Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category:

Janet Lee Carey Interviewed by the Mad Queen

rsz_1in_the_time_of_dragon_moon_high_res_coverI loved IN THE TIME OF DRAGON MOON! And not just because I was around as it was being born. Reading the finished book (which I stayed up all night to do), was a completely different experience from hearing tantalizing bits of the manuscript during the three years Janet was writing. I loved living in the pages of this book with the spirited Uma, and Jackrun, the boy who breathes fire and has dragon in his blood.

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to catch a few minutes with Queen Adela, as she interviewed the “bard,” Janet Lee Carey.

 

About the Book:
Beware the dark moon time when love and murder intertwine
          All Uma wants is to become a healer like her father and be accepted by her tribe. But when the mad queen abducts her and takes her north, Uma’s told she must use her healing skills to cure the infertile queen by Dragon Moon, or be burned at the stake. Uma soon learns the queen isn’t the only danger she’s up against. A hidden killer out for royal blood slays the royal heir. The murder is made to look like an accident, but Uma, and the king’s nephew Jackrun, sense the darker truth. Together, they must use their combined powers to outwit a secret plot to overthrow the Pendragon throne. But are they strong enough to overcome a murderer aided by prophecy and cloaked in magic?

~In the Time of Dragon Moon is a story of courage and romance that readers will not soon forget.~ VOYA

WORLD-BUILDING WORKSHOP WITH JANET LEE CAREY “From Elves to Aliens”

Saturday, May 23, 1-3, University Bookstore, Bellevue

Do you write fantasy or sci-fi or create worlds for games? Create the natural setting from the ground up with believable ecosystems and interdependent life forms. Add societies with interesting political, religious, and economic systems. Make a world vivifies your unique story ideas. It’s a demanding process, but ask the right questions, and all the elements from natural setting to social structures combine to create the inevitable conflicts and tensions each story demands. Come ready to discuss ideas and do a fun interactive world-building activity.

Sign up at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1360728 Price includes workshop, refreshments, handouts and a signed copy of In the Time of the Dragon Moon or other works by Janet Lee Carey.

Book Trailer:

Janet Lee Carey grew up in the bay area under towering redwoods that whispered secrets in the wind. When she was a child she dreamed of becoming a mermaid (this never happened).She also dreamed of becoming a published writer (this did happen after many years of rejection). She is now an award-winning author of nine novels for children and teens. Her Wilde Island Chronicles are ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She won the 2005 Mark Twain Award and was finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Janet links each new book with a charitable organization empowering youth to read and reach out. She tours the U.S. and abroad presenting at schools, book festivals and conferences for writers, teachers, and librarians. Janet and her family live near Seattle by a lake where rising morning mist forms into the shape of dragons. She writes daily with her imperious cat, Uke, seated on her lap. Uke is jealous of the keyboard. If Janet truly understood her place in the world, she would reserve her fingers for the sole purpose of scratching behind Uke’s ear, but humans are very hard to train.

Visit her website here

Thanks again to Janet Lee Carey for appearing. For other stops on the Dragon Moon blog tour please click here.

Scene Weaving Class, and The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

Sleepwalker's Guide to DancingWhen her father begins having conversations with dead relatives, photographer Amina Eapen returns to her parents’ home in Albequerque, and a past she has been running from. Confronted with memories of a childhood visit to India and the tragedy that resulted, and of the brother nobody talks about, Amina wants nothing more than to get back to Seattle and resume her career crisis. But like the unsettling images she captures on film and then hides away, the truth has a way of asking to be told.

THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING is a brilliant debut novel by author Mira Jacob, and in our “Scene Weaving” class, we’re going to take it apart and see what makes it twirl.

I learn a lot by writing books, but I learn even more by reading other’s books with the eyes of a writer. Mira is a master scene-weaver, managing dialogue, backstory, description, and leaps in time, while setting off similes like sparklers.

Well-woven scenes are the heart of your book. When your scenes are ragged, even a spectacular plot can’t save the story. But when they are seamless, reading them is sheer luxury. Join us for “Scene Weaving” and make stories out of whole cloth.

Scene Weaving
Thursdays beginning April 16

In this course, students will focus on the well-crafted scene: devastating dialogue, authentic action, vivid setting. All of this comes from an inner landscape deep in the mind of your character. Appropriate for all genres of narrative writing: fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction. Classes include in-class writing and critique.

Also coming up at Bellevue College, North Campus

ADULTS

YA Novel Writing: Captivating the Teen Reader
Mondays beginning April 13

Geek Fiction Writing
Tuesdays beginning April 14

 

TEENS

Essay Writing for Teens: College Application
Spring Break: April 6-8

Young Writers’ Workshop
Spring Break: April 6-8

 

OMG! Girl Saves Baby Cougars with Hot Celebrity Lookalike While Trying to Understand the Nature of Death and Find Spiritual Truth

“I am going to say this from right here, right now! The Synopsis of The Summer of No Regrets is SO misleading. It leads a reader to believe that it is a frilly novel with no depth, it leads a reader to believe that it is your average run of the mill contemporary YA novel, with a typical romance and teenage angst. The story that Katherine Grace Bond gives us is none of that.”–Sara, Just Another Story book blog
 

I’ve been itching to talk about this since THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS came out: Does the outside of the book match the inside?

