Friday, September 18, 2015

Explaining Myself with a Book Review

Drum roll please! The winner of WOVEN by David Powers King and Michael Jensen is S.P. Bowers! Congratulations, Sara! I will connect you and David with each other. Thanks again to David and Michael for offering their wonderful book. You’re both awesome! Now onto my post…

Last night, I wrote a long post about some things I’ve been dealing with, and it regards a topic that has made me feel very beaten down these past few weeks ever since the school year began. I read my post to my husband and asked if it was a good idea for me to publish it. My husband said I probably shouldn’t publicly share this, at least not yet. He pointed out that he doesn’t want me to get hurt even more than I have been just in case someone from that environment I’m alluding to finds my blog and twists my words and my intentions. My husband is a wise person, and I respect his advice.

(Update: When I first posted here, I shared a book review reflecting some of the stuff going on with me. That was my way of talking about it without really talking about it. But I have since decided to remove it.) 

Have you ever really wanted to post about something on social media but decided not to? (Update:) Have you ever taken down something you posted, like what I just did?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Author Interview with David Powers King & Book Giveaway

Years ago, David Powers King and I first connected through some writers bloghop. Since then, David scored a sweet publishing deal for WOVEN (Scholastic), a YA novel he wrote with co-author Michael Jensen. The story is about a peasant boy named Nels who is murdered. Only the snobby Princess Tyra can see his ghost. To save Nels, the two embark on an adventure to locate a magic needle. I particularly enjoyed the mystical ideas presented here about sewing, including the suggestion that we’re all threads being worked on by self-weaving looms creating various big picture tapestries.   

David and Michael generously offered to give away a book with this interview. So if you’re interested in receiving WOVEN, please follow my blog if you aren’t doing so already AND leave a comment on this post by the end of Wednesday, Sept. 16. The winner will be announced here on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Here’s David’s interview:

Tell me where you were born and raised.  What did you study in college? Did this subject influence your writing?
I was born in Burbank, California. Being near so many movie studios gave me mad respect for stories, and so I decided to give writing a shot when I was young. After studying behavioral science in college, I had plenty of tools for creating dynamic and engaging characters. Michael also lived in California for a time, but lived in Utah most of his life. He has a good eye for great stories, studied musical theater and has written a few musicals. 

How did you come up with the plot and world building behind WOVEN?
The story originated with a dream that Michael had over a decade ago, about a princess and a ghost in search of a magic needle. Shortly after Michael and I became friends and he told me about this concept, I fell in love with it right away. We had to make a story about this! So when thinking of a setting that would accommodate a princess and a magic system involving a needle, we built up a sewing-based magic system in a medieval setting. The more we brainstormed, the more natural everything fell into place. We’re very pleased with it.

I really liked the character Jilia. Her spunk and her attentiveness to Nels’s mother during a difficult time made her stand out. I wonder if there might be potential for a spin-off story featuring her, or if there’s any possibility of a romance between her and Nels in a different story, say a pre-WOVEN story?Jilia is one of our favorite characters as well, and her personality is, in large part, based on a cousin of mine. We’ve discussed the possibility of writing companion novels rather than direct sequels, which can give us room to write Jilia (and other characters) their own story in the WOVEN world. Our options are open at this point.

What's your advice for authors who want to collaborate to write a book? Collaborating on a book can be an enriching experience that helps strengthen your writing. So long as you are both committed to the goal and the story. Know early on what each other’s role is going to be. Stick to it. And be there for your collaborator when life strikes. A collaboration is not a “you” or “me” thing. It’s an “us” thing.

What authors/books did you like when you were a kid? 
So many to choose from! I would say my biggest writing influences and inspiration has come from the works of Lois Lowry, R.L. Stein, Orson Scott Card, Michael Crichton, James Dashner and Shannon Hale. Michael’s are Elizabeth George Spear’s CALICO CAPTIVE and THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis, CRICKET IN TIME by George Seldon and KIDNAPPED by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

What are you working on now? Any future projects we should look out for? 
In addition to drafting a sequel/companion novel to WOVEN with Michael, I currently have a YA zombie novel on submission, and we both have many more individual story ideas that can't wait to leap onto the page. For more updates, feel free to check our website at or my blog at

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG: Last Month's Ups and Downs

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started. On the first Wednesday of the month, writers are invited to reveal their insecurities. Sometimes on this day we just fill the blogosphere in on what we’ve been up to. 

Yesterday, I was blitzed by dozens and dozens of writers. A big thanks to author DL Hammons, founder of Blog Blitz, a program where a writer gets selected to be surprised with visits from other writers. This week, DL selected me as the lucky writer. Thanks to everyone who had stopped by my blog! August had its ups and downs, and receiving a collective hug from other writers was quite comforting. 
Let’s start with the ups: Our family visited Kauai for a few days with friends, and it was an AWESOME trip...And recently, my son started at a new preschool and my daughter started first grade. Both seem to be adjusting well.

Now, a down: Shortly after we returned to California, a speeding car crashed into our minivan on the freeway. Thankfully, my husband and I were okay and our children weren’t in the vehicle when this happened. But it was still a scary experience. At the time, the driver of the speeding car admitted he was in a rush to get somewhere and he apologized for damaging our minivan. But later, he did a 180 with insurance and lied about what happened. As of now, we're still trying to sort things out with insurance. Argh!
And more downs: It just seems that in the last couple of weeks, more frustrating stuff have been piling up on me. All I’ll say is that I can do the right thing, and sometimes people would still let me down.

These downs have been distracting me from my writing. But I’m hopeful that September will bring better things, and that I can finally finish up my novel-in-progress.  

How are you doing?