Friday, April 30, 2010
"This is my first nonfiction novel . . ."
"Thank you for your patients."
Yes! Love these! Please send more!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I am a Stephenie Meyer fan. (There I said it.) I just reread The Host and cried on the "last" page, even though I've read the book at least 4 times and knew there was more. I really love her books. They have their own section in my basement library. Unitl today.
This shelf has the books that I return to when I need a major escape. The Dark Divine totally fits the bill. If you have not read it . . . What are you waiting for? It is amazing.
This shelf is front and center, just where it needs to be when I am in "need" of them.
What are your escape books? Where do you keep them?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
"Writing is work, even when it’s fun. What separates a writer from an author is the person that keeps writing, even when it stops being fun." -Aprilynne Pike
As I'm sure everyone knows, the writers conference LDStorymakers concluded on Saturday. It was great, so much fun with inspiration packaged up and sent home. There were many awesome moments, and I'll highlight a few:
-Bree Despain's class on Paranormal YA was a lot of fun to be in. She is a class act. Favorite part was discussing the paranormal metaphor, hiding the "heavier" real issues under the paranormal umbrella.
-Aprilynne Pike's class on Writing For The Market was incredibly informative. She is one smart chicky! She talked about how keeping your audience in mind while you are writing is just as important as keeping your grammar in mind. She also quoted Reverend Lovejoy, "Yes with an if, no with a but..." You can't get any better than that.
-Watching Jeff Savage's lego-man clip starring James Dashner with an english accent. I hope this shows up on YouTube soon.
-Friday evening entertainment, Shaun Barrowes.
-My ten minutes with Krista Marino. Great lady, very down to earth. And she really liked my first five pages. Huzzah! A couple of her notes read, "Great work at leaving the reader guessing for more," and, "I really like this sassy protagonist."
-Meeting agent Laura Rennert, and throwing out a thirty second pitch. She was lovely, didn't seem bothered at all that I approached her. And when I told her my book was a YA Dystopian, she was very excited. She asked for my first three chapters. Double Huzzah!
All three national guests (Krista Marino, Laura Rennert, and Nephele Tempest) had great things to say about the conference, and more specifically, the amazing talent we have here in Utah. We should all be so proud :)
What was your favorite part of Storymakers? If you had a pitch, how did it go? Why do you think the talent pool is so strong in Utah? What are you working on? Let's chat. There's nothing like talking about writing to get excited about it.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Yesterday I attended day one of the LDS Storymakers conference. Always a favorite, it was a fun and informative time.
I met up with fellow Inkers Donna, Deb, and Kirk (who, wearing his S.E. hat, was there to hear pitches), and also saw Inker friends Graham, Jenn, Ben, and L.T.
The big highlight for me was my pitch session with Nephele Tempest of the Knight Agency - a very nice woman from my hometown of L.A. who graciously offered to look at my first three chapters and a synopsis.
Inkers Donna and Deb pitched to Krista Marino, a senior editor at Delacorte Press/Random House. She had good things to say about both of their stories and advised them to get an agent and submit to her. Our plucky gals found the first opportunity to make an impromptu pitch to senior agent Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and were invited to submit their first three chapters to her. Deb will have more about this and photos on Monday!
Other highlights included the breakout sessions with Laura Rennert and Krista Marino. Ms. Marino spoke about the importance of the first five pages and what she is looking for as an editor.
Following are some tips from Laura Rennert about querying an agent:
--include the Who, What, When, Where, and Why Should I Care (the Why Should I Care is what makes your story different from the rest in your genre)
--always follow the agency submission guidelines EXACTLY if you really want them to read it
--keep it short, but not too short
--include information about who you are and any work experience or other credentials that lend credibility to your story (the story behind the story)
--include anything special about you related to the story that will help with marketing (My example: your story is about the first woman to climb Mt. Everest and you have climbed Mt. Everest)
--Don't overhype yourself
--Don't send work in a category the agent doesn't represent
Following is Laura Rennert's exercise for putting together a good pitch:
1. Write down the title, category, setting, protagonist, and central problem.
2. Write down one vivid detail that makes any one of the above elements different.
3. Prove your novel has: a) credibility, b) inherent conflict, c) originality, or d) real emotional power
4. Write down 3 big emotionally laden words that relate to your story (example: love, pain)
5. Write a one paragraph pitch using steps 1-3 and in the last sentence, use a word from step 4.
Good luck to everyone out their pitching things around!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We visit the Pacific Northwest almost yearly and it is an amazing place to be . . . but the 9 months of rain gets old fast. (Now, a good monsoon cloud buster is another matter—the rain is warm and you can dance in the puddles. Plus lots of thunder—I love thunder. Seattle doesn’t see much thunder.)
But secretly, I love a little bit of rain. I love to be in the NW sometimes and put up with frizzy hair and cold toes. Just a little.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
If you've been following the news at all this week, you will know a volcanic eruption on the small island country of Iceland has thrown all of Europe into a tailspin, creating ash-filled skies over the continent and shutting down major airports.
My first thought upon hearing this story was, "Iceland has volcanoes?". I hate to admit my ignorance, but my only previous knowledge of Iceland is that it is cold and the singer Bjork is from there.
It sparked my curiosity enough to do some very brief research. It reminded me how fun research can be and the many gems you can find to spark story ideas.
Here is some interesting info I found about Iceland (attributed to GVP/Smithsonian Institution):
Iceland has the land area of Virginia and the population of Virginia Beach (about 260,000 people). The country has the highest literacy rate (100%) of any nation in the world. Its history has always been closely related to volcanoes and knowledge of many volcanic eruptions since the middle ages are preserved in accounts.
First settled by Vikings in the 9th century AD, Iceland established its own parliament in 930 and recorded its first historical volcanic eruption only a few years later. After a golden age of literature in the 12th and 13th centuries (when the sagas were written), natural history reporting reached a low around the 15th century. In the years 1707-09 a third of the population died from smallpox, and the 1783-84 Laki eruption killed a fifth of the remaining population by famine. Iceland gained sovereignty from Denmark in 1918 and complete independence in 1944.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I enjoyed this first installment of the King Raven trilogy retelling of the Robin Hood story.
Stephen Lawhead focuses a lot of his fiction on Celtic myth, and this Robin Hood version is no different. As Lawhead explains in the book, the Robin Hood myth was very widely used and interpreted in the British Isles--something of an Everyman myth. Lawhead decided to interpret Robin Hood as a deposed Welsh prince during the times of the Franks/Normans' recent conquest of England and the start of their conquest of Wales.
Lawhead is immaculate and detailed in his Welsh backdrop, making for the most convincing Robin Hood version I've ever read/seen. The details of language, lifestyle, castle construction/use, armory, agriculture, etc., enrich the story.
His characters are gray, and Robin Hood himself is frustrating at times, even a Nancy boy, until he comes into his own. Friar Tuck, Little John, and the capricious Marian are delightful characters, somewhat different in their usually perceived roles (as is well manifested by Marian especially).
The book is not a standalone, as it ends in preparation for book two, even though it does have a natural climax and preceding rising action.
Baron Neufmarsh is one of the more interesting gray characters, someone who seems traitor and friend to the protagonist at times. I'm riveted on what Lawhead will do with him in the two novels to come.
Hood is a pleasant read for those Anglophiles who enjoy British history with relish while also delving into the legends surrounding the Isles.
Hood, by Stephen R. Lawhead. 2006. Thomas Nelson. 512 pp. $7.99 (PB).
King Raven Series:
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I could tell you a long and probably not-super-interesting-to-anyone-but-the-Inkers story about how we sat around the fire pit last night and sacrificed our stress to the karma gods, BUT instead I want to talk about the fire and not us.
I started to think of ways that we use the word fire. It is a simple non-profane four letter word that can convey emotions from hatred to passion and destruction to rebirth. Such a versatile little word and often so unexchangeable.
