Friday, June 29, 2012

Fabulous covers, continued

 It's Freewheelin' Friday! 
Dedicated to Artistic Endeavors of all Sorts

     I've waxed poetic in past blogs on my love of children's book illustration, illustrators & the influence of the Golden Age (Howard Pyle et al) Now comes a salute to Greg Call, some covers evocative of N.C.Wyeth but so fabulously his own.
Jack Gantos' 2012   Newbery Award winner 


Till now my favorite has been
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester
(full disclosure: it's dedicated to moi)

It's an October release so you'll have to wait but you can oogle & Google Barbara O'Connor's book & Greg Call's design or hit the links right here. 

                                      ♥  ♥ ☛ ☛  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Big Sky, Big News, Big Applause

 It's Freewheelin' Friday! 
Dedicated to Artistic Endeavors of all Sorts

     For months I've tinkered with an unfinished  blog about cover art, the delicate process of designers & artists working with editors & authors to create that single image that says it all. 

   Then Barbara O'Connor posted her directive to get on over to Kirby Larson's blog for her big cover news. 

   So let's start there. Take a look at what Kirby has to say about the sequel to her wonderful Hattie Big Sky, Hattie Ever After. 

I'm not giving anything away. Head to Kirby's blog.

And mark your calendar for February, 2013.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One hot topic

Nothing says summer like beach reads and grilling. 
In fact, nothing says summer like the grilling going on in beach reads. 

      My foodie friend Lee Hilton alludes to this in her fun Spoon & Ink blog "Summertime & the Grillin' is Easy". She was kind enough to highlight The Chick Palace in her essay which got me counting the times I've used a grill in a scene. Four. Each a pivotal moment for a member of my cast.
       Grilling is one of those quintessential ~~ OK, stereotypical ~~ activities that works well in fiction. 
         ☛ You imply a lot, suggest a lot, without describing a lot.
         ☛ Plunk in the noun & your reader conjures up the image.
   She/he visualizes the grill, maybe sees herself/himself in the scene. This puts your reader to work, engages her/him in your story, gets that reader second guessing. This keeps the pages turning. Win win. 
Here are 2 of my examples. 
I used the 1st as an element of mood/atmosphere. 
The second is a prop to let my characters appear ensconced in the mundane.  

    The Covington bungalow holds its own in the memory department: Brad and Gordon manning the grill; Lilly and me tossing salads, corralling sons down from the tree house and Meg up from the water; arguments that drifted to us over the shaggy privet. Dinner with Lilly in tears. 
✍   ✍   ✍

        Five minutes later our grill smoke followed me into our empty and silent kitchen. ... I stared at the...shelf of ancient seasonings, the tired cookbook repaired with electrical tape. ... I headed back outside. "Don't put my luggage in the car."
      Gordon turned the peppers. "There's not time before we eat, anyway."
      "I don't mean before we eat. I mean--"
      "You don't want to go back to Peddler's Ridge yet."
      "Well yes," I said. "That is, no. No, I don't." I looked into the soulful brown eyes of the man I'd gone gray with and considered this same wavelength we seemed to be on.
      The trouble with pivotal moments is that you don't recognize them until you're blown ninety degrees off course. ...

      The third example's for laughter & the fourth reverts to mood/atmosphere. You'll have to find those scenes on your own. 

      It's flattering to have Lee Hilton suggest you might enjoy The Chick Palace as she makes your mouth water with her marinade for pork tenderloin. The book & the recipe satisfy different appetites, of course. I hope you'll agree they're both delicious. 

The Chick Palace

A lakeside romp fueled by friendship, family, 
& one old flame not averse to once again testing the waters

Monday, June 11, 2012

Free Natalie

The photo below could refer to:
  1. The infamous Cat Gallordi, having snuck her way onto the rooftop of the Chick Palace 
  2. A fellow writer in my critique group who shared an anecdote when I needed an appropriate CD & song title to drop into a pivotal scene 
  3. The perfect example of the unexpected affecting your fiction
  4. A secondary character working her way to center stage, thus needing a bit of corralling. (Or her own book/sequel)
  5. More than one of the above

       In my earlier blog I touched briefly on characters taking on lives of their own. When this happens with supporting cast members, it may take your story in unexpected directions. It might make for unexpected developments.

       The Catalana Gallordi in my head was little more than arm candy, The Other Woman. When I put her under Lilly's sink & then let her explain, she came to life in ways I had never anticipated. More importantly, who she is & how she interacts helps define & develop my main characters.
        Try it yourself. Shake out your wrists & have at it. 
Expect the unexpected.
      ... It being summer and all the windows open, I caught strains of “A Cold Day in July” wafting from within. My Dixie Chicks CD? My stereo system.... The remains of my faucet and sink trap, bits of dried gaskets, an empty box and braided copper tubing littered the Linoleum on the left. ... I let the familiar squeak of my neglected screen door hinges announce me.

