Thursday, August 23, 2007

Book Review - Maximum Ride; saving the world and other extreme sports

Maximum Ride; saving the world and other extreme sports is the third in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Yes, that James Patterson. I’m guessing most of you are familiar with his adult fiction, and his turn toward YA is just as engrossing.

Max, the leader of the flock, is one of an elite few genetically enhanced kids who are on a mission to save the world. Through her voice, full of sarcastic wit and teenage ‘I’m so over this’ attitude, the reader experiences the roller coaster ride of emotion as the flock is hunted across the globe by the scientists responsible for their powers and the flyboys they’ve created to terminate the flock.

This book is ideal for the reluctant reader. Chapters are short and entertaining and the plot moves very fast. Patterson has done a masterful job of creating the teenage voice which permeates this world, filled with lifelike emotion in an extraordinary background.

For the adult or serious reader, some of the scenarios seem slightly contrived with too much tension but not enough character to hold onto. This is, as Max admonishes early in the book, the third of a series and, while it does stand alone, the first two parts obviously flesh out these characters and give the reader a greater understanding of the stakes.

For the middle grade reader, this can be a fun romp and a great way to ease the non reader into a love of story. Great fun and even more humor, even you’re a fan of sci-fi and a quick pace, this one’s sure to please.

Visit Mother Talk for more information about writing reviews for your blog! If you enjoy reading and blogging, this could be a lot of fun for you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Writer's Circle, Cyber Style

One of the most amazing things about my time in blog land has been the writer's circle I've formed with people I would not have met in the brick and mortar world. Sure, I could have joined or formed a writer's group locally, but that hasn't been a practical thing for my life. My kids are just now getting to the age where I have a bit more mobility and, while I look very forward to getting back to the social realm on a more regular basis, I still feel that some of the contacts and online buddies I've met over the past few years will be an integral part of my life, professionally and personally.

There are, of course, downsides to cyber networking - I have gotten some very bad, even purposely misleading information about publishing... I mention publishing because those are the areas I frequent, but there is ridiculous information out online for every different subject you might think of. On the up side, for every make believe 'expert' out there peddling bad advice, there are at least as many honest and helpful people willing to set the record straight.

The other great thing about this writer's circle is the ease in which most writers, published and still aspiring, seek to bolster and help each other out. I've been on blogs where we've exchanged everything from our own processes and theories on writing to information about publishers and conferences... I've also found so many really good book reviews that my to be read list is virtually unmanageable... but will definitely be tackled at some point.

If you look at the writers in my 'Authors to Watch' section, you'll find two of my all time favorite mentors. I only found Marsha and Anita this year, but they've both been wonderful (I should have taken the time to copy/paste the links, sorry)... agent blogs have been giving me more food for though than I know what to do with - BookEnds is my current favorite even though they don't represent my genre... and, of course, all of my writer friends who will take the time to talk about what works for them, whether or not they outline, what sparks their creativity, and of course the goofy filler for to make me laugh.

How about you? What have you gotten out of the cyber circle? Do you have a favorite mentor or a great piece of advice?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Talent, Tenacity, and the Achievement of Dreams

Elizabeth Joy Arnold gave some sage advice for writers on perseverance and talent over at BookEnds Blog recently. Ms. Arnold's first novel, which looks fantastic by the way, was released in July. I highly recommend checking out the blog and this author's perspective because it's well worth the time and a great little infusion of morale boosting to boot.

Which brings me to the topic of today's blog:

Talent vs. Perseverance

I think a lot of writers like to believe that it is a God given talent that makes them writers. Do I believe in talent? Abso-friggin-lutely. I do. I think every person has their own set of strengths and obstacles - we all get gifts through no effort of our own. I'll tell you what I tell my daughter - Being very smart isn't an accomplishment, it's whether or not you use that to your best ability. Having things come easily to you in any area of life is not a point of pride. You get no credit for being talented as far as I'm concerned - hard work and determination are more important... If you've put in the blood, sweat, and tears to become a better person and positively impact those around you or in the world at large, then you've earned my respect.

This doesn't mean you have to be a smashing success or best selling author - personal success, the way you impact those you touch, is more to me... but this particular blog takes the topic and puts it into writing as a field specifically.

I think talent is important in writing. I think some people are born with a better ear or more innate talent for writing. But they don't become brilliant without effort. The reason, I think, that it looks easy for them is because putting your heart and soul into an endeavor that you truly love is not a hardship. Success may not come quickly or easily, but the road there is enjoyable when you love it.

Perseverance, to me, is more important. Anyone can learn to write. Shall I say that again? (Check your ego's at the door, fellow fiction writers) ANYONE CAN LEARN TO WRITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have to say, I don't know why someone without a talent or love for writing would pick such a rough field.... but yes, they can learn to write. Can you tell the difference between brilliant writing and a writer who's become good at the mechanics? I think most of us would agree that you can tell the difference.... We've all read books with that tell tale lack... which means, what? I'd say it means that author's perseverance put them ahead of all of the talented writers out there who have a million excuses for why they're not published but, if they were honest, would admit that they haven't tried as hard. I'm not saying every non-published writer isn't trying. I'm saying anyone who keeps trying and learning and writing will eventually meet with success.

Do you feel that talent is all important? Or do you feel that perseverance and luck have more to do with success?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I Rock Out Loud... er, umn... at least in blog form

Thanks to Lillie Ammann for naming me a Rockin’ Girl Blogger!!!

I appreciate the accolades so much.... especially as my blogging has seriously dropped off as of late. I’m not sure who else has been nominated for this one already, but I can think of a few other girls that rock – or as my seven year old would say, “You rock out loud!”

Jaye’s Blahg - Jaye’s wit and wisdom on writing are a regular stop in my blog reading as of late. Highly recommended for the blogger who likes to discuss their process.

JJ Debenedictis - Surprise, another blogging writer. Also a great place to discuss fiction.

Word Vixen - Again, writerly discussion, with a side of Disney!!!

Anti-Wife - er,hm.... okay, another writer – Anti Wife is also witty (seems I dig on those intelligent, feisty types) and her blog discusses her own life experience as well as writing and literary works.

Thanks again to Lillie Ammann for the nomination.