Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writing: An Emotional, Chocolate-charged Journey

Last evening I attended a writer's and illustrator's panel held at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ. Janette Rallison, a member of my writing group and author extraordinaire, participated, as well as four other panelists, who if I named I would then feel obligated to link up their websites and blogsites so you could see who they are and the work they have done, and, well, frankly, that would just take time, and I have paused in the middle of reworking chapter 20 of my novel to write this blog and am in no frame of mind to pause further, though I will take a breath right now.

I enjoy these kinds of author events, or any kind, really, even though it requires sitting through questions like, "I have a folder of all these story ideas, which one do I choose?" How should they know? And for the 28,000th time, NO. Editors do not like it if you send in text and illustrations together. How many times did they address that last night? (I don't know, but my eye's starting to twitch) Fine, there may be special situations for those that are already established illustrators..., but AHHH...!

Okay, I'm better now.

I just like being in that setting...authors who know of what they speak, me gleaning, gleaning, gleaning...and dreaming, dreaming, dreaming. I like being at Changing Hands surrounded by books with their beautiful, shining, beckoning covers that call to shoppers to part with their cash. Maybe someday people will part with cash for my book(s). If they want to get on the waiting list at the library that's fine, too, or wait till it comes out in paperback, I understand.

I'll admit I was a tad emotional as I drove away last night, thinking of how I love my story and my main character and the world I'm creating and I can't wait to be able to share it and for people to read it and love to read it like I have always loved to read other people's books and so I had to stop and buy some chocolate.

[today's post also appearing at anwafounder.blogspot.com]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

Okay, so it's the exact same blog post title as the last one, but since today is the day I am presenting my review and author interview of Illuminations, I feel the title fits. (Now I don't know if author Joyce calls her book by its nickname, but after reading 145,000+ words of it, I feel the book and I have become fairly comfortable with each other.)

First, can I say, Joyce DiPastena knows her medieval stuff. She majored in it in college no less, receiving a degree from the University of Arizona. She is true to the time frame throughout her story, introducing the reader to terms like "crenellated," "portcullis," and "primogeniture." You may have thought "mail" was something that showed up in a box outside your home or on your computer, as in You've got it but no, it's "a flexible armor made of small, overlapping metal rings." (I got that from a glossary in the back of the book.)

Illuminations of the Heart, a historical romance set in the late 12th century, tells the story of Siriol de Calendri who is directed by her deceased brother's will to travel to France where a friend will oversee her marriage to a proper suitor. The friend is Triston de Brielle. "Ah, Triston," you say, because you have read Joyce's first book, Loyalty's Web. Yes, it's that Triston. His story continues, but with major emotional conflict on his part because Siri looks just like his former wife Clothilde. Remember how beautiful she was? Well, Siri has the same "curse" and it forces the castle and French countryside into a frenzy as only beauty can. If you haven't read Loyalty's Web, then why?

I highly recommend it...I would loan you my copy, but my daughter in Utah has it. The two books have much in common, but you do not have to read the first before the second. Illuminations is more of a spin-off than a sequel. It takes the character Triston and brings him a new story. In fact, I asked the author about this.

Lowly blog poster, Me: Which came first, Siri and the idea for her story or Triston and the need to create something new for him?

Amazing author, Joyce: Triston came first. I knew and had grown to love him from Loyalty's Web, and wanted to find a way to give him a happier ending than I had at the end of that book. And I knew that to do that, he needed a woman who would be the very opposite of his first wife. Thus Siri was born. Why I chose to make his first wife's "total opposite" look exactly like his first wife is one of those little quirks of being a writer that I really can't explain. I don't know what made me do it. Maybe I thought poor Triston hadn't been tortured enough in Loyalty's Web and wanted to torture him a little more? The bitterer the beginning, the sweeter the ending? Something like that? [Sounds good to me, Joyce.]

I personally have not read a lot of medieval romances, I'm busy trying to keep up with my own real-life, modern-day romance (with my husband, not my novel), but the writing in the book is so well-done and there's a lot of twisty-turny events that kept me turning the pages. There are questions to be answered...why would Siri agree to marry that one guy (I won't reveal...) and why is Triston's son so afraid of him? How will the politics discussed in the story be resolved? Why can't these medieval characters be more careful around stairs? And above all, why are the moat waters "roiling?" (Page 17 of the book.) Just kidding about that. All the moat waters I've seen have been roiling, it's just what they do.

Here's more of my Q & A with Joyce...

>What’s the best part of being a published author?

The most current "best thing" was being re-discovered by an old college roommate after 30 years of silence between us. She just wandered into a Deseret Book last week and discovered my books on the shelf, found my email address in my bio, and shot me an email. Now mind you, this wasn't just any roommate. This was the all time BEST roommate I ever had in college! So that was definitely a treat, and we might never have re-found each other if I hadn't written and published a book. But ask me again in a week or so, and I might have a brand new answer for you.

>What did you do to celebrate the new book being published?

It all seemed to happen in a bit of a rush. My book got pushed two months UP in the schedule, so we were really scrambling all of a sudden to get it to press. Then it took nearly another month to actually start appearing in the bookstores, and quite frankly, since my family and close friends all live pretty far away, my celebration was pretty low key. I did hold a "book release party" on my blog earlier this month, where I gave away a prize an hour, 8 prizes in all, all tied somehow to the theme of "Illuminations." [Oh, so she does call it by its nickname] So I guess you could say I celebrated with some online friends, and I don't know about them, but I, personally, had a really great time! *See note below for info on how you can still get in on some prize action.

