Monthly Archives: September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – #10

I remembered! Though I hesitated over whether to title this one #9 or #10. 10 won out because I have posted ten excerpts. So here I am:

I even signed up early–number 90, right after my friend Eliza Knight. Go see her six, too, and other sixers here: Click!. Or take your tweeting fingers to #sixsunday.

So for me… I’m editing the WIP I call The Farm on my novel listings. It’s a completed draft, but my secondary characters needed some help with GMC to carry everyone into the sequel. Here’s the opening setting for this steampunk novel:

Tall, gold lettering proclaimed Shearing Enterprises’ business pledge across a painted signboard: The Latest in Agricultural Technology, backed by the Best Craftsmanship in Glenwood-on-Tyne.

“My word, I had no idea your visits to his business meant the industrial district. I don’t like it,” Polly muttered, but she allowed Annmar to pull her along.

“Neither do I, without Mrs. Rennet present,” Annmar admitted with a sigh.

In the canyon between the towering factory walls, the clink, clink, clink of various gear mechanisms echoed and steam billowing from the lines of open paned factory windows. Polly’s wide-eyed gaze fell from them to two workmen in grubby coveralls hoisting lengths of gray metal rods off a foundry delivery wagon blocking half the street.

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More from my visit to the National Book Festival 2012

I ran out of steam before finishing my tale of my author viewings on Saturday. Eventually I had to leave my primo seat in the fourth row and couldn’t get it back. For R. L. Stine I sat over to the side, which turned out to be a bonus.

All day the American Sign Language interpreters translated, standing to the right of the speaker. Sometimes it was a toss up which person on stage to watch, the author or the interpreter. But in my new position watching Bob—the presenter told us R stands for Robert and he said for her to call him Bob—I had a clear view of both the author and the interpreter. This became more interesting as Bob began to tell us about his upcoming release, Goosebumps Wanted: The Haunted Mask. This hardback celebrating the Goosebumps series 20th anniversary features two new stories with scares from Halloween, of course.

The Haunted Mask isn’t a new theme for a Goosebumps story, and Bob told us a shortened version of the original. All of a sudden I realized the interpreter was acting it out:

The children putting on their costumes…

…holding out their bags to accept candy…

…trembling all over…

Yikes! This story was coming to life, just like the Haunted Mask! What fun, so much so that I’m looking forward to the release of this middle grade horror / thriller. I figure after reading Anna Dressed In Blood and Girl of Nightmares, I can take it.

The National Book Festival 2012

Well, I’ve forgotten my Six Sentence Sunday again this week, but attending the National Book Festival was an exciting alternative. If you hadn’t seen the advertising, the beautiful poster by Rafael Lopez is terrific.

Wildlife reading! Yes! The theme graced the banners and backdrops and gazing at them was definitely a highlight of my day.

But I diverge. I spent my time Saturday in the Teen and Children Tent, arriving early enough to secure a front row seat among John Green’s fans. I’m a fan—Hey, I got there early!—but I don’t have the time to devote like a teen, er young adult.

However, their enthusiasm was contagious, followed by an incredible talk by the author. I’m not going to try to do a review of any of the authors I heard, but note little snippets that stood out to me.

For John, it’s that he imagines his story plottings as geometric figures. The Fault in Our Stars was a spiral. He had to keep growing the heroine’s story out and picking up others. Will Grayson, Will Grayson with David Levithan was an X. The heros started in different places, their lives entangled and then went separate ways.

Next up was Mike Lupica. I’ve never read his books, but I know Mike’s (Notice how now that I’ve spent 45 minutes in their presence, I can’t help but call these authors by first name? Every talk is that personal.) Anyway, Mike Lupica writes sport books, of which a number fall in the Middle Grade genre and are very popular with boys. Now I know why. His energy is incredible. The books center on friendship, teamwork and loyalty—good themes for any story. He noted that the biggest stories in sports turn on the smallest moments. That could also be true of any good story.

Lois Lowry reminisced that The Giver came about at the time her grandfather (I think!) began to lose his memory, causing her to explore how memory works, why it fails and how we control what’s remembered. She said most books come of creative musings like this, initiated by an event that stirs an emotion in us.

Maggie Stiefvater has incredible energy and stage presence in speaking. Before becoming an author, she was a musician and a portrait artist. When asked how she created the rich characters in the Shiver series, she responded that she develops a character like a portrait. However, there are three methods of portrait creation:

1) The likeness is as good as a photograph. 2) It’s better than a photo. Or 3) The likeness is more realistic than a photo could be. She aims for the third method.

Melissa Marr chose to write her Wicked Lovely series in third person point-of-view, even though first person POV is more common for today’s YA market. I got the reason why at the time, but am finding it difficult to reconstruct from my notes. Here’s a go: She feels that the narrative story takes place not in the events of the story, but what happens between them through the various voices. She feels she can better capture the story through diving into the characters and letting them tell it, rather than placing herself there as a viewer and teller.

