Monday, June 28, 2010

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning by Danette Haworth

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning, Danette Haworth's debut novel from 2008,  is a delightful coming of age story that all former tomboys will want their daughters or granddaughters to read. Violet and Lottie are best friends who play in the woods together and do all the tomboy things they like until Melissa Gold moves to town. Melissa comes from Detroit and is a "priss" according to Violet. She doesn't like Melissa one little bit and she really doesn't like the idea that Lottie finds Melissa fascinating. Melissa opens up Lottie's world to makeup, movie stars, and the desire for her first bra. Feeling jealous and abandoned, Violet tries to sabotage their new friendship.  
I personally enjoyed relating to Violet, being a former tomboy and watching my other friends become interested in girl stuff a year before me.  But what's great about this little jewel, is that there will be other girls who will relate to Lottie and Melissa. The new girl in school will understand Melissa trying to make friends and how painful that can sometimes be.  The designated BFF of someone will understand Lottie's desire to have more than one best friend and wishing they would get along.
Danette Haworth has the skill to create memorable characters who draw readers in and invite them to become a part of the story not just an onlooker. 
I coudn't find this book in a bookstore and had to order it so I really hope it is available in school and city libraries because it's much too good to be overlooked.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Pages

So excited about an Editors Day Conference on September 18, 2010,  in San Antonio. As soon as registration opened online yesterday, I signed up. The faculty will include Sarah Shumway from Harper Collings, Julie Ham from Charlesbridge, and the award-winning author and keynote speaker, Carmen Tafolla.

I didn't sign up for a one-on-one with one of the editors after reading there would be a First Pages session. Since I'm trying desperately to polish up my first pages, I decided this was what I needed most in this conference.

 I've heard and read some funny, brutal, and wonderful things about similar sessions in other conferences. The most important thing the participants come away with is learning how an editor reacts to the first few sentences they read.  I want to hear that about mine! I want them to be brutal!  I'm so happy to remain anonymous!

(Unless of course they ask me to stand up to be recognized because they all want to offer me a contract on the spot!) 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happiness Award

Got up this morning to find that Susan Fields had awarded me this Happiness Award. Thank you, Susan, getting awards is such fun! Here are the ten things that make me happy other than family and friends:
  1.  That first cup of coffee out on the patio watching the birds and squirrels greet the new day
  2.  The scent of Camay soap, so much so, I had to order a case from Amazon since it's not carried in  stores here
  3.  Puppy breath
  4.  Dark chocolate
  5.  Sno cones with shaved ice on a hot summer day
  6.  Vanilla scented candles
  7.  Planting flowers in early spring
  8.  Driving while singing along with the radio
  9.  Boating
  10.  Grilling on the barbecue
Passing on Blogger Awards:

I would love to pass on the Happiness Award to Lupe-Ruiz Flores who always has some interesting and happy things to say.

I want to pass the Sugar Doll award to Ann Best because that's exactly what she is!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Online Writers Conference

Over at Ruth's blog, Readatouille, you will find some information on a free online writers conference in August. I just wanted to help spread the news!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award

Just received this blog award from Myrna Foster. Thank you! I love it! Myrna said that there used to be a requirement to accept this award which was to list ten things about yourself others don't know. I'm shrinking the list to five and hope that's okay. Ten was too taxing for my brain after being creative all day. :)

1. I love disco music!
2. I absolutely adore vegetable gardening, pollinating plants to help nature along, and collecting seeds for the next season.
3. I play computer games to relax. If anyone had told me ten years ago I would get hooked on a matching-the-jewels game, I would have rolled my eyes!
4. Digging through junk shops masquerading as antique shops is pure pleasure. The dustier and grimier the better.
5. I get a kick out of cruising on a lake in a boat with an outboard motor and letting my hand trail over the side, fingering the water.  (naturally someone else is driving)

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth

Allie Jo Jackson has spent her whole life living at The Meriweather, an old-in the process of being restored-hotel in Hope Springs, Florida. Her favorite room is her personal garden room on a not-yet-restored floor where the windows are missing and kudzu vines have wound their way along the walls and ceiling. When the vines bloom, butterflies fill the room. She leaves food from breakfast every morning in the room for a black cat she names Jinx who comes and goes freely through the window openings.

Allie Jo knows every inch of the old hotel including a hidden staircase behind a camouflaged door, tunnels running under the hotel, and a speakeasie from prohibition times. Nothing unusual happens until one moonlit night Allie Jo sees the beautiful and mysterious Tara come out of the water of the springs. Tara has a secret and once Allie Jo and her friend, Chase, learn it, they have to figure out a way to help her.

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets is about a summer filled with intrigue, magic, mystery, mean girls, and a budding romance ( done so well, so cute, it brought back fond memories of innocent crushes at that age). I enjoyed everything about this book.

At first, when I realized that each character would be given alternating chapters to tell the story from their own first person point of view, I wasn't sure how that would work. However, Danette Haworth gave the reader such a complete understanding of the character's personal life, attitudes, and reactions to the plot, that I looked forward to each chapter change. The way she handled it  moved the story along without bogging down with unnecesary repetition. I also loved her unique but simple descriptions, for example, when she compared the exhaust turbines on the restaurant roof to chef's hats. Can't you just see them now?

The story of Tara was written so well it made me suspend my disbelief for a short time-I love that! I think middle graders, boys and girls alike, are going to love it, too, if they are able to find it. I say that because I checked Borders and none of them carried it. I found a copy at Barnes and Noble and found out each store only had one copy available for sale and none of them had a copy of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning.  Children and parents are not going to find this book "just browsing" and that's such a shame. It's a sad commentary on bookstores and shelf space today, but we won't go into that.

Thanks, Danette Haworth, for a great read.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And Now I Can Write!

Just a quick entry. I finally finished the outline this weekend. Whew! It was almost as hard as writing the novel. By the time I was part of the way in, neatness and correct oultine form went totally out of the window. I added notes, made changes, wrote in margins, and my handwriting is legible only to me. I briefly considered typing it up on the computer. That made me tired all over. Nope, I told myself, it's going to be a great road map just the way you wrote it. I'm wondering, though, how many interesting side roads I'll be taking.

Tonight I began chapter one. The next time I mention this WIP will be when the first draft is completed. I'll let you know then if a detailed outline actually worked for me.