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Letters

Dear Mother Nature: That was one wicked lightning storm last night while I was driving the lone highways of Utah. I’m a huge fan of your work, and I think you’ve outdone yourself. It was so brilliant and otherworldly, I half-wondered if the alien invasion was coming. My normally static-ridden hair was straight on end. Bravo for a spectacular performance!

Dear Man in Bookstore: No, I wasn’t admiring you. I was admiring the newly packaged leather-bound copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The fact that you weren’t admiring the books I was admiring, in spite of the fact that you stood right next to them, means you really aren’t my type and I’ll never be admiring you. Sorry. I hope we can still be friends  . . . in the I’ll-never-see-you-again-thank-goodness sort of way.

Dear James Dashner: Thank you for writing such a fun book. I truly enjoyed Scorch Trials and cannot wait for Death Cure. Your book kept me company while I drove the lone highways of Utah and watched Mother Nature do her thing. Your book and I had a great time together. Also thanks for the phone call. I”m glad you’re my friend.

Dear Family: Thanks for not putting me up for adoption when I get weird. You guys keep me grounded.

Dear friends: Thanks for all the comments, private emails, and words of encouragement. I promise not to stop writing even though I did consider it for a few minutes. I appreciate all your support. You guys are like a lifetime supply of flashlights with batteries.

Dear Manuscript in Progress: Sorry for the trim yesterday, but you look much tidier now. Those forty pages made you look a shaggy guy wandering around with no sense of purpose. It’s true when they say, “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” so stop whining.

Dear House: No you aren’t going to be clean this week. You’d think you’d be used to it by now. Honestly, House, you whine as much as Manuscript in Progress.

Dear Me: Why are you on the Internet when you have Manuscript in Progress to get ready?

The Sapphire Flute

Lesson learned: never leave a manuscript you’re working on unattended. I came back to my computer to find my son had finished my sentence for me: “And then her head blew up.”
I guess it’s better than some of the “sentence-finishers” my husband has left me when I’ve left my computer open.
I promised to review a book a while back and then never got around to writing the review so I am doing that today (since I am now done with taxes, wrote 3300 new words in my work in progress, and the kids are in school–and yes, I am putting off preparations for the class I’m teaching at the writer’s conference in two weeks).
Karen Hoover is one of my very dear friends. She is my favorite roommate for the LTUE science fiction and fantasy symposium. She puts up with my whining, my snarky attitude, and the fact that I snore. Seriously. She is a true friend. When I first met Karen, it was at a storymaker writing conference. James Dashner invited her to dinner with us and things just grew from there. After that dinner, she went home and wrote a poem called the poser because she felt so out of place at a table full of published authors. I told her she was wrong. She is not a poser. She was working on her writing and she’d be published soon enough.
And now she is.
And I couldn’t be more proud of her. Karen is such a humble, good person. She makes me a better person when I am with her. I am grateful for every twist of fate that put her in my path and allowed her to like me. And so it is with honor and excitement that I get to review her book, The Sapphire Flute
 
The Sapphire Flute
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret–a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

Ember, Kayla, and C’Tan are all strong female leads who carry a very character driven story. The magic system is brilliant and something I never would have thought up, so now I have magic system envy. And the action is strong enough to pull along the reluctant reader. When I first read this book, Mr.Wright  asked what I was reading. I told him and then he asked, “Is it any good?”
“Of course, it’s good, or I wouldn’t be reading it.”
“You’re just saying that because she’s your friend and you love her,” he said.
“No. I’m saying it because it’s true.” At this point I’m ready to throw a boot at Mr. Wright’s head.
“Prove it. Read me the first page and if, when you get to the end, I want you to turn the page and read more, then we can safely say it’s a good book.”
So I read the first page and stopped.
“Hey!” He became indignant. “Why are you stopping?”
“The first page is over.”
Then a little sheepishly, because he was so caught up in the story that he’d already forgotten our deal, he said, “Fine. Turn the page.”
Turn the page indeed. Great job, Karen! Great book!