neither agreeing to his ridiculous point that Greedo shot first, nor are you outright challenging him.

Doing this will allow his argument momentum to dissipate. Once the male is thrown off his track, it's possible to move on to a new, less controversial topic. Like what the first letter of the English alphabet is, or the name of the fat guy who delivers Christmas presents. Start off easy and then move into more complex subjects. 

We can all learn a great deal from Digging Shark. If we can get him out of the hole and back to the real world, then perhaps he can lead a long and fulfilling life eating wayward swimmers. That hole is a dark place. And even though guys think they like being there, the truth is it's just not healthy. Ease them out of the hole and everyone will be better for it.

You don't agree?


How dare you! How VERY dare you!

I hear your mom's a good kisser.



Copil hopes that Digging Shark becomes synonymous with inane male arguments. You can argue the likelihood of that happening on Twitter (@Copil).

Monday, May 27, 2013

From the Vault Monday :: Summer Lovin'



Every Monday, we post a reading/writing-related question for our followers, and at the end of the month, one lucky commenter is selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR the monthly winner may select any one book to be ordered for them from the Book Depository

(To enter, please follow YA Confidential and make sure your email address is linked to your comment in some way. We'll need to get in touch with you if you win.)


Today's question... Summer is finally upon us! What summer release are you most looking forward to? (Book titles lead to Goodreads pages.)

Copil - THE FEROS, by Wesley King, is the follow up to Vindico, about a group of teens forced into training as supervillans. This sequel comes out June 27th and picks up after our heroes have defeated the villains who kidnapped them. Just as they're about to be inducted into the League of Heroes, the teens are framed for a crime they didn't commit. I'm looking forward to some darkly humorous snark this summer!

Sara - Hands down, THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson (August 27th)! Even though I'll have a three-month-old to entertain, I can basically guarantee I'll be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it, sleep be damned! I cannot freaking WAIT for the conclusion to this trilogy -- and anyone who hasn't read the first two books needs to GET ON IT. :) 

Matt - I'm so bad about staying on top of what books are coming out. I'm not sure whether May releases should count, but I'm reading the ARC of FML, by Shaun David Hutchinson right now, and it's an awesome high school party book, about friendship, and love, which is only a little bit sad.

Jaime - Two ‘C’ books for me: CANARY by Rachele Alpine (August 1st) and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas (August 27th).

Jessica - I'm REALLY looking forward to WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith, which comes out TOMORROW. It sounds so awesome. I'm also anxious to read WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney (June 4th).

Leigh - Can I say "Mine"? Ugh. Since that's all I've been doing for the last two months. DRAGONFLY (June 6th)... I'll be as glad to have them done as to share them with everyone. Looking outside my little box, I think THE HAZARDS OF SKINNY DIPPING by Alyssa Rose Ivy (available now!) looks like the perfect beach book, and OUT OF PLAY by my good friends Jolene Perry & Nyrae Dawn (August 6th). Can't wait for those! :o) <3

Alison - INFINITYGLASS by Myra McEntire (August 6th). It's the third in the Hourglass series and I'm very much looking forward to spending more time with Kaleb and Lily and Emerson and Michael to see how the story plays out. Also, have you seen the cover?! I have to wait until August, but it's definitely on my SUMMER MUST READ list!
Katy - I'm going with two debuts: CHARM AND STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn (June 11) and BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke (August 20th). Love both of the covers and the super unique concepts. Oh! And of course THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay (Jun 20th), which is pretty much my most anticipated release of the year. I've heard amazing things! 
Erica - THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau (June 4th). Since I read it ages ago, I've called that it is going to be the next big thing and I cannot wait for it to finally be released (next week actually on June 4) and see what everyone thinks of it! It is just such a strong debut and I loved it.

CZ -  I don't have a lot of upcoming releases on my to-get list, but let me mention Heather Brewer again. The second book of the Legacy of Tril, SOULBROKEN (August 20th), is slated for an August release, so I'll be looking out for that!

Your turn! What summer release are you most anticipating?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ask A Teen Friday

As you know, we have these amazing teen spies and analysts--and today, you can ask them anything you want about being a teen!

 
Teen life? 


Reading habits? 


Anything in between?


Anything that will help you write your WIP??



Ask away!


And don't forget to check back in two weeks for their answers!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Chillaxin'

It's the last week of school over here, reader-friends!

I don't know if you're still going or if you finished already, but either way, I'm thinking about summer breaks and relaxing and CHILLaxin...

A cool drink~
This might be more of a post for writers, but I think we can all maybe take something away from it... I was inspired by the round table on social media and "twitchforks" and whatnot we just did (it's here).

Over the weekend, we had yet another incident of "authors behaving badly." (Possibly two, depending on your position.)

In the first instance, an author I've never met/don't know sold a bazillion copies of a book that was a radical departure from what she normally wrote.

Well, apparently she had an online moment about it in which she called book reviewers some very unpleasant names (because they liked her crazy book so much more than her usual stuff, which I guess she loves more.). It pretty much turned into a GoodReads nightmare for said author.

The whole situation makes me so sad. It's a little similar to what happened with our friend Hugh Howey, which we touched on at the round table (except he only insulted one misguided individual).

Writing takes a lot of work and time. You're alone a lot. It's so easy to spend way too much time in your own head at your own computer and in your own little cave. To the point where you forget what you say/post/tweet is actually being heard/read by others.

