Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June: Books, Goals

Books I've read in June
Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge****
Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl ****
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling ****
Spindle's End by Robin McKinly ***

Goals I've accomplished in June
(and pictures for a couple of them)

Eat some sort of seafood:
Halibut. Not a fishy-tasting fish. Not my favorite food in the world, but I've decided Fish isn't as bad as I've thought all these years
Learn new words, use them, be asked to explain their meanings:
Zephyr (a cool gentle breeze)

Eat Pineapple:
The library where I work had a fruit tray out on the break table, so I decided to be brave and try some pineapple. Its not half bad, but I still prefer Strawberries :)

Read from a book, aloud, to others, outside, at night:
This is me and my sisters, reading from Rick Riordan's 'Red Pyramid' the weekend it came out

Blow bubbles in the rain:
I had a picture of this, but its been lost somewhere on the computer and I can't find it. My youngest sister and I proceeded to take a walk around the block, and get soaked! We had a blast!

I am getting close to throwing the frisbee a new way, but its unreliable so I wont count it. Maybe in July?

What books have you read this month?
Have you accomplished any (noteworthy or otherwise) goals?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog Tour: Wayfarer by Rebecca J. Anderson

and this is day three! glad you made it :)
you can find Rebecca's blog and website in days one and two of this tour at the beginning of the posts. Here is the last part of the interview!

Marie: How did you get into fiction writing?
Rebecca: As a child I read enormous quantities of books -- far more than my parents, who did very little fiction reading themselves, could possibly keep up with. My love of fantasy began with my father reading Lewis and Tolkien out loud to our family, but on my own I read so many faery tales, and so much mythology and folklore, and later so much contemporary fantasy and science fiction, that my brain started filling up with all kinds of fantastic ideas just itching to be let out.

I started at eight by writing and illustrating my own fantasy stories, and at twelve graduated to borrowing my parents' typewriter and rattling away on it until all hours of the night, and by the time I was nineteen I had written my first novel. A terrible first novel, and one that will never be published, but nevertheless, it was good practice and paved the way for my second novel, which became (eventually, after many revisions) my first published book.
Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?
Rebecca: As a teen I listened to music constantly while writing, and used it to set the mood for whatever kind of scene I was working on. Later I got out of that habit, and only wrote in silence. But when I found myself getting stressed out over my own prose, and focusing too much on the words I was using to tell my story instead of the story itself, listening to familiar music really helped to distract and relax me. So now I write with music again.
Marie: How do you decide if an idea you have for a story is worth keeping?
Rebecca: If it keeps following me around nagging at the back of my imagination and won't leave me alone, it's a keeper. If I've forgotten about it within a few days of getting the idea, it probably wasn't worth it anyway.
Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?
Rebecca: In no particular order, any or all of the following:

Make large quantities of tea.
Eat chocolate.
Whine to my husband.
Convince myself that I am a fluke and a fraud and will never, ever write anything worthwhile again.
Read other people's books, preferably books that are not even remotely like the one I'm trying to write.
Browse randomly around the Internet.
Talk to a writer friend about the problem, and/or show her what I've written so far and ask her opinion on it.
Go for a long walk and pray (which by that point usually means a teary sort of babble because I am so worried about not making my deadline).

And at some point, days or weeks or months later, I figure out why I was having that particular problem with the story, and I go back and revise the earlier chapters of the book to fix the problem, and then I can carry on again.

visit the others on the tour!
here are their websites/blogs:

Whispers of Dawn, The Book Cellar, The Hungry Readers, My Own Little Corner of the World, KidzBookBuzz.com, Reading is My Superpower, Book Crumbs, Becky’s Book Reviews, Fireside Musings, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Homeschool Book Buzz, Homespun Light, Book Review Maniac

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blog Tour: Wayfarer by Rebecca J. Anderson

Here is the second part of the blog tour!
again: blog, website, amazon link.

Marie: How much and what kind of research did you do for Wayfarer?

Rebecca: Welsh faery folklore, UK train schedules, Ugandan folk music, security practices on the London Underground, the general appearance of the Kentish countryside, whether or not you can see the ocean from St. David's Cathedral... Just about everything that I touch upon in the book, even briefly, involved some kind of research. Much of it I did online or by borrowing books from my local library -- but the biggest help was when my husband and I flew to the UK in the fall of 2008 and spent ten days travelling by train and car through the south of England and into Wales. I was scribbling notes and snapping pictures all the way.

Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on writing?

Rebecca: I generally work from 3 to 4 hours a day if I'm on a deadline -- or if that deadline is looming closer and the book's not finished yet, it might be closer to 5 or 6. But I also have author-type stuff to do that doesn't involve writing -- such as school visits and signings, answering fan mail, doing interviews, attending conferences, talking to my agent and my editor, and so on -- and I have to budget time for that as well. On the whole, I'd say it's close to thirty hours a week.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a writing project you are working on?

