Tribute to the characters of Fablehaven

I am a huge fan of the Fablehaven series. Some of you may have heard me talk about it before on my blog or yours in the comment section.  I really just think the books are charming and enjoyable for all ages (from my 11-yr-old brother to my age-not-to-be-mentioned father) .  Two weeks ago I got to hear the author of the series, Brandon Mull, speak about his books to a group of kids and adults.  I also attended a few workshops where he was a panelist and went to a book signing.  So this week, in honor of the forthcoming, fifth and final installment of the series, Keys to the Demon Prison, I bring you,

Characters and Covers of Fablehaven
How Brandon Mull makes well known mythological characters new and unique.

My art vs. the professionals (there's very little difference, as you can see).

There are witches.
And then there is Muriel

The creepy-house-in-the-forest-knot-chewing-until-your-gums-bleed Fablehaven witch.

There are Frogs

Then there's Ollach the Glutton
The eating-everything-and-person-in-sight-growing-bigger-than-a-house-demon-frog.

There are centaurs (Napolean Dynamitesque)

Then there is Cloudwing and Broadhoof (and others).

The powerful-and-noble-yet-arrogant-to-fault Centaurs of Fablehaven.

There are Dragons

And then there's Navrog

The-Demon-Prince-lord-among-dark dragons-covered-in-oily-black-scales-belching-fire-like-liquid-gold dragon of Fablehaven

There are Fairies
And then there's this dude!

No, I don't know who is yet (the book comes out March 23rd),  but the cover is beautiful!  My guess is this is the fairie king.  I guess we'll see.

If you haven't read these, you've still got a month before the final one comes out.  Happy reading!

LTUE Life the Universe and Everything (I couldn't think of anything original for this title)

I just got back from a long weekend in Utah where I attended the LTUE writing conference, a phenonmenon known to husbands everywhere by it's true name "excuse to hang out with the girls" (or maybe that's just at my house).  There may or may not have been some workshop skipping, hanging out moments (or hours).   But the important thing is that while we were hanging out there was much discussion of books and authors and becoming book authors.

I actually did attend several workshops and learned a great deal of useful information. There were a variety of panelists ranging from best-selling authors to artists and even ghost hunters.  Some highlights for me were listening to the podcast Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor, and special guest James Dashner.  It's a fifteen minute writing podcast that is entertaining AND useful (it reminded me of my husband, funny and useful).  *Note to self: writing can be funny and useful, not just people.* 

 I also loved the keynote address.  Brandon Sanderson was inspiring! I wish I could have recorded what he said, but Jenn did a great job of restating it on her blog, so I'll let you read it there.  Suffice it to say that I got goosebumps a few times. It was like a big pep rally for writers of speculative fiction. So awesome.  I felt like standing up afterward and turning to the audience and saying, "I love all of you people," and then turning to the attendee who was snorting and making other wet sounds behind me and pointing at him and saying, "even you."  There was that much good feeling in the room.   I am also that cheesy.

Another highlight was meeting the authors at book signings, readings, and just around the conference.  I was so impressed with how generous they were with their time.  I just have to put a plug in here for a couple of my favorite books. 
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner (who was hilarious and so nice)
For the past several months I'd heard the buzz surrounding this book, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I got the chance to read it.  I was not disappointed. In fact, I read it in one day, staying up until the early morning hours to finish.  I had to know what was going to happen.  I think this is because Dashner is a master at pacing and hooks. His book is a true page turner.  At one point during the conference, after he had finished reading two chapters for the sequel, The Scorch Trials (aren't you jealous!), he mentioned that The Maze Runner is more than 100K words.  We were all shocked. It just flew by.  I think that speaks to the the authors story, but also to his technique, which he was kind enough to share elements of during the podcast. I highly suggest you listen to it.

I also highly suggest you buy the book.  What are you waiting for? Go now. 

Maybe I'll save my next book review until next week. I also want to talk about the aspiring authors I met who were so wonderful.  I think this blog post is probably long enough, and I've decided to adopt the Writing Excuses podcast philosophy of keeping it short because, as they say, "You're in a hurry, and [I'm] not that smart." 

Next week: Fablehaven (I may even draw)

Love - Beatnik Style

A couple of weeks ago Renee joked that she could imagine me reading something I wrote Beatnik style.  So I thought, hmmm I can do Beatnik.  I'll just write a rhythmic poem ending in death. (That may not be the actual, technical definition of Beatnik poetry.  Also, actual Beatniks may or may not take their poetry writing more seriously than I do.) So without further ado I present to you LOVE, beatnik style (or more accurately, my perception of Beatnik)

Perfect semblance of potential unrequited adoration
Unspoken obsession
Worshipping the notion of what could be
Reason, speaking softly doles out temperance
Blessed temperance
Cursed temperance
Longing builds to ecstasy when first met with hope
Heightened need and hesitation
He loves me
He loves me not
Then the magnificent first declaration
The sun rises on our love
It flows across the sky
Brilliant perfection 
Until sunset
Behind the mountain an explosion of scarlet and crimson
The color of love
The color of death*

*It should be noted that I take love seriously and do not actual equate it with death.  However Valentine's Day (and month), or the time when the commercial world tells you that you are required to show your love, I cannot take seriously. Ever.