Soundtracks for Books

 

Ok, my mind is blown. Seriously. I’ve just discovered booktrack.com – a site where you can read books while listening to the soundtracks for those books. So, it’s like watching a movie, only you’re reading.

If you haven’t heard of them yet, then you must – MUST – check them out. It’s cool. Really cool.

And it’s free.

I’ll say that again because it’s important. It’s FREE. Oh, and it’s really easy to use.

If you’re a teacher you should know that booktrack.com has a special membership for you and your students. It’s called booktrackclassroom.com and kids can add their own soundtracks to stories they’ve written. Like many of the other educational resources you’ve used, booktrackclassroom is a closed network, so you have full control of its content which is shared within the classroom only. Students’ work will not be made public.

I will absolutely be making soundtracks for my books, starting with the prequel teaser, Defiant. I can hardly wait to get started!

Once you try booktrack.com let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment below, or by emailing me at valerie@valeriefrancis.ca .

Happy reading (and listening)!

 

Tenacious or Stubborn?

In the past week, three friends (lovingly) referred to me as stubborn. I (stubbornly) disagreed, saying that I was instead, tenacious – which of course led to a debate as to whether the two words actually mean the same thing.

The New Oxford American Dictionary and Merriam-Webster both list the words as synonyms of each other. Pfft. What do they know? I propose that there is a rather important and distinct difference between the two. Since I spend my days searching for exactly the right word to convey my meaning (a Sisyphean task if there ever was one), I figured this warranted a blog post.

To be stubborn, is to dig one’s heels in and refuse to move. When we say that a person is stubborn, we mean that he refuses to do something, or change his mind about something. So, stubbornness is characterized by a lack of action.

However, tenacity (in my humble opinion) implies the exact opposite. When we say that a person is tenacious, we mean that he is going after something with single-minded determination.

So while I stubbornly refuse to eat Turr (no matter how many times my father offers it to me), I am pursuing my career as an author with tenacity (actively finding solutions to each of the obstacles I encounter).

Have I convinced you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! :)

Now, for having humoured me and my little rant, I reward you with this: The History of English, in Ten Minutes (it’s pretty funny!) Enjoy!

What Authors can Learn from Movies

 

[dropcap][/dropcap]For Christmas, Santa brought me and my kids the Lord of the Rings box set…twelve hours of film plus an additional fourteen hours of DVD extras. I had no intention of watching it all—I mean really, I don’t watch twenty-six hours of television in a year let alone a week—but I couldn’t help myself. I was hooked! In fact, I think I liked the extras better than the movies.

Obviously I’ve read the trilogy and as an author of children’s fantasy fiction, I’ve long been inspired by Tolkien. But what caught my attention this time around was the way the production team approached the characters and the world.

When I was in grade school, my English teachers had me write character sketches and setting descriptions which I thought were completely useless exercises because I never understood why I was doing them. Little did I know then that they would become the main building blocks of my career. Even so, my characters exist in my head alone, not on film. I don’t need to provide every detail of every item of clothing because I couldn’t—and shouldn’t—spend time in my novels describing them. It would weigh down the stories and slow the pace.

But for the Lord of the Rings movies, the production team had no choice but to develop these kinds of details. Designers spent months studying each group of characters considering what their clothes, hair, weaponry and architecture would look like based on where and how they lived, their culture, their history and their beliefs. And the movies are richer for their effort. No one would ever confuse Gimli (dwarf) for Legolas (elf) because everything about the dwarf culture is harsh, angular and utilitarian whereas the elfen culture is refined, flowing and graceful–and of course there’s also a massive height difference.

So what’s the lesson here for authors? If we aren’t going to give the reader minute detail, why do we need to develop it?

Simple.

Knowing these details enables us to bring our characters and settings to life. It becomes more like writing about people we’ve met and places we’ve visited which in turn, creates more enticing stories for our readers.

And that’s what this job is all about.

Publication News

 

And so, a quick update for those of you who have been asking about the progress of my book and when it may be published. (And a sincere thank you for being interested! :) )

Although I’ve been quiet on that front publicly as of late, a lot has been happening behind the scenes. I still can’t go into too much detail, but if all goes well Book One of my series, The Nature Knights, will be published Fall 2015.

I’m bursting to tell you more so as soon as I can start to reveal details, I will! For now, I’d better get back to the writing. There are eight more full length novels in the series, plus a novella – and they won’t write themselves.

One thing’s for sure … I’ll never complain of boredom.

Interview with Paul Butler (Part 1)

Award-winning Newfoundland author, Paul Butler is about to release his latest novel entitled The Good Doctor. While the book might centre around Sir Wilfred Grenfell, it isn’t a biography. In fact, what Paul has written is a rather thought-provoking twist on the generally accepted image of this iconic character from Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Charis Cotter (Part 2)

Below you’ll find the final segment of my interview with Newfoundland children’s author, Charis Cotter. Here Charis talks about the importance of daydreaming, her work as an actor and children’s entertainer, and her incredible launch party coming up on October 25!

In fact the launch is so cool, I’m going to give you the details here too. It will be at Newman’s Wine Vault, 436 Water Street, St. John’s NL at 7:30pm (October 25). It’s completely free and the Vault will be decorated like the cover of The Swallow, there will be “spooky treats” and of course Charis will be doing a reading and putting on a bit of a show. :)  It’s going to be awesome – I can’t wait!

And of course, as part of today’s post Charis is giving away a copy of her book, The Swallow: A Ghost Story. Simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below the interview. It’s a stunning hardcover book, so if you know any kids between the ages of 9-12, you’re going to want to get this for them. Trust me. :)

As always, I’d love to know what you think about this or any of my posts. Please feel free to leave a note in the comment box at the end of the post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Charis Cotter

After a brief summer hiatus I’m back with another interview – this time with Newfoundland children’s author, Charis Cotter! Her latest novel is for kids aged 9-12 and is entitled The Swallow: A Ghost Story (published by Tundra Books, a division of Random House). In this first of a two-part interview, we talk about the inspiration for the story … and whether or not she has actually seen a ghost!

Part two of this interview will be posted on Friday, September 12. AND we’ll be giving away a hardcover copy of The Swallow: A Ghost Story. Stay tuned! 😀

Interview with Victoria Barbour (Part 2)

One week after release, the Passionate Kisses box set has:

  • cracked the amazon.com Top 100 Paid Books in the Kindle store
  • reached #63 on the overall sales ranking on amazon.com including the top ten in contemporary romance, anthologies and romantic comedy

With this project, Victoria Barbour has:

  • hit a personal best author ranking on amazon.com
  • made it to #68 in Contemporary Romance authors on amazon.com
  • made it to #99 in the list of all romance authors on amazon.com

Clearly, Victoria knows what she’s doing! Take a look at the video to hear why she chose the self publishing route and how she’s making it work for her.

One final note, I’m pleased to announce that the Rafflecopter winner for Against Her Rules is Diana Quinton.

Interview with Victoria Barbour (Part 1)

 

Newfoundland author Victoria Barbour is rereleasing her debut novel Against Her Rules as part of a ten-book collection of contemporary romances called Passionate Kisses. Victoria is the only Canadian writer to be selected for inclusion in this box set. In this interview she tells us a bit about her novel and her series.

The final part of this interview, in which Victoria talks about her decision to be an indie author, will be posted July 2, 2014.

And of course you can win a copy of Against Her Rules by entering your name in the giveaway below the video!

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway