Friday, 28 January 2011

Interview Time

Head on over to Marie Higgins blog to read some of my thoughts on writing.

And I am a little behind on my blogging, so here is another one from a week ago by Tristi Pinkston.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bumpy Landings by Donald J. Carey

"When Jordan MacDonald goes behind his mother's back to get his pilot's license, he soon finds out that a life full of dishonesty attracts more turbulence than he's ever faced in the air. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Hawaiian islands, this heartwarming story of romance and self-discovery will take you to new heights with each turn of the page." 

I am excited to participate in Don Carey's blog tour for his new book, Bumpy Landings. A few years ago I was lucky enough to do an edit on the original manuscript and I've been looking forward to reading the finished copy.

In order to get into the mood of the story, I made myself a pan of pani popo (a coconut bread mentioned in the book) and settled in to read the story. The exploits of Jordan MacDonald immediately caught my interest as I wondered how he would get out of the problems he was creating for himself. It was interesting to read a romance from the guy's point of view for a change.

What I really enjoyed in Bumpy Landings was the sense of place Don created. I have never had the opportunity to visit Hawaii but the descriptions in the book made the setting come alive. His characters were also well written and interesting. This is definitely a book I would recommend to friends.  I would also suggest you try the pani popo. It is amazing.

You can purchase Bumpy Landings here and here.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Know Your Characters

I've mentioned before that I am a member of my community's cultural arts society. We don't have a theatre, so almost every production we do is done in conjunction with the high school. It is the best way to get their cooperation and have access to the stage in the school. It is so fun to work with the teenagers who are involved and get to know them better. There really aren't enough hours in a day for me to do this, but I am committed to be actively involved until my youngest graduates from high school. It is something I do for and with my kids. (This time all three of them have parts, and my son is playing the lead). After that we'll see what happens. As much as I enjoy it, I'll probably stay on, but we'll see.

We started rehearsals for our next production right after the new year. As always, the kids are great. The play is Wagon Wheels West, a spoof on the old Hollywood westerns. The rehearsals are interesting but some of the kids are having a hard time getting into character. Most of them have never seen one of the old movies and have never heard of John Wayne or Gary Cooper. Our shoot-out on mainstreet ends up sounding a little like a light sabre battle in Star Wars.

Most of the kids come on stage and act like a strange version of themselves - some sort of strange blend of a modern teenager and old cowboy. Last week, we sat all the kids in a circle and one by one went over their characters. We discussed what their motivations were, how their relationship affected their actions, their responsibilities in the old west community, and sometimes even making up background stories for them. I found a few videos for our villain and hero to watch so they could understand the intensity of an old west gun battle.

What a change those discussions made in our rehearsals! Now the kids come on stage with a clear vision of who they are portraying. Our villain is that much more villainous, our hero is more heroic, and our outlaws are going to steal the show. Understanding their roles made all the difference in how they acted.

It reminded me of writing. I can tell a story, but unless I take the time to get to know and understand my characters, the story will fall flat. There are so many things about a character that never make it into the book. Yet it is those very things that influence how the character acts in any given situation. When we know our characters inside and out, it allows us to write them consistently. It is worth the time it takes to do because in the end, it makes the story stronger and more interesting for the reader.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wild Irish Rose by Deborah L. Weikel

"It is May 1865. When Rosaleen O'Shay and her mother lose their factory jobs, and then her father and brother are injured in a coal-mine cave-in, the family is in serious trouble. Rosaleen worries they will never save enough money to fulfill their dream to leave Pittsburgh and buy a farm in California. Hoping to give her a better life, Rosaleen's father secretly arranges to marry her off to Blaise Cameron, a young man on his way to his parents' ranch near Stockton, California. In a twist of fate, Blaise turns out to be the soldier from the street — the one Rosaleen considers a blackard.
To make matters worse, Blaise has a plan‹and dubious motives for taking a wife — so Rosaleen will have to drive a hard bargain of her own. Will Blaise tame the fiery redhead and make her truly his? Or will he annul the marriage as promised when he has achieved his objectives? And will Rosaleen realize that unusual beginnings can lead to happily ever after?" from

Friday, 14 January 2011

A Visit with Tristi Pinkston

 I have a wonderful friend and writer as a guest today. Tristi Pinkston is the author of seven novels. She also is a freelance editor, homeschools her children, and is an active blogger. Her newest book, Dearly Departed, is the second in her Secret Sisters series. 

