Archive for category Whitneys
I had a fun weekend hanging out with some of my writing friends and meeting new people at the tenth annual LDStorymakers Writer’s Conference in Provo, Utah. The highlight of the weekend was listening to Anne Perry’s keynote address and attending her class called ”Fine Tune Your Writing.” This post is mostly about the weekend.
A Few Items for My Class
I taught a class on historical fiction and told my students not to stress about taking notes (we had to move through the material fairly quickly) because I’d post the powerpoint here. So, as promised, here is my powerpoint. I don’t know if it will make much sense if you weren’t at the class, but hopefully it will help the good people who attended my class flesh out their notes. Here it is: The Story in History, Storymakers May 2013
I also promised my character development sheet. Not all of the items on the list were my idea–most of them have been snagged from other writers like Terri Ferran, Lisa Mangum, and Jeff Gerke. But to write a really great story, you need to love your characters, and to love your characters, you need to know them. Filling out this form is one way to start that process. Here it is, as a pdf: Character Template, and as a word doc: Character Template. I usually only fill out every single line for one or two characters per book, then delete things that don’t apply or don’t matter for my minor characters.
The Whitney Awards
Last weekend was also the Whitney Awards. I attended the gala for the first time because my novel, Espionage, was one of the finalists. I didn’t win, but the night was a lot of fun. I’d like to congratulate the winners:
The Rent Collector, by Camron Wright. Best General Novel and Best Novel of the Year
My Loving Vigil Keeping, by Carla Kelly. Best Historical Novel
Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson. Best Romance Novel and Best Novel by a New Author
Code Word, by Traci Hunter Abramson. Best Mystery/Suspense Novel
The Hollow City, by Dan Wells. Best Speculative Novel
Everneath, by Brodi Ashton. Best Young Adult Speculative Novel
After Hello, by Lisa Mangum. Best Young Adult General Novel
The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Best Middle Grade Novel and Best Youth Novel of the Year
Lael Littke, Lifetime Achievement Award
Carol Lynch Williams, Outstanding Achievement Award
You can see all forty finalists at the Whitney Website. And if you’ve read an award-worthy novel by an LDS author published in 2013, you can nominate them for next year’s Whitney Awards on the same website.
Here are a few pictures from the evening:
A Note for Other Bloggers
I have a new book out, and my publisher and I are looking for bloggers who would be interested in reviewing it. If you enjoy WWII spy novels and would like a review copy of Sworn Enemy, please contact my publisher. At the bottom of the contact page, there is a link you can click to pull up a form. Fill in the form, email it back, and express your interest in Sworn Enemy. Here is the link: http://www.covenant-lds.com/contact
I recently read an article about the first naval battle of Narvik, which took place in April 1940 between British and German ships in Ofotfjord (also called Narvik Fjord) in Norway. I won’t give a detailed blow-by-blow of the battle, but I’ll give you a summary. I also found a map in the public domain, and it even shows some of the shipwrecks.
At the time, Norway was officially neutral, and Narvik was a vital stop on the route Sweden’s iron ore took on its way to Germany. Naturally, the British wanted to deny Germany access to this resource, and Germany wanted to secure it. Germany also wanted to prevent a British blockade similar to what had happened during WWI.
Despite Norway’s official neutrality, the Royal Navy was laying mines in Norwegian waters, and Germany sent a portion of their fleet into Ofotfjord, sunk two of Norway’s warships, landed troops on the ground, and invaded Narvik.
Wary of the Royal Navy, the German Navy planned a quick trip back to more friendly waters, but the Norwegians had managed to sink one of their two tankers, so the refueling took twice as long. While five German destroyers stayed in Narvik harbor, five others hid in other areas of the fjord.
Meanwhile, five Royal Navy destroyers entered Ofotfjord in a snowstorm. They were H-class, thus their names: Hardy, Hunter, Havock, Hotspur, and Hostile. (I love the names, but I also found it easy to be confused by them–I wonder if their opponents had the same problem?) They attacked the German destroyers refueling at Narvik and sunk or damaged several of them.