Here are some phrases that came to mind:
"We didn't start the ...."
"My hearts on ...."
"Someone yelled .... and cleared the building."
"My soul's on ...."
"He had a .... in his belly."
Now try to use a substitute like combustion or inferno, or flame. They just seem wrong.
Sometimes a thing just is what it is...Fire and as simple as it seems it really is the word that works best.
Hit us with some of your campfire stories...I know you've got some.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
1.to work, one with another; cooperate, as on a literary work: They collaborated on a novel.
2.to cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, esp. with an enemy occupying one's country: He collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
Does anyone else see anything ironic here? In any case, it has been a while since I have collaborated with someone on a writing effort. Let's do a story chain and see where our imagination takes us. Hopefully the result will be more like the example for #1 and not #2.
A woman, hampered by age and the many ailments that accompany it, hobbled down the sidewalk. Her slow gait almost got her devoured by the throng of the busy city several times, but she perservered, clutching the large black bag she carried tightly to her side...
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This is the UK cover because the US cover has blood on it. Along with scary fiction, I also don't do blood.
I like Dan's writing very much and you will have heard from other Inkers that the books are great.
So enough about them. Can't wait to see Sacramento. Never seen more than the highway there. The Scarlet Tart aka Lene and I are going to the signing. Yep, that's right I packed up my 3 kids and the family dog for a visit to Reno. What else am I supposed to do for Spring Break? Daytona is too crowded.
On a completely different subject please check out my book review today on my other blog (click here). It's a good one...the book, not the review. To say the review is good would be too much like boasting for a modest mom like me.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Oh yeah, and Happy Easter everybody. :)
Friday, April 2, 2010
Open war has seized the galaxy as an organized syndicate of pirates attacks and overwhelms a planetary system--proving that the Vatta family aren't the only targets in these aggressors' crosshairs.
Kylara Vatta and the two crews of the two Vatta ships she's managed to recapture must find allies in order to preserve their safety in this perilous time. With heavy resistance from potential ally and foe alike, will Kylara and her comrades be able to stop the threat in time?
Elizabeth Moon's third installment in the Vatta War series takes the series on the offensive, whereas up to this point the Vattas have been on the defensive, struggling to remain alive.
Additional crew members are added to the story, some gunners for the new Vatta warship, an executive officer to help Stella Vatta command the Gary Tobai, and a few others. Also, as Ky seeks out allies in forming a privateer coalition, we see some interesting characters thrown into the mix.
The pacing starts out a little slow, with Moon's typical day-to-day narrative: the Vattas getting supplies and new crew, disputing with local authorities about her newly acquired ship (see Marque and Reprisal, book 2, for details, since I don't want to spoil anything), etc. But these details have been one of the enjoyable aspects of Moon's writing. It's not always from one conflict to the next--there's actual life going on in her stories.
Around midpoint on, the momentum escalates toward a very satisfying, very harrowing ending--setting the stage for the rest of the series.
Aunt Grace has an important subplot in the novel, as she helps the few Vatta survivors back on Slotter Key. Assassins have been sent to finish the job they started, and she must draw on all her black ops training to keep her sister-in-law and niece and nephew safe from the destroyer. Also, she makes arrangements to take the trouble to those who had sold the Vattas to their enemies.
The story is an impressive addition to the series, and I'm looking forward to jumping into the next book, Command Decision.
Engaging the Enemy, by Elizabeth Moon. Del-Rey. 2006. 416 pp. $7.99 (PB).
Vatta War Series:
1. Trading in Danger
2. Marque and Reprisal
3. Engaging the Enemy
4. Command Decision
5. Victory Conditions
Thursday, April 1, 2010
SO I'm retreating to a mountain condo this weekend with my good friend and fellow Inker, Debbie, who is also going to finish her book.
So much for standing and fighting. For a writer at least sometimes its better to just RETREAT!
We'll let you know our awesome progress next week. Deb posts on Monday. How's that for accountability?