What is the first thing you remember writing?
I remember writing a little story called "Sue the Dog" about a puppy who wanted to be a ballerina.  I illustrated it myself, mostly stealing ideas from my older sister's artwork.  She probably hated me for that. 

You have written in different genres, mostly historical. What inspired you to write the Secret Sisters books?
I overheard someone make the comment that they felt as though their home teachers were too nosy about them, almost like they were spying on them.  My first thought was, "Hmmm.  What if our home teachers and visiting teachers really did spy on us?" I shared the idea with my husband late one night, and we batted ideas back and forth, each sillier than the last. Surprisingly, when I woke up the next morning, it was still a good idea. 

I would love to travel more. What is the most interesting trip you have ever taken?
When I was fifteen, I had the opportunity to go to Russia with a group of American teenagers to go teach free enterprise to Russian teenagers.  The trip was sponsored by a business school in Provo called The Jefferson Institute.  We got on a boat and cruised up the Volga River.  That was a totally amazing experience for me. 

Anyone who reads my blog knows how important I feel it is to have balance in our lives. One way I do that is by having hobbies. What hobbies do you have?
My hobbies have really gone on the back burner since I started writing and editing, but I enjoy scrapbooking, watching good movies, and trying new recipes. And of course reading.  That one, I'll always have time for. Even if I have to stop bathing to work it in.  

If you could do anything different in your writing career, what would it be?
I would have started meeting with a critique group earlier.  I didn't even know such things existed when I first started writing, and I can see how my first books would have been so much better with that extra input. 

Thanks, Tristi. As always, it has been fun talking to you.

Remember to take a look at Tristi's blog and if you are looking for a good read, pick up one of her books.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A Little More Embroidery

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my life and the direction it is going. For years I have suffered from a common ailment among women. My ability to say 'no' seems to be lacking. It has an impact on every aspect of my life. Each 'yes' that maybe should have been a 'no' takes more time from my family, my personal development, and my church responsibilities. So many of the things I agree to do are for good causes or feel necessary at the time, but I'm quickly becoming burned out. I just don't have the energy for anything, let alone everything. I always know when I have done too much, because my reclusive tendencies try to surface and they are taking over right now.

It has become obvious that I need to cut back. It is always difficult to lay everything on the table and try to prioritize things. So much of the problem comes from trying to please everyone. There is the pile of things that I do for my family, there is another pile of things I do for the church, there is a pile of community service, and there is the pile of things I do for myself. Recently, someone asked me how I managed with my plate overflowing. I responded that I had picked up a second plate. So here I am trying to juggle two overfilled plates and not lose my mind.

As I look at the different activities that fill up my days, I see the absence of things that I have already let go. Embroidery is one of those things. I began learning the art of embroidery when I was five or six years old. My father made me a sewing basket and my mother filled it with little squares of fabric with iron-on images, embroidery floss, and needles. It didn't take me long to pick up the skill and realize that I loved doing it. As the years passed, I tried different styles of embroidery and increased my skills. One thing I realized was that embroidery was more than just something to use up my time. It became therapy for me, and I loved having something beautiful to give as a gift or decorate my home.

Since I began trying to balance working, writing, mothering, serving, and all the other things that demand my time, my favorite hobby has slipped away. Now I never pick up a needle and thread just for the pure enjoyment of it, and it makes me sad. It has left a real void in my days. I know I can't do everything, but I also know that I have to allow myself the time to do the activities I love.

That is why doing more embroidery is one of my biggest goals this year. It means I have to trim down my schedule. I have to realize that I can't do everything. If I can figure out what the priorities need to be and find that delicate balance between work, service, and family, then I can allow myself an hour a week to relax do a little bit of handwork. When that happens, I'll know I've accomplished my goal. Who knows, if I get there, some of you may even get something handmade for Christmas next year.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

LDS Publisher 2010 Book Cover Contest

I knew it had been a long time since anything was posted here, but I didn't realize it had been over a month. Working at the school full-time was fun and I learned a lot, but this introvert needed some quiet time. December sped by, and over the last two weeks, I hardly turned my computer on. The Christmas holidays were spent relaxing with family and trying to recharge my batteries.

When I finally did turn on the laptop and check my mail, I was delighted to find a note from my publisher informing me that the my book cover is a finalist in LDS Publisher's 2010 Book Cover Contest. I still think Amy Orton did an amazing job with the cover of Finding Rose. Take a minute and go have a look at all the great covers and vote for your favorites.
Related Posts with Thumbnails