Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

*Warning: There is a tiny spoiler in the middle. Not much. I set it off with *asterisks*.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes. Marsali and Christopher are both endearing protagonists, and I became engrossed in their stories very quickly. Each had an intriguing history that came before the story actually began, which made them real to me. Holmes did a fantastic job bringing in suspenseful, dangerous situations where, because I was already rooting for the characters, I was able to feel their pain and fear and worry. (*Spoiler: For example, the fire on the boat, neither Marsali nor Christopher knowing what had happened to the other, etc. Spoiler over*) The pacing is right where it needs to be for each scene, and the ending is a very satisfying payoff after what the characters have been through.
I particularly liked Christopher. He was a very honorable, sincere man. Marsali was also a very courageous, noble person, and they were both very suited for each other. I can’t abide or believe in stories where one or the other is dishonorable or disrespectful in some way, and the behavior is excuse, and we’re expected to laugh it off. Holme’s characters aren’t like that, and if they are, (Luke, for example) she calls a spade a spade. She shows good characters to be good, and not so good characters to be, well, not so good. For that reason, and many others, I am a fan of Michele Paige Holmes and her work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kirkus Book Review for Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale

The other day, I got a pretty good review for my book, Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale from the very well known Kirkus Review website!  The reviewer saw a few flaws, (and I can see the reviewer's point) but over all, the reviewer seemed to find it an appealing book!  According to the reviewer:  "Evans... presents an appealing heroine in shy but courageous Felicity, who puzzles things out intelligently while taking bold risks. The fairyland setting is well-drawn, with notable details like the fairy guards’ rose-thorn spears."  And: "...Felicity makes an appealing character; youngsters who love to read will feel especially drawn to her."  As well as: "...a charming adventure story with a resourceful heroine."  
You can read the whole review here! Overall, I was very pleased with what the reviewer thought!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Post on Choosy Bookworm

Jay at Choosy Bookworm put up a post on his website featuring my middle grade novel Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale, a fantasy about a young sparrow who thinks that she is ordinary, but is anything but!

Going on an adventure to help some fairies rescue their queen from a wicked hawk sorcerer's lair, Felicity (along with her readers) learns that doing what's right may not always be easy, but it's always worth doing.

Check it out on the link above, or right here!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Standing Up Against Plagiarism

I have written before about my friend, Rachel Nunes, and her fight against plagiarism.  She and her lawyer, Shawn P. Bailey, whose website can be found here, are still preparing for their court date against the woman who plagiarized her.  Rachel's blog gives up to date information as things progress.  I read an interesting and informative article by Carolyn Campbell writing for Salt Lake City Weekly entitled Ripped and Ravaged.  While Ms. Campbell is author herself, she still, in my opinion, does a good job looking at both sides of the case.  Of course, I am still firmly on the side of my friend, Rachel.  And I would hope, if someone brazenly plagiarized me the way that Rachel was plagiarized, that I would have the courage, and the means, to do exactly what Rachel Nunes did, in doing all in her power to bring the plagiarist to justice, not backing down when  the plagiarist pulled the book just because she was caught.  If all that happened to the new breed of plagiarist victimizing indie published authors was a stern tisk tisk, few of them would feel the needed fear to refrain from plagiarizing.

Many people in the world, thankfully, are guided by a sense of right and wrong, and amazingly, choose to do what's right, even when other people aren't looking.  They do what's right simply because it's right, not because they expect some sort of reward.  They do what's right simply because it helps people.  They avoid doing what's wrong, simply because doing so would hurt people.  They have internalized the Golden Rule.  From what I know of Rachel Nunes, this is the kind of person she is.  I know her personally, and I know her to be a genuine, honorable, and good human being who sincerely cares for, and values others, not for what they can do for her, but simply because she sees them as worthwhile.

Other people, unfortunately, are not so altruistic.  Some people in the world are guided, not by a sense of right and wrong, but by a sense of reward and punishment.  They may do what's right, or simply what others approve, if other people are looking, and/or if they believe they will receive some sort of reward for it or avoid some sort of punishment.  Such people are very hard to predict, because their behavior changes in relation to their circumstances.  If they are trying to impress one certain kind of person who has one certain set of values, they will behave and speak in vastly different ways than they would five minutes later or earlier when around a very different kind of person with very different sets of values, because they are looking for approval from both kinds of people.  They don't internalize a set sense of right and wrong.  They don't know how to stand up for what they believe, because they may not even know what they really believe aside from the belief that they want to be rewarded.  Such people cannot be trusted just to do what is right.  They need to be compelled to do so.  Unfortunately, with the way the plagiarist has behaved against my friend Rachel when she thought she wouldn't get caught, seems to indicate to me, from all that I have seen, that she is in this second unfortunate group.  She needs to be compelled to stop plagiarizing and harassing.  And other plagiarists need to be compelled to stop.

Rachel Nunes is not acting out of a spirit of meanness when she insists on seeing this plagiarism case to the end.  She is not being vindictive when she refuses to give the plagiarist the easy way out after the plagiarist deliberately stole her story, then brazenly harassed her so unjustly.  She is doing what she is doing, because it is right.  Because the plagiarist needs to be stopped fully and completely.  Because other would-be plagiarists who could victimize any honest author next, (possibly me!) may be dissuaded when they know that the consequences for stealing others' hard work and intellectual property are very difficult, draining, and uncomfortable.

Rachel Nunes said it best when she said:  "I believe in redemption.  I believe in forgiveness, but I don't believe that I have to give this woman my work or let her attack me."

I agree.   

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Utah Shakespeare Festival

My family recently watched one of the plays the Utah Shakespeare Festival put on for the 2015 season.

The festival puts out several plays each year, which include comedies, tragedies and historical plays by The Bard, as well as a few more modern plays by other talented playwrights.

This year's list includes:  King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry the Fourth Part 2, Amadeus, Charlie's Aunt, and South Pacific.  Closer to the fall, they will also show Dracula, and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

This year, we watched The Taming of the Shrew.  Melinda Pfundstein (Katherine) and Brian Vaughn (Petruchio) did a fantastic job playing their parts.  I appreciated their talents, and the talents of the rest of the cast of this hilarious play!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Inside Out- Movie Review

Inside Out produced by Disney/Pixar, and directed by Pete Docet is a fantasy/drama that I  went to see recently with some of my kids. 

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had heard so many good things, that I had some high hopes.

I am pleased to say, that those hopes were not let down. 

The action takes place mostly in Riley's head as her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear, work together to see her through a move to San Francisco.  The actors' voices, the story pacing, the animation, and everything was spectacular.  I also liked the outside shots (the shots of what was going outside Riley's head) that showed how she was reacting to what her emotions were doing.

There were funny parts, scary parts, sad parts, and parts where I wanted to cheer out loud!

Overall, it was a great movie.  It seemed to be geared mostly toward kids, but adults would enjoy it.  I especially liked the positive direction the movie took.  I would recommend this movie to anyone.

Docet, Pete. Inside Out. Disney/Pixar 2015