Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday was banding day for the San Jose and San Francisco peregrine chicks (4 in each nest). It's always fun to watch the banding at San Jose, as the nest cam, located atop City Hall, has streaming video, so you can see every moment.
First the parents start swooping by the nest box, then the camera focuses on rappelling ropes dropping down, and it's showtime!
The banding video is available online here. It's in five five-minute blocks (abbreviated from the full banding sequence). edited: The long version now comes up first, but there are shorter versions off to the left that you can change to. Banders both in San Jose and the Midwest wear helmets because the defending parents are very protective of their young. Glenn Stewart in San Jose occasionally has a helmet cam.
Neither the streaming video or the banding video has sound, but you can see the chicks' beaks moving as they are picked up and observers from the nearby parking garage reported that the parents were kakking alarm cries.
It's interesting to watch the chicks huddle together as each sibling is picked up. The last remaining unbanded chick tried crossing the nest area to hide among its banded siblings while Glenn was working on #3.
Banding time is also when the watchers find out what the sex of the chicks are. And that is from the size of their feet.
From the scpbrg.org site
"Q&A: Q. How do you know what sex the chick is when you band it?
"A. By the time the chick is old enough to wear a band, we are able to sex the bird by the size of its feet and thickness of the tarsus. By the time they reach 3 weeks of age they have achieved adult weight at about 650 grams for males and 950 grams for females. As you can imagine the difference is quite obvious to the practiced eye. If there is any doubt we use the larger female band."
Looking at how big some of those chicks are standing next to their father at past feedings, I've got my guesses. I'll find out for sure soon. (later report: 3 males and 1 female. My guesses were off.)
Prey remains are studied, so you'll see, once banding is done, that Glenn will sort through and bag feathers and other material from the nest box. Then it's a wave to the watchers atop the parking garage, and he's back up the wall.
The chicks recover fast - usually falling asleep in a heap - but the parents will continue to make attack runs until the humans leave the City Hall roof (a victory in peregrine terms).
And now it's back to watching. The chicks have discovered their new bling and the watchers can identify via band number and start to attach a personality to each chick (they will receive names later). The wandering stage began Thursday night when the chicks started exploring outside the nest box. More fun!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back
'Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too' from Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Actual '73 Giving Tree Movie Spoken By Shel Silverstein
The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back
'The Toy Eater' from Falling Up
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
1. I'll never get married. My dream was to be either an opera singer (hahaha), a ballerina (graceful as a giraffe), or an ice skater (no comment).
2. I'll never have children. Dirty diapers, throw up, phew. (Hope you're not eating while you read this.)
3. I'll never be a teacher. My teachers were all old. And kids played tricks on you.
4. I'll never be a nurse. The sight of blood makes me faint.
5. I'll never be a writer. Had enough of writing in school. Making outlines and topic sentences. Ugh.
Fast forward to the magical years when I'm considered an adult and can do pretty much whatever I please, so long as it's legal.
1. Marriage: I got married right out of high school. Instead of being an opera singer, a ballerina, or an ice skater, I was a housewife, secretary, clerk typist, and college student.
2. Children: I had four sons, three still living. I changed tons of dirty diapers. (This was before throw-a-ways, so they had to be washed too.) And I won't mention the other, in case you have a weak stomach.
3. Teacher: I graduated from the university and became ... you guessed it ... a teacher.
4. Nurse: I'm not officially a nurse, but I keep my husband's prescriptions in order, I stab his finger for blood sugar tests. (The blood oozes out.) I fill his syringes with insulin.
5.Writer: My five novels for tweens and teens are out, with five more stories under contract.
So no longer do I say "I'll never do ..." because life is funny and I may just end up doing exactly what I say I won't do.
How about you? Are you doing things today you said you'd never do? If you are, remember Never say never.
Happy reading and writing.
Monday, April 25, 2011
(I'm kind of excited, I admit. I write fantasy and fairy tales, and what's more fairy tale than a common girl becoming a Princess in a big overdone, hugely expensive to-do??) Anyway, enjoy!
