12.29.10

Bark Up The Right Tree by Jessie and Ruth Tschudin

Posted in Review at 4:26 pm by Amber

Title: Bark Up The Right Tree: Lessons from a Rescued Dog
Author:Jessie and Ruth Tschudin
Publisher:BookSurge Publishing
Source:Author via Bostick Communications

Bark Up The Right Tree

When Jessie’s family could no longer care for her, she was taken to a shelter, then placed in foster care with a rescue organization before Ruth adopted her.  Both Jessie and Ruth are considered “seniors” due to their ages but their attitudes are timeless.

The book is written from Jessie’s point of view with the help of her adopted mom, Ruth.  Some people will be put off by the Christian message though I didn’t find it obtrusive.  The first few chapters made me sad although I knew Jessie was going to find a new home.  At the end of each chapter is a “Paws” for Lessons Learned section which offers some good discussion points if reading the book with children.

Overall, I found the book pleasant.

12.28.10

Mailbox Monday – December 27th

Posted in Event at 3:59 pm by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for originating Mailbox Monday.  Mailbox Monday has gone on tour!  Hosting for December is Lady Q of Let Them Read Books.  January’s host will be Rose City Reader.

Since the holidays have come and gone that means more books made it into my household.

Mailbox Monday December 27th, 2010

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell – Another Kurt Wallander mystery, this one takes place in Sweden and Africa.

A Life on Paper: Storiesby Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud – I’ve never heard of Chateaureynaud before and it seems I’m not the only one!  He’s a French author and this translation covers stories from his career.  When I read a review that described them as reality with an asterisk I wasn’t surprised to find it was published by Small Beer Press.

The Given Dayby Dennis Lehane – I’ve enjoyed watching several movies based on his books but never picked one up to read. 

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling – This is a slimmer volume than I expected.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – I love it that the idea of this book originated when his son was a young boy.  It finally gelled into something when his son was grown up.  Some ideas just take their time.

Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986 – 2006 by Chip Kidd with an introduction by John Updike – My husband is good at finding books for me I wouldn’t pick out for myself.  Kidd is an author and graphic designer.  He’s famous for his book covers.  Glancing through the book there are several I recognize.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?

12.13.10

Knowing Your Market

Posted in Writing at 4:59 pm by Amber

Several months ago I read a book that featured a vampire character as a love interest.  He was impossibly fast, had great strength, protected the love of his life (a non-vampire) and didn’t drink human blood.  The format of the book was a prologue which was something in the middle of the book and then the story.  This was published in 2009.

Sounds a lot like a series featuring sparkly vampires that’s been on best seller lists, doesn’t it?  Twilight was released in 2005.  The only true difference I could find in the vampire characters religion.  The recent book’s vampire was committed to being a practicing Christian.  Edward Cullen, on the other hand, wrestled with his religious beliefs.  Since becoming a vampire he believed he no longer had a soul.

It was really difficult to review the recently published book.  It made me think of one of the things I keep  hearing: “know your market”.

That means if you write Young Adult Paranormal books you should know what’s already on the market.  (And who is going to be most likely to buy your book.)  Which books are similar to yours?  You don’t have to read all of the recently published books in the same genre to do your research.  Right?

There are some publishers with imprints for certain genres.  Although time consuming, it shouldn’t be difficult to go to their sites and read the information about their recent and upcoming releases and take a few notes.

What other ideas do you have for researching your market?

12.04.10

NaNoWriMo 2010 Check-in #4

Posted in Writing at 7:18 pm by Amber

NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner

I’ll not keep you in suspense and let you know I won. 🙂 

I have a short attention span when it comes to just sitting down and writing.  My mind wanders.  But put me in a room with other people writing and the words usually flow. 

This last week I had the good fortune to attend a write-in at The Mustard Seed Retreat.  Pam, the owner, was hosting a write-in for all area writers.  For some reason, I thought we were writing in the barn and I couldn’t figure out how to get in – all the barn entrances were locked!  The write-in was actually inside the farmhouse.  When I saw the outside cats I was worried my allergies were going to get the better of me.  Fortunately, they are outdoor cats and not allowed inside.  It was a productive writing day for me.  I must confess seeing all of those writing books in the classroom area made me want to start reading each one but I didn’t.  My focus was on writing.  I knocked out 6594 words that day.

On Friday and Tuesday I was able to attend other write-ins.  Each one helped me cross the finish line.  My husband let me borrow his laptop and frankly, it convinced me I need to be good to myself and buy last year’s reward.  I’ve picked out a Dell and a HP and will likely order it in the next week.  Thanks to the Tuesday write-in I had my largest word count day.  Ever.  12451 half of this was written during the four hours there.

I crossed the finish line on Tuesday with 8 minutes to spare.  My final word count was 50160.

How was your writing week?

November 2010

Posted in Status Report, Writing at 3:18 pm by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories, poems, or contest entries. Book reviews are not included.

  1. Sales in November: 0
  2. Rejections in November: 0
  3. Submissions sent out in November: 0
  4. Total stories/poems/contests pending responses: 0

This is the month in which I tell myself I’m awful and wonderful at the same time.  I’ll start off with the bad.

I was a bad blogger.  None of my reviews were written before the month started.  I found it impossible to write during the evenings and come up with coherent sentences for blog posts.  (Most of my 29 posts in draft status are unfinished reviews.)  My post about the World Fantasy Convention is still in draft status too.  The great thing about blogs is the immediate factor – people can read about events minutes or hours after they happened.

I was a bad submitter.  I didn’t send out anything new.  There was a contest I found out about a day before the deadline and I had a flash fiction piece that needed another pass before I would send it out again.  It never got looked at so it didn’t get entered.

The good stuff… I finally made it to the Thurber House.  I learned about the Mustard Seed Retreat which is a great alternative to squirreling yourself away in a hotel room to write.  This month was NaNoWriMo month. 

It gave me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with and meet local writers.  It reminded me I do need the camaraderie of other writers.  Last year I promised myself a laptop for finishing NaNoWriMo.  I’m finally getting getting around to picking one out. 

This month I came to the decision to do something about the first draft/outline manuscripts that have been unloved on my hard drive and back-ups.  I signed up for a month-long workshop on editing that begins in January.