Countdown to AUGUSTINA: Names

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Day 3 of the countdown to Augustina.

Josh’s siblings play a bigger role in Book 2. He has five younger brothers and sisters. I happen to have five kids, so…his siblings’ names are based on the names of my kids. :)

My kids love this.

I do, too.

My dad, Gerald N. Lund, sometimes wrote us into his stories, too. If you’ve read the Work and the Glory series, you might notice the youngest daughter is named Rebecca Steed. And in the Alliance, Eric’s little sister is named Becky. :)

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So…I kinda did the same.

Josh’s siblings are named Jake, Lauren, Mike, Drew, and Katie, all versions of my kids’ names.

Fun, fun, fun.

Guess What Came In The Mail: THE GUARDIAN – by Gerald N. Lund

(reading)

Guess what came in the mail. My dad’s newest book…

I’m so excited!!! 

It’s been awhile since my dad has written fiction. His last three books were a doctrinal trilogy. But he’s back to fiction, and I’m thrilled. I love fiction. 

I’ve read The Guardian already, so I can tell you that it’s AWESOME. One of the perks of being the author’s daughter is he likes to have input on his books before it’s published. All authors do. That meant I got to be one of the early readers, which is so way fun.

Now the book is on shelves for all you other fiction lovers to love and enjoy.

Here’s a little about it:

THE GUARDIAN – by Gerald N. Lund

I withdrew a small card from the pouch. The front of it was filled with lines of elegant, hand-lettered script. 

 
“What does it say?” Dad asked, leaning forward.
“The Four Remembers of Life,” I read. “Number one: Remember you are unique. Number two: Remember, there is purpose to your life. Number three: Remember, you are free to choose what you are and what you become. And number four: Remember, you are not alone.”
 
When Danni McAllister receives an antique pouch as a birthday gift from her grandfather, her first reaction is disappointment. “Don’t assume that something is empty, just because there’s nothing there,” her grandfather warns. Danni learns that for nearly two hundred years, the mysterious pouch—with its astonishing hidden secrets—has been handed down from generation to generation, and each new owner has had to discover for themselves how to access the power it holds, or suffer the penalty of using the pouch unwisely.
 
While Danni struggles to understand the power of the pouch, her father’s discovery of a rhodium mine makes her parents the targets of a deadly extortionist plot and the strange pouch is Danni’s only hope of saving her family.
 
In the spirit of The AllianceThe Freedom Factor, and Leverage Point, author Gerald N. Lund blends gripping, fast-paced suspense with a timeless message for readers of all ages.
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My personal notes: The book takes place in the slot canyons of Southern Utah, and even stretches to Lake Powell which must be one of the most unique lakes in the world. 

The book has a fun romance between the main character, Danni, and her best friend, a cute boy that half my nieces are in love with. :) Technically the book is YA, but it’s something mothers and daughters will enjoy reading together. Fathers and sons, too, I suppose since it has a lot of action, but how often do fathers and sons read together? In my house, not that often–unless I’m talking about the sports section of the newspaper. 

This book is personal.

As you can imagine, my dad is an amazing story-teller. As kids, we grew up hearing all sorts of tales about anything and everything. I swear we’d drive pass a sign for falling rocks and next thing we knew, he was telling us the “Legend of Falling Rock.” It was so fun.

This book stems from one of the stories he told about a magic pouch. The story evolved from a simple bedtime story into a full blown plot with twists and turns that now makes up an entire novel. He talks more in depth about this in the back of the book, but needless to say, this book has a personal spot in my heart.

I love my dad.

So if you want to read The Guardian, you can buy it on:

Right now it’s available in hardcover and ebook, but I think there will be an audio book as well.

Get it. Read it. Love it.

It’ll make a great Christmas present for your favorite fiction reader.

Side note: Speaking of Christmas gifts for fiction lovers, there are three more days to enter the SADIE Birthday Giveaway. Details here.

That’s it for now.

Have a great one! 

Have a comment? Please share here.

Pinterested in Augustina?

I’m a visual person.

When I write books, I like to watch the scene play out in my mind before I ever type a single word. Expressions. Curtains. Clothing. Sunlight. I see it all–or if I can’t, I daydream away until I have it. 

Then I write.

Often I’ll go looking on the internet for photos that capture the mood, feel, or character I’m looking for. Those are the fun days. Guess what. Today is one of those days. :) 

I’ve placed a few of my favorite pictures on a new Pinterest board I’ve created for Augustina, sequel to Sadie. Pinterest was created for visual people. I love it!

Check out Augustina’s board here for a sneak peek of what’s coming.

I’ll definitely be adding pictures as I finish up the novel.

Tellico Lake, Eastern TN

For now, I have to say, I’m loving where Sadie’s story goes. I know, I know. I’m the author. I’m supposed to be in charge of where the story goes, right?

Wrong.