Rebecca: My current book is ARROW, the third in my faery series. It follows on from the events of WAYFARER and takes place fairly soon after the end of that book; but the heroine comes from quite a different background than Knife or Linden did, and her experiences are quite different as well. It's a book about conscience and principle and integrity, and how hard it can be to maintain those things in the face of challenge and temptation... but it is also, like my other books, an adventure with plenty of danger and excitement and a touch of romance. It's scheduled to be published in the UK this coming January; I don't have a US publication date for it yet.

visit the others on the tour!
here are their websites/blogs:

Whispers of Dawn, The Book Cellar, The Hungry Readers, My Own Little Corner of the World, KidzBookBuzz.com, Reading is My Superpower, Book Crumbs, Becky’s Book Reviews, Fireside Musings, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Homeschool Book Buzz, Homespun Light, Book Review Maniac

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Tour:Wayfarer by Rebecca J. Anderson

((I'm gone at camp right now, so these next few days of posts for this book tour (set up by Sally) are scheduled to post themselves. Feel free to comment, just don't feel bad when I don't respond right away- I don't have computer access))
I've divided up my interview with R. J. Anderson into three days, so its a little easier to read. Because I know you will be interested in learning more about Rebecca and her writing, here is her website and blog. Enjoy!
Marie: Where did you get the inspiration to write Wayfarer?
Rebecca: After writing Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, my first book about faeries struggling to relate to humans and survive the challenges of the modern world, I knew that I had left a few issues unresolved that would take at least one more book to wrap up. So I always had in mind that Linden, who was just a baby in the first book, would be the one to deal with those issues once she was old enough to be the heroine of her own story. And when I was trying to think of a human around her own age who might be able to help her, I immediately thought of a boy I'd mentioned in early drafts of the first book, Paul's young cousin Timothy. Figuring out how the two of them would meet, and how they might work together to help the faeries, gave me much of the plot of the story.

Marie: Which scene did you find the most fun to write? Most difficult? Why?
Rebecca: There were a few scenes that were fun to write, so it's hard to pick just one. But I really enjoyed writing the scene where Timothy and Linden first meet, and she rescues him from the faery who wants to steal his music. That was one of the first ideas that came into my head when I began planning the book, and I hoped it would be an exciting moment of surprise for the reader.

The most difficult scene to write was the part where Timothy and Owen Jenkins are having their conversation about faith and doubt. I wrote three different versions of that scene, and at one point I worked on it for about eight hours straight and only ended up with about 700 words by the end of it. I was so anxious to make it real and meaningful without being preachy or glib. Even now I look at it and think, "That could have been better." But I prayed and thought about it for a long time before I wrote it, and I did the best I could in the time that was given to me, and I have to be content with that.

Marie: How did you come up with the names for Timothy, and his sister Lydia? And the rest of the characters, for that matter.
Rebecca: On the human side, Timothy and Lydia's names are drawn from the New Testament. I didn't intend any kind of direct correspondence or allusion there, it just seemed like they were names that a missionary couple might give to their children. (And, of course, Paul has a New Testament name as well, though in his case that's more of an accident -- his parents are not nearly as devout. I just liked that name for his character.)

On the faery side, I drew the character names from plants, herbs and flowers (and other wildlife) because I wanted their names to be obviously non-human sort of names and yet ones that readers would find fairly easy to recognize and remember. In some cases, I deliberately chose flora and fauna-type names that are also used among humans, so as not to be too obvious which characters were faeries and which were not.

Names are hugely important to me in the process of figuring out who a character is. Until I've found the name that feels right for a particular character, it's very difficult for me to know how to write them. Sometimes the right name comes straight away (like Knife or Thorn or Timothy), and sometimes it takes more searching and effort (like Linden, who was originally called Willow, or Valerian, who started out as Yarrow).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

All the creatures of the forest and field and riverbank knew the infant was special. She was the princes Briar-Rose, spirited away from the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But the curse was cast:Some unknown time in the future, Rose would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a poisoned sleep from which no one could rouse her.

Katriona is the princess's kidnapper-- and savior. A young fairy, she is apprenticed to and lives with her aunt in the small village of Foggy Bottom. The two of them raise the princess as if she were their own in order to protect her. No other human, not even Rosie herself, knows her true identity.

But Pernicia is looking for her, and Pernicia is formidably powerful and tirelessly intent on revenge for a defeat four hundred years old. Two village fairies and all the animals in the realm may not be able to save Rosie...
(from the back cover)

The noel seemed very slow moving. I remembered reading Beauty and loving it and expecting the same sort of thing in Speindle's End. But is wasn't at all the same. The storyline was interesting- as most fairytales are- but I remember thinking variations to the same effect of 'oh, just get on with it!' through most of the book.

I think McKinly has a great story, and I think that most of the twists she added were good, but overall I think there was just too much narration and setting-up for the last hundred/hundred fifty pages. There was also a part towards the end of the book that lasted about fifty pages that confused me while I was reading it, and I'm still not so sure I understand what happened-- though this could have been planned because Rosie is having the same problems.

I think that it would be a much easier and enjoyable read if much of the narration was summed up or taken out (kind of like what Goldman claims to do with The Princess Bride), but it can be a pleasant read in its actual state if you aren't expecting a thriller, and you don't have a much-anticipated-book sitting on your shelf waiting to be read.