Listen as I venture bravely into romance and help Janette Rallison with her novella anthology.
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I’m thrilled to be a part of Fyrecon June 8-10 at Weber State University – Davis Campus in Layton, Utah. I’ll be teaching two classes and sitting on four panels.
To kick off the event Thursday I’ll be teaching a class at 1:30pm Bringing Your Story to Life where I’ll help writer take their stories from beginning to the end.
Friday fun day is loaded with another class and two panels. The first panel starts at 11:30am where we talk about books that have influenced us. Then at 2:30pm I’ll be teaching a class on flipping your story upside down to find clarity where I relate my experience as a freelance sports reporter and what I learned that helped my write novels. Right after that I’ll sit on the panel talking about the dos and don’ts of manipulating your audience.
Saturday evening I’ll be moderating the panel on reboots and remakes for television and film which I’m really excited about. Then I’ll be sitting on a panel with my good friend Alyson Peterson on writing humor.
I can’t wait!
I had a thought that grew into a dream. That dream went with me everywhere. It was with me at work. With me while I ate. I laughed with my dream and it smile back. My dream greeted me each morning and bid me goodnight as I lay down to sleep. My dream was even with me while I showered.
More and more of my energy went toward my dream as it grew and grew. One day, quite miraculously, my dream turned into a star. It lived in my head, as real as real could be, until I could no longer contain it. I was not ready for the world to see my little star so I kept it in my pocket. Day after day it took shape and grew bigger and brighter.
One day I felt it was time to share my little star with others. I gave a peek to those closest to me and they looked on my little star with awe and wonder. Some hailed it and proclaimed that it belonged in the heavens while others questioned if it were big or bright enough. Truth be told, I wondered the same thing myself.
We were faced with two choices, my dream and I. Either my little star would remain tucked safely away in my pocket, where only I would know of its beauty and brightness, or we would endeavor to follow brave men and women into the celestial sky to place it among the stars. My fondest desire was to share my little star with all who might enjoy it, so the choice was easy. The journey, however, was not.
With a deep breath and a prayer in my heart, I set off for the top of the mountain. I climbed the nearest peak and when I reached the summit I took my little star from my pocket and held it high, toward the heavens. We waited, my dream and I, for what seemed like an eternity. I gave serious thought to constructing a vessel of my own for the trip when at last a tiny sail boat floated through the sky as if in answer to my silent prayer.
Grateful for the passage I gave no thought to its size or worthiness but leapt in before it could depart without us. We sailed up into the great unknown toward a future of glorious possibilities. The journey was long but my little star and I reveled in the fact that we had been accepted into the vast galaxy above. With wide-eyed wonder we took in the passing cosmos on our way to our long sought destination.
At last we arrived and I took my little star, gave it one last adoring look, and placed it with the other beautiful spheres of light. The joy I felt nearly caused my heart to burst. I returned to earth, full of excitement, to call for all of my friends and family so they might see the heights we had reached, my dream and I. They rejoiced with me and we celebrated together for a time. I spread the word far and wide that my dream had become a star and my star was in the sky for all to behold.
Many came and looked upon my star. There were those who delighted in its splendor and whimsy. And others who did not find it as grand or brilliant as other stars they had seen. When I stepped back and took in the breathtaking tapestry of the universe, my little star seemed so insignificant and the prospect of anyone finding it on their own seemed so remote that my joy began to slip away.
It was then I remembered where we began our journey and just how far my dream had come to take its place among the stars. It did not matter to me that it was dwarfed in size and brilliance by its glorious companions or that it might be lost to some among the infinite expanse of space. To me the only thing that mattered was how far we had come and what my dream had become. I do not know how long or how bright my little star will burn or how many will enjoy its light. But I now know what a dream can be and before I am through I plan on placing a few more stars in the sky.
Enjoy four fun conversations about the wonderful world of authorship. Episode 12 is my favorite. Also be sure to subscribe to the Ready, Set, Write podcast on iTunes.
