Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled: The Cover

Isn't it grand? (Click to make it larger; there's a good bit of detail.)

Being related to a very good artist (my sister, Deborah, who also did the cover art for Worlds Unseen) can be a very great blessing sometimes :).

The scene depicted comes from a chapter in Part 4: According to Plan (B), entitled "Mama Was a Gypsy, Papa Was a Rock." We really did drive into a dry creek bed once.

You can read the annotated Table of Contents, chapter excerpts, and more here:

Labels: ,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tales from an Irish Hermitage

A few months ago, I was contacted by a nun in Ireland. She was trying to self-publish a book and wondered if I could give her any advice on formatting.

I already knew her through an online community and had enjoyed her writing very much, so since I had a few weeks of vacation ahead of me, I offered to format the book for her. She sent me the manuscript soon thereafter: Tales from an Irish Hermitage.

This little collection of stories from a tiny hermitage brought me more joy than I anticipated. The author's style is poetic and flowing, meant to be read aloud. Her tales center around the rag-tag animals who come to the hermitage, including an aging ewe named Oonagh, an affectionate gander called Gozzle, and the otherwordly star of "Seal Magic." The stories bring together the poignancy of life, the beauty of Ireland, and the understated humour of a unique servant of God.

This is a book for those who love simple, old-fashioned tales. I am privileged to own the first copy that ever came off the presses, for the Sisters asked me to approve the print work before the book was officially released. It has an honoured place on my shelf, where I will reach for it when my heart wants to be soothed or uplifted.

I encourage you to purchase a copy as well. All of the proceeds from this book go to help care for homeless children in Sri Lanka, where the Sisters are working in the aftermath of tsunami devastation.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heartily Homeschooled, and Finally Coming to Print

The newest venture of Little Dozen Press hath been unveiled: Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled, by Rachel Starr Thomson and Carolyn Joy Currey.

A new Web page devoted to Tales has gone up on Little Dozen today.
You can sign up for our newsletter, enter a contest, read sneak peeks, and more. Check it out!

Every book has a history, and this one's history encompasses much of my life. I am the oldest of twelve children (Carolyn, my cousin, is the oldest of eight), homeschooled most of my life, and the privileged participant in quite a wild and crazy life! People have always told me I should write a book. Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled is my answer to their urging. People have often told Carolyn the same thing, so she joined me. Tales is a collection of essays and stories from our lives: a celebration of family and the strange things that bring us together.


I forgot to mention our publication date! July 1, 2008. Mark your calendars, lads and lassies!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Creative Art of Conflict

I'm cleaning up superfluous blogs from my past and so am about to delete the "Little Dozen Press" blog. There are a couple of posts I want to keep, so I'm moving them here. This was originally posted December 2005.

Writers and readers all, weigh in on the discussion... leave comments!

The dragon pulled itself up to its full scaly height as the knight tightened his grip on his sword; the homesteaders barred their doors as the sound of war whoops filled the air; the little boy looked defiantly into the face of the bully. The mother prayed for her child as she fought the ravages of smallpox, and the family hid the Jews away while the Nazis pounded on their door.

Cliched? Probably. But if you're a reader, you know what moments like the above can do to you. They make your heart pound and your palms sweat. They keep you up reading until two in the morning. They make you skip your dinner.

They make or break a story, because conflict is central to every enduring piece of fiction. Think about it--have you ever read a story that didn't make use of conflict? If you have, you've probably forgotten it. Frodo had his black riders. Anne of Green Gables had red hair, freckles, and a desperate need to belong. The Greatest Story of All (that of Jesus and His followers throughout the ages) is riddled with persecution, hardship, and the struggle to keep truth alive.

I used to think that conflict appealed to readers simply because it gives us an adrenaline rush. We thrive on thrills. But nowadays I lean toward another theory. We love to read about conflict because, just as it makes or breaks a story, conflict makes or breaks us. It's the hard times that cement our character, drive us to God, open our eyes. Without the fight, the victory means nothing.

Good stories have the power to encourage those who are struggling, to give hope and remind readers that happy endings really do exist. The use of conflict is not only a literary device, it's a commentary on life and the amazing truths that lurk within every circumstance.

Love is stronger than hate.
Happily ever after is real.
In the end, there is no night so dark that it won't see the sunrise.

Leave a comment. What think you?

Labels: , ,

Narnian Tears

I'm cleaning up superfluous blogs from my past and so am about to delete the "Little Dozen Press" blog. There are a couple of posts I want to keep, though, so I'm moving them here.

This was one was originally published in December 2005, just after
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe hit theatres.

First off, let it be known that I never cry at the movies. (That "never" is, of course, not meant to be taken literally. I shall now proceed to tell you about a movie I cried at.)

I've seen Narnia twice now, and both times I've cried. The first time I sniffled and blinked back tears; the second time I let tears stream down my face, and I just wiped them away now and again. No, I did not cry when they killed Aslan. I did not cry at the various reunitings among the siblings. I did not cry when everyone else cried.

I cried during the opening scenes. The bombings in London. Farewell at the station. Riding the train through unfamiliar places. The reality of World War II and all that it meant for so many hit me hard, and I couldn't hold back the tears.

Something else hit me, from a writer's standpoint: we write stories like Narnia because we've lived stories like the World Wars. In the previous post, I said that we're drawn to conflict in stories because conflict in real life is so significant; because it makes us who we are. In much the same way, we read and write stories like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because they help us understand life. They help us come to grips with Hitler and the Holocaust. They help us understand crucifixion. And if they can't give us peace and total understanding, they have the power to give us something just as important--


Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shipping Rates Are Down - Finally!

As anyone who's ordered from (aka me) knows, the shipping rates on my books have been exorbitant. (That's not hyerbole... more than half the price of the book is exorbitant!) Many kind readers have ordered directly from me anyway, which I appreciate more than I can say. However, as of this afternoon I'm pleased to say that the rates have come way down.

The change? We're now drop-shipping from the States instead of shipping books across the Canadian border!

I can't do autographed copies this way, so if anyone's still interested in those, you'll have to contact me directly and pay the old high shipping.

I'm very pleased about this :).