Book News August 2018

august 2018

Summer reading always feels special

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go find 2

 

I have a challenge for the writers in the group.

Recently, I was asked by Flathead Living to submit an excerpt from my book, Go Find which will be released October 2, 2018 by Blackstone Publishing.

Flathead Living didn’t want a synopsis but 200-words or less excerpt that captures the flavor, my voice, my writing style, and essences of my memoir.

This is a great challenge to all of us as writers. What or where is that paragraph in your writing project that sums up what you are trying to communicate? If you had to send the NYT’s 100 words that reveals your writing chops and story line, what would you say? Is it in your current document? I challenge all of you to look for it and write it down and send it to me. I’d love to read it.

For me, my a-ha moment happened when I was three years into writing my memoir. I hadn’t quite linked up the big story line and still felt a little lost in the process. I was on the phone with Poodle Lady, my mentor, BFF, and character in my book. She was training a white standard Poodle in Aspen, Colorado when I met her.  I blurted out to her, “How come it’s easier for me to jump out of the side of a helicopter to look for a dead guy with my avalanche dog than it is to talk to my husband about our relationship?”

Boom! I finally said those words I hadn’t been able to get out for years. Shame, guilt, and relief flooded through me in that moment.

Finding courage to express my feelings on the page was and still is a process. It took ten years to sort out what I was trying to convey to my readers and to myself. I am blessed to have a supportive writing community in the Flathead Valley. I hope you enjoy this 248-word excerpt.

In the next newsletter, I will tell you what my literary agent Bob thought my memoir was about after he read it twice.

Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—And Myself by Susan Purvis

Excerpt from Chapter 1—Last Ditch Effort

13, 000’ Whitehouse Mountain

Ouray, Colorado. 2005

Yanking off my helmet with one hand, I pin Tasha, my black Lab into my lap with the other. The deafening roar of the engine makes giving verbal commands to Tasha impossible. I rely on our years of communicating through eye contact and hand signals to show her when to exit.

“You’re going to have to jump!” the pilot shouts at me.

“Jump?” I worry about Tasha’s distended abdomen. She could rupture her gut if she lands on her belly. Then I remember the raspy plea of Ed Jones, the uncle of the missing man. “I’m not leaving Colorado until all my family members are accounted for. I’ve been scouring these mountains for over thirty days.” Ed’s desperation had convinced me I had to come. We’re his last hope. Ten years ago, when I blindly launched into this volunteer search-dog career, I promised I would never leave anyone behind. I’ve kept my word … so far.

The helicopter shudders. I clutch the handle and, for an instant, I question what I am doing here. My husband’s pissed. He told me not to come, tried to order me not to get on the chopper. Yet here I am, in the path of an avalanche, risking Tasha’s life and my own. Somehow, I find it easier to jump out of a helicopter than to talk to my husband about our relationship. Is my ego driving this? My promise to the family? Or is it that I have something to prove?

Namaste,

Susan Purvis, Author, Educator, Explorer

susan@susanpurvis.com

www.susanpurvis.com to read more about Go Find. Over 30 book reviews are posted including New York Times bestselling author, Sebastian Junger.

Go Find will be released October 2, 2018

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Join authors Angie Abdou, Sue Purvis, Jan Redford, Kate Harris, and Bernadette McDonald as they discuss challenges when writing about their personal experiences with wild places and how women’s narrative can connect people to the landscape. This session will be moderated by Marni Jackson, faculty for the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing program.

Date:           Saturday, November 03, 2018
Time:          4:00 PM
Location:   Kinnear Centre 2nd Floor #203, Banff, Alberta, Canada
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de·scrip·tion dəˈskripSH(ə)n; noun 1. a spoken or written representation or account of a person, object, or event.

By Janice McCaffrey

My critique buddies tell me I need more detail in my descriptions.

Oh, my heck!

The word description gives me sweaty palms and heart palpitations just like the phrase dangling participles.

Whenever I hear any grammatical term I’m transported back to Mrs. Foster’s eighth-grade English class. She’s handing back our descriptive paragraph assignment. I’m sitting at my desk waiting, feeling confident in my efforts. After all one day I’ll be a famous author.

Standing next to me, Mrs. Foster clears her throat and places a piece of loose leaf paper on my desktop. Face down. Beside the next desk she repeats her ritual. The room reeks with the smell of nervous teenagers. Kids clear their throats, cough, and squirm in their seats.

I take a deep breath and gather my courage. I worked hard on this assignment. I’m proud of the result. How bad could it be? I watch as my shaking fingers squeeze the paper so tight I leave a deep wrinkle. I wonder, is my heart still beating? Clinching my jaw I turn the paper over.

“WHAT?”

Stunned, I don’t move. I stare at too many red check marks to count. And right at the top of the page is a big, fat D–.

