Books Coming to a Theatre Near You

27 Apr

I’ve just started watching Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and, as a lover of the book by Margaret Atwood, I’m pleased so far with the adaptation.

Sure there are some changes made to it, but they totally work so far. (I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but hope to get back to it tonight.)

Which made me think…

What other books are going to make it to the big (or small) screen soon?

Consider some of these books-to-movies coming out in 2017.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Circle by Dave Eggars

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (one of my VERY favorite books in the last couple of years; it’s really for middle school readers, but don’t let that stop you from reading; it’s a powerful book about compassion)

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The Dark Tower by Stephen King (this is a massive series; can’t wait to see what they do with it)

It by Stephen King (I’m still recovering from the adaptation in the early 90s)

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (yes, please!)

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

The Dinner by Herman Koch

(Here’s a good list from Buzzfeed, with descriptions.)

Are you looking forward to any of these in particular? Do you have a special fondness for any of these books? And how do you feeling, in general, about books being made into movies?

 

Meet novelist and blogger Chandra Sparks Splond

24 Apr

Chandra Sparks Splond is one productive writer.

She’s a novelist, power blogger and regular conference speaker–and she’s here to spread some wisdom with all of you fellow writers.

Chandra is the author of inspirational fiction for young adults and middle grade readers, and has her first novel for adults coming out this summer. Spin It Like That was chosen as a 2009 Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and The Pledge was a 2010 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. (Check out all of her books on Amazon.) She’s also the host of the popular blog, Book of Splond, which provides wonderful information and inspiration. (Check out her blog here.) She’s also going to be a speaker at the upcoming SCWC writing workshop this June. (Check out the conference website here.)

I recently got the chance to talk to Chandra about all aspects of her life (writing and otherwise), and found her to be very inspiring.

Enjoy her insights!

Question: How did you get started in writing?

Writing books is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was fourteen years old, but I didn’t actually sit down to write one until after I had my daughter in 2004. Up until that point, I had worked in various aspects of publishing. After my daughter was born though, I realized I couldn’t tell her to pursue her dreams if I hadn’t pursued mine, so I challenged myself to write a book before she turned a year old. I finished my first manuscript a month after her first birthday.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My main advice for aspiring novelists is to write. As an editor and as an author, I encounter so many people who talk about wanting to write a book, but they never take the time to actually write it. If writing is what you really want to do, then sit down and write.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your blog, and what it’s purpose is.

My blog, Book of Splond, helps women balance faith, family and fiction. I offer inspiring interviews with authors and business owners, as well as posts about issues with which we all struggle such as jealousy and fear.

Q: Give us a little peek into your personal life.

I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I attended the University of Alabama, and right after college, I moved to New York, where I worked in various aspects of publishing for about thirteen years. I moved back to Birmingham in 2006, around the time I landed my first book deal. I love being back in Birmingham because most of my extended family lives here. I am married, and we have one daughter. We are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church, where my big brother, Andra D. Sparks, serves as pastor.  I’m also currently pursuing my master’s degree in instructional design and technology, and in my free time, I love hanging out with my family, reading, watching TV and party planning.

Q: What will you be speaking about at the SCWC this year?

At this year’s conference, I will be talking about Writing a Novel. Readers will be given insight into what it takes to get their book from an idea to a completed manuscript.

Q: What upcoming projects do you have in the works?

By the time the conference is held, prayerfully, my ninth book, It’s Like That, will be released. I’m excited about this book for a couple of reasons: 1) It’s my first book for adults and 2) It catches up with Jasmine Richardson, the main character of my very first published book, Spin It Like That.

 

 

Guest Blogger Stephanie Rodda gives us “10 Reasons You Should Attend a Writing Conference”

11 Apr
(Welcome Stephanie Rodda as a guest blogger for today! She shares with us the joys and benefits of attending a writing conference, and gives us some excellent tips for getting the most out of these workshops that so many of us are preparing for in the next months.
Stephanie is an awesome blogger, freelance writer, and book author. Her two fiction novels, Unplanned Twists and How Then Shall We Live?) are both available on her Amazon page.)
10 Reasons You Should Attend a Writing Conference

Less than four years ago, I attended my first writing conference.  I had no inkling as to what to expect. I was nervous, excited, anxious, and delighted all at the same time. I’ve mentioned before that I felt much like Harry Potter as he first walked into Diagon Alley after discovering he was a wizard.

