April Fool’s Day Blog

•March 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

indie brag I hope you’re having fun so far. If not, I have a treat for you to spice up your day.

I’ve teamed up with Indie B.R.A.G. and other B.R.A.G. medallion authors to give you a chance to enter for a $50 Amazon gift card! Readers who comment here on my game will also be entered for a chance to win an eBook copy of the Young Adult fantasy book, The Dragons’s Chosen.

First, let’s go over the rules:

  • To enter for the $50 giveaway, click on the indieBRAG website starting April 1st, and comment to enter your chance to win a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!
  • Visit each author’s websites, and comment on their post to enter a chance to win a copy of their book.
  • The winner will for the Amazon prize will be announced on the indieBRAG website on April 5th. And each author will announce the winner for their giveaways on their sites at the date they choose.
  • You must be 18 years or older to participate in the prize & giveaway.
  • Giveaway is open internationally.
  • The winner has 48 hours to claim prize and giveaway or a new winner is chosen.

Let’s Play!

To play, leave me a comment on this blog post on whether or not you think the following scene is a real one from The Dragon’s Chosen or if I’m playing an April Fool’s joke on you. That’s it! I’ll come back soon to let you know whether this scene is really from The Dragons’Chosen or not.


The tower had windows, dark and dusty, facing three directions with heavy drapes hanging from high brass rods. Southward, a road curved past a derelict mansion, about two stones’ throw away. Swallows dipped and dove, through the mansion’s broken windows, pigeons roosted in the eaves and red squirrels scurried in and out through the open doors. Beyond that the road meandered through brambly fields and heath covered hills before disappearing into a forest.

I paced back and forth between the panels. Each had murals painted in soft pastels. From my balcony they looked like happy pastoral scenes of a lass and lad. Different couples in each of six panels. But on closer examination each mural showed a fearful thing. In one the tall reeds in a bucolic pond had eyes. In the next, taloned hands reached out from an ancient sycamore and grasped the ankles of one couple. Within each panel, something lurked, and within each panel, the happy smiles of the couple were offset by the despair in their eyes. I cringed whenever I looked upon them.

What do you think? Real, or fake? Let me know in the comments.

INDIEBRAG BLOG HOP PRIZE & GIVEAWAY

Each author is presenting a scene that may, or may not, be from their book.  Follow the wisp to light your way from blog to blog as you read today.  Take a good guess, make a careful choice, and decide for yourself if you hear the author’s voice.
Comment on each post if the excerpt is real, or an April Fools jest. Look for authors offering book giveaways and enter their raffles.  Be sure to visit the IndieBRAG Website to enter for the Grand Prize – a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!
Grand Prize and book giveaways start April 1st. The winner of the $50.00 Amazon Gift Card will be announced on April 5th on the indieBRAGWebsite.  each author will announce the winner for their giveaways on their sites at the date of their choosing.

Rules:

The chance to enter for the prize and giveaways ends April 4th. The winner will for the Amazon prize will be announced on the indieBRAG Website on April 5th, and each author will announce the winner for their giveaways on their sites on the date they have chosen.
You must be 18 years or older to participate in the prize & giveaway.
Giveaway is open internationally.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize and giveaway or a new winner is chosen.

 

Fight scenes

•November 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A. C. Spahn is a go to person for fight scenes. She’s been lifting up the underpinnings of fight scene for a couple of writers. If you want to improve your fight scenes, consider reading what she has to say. Here is her critique of a small scene of mine from my upcoming novel “The Dragons’ Chosen.”

Click here:

swordfighter

Speculative Fiction anyone?

•June 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Click below to see the newest AIA Publishing novel!

New book by Richard Bunning

Throwing Stone at the Wrong Target

•June 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Let me start this conversation by stating that I am a feminist. I lived through the ’60 and know what is like to be told that women can’t, can’t being defined as whatever I wanted that men could do.
I remember the social structures that restricted me, some were blatant and some subtle. Sometimes it was official rules and sometimes only the pressures within my family that herded me into a tightly bound role that didn’t suit me.
But none of those are reflected in Andrew Smith’s controversy. Here is what was said.

Question:
On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn’t much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?
Answer:
I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she’s 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I’m trying to be better though.

Now that doesn’t sound inflammatory to my ear. That sounds honest and not particularly newsworthy. But it has been pounced on with a fever akin to witch hunting. To me his statement sounds mild. Probably not so different from what a woman from an all girl household might say about men. Yes, he is married and has a daughter, but that always doesn’t give you the “inside of the head” context necessary to write deeply about a character, so he sticks to what he knows. Gosh, how offensive! (sarcasm here for the literal)
He isn’t putting women down or attacking them. He isn’t calling for new regulations to “help” them. He isn’t railing against woman behavior and trying to restrict them.
He simply acknowledges a lack of comprehension in how women think.
While there is plenty of hate to go around, this isn’t the right place to lay blame. We need to lay that at the feet of those who truly are hurting women. Trust me, there are lots of options here.

http://www.bustle.com/articles/69323-the-alex-crow-author-andrew-smiths-controversial-comments-spark-debate-in-the-ya-community

A Case for Fiction as a Teaching Tool

•November 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

All of us were kids once, maybe some of us twice (or still) and all of us have spent hours in a classroom lea

th

rning. Writers are in the glorious position of being able to help learning be fun. We write. We write stories and tell tales.

