Tuesday, February 26, 2013

 Since last Wednesday I've been working on a deadline to get edits to my publisher. And sadly that meant I didn't have time to blog. I missed Thursday, and I'm very late with this posting.

Now, I'd promise that will never happen again, but I can't do that. If there's one thing I've learned is sometimes I have no control over my time. Wait a minute, of course I'm free to choose where I devote my time, but other factors come into play. What I need is a reboot on my organizing skills.

I know I can write blog posts ahead of time, but lately I just have been unable to carve the time out of my schedule to do even that.

SOOO I'm asking you for advice. What  helps you organize your time so you can do all the things you want to? Seriously, I've love to know.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Book and Movie About Lincoln

On Monday in the U.S. we celebrated Presidents Day. I have many favorite US Presidents, one of which is Abraham Lincoln. He is an icon in America, a man who believed in freedom for all people.

Several years ago I read Bill O'Reilly's novel, Killing Lincoln. That book put me there at the end of the Civil War. I had no idea the worries and pressures that were on Lincoln at that time. Nor did I know that our security for the president was so lax. President Lincoln was known to ride about town at times with only his driver. And the night he was assassinated, there was only one guard on duty. And that man left the theater to go across the street for a drink.  Imagine if that were to happen today.

I strongly recommend this book if your want to learn more about this amazing president.

A couple of weeks ago I saw Spielberg's movie, Lincoln. If you haven't seen it you might want to. I enjoyed it, however, I did find that it dragged at times. And, I must admit, even though Daniel Day Lewis did a fantastic job portraying the man, I pictured Lincoln as much taller.

Here's the trailer for the movie.

Do you have a favorite President of the USA? Which one? And why?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life of Pi - Movie Review

 As a writer I love good stories. That is why I have wanted to see the movie Life of Pi since its release in December, and finally last weekend I saw it. The film is based on the novel by Yann Martel which was published in 2001. The book is a fantasy adventure story about a young man who finds himself surviving a horrific shipwreck with a tiger. The premise is exordaniary, and I wanted to see how director Ang Lee crafted the story for a motion picture.

I wasn't disappointed.

There is so much more to the tale than I thought. It starts with Pi Patel telling a journalist about the struggles he had in school because of his name. He then proceeds to weave in how his father owned zoo animals. There's a wonderful scene of the young Pi wanting to get close to the tiger. This is a great set up for the time when Pi becomes stranded with the same tiger. Off and on the movie cuts back to the adult Pi with the journalist while he shares his unbelievable story. He not only feds the writer food but a tale of wonder and awe that sometimes borders on being unbelievable. However, as  the tale unfolds and the viewers watch what happens, they can't help but believe and are pulled into the story.

I loved it. The movie is beautiful and certainly deserves its Oscar nomination.

Please be aware that the movie is rated PG.

Here's the trailer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Titling Your Novel

Titling a novel that you've labored on for months or even years is very hard. Believe me, I've spent countless hours thinking about the titles for my books. As I write on a story, the title changes many times because I try to think of words that will represent my story and also entice readers to want to pick up my novel.

And here's the deal, most of the time the title an author gives a book will be cast aside when a publisher buys it. But that's all right. Trust your publisher to know what works and what doesn't.

Of my five novels above (there is a little Christmas book tucked in there that I'm not counting) I was able to keep three titles that I gave them, which is highly unusual. But I'm very grateful for my publisher giving different titles to the novels that needed them: Cold Justice (2012) and The Stone Traveler (2010). The new titles for those stories helped my novels sell.

When I'm mulling over a title for a manuscript I like to think about setting, genre, characters, theme, and even an elevator pitch (your story condensed to one sentence).

Most of Cold Justice is set in Alaska, plus its winter when the story begins. This story is a suspense/mystery novel. And my theme for the book was along the lines of the truth will eventually come out. The title I submitted for my manuscript was waaaaaay off the mark, but my publisher nailed it.

I was able to keep the title of River Whispers. Much of the story takes place by a river and my main character's late husband had told her about how the river whispers of the past. And because this was also a suspense/mystery the title fit. I was very fortunate that I was able to keep the title I'd given the book.

The Stone Traveler was a young adult time/travel. This story is about a young man who comes across a stone that takes him back in time. The working title I gave this novel was horrible. I admit it. I'd titled it The Sacrifice. Now that may have been more appealing to adults, but young adults--well not so much. Again, my publisher came to the rescue.

Believe it or not I came up with the title for The Forgotten Warrior.  I remember the day it came to me. I'd been struggling with what to title my manuscript, and as I was making the bed one morning I was thinking how the story was about a young woman who traveled back in time and was with the stripling warriors. Those familiar with the story of the stripling warriors know that they were young men, even boys, so what could I title this since my main character was a young woman. And then inspiration struck, she was simply a warrior who had been forgotten. This was the first novel that I sold and as you can image I was thrilled that I was allowed to keep my title.

For my little Christmas story, An Angel on Main Street. I gave that manuscript so many titles and none seemed right until I tried to think of how I would condense this story into an elevator pitch. Key scenes in this story happen in a small town on Main Street. And the angel . . . yes there is an angel, but I'm not going to tell you more. Again, I was very fortunate to be able to keep the title. I've had some people say that it sounds like a Hallmark movie, which I find to be a high compliment.


My new novel (the release date has been bumped up to May--yipee!!!) is titled Wanted. And I have been very fortunate once again to keep my working title. This title came more from the characters. The story is about an escaped prisoner who was unjustly accused of murder and is on a mission to find the real killer. And, of course, it is a romantic suspense. I can't wait to see what you think of it.

Now it's your turn. How do you come up with titles for your stories?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Movie Review - The Impossible

Last weekend my daughter and I saw the movie,  The Impossible. Let me first say, that I really didn't want to see this film. Living through the Teton Dam disaster years ago, I know what it is like to wonder if your loved ones are alive or dead. However, I also know that my experience wasn't nearly as horrific as those who survived the Thailand  tsunami of December 26, 2004 which is what this film is base on.

There were moments during the show when I was upset that I'd let my daughter talk me into going, but as the story unfolded and as I became emotionally invested in the characters, I realized this is more than a survival movie. This is a movie about faith, a movie about love, and a movie about hope.

The film is based on the true story of the Bennett family. Naomi Watts plays Maria (she is nominated for an Oscar for this role). Her husband, Henry, is played by Ewan McGregor. The Bennetts have three sons: Lucas, Tomas, and Simon. The family is on holiday over Christmas at a tropical paradise resort in Khao Lak, Thailand.

I still don't know how they shot some of the scenes when the water hit. Camera angles captured so much. There were times that I felt I was in the water with them. And the scene of devastation left behind was remarkably real. I've seen first-hand what a flood does, and it isn't pretty. The only thing missing in this film is the smell. If you've been to a flooded area you know what I'm talking about. I can't imagine how anyone survived that tsunami.

The actors did a terrific job. You'll fall in love with the three boys. I know I did.
The film is rated PG-13. Please be warned that there are some graphic injury scenes. Here's a movie trailer that gives you some idea of what the movie is like.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Makes You Think of Your Blessings?

Hubby and I have had some unexpected changes come into our lives. Some good, some not so good. One day last week we had to go downtown. Unexpectedly we found ourselves having lunch at The Garden restaurant across the way from Temple Square. We were feeling pretty blue, but gazing out the window I saw the Salt Lake Temple and had to snap a picture. Just gazing at this beautiful building made me feel much better about our situation.

As we were leaving I also caught a glimpse of this fellow.

You really can't see his pretty blue colors. He seemed happy there on his perch shielded from the wind. And he had quite a view. It made me stop and think how our troubles are all a matter of perspective.Yes, Hubby and I have had a major change come to us, but our perch isn't so bad. We have many blessings and we're so very grateful for family and friends who help us through trying times. They are like the wall protecting this pigeon, keeping us safe.

And the temple . . . makes me think of my life on an eternal level, not just what is happening to me now.

How about you? What makes you think of the blessings in your life?



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