Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | By: Taffy

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop! 2 Winners!

THANKS to I'm a Reader, Not a Writer and Buried in Books for hosting this hop. 300 blogs are entered to give away prizes!

I have a few books that need good homes. Want to adopt a few?
Let me tell you about the books:
They LOVE to be read, carressed and petted.
They do not require food though they don't mind if their owner eats while reading.
They enjoy being read and reread.
They need a nice place to rest like a lovely bookshelf or a quiet corner in your room.
They don't care for water. At all.
But they do like to be read in the tub or at the pool.
They LOVE to be shared!

Ok.
Enough silliness. Down to the nitty-gritty!
Pack A:
I have three SIGNED books who need a good home:


Pack B:
These books crave a good home (all three have been read once):


So! Which set do you want? Pack A (signed) or Pack B? Let me know in the comments along with your email. 

No need to follow my blog even though I would love to hang out with you here!
GOOD LUCK!
Contest is Sept 1-7. Winner will be picked by random.org and announced Sept 8th (barring any weird circumstances like having to run to the store for more chocolate).


GO HERE for the list of blogs who are hopping!

School Reading Lists, Book Ratings & Lolita

School is back in session (can I get a hallelujah?).
Do schools still hand out reading lists? I didn't know what books were required for my junior highers until the reports came due.
Here is a short list from last year:

The Outsiders
Edgar Allen Poe
To Kill A Mockingbird
Romeo and Juliet
Poems

Do you remember swear words in To Kill A Mockingbird? Yeah, me either.

I can't remember making distinction between YA and adult lit in high school. I think the books were mostly adult. Here are a few books I was FORCED to read in high school:

Lord of the Flies
Bartleby
Old Man and the Sea
Wuthering Heights
The Great Gatsby
Anne Frank
The Scarlett Letter
The Odyssey
The Iliad


Are they mostly adult??
The debate on YA being dark might be accurate. The books I had to read in school were dark and adult themed. Many of the above books are still on school lists. Why isn't anyone complaining about those?

My daughter read the Twilight series in less than a week. Tons of her friends read them and she wanted to try. These books made my non-reader a reader. They also opened dialogue between us about abstinence, what to expect from a relationship with a boy (none are perfect like Edward and Jacob) and "why would a LDS person put swear words and other bad stuff in her books?"

A friend told me about his boy's reading list. He had read many of the books on the list. One he hadn't read was Lolita. He looked up the reviews and concluded it wasn't a book he wanted his son to read quite yet.
Another book on the list was Catcher in the Rye. My friend remembered the story being important from his high school career. He found a copy on his shelf and gave it to his son to read. His son came back a few hours later and asked his dad if he remembered all the "f" words, sex and drugs in the book. Of course, he hadn't.

"I mentioned my son and his experience with Catcher in the Rye. He did finish the book - in fact, we read it together. He read it and we talked about the issues and loneliness that can pop up on a young man, even when that young man thinks everything is great. I think, wait, I know we are both stronger for it. As for reading Lolita - I'm not sure about that one yet. I think there is more uplifting lit out there that he could read first. Time will tell."
What if those books had a rating on them or a review to help parents know what content is inside? I don't believe this is censorship. My kids usually check ratings on movies and games as well as reviews. Why not on books?

This is from Rick Walton:

"I think we all, as parents, readers, writers, teachers, editors, whatever, have a responsibility to first do no harm, and second to try to do good. But people are so different, and their needs are so different, that what is good for one is not good for another. Doesn't mean that because it's not good for one it should be done away with. But rather, that almost everything is for somebody, and nothing is for everyone. And we have the responsibility to connect with our kids so they can make the right decisions for themselves. And so we can help them understand what they run across.

It also means that we as parents have the right and responsibility to help guide our children in what they are exposed to. And how they understand it. But we must also allow others the same right, even if their choices differ from ours. Because their children differ from ours."

On my book review, The Book Addict, I do give ratings for books I've read. I want other readers to not be surprised when they read a book. At least with a little idea what's inside, the reader can choose to open the book or not.


What do you think about book ratings? School reading lists?


I added some links I thought you might enjoy:

 YA Lit, and Why Everyone Should Read It

Should Books Have A Rating System?

On Darkness in YA by Rachelle Gardner

Monday, August 29, 2011 | By: Taffy

I refuse to believe summer is over

Going to my happy place now...




http://blog.kertgartner.com/Downloads/Images/Cinemagraph/PatriciaBeachCinemagraph.gif
Friday, August 26, 2011 | By: Taffy

Foto Friday




http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/natures_best_2008/gallery/HenryHoldsworth_LandscapeHH_lg.jpg
Thursday, August 25, 2011 | By: Taffy

DOUBLE DECEIT blog tour & Giveaway!

