Monday, April 25, 2011

A Must Have For Writers

I am deep into revisions for my YA novel, and it is undergoing a major rewrite right now. I am taking out a main character, which means that the last 100 pages have to be completely rewritten. Why am I doing this? Because I am the queen of tangents and I think this plot twist I added at the end may actually be a monster-type plot tangent that took on a life of it's own and overtook the last part of my book. I love it, but I am doing an experiment to see what would happen to the story if I took him out. We'll see. I did it with Meg's Melody, and I liked the result, so that's the version I turned into CFI, and we know how that turned out.

So while I'm doing this revision, I decided to pull out my trusty writing book, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I love this book. It is seriously a must have. I borrowed it from a friend in my critique group about a year and a half ago when I was doing revisions for Meg's Melody and liked it so much that I had to get a copy for myself. Right now I'm evaluating my character arcs for my three main characters of my YA novel (which is undergoing a title revision, as well.)

I also love Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird and Orson Card's Character and Viewpoint. What other good writing books are  must haves?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood Review and Prize

From Back Cover:
A mother's day is filled with all kinds of emergencies, from bumps and bruises to hospital stays. Find the perfect way to recover from your own family's little emergencies with Jane Isfeld Still's latest book on the hilarious daily challenges of a mother in the fray. You're sure to laugh and cry as you celebrate the joys of motherhood.

My Review:
If you are looking for a great Mother's Day gift, here you go. I loved this book. I sat down the day I got it and read it in one sitting. I was laughing so hard at times that my husband kept shooting me glances from where he was working on the computer, so I'd have to read sections out loud to him. Her stories are so relatable. Most of us will be able to connect with at least one of her experiences--whether it's cooking mishaps, plumbing mishaps, or children mishaps. Jane looks at motherhood in a very positive and humorous way, and makes you realize that even when everything seems to be going wrong, there is always something to laugh about.

To read more about Jane and her exploits visit her website at janeisfeldstill.com or her blog at janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com. (Seriously, her blog is just as funny as the book. If you want to check out her writing style, go visit her blog.)

A Prize:
You can win a fun prize from Jane to help celebrate the release of her book.  Just go to her blog at http://www.janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com/ and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower.  You could win:
1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards
2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate
3. Chocolate

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Too Many Good Books

A few nights ago at book club we got to talking about good books that we've read. Someone mentioned the book Rebecca, and when I said that I hadn't read that one, she told me that I would probably love it. Luckily for me, I already own that book.

So my sis-in-law turns to me and says, "How many books do you own that you haven't read?" I laughed and didn't really need to answer because she knows me well enough to already know that I own a lot of books I haven't read yet. But I will. Eventually.

Here's my problem (well, I don't really think it's a problem, but my husband might argue that point): There are too many good books out there, and I want to read them all. So if I'm at the bookstore and I see a book that's been on my tbr list for a while, I snatch it. If I see a book that's a really good deal, I find a place for it on my shelf. If I see a book that just has a really awesome cover, I'm totally suckered in and I buy it.

Then they sit on the shelf until I can finally get to them. I have an entire shelf devoted to books that I haven't read yet, but it just keeps growing because I give precedence to the books I check out from the library since those ones actually have due dates.

I won't even get into the unread books on my Kindle.

It's my goal, though, to start working through my shelf. I pulled Rebecca off of it today and set it on my night table (below the five other books already there) so that it is in the queue. Thing is, I know me. Next time I'm in the bookstore, I'm not going to be able to resist buying something to add to my shelf in hopes that someday, eventually I'll find the time to read it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm Back!

This is what I've been doing instead of blogging the past couple of weeks.

Just to clarify, I'm running from the alligators. Not cheering for them.

Spending time with a good friend at the swamp. I think she's torturing me/helping me overcome my fears here.

I can't tell you how proud I am of myself for actually holding that thing. I told my four year old that I ate alligator, and he saw this picture, and how he thinks that I just leaned down and bit the head off of that thing. Such a nice mental image of my son to have of his mom!

This is as close as I would get. My heart was pounding like crazy. I like all of my limbs and did not want to lose any of them.
I just had to add this picture for contrast with mine.
This is my good friend (who was not afraid to touch the alligator)
and one of my first readers for my manuscripts.
So, the reason why I haven't been blogging...

I was in Louisiana! My wonderful husband got me plane tickets for Christmas to go visit my old roommate from BYU. These pictures are all from the swamp tour that my friend and I went on one of the days we were there. Don't be surprised if a little jaunt into New Orleans happens in my next book.

And can I tell you how much I love airplanes? Not so much the airport, or being really high above everything (or the fact that after I told my four year old I was going on a plane he said, "Oh, no. That's bad. Planes go really, really high... then they CRASH!" This was complete with hand motions and sound effects.) What I love is meeting new people. I love talking to people on airplanes and finding out about their lives. And these people are stuck next to me for hours, so they have to talk to me at some point, right? I met some great, great people--some who might wind up with cameos in a book in the future. So much fun.

Sickness has hit the Baldwin house with a vengeance as well. I guess that's just how it is with little kids. They bring everything home from school.

Then today, amidst all of the throw up and crying and messy house, I got this in the mail:
Not the Kindle version, of course, but this was the best picture I could find. I won this on this blog a few weeks ago, and I am really excited to read it. I'll let you know what I think.

I love getting books in the mail. It is probably my favorite kind of package to get.