Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dragonlight: July Book of the Month

On a trip to Barnes and Noble with my cousin the other day (see Nerdy Skater Chick) and bought two books: Dragonlight and Treasure Island. I haven't started Treasure Island, but I've been intrigued with it for awhile.
I was very excited to finally get it. I've been looking forward to it ever since I finished Dragonfire last year!
I was looking forward...through the whole book....when Kale would finally find out she was pregnant. I saw the signs coming! I thought the book was excellent, and I hated to put it down yesterday.
It was a magical journey to finally reach the end, and though I'm sad that Kale's Story is over, I hope I get to see some of her kids and Regidor's Egg in Mrs. Paul's next fantasy book. I'm still not sure I completely understand what happened to Toopka...I might need to reread a few chapters.
Sorry, this is the way I review. I talk about it like everyone else in the world has read it.
The book was great and I really really enjoyed reading it. I think my favorite in the series is still Dragonquest, but Dragonlight has the best cover. :D
Can't wait to read more about Amara.
Dragonlight is July Book of the Month....:D Yays. I finally got to it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Questions and Answers with J. Scott Savage

Here are the really cool, random random questions that I asked J. Scott Savage.

1. How long did it take you to write Farworld: Water Keep?

Less than three months to write the first draft. The story had been in my head for several years, but once I started writing it, it was like a waterfall. Fastest book I’ve ever written. Book two is coming just as fast.

2. What inspired you to write about a little blue dragon, a crippled boy and a smart girl?

I love Harry Potter, but sometimes when I read those types of books, I wish the protagonist wasn’t always the best magician, or the fastest Quidditch player. I like people who manage to do extraordinary things while overcoming the kinds of obstacles real people face. You look at those three and think, “How the heck are they going to save the world?”

3. Would you say that Tolkien and Lewis influenced you a lot in your writing? If not them, then who?

Oh, absolutely. Along with Donaldson, Brooks, King, Koontz, and Straub. I love fantasy with a little edge to it, or thrillers with a fantastical element.

4. What is your favorite fiction novel?

One of my personal favorites is Lord Foul’s Bane. I think because of when I read it and how different it was from anything I’d read before.

5. In Farworld, which character did you enjoy writing the most?

Gosh, I couldn’t pick a favorite. They all become real people to me. I’m hoping to get into Bonsplinter’s head more in book 2.

6. What part in Farworld: Water Keep was the hardest to write?

Interestingly enough, the Earth scenes were the hardest. I think it was because I was trying to see the familiar through the eyes of someone unfamiliar. I was afraid the Earth scenes might slow down the fantasy. But from what I’ve heard it seems to have worked okay.

7. Tell us something about Farworld: Land Keep

A sneak peek, huh? How about this: You will get to meet a character you met briefly in Book 1, who it should be impossible to meet.

8. Is there anything from when you were a kid that influenced the story or the way you write?

I think my best writing is when I go back to being a kid and just having fun. I had a pretty crazy imagination as a kid. It actually got me into quite a bit of trouble as a kid. But now I tell my parents, “See it finally paid off!”

9. Do you have any plans for other books after the Farworld series is over?

My dream has always been to write full time so I get have the time to write all the ideas I have stuck in my head. If that happens, I could easily imagine writing three books a year. The one that I currently feel the strongest about is a kind of urban fantasy about a hit man/PI who dies and goes to hell, but has a chance to come back if he can track down the demons who are trying to overthrow it. Kind of a dark/magic/thriller.

10. What's your favorite animal? :)

I really like frogs because they come in so many colors, shapes, and sizes. Plus they make cool sounds.

11. Where do you get ideas for names? (Kyja and Riph Raph aren't names you hear every day....)

Some names are totally just made up. I just play with sounds until I find one I like. Others, like the Unmakers, Mist Steed, and Mimicker, are names that sound like what they are. Finally there are a few names that are plays on words. Look up the name of the frog that leads Kyja and Marcus to Olden. It’s only used once, and most people will have no clue what it means.

12. How important is the naming process for you? Do you slave over trying to pick a name for you character, or do you just grab one and use it?

