Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review - Ammon by H.B. Moore

Last year I read H.B. Moore's novel, Alma the Younger, and reviewed it. I thought it was her best novel to date. And I wasn't alone because that book won the Best of State Award in Literary Arts for fiction for 2010.


This year Moore's new novel, Ammon, will be a definite contender for the award in 2011.


Here's the first paragraph of the back cover of the book:


With the fire of a newfound testimony, Ammon and his brethren leave Zarahemla to preach the gospel in Lamanite lands, carrying nothing but hunting weapons and the promises of God. Spotted by an enemy scout, they part ways in the dense jungle with hopes of reuniting at the close of their harvest. Ammon follows the Spirit to the borders of Ishmael, where he's ambushed just seconds after spotting Elena, a fair-skinned woman who captures his interest.


This novel should appeal to young adults and adults alike. It offers a lot of action and adventure mixed with romance. Most of the story is told in two view points: Ammon and Elena (the woman who captures his heart).


The main character Ammon lives up to his name being the strong, tall, handsome Nephite prince who has renounced the throne to serve God by spreading the gospel in enemy territory.


Elena is a wonderful leading lady in this tale, who is adventurous and handy with a bow and arrow. She has a strong loyalty to family and especially her father. And, of course, she's very pretty.


I really enjoyed this book. Moore had quite a task of telling a story that many LDS people already know, but she's added wonderful layers making the tale come to life with setting and tension. I loved reading scenes based on the story in the Book of Mormon and seeing how she handled them. 


As always Moore's writing is smooth and draws the reader in. I especially like how she added character thoughts that ring true. For example, in a tender scene between Elena and Ammon, Elena thinks ..."She knew he had been born a prince and was meant for something greater than defending the king's flocks, yet in her eyes, his greatest service had been making her feel valued." Moore hit a universal theme. All women want to feel valued.


I enjoyed Ammon and I highly recommend it. 

To find out more about H.B. Moore and her books check out her blog my writer's lair.


(Covenant Communications, Inc. published Ammon. I was given a free copy, but I reviewed it because I liked it.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meeting a Deadline

I'm late posting on my blog today because I had to finish my WIP. I promised to have it done by the end of the month and I made it with a day to spare. Whew! Meeting deadlines are so important for many reasons, it builds confidence, shows you're responsible, and gives you cause to celebrate.


Builds confidence...
Meeting deadlines makes you feel good all over. You've worked your little fingers raw on the keyboard, you've sacrificed time away from family and friends, and you've stayed glued to your computer for twelve hours a  day, but now comes the reward. You did it. And because you did it once, you know you can do it again. Yes you can! If that doesn't build confidence, I don't know what does.


Shows you're responsible...
Sending your work in when you said you would shows others that you can be relied upon. They know they can count on you to deliver. And that's a big deal. It's a trust issue. They know they can trust you to keep your word. In this day and age that's an amazing trait and one that will serve you well. Have you heard the saying, "Where much is given, much is expected?" Those can be scary words, but they ring true as a writer progresses. Make sure people can count on you.


Cause to celebrate...
You know the feeling that comes over you when a storm lifts and the sun comes out. You bask in the sunshine and play in the puddles. The storm has passed and now you can party. You deserve it.


My celebrating will be playing catch up on chores I've put aside, but it's still celebrating. I'm going to read a book, clean out the closets, and pay more attention to you! Yes, I've been remiss, but I plan to correct it.


Did you see the Spreading the Joy Contest I'm having? I hope so because I'd really, really like to give the prizes away.

How does it make you feel to meet a deadline? What do you do to celebrate?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spreading the Joy Contest!!!

I'm jumping for joy. River Whispers has been in stores for 58 days!!!


Here's the deal though. I need help spreading the joy about my book. And the best way is to have positive reviews posted online.


BUT I want to show my appreciation so I'm holding a contest. Here are the rules:


1.  For every positive review posted for River Whispers your name will be entered into a drawing.


2. You can copy and paste the same review in numerous places.


3. Deadline will be midnight July 8th.


4.  Leave a comment telling me where you posted the review (you'll get your name entered for each review on each location.)


 Here are the links to the sites I'd love reviews posted on.

Deseret Book
Amazon
Goodreads
Seagull Book


Now info about the prizes:


Prizes will be randomly drawn via www.random.org on July 9th.


