Monday, September 22, 2014

7 Tips for Writing a Fight Scene

So last weekend I attended the League of Utah Writers' annual conference. It was great! I got to reconnect with old author friends I hadn't seen in a long time, network with new authors, my book won an award, and I learned lots of stuff. Couldn't have asked for more.

The first class I attended was taught by Christine Haggerty (click link for her site) and it was about writing fight scenes. Christine is both an author and a black belt in martial arts, so she's uniquely qualified to teach such a class. These tips were things I gleaned from her lecture, so I must give her full credit for them.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when writing fight scenes:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Spring Read-Along, Week 2


Welcome to week 1 of our New Spring Read-Along! This week we read chapters 1-6. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before (in the main series) is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. Susan Voss over at Dab of Darkness is our host this week. Hop over and check out her answers as well!

Young Moiraine and Lan (Source)
1) Throughout this section, we see that Moiraine is still having dreams about the babe born on Dragon Mount. Since we know dreams can have deeper meanings in this series, do you think it is just an anxiety nightmare? Or do you think it is something more? 

Hmm. Interesting question. We don't see any sign in this book that she's entering T'A'R or anything, but it would be interesting if this was some weak form of Foretelling about her own future. If she wasn't meant to seek out the Dragon Reborn, I don't think she'd have such powerful dreams, or be quite so haunted by them. It's almost like she's trying to tell herself something. I'm sure it was these dreams, at least in part, that spurred her on to look for Rand for so many years.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Follow Friday: Blogging Pet Peeves

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


Blogger pet peeves?--suggested by Take Me Away… 

Source
Hmm...pet peeves. I don't have very many. I can only think of two.

1) When I publish a post and then glance through it and find five mistakes I didn't catch on my editing read-through. (Grrrh!)

2) When I can't find something I want to include in my post that I just saw the other day but can't for the life of me remember where or on what site. I google everything I can think of that might bring the image or quote up that I'm looking for, but can I find it? No! I fancy myself a relatively resourceful person, but when some tidbit of info is hiding from me, it's dang determined. And then three days later, after the post is published, it just pops up on its own. Randomly. *Sigh*

Those are my blogging pet peeves. What are yours?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Movie Review: Blended

Source
Disclaimer: I watched Blended over a week ago and am just now getting around to the review, so it may be kind of vague. There's a reason I should write reviews right away. A week later, I don't remember what all of my initial thoughts/impressions were.

Plot: So Blended is the latest Drew Barrymore/Adam Sandler collaboration. It features a potential couple who (naturally) hate each other at first due to lack of communication and misunderstanding. Both have children from previous marriages, so if they go long term with their relationship, it will result in a blended family.

They conveniently end up on the same African vacation with all their kids, which means both they and their families will have a lot of time to spend together.

Drew Barrymore (Lauren), who has three boys and doesn't know how to deal with them heading into puberty, bonds with Jim's (Adam Sandler's) girls, who desperately need a mother figure. Meanwhile, Jim becomes the reliable father figure her children don't have. (Her ex is still in the picture and constantly disappointing his boys.)

Ending: I won't spoil, but it has a typical, feel good ending we've come to expect from most Sandler films. Nothing ground-breaking, but sweet and satisfying overall.

Overall: It's a really fun, entertaining, but ultimately fairly predictable Sandler/Barrymore story. I actually liked it more than I thought I would, just because I laughed a lot and thought the end was actually very touching. That said, don't expect anything groundbreaking. If you were a big fan of the Wedding Planner and 50 First Dates, you'll like it. There are plenty of puns and cameos from other Sandler films. If not, you may not be very entertained by this one either.

I liked it myself. 

Favorite line: Dad does little girl's makeup. She says he's a good daddy. Then she looks in the mirror, starts screaming and says, "He's a bad daddy. He made me look like the walking dead!!!" *LMAO* Poor kid.

Has anyone else seen Blended? What did you think of it?


Monday, September 15, 2014

LUW Annual Conference (Awesome!)