I was both amazed and overwhelmed. I was surrounded by hundreds of people who had similar dreams and aspirations. I had to choose which workshops to attend and that was difficult because I honestly did not know. In retrospect, I think I thought, at that first conference, I’d meet some fabulous person who would discover me and declare that they recognized my outstanding talents and offer me a contract. That didn’t happen, as a matter of fact, I doubt that it ever has.

Don’t be discouraged however, because although what I expected did not happen, things I didn’t expect DID happen. These unexpected things led to a very different life, a life I’d dreamed of for a long time. I like to call it #writerslife after a popular Twitter hashtag. So, why should you attend a writing conference.?

  1. Whether you have yet to write a single word of the story in your head or have a finished manuscript, there will be workshops that direct you to the next step, whatever that may be in your particular case. Among the very first things I learned was the importance of having a blog as a writer, for instance.
  2. You will network with people.  You will meet writers still learning what it is all about like myself, editors, literary agents, publishers, traditionally published authors, independently published authors, industry legends and probably make a few new friends. They may not “discover you” but you will discover them. They will encourage you, challenge you and inspire you. After all, they’ve been down this same path before.
  3. By taking the time and spending the money to attend, you are declaring, “I am taking my writing and myself seriously.” I once heard that if you want to know what is important to a person, look at their calendar and their bank statement. Find a conference you can afford and start there. I’ve even attended a workshop for free when scholarships were offered.
  4. You will learn so much. Already have a book published? Well, great, but don’t let that stop you from growing, learning, fine tuning, and developing your skill. I have just published my second novel, written a dozen freelance articles, blogged for several years now and I still have so much to learn.
  5. You will discover new venues for your writing. I had never contemplated writing magazine articles, but through a connection made at a conference, it has become one of my most lucrative and consistent writing assignments.
  6. You will discover that there is no one magical way to success. As a matter of fact, you may hear conflicting information and it will be up to you to chew up the meat and toss out the bones. In other words, take in what you can digest and leave the rest to gnaw on later.
  7. You will come to understand that there is no substitute for hard work and determination. You’re going to have to pay your dues, face disappointments, perhaps experience unfair criticism and rejection. Then you get to decide whether you will use those experiences as stepping stones to the next level, or allow them to be stumbling blocks.
  8. You may discover that your journey is worth enjoying on the way to where you’re going. It may become apparent that some of the best things in life can not be rushed. After all, timing IS everything and your day is coming.
  9. How you measure success may be adjusted. This was a huge one for me. I didn’t think I could call myself a real writer until I had been published and paid for my work. I didn’t think I could call myself a successful author until my books were traditionally published and sold in high numbers. I now have a different measure of success. I simply want to know that I’ve made a difference in the lives of those who have read my written words.
  10. Finally, you will find that your focus has changed. Your dream of writing no longer lives in your peripheral vision. Instead, this thing known as word-weaving has taken a prominent place in your life and will resist being boxed up and put away for another day.

(Learn more about Stephanie and her writing on her blog (Stephanie Rodda – Pondering Faith and Family) at
https://stephanierodda.wordpress.com/

And read her devotional writings on her Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieRoddaWritings/posts/1252663158185948:0 )

 

Easter’s Coming: Devotions for an Inspired Holy Week

10 Apr

My newest e-book for your Kindle is available on Amazon.

Check out Easter’s Coming: Devotions for an Inspired Holy Week

Here is the link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Easters-Coming-Devotions-Inspired-Holy-ebook/dp/B06Y4L2S9X/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1491849249&sr=1-1

It’s only 99cents this week, but if you want it for FREE comment below and I’ll send you a Word version of it via email.

Happy Holy Week!

In the Wilderness

6 Apr

(These thoughts came from talking with someone who feels like she’s been in a “wilderness” lately. She’s been stuck in the wild, in situations out of her control, and have felt like no one was there to support her.

I know how she feels. I think we all do.

I also know that the wilderness is an image so powerful during the Lenten season to people of faith.

