Archive for the ‘books’ Category:

Jealous

I remember the day my friend, Tina Chen showed us the cover of her gorgeous new novel: a lush, moving story written by a generous soul. Her success (and the book was award-winning) was well-deserved. And I was JEALOUS.

Jealousy’s not a regular thing for me. Usually my friends’ successes give me hope. So this unwelcome green-eyed monster growled a question: Jealous of what? I knew I could publish. But I had given up on publishing a novel; I didn’t think I could finish. What Tina had that I believed I didn’t was follow-through. When she set a goal–even a complex one–she accomplished it.

Not long after, I DID finish my first novel. (Good thing I explored that jealousy.) And while I was learning promotion, I discovered former publishing CEO Michael Hyatt, who now trains leaders. I’ve been using his work ever since, and it has helped me immeasurably with organization, focus, goal-setting–all of that stuff I thought Tina could do, but I couldn’t. (Turns out I can!)

Now I get to be one of Michael’s affiliate partners. This is new for me, and I’m genuinely excited. (I mean really genuinely, not just ad-copy genuinely.) I want to share this FREEBIE with you, because 2017 is sneaking up on me, and maybe on you, too.

I love this (free!) PDF download. I was taking notes on it last night and sticking them in my calendar–until I realized I was basically copying the whole book:

bye-ebook-300x250
In it, 30+ well known influencers all share the most
important thing they do to launch a banner year.

It’s a who’s who of successful people — Tony Robbins,
John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Chalene Johnson, and Andy
Andrews, plus more than 20 leaders.

Check it out (at no cost) here:
bye-ebook-300x250

Katherine

P.S. This free PDF is a wealth of wisdom to kickstart 2017. If you’ve felt stuck for a while–or your successful friends are making you jealous–don’t miss it: http://bestyearever.me/a20843/2017ebook

 

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.

Yodel-Activated Book Sales on the Rise

With the phenomenon of Yodel-Activated books sweeping the country, booksellers have a hard time keeping up. The books, now a standard feature on Nook and Kindle, respond to the voice’s “break point,” so that each user gets a unique reading experience.”You use your break point to set up the beginning,” explains Lani Travers of BreakPointBooks. “Then, depending on the range of your yodeling, you can generate multiple stories, which you can read on your reader. Someone with really good technique may generate complex literary fiction.”

Reports show YA sales, along with Children’s books, up 21% in 2014. And a study conducted in 2012 indicated that 55% of YA books are read by adults.

Needless to say, the new technology has been a windfall for yodeling teachers. “I just can’t believe it,” says Jackie Tasket, Dean of the University of Kentucky’s yodeling program. “I’ve had a hundred and eighty applicants for our Yodeling MFA this week alone.”

That’s a whole lot of Yodel-ay-ee-hoo!

 

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

 

An Interview with Author Lois Brandt + teen writing with Lois at Bellevue College

Lois Brandt, Writer, Seattle

Photo by Meryl Schenker

One of the cool things about taking teen writing at Bellevue College, is working with a published author. Lois Brandt (who is certifiably awesome) teaches Writing Short Stories in the Teenage Novelist program. Students rave about her classes, which have included the “Write a Novel in 30 Days” class she usually teaches in November (to go along with NaNoWriMo) and “Editing Your Manuscript.” Lois is a prolific author of short fiction, and her new book, Maddie’s Fridge is coming out in September!

Teenage Novelist: Writing Short Stories

7/21/2014 – 7/25/2014 OR 8/4/2014 – 8/8/2014

Every story has a beginning middle and end, but how do you write stories that make your readers lean forward to find out what happens next? In this short story class students learn characterization and plotting. We will create memorable characters and chase them through a 2000 – 7000 word story. Once our stories are drafted we learn to edit and polish. Each student will leave the class with at least one completed short story. All genres are welcome.

Interview with Lois Brandt

1.       What were you writing when you were a teenager?

When I was a teenager I was writing a novel set in the Civil War. I was particularly interested because my Mom and Dad’s families fought on separate sides, so I wrote about a family that split down the middle. Two brothers wanted to fight for the South and two brothers for the North. The viewpoint character just wanted the family back together.

2.       You have a book, Maddie’s Fridge, coming out in September. What did you say or do when you found out it was being published?

To be honest, I broke into tears. Maddi’s Fridge is a story that has been in my heart since I was about ten. Stories and events stick inside my head until I give them voice on paper. In this case, I couldn’t forget the day I found out my best friend had no food in her home. This wasn’t a temporary “Mom and Dad were too busy to shop.”  They had absolutely no food and were days away from their mom’s payday. A discovery like that changes your world. It did not make the news (“American family has no food”), but it changed forever the way I looked at people with less money or resources. These are our friends and neighbors who are struggling for food, housing, and jobs. What do you do when your best friend is in trouble? Maddi’s Fridge tells that story.