Very important. Occasionally I just stick in an X until I find the name, but most of the time the story stops until I find one that works for me.

13. Where did the inspiration for Galespinner come from?

It seems to me that there are three ways of approaching creatures in fantasy. 1) Just rename common Earth creatures with fantastical names. (e.g. call a shark a kitz.) In my opinion that is really lame. As a reader it takes you about ten seconds to go, of I get it, that’s a shark. 2) Use creatures from Earth myth or literature. For example a unicorn, or a minotaur. An elf or a dwarf. That works, and Terry Brooks, among others, does a great job with it. But I wanted Farworld to feel very different for the reader so instead, I went with a third option which was to create creatures no one has ever heard of. Of course it’s hard to be 100% original. There are plenty of creatures in literature for example that can mimic other creatures, but I tried to make them all unique in some way. In the case of Galespinner, I wanted a magical steed that wasn’t unicorn, or gryphon, but something in between. I also have always been intrigued my how the triceratops has a beak and teeth. So I added a little of that in too.

14. What is your best advice for aspiring writers?

Give yourself the freedom to color outside the lines. I don’t mean try to write something just to be strange like 2nd person, present tense, through the eyes of a trash can. “You eat the empty soup can and grin inside.” But more, allow yourself to play. Don’t think everything you write has to be published. Try copying other authors’ styles for a little bit. Try writing just dialog or just action scenes. Spend a day making up creatures or characters. Learn to write the same way kids learn to draw. They don’t do a whole painting right up front. They draw faces for hours, then move to stick figures.

15. What advice helped you the most?

When I first started writing, there was so much I didn’t know. I just dove in with no real idea how to swim once I got in the water. Later, as I spent more time reading books on writing, attending conferences, and talking to authors, I realized how much I didn’t know. There’s no one “key” that will make your writing great. But if you are serious about writing, invest a little time in reading books and attending conferences.

16. Favorite character from Star Wars? :D

Han Solo. He was just a total stud. Although Yoda was darn cool too.

17. Favorite character from The Lord of the Rings?

Aragon. Hands down.

18. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No. I always loved making up stories. But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized someone might actually publish something I wrote. I wish I’d started twenty years earlier. But better late than never huh?

I've really enjoyed doing the blog tour! Thanks for the opportunity Scott!

Farworld: The Water Keep

Hello Everyone!

I signed up for J. Scott Savage's Farworld Blog Tour several months ago, and now I'm posting my review.

First, I thought it was very good. I liked how he made it nearly impossible for them to save Farworld, and yet, they are still on their way to doing just that. I love stories where there seems to be absolutely no way to do what you need to, and then you manage it. No Hope Stories, like The Lord of the Rings. How are two tiny little people called hobbits possibly going to manage to get to Mordor on their own and still survive? Yet, they still manage, and there is a happy ending..but it's a well-deserved happy ending.

I loved the part about Galespinner. I thought she was absolutely beautiful, in fact, that I really want to do an art project of her sometime. I was so impressed with her description and her personality.

"A moment later, Marcus caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned in time to see something appear silently out of the fog. Although it stood on four legs, it wasn't any kind of horse he had ever seen. At least a foot taller than Chance, and nearly twice as broad in the chest, its body was an almost blinding white. But it was the head he couldn't take his eyes from. It was narrow like a bird's, but covered with pale golden scales. And inside its beak-like mouth he could see sharp white teeth. Growing from the top of its head and down the back of its neck was a mane of gauzy golden tendrils that looked like fairy-wings. As he watched, the creature glared down at him with blazing orange eyes, reared up on its hind legs, and snorted. Plumes of white steam shot from the creature's nostrils. Marcus backed away from it, scared to death. He was not going to get on the back of that. But Kyja stepped slowly toward it, a look of awe on her face. She turned to Master Therapass. "A mist steed?"

