Thursday, February 5, 2015

The REAL first book I ever wrote...

Today is Throwback Thursday. I don't always participate in this, but after a recent trip to my parent's house, it has to be done. Why, you ask? Because. I brought back the first book I ever wrote. 

[Wait! Stop the show! I thought Shadow of a Life was your first book?]


Now, get a tissue ready because after you see this cover, you'll need to wipe away tears. Tears of laughter, that is. (At least, that's what my kids needed to do when they read it. I think one of them literally ROFL'd.)

Here's the cover:

That's some spectacular art work right there! 

You might look at it and think I wrote it when I was five. 

Nope. Wrong again.

That 'thar book was written when I was in junior high. [Hides head in shame.] Our local library offered a class for budding writers and I jumped all over it. (The class, not the library ... although I have been kicked out of libraries before for inappropriate behavior. I started writing about one experience in a book, but I'll save that story for another post.)

Here's a look inside the book: 

Back to the class at the library ... After learning how to draw masterpieces such as those I've already shown, we typed up our stories using a typewriter. Yes, you read that correctly. We used typewriters. To those of you who are thinking: "You don't look more than 20 years old! How do you know what a typewriter is?" I say thanks for the flattery. For those of you who have been born in this century, just Google typewriter and you'll understand what it is. (Think prehistoric computer.)

Here's another page of the book:

After we had our artsy masterpieces and carefully typed pages finished, we bound them together with string, cardboard, and the plastic the library uses as book covers. It must have worked because my book is still together all these years later. Of course, that might be due to the fact that the cover never gets opened.

Here are the next pages of masterpieces:

Beautiful isn't it? 

You're probably wondering if I learned anything important in the library-writing-class-of-which-I-can't-remember-the-technical-name. And the answer is . . . yes. I did learn something. And I've remembered it for 20+ (cough, cough) years. 

I've decided to share what I learned with you today, in case you are an aspiring (or inspiring) artist or author. Here's what I learned:



Yep. Weeks of attending a class and all I can remember is that one of the girls in the class could make eye juice shoot out of her eyes. And sometimes it did it on it's own and she had to stop what she was doing to wipe it off her glasses. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's the next page:

One thing about me (that has nothing to do with the rest of this post) is that I am a total morning person and I always have been. No matter what time I go to sleep, I wake up at the same time. If I'm stressed about something, I wake up even earlier no matter how late I went to bed. I wrote this post at 5:30 in the morning, after lying awake in my bed for half an hour, wondering how early I dared run on the treadmill. (I wouldn't want my family to hate me. When this woman runs, it shakes the whole house.)

Here's another page:

Anyway, my point is, if this post makes absolutely no sense, blame it on the fact that I'm hiding under my blankets with the laptop, trying not to let the light bother my husband too much.

And the final page!

So . . . what do you think? Is it ready to be published? Should I start querying agents? This could be the next bestseller!!!

Happy February 5th!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

HONORABLE DISGRACE is not a disgrace!

Today I am reviewing the newest release from Creative Prose Publishing: Honorable Disgrace, by author Stephanie N. Pitman. 

First, here's the blurb for the book: 

Angie Adams joins the powerlifting team her junior year, but she has more in mind than just toning up—like getting closer to her crush, football star Cory Jacob, who, as luck would have it, is assigned as her spotting partner. When Angie’s feelings are unexpectedly returned, her life is suddenly filled with the giddy electricity of first love. But why, then, does Angie get a little flutter when her older and very hot boss, Brad, looks at her?

Angie seems to have everything going her way, until her world is torn apart by her sister’s betrayal which leads to a brutal rape.  Heartbroken and reeling in the aftermath, Angie has to find an internal strength to rival her record-breaking power lifts if she ever wants to feel worthy of love again.

My Review:

Wow. What an amazing book. First of all, the author's writing is fantastic. Her characters really come alive because of her descriptions of each of them. I love reading books where I feel like I 'know' the characters. The main character's father is a potato farmer and so is mine ... maybe that's why I liked her right away. Angie, is strong--both physically and emotionally--but something completely awful still happens to her. I'm glad the author didn't portray her as weak. Bad things can happen no matter your age, race, size, etc. You'll want to cry for Angie and hug her and go back and tear out a few pages of her story so that the rape didn't happen ... but you can't. She's got friends to help her, though. (Every high school girl needs a best friend like JJ and a boyfriend like Cory!) 

Great job, Stephanie Pitman!

Note: Even though some YA books are appropriate for all ages, because of the content of this story, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than high school.

Here are a few questions for the author of Honorable Disgrace:

TC: Honorable Disgrace is your debut book. When did you start the journey of your first novel?

SP: I began my journey into writing novels in 2008. I had written a children's PB previous to that, but always felt I was a young adult writer. Honorable Disgrace was not the first novel I wrote, but it is the first to be revised and to be published. I never intended to write Honorable Disgrace, I never wanted to say anything about what happened to me to anyone, let alone the world. But someone else had other plans and I felt compelled to tell my story through Angie.

TC: I know the feeling. When a story needs to be told, it needs to be told. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us. (Funny, embarrassing, serious...)

SP: I can't snap. I've tried for years, but just can't seem to get it. On a rare occasion when I have wet hands I can get a passable snap. But its a skill I've never really lamented, either. Life goes merrily on just fine without my ability to snap. Though my son thinks its funny.

TC:  That's funny. My pre-schooler is working on that skill. Now, to a more serious topic. Honorable Disgrace deals with a tough subject that you have experienced in real life. What made you decide to write about something so hard?

SP: About six years ago, I began having nightmares about my attacker and my rape. I would wake in a cold sweat and be unable to go back to sleep for a long time. One time, I felt prompted to journal about it. My nightmares became fewer and fewer, until they didn't come anymore, but by that time I had realized this was not just for me. It was for everyone else who had ever been raped or had to deal with a tragedy they felt was their fault when in fact they had no control over. The only control we have is how we deal with it.

TC:  Considering what you went through, that's a great attitude. I hope this book will help others dealing with rape to see that it wasn't their fault and they still have worht. What's next from author Stephanie Pitman? Are there other books in the works?

SP: I have so many projects and ideas I sometimes don't know where to start. I have a YA trilogy outlined and I am midway through the first book which deals with Mayan mythology in the heart of Montana. I have another one I started for NaNoWriMo set in Paris with reincarnation, suspense, and romance, of course. It is Paris. 

Other projects and ideas include revisions of my PB, a middle school mystery, another middle school fairy tale, and at least another three or four YA novels and an Adult one as well. 

My biggest problem is time. There is never enough time in the day to do everything needful and necessary and have time for my writing, which as of right now has to go on the back burner until things start to boil over in that front. 

TC: Agreed! If I only had more time ... sigh ...  Thanks, Stephanie!

Here's a little bit about Stephanie N. Pitman:  

Stephanie N. Pitman has taught preschool for over 12 years and is a motivated entrepreneur, currently operating two successful businesses with her husband, Travis. She is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel, a YA Contemporary, Honorable Disgrace, is based on her own story of overcoming the ugly side of life, betrayal and rape. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and an active member of the SCBWI. Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, and their two boys, visiting the beautiful splendor and diversity of their home state of Montana. Along with being an avid reader and dedicated writer, she enjoys pushing herself to her best by competing in triathlons, relay races, and half marathons along with being a Zumba and Yoga Instructor.

Where can you find Honorable Disgrace?