It's that time of the month again. No, not THAT time of the month, time for me to post here at YAAYNHO, my chance to shine and come up with some witty and poignant bit of prose meant to inform or entertain.
That's a lot of pressure. I mean, it's only once a month, and yet some months I get the notice that my day is approaching and I tense up. What am I going to write about? My mouth goes dry - what if no one reads what I wrote, or they HATE it? What if I can't be spontaneous and funny and we lose readers and I get kicked out of the blog? (wait, this is MY blog. I could kick myself out, I guess.) I've been working on guest blog posts and interviews for a Special Something I'm doing in May, and I tried to be sometimes serious and sometimes humorous, and here's what I've concluded: it's hard to be interesting.
I mean, with all the bloggers and authors and tweeters out there, I'm just another voice in the wilderness. I know some people have huge audiences for their blogs, cranking out daily articles that aren't too long (because now we know that people want sound bites, not manifestos) and that grab their readers and make them want to come back. It's hard to do day after day. I used to try and blog every day, but it got to be monotonous. Not much happens to me on a daily basis. So I gave up the every day thing and only post on my personal blog when I have something to say, usually related to my writing, or only really important things in my life that I want to share. I tweet and post to Facebook, so if you're really REALLY interested in the minutiae of my daily life, there you are.
But, in honor of those who feel the compulsion to blog every day, even if they have nothing interesting to say, I give you the Five Worst Blog Posts Ever (titles only; not real links).
5. Catwatch, Day 65: Hairballs Ahoy!
4. What I Ate For Breakfast (unless you're talking about chocolate-covered bugs or something, no one cares. And if you ARE talking about chocolate-covered bugs, um, well, I don't need to read about it, do I?)
3. How to Make Hospital Corners or: My Life in Dustbunnies
2. Three Things I Found While Cleaning out My Purse
And the number one WORST blog post ever....
1. My Colonoscopy (A Video Blog)
Friday, April 22, 2011
You can imagine a lot when staring at a field of white, puffy clouds for 6 hours. I kept thinking what a cool world that would be - to be able to drift along on the clouds, peeking through breaks in them at the world below. And I saw something I hadn't seen before - the edge of the clouds. Yes, the edge. Hundreds of miles of white, puffy landscape, vaguely resembling a huge snow field, and then suddenly a low bank and a drop off of some 30,000 feet. It was quite interesting. And a little frightening. I can imagine a cloud mother, hovering over her child: "Don't get near the edge. It's a long way down. Step back! You're giving me heart failure here. Get away from that edge!" Or something like that. Quite dramatic.
I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out where I was in the USA. I know that the plane was diverted further south than anticipated due to the inclement weather across the midwest (read: tornadoes). I saw lots of flat. Lot of flat. And then snow in those flats. And some little towns, their lights shining in the gloom. Course, it was sunny way up where we were. But down there? I could imagine it was cold and wintery, even in mid April. I felt sorry for those folks, looking at their vast fields covered in snow, their roads dry and bare but winding through a bleak landscape. I pictured them bundled up in their coats, breath steaming, feet pounding on the wooden floor, dislodging snow. They were no doubt looking forward to a hot cuppa and a warm fire.
But the place I had just left? Bathed in sunshine, temps in the 80's. Those people were in shorts and tank tops, I'll bet. Sipping cold drinks, and fanning themselves to escape the heat. Flip flops and sunglasses. And just a few hours, by plane, to the west they were pulling on mittens and wool hats to check on the farm. Brrrr.
So, back to the clouds. They were thick, then thin, then thick again. Finally I saw swells on the ground below - mountains? But not my mountains, not the pointed, snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range. Where were these rolling hills? I had no idea where we were. I checked the map, guessing maybe Wyoming. Certainly these couldn't be the Rockies, could they? I really wanted them to be the Cascades, because that would mean I was almost home. But no, checking the watch showed at least another hour of flight. How many miles was that? Why was the ground moving by so slowly?
Now lights were appearing in the towns so far beneath me. What towns and cities were they? Why was there someone living so far out there? Away from any sizeable city? Long, desolate roads leading to a shining beacon. How many miles away from each other were they? Distance seemed too hard to judge from my lofty perch. Long ribbons of road stretching off into the distance, going where? How long would it take to drive that? I realized that most of us drive the freeways less than 100 miles in any direction on a routine basis. Only on those long road trips of discovery would we venture down one of those black and gray strips that criss-cross the country. They all seemed to sad and empty and lonely. I looked away for a while, back to reading, not wanting to feel the emptiness.
But soon, the Cascades were beneath me. Those glorius peaks, covered in snow, indicating home wasn't far away. A beautiful sunset above the clouds, more and more lights below. Civilization! And my thoughts drift back to the pioneers. What it must have been like to confront those mountains with only wagons and horses and sore feet. Not knowing how treacherous they were, how wide, what was on the other side. Pushing forward, day after day, and finally, finally, reaching the other side and seeing the ocean before them. The end. Home. Sigh. Welcome back.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
by Kim Baccellia
3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, April 22, 2011!
About the Book:
Following the light can't be that hard, right? So why don't the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Steward alone? However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden 'gift' becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning into a liability.If she can't learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn't choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.
Because she's next on the list to be crossed out.
Exclusive Interview with the Author!
1) What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
I'd really love to write a historical romance.
2) Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Probably having a book reading and signing with other SCBWI writers at an Indie book store that I really loved.
3) Be honest, how many drafts did you have to write for this book?
Ohmigosh, you know I kind of lost track! No seriously, it takes me about a year to write a rough draft and a couple years are spend on the revision process.
4) What’s your favorite part of the writing process? What’s your least favorite?
My favorite part of the writing process has to be the writing the first draft. I try not to let editing get in the way. During last year's Nanowrimo I gave myself permission to do this. It was very freeing.
My least favorite has to be editing. After a while it gets really hard to find all the typos. Thanks goodness for critique buddies!
5) How did you get the idea for the novel?
The inspiration behind my story Crossed Out came after a full day of attending writing workshops at the Maui Writer’s Conference back in 2004. At that time I was pitching my YA multicultural fantasy Earrings of Ixtumea to a couple agents and editors. I was also writing an edgier YA based on the craziness of my teen life growing up with a violent bipolar father. So writing a paranormal was the last thing on my mind.
My husband told me he had an idea for another story. Curious, I asked what it was. Using the ‘what if’ scenario, he asked what would happen if it was someone’s job to make those crosses you see on the side of the road. That person not only made crosses but helped the dead cross over to the other side.
I couldn’t help but think of my own sister, Colette that had been murdered by her ex boyfriend back in 1993. That event totally changed my whole family who never in a bazillion years thought someone we loved would be killed in this matter. No matter what anyone says, you never really get over a tragedy like that.
I decided to use a personal experience I had right after the death of Colette. What would happen if those who’d been killed in a violent matter didn’t know that they were in fact dead? The main job of the ‘rescuer’ would be to decorate a cross with something that reflected the life of the recently deceased. This would help the dead cross over.
Only later did I find there are people who are in charge of making those wooden crosses for MADD. One of these gentlemen even joked telling me he didn’t know that he had another responsibility with making those crosses!
Another thing that weighed heavily on my mind is why just settle with crosses? Not all people believe in them. My brother-in-law is Muslim so I asked for some input on having a Muslim crossing.
I also wanted to show a teen that struggles with her gift. I have a hard time believing that all people with paranormal abilities embrace them. And this feeling was reinforced with the recent TV show Psychic Kids.
About the Author:
Kim Bacciella is the YA author of EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA and her recent release CROSSED OUT. Her third book, NO GODDESSES ALLOWED, has a tentative release date of Dec. 2011. She is a reviewer for YA Books Central. Visit the author online at: http://www.kim-baccellia.com/
**Please enter to win by going to the site and leaving a comment! I might even throw in some Crossed Out swag!
Friday, April 15, 2011
With all my other published books and short stories, the editing process was always very similar - once the work had been accepted and editing time came up, the publisher went through the manuscript then sent it back with the edits (normally by email sometimes regular mail) for me to review, make changes, and if necessary go another round.