3.       What are some of your favorite things about working with teen writers?

Teen writers are brilliant. I say that in all humility. I am awed by the ideas that teens come up with and where they take the writing prompts and exercises I give them. They are also quick to learn and willing to try new things. Some write with brilliant voices, others have unique ideas and/or characters. All bring something interesting to the class.

4.       What advice do you have for teens who hope to be published?

The first is a caveat: Writers are about writing. Yes, we want to publish and yes, all of us are at this very moment trying to get paid for our work.  There is this whole business side that we really have to pay attention to.  But for now, write.  I have a game I play with myself. If someone asks what I do, and I’ve met my daily writing goal, then I allow myself to say I write. If I have not writtin, I say my other profession — teaching. If I’m extremely frustrated (missed a writing day), I list my profession as cat sitter. If you want to be published: write. The more you write, the better you’ll be. The better you are, the greater your chance of publication.

 

What Happens Next?

 Week 1, July 14-18

Teenage Novelist: The Novel in a Nutshell

Teen Poets: Dancing on the Razor’s Edge

Teenage Novelist: Talking To Your Characters

 Week 2, July 21-25

Creating Graphic Novels (Dana Sullivan. Waitlisted)

Young Writers’ Workshop (Waitlisted)

Teenage Novelist: Writing Short Stories (Lois Brandt)

Teenage Novelist: Scenes and Dreams

Geek Fiction Writing

Week 3, July 28-August 1

Teenage Novelist: Plotting and Scheming

Teenage Novelist: Revisioning the Novel

Teenage Novelist: Publishing

 Week 4, August 4-8

Teenage Novelist: Novel Intensive

Teenage Novelist: Writing Short Stories (Lois Brandt)

Teenage Novelist: Live-Action Writing

 

And don’t forget August 10-13

Summer EpicWrite Camp!!!  (not affiliated with BC)

REGISTER FOR EPICWRITE

In a Writing Rut? Steal from Another Author (but not really.)

I don’t know about you, but after years of writing, I notice that I get into a stylistic rut. As I have mentioned before on this blog, the solution is theft. Today I’m going to steal from author Janet Lee Carey, creator of Dragon’s Keep, The Beast of Noor, Dragonswood and many other books. This particular bit of larceny is from The Beast of Noor.

I’ve broken part of a scene down into its elements: dialogue, setting detail, internal monologue, etc. In this scene, Hanna, who is a dreamwalker, confronts her brother Miles, who used his secret shapeshifting ability to save her from the supernatural beast known as the Shriker.

Hanna lunged forward and pushed him on the chest. (character action) “Don’t!” she cried. “Don’t lie about it anymore! I saw you leap from the high branch, so I thought you’d die, but you didn’t. You…flew.” (dialogue)

Miles sucked in a startled breath and held it. (character action)

“You changed. Your body changed. I saw it happen. And you saved me from the Shriker.” (dialogue) Hanna looked up at him not so much with anger now as wonder. (character action.) He’d seen that look before when she’d knelt before the altar in the kirk. (internal monologue) It gave him a strange, tingling feeling to be so admired. (sensory detail) But he saw fear in her eyes as well (character detail), and he didn’t like that so much. (internal monologue)

High above a golden blade of sunlight pierced the clouds. (setting detail) Hanna was still looking at him, waiting for a word. (character action) “It’s true,” she insisted. “All of what I saw in the deeps. Isn’t it?” (dialogue)

A drop of sweat slid down Mile’s forehead. (sensory detail) He wiped it away with his sleeve. (character action) He couldn’t go on fooling her. What now? (internal monologue)

 

Now, taking these elements in the same order, I have created an entirely new (and rather silly) scene for an entirely different book.

DSC_0076 (334x400)

Kweeg H-41 jumped from the mossy wall, landing on her side and rolling. “Bleezbat!” she huffed. “Lexar didn’t tell me this required vanquishing primitive ecosystems.”  She examined her torn tunic.

“You were expecting a space pod with a driver?” Ilik-J16 smirked and offered his hand.

She would eat quantum rats before she’d accept any help from Ilik. Her bum smarted where it had hit a root. Ilik’s silver tunic was spotless, as usual. Kweeg suspected he’d spent his bonus on nano-cleaners for it, just to irritate her.

The ground was freezing as well as rooty. Kweeg hauled herself to her feet, glaring. She ignored Ilik’s proffered hand. “Lexar wants us there tomorrow,” she snarled. “The least he could do is provide transport.” Her left foot was beginning to throb and some kind of murderous plant was poking her. She jerked her arm away from the foliage and gave it a rub. When she got home—if she ever got home—she would fill Lexar’s sleeping compartment with Plutonian Slugs.