Often books are written either to educate or to entertain. I wish to make the case that both can be done in a single book.

When I was little, just learning to read, I discovered a fairly thick book called The Burgess Bird book for Children by Thorton W. Burgess. He was a noted conservationist who wanted to teach children about birds. This book told a lovely story about a rabbit whose friends were birds. I learned about bird nests and bird habitat and bird calls but I didn’t consider it studying. This was my first introduction to learning where it was just a fun read.

That is the case I wish to make, learning should be fun. There is no reason it must be a struggle to acquire knowledge. Books should pull you in and make the process of learning pleasant.

When I started writing The Stone Lions, the task I set myself was to write a book that would make math interesting to girls. And I did, or at least I did my darnedest. I wrote a book that was a fantasy and a mystery, but hidden within, though in plain sight, were seven painless lessons on band symmetry.

The novel could be read for pure entertainment, just to find out what happens to Ara and her friends. Or it could be read to learn a bit of history. Or as a beginning window into the world of Islam. Or for a math lesson.

Additionally, in The Stone Lions, there are appendices that summarize the lessons of within the book, pictures of what the Alhambra’s layout looked like pre-1500 and a glossary of terms. For those whose interest has been piqued, my website, http://www.gwendandridge.com, provides even more examples of symmetry and symmetry quizzes.

There are many, many good fiction books that could be used to draw students in to love learning. Here are a few:

  • Fever 1793 Laurie Halsh Anderson – a great writer and excellent book
  • Saving Miner’s Gulch Kimberly Troutte – gold rush history in a fun romp.
  • One Came Home Amy Timberlake – 1871 American history, passenger pigeon
  • Wish You Weren’t Sherrie Peterson – sci/fi which includes many science details.
  • The Book Thief Markus Zusak – WWII Germany

Here is a list of excellent middle grade historical fiction.

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/middle-grade-historical-fiction

America’s Common Core Initiative leans toward using non-fiction books to teach, but as I’ve pointed out, fiction can teach as well. You just need writers to take that leap, teachers and parents to see the potential and readers to open the books.

Solvang Middle Grade Writing Workshop

•September 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment
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Val Hobbs, Kimberley Troutte, Sherrie Peterson and me

 

A lovely thing happened recently. Four of my writing group led a Middle Grade Writing Workshop up at the Solvang library a few weeks ago. We enjoyed two and a half hours with the twenty-five or so writers who came. The joy of this spilled out from the very beginning. Carey McKinnon welcomed us with cookies and juice and lovely spaces to work. We all benefitted from her organization and kindness.

Before we began, we signed books and spoke to some of the attending writers: some just starting out, some well on their way and some already published.

Once we began Sherrie, Kim, Val and I handed out material for the sessions. We mixed talking with exercises that we hope would be beneficial. And we were fortunate to have a sterling group of writers who leapt into participating.

For me though, and I know for all of us, the ultimate joy was hearing that a new writing group formed from writers in this workshop. This is the best payback we could ask for.

Worldwide Character Blog Tour

•August 17, 2014 • 1 Comment

Oh, the characters are walking amongst us. Look out!

Kimberley Troutte tagged me to participate in the Character Blog Tour. Kimberley is an amazing writer and delightful person. Among her diverse writings are a middle grade novel, Saving Miners’ Gulch and many romance novels. Coming in Hot is in the acclaimed Seals of Summer collection. Recently she has published The God Whisperer, a lovely story about a young boy who hears God.

 Kim’s blog

Kim for blog

You can also find her on Facebook: Kim’s facebook page

For this tour the author is supposed to talk about a new Work In Progress or released book. I am going to talk about The Dragons’ Chosen

  • What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person? Chris Draig and she is fictional, though she has many of the fun quirks of Berkeley people I knew during the early ’70’s. 
  • When and where is the story set? While Chris is a sophomore at Berkeley in 1974, the story takes place exclusively in a medieval world with dragons and princesses.
  • What should we know about her? She’s someone who’s involved in the political change during the 1960’s. 
  • What is the main conflict? What messes up her life? Trying to save the Princess Genevieve from being sacrificed to the dragons. Chris’s conflict is between her world and Genevieve’s world. Is it real and why is she there?
  • Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? The Dragons’ Chosen. The first chapter is out on my web site: Gwen’s Website
  • When can we expect the book to be published? Spring 2015

The next author to continue this character tour next week is: Dorothy Johnson

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