Well, not this time! For Price of Mercy I got to experience a whole new way of getting my manuscript edited. I've seen the future. And it is bright and interactive!
The publisher of several of my novels, Zumaya Publications, has been pushing the envelope to make their processes easier for themselves and their authors for years. A PHP based website with scripts so they can add books to the listings easily; most communications done through groups or online and via email, even having voice conversations using Skype; shared calendars so authors know where they stand and can book time via Google Cenlendar. Now Liz has gone one other step further.
Using what technology is already out there, she prepped me up through Google Docs to do the novel's edits. We went chapter by chapter in two hour blocks over a little less than three weeks time.
In Google Docs, we could both open the document and make changes AT THE SAME TIME! I could see where she was at all times (a little cursor with her name on the screen) and any edits she made as she made them. It even popped up a chat box beside the document so I could ask questions or vice versa! There was even the ability to add a comment box on particular lines like you can with Word's Track Changes feature.
As she'd explained before we started, the new process saved a lot of time as there was no lag between her edit and my accepting/rejecting/or questioning said changes as it all happened right there and then. It truly went pretty fast!
The only thing I believe would have made it better would have been to be on Skype at the same time, as I occasionally didn't realize she'd typed something or vice versa. (Ugh, she even did a horrible Sherlock Holmes joke on a typo of Lestrave's name which I'd accidentally made to be Lestrade. She typed that sucker out before I could type out my own, "No, don't do it!" lol.
But maybe it would be safer not to be connected by voice, or she would have heard me whine as she mercilessly slashed uncessary words off the manuscript. (Though I suppose that's what the Mute switch is for.) Heh heh. (Ah yes, editing pain never hurt so good!)
Overall it was a very eye opening experience and I think made the edit better besides. What made it more fantastic was that as we worked on this thing we were both in totally different cities, yet it made no difference. The future truly is bright!
Have any of you had experiences with new ways, technology, etc that you feel have improved your life? Some that you think have made things worse instead? Come share!
Shameless Plug! -RELEASE COMING SOON!
Price of Mercy - a fantasy with a medieval French flair should see the light in April or May 2011.
How best to punish treason? Make the traitors into immortal slaves!
Sample chapters and more info at http://www.gloriaoliver.com/
Thursday, April 14, 2011
When I watch water falling in the spring
Like tears soaking into a bed of earth,
I cease to remember the joy it brings
To observe nature's miraculous births;
When stormy tantrums envelop the sky
And lightning gives temporal webs of light
As cacophonous thunder roars nearby,
Small children cling to their mothers in fright:
At last, behold the light after the storm
As dreary clouds reveal glitter within
Air swirls, thick and sweet, in purest form,
And sun's tender rays caresses the earth's skin;
Then run and skip across the muddy plain
Live like a child delighted by the rain.
Since writing fiction is my work, poetry is now my escape. Authors, do you turn to poetry, short stories, or articles as an "escape" from writing novels...or is it just me?
If you enjoy poetry, then visit my blog. I'm posting poetry and giving away two copies of my book this month. :)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
My latest manuscript, currently looking for a home, has brought back serious serial feedback, however. Some of the people who read it, including one professional editor, asked me, "Is this the first book in a series?" The question left me a bit surprised. "No, sorry," I replied both times. But inside I began to wonder what they were seeing that I wasn't.
I haven't read much in terms of YA series. In fact, I don't think I've really read any, although I am stretching my brain trying to make sure. When I was younger -a LOT younger- I read the usual ones: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobsey Twins. I even read some of the less familiar ones like Beany Malone and Trixie Belden. As an adult, however, I haven't read any of the YA series I have run across, mostly because they tend to run to sword and sorcery or science fiction, neither of which are my first-choice genres. I'm not necessarily averse to them, I just don't pick them up very often. (Note: J.K. Rowling, as far as I'm concerned, didn't write a series so much as she wrote one long work that needed to be broken down into separate books, rather like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.)
