Friday, July 30, 2010

Reaching July's goals!

I know I've been a complete blogging slacker this month. I'm going to blame my laptop being in for repairs for the past few weeks for part of my slackerliness because using my husband's computer is a major pain (and I can't always get it online).

But my near-absence from all thing online has brought forth good fruit.

1) I submitted a manuscript earlier this month. I should get a response, oh, sometimes around Christmas. *sigh* I hate waiting.

2) I have another book edited and sent out for a last round of critiques from the fabulous Tristi Pinkston (so I am bound to be gnashing my teeth and wailing when I get it back, but hey, what's a good book without a lot of teeth gnashing in it's super-secret history?)

3) Despite two family weddings, a family reunion, the Fourth of July (and the accompanying time spent in the fireworks stand), and the computer issues this month, I have added no less than 30,00 words to my next manuscript--Yay me!

The top two items and a 10,00 word minimum were my goals for Tristi's Challenges quarterly challenge, so I'm pretty darn happy (and was I supposed to blog about my goal like four weeks ago? Whoops--that's what happens when I disappear off the blog-o-spere.)

I had some great experiences this month, from weddings, to EMT trainings, to cool family history moments--so I have plenty to blog about in the next week or two. Tomorrow I head north to work with my sister Kristi on my sister Pauline's totally nontraditional topsy-turvy wedding cake for her wedding Saturday--this is going to be fun!

Also, I got some great reviews on "Rebound" this month, crowned with the very awesome review from Jennie Hansen at Meridian Magazine, which you can find here. I'll share an awesome quote (and promise to post links and quotes from a couple of other reviews next week when it's not the wee hours of the night.)

"The plot is well crafted, fast, and fun. I enjoyed Justesen's down-to-earth, easy dialog and style. The characters are multi-dimensional and show growth as the novel progresses." --Jennie Hansen

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review: "Leaning Into the Curves"

Nancy Anderson and Carrol Hofeling Morris are two parts of a trio of ladies whose writing careers melded with their series The Company of Good Women, written with Lael Littke. With this new venture, Nancy and Carrol explored a side of LDS life I hadn't known existed.

It was funny, because at my last writer's conference I sat at a lunch table with these three women, as they chatted, discussing someone and a trial they were going through. Then a thought occurred to me and I turned to the ladies, "Hey can I ask a question?"


"Are you talking about a real person, or one of your characters?"

Of course they had been discussing a character for a story they were working on as if she were real--which she was to them! We writers are weird people!

Here's the blurb:

Molly is happy with her life the way it is, but everything changes when her husband, Hank, retires. When Hank brings home a Gold Wing motorcycle and joins the Temple Riders Association, a “Mormon motorcycle gang” that combines road trips with temple work, things go from bad to worse. Faced with the prospect of being left behind as Hank hits the road with his new group of friends, Molly starts making some changes of her own.

A funny, often poignant, look at the challenges of reinventing life after sixty.

I reviewed the last book in The Company of Good Women series when it came out and was impressed with the way the three women wove their talents together to create books with three point-of-view characters. I've heard more than once that co-writing is actually more work than writing a book alone, especially when you have to meld writing styles. I attributed much of their previous success to the fact that they were writing from three different points of view--and that the three characters *ought* to have different styles of thought and speech.

That left me wondering how these ladies would tackle a book that is all in a single point of view. They did it well, so well there was no discernible change in writing style that I could see. Maybe that comes from years of writing as a team, or maybe it comes from diligent and thorough editing. Either way, I'm very impressed!

I liked that Molly had a good reason for her hatred of motorcycles, that her feelings about them were well established long before her husband brought his Gold Wing home. I love that she was always taking classes and playing with different hobbies--I think many women get so bogged down with our homes and families that we forget to keep stretching ourselves and pushing to learn more and be more. And I appreciated the book's message that things change, and even though we hadn't planned a change in our lives, if we're willing to lean into the curves, we can grow and stretch and find something more out there than we ever expected.

This is another great read by Nancy and Carroll with realistic characters, a complex plot, and plenty of life's lessons along the way!