For the Grand Prize I'm giving away a copy of the bestselling cookbook Our Best Bites written by Sara Wells and Kate Jones. This cookbook was the winner of the 2010 Better Homes and Gardens Blogger Cookoff!!! Check out their blog.


Second Prize will be a signed copy of one of my books: The Forgotten Warrior, The Stone Traveler, River Whispers or my Christmas book An Angel on Main Street. You pick which one and I'll sign it and mail it to anyone, anywhere you want me to.

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it very much. xoxoxo

Friday, June 24, 2011

Story in Songs

As some of you may know I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My faith means a great deal to me. Last night I went to a concert performed by Nashville Tribute. One song they sang was titled The Rising. It tells the story of Joseph Smith. Of course, I love it. They blend a Nashville flavor to great songs of inspiration.



With them was Dyer Highway. They're three young adults making some awesome music.



This must be my week for stories in songs (Monday's post was about Richard Marx). 

Have you ever thought about your wip as a song? Would it be country, rock n rock, jazz or ...?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emotions

YA World Wednesday


Kids feel not only with their heads, but with their hearts or stomachs. It all depends on the situation. Many emotions tumble through them: fear, anger, guilt, jealousy, embarrassment, loneliness, and, of course, love. As they live through their young-adult lives going through one experience after another, they feel a plethora of emotions. Plus, their feelings are jumbled up because they are in the era of discovering how they actually feel about the world around them. They are on a path of discovery.

The reader is going along with them on this path. You as the writer needs to express each characters feelings in their own individual way. The key to doing this is to use specifics and show the character’s progress from the beginning of the book to the end.

Specifics…
In other words see the world through their eyes. For example, if your main character is training to become an ice-skater, have her see things as a skater. She may think going to a party is skating on thin ice or that going to prom with the hunkiest guy in school would be like sticking a Salchow jump. Or if your character is an artist, he may think of life in shades of colors. The sky was cobalt over a emerald sea. You get my drift. Make what they see specific to them and how they view their world.

Show character progress…
In the course of your story your main character needs to change. For instance, perhaps your main character is quick to judge others, but through his adventures he learns that the grumpiest guy in town has lost his wife in a tragic accident, or that the girl who seemed like snob is embarrassed by her home life because her mother is a lush and her father is always yelling. As your main character experiences his own challenges he learns that being quick to judge is robbing him of good relationships that could make his life more meaningful.

Showing your characters feelings helps readers identify with them because they see part of their own lives in the pages of your story.

 How do you use specifics and show progress in your WIP?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Strong Motivation

(Answer to the question from last Friday's post: If you look straight at the person interviewing you that is a sign of confidence.)

Mystery Monday


I attended Richard Marx's concert Saturday night. It was amazing. In the concert, he said he always liked mystery stories and decided he wanted to write one in the form of a song. He worked and worked on it and nearly gave up, but decided to finished it. He thought it was one of the worst songs he'd ever written. His wife heard it and told him she thought it would turn into one of his best selling songs. He didn't agree, but to show his wife that she was wrong, he went ahead and produced it. 

Lo and behold, four months later his mystery song titled Hazard was climbing the charts in many countries.


He said he found it difficult to write a mystery because he couldn't decide who the villain was. Take a look at his video and see if you know who it is. There's motivation here. Strong motivation.



I love that there's a river involved. It made me think of my new novel, River Whispers. There's something about rivers . . .

So, do you think the main character killed Mary? I mean, he had a pretty rough childhood. Everyone in town thought the boy "wasn't right." 

But, what about the sheriff? He looks kind of shady.

And who is Mary talking to at the end?"

Marx did an excellent job of layering this song with motivation. I have a feeling if that "song thing" doesn't work out he might think of writing mysteries?  

However, to keep readers satisfied at the end of a mystery novel the writer should reveal who the villain is and that villain needs to have strong motivation for committing the crime. 


In mystery stories your villain needs to have very strong motivation to have committed the crime. This adds to the suspense. To shore up that motivation you need back story. You need to know what made this person who they are and why?

How do you layer the villain in your story with strong motivation?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Body Language in my Interview

A week ago my publisher interviewed me. In fact, they did two interviews.


I don't know if you're into body language, but I find it very interesting. It seems to me I have different body language in each clip, yet they were done at the same time.


For instance, watch my eyes to see if I look from left to right or right to left. Little things like that are clues to what the interviewer is feeling.

Here's an interview about my new book, River Whispers.




Here's an interview about fishing with my mom.





Very interesting results. 

In the first clip I was looking right and upward. This is a sign of creating and storytelling. That tells you a lot, doesn't it? Well, I was talking about my book.


In the second clip I looked left and down a great deal. This is a sign of recalling, remembering, and retrieving facts.

So to really make people think when you're interviewed look straight at the interviewer, not up or down, to the left or to the right. 

Guess what that would reveal? I'll tell you Monday. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

YA Characters in Movies.

YA World Wednesday



 Movies can help you immensely when it comes to writing young adult characters.


Last weekend I saw the movie Super 8. This movie was written and directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. Here's the trailer.




This trailer shows a lot of action. Believe me, you're in for a wild ride that is fun and scary at times. But it's more than that. 

At the heart and sole of the picture is a young thirteen-year-old boy named Joe Lamb. His mother has been killed in an accident and Joe carries her locket in the pocket of his jeans. I was hooked from that point on. Why? Because it showed me a character with depth. I'd follow him through anything to see that nothing bad happens to him.

Isn't that what we do when we become involved with characters? We want to make sure they get through the story all right.

Adding to Joe's problems are his father and a girl. His father is a deputy and still grieves deeply for his wife so much so that he doesn't quite know what to do with his son. The girl is gorgeous with long blond hair and big, soulful eyes. Needless to say Joe has a huge crush on her. BUT she is the daughter of the man responsible for Joe's mother's death.


Ahhh the plot thickens.


These characters are beautifully layered. They make you care even before there's the big train wreck and the thriller part of the movie kicks in. This story works on many levels: plot, character development, and structure. 

If you want to study some wonderful YA characters this is the movie to see. But be warned, it is very violent and there's swearing.

What movies have you seen that had characters you loved? What character traits made you want to follow them to see what happened?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Magic of Mystery

Mystery Monday



A mystery author is a magician. Magicians know how to entertain and draw attention away from what they are actually doing to make people think they are doing something entirely different.

Brain cramp, right?

It's really very simple. 

There's the actual plot and then there's all the other "sleight-of-hand" plots that throw off readers so they don't see the truth that's right in front of them.
 
Actual plot...
This is the plot that all other plots swirl around. This answers everything: who died? who is the killer? what was the weapon? when did it happen? why did it happen? and how did it happen?  It's the truth of your story. 

Sleight of Hand plots...
These plots are the ones you dazzle your readers with. They may answer some of the who, what, where, when, why and how, but not all of them. Some of these plots may sputter out quickly, some may last for most of the book, but they should all logically conclude.


All you have to do is pick up your "what-if" wand and start plotting.



What do you enjoy about reading/writing a good mystery? 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fishing with My Mom.

I wanted to share with you 
this fun interview where 
I was asked about 
fishing with my mom.


That dumb look on my face...
well there's a reason for that. 
You'll have to listen to the story. ;)

I'd love to hear about your fun 
memories with your loved ones.



The Power of Words

Fabulous Friday

Here's something to start your 
weekend off right. 
Please, please, please 
take a minute and watch 
this very short clip. 
It's worth it!




Words and the order we
put them in make a huge 
difference. 
Have you ever rewritten 
something that changed 
your prospective in either
your book, your way of thinking, 
or even your life?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

3 Musts to Write Young Adult Novels.

YA World Wednesday.


So many writers are flocking to write young adult novels. And why not? This genre has a lot to offer. For the most part they are clean reads that have no limits. And if you're a great writer, you might even get an entire series. Think Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. These stories sold a lot of books. Why? Not only were they well crafted novels, but they appealed to a wide audience.


So what does a writer need to do to write YA fiction?


First and far most, you have to think like a kid. Second, and very important, you need to write at their level. And third, never, ever preach.




Think like a kid . . . 
Some people believe older authors can't write good YA fiction because they can't possibly think like a kid. Give me a break. Did they ever hear of research? And I don't mean going online or reading books. That's one way to go about it, but the best way is to go right to the source. While I was writing many of my YA novels, I was a counselor in the Young Women's program in my church. I loved working with the youth, and boy did I learn a lot. So find a good source, do your homework, and before you know it you'll be thinking like a kid.


Write at their level . . . 
Now this is not to say to write down to them. On the contrary. What it means is making sure you have context that helps describe difficult words. It means phrasing sentences like a teen would. And it also means writing about issues that are important to them. Give your main character baggage that some teens deal with every day. Either they yearn for acceptance from their peers, or they desperately want a boyfriend/girlfriend, or they might be dealing with critical self-esteem issues they don't want to talk about. Give the readers someone they can identify with at their level.