           Accompanied by The Dixie Chicks’ harmonies, Cat Gallordi oozed out from under my S pipe, worked herself around the J bend and turned to look up at me. That Hampton tan drained from her complexion faster than water through new PVC. “Lilly! Oh my god, what are you doing here?”

          "Cat, honey,” I said, “We’ve swum in that pond.”  ...
          “Lilly—" From the floor Cat wound and re-clipped her auburn tresses, then plucked part of a Brillo pad from the Free Natalie emblazoned on her t-shirt in patriotic colors. While I fumed she started a sardonic chuckle and leaned back against the stove. 



Three Dilemmas, Two Friends, One Deserted Tree House

during a simmering summer on Lake Allamuchy

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ain't we got fun!

 It's Freewheelin' Friday! 
 Dedicated to Artistic Endeavors of all Sorts  

       When fellow writer, the ever-creative (click here for my blogpost ☛)Heidi Ruby Miller/ Ambasadora invited me to play CAST YOUR CHARACTERS on her blog with The Chick Palace, it got me to thinking. Had I envisioned real people when I created my gang at Lake Allamuchy? 
No. (So relax, you are not in my book.)
       I had no one in mind for my cast of merry pranksters. That's not to say they sprang fully formed into my imagination. Rather, they walked around in my head, stretched limbs & got on with their antics in many ways I hadn't anticipated~~one of the reasons butt-in-chair, fingers tapping on the keyboard is so important to this craft. You have to get those guys out of your head & into a story. You have to watch & listen to them before you can revise & polish.  

       Characters take on lives of their own. You'll hear that a lot from writers.  In fact, this gang took the reins and often told me who they were, not vice versa. I had no idea Cat Gallordi would have such a colorful background. Or Jake Wheeler such perception. Dean Delaney? I had only his name when I began. 

        Then came Heidi's CAST YOUR CHARACTERS. I based my choices,  including 2 perfect mother-daughter duos for the then & now, on roles these actors have already played. This cast personifies the humor, pathos & hanky panky going on that July at Lake Allamuchy.
The search  was a hoot & and a half.
Pop over to Heidi's blog (☚click) for the original 
☟☟or take a look here:☟☟

(college flashbacks: MAMIE GUMMER) 

Tussling with her new role as Materfamilias 

(college flashbacks: KATE HUDSON) 

Forced to share the Covington Lake Allamuchy bungalow with Ex-ex, 
the husband she’s divorced 2x, and his paramour


Mr. Hedge Fund

Madison Ave/graphic designer wunderkind 
& Brad Covington’s paramour

SAMUEL LARSEN (in dreadlocks) 
Currently sweeping Grand Central Terminal 
as community service for graffiti infractions

Nursing a nearly fatal case of growing pains

 Former Lake Allamuchy bad boy, 
long suffering father & man of many talents

the deserted tree house as itself


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Have you read the dedication?

      Once upon a time (about 1989) my teenaged neighbor Andrew Stout, son of friends, friend of my kids, inspired me to explore the conflicts of being deaf in a hearing world. He & his mom were my technical advisors. He helped me bring my characters to life. 

Tell Me How the Wind Sounds has done well. So has Andrew.
   Time passes. (23 years)

        2 couples, longtime friends, go out to dinner.  ASL interpreter & teacher Christine Robertson had discovered a book about a deaf teenager, set locally right on Clark's Island in Duxbury Bay. Her deaf student Michaela Borstel, at neighboring Marshfield High School, is reading it.  

"Do you know Tell Me How the Wind Sounds? Have you read the book?" Christine signs to Liz & Andrew Stout.

"Have you read the dedication?" Andrew signs back.

And then I receive an e-mail.

       The last time Andrew & I were together with the book was in his classroom.  I wasn't  much older than he is now & he wasn't much younger than Michaela. Thanks to Christine, we were off again, author & inspiration, this time to surprise Michaela. 
       Annie McLaughlin (who took the pic) interpreted for me as Andrew & I shared tales of those times & stories about the story.  Michaela shared her journal of my novel & an amazing video. She's recorded a detailed synopsis of every chapter. Fingers flying in American Sign Language, Michaela has interpreted/translated my entire story into that beautiful language. 

Thanks to Andrew Stout, Michaela Borstel,  
 Christine Robertson & second interpreter Annie McLaughlin.
 Even Christine's husband, Brad, popped in to join the fun.  
Fabulous day.
The surprise & delight was mine.

✍   ✍   ✍

  Tell Me How the Wind Sounds :
IRA (International Readers Assoc.) 
 Best Books/Teen Choice 1991
Scholastic Bookclub selection 
 Iowa Teen Choice, 1992
Optioned for television 
Featured in Hornbook Magazine “Musings”