Saturday, June 28, 2014
This week I received the cover design for HAUNTED, Book One of the Arnaud Legacy trilogy coming out from Kensington Books this coming March. It's always a thrilling moment for a writer to see someone's interpretation of their book. It's been getting great reactions from people I've shared it with, and I love the moody somberness of the scene, and the great fonts. (I'm a font person!). I think this jacket really effectively conveys the idea of a ghost story/haunted mansion tale.
I have to thank old writers group friend Michelle Gagnon for the excellent cover blurb: she is a wonderful Y.A. writer whose novel Don't Turn Around blew my socks off.
If anyone is interested in preordering the book now, here's the link.
Friday, June 06, 2014
|The pseudonymous Lynn Carthage|
Today Publisher's Marketplace officially announced (I had "soft announced" a few months ago here) the sale of my young adult trilogy to Kensington Books. For my foray into young adult fiction, I'm going to use a pen name, Lynn Carthage, to keep my adult and YA writing separate. The first book in the trilogy hits bookstores next March. As the time comes closer, I'll launch a Lynn Carthage website, FB presence and Twitter handle. I'm really excited to join this new genre, to see a book I love hit the marketplace, and to see cover art. I love covers. And now...I have to sculpt and create the next two books in the series. It's fun to be writing on deadline rather than on spec. :)
From Publisher's Marketplace
Children's: Young Adult Bram Stoker finalist and author of Witch's Trinity Erika Mailman
writing as Lynn Carthage's ARNAUD LEGACY: HAUNTED,
about a teen moving with her family in the run-down ancestral
mansion in England which appears to still be inhabited, to
Michaela Hamilton at Kensington Children's, in a three-book
deal, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (world).
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|4: my favorite number. Coincidence? I think not.|
**NOTE: there are plot spoilers, but I am unapologetic. This movie is 33 years old!
This week I had the incredible pleasure of seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen again, for the first time since 1981. Of course, I've viewed it multiple times since on TV and with rentals, but it had been a really, really long time since I'd seen it, and thus I watched it with very fresh eyes.
When my Dad took us to see this movie in 1981, I thought based on the title that it was going to be a movie about football. I can still recall my excitement when it dawned on me that it was a movie about archeology. I purchased the novelization and am kicking myself I don't have it today. I pored over that book like nobody's business. In the scene in the movie when Indy draws the sunbeam coming through the headpiece of the staff of Ra, and his chalk pulls so decisively on the flimsy portable chalkboard, I felt a visceral memory: that sound.
This movie holds up.
It's not dated. It feels like something wonderful the studios released last week.
I'm in awe of the storytelling. It's so well-plotted. For instance, the very first thing we learn about Marion Ravenwood is that she can drink large men under the table. That comes into play later when she tries to use that skill to extract herself from Belloq. (It's always bothered me that she doesn't wait until he's completely nodded out; he could so easily raise an alarm even as drunk as he is--but then Toht shows up so it's all moot anyway.) We learn right away that Indy doesn't like snakes...and so of course his climactic moment from which escape seems absolutely impossible also involves snakes. They are the hot fudge on the trouble sundae. We learn in an offhand reference that Indy and Marion like to eat dates. The dates later cause a mild panic in us, as we watch Indy carry a poisoned one around, thinking aloud as he delays eating it.
I wanted to be Marion Ravenwood. Perhaps this is why I'm so fond of Ravenswood wine. :) I could go on at length about Marion and how she shaped my ideas of what a strong woman is, but that's a post for another day.
I'd like to talk briefly about what it's like as a writer to watch a story on the big screen and try to dissect it on the fly for why/how the plot works. This movie has a wonderful ongoing motif: briefly having something and losing it. Besides the obvious triad of Belloq consistently grabbing things Indiana has procured at great trouble and danger to himself, there's the man at the very beginning, about to land a big fish by the way his line is bending ... but he must throw the entire reel into the river to start up the plane for Indiana. There's the fact that Toht temporarily has the headpiece, and that his hand bears its emblem albeit inadequately (I love that detail the most, I think, of any plot device in the movie. How brilliant is that??!! "And then deduct one for Allah"....oh my God: organic, credible, and game-changing.) I watched the movie most definitely as someone enjoying being entertained, but I also mentally kept track of how the scenes keep fortifying the story, each one moving the plot forward in demonstrable ways. There's nothing wasted in this movie. (well, maybe some of the kissing--but that added immeasurably to my enjoyment!) Then there's the idea that Indy and Marion once had each other.