Here’s where we get into the interesting names, first with the British destroyers, then with the Havock’s skipper, Lieutenant Commander Rafe E. Courage. I wonder if having a skipper with a name like Courage was an automatic boost to morale. (I’m sure sinking a German destroyer also helped in the morale department.)
The British destroyers regrouped and went back for another run at the German ships. But they didn’t know that the there were five additional German destroyers in Ofotfjord, and they were soon caught in a trap.
Though it wasn’t commanded by someone with the last name of Courage, I was impressed with what happened next aboard the Hardy. On the Hardy was Captain Warburton-Lee, the flotilla’s leader. The last orders he gave were to “Keep on engaging the enemy.” Then a German shell struck Hardy’s bridge and killed Warburton-Lee and everyone else on the bridge, with the exception of Lieutenant Geoffrey Stanning. Despite his broken leg, Stanning climbed down a ladder (ouch!) and used the damaged wheel to steer the ship. He was going to ram one of the German destroyers, but when the Hardy took another hit, he decided to beach the ship instead, and was thus able to save most of the crew. Stanning is a hero in my book.
The battle continued on for a while, and in the end, the British had lost two destroyers and one other ship, and the Germans had lost two destroyers and six other ships. There was another naval battle of Narvik a few days later, but that’s a story for another blog post. In the end, Germany occupied Norway for the remainder of the war. In fact, I read recently that as late as May 1945—after Hitler’s death—a few Nazi generals (Keitel and Jodl) had plans to flee to Norway and continue the fight there. Fortunately, they didn’t make it.
Keeping with the interesting names theme, I have a character with the last name of Weiss who appears in Espionage and in Sworn Enemy. It means “white,” but if you pronounce it in German, it sounds like “vice,” as in something bad. Or as in something that could be used to torture someone. Both fit the character. In Sworn Enemy, he’s promoted to Rottenführer Weiss. I couldn’t resist giving him a rank that looked like “rotten.”
Names can be interesting: five British destroyers starting with the letter “H,” Commander Courage, and the fictional Rottenführer Weiss. Do you have any examples of names that are almost perfect? Or that are too perfect?
On an unrelated tangent, the finalists for the 2012 Whitney Awards were announced this week, and Espionage is one of the historical fiction finalists. You can find the others at the Whitney Awards website. If you’re looking for a good fiction read, the Whitney lists are a good place to start—find your favorite genre and read away!
Some great things happened last weekend. I went to the LDStorymakers Writer’s Conference in Provo and had a wonderful time. I strengthened some existing friendships, made new friends, and learned a ton. Thank you to everyone who helped make the conference a success!
The rest of this post is about giving congratulations to some very deserving individuals. After the conference were the Whitney awards, and I’d like to congratulate the winners: Dan Wells for I Don’t Want to Kill You (Novel of the Year), Tess Hilmo for With a Name Like Love (Best Novel by a New Author AND Best Youth Fiction/General), Rachel Ann Nunes for Before I Say Goodbye (Best General Fiction), Gale Sears for Letters in the Jade Dragon Box (Best Historical), Carla Kelly for Borrowed Light (Best Romance), Stephanie Black for Rearview Mirror (Best Mystery/Suspense), Robison Wells for Variant (Best Youth Fiction/Speculative) and Brandon Sanderson for The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel (Best Speculative Fiction). You can see the cover art for the winning books here.
Never heard of the Whitneys? It’s an awards program designed to highlight the best works of fiction by LDS authors and help raise the quality of LDS literature. You can see all the finalists from 2011 here. If you’re looking for a great book to read, this list is a good place to start! And if you’ve read a great book by a LDS author, you can nominate them for a Whitney Award here.
The next congratulations goes to one of my little brothers. This past weekend he graduated from Washington State University and received his commission in the US Army. Congrats, Second Lieutenant Grant! I have five siblings, and they are all wonderful, talented, amazing people and good friends. This week I am extra proud of my brother Jeremy. Here are a few pictures taken by my awesome big sister VaLynn.
Pictures like this make me wish I could have been in more than one place last weekend! I’m so grateful to live in the United States and to have such a wonderful family. As a side note, I’ve had a few people ask me if Jeremy is the model for the cover of Espionage. The answer is no, but he’s now the right rank!