Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Much or Not Enough in YA-Ville?

How much is too much
for a young adult novel?

In writing there seems to always be a fine line. Too much detail or not enough, what you can
“play with” or add too and what you can’t change within the historical fiction realm. The struggles I have found most in writing is
really deciding what is too much for a young adult read? Television has it’s own ratings and it’s sometimes
really quite shocking what the stations allow to pass through on the young
adult rating. From taboo topics to horribly
foul language, join us as we explore the ultimate question..How much is too
much in young adult “book-ville”.
Let’s first take a glance at the possibilities the door of question opens. With television and movie ratings there is a standard
of what is deemed appropriate and what is not.
Do these same concepts and beliefs reflect what is appropriate in the
literature land? I have to say I think
not. For some reason “brief” nudity and
gore seem to be okay visually via young adult standards when you flick on that
infamous television set, but oh my!- if you dabble in the darker side of
things- (example Harry Potter) for the young adult mind. What an uproar some people created over that
fantasy school and shhh, can we say “wizards”-
Why is that? Wasn’t Jim Hensens
“The Dark Crystal” dark and fantasy driven as well and yet no stink raised
The trouble I really find myself in is for example, my second
book in the Banyan series I’m currently writing. It is a historical fiction novella in which a
young girl wishes upon a Banyan tree stick to be anywhere but where she is in
her life and ends up waking up in the midst of a historic event with each new
day. Current setting, being the
concentration camp, Dachau. The horror
and the extreme torture that took place there is enough to make a strong heart
sob. How do you engage the young mind
and wrap it fully around the events that took place there all while keeping it
age appropriate? Is it possible? I really don’t want to soften the events that
took place there as that truly would be nothing short of an insult to the
people who endured the trials and tribulations, or even perished at
I’m trying to
deepen my own writings as I dive into the darkness at Dachau and create a healthy
awareness to the political and humanity side of this piece of history that
should never be forgotten. History has
so much to do with our future and I truly believe that is we listen to it we
can get through this journey called life.
Another hot
topic on my mind has been the fact that I am a multi genre author. I write everything from children’s books, to
fantasy, to historical fiction, to even adult reads. I do however write anything deemed
inappropriate for younger minds under a pen name- as to not offend anyone,
respectfully. When I tell people this
they seem too often go bug eyed! Is this
really any different than an actor or actress starring in a children’s film,
then doing a love scene in their next year’s big hit? I think opening the mind to be able to
explore all aspects of writing is the key.
It becomes way too easy to become redundant in your works and shifting
genres is a nice key to keep things fresh and your creative juices flowing.
Writing really
brings up more questions than you can imagine and that is what I love about
it. Pushing the envelope, opening doors
in people’s minds, reminding people of the past and envisioning our future. Isn’t that what makes up a fabulous book
after all anyway?
Thanks for reading, and a huge thank you to Rebecca Russell
for having me on Teen Word Factory! You
can catch up on my blog at http://sameenassphere.wordpress.com/
Banyan is available via Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Banyan-ebook/dp/B005JUZO0M
& Museitup Publishing’s online bookstore http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=208&category_id=10&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1

Cheers to a good read,
Sameena Bachmeier

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing Tip: New Formats Stretch the Imagination

by Karina Fabian

I was not interested in writing your usual zombie novel, so when I was asked to write Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, I gave myself permission to go a little nuts and try out some new things.  I knew it was going to center around a reality TV show, so I thought I'd add in all the things networks are doing nowadays to promote their shows:  weblogs (where the characters diss each other and promote themselves), forums (complete with trolls) and even a documentary that explained the whole zombie phenomenon.

I don't think it would work for most books, but I had a lot of fun with this.  It let me go behind the scenes without worrying about head-hopping.  It spared me a lot of having to describe landscapes and backgrounds and such--I could cut right to the jokes.  The documentary let me add in a couple of flash stories that are much better for having the context of the entire novel.  Many reviewers enjoyed the fresh style, which did keep the novel moving.

It also helped me learn to work with a huge cast of characters, something I'd not done before.  That proved invaluable when I wrote my next book, a serious science fiction novel involving a crew that finds an alien device that shows them the weakness of their souls. 

Now, however, I'm working on Neeta Lyffe II, and I'm finding that without the reality TV show angle (this one is at a convention), I'm not as free as I was in Neeta I.  I can't make a forum fit.  The weblogs are more news-oriented.  There is a new documentary, however.  I really like being able to tell a separate but related story without flashback or characters just talking about it.

