Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cool Stuff Happenin'

And some day it will be my turn! Meanwhile, I'm pleased to let someone who has been a help to me and is a great person, announce upcoming events and information on my blog. If you've never read one of Tristi's books, you should definately give them a look. She has quite a variety.
Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.

Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.
Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.

Second, come to the book launch!
You are invited to an
August Authorama!
Saturday, August 13th
Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem
12 – 4 pm
Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,
and Dutch oven cobbler
prepared by world champion cook
will all be there to sign books.
This is one book launch event
you will not want to miss!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homework takes a Vacation

  Write what you know. It’s good advice, but sometimes the muse takes you elsewhere. We ride the journey with research replacing experience. Hopefully it’s enough.
  I completed a historical novel set in ancient Mesoamerica. There was no way for me to literally go back in time to grab the details. Research was imperative, but I could also get creative. For example, I invented a fruit that was eaten.
  Directly contrasting this is my current work in progress, set in modern San Diego County. Again, research is imperative. If I don’t get a localism right, someone will call me on it. That’s partly why I picked this setting. I get to visit there this very week! I’m off to sunny California and excited to absorb the sites and sounds, culture and language. A camera and notebook are must haves. Plus, when I’m through writing, I have YA nieces and nephews who can comb through those details. Tip: Have you checked out Google Earth in the street view? Awesomesauce.
  Sometimes we pick a setting for the exotic/rugged/secluded/whatever qualities it has. I picked this area for familiarity. When it doesn’t really matter which city you pick, make life easier. Write what you know.
  Settings let you visualize and get the flavor of an area but they also need to fit your story. Both of these photos were taken in San Diego County. The setting you pick makes a big difference. Where is your story set?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Reading

  Readers seem to find summer a great time to fit in that book they've wanted to read. Maybe school is out and a teen can finally choose something not required. Vacation travel accomodates the urge for something to do in the car, waiting at the airport or laying on that sunny beach. Perhaps it's too hot out to do much more than lounge on the couch with a good book. Whatever the reason, we'll take it!
  There have been several tempting choices for me, but right now the funds are limited and I'm resorting to library and friend lending, so some of my top picks will have to wait. I've enjoyed audio books as well as actual reading, but I've yet to experience the e-book format. I'm currently focusing on Utah authors.
  Here's what I've been reading and what I think about them:
Imprints by Rachele Ann Nunes - Loved the atypical MC and overall story, kept my interest enough to ride through a slight middle sag. I'd recommend it.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull - Thought I'd see what all the fuss was about even though I'm not big into MG fantasy. I loved it. Not too over-the-top or juvenile. A good story for all ages.
On Second Thought  by Robison Wells - An enjoyable read with some suspense at the end.
Cold As Ice and Methods of Madness  by Stephanie Black - Good suspense stories for my current WIP. I actually liked the latter book a bit more than the former.
Shelter from the Storm #4 by Anita Stansfield - I tried this author years ago and couldn't get into that much romance but thought I'd check this popular author out again. I find myself enjoying it so far, at about half-way through, even without realizing I'd jumped into a series. The musician MC appeals to me. Tastes change, authors switch styles or genres. You just never know.
Double Deceit by Stephanie Humphries - Coming out next month. I am reviewing it and will give my blog review on August 22.
  Tip: Take home several picks from the library at once so you can discard one for another as needed.
  What summer reads are you enjoying?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Perception - Writing Journey #1

  Are we having fun yet? Definately.
  Today I thought I’d give an update on my WIP (work in progress). I recently started a novel totally different from anything I’ve written before. Perception is different in that it’s YA instead of Adult, the MC is a boy, it's modern instead of historical, and suspense rather than scriptural-based. The change felt freeing and exhilarating, conducive to a great start with ideas flowing. After about 10,000 words, some of that faded a bit. Some days it takes an extra turn of the spigot to get the next scene to flow at the previous rate. Not that I’m worried, mind you. I just have to work a little harder. Nothing wrong with that.
  The idea for Perception came from a news story I just happened to catch and thought I could twist into a great plot. I instantly fell in love with the possibilities and thought I knew where the story would head. Between parts of it that want to write themselves and suggestions from my critique group, I’m uncertain which of two or three main directions to go. Hopefully, discovery is part of the fun. I’ll let you know in another 10-20,000 words if I'm still saying 'definately'.
  My previous project, The Seventh City, a Book of Mormon Historical Fiction which took first place in the historical category of 2011 LDStorymakers first chapter contest, is in its fourth month of review with my first-choice publisher. They said it would take 4-6 months so here’s hoping for a positive response soon. Cross your fingers for me. Its untitled sequel has run into some problems that I presently don’t wish to spend time fixing until I know its sister has a home with a publisher.
  There you have it. So, how is your WIP going?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Writing While Picking Peas

  Happy Birthday, America! Everybody have fun and be safe while celebrating.
  When the peas are ready for picking, I'm out there--hopefully early in the morning or evening when the heat is tolerable. Next, the beans will start calling my name. I love the freshness but gardens demand a lot time. And the family thinks they need to eat and have clean clothes to wear. The list goes on.
  Sometimes we have to squeeze in that reading or writing in other ways. Planning out the next scene or the details of a new character is a great thing to do during menial tasks like picking peas. Yes, my mind wanders off-track here and there, but if I can get just one good idea to use, it's progress.

  Another thing I like to do, especially while working in the kitchen, is to listen to audio books from the library. If nobody is around talking to me, I can double my reading time with the push of a button. A plus to audio books is that I find books I wouldn't be exposed to otherwise.
  Summer is a fun and busy time. Make sure to take a book with you in the car for those long trips and look for other ways to sneak reading or writing time in there. I've included the recipe for a great summer salad using peas. Serve with garlic french bread for an easy meal. Peas are great in a sauce on pasta. Slip them into other recipes where you think it's appropriate.
  What do you do to make time to write? Or how do you celebrate summer reading?
Sarah's Salad from Lion House Recipes
1 head iceberg lettuce (or favorite)
3 strips bacon
1/2 10-ounce package frozen peas (or 1 cup garden fresh)
1/4 tsp. sugar          1/2 tsp. salt          1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese or 2 1/2 ounces cut in strips
2/3 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise          1/4 salad dressing
Wash and drain lettuce. Dry thorougly. Dice bacon and saute until crisp; drain on paper towel. Run hot water over frozen peas and drain. (Skip this step for fresh peas.) Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces into salad bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Add peas, cheese, onion, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. (These ingredients may be layered, if desired, with the mayonnaise spread on last. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.) Chill. Toss when ready to serve and garnish with bacon. Makes 8 servings.