Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Different Approach

Now that I've set a timeline to self publish Antigone, I've been working like crazy editing and learning all of the things I need to know to self publish. I even decided to get my cover designed and, after much research, am going with Deranged Doctor Design (DDD). Their covers look phenomenal and original and, it would appear from their web site, that they have a great sense of humour.

But, in the process of telling DDD about my book so they could make their design, I realized how unwieldy the story had become. Kind of epic, actually. And epic is not quite what I was looking for in a first novel for a young adult audience. I think that putting the plots of all three of Sophocles' Oedipus plays plus my own retelling and drama into one book is just too much. I'm over 108,000 thousand words and the average novel these days is 65,000. I didn't realize how long it had gotten and how much actually happens. A lot, to say the least.

The solution: break up the novel into three parts, with each part being based on one of the plays. There are natural breaks in the novel and enough material to easily make three novels. I'm hoping this will make the work, as a whole, more approachable.

I'm excited about the change because I will be able to really concentrate on each part as I publish it, giving each of them more time and energy.

It feels like the right decision and I'm learning to trust my gut feelings on these things.

The first installment will come out this fall, hopefully in October. It shouldn't be too long between installments because the whole thing is written, and will only have to be edited to fit the new format.

Now, to figure out a title for each book...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Antigone

Thank you to everyone who has borne with me even though I have been negligent in my blogging. Like the writing process itself, this blog has had some ups and downs. I am hoping to remedy that by revamping the blog and sharing more of what I am doing.

Currently, I am heavily into editing my young adult mythological fiction novel, Antigone: The True Story. This novel is near and dear to my heart, based in the world of ancient Greek mythology. I love Greek mythology. I adore it. It makes me excited. I studied it extensively in university. I read books of it to my kids. I get all tingly just thinking about it.

Antigone by Frederic Leighton, 1882
And not only is this book a story that takes place in ancient Greece, but the main character is Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus. Yes, that Oedipus. The one who killed his father and married his mother. His daughter is not as well known as he is, but I remember being in first year university and reading Antigone, a play by Sophocles.

Wow. Talk about a story. Talk about a character.

Most of the female characters in ancient Greek literature are, shall we say, subservient. Those that aren't are pure evil (think Medea cutting up her children and throwing them overboard to stop her husband from chasing her as she made her escape). Antigone, though, is different. She is a worthy heroine and a match for any ancient Greek man, someone who could stand up for herself. Who violated the laws of the state when her family values and duty to the gods were at risk. A woman who buried her brother with her own two hands, twice. I could envision her, standing tall, shoulders back, chest out, defying her uncle, the king, and refusing to hide away, even when her own life is at stake.

And this, after her mother committed suicide. This after she led her self blinded and exiled father around the countryside until his death.

Sure, Antigone was a princess, but she had scruples and morals and didn't let anyone push her around. So, when I decided to write a novel a few years ago, I chose to write about Antigone.

I didn't know where to begin, so I just started typing. As I wrote, the words started to flow almost effortlessly (at least at first). Out came this story, the "true" story of her life. Connections I hadn't even dreamed of were made in my writing. Unknowingly, I foreshadowed major plot points. I drew heavily on the Oedipus trilogy of plays by Sophocles, using his milestones in my book, but the story is my own and definitely adds another level of fantasy to an already remarkable myth.

I am hoping to have this novel edited soon and to make it available within a few months. In the mean time, I invite you to join my mailing list. When you do, I will email you the first three (mostly edited) chapters of Antigone: The True Story to give you a taste of what's to come.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Perculating

Hello everyone,

I know that it's been a long while since I've posted on my blog. I have not forgotten about it, but have decided to make some changes. I will still do book reviews, but I am going to focus more on writing and creativity. Probably mental health issues as well (because writing and being creative is an important part of healing from this), but that is another post.

Thanks for your patience everyone, and hope you are enjoying springtime and the return to sunshine (at least in my part of the world).

Coreena

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Break

Hello Everyone,
I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I haven't given up, but am dealing with some health issues and have decided to take a break for the summer. I will be back in a few weeks with book reviews and writing updates.
Thanks for sticking with me and see you soon.
Hope you all are enjoying your summer!!
Coreena

Friday, 28 June 2013

Happy Summer

Hello Everyone,

I know I haven't posted much lately. I have had some health issues to deal with, but am hoping to get back to regular posts soon.

In the mean time, today is the first day of summer vacation - YEAH!!!

Here is a Sesame Street video of Jason Mraz singing Let's Play Outdoors, such a fun song that I think is great for summer break. Enjoy.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Book Review: The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade

Book: The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments #2) by Arthur Slade, 2010 by Wendy Lamb Books, 316 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A fantastic Steampunk adventure in the deeps

Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret.

The Dark Deeps, the second book in Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments series, is set in a fascinating Steampunk Victorian world. Modo’s underwater adventures and his encounters with the young French spy Colette Brunet, the fearless Captain Monturiol, and the dreaded Clockwork Guild guarantee a gripping read filled with danger, suspense, and brilliant inventions.


