Writing Books & Work-in-Progress Blog Tour

This post features sneak peaks at bloggers behind-the-scenes book projects starting with Luanne at Writersite.org then Renee (me) at unpackedwriter.com and ends tagging other writer-bloggers: Long-Distance Dad, Ned Hickson and Annelisplace.

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Renee in her writing studio. Behind the scenes…

How’d this happen? Luanne at Writersite.org tagged me to post a bit about my book project. But first let’s take a look at Luanne’s lovely book.

Luanne’s Book Synopsis:

Secrets create a painful wound at the heart of a family. Dangerous emotions, such as anger, fear, guilt, shame and curiosity, grow from this wound.

Memory must be excavated scrap by scrap, salvaged, and pieced together to create a new story of origins and identity. With the building of the story, the wound begins to heal, and the resulting emotions dissipate.

Thus it is with my family. My book is the story of an old family secret that infects the present and creates a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship–and the quest for answers that allows the father and daughter to learn and forgive.

Her prose is layered, evocative and literary throughout her drafts. I love that I got to be there when she landed on the themes of excavating identity and healing!

Renee’s Book Synopsis:

Possessed by an incomprehensible call to adventure and achievement, Renee’s father, since her childhood instills in her a penchant for extremes.

At barely twenty-two Renee finds herself a teacher in a far-flung Eskimo village, where the Bering Sea meets land and grit meets imagination—Alaska.

When depression changes her father into someone she no longer recognizes, Renee plunges deeper into frontier teaching and adventures shared with dog mushers, gold miners and millionaires until one night her dance partner is murdered and she finds herself running from the wild.

In the end, Renee’s odyssey nearly gets her assaulted by a would-be murderer, nearly gets her drowned under broken ice, finds her tackling cultural blunders, sloshing honey buckets, and facing down grizzly bears and grizzly men.

Frontier teaching gives Renee hundreds of adventures—until forced to leave—living in her cold truck around a campfire of other homeless searchers—she begins to understand what drives her and her father toward the untamed.

Renee’s Current Book Status:

I’m sitting on a finished book (83,000 words/ 350 pages) of a Creative Nonfiction memoir story collection about my first year in Alaska. Stories from this collection have won a number of national and international awards.

As for the collection, I am hoping to revise it with Stuart Horwitz and/or his Blueprint Your Bestseller Book Architecture series—to include an additional couple years of my time in Alaska. Like many other professor-writers, I’ve been waiting for a block of time to tackle this monstrous rewrite.

 Renee’s Excerpts:

The Twin Otter air taxi lurched to the left. I braced myself between the window and the seat in front of me. A slick fog hugged the window like a pixilated snowstorm on a broken TV. The lack of perspective hurt my eyes.

Somewhere between 30 and 3,000 feet below lay the sinuous coils of the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta. The pilot pushed the throttle in and the engine ramped up, its roar reverberating through the grimy, dented interior of the plane.

Were we landing or going around?

An amorphous form passed below us. A dark twist of river? An off-course plane? A misplaced mountain?

As a girl from the Lower 48, I had a need to know. I just wanted to land. Safely.

For the last forty-five, fog-enveloped minutes I’d wondered if my ten-year dream of teaching in Alaska might end in a Y-K fog snatch at twenty-two without teaching a single day.

*   *   *

That night, abdicating my bunk bed to my father, I lay on my backpacking mattress in the living room. My head swelling with memoires, monsters and maps, I fell asleep swimming in stories that brought us here.

January 1978. I was still eleven.

The map lay slung across the kitchen table, so large the edges fell off into the after dinner darkness at the ends of the table. Meandering red and blue lines veined the creased paper east to west. My father’s slanting finger traced the way from our Great Lakes corner of New York, across Canada, landing with a thud on Beaver Creek.

“Alaska,” he said.

Alaska. It even sounds wild.

            “Ten days. Maybe two weeks. That’s what it should take. One way.”

             Oh, god. Not in the back of a pickup with my sister?

*     *    *

Around the village, I saw a lot of trashed out stuff. The cracked screen of a large TV mocked me from where it sat on a milk crate in the tall grass behind a house. Like a large eye, the crack distorted what came through from inside and also what was seen from the outside. Was I no different? My internal vision and what I projected changed by the cracks in my being?

*   *   *

My romantic notion of the steam bath as spiritual quest was duly answered: where the plains Indians pierce their bodies and dance through the rising and setting of suns in quest of inducing visions, I chopped half a day’s worth of scavenged river drift to almost lose a hand. I got my tender pink skin boiled and scrubbed for the vision of someone’s behind in inferno temperatures, all to understand—as far as I could tell—that steaming was as much about bonding as it was bathing.

 Boy, I had a lot to learn.

The work-in-progress blog tour rules:

Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

 Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress. Some writers give more than the first sentences, and I like that idea, too.

 Nominate some other writers to do the same. 

Tag. You’re it!

I was thrilled that these accomplished writers have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. Please stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.

Next on the blog tour:

Michael at Long Distance Dad:

First, some full-disclosure… I’ve never been a real fan of children. I always said if I ever had a kid, I’d want it to be born at 18. I didn’t think the universe was actually listening to me!

My life completely changed when I started mentoring Mtuseni, a boy living in a settlement outside Johannesburg. This blog shares my experiences as a first-time “dad” to a teenager 8,000 miles away. I hope you enjoy our journey. Take a moment to comment. Click the Facebook, Twitter and other social media buttons at the bottom of a post to share it. And watch for the upcoming Long-Distance Dad book!

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Anneli at Anneli’s Place:Authors need a place to showcase their work. Whether you have written a novel or a short story, poetry or non-fiction, you may find that this blog is the place you want to showcase your writing. If you would like to be a guest on my blog, please contact me through my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

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Ned Hickson of NPR and other fame/infamy:

Ned Hickson’s unique perspective and hilarious insights concerning the ups and downs of everyday life transcend geographical location. If Ned can elicit a chuckle from those of us in the Deep South, imagine what he can do for the rest of the country. My God, we’ll drown in a sea of guffaws. I only had to read one of his columns to realize his humor transcended regional lifestyles and geographical boundaries. That was almost two years ago, and his column is now an eagerly anticipated weekly feature. Funny is as funny does—as we say here in Alabama—and Ned does funny as few others can.

—Scott Write, Editor of The Post in Centre, Alabama

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11 thoughts on “Writing Books & Work-in-Progress Blog Tour

  1. Thank you for tagging me, Renee, and for the opportunity to take a peek at what you’ve been working on. Your WIP sounds absolutely fascinating. I can’t wait to read it. My own WIP is not as close to the finish line as yours, but it’s getting there.

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    • Luanne – your story has such amazing literary appeal. And what you’ve unearthed and repurposed in it is so revitalizing! I can’t wait to see what your work with Julia yields. It’s so important to surround yourself with the right readers and mentors to help push you to your next level!

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  2. I’m excited about your book ALL OVER AGAIN. It’s such a fabulous story, Renee!! Thank you so much for participating in this blog tour. Woohoo. Looking forward to the next read through!!!

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  3. Pingback: Work in Progress | Anneli's Place

  4. This certainly sounds like it will be a wild-ride read just from the synopsis. And I love the story-cycle form … fun to read (and write) a wide-scope tale in self-contained chunks.
    Thanks for tagging me on my project. I hope to get my blog tour post up this weekend. First had to deal with more Mtuseni stuff… this time one good and one bad. Always a wild ride parenting on the South Africa side!

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  5. Pingback: The Book: An Update « Long-Distance Dad

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