Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible

Wow! I hardly have the words to describe how amazing The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, is. I first heard about it when I read The Newport Ladie's Book Club. This was the first book the ladies in the book club read, so I decided to read it, too. Well, actually, I listened to it on tape and was immediately drawn in by the voices of the characters and by the setting and story.

The story is about a missionary family in the Congo in the 1960s. Of course I loved the setting since I've set my YA fantasy novel, Kala's Curse, in an imaginary place patterned after the Kongo Kingdom. The writing is exquisite; the metaphors the author uses make the descriptions come alive (and I love reading and writing poetic prose). I'm in awe. I feel like nothing I've been reading or writing lately (and I've read some great books) can even come close to comparing to the masterful writing and depth of this tragic tale, except maybe The Book Thief.

The story is told from the first person POVs of the mother and her four daughters. After a short time I could distinguish the characters' POVs simply by how they spoke, thought, or acted. Yes, the characterization was that good. Each person had their own unique character tag. For instance, one daughter with hemiplegia always began by thinking of a sentence forward and then backward. Another daughter consistently used the wrong words that sounded similar to the right word but had a completely different meaning, eg . . . contractions in place of contraptions.

I can't say enough about this book. I found myself laughing out loud at times and crying later on as I listened to the tale unfold. There aren't many books or movies that can draw me in that emotionally. The Poisonwood Bible was selected for Oprah's Book Club in 1999. The book won the 2000 Boeke Prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. 

Here's a blurb about the book from

In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century -- the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium and its devastating consequences -- here is New York Times-bestselling author Barbara Kingslover's beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable epic that chronicles the disintegration of family and a nation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Camping with Kids

Here's a link to an article I wrote for  Utah Stories magazine on Camping with Kids. My husband took the pictures for it. I write one or two articles a month for the magazine. It's a lot of fun. I've done stories on hot air ballooning, violin making,    
The Pete Suazo Boxing Center, and for August I wrote a story about Kanab, Utah, also named Little Hollywood for all the movies that have been made there. My husband and I spent a weekend in Kanab seeing the sights, talking to business owners, and taking notes and pictures. I love my work even if it pays mostly in meeting interesting people, discovering new places, and learning new things.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pictures of main characters for my novel Mystic Mound

Over at my writer-friend Erin Shakespeare's blog she asked if anyone ever finds and uses pictures of the characters in their stories. Yes, I've done this before. In fact, I have a few pictures of my characters for one of my stories called "Mystic Mound." I imagine the two main girl characters being a little bit gothic, and the main guy character is Native American. So in case you're interested, this is how I imagine these characters look:

This is my main character, Mindy:

This is Mindy's best friend, Krista:

And this is Damon, one of the main guy characters:

Having these photos helps me to picture the characters and describe them better, although my vision of them isn't exactly like the photos, but close. How about you? Do you have pictures of the characters in your stories?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cover Reveal: Shift by Raine Thomas

Shift: Firstborn #2
By Raine Thomas
Release Date: August 24, 2012

Book Description from Goodreads:
Having the ability to shapeshift, Sophia is familiar with change. But even she feels the rising tension in her homeland.

A shadowy male and deadly beast reside in their midst. The births of the newest Kynzesti loom. Hostile Mercesti continue to hunt for the Elder Scroll, and a traumatized female is too afraid to use her abilities to stop them.

Topping off Sophia’s stress is Quincy, the male she’s convinced can’t stand her. She rues the loss of their friendship, but can’t figure out how to move past it. She’ll soon learn, however, that mending that rift bears more significance than she ever imagined.

The search for the Elder Scroll takes on unexpected urgency, and Sophia finds herself in a race across the mainland. To stop the Mercesti led by Eirik, she and her companions must get past their differences and unite against them. If they don’t, Eirik will acquire the immense power he seeks, and two of the beings Sophia loves most will die.

Add to Goodreads:

Raine Thomas
DEFY (Firstborn Trilogy, Book 1) - NOW AVAILABLE

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Daisy Review

Daisy, written by Josi Kilpack, is the second book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series.

Book Blurb:

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. And no one knows that better than Daisy. Raising two kids as a divorced, single mom, Daisy has faced each and every one of the obstacles in her life with courage and determination.
Now with her oldest daughter ready to have a baby of her own, her youngest daughter ready to graduate from high school, and her new husband, Paul, ready...more

My Review: 

I like how the main character, Daisy, isn't the perfect mom, and she's made some mistakes in the past. I did get a little frustrated with how she dealt with her challenges by avoiding her fears at first and how she didn't do much to try to make it better for a while but was rewarded in the end when she finally found the strength to face her fears and do something about it. Any other ending would not have been as satisfying. I like that the ending isn't perfect either, but it feels right.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My friend Lauren Ritz gave me the Open Horizons award for my writing goals, which are to write, revise and submit two of my YA fantasy novels to agents this year. Thanks Lauren!

For this award, the recipient is supposed to:
1. Link back to the person who gave them the award
2. Pass the award along to 5 other people
3. Give 5 people made up awards for goals they're working on.

Here are my picks:

Open Horizons Award:
1. Heather Ostler
2. Taffy
3. Jessica
4. Janet Summer Johnson
5. Annalisa Crawford

Made up Awards:
1. Most Amazing Mentor Award goes to Mette Harrison for all the help and encouragement she's given me. Thanks Mette!
2. Ruthless Writer's Group Award goes to the Writing Snippets crew (Rebecca, Nichole, Jocelyn, Lauren, Rose, Heather). Love you guys!
3. Best Blog Award goes to Monica B. W. at Love YA who hosts contests on her blog to help her followers acquire agents.
4. Excellent Editor Award goes to Stacy Whitman at Tu Publishing.
5. Biggest Risk Taker Award goes to my friend Jewel Allen. She's not afraid to try new things and inspires me with her courage and positive attitude.

Winner of Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop

Oops, I forgot to announce the winner of the Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop last week, so I'll announce it here and now. The winner is . . . Lauren. Congratulations!