Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WRITER TO WRITER: WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?




Where do story ideas come from?

That's a question I often ask author during interviews for this blog or for Middle Shelf Magazine. More often than not, the answer is--real life.

Toni Gallagher, debut author of TWIST MY CHARM, about two girls who get into trouble by making wishes that affect other kids they know, said this:

"One time, a friend’s daughter was at my place, playing with…well, a voodoo doll.  It’s just a joke one, with things written on it like ‘weak chin’ and ‘tennis elbow.’  This girl said she would like to use it on some kids at school.  Being a wise adult I said, “Well, you shouldn’t do that…” but that’s when I thought, there could be a story here."

Louise Galveston's BY THE GRACE OF TODD was also inspired by real life:

 "When I was a girl, I became obsessed with Sea Monkeys. I totally believed they had personalities and named every last one of them. I even wore them to school in a special aquarium
pendant necklace! I was the girl always on the lookout for fairies and leprechauns… So when my editor asked if I'd be interested in writing a story about a kid who finds a civilization on his sock, I jumped at the opportunity!"

I am working on a novel called THE STORYTELLERS about a girl whose father is dying of AIDS in the early 1990s. It is a historical novel with a twist of magical realism. The idea for it came from a single, brief event in my life many years ago. I was working as a receptionist in a clinic that treated kids with leukemia, and adults with hemophilia and HIV.

One afternoon, a family came in--a father and several young, toe-headed children. They all looked incredibly sad. I learned later that their mother had died of AIDS and the children all had to be tested for the disease. I was struck at how AIDS could traumatize this very sweet family, which was so different than what I was hearing from other sources, that AIDS was a "gay disease." I understood then that no one, no matter who they were, deserved to die like that.

That experience stuck with me for years until I finally started crafting a story about it. It has taken ten years to write this story, and I'm so happy to finally send it out into the world.

It really doesn't matter whether a story is realistic, science fiction, fantastical, or humorous. Our best ideas very often come from real life. Maybe it is a historical event or a person. Or maybe it's just something you spotted out your bedroom window or a song you heard on the radio.

Whatever it that little nugget, that seed of an idea is, an author's magic come from weaving into a story all their own.

What real life events inspire your stories?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

BACK-2-BOOKS $250 GIVEAWAY HOP

Back to Books  

Back to School - Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway August 17th to September 7th 

Prize: Winner's choice of $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com Gift Code

Giveaway Details: $250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Amazon.com Gift Code) Ends 9/7/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list.
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Sponsor List I Am A Reader Author Martha Reynolds Unshelfish The Discerning Reader Raven Haired Girl DS Venetta ~ Author middle grade fiction Heather @ Townsend House Talia Jager, YA Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton TMBA Corbett The Page Unbound Author MK McClintock Carolyn Cooper Kindle and Me Book Nerd Addict Live Life Blog Simple Wyrdings Krysten Lindsay Hager author Rockin' Book Reviews Here We Go Again...Ready? Ann Swann - Suspense and more Author Inger Iversen Crystal's Chaotic Confessions Bella Street's Time Travel Romance Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Taylor Dean Books Every Free Chance Books LeahSay's Views My Book Self A Tattered Copy Glistering Bs Blog Lori's Reading Corner Free Bookster Kelly's Lucky You Chicas Love to Read Hall Ways Bound 4 Escape Book Reviews and Giveaways Author Wendi Sotis MagicalCoolCatMysteries Laurisa Reyes - Author  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Disabled Gymnast Beats the Odds in NO EXCUSES by Adam Kempler



NO EXCUSES: THE STORY OF ELITE GYMNAST AIMEE WALKER-POND
Adam U. Kempler
Impact Publishing
Non-fiction

No Excuses traces the gymnastics career of a girl born deaf and partially blind. Despite challenge after challenge and setback after setback, Aimee rose in the gymnastics world to compete for UCLA and BYU and at the level of International Elite—a feat no athlete with comparable disabilities has accomplished in the history of the sport.  

“Aimee’s not deaf. She just can’t hear. Why would she need two eyes, when she has one? She has no excuses.” (Valorie Kondos Field—Head Women’s Gymnastics Coach at UCLA who won six NCAA National Championships)

“Aimee has filled our hearts with the fire of warmth and love and inspired us all to become better.” (Bruno Grandi—President of the International Gymnastics Federation)

“Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” (John Wooden—Head Men’s Basketball Coach at UCLA who won ten NCAA National Championships)

For more details, pictures of Aimee, and social media links, please visit https://www.impact-publishing.com/.



Instagram: https://instagram.com/impactpublishingonline

Sunday, August 9, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: THE GOOD LITTLE BOOK



 Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is sponsored by Shannon Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe. For a complete list of today's participants, visit HERE.
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THE GOOD LITTLE BOOK
Kyo Maclear
Tundra Books
Ages 5 - 9


While banished to a dusty study one day "to think things over", a boy pulls a book off a shelf and with great reluctance begins to read. As the afternoon passes, the story nabs him and carries him away. Before long, this good little book becomes his loyal companion, accompanying him everywhere ... until, one day, the book is lost. Will this bad little boy get back his good little book? Will the good little book survive on its own without a proper jacket? A quirky, enchanting tale of literary love and loss -- and love found again -- that will win the heart of even the most reluctant reader.

