Tuesday, August 26, 2008

HELP!!! C. S. Lewis Needs You.

C. S. Lewis: Latter Day Truths in Narnia is a great book. It is an overview of his life and works and ends with a section on his use in the LDS forum, especially by church leaders. There is an index in the back that is one of the most complete you will find which includes the quotes used in general conference and their references both in LDS writings and in C. S. Lewis's.

Seagull book and the independent LDS bookstores are currently carrying it but for some reason Deseret Book is not. It went through all the necessary copyrights and was approved by church headquarters. My only guess why-- and it is just a guess- is that since we missed the Narnia movies and they recently had a CD on Lewis released, they don't feel it would be a big seller.

It was suggested to me that if a number of people would be willing to go and order the book from Deseret Book, that maybe they would start carrying it to fill those orders. If you feel you can do this, I'd be grateful.

Book Review- Deepest Water

Deepest Water Deepest Water by Kate Wilhelm

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn't give this five stars because this book took me two chapters before I was hooked. It begins with a grieving daughter whose father has been murdered. Within the first few pages I knew who did it but that wasn't the point of the story. Three women all figure it out, but there is no hard evidence. The heart of the book is what these women do about it. The subplot was great and in the end, it was a book that stayed with you. I really liked it.

(One of my little pet peeves is there is a difference between suspense and confusion and sometimes Wilhelm gets the two confused.)

View all my reviews.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Secret Room

Yesterday we were doing work around the house. Greg had decided to put a counter in the laundry room for folding. He asked my nine year old son to climb into the crawl space to find a joist. While he was there he said to his father that he could see a doorway leading somewhere. The crawl space is half size- you literally have to crawl. Well, he went through it and there was a light.

In the eave of the roof the original owners had finished out a little secret room. It was sheet rocked and the floor was carpeted. The children were allowed to color all over the walls. We looked at their hand prints and pictures, delighted. So the children grabbed markers and are adding to the fun.

They've put a TV up there and sleeping bags. What a fun surprise that we had never even considered.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Binge Reading


So I have sort of been binge reading this week. Yesterday I was so involved in the book I had that I created excuses to read it. I watched my son at football practice so I could read. Then I picked up my daughter for a sleepover who begged to stay for two more hours so I drove a few blocks, parked and read my book. At least I saved gas by not driving home and back again.

I know I could read constantly if I don't check myself and with all these wonderful titles I just inherited from my mother I'm surrounded by temptation. Do they have a twelve step program to help you keep your reading in balance?

Some people can read their books in little snippets and put it down- I admire that sort of self control. It's like people that can take one bite of a candy bar and save the rest for later. I've never been able to do that. If it's one I like, it will be gobbled down with insatiable delight the minute I relish the first bite. Same with books. Three night this week I've read until far into the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the house was fast asleep.

I rarely don't finish what I read. Not out of a sense of obligation but out of sheer curiousity. I have to know how it ends. The only exception is if I don't like the character at all. This week I tried to read a literary work that a friend had told me about. I read the first chapter and wasn't thrilled with the premise. By the second chapter I wanted to throttle the main character because she was just a conceited, selfish airhead. The bottomline is I didn't care what happened to her so I couldn't see forcing myself to commit that much time to it. I abandoned the book. At first I felt guilty but then I thought that maybe I'm just making better decision with how to use my time.

And with all the time I've saved not reading that one, I could fit in that biography on Roosevelt and Churchill that I've been eyeing. It looks fascinating.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sorry, Life Got in the Way

Okay, I know it has been way too long since I blogged but if you had lived at my house lately, you would understand why.

Right after the writer's conference, I drove out to Utah to my parents home. (This is a picture of all twelve kids in our family at the funeral.) When I arrived the rest of the family had already been there and the few things left were either in boxes or scattered piles of things no one wanted but no one had the heart to throw away. It is an eerie feeling to disemble your parent's home after they are gone. I'm way to young to be an orphan.

We rented a Penski Truck and headed back home with it filled to the gills. The only problem was that when I was got home, I had to make room for it all. We got rid of two book shelves, a large sectional sofa and a washer and dryer and drove them to the good will in the same truck.

