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Archive for July, 2009

Okay, this is all you have to do. Try and guess the word or phrase that the picture represents. The first four are given below, the fifth is a mystery.

A ~ 8

B ~ 9

C ~ 22

D ~ 44

E ~ 32

Ready?

A ~ Dandy lion
B~ Assaulted peanut
C~ Dr. Pepper
D~ Card Shark
E~

Okay, here’s the game. Did you think I’d mislead you? Never. Tell me what the answer to E is in a comment and I’ll pick a name at random. I’ll mail the winner a bookmark for THE PRISONER by Carlos J Cortes, in stores October 27th of this year. Hey, it’s a free bookmark. : ) Have a go. : )

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LisaMantchev

WM ~ Hi, Lisa.

 Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Coffee? Tea? Cupcake? Um, would you kindly tell the fairy—I can’t tell which one it is, they kind of look alike to me—that if he leaves footprints all over the cupcakes, he has to eat them. Oh my. *pulls out another tray*cupcakespink1
At least I have more. Who’d have thought fairies had such appetites? 

You’ve joined an elite list. I read EYES LIKE STARS in one day. The last book to have that honor involved a wizard. ; ) Your book has already caused quite a stir. Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite writers, even praised EYES LIKE STARS. Did you anticipate how well your book would do or has it taken you by surprise? 

LM ~ A lot of it has been a surprise… I had hopes it would do well, and I’ve spent a lot of time online, sprinkling glitter and cupcake sprinkles on people in the months leading up to the launch. I’m glad, mostly, to see how many readers are enjoying it!

WM ~ I love cupcake sprinkles! What inspired you to write EYES LIKE STARS? 

LM ~ I started with the name Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, and it was such a mouthful that Bertie’s personality really had to live up to her name. It started out as a 5,000 word short story, and when I decided to tackle a novel project, I knew I wanted to expand on it.

WM ~ Is Bertie anything like you? 

LM ~ The theater-loving, coffee-drinking, sass-mouthed bits. *G* But I didn’t start dying my hair until I hit college. One of my greatest supporters is my mom, though, so I’ve never had to live through the sort of loneliness and uncertainty that Bertie has about her lack of proper family.

WM ~ What struck me the most about your book were the characters. You brought them so much to life; they jumped off the page and became real. What was the creative process for coming up with them?  GreenGirl1

LM ~ Quite a lot of them tromped in as-is. One of my favorite parts of playwriting class (in college) was filling out character sheets: gender, age, political and religious affiliations, education and family background. For ELS, though, I closed my eyes and summoned a sort of mental snapshot… like a costume design, really, and once I had it fixed in my head what they looked like, what clothes/costume they wore, a lot of the personalities followed.

I am a firm believer in costuming!

WM ~ We all know the clothes make the woman, or man, so you’ve got something there.

 My favorites are the fairies. *watches the fairies throw pink frosting at each other* I loved their dialog, their individual personalities… They were just as I’d expect fairies to be. Which character was the most fun to write? 

LM ~ Definitely the fairies… they say everything I’m always thinking, and they have no filters on their mouths whatsoever.

WM ~ LOL. That’s exactly what I loved about them. Okay a deep question: Are you a panster or a plotter? 

LM ~ Both. I tend to write an outline and then write by the seat of my pants, letting the outline fall by the wayside when it needs to. My greatest joy is discovering the fun side-journeys a novel will take, the unexpected scenes I hadn’t realized I was going to write.  The all-important (and fun) Tango Scene was one of those unexpected ones.

WM ~ And what an interesting scene that was. *fans self*

Do fairies really taste like chicken? That one got a reaction from them, didn’t it? 

LM ~ I’ve never eaten a fairy, though I’ve threatened to shish kebab them plenty of times…
fairy

WM ~ This is your debut novel. Can you share its journey to publication? 

LM ~ I wrote the first draft from July to September of 2006, editing until the end of the year when I submitted it to my agent in December.  I signed with him in March of 2007, the novel went out on submission (and sold) in June, then we were in contract negotiations until December. All of 2008 was spent editing, copy-editing, and going through galley proofs. ARCs came out in January of this year, and the book was released on July 7th!

WM ~ I’d also like to mention that EYES LIKE STARS has already gone back for its second printing.

*****UPDATE, AS OF THIS MORNING, EYES LIKE STARS JUST WENT IN TO ITS THIRD PRINTING!!!!******

There is a bit of a love triangle here and I honestly felt my loyalty shift over to Ariel, even against my better judgment. He must have been working his magic on me. You constructed the perfect sexy, bad boy with just a touch of mystery. But something tells me Nate, our loveable and good hearted pirate, isn’t gone for good. Do you have a preference between the two?

LM ~ I like them both, for completely different reasons. Ariel is actually the more difficult of the two to write… when I’ve been away from him for a while, his voice is trickier to rediscover, just because he’s somewhat ethereal and mysterious. Nate is far more transparent a character, as far as motivations go, and his accent makes it easy to slip on his clompy pirate boots.

WM ~ Oh you know I want to ask if Bertie finds her father but I’ll restrain myself, barely. Do you know how the trilogy ends or have the characters taken the bit by the teeth? 

LM ~ I just turned in Perchance To Dream, which is the second book, and I have a List Of Issues To Be Resolved in book 3.  As soon as Perchance goes to copyediting, I’ll start writing that third book, but some fairly big decisions are still up in the air.

WM ~ Reading your book is terrible for a diet you know? *ducks to avoid a glob of pink frosting* Tell the truth: Did you bake a lot as you wrote or are you made of stronger stuff?  