MY REVIEW:

Adorable. Need I say more? But I will. Fans of THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MORRIS LESSMORE will discover a wonderful little gem in Maclear's new picture book. A little boy pulls the Good Little Book off a study shelf, and soon the book becomes his faithful companion. Kids will love the colorful and dynamic illustrations, and grown-ups will fall in love with this story about how people fall in love with stories. This is a keeper.

I received a copy of THE GOOD LITTLE BOOK from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: FUZZY MUD by Louis Sachar


 Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is sponsored by Shannon Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe. For a complete list of today's participants, visit HERE.
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FUZZY MUD
Louis Sachar
Random House Children's Books
Ages 10 - 14

From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with the issues of friendship, bullying, and the possibility of ecological disaster, this novel will intrigue, surprise, and inspire readers and compel them to think twice about how they treat others as well as their environment.

Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

MY REVIEW:

I loved HOLES. Who didn't? So I was excited to get my hands on Louis Sachar's newest book, FUZZY MUD. And it was good, definitely worth the read.

While running from the school bully, two friends find themselves deep in the local woods and deep in trouble. They stumble on some odd-looking mud puddles. Some of it gets on the girl's hand, and the result is an increasingly blistering, itching rash. And then the bully goes missing. Is he a victim of the mud, too?

The story is told from alternating points of view and is part mystery, part horror (on a kid level). It also has a neat way of teaching a little science, too. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't mention Sachar's reference to over population (an overt attempt to politicize the story and his young readers). As a parent, I didn't appreciate that. But he is Louis Sachar and can say pretty much whatever he wants in his books. 

Overall, I found FUZZY MUD thrilling and a lot of fun to read.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




CONTENT REVIEW:

Profanity: None
Violence: Mild - Moderate
Sexuality: None

Friday, July 31, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: MONEY MASTER THE GAME by Tony Robbins

MONEY: MASTER THE GAME
Tony Robbins
Simon & Schuster
Adult Non-Fiction

Tony Robbins has coached and inspired more than 50 million people from over 100 countries. More than 4 million people have attended his live events. Oprah Winfrey calls him “super-human.” Now for the first time—in his first book in two decades—he’s turned to the topic that vexes us all: How to secure financial freedom for ourselves and our families

Based on extensive research and one-on-one interviews with more than 50 of the most legendary financial experts in the world—from Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett, to Ray Dalio and Steve Forbes—Tony Robbins has created a simple 7-step blueprint that anyone can use for financial freedom.

Robbins has a brilliant way of using metaphor and story to illustrate even the most complex financial concepts—making them simple and actionable. With expert advice on our most important financial decisions, Robbins is an advocate for the reader, dispelling the myths that often rob people of their financial dreams

Tony Robbins walks readers of every income level through the steps to become financially free by creating a lifetime income plan. This book delivers invaluable information and essential practices for getting your financial house in order

MONEY Master the Game is the book millions of people have been waiting for.

MY REVIEW:

I have never read a Tony Robbins book before, nor viewed any of his self-help videos. I have heard of him and know a little of the influence he has over so many people. I picked up this book at my book store not because it was written by him, per se, but because I happened to be looking for a book that could help me plan for my financial future.

MONEY: MASTER THE GAME is a tome. That's because Tony does what, apparently, Tony does best. He talks. A lot. He tells a lot of stories. Gives a lot of background. Explains everything--in detail. Normally, I don't read self-help books, especially books about money or business. But when I dove into chapter one, I had a feeling that somewhere buried beneath all the excess words, Tony had something important to say. So I stuck with it. Took me a couple of months to get through the whole thing, but I really did glean some very helpful and important keys to building a secure financial future. I think, realistically, it could have been distilled into a fifty page booklet, but then Tony couldn't have charged $28.00 a copy for his efforts.

So, the bottom line -- is it worth buying and reading the book? Absolutely. In fact, I think it's a must. In a nutshell, Tony reveals some very simple investing secrets previously only enjoyed by the very rich but which are now, thanks to Tony, are available to everyone no matter how much or little you have to invest.

I will be honest, even with a Masters Degree in English, I had a tough time understanding everything. Perhaps if my degree was in fiance or economics, I would have grasped a little more than I did. But most of it is accessible, and even if you take away two or three of the tips he offers, you'll be ahead of the game.

It's a book I will probably refer to over and over again for years to come.




Thursday, July 30, 2015

HALLOWED INK PRESS CLOSES ITS DOORS

I am sad to announce that Hallowed Ink Press, a small independent publisher that published three books in the past year (including mine) has closed its doors. Things weren't going as planned and the owners all have other interests at this point.

One result of this is that my book, CONTACT, is no longer available. I don't even have any print copies left myself. Sorry gang. I do, however, have digital download cards. If anyone would like one, send me an email. They are only $1.50. (laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com).

This is not the end. I plan to revise the manuscript and seek publication elsewhere. If that fails, I will release it through Skyrocket Press next year some time.