I make outlines and plot like crazy, yet sometimes the characters take over. They do what they’re gonna do, and occasionally that’s in direct opposition to what I want them to do. It’s like Frankenstein. I might be the mastermind of the creation, but once it comes to life, it has a mind of its own.

Thankfully, I like where Sadie headed. She’s awesome!

(Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m insane. She’s not real. She’s not real! Keep telling me that.)

I still feel horribly guilty for all the garbage I’ve thrown Sadie’s way. She comes to a dark place in her mind in book 2. It was hard to write it–very hard to let her hurt inside so badly. I think one of the biggest mistakes authors make is protecting their characters. I knew this going into the book, yet I still wanted to protect her emotionally. But that’s not life. In fact, that’s not even good fiction. The best stories are about people who hit bottom and rise to the top. I’m hoping that you as a reader will hang in there with Sadie. She goes pretty low. Hopefully you’ll forgive me for it. She has. And she comes through it stronger and better for it. I think.

(Yep. You’re ready to call the insane asylum on me. I know it. Well, you can’t call until I finish the book. Sorry. After that, go ahead. Quite frankly, I could use a break. If it makes you less worried, I’m laughing as I type. Or does that worry you more?  It’s like Shannon Hale says, “Becoming a writer sounds more like a mental illness than a professional choice.” So, so true.Oh man. I need more sleep. Okay. Take a breath. Now I’m ready. *putting professional hat back on*)

The first book took place near Whitefish, Montana. 

My husband and I visited Whitefish (near Kalispell) awhile back, and I fell in love with the area. It’s so gorgeous with its crisp mountain air, unending pines, and amazingly blue skies. 

Sadie’s favorite place in the world, Whitefish Lake, MT. (This was taken from our cabin in 2007).

One of the things you’ll notice in the Pinterest board are a lot of pictures of Tennessee. Not Montana. That’s ’cause book 2 takes a turn. A turn southeast.

Back in ’04, my husband and I took our three (at the time) kids, and traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee.

We went to watch the filming of my dad’s movie, The Work and the Glory, which was filmed close to Knoxville.  What an experience that was–one for another post. But here are a few pics:

Inside the McBride family store as they got ready to shoot
“Nathan Steed” with my two kids. Super nice guy.
On set, outside the McBride store. We’re all wearing heavy boots because it had rained so hard in the last month, the entire set was one big mud puddle. It ended up causing a lot of issues, but we thought it was loads of fun.
“Lydia McBride” learning to ride a horse. Do you see what I mean? Tennessee is gorgeous. This picture makes me want to put Sadie on a horse. Hmmmm.  Thinking….

 

In a few short days, I fell in love with Tennessee. It’s so picturesque. We spent a morning in the Smoky Mountains hiking and exploring waterfalls. Gorgeous. And the people were so open and friendly. Very welcoming. Very southern. If Sadie and Josh couldn’t be in Montana, it only seemed fair to send them somewhere just as amazing. 

Great Smoky Mountain NP
Gerald N. Lund (Grandpa) taking Andrew on a hike through the TN version of the Sacred Grove

Side note: spelling Tennessee over and over and over again has been the bane of my existence this last year. For the life of me, I can’t get it right. Is it two ‘E’s or two ‘S’s, or both, or neither? And what about the ‘N’s? Ugh. What would I do without spell check?

Alright. Enough rambling. This was supposed to be a quick post. Of course they all start that way in my mind: “Oh, I know. I’ll just write a quick post about…” 1,000 words later. Ugh. Sorry. :)

The gist

Check out Augustina on Pinterest here, and tell me what you think. Hopefully, I’ll have a release date for it soon!!!

Have a great one!

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Comment here.

90% Non-verbal Stuff — Part 3

I’m so glad everyone’s enjoying this non-verbal stuff. It’s been so awesome for me to delve into it in such detail. To recap, here are the three questions I posed to some writer friends of mine:

  1. If 90% of all communication is non-verbal, how should authors portray this?
  2. How have you seen non-verbal communication used in other books?
  3. What tricks have you personally tried that worked without weighing down the manuscript?

I’ve been revising my current project at the same time I’ve been thinking about these posts. I keep thinking that a lot of it comes down to one word. BALANCE. Everything in writing is balance—everything in life for that matter, right? but I think this non-verbal stuff especially. It is easy to tip the scale on one side or the other.

For example…

I recently read a book that gave a ton of descriptions about what the characters were doing, how they moved in the scene and how they reacted to things. I could even picture their facial expressions perfectly. The way the author described things was so new and fresh and I was taking mental notes like crazy.

By page 50, nothing had happened. Like seriously, nothing. The MC had gone to a girl’s house, called a parent, walked outside and walked back in without any major plot other than what happened on the very first page. Yet I could tell you how her best friend smiled when she was mad, or how her dad pretended to clean when he was really just eavesdropping.

