M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Redemption of a Scaredy Cat--Finding Courage Among Your Fears

    Have been on a Native American reading kick--Osage, Arapaho, Mixtec. Don't know why I haven't talked about Laura Resau before. Not only does she have an anthropological background and done the English-as-a-Second Language bit, but she's a local Colorado author. Worse, her young adult novel, Red Glass, is a wonderful book, even if published in 2009. -- No. I wouldn't know her if I stumbled over her in the daylight.

     Red Glass is a coming of age novel about Sophie, a risk-avoiding teen "amoeba" [a social singleton, isolate, loner, whatever], who learns her strengths by taking action against her better judgement and deciding she likes new self. Given the cliched situation, including a boy as motivation, Resau works writing magic.

     Have you ever thought lush description could be restrained? Well, Resau accomplishes the feat. The action doesn't stop. Yet, the reader can almost reach out and touch the scene they're in. This especially so when she's describing the milpas of southern Mexico/Guatemala.

    Pulled this example at random from when Resau describes the background of a secondary character returning to her house after it was bombed in the Bosnian Wars: "She shuffled and sorted through the debris, picking out pieces of green crystal wineglasses, sharp bits of vases, amber and violet, crushed wings of a blue angel. Some of the glass was smooth, melted in the heat of the explosions, some jagged. Finally, she picked up one shard of red glass, and put it in her pocket."

    I think that's a devastating depiction of the pain of war. And, no...I didn't search for it. The quote was truly a random pick though the piece of red glass appears often in the storyline.

    Yeah. I'm green with envy. Most writers would hit the pathos hard and heavy. But there's lots of humor in the story. On the other hand, even characters, that at first seem a set up for ridicule and comic relief, turn out to have an important role in sending Sophie on her self-revealing adventure in war-torn Guatemala.

    Oh, the storyline. Sophie's family fosters Pablo, an illegal child migrant, whose parents died on their journey to El Norte, the north, the USA. Her family wants to adopt Pablo, but they must first get his relatives', in southern Mexico, permission. Sophie travels south--with Pablo, Dika, a distant relative who's a refugee from the Bosnian Wars, and Dika's boyfriend and his teenaged son--on her journey of discovery.

Each character contributes to the mosaic of love and loss, courage and fear in this complex novel. While the theme is the standard teen stuff: character finding the guts to shed emotional crutches, Resau's storytelling soars. Even the adults learn something from the action. Read an excerpt and more reviews on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

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    A thank you to my blog readers, whoever you are. My last guest blogger, Helena Smole, got an upsurge in her book's borrowing on Amazon after her blog appeared last week. Thank you again.

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My Writing Rut

    Surprised myself when I went back through and renumbered the pages on the often revised beginning chapters of  On the Run. When I'm drafting a novel, I create a file for each chapter. In the switch from short story to novel, I've gone from five breaks in the storyline to sixteen chapters--and I haven't even started the ending when Pillar returns to Taddledon.

    The surprise? I had a 600 word chapter when I didn't go back and add to a demon attack scene. Taken care of, so I can now check it off. Still, have to add a bitty scene to another chapter because the guy comes back to make Pillar's miserable when she returns from the Bittermounts.

    Still, having problems getting the action of the expanded academy section started. Did get the mage dogs, an idea from Showdown at Crossings, added though they haven't done much but act like dogs. Can't wait to start inventing again.

   Taking Vengeance? It's waiting for me to do the paper edits. Then, it'll be on to the copy editor when I get them transferred. 

Am wondering if there is any magic that 
transfers a completed novel from the mind's imagining to the published page.
*sigh*

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