I could go on and on for a long time, but wanted to keep this short. I so much appreciate this movie, and I thank Cinemark for including it in their summer classic movies queue.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2014
|View from my window at the Hotel Leger|
Earlier this month, I attended the Gold Rush Writers Conference, founded nine years ago by Antoinette May, author of Pilate's Wife and The Sacred Well. I was there to teach a workshop on how to outline your novel and to moderate a historical fiction panel.
The conference was incredible--I told Antoinette afterwards that she had built an event that had a wonderful vibe of supportiveness and mutual interest. It involved an interesting collection of people presenting and attending.
|Main Street. Hotel Leger on the left.|
I do have to take a few moments to talk about Mokolumne Hill itself. I'm still not sure of its pronunciation; I believe I've heard Mok-a-LUM-knee and Ma-KOL-um-nee...perhaps best to use the abbreviation: Mok Hill.
This is a Gold Rush town that still exudes history. It's not tourism-driven, just a small town with many original facades and structures. The walking-tour brochures lists dozens of extant structures. As I first drove down the main street, my breath was taken away. Checking into the Hotel Leger, built in 1871 on the footprint of the original 1851 structure that burned, I was so excited I was literally giggling as I keyed into my room on the second floor. Decorated in the style of the day with antique furnishings, the rooms (I popped my head into as many as I could as the cleaning staff vacated them on the day we all left) look as they would have to miners and their families. Some rooms do have their own bathrooms and fireplaces, but others require you to step down the hallway to a shared bath. I appreciated the historical accuracy; I found myself wishing there was a basin and pitcher in my room to wash my face.
|Rocking chair reflected in simple mirror. I'm in the 1800s!|
I took a run one morning and explored more of Mok Hill. Built into otherwise undisturbed hillsides, the homes have incredible vistas with nary a sign of civilization in sight. I'd always wondered if there were still areas of California that hadn't been touched by citification: this is one. I strongly considered telling my husband we should relocate here. I even had a bit of a race uphill with two chortling turkeys; they were faster.
|Yes, two swans were making out on my bed when I arrived. The nerve.|
Back to the conference. The whole weekend began with a lovely picnic in Antoinette's back garden with wine and a chance to meet everyone. It set the tone for the conference.
The keynote speaker was Christian Kiefer, who gave a wonderful, funny speech, delayed by his rapturous consumption of sherbert. He also gave a great seminar on setting in novels, referencing several classic novels and teasing out a great description of a barometer's pride of place in a Flaubert scene. The brunch headliner Lucy Sanna gave a great account of path to publication: like most of us, it wasn't an immediate slam-dunk but took a lot of work and persistence (congratulations!)
|Christian Kiefer's sherbet-fueled keynote|
The historical fiction panelists were Antoinette May, Bob Yeager (best.shoes.ever) and Brent Barker. We had a good session looking at some of the joys and challenges of our particular genre. I attended a poetry open mic and liked a lot of the poetry I heard; I didn't catch all the names but remember Kevin Arnold, Sally Ashton, and Kathie Isaac-Luke. I had some great conversations with people and don't want to start naming names in case I forget someone, but I thank Ann for the G&T, Kathy B-F for the birdseed giveaway with a book purchase, Pam for a great workshop and handout, and of course Ms. Luce for the fortifications.
|Boarded-up IOOF and yes that does say Blacksmith Shop!|
I didn't write at this conference, which is always one of my anticipated sidebars: being so inspired by being around other artists and hearing all the craft talk ordinarily sends me to my hotel room at some point to write. Ah well. Can't have it all!
Thank you, Antoinette and Charles, for a wonderful experience.
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