Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Friday, February 24, 2012

Got Fire? Kindle Fire Giveaway & Benefit for St. Jude's Childrens Hospital

Rita J. Webb, the publisher of Transcendent, Tales of the Paranormal, is hosting a Kindle Fire giveaway! Click here to enter on her blog.

There is no purchase necessary to win, but if you do decide to buy Transcendent this month (February), it ups your chances of winning and 50% of profits go toward St. Jude's Children's hospital.

How cool is that?

Transcendent is a YA anthology that includes a whole selection of clean paranormal themed stories including Spectre, one of my stories, and Strike, which I coauthored with Rita.

As of today, Transcendent is moving up the Amazon rankings really fast!
In the Love & Romance, we are #7, right
after the Twilight books. In Fantasy & Magic, we are #6, right after the
Rick Riordan books...
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in
Kindle Store)
#6 in Books > Children's Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy & Magic
#7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Children's Fiction >
Literature > Love & Romance
#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction,
Fantasy & Horror > Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic

I've never had a book be on the lists like that before. It's pretty exciting!

So, good luck people! I hope you win!
Have you used a Kindle Fire before? What do you think of it?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, For All Of Us.

I’ve just finished reading EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLYCLOSE, A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

From the back cover, “Nine-year-old Oscar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.”
The cover is brilliant, not because of the interesting way the titles go up the fingers, or the visual lines that draw us to the boys eyes again and again, but because that face is ours. The day the towers fell, we stood with our hands over our mouths as if hiding could make it all be less real, less scary, less terrifying.
Just flipping through the book is fascinating. The pages break every “rule” with blocks of solid text filled with conversations where he said, “Something,” and someone else said, “something else,” and it all smushes together without tabs or paragraph breaks—all while giving glimpses of a beautiful broken boy trying to make sense out of a senseless loss. “Oskar?” “I’m Okay.” “Don’t go away.”
As the pages flip past, the style changes, becoming all aligned left, and then spaced out, missing in chunks, and even written on top of each other. But every broken rule is deliberate, thought provoking, and wonderfully done.

Interspersed with the text are pictures of locks and keys, of doors, tattooed hands, and random things, of a man falling from the tower. . . .
And then the last pages, after the story runs its course, the same falling man, but with the pages reversed so when you flip them, the man falls up, not down. Up, up, up—back to when the world made sense, before everything scary happened extremely loud and incredibly close.
The people we meet in this book are broken, each in their own way. Their struggle to carry on shines from the pages and we root for them, pray for them, cover our faces with them.
I cannot read this book without remembering that day, and how it was for me. I didn’t deal with it well. I know that. You can see previews for the movie they made of this book, but I'm not sure I want to see it. I’ve avoided the 911 movies and specials for more than a decade because I didn’t want to live through it again, but this book called to me, and for the first time, I was ready to go back to that day. It feels like a mish-mash of things that shouldn't be real, but are, that have no business being in the same world together.
We woke to the sound of the phone ringing: Mother yelling on the line, “Turn on the TV; the whole world’s gone to Hell!” We rush to the television and watch the early breaking news of the tower on fire, struck by a plane. An accident, a terrible, terrible accident. We watch the smoke and wonder. My husband dresses for work and leaves. Bye. Love you. Be safe. I watch the second plane hit the tower. Crash, Boom. The news rewinds it, makes us watch it a thousand times. Not an accident. Terrorists. My children wake up, first the baby, then my toddler. I dress for work, it’s harvest time after all. Time to go pick corn. I should pick the corn, but instead, I gather my babies on my lap and feed them bottles as we snuggle under the blankets. The Pentagon is hit, burning. Are you going to pick corn today. Yes. Later, later. There is a little left from yesterday. The world is burning. Can’t you see? Don’t you know? A plane went down in a Pennsylvania field. Would you like carrots with your potatoes today? Yes. Tomatoes too, please. The tower falls. I stand and cry, my hands over my face, my eyes peeking just over the tips of my fingers. No, no, no, all those people. Oh, God. Oh, God. Three dozen ears of corn please; I have to go pick a row. I’m picking corn as the world is burning. How stupid, I think. People are buried, coated in dust, choking, falling, waving shirts for the helicopters that won’t save them on the roof, and I’m here. Picking corn. I finish the row, give them the corn, gather my little ones, and watch the other tower fall. No words. Only tears. We watch it fall in playbacks. It falls a thousand times.
I still have the VHS tapes of that day. I recorded it. I will never watch it.
My daughter saw me crying today, as I finished the book, and said her teacher cried on September 11th last year. Broke down and told her story in class—that her fiancĂ© was in that tower. That he never got out. That they were to marry in November of that year. That she will never marry or find another because we only get one soul mate in this world and that was him. That was him.
How foolish, I think, that I can live in the middle of a corn field, thousands of miles away, knowing no one who died, and still feel a little bit broken from that day. And then I think. Maybe we’re all a little broken from that day. Maybe that’s what has made this book an international best seller. We see the broken boy and we want him to be okay. Because if he can be okay, so can we.
My grandmother remembers Pearl Harbor like a snapshot. Everything she saw, heard, wore, and ate from that day. My mother remembers JFK. For me, it is 911. What moment in history affected your life. Did you ever feel even a little bit broken by events a thousand miles away?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Show the LOVE and Win Prizes!