My Thoughts

This is a great series for kids - it has so much they will enjoy. There's interesting characters, mystery, adventure, cool steampunk ships...

Modo's mission this time was to find out about a mysterious underwater sea monster called Icitneo. It turns out that Icitneo is actually an ingenious submarine ship built by Captain Monturiol with an amazing mission. However, the devious Clockwork Guild is also after the ship.


I was happy to see Modo back again. He is such a loveable character in his innocence, emotional vulnerability, and strength. He is an exceedingly ugly hunchbacked character around the age of fourteen who can change his appearance at will and who has been trained as a British secret agent.


Modo is partnered up with Octavia, another great character. She is self reliant, feisty, and able to take care of herself. 

Slade is a great story teller with a wonderful imagination. Some of the ideas and evil plans in this book were ingenious. I also love how he pulls on the reader's heart strings, especially where Modo is concerned, making him the most human character of them all.

I think kids will really enjoy this series and the stories of perilous adventures will keep them turning the pages.



Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Friday, 31 May 2013

Book Review: Valiant by Holly Black

Book: Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales #2) by Holly Black, 2006 by Simon Pulse, 313 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends.
And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.


My Thoughts:
I love how Holly Black writes about characters who are normally invisible in YA books, and this book is no exception. This is the second book in the Modern Faerie Tales series, though it is more like a companion book with the world that Black created, rather than continuing the story of the first book. This installment focuses on teens who are living on the street in New York.

I enjoyed this - Black is a fantastic story teller and I enjoy the dark world of faeries that she has created. However, I didn't like this one as much as Tithe, the first in the series.

Seventeen year old Val runs away from home and finds herself living on the streets with a group of other teens who squat in the subway tunnels. They are linked to the world of Fey and take a faerie drug that gives them a unique high.

Val's character was good and I liked how she developed. I could understand her anger and betrayal, but she also grew beyond that. I wasn't as fond of the group of homeless teens that she hooks up with. I also found reading about taking copious amounts of drugs uncomfortable.

Overall, I liked the dark story and that faeries are not portrayed in a "nice" light. Black writes with a frank and honest tone that I think will appeal to many fans of YA fantasy who are looking for something different.
 
Note: There are significant amounts of drug use, swearing and sex in this book.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Book Review: Ultraviolet

Book: Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet #1) by R. J. Anderson, 2011 by Orchard, 416 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?


My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book, but it is a tough one to review. 

For most of the book, 16 year old Alison is in a mental institution because she claims to have killed he friend. She also sees and hears things that aren't really there and her family is concerned and scared about it. I found the mental institution interesting and authentic sounding, feeling like the author really researched this part of the story. I also really felt for Alison and what she's going through, curious about what really happened. 

I also liked the other characters in the hospital and how things weren't glossed over with her family - that it was hard for them to have her there, that they didn't know how to relate to her, that her best friend changed how she felt.

Then, about three quarters of the way through the book, there is a twist. I won't say much, but it is a twist that changes the whole book. In one way, it was fun, but in another, it left me feeling betrayed.

Overall, I enjoyed Anderson's writing and she really pulled me in. I loved the exploration of Alison's condition and the acknowledgement that we all see things differently, some more than others. I am still torn about the ending.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Off to the Word on the Lake Readers and Writers Festival


Today I'm off to Salmon Arm, BC to attend the Word on the Lake festival for Readers and Writers put on by the Shuswap Association of Writers. I'm so excited, as they have a great line up of speakers and they always do such a great job every year. This is their 10th Anniversary and it looks like they may just outdo themselves. I can hardly wait.

I am also bringing my 14 year old son this year, who will help to volunteer and attend some of the workshops. And another friend is going with me as well. It should be a great weekend.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Blog Tour & Review: The Emerald Ring


Today is my stop on The Emerald Ring blog tour. I have a review of Dorine White's fun new middle grade fantasy book.
Book: The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra's Legacy #1) by Dorine White, 2013 by Cedar Fort, Inc., 192 pages.


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.


My Thoughts:
What a fun book! Twelve year old Sara finds a mysterious emerald ring in her grandmother's attic. Once she puts it on, all sorts of strange things happen that throw her into a mysterious and dangerous world of an ancient Roman cult and dreams of Cleopatra.

There is so much in this book that kids will love - adventure, mystery, intrigue, cats, history, cultural diversity, friendship... The story is well written and will keep kids turning the pages wanting to know what will happen next.

I love how White drew the reader into Sara's world and made us root for her as she faced danger and solved puzzles. She also has a fantastic imagination and draws on ancient Egypt, a time that is fascinating for most kids, in a unique way - often from the point of view of a cat.

Overall, this is a great first book in this series and it will be interesting to see where it goes. I think that both boys and girls will enjoy this book because the story is told at a great pace with lots of danger and adventure, along with solid friendships.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

Get in touch with Dorine White:
Twitter
Facebook
Blog