Not only is this a lot of fun to do, it’s not a way you would normally write. You can break the scene down into even more detailed elements if you like. While it would drive me crazy to do long passages using this method, I find that short bits help me to analyze my usual style and see whether there is something in the rhythm and pacing of another author’s prose that I could use to change up my own.

If you know a teen writer interested in gathering with other teens who write, check out our TEENWrite summer classes at Uppercase Books in Snohomish.

 

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

Thanks, Reading Angel

Angela, at Reading Angel has officially launched the SUMMER OF NO REGRETS blog tour. These book bloggers completely amaze me. They blog on their own time out of a love for books. Many also have their own novels in progress or out for query. I think they are the life blood of publishing. Go check out Reading Angel’s blog for some great reads. Here’s what she says about herself:

I’m Angela. 26-year-old stay at home mom. I’ve been married for 8 years to a wonderful man. Reading is my passion. I love sharing thoughts and book ideas with others. I love to talk about books and blogging with anyone, so never feel shy about emailing me or chatting me up on twitter!!!  I try to post reviews for everything I read here, and I love getting comments!!

My reading passion is YA books, but I read a lot of paranormal, urban fantasy, and humorous romance.

I spend more money on books than I do on food, my favorite color is clear, and I trip over my own feet.
I will wear a hoodie all year, even when it’s freezing, (summer it just goes on in the evenings).
It has to be at least 4 sizes to large because I want it to swallow me.
So, that’s where you’ll find me today, with a book, swallowed by a hoodie ;)

 

Naked

Now that I have your attention…

I’ve been thinking again about why I write. With THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS so close to release, I barely have time to think about this. But every debut novelist has to grapple with “Me-And-My-Ego.” While I’m busy with promotion, it’s easy for me to get distracted by “Please love my book and say I’m wonderful,” as if that is the point of what I do. But since I have no desire to relive junior high (“What do you think of me? Am I pretty? Does my crush think I’m pretty? What can I do to make you like me?”), I have to consider why I really write.

It’s because I want my readers to look at each other’s eyes.

No, really. Really look. A book can help us do that, I think. We meet someone new–even if it’s a fictional character–and then maybe we can risk stepping out of our isolation or into someone else’s. A real someone. The girl at the next lunch table, maybe. Or the guy bagging our groceries. Or a friend we haven’t really talked to in a long time.

I wrote a bunch of poems at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago, in response to the artist Cris Brodahl. I sat with her paintings for hours, watching people come in and out. They’d look at the work for a short time or a long time. She has this kind of layered thing she does, where she’ll put one painting on top of another, like this one called “The Fall.” The face behind is different from the face in front. And the painting is a nude so, yeah, lots of people stare at it for a while. (Ah, NOW you’re clicking the link.) Okay, so I’m not encouraging lunchroom nudity or anything, but I thought about the risk we take when we expose our true selves, when we say what we think and how we feel and who we are. And I wondered if it was worth it to do that. And I’m still not absolutely certain that it is. But sometimes when we do, we see each other’s eyes for the first time.

 

The Fall

When publicly undressed
You must
Remain serene.
Do not notice
The breeze across your belly,
Tightness of shoulders,
Weight of your breasts.

Pretend
No one stands, head atilt,
Scrutinizing the curves of your body,
Crook of an elbow,
The intermittent catch of your throat.

Imagine you do not lean
Over a precipice.

Instead, be rain,
Shale, Snow,
Small tumble that shakes the mountain,
Behind your face
A clandestine smile.

You alone
Know your secret tipping point,
How to slide out of view,
Hidden in your skin.

Rockfall,
Facefall,
Voicefall,
Freefall.

Do not mistake
Serenity for safety,
You, who chose this starkness.
Danger attends revelation,
Like a brooding lady-in-waiting.
Danger
Has her own secrets.

Wait
For the one who will stare into your eyes.
Hold still and do not look away.
The earth tips under both of you.
Let it.

Fall
Like a flame,
Like a dying star,
And do not be afraid.

©2010 Katherine Grace Bond

What I Learned by "Winning" NaNoWriMo Through Cheating and Trickery

…and yes, I am going to buy the tee-shirt.

 

 

The task? Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Usually, Iuse NationalNovel Writing Month to get as much word count aspossible on my work-in-progress. This is already cheating—but since I’ve nevercome close to winning, I haven’t felt guilty about it.

 

But three days before the start of this year’s NaNo, myeditor says, “Katherine, we need to start thinking about 2013.” Now,this does not constitute a book contract, but it does constitute a challenge. Idecide to begin a new novel on November 1 and that this year I will”win” NaNoWriMo.