So, if I happened to put a hashtag on this poem…it would be #easteriscoming.)

 

“Wilderness”

Alone,
desolate,
empty.

In the middle of
nowhere,
everywhere,
all-too-familiar where.

The trees rustle,
a bird chirps,
the wind feels stale, cyclonic.

On my knees,
nose touching earth,
without a will to rise.

A newborn
(or one who has traveled endless years?)
with new legs
(or very old ones),
wobbly,
trying in vain to stand.

Voices,
doubts,
pain.

‘I’ll leave you here alone,’
the trees,the bird, the wind,
everything
says.

But, there…

A light shifts.
It shafts the branches,
and hits my face.

A breeze changes.
it freshens,
wafts in like flowers, cotton,
linen.

A hand,
invisible,
lifts, caresses, edifies,
pulls me up.

‘I’ll walk with you,
out of this place,’
the trees, the bird, the wind,
the light, the breeze,
He, She,
everything
says.

Getting ready for the 2017 SCWC

2 Apr

It comes every year like clockwork, and it’s right around the corner yet again.

The Southern Christian Writers Conference is a 2-day workshop created by my family more than 20 years ago. Two decades later, we regularly have around 200 attendees and a full slate of speakers on a wide variety of topics for writers of all levels.

This year’s conference will be June 2-3 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at First Baptist Church.

We have two great keynote speakers–Home Life magazine editor David Bennett and novelist Austin Boyd–who will be speaking on the topics “Everyone has a story…How will you tell yours?” and “Never, never give up!” (they will also each do workshop sessions).

We also have some wonderful agents attending. Tessa Hall of Hartline Literary Agency, and Bruce Barbour and Karen Moore of Literary Management Group will speak and have sessions with attendees.

Then we’ll have magazine writers, social media experts, novelists, editors, and many more speakers presenting sessions on many topics.

(I’ll even be doing a couple of sessions on feature writing and marketing.)

See the full list and descriptions of our 2017 speakers here.

We’d love to have you at the conference, and there is plenty of time to register.

You can check out our website and  register there.  We try and keep the conference reasonable, and I think we’ve succeeded again with 2 days for just $110 if you preregister before May 20 (which also includes your food!)  (Register HERE)

You can keep up with information by following alone on our WEBSITE.

You can also join our FACEBOOK PAGE.

We’d love to have you there!

~~ “I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the writers conference. I am a new author. So this was my first conference to attend, and it was absolutely fabulous! It was incredibly informative, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to attend. Very well-run and well-organized as well. Thank you for all you do to help other authors. I am planning on coming back next year!” (a SCWC attendee)

 

On “Hamilton”… and writing

31 Mar

My youngest daughter and I are obsessed with “Hamilton.”

OBSESSED.

(Note the capital letters?)

We have watched hijacked DVD versions of the Broadway production, have memorized every line from every song, and pretty much listen to it nonstop in the car.

(If you pull up next to us, you get a nice ear- and eye-ful, for sure.)

I love history and especially the Revolutionary War period, so that’s part of the appeal.

And I love Broadway musicals. Rent, Phantom, Annie, Once, Godspell…too many to count.

But with “Hamilton,” the story, the lyrics, the raps, the music are just so incredibly inspired that I feel like it’s on a totally different level.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius, it’s pretty clear.

So, when my daughter wanted some birthday cupcakes and cookies for her big 13th birthday this last week, there wasn’t much option as to what she had to have.

“Hamilton” or nothing at all.

So, we had cookies and cupcakes..and I made her a shirt with just one of the many awesome quotes from the show.

It says, ‘I’m not throwing away my shot,” and it fits the theme of the entire play.

Hamilton was all about taking advantage of his opportunities.

And I feel like that’s a pretty awesome message for my new teenager to hear.

And for me to hear.

And for you–as a writer (and, heck, as a human) to hear.

Let’s not throw away our shots.

(Let’s also be “young, scrappy, and hungry” and “looking for a mind at work” and–the best for us–“writing like we’re running out of time.)

In case you need to learn more about “Hamilton”…

The official site

5 lessons on creativity from Lin-Manuel Miranda

Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius behind Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, via Biography.com