Thursday, November 29, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I do it for the motivation and the challenge.
I also did it this year as a way to bang out the first draft of the third book in the Reality Ali series.
This is the fourth time I've reached my goal. One year I did not. That was partly due to getting the flu right at the beginning of the month, which threw off my momentum, and having a story idea I wasn't thrilled with.
So now what. I've written 50,000 words. I have a book, right?
Kind of right.
I haven't reached the end of the story yet - so I'm not really done. Which is fine.
But even when I reach the spot where I feel like I can say "The End" I won't be done. I'll be done with the first draft, which is like being done with the outline in a picture or the skeleton.
The next step is to put it aside and work on another project for awhile. That way when I come back to the manuscript it will be with fresh eyes. At that point I'll see what works and what doesn't work and I'll flesh out the story and the description and pretty much everything that makes a book something interesting to read.
So, it's not done yet.
But I still feel accomplished.
Also a bit humbled, because my fifteen-year-old daughter reached 50,000 words a couple of days before I did.
Reached any goals lately? Doesn't it feel great?
Sunday, November 25, 2012
The Cybils have been mentioned in School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6536666.html
A little FAQ:
This year I'm on the first panel and get to read/review YA fantasy/Sci-Fi books.
I thought I'd share a taste of what I've been reading so far so everyone can see how the 2012 YAs are filled with awesomeness!
Intriguing premise set on Mars. Action packed writing with one strong female protagonist.
A great read for teen boys:
Dystopia where it's illegal to make movies with footage from the net. Lots of computer backdrop and a futuristic Charles Dickson's feel.
Also there's time travel ones:
Ones with a ROSWELL feel:
Really enjoyed this YA dystopia meets THE BACHELOR. Engaging storyline with a protagonist you can cheer for.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Not a combo I ever expected, but it's actually quite fun. Here's a few pics to show you what I'm talking about.
Hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Months ago I wrote about finding the carbon copy of a manuscript, and looking at it for plot. The plot though had a few holes seemed solid and the characters interesting. This was a story that was nearly published years ago except for a matter of the timing of the submission. Put aside and forgotten until clearing out a file cabinet. I decided I would re-write it. The story was YA or one of those kind of science fiction/fantasy stories to be read by anyone. The major characters were in the 18 to 20 year age range. So I have begun to reconctruct the story and it's been an interesting study in what flies and what doesn't these days.
There were stylistic problems that weren't back there. Using dialogue tags has changed. Used to read "said John." Now reads "John said." Another was back story. The book began with an entire chapter giving the back story of the main character of the story. Actually, this seemed boring to me today. So I had to deconstruct the first chapter bringing the action to the fore and removing a lot, lot of the back story. Another problem was in that this was a carbon copy and occasionally there was a slipage problem where the letters of a word were written over each other. Some of these words will never be recovered. That's no real problem since finding words is what writers do.
The final problem was of a different nature. My head is in a different place than it was when I first wrote the book. Won't go into what really happened to my head. We all grow and mature. 40 plus years ago, I was a mother of three and had just adopted a biracial child. Was living in a small Western Pa town where tolerance was an interesting view of people and their predjudices or what they viewed as being liberal. So some of these things had entered into the writing. Will I take them all out. Probably not. Since this book has some interesting minor characters most will stay but they will be tempered by maturity. Now I must get back to work on what was once The World Has Come Of Age and is now The Goddesses of Er. As for the last word in the title, I hope I haven't borrowed it from another writer. That word can be changed but I needed a title so I could write the book.
Monday, November 12, 2012
|Silt Branch Library -- Silt, Colorado|
Join me on a photo tour of our new library –
|Bright and spacious|
|Kids reading cubby|
|Teens reading nook|
|Cozy fireplace reading cove|
|Community meeting room|
Garage-style door can be opened to library
|Courtyard between library and Silt Town Hall |
Features book titles etched in concrete
|Outdoor plaza -- old Silt Library in the background|
Now available at Amazon
PFC Liberty Stryker
Letters to Juniper – 2012 Colorado Book Award Finalist
Become a Facebook fan
Friday, November 9, 2012
We discussed the importance of having diversity not only among the secondary characters in YA but with the main characters as well. More and more readers are interested in seeing their 'face' in the story. The idea that the default for a main character should be 'boy' (as the books I grew up reading seemed to be) is losing strength at last. The popularity of The Hunger Games demonstrated that boys would read stories with girls as the main character. The idea that the default for a main character has to be white and straight should be the next to go.
Megan Crewe related how she was told by agents how her manuscript, set in Japan, would be difficult to sell. Esther Friesner's Spirit Princess and Gloria Oliver's In the Service of Samurai are both set in Japan with Japanese main characters, so perhaps that is changing.
People of color as main characters have begun appearing in YA, but there have been reports bookcovers were changed to depict a white character. Justine Larbalestier's Liar, Cindy Pons' Silver Phoenix and others have been affected this way. This might be due to a marketing decision, but more people need to speak out against it.
LGBT characters have begun to appear as secondary characters, but there needs to be main characters as well. Cheryl Rainfield's Scars has such a character. Her recent blog is about the World Fantasy panel and (as she promised at the panel) she has provided a link to books with LGBT characters.
Religion has also been addressed in recent years. YA and middle grade books such as the Percy Jackson series, the Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, Darkness Rising Book One of the Catmage Chronicles by Meryl Yourish, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, and Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst have main characters from nonChristian religions.
There were many excellent questions from the audience. Some were from readers trying to find books with diverse characters while others were from writers interested in creating diverse characters.
