Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Author of The Legends of Elyndia
It is with great pleasure that I feature the author Kriston Johnson as my guest author today. Kriston's most recent novel - Ensnared - in her Legends of Elyndia Series, just released earlier this month.
Before we get to my interview, here is the gorgeous cover and flap copy description of the latest book in her young adult fantasy series:
Facing monstrous demons, a ravenous dragon, and a malicious faerie queen are the least of Jade’s worries.
It has been a fortnight since Jade confronted Draven, and he has emerged from the battle more terrifying than ever. Armed with a new plan and fueled with unrelenting determination, Draven casts a dark spell and calls forth new players that no one ever expected, bringing him one step closer to opening the portal to The Fathom.
Jade vows to bring an end to the madness she feels responsible for and works to harness her elemental power, but unforeseen consequences arise. Her power is growing beyond what she can control, and it’s on the verge of destroying her from within.
Was learning to use her magical ability the beginning…or the beginning of the end?
* * * * *
VL - Welcome to Writ of Whimsy, Kriston! Before we proceed with the interview, I feel we should let our blogging buddies know - if they don't already know - that we've been writer friends for years. That being said, I couldn't be more excited to have you as my guest author today.
KJ - Thank you for having me, Victoria. It’s been quite a journey since we first met and were both aspiring authors, yet we lived to tell the tale!
VL - What inspired you to write The Legends of Elyndia Series?
KJ – Several years ago I witnessed my husband receive an antique knife as a gift. The knife is of Egyptian origin with a copper colored blade covered with a tattered sheath. He carefully grasped the sheath and slowly pulled it off of the blade. As he did this I imagined a glowing light emanating from the blade, filling the entire room as if a wave of magic had been released. From that moment on the world of Elyndia came to life, and I focused the story around a magical dagger and the young lady who controlled it.
KJ – I have been fascinated by fantasy stories since I was a young child. I cannot remember a time that I was not drawn to magical and make believe worlds. As a young person I would always beg my mom to rent The Dark Crystal and The Last Unicorn. I’d watch them over and over until they had to go back to the rental store. I can’t ever remember a time that I was not obsessed with Star Wars, and these obsessions have just followed me through life.
KJ – I would tell them not to let another writer’s success, or failures, keep them from following their dreams. It is so easy to watch someone that you feel is successful sell tons of books, and interact with legions of fans, then wonder why you don’t have the same thing yourself. It is also easy to watch someone fail, then think if they can’t do it, how can you expect to. Everyone’s success comes at different times in life, and sometimes it take years to get established, or write that special story that is going to catch on. Don’t get discouraged, if you quit, you’ll never know what could have happened. You must persevere!
Kriston is also the founder and owner of an interior book design and formatting company called Tattered Page Ink. Facebook Twitter
Friday, September 25, 2015
If you've been a serious writer at least a few years, you are well aware of the importance of discovering your own voice, your own style of writing. That being said, it's not as easy as one might think!
(Photos: Public Domain)
Here's a definition of a Writer's Voice: The writer's voice is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).
While that definition seems easy enough, if you're a new writer (like I was eight years ago), then you're constantly thinking of the rules of writing; it feels like you don't have the luxury to discover your voice just yet. Consequently the quote above could have seemed frightening to someone like me, having only started seriously writing in 2007.
The thing I did have at my disposal back then was time. Time to write as fast and as frequently as I desired. So that's what I did. I wrote like I had to make up for lost time, which in a sense was true. (But that's a topic for another post.) In the process I began to see that just because someone says they've been a writer for umpteen years, doesn't mean they're an expert writer - we're all on our own storyteller's journey. As that truth dawned on me, I felt less frustrated at being a "late bloomer."
What has happened in the last eight years, is that while I am by no means a veteran writer, I do feel comfortable with the rules of writing. (One of them is to have an editor!!) Only recently do I feel I have begun to see my voice emerge on the pages of my manuscripts. It has taken years. The thing is, I believe my writer's voice will keep evolving over time. However, I no longer find myself thinking of rules while I write; I'm thinking about my protagonist's thoughts, her challenges, her journey.
This quote sums up the journey all creative souls should take:
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Monday, September 21, 2015
by Karen Katz
Flap Copy Description:
Children everywhere wish for peace.
International Peace Day is September 21. On this day and every day throughout the year, children all over the world wish for peace. Karen Katz takes readers on a bright and colorful journey around the globe to meet some of these children and learn about the many ways to say peace!
The inspiring Can You Say Peace? was written and illustrated by Karen Katz - what a find! This delightful little book would be perfect for parents or teachers to introduce the topic of peace to little ones.
Happy International Peace Day!
Friday, September 18, 2015
As summer officially draws to a close I find myself ready to hunker down and feverishly write.
It seems I feel the same way every autumn. Why is that?
When I reflect upon the months and seasons of a year, I find that certain behaviors seem to occur during certain months. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the moon, or maybe it's the fact that I am part of Nature and am more affected by the seasons of life than I realize.
Photo courtesy of the Public Domain.
Here's a list of the seasons and my corresponding behaviors:
Autumn - Staying indoors in general, which includes: Reading, researching, and writing. (Usually I'm writing a new outline and first draft at this time.) For my non-literary activities: cleaning the house and entertaining guests seems to occur most this time of year. And of course, watching the Seahawks on TV!
Winter - My behavior during this season is much the same as in the fall, with the exception that we tend to seek out a warmer climate during the winter. This is usually the time we visit my family in Arizona. Celebrating during the holiday season is something I thoroughly enjoy. I also make a plan for the following year during the month of December for not only my life as an author, but for our personal life.
