Monday, November 28, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

by Aprilynne Pike

Flap Copy description:
"I don't do patrols, I don't go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life, I'll keep you safe," Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. "Or die trying."

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.
But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

My thoughts:
Illusions is the third book in Aprilynne Pike's series about Laurel - a teenage faerie. Like the first two books - Wings and Spells - this story has colorful characters and an entertaining plot. All three books, I believe, would be appropriate for readers from fourteen and up. Illusions is a popular choice at our community library; I had to wait for two months for it to become available to check out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

Edward Stanford Martin

Friday, November 25, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

          Tip #6 - Join the SCBWI

The previous tips I gleaned from the speakers' presentations at the SCBWI conference I attended last month. This last tip, comes from my own wonderful experience.
Joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has turned out to be a great investment. For a modest membership fee you receive regular updates of the latest news in children's literature, which includes: writing tips, opportunities for grants, scholarships, and awards; not to mention the open invitation to attend a number of writers' conferences around the country, some open only to SCBWI members. You're also informed of new and upcoming authors; as well as great links to agents and editors. One of the most unexpected benefits I encountered was the chance to network with wonderful writers who take their craft seriously...and know how to laugh! Also, I am aware of at least a handful of agents that have begun to accept submissions from only SCBWI members; and some who prefer to have met you at one of their conferences.
I hope these tips have been helpful! Next week: My impressions of NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

by Aprilynne Pike

Flap Copy description:
"I just can't storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can't 'steal' you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you'll ask," Tamani said.
"And if I don't?" Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Then I guess I'll be waiting forever."

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life, and especially her boyfriend, David - to return to the faerie world.
But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice - a choice that could break her heart.

My thoughts:
This sequel to Aprilynne Pike's debut story, Wings, about Laurel - a teenage girl who discovers she's a faerie - is wonderful. The character development and delightful dialogue in Spells are skillfully written. Her descriptions of the faerie world - Avalon - paint a beautiful picture of that fantasy setting. I am looking forward to reading her third book in this series, Illusions.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

Henry David Thoreau

Friday, November 18, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

                  Tip #5 - Get With It!

What I mean by the phrase, "Get with it!" is as writers we tend to want to hunker down and emerge from our cave when our writing is complete. The only problem with that is when we do emerge the world may have just passed us by.
Staying up on writing, publishing, and technology trends is essential in this day and age of e-publishing. Obviously, many new developments are still in a state of flux - but remaining completely ignorant may bite us in the backside when we do get ready to publish. I don't know about you, but I don't want to look like a deer in headlights if an editor says, "You could self-publish, and then possibly print on demand." We need to know our options before the opportunity to publish is presented to us. We all know how spending too much time  tweeting, blogging, e-mailing, etc. will detract from our writing time. I allow myself one hour each morning to catch up on Facebook, Twitter, E-mails, and the blogs I follow. After that if I'm not finished, I make a list on a sticky note, attach it to my laptop, and tend to it the next day - or maybe that evening. Whatever the level of your interest in publishing and technology; we all need to be informed. Remember: "There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action."
                                             Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

by Aprilynne Pike

Flap Copy description:
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful - almost too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

My thoughts:
In this mythological fantasy Aprilynne Pike tells a lovely story of Laurel, a teen growing up in Northern California; she just happens to discover she is very different from her sophomore classmates - she's a faerie.
The character descriptions, voice, and plot were captivating in Wings - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book for the teen reader.

(My book reviews for the next two weeks will be the second, and third books in Aprilynne Pike's series.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

Friday, November 11, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

Tip #4 - Hip, Hip, Hooray!

That's right - every writer needs a pep talk! (Can you tell I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo?)

Writing is a solitary, sometimes lonely, road to travel. Here is a list of things that might motivate you and lift your spirits:

1 - Attend a writers conference. If that isn't possible, take a writing pal to a cabin - or inexpensive get-away - and write all weekend.

2- Give your writing area/desk a make-over. Buy a new knick-knack or some colored pens; you might place a special photo on your desk. Maybe a new coffee mug that says: "Write!"

3- Carve out a piece of time each day to write; or if that is too lofty, each week. When things come up and you just can't write because of scheduling conflicts - don't beat yourself up - life happens! Also, if it's just that you can't get going, then read a book in your genre, write a poem, or journal. (Watching television won't cut it! :-)

4- Set achievable goals. You won't write a bestseller in two months - "brick by brick" is the best approach. However, it helps me to have a finish date. Presently I'm hoping to complete a new project by Easter - 2012. I'm using NaNoWriMo to help me get going. If it doesn't work out - I'll just regroup. Remember, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Brian Littrell

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Whimsical Word of the Week

Sockdolager -

A conclusive blow or remark; also, something outstanding.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

Between the Roots
by A.N. McDermott

Back Cover description:
"Just like you can't know when you'll die, you can't tell how long we've lived."

A multigenerational commune in a walled state, the Colony has been a fixture in the small Pacific Northwest town for over a hundred years. When Sammy O'Doul impulsively trespasses, he watches a strange ritual, where an old woman is dug up alive from the forest. Before he can escape, he's surprised by a strangely simple old man who tells him all is not as it appears. Gradually Sammy uncovers surprising secrets that challenge not only his impressions of the Colony but of himself.

My thoughts:
Between the Roots is the remarkable debut MG novel by A.N. McDermott. She skillfully weaves a tale of mystery and adventure as the curiosity of Sammy, the main character, digs deep into forbidden old secrets. Relevant themes of tolerance, acceptance, and respect are subtly laced through this unique story. I would recommend this book to middle grade readers between the ages of 10-13.
Congratulations, A.N. McDermott!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Rachel Carson

Friday, November 4, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

            Tip #3 - Mulligans are okay!

For those of you who are not golfers - a mulligan is a do-over, allowing yourself to take another swing at the golf ball without counting the stroke. Most golfers call this for what it is - cheating! But as a writer, mulligans are okay. Rewrites are just a fact of life; if not starting over with a whole new story completely.
Rarely does a writer construct a great story on her first draft. If you realize the benefit of rewriting you won't see it as fixing a poor story; rather, just getting your story out of the rough!
The key is to know when a rewrite is needed, or when a major revision will be enough. Belonging to a critique group and using beta readers when your manuscript is complete will help you determine the "score" of your story. In any event, I have realized that being a writer is one of the best ways to learn perseverance, much like playing golf.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011