Things are starting to take shape for my summer book tour to promote The Ridge: A Zach Sutton Mystery. As of now I have some events in Des Moines, Duluth and way up north at Silver Bay. Although it's a real small town, Silver Bay is right in the heart of where Zach Sutton dives into his terrifying mystery. Check out the events page on my website for details about those and other upcoming events.
On a side note, I am reading about five books right now- not an easy task. I wanted to read Great Expectations. I am an English teacher and realized I never had. Isn't that some sort of blasphemy? So, I picked it up and each night I would fall asleep and not remember a thing about it. Not a particularly good recipe for enjoyment of a story. So, I have put that aside and picked up Dan Brown's, The Lost Symbol. Much more of a page turner and after teaching e
Well, it's official. The Ridge: A Zach Sutton Mystery will be released by North Star Press, Inc. on June 1, 2013. It was a whirlwind year. It took nearly six years to finish and publish If I Know It's Coming, so pushing through this new novel in just one year was a brand new experience.
It is a very different kind of novel than If I Know It's Coming. It is a much more plot-driven, suspenseful kind of story that was very fun to write. I have had the basic storyline in my head for a long time. When I used to chaperone the 7th grade trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Center I would tell the scary story of an old hermit who lived in the woods. We would stop by the old, abandoned truck along the path, and in complete darkness I would tell the story to the eager young students. I always had a blast and the story gain some legendary status among the Oak Grove Middle School student body. Eventually I wrote the story down in the form of a short story, but when I had a chance to develop the story into a novel, I jumped on it. The story has evolved a great deal, but I still remember those first oral tellings of it. Great memories.
I hope everyone will check out the book when it is released on June 1. Stay tuned for upcoming events such as the release party, which will probably take place in early June as well. Below is a quick synopsis of the book. Enjoy!!
The Ridge: A Zach Sutton Mystery
Zach Sutton’s little brother has been missing for over a year. His parents have divorced. The police have found no clues. But it isn’t until Zach travels to Minnesota’s north woods on a field trip that the mystery really begins. Faced with supernatural visions and ghostly images, Zach finds himself in a scary adventure he couldn’t have dreamed.
First Draft Complete!
I just finished the first crappy draft of The Ridge: A Zach Sutton Mystery! The final product is due to my editor by January 3. Not sure how to work that one out- there is a lot of work to be done on it, but at least the full plot is in tact. Now to the difficult work of revision. All you writers out there know what I'm talking about. Who knows what will happen to the story now? I've got three weeks to get it done! Wish me luck and if all goes according to plan, you can look for the release of this novel in early June of 2013! Stay tuned.
So, I got a couple of new reviews sent to me in the last week. Very positive on both ends. One was from a blogger who lives in Iraq, which was interesting to see that side of things. Feel free to check out the reviews on the reviews link on this website. Also, I will be at the Barnes and Noble in Apple Valley on November 30 from 6-8 signing copies of If I Know It's Coming. I hope everyone can make it down there.
Still plugging away at my new novel, The Ridge. It should hopefully be published either next summer or next fall. Cross your fingers!
Well, it's starting to come along a bit. The second book I have been working on for the past year or so, The Ridge: A Zach Sutton Mystery, is starting to come together. I am about 3/4 of the way through the first crappy draft, but I am starting to feel as if I know where it is going. That's a wonderful feeling as I am sure most of you writers know.
There is nothing better than to overcome serious writer's block and move the story forward. I am hoping to have some finalized version of the manuscript finished within the next month or so. Crossing my fingers on that one.
For this book, having Halloween right around the corner has been helpful. I find myself watching scary movies for inspiration (I love them anyway, so it is a nice excuse). It makes me feel good to know that I am not the only one making up silly, supernatural rules about how the universe works in certain situations. I guess that is what storytelling is all about, huh?
So, I am hoping to have this book out and available through North Star Press, Inc. sometime next year- either early summer or early fall. Stay tuned for more updates!
