Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell - Book Review


Have you ever wished you would inherit a house from a relative so you could move far away and start a new life? I think it's only natural every once in a while to wish for a "do over". In Michele Ashman Bell's latest novel, Hometown Girl, Jocelyn Rogers is given this opportunity. Here's the back liner of the book.

Jocelyn Rogers's life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother's house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life.

However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy--especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty-mile radius. 

To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives.

Join the Butterfly Girls in this charmingly romantic story that shows sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land on your feet.

If you're looking for a clean romance that shows a strong woman guided by faith to make a new life and also find love along the way, this is the book for you. Of course, everything isn't roses for Jocelyn in her quest to start afresh. First she gets not one but two tickets in her new hometown, then the house she inherits is a money pit that needs the plumbing redone and walls painted and then to top it off...yep, she has car trouble. Have you ever had days like that? I know I have. Or at least they were very close. I thought Jocelyn's character was very well thought out. She is layered with emotions: doubt, love, fear, and a secret from her past. What pulls her through is her faith.

Jack Emerson--the hero who saves her from birds, sees her soaking wet in Hello Kitty pajamas, and yet keeps coming around--is the quiet, strong, man-of-few-words type...in other words a hunk. He, too, has a secret past and it isn't what you expect.

Hometown Girl is the second book in Bell's Butterfly Box series. I didn't read the first book. Did that bother me? A little because I was curious about the other girls involved with the butterfly box, which isn't a bad thing.

I highly recommend Hometown Girl because Jocelyn has an inner strength I very much admire.

Michele Ashman Bell is having a contest. She's giving away a $50. Visa gift card chosen from entries on her site. So head over to her place by clicking here.

(I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it because I liked it.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guest Blog - Linda Weaver Clarke

I know I usually post something personal on Mondays, but Linda Weaver Clarke asked if I would help her with her blog tour, and I was only too happy to help a fellow author promote her new books.
Take it away, Linda...

Romance VS Mystery!
I have written five historical romance novels but have changed to mystery. The writing process between romance and mystery is quite a change with a completely different mind set. It’s so different from telling a love story. With romance, you plan out the plot around the meeting of a couple. As you write, you develop some sort of charisma between the characters, making the reader feel excited that one day they're going to hit it off and fall in love. You, as the reader, know what the outcome will be. But with a mystery, the reader is in the dark. The author has to come up with a plot that no one knows about until towards the end of the story and hope they haven’t figured it out. In a mystery, you may or may not allow your reader to know who the bad guys are, according to whether it’s just a mystery or mystery suspense. Do you know the difference between a mystery and a mystery suspense novel? In a mystery, when a knock is heard at the door, the reader doesn't know who's behind it. With mystery suspense, the reader knows who's behind the door and yells to the heroine, "Don't open the door!"

Anasazi Intrigue is the first book in a mystery adventure series called “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.” It’s about a devastating flood that takes out several homes in a small town, the importance of preserving ancient artifacts, and a few puzzling and mysterious events. Julia is a reporter, and when she finds out about a possible poison spill that kills some fish and neighbor's pets, she has a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Before she realizes what is happening, Julia finds out that this incident is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought. With dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants chasing John and Julia, they have their hands full.

Artifact theft is a very intriguing subject. That’s why I call it the Intrigue series. In my research, I found that archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year. Did you know that looting is only second to selling illegal drugs? While researching the second book in this series, Mayan Intrigue, my eyes were opened to the problems they have in southern Mexico. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. The reason why is because the Mayas used astrological alignments when planning their city. Looters have learned the layout of the Mayan cities so they know where to dig. With this knowledge, they can loot a sacred temple in a few days. I also found that artifact theft in Mexico has been taken over by drug dealers from Columbia. In other words, since organized crime has taken over, there is also an increase of violence. 

Mayan Intrigue will be released on August 30th and I’m having a week long celebration with a book give-away at my Blog at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com.

 Mayan Intrigue is about the discovery of a priceless artifact that puts Julia’s life in great danger. While on assignment for the newspaper, John and Julia try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins, but when Julia accidentally comes upon a couple suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it’s too late. Before John and Julia realize what's going on, they find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan. To read an excerpt from each of my books, you can visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's finally time for....The Stone Traveler's Blog Tour and CONTEST!


Yep, I'm head over heels because the blog tour for 

The Stone Traveler starts  

September 1st.  That's just a week from today!!!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.

I'M HOLDING A BLOG TOUR CONTEST!!!

There's only one rule to participate: 

leave a comment on every tour site.

The tour is Monday through Fridays in September.

I will collect the names of everyone who comments from each blog site on the tour. Then on Saturday a name will be drawn to win a prize that includes a very cuddly toy jaguar (isn't he cute?); a stone necklace (I promise if you wear it you won't be thrown back in time); and chocolates with the flavor of South America (real cacao and chili). 


 The winners will be announced on September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th.

The GRAND PRIZE for The Stone Traveler Blog Tour will be a (drumroll, please)

Kindle!!!

The cutoff is midnight on September 30th. 

The winner will be announced October 4th. 

If you find the tour midway through September and want to participate you can still comment on every blog simply by checking my sidebar. Under the heading "Stone Traveler's Blog Tour" I will post the reviewers blog sites so all you have to do is click. And don't forget to leave a comment. 

AND even if you've already won a weekly prize, your name will still go into the jar for the Kindle as long as you continue to follow the tour and leave comments on each blog. 

Easy peazy!

So mark the tour on your calendar!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Author Interview with..

I had lined up an interview for this Friday, but some wires got crossed. I’m heading to Idaho today for the launch party of The Stone Traveler, and I really wanted to have an interview for you, so I thought I’d tell you a little more about me (sorry, but I'm desperate and crunched for time).

Because I’m the interviewer and interviewee I can pick and choose which questions to answer. And how do you like that picture of me in my younger days? I don't even know where that was taken, but the setting is pretty.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
 I have always loved to write. I remember when I was in high school my English teacher made me get up in front of class and read my short story. I vaguely remember the story was about the Jolly Green Giant, but that’s about all. It wasn’t until I’d had my first child that I started thinking I could write a book.

Tell us a little bit about your book.
The Stone Traveler is about Tag Quincy, a sixteen-year-old boy who is going through some trouble in his life. He is given a stone that sends him back through time to Sabirah, Samuel the Lamanite’s daughter. (Didn’t know he had a daughter, did you? I didn’t either until I created her while writing this book.) Tag goes with Sabirah on her quest to rescue her father and brother from the wicked King Jacob. The king’s men capture Tag and strap him to a sacrificial alter. Just as he’s about to be killed a violent storm sweeps the land and the earth breaks into jagged pieces. Tag doesn’t know what he fears more: the terrible storm, his captors blade being thrust toward his body, or the men who later appear glowing more brightly than the traveler’s stone.

I loved writing this novel.

Tell us about your other books you’re working on.
Next spring I have a romantic suspense coming out. I’m not sure what title my publisher will give it, but the working title is River Whispers. This is a complete switch in genres for me, but I’m very hopeful to write in both young adult time travel and romantic suspense. At this moment I’m working on a sequel for River Whispers. It will take place in Alaska. I’m dying to go up there. But I’ll have to be content to do a lot of research instead.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
Hmm. Inspiration is a fickle thing. It can strike any time and anywhere. I’ve thought of stories while watching a movie, while camping, and while on the road and playing the “what if” game. As for motivation, if I’m excited about my story that’s really the only motivation I need. For instance, right now I can hardly wait to see how Samuel Tanner (a character in my sequel) is going to react to being kidnapped. While I plot my stories, I really don’t know all the little details or what characters are going to say and do until I get into the scene. Yes, my characters have minds of their own and no I’m not crazy. (I don’t think.)

