Entries in Linkage and Lovage (9)


Contest! Book Bomb for a Cause!

Recently I read a terrific book written by someone I know. Sometimes this can be a little nerve-wracking: what if you don't like the book even though you love the friend? What will you say next time you see each other? Awkward!

But there was no need for worry in this situation. The book I read was Variant, and its author is Rob Wells.

Larry Correia recently described Variant as a "sci-fi Lord of the Flies," and I think that's a great logline--except there is hope and romance and intrigue aplenty to be found within its pages as well--something for everyone. Interesting, believable characters? Yes. Vivid setting? You bet. Byzantine plot that will keep you guessing? Check.  It's a suspenseful carnival ride of a read, and it will surely make my Top Ten Books list this year--so I would unreservedly recommend it to you no matter what.

If you don't take my word for it that Variant is worth your time, trust the smart people at Publisher's Weekly. They recommend it as one of the best books of 2011.

Besides being a great writer, Rob is also a terrific guy. A few years ago, he founded the Whitney Awards to help raise the level of writing produced by LDS novelists. He constantly and cheerfully gives of his time and knowledge to help less experienced writers. He's super funny, too. Here's a post he co-wrote with his equally talented and amusing brother, Dan Wells (a writer whose work I've recommended to you before).

But here's the thing. Rob Wells recently and inexplicably developed a severe panic disorder--one that doctors have not yet been able to treat effectively. Rob has faith that he will find a solution, but in the meantime, he is debilitated by this disease. How much so? Last week, he got laid off from his job. We're not storming the workplace; Rob maintains that his employers did everything they could for him. But in this economic climate--well, you know how brutal it is out there.

Christmas is coming. Rob and his wife have little kids. And here's the thing you may not know about writers. Even when they hit the national market in hardcover, they usually can't quit their day jobs until they have several books out--and oftentimes, not even then. Writing is a labor of love. Very, very few novelists make a living wage doing it, let alone get rich. And while I hope that Rob has a long and illustrious writing career, he has only taken a few steps on that road.

Larry Correia came up with a way to help Rob. He is using his considerable influence to convince everyone he knows to set a Book Bomb--buy one or more copies of Variant on Amazon on Thursday, 10 November--which is tomorrow, as I write. He hopes that with that combined purchasing power, Variant will soar to the top of Amazon's bestseller list and give the book the exposure it so richly deserves.

I'm in. Here's how I'm helping that Bomb explode. Tomorrow, I'll buy three more copies of Variant, one to donate to each of my two local libraries and one for our school. Then I'll go through my Christmas list and count up how many fortunate people will be getting a copy of Variant under their tree from me--that will be several more copies.

But I'm not stopping there. I'm hereby hosting a one-day contest. I will award a $50 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who meets the contest requirements below--and just to sweeten the pot, two other almost-as-lucky people will win signed copies of my cookbook, Comfortably Yum. (Give it as a gift if you already own it.) Here's how to win:

1) Buy one or more copies of Variant--hardcover or Kindle edition. For each copy you buy, you get an entry in the contest.

2) Tweet and/or post on Facebook about this contest. For each tweet/post, you get an entry in the contest. (If you don't use social media, worry not. Just buy the book, and you're in at least once.)

3) How will I know what you've done? Total up how many entries you have earned, come back here, and leave me your report in a comment. I'm not going to ask you to forward me your receipt or link to your posts; I know I don't need to remind any of my regular readers that you're on the honor system.

4) Friday morning, 11/11/11, at 9:00 a.m., I'll number all the entries and use a random number generator to choose the three winners. I'll post the results right here on Kashkawan.

This is a win-win-win! You get a great book. You help out a great guy. And you may win a great prize. Get to it!


Guest Appearance

There's an oldie-but-goodie of mine posted over at the fabulous Dunhaven Place today.


A Story Finds a Home

My short story "Truck Stop" appears in the latest issue of the new webzine Noctober. I must tell you: it's in excellent company. The other stories are really good; they tell of all sorts of creepy shenanigans involving coffee, ponds, paintings, carpets, and ivy. My favorites are "The Water Lily Room" and "The Garden Keeps His Confidences." Let me know what you think!


My Mind = Desert

I've been having a stupor of thought when it comes to the blog lately. In an effort to inspire me, the excellent Megan recently supplied me with a list of ideas for posts. (Go read her great piece on Joyce Carol Oates's classic short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"; you won't be sorry.) All Megan's ideas were great, but I'm still coming up short. Is there a such thing as "blogger's block?" If not, I just invented it. Again.

Life is good. Everyone is healthy and happy (except Hope; apparently there is a wormhole in our house, and her backpack has disappeared into it). The weather is gorgeous. I'm busy, busy, busy, but that's nothing new. And I'm thinking that my recent jam-making exploits or ruminations on the current state of the speculative fiction world or rages over evil ninja garden-decimating deer aren't terribly interesting to anyone but myself.

Maybe I'll get myself together in time for Fascista Friday or Soap Opera Sunday later this week, but for now? I'm hoping James Cromwell will nod and smile at me and say, "That'll do, pig."


Famous Last Words

(Tombstone image borrowed from the yet-living John Scalzi)

The wondrously fine Bea and the ever-scrumptious Adriana both tagged me a while ago for the Six-Word Epitaph/Autobiography/Memoir Meme that's been floating around Planet Blog for a some time, and I've been trying and failing to define myself cleverly but succinctly ever since.

Here are some great examples of successful memery crafted by bloggers with bigger brains than I have: Bea of Bub and Pie (scroll down a bit); Veronica Mitchell of Toddled Dredge; and Adriana of What I Made for Dinner.

(If any of you other readers have done this meme, and I missed it somehow, leave me a link in your comment. I'd love to see what you've done with this.)

Anything I concocted sounded a lot like Adriana's or Veronica's, but not as good. Finally, I decided to borrow inimitable words from my favorite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Here's what I would have carved on my tombstone (right after all the clear and accurate vital information courteously provided for genealogists of the future):

Kingfishers catch fire; dragonflies draw flame.

Someone wandering around the cemetery and happening upon these words might wonder about their context. Here's the whole poem:

AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 5
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 10
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

What I do is me: for that I came.

I love to write, read, visit with my dear friends, and play with my kids. I enjoy cooking, gardening, knitting, and family history work. I swoon over fabulous restaurants, great art and music, and my husband. I could define myself by any of these daily actions, and much of the time, I probably do. But ultimately, I hope that my life will be defined by my faith and how it comes into play in my every decision.

Here are two links to more words not my own that powerfully express how I feel about my faith: the audio file and transcript of the last public words of Bruce R. McConkie, an LDS church leader who died in 1985.

Elder McConkie died just two weeks after giving this gorgeous and moving address; I do not doubt that the statements of the final few paragraphs proved true. (Warning: if you are not up for something Deeply Christian, don't bother.)