Experimenting with new formats is a great way to free up your imagination.

Join Me on the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator 
Virtual Book Tour

By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money, fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag. But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?

The workout room had a weights set and an elliptical in one corner, but Neeta ignored them. She needed more vigorous exercise than that if she wanted to burn off her emotional funk.

None of the plebes had done the routine she'd just set for herself. It didn't really reflect the reality of zombie movements, either. Although the crew had designed the targets to look much like actual undead, they moved too quickly, changed direction too suddenly, lunged and retreated in ways zombies couldn't imitate. They zigged and zaggged, dropped from the ceiling to zoom back up, flung themselves from the ground to trip the unwary. For once, this wasn't about training.

Neeta steeled herself, found an opening and dove in with a roar. She swung high, tagging the first zombie with the edge of her blade just as it got within her reach.

This was about reflexes,

She jumped over the arm that sprung up in front of her, doing the splits as she brought down her chainsaw to slice the hand off at the wrist.

…about burning aggression,

She spun a full circle, moving the saw in a sine wave. She took one target out at the knees, sliced another sideways across the chest, beheaded a third.

…about moving beyond thought and planning and negotiations with writers and directors and people who cared more for ratings than lives,

She lunged, spun, kicked and swung, her battle cries a perfect accompaniment to the pounding music.

A buzzer sounded, and the lights brightened and steadied. The targets stopped their frenetic motions and presented themselves for her to examine. She dropped the saw where she stood and braced her hands against her knees to catch her breath. Her arms felt like lead. A good feeling. She moved among the grimacing targets, noting the strikes that would have severed limbs, the ones that would have beheaded... When she came to the long-haired one with the pot belly, she gave a feral grin.

She's landed the blade in perfect position to slice Dave's manic smile right off his face.

Want more fun? Check out the Zombie Death Extreme show website!

Check out the Tour!

Interview for Frightliner & Neeta Lyffe
Try a New Format
Why I wrote a Zombie Book when I Don’t Like Zombies
Websites and Worldbuilding
how to put on zombie make-up
Making Monsters
Best job in the world
review, guest post
What my Writing has done to My Kids

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost in Lexicon - Gold Winner

The Mom's Choice Awards® has named Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Pendred Noyce among the best in family-friendly media, products and services.

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is an awards program that recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services.
Parents, educators, librarians and retailers rely on MCA evaluations when selecting quality materials for children and families. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five identical samples of a product. Entries are matched to judges in the MCA database. Judges perform a thorough analysis and submit a detailed assessment. Results are compiled and submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final approval. The end result is a list of the best in family-friendly media, products and services that parents and educators can feel confident in using.

Lost in Lexicon is a literary fantasy for kids age 9-12. It tells the tale of two cousins on a journey through a magical land full of mixed up words and numbers, with a quest to return the lost children of Lexicon to their homes. It is the first in a four-part adventure series. Lost in Lexicon has won numerous awards, to include a Parents’ Choice Recommended award, a ForeWord Book of the Year Awards Honorable Mention, and an IBPA Ben Franklin for Interior Design.

For more information on Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, please visit http://www.lostinlexicon.com/.

NOTE: Pendred Noyce will be appearing at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival in Minneapolis on the morning of October 15, and at the Barnes & Noble Educator Day in Roseville later that day. She will also tour through Boulder, CO in mid-November.

Author Biography

Pendred Noyce is a doctor, education reformer, and writer. Penny has practiced internal medicine, supervised medical residents, and become a leader in Massachusetts mathematics and science education reform. She serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including that of the Noyce Foundation, and she chairs the boards of Maine’s Libra Foundation and the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers is Penny's first full novel and is the first in a four-part adventure series.

About the Book

When thirteen year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne complain of boredom, their Aunt Adelaide sends them on a treasure hunt in a land where words and numbers run wild. Before they know it, they’ve taken on a pet thesaurus and the challenge of finding the Land of Lexicon’s lost children.

The cousins travel from village to village, solving challenges, befriending an unlikely lot of characters and gathering clues. When a careless mathematician transports them to the Land of Night, their danger deepens. They have to call on all their courage and creativity to battle kidnapping, imprisonment and blind deceit before they can solve the mystery of the lights in the sky and return the lost children of Lexicon to their homes.

You can download the first three chapters here.