You have an audience; people are listening.

Remember that part in the round table about "If you would, please..." and "Thank you"-? I would add, "Get a group you can trust." It seems so obvious, but maybe it's not.

Yes, this blog is called YA Confidential, and as much as I love you guys, guess what I won't be doing here? Venting my authorly frustrations. Readers #1-Don't understand (and shouldn't, I'd argue) and #2-Don't care.

Okay, some do care. Your core group of fans. But in the vast ocean of books out there... well, who knows. Being scandalous is probably a great way to get noticed. Offending everyone is not.

Point: When the world of books is bringing you down, don't take it to the airwaves, take it to your trusted group. ...And I think this applies in all life situations, yes?

The second, "possible two" I mentioned up there has to do with an author who's been very successful writing a certain type of book. Last week, she released a very explicit book, and then a few days later she pulled it following backlash from her core group of reader-fans.

Said book went all the way to #2 on the Amazon bestsellers chart.

And now it's gone.

As you might expect, this has rekindled the discussion of writers using pen names for books that are vastly different from what your target likes. Yet in this instance, on Amazon, the book had almost straight 5-star ratings.

It's a strange situation to me. I wonder what readers are thinking about the whole thing. Do you get ticked when a writer you love puts out a book that's very different from what they normally write?

Did you read A Casual Vacancy? Did you like it? It's selling well, but man. Look at those reviews.

Anyway, all this brings me back to my title. It's summer. Let's all just chillax, yes?

Personally, it's my favorite time of year. And I think a little fresh air, a little time away from the computer, a little getting out of our own heads, can be a GREAT way to ease up on the world and on ourselves.

Hey! I'm inspired. Have a super week, reader- and writer-friends! I'm heading outside~


Monday, May 20, 2013

From the Vault :: From Secondary to the Spotlight


Every Monday, we post a reading/writing-related question for our followers, and at the end of the month, one lucky commenter is selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR the monthly winner may select any one book to be ordered for them from the Book Depository

(To enter, please follow YA Confidential and make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way. We'll need to get in touch with you if you win.)

Today's question: Which secondary YA character would you like to see starring in his/her own novel?


Matt - Hmm. Connor from The Marbury Lens already got his own storyline, kind of, in Passenger, so I suppose other than him, I'd really love to read a book about Viola from THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, by Patrick Ness. I'd love to discover how she came to be on Todd's world.

AlisonOne of the things I love about Miranda Kenneally's stories is that they're all companion novels (taking place about or around Hundred Oaks High) and that characters who were maybe even just a teensy part of a previous story get to star in Kenneally's next one. Case in point with Kate Kelly in THINGS I CAN'T FORGET—a story I recently read but probably will stick with me for a long time for many reasons. Kate was a very, very minor character in STEALING PARKER (which, btw, if you read TICF, you get to spend a lot of time with Parker and Will again!), but her story (and that of her crush Matt) is HUGE—thought-provoking, swoon-worthy, and well…it hit pretty close to home. ANYWAY, since I have an affinity for boy books and since I hearted Matt's younger brother within two pages of meeting him, I'm kinda hoping Kenneally stars Jeremiah Brown in his own story. I know he doesn't go to Hundred Oaks High, but well…that's an easy fix. SO—if you're reading this Miranda Kenneally, Jeremiah gets my vote for his own starring role!

Jaime - I want to read an entire book/series about Roar from UNDER THE NEVER SKY and THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. He’s funny, charming, kickass, and an all-around great character.

Katy - I'm going with Giddon from Kristin Cashore's BITTERBLUE. I absolutely adore his character, particularly how patient, sweet, and loyal he is with Bitterblue. Also, he's an adult, so this thirty-something gal doesn't feel quite so crazy crushing on him. And, since I just finished reading QUINTANA OF CHARYN, I'll add that I'd most definitely read an entire book told from Lucian's point of view. Love him! 

Jessica - I would LOVE to read a book about Drew from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. He was such a fully developed character, and I loved learning about all of the little nuances of his personality. I'd love to follow him on his own journey, especially on a journey of actually falling in love.  

Sara - Totally with Jessica for this one! Drew from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. And for the exact same reasons.

Leigh - The secondary star. The show-stealer... hmm... *drums fingers on lips* I've been doing a LOT of critiquing lately, so the characters popping into my head aren't "out there" yet. :P Two books that are out -- UNDER THE DUSTY SKY (Brennan) and THE ONLY EXCEPTION (Vernon) -- have FAB secondary characters that I happen to know have books coming out about them soon... I'm not answering this one very well. Sorry. Drew. Yes, he's hot. Let's have more Drew! ;o)

Copil - In RAILSEA, the main character works on a "ship" that travels the railsea in hunt of moldywarpes and other fantastical creatures. The ship is captained by Abacat Naphi, a one-armed woman of deep complexity and singular focus. I'd really like to see more of her and the early adventures that made her the half-mad clockwork woman she is at the start of the story.

Erica - Nathaniel from Courtney Allison Moulton's ANGLEFIRE trilogy. I just adore Nathaniel as a character and I think him in his own book would be pretty fascinating.

CZ - CyFi from UNWIND has a good chance of landing his own novella, due to both his personality and the inheriant conflict that comes from possessing the temporal lobe of a kleptomaniac.

Your turn! Which secondary YA character would you like to see starring in his/her own novel?



 
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