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November News 2014

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!


Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.

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The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering

The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering - C.S.  Johnson The pace of The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering is handled well. The story world builds from the mundane but believable to the unbelievable fight with demons seeking to destroy mankind, in such a way that we can understand and "get it".

I loved that there are no adult situations or repeated use of disgusting and unnecessary language in the book. It makes it easy to be a recommended book to teens or pre-teens looking for a good story.

Story bits I did not understand. I didn't get that the little dragon keeps asking Hamilton (the main character) if he "remembers" yet. Well, I do get it, but it isn't explained very well.

While I personally appreciated the spiritual aspects (the battle between angels and demons), I do not like to see something that I personally take quite seriously portrayed in a fantasy, which is in essence defining my beliefs as fantasy. I do not personally know this author but I have a feeling that isn't what was meant. It sends mixed messages. My feeling is that the author needs to bite the proverbial bullet and market this as a Christian book.

Another thing that struck me almost at once is that while the Hamilton is in the 10th grade the book really has more of a feel of a middle-grade novel. That isn't a bad thing. Again, a marketing change.

Another thing I would recommend is that the main character Hamilton do something (however brief) to engender our (the reader's) affection toward him. He is a brat. I don't like him. He is redeemed at the end. Okay, that doesn't make me happy I read the book. I want to see him show some tiny spark of goodness, humility or kindness within the first two pages. Then you've got me for the rest of the novel - happy to see him make a fool of himself and then realize his mistakes and become a wonder kid that we can root for.

This is a verified Amazon purchase.