>How can such great, well-written stories come out of Kearny, AZ? (Joyce is from Kearny, the story is not set there) Okay, that one’s rhetorical. Does anyone really know where Kearny is when you tell them where you are from? You don’t have to answer that either.

I don't mind answering. LOL! Yes, actually, there are people who know where Kearny is when I tell them where I'm from. Not a lot, but more than I expect. I don't know how great my stories are, but this is a good, loving little town. I was richly blessed by growing up here, and am still blessed by the wonderful, hardworking, compassionate people I still associate with here every day. And if I can give something back to this town that has given me so much by having "Kearny" attached to my name as an author, then I feel humbled and honored to do so. [Good answer...now I'm wondering if I can say that about Amarillo, Texas when my book is published.]

>What’s your secret to being a finisher…writing a novel through to the end?

What's the answer to finishing anything? Just keep plugging away. Even on those days when you don't feel like plugging. ESPECIALLY on those days when you don't feel like plugging. I'm a very slow writer, but it eventually adds up. My favorite "writing scripture" is, "Out of small things proceeds that which is great." (D&C 64:33) It's another version of "bird by bird" (see my--as in me, the blogger--post here for an explanation of this reference) or "word by word." That's how stories are constructed, one little word at a time. I know if I just keep typing those little words long enough, eventually I'll wind up with another novel-length book.

>Give me one random sentence from your book, no context.

"You'll wear yourself out first, dancing away as you are doing." [Note from me, blog poster: Funny, my husband says that to me all the time!]

Well, I'm priviliged to know Joyce personally, but still it has been fun to interview her. THANKS, Joyce! Since this is my first review I haven't established any sort of star rating system, but you are a star in my book!

*Now on to the goodies. This blog tour is all about prizes for you, the dear readers. If you leave comments on my blog and any of the other blogs on the Illuminations tour, you are entered into a drawing to receive a copy of the book. Also, Joyce has graciously donated three $10 dollar online gift certificate for DeseretBook.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com to go towards the purchase of her book. My post of August 5th lists all the blog stops on the tour. Comment on mutiple blogs and be entered multiple times!

Here are all the links you need to read more about the book or the author and to purchase a copy of Illuminations:
The publisher: http://walnutspringspress.blogspot.com
Joyce's blog http://jdp-news.blogspot.com
amazon.com or deseretbook.com

And with that my first review is done. I had fun. Hope you did too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

Look what came in the mail!

I opened it to find this!

On August 18th I will blog about Joyce's book as part of her weeks-long blog tour. Scroll down to the August 5th blog post for details. You can actually be entered to win prizes when you leave comments at the different blogs--including gift certificates to purchase the book. Seriously, folks, run, don't walk, to the blog tour nearest you.

This is my very first official book review (I think, anyway, and I'm not going to go back through my blog and check). I plan to include an author interview as well, so that will be awesome. I'll need to come up with some interesting, insightful, and quirky questions for Joyce. Be ready!

Walnut Springs Press selected me to review for them on my blog, so this will be the first of many--the second book is already in the mail--one by Gale Sears.

Such a sweet deal. They send me books, I read them, write about them, they send me another one. Life is too good!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Story of a Homecoming

Ready and waiting!

Competing for space with another family waiting for their elder coming from Guatemala.

Still waiting, waiting...

Finally our cute anziano (elder) from Italy emerges!

Happy smiles and tears all around!

First time in 2 1/2 years the family's all together!!! (despite what the picture shows)

A missionary for one more night--release doesn't come till the morning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart BLOG TOUR

Next week the fun begins as Joyce Dipastena's recent release, Illuminations of the Heart begins its blog-hopping jaunt through the blogosphere. Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 18th (except weekends and Labor Day), you can find daily reviews and the occasional author interview with Joyce herself. And guess what? If you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of the book. You can comment on more than one review and thus be entered more than one time. Click here for an exciting blog tour kickoff Joyce is hosting on her own site August 7th. Let's just say, prizes are involved!

Here's the schedule: (Be sure to visit me on my blog August 18th!)
August 10 Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit
August 11 Amesbury Reads
August 12 Heather Justesen
August 13 Rachelle's Writing Spot
August 14 Cami's Books and Fit Mommas
August 17 Jewel's World
August 18 Of Writerly Things
August 19 Frespa Fan
August 20 Of Good Report
August 21 Rachel Rager
August 24 Boojoos and Aprilcots
August 25 Musings from an LDS Writing Mom
August 26 Queen of the Clan
August 27 Write Bravely
August 28 Dreams of Quill and Ink
August 31 *Trisit Pinkston
September 1 Vicissitudes
September 2 Tangeled Words and Dreams
September 3 Random-ish by Nichole and LDSwritersBlogck
September 4 SeriouslyŠ and latterdayauthors
September 7 Lu Ann's Book Review
September 9 Reading for Sanity
September 10 Taffy's Candy
September 11 The Write Blocks
September 14 Why Not? Because I Said So! and LDSWomensBookReview
September 15 Ink Splasher
September 16 Romance Old School
September 17 Blog the Day Away
September 18 Walnut Springs Press

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writerly Humor

For a sample of what writers laugh at check out this video on Sarah Eden's website. It will be funnier if you have read the books shown in the video. They are listed at the end.

BTW, Sarah's the very talented author of "Seeking Persphone."

Note: I have tried all kinds of ways to link to Sarah's website so that one click would take you right there, but the linky-link thing refuses to work today. You'll have to do it yourself...sarahmeden.com. Look for "What Do You Get When You Ask Me to Present at a Writer's Retreat?"


Related Posts with Thumbnails