So now I am looking at my manuscript with new eyes and lots of questions. Do I want to go further with these characters? Does their world lend itself to a number of stories instead of just one? And where would I go with them, if that's the case?
For all of you out there working on a series, I'd love some feedback. How did you know you had a multi-tale universe or group of characters? Do you think it's easier to sell a series than a single book? Do you write outside of your series? Do you ever get bored with the same people??
Oh, and if anyone can suggest a series that isn't sci-fi/fantasy (or Twilight, for that matter), hey, I'd love the input!
Monday, April 11, 2011
My Writing “Tech” From 2011 to 1979
When many of us discuss technology today, it’s most likely to be a conversation about our cell phones or cars. Aside from that kind of tech, YA Authors may discuss writing programs between themselves on occasion, or engage in the interminable argument about which is better: Microsoft or Apple. Now I have nothing new to offer on the subjects I listed, but I have a long history of writing using various bits and pieces of technology and proto-technology. Here’s a brief account from the present to the past.
I am still using my Dell Dimension 9100 which I bought in the middle of the 2000’s. I revised my “Earthbow” (http://bit.ly/b9vDW1 ) manuscript on it, and I’ve now started revising “The Gryphon & the Basilisk” on it. Nowadays, I save to flash drives, and I save often. I don’t want to lose years of work if this computer crashes terminally. (I probably have a dozen flash drives on a long bead chain.) This Dell has already had both its hard drive and motherboard replaced, and it still runs WORD 2003 on the old XL platform. Yes, it’s positively ancient by today’s standards but I’m terrified of switching software platforms or even updating WORD. And of course I'm terrified of a permanent crash.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve fallen behind the curve in tech—not just computer tech but also sound systems, phones, Bluetooth (whatever that is) and so on. Proof? I bought my second laptop (“Piglet” because it’s so tiny) over two years ago, and its Windows Vista OS –still- has me buffaloed. I’ve even had the Geek Squad people come out to instruct me on how it works. It did little good. Occasionally, I’ll cried piteously for someone to give me all-day training on VISTA and on the laptop’s newer version of WORD--preferably at Panero’s where I could stuff my instructor full of luscious food and coffee--but, so far, no one has taken me up on this.
As I said, the desktop is beginning to show signs of its age, even with the hardware face-lift it got about three years ago. I’d buy a replacement in a snap, but I am wary of new software like Windows 7 (or whatever the latest is) and WORD 2010(?). I don’t want to have –two- computers in this house, without knowing how to use either. This does not lend itself to writing output.
I bought my first Dell desktop in about 2003, but I continued to use the humongously clunky and heavy screen from the previous computer since that was still working and I didn’t really have the cash for a new monitor too. I used this 1st Dell for revising my “Seabird” (http://bit.ly/bKBQ7x ) manuscript amongst other things (like computer graphics). I also scanned in many, many typewritten pages of other book manuscripts which had been hand-written beginning in 1979, then typed up a while after that.
The Dell and I worked together happily for a few years—until it gave out abruptly. Virtually anything manuscript-related that I had keyed in was on disc, so I lost nothing that was writing-related. I did lose some other files on the hard drive, including some of my graphic art.
I was okay for the moment because I’d bought my first laptop the previous year, technically for audio file creation. I used it for writing instead when the Dell went down, until I got a replacement desk top. This early laptop was dubbed “The Elephant”. I don’t know how much it weighed but it was bunches. When a good writer friend has her computer die on her about two years ago, I gave her “The Elephant”.
Back then, I was still working at the university library. On a Saturday afternoon, a co-worker and I drove up to the Gateway store, where I picked out the first full-fledged desktop computer of my own. I had a lot of uses planned for this one, but writing and revising my novels were kind of side issues during this period. (This was during my 1990’s writing hiatus, brought on by heavy duties in a new position at work. I did write some short stories around then, but that was because I was taking writing courses.) Anything I wrote was saved to diskette—if I thought about it.
