Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Harvard English professor: "5 stars for STALKED"

My guest today is Dr. Elisabeth Sharp McKetta, English professor at Harvard University in Boston 

Elisabeth invited me to comment on my journey from traditional publishers to self-publishing for her blog today: http://thetuesdaywriter.blogspot.com/  -- then she was kind enough to post some encouraging words for my YA thriller, STALKED. Thank you Elisabeth! Her review, which also appears on Amazon:

      "When exiled from her home after being framed for theft, Rikke - the fifteen-year old dressmaker to the Queen of Denmark - pretends to be the "bravest girl in Denmark," telling people that she is going on an adventure to see her papa, even though inside she feels terrified at leaving her home and going on a ship to a place she doesn't know. Aboard the ship, things are not what they seem: the nice man who her mother asks to chaperone her turns out to be a criminal who has chosen Rikke as his next prey. 

       "When arriving at Ellis Island in 1911, all Rikke has are fifteen dollars and the sewing skills she has worked to learn. When the ocean wind blows her dollars overboard, Rikke finds herself dependent on the kindness of strangers and her real adventure begins...
   "Through a combination of third person narrative and Rikke's letters to family and friends, we see an impeccably researched immigrant story of loyalty, love, and desperation unfold through Rikke's eyes: the friends she makes from a melting pot of nationalities, the job she finds working as a seamstress, the younger sister she adopts from negligent parents, the impact of the Titanic crash on the families in New York who were awaiting their loved ones on the ship, and Rikke's growing awareness that she is being stalked by her "chaperone" from the ship ride to America.
    "Through these events, Rikke must learn to count on herself, her own skills and ingenuity, to survive and find her way back to her family. Indeed it is her very own craft, her sewing, that enables Rikke to pull herself up stitch by stitch and make a life for herself in early-century New York. From start to finish, Stalked is a well crafted and suspenseful story in which all of the threads are woven shimmeringly into place."  www.amazon.com/Stalked-ebook/dp/B0069WE02W/

Thursday, July 26, 2012

a warm summer evening in Idaho

90 degrees at 9 pm
Another warm summer evening in our garden. We have a fountain and there's a symphony of birdsong in the trees. Since the sun sets late in Idaho, we're able to read outside until 9:30.

I'm making progress on my neglected novel, but it's REALLY hard staying away from the Internet and Facebook.

I miss seeing friends' updates & photos! Soon, soon I hope to return.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

taking a break from social media

Payette Lake--McCall, Idaho
I love summer in the mountains, especially by a lake and with a book.

A couple weeks ago when I was hiking in McCall, I realized an addiction: Facebook! It wasn't enough to enjoy the cool air and scent of pines, to watch a bald eagle soar on an updraft, noooo I had to interrupt this solitude by posting it on my home page, thanks to the i-phone in my backpack. Then later while at the lake reading--contentedly, I had thought--I kept checking my cell see if anyone had "liked" my post or commented.

What a wimp! I never used to be so needy.

One of my best-selling Dear America books with Scholastic, The Winter of Red Snow, was written in 19 days (after months of research). We had moved to a new town and had no friends yet, no TV or Internet, no daily newspaper. Our sons were in 4th & 6th grades so after I walked them to school I had a chunk of time. Also, it snowed a lot. I stayed inside and wrote. Two-dozen books later I'm still trying to duplicate that lovely, productive isolation, to no avail.

Fast forward to my current middle-grade novel. I've been at it for more than a year, with a self-imposed deadline of yesterday, but am barely at the half-way mark. Aaaack! What happened? I blame myself for diluting my days with happy interruptions and distractions, but I also realize that trying to be hip with social media (Twitter, Goodreads, etc.) has taken a toll ... at least for me. I spend more time thinking and talking and posting about writing, than actually writing.

Maybe it's not possible to find the same solitude as those 19 days, but I'm going to try to regroup, to tighten the belt so to speak. I'll miss seeing everyone's news, updates, and photos on Facebook, but will check in now and then on my author page: