Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A is for Alliteration

Always an aspiring author
Prattling prose
Spinning stories
Working words into worlds
Smithing steele swords
From facts and fiction
Unique and universal
Day to day dull
Or exciting explorations and epic entertainments
Touching truth
Humanities' harbor and meeting of minds 
Sanity's summit
Beautiful books

This is my first day participating in Alex J. Cavanaugh's A to Z Challenge. April will be fun!

Win $10 iTunes card!

FACT: Winning a $10 gift card to iTunes is awesome.

FICTION: Doing it is hard work.

If you're looking for an easy way to increase your music collection then go to the Writers Cubed blog. We have a great contest going on this very moment to win a $10 itunes card. The rules are simple:

1. Go to our blog, become a follower, and make a comment. That puts your name into the drawing for the itunes card one time.

2. Mention the contest on Facebook, your personal blog, or Twitter. Be sure to include the link to their site and tell the Writers Cubed about it in your comment. Each of those things are worth two more entries into the drawing to make a total of seven entries--if you do all of them.

The contest runs from now until April 23rd.

Here's the link in case you didn't catch it up above:

Who doesn't love a flash mob? Music does things to people. Rock on!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review of Kristen Chandler's YA novel Wolves, Boys & Other Things...

Another great Book Review from Lois Brown of Writers Cubed.

"The first time I tried Thai food, my taste buds thought they'd died and gone to heaven. To me, reading Kristen Chandler's book WOLVES, BOYS, AND OTHER THINGS THAT MIGHT KILL ME was a lot like that. I found it a delicious new flavor in the current smorgasbord of YA literature.

Don't be fooled by the title. This book has nothing to do with vampires and werewolves. Instead, it is a serious yet entertaining look at the ramifications of re-introducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park, a government program that began in the mid 1990s. (However, if you are looking a for a good paranormal read, I recommend the book PARANORMALCY.)

What could have been a dull, simply informational read is transformed by Kristen into a story that skillfully blends fact with excitement, intrigue, and, oh yes, teenage love.

It all begins when 16-year-old KJ is cajoled into writing a column about the Yellowstone wolves for her high school newspaper. She's to work side-by-side with Virgil, and expert photographer and the new kid at school. As luck would have it, he's a good-looking vegetarian whose mother is a passionate environmentalist.

As KJ learns more about the plight of the gray wolf in the United Sates, she gains an appreciation for an animal that most people in her rural community would prefer dead.

Her newspaper articles cause enough of a stir in town that the lives of those who are sympathetic to her cause are threatened. It's up to KJ to protect the wolves, keep ranchers' livestock safe, and to heal relationships gone bad.
Thanks Kristen for adding some spice to my reading list!"

Kristen will be presenting a class on Dialog: Give your characters a voice that readers will love at the Teen Writers Boot Camp in Orem, Utah at the Utah Valley University campus on Saturday, April 23, 2011. The boot camps is for teens ages 13-19. Cost is $39 before April 9th. For more information, visit

Friday, March 25, 2011

Interview with author Roland Yeomans PART 2

Author Roland Yeoman of Writing In The Crosshairs joins us again today. We are talking about his new ebook release on Amazon--THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

 What inspired you to write a Fable style story with a Bear as the main character?

Roland :
I usually write in the first person. It involves the reader on a deep, empathic level.

But when I wanted to write a novel based in part on my mother's tales while I lay ill with double pneumonia, I knew it had to be done in the style of a Lakota storyteller, squatting in front of the campfire, spinning his tale to wide eyes and curious ears.

Third person it had to be. But the unique third person of a seasoned storyteller, painting with words a picture of different shades :

One level simple adventure for the children.
Another level speaking to the loneliness and alienation felt by all teens.
Another level singing of the quest each young adult undertakes to find love and meaning.
Yet another level whispering to all of us as we face that last great unknown : death and what, if anything, lies beyond.

Why a bear?

First, because my mother told her tales to a fearful and ill boy, using the bear as hero. I began to see the hulking shape of Hibbs in the shadows at the foot of my bed ... and I was comforted.

Second, The Grizzly bear has always been part of Native American Indian history; for as long as Native American Indians have been around, so has the big beast.

The big beast showed gentleness, but could also be fierce. All in all, the bear was a magnificent creature that they respected.They knew a mother bear would fight to protect her cubs, just like any mother would do. She could also be gentle and quiet, however, and she was just as good a hunter as the Indians.

Also Native American Indians regarded the grizzly bear with awe and respect. That awe which is so important to a story and to a reader, young or old.

Early hunting tribes noticed that these bears had very complex behaviors. Many native tribes thought of the bear as a "god".

American Indians saw that these grizzlies were large and very strong animals that could move quickly in spite of their size.

It's no wonder that these magnificent animals would become the center of Indian legends. Often found in Indian paintings and engraved in jewelry, the grizzly was a sign of strength.

The grizzly bear stood for many meanings and rituals among the American Indians.

The Indian Bear Dance was considered the Ghost Dance, bringing back the ghosts of their ancestors while helping the grizzly bear fall asleep for its winter hibernation.
Ancestors join in the dance in their spirit form while the bears are lulled to sleep. After the dance is complete, another Dance is celebrated, called the Circle of Life Dance.
This dance will be held around a burning log fire until the fire burns out. The Native Indians will dance, sing and chant for warmth and light from the sun during the time the grizzly sleeps.

It is important to note that Hibbs is the only grizzly that does not hibernate in the winter. Why is that? Ah, that is a secret that to which only reading my book will give you a hint.

How do the lessons of Lakota legends differ from the ancient Celtic ones?

Roland :
The Celtic heroes and legends are often fierce, prideful men and godlings. Take Cernunos :
The "Cernunnos" type being in Celtic iconography is often portrayed with animals, in particular the stag and also frequently associated with the ram-horned serpents. He is often described as a "peaceful god of nature and fruitfulness". But is also associated with coins and wealth.

In my novel, I had his nature perverted and twisted by the Adversary of All Life, the Gray Bear, until all that was left inside him was a wild lust for control and power.

Then, there is the Dagda. Irish tales depict the Dagda as a figure of power, armed with a spear. Again pride of arms of strength. Not surprisingly, he turns out only to be a mask worn by the Gray Bear.

On the other hand, Lakota legends and myth praise humility, compassion, healing, bravery, and honor. It is not that the Lakota do not appreciate wealth or material possessions, we just do not measure ourselves or others by those things.

 I thought your use of the ancient myth that the Sidhe were those angels who were undecided in the great war in Heaven in your story was very creative and frankly, cool. How did Hibb's encounter with the Sidhe change his path?

Roland :
The Turquoise Woman, who first met Hibbs far in the past as a grown bear, grew to love him as a cub later on when one of her plans to re-introduce the Whyte race backfired. She stole a human baby from a dimension beyond the mirror barrier. In him, she would bring the Whyte race back into being.
But you cannot trick the Great Mystery. The baby was transformed in her arms into a grizzly cub. And The Turquoise Woman knew she had brought this young infant to its death that she had seen far in the past. She determined to train the cub, mold him, strengthen him, and then to hide him in the wonders of Eire.
When the adult Hibbs saves the Sidhe, Leandra Dagda, The Turquoise Woman realizes he was bringing his own doom upon himself.

Destiny is a fearsome force to fight.

 Why did you choose the title "Answer" for God and "Question" for Lucifer and call it the War Between Question And Answer?

Roland :
One of Lucifer's first words in the Garden is "Has God really said?" He asks questions, not for truth, but to make us doubt ourselves and our worth.
Why is it "always inevitable for answer to triumph over question"?

Roland :
The Answer is the Light inside our souls that doubts wants to douse. And that is why Answer will always win. For even the smallest candle casts back the heavy blanket of dark night.

Life will always trump death. Without life, death would cease to exist. But life can roll on merrily without death. And in a realm where no shadow ever falls, life will do just that.

Ask Hibbs.

Thought provoking stuff! I've enjoyed learning more about you and your book. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. (=

Go to Amazon and get your own copy of Roland's book-- THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

If you don't have an ereader--no problem! Just click the link below and get Kindle for PC for free!

Download FREE

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Interview with author Roland Yeomans PART 1

Roland Yeomans, talented author of Writing In The Crosshairs has released his debut novel-- THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS available on Amazon HERE.

Those of you who follow his blog already know that he is a poet at heart. He writes with elegance, creating drama, mystery, compelling characters and always with an underlying philisophical beauty. His new book is no exception.

Today and tomorrow he is gracing my blog with an interview. Enjoy. (=

Roland, tell us a little bit about yourself and when you knew you wanted to write

Roland :
My family left Detroit when I was quite young so my last memories of Detroit are hub cabs and knee caps. The further south we went, the hotter it got. So I was glad when we stopped in Lafayette, Lousiana, because I was real sure the next stop would have been Hell.
A year there taught me to say "sir and ma'am" and to pronounce David and Richard in really strange ways when they were last names. And it was not a pretty sight when I said Comeaux for the first time.

Lake Charles was the next stop. I remember standing in the front yard of our new home, watching the neighbor across the street beating in his front door (his wife had locked) with a fence post.
I looked up to Mom and said, "You know, if I had a degree in Psychology, I would probably understand what's going on there."
She ruffled my hair and said back, "Lot's of luck with that."
And she was right. A master's degree in psychology hasn't unlocked the why's of the pain I see. It just helped me put fancy labels on them.
I have been everything but a pirate, but since I once worked for a tax preparation firm, I guess you could say I've been that, too. I was a teacher for awhile. Then, a family counselor. My mother contracted cancer, and I emptied my savings, opening my own bookstore to give me freedom to go with her for her out-of-town treatments.

