Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy hallowe'en

      Our Not-A-Critique-Group-Writers met for our monthly lunch yesterday at Gloria Skurzynski's.  The cool kids came in costume. The slacker in the blue vest came as a "Procrastinating Author" with a briefcase full of distractions: LL Bean catalogs, Vanity Fair, Italian espresso, dark chocolate, laptop for internet cruising & reading blogs, TV remote, newspaper, Netflix guide, cellphone, binoculars for watching the neighbors, and a writer's notebook, which was empty.

Don't worry, they're just props. I  would never spy on my neighbors!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

sorting out old friends

sorting out old friends
This afternoon, as a random way to procrastinate writing, I counted our bookshelves--seventeen!--and decided to start downsizing.
       Our home is a modest single-story, but somehow we've managed a flowing library, that is to say, books are in every room and on every surface, along with assorted magazines and newspapers. They're like old friends, especially the volumes I used for research, whose pages are marked with post-its and colored pencils. It's probably time to donate these to the library for others to use.
       Novels read twice and thrice should go, too, but wait, those are best friends (Little House on the Prairie, Treasure Island, etc.). Can't get rid of these. Ditto the picture books from when my boys were little, and copies signed by author friends. These stay. Same with my favorite dictionary that sits in the kitchen among neglected cookbooks. My sons say they can google the definition of a word faster than the "old way," but they're mistaken. I'm fast. I have an eagle eye at the top of each page, trained by Mountain Bell as a Directory Assistance Operator in the '70s. Back then we used real phone books and practically had them memorized. So the dictionary stays. I want to keep the lads on their toes.
       Now as for downsizing, I'll give it another try tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gold Medal for YA Mystery: STALKED

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012
Literary Classics

Literary Classics Announces Youth Media Top Book Winners

Gold Medal, YA Mystery
SOUTH DAKOTA - Literary Classics announced its 2012 selection of top books for children and young adults today.  Award recipients were selected from entries received throughout the world.  The Literary Classics selection committee is proud to recognize the following titles [] in children's and young adult literature which exemplify the criteria set forth by the Literary Classics Awards committee.
         Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic literature which appeals to youth, while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations.  Judging is based upon the criteria set forth by Literary Classics' highly selective awards committee which honors books promoting character, vision, creativity and learning, through content which possesses key elements found in well-crafted literature.
       The Literary Classics judging committee consists of experts with backgrounds in publishing, writing, editing, design, illustration, and book reviewing.   To learn more about Literary Classics, visit their website above; and here's the Amazon link for  Stalked: Danger and Fury, Ellis Island 1912.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

office assistants with furry heads

helpers Poppy & Daisy
It's a beautiful fall day in Idaho; leaves are golden and the sun is warm. I've been outside all afternoon, working in a beach chair with my laptop. My office assistants nap in the shade of our picket fence, and every so often lift their heads to check on me [PHOTO, right].

Meanwhile, letters arrived today. As always, young readers are encouraging and sincere. An 11-year old in Colorado wrote passionately about the importance of historical fiction: "Children aren't learning enough about history," she said. They "need to know more about our nation's past." I look forward to writing her back and telling her I couldn't agree more.  

letters from young readers
Well the afternoon reverie has suddenly come to an end: my assistants are up from their naps! They are staring at me with time-for-dinner eyes. If I do not get out of this chair VERY soon to feed them, they will come over and rest their furry yellow heads on xjyrb this keyboard apxz x[/cd,xzlznfss=lm

Thursday, October 4, 2012

STALKED, finalist for Literary Classics award: author interview

2012 award finalist
I'm exited that STALKED is a finalist for the Literary Classics International Award! They did this cool interview (see if you can guess the famous movie star ha ha):

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?: My first historical novel, Jenny of the Tetons, was published in 1989 by Harcourt, but before that I was a book reviewer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and a newspaper reporter.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WRITING?: At age ten I loved to make up whoppers, but my parents helped me channel that imagination into story-telling. My first rejection was at age eleven from Whitman Publishing Company for my poem, "Valentine's Day," which had been pencilled on notebook paper during math class. Now that I look back on it, hoping to get published was pretty brave for a kid! I had no idea it was to be the first of many hundreds of rejections.  

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE, STALKED?:  When I learned that my Danish great-grandfather spent much of his life in an insane asylum in Wisconsin, my mind raced. How did this young man hoping for a new beginning in America end up "criminally insane?" What was he like when he stepped off the ship from Copenhagen and how did he get by the strict medical examiners on Ellis Island?  
      After visits to this Island of Tears and several years of research and writing, my story is finished. This young adult novel didn't turn out as I had originally planned.  --Fellow writers, I know you understand this!  --But it was birthed by those questions of how and why. Coupled with family lore that my great-grandmother worked in the Danish royal palace before immigrating to America, well, here we are! The setting is 1912, in the Lower East Side tenements of New York City. Cover art and interior illustrations are by my son, Cody Rutty.


I'm finishing #7 of the Cabin Creek Mysteries series, for readers ages 7-10. The Phantom of Hidden Horse Ranch will be available early 2013. Details will be on my Amazon author site.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF: I grew up in Manhattan Beach, California two blocks from the ocean but have lived in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and now Idaho, so you could say I'm a Western girl. My husband & I have been married 31 years and we have two adult sons, two golden retrievers, and a ton of books! Every morning I read the Bible in French. My website with more info is:

TELL US SOMETHING FUN THAT OUR READERS MIGHT FIND FASCINATING ABOUT YOU: When I was a ski bum in Mammoth Lakes, California, early 1970s, I was an extra in the movie, "The Other Side of the Mountain," which was being filmed in part on the sunny ski slopes there. My girlfriend and I were eating dinner in a restaurant bragging to a nice man about how we were in the movie and blablablabla. He bought us some drinks and listened to our boasts. The next morning when she and I showed up on the set, we saw this same gentleman talking to the film crew. He was the star, Beau Bridges! 

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?  Hanging out with family and friends, walking our big furry dogs, reading, daydreaming. I'm a swimmer, too.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW OR MOVIE?: Favorite movies: "Amadeus," "Dave." TV series: "West Wing," "Doc Martin."

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN AUTHOR?: Loneliness and discouragement. Now and then I muse about life as an author here.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?: Every person has a unique story that only s/he can tell. If it's in your heart, write it down and don't give up.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?: Writing every day is like a musician practicing scales. The daily effort hones the craft, ultimately--and hopefully--creating a work of beauty.