Archive for June, 2010

Suspect at ALA

June 26, 2010

While my friend and fellow writer Sondy Eklund was at ALA, she took a picture that included the ARCs (advanced reader copies) of SUSPECT.  I’m hoping to get permission to post soon.  It’s just so exciting for me to know that some librarians out there are going to be sitting down with all my characters for a few hours.


Peachtree Booth ALA 2010

Many thanks to Sondy for letting me post these.  She’s a voracious reader who blogs about books at Sonderbooks.


Chapter 14….Done!

June 25, 2010

Chapters 13 and 14 were revisions.  Certain things needed to be tweaked because of new events, but the skeletons could remain essentially the same.  Chapter 15, though, will be new material. 

A lot of what used to be there will have to be dumped.  But part of being a writer is the willingness to “kill your darlings.” 

I don’t ever quite kill them.  Instead, I transfer them for temporary safe-keeping to a separate  file with other sections that have been cut.  I don’t usually go back to bail my words out of prison, but it has happened often enough for me to know that this is a good thing to do.

Contemporary Fiction

June 25, 2010

Editors warn authors against putting things in their contemporary novels that will “date” the books unless a project is already anchored somehow in time.  As I watched the Italians lose their final game of group playof th 2010 World Cup, I wondered whether DEFENDING IRENE had made the jump from contemporary sports fiction to historical sports fiction.  Soccer isn’t just the national pasttime for Italians; it’s the national passion.  I was pretty sure that Matteo had dissed American soccer at some point.  And naturally, he couldn’t have done that if the Americans had gone on to the group of 16 while the Italians had gone home.  But as I flipped through the pages to some of the key scenes, I saw to my very great relief that he hadn’t. 

Of course, a lot of things have changed since my girls’ soccer novel was published back in 2004.  There’s one section where my main character emails a friend.  These days, Irene would probably be updating her status on Facebook.  But overall, I think that the email still works in the context of the book.

Grand Rapids Griffins

June 21, 2010

The Grand Rapids Griffin mascot posed with SAVING THE GRIFFIN and Diana Wynne Jones’ YEAR OF THE GRIFFIN.  It was pretty fun to see my book next to one by DWJ even though the only real link was the fact that we both had the word “griffin” in the title. 

Researching family history?

The Back Cover

June 19, 2010

My husband, who is fabulous at manipulating images, scanned in the catalog’s back cover.  After removing things like my address and other things needed by the postal service, he sent me the following image: 


An invitation to check out Suspect


June 17, 2010

Whoa!  I got some exciting news this morning.  Peachtree decided to feature SUSPECT on the back cover of their fall catalogue! Very cool.  I suspect that some of that ‘love’ has to come from the truly eyecatching look.  This is one of the times when I’m really hoping that potential readers judge my book by its cover.   I felt the same way about SAVING THE GRIFFIN even though the looks couldn’t be more different.

Coming in Fall, 2010

Pronouncing Character Names

June 16, 2010

Pronouncing unfamiliar characters names is always a challenge.  Part of the reason for this is that English is such a confusing language.  For example, you can make the “ah” sound with an “o” or an “a”.    After living in Italy for three years, I got into the habit of using their much simpler system. 

a: ah
e: ay
i:  ee as in need
o: oh
u: oo as in food

Last night, one of the ladies in my critique group had the challenge of figuring out how to pronounce my character’s names.  I typically pronounce Calyn like Calvin without the “V”.  My friend struggled with that.  She wanted to say Caylyn.  I told her to go ahead about halfway through.  After all, I figured that any future readers could make that choice.

But I became aware of another challenge.  I always pronounced the last name La-DURN-er with the accent on the second syllable.  My friend put the accent on the first syllable and it came out more like this: LA-dur-ner.  I actually liked it quite a bit.  Now I’ll have to decide.  I’ve never actually heard the name pronounced.  I’m probably the only writer in the world who got the last name for her main character off the bottom of a lovely set of hand-turned wooden coasters. 

Some writers offer help.  I especially liked the scene in the fourth Harry Potter where Hermione works with Victor on the proper way to pronounce her name.  Ms. Rowling found a creative way to cement the sound of Hermione’s name in her readers’ minds. Lois McMaster Bujold, on the other hand, has told readers to pronounce the names of people in her Vorkosigan series in any way that they like.

Forza Italia!

June 14, 2010

I’m cutting my personal writing time short today so that I can watch Italy vs. Paraguay in World Cup soccer.    Ever since our family lived in Merano for about three and a half years, we always cheer for the Azurri on the international stage.   In fact, my son wanted to play for them when he grew up.  I had to explain to him that it simply wouldn’t be possible–that he was an American and would have to play for the U.S. 

“But I lived in Italy!” he protested. 

“That doesn’t matter,” I told him.

“I have friends there,” he said. 

“That doesn’t matter either.” 

I think that I narrowly managed to avoid saying that he would have to marry Angelica to become an Italian citizen.  But there really was a point before we moved back to the U.S. where people at the plant where my husband worked offered to start the paperwork for our family to become Italian citizens.  I think that they were only half-joking. 

And I do have “nostalgia” for Italy with the Italian meaning and pronunciation: no-stall-GEE-ah.  That’s why it was such a pleasure to essentially return to Merano every day while writing DEFENDING IRENE, my soccer novel.  I could write the novel from the perspective of an Italian-American because that’s what I felt myself to be despite my Northern European genetics.

Chapter 12….Done!

June 14, 2010

Chapter 12 of Calyn’s story only needed a few tweaks here and there to reflect the new opening and the addition of new characters.  I spent the morning reviewing and smoothing Chapters 11 and 12.  I often do this a the beginning of a new writing week to remind myself of exactly what’s been going on with my characters.   I find that this helps me with continuity. This process also helped me figure out some of the things that I’m going to have to add to the beginning of Chapter 13 to reflect Calyn’s new concerns.

Once again, this revision makes me think of the branching of parallel universes.  What happens to the story when the character turns left instead of right?  That’s what I’m finding out.

Mission Accomplished

June 10, 2010

I met my self-imposed deadline to escape from Chapter 9.  Then I discovered that it was actually Chapter 11.  I don’t usually doublecheck my chapters for continuity until I’m prepping them to go out, but I’d been scrolling up and down and noticed the discontinuity.   Chapter 12 only needs tweaks.  Maybe I can get through that today.