So I attended the annual League of Utah Writers over the weekend. To be honest, this past six months has seen me slack on my writing a lot. I keep trying and meaning to put my shoulder back to the wheel, but life keeps getting in the way. It really is just a matter of priorities on my part, but I haven't been able to give myself enough push to really get back into the right frame of mind. The conference was just what I needed in that area. (You can look forward to writing posts inspired by the classes I attended at the conference over the next couple of weeks. ;) )

Anyway, I didn't enter anything into the regular contest this year. I usually do, but the deadline was back in June and it just snuck up on me this year. I didn't have anything to submit, or any time to prepare anything by the time I realized the deadline was looming. Instead, I just entered my two published novels. Dark Remnants didn't win anything, but Citadels of Fire won the Silver Quill (second place, with the Gold Quill being first) in the adult category. 

Citadels of Fire with Silver Quill sticker, plus the award itself.


I was so honored and happy to have won something. It was a great conference, and I had tons of fun networking with new authors and reconnecting with some I hadn't seen in a while. CoF winning was just icing on the cake. 

Emily Yonkers (this year's president) even said they were working on putting the winning books on the League's website to sell, which I was very pleased about. :D

And, as I put on Facebook last night, us JFP authors really cleaned up! Jolly Fish Press is my publisher for Citadels of Fire, and all the JFP authors have a really good camaraderie going. No less than four of us won published book awards last night. (I think at least one of the two top quills in each category went to a JFP author!) So yes, we totally kicked butt! 

From left to right, Eric Bishop (Gold Quill for adult lit), Johnny Worthen
(Gold Quill for YA lit), me (Silver Quill for adult lit), and Lehua Parker
(Gold Quill for Children's Lit). How cool are we? 


Plus, the wonderful Johnny Worthen (another JFP author who's having a positively breakout year) was the keynote speaker, won one of the quills for his YA novel, and won writer of the year. I love Johnny. He's so full of positive energy that you can't help but smile when you hang out with him. His keynote speech brought down the house. Most of us were falling out of our chairs laughing. He was just that entertaining. 

Johnny giving his uproarious and inspiring keynote address.


Overall, I really enjoyed the conference. It was so much fun! I even sold a handful of books. (Yea!) I feel rejuvenated and inspired to plow through my editing (there are two different books I'm working on) as well as keep writing my current WIP (book 3 of Interchron). 

I also want to get more involved in the League again. As with my writing, I've really slacked off the past few months. Since I moved into my new place (5 mos ago, now. Where does the time go?) I haven't visited the Clearfield chapter. I mean to do that now. Even though they're just monthly meetings, I think they keep me on task with my writing. 

Sweet Author Elsie Parks and Yours Truly
More winners! Eric Bishop, Johnny Worthen, me, Lehua Parker, and
Christine Haggarty, who also taught an awesome class on writing fight scenes.

How about you? Have you attended any great writing events lately?



Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Spring Read-Along, Week 1


Welcome to week 1 of our New Spring Read-Along! This week we read chapters 1-6. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before (in the main series) is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. Eivind Fonn is hosting this week and will probably post his answers over at Dab of Darkness. Hop over and check out his answers as well!


Tam and Rand (Source)
1. We find ourselves back at the end of the Aiel war, with a long-lost friend. Are there any other time periods you would have liked to see instead? Other characters you would have liked to follow?

I was actually really excited to see Lan and Moiraine as their younger selves, so I don't think there's anything else I would rather have read about. That said, it was rumored that Jordan was planning to do more prequels, perhaps one about Tam going off to fight in the Aiel war, and maybe him meeting Rand's (step) mother and finding Rand as a baby. That would have been really awesome too. I wish Jordan had lived to write it.

2.
Gitara Moroso's Fortelling (Source)
Gitara Moroso foretells Rand's birth. If you recall, she was also the one who told Tigraine (Rand's mother) to leave and go to the waste. What do you think about one person having such an impact on history?


I guess you start to understand why Foretelling is such a revered Talent. It's rare and very powerful. If Foretellings are always true, then it's something that definitely could change history. And in a way it makes sense--since Gitara had the foretelling for Tigraine, which resulted in Rand's birth, even if Gitara couldn't know it would--that she would then have the foretelling about when he was born. She just probably didn't have any inkling that the two events were connected.

And talk about drama! A Foretelling and she falls over dead! Don't get me wrong, I think it's fitting, but...whoa.

