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Random Writer stuff

First off: the farworld contest . . . . and the winner is: *all* of you who left a comment (now all those who didn’t leave a comment are crying in their Dr Pepper right now because they aren’t getting a book–and yes, I do know who commented before I posted this blog entry, so don’t go thinking you can slide in under my radar).

Jeff Savage has been an incredible friend to me over the years. He’s commisserated when commisserating was needed, kicked my backside when that was needed (though I hate it when he does that), and rejoices with me when I find success. He personally hand delivered my manuscript to his editor and has gone to bat for me more times than I can count.  I pretty much owe him any royalties I might gain from my upcoming release Eyes Like Mine  for all he’s done for me. It is for this reason I am buying all my commenters his book.

I bought a new TV (purchased on eBay for a screamin’ deal) so I can watch Heroes with better quality. With the new TV came an entertainment center (also bought on ebay, the deals keep screamin’) and with these new indulgences came the need to rearrange my living room. Now, anyone who has been in my house, knows that books are stuffed in every available spot (anyone who has been in my bedroom knows Darth Vader is stuffed in every available spot– a measure of my love for Mr Wright.)

The domino effect came into play here as I went from one bookshelf to another, rearranging in an order that makes sense only to me. The entire process took me a couple of days to complete. And I had an amazing epiphany. I own an entire bookcase of signed books by authors whom I not only admire, but count as my dearest friends. The process took a long time because I went through my books and read the messages left there especially for me from people I love.

Inside the jackets of these books were words of encouragement, gratitude, love, and admiration. There were private jokes and things that you had to be there for to think they were funny. I walked away from the experience humbled to know that not only do I call these people my friends, but they call me theirs.

These are the people I call when I get trapped on a bus for three hours with a bunch of eighth graders. These are the people who know me well enough to dub the writer’s insecurity disease Julie Wrightus. These people are among the first to find out when I get rejected, when I get accepted, when I finish a new novel, when my kids lose their teeth.

There are days when I am genuinely sorry I dared to step up and be a writer. There are days when I wonder what it would be like to go back, forget it all, and learn how to cook like normal moms do. But then I shudder. What fool would want to go back and lose so many friends? My kids are okay with days where dad is busy and mom has to cook. But I wouldn’t be okay without those people whose names sit on my bookshelf.  I wouldn’t be okay without the friends I’ve made through conferences and the internet as a direct result of my decision to write.

Thanks guys. All of you!

Far World

I am reviewing Farworld by J. Scott Savage, known affectionately to me  (since I am his BFF) as Mr. Savage. This review is also a contest. I know that Mr. Savage has indicated he would be providing Advanced reader copies to the winner of my contest, however the best way to support an author  (and I like supporting authors) is to actually buy their books. So I am providing the contest winner an actual signed, hardback copy of Farworld-Waterkeep. The contest rules are: leave a comment and my ten year old (who has a farworld poster hanging over his bed) will pick your name from a boot. I chose boot because hats are so cliché.

Because J Scott Savage is currently on tour promoting his new book, Farworld, he is unavailable to interview on my blog. But I was fortunate enough to contact one of the main characters in the book and spend some time with him for the interview. His name is Bonesplinter . He had no problems in taking J Scott’s place . . . in fact, he insisted on it. The review will follow the interview.

We decided to meet in New York because Bonesplinter had never been to a Broadway play and really wanted to see Wicked while he was visiting our dimension. He showed up late to the theater, leaving us little time to talk before we hurried in to find our seats before they lowered the house lights. I admit I felt a bit of gratitude once the houselights were lowered due to the hideous twisted scar running down Bonesplinter’s face and the way his silver eyes seemed to roam as if looking for prey.

Me (whispering to Bonesplinter ): With the lights down we’ll have to wait for intermission to do the interview.

Bonesplinter: What? Wait? Nonsense! We can do it right now!

Me: Um, look the orchestra’s already started. We should really wait for intermission.

Bonesplinter: I wait for no one! Do you not know who I am?

Since he’s now yelling, someone kicks the back of my chair and hisses SSSSSHHHHHHHHH at us.