Can you just imagine getting on the back of that thing? Really imagine it. It's pretty cool.
I also really enjoyed the part where Marcus and Kyja were in The Water Keep. I liked how, just when I thought I could predict the plot perfectly, I would be surprised. I liked that Marcus, Kyja and Riph-Raph had to keep going back and forth to Earth, and that Riph-Raph had to turn into some kind of Earth a lizard. :) I thought that was a good plot twist, because most YA Fantasy Fiction take place in one world or the other; they don't go back and forth. That was a great new idea.

The two things about the book that I would change is that Bonesplinter wasn't all that scary to me, and I think that the voice in which the book was written wasn't very creative. Both of those things are definitely fixable, though, and the book is also targeted at younger ages, which could account for Bonesplinter not being very scary to me.

Other than those two things, I think the book was really good, and I look forward to reading the sequel and seeing the illustrations! I hope I can get a copy of the hardback.
Farworld: The Water Keep comes out in September of '08. An excellent story; a very pleasant, engaging read with enjoyable characters. Check it out!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Outling and Sagas

Over the past week, I have officially left my scanty reading kick and entered a writing one.

Never mind...

I'm not sure how rational it really is to say that you have officially left your reading kick when you have just gone to the libary and checked out seven books. I couldn't help myself...every time I saw something interesting I grabbed it. The other day I was aching for poetry, so I grabbed two volumes of it. Upon seeing a copy of Arabian Nights, I grabbed that to. I have an abridged version, but it's so annoying that none of the copies are the same. How are you supposed to know which is the most accurate? Actually, I think I read something about that in Inkheart.....

And I also grabbed a collection of stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. I found out about him from Inkheart too. I was hoping to see if it had his book Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus, but I don't think it's in there. Also The Tale of Despereux, because I saw the trailer the other day, and because yesterday I was inspired with the idea of someday writing a story about a mouse. What is it really with storybooks and mice? Cinderella, Despereux, The Witches, and Boy. Not that I've read all of those, mind you, but I want to someday. I'm especially looking forward to the last two. Mice are such enchanting little creatures, aren't they? At least in stories. The thought of coming in contact with a real one is perfectly revolting. That reminds me of a funny story that happened to me and my cousin one time....haha. No, I'm not going to tell it to you. :D

I think I am, however, on the border of a writing kick, because over the past two weeks, I have been furiously outlining my book, and its sequels. I have thus far partially outlined each of the first four in the first Kitt Chronicle Cycle. I think there will be about three plus a prequel, rather like The Hobbit. It'll be a very very long saga, but I hope a good one, if I ever finish it. Who knows if I'll ever even finish the first one!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do you know?!

Bob Dylan is great. Avril Lavigne is typical pop. But guess what? Lavigne actually covers a Dylan song....Knockin on Heaven's Door.

I was so surprised.....Bob Dylan apparently influenced more people than I know. I've really liked Blood on the Tracks, and I will be posting a review of it soon. Lavigne doesn't actually add much to the just sounds the same, except in a smoother female voice instead of Dylan's authentic folk-style one. I still thought that was cool though. Surprises surprises...kind of like Nickel Creek covering Brittany Spear's song Toxic.
To hear Lavigne's version, click here. To hear Dylan's version, click here.


Pretty Kull.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Not Really Sure...

Not really sure....why I'm posting anything. I'm bored. I know! I'll make a list of funkiest songs of the week...the top five.

1. Lonely by Akon
I just think that this one is funny, and kind a cute tune. I like the singing chipmunk. That's an Alvin and Chipmunk picture.....Seemed to fit.

2. 500 Miles by the Proclaimers.
This song is so funny! I heard it on a TV show a long time ago and I've wanted to know what song it was ever since. I ran across it on YouTube the other day, and I was so excited to finally be able to listen to it after having it in my head for such a long time.

3. Double Trouble by John Williams.
This has got to be one of the weirdest songs, but maybe one of the coolest. From the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Soundtrack.

4. The Bells of Notre Dame by Alan Menken and Paul Kandel
This song is entirely random, but I love the part whenever Kandel starts singing at the top of his lungs. You haven't heard anybody sing at the top of their longs until you hear the climax of this song.

5. Year 3000 by the Jonas Brothers
I think this song is funny. You have only to listen to see what I mean. I was actually singing it to myself the other day! I think I might listen to it now.....