So far, 2009 is a great year. The big thing accomplished this week was to finalize all the stops on my Longhorns and Outlaws Virtual Tour for March!
We have lots of snow for good snowmobiling, so weekends are full. I’m making good progress on my next historical novel, Kidnapped By Outlaws, the sequel to Longhorns and Outlaws, so my planning is paying off.
Here are the Virtual Tour for Longhorns and Outlaws stops:
Being shortlisted for an award is about the best kind of honor a book can receive, besides winning, of course. Run, my historical fiction novel from Raupo/Pearson Education New Zealand was a finalist for the 2008 Saskatchewan Book Awards for Young Adult Literature.
While it didn’t take first place, here’s what the judges had to say: “A fascinating and at times deeply moving story of a young girl’s struggle against a debilitating disease in the early years of the twentieth century. Set in the summer of 1911, Run tells the deeply moving story of Victoria’s affliction wih infantile paralysis, with highly accurate depictions of her symptoms and an uncanny insight into her inner thoughts, hopes and fears in the face of unspeakable family tragedy. A remarkable relationship develops between Victoria and her step brother, Jacob, fueled by his desire to help her recover and her determination to teach him to read despite her illness, all with the help of the wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
Currently I’m distributing the novel in North America, so email me at email@example.com for more information if you’d like to get a copy!
Whew! The crazy eight weeks of picking up Longhorns and Outlaws, doing the book tours, school visits, and author readings has come to an end. I can breathe again…
I’ll admit, however, that it does feel a little anti-climactic.
So, what next? Well, on to more development for the outlaws Web site, of course, as there’s lots of material to add for teachers and young readers. It lives at: http://www.outlawbooks4kids.com/
But the big “next” is returning to that sequel for Longhorns and Outlaws — Kidnapped by Outlaws. Putting my faith in the wisdom of the other dozen wonderful members of my writing group, the Children’s Writers’ Round Robin, I workshopped the first ten pages of the new book a few weeks ago.
And the golden nugget I found in the critique session was that just because you’re writing a sequel, or a series, doesn’t mean you have to summarize everything that’s just happened to your character. Really, your character had a past when you introduced him in the first book! So, you don’t have to do anything different than work in whatever backstory is required, the same as you did the first time.
I felt like somebody’d just turned on a lightbulb. Of course. Those ten pages I’d worked so hard to summarize the whole Longhorns and Outlaws novel were totally boring and not required. Just what the reader needs to know to jump into this adventure — being kidnapped by outlaws — that’s all those ten pages need to contain.
Well, now, I’m ready to get back to work on that sequel, and once again, give thanks for my writing group. They’re just so darned smart and insightful…
My day in Camrose had been somewhat topsy-turvy using Google maps — left or right when I reached the main thoroughfare? Left first. That seemed wrong. Right second. That seemed more wrong. Well, for try number three I took the truck route around the city and gave up on ever finding Highway #26, which had presumably been just 2.8 km one direction — or the other — down the road.
Then, voila, miles and miles later, I reached the highway and began the final trek from Camrose to Wainwright. It seemed to take a LOT longer than the hour and 51 minutes Google maps had promised, and I was soon looking for a gas station! One appeared soon enough, and I had a great visit with the elderly owner who came out to show me how to get the pump started, and enjoyed some fabulous fall sunshine.
Lynn Grocock, head Librarian, met me and showed me around the lovely facility. As might be expected, I set up on the lower level in the beautiful children’s department.
(photo from the Wainwright Public Library collection)
I was pleased to have a dozen people appear right on the dot of 7 p.m., even one young future writer who was interested in Longhorns and Outlaws!
All of my presentations on the tour had been geared to talking about how authentic your material is when you write from experience — and how a writer does a lot more than sit at a computer and type. So, while I didn’t have the powerpoint to keep me on track, I took the same approach with the launch.
Question period gave me an opportunity to share my writer’s story with everyone, and we talked about how to get published and even where to get published. My advice is simple:
Write what you know!
Read, read, and read in the area you want to publish.
Study publishers’ lines carefully, so you really know where your work might make a good fit.
Write, write, and keep on writing!
Of course I also shared my own experiences with the power of the Internet to help get established. I share lots of tips on that in my course, Introduction to Internet Writing Markets that I teach online.
And so, with the friendly welcoming launch from Lynn Grocock and local people, my Alberta book tour came to a close. Would I do it again? You bet!