Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Summer, Book, and YA News

Hi, I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer! Smoke from the Northwest and Canadian fires has finally cleared and the temperature has dropped to the mid-eighties. ~Breathing a huge sigh of relief~

'SHELLS' Watch. Another week and I haven't written my novel's sequel yet. Ha-ha-ha. I'm still trying to figure out how to promote the first one. Thankfully, sales are up for  The Shells of Mersing. Received my first box of printed copies in the mail and fell in love all over again. Here's another teaser, page 137:

"Samuel gives Lucas a high-five and starts to do the same with me, but hesitates. He smiles, a cute half grin, and shakes my hand. My hand melts into his, and his touch is as warm and velvety as any first kiss could ever be. For a moment the room blurs around us.
Irene clears her throat. “Samuel’s homeschooling with us for the summer, while his parents work on assignment in Indonesia.”  
I’m too speechless to say anything relevant in reply. I’d stammer and make a fool of myself if I tried.
Samuel pours himself a lemonade. “So what’s up? Why’s everyone in such a daze?” 

Writers' Conferences: 

  • Rivers of Ink 2017 Conference - Kennewick, WA  Aug 18-20 (Sunday is free - Story Structure 1&2)
  • Inland Northwest SCBWI Conference - Spokane, WA Sept 16

Interesting news in the Young Adult genre with the recent publishing of The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. Apparently, this new author is being skewered for being racist. Her stated attempt was to portray a character's transformation after growing up in a close knit prejudiced culture, and apparently she sees the light as an adult. Unfortunately, a critic ranted on Twitter about the racism and what she claims is the book's final effect. The book is 600 pages long, but readers are rejecting the book based on some 500 tweets! 

Here's an example of a quote in the review from pg. 163 in the book: "The Kelts are not a pure race like us. They’re more accepting of intermarriage, and because of this, they’re hopelessly mixed.” Seriously?? This was considered inappropriate? I thought this was fiction. I do not normally read fantasy, but I might make an exception. Perhaps the most compelling point is that the main character's transformation doesn't really begin until halfway through the book. That's a lot of reading with potentially repugnant material. It's possible the author went too far, but still.....

The article states that the tweeted review was  "— a clarion call for YA Twitter, which regularly identifies and denounces books for being problematic (an all-purpose umbrella term for describing texts that engage improperly with race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other marginalizations). Led by a group of influential authors who pull no punches when it comes to calling out their colleagues’ work, and amplified by tens of thousands of teen and young-adult followers for whom online activism is second nature, the campaigns to keep offensive books off shelves are a regular feature in a community that’s as passionate about social justice as it is about reading."

This is not about one bad review. It stirred up a hornet's nest for the publisher as you can imagine. My guess is the brew-ha-ha increased sales, but I'm bothered by the censorship, because the goal was to remove her book from readers and shelves. My question to any author or publisher is: do we really have the right? Parents do this all the time and that's their duty and prerogative. I did this with books (and media) too with my children and would do so again based on age appropriateness, but blackballing an author's hard-earned work riles me up. I may not like everything I read and have the right to express those views, but to embark on a censorship campaign feels just plain wrong. 

What do you think?

Click here for the full articles:  "The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter by Kat Rosenfield and "On Disagreement" by Vicky Smith

Last but not least, it's time to think about Painting the house and Fall Gardening

We tend to take on bigger than life projects!!!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

"Come celebrate with us" 
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 

Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Fire on the Mountains and Summer Magic

A family visit took away from my blog these last two weeks, but it was time well spent. Some excitement with the ongoing fire hazard brought incredible views. It was quite the ringside seat.  We watched our suede mountain across the lake burn in full view.

When the fire was over, these suede mountains were black.
Mercifully, the wind did not blow choking smoke over our small community, although many of us saw ashes fall. None ignited fires on our side!

 We watched our phenomenal helicopter fire crew dump bucket after bucket of water for hours on end. These folks deserve some kind of medal. 

At one point, the Wanupum community (our local Indian tribe) was evacuated on the fire side, but the fire crews managed to save their homes and businesses. 

View from park and marina at dusk: "The 400 Fire"
A photo opportunity: Selfie with my daughter on left

Love this of my daughter at the water's edge

Summer magic: My daughter took this of me, and said I reminded her of a magician raising up the smoke.
When all was done, no lives were lost and to my knowledge, not one building or home was destroyed. Thankful, thankful, thankful!

"Come celebrate with us" 
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Just Another Good Day

Well, what do you say when life is zipping along and you are having a good day? I guess you could say you feel blessed



  • Workmen are outside our door as I type, building our new pergola. Shade, oh blessed shade, Oh how I have missed you. We desperately need you in the desert sun. 
  • Tomorrow my daughter arrives with two of our grandchildren to stay the week. We'll spend time at the lake trying to stay cool and probably play a board game or two.
  • A blog tour for me at Laurisa White Reyes' blog 


"Come celebrate with us" 
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog