Friday, April 30, 2010

Last Line Blogfest held by Lilah Pierce

My entry into the Last Line Blogfest over at Lilah Pierce's blog is from the manuscript Secrets at Wentworth. The girls have solved every mystery, identified a would-be killer/kidnapper and all is fine. A red herring mystery is referred to here.  A teenager with a troubled past and a suspicious stable hand have been mysteriously entering the woods each night. They've been secretly repairing a burned out lodge against the wishes of the headmistress because of the expense. Now that the headmistress knows, she is going to provide extra funding and is not upset.

“Now they won’t have to work at night,” Annie said, on the bottom step. “If it’s finished this summer, we can use it before I go home for good.”

“Maybe you can come back,” Mindy said. “If you want to." When Annie blinked at her she went on. "We could write your folks, if we word it just right, they might decide to let you come to Wentworth for the fall.”

Come back? Annie remembered how she had fought against being sent to Wentworth, totally determined to hate every minute. But, somehow, the thought of never coming back... “Let’s start the letter tonight!” Annie took the stairs two at a time.

“Hey, what about me?” Mindy yelled. When her friend stopped and looked back, she pointed to her ankle.

“Oopsie,” Annie said, rushing back. “Sorry, crip, lean on me!”

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Missing: Books 1 and 2 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

     SENT by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the time travel sequel to FOUND in her series: The Missing.  Jonah, Katherine, Chip, and Alex find themselves landing in fifteenth century England. SENT does answer some of the questions presented in Book 1, it also wraps up the first main plot on two children's identities, and the ending is satisfying.  I won't go into the storyline because you can easily find out here. Instead I wanted to be honest about my reaction on the book itself.
    I sat down eagerly to read it and was disappointed. There was so much information on various subjects and theories that I found myself wanting to skip a lot of it to get to the meat of the story. Miss Haddix is an excellent storyteller and SENT is entertaining. However, with cutting and tightening, these first two books could have been joined and would have then made a much better novel. This is just my opinion and I would love to hear what you think.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

FOUND by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix's book FOUND is a time travel mystery/thriller and the first in a series, published in 2008. It's about Jonah, his best friend, Chip, and Jonah's sister Katherine. It begins with threatening notes in the mail to Jonah and Chip making them investigate their own adoptions. This investigation uncovers a huge conspiracy and catapults them into time travel.

  The story itself was exciting and each chapter ended with a cliff hanger. I kept turning those pages but there were a couple of things that, as a reader, made me impatient to move on. For example, Jonah's thoughts seemed to go off on tangents or repeat when I wanted to get back to the story. The other thing was discussions about paradoxes, time travel, ripple effects, etc. I think young readers will just skip over those parts to get to the action.

On the other hand, being a "grown-up", my POV in those two areas may be way off base.

As a writer, I learned some things about technique, characterization, and what keeps a reader glued to the page.

I recommend FOUND and enjoyed it so much that I'm settling back today to read the sequel, SENT, published in 2009.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prolific Blogger Award

Lisa Green presented me with the Prolific Blogger Award and I was tickled to get it. Now I would like to pass it along to three special bloggers:

Anne Bingham

Andrea Vlahakis

Ruth Donnelly

Beverly Cleary

I love Beverly Cleary! There was nothing she wrote I didn't treasure! Over at  the  Readatouille blog, Ruth talks about this unbelievably talented writer who brought joy to generations of readers and just turned 94. Please head over there where she also gives a link to an interview of Beverly Cleary by the School Library Journal.

Thanks for posting about her, Ruth, I would have missed it if you hadn't.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Other Writers' Rooms

This is a picture of my writing room. I decided to post it after visiting the  Sisters in Crime blog site and finding a link to other writer's rooms. It was such fun to check them out! Hope you enjoy seeing where other writers work and reading about them as much as I did!

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Page Blogfest Entry

Thanks to Terry Lynn Johnson's blog post today, I learned about the First Page Blogfest. I immediately went over to Kelly's Compositions and signed up. The following lines are from the first page of my novel Secrets at Wentworth about kidnapping and attempted murder at a private girls school.

Driving rain pelted the windows. “It’s really coming down, now,” Miss Davidson said, turning off the computer presentation.

Lori, dressed in one of her trademark pink sequined tops, slid out of her front desk and sidled up to the teacher. Annie watched as Lori tucked a few golden strands behind her ear. “If this gets any worse we’ll have to stay here in the Administration Building. Would you let us out early, Miss Davidson, so we won’t get stuck here?” She gave the teacher a little pouty face with her glossed pink lips.

Annie looked three rows over at her best friend and roommate, Mindy Welch. They exchanged pained expressions.

“Lori’s right, class,” Miss Davidson said as the sky darkened and the rain poured harder. “Go get your coats.”

The girls cheered and grabbed their books. “Come on, Annie, hurry!” Mindy yelled as she scrambled for the door.

Annie immediately got stuck in the crowd jamming the narrow door. It was only the first week of summer classes here at Wentworth Academy and Mindy was the one who made it bearable. This was the last place she wanted to be. Thanks to her stupid teacher in San Antonio, her parents decided to send her here for the summer. Annie snorted making the girl in front of her glance back.

“Sorry,” Annie said, pinching her nose pretending to stop a sneeze.

She still couldn’t believe she was at a summer academic camp for students who were in danger of failing or needed skill reinforcement. Her math and science classes were held right here in the Administration Building in the mornings and in the afternoon her acting class was at the Fine Arts Center two days a week. Closest to the dorm was the dining hall and farthest away were the stables and indoor arena.