Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In the Life of a Writer Sometimes a Little Money Helps

It's a good thing I'm not the one earning the bacon in my family. Let's just say it would be very lean bacon if it were up to me. That's why I get excited when I see things like this writing contest offered. Any bit of money helps, especially when you're trying to justify the hours you spend at a computer when there are so many other things you could be doing.
I have to admit upfront that I may be a little biased when it comes to this contest because it's connected with the WIFYR Conference, a tab for which can be found on my right hand border. I give credit for the publication of my picture book, The Wheat Doll, to this workshop. When I attended a picture book writing class there, I was mentored by Candance Fleming, who helped me shape and polish my manuscript. The editor who eventually acquired it was also at the conference that year. In fact, she walked into the room while my manuscript was being read aloud to the class, which, I believe, helped it stand out to her when it came across her desk.
If writing is something you want to do then any learning and mentoring you can get puts you ahead of most of the people in the dreaded slush pile. And if you can earn a little money whie you're at it, so much the better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Shelf, Selection Ten--The Thief and the Attolia Series

Eugenides, aka, the Queen's Thief, is another of my favorite literary characters. He takes some getting used to, though. In fact, while reading The Thief for the first time, I found myself wondering when the guy would stop whining. I'm not sure that he ever really did, but by the end, I didn't care. My esteem for him was that great.
He goes by the name of Gen in the first book of the sequence and that subterfuge--hiding his real name--is only the first of many to come. Although a complainer and a bit of a dandy, Eugenides is a master of political intrigue and behind the scenes maneuverings. He's also a believer in the gods of his Greece-like world--and for good reason. They speak to him and,  occasionally, interfere, which leads to some interesting insights for Eugenides and for the reader.
In her beautifully written Attolia series, Megan Whalen Turner has created a detailed and real-feeling world. Setting is important to me, one of the aspects of a book that determines whether I'll settle in for a second reading, but as much as I'm drawn to the time and place of Attolia, it's Gen that keeps pulling me back.
I can't wait to see what he'll do next. Ms. Turner, I'm waiting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


WaitingWaiting by Carol Lynch Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading a book by Carol Lynch Williams is like slipping into someone else's skin, walking around as her, breathing her air, and, especially, feeling what she feels. In the case of WAITING, we're inside the skin of London, a teenage girl who's lost her brother and whose family is crumbling because of his death.

London's skin is not a comfortable place to be--and yet, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to know more about her and to stay long enough to make sure she would be okay. And when the story was over, I was glad I stayed. I was glad I took that difficult journey with her. Because at the end, there was hope, and faith, and life. Imagine all that coming from a death.

If you're a fan of Williams's books, you won't be disappointed. She tackles tough topics and WAITING is no exception. I found her teenage protagonist to be very realistic. What teen--what adult, even--doesn't do some things that might be confusing to those around them, especially as she's grasping at straws to heal herself and her family. For instance, London seems to be attracted to two boys. But is she, really? Read and find out.

I also found London's friends a refreshing group in a teen lit world of backstabbers. Not at all the cliche that London feels her life to be.

If you want to read a book about grief and healing, go elsewhere. If you want to live one, WAITING is it.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012


IcefallIcefall by Matthew J. Kirby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are so many things I loved about this book but I can't mention some of them because it would give away the ending. I'm afraid, though, that the cover already does that and if I could change one thing about this book it would be the cover.

So, what can I mention?

I loved the Nordic setting and the Norse myths woven thoughout the narrative. The stories within a story lent a rhythm to the novel and added beauty to the already beautiful language.

I loved the main character. I could relate to her struggles to embrace a talent that was, at times, uncomfortable for her.

And, yes, I did love the ending. Just read it and we'll talk later.

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