Mother died. The reason for my store died with her. I saw an opening at Lifeshare Blood Center in the Product Management department (We try not to say "blood" out loud, it gets people queasy -- LOL.) I applied and was hired. And the rest is infamy, ah, I mean history.
I've been writing most of my life. In Lafayette, a wealthy neighbor took me in for a time when my mother was hospitalized.
She saw me reading a GREEN LANTERN comic and pulled me to her study. There she asked me to make up a story of Green Lantern where an enemy used his greatest weakness against him.
As I spun the tale, she typed it, fingers flying across the keys like magic. She gave me the story to read aloud.
And I was hooked. From that day on, I was a storyteller. Mrs. Hilton, I owe you.

Most of my old writings burned up when my home burned to the ground. But now, I have an e-book, THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS, on sale at Amazon.

Sounds like your mother and Mrs. Hilton both had a lot of influence on you. Do you have Muse? What drives or inspires your writing?

Roland :
That childlike sense of awe and wonder I had as a lonely only child, wandering the lush rolling rises and long, wide stretches of nothing but trees and bushes. I would imagine myself Ulysses wandering some fabled lost island in search of his lost men. I would sit under a tall pine, my back to it, my nose in a book of mythology or volume on legends.

I want to create that sense of awe and wonder and adventure that enveloped me and drew me into a journey where I walked beside giants and legends.
I want to spin tales for the child in all of us. I want to make you seat on the edge of your seat as laughing Victor Standish leads evolved raptors on the chase of their lives along the rooftops of the French Quarter.

I want to introduce you to Hibbs, the bear with 2 shadows, and draw you into his world so well that you smell the death-lotus blossoms on the air, feel the tickle of the summer grass underneath Hibbs' bare paws.

I want to make the magic real in the darkness of yor mind.

I love how sensory your writing is. Give us a short synopsis of what your book is about.

Roland :
In a land just beyond your mirror lies a realm few discover.

It is a magical, dangerous dimension. There lurks your darkest nightmares and your fondest hopes.
The race called Whyte is not even a memory. Except to Estanatlehi, The Turquoise Woman, once named Gaia, Goddess of the Earth, by the People she alone remembers.
All of which means exactly nothing to the young bear Hibbs. For as long as he can remember, he has been raised by The Turquoise Woman, whom he simply calls GrandMother.
Trained by her, hunted by the Lakota, accompanied by the strange hawk, Little Brother, Hibbs has happily ambled from mountain to desert to forest, even sometimes across the great waters.
Often he has asked GrandMother why she has led him to so many different lands. The answer has always been : Because a moving target is harder to hit.

But now, Hibbs finds himself unable to avoid his destiny : to rescue the lost Whyte race from oblivion.
And all it will cost the bear is everything he holds most dear.

Thanks, Roland. This book is fascinating and original. I look forward to finishing it. (=

Tomorrow I will post PART 2 of my interview with Roland and you can read more about his book THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unicorn City

This Friday I'm attending the premier for this new indie film, Unicorn City. My little sister Ali Durham is in it. My husband built her warrior costume. It looks like goofy fun--like a Napolean Dynamite-ish movie. Not to be taken seriously! Yay for indies! (=

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Radio Days

Here is the recent radio interview I did along with Lois Brown (also of Writers Cubed) and YA author Kristen Chandler. We are promoting literacy and teen writers with the Teen Author Boot Camp. Have a listen and pass it on!

Writers Cubed: Jo Schaffer, Jennifer Jenkins, Tahsha Ford , Reana Campbell, Margie Jordan, Lois Brown, Mat McLeod, Amy McKay.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review of Paranormalcy

Today my guest blogger is Lois Brown of  Writers Cubed. Here is her review of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White who will be the keynote speaker at our Teen Author Bootcamp. Take it away Lois...

What’s your favorite paranormal?

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, or how about mermaids?

If you can’t decide, then PARANORMALCY, a New York Times best-selling young adult novel, is right up your alley. The author, Kiersten White, skillfully weaves a swarm of different creatures together in a story that feels much more human than not.

I immediately liked PARANORMALCY's main character, Evie. She has spunk, attitude, and the talent of seeing through a parnanormal’s glamour—a beautiful exterior that hides what is really underneath. Evie’s job is to round up these monsters and have them tagged by the International Paranormal Containment Agency.

Things begin to go awry, however, when Evie learns she is being watched by the IPCA because they believe she too is a paranormal--one of unknown origin.

Add a cute boy, a devious fairy, and a mysterious ruthless killer to the plot, and you have the makings for a great story.

I finished the book and handed it to my 14-year-old daughter. She confirmed my opinion when she couldn’t put the book down to come eat dinner. Just so you know, it's not like we were having split pea soup or anything gross like that. It was a tasty meal I'd made. (grin)

A sequel is coming out soon, and I look forward to reading it.

Kiersten is going to be the keynote speaker for a teen writing conference in Utah. If you know a teen who likes to read/write books, and if you live in Utah, check it out at