Many readers are surprised by the story. Some love the surprise; others feel they got more than they bargained for.

Sara’s review went on to show a real understanding of the book, and it seems fair for me to take a stab at addressing her frequently-brought-up opening statement about the synopsis.

I gave my publisher a tough job. THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS is really hard to describe in a few words.

  • Is it about a girl whose boyfriend may be a secret celebrity? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who decides to take risks? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who has lost the two people who knew her best–one to death and the other to abandonment? Yes, again.
  • Is it about a girl looking for spiritual truth? Yes, that, too.

Which of these will probably be of the most immediate interest to readers?

I’m all about meaning and have experienced grief, but I have to admit that what got me writing this book was the celebrity thing–once I got over my fear of being shallow. But because I’m all about meaning, I can never leave a story on the surface. I have to dig. I have to ask questions like: What is fame? What is it to be known? What are we all longing for?

I couldn’t write a book that simply went:

Girl: OMG, are you…?

Guy: I look intriguingly like him, don’t I?

Girl: But this is such a small town!

Guy: It is small. And you are here. And I am exceedingly hot. But mysterious.

Girl: You must be him! Then again, no! You can’t be! But maybe you are!

Guy: Keep guessing, babe. It’s sexy when you do that.

Girl: But wait! I don’t even like the guy you look like.

Guy: This presents a problem. But I am so sexy, you’ll get over it.

Girl: *Sigh* You’re right. My, what big muscles you have!

No, for me, the book had to have more to say…

Guy: Since we’re up in this treehouse in the dark, I may as well tell you I am looking for spiritual truth.

Girl: It’s dark. We’re alone. It’s after midnight.  And you’re talking about religion?!

Wait, that’s not how it went.

Girl: Spiritual things? You are so groovy!

Well, she wouldn’t have said “groovy.”

But as soon as one of the characters says “spiritual” some readers begin to break out in hives, worried they are about to be preached at–worried, in fact, that the book is a cleverly-disguised religious tract. I can say that writing a tract was not my intention, but ultimately only the reader can decide how they feel about spirituality in a YA novel. For some, even the mention of such a thing is a dealbreaker.

And this was just one tough thing my publisher faced when taking a chance on this book. And in figuring out what to put on the back cover.

Guy: Do you have issues with your father? Because I have HUGE issues with mine. And my mum, who I won’t talk to anybody about. I noticed your dad was dancing around in the woods dressed as a cougar. Is this because he misses his parents?

Girl: You are very insightful as well as hot. My dad talks trash about my grandparents–or at least he did until they died. Now he doesn’t talk about them.

Guy: This is deep and tragic.

Girl: You are so sexy.

Guy: People tell me that. I think it’s because I look so much like that guy. The hot one? In the movies?

Girl: Oh, yeah! I’d almost forgotten about him.

Guy: No, you hadn’t.

Girl: Okay, I lied.

Guy: I heard you’re writing a book about all this.

Girl: Yes, but I can’t explain what  it’s about.

Guy: Duh! It’s about me!

Girl: Nice try. It’s really about my personal search for meaning and my recovery from a deep loss.

Guy: Is that what you’re writing on the back cover?

Girl: Something like that. It has to have the word “religion” in it.

Guy: It does?

Girl: Why? Is that a bad idea?

Guy: I don’t know anything about publishing, but you might want to ask your editor.

Girl: “The unbelievably deep story of a girl who wants to find a religion because she needs to understand death after her grandparents die and her father may as well have.”

Guy: Okay, seriously, I do care about your pain. Honestly, I do. But my own incredible cover-worthiness aside, that’s just a tiny bit depressing.

Girl: You think you should be on the cover of the book?

Guy: Well, not all by myself…

Girl: You think we should both be on the cover.

Guy: Hugging.

Girl: Yeah?

Guy: Gazing into each other’s eyes.

Girl: Pink sunset?

Guy: Definitely.

Girl: Hmm.

Guy: About to kiss.

Girl: Yes! I mean…really?

Guy: If it’s okay with you.

Girl: It sounds…

Guy: Fun?

Girl: Um… yeah. Quite, very, extremely fun. *blushes*

Guy: I promise we could talk about religion first.

Girl: On the beach?

Guy: Over fish and chips. I’ll pay. And there’s this lighthouse I want to show you…

Review of FLYAWAY by Helen Landalf

FlyawayFlyaway by Helen Landalf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I loved about this book, besides the winsomeness of its protagonist, Stevie, was that it didn’t present easy answers. Stevie has grown up in an intolerable situation, but she loves her mother despite her mother’s flaws, and is determined to be loyal to her.

Even when I wanted to shake Stevie and say, “You’ve got to get out of there, girl!” I believed it entirely when she continued to cling to her mom’s empty promises.

It was exciting to see Stevie gradually begin to honor her own dreams and let go of blaming herself for her mom’s choices.

I also loved Alan–tough, cynical, wounded and full of possibility. I’d have liked to see Stevie challenge him even more than she did, but I have a feeling that as she gains confidence in herself she will be more and more honest.

This is a book whose characters continue to live and breathe, even after the last page.

View all my reviews