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Showing posts from November, 2014

Snippets from 100for100: Week Eleven

“The second day is easier,” I told myself, shifting my backpack and lifting my chin confidently.I knew where my locker was.I knew where my classes were.I should be fine.
***       April caught my eye when I reached my locker.I smiled at her.She turned away and whispered to the girl next to her.I looked from April’s straight strawberry blonde hair to the black, cascading curls of her friend.While I watched, the new girl surveyed me with a stony gaze that was anything but friendly.      Great.
***      “Stubborn girl,” Brant scolded, swinging around in front of me to study my face.“I’m coming with you.No getting out of it.”He dropped into step next to me.“There’s something strange going on here, and I’d like to figure it out.”
A flicker of white and then red flickered across her face.“As you wish,” she said tersely.


     He reached for my hand, pulling it out of the pocket and grasping it firmly.“There’s an ice cream palor in town,” he said.      “Parlor,” I corrected.



Black Friday Deals

In my country, the day after Thanksgiving is a day for lower prices on goods in various stores.  It is called "Black Friday" because stores whose profits have been "in the red" (losses) finally make enough sales to be "in the black" (gains).

     There are a couple Black Friday deals that I thought you may be interested in.  Here they are:

Rachel Heffington's book, Anon, Sir, Anon, will be 25% off in paperback form on Black Friday.  Here is the link to her post that tells about it: My Sister Gets to Keep Her Cat

Elizabeth Ender's book, Ransomed, will be about 30% off on createspace on Black Friday, if you use her special code.  Here is the link to a post telling more about it: In Which I Try to Sell You Cool Stuff.


Tomorrow, I will not be posting -- I will be celebrating Thanksgiving.
     Thanksgiving is a holiday in my country.  It is inspired by a feast held by the pilgrims who came to this land long ago.  They set aside a day to rejoice and to thank God for what He had done for them.  Centuries later, President Lincoln set it up as a yearly national holiday.
     Thanksgiving is celebrated in my family with a meal together -- with as much of the family as possible (and sometimes, a few extra people).  Turkey is typically served, and, thanks to my in-laws, so is cranberry sauce.  Pie, also, is sort of expected. J  And there are numerous other delicious dishes that vary from year to year.
     Before the meal is a bustle of women in the kitchen (the men go in the other room to talk or play guitar or they go outside to do stuff with my dad).  It always amazes my dad how we can fit so many ladies in our little kitchen without crashing into each other.
     After the meal, we split again.  …

14 Weeks To Go

So I haven't heard much about the Rooglewood contest lately (it is occasionally mentioned on Anne E. Stengl's blog and, of course, it is mentioned on Rooglewood Press's contest page).  But from what I have heard, there are a lot of great stories being submitted.  A couple of them in particular, I would be very interested to read -- and those are ones that I know about -- I'm sure there are many more.  I am looking forward to this collection's release next summer.
     Earlier this year, Rooglewood released the book from last year's contest.  Have any of you read it?  It's called Five Glass Slippers, and it is a collection of Cinderella stories.  Here is the blurb for that book:
One Beloved Story - Five Exciting Writers - a Collection to Cherish!

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined …

Snippets from 100for100: Week Ten

Today, instead of sharing a bunch of smaller snippets, I am posting one large snippet.  Enjoy!
“I put pictures up in my room,” Mason said, waving his hand at the walls.They were covered in crayon drawings and posters of cars and trucks.He turned to look at me.There was a furrow in his brow, and I could tell something was on his mind.“Brant puts pictures on his walls, too.And Mama puts pictures on the refrigerator.”His brow crinkled even more as he looked at me.“Why don’t you put pictures on your walls?”
I stared at Mason.I wasn’t quite sure what to say.
It was true.My mind immediately flew to my suitcase and the place where I hid my treasured pictures.I would never have dreamed of posting them on the wall in my bedroom.
Why not?
I licked my lips.“Sometimes I like to put very special things in a safe place,” I said slowly.
Mason gazed up at his wall, his mouth hanging carelessly open.“Buuuuutt…my walls are safe.”
Innocent child!
“Sure,” I said with a shrug, pretending to agree.Nowhere was saf…

That Thing is a Character?

I'm going to play with our concepts of characters.

     Typically, we think of a character as an interactive being in the story.  They have thoughts and feelings, motives and a backstory, personality traits and quirks.

