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Archive for January, 2013

KB Lever photo Thanks to Young Adult and Children’s Author, K.B. Lever for stopping by and sharing her views on putting a few facts in fiction. Enjoy!

Finding the Truth in Fiction by KB Lever

It’s the oldest trick in the book – adding truth to fiction. There are laws about it, best selling novels that use the technique, and let’s be honest, “truth is stranger than fiction,” said the famous author, Mark Twain.

A great novel is one that pulls the reader into the story and refuses to let go until the last page is turned. In order for an author to do that, they must evoke the response that each individual reader strives to find. Anything from pulling at the reader’s heartstrings, a suspenseful story, or an unsettling tale that makes them shift in their seats.

Currently, the population is infatuated with placing people in uncomfortable situations for entertainment. Let’s look at the following examples:

1) Strangers forced to live together in an elaborate house where they must go as far as to share their sleeping quarters, bathrooms, and cars.

2) Twenty women competing over one male (proper suitor) that are sent off on elaborate vacations where, come on, no one could resist falling in love.

3) Eighteen people taken to the Philippians and cast out in an unfamiliar territory and told to survive through hunting, building shelter, and betraying one another.

KB Lever -Executing the List What is the drive for these types of stories? What are the reasons that their ratings are the highest in the industry? Simple, it’s because of one reason – the events are actually happening! People are getting to witness firsthand the outrageous behaviors of human nature! It truthfully lies in the shock value associated with someone being able to say, “that really happened!”

So, with the large desire for the public to be able to relate to a novel’s characters and for the wish to be stunned, intrigued, or manipulated by the plot. Why would anyone want to take fact out of fiction? The real challenge is to perfectly mesh enough fact with fiction to come up with a heart-stopping novel.

Take a journey inside my books, Manipulating the List and Executing the List, and see if you can decipher the truth from fiction. I’ll give you a clue. There are more than just a few real-life events.

KB Lever’s The Immortal Companion is a Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy series that consists of three novels: Manipulating the List (2012), Executing the List (2012), and Legacy of the List (To Be Released July 2013). The series follows a young girl, Katherine, who finds herself in an unlikely relationship with an entity similar to the Grim Reaper.

KB Lever-Manipulating the List For more about KB Lever’s books, visit http://www.KBLever.com  To buy a copy: http://www.KBLever.com/Store.html Be sure to “friend” her at http://www.Facebook.com/author.KB.Lever and “like” her Facebook pages: http://www.Facebook.com/TheImmortalCompanionSeries , http://www.Facebook.com/LalooDreamWeaverSeries , http://www.Facebook.com/ThirtyDaysInMay And follow her on Twitter @KBLever.

Thanks again to KB Lever for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and a new tasty feature coming in February. Have an enchanted day – Vonnie

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I’ve been going through the books on my shelves, and slowly entering ratings on Goodreads.

I’m amazed by how many books I’ve read. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been a reader. Every time I could find a book and a little hideaway spot, I’d slip into a story or try to digest some factual information.

book-case-door-after In the house where I grew up, I shared a bedroom with one of my sisters. Our dad had desks and bookshelves built into the walls in our second floor bedroom so we’d always have a place to study and store our books. But the part of our bedroom I loved the best was the area under the eaves accessed through hidden doors in our closets.

Supposedly for storage, countless books were read in those hidey spots by flashlight’s beam or by lamplight. I was so enthusiastic about reading in my hidden room that I smuggled in an old lamp and a rug to sprawl upon.

I had a room of my own for a couple of years before I married and moved out. When the remaining part of the second floor was converted into a bedroom,  my father had hidden doors to access the eaves added in that bedroom, too. But what was even better, he had a window seat built in the alcove created by two large closets. Nestled in that alcove with the sunshine or moonlight pouring through the window, I traveled many worlds curled up beneath a blanket, leaning on a pillow, with a book in hand.

Deepak Chopra said: “You will be transformed by what you read.” And I agree. Every book we read changes us just a bit. And after we’ve read them, a few books leave their mark on us for life.

As a writer, I hope something I’ve written will connect with my readers. Perhaps my words will bring them joy or help them smile. Perhaps my words will tug at their heart-strings or help them look at their world through new eyes. And maybe if I work hard enough on my craft, my words will make a difference.

Please stop by my page on Goodreads and become a Fan or Friend or Both: http://www.goodreads.com/vonnie_winslow_crist  Then, pick up a book, find your favorite reading spot, and be transformed.

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Thanks to author Gail Z. Martin for stopping by and sharing her views on the Young Adult market. Enjoy!

0061-eWomenNetwork The View from Outside the YA Fence by Gail Z. Martin

At book signings, I frequently am asked, “What age reader is your book right for?”

That’s a hard one. It depends on the reader. So I ask, “What age is the reader you have in mind?”

Sometimes, the person is concerned that my books might be too adult for a teen or tween. Sometimes, they’re concerned that my books might be too juvenile for an adult.

How do I answer? It depends.

I wrote my Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle series for adults, as I did with my new book, Ice Forged. But frankly, although my mother lived to be 89 years old, I would never have suggested that she read them. They’d have given her nightmares, and she would have feared for the welfare of my soul. They were too dark for her.

On the other hand, I’ve got three teenage children. Each of them was ready for different stuff at different ages. My oldest daughter had a teacher who decreed, in eighth grade, that she could only read college-level books for class credit. While that might have been great to challenge her vocabulary, the teacher seemed to have forgotten that many of those college-level books dealt with themes and world views that were over the head of even a very precocious 13 year-old. We spent that year having a number of “teachable moments”, and still found that there is no way to fully impart understanding to someone who just hasn’t lived long enough to understand certain perspectives. (That teacher remains on my “naughty” list for sheer cluelessness.)

My middle daughter listened in on all those teachable moments, and picked different books that led to different long car discussions. My son wasn’t interested in reading anything too edgy, although we’ve had those “teachable moment” discussions on video games.

As I head back into stores with Ice Forged, a novel where the adventure begins when the world ends, I’m sure I’ll get more people asking, “Who did you write this for?”

So here’s my personal set of questions that I ask of parents when deciding whether or not my books are right for their teen or tween:

–Has he/she read fantasy books with some detailed battles, scary elements and character deaths? (Like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter?)

–Do they like supernatural elements?

–Are they comfortable with more mature themes like death and betrayal?

–Are they OK with some cursing? (Swear words and vulgarities appropriate to the language style of particular characters.)

Gail Z Martin Ice Forged As I said in the beginning, I wrote my books for adults, and that’s the target market. At the same time, I’ve picked up readers age 13 and up who had the maturity and the reading experience to enjoy the books. I get letters from readers of all ages who loved the books and the characters. Did my youngest readers pick up on everything I put in the books? Maybe not (but then again, there were probably some adult readers who missed things, too). What matters is that they had a good roller coaster ride of an experience and hopefully left still hungry for more of the genre.

Likewise, well-written YA books rightfully attract large adult readers because they have depth and yet retain their sense of wonder. I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson books and other books that I read right along with my kids and loved. And I’ve also questioned and challenged the unrelenting darkness of some YA (and adult) books, because I don’t believe that being “real” is the same as being depressed, cynical and bitter.

So that’s my two-cents. Personally, I think that categories like “YA” are arbitrary designations used mostly to help booksellers and libraries determine where to shelve books. I know that when I was a teen, long before the “YA” designation, I was chomping through some books that would have turned my mom’s hair white had she but known. At the same time, there were a few books I picked up and put back down again because I found them to be too much. (I’ll admit that it was probably a mistake to read Deliverance when I was 10.)

Ultimately, we find those boundaries for ourselves. We delight in sneaking a peek at the “forbidden” books that mom thinks are too much for us (but that we’re actually ready for), and hate some of the books our teachers think are developmental but are just plain despondent. But that’s part of the joy of reading, as we discover uncharted territory and find what speaks to us.

So don’t get too tangled up with categories. Read the books that speak to you, regardless of genre. Don’t worry what other people think about what someone “your age” should be reading. Read what you love, and don’t let people pressure you into reading books that detract from your love of reading. At the same time, stretch yourself occasionally to read something uncomfortable, even upsetting, if the story is worthwhile. A good book can change your life.

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013. Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books). For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit http://www.AscendantKingdoms.com  Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin  and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://a.pgtb.me/JvGzTt

Thanks again to Gail Z. Martin. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and another new feature coming in February. Have a magical day! – Vonnie

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Whimsical Words remains primarily a place for me to ponder the writer-illustrator journey, but I thought my readers might enjoy some words from visitors. Why the change?

First, I’ve had the opportunity to do some guest posts, and have found it fun and challenging. Plus, I hope I’m reaching a new audience each time I venture into the unknown territory of another blog.

Second, I like the idea of sharing different points of view. As the years drift by, I’m doing my best to become wiser, but I’m no Gandalf! (Sorry, I can’t resist a Tolkien reference). I think there’s a wealth of information and experience that others possess that will make Whimsical Words a better blog.

Third, writing and illustrating are lonely pursuits. I spend hours researching, writing, sketching, and painting with Sandy the Black-Mouthed Cur as my only company. That solitude is necessary in order to focus on the story or art I’m creating, but it’s nice to have the occasional conversation with someone who’s also interested in fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, myth, legends, illustration, or writing.

Lastly, I think it’s important to support other writers. As much as I want people to find my books, buy and read them – I want even more to encourage kids, teens, and adults to read. By giving authors and their words a forum, I support reading, writing, and my brother & sister authors.

If you’ve been following Whimsical Words, I’ve shared links to a number of my recent guest blog posts. Here’s another link: http://nickwale.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/finding-inspiration-and-the-drive-to-succeed-by-vonnie-winslow-crist/ And thanks to Nick for hosting me.

So, look for my 1st guest author, Gail Z. Martin’s take on “The View from Outside the YA Fence” on Monday, January 21st.

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