Monday, December 19, 2011

A Holiday Gift to You

By the time you read this post I'll be in Spain visiting my daughter, Lori. I'm going to take a break from blogging and will be back again next year with an interview with debut novelist Augusta Scattergood, more book reviews, and hopefully some thoughts and pictures of Barcelona, Granada, or Gibraltar!

Meanwhile, here are two videos to click on and enjoy during this holiday season:

And from Alaska:

Best wishes to all of you, my faithful readers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Write 2 Ignite News

The annual Write 2 Ignite conference registration is now live. Click here to get updated information on the speakers, registration, and how to receive a manuscript critique. 

Jean Hall graciously asked me if I would give one of the keynote addresses and lead two workshops. Click here for a preview of my keynote speech, Humility in the Marketplace. Here is a listing of all the workshops

Mark your calendars for March 16-17, 2012. I hope you plan to join us for an outstanding time of learning about writing and fellowship with other Christian writers. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crossing the Wire

Assault rifles, a wild puma, extreme cold, excessive heat, starvation, dehydration, a capture by the Border Patrol and deportation, hundreds of miles of deserts, drug-smuggling thieves, extortioners, a rattlesnake bite-- Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs has all this and more. Girl and boy middle schoolers will be rooting for 15-year-old Victor Flores as he struggles against unbelievable odds to secure one thing: money for his Mexican mother to keep their family goats and chickens. 

I would encourage teachers to use this coming-of-age book as a good example of creating a character who faces both internal conflicts (wanting to be the man in the house since his father's death), and external conflicts (see the opening sentence of this blog!). Victor's desire to help his mother propels this book forward; this is a good example of a plot-driven story

But undoubtably this book will also open readers' eyes to why illegals attempt a dangerous border crossing. Although statistics indicate that arrests at the Mexican border have diminished,   the U.S. is still in the midst of many emigration issues and border controversies. This novel, published in 2006, is well-written, timely and in parts, poetic. Consider this line:

"Sorrow sings also when it runs too deep to cry."

Read this book. You won't forget it. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Wish Contest

I received this today from Teresa Fannin, SCBWI-Carolina's regional advisor. I thought it was worth passing along; please note that the contest is open to adults and teens. 

Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers. This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation. See for full details.

You could win a manuscript critique from:

Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot
Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau
Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust
Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe
Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue

All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For. Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012. If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript). You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss. To enter, follow the instructions at


The contest requires responding to one of the stories in the anthology What you Wish For. According to the Book Wish Foundation website, "The stories were contributed for free by their authors so we could use the book's proceeds to develop libraries in Darfuri refugee camps."

plan to enter, how about you?

THE NIGHT WAR: A MG Historical Novel Review

  By now you should have received an email from my new website about my review of THE NIGHT WAR by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. (It'll com...