 

 

Day 1: Brainstorm—characters, ideas, suggestions from Facebookfriends, (Hula Hoops, a camel, a zeppelin and “copious amounts ofdefenestration.”) I write all this sort of thing into what Janet LeeCarey calls a “story journal.” At The Lyons’ Den in Bothell, I try to write the opening scene, but a man at the nexttable is determined to attract my attention. I turn him into an eleven-year-oldgirl with black fingernail polish and add him to my word count. My goal is2,000 words a day. I’m going to finish early!

 

Day 2: Teaching day. Spend the entire day on lessons, and theentire evening hosting the Duvall 1st Wednesday Poetry Reading at Match Coffee and Wine Bar in Duvall, But, it’s only Day 2, right?

 

Day 3: Up to 1710 words. I’ll catch up.

 

Day 4: Paesano’s Coffee in Monroe. Lots of story journaling. A hunky, shirtless guy on a dirtbike has appeared and called my heroine Principessa.All in all, not a bad writing day.

 

Day 5: My son takes the SAT, so I hole up at Caffé Ladro in Edmonds and write. I hear an NPRinterview on Joan of Arc and decide she’ll have to go into thebook—somehow.

 

Day 8: My protagonist nearly drowns, so I spent many hoursresearching water safety on Mario Vittone’s blog. Then I teach a teen poetry workshop for RASP.

 

Days 9-14:Hunky guy doesn’t want protagonistto know he saved her life. Girl with black fingernail polish followsprotagonist everywhere. Up to 12,769 words. Still behind, but I have lots oftime.

 

Day 15: Wee hours of the morning. I watch a live feed of theeviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zucotti Park. Suddenly my screen freezes.When I reboot, my entire D drive is gone. Restore takes all day.

 

Day 16: Teaching day. D drive disappears again overnight.

 

Day 17: Restore.

 

Days18-19: TEENWriteBecause I’ve put TEENWrite into thebook, I come as my protagonist’s character, an elf.

 

Days20–26: School break. When I’ve had a goodwriting day, I get to watch Dr. Who.Make it to 17,963. 32k to go, which is somewhat alarming. Make plan for writing8k per day which is, frankly, impossible. Paste the story I wrote at TEENWrite into the book for another 857words. This is not really cheating.

 

Day 27: My daughter, Sarah walks by my office and says innocently,“Why don’t you include your story journal in your word count? It IS part ofwriting your novel.” Word count jumps suddenly by 7k.

 

Day 28: My friend, MollyBlaisdell dares me to write over 8k in a day.She uses Muppet Movie tickets as bait. (Molly’s picture book THE BIG FUZZY COAT is a contender on theMeeGenius Author Challenge) I add 8265words, including Psalm69, which I cut and paste in its entirety. (One of the characters prays alot.)

 

Day 29: One of my characters says, “Do you want me to tell you whatHindus believe?” Bing “What do Hindus Believe?”Seconds later I have 160 more words. Realize that one of my characters is a CatStevens fan, and paste the lyrics to “TheWind,” “I Wish, I Wish” and “How Can I Tell You?” into my story journal (nowpart of my word count). I go to The Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle, where I write like crazy with a bunch of otherWrimos.

 

Day 30: Teaching day. Have not slept since yesterday. Phone meetingwith publicist in the morning. Get son from clarinet lesson. Grade stuff. Conversewith a student about leprechauns. Teach in an even more crazed fashion thanusual. Go home. I have seven hours to finish this book. 7775 words to go. Hunkyguy in book writes a very nice song. Characters sneak into the Lan SuChinese Garden. By 11:15 PM, I have 47k… There isNO WAY I will write 3,000 words in 45 minutes! I wrack my brains. And this iswhere the real cheating begins: My “secret blog” contains words. And myprotagonist and I muse about similar things… I paste in two blog posts. Notenough. I write more on the Lan Su scene. Still not enough. It is 11:52. Didn’tI start another book with that one character who’s in this book? I paste in theopening of that book And…I WIN!!!!!

 

So, now Ihave learned my lesson: It doesn’t matterwhether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game? No. It matters thatyou win.

 

1) In 30 days, I have writtenapproximately 150 manuscript pages. I have a full outline and 19 characters. Ifpressed, I could probably write a synopsis tomorrow. (Note to Leah—please don’tpress. The one I send later will be better.)

 

2) This manuscript contains huge gaps,but the writing is actually pretty good—maybe even better than writing I’ddeliberated over.

 

3) When there’s no time to figure outall the whys and whens, write “the heart of the scene.” Like the heart of the TARDIS, that’swhere all the power is, anyway.

 

4) DIALOGUE is the backbone of a novel.

 

5) Get a little help from your friends:When I was ready to give up, my friends were there with cheers and challenges.And, I got great tips from the Nanowrimoforums, which I’d never thought I had time for.

 

6) Even though I am a NaNoWriMoRebel I still feel giddy with success. Hitting that 50k, even with “illegal”content, gives me the confidence that I needto turn a viable book into a publishable book.
Katherine