I hold my breath and bite my lip to stop the tears from streaming down my red face. I swallow hard to get the acidy taste off my tongue.

The bell rings and I watch my classmates sprint to the classroom door. I don’t know if my knees will hold me up. But I do know if I don’t move, I’ll be late to my next class. I stand and walk trance-like into the crowded hall.

That’s it, I think. I’ll never be an author.          edhs empty classroom 

I hate composition and especially grammar.

Afterwords:

I never learned how to repair my errors. That assignment didn’t teach me how to write descriptive paragraphs, it just screamed, “You’re Dumb!”

Today I ask myself, can my inner-teenager overcome her self-doubts and embrace grammatical terms? Will I ever forget those few minutes of shame so many years ago?

Well, the good news is: I’m workin’ on it.

How? How else? Google, of course.

I love Google!

Don’t ask why, but I began my Google exploration of descriptions with noses. I found Zwivel.com Sniffing Out Nose Shapes which lists the twelve most common nose types: fleshy, turned-up, Roman, bumpy, snub, hawk or aquiline, Greek, nubian, East Asian, Nixon, bulbous and combo.

I examined a multitude of images (photos of people and famous statues) testing my power of observation by identifying which nose would be categorized under which type.

Another search led me to word lists for writers on KathySteinemann.com Resources for Writers & Poets, 300+ ways to describe noses. She also has word lists to describe necks, ears, smiles, eyes, etc. etc.. At Wattpad.com there’s Vocabulary – Word Lists for Writers by The Otakunerd and at tumblr.com Reference for Writers.

At WritingWorld.com I found a blog called The Art of Description: Eight Tips to Help You Bring Your Settings to Life by Anne Marble. Her topics in this discussion are: Avoid Huge Lumps of Description; Make Description an Active Part of the Story; Describe What Your Characters Would Notice; Words, Words, Words; Use All the Senses; Fit the Description to the Type of Story; Avoid Excessive Name-dropping; and Don’t Let Description Hang You Up during a First Draft.

And last, but not least, at Wiki How.com how to do anything . . . I found How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph:

 Descriptive paragraphs include details that appeal to the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing. In a descriptive paragraph, the writer must convey information that appeals to all the senses in order to give the best possible description to the reader. Descriptive paragraphs are commonly used in fiction and non-fiction writing to help immerse readers into the world of the author.

I’m impressed with the amount of free information online to help writers. Not only words, but how to: outline, plot a story arc, bring characters to life, edit, rewrite, and find editors or publishers. This is a great time to be a wanna-be-author.

As I pursue my quest, I repeat to myself, I think I can, I think I can.

And every so often I declare,

“I can . . . I will . . . and . . . I did!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Book News

July in Glacier National Park

july 2018july

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookie Crumbles

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:

Oh, July! So beautiful in Montana. The one month of the year where I’ve never seen snow fall in the valley where most of the Montana Women Writers live. So why am I celebrating Christmas? Because my new book, which came out June 8, is not just a gift for me and, I hope, for readers. It’s a Christmas mystery! AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES is the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, starting on Decorating Day, when the village dresses up for the season, and ending on Christmas Eve. I’m still grinning over what Publishers Weekly said of it: “Clean-as-a-whistle dialogue, endearing characters, and a solid plot make this cozy a winner.”

And the launch fun continues. I’ll be at the North Lake County Library in Polson at 5:30 pm on Wed, July 18, and at Fact & Fiction in Missoula the evening of Wed, July 25, when we’ll celebrate Christmas in July. Because why should December have all the fun?

Merry Christmas, and I hope to see you soon!

 

PARTY WITH LOCAL AUTHORS

Thursday – JULY 19 – 4-7 pm

at

BAD ROCK BOOKS

615 Nucleus Avenue in Columbia Falls 

Find hot new summer reads at a book signing party at Bad Rock Books. Join popular local authors Karen Wills, Debbie Burke, Marie Martin, and Dr. Betty Kuffel for refreshments, fun and a look at their new books.

The Best Revenge

by Catherine Browning

Andra Ames believes she is all alone in the world with no family, no friends, no job, and no home. Circumstances force her to claim an inheritance property she has never seen in northwest Montana. Once there she discovers there is a condition to retaining it: she must marry within the next five months or forfeit her inheritance. Someone else wants the property as well and threatens Andra with increasing violence to relinquish her rights.

Determined to do whatever it takes to keep the dream property on Flathead Lake and to change her friendless state, Andra ventures out into town, meeting locals whose friendliness pushes past her barriers. She accepts a position with the Biological Station working with the new marine biologist who will be researching reports of a mysterious creature or monster in the lake.

Andra is shocked when she discovers that her neighbor is actually her great-uncle and that her mother is alive and living in the area. Can a change of address change a life? Will Andra find a way to keep her new home and find her family?

