Showing posts from 2011

A Tail of Three Kitties

Katniss, the author You don’t know me.  My name is Katniss.  No, not that one; I can’t shoot arrows, and though I hear constant talk about these “wonderful books,” I don’t really read.  I have only vague memories of my life as it was before three months ago.  I’ve heard the Giant Ones tell the story to each other.  It’s not the exact truth, but close enough:  How the loud roar came, rumbling the earth beneath our nest, and the blades followed, making our golden canopy topple around us.  We ran as fast as we could.  I don’t know what happen to the others; I never saw our mother again.  But the three of us escaped the blades, crossing the black road where the Giant Ones speed by in metal dragons.  Their dwellings are on the other side. That’s where we found ourselves one cold evening, just as  the large mouth of one of those dwellings opened up to swallow whole a white metal dragon.  We hid in the bushes, shocked when three Giant Ones stepped out of the metal dragon, unscathed.  Two h

Official DREAM OF ME book trailer

Shannon's Journal

***SPOILER ALERT*** This blog post contains the original prologue for my debut novel, Dream of Me, which I decided not to use in the published novel. Some might call it a spoiler. I would call it a teaser. In chapter one, Shannon whispers, "A long time ago, on a path that curved toward the sea..." These are the first words to a story she used to tell Erynne as a child. It was a story that began on All Hallow's Eve hundreds of years earlier, and was passed down from mother to daughter. This is the story:  A long time ago, on a path that curved toward the sea, the prophetess Cruithne paused to catch her breath, tightening her grasp on the woolen shawl she wore.  The frigid Atlantic wind was picking up, searching out her lonely spot on the hillside. Though her shawl was thick and in good condition, night was approaching quickly and with it would come even colder temperatures.  She had been walking for more than two hours through the hill country of Lough

Go Buy an E-reader (Not You, Hailey)

I have a dear, sweet* young friend named Hailey who loves books.  She loves old books and new ones.  She loves the smell of them, the crackle of spines, the sound of each page as it turns.  She loves the weight of a book in her hand and the way they look, lined up on shelves.  (*And please understand, I don’t mean “dear” or “sweet” in a condescending way.  She’s as dear to me as a niece and anyone who knows her can attest to her sweetness.) But Hailey’s love of paper books is a jealous love.  She is adamantly opposed to digital books and e-readers.  She goes so far as to smile at the thought of EMPs leading to a dystopic future where we are all sadly in possession of worthless gadgets, while she is still the proud owner of a prized library.  So when I decided to write about e-books, Hailey came to mind.  And if you’re thinking that conceding to her viewpoint before even beginning to express my own is a lousy way to arrange things, you’re probably right.  I’m willing to admit this

Debut novel, DREAM OF ME, slated for September 20 release

cover art by Mike Baxter I'm excited to announce the upcoming release of my debut novel, DREAM OF ME, which will be available on all e-book platforms, including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and (with the aid of apps) on tablet readers like ipad as of September 20.  What's it about?  Check it out: Bay-area dressmaker Erynne O’Keefe begins dreaming about a handsome stranger shortly after her mother’s suicide.  Every night they walk along a damp street, empty beach or desert river until the light of morning pulls her back to reality.  Practical and guarded, Erynne would like to dismiss her dreams as evidence of grief, but remembering her mother’s life-long struggle with strange dreams and nightmares, she fears they point to hereditary mental illness.  Erynne begins searching for answers in a stack of her mother’s old love letters while trying to resist her growing feelings for the stranger. But the man in Erynne’s dreams is quite real, living in Arizona and wondering why his nights a

Who Loved Jane Austen?

Jane Austen finished writing her final complete novel, PERSUASION , 195 years ago this month.  It’s my favorite among her novels.  I feel it more than her others – the pain Anne Elliot feels.  Imagining that she’s made a mistake that cannot be undone, she holds her pain in check, always ready to serve others, to grieve privately, but to wish she had not been so easily persuaded when she was young. I can’t help wondering how much of herself Miss Austen poured into Anne’s character.  Perhaps not as a copy of her experience, but an imprint of her own heartache, pieced together into another form that has become one of literature’s most loved characters. Many have speculated about the romantic inspiration for Miss Austen.  Whom did she love?  Was she loved in return?  What were her regrets? Histories have been dissected, correspondence examined; we read between the lines and speculate.  Books are written, movies filmed.  We wrap them in fiction to try and understand, but we don

Rain of Steel

Bureau of Ships Collection, U.S. National Archives. According to the Veteran’s Administration, approximately 850 World War II vets are dying every day.  There are only about two million left.  Last year, I chaperoned a middle school field trip to the Warhawk Museum in Nampa, where we got to listen to some of them describe their experiences.  Their hair was white and thin, their skin wrinkled and spotted.  Their hands shook, their joints were rheumy; their eyes watered.  Some were soft-spoken, some loud.  They couldn’t always hear the questions we asked; they couldn’t hear each other.  But at the end of the day, they stood arm in arm – brothers in arms still, though the war ended sixty-five years ago. I imagined another in their ranks:  one who might have stood by their side.  I like to imagine that he would have stood by mine.  I don’t know.  He was my grandfather.  He died in 1984, but forty years earlier, he was in the Navy, playing his part in the largest amphibious attack durin

A Writer's Top Ten List. Not.

I’m feeling a bit churlish, a bit negative – probably because I’ve been fighting a headache all week and losing.  When my head feels upside down and inside out, sometimes my thoughts follow suit.  I’m not Alice at the tea party; I’m the Mad Hatter.  Keep that in mind as you read my Writer’s Top Ten List*. Don’t write.  Talk about writing; fantasize about writing.  You would write if you had time. While you are fantasizing about being a writer, imagine the fame you will achieve.  Think of the buckets of cash you’ll make.  Plan to quit your day job.  Spend plenty of time imagining your story on the big screen too.  (I’ll bet Brad Pitt would fight Tom Cruise over the leading role.  ( Squeal! )) Don’t waste your time reading.  Especially avoid the classics.  Plots from movies and television are great fodder for story ideas. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling and punctuation.  (That’s what Spell Check is for!)  Also, the publishing houses have editors that will fix your mistakes. 

What is Truth?

My family and I are going to see the Broadway musical, WICKED, tonight.  The story, based on the book written by Gregory Maguire, is part prequel, part retelling of the WIZARD OF OZ from the viewpoints of Glinda the Good Witch and The Wicked Witch of the West.  In WICKED, we see a very different version of events than those depicted in L. Frank Baum’s classic.  I won’t spoil it by telling you more.  I suggest you see it and decide for yourself which version is “the truth.” But it’s funny timing.  I’ve been thinking about truth a lot recently:  Particularly in books, but also in other forms of entertainment.  Think, for a minute, about the way we talk about things we have read, watched or heard: Did that really happen? You can’t make this stuff up. That’s hard to believe! It’s right out of a novel. It’s stranger than fiction. You can’t believe everything you read! Ain’t that the truth! We’re obsessed with the “truth” – but not in an honest way.  Ironic, isn’t it? W