It's time to spread the news!
What's better than attending an awesome writers conference? How about getting huge prizes just for talking about it! Storymakers is hosting an amazing contest, and I should know, because I WON this contest 2 years ago. I was treated to a seat at the table with some of the big names in publishing and I loved every second of it!

The following is from Storymaker's blog:
"Ah, love ... don't you just love love? The month of February is the best month of all for celebrating love ... no, not because of Valentine's Day, silly! It's time for the Show Your Love contest in conjunction with the LDStorymakers Writers Conference!

"Prizes: Three lucky people will win seats at a star-studded VIP table for Friday night's dinner. That's right - Kevin J. Anderson, Molly O'Neill, Holly Root, Michelle Wolfson, and Kathleen Ortiz will be your dinner companions. I recommend watching for parsley between your teeth. You're responsible for getting yourself to and into the conference, and we'll take care of the rest (except for the parsley) because we're good like that.

But that's not all - let me break it down for you.
First Place Prize: Seat at the VIP table, a query critique, and two-page manuscript critique

Second Place Prize: Seat at the VIP table and a two-page manuscript critique
Third Place Prize: Seat at the VIP table
Fourth Place Prize: Query critique and 10-page manuscript critique
Fifth and Sixth Place Prizes: Query Critiques
*Our special thanks to Holly Root, Lisa Mangum, Michelle Wolfson, Kirk Shaw, Kathleen Ortiz, and Weronika Janczuk for donating our prizes!"

There you go. How cool is that? For rules and details, please check out their post.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Storymaker's website --if you put your cursor over the conference tab, it will scroll down so you can peruse that info. They are also on Facebook.

So here's a question for you. If you could sit and have lunch with ANYONE in the publishing industry, who would it be and why?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Are Writing Conferences Worth It?

LDStorymakers I've often heard writers question the value of writing conferences. Are they worth the time, money, travel, inconvenience to attend? My answer to all of the above is a resounding yes! Let me explain.

I have been active in the online writing community for about five years, especially on goodreads. I thought I was doing everything I could to connect with writers and advance my writing career. When a neighbor mentioned the Storymakers conference, I thought it would be fun, but had no real expectations.
Me, Sheralyn Pratt & Kimberley Little
The 2010 Storymakers conference, in Provo Utah, rocked my world. I met awesome writers whose books I'd already read like Jessica Day George, James Dashner, Dan Wells, David Farland, Aprilynne Pike, Anita Stansfield, Stephanie Black, and loads more.
Me with Don Carey & Tamera H. Heiner
(with red eye, *sigh*)
I also made connections with the publishing side of things. I had lunch with Krista Marino, the editor for Random House Delacorte Press, and in 2011, I became friends with Lisa Mangum, author of the Hourglass Door trilogy and editor for Deseret Book.

The classes were helpful and extremely relevant to my needs as a writer. They have breakouts to address every stage, published or aspiring, because no matter who we are, we always have room to learn.
Me with Lisa Mangum
(People say we look alike.
What do you think?)
Me laughing with Melissa Cunningham,
Jordan McCollum (across)
& Cathy Witbeck
Another HUGE plus for attending is that all attendees are invited to become a part of Authors Incognito, a sister group to Storymakers. Now I am a part of a whole online community that I didn't know existed. Now when there are contests, workshops, conferences, and other writerly things happening, I hear about it. I have editor friends who can beta read my manuscripts, people to comiserate when my muse flies the coop, or when I get one rejection too many on any given day.
How can you attend Storymakers this year? Check out their registration here for details. You meet some of the writers who are going on this blog.

If you live too far from Provo to make the drive, I suggest you find a writers conference near you and go for it. Your writing career will thank you for it.

Have you ever gone to a conference? Or wanted to? What did you take away from the experience?