Bonesplinter: Did you hear how snakelike that man sounds? He must be a Thrathkin S’Bai. (Bonesplinter lowers his voice) Though he’s not nearly as dedicated as I am or I would have met him before now. I’ll bet he’s one of those Slacker S’bai.

Me: Yeah right. Let’s just watch the show okay? Intermission will be the best time for me to write down your answers since the lights will be up.

I assume this appeases Bonesplinter since he turns his attention to the stage. I breathe a sigh of relief since I paid hard earned money on this show and would like to actually see it. Bonesplinter might be able to make his business cards look like money, but I have to pay the old fashioned way—with real cash.

INTERMISSION

Bonesplinter wipes his eyes  and motions towards the stage: ~sniff~ that was just beautiful. That green skin of hers is so beautiful. It’s so hard being the bad guy you know? I really connect with her.

Me: Yeah, about that . . . What first interested you in becoming the nemesis for Marcus?

Bonesplinter: Have you not seen my master? Hello? He’s got not just one Summoner, but two! TWO! You don’t cross a guy with that kind of power. He asks you to off some kid and you do it just because he asked.

Me:  Not that I’m taking sides or anything, but did it not occur to you that the kid has already had a pretty tough life and totally deserves a break?

Bonesplinter: I offered to give him a break. I wanted to start with his arms and move on from there, but that slippery kid just disappeared on me!

Me: This might be some kind psychological need to live up to your name, don’t you think?

Bonesplinter doesn’t respond, but growls at the lady seated next to him. I look around for medical help when she passes out, but her husband drags her off. She’ll probably be fine.

Me: So . . . Broken arms. I getcha on that. Do you ever want to do anything else with your life? I mean, once all the bones are broken?

Bonesplinter: Oh sure, sure. I’m planning on being a great painter. There’s a huge untapped market who would be interested in oil on canvas done with a snake tail brush.

Me: You don’t say? That’s impressive. So you really think there’s a market for that sort of thing?

Bonesplinter: They sell elephant paintings at the zoo. A snake is vastly more interesting than an elephant.

Me: Of course. So, back to the book, do you think you and your boss have a chance to defeat this kid?

Bonesplinter: Definitely. Those elementals are a bunch of fluffy ishkabiddles. They won’t be able to help him.

The lights go down again as the second half of Wicked begins. When the witch comes on stage again Bonesplinter starts whistling. The man from behind us is kicking our chairs again.

Bonesplinter: That witch is a real looker, don’t you think?

Me: Yeah, she’s a cutie alright. Let’s watch the play and finish the interview when it’s over.

Bonesplinter  (standing on his chair and screaming): Elphaba! Will you marry me?

Me (hunkering down in my seat and wishing I could disappear like Marcus does, and wishing I’d waited for J Scott to finish his booktour so I could interview him instead of the unruly minions of his imagination): Ssshh Bonesplinter, you’re gunna get us kicked out, pal. Why don’t you sit down? We can talk after the play is over.

Bonesplinter lets out a strangled cry as the security guards come down the aisle with their flashlights and drag him out of the theater.

Bonesplinter: Jules! See if you can get her phone number for me!

I try to smile at the guy behind us who is glaring at me (as is the rest of the theater) and give Bonesplinter a thumbs up, figuring with his snake eyes, he’ll be able to see that in the dark. I try to turn back to the play, but the guard now has a hold on my arm.

Guard: Ma’am, we’ll need you to come with us for questioning.

Me: Can’t we wait until the play is over?

The guard tugs my arm up, so I guess that’s a “no.” The audience applauds as I am ushered out of the theater. Dang it. I wish I would’ve bought the cheap tickets from TKTS.

 

Review: Farworld is a must read for fantasy lovers of all ages. I read this in its first draft form while on a family vacation. I skipped going to the hotel pool because I couldn’t stop reading. The second and third time around were even better! My boys absolutely love it and feel I am the coolest person alive because not only do I know Mr. Savage, but I have his phone number programmed into my cell phone and he actually answers when he sees it’s me calling to whine chat.

In Farworld, everyone can perform magic–everyone buy Kyja, that is.

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place — Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass’s secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld’s only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals —water, land, air and fire —and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them —Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S’Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

So the bottom line is: I read it, loved it, and am buying you your own copy to read and love too.