Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Launching two new books

 Let them eat cake !!!!!



 Dozens of people converged on Cover to Cover books in Vancouver on a recent Saturday to help celebrate the joint book launch of Carolyn J. Rose's Through a Yellow Wood, and Drum Warrior, co-written by Mike Nettleton and Carolyn. There was lots of book chatter, laughter and frosting glazed faces. Our commemorative cakes, crafted by the Fred Meyer bakery were a big success. 

 Smedley, the official bookstore cat greeted our guests, ably assisted by social media guru and digital cheerleader for the launch, Carol Doane.

 Book lovers were treated to a slice of either carrot cake or chocolate with raspberry filling (or possible both), lovingly served along with the other snackage and beverage by the analog cheerleader for the launch Melanie Sherman and Mel Sanders helpful and smiling niece Amanda. Thanks to all for your help. Aside to Smedley. There'll be a little something extra in your catnip mouse this payday. 

Carolyn read several passages from Through a Yellow Wood, her suspenseful sequel to Hemlock Lake, and I took listeners inside the magical world of Humbug Mountain by reading passages from Drum Warrior.

As usual, Cover to Cover proprietors Mel Sanders and her husband Mark were gracious hosts and went above and beyond in allowing us to shanghai their store for several hours. If you haven’t been to Cover to Cover, you owe yourself a visit. The joy of independent bookstores is not only finding a great selection of new and used books at competitive prices, but spending time with other people who know, love and appreciate good books. Plus, Mel and Mark are unstinting in their support of local writers and poets. You can also enjoy a great cup of cappuccino or mocha while you’re browsing.

One of the things we love about these happenings is visiting with former students from our novel-writing boot camp classes at Clark College and catching up with their lives and writing adventures. Several have completed novels and have taken steps to publish them. Linda Schwab has just released Badlands Wrath a mystery/suspense novel in paperback, Kindle and Nook. Pam Deane’s The Byers Avenue Bunny Club has been out for a while and both of these ladies continue to hunch over their keyboards to create new and innovative fiction.  As writers and teachers it makes us proud to see our students accomplish their goals.

We  made some new friends at the launch, sold and signed some copies of Through a Yellow Wood and Drum Warrior and reveled in talking books and writing with those who were kind enough to come by.

A final note. I am, without reservation, almost embarrassingly proud of my wife and sometimes collaborator. Not only is Carolyn dedicated and prolific, she continues to grow as a writer and challenge herself to produce books that thousands of readers have found impossible to put down. I enjoy the fictional worlds she creates nearly as much as the one I’m lucky enough to share with her and our two loveable but ever-so-gently twisted little dogs.

We continue to write. Carolyn is picking up the life of Kate Dalton and Way-Ray in the sequel to An Uncertain Refuge. I'm trying to learn screenwriting and figure out how to convince Pixar to buy my first effort, an adaptation of Drum Warrior. We greatly appreciate the people who have bought and read our work and will continue to do all we can to support and encourage other writers in Southwest Washington.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is my masculine side showing???

By Carolyn J. Rose

A friend recently told me she started to read Hemlock Lake and then put it aside because she found it strange that I wrote the mystery from the point of view of a male protagonist, Dan Stone.

“Why would you do that?” she asked, the implication being that women should write only in the point of view of women.

From the moment the seed of that dark story took root in my mind, I saw characters and events through Dan’s eyes. Never once did I consider the point of view of a woman even though Camille, an outsider and objective spectator, would have been a strong possibility.

Stripped to its core, Hemlock Lake involves a power struggle between two men. It’s set in a small community in the Catskill Mountains and there’s room for only one alpha male. The challenger won’t leave, so a fight looms. I wanted readers to have the feeling that it would be physical.

Now, women also have power struggles and fight over territory. (If you don’t believe that, go rearrange another woman’s kitchen cabinets or dresser drawers.) But, except for the girl who threw a punch at me in college when I told her it wasn’t smart to stagger home from an evening of alcohol-infused partying along the double yellow line, the women I’ve known tend to fight with words—or the lack of them. Their aggression makes use of body language, not body blows.

So my experience with physical fighting is limited and so is my physical presence; and I’m 5 feet, 2 inches tall and shrinking a little every year. Okay, so I own 10 pounds the healthy-lifestyle charts say I should drop, but that isn’t much help in creating the perspective of man an inch beyond 6 feet.

Fortunately, I come from a family of big men—carpenters and stonemasons, guys who cut their own wood for the winter and possess not just a backup chainsaw, but a backup to the backup. And I’m married to a six-foot guy who hits the gym five days a week. Whenever I was stuck, I’d think, “What would one of them do here or say about this? How would he stand? How would he sit? How would he claim his space? What would be the expression on his face?”

When I finished the first draft, some of my friends brought up the claims that women writers shouldn’t attempt the male protagonist and men shouldn’t attempt the female. Men and woman are, the argument goes, from different planets.

But we’re from the same solar system, aren’t we? Our core needs are the same, aren’t they?

Hemlock Lake deals with love, loss, betrayal, and the quest for revenge. Men and women all feel those emotions to some degree.

And Dan isn’t a tough guy—at least not the stereotypical tough guy. He reads, he likes poetry, and he feels things deeply. He has a strong feminine side. That makes him seem a little softer than many men (and male fictional characters), and a little more sensitive. Now and then he even asks for directions and advice.

I polished the book, sold it to Five Star in the winter of 2008, and moved on to other projects. I thought my relationship with Dan Stone was over, but shortly after Hemlock Lake was published in 2010, he announced that he had an idea for a sequel. (And, yeah, I admit right here and now that my characters speak to me, most often while I’m falling asleep or chopping vegetables or trying to find mates to socks.)

Dan said he thought there were a lot of loose ends at the conclusion of Hemlock Lake and I could tie them together into another story. He thought he might team up with the guy who pulled him from the lake and together they might go after a serial killer. Oh, and he’d need a dog.

I mentioned that to my husband who said, “I hope you don’t give him a dog like you got for me. If you want that character to be more masculine in the second book, he’ll have to have something bigger and tougher than a ten-pound Maltese.”

Point taken.

In Through a Yellow Wood, Dan still reads and occasionally recalls a line of poetry, but he has a dog. Not a huge dog, and not a breed known for aggression or protective instincts. Nelson is a mutt with three legs and a mind of his own. And Dan, nice guy that he is, is mostly okay with that.