It took me a solid week of arranging things to get them like I wanted them but I think it turned out great! I talked Greg into buying new shelves for the office to put the five boxes of books I inherited. I got two couch sets and even filled the little shelf in my front hall with my mother's silk flowers.

By the time all this happened, with one son starting football, scout meetings and just life with five children at home, I finally turned my attention to my son who was about to turn 18 in three days. He had finished his eagle project, told me he had the write-up done and was working on his last three merit badges. He even said he had contacted the counselors.

Well, on the Thursday I finally sat down with him and asked him to show me his stuff. The neighbors could hear my scream of horror. He had drawn some nice pictures for his art merit badge but hadn't done a museum or art visit; he had left a message on the genealogy counselor's answering machine twice but that was it and he had done electricity with his brother but never gotten it signed off and forgot to call the counselor.

The eagle write-up was in four separate files, none of which went together but you could tell he had really tried. So we immediately called around. We replaced fingerprinting with genealogy since we couldn't find an available counselor in time. We re-did all the 15 requirements for electricity, since his original couselor didn't have time to meet with us. It was a hard one. We had to make an electro magnet (which was sooo cool) and hook up a buzzer with a button and light with a pull switch. The hardest part is that everything at the hardware store works on alternating current and you had to use batteries so it was hard to find all the supplies. We had to pull apart a flashlight to find a light bulb that would work.

By Saturday everything was done and in the mail, and we sat back and relaxed for one minute. BUT because I had been so focused on George, the laundry was backed up, the house looked like a tornado hit and I don't even think I got on the computer for over a week.

Sunday George turned 18. We had two other families over and a great day. He didn't want or need anything so I went to the dollar store with my daughter and we got him eighteen little things. We wrapped them separately and by the end of the day both Camron and William said that is what they wanted for their birthdays. Funny, since I spent so much on William last year. You'd think I'd learn. The magic trick cards were a huge hit as was the grooming kit, yo-yo's and root beer.
By Monday I was in knots. I just felt over-used and like I needed to unwind. Greg left on a business trip and I wandered around, not wanting to clean or do much of anything. I let the children play all day and grabbed a stupid Delinsky from my mother's old books called Three Wishes. I was surprised because my mother liked some trash fiction too. Often I read to be lifted, to learn and to stretch my mind, but sometimes I just want to escape and be entertained.
The story was cute and predictable but a definite page turner with a very clever premise. When I gobbled up the last page at three o'clock in the afternoon still in my pajamas, I felt like I had gone on vacation and was ready to come home.
I think that's the best gift of fiction. It refreshes me.
So life is good. I've got two weeks before school starts and I plan on enjoying the time with the children and coasting through. The majority of the shopping is done so it's just a matter of having fun- that is something I'm good at.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Willamette Writer's Conference, Close to Heaven

This weekend I went to the Willamette Writer's Conference and it was WONDERFUL! Going in, I didn't know a soul and even forced my husband to accompany me to registration, so I'd have someone to talk to. That totally backfired because they had pitch practice and I was lapping it up like honey while my DH was so bored he couldn't see straight. We left early and I was suddenly fine with being with these kindred spirits for the next three days.

I learned so much that my head is still reeling. I found out that there is something called SECOND BOOK SYNDROME. It is really common when someone who has had their first book published to struggle with their second because their first was written without a deadline or even the expectation of being published. The fear of failure and the stress of wanting to do better on the next one can squelch the little bit of creativity you have and leave you defunct.

It was a relief because I'm struggling with my next book. I'm 2/3rds of the way through it, have the synopsis complete but have been incredibly frustrated trying to keep it real and intense. I found out why.

I learned about only having 3 beats of dialog and stating the central conflict in the first scene which has to be some essential truth. Each scene needs to increase the central conflict. Some editors even said when the pacing is off, they write out the proportions of exposition to action to make sure it isn't too fast, losing the reader, or too slow, boring him to death.

Well, with all the tools I've picked up I'm ready to plow ahead. My goal was to have the manuscript complete before the end of summer. That's three weeks and counting. I hope I make it. But I'm so seriously grateful for the incredible efforts of writers far more advanced than me. (I know, they hate superlatives and adjectives, too- I'm in trouble.)