Yes, in real life 90% of communication might be non-verbal, but it also doesn’t take any time away from a conversation to notice someone folding their arms, or pouting, or picking their nose, or whatever. Your brain is processing everything simultaneously as they are speaking. But in a novel, you can’t read three paragraphs at the same time. Well, maybe you can, but I can’t. I’m forced to read linearly. Dialogue, physical description, action, and little quirks. I want all the non-dialogue in there, but not if it’s 90% of the text!

Growing up, I was a horrible reader. Until I was probably 20, I did this thing where I only read the dialogue. I’d skip from quotation mark to quotation mark until I finished the book. Sadly, the more I liked the book, the faster I read. One time, I even missed a major character’s death. It took me a whole chapter to figure out why everyone was so stinking sad.

Why did I skip the non-dialogue stuff, though? First, because I was a horrible reader (as in below grade-level). But the other reason was because honestly and truly, dialogue is more interesting. Readers like dialogue. Thinking about that led me to another question that I don’t think was covered this week…

Can you convey some of this 90% stuff in your dialogue?

I would say, absolutely.

Take for example these two sentences…

  •  “Katie! Time for dinner!”

Fine. The exclamation points convey some sort of urgency, but it’s fine. You could add some non-verbal cues to beef it up, like a mother with her hands on her hips, stomping one foot angrily (I’ve never done this personally–yeah right).

Or you could beef up the dialogue instead.

  • “Katie Elaine Johnson! You have exactly five seconds to be at this dinner table or your backside is rawhide!”

Sometimes the dialogue is strong enough to imply the hands-on-hips and stomping-foot-mother. With a red face. And steam coming out of my her ears. :)  If you can convey a ‘picture’ of the character just by what they say, then do it. Less is more, right? But if not, then give the reader a gentle, subtle nudge in the right direction.

Now that I’ve matured in my reading abilities, I love nuance, the whole reading-between-the-lines thing. I like seeing what the character is doing as well as what they’re saying. In fact, it adds a lot to the story when it’s done well. But I don’t need a whole lot. Certainly not 90%! Just enough for me to get a feel for the scene and characters. Or in other words:

You don’t have to paint the whole picture. You just have to give the reader enough that their imagination can paint the rest.



Okay. Enough from me.

I hope you don’t think that Ithink I’ve mastered this skill. There’s a reason I wanted to blog about this all week. Good writing is SUPER-DE-DOOPERY hard, but also very rewarding. I really appreciate all the great ideas from everyone else this week. I’ve learned a lot!

To end this week of fun writing tips, I saved one last author’s advice. He has written over thirty books, and is considered one of the top-authors in the LDS market. He also happens to be someone I admire tremendously—and for more than just his writing ability. It’s my dad, Gerald Lund.

I asked him earlier this week, If 90% of all communication is non-verbal, how should authors portray this (without weighing down the manuscript)? He gave a brief, but spot on response that kind of sums up what’s been said this week.

In my mind, you have to describe it verbally through written descriptions, but it’s not so much describing what it looks like as what it does.  This keeps it from getting ponderous.

The key elements in non verbal communication are the eyes, the eyebrows, the face, the mouth, the voice, a turn of the head, the hands, body movements, body tension or lack of it, mannerisms, etc.  These only take a phrase or two to convey what is needed.

And to show how he’s done it in his books, here’s a few notes I’ve added to my Excel file from his writing over the years::

–From the look on her face, she took that as well as a cat takes to having its tail pulled.  (this is one of my favorites from Freedom Factor)

–“Hello.” Good start, he thought with an inward smile. The tone in her voice had lowered the outside temperature by no more than five degrees. (There’s some banter here, and then…) The temperature dropped five more degrees.

–She raised to her full height and looked him in the eye, chin jutted out.

–McBride stood there for another moment, jaw working, his face mottled with rage. Then he spun on his heel and went out, slamming the door hard enough to make the windows rattle.

Thanks again to Sharon, Tricia, Cassie, Sarah, and Dad for adding your thoughts to mine this week. It’s been awesome!!!! If you have more ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section.

Happy writing!

First Book Signing, Including Pictures

Today was so much fun! I signed with some amazing people, William Bennett, Lisa Mangum, and Denis Gaunt, plus I was able to see a lot of friends and family that I haven’t seen for so long. What a great day. Thanks for everyone that came. Since this was my first ever book signing, I have to post a few pictures. Thanks David Mora for snapping some for me.
I have two more signings tomorrow with Gale Sears (Orem 10-11:30 and Bountiful 2:30-4) plus one next Thursday night (SL 6pm with my dad Gerald Lund and sister Cynthia Dobson). If I haven’t seen you yet and you are in Utah and you have a moment to come stop by, I would love to see you!
Who would have thought that writing a book was such a fun way to connect with old friends? So much fun!