Never, ever preach . . .
This can be tricky. But becomes less of a problem if you show and not tell your story. A story plunges into dangerous water when it starts with telling instead of a scene. A well written scene pulls the reader in, not only at the beginning of the book, but especially at a critical point in the story. Let the character live, feel and breath. Let them work out their problems and learn. Getting deep into the point of view of your main character helps avoid this ugly trap.


These are three very important things a writer needs to deal with in writing YA novels, but I'm certain there are more. What have I missed? If you write YA, what do you find most difficult and how have you worked around the problem?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Romance or Mystery: Which Temperament are You?





So you're probably wondering what's the deal. Kathi said she was making changes to her blog, but this looks the same to me.

Well, because I'm writing two novels right now, I hired someone else to revamp my blog. I've seen some of the work she has done and I LOVE IT! But it's not ready yet. I'm hopeful to reveal it sometime this week. But I'm at the mercy of my blog designer.

Along with revamping my blog, 
I'm stepping up my posts to 
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Mystery Monday 
(ins and outs of writing romantic suspense: who, what, where, when, why and sometimes how)

YA World Wednesday
(ups and downs of writing YA: a little time travel, world building, research and stuff)

Fabulous Friday
(Totally up to me: could be recipes, video clips, interviews, book shout outs, movie/book reviews or a peek into my life.)

So let's get on with Mystery Monday.

A concerned writer emailed me wondering if her WIP was a romance or a suspense. I thought defining the two would be a great start for Mystery Monday. (Thanks, Donna.)

What is your book?

Some believe there are two temperaments for writing fiction.

One is romantic where love pushes the story.


The other mystery where 
suspense drives the storyline.


What kind of fiction writer are you?

Romantic...
Romance usually presents the hero and heroine as opposite personalities and that's because this creates conflict and tension. A couple meets,  works through their differences, and finally realizes they love each other. A true romance must have the couple getting together in the end.The perfect example is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.



Mystery...
Mystery must have every action, nuance, and shade of character contribute to the story. Writing a good mystery is like herding ornery cats, but if you do it right by corralling all your red-herrings and revealing the true killer your readers will purr with delight. A good example is Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


I want the best of both worlds, so for me I enjoy writing romantic suspense. Ingredients for a great romantic suspense: romance mixed with high tension and mystery. Romantic suspense has changed a bit over the years. Many no longer show a governess attracted to the tall, dark, and handsome rake who could have killed his first wife. Nope.

In the next few weeks we're going to look at the genre, gain an understanding of not only suspense but mystery as well, and learn the ins and outs of writing edge-of-your-seat, white-knuckle mystery. We'll also talk with some well-known authors and get their take on the subject. Please if you have any questions send them to me and we'll discuss them.

Which kind of writer are you? Romance? Mystery? Or both? And why? 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Countdown to Summer 2011

LDSWBR Countdown to Summer 2011

How awesome is this? 
I'm featured today on 
LDS Women's Book Review.

And just in time for summer 
reading they have 
spectacular book giveaways 
from some of
your favorite authors. 
And yes, my new book
River Whispers is one of them.

Click on the countdown 
button above or in my sidebar
and find out all about it.

This must mean summer is finally here!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another First Sightings


There's been another First Sighting of
River Whispers!!!


Thank you, Elizabeth, for taking the picture and sending it to me.

Elizabeth
In the next few days I plan to
put all the First Sightings photos
in a slide show that will be 
added to my sidebar.

There are still three prizes left.
Hurry and email me your photo 
of River Whispers in the store.

I'd love to include you in
the slide show AND
I'd really like to send you a prize.
(Prizes are over there in the left sidebar.)

Come back Monday when I'll announce
a new focus on my blog. I'm hopeful
you'll like what I have in store.
 Can't wait.

(Keeping fingers crossed.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two More First Sightings

During River Whispers Blog Tour Roundup
I had two more First Sightings winners.


And since the tour was going on
and giveaways were taking place
I couldn't spotlight them properly.
But I am today.

Kendra


Stephanie
Here's a big thank you to Kendra and Stephanie!!!




Next week I'll get back to my regular blogging pattern.
Thanks for indulging my self promotion blitz for River Whispers.

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