Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fine Tuning Your Romance Novel

Romance novels are about . . . well, romance. But love can take many forms, and many of them span a wide rang from agony to ecstasy. While many writers depart from stories that involve romance between two young adults, there are countless elements available to them that make the story come alive to the reader. The most important element, in my humble opinion, is the characters. It is not easy to create the kind of characters that can power a runaway bestseller in this kind of fiction. It is doubly hard to create a supporting character that is young, adorable, and irresistible. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said when a landmark case involving indecency came before the court: “I can’t define pornography, but when I see it I recognize it.” As a writer I find it difficult to define adorable and irresistible, but I know it when I see it. Click on the title of this article and see if the characters in the video give you a few ideas for your next novel.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Isabel and the School for Sorceresses

When J.R. Rowling wrote the first book in the Harry Potter series, many writers poured over her novel trying to discover the secrets of the author’s success. They soon discovered several elements that captivated both the young and the mature reader as they turned quickly through the pages. For a book to be a runaway success among the fertile young minds of today, it must deal with the many and varied troubles that children face, and offer them the tools to deal with similar problems in their own world. As I read through Isabel and the School for Sorceresses, I discovered that Alexandra and Svetlana McKenna had tapped into that magic combination of elements that make a successful story. People who have analyzed Rowling’s writing have said that ‘she is in touch with the child within,’ while Svetlana McKenna has done her one better by having her ten-year-old daughter collaborating with her.

Many children’s books are a chore to read, but the parent who might be sharing this reading experience with their tweens, is in for a pleasant experience. This is a ‘you can’t stop now, mom,’ kind of book, so set aside enough time to get to the last page before you put it away for the night. I won’t spoil the book by giving away the plot, but you are going to love Isabel and the magic world this mother and daughter writing team has created for us. I’m looking with great anticipation for the appearance of book three.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Does Science Always Have the Answers?

People who think that science has all of the answers might want to look at a paper published in1873 by a scientists Named Robert Spalding. Spalding was one of many early researchers who attempted to prove theories about nature that were already known by any farm boy. In Spalding’s paper titled ‘Instinct’ he made the following conclusion: ‘A baby chick’s instinct to follow a mother hen originates in its brain.’

In this experiment, Spalding removed the brain from a number of baby chicks and placed them near a clucking hen. His conclusion: Decerbrated chicks will not move toward a clucking or retreating object.

The website Metafilter contains several other groundbreaking experiments. You can find the link below.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Fairy Book by Alexandra & Svetlana McKenna

When I read the first book by the mother/daughter team of Alexandra and Svetlana Kovalkova McKenna, I was hooked. This beautifully written story has all of the magical elements expected in a pre-teen fairy-tale. Readers will be captivated from the first page as the story of Isabel and Rashkai unfolds. There is the proper amount of challenge and solution, allowing the story to teach life’s lessons while being entertaining. It is well written, poetic, and the kind of book that will draw a child and parent together as they read together. If you have a child, or take part in a library reading program, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing this book. I am looking forward to reading and sharing ‘Isabel and the School for Sorceresses,’ the next book in this series.