3.
Tamra Ospenya (Source)
Tamra Ospenya hopes to catch the Dragon Reborn in a big list of names. What do you think of this idea? Knowing what we know about Rand, do you find it likely that he'll be in the lists somewhere?


Naw, probably not. We know Moiraine searched for him for the better part of twenty years. If he'd been on one of the lists, I think she'd have found him much sooner. Plus, Tam found him. There is no mother to give a bounty to. Tam isn't one to wait around in some war camp for gold. He probably never was in one anyway. Once the Aiel began to retreat, and he found the baby in the snow, he probably just set off for the Two Rivers right away, wanting to put the horrors of the war behind him. 

The White Tower is assuming there is a mother and no father. It hasn't even occurred to them that there might be a father and no mother.

4.
Young Elaida (Source)
Elaida has apparently never been nice in her entire life. Was she even at this point seeing herself as a future Amyrlin, or has she just gotten ambitious later?


She strikes me as someone who was always ambitious. We know the reason she attached herself to the queen of Andor was because of these ambitions. I don't know that she was actively planning her road to Amyrlin at this point--she seems to be focusing on other goals, even at this early point--but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it had crossed her mind. 

5. Am I the only one who can't help drawing comparisons with Hogwarts? Do you have any funny ones?


I never drew many comparisons to Hogwarts. Of course, I started this series long before I read Harry Potter, so maybe that's why they always stayed distinctive to me. I suppose they're both "schools" where one goes to learn a certain kind of power, but beyond that, they don't seem very similar to me. This book mentions that meals are eaten mostly in quiet dignity, where the kids at Hogwarts were usually quite boisterous during meals. Ages are different. There are no men learning at the Tower. Well, Warders, but not learning the power part. And yes, the Amyrlin might be paralleled with Dumbledore, but all Amyrlins we've seen are much colder than Dumbledore ever was. I'd be interested to see what parallels others draw, though. :D

6.
Source
Both Moiraine and Siuan are close to being raised to the shawl. Will we see that in this book? What do you think the testing will be like, and what new might we learn about Moiraine and Siuan from it? Lan is around also... will we see a warder bonding?



I know the answer to all these, so I won't spoil. It'll be good, though. :D

Extras: 

The one chapter we got from Lan's POV was really interesting. Getting his POV was one of my favorite aspects of this book, as we never get to ride around in his head in the main series. We already see a deeply-ingrained sense of honor and duty from him. We can see that Moiraine is young and less mature in her wisdom, but Lan is already older emotionally than his physical years account for. 

It's pretty cool to see him in open battle. And I loved that the Aiel sort of gave him their name for him on the battlefield. That was awesome!

Also, anyone else seeing personality parallels between Siuan and Egwene? How about Moiraine and Nynaeve. They're strikingly similar, which is why it makes sense that both Siuan and Egwene end up as leaders, while Moiraine and Nynaeve are more the wandering type. I don't think it's a coincidence that Moiraine and Nynaeve are alike; that Lan ends up attaching himself to Moiraine, and then falls for a woman with the same personality type, albeit a bit more hot-headed. :D

What other bloggers thought: Dab of Darkness     Coffee Cookies, and Chili Peppers

What did everyone else think of this section?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Follow Friday: Before--*gasp*--Blogging

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


Before blogging (dark times, people) how did you find out about new books, or did you?--suggested by A Great Read 


Before blogging, I did a few things to find new books, but they weren't particularly effective. If there was a particular genre, author, or series I was already into, I'd sometimes troll the internet, looking for more or similar things, but that definitely didn't open my horizons to new books.

I've been a reader of Entertainment Weekly for a long time, and they have a book section where they do book reviews. Unfortunately, most of those reviewed are the pretentious, literary fiction types, as opposed to the kinds of books most people like to read. Or just ones that, for one reason or another, have gotten media attention. So, while I read the reviews, and some of them sound interesting, it still doesn't really do much for me in terms of new books.

I sometimes would just go to Media Play (when that store was still around) and troll the isles, but more than once I picked something up, read the first part, was tremendously disappointed and wished I hadn't bought it, and then went back looking for something else.

Thank goodness I now have book bloggers, Goodreads.com, and a host of other things in my life that help me choose my beloved reads wisely. I'm so grateful for this community! Happy Friday, Everyone!

How did you find books before blogging?