The National Book Festival continues today with more great authors and storytellers. I can’t make it down again today, and maybe you can’t either, so it’s heartening to know that the Library of Congress records the talks (Check for the list of video webcasts) and some sessions will be available through C-SPAN2’s Book TV.

Forgotten Six Sentences

I totally forgot to sign up for Six Sentence Sunday! I’ve been revising my WIP, working title The Farm, so will offer up six from the opening of this YA steampunk-fantasy mash-up.

Polly shook her head and the blond curls she’d pinned high for work danced over the high collar of her candy-striped blouse. But her friend didn’t desert her. Annmar switched the roll of linen parchment she carried and tucked her free arm through Polly’s. Together they picked their way around the carts and Annmar resisted the urge to pluck up her walking skirt over the drifts of fall leaves. It would only attract attention, attention they already had dressed for shopwork on Glenwood-on-Tyne’s main business fare, not this destination. Yet, the factories along the River Tyne had become an area of the city Annmar knew well after dozens of visits, albeit heretofore arriving in Mr. Shearing’s carriage.

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Six Sentence Sunday #8

Thanks for visiting my Six Sentence Sunday post!

In my YA fantasy romance Seaside Sorcery, the 16 year-old heroine Coral admits to the new boy in town that she duels illegally with the local group when her seafaring family puts to port. But how did she and her siblings learn to duel in this remote wizard enclave he asks.

“To be honest, it wasn’t dueling back then, but flying challenges. Skim the water, track a particular dolphin in a pod, hide and seek around the ship. Plus some energy ball throwing practice that, well, sometimes fell into fights. Because the others were all older, and better skilled, I had to work to perfect my control. I’d make mistakes. More than once one of them had to fish me out of the sea.”

Thanks for reading! Visit the main blog to find other sixers here. Or find us through #sixsunday.

Book Signing for Darkbeast

I had a fun evening attending the signing of Darkbeast, a middle grade book penned by a fellow Washington Romance Writer.

One of the neat things about belonging to local writing chapters in RWA is watching and learning from the other writers. The writing process is so unique for each person and each story. For example, Morgan Keyes’ new middle grade book started as a short story for an anthology on children and animals. She would have had the animal be a griffin, if another author hadn’t chosen it already, and the next three animals she proposed. Finally she settled on a raven.

That’s Caw pictured on the cover, and boy does he have personality. I loved Morgan’s reading of the first chapter, including the voice of Caw who speaks within the heroine Keara’s head. Morgan sounded so comfortable and I thought, Wow, I hope I can be this collected, and do different voices for my characters in a public reading.

I have to say, I love the question sessions the best. You always find out the best tidbits. Morgan gave us a little history on the development of Keara’s world—originally based on Celtic communities—and some of the interesting challenges in working with, of all things, the symbolism of numbers in the story.

Of course, I got my copy signed and am looking forward to diving into Darkbeast’s world—especially since another favorite author of mine also liked it: Tamora Pierce! Check out her quote on Morgan’s website and learn what your darkbeast is.

One of my special interest chapters with RWA, the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter, just announced its contest finalists. I helped judge, so wanted to give a shout-out: Congratulations, everyone!


FF&P Chapter’s 2012 “On the Far Side” Unpublished Fiction Contest FINALISTS Announced:



“Dark Bringer” By Mia Celeste*

“Valhalla’s King” By Asa Maria Bradley*

“Son of a Wolf” By Laura Welling*


Romantic Elements

“Fragile Hearts” Renee Henry*

“Shadowdemon” Amanda Byrne

“Red Tide” Paula Leonard Huffman*


Time Travel/Steampunk/Historical

“Stalking Horse” Alleyne Dickens

“Must Love Breeches” Angela Quarles*

“The Raven’s Heart” Louisa Cornell



“Arena Dogs: Mercury” Charlee Allden

“Alien Contact for Idiots”  Ed Hoornaert*

“Sword of Revalmor” Cáit  Donnelly*


Young Adult

“The Time Keeper’s Daughter” Jenna Grinstead

“Laid Bare” J.D. Haymore

“The Serum Book One: The Journey” Sharron Riddle*


Urban Fantasy

“Catalyst” Laura Welling*

“Evition Eyes” Cassandra L. Shaw*

“Violet Sees Red” Katt Lloyd*


*Denotes FF&P Chapter Member

Six Sentence Sunday – #7

Thanks Six Sentence Sunday for letting me share another snippet of my YA fantasy romance, Seaside Sorcery. Coral takes Ty up on his offer of a ride on his Vespa, but Ty stops to get the full story on the comments her rival Spike had to drop.

Those silvery eyes bore into her with a curiosity she wished was about something else. Her head cleared and rational thought snapped back into place. He was dangerous, maybe not this week, but certainly when Pop removed the quash.

“Who am I with?” Ty asked.

The fellow didn’t waste any time. “Tern Bay’s top duelist.”

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