Friday, June 24, 2011

More about the Husband and a Project Revealed

So, the theme for this week shall be the husband! It was father's day last Sunday, and so he deserves a little love, a little recognition, and few extra short story sells.

Short story sells?

Yes, that is right. I have neglected to announce that the brilliant writer husband has something you can read. Right now. Only a mouse click away.

Last month we released his short story "Killer"  as a e-book on Amazon Kindle. We also started up a little business called Wandering Leaf Publishing. Yea! Where we plan to write and release e-book stories together.  Tis one of the huge projects that I've been meaning to reveal for a while, but hadn't got around to yet.

So without further ado....

Wandering Leaf Publishing would like to announce the release of its first short story in e-book format.

"Killer" by Kindal Debenham

A brief glimpse into the mind of a serial killer. Meet Daniel, a former employee of the Center for Disease Control, who has turned to a life of murder. A 3,000 word short story.

A sneak peek:

"So I guess I killed them all.

It didn’t seem like I had succeeded at first. My last try had been far too obvious, and as a result, I found myself very much in jail. That’s never a good sign of success."

Now Avaliable for purchase at amazon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Problems finishing books (also a review of The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley by Kindal Debenham)

So, I've been struggling to keep up with this blog each week. I can't seem to read books fast enough because real life keeps interrupting.

I was halfway through reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and then the book was due back at the library right before we had to leave for a family reunion to Utah. So, I have put in a request for it again because there is a waiting list. A small one but a waiting list none the less. I was really liking it too! But I am mad because I spent all that time reading and now there is no review to show for it at the end of the week. bah! I want to finish a book! 

I am currently halfway through Sara Zarr's  How to Save a Life but am finding it way too depressing to continue. What can I say? I like happy books. I didn't think this book was going to be quite so sad or so full of tragedy ridden cliche. I am really tired of the mom's boyfriend being abusive plot line. Tell another story people!!!!! I am sorry. This is mean to the author Ms. Zarr. I really did like her other books, but this one is just too much.

In addition I just read my husband's novel manuscript The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley. I actually finished it and I must admit it has been the most enjoyable read out of the three titles I've mentioned. It was funny, charming and just a fun ride. I think my husband is a brilliant writer. There were typos and mistakes, but I challenge you to show me another author that can write such a tight plot line in only a second draft! It is seriously AMAZING! But maybe I only admire this skill because I can't plot a story to save my life. I can't tell you the number of times my husband's clear-sighted advice has helped me to wrangle in my stories that never seem to end.

Anyway Hector is an Investigator entrenched in the streets of Victorian Era London. In true steam-punk style the world has been affected by a material called the Distillation. This material once discovered in the vast regions of the Arctic began to change the face of the world. The distillation was appreciated first as a catalyst for machinery and inventions across many disciplines, and then it became apparent that it had serious side-effects on those humans that had handled it so carelessly. Mutations began to appear among the populace, mutations that seemed to reflect the inner character of those who came in direct or prolonged contact with it.

So, now Hector not only solves ordinary run of the mill crimes, but crimes that involve golems, trolls, werewolves, and other once human creatures out to fulfil the bidding of their evil crime lords. Nearly out of funds to sustain his housing and food costs Hector takes on two investigating jobs after his American friend, a Ms. Patricia Anderson gives his name over as a reference. The first involves the assassination attempt of a Lord Pevensly, a nobleman renowned for his generous charitable contributions and controversial stances in Parliament. The second, the vandalism of a vulnerable school for children affected by the Distillation.

So, there is the blurb. My favorite character has got to be Ms. Patricia Anderson herself, a bold pants-wearing, carbine-toting, woman straight from the wild-west. She is totally in love with Hector and Hector is totally in love with her, but they just won't admit it yet! So frustrating those two. So, my husband is planning a sequel, but he won't start writing it till September. What shall I do? I miss the book already. sigh. I am already giving him hints about what types of scenes he should insert.

I would like to see Benjamin and Hector do such and such I say...

Oh, and you have to do this plot-line sometime! It would be hilarious. *wink wink*

Dear Hubby! When will Hector and Patricia kiss? huh? huh?   

He is quite gracious to bear my annoying prodding, but I think he is just happy that I actually like the book. I hope one day you all get to read this manuscript in book form. I would like to have enough money to have my husband write at home all day. I'd bring him sandwiches at lunch time and make sure he got to play with our little one everyday just when she was the happiest, and not fussy and grumpy. or screaming in the middle of the night for a hour straight just cause she wants to. Arrggg! Also, that means I'd get more books about Hector Kingsley in a very prompt fashion. plotting plotting....anyone want to be his patron? You will get lots of free books. It is tempting isn't it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Picture Books: Mem Fox

In where I talk about the sampling of picture books I got from the library this week.