     But there is another side to the characters, not seen by the reader, and that is the handling of a character.  It is the author's responsibility to make sure that characters are introduced, given an appropriate amount of "screen time", and never lost. 
     Let's say that you are reading a story about Jack and Jill.  Everything up until now is built by these 2 characters alone.  Now let's say that Jack and Jill are having a conversation and suddenly...
"I agree," said Freddy, rubbing the end of his nose thoughtfully.      What?!? You, as the reader, are reeling.  Who is Freddy?  Where did he come from?  Why is he here?  You eagerly look to the next line, hoping for an explanation from the author.
      But, no, the author …

Outlandish But Beautiful

A friend gave me a writing prompt the other day (a simple, "he opened the door and saw..."), and through it I stumbled into another world beneath our own.  It was beautiful but boldly different from any place I have gone before.  That's a new thing for me -- my books have mostly traveled the realm of places you might see every day -- or you would see if you traveled back in time.  This, however...while believable...was fearless in its uniqueness. 
     And it was a delight for me to roam around and explore.

How about you?  Have you ever written a place that was both outlandish and beautiful?

Snippets from 100for100: Week Nine

The bell rang for dismissal at the end of the day, and moments later I was trotting down the front steps of the school – trotting away from the great altar.

She looked disappointed by my short answers but I didn’t care.My world was crazy enough as it was and it felt oddly satisfying to have control over the length of my replies.

Then the dark-haired boy plunked down in his newly acquired seat, propping his elbow over the back of it so he could grin at me.

     In the end, he smiled again.“I own the bus,” he said.      Bluff, I thought.

     Mason didn’t think my life was hard.

     Whatever my face expressed, it delighted Charlie even more.He winked at me and headed back to his own seat.

     In my room, I plopped onto the floor by my bed and dug Mason’s picture out of the backpack.With my finger, I traced the little paradise he had made under the great, hulking rock.If only it were as beautiful as he imagined...

Setting the Stage

My daddy challenged me to think about the props used in a play to create a scene, and to incorporate that into my writing.  Let me demonstrate what I mean:

     April pulled the cord of the lamp on her nightstand and flopped across her bed. Her homework lay neglected on the top of her dresser, but April was too tired to care.
      Can you tell where she is? Why?

     The wind blew cold across Dylan's skin, and he shivered. Snow was starting to fall. In another two hundred yards, he would climb above the treeline and leave the sheltering pines behind him.  He hoped the camp was waiting for him and that his captain had a fire going.
     Can your imagination build the scene?  How?

     Plays can't actually transport you to different locations.  Instead, they put props on the stage so that the audience understands where they are supposed to be.

     For Tevye's bedroom, you might have a bed, a nightstand, and a dresser.
     For Maria's escape over the alp…

One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure

The old adage, often used in defense of yardsales, occasionally applies to critique groups.  On receiving criticism from multiple people, you may find a scene or phrase hated by one person and loved by another.  Personally, this is why I like to have my work critiqued by multiple readers -- I feel it gives you a more balanced response.
     Speaking of critique group's, I have joined one for the first time ever this month, and I am super-excited.  I can't wait to see what we come up with!

Have you ever been part of a critique group?  What tips or suggestions would you give to such a group?

New Books, Excited Jitters, Cold Winds, and New Friends

This post is a collection of randomness.

     First of all, Plenilune by Freitag was amazing.  Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone...and that's just how it is.  But the writing was superb.  There were maybe two places where I remembered it was written by a young human...for the rest of it, I was as deeply submersed in Plenilune as Miss Coventry.  Earth?  Where is that?  I am sorely tempted to go live on Plenilune now.
     Like I said, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone -- there were a couple things I thought should have been left out -- but my brain very quickly forgets those things.  And I loved the way Jenny sucked me into the story, weaving my heart through the changes until it was almost a shock to look back and see how far we had come.  Plus, I loved the adventure and action...and the BIGNESS of the story.  There was no timidity in the writing and it beckoned you to greatness.  Awesome piece of work.

     Second of all, I have started reading Anon, Sir, …

Interview at Whistecraig

Hi, Rachel!  Welcome to my blog!  I am so excited to have you here today to talk with my readers about your new book, Anon, Sir, Anon.

Readers, I hereby introduce to you Rachel Heffington.  To learn more about her and her book, you can read my earlier post here or you can go to her blog.

Rachel kindly permitted me to interview her today.  Below you will find my questions in bold and her answers in regular print.

Ready, Rachel?

