Friday, March 30, 2012

Steven Tyler

Today a student looked at the author photo at the back of my new book coming out in June and told me I looked exactly like Steven Tyler....

While I LOVE Steven Tyler, I am not sure if he was paying me a compliment or not....
What do you think?
A simple yes or no vote will do.
A phone call from Steven himself will earn him a treat at Twizzleberry.
(Irresistable, I know)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My "Mantra"...

for being an Indie Writer, and I suppose, a living through the tougher days in life.

What's yours? Share your favorite inspiring quote here. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Where do I start?

All social creatures, large and small have their own behavioral practices when it comes to meeting and greeting each other. The behaviors, of course, vary depending on whether the meet-and-greet is between strangers, acquaintances, or friends. Lions who know one another rub foreheads. Wolves of the same pack wave tails and lick faces, while outsiders are approached with a guarded stance. Dolphins whistle, as if introducing themselves by name.

And humans? For many, a handshake is accompanied with a hello.

For obvious reasons, introductions between books and readers don't follow these rules. Nor could they afford to in today's hurried pace of life. When readers browse book shelves, they already know what they like and what they don't. There's no time for the polite, age-old introductions of "Once upon a time," to precede any sit-down-and-cuddle-and-get-to-know-one-another-session. Today, the cover of the book serves as an unspoken hello, an indication of what kind of story is held inside.

With just one look, readers know if they'll want to extend a hand, pick it up, and start a conversation by turning to the first page. And given what they are expecting based on their preconceived notions, that first line or two will tell the reader whether the rest of the story is worth the time for furthering the development of a relationship between reader and writer. As Charles Lamb said, "What is reading but silent communication?"

Thus, since gaining an audience,or a relationship, with a reader, is the goal of any writer, that first line is critical. It's the hello! here i am! please want to get to know me! introductory statement for the book. So, where to begin?

Many writer guides suggest beginning in the middle of the scene. And while that is good advice, I suggest it is not enough. There needs to be something more.

In order to truly foster an immediate connection with the reader in such a way that they will want to keep reading, the first line of any book should be designed or layered, however subtlely, to trigger an emotional response.

A few examples:

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. ~ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Why does this work? One half of any couple can connect with the slight feeling of emptiness or longing that the touch of the cold side of a bed--where a partner normally sleeps--would elicit.

"Where's Papa going with that ax?" ~ Charlotte's Web by EB White. The term Papa triggers immediate nostalgia of a family bond, while the image of the ax heightens a sense of danger or alarm, especially combined with the fact that the child feels a need to ask, meaning, this isn't a regular trip outside to fetch wood.

When Giuseppe found the green violin, he did not think it would help him escape. ~ The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby. First of all, a green violin is unusual, and with the added tension of iminent danger... I'm hooked!

They had been happy people, thought Eleanor. ~ Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes. Triggers curiosity in wanting to know what went wrong, as well as fostering an emotional connection with any person's innate desire to be happy. It makes the reader wonder, Why aren't they happy? What happened?

I was supposed to play the piano. ~ A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. Emotional response is a concern over why the main character is disappointed. If she's not playing the piano, then what is she playing now, if anything? And what brought about these state of events?

Perhaps when writing about characters, which by and large, should be emotional muli-layered beings full of dimension and substance, creating the first line of any story should be second-nature. Afterall, writers are, in and of themselves, emotional beings. However, I can tell you it doesn't always go that way. (Check out the first sentence of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Go on! You might be surprised.)

Nevertheless, there are as many beginnings as there are stories. Which are your favorites? I'd love to see some shared.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Miss the Festival of Words on Saturday

Kids activities
Cookies & more

What could be better?

Nothing, if you love books, love listening to stories, or dancing to music.

You'll get it all at the Bullen Center in Logan on Saturday, March 10, starting at 2pm.

Bring yourselves, bring your kids, and settle in for an enjoyable afternoon with talented storytellers, such as, Omar and Lori Hansen, David Sidwell, Clive Romney, Ted Erekson, Dan Bishop, Leah Adkins, Gary Hanen, and Daniel and Emma Kate Coleman.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

World Read Aloud Day, March 7

So we've gone from sitting down and taking a few quiet moments with a new ebook on your Kindle/Nook/WhathaveYou to READING OUT LOUD.

March 7 is World Read Aloud Day, which is a world-wide initiative Take Action for Global Literacy, Celebrate the Power of Words, and Change the World by sharing the joys of reading with those in our lives.

How do I plan to celebrate? I'll start in my science classroom by challenging the students to read from the text as if they were a newscaster delivering a "Breaking Story" on the news. Or, other students  might choose to read as if they were auditioning for the leading role in the next blockbuster movie. We've done this before, and it's always a lot of fun.

I'll round out my day by sharing a few chapters from the latest books my kids are reading. Then, perhaps if I still have some energy left, I'll write a new chapter of my own.

Read ON and Read LOUD! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Read an Ebook Week

To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one. ~Chinese Saying

It's back! For those who haven't tried reading an ebook, or for those who have been too busy with life to sit down and give yourself some much deserved time with your kindle, nook, or reading device, This Is A Reminder for you to enjoy a few quiet and creative moments this week.

To help celebrate Read an E-Book Week, many titles are available for reduced price at Smashwords, Amazon, and B&N.

Don't have an ereader? No problem.  Ebooks on Amazon can be downloaded to ANY digital device. [Isn't that nice?] So, you have no reason not to take a walk on the wild side....

And if you know of a young reader who is looking for a fun read, The Ghost in Me is reduced to 99 cents on Amazon (just saying). ;)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teen Author Boot Camp


On March10, the 2nd Teen Author Boot Camp will be held at Utah Valley University. Our keynote speaker is Brandon Mull. Last year more than 130 teens attended and had tons of fun, along with feedback on their work. I know UTAH has some phenomenal young writers, so pass this information along.

When: Saturday, March 10, 2012
From: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Utah Valley University
Who: Teens ages 13-18, no adults allowed :)
Cost: $39 Includes, tuition, lunch, unlimited drinks, backpack, and more.

How to register: