Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Big August Give Away

I know it's still bright, sunny July, but it will be August in day or two more and I want to let you know about the give away I'm setting up for August.

Due to the 'miracle' of technology my book links are finally active again on Goodreads.com and to celebrate I'm giving away one digital copy of my novella 'Tales from the Fountain Pen'. All you need to do is send an email to : elynnh2write(at)gmail(dot)com with Give Away in the subject line before August 15th. (After that the email box goes away)

On August 16th using some fancy, honest, randomizing method, I will pick one lucky winner.

So if you're in the mood for an atmospheric journey back to WWII the Netherlands where a young woman, Maggie (age 17 almost 18), is trying to navigate the challenges of growing up in a time of war, enter the give away!

Also, in the month of August I will be taking questions on Goodreads, so if there's anything you've ever wanted to know about my writing, future books, how to survive rejection, etc. please feel free to ask.

And reviews on Goodreads are of course always welcome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Conference Lessons

This past weekend was the annual Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference. It was the first time I signed up for this one, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My initial impression on the first day was that the atmosphere seemed subdued, but I quickly realized my error in judgement.

The writers conferences I’d attended in the past had been SCBWI (society for children’s book writers and illustrators) conferences and had a far more playful feel to them because we’re talking about children's books. 

My main reason for coming to the PNWA conference was not so much the breakout sessions, though they were interesting, but the opportunity to interact with agents and editors, and to meet new people. 

A writer, any artist really, grows stale if he/she doesn’t step out and meet new people, have new experiences, and look at things from a different point of view. Of course stepping out is not always easy for a bunch of introverted artists, but the PNWA was a huge success in that sense. 

Whenever I sat down somewhere to take a few notes or quietly practice my pitches someone would join me and offer to help, though it invariably turned into a wonderful conversation. There were people there from all over the country and even some from outside the country.  

I feel I learned the most from those people because we shared a common interest, though we came from completely different backgrounds, and through that common interest we were able to start a conversation about writing, publishing, and life in general. 

Sometimes a question as simple as ‘what kind of writing do you do?’ opened the door to real depth and a human connection. 

It reminds me of something I observed and try to incorporate in my encounters with others. A brilliant marketing lady I had the good fortune of working with many, many moons ago at a non-profit I wrote grants for, had the ability to make people feel at ease and open up simply by finding one thing to complement them on in the first 5 minutes of meeting them and then really listening to their response. (Thank you, Carrie!)

I wonder what the world would look like if we all took the time to even for 5 minutes put our egos aside and found something good in another? 

But now I’d better get back to putting together submissions to the agents who expressed interest in my manuscripts! Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Book Review

The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel 
by Jasper Fforde 

I tried to finish this before heading to Europe but ended up taking it on the plane to finish. Thank goodness my offspring had room for one more book in his carry on. Though I had my e-reader loaded with other books, this one was still a nice old-fashioned paperback. You really can’t beat the joy of traveling with a paperback book, but they do add a lot of extra weight to already overstuffed luggage.

The Eyre Affaire is an odd blend of science fiction, fantasy, murder mystery and maybe just a hint of romance. Though entertaining and written well enough that I wanted to know the end, it did at times leave me confused and wondering where the author actually wanted to go. Or what the book was supposed to be. 

It features a female protagonist, Thursday Next, who tracks down people who tamper with books. A Literatec investigator, and a veteran of a very protracted conflict in the Crimea with Russia. So an altered history timeline has been thrown into the mix as well. 

A master criminal has taken a rare original manuscript and using an ingenious device designed by the protagonist’s uncle, adding a personal stake to the mystery, is lifting characters from the book and killing them. 

The first half of the book was better than the second where I felt the author rushed the story and didn’t do the characters justice. Or maybe I was reading it too fast in between the turbulence bumps on the flight across the Atlantic. Either way, I’ll give the sequels a miss.  Though I will admit that I did enjoy the literary in-jokes and was pleased to find I had read enough classics to keep up.