When did the idea for Anon, Sir, Anon occur to you?  Did you start writing immediately? The idea occurred to me rather randomly after reading a book on Classic British Detective Fiction. I love mysteries, in theory, and wanted to write one of my own. And I did begin writing fairly quickly. The whole thing worked up very easily the first draft. It was the second draft that bit my tail.

Looking back on your finished product, name one thing (an element, technique, or scene) that you are extremely pleased with. I am very pleased with how I managed to describe things. …

One Small Move of the (Computer) Mouse

SEND.      It's so easy to do.  With one small move of the computer mouse and a click on the button, I submitted my story to Rooglewood Press.  There.  It's done.
     And yet, the torrent of emotions made the movement anything but small.  You might as well say that jumping off a cliff is but a tiny flick of the ankles.  Everything from terror to relief to excitement to hope blew through my mind so quickly that they were all a blur.
     God, give me favor.
     It was a whirlwind of emotion that came and passed, leaving me almost numb and breathless in its wake.  Now that my story is on its way to the judges, I can sit in semi-peace and process my thoughts.
     The terror comes from that perfectionist desire to read it through one more time, hoping that I can somehow make it better.  I know my story was not perfect -- I have met writers with considerable more polish than I have yet acquired.  Maybe...if I took a little bit more time...I could make my diamond-of-a-tale shine…

Snippets from 100for100: Week Eight

“Here comes Miss Young.Make sure you tell her we answered all your questions,” April murmured hastily. “Do you have any questions?” Renee asked.An amused look flickered across my face.Somehow I think Miss Young, if she had overheard, would have been more impressed with Renee’s approach than April’s.      "Hey!"      My head jerked to the right, and I saw the skinny blonde-haired boy lurking in the empty hallway.  Discretion prompted me to walk on.      "Get back here!  I'm talking to you!" he hissed.       My steps slowed to a stop and I looked back over my shoulder.      He jammed his hands in his pockets.  "I have a message for you," he said.       "From who?" I asked.       He looked as nervous as a cat on a waterslide.  "From the guys in the alley."  He rocked one foot back and forth as if the rhythm would help him recite.  "If you even think about causing trouble, you are gonna wish you never set eyes on them."       "I …

What I Like in a Story

I like fearless authors.  Not that they are writing things that they shouldn't ("fools rush in where angels fear to tread") but they are fearless in what they do write.  They write because they believe.

I like things to feel real.

I like villains who you hate but wish that you could have been there earlier to keep them from becoming a villain.  The author Alfred Ollivant introduced me to that in Bob, Son of Battle.  I was pretty young when I read that novel, and most of the stories intended for my age had a simply evil villain that you never understood or tried to understand.  How different were the villains of Bob, Son of Battle!  You understood why everyone hated them, and yet a small part of your heart cried for the villain.

I like a good mix of action, philosophy, dialogue, and description.

I like a writer that will make me laugh.  I don't mean a comedy novel but something that will, somewhere in its pages, pull a laugh out of me.  Sometimes it is a funny scene,…

Remember, Remember...It's Today!

Announcement Blurb: Whodunnit? Rachel did! At least, she did as long as the "it" refers to writing a cozy little mystery novel. Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard me predict this day for some time now, and it is finally here: Rachel is releasing her new book, titled Anon, Sir, Anon. Round of applause, please!
Thank you, thank you.
In honor of this auspicious day, Rachel has typed up some information on the book and its author and has permitted me to post them. You will see those below. She is also hosting a giveaway -- there is more about that to come. And today's release date is a kick-off for a whole week of festivities (some of them here on my blog) so be sure to check out her blog for more information. Enjoy!

Back Cover Blurb: The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger.In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantanker…

Contest Update

Last week, I was a little bit frustrated with my story for the Rooglewood Contest.  People had given me suggestions, I decided the suggestions were merited, I wrote some new scenes based on their feedback...and the new scenes were horrible.

I was ready to scrap the whole project.

But I didn't think I had time for a complete rewrite.

And quitting the contest entirely was not an option.  Quitting is worse than failing.

I set aside some time today to work on it.  It's not as bad as I thought it was...which is always a comfort.  I reworked the new scenes to make them fit better.  It's funny how at some places during the story I am so disatisfied with my work...and yet when I finish reading it, I have this little budding hope that it might actually win.

By now, you are probably tired of reading about my emotional roller coasters.  So, as a reward for putting up with me, here are some snippets:

     He thrilled at the feeling of force in each parry and the flashing of sunlight of…