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now.
I grew up in a little town in Idaho called Rigby. I loved it there. I was able to walk to the movies at night without my parents worrying about me. I swam in the canal in the summer, ice-skated in the winter. I grew up in a Norman Rockwell painting. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they taught me right from wrong and I grew up with a love of God and country. Now, I live in Midvale, Utah which is a twenty minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City. I love it here as well. I’m still walking to the theater that is less than a block away, but I certainly wouldn’t let young children go alone. The world has changed since my childhood.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I just moved my office early last spring, and I love my new digs. The room is painted an off-white color. I have a huge white board on the wall where I plot, list tasks, and draw stick figures. My desk is usually littered with books and papers of the story I’m working on, or promotion that needs to get done. Most often there is a glass of water on the corner and a small bowl of almonds mixed with white chocolate chips. My husband gave me the cutest little green dragon that clutches a pencil. He sits directly under my monitor beside a large, clear stone that looks very much like…the traveler’s stone. ;)

I hope you’ve enjoyed my interview. Sorry for the self-promotion, but what's a writer to do?

In the next several weeks I’ll have reviews of Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell, The Fourth Nephite by Jeff Savage, Cold as Ice by Stephanie Black, and The Silence of God by Gale Sears.

Plus, I’ll throw in an interview here and there.

I’ve noticed that on Fridays I don’t received nearly as many comments as on other days.

Is there something else you’d like to see on Fridays? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TWO WAYS AN AUTHOR CAN WRITE AN ORIGINAL NOVEL


Originality. . .  Is there truly nothing original in writing these day? Are there no new plots? Settings? Professions? Characters?

Long ago I read that there are only so many plot lines, and they've all been used. With our world becoming smaller and smaller there really are no new settings left to explore nor professions. And characters...we've seen them all from the toothless, crusty cowboy to the upper, Manhattan power chick. Yes, they have been done. Think about it. How many different vampire stories do we need? How many time travels are sufficient? And how many times will love conquer all?

Now if I were a pessimist I'd probably throw in my pen and paper computer keyboard and stop writing altogether. But I'm not. I'm an optimist. So...how does an author write original novels?

There are a number of ways, but I'm going to focus on two: mix the pot and keep your audience guessing.

1) Mix the pot.
    So what if there are only a few plot lines. Big deal. Let's mix the pot and stir things around. For instance, say you're writing about the Civil War. There are a ton of Civil War stories: Gone with the Wind, North and South, and on and on. But what if your story is about a Yankee nurse who one day awakens to find she's in a different war? She's come forward to the End of Days War. Can you imagine the layering you could do with a story like that? Why has she been transported to another time? What could her lesson be? Would she fall in love? If given the chance would she go back? Would she stay? Of course, you're going to need to layer her character with wonderful traits and history that would reflect well in both times. But now you have a ton of possibilities all because you mixed things up.

2)  Keep your audience guessing.
Let me explain. If in your story you have a little old grandma who loves to write, don't have her write poetry and knit. Have her write thrillers and ride a Harley. Of course, you're going to have to do the ground work and add context that makes her believable, but wouldn't you rather read a story about the second grandma rather than the first? And that's not meant to knock poetry or knitting, I'm just saying poetry and knitting is what most people would expect, so keep your audience guessing, give them the unexpected not only in your characters, but in your plot twists. If you're writing a romance and the big scene comes where the guy finally gets the courage to ask the girl out, but you can't have her go with him, throw in something more. What if she suddenly tells him she's a spy and has been sent to kill him. That's not expected and could take your story into many directions depending upon the tone you want.

I know there are many more ways to be original in your writing. Please share your thoughts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

THREE WAYS BACK PAIN IS LIKE WRITING A BOOK


I strained my back muscles Wednesday night. I’d like to tell you that I did it lifting a car off of someone’s foot. But alas, I cannot tell a lie. I merely sat on the couch in my bedroom and felt a familiar twinge of pain that I haven’t experienced for a long time. Years ago I strained my back playing volleyball and every since I’ve fought reoccurring back problems. I’ve even put my back out sneezing. Through it all I’ve learned that back problems don’t go away fast. The healing process takes weeks, sometimes months.

As I thought about this I realized back pain is like writing a novel.

1) You can feel a twinge any time, any where.

An idea for a novel can hit you at the strangest moments. The idea for The Stone Traveler came to me when I saw the movie The Testaments. I was so touched by that film that I wanted to write a book in which a modern character was thrown back in time just before Christ appeared in America. Does the main character in my book see this dramatic event? Well, I'm not saying he does or doesn't. You'll have to read the novel to find out. ;)

2) It takes a long time for strained back muscles to heal.

