Launch Party

Crowd     I’m not sure if her husband really feels like a two-month road trip will be a punishment, but Lesley Kagen suspects he might feel that way by the end of it. Last night, Lesley began her book release tour with a launch party at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Mequon. Next, the pair will hit Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.

     I had so much fun at the launch. First, it was packed with people who’ve either really enjoyed her latest book, Land of a Hundred Wonders, or were just catching on with her first, Whistling in the Dark. A very funny and emotional friend and bookseller, who’s very proud of her, introduced her, and then Lesley charged into a bit of her life story and how writing has been such a surprising and enjoyable success for her.

>Lesley at Podium     “I just did it,” she said, about writing her first novel, without regard to publication. “I didn’t think about it that much.” She’s glad she didn’t; finding an agent and navigating the publishing world can be a nightmarish proposition.

     And so she’s enjoying the reaction to her work immensely, especially talking with readers at book clubs and readings such as that.

Lesley and Silvia     She read from Chapter 1, which is a wonderfully rich description of character and world, and then took questions from the audience. There was several writers in the audience, myself included. Lesley was quick to tell everyone that she doesn’t write from an outline or plan of any sort; rather lets the characters react organically with each other. Of her characters, Lesley says, “When you get enough people together, somebody’s gonna start trouble.” So she sits back to let them do that until she’s got the necessary conflict for a story.

Land of a Hundred Wonders     Where there’s less conflict for her now is in the business end of publishing. See, now that her books are selling, Lesley’s got a lot more say in the final product. Go figure.

     She introduced the rest of her family members, whom she talks about often, and gave us readers something to look forward to: news that her next book is nearly half completed. Entitled Tomorrow River, it’s about two girls in Virginia. No other hints … boo hoo …

     So a fun time had by all. Wonders is an enchanting read. I’d recommend you pick up a copy, and if you’re anywhere around her tour sites, stop by to meet her.

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn     I adore Bella Swan. And I’m so sad to read the end of her story. Stephenie Meyer has said that Breaking Dawn will be the end of the Twilight Saga as told by Bella. Of course, fans are anxiously awaiting Midnight Sun, to hear Edward’s perspective, but still, there are real pangs, real angst with the final the end of Book Four.

     I realize there are people who haven’t finished it yet, so I won’t give out any spoilers. I will however, mention a few sections of the books that I just love (so stop reading now, if you don’t want to know). These sections just drip with visual descriptions. No specific lines quoted here, both because I respect Ms. Meyer’s copyright and because lines won’t read the same out of context.

     I love Twilight‘s meadow scene, the description of sparking diamonds. Such an image.

     Bella’s fear as she traversed New Moon‘s tunnel; the inky blackness and the grate’s finality. If that doesn’t paint a mental picture, I don’t know what will.

      In Eclipse, Bella and Edward’s reunion after her breakout is so tender; the sweetness of reunion.

     And Jacob’s realizing, in Breaking Dawn, that the pull he felt was gone.

     I sincerely wish I could go on and on in deep detail about the great scenes and superb lines in these books, but that would take another four books in and of itself. The books were meant to be enjoyed in their entirety, too, to be given justice.

     Thank you, Ms. Meyer, for a great series.

Deep Fried Writin’

Fair     Is it wrong to sneak in a line or two — maybe even a whole paragraph — of writing while your kids are in a long line for the roller coaster? I hope not, because that’s exactly what I did. In fact, I’m sure it’s awesome, so I’m blogging on it.

     See, every year, my family spends the first day of the Wisconsin State Fair’s 11-day run at the Midway. Riding rides. All day long. Until we drop. Wellllll, let me be more specific so you don’t get the wrong idea. The kids go on the rides. I watch over them and occasionally feed them and regularly take pictures. Then the other days of the fair are devoted to all the other things that make the WSF the great event that it is.

     But this year, at the Midway, I snuck in some writing as well. I know, you’re thinking, “How can you write when you’re at such a place and your kids expect to see you waving at them?” Well, there were a few spare moments, when they were in lines or were inside closed-off rides (think Haunted House) where I could sneak in a few minutes of writing. So out came my teeny tiny purse notebook and in went, well, whatever I could spit out in a moment’s notice.

     We know some truly great writers suggest using every moment to one’s advantage. I spent 99 percent of my moments that day enjoying a great day with my family, but I also got a few precious moments with pen to paper, and a lot of character study done as well.