Spring - Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I anxiously anticipate the end of the cold and rainy months - which means I can get out in my garden! Planting new flowers, weeding, and tidying up the yard in general are all activities I enjoy immensely. As far as writing goes, it seems I usually find myself finishing up a project, or at the very least, a predetermined writing goal, this time of the year.
Summer - Ah, the season that is just concluding. Since becoming a published author I've discovered that this is the very best time to market my books - at least in person. There are numerous book fairs and festivals in the PNW; in fact, I was so busy this summer that I had a couple of opportunities I passed on. Other than the annual writers' retreat on Mt. Hood that I attend (where I usually get in 5000-6000 words), summer seems to be the season that I write "hit and miss." That being said, I accomplish a variety of things (like meeting other authors and selling books!) that are just as important to an author. And, since I read so many children's books during the year, summer seems to be the time that I catch up on reading books written for adults.
(The Wright Brothers by David McCullough was wonderful!)
When I viewed my writing habits in this manner, I realized that like the seasons, there is a rhythm to my literary life. Once I embraced that truth, I was more fulfilled and seemed to accomplish more as a writer than ever. It also relieved me from any guilt for not writing the same amount in the summer as I do in the fall. In addition to that, I never feel like I'm in a rut as a writer. It allows me the time to respond to my family, friends, and hobbies. That all contributes to making me a more happy and healthy individual.
Do you recognize a rhythm to your literary life?
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
by Aaron Starmer
Flap Copy Description:
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary has washed up on shore. But where? It seems to be Aquavania, the magical realm where children create entire worlds from their imagination. There’s something wrong, though. The creators have disappeared and the worlds are falling apart.
All Alistair wants is to find his friend Fiona Loomis and go home. Easier said than done. Animals made of starlight, a megalomaniacal boy king, and astronauts who peddle riddles are hard enough to outwit, but they’re only the beginning.
To find Fiona, Alistair must travel from world to world. He must confront the mistakes of his past. And he must face countless monsters, including the soul-stealing stalker that some people call the Riverman, the merciless but misunderstood servant of Aquavania who refers to himself as the Whisper.
The recently released The Whisper is the second book in Aaron Starmer's Riverman trilogy. The author again employs the wiles of his quirky protagonist Alistair, but the story is written in a much more abstract and imaginative style than the first novel. Multiple narratives, flashbacks, a complex plot, and a somewhat unresolved conclusion, make for a challenging, but satisfying read. What I truly love about this book is the way that Mr. Starmer respects his young readers to "get it," and refuses to explain every detail. I would recommend The Whisper to readers aged ten and up, and anxiously await the final book in this Riverman series.
Click here to learn more about the author Aaron Starmer.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Remembering Sept. 11, 2001
Last spring my husband and I traveled to New York City; while we were there we visited the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Like most Americans, I can vividly recall that tragic morning and what I was doing. What made it worse was the fact that we had family living in NYC. (After a very stressful day of being unable to get through to them, we later learned they were fine.)
No day shall erase you from the memory of time.
This monument was extremely moving to both my husband and to me. Its raw beauty, and the knowledge that I was standing on sacred ground, was something I'll never forget.
The Survivor Tree. This pear tree was something I'd learned about and was anxious to see. I was surprised to discover its diminutive size. After being severely damaged on that horrendous day, how had it managed to recover? For me this tree represents not only resilience and rebirth, but the strange way that in a catastrophe there are almost always extraordinary stories of survival.
Since last May I've had time to reflect on my visit to the 911 Memorial Museum, and what still stays with me is the fact that there is tremendous, abiding pain for the families and friends of the victims to endure - that they will always endure. However, the victims are gone forever. Their lives - and stories - will never be fully realized. When I ponder on the fact that I am still alive, able to love my family and friends, and can scribble down my stories, I feel so incredibly grateful.
Whether or not you are a writer, you still have your own human story. It might seem boring, or stressful, or unimaginably painful, but you're alive; you have the ability to choose your path - your story - everyday.
As writers, we have the right, and the responsibility, to allow the ink to flow from our pens onto the pages of our manuscripts. If you have trouble getting motivated to write, think of the victims of 911: Choose a name and write in their honor. Remember: their stories were stolen. Maybe if we all do that we are honoring them, and in a spiritual way, they are still alive...by becoming our muses for the tales we tell.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
by Jacqueline Kelly
Flap Copy Description:
Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor–winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
Callie's younger brother Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—Travis included—away from her mother's critical eye.
When a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.
Whether it's wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers cheering for this most endearing heroine.
The long-awaited sequel to Jacqueline Kelly's Newbery honor book - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - arrived in July, and what a masterpiece! The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is every bit as phenomenal as its predecessor. Once again we are treated to the wit and wonder of Callie Vee - one of my all-time favorite female protagonists. Her brother Travis, as well as the rest of the remarkable cast of characters, add to the fun, making this book a must read for everyone. In addition to that, Ms. Kelly writes in a "voice" that would be the envy of any author. I highly recommend The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!
Click here to learn more about the author, Jacqueline Kelly.
Friday, September 4, 2015
But before we get to the interview, here is the awesome cover and description of Carol's debut young adult novel:
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.
For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…
Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…
Are we our minds...or our bodies?
Thanks so much for stopping by Writ of Whimsy today, Carol.
We really enjoyed learning more about your debut YA novel,
THE BODY INSTITUTE.
Website - Blog - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads
Links for THE BODY INSTITUTE:
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Powell's Books - Indiebound
I recently had the opportunity to read Carol's novel; THE BODY INSTITUTE is definitely a book you don't want to miss!