Friday, February 03, 2012

It's That Time Again ...

So you may (or may not) have noticed that I've been a bit MIA from the blog. Every year around this time, I sign up to do Boot Camp at the annual LDS Storymakers conference (actually, this year I'm doing Publication Primer, which is a little bit different version of Boot Camp). It's an intense, all-day critique experience where budding authors give and receive feedback on fiction writing. It's fun, but intimidating. Even though participants only have to submit 10-15 pages to participate, having that deadline gives this bleeder (meaning I sweat over every word I write, worrying that it's not perfect—even in a rough draft) the motivation I need to actually work on the novel that's been sitting in my head for several years now. I've got half a dozen chapters now and am working on more, but man, writing is a time-consuming thing to do. So focused have I been that I'm behind on everything—reading, reviewing, housework, everything. It's nice to get this story purged from my head, though.

Hm, I'm not sure what the purpose of this tangent is (I guess that's why it's a tangent), except to say that I'm going to LDS Storymakers and you should, too. It's a great conference for writers.

Speaking of LDS writers, I'm excited to be part of the Whitney Academy again this year. The Whitneys recognize excellence in fiction writing by authors who are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The finalists in all 7 categories were announced today. Winners are decided by the Academy, a group made up of LDS writers, booksellers, bloggers, etc. Members of the Academy are asked to read all 35 of the books on the list or, at least, all the titles within one category. I'm going to try to do the former so that I can vote for best novel overall, but we'll see how it goes. Like I may have mentioned I've been a little preoccupied lately.

At any rate, here's the list of finalists. I was disappointed that more of the books I loved and nominated (Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little and Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith, for example) didn't make it to the final round, but I'm excited to explore some new novels and authors. Okay, here's the list for real. BTW: I crossed out the titles I've already read and the asterisks in the list denote books that are eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author award.

General:

Before I Say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes
Gifted by Karey White*
Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
The Walk: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans
The Wedding Letters by Jason F. Wright


Historical:

Daughter of Helaman by Misty Moncur*
Fires of Jerusalem by Marilyn Brown
Isabelle Webb: The Pharaoh's Daughter by N.C. Allen
Letters in the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears
Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth

Romance:

Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly
Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes
Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford
The List by Melanie Jacobson*
Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

Mystery/Suspense:

Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry
Bloodborne by Gregg Luke
If I Should Die by Jennie Hansen
Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black
Smokescreen by Traci Hunter Abramson


Speculative:

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson
I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
A Night of Blacker Darkness by Dan Wells
No Angel by Theresa Sneed*

Youth Fiction Speculative:

My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Slayers by C.J. Hill
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Variant by Robison Wells

Youth Fiction General:

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler
Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Pride & Popularity by Jenni James
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo*

As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me! I'll be keeping track of my progress on my right sidebar—kind of a personal challenge—so you can follow along with me.

How about you? What do you think of the finalists? Which books did you love? Which are you excited to read? And, most importantly, will I be seeing you at LDS Storymakers?

4 comments:

  1. Did it help today that the little miss was hanging with her grandma? :)

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  2. Awesome. I'm really interested to get your take on these books. Melanie Jacobson, author of The List and Not My Type, is one of my really good friends. We've been friends since back in college. She just signed with an agent for a national book she wrote. My prediction is that you'll like Not My Type better than The List. But I could be wrong.

    As for the others--I've only read part of one of them. It had way too many plot twists (that didn't move the story forward) for my opinion.

    Did you judge one of the categories?

    Also, did you hear that I'm getting published (finally) with Deseret Book? I wasn't planning on attending the conference this year, but I might now. Anyway, when my book is published--I don't want you to review it. I'm one of those people who has to get A's and you don't hand those out very often. :-)

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  3. Laurel - Yes, yes, yes! It was wonderful. Thank you. Julianna had LOTS to say about her visit :)

    Susan - You're hilarious! I love how I have this fierce, intimidating reputation in the book blogging world. It's kind o fun because, believe me, NO ONE is scard of me IRL.

    Congratulations on your book! I'm happy for you - you've worked hard for this.

    No, I didn't judge any of the categories. I'm just on the committee that gives input on the final round. And, yes, I think the list of finalists is very eclectic and kind of odd in some ways, so we'll see what I think.

    If you come to Storymakers, LMK. We MUST meet up this time!

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  4. I LOVED Sean Griswald's Head, so, I'm happy to see it on the list.

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