Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Books that Move Us

Twice now, a reader told me that they cried while reading Ghosts on the Prairies. Oddly enough it was a different character that triggered each one and a different plot point each time.

Amazon.com
Got me thinking about the last book that moved me to tears. I know I mentioned it once before but I was at the dentist reading Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis and it moved me to tears twice! Once it was tears from laughing (see post here) so blasted hard and the other it was tears of pure joy at the way they greeted the freed slaves.

What made me cry? Well, trying not to laugh in public does that to me, and this kid was fun to read. And of course the tears of joy were from the idea of the freed slaves being so overjoyed-- which I find very emotional to begin with. But overall it was the voice. The way this kid captures the moment... magic!

It is a powerfully written, moving story that had me captivated by a fun voice like no other. I dare you to read it and let me know if it gotcha!

So, what has moved you to tears? Is it characters, voice, or plot that getcha teary?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Your Own Adventure

Everyone has a different outlook on life. This is clear. But, I'm about to tell you a story about three dogs going for a walk, and then you tell me, which adventure is for you.

It all started out as a beautiful sunny day. Is it safe to start a story that ends with me covered in frozen drool that way? I suppose so, since it's not really about me. So, I took my couch potato St Bernard and my sister's two bratty, but fun, terrier-type dogs, Buddy and Maggie for a walk. It began simple enough when I opened the front door. Like any adventure, none of us knew what to expect, but we had hope-- this would be great.

Quickly, I discovered that Buddy liked to run in leaps and bounds as if this was the party of the year. He never looked back to see if we were coming. Frankly, I don't think he cared about me at all. So I just let him go. What trouble could he get into, right? He was having fun, that's what life was all about, besides, I liked his life is a party attitude.
 
My own dog, Sara, stayed deep in the snowbanks, taking the road less travelled. Sometimes, she vanished completely in the snow to emerge in a victorious leap. It was very thrilling to witness. She even dug up something that she swallowed. Not sure what that was about, but she looked right proud of herself. Hmmm. Again, I let it go; her daring, let's go on an adventure spirit was inspiring.

Our journey was called to a halt when I realized we lost someone. Maggie was gone. Missing. Argh. She does that a lot. In fact, I have my suspicions that she's secret agent M, (a partner to that platypus on Phineas and Ferb.) Anyway. We backtracked, because, secret agent or not, I wasn't sure my sister's dog knew the way home, and I was curious where she was this time.

Ah there she was, sitting on Grandma's stoop, so innocently. Once she saw us, she raced home happy that we came back for her. This forced the rest of us to head home, too.

Buddy didn't seem to mind. If ever there was someone living a rockstar life, it was that dog.
Now, Sara was not impressed that her walk was cut short, because someone wanted to visit Grandma, so she played dead. Yup. A 180lb lump in a snowbank who ignored my sweet coaxing. The others came back to watch. I'm sure even the neighbours were watching. This was her idea of fun, not mine.
Frustrated that things weren't going the way I wanted, I got the leash out and climbed in the snow. Big mistake.

it was a trap we won't discuss

We did make it home, eventually. Covered in snow and frozen drool, I walked into the house, with all three dogs. We journeyed the same path. We started at home and made it back at the same time, yet not one of us had the same experience.
Sara took the hard way.
Buddy partied it up.
Maggie detoured to Grandma's for cookies or something. I didn't ask-- secrets agents prefer if you mind your own business, besides she can get a little mean if I confront her about things, so I keep it light.
That left me, trying to control the chaos so everyone else can be happy.

What an adventure life can be, and that was just a walk.

So what path did you walk today?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Peek Into Your Life- Suzi Retzlaff

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Today I am so excite to give you all a peek into Suzi Retzlaff's life.

We met via our blogs. I have no idea who found who first, but when I stopped by her place I was hooked. Why? It's all about writing and reading which is my weakness.

Now the beautiful part is that even if you aren't a writer, you'll love her blog. She talks about books. So far, the books she recommends have made wonderful gifts for my mom and daughter. They are the exact things they love to read!!! So I feel like a won the lottery, because finding them books to read is now easy-- I just visit Suzi!

It's also where I won my first autographed book!

Plus Suzi finds the most interesting people for us to meet (and I get to be on her list of cool invites so be sure to visit!). This is a gem of a site and I keep it in my Partner in Crime list so I don't miss anything!


But enough about me, it's Suzi we want to meet. Since her blog is such a great place, let's start with that.

Suzi and her daughter on a trip to Chicago,
in the Willis Tower. 
Which was more widely known 
as the Sears Tower until 
some guy came in and changed it.

How did you become a blogger?
I became a blogger like many other writers. Because I thought it was what I had to do. I wanted to do it too, of course, but I probably wouldn’t be blogging if I wasn’t a writer trying to get published. It took me a while to get into the groove, but I finally figured out what I was doing.

What is the best thing that has come out running such an intriguing and diverse blog?
The best thing for me that’s come out of blogging is meeting other writers. It’s a great way to connect with others and there’s so many people I probably would’ve never met if it hadn’t been through blogging.

Is there a particular genre, target audience or age group you write for?
Even though I’ve written some adult contemporary stories, I’ve been concentrating on young adult. I sort of fell into it a few years back. Wrote a story with teenagers and then started reading online more about YA, which has different ‘rules’ than adult fiction of course. I never really intended to write YA, but once I wrote that first story, I started reading it too, and fell in love with it.

Right now I’m revising one of my old YA stories. It’s about a foster girl who has a hard time opening up to others. I’ve learned so much since I first wrote this story. When I first got into writing, I never realized how big the learning curve would be. Writing a book is easy. Writing a book well is not.

How much time do you spend writing in an average week?
I’m not one of those writers who feels like I have to write a certain word count every week. Once I get into a story, the writing flows easily. I’ve written a novel in four weeks, but that is not the norm, especially since I’m usually revising one and writing another. Now it’s more like 3-6 months to write a novel.

Where is your fav place to read or write?
I don’t have a favorite place to read, other than a spot where nobody is bothering me. Whether that’s in bed or on the couch or sitting outside, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as it’s kid free.

I can give you my favorite place to write. It only happened once, but I’d love to go back. A few years back, my husband and I took a trip to Hawaii. I spent hours writing as I sat in a covered lounge chair overlooking the ocean. Listening to the waves roll in and smelling the salty sea. It was perfect.
  
Oh gosh. Sounds heavenly.
And we have a lot in common, I like to revise while writing too! 

We have to stop there, because a peek is really just a peek after all!
Still, that was fun.
I love peeking into the lives of others, and showing off a great blogger-writer like Suzi was perfect!
Thanks for stopping by Suzi, and all the best in your writing.
To read more about Suzi, be sure to stop by her blog for a chat.
Literary Engineer