Thought for the day:
"We don't turn to story to escape reality. We turn to story to navigate reality."
-~Lisa Cron of Writer Unboxed~
Here are some links I think you will find valuable – three great ones this week.
Tempted to use song lyrics in your writing? Make sure you check out this very useful post on the problems that come with song lyrics by clicking HERE.
Kristen Lamb’s blog is really worth reading. She is funny, smart, and gives lots of great writing information. Click HERE for her post on five tips for tighter, cleaner writing.
Click HERE for Writer’s Digest article on the Two Pillars of Novel Writing:
For my wonderful giveaway, and autographed copy of Cake, the winner is Books4Learning! (Cue the balloon drop!) Books4Learning is a blog run by an anonymous teacher and reader. She also runs lots of book reviews and maybe she will add this blog to her blog roll! Hope so. Check out her blog by clicking HERE. Books4Learning, look for an email from me about getting the book to you.
I was contacted a while back by a publicist asking if I would be interested in reviewing the first two books in a middle-grade series called The Chronicles of Egg. I’m always looking for books for my reviews, so it seemed like a good offer. The publicist also offered to host a giveaway of each of these two books on my blog for readers in the US and Canada. I don’t send to Canada – it’s too expensive for me – so this is especially attractive. So check at the end of this post to see how to have a chance to win the first book in this series.
I must tell you, when I received my copies of the books, I wasn’t too sure it was quite my cup of tea. I could tell from the cover (which I really like, by the way) that fantasy would be involved, and you know that isn’t a genre I usually read. Although I must admit, I am becoming more of a fan the more I read it. But the first book in The Chronicles of Egg series, Deadweather and Sunrise, is a rollicking good adventure, and I loved every bit of it.
Egbert Masterson is a thirteen-year-old boy living in pretty dreary circumstances. The island of Deadweather lives up to its name – it is sticky-humid, hot, with hardly a breeze for relief. Egg’s family consists of a completely detached father, no mother, a nasty older brother who enjoys nothing more than making Egg’s life miserable, and a mean-spirited older sister who takes her unhappiness out on Egg. The closest thing to someone who cares are a couple of pirates who work for Egg’s father doing cooking and other chores around the ugly fruit plantation owned by Masterson.
Egg’s father seems particularly preoccupied and suddenly announces he will take the family to Sunrise Island the next day. Although the family normally goes there a couple times a year, they’ve never done it precipitously. At Sunrise, an elegant place where this family doesn’t seem to fit, Masterson says he has to see his lawyer and the kids should get some food from street vendors while he does. When he comes out, he seems much more upbeat and offers to take them to get a real meal at a nice restaurant. While there, they are invited be the guests of a wealthy, prominent man, Roger Pembroke for dinner. He seems very interested in learning more about Masterson’s business. Everyone is flattered by their treatment. Pembroke takes the whole family to his home and entertains them there. He introduces them to his lovely wife and young, beautiful daughter, Millicent. Egg is smitten. Pembroke offers the family a hot-air balloon ride, but they are too heavy, so first their tutor is put out, then Egg jumps out to allow the balloon to go up. The tethers do not hold and the balloon floats off into the evening, never to be seen again.
Pembroke spends a lot of time talking to Egg about papers his father had brought to show his lawyer. Egg knows little about it, but shares what he does. Pembroke offers to adopt the poor orphaned Egg, but when Egg realizes that would make him Millicent’s brother, and a brother cannot marry a sister, he refuses. Pembroke’s attitude changes and he sends Egg on an errand with one of his men, who tries to kill Egg. Egg escapes and Millicent helps him to get safely off the island. This is where the adventure really begins. We have pirates – bad ones and not-quite-so-bad ones – a quest for great treasure, a clever, loyal friend for Egg, and strange places and people along his journey.
"I might have been able to outrun him, back to the porch where I could pick up a gun and defend myself, if I’d focused on the knife and not his face. But the face froze me in place, baffled, unable to believe what I was looking at was real."
But what really carries this story is the voice of young Egg. He tells his remarkable story in a most authentic thirteen-year-old boy’s voice and draws the reader in, never letting go until the end of this book. One of the best things about reading this book was that I already had book two of the series in my hands, because I just couldn’t wait to get to it. I’ll be reviewing that one when it comes out in May and you’ll have a chance to win that as well. This is a really fun, engaging series. Boys will love these books, but I think girls will as well. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, I give this both thumbs way up. It’s fun and exciting and will generate loyal readers.
You can have a chance to win paperback copy of Deadweather and Sunrise. If you are not yet a follower, please become one and tell me that. I will put your name in twice. If you are already a follower, thank you very much, let me know and I will put your name in twice. You can receive extra chances by linking to this post on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media and tell me you are doing that. You can also receive an extra entry by following Geoff Rodkey on Facebook or Twitter and telling me that as well. (If you click on the words Facebook and Twitter, you go to the appropriate link.)
Don’t forget to stop by Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday links. Click HERE to find it.