One of my main activities with this computer was keying in my “Analyses” of Babylon 5 (http://www.slackfox.net/ ), a splendid SF show that few people watched. While I had WORD and Word Perfect software on this computer and knew how to use them from work, I didn’t have a way of creating the analyses as WORD files and then sending them by e-mail to the people interested in them. This was in the days of message boards, before the actual internet. Plain library staff were not permitted to have web pages, even once they became fairly common, so I couldn’t store my analyses on one, and point people to my page.
The only way I had to distribute these show analyses was via the B5 message board, using the –very- clunky university e-mail software, the only email software available to me. (Maybe some of you older folks will remember most U.S. university email addresses ending in “…mvs.edu”.) The email was so clunky that it didn’t have cut-and-paste, and the only way I could figure out how to correct an error was to back up to it, deleting everything between where I had stopped keying in and where the error was, and trying again.
I did key in a bit of writing stuff on the Gateway, using floppy discs for storage. And I imported many files—also on floppies--from my old word processor. I still have these floppies and I’m very glad I do or I might have lost sections of my manuscripts. (When I bought it, I made sure that my Dell Dimension had a floppy disc drive.)
(Between 1985 and 1990?)
One day I took myself up to a predecessor of Best Buy--I’ve forgotten its name--and nervously bought a Smith-Corona word processor. It was supposed to be portable, but that was largely a Fig Newton of the amalgamation.
The word processor had a small green screen recessed directly above the keyboard in which you could see perhaps the previous paragraph that you had written. I used to use it on a TV tray while sitting in one of my wing-back chairs. This made the keyboard a bit too high, so I sat on a thick pillow. The Smith-Corona was a wonder to work with at that time. I especially enjoyed the flexibility it gave me for formatting. Naturally, I saved files on floppy discs. So far as I can remember, I wrote my first draft of “The Gryphon & the Basilisk” plus a few short stories on the word processor. I used this for years, even after buying the Gateway, because writing was such a snap on it. Eventually I gave it to someone who helped me move.
I bought a Commodore 64, with every intention of using it to transcribe the longhand and typed drafts of “Seabird” and “Earthbow” which I had begun writing in 1979. It didn’t work out, though I tried very hard. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Commodore’s built-in word processor assumed that the user was going to be using a Commodore monitor. I was trying to use the computer with a JC Penney’s television. (Yes, Penney’s sold TV’s in those days.) Because the software didn’t know how to communicate with the television, all I could see on the screen were a couple of dozen huge letters at a time.
Eventually, I taught my mom how to play Frogger on the Commodore. I think it was the only computer game she ever played.
My boyfriend at the time bought me a Smith-Corona portable electric typewriter. I originally used it to type up class assignments for myself, and eventually branched out into typing up papers for fellow students. Beginning in 1980 or so, I began typing up chapters of “Seabird” etc on this typewriter.
Many of these early “Seabird” chapters (and typed chapters of later books) would later be poorly scanned into the first Dell computer, causing me no end of headaches down the road when I tried to decipher the scanned-in files. In fact, just a few months ago, I finished deciphering chapters of “The Gryphon & the Basilisk” manuscript from these scanned files, which were originally typed on the Smith-Corona. Oh, what a mess that was, but it beat keying them into WORD from handwritten sheets. Which brings us to:
I wrote my very first drafts of “Seabird” and “Earthbow” in 9x5 spiral-bound notebooks—later to be revised and copied (in tiny writing) unto notebook paper which had 50 lines per side. Sometimes I transcribed a few hastily-written sentences off of the index cards I kept hidden in my pockets while I was at work.
I had something that was once considered to be a computer before the Commodore. Maybe a Tandy? It had like zero kb of RAM, and was definitely not up to running writing software. I think I got it used from someone.
It only had one program so far as I remember, and we played it on the family TV. It was some kind of aircraft landing game. You started at such and so many feet away from the landing strip and then had to control your speed, altitude, angle of descent, etc. as you came in for a landing. My family and I used to play it as a group, with a cacophony of suggestions from everyone on what to do next to whoever was at the controls.
We crashed a lot. :-)
Sherry Thompson, author of "Seabird" and "Earthbow".