For the readers, finding these books are not always as easy as going to a bookstore. Some bookstores still have YA as a general catchall, with YA paranormal shelved with YA sports. Big bookstores like Barnes and Noble have subcategorized YA, which may benefit browsers, but not those looking by author's last name. Books with people of color sometimes are misshelved in cultural studies. The advantages of ebooks are that many are searchable by tags, but often readers have to rely on lists on the web (such as provided by Cheryl Rainfield above) to find titles.
The writers in the audience wanted to know how to write about different cultures respectfully. The example was brought up of books where the only person of color was the villain. Points the panelists brought up were that stereotypes are still not the way to go. The more diversity you have in your book, the better. But having diverse characters in your book doesn't mean that your story has to be about discrimination or prejudice. You're just creating a more realistic world.
If you're worried about being accused of cultural appropriation, as long as you have researched the culture, talked with people of that culture, treated it respectfully, and, if possible, found a beta reader to make sure you haven't made any missteps, you've tried your best.
You don't want to have your story be a checklist of some kind, or a message or mission book as that will turn readers of any age off. No one likes to be preached to. There will be times when, due to your story's location or time period, that your characters may need to be from one race or culture. But if they don't, do all your characters - even the walk-ons - have to be white and male?
The panel also brought up the benefits of small press for those having problems finding a market for books with diverse characters. Small press and ebook publishers are willing to take chances on stories with new and diverse voices.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Music: We had Elvis and rock and roll, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Buddy Holly, Fabian, The Platters, and Brenda Lee.
On TV, when we finally got one, we watched Dick Clark and American Bandstand, I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and The Mickey Mouse Club for younger kids.
Movies: (before we had DVDs we went to the “picture show.”) My favorite movie was Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean and Natalie Woods. I also loved Doris Day and her musicals.
We walked to school or rode our bicycles, (without helmets) until I had a boyfriend with his own car, which was fantastic. We went to Sock Hops in the gym after football games and met kids from the other schools.
How we dressed: Girls wore poodle skirts, as well as other skirts and also scarves and pedal pushers (similar to the Capris or whatever they’re called today). I remember going to the lumber yard and buying screen wire for my mom to make a petticoat for a dance I was attending. I didn’t sit down a lot there. This reminds me of the crinolines and hoop skirts women wore in the 1800s like in my novel Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. Bobby socks and saddle shoes and ballet shoes, I think they were called adorned our feet.
Some boys wore jeans and leather jackets. (Like the Fonz). Others wore slacks with their shirts tucked in. School rules were strict. Boys either wore their hair in a crew cut, flattop, or ducktail. If a boy’s hair touched his ears he was sent home, or if his jeans fell too low on his hips or his shirttail hung out he was dismissed until the unacceptable behavior was corrected. Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school, and I thought it was great when we girls started wearing boy’s Levis at home. (No one made jeans for girls.) Girls wore their hair short and curled or pulled back in pony tails, French braids and also a style called the poodle cut, like Lucille Ball wore.
Good things in the 50s: Jonas Salk invented a polio vaccine. Paper Mate made its first leak free ball point pen. (Yeah, no more messy ink.) The Russians launched Sputnik I. Burma Shave signs kept you occupied on the way to visit Grandma and Grandpa. One I especially remember is “A man who passes on hills and curves is not a man of iron nerves. He’s crazy.” A gallon of gasoline cost .25 cents. A stamp was .03 cents.
Bad things in the 50s: James Dean was killed in his new sports car. We feared war with Russia and there was the Cuban Missile Crisis. People built bomb shelters to prepare for a nuclear war. We didn’t know about cholesterol and that the fatty foods we ate clogged our arteries. No one told us the sun caused skin cancer so we took “sunbaths” to look healthy.
Yes, times have changed. Sure gasoline was cheap in the 50s. You could buy three pounds of hamburger meat for $1.00. At my job I also earned $42.50 a week.
Now, instead of washing dishes at the sink, drying them, and putting them away, I stick them in the dishwasher, turn it on, and go read a good book. Instead of hanging the clothes on the line to dry, I stuff them in the dryer.
Instead of typing my stories on a manual typewriter, using carbon paper to make copies and White Out to correct spelling and punctuation errors, my computer does most everything for me. Even books are changing. Now, they can be read on eReaders where you can change the print size and even listen to the story if you want to. I really like this, because they help relieve the strain on my tired eyes from all the books I read. Hearing the story read also reminds me of the radio I once listened to every Saturday morning. I still like to hold a paper copy in my hands though. Guess some things never change.
Clothing, transportation, hairstyles, and school has changed. Good things still happen. Bad things still happen.
I wonder what our world will be like in the next seventy-five years.
Thanks for allowing me this nostalgic post. See what happens when you get older: you think about the past. Remember the saying, young folks live in the future, middle age folks live in the present, old folks live in the past. Well, that's partly true, but I also live in the present and the future, waiting for my books to be published. Okay. I did recently buy a baton. I wanted to see if I could still twirl it like I did as a majorette in high school.
Monday, November 5, 2012
It's Monday night. And this is my day to blog. And I started this blog...and....I forgot. I got the reminder, I really did. But with the hurricane last week, and subsequent re-re-rescheduling of my life, and finishing the last remaining bits of Grad School (yay!), my brain is a messy mush.
I promise, next month I'll have something really great. In the meantime, here's a new review of the last book in the Library of Athena series, The Sword of Danu. Enjoy!!