Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

February Book giveaways

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI

A Newberry Honor book
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 210
Copyright: 1990
This book is a classic. The setting is 1832. A thirteen year old girl sets sail for home from England to Providence, Rhode Island.
Charlotte is led to believe there will be other families onboard the ship. She finds out too late that she is the only female aboard a ship with a mean captain that pushes his men beyond exhaustion. The crew plans a mutiny and were able to discourage the other families from boarding. Charlotte was not so lucky. Caught in the middle, Charlotte must decide where her loyalties lie.
Too late she realizes her mistake. In an effort to make amends, she joins the rank of the crew. She learns to tie knots, swab the deck and scrape the hull. During a hurricane she climbs the masts to cut the sails loose in order to save herself and shipmates. She believes in justice and the captain's injustice grates on her. But what can a mere girl do in the face of all this enmity?
She has but one friend and he is killed. Or so she thought. She is accused of murder and stands trial. She is sentenced to hang.
Through a desperate plot she approaches the captain's cabin only to find him waiting for her. Who betrayed her?
She has but one chance to set things right.
After returning home, can Charlotte become the girl she was when she first boarded the Seahawk?

Girls and boys alike will enjoy this harrowing book of adventure.
At the back are diagrams of the ship and the parts labeled.
There is also an author interview and directions on how to draw a ship.

I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I.
Leave a comment.
Winners of this book and the book Creating Character Emotions will be announced next week.
Check back to see if you are a winner.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

February Book Giveaways

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
Copyright: 1998
Publisher: Story Press Books
Price: 14.99
Pages: 170
This book begins with an Introduction and is divided into Parts One and Two, followed by an index.
Part One is titled: Writing About Emotion and is subdivided into fourteen topics.
Part Two: The Emotions is divided into thirty six emotions!

Do you yearn to write emotions without it sounding like a cliché? I do and so I bought this book hoping it would tell me exactly how to write despair, worry, fear. But you know what? That would probably be plagiarism. So how do you write an emotion and still keep it fresh?

This book will get you wrinkling your brain when you want to describe a character's emotion.
Instead of writing the first thing that comes to mind "-try to write the second thing that comes into your mind."

How do you do that?
Examples are given by authors. For worry no actions are used by Ernest Hemingway, just dialogue.
Jealousy is a hard emotion to write and avoid cliché at the same time.
I love the exercise given for this:
"Make a list of ten details that would evoke jealousy for your character and then write ten unusual ones. Now can you write a paragraph using some of your list?"
This would be a good way to write anger or fear too.

Another example given in the book is to write as many cliché's as you can and then try to write them in a new way.
I've seen this done before and some with good success.

Excitement is so over done, but think of a time when you were really excited. Was it when you went to your first concert? First kiss? Ann gives the example of when she took her niece to a Broadway musical. "Yes her eyes were shining and her hand gripped mine. But more than that was the excitement of being there-"

The index is filled with topics and the authors used in examples provided.

This is a great reference book for any writer and you can be eligible to win by either leaving a comment here or using the rafflecoptor.

See you next week!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Interview With Moriah McStay Author of Everything That Makes You

Today we have Moriah McStay author of Everything That Makes You. Moriah is a member of the Midsouth SCBWI and this is her debut novel.
Your story about Fiona and Fi were woven together so seamlessly, how did you come up with this idea and what did the writing process look like?

When I was little, I was in an accident that left me blind in one eye. You can’t notice much now, but I got lots of questions, couldn’t play sports, had to wear big glasses. Later on—in high school and college—I wondered which parts of my personality that accident shaped. If it never happened, who would I be? And what about my family? How did the accident shape their lives? What about my friend whose father died when she was young? Or the classmate with cancer? How did those events shape them? There are so many “what ifs.” We all have them. 

So I decided I wanted to explore this idea—comparing the same person, with two different realities. It took a while for Fiona and Fi’s story to take shape from that general idea. I wrote it in a short period of time, but with long, long days and weeks. Once the details started falling into place—the different ways they intertwined—it sort of possessed me!

How did you decide how to write the alternate stories and keep them straight?
In my head, the idea was always alternate stories—it’s the crux of the idea. Keeping them straight was tricky. I used different fonts, and sticky notes covered everything.

I'm a little bit familiar with Memphis. I've been to the zoo, the Peabody and the Rendezvous. Where would I find Otherlands? I love that this is a real place.
Otherlands is in midtown Memphis--on Cooper, a few blocks away from Central Avenue. It looks exactly like I described it. You should totally check it out!

What is your favorite drink there?
Just coffee, a little milk and sugar.

That's they way I like my coffee too. Are you writing your next story there or do you choose a different setting to write in and about? That is a neat idea I will have to try!
I wrote at Otherlands because I didn’t have a dedicated work space at home. I have an office now, so most of my writing happens at home. I work on a treadmill desk, which I love!

What a great way to get writing done and get a workout in too.
This was your debut novel! Walk us through the timeline of completion of the story to the sale, when the agent came on board and editor/publisher.
Once I really sat down and focused, it took about ten months to get a solid, submittable draft. After that, at least three months to get an agent. I signed with Steven Chudney in November of 2012—right before Hurricane Sandy! Everything slowed way down because of that and the holidays, so not much happened with editors until January. I got an offer from Jill Davis at Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins in March of 2013. Jill and I edited a year, and then it went into the copy-edit and marketing stage. My debut of March 2015 was almost exactly two years to the date of sale.

What past experiences from your life and past seven jobs influenced you as a writer?
Oh gosh, who knows! Looking back, I have to admit those seven jobs happened because I was trying not to be a writer. The idea scared me!  It took me a long time to suck it up and just get on with it. 

Feel free to add anything else you would like readers to know about you and your upcoming work.
I’m plussing away on the next book. After some false starts, Jill Davis and I are both excited about a historical fiction I’m working on. Too early to go into many details, but I’m really excited about it!

I look forward to reading your next novel. I love historical fiction. Thank you for sharing Moriah. Some takeaways from the interview:

1. Get focused.
2.Overcome your fears.
3. Write where ever you can, it may help with the story.

Thank you for visiting this week and don't forget to enter for the February book giveaway.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winners of the January Book Giveaway & Upcoming Writer's Conferences

Linda Carpenter is the winner of Moriah McStay's Everything That Makes You.

Evelyn Christensen is the winner of the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market 2016 Guide

Thank you for all that participated in January's giveaway.

February books are:
The Newberry Honor book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI
Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

February Writing Conferences:
February 27, 20163rd Annual The Write Stuff Mini-ConferenceFlagler College, St. Augustine FL
Florida's Christian Writer's Conference