It takes a long time to write a novel. The writer has to do research, check facts, plot the novel, do characterizations, and then write...and write a lot. For me it takes several months just to get the rough draft completed. And then the fun begins with edits: coloring scenes with words, adding more tension, filling in sensory details and moving sentences around so the right feeling matches the action of each scene. All that fun stuff takes time.

3) When your back has healed you need to be careful at first and make sure to find the right support.

When your book is done you need to ask people you trust to read it and give you feedback. If you give it to someone who doesn’t understand your genre and is very critical you may become discouraged. But if you ask the right people--those who will tell you what’s wrong and what you might do to fix it--then you’ve found the right support for your book. I belong to a wonderful writers group. I know that they want to see me succeed, but they also want to give me the feedback that will help me write the best book I possibly can.

So here are some questions for you:

  • Where do you get the ideas for your books?
  • How long does it take you to write a novel?
  • Do you have the right support?

Now I think I'll take a pain pill the doctor prescribed for my back pain. Too bad there isn't a pill for writing a book. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jumping for Joy--The Last Prize in The First Sightings Contest


I'm jumping for joy for Emily Fawcett!!!

She sent me a picture of my book

The Stone Traveler

in a store.



She wins the very last little jaguar

and brings to a close the

First Sightings Contest.

BUT...

Stay tuned because on August 30th

I'll announce another FUN contest

for those who will follow

The Stone Traveler's blog tour.

There will be some AWESOME prizes

and a grand prize

that will knock the socks off you!

Really!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards - Book Review

I can’t believe I have to admit this, but I have never read the book, Jane Eyre. And I was an English major!!! I've read everything from Shakespeare's plays to Paradise Lost, but for some reason Jane Eyre slipped past me.

Luckily the new novel, Chocolate Roses, by Joan Sowards is a parody of this classic story. And though I've never read the original, I enjoyed this book.

Here’s the back-liner of Sowards' novel.

She’s in love…
He’s out of reach…
Is there any hope?


Janie Rose Whitaker’s world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie’s. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the “perfect” guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger’s complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

Sowards brings a fresh new voice to this old tale and makes it fun to read. At the beginning of each chapter she’s added a blurb from Charlotte Bronte’s novel. While you might find Bronte’s old-fashioned writings a bit stuffy, Sowards’ writing pulls you into the story making it her own.

I liked Janie, the heroine. Maybe it was because she owns a Great Dane named Florentine, nickname “Flo” (I’m such an admirer of big dogs in books. I don’t know why :)), or maybe it’s because she makes the most delectable chocolates, OR maybe it’s because Janie is always fighting her weight, but she’s a gal I think most readers would love to get to know.

Roger Wendworth, the hero and a man of mystery, comes into her shop every Tuesday to buy one chocolate rose to be delivered to Eden’s Garden, a hospital for the mentally ill. He’s drop-dead gorgeous and yet he doesn’t seem to know it. He’s too wrapped up in his own world and his four-year-old daughter's life.

As the story progresses you learn there are more layers to Wentworth, that he's involved in a police investigation, and that he may not be what he seems. He’s hiding something, something that could prove deadly if Janie pokes around too much.

Now if you didn’t like Jane Eyre you may not care for this book for it follows the major plot points, but I found it delightful. A word of caution: buy a box of chocolates before you start reading. You're going to want to nibble. ;)

 (Walnut Springs Press published this book. I received a free copy to review, but that in no way influenced whether I liked the book or not.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Basic Areas to Show Conflict in Storytelling


Before I get into today's writing tip, indulge me once again. See these little guys. They've come to be known as Huey, Dewy, and Louie at my house. Well, Huey and Dewy found homes, but poor Louie is camped out on my desk waiting for another First Sighting picture of The Stone Traveler to be delivered to my email so he, too, can find happiness in his own home. I'd love to keep him around. I'm getting use to the little guy, but I'd really like to send him on his way to make room for the next contest that will coincide with The Stone Traveler's blog tour. More information will be coming in about a week. So, please if you find The Stone Traveler in a book store snap a picture with your phone and send it to the email address up there in the upper-left sidebar. Thanks!

