Thursday, May 30, 2013

Photos from Book Expo America

Here is a slideshow of photos coming from the Javits Center in New York where BEA is under way. I will be adding to this slideshow so check back often.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I wish I could undo certain things

There are some things that I’m just not cut out to do. Take gardening, for example. I stink at gardening. Today, I trimmed my swirl topiary. It looks terrible. Not only are the swirls gone but the dang thing resembles a male body part. Ugh! I so can’t wait until it grows. It looks so bad I considered covering it with a sheet, but decided that would draw even more attention. (And, no, I’m not about to post a photo of it here!)

The trimming started off fine, but the more I tried to shape the swirls the worse it got. I wish trimming was like revising a novel. If you screw up, you can just start again or use the back arrow or whatever. There’s no undo when it comes to trimming. You can’t paste the parts back together. Even a sculptor can take his lump of clay and if he doesn’t like what he made he can mash the clay together and start again. But trimming is unforgiving.  And I hope the passers-by are, too.

What are some other things that you can’t “undo” in life?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Does this gross you out or make you want to read more?

Here is the opening of an MG I'm working on. If you were a kid, would you want to keep reading? 

                                                        Chapter 1
 The man looked like he was having some kind of seizure. His body shook like the paint mixer in the hardware store. His eyes rolled in their sockets. It freaked me out that no one in the room rushed to help him.
They just watched. Like they expected it. Like it was no big deal. Completely normal. And, let me tell you, this was anything but normal. This was as far from normal as you can get.
I spied on the group through a cracked door. Eventually, the man stopped shaking and his body went limp and thudded to the floor. Ouch! It had to hurt.
 Then something really disgusting happened. His tongue started to grow. It got longer and longer. I rubbed my eyes. No, it wasn’t his tongue. It was something else. Some sort of creature. Gross! It slithered out of his mouth and onto the floor. It reminded me of a giant slug.  It was light brown with dark and green spots. Like camouflage.  
The thing was about as long as a ruler and had two tentacles. I had never seen anything so ugly in my life.
Each time the bingo caller shouted a number, another person stood and ate a bingo chip. They got the shakes, their body went limp and fell to the floor and one of these giant turd-like things crawled out.
My stomach was queasy. I thought I was going to barf. Bodies were scattered all over the floor. The creatures writhed and slithered. Their tentacles quivered.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back from Disney World

Sorry for MIA, but I was visiting one of my favorite places in the world -- Disney! I shot a ton of Tout videos at all of the parks. You can check the 15-second shorts here. I've included one from each park below for a quick glimpse.

Disney World Electrical Light Parade
Hollywood Studios
International Flower and Garden Show at EPCOT
Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Revising a completed work is fun, fun, fun!

I love revising. And I'm amazed at what I find when I return to a completed work. Such was the case with "The Lion Awakens." 

The YA is about two 17-year-olds who find information hidden in anonymous gifts that leads them to a parallel universe with an enemy hell-bent on taking over the world. 

I realized that the story didn't start in the right place. It didn't grab me and entice me to read on. So I chucked it and wrote something new. And, I condensed the first four chapters into two, trashing a bunch of stuff that I didn't need. It wasn't as painful as I thought it would be, and the book is so much better because I wasn't afraid to take the ax to it. 

So here's the new opening. Does it make you want to read  more? Yes or no? If no, what would make it better? 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Paper buddies for 'The Office' fans

Look at what my awesome friend Sam made. And you can make them, too! Sam blogs at Artist's Bloc.

Michael Scott

Angela Martin

Dwight Schrute

Jim Halpert

Pam Halpert

Stanley Hudson

Sunday, May 5, 2013

'The Christmas Violin' structured like a concerto in three movements

I finished my WIP, “The Christmas Violin.” The story is told in three movements, like a violin concerto. In Movement 1, we meet a young woman, a young man and an old woman. None of the characters are named in Movement 1. It begins in the cemetery with the young woman playing, and the old woman and the young man listening.

In Movement 2, we learn that the young woman is Willow Channing, the young man is Peter James St. John. But we never learn the name of the old woman. 

The story unfolds via passages, starting with Peter, then Willow and finally the old woman. It alternates in this order throughout Movement 2, incorporating the characters’ back stories and building an understanding of and empathy for their individual journeys and the obstacles they must overcome.   

Movement 3 contains two characters, Willow and Peter, and they are no longer separate vignettes but have become one.