 Someone is watching.

As a young widow, all Elaina Bryant wants is a fresh start. Determined to put ten painful years behind her, she returns to her hometown and moves in with her sister, Natalie. Elaina soon accepts a job working at a small bookstore owned by the handsome Ryan Hill and his mother. Despite her reluctance to become romantically involved with anyone, she is drawn to Ryan and finds herself falling in love.


But someone isn't happy with Elaina's new life and is watching her every move. Her tormentor seems determined to destroy her sanity and her future, but Elaina can't convince anyone the threat is real. Natalie is preoccupied with her own blossoming romance, and Ryan and Elaina's friend Peter seem to believe the threat has been manufactured in her own mind a result of her guilt and grief.


Now Elaina's plans for a new start are crashing down around her. She knows she will have to find the answers on her own before she can ever overcome the past and enjoy love and happiness again. But how can she protect those she loves when she doesn't know whom to trust?

 
Great, intriguing book that kept me reading from the very beginning to find out who was stalking Elaina Bryant.
Good, clean, suspenseful and romantic book!

Ratings: PG 13
S: kissing
V: Kidnapping
L: none

Want to win my gently read copy? Leave a comment about your first crush; what do you remember about it?

(I'd love for you to become a follower too if you want!)

Want to buy it?

25% test (p. 73):
"Ryan went to the fridge and got out a gallon of milk. "Mom always says milk and cookies are the first step to feeling better." He put the jg on the table and went to get two more lasses from the cupboard. "And please don't tell me it's just emotional eating, as Natalie frequently reminds me."
I took the carton and poured each of us a glass. We sat dipping cookies in the milk and enjoying the quiet.
"Si, Peter, I heard Natalie's opinion of the conference, but I'd like to hear what you thought." I pushed the plate of cookies toward him, then picked up my glass and sipped at the milk.
Peter took another cookie and sighed. "The workshops were great, and there were lots of people I hadn't seen in a long time. The dance went fine until this Chad Edwards showed up. I saw him watching Natalie, so it didn't surprise me when he approached her. he seemed pretty quiet and didn't stray too far from her for the rest of the event. She wasn't too taken with him at first, but he didn't give u. Saturday morning we found him waiting at the doors to the church building. He monopolized her all day long and danced just about every dance with her that night."
'Sorry, man," Ryan said. "Give her time to forget about him. You know he probably won't last for too long."
Peter sighed. "I guess i knew someday she would show some interest in someone. I just wish it had been me. Besides, that guy made me uncomfortable."
"Anyone who shows interest in Natalie makes you uncomfortable," Ryan responded.
I figured Peter's judgement was clouded by his feelings for my sister. in his eyes, there would probably be something wrong with any man who showered her with attention.
"He was so intense," Peter went on, "Almost if he had come to the conference to meet on particular person---Natalie."
Monday, August 22, 2011 | By: Taffy

No Fear

Air traffic controllers don't live in a state of fear.
They live in a state of management.
Because management lands planes. Fear doesn't.

I wonder if one of the requirements of air traffic controller is courage. Courage to bring the big planes in safely. Courage to talk down a pilot. Courage to make decisions that affect hundreds of lives.

cour·age

[kur-ij, kuhr-]
–noun
1.
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.



I believe it's the same for writers. We picked a solitary career, just us and our computer or notebook. It takes courage to allow others to read and criticize our babies. Courage to cut and edit to help the story be even better then send it out to the world.
We can not let fear paralyze us. We must move forward.
Repeat with me.
No fear.
Again.
No fear.

Now go write your story. No fear.
Friday, August 19, 2011 | By: Taffy
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | By: Taffy

Synopsis Vs. Summary vis LDSPublisher

A summary is a short description of your book; think if it as a sales pitch or the blurb on the back of the book. It's 1-2 paragraphs, no longer than half a page. You hit the hook, the teasers, the main conflict. Ideally, it's what you would put in your query letter.

At a conference a few years ago, I heard an agent describe it as what you would say if you suddenly found yourself on an elevator with an agent or editor, who turns to you and asks, "What's your current work-in-progress?" You have until the end of the elevator ride to get them hooked.