Okay...on with today's writing tip.


Have you ever read a story that didn’t have tension? Probably not. A good story will always have tension because that’s what edge-of-your-seat storytelling does—shows tension. There's nothing that attracts interest more than a good knock-down, drag-out fight. Well, maybe not actual fighting with boxing gloves and such, no it's more along the lines of conflict.

So let’s talk about two basic areas to show conflict in your story: setting and relationships.

1) Setting—where you set your story may inherently be riddled with conflict. Think about places that have opposing forces: the campaign trail, a courtroom, school, or war. These are just a few, but you can see that conflict will be part of the scene. People can experience a great deal of tension and stress in any of these settings. Danger lurks around every corner, behind every rock. If you set your story in such places as these you will have conflict already built in your story.

2) Relationships--showing conflict in relationships can be more difficult, but they can also be more rewarding. As part of the human race we all experience good and bad relationships. Family relationships can be riddled with all sorts of emotional baggage. And let’s not forget the relationships developed in an office, or the government, or in show business or anywhere that people can be found. Relationships can be a minefield of conflict.

This reminds me of a wonderful quote by Donald Maass: “Anywhere that there are people, there is inherent conflict…Your job is to bring it out. Drilling into deep wells of conflict is a fundamental step in constructing a breakout premise.”

Can you think of other areas in your story where you could add more conflict?

I'd love to hear about them. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yipee!!! Another Sighting of The Stone Traveler!



Yipee! Another sighting of

The Stone Traveler!



Kendra found it in a book store.

I only have one prize left.

And then I'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging.

:)


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Interview with Karen Hoover, Author of The Sapphire Flute

I met Karen Hoover over a year ago when I attended my very first LDStorymakers Conference. She had won the writing contest for an unpublished manuscript and, of course, she was thrilled. I was thrilled for her. There's nothing like winning your first contest, unless it's having a publisher accept your manuscript--which is exactly what happened to Karen shortly after that conference.

Her first novel, The Sapphire Flute, was published last March. I thought you might like to read more about the author who wrote this wonderful young-adult, fantasy.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much, yes, I have, though I didn't think I could actually accomplish that dream until I was an adult. I knew I loved telling stories and I adored words, but it took winning a few contests to finally realize this was something I was actually good at and had the possibility of being successful—or at the very least might actually see a book on a shelf. ;)

Tell us a little bit about your book.
The Sapphire Flute is book 1 in The Wolfchild Saga and is the book of my heart. I first had a daydream about the characters when I was a 22 year-old missionary in Connecticut, and it has taken nearly 18 years to learn how to write through fiddling with this book. To tell you what it's about, why don't I give you the summary from my query letter. It says it better than I can say it now.
Rasann is a world in dire need. The net of magic that has held her together for eons is eroding and the mages can’t patch it fast enough to prevent disaster. Volcanoes spew, waters rise, famine and flood and desolation threaten the world as they desperately await the coming of the ‘Chosen One’ to heal their home. Three women begin their own quests for identity and freedom from the ties that have held them: Ember, from her overbearing and prejudice mother; Kayla, from the rigidity of the caste that has oppressed her family; C’Tan, from her dark and evil master, the Guardian S’Kotos. One will discover that she is the first white mage to be born in three millennia, another will become guardian to the first keystone, the sapphire flute, and throughout it all the third will try to destroy them both.

 Tell us about your other books you’re working on..
Well, I'm working on Book 2 in The Wolfchild Saga called The Armor of Light, which is nearly complete. I also have a second YA Fantasy series I've begun and am polishing up for submission called The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard. It's more urban fantasy and comedic in nature. Beyond that, I've got about a dozen books started that are just waiting for the time to finish them.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
What inspires me? I would have to say more than anything, my mother inspires me still, even though she has left this earth life to continue her work on the other side. She always told me I could do anything, if I wanted it bad enough. That she had confidence in me. Even now I hear her whispering and cheering me on when things get hard.

As for what motivates me, I think it is that all of us are given at least a gift or two in this life we are meant to use to better the lives of others and I have known for a very long time that part of fulfilling my mission in life is by writing and reaching the youth of this world. It's very humbling, but so very rewarding.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
There are several writers I have admired over the years. Madeline L'lengle and C.S. Lewis when I was young. Anne McAffrey. Orson Scott Card. Piers Anthony and Robert A. Heinlein's EARLY works. Probably my greatest influence has been David Eddings, and I think it is reflected in The Wolfchild Saga more than in any of my other writing.

As for mentors, again, there have been several, beginning with my mother and a couple of teachers through the years who made me feel this was something I was good at and encouraged me to keep it up. As I grew older and really started to play with words, my greatest mentor became a friend of the family who was an author and freelance editor by the name of Darla Hanks Isackson. I gave her a hand-bound book of poems one year for Christmas and after reading it she told me the only way I wouldn't get published was if I quit writing. I needed to hear that.

When I started attending writing conferences, I had many cheeerleaders and mentors. James Dashner. J.Scott Savage. Julie Wright. Josi Kilpack. Candace Salima and so many more, but probably the greatest mentor of that time was Tristi Pinkston who took my writing and taught me how to go from being an "ALMOST" to finally getting a contract. She helped me cross that line I'd hovered near for so long and made me understand many of the finer points of writing.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?
Wow, that's a fun question! And you are absolutely right in that life experience has a huge impact on writing. I grew up in several places. I was born in California and spent the first four and a half years of my life there. Then three days before we were to move to Kennewick, Washington my father suddenly passed away. We moved anyway, and spent four or five years on my grandfather's hundred acre farm. It was awesome. When I was eight, we moved to Norman, and then Noble, Oklahoma, first to a trailer in the city while our house was being built, and then to the home on forty-five acres. Even after all these years, that place is more home to me than any other. Eventually my grandparents moved there with us, as well as two sisters and a brother. Our own little family commune. Lol I have very happy memories there.

At 14 we moved to Roosevelt, and then three months later to Bountiful, Utah, and that is where I finished junior high and high school, and have remained in different cities in Utah ever since. Currently I live in a fairly small city west of Salt Lake, very near the city limit. It's about as close to the country as I can get without actually being on a farm, and it's the only place that's felt like home since I left Oklahoma.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I recently claimed the basement for my office and painted it in Disney colors. Fairy Godmother Blue and Forest Sunset Orange. It is a bright and happy place, but has enough of the blue to be soothing as well. I am surrounded by books on nearly every wall. Books stacked on book-cases I built myself and painted that lovely sunset orange. It's like being surrounded by my friends as I write. And the colors are like living in a sunset sky. A very happy place.

I write one of two places. Here in my office, or out of the house. When I'm home I tend to get distracted by all the other things I'm supposed to be doing or by the internet. Or games. I'm very distracted by games. So, during the day, at least when it's not ridiculously hot or cold, I love to go up the canyon and sit at a picnic table and write. That's my favorite place to be. The sound of wind through the trees is all the music I need. When it's late at night after the kids go to bed, I tend to do most of my writing in the office. I like all the lights out except for one lamp and put in earplugs more often than not. I get distracted very easily. Did I mention that already? But late at night, when the world settles into sleep, my mind comes awake and I write. I have my computer desk, then another table for writing by hand.

I must admit, my process is kind of time consuming and a little out of the ordinary, but it works for me. I get my ideas by hand and flesh it out on the computer. But this time around I went the extra mile. I printed out pictures of all my characters, all the places, and all the actions they do and made basically a storyboard for my book. I also added a little index card with a brief description of what goes on in the chapter. I did that for all four of the viewpoint characters in The Armor of Light. I know it seems like a lot of work, but it gets me excited to write, and sometimes that's just what it takes.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
Oh, absolutely, yes! I am a huge movie fan and actually take one day a month and go to the movies and spend the whole day there. I watch 4 or 5 shows, take myself to lunch, and just spend the day with me. It is a huge way to fill my creative well. I also watch tv on Netflix and Hulu. We used to have Sattelite but nobody was watching it so we cancelled and just do it all the other way now.

Favorites? I'm just going to go with TV shows here. Lie to Me. Fringe. Sanctuary. All the CSI's. Bones. Doctor Who. To name a few.