LM ~ I. Love. Dessert.  *L* And hot buttered toast is one of my favorite things in the world.  What’s actually terrible is that I’m a nibbler… I like having little bowls of small crunchy things to nom while I work, which is awful for the waistline.

WM ~ Hot buttered toast is one of my weaknesses too so I can identify. Give us a glimpse of a day in your life. What’s changed since EYES LIKE STARS’ release? 

LM ~ I spend most days working on writing projects, PR and marketing for the book, plus taking care of my little one and our herd of dogs–which means not much has changed at all since the book came out, except for the awesomeness of the readers’ feedback, which is very shiny indeed.

WM ~ Congratulations again on the reprint. That is truly a significant stepping stone. I wish you all the success in the world; you deserve it.

To learn more about Lisa, you can visit her website here. EYES LIKE STARS is available at your local bookstore or online.

EyesLikeStars_Cover400

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All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.EyesLikeStars_Cover400

She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

That is, until now.

I first heard about EYES LIKE STARS a few months ago and I have to say, the name stuck with me. When I followed a link and read about it, I knew I had to read the book.

This is one of those novels where the premise is so unique, that it’s difficult to compare it with anything else.

EYES LIKE STARS is full of all the sparkly goodness you want in a novel, but it’s not just empty calories. This book has substance. Lisa Mantchev handles a large cast with panache. You don’t feel as though you’ve been buried by names. Each character is well-defined and like-able (or not) depending on his or her personality and as real as the world in which they live.

In fact, when you open the book, Lisa Mantchev takes you immediately into Théâtre Illuminata. You’ll find yourself in a world of fairies, where the character of every play ever written lives, and you’ll want to stay there.

The plot is refreshing, extremely well-written and the voice easy to read and engaging. Bertie is the kind of main character that you fall in love with. She’s sassy, fond of coffee, courageous, with a heart as big as her need to belong.

I haven’t mentioned Nate, the intrepid pirate, or Ariel, the mysterious and intriguing (and sexy) air spirit. Suffice it to say there is also a romantic element to the novel that is truly sigh worthy.

Every once in awhile, a writer hits it out of the proverbial ball park. That writer is Lisa Mantchev. I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

For all of you who haven’t read it yet? What are you waiting for? It can be found at your local bookstore or here.

If you want to learn more about Lisa Mantchev, her website is here , here, or stick around, I’ll post an interview with her on Wednesday. Okay, okay, you can leave, but come back, okay? It’s my first interview and I’m nervous.

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Weekend Gardener

IMGP4996

You may see a sink full of peaches. I see peach cobbler, peach crisp, peach ice cream, peaches and ice cream, peach pie…. ; )

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Friday Funnies

TIMELY INVENTIONS

1 No slip grip?

2 I love this! But then my favorite part of the store is the aisle with the boxes and organizers.

3 This is cute. I’d probably drink more tea.

5
LOL. Do you think it would work? Can we get a couch like this too?

6

Oh, coffee and cookies? I’m done for.

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Word count jealousy

I don’t get the writing number game. I mean I understand it; I just don’t know how other writers manage such awesome word counts on a consistent basis.

For me, writing is about 1/5th of the work that goes into producing a story.  For every word I write, I edit it at least four times.

I write a rough draft, wait a bit and then go back and tweak it to make sense. In this second go around, I’m usually adding word count but then it goes off to my CP’s and it comes back and I’m editing, editing and for fun, more editing.  During this process, I’m not writing, not really. In fact, I’m usually cutting or rewriting: tightening the prose.

Usually, or at least so far, its during these last polishing edits, that the idea for the next book comes to me and I’m making notes, but still not writing.

Even after the novel/story is complete, there is the query and synopsis and I suppose those could meet a word count but really the query is under 500 words, even though you go over each and every one 500 times, and a synopsis is about 2000. But if I spend a week on each, that’s 2500 words in two weeks.

Let’s not forget about the blurb: 100 words or so that can take all day or longer.

Albeit, I’m not what you’d call a prolific writer, I’m always working on something. It just seems like that something is editing or promotion related instead of creating something new.

I celebrate those authors who have incredible word counts and I stand a little in awe, but I’m not going to compare output to theirs. My ego is fragile enough as it is. ; )

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Based on a few comments from my review of Sunrise Lands, I decided to read the first novel in SM Stirling’s Emberverse series and I’m glad I did.

This one tells the tale of how it all began, which makes sense as the first book in a series, and gives you more time to get to know the characters. It’s well-written, beautiful descriptions and one of the best and original premises I’ve seen in a long time.

Dies_the_fire
That said, I did put it down to read a Patricia Briggs book, why? Stirling, at times, takes the descriptions too far. By the fifteenth time you’ve read that he or she let the bow string roll off the tip of his/her fingers, you’ve pretty much got it. This is extremely well researched and though I don’t claim to be an expert on archery or any type of war craft, everything rung true to me.

Toward the end of the book, the story felt choppy as though there were scenes taken out. For instance: The scene has our heroes hang gliding to the top of a castle and then fighting the bad guys. As Stirling took great pains describing the castle, I’m interested in finding out how he gets our guys out of there. The next scene? They’re back at their camp. How did they get past two moats and a draw bridge? Not to mention a castle full of men. No idea.

Also, one of my favorite characters find out she’s pregnant from a brief dalliance with another character. I am really looking forward to these two meeting again because well, all you’d have to do is count back months and wonder. The meeting happens off camera. The next time the plot point is picked up is after the baby’s birth (a month early) when the father’s fiancé counts back months. I felt cheated.

To be fair to the writer, this book stands at 573 pages and it’s packed full. However, the last 50 or so pages feel like he cut heavily to keep it under 600.
Despite its faults, I like the characters enough that I want to read the next book in the series.

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