I met with my first book club last night. What a great experience. It was really nice to go into an informal setting like that to just chat about If I Know It's Coming. It seems that whenever I discuss this novel with someone, that person has taken something entirely unique from the book. Something that I either hadn't thought about at all or something that no one else had told me about. I would love to do this kind of thing more often, so if anyone out there has a book club and wants to read this book, let me know. I would be happy to come speak to your book club. Of course, the food and wine were also great, so I think that might be a requirement, but we could talk details later.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
I just finished Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. I am a 9th and 10th grade English teacher and I teach The Kite Runner. It has become one of my favorite books. Hosseini's ability to create dynamic characters who are not only flawed, but also, sympathetic draws me in even after reading it for the 100th time. His use of metaphor and simple, but eloquent descriptions make me think, "I wish I would have written that!" You know the writing is good when you actually say those words out loud.
I finally got around to reading his second book this summer and it didn't disappoint either. His choice to create a novel from the viewpoints of Afghani women was fascinating. He sheds light on a serious gender issues in Afghanistan. The characters are strong, vulnerable, and emotionally complex. I was invested in them from the start. My only gripe would be that the plot development of A Thousand... is not on par with The Kite Runner. At times, it moves slowly and the objectives of the characters aren't completely defined. But overall, it is a compelling read. I highly recommend it!1
Point of View- My Dilemma
So, I am currently working on book #2 now. It is a very different kind of story than If I Know It's Coming. This one is a mystery, horror, suspense kind of thing. I have gotten some good feedback from another writer I am working with- Karlajean Becvar. She wrote a very good YA book called The Seeing Stone. You should all check it out. Anyway, she pointed out one of the many flaws in the book- the point of view.
I knew that it was a bit of an issue already. I wanted to write the book in 3rd person, but apparently it is wavering between limited and omniscient. Obviously a problem. Being that point of view might just be the single most important creative choice a novelist can make, I need to get it right!
The main character, Zach, needs to be the focal point, but at the same time, there are other characters that I want to see through as well. What a predicament! For those of you who have similar issues, please chime in here. Or, if there are other creative choice dilemmas you have and want to share, I am all ears. It could be an interesting discussion.
So, for those of you who are recently published authors, particularly first time authors, this may be of interest to you. The marketing aspect of publishing, especially if you are published by a small press, can be overwhelming. I find myself spending hours at a time searching for ways to promote If I Know It's Coming even though I know I should be, and quite honestly, would rather be, working on the next book. I am real excited about the next project but I have been stuck on p. 65 for about a month it seems.
Lately I have found myself searching the web for reviewers of YA books. I guess people have to actually like your book for others outside of your immediate family to buy the thing! And not only do they have to like it, but they have to make that opinion public, so that everyone else can see the review, go buy the book, and then voice their opinion (hopefully a positive one). There are a million YA blogs out there and it is next to impossible to sort them all out. I have tried narrowing the searches down to YA blogs focusing on male characters and military subject areas, but that hasn't yielded many results, unfortunately. I will keep trying and if anyone out there is having the same issues, please feel free to chime in here with suggestions or just basic random venting, which is basically what I am doing here. And by the way, if you happen to do YA reviews and are reading this, wanna review If I Know It's Coming?
The First Blog!
So, this is my first attempt at blogging. I have never quite understood the whole "blog craze." But I suppose in this day and age of zero face to face communication, it does make some sense. I can't promise how often I will add to this. Maybe 2-3 times per week? Maybe once a week? Maybe I will completely forget about it and just keep my thoughts to myself? Most likely I will try to accomplish one of the former options, rather than the latter. My goal will be pretty simple: I plan to write about anything and everything that might pertain to writing, my books, other authors' books, sports, music, raising small children, dry grass in the background...you get the point. I hope you enjoy it and continue to follow this blog. Please feel free to comment about anything you wish. And feel free to let me know if you find the information here entirely ridiculous. At times, I will probably agree.
I guess I will start by discussing a fascinating experience I had recently while I was out promoting If I Know It's Coming. There are many organizations out there that are designed to help support the children of military families. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon hosted a teen summit for these children in St. Cloud, MN. At the end of the summit, they held a military teen resource fair. They were nice enough to allow me a booth at the fair to promote the book. I didn't sell many, but lots of kids came and spoke to me. The stories I heard from these kids made me realize the importance of this topic. One girl in particular showed me, in about five minutes, the roller coaster of emotions she experienced when her dad was deployed to Iraq and then again, when he finally returned home. War is horrendous and our soldiers deserve all the respect in the world, but their children are also going through a war on the home front. Let's not forget that.