They inspire my writing, but not the stories, if that makes sense. I don't take their stories and make them my own, they just fill my creative well. The same way I write better when I read, I also find that I write better when I take the time to watch TV or a movie.

How has being published changed your life?
Well, the biggest difference is just the way people look at me when they find out I'm published. It's like I'm suddenly important. It's very strange. I haven't changed any just because I have a book out, except that I'm busier now, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Mostly it's changed me in that I have achieved one of my three life goals and that is very satisfying.

 Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I'll be in Eagle Mountain at Dragons and Fairtales Bookstore on August 21st at 5, I believe, and the following Saturday, August 28th, I'll be at the Tooele Children's Book Festival along with Jessica Day George, Becca Wilhite, Ann Canon, Lisa Mangum and more. It is going to be a blast!

I'm available for school or book club visits and would love to do more things with youth groups. After all, the whole reason I do this is for the youth. That's where my heart is more than any other.
To keep up on current events, my blog is at http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com and my website is www.karen-e-hoover.com.

Thank you, Kathy, for the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed on your blog. It's been a lot of fun. 

Thank you, Karen!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Sighting of The Stone Traveler!



More Breaking News!

Another sighting of The Stone Traveler.

Sighted by this beautiful young woman named Stephanie.




Thanks, Stephanie for sending your picture.

I have prizes for three more.

So take a picture of The Stone Traveler in the store where you find

it and email the picture to me. My email address is in the sidebar.

See up there in the left hand corner. It's blue text. ;)

Yep, there it is.

THANKS!!!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is Your Story Premise Plausible?

Have you ever come up with a story idea that you were so excited about at first only to find that later as you tried to build a story on it, the premise broke into pieces?

I have had a dozen wonderful openings for stories, but that’s all they were—openings. Most had one thing in common: the premise wasn’t plausible enough to keep an entire story going. Plus, the story was too flimsy and I didn't want readers saying “That would never happen that way.”

Why would they say that? Because the story didn’t ring true.

Our stories need to be believable. The premise needs to be plausible.

Now that’s not to say you can’t have people going back in time, or in another dimensions, or in a fantasy world. But when you put your characters in such situations they need to act like real people. They need to:
  • ask questions
  • experience pain
  • and react to their situation in a believable way.

I remember years ago when the movie While You Were Sleeping came out. If you haven’t seen that movie, you should. I think it’s one of Sandra Bullock’s best films. The story premise for that film could have gone so wrong if put in the wrong writer’s hands, but fortunately for us the writer did a tremendous job of layering one misunderstanding on top of another misunderstanding in a very believable way that made for a very funny story.

Another issue to look out for while developing your premise is not to make what’s going to happen next obvious. You don’t want your readers knowing exactly where the story is going. They might think they know, but give them a surprise, take them in a different direction and make them think of the situation in a different light. Help them to see the many dimensions of your characters and how they deal with what's going on. This will help keep your readers up late at night because they can’t put your book down. That’s success!

Here’s a wonderful quote from Donald Maass.
“A premise that is surprising yet credible is one that is far more likely to make us exclaim, ‘I wish I had thought of that.’”

Isn’t that what we all want?

What are some issues you have found with a story premise that has gone wrong?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breaking News!!!!

This blog's regularly scheduled postings are being interrupted for some breaking news.

We have the very first sighting of The Stone Traveler. It took place in the Seagull Book Store in Logan, Utah.

Kim sent me this picture.


Kim can now choose from the five prizes being offered:
faux turquoise earrings (maybe his wife would like them)



or
 
a jaguar pen

 


or one of these three cute and cuddly toy jaguars.  


So after Kim chooses there are still four prizes left.


I can't wait to give them away to anyone who sends me a picture of my book in a store.



Monday, August 2, 2010

The Stone Traveler Book Trailer


People have been looking high and low, here and there, near and far for the first sighting of ... The Stone Traveler.

Don't forget the First Sightings Contest. Click here for information on the rules and prizes. Yes, prizes are involved!

Now for more exciting news!!!


The book trailer for The Stone Traveler is finished. 

It's AWESOME!!! 

Take a look and let me know what you think.


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