Is there really a monster in the lake?

Available now at Amazon Kindle.

Facebook: Catherine Browning Books

 

New Books by Betty Kuffel

July is a banner month for Betty Kuffel with the publication of not one, but three new books! Kindle editions launched in January, but now, all three are in paperback and available for a summer read. Are you ready for some excitement?

In a medical thriller series, adventuresome ER physician and pilot Dr. Kelly McKay nearly loses her life during ER residency. Deadly Pyre is set in Seattle at a large university hospital. In Deadly Spin, Kelly escapes to Alaska. Here is a review of Deadly Spin by D. Burke, author of Instrument of the Devil: “Whether the setting is the ER or the remote Alaskan wilds, Dr. Betty Kuffel writes gripping medical scenes that put the reader right beside the patient fighting for life. Deadly Spin weaves a tale about risky bush flying, sled dogs, colorful characters, and danger.”

Alaska Flight is a romantic adventure set in Alaska with flight nurse Liz Elliot and a bush pilot doctor. A five-star Amazon review: “This fast-paced novel reads like an action movie. I have never been to Alaska, but felt like I was there, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a little adventure.”

The new books and my three others will be available at the Bad Rock book party on July 19th. Hope to see you there.

 

 

 

Mystery and Wilderness in Fiction

By Karen Wills

My husband and I made up a personal list of criteria for good fiction. One of our essentials is mystery. By that we don’t mean crime solving. We mean the lure of what hovers just beyond the obvious. It’s what makes us tell our book club or other friends to read it so we can talk about it.

In literature it’s sometimes found in complex characters or in nature. I used the wilderness as setting that is almost a character in my historical novel, River with No Bridge. For me, books set in the wilderness often have mystery. There’s richness to that.

In Eowyn Ivey’s historical novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, to the bright edgea husband is one of the first to head an expedition to explore Alaska Territory’s Wolverine River Valley while his pregnant wife waits at Fort Vancouver for his return. In a letter to her he muses, “I suppose the wilderness does have its draw. She always keeps a part of herself a mystery.” Later he says, “It is a grand, inscrutable wildness. Never are the people here allowed to forget that each of us is alive only by a small thread.”

For authors and artists conveying the wilderness while honoring its mystery is challenging. In her novel about the artist Emily Carr, the forrest loverthe late Susan Vreeland wrote, “She looked back at the forest—more dense and tangled and full of mystery than the forested part of Beacon Hill Park at home. How could she ever paint it? No art school taught how to paint such immense, paralyzing magnificence.”

And yet, some of us keep writing about, or painting, those precious wild places that still exist. How long wilderness has existed. We marvel at the geology of places like Glacier National Park and find an awed comfort in astronomy. Poet Robinson Jeffers wrote these lines,

The stars shine in the sky like the spray of a wave

Rushing to meet no shore, and the great music

Blares on forever…

Perhaps, the meaning of wilderness is that wild beauty creates its own mystery.

river with no bridge

 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kindle

https://karenwills.com

Face Book: Karen Wills Author

Mystery and Wilderness in Fiction

By Karen Wills

My husband and I made up a personal list of criteria for good fiction. One of our essentials is mystery. By that we don’t mean crime solving. We mean the lure of what hovers just beyond the obvious. It’s what makes us tell our book club or other friends to read it so we can talk about it.

In literature it’s sometimes found in complex characters or in nature. I used the wilderness as setting that is almost a character in my historical novel, River with No Bridge. For me, books set in the wilderness often have mystery. There’s richness to that.

In Eowyn Ivey’s historical novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, to the bright edgea husband is one of the first to head an expedition to explore Alaska Territory’s Wolverine River Valley while his pregnant wife waits at Fort Vancouver for his return. In a letter to her he muses, “I suppose the wilderness does have its draw. She always keeps a part of herself a mystery.” Later he says, “It is a grand, inscrutable wildness. Never are the people here allowed to forget that each of us is alive only by a small thread.”

For authors and artists conveying the wilderness while honoring its mystery is challenging. In her novel about the artist Emily Carr, the forrest loverthe late Susan Vreeland wrote, “She looked back at the forest—more dense and tangled and full of mystery than the forested part of Beacon Hill Park at home. How could she ever paint it? No art school taught how to paint such immense, paralyzing magnificence.”

And yet, some of us keep writing about, or painting, those precious wild places that still exist. How long wilderness has existed. We marvel at the geology of places like Glacier National Park and find an awed comfort in astronomy. Poet Robinson Jeffers wrote these lines,

The stars shine in the sky like the spray of a wave

Rushing to meet no shore, and the great music

Blares on forever…

Perhaps, the meaning of wilderness is that wild beauty creates its own mystery.

river with no bridge

 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kindle

https://karenwills.com

Face Book: Karen Wills Author