A synopsis is longer and can be up to 2 pages. It's more like an abbreviated Cliffs Notes for your book. Write it in third person (even if your book is in first person), present tense, include your main characters, their motivations, conflict, major plot events, setting, themes, AND the resolution. (That means, if it's a murder mystery, you tell who dun it.)

The synopsis should be representative of your writing skill, so make it shine. It shouldn't read like a user manual or a dry encyclopedia entry. Punch it up with the same sensory based imagery, tone, and humor that occurs in your book.

As to which I would rather see? The answer is BOTH. This is particularly true for a values based publisher, like here in the LDS market. Example: A novel about a teenage coming of age story. From the summary, I might be interested. But a synopsis would tell me that in chapter 17, she discovers she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion. That just wouldn't fly in my market and I'd like to know that before I'm 150 pages into the manuscript.

Careers taking off at a writer's conference? It could happen. I know several people who've gotten that toe in the door from a conference—submitting to an agent that spoke at the conference, winning an award at the conference which got them a bypass the slush pile free card, and signing up for a actual pitch sessions. Readers—do you have any success stories you want to share?
Friday, August 12, 2011 | By: Taffy

Foto Friday

Has anyone ever read a book about Easter Island, fiction or non-fiction?


http://www.twanight.org/newTWAN/photos/3002989.jpg
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | By: Taffy

Enjoy the Journey

Do you have a theme or motto this year? Something to motivate you and/or your writing? (My son told me his theme song, "Loser." Nice.)
My motto this year is: Enjoy the Journey.
I'm not a patient person. Food burns on my watch because I turn up the heat hoping to cook the meal faster.
I sometimes skim pages or jump to the next chapter.

I make awesome gravy over high heat.
My scrambled eggs are delicious.
You need nourishment for your journey, whether it's physical or mental or writing.
(Do you eat while writing?)
(Weird. All the above examples involve food.)

This year I will learn to slow down, enjoy everything about writing, even editing (ugh). As I take my time I will see better, comprehend more, get excited about the next hidden corner.
*sigh*
Everyday isn't a vacation in Utopia/Eden/Shangri-La. At times I remind myself to chill, eat a bite of chocolate, or put away the laptop and read (maybe a nap). Downtime is part of the journey too.

 What's your favorite part of writing? 
What do you do for downtime?
Monday, August 8, 2011 | By: Taffy

Writers are like cats

Maybe it's just me.
I like to be snuggled and handed my food and nap in the sun.

We can be more like cats:



Observant.
Ideas come as we sit still and observe the world. I love to watch people in airports. Schools are fun too. And parks. And Wal-Mart. Who am I kidding? My own house is fodder for stories! Has a story ever come to you from people watching?







Stretch.
Sometimes the way to break writers block is to go beyond our limits. Write something different we didn't plan on. Try paper instead of typing on the computer. Wake early or stay up late to find our muse.
Sometimes a nap works too.







Getting Stuck.
Writers get stuck. Sometimes we are the causing of getting stuck. Sometimes the characters are blocking us, telling us where they want the story to go and we aren't listening. What to do??






Let go.
Put the story on a shelf or in a drawer or in the pantry. Now go and play. Have fun. Go to the office supply store and buy a fun, new writing item to your stash. Watch kids play. They know how to have fun. Give yourself permission to let go for a while.



Buddy up.
Writing can be a lonely job. Writers need friends to give pats on the back, read the manuscript for the AGAIN or bring chocolate.
Going out for lunch is good for the creative soul too.




Hubby just asked if I'm having a hard time coming up with material to blog.
"No, why?" I asked
"You're posting about writers being like cats."
"It's funny."
"No, funny is herding people at a writers conference is like herding cats."

What other similarities do you believe writers and cats have in common?

Friday, August 5, 2011 | By: Taffy

Now is the right time.


“Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”Asha Tyson (born 1970); Writer, public speaker

I. Love. This. Quote.
It totally applies to anyone. I like to think it was written for me, for us. Asha gives us permission to own the moment, right here, right now. What is in our heads and hearts is ready to be put on paper, breathed into stories. We are the only ones who have lived what we have lived, seen through our eyes the scenery. We haven't lost time!
Now is the right time.

Foto Friday

I think I see my muse!



http://photos.500px.com/196495/4
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | By: Taffy

Henry Miller on Writing


The Commandments





  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to "Hemingway's Suitcase."
  3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work accordingly to Program and not accordingly to mood. Stop at the appointed time.
  5. When you can't create you can work.
  6. Cement a little everyday, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don't be a draught horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Disregard the Program when you feel like it--but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema,all these come afterwards.