30 May 2008

Good News!

I am going to a writer's conference in June, so I submitted the first 20 or so pages of my manuscript to be critiqued. I wanted to see what a reader who was not in my presence would say about my work.

When I returned home from vacation, the critique was waiting for me. The reviewer gave me some wonderful feedback, but the best news of all was in the attached letter. My manuscript is a finalist in the children's/middle grade category! I thought the whole thing might be some joke, but it's on the website. I guess it's no mistake.

Winners will be announced at the conference.

Vacation: The Overview

I just returned from vacation, and I had a wonderful trip. Mom and I went to Montreal, Quebec City, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. We saw lots of churches, beautiful countryside, the Hopewell Rocks and Green Gables.

More details will follow when I get the pictures organized.

29 May 2008

Review: The Robe of Skulls

I got a copy of the advanced reader copy (ARC) for The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French at the Texas Library Association Annual Convention in Dallas this year.

The cover is fantastic! And the title is glamorous and treacherous all at once. But onto the book.

Lady Lamorna wants a new dress, a robe of skulls, so she orders one made for herself. Unfortunately, after the order is placed, she discovers that she doesn't have any gold to pay for the dress. She hatches a plan to secretly transform area princes into frogs and blackmail their parents in order to restore the royals to human form. She doesn't count on Gracie Gillypot (great name!), Marlon the bat or a rather un-prince-like prince to foil her plans.

A very different kind of fairy tale, the story races along, shifting focus from one character to another throughout the book. The characters are all well-developed. Genuine laughs and true thrills abound. And the character Foyce, Gracie's stepsister, is one of the meanest, most cunning characters I have met in a long time.

I enjoyed The Robe of Skulls. Highly entertaining and quick to read, it should be enjoyed by any readers who appreciate fairy tales.

The Writing That's Ready

I've got two picture books that I have queried a few agents about - but no one was interested. I queried a middle-grade novel I've written to another agent - to another no. I really think my query letters stink. I try to make them interesting, but I think of them like persuasive letters, which I was never any good at writing in school. Also, I have to sell myself. I couldn't sell water in the Sahara, so it's difficult for me to try to sell my own writing.

Oh, well. I'll just keep plugging away.

The First Post

I've decided to create this blog in an effort to make sure I keep on track while I try to get some of my writing published. I figure if I have to tell the world about the current status of some of my attempts, then it will keep me going.

This blog is going to be hard for me to maintain. For one thing, I was never much of a diarist - I've tried numerous times, but I just can't manage to keep on track. Again, if I have to tell more than myself, perhaps I'll do better this time.

Here's hoping!