Thursday, April 7, 2011
In one story, the main character was over-shadowed by the adults in the story and by the writer's idea of how to present him. In a second the character seemed nebulous. Wordy without having anything to say. The third introduced both a hero and a heroine acting in ways that were designed to turn the character off.
There's a song from The King and I that has always run through my head when I'm beginning to develop my characters. "Getting to Know You." Always makes me want to show the main characters in a favorable light. What about you?
Even when we're meeting a stranger for the first time would you rather see them in a positive light, unless they're the villain. Showing the heroine having a temper tantrum isn't a great way to let the reader want to know them better. Sure characters can change and grow but the initial impression is often what counts. Letting the reader see the hero or heroine doing something distasteful doesn't bring that moment of saying I want to know this person better.
All three times I had to be a bit harsh when I spoke to the new writers about my initial impressions of their characters. I don't like to do this. I always want to say, "Oh, wow, I really like your characters. The only problem I find with your story is something easily fixed." When I have to say I don't like your hero, heroine or even the villain, I feel sad.
The first view of a character will stick in a reader's head. One can show the problems the character is having without making the hero or heroine a person the reader doesn't want to know.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Now seeking advance reviews. There’s a free ebook in it for you. That’s right. ARCs are available in ebook only.
Letters to Juniper is middle grade novel.
A gripping story about life inside a Separatist compound during an FBI standoff, from 12-year old Sarah’s perspective.
Sarah Smith remembers when she was six years old her mother died and she moved to northern Idaho with her brother and father. Their lives changed drastically. The only vivid memory she has of her early childhood is her best friend Juniper Holland. In her letters to Juniper, Sarah reveals her innermost thoughts and feelings about her reclusive life with three younger brothers under the rigid oppression of her father and stepmother who call themselves Separatists. Their lives are turned upside down by an FBI investigation into her father’s association with members of the Aryan Nation. As the tension and violence escalate, Sarah faces life and death decisions in order to survive.
In May 2007, Letters to Juniper won YA Fiction.com's "First Three" middle grade contest with this praise: “'Letters to Juniper’ was a pleasure to read, and the judges quickly became intrigued by and invested in Sarah's story.”
“An incredible story that brought me to tears, made me angry and sad, and evoked a myriad of other emotions, even though it is geared to middle grade readers. It is my pleasure to see this book shared with the world. Tibbetts is a skilled and masterful writer. This is a book you will want to share with your children, your parents, and your friends.” -- Natalie R. Collins, author of The Fourth World, Sister Wife, and more.
“Letters to Juniper is a hair-raising page-turner that delivers a totally unexpected surprise at the end.”
Here’s your chance to join the chorus of reviews, endorsements, and kudos. If you are interested in reviewing Letters to Juniper please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Still not tempted? Watch the trailer –
Now available in ebook –
Letters to Juniper
Advice from a Caterpillar
From the Styx
Friday, April 1, 2011
I remember when I was young that the prank-playing was only supposed to be part of the day. But that could have been a regional thing, as nowadays one has to be on guard throughout the whole day, rather than just until noon.
Most of the time the pranks were good-natured, such as the false stories newspapers might print on that day, or, for a kid, telling a friend her shoelace was untied or telling a parent that your younger sister was stuck in a tree (make sure said sister doesn't follow you into the room when you try that).
Of course, there are always those that go too far with their "humor". I don't remember what grade it was when things shifted from planning jokes for the day to just trying to survive the day. Taped signs, water fountain mishaps, deliberate trips or shoves, all excused with an "April Fool!"
At least it was only one day out of the year. Unfortunately, some people try to continue throughout the year, excusing their behavior with a "Psych!" or "Just kidding!" and progressing on to "It's just a joke! Can't you take a joke?" I was reminded of that when watching "Tangled" and realizing the emotional abuse the young Rapunzel suffered with the continual "teasing" excused with "Just kidding."
Of course, this provides plenty of material for YA stories. Do you have a continual prankster that, for April Fools' Day, plays no jokes at all? Do you have a young child as a point of view character that likes playing pranks and can't stop? What about a prank-playing cat?
What are some of your memories of the best or worst April Fools' Day?