Picture Books: Mem Fox

Where is the Green Sheep

This picture book was one of my favorites to read to Sera. One it has sheep and I like sheep. Two it has a nice rhythm when you read it, and so it is fun to read. Three, it moves at a quick pace and has interesting pictures. In the book we meet all kinds of sheep in couplet type pairs.

Here is the blue sheep

And here is the red sheep.

Here is the bath sheep

And here is the bed sheep.

Yet there is the eternal quest for the green sheep. Where is he? Well you have to read to the end to find out.

Hattie and the Fox

This little story is about Hattie the hen who lives on a farm with a bunch of other animals. One day she spots a nose coming out of the bushes. The nose is quickly joined by two little eyes. The animals react as a fox slowly inches out of the bushes and into the barn yard. Who will save the day and chase away the fox?

This was a fun little book to read. The animals repeat the same chorus over and over as each new body part of the fox appears out of the bushes. This was a fun little tale, but I didn’t really have a huge preference for it.

Hunwick’s Egg

I didn’t like this one so much as the others. Hunwick, a bandicoot, lives in a desert and on day he finds a smooth oval egg. Hunwick asks around, trying to figure out if anyone lost an egg or knows someone who lost an egg. No home is found for the egg so Hunwick takes the egg in and waits for it to hatch. He keeps waiting, and waiting, and waiting but it never hatches.

The twist ending is that the egg is a rock and not an egg. I was excited to see the egg hatch, and see who this new little egg person would be, so I was disappointed when my expectations were let down when the egg turned into a pretty rock at the end of the book.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Guest post by Joseph Vasicek

I am currently in Utah for a family reunion. So this week I conveniently have a guest post by Joseph Vasicek. I met Joe during my BYU days while participating in a writing group there. He is currently doing a blog tour for his most recently indie-published book Genesis Earth, which I critiqued while in progress. Visit his awesome Blog here. You can find reviews and buy his book here on amazon.

Do Mormon writers of science fiction and fantasy have a unique perspective because of their faith? certainly!

One of the most obvious examples of this would be Eric James Stone's Nebula Award winning novelette, That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made. In that story, an LDS character quotes from the Book of Mormon while trying to save a sun-dwelling alien convert to the church from religious persecution. That is certainly a story that only a Mormon could have written.

I think it goes a lot deeper than that, though. You don't have to include explicitly Mormon themes to have a unique perspective; if you're living close enough to your beliefs, I believe it will come out naturally. I see this in works by such authors as Dan Wells, Dave Wolverton, Orson Scott Card, Stephanie Meyer, and Brandon Sanderson; even though their fiction might not refer to explicitly Mormon concepts or ideas, their spiritual sensibilities certainly inform how they address universal issues such as the problem of evil, the meaning of free agency, the importance of love and the power of redemption.

Science fiction in particular is one of the best genres for addressing issues related to faith. Even more than mainstream fiction, sf probes for meaning and depth, exploring new worlds of possibility while at the same time relating everything back to the human condition and our place in this boundless universe. Because of this, it's no wonder that so many works of science fiction refer to religious ideas or include religiously motivated characters--sometimes to promote an anti-religious bias or agenda, but more often than not to provide an extra layer of depth and meaning.

I wrote an article on the origins of the science fiction and fantasy community at BYU last year for Mormon Artist magazine, in which I was fortunate enough to interview several influential Mormon writers. From that experience, I realized that there's an urgent need for more LDS voices in sf&f--that we have so much of value to offer the community.

Certainly, we shouldn't be preachy or overzealous about it, since all that does is drive people away. But the more we write, and the more we write honestly, the more we enrich the genre and thus enrich other people's lives.

When I wrote Genesis Earth, I didn't set out to write about faith or sprituality. I did want to write about the human condition; to question whether we're all just automatons moving about in a predictable universe, or whether we're infinitely creative free agents in a universe of boundless wonders.

Quite unconsciously, the story of my main character (Michael) became a journey of faith. As the son of two well-renowned astrophysicists, he grew up with a deep devotion to science. Unfortunately, this also means he feels a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to his parents' expectations--a conflict that underscores the entire novel.

Michael's mission partner, Terra, is almost the exact opposite of him. She's a rebel who does not share his views on science and openly question some of his deepest, most personal beliefs. But I didn't just want this to be a story of disillusionment; I wanted Michael's faith to grow and mature, not just wither away and die. I suppose that was my LDS sensibilities speaking to me. So Michael's story became a deeply personal journey of discovery, and when he found the thing that helped him to come to a new realization of his faith, it surprised me just as much as it surprised him.

No matter what you believe, I think it's important to write honestly, especially when writing science fiction. If you do, your beliefs and values will inevitably come out in your voice, often in ways you would least expect. That's the way to be unique, and the best way to "let your light so shine."