Start the New Year off right with literacy and games of chance. Enter for your chance to win a free ebook of the exciting debut mystery novel The Land of Look Behind. Your friends will be so jealous. Plus you get to follow an author on Amazon. #winning
See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Land of Look Behind (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/
I’m not a movie critic I’m a storyteller and I love a good story well told. Yesterday I gained a new appreciation for a storyteller I have long admired. J.K Rowling returned to the world she created and brought us back into the secret society of witches and wizards with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
A couple of things struck me about this story. First, it was immediately familiar and welcomed you right in like we’d never been gone. And second, this story was set so far apart from the Harry Potter story where someone with no context to her original series could enjoy this world for all its wonder and not feel completely lost.
Rowling set her latest story seventy years and an ocean apart from 4 Privet Drive and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and yet from the opening scene you knew you were right back in the magical world of wands and sorcery. In the medium of film, a writer is not alone in the task of telling their story and in many ways relies on the director to bring the story to life. David Yates is well acquainted with the Harry Potter universe having directed the final four films and he did not miss a beat bringing us to 1920’s New York where magical society facing its own set of challenges with the No-Maj population.
This was just one small way in which Rowling beautifully distinguished both the time period and cultures from one another. Wizards and witches in the United States in the 20th century called non-magical folks No-Maj as opposed to Muggles. This was introduced and explained early on in the story as Newt Scamander stepped off the boat from England and signaled to the audience that things weren’t going to be what they were used to. Certainly we were treated to familiar spells and names, like Albus Dumbledore, but much of the setting and tone was different from what we experienced in our first introduction to the magical world through the eyes of the boy who lived.
Although New Scamander was an established Wizard he was more than a little out of place in the society and culture of New York. This was a perfect way for Rowling to expand her universe as we could travel with Scamander and leave a world we knew for a different place and time, both we and Scamander could share a frame of reference and experience the new world together.
For those who had never before visited Rowling’s magical universe, presumably due to them either being too cool for what they deemed to be a children’s story or having been in a coma for the past twenty years, they also had a character who journeyed with them in the No-Maj aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski. This is where Rowling gave us something we never had before, an uninitiated character with no magical connection. Jacob’s reaction to this stunning revelation of the existence of magic was highly entertaining and although he took most of them in stride we were able to get a different perspective that was refreshing and new.
Speaking of different perspectives, this story was centered around adult characters with adult problems and concerns, which set an entirely different tone from Harry Potter. Not only did we have Scamander and Kowalski trying to navigate a foreign environment but we were introduced to the recently demoted Auror Tina Goldstein who had her own set of problems seeking to redeem herself with the Magical Congress. This was a far cry from children playing Quidditch, sneaking to Hogsmeade, and preparing for exams.
Finally, there was no prophetic child or You Know Who but we did have reference to a dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, who we learned about in the Deathly Hallows and a nice Easter Egg to that story along the way, yet another example of the something familiar yet new in this fantastic story [pun intended].
In closing I would like to give one last tip of my hat to Rowling and Yates not only as collective storytellers but for their individual accomplishments within the film. First, Rowling introduced a mystery right from the beginning of a powerful unseen force and those that pursued it. This mystery was slowly unfolded throughout the story in a masterful way and the ramifications were far more complicated and tragic than the physical destruction it wreaked. Second, Yates got top notch performances out of a tremendous cast led by the Academy Award winning Eddie Redmayne. I felt like the character portrayals and interactions were pitch perfect which was highlighted by the final interaction between Scamander and Goldstein. This punctuated the story beautifully and sent my anticipation for what is to come through the theater roof.
Whether you are a fan of the Harry Potter series or just waking up from your decade’s long coma, you should treat yourself to this new adventure and a story well told.
It’s that time of year again where we turn our collective thoughts to the things we are grateful for. That got me thinking about the things we should be more thankful for. We live in a miraculous world full of crazy cool things and it’s easy to overlook just how fortunate we are. With that said I submit, for your consideration and in no particular order, 5 things we should be more grateful for.
You may have never given consideration to the aglet or you might not even know what it is, but I promise you that you would be filled with a profound appreciation and gratitude for the unsung hero of your high-tops if it were not a thing. I’ll give you a moment to Google “aglet” … [Jeopardy theme music] … [check my watch] … [remember that I don’t wear a watch] …and your back. See?! The AGLET! Imagine trying to lace up a new pair of sneakers with a limp nylon string. It would be maddening. Now every day you tie your shoes be sure to give thanks for this tiny plastic hero.
Here’s another topic you may not have given proper consideration. Go ahead and stroll on over to the sink and turn the nozzle or lift the lever.
Did you do it? Why not? Is it because you already know that clear, cool, life giving water will immediately come pouring out at a pressure you can regulate at will? Yeah, now think about that for a second. Where does it come from, how does it get there, who makes sure it’s clean and what would you do if it all stopped? Are you frightened yet? Well then you should probably throw up a prayer or two of thanks to whatever God you worship for the invisible forces that afford you such an essential luxury; you know the one that allows you to clean, wash, cook, drink and LIVE!
I won’t even get into hot water which is a beautiful flower of goodness itself. I took cold showers for two years as a missionary in Jamaica and felt a bit like John Rambo in the shower stalls of the Hope Washington Police Station most mornings, but at least the water flowed and I didn’t have to worry about diphtheria.
I’m not even talking about smart phones. I’m talking straight up about the ability to take a device out of your pocket and speak to somebody through a device in their pocket or a phone in their home.
Some of you may be too young to remember when you had to make plans with someone before you left your house, at which point you were entirely beholden to those plans and at the mercy of the dependability, punctuality and/or commitment of said someone. It was a ball of anxiety wrapped in uncertainty. Are your friends still going to meet up for dinner? Is your mom going to pick you up from the mall? Has the world come to an end and no one is coming to your Jean-Claude Van Damme movie marathon? You don’t know! You just have to sit there and wait like a pathetic loser. It was a nightmare.
Certainly there’s a life sustaining value to clothing, in some cases, and although I’m not a fashion expert there can be applications that allow for an expression of either unity or individuality. However, on a day to day basis, are we thankful enough that clothes are covering up a whole lot of nakedness? While there are certainly cases where humanity would not raise a cry of objection or call for a public covering, by and large (and I mean LARGE) the majority of bodies, including my own, ought to be shrouded in as much cotton/poly mystery as possible. There are some sights that can’t be unseen and while beauty may only be skin deep, my love handles need a t-shirt.
Try and go a week without sitting in a chair, try it for a day. And it’s cheating to just stay in bed or lay on the sofa. I mean go and live your life and look at how many chairs you encounter and how much better your life is for it. Sit down for dinner. Chair. Wait in a doctor’s office. Chair. Go to school. Chair. Work on the computer. Chair.
Have you ever been camping and not brought a chair? The first thing you do right after building a shelter and prepping a fire pit is try and fashion a makeshift chair from a rock, a stump, or your least favorite child; anything but sitting on the ground like an animal. Even worse when you show up to your child’s soccer game without a chair and have to shamefully sit/squat in the damp grass or steal the corner of some strange toddler’s blanket while he eyeballs you. It’s called sharing Evan, it won’t kill you! Just go back to playing with your T-rex and Hot Wheels car, like that even makes sense. You’re not better than me.
Where was I? Oh right. Chairs.
There are few things as sweet as resting your weary bones on a good old fashion chair with a back. Much is made of how the wheel accelerated the human race out of a primal age, but I’ll bet you fifty bucks that long before Neanderthals turned their robust craniums to the wheel they had already invented the chair.
So when you pause to express thanks for the many blessings in your life take a look around and you might be surprised with just how many reasons you have to be grateful.
I am thrilled to invite you to The Unsaid Launch Party. Come celebrate with me and get a signed copy of my latest novel. The party begins at 4pm on Saturday October 15, 2016 hosted by Barnes & Noble at San Tan Village Parkway.
The Unsaid is a unique love story with heart and humor that deals with choice, hope, love, courage and the crazy things we think but do not say.
“Maggie, a heavenly curator of unspoken thoughts, is content to do her job while she waits for her turn in mortality. When Eric, her beholden, shows interest in the new girl at work, Maggie’s curiosity for the wonders of love and life cause her to forsake the rules in search of answers. But meddling in mortal affairs has consequences that Maggie could never have imagined…”
Mark your calendar, invite all your family and friends, and join us for fun, food and literature.