Setting Thesarus Entry: Egyptian Pyramids

This post has been generously written by Leslie Carmichael, author of the Middle Grade novel, The Amulet of Amon-Ra.

Jennifer's fascination with Egyptian culture becomes more real than she can imagine when the gift of a scarab amulet sends her travelling back to Ancient Egypt. Trapped inside the body of a girl named Dje-Nefer, Jennifer must immerse herself in this mysterious new environment, thwart an assassination attempt on Pharaoh Hatshepsut and unravel the secret of her amulet in order to find a way back to her own time.

Leslie Carmichael's travel experience in this region is evident from the rich detail throughout her book. If you want to see a good example of this type of setting description in action, I recommend checking out The Amulet of Amon-Ra.

Sight

On the way to Pyramids: Tour bus at dawn full of sleepy tourists, no one on the streets, green-leafed trees shade the ground, sun rises behind the bus through the haze made red by dust, black vinyl seats, buildings packed tightly together of glass and stone, passing parks and soccer fields, cemeteries of stone mounds and packed earth, pyramids in the distance growing larger, separating into single structures, drifts of sand across the black asphalt road, vendor stalls with striped awnings and tables strewn with bright brass plates, men in beige, white or blue gallibayas and loose pants, some with turbans, smiling, white teeth through the dark beards, beckoning to come buy their wares, pyramids pointing at the sun, beige stone on beige sand

Exterior: men wandering the site, canvas bags over their shoulders, red leather shoes and wallets embroidered with gold thread in their hands, tiny booth with a woman in a navy headscarf selling tickets, line up of tourists clutching bags and cameras, tour guides pointing, the sphinx, massive head and shoulders seen above the lip of the land, suddenly you can see down into the great pit that has been dug around it, arms stretched out before it, massive blocks of stone carved into paws, stela poking up from the sand between them; men leading camels with their coloured tassels and embroidered saddles, camels stalking, lifting splayed feet, heads thrusting with each step, chewing, long eyelashes, disdainful expression, the broken stones of the sphinx's nose and headdress, seeming to be attached to the pyramid behind, waist-high craggy stones, piled one upon another up to the sky, bright sun in the brilliant blue sky, beige sand all around, broken by low stone mastabas (blotting out the sun in giant steps, chipped and fractured, space between no bigger than a piece of paper), the ruins of temples, walls with no roofs, wood and glass building that houses the sunboat, Cairo in the distance, smaller steps carved into the stones that lead to the Thieves' Entrance, irregular triangular hole below and to the right of slabs of smooth stone under the rough exterior, a pointed arch of four slabs, darkness lit only by incandescent industrial lights that shine upwards, stone floor slopes down

Interior: Passage opens into the Grand Gallery, wooden boards with dowels for steps, slanting upwards, narrow, rails on either side, tourists above watching and waiting to descend, industrial lights glowing yellow against the walls, King's chamber, wide and high, open stone sarcophagus built into the floor, one corner crumbled and worn, empty, shadows dance over the bare walls, people look up, take pictures, flashes of cameras, low tunnel to the Queen's Chamber, tall people ducking, passing tourists going in both directions, flat floor, lines where stone bricks meet on the walls, shadows


Sounds


Early morning subdued greetings, discussion of the trip and warnings from the tour guide as she takes our money for tickets, rustle of clothing, squeak of seats, birds twitter, high echoing call of the muezzin floats above the city, ululating in Arabic, bus engine, other vehicle sounds in the distance, laughter, rustle of bags, excited talk, wheels crunching over sand, happy greetings from the vendors, switching from one language to another without pause, airplanes in the distance, sand swishing across the road, Arabic pop music blaring from speakers, camels groaning and snorting, "Marhaba!", "Salaam!", "Shokran!", "May I polish your shoes? No? I could polish your feet!", cheerful laughter, clank of dishes in the booths as tourists investigate, snap of the awning fabric in the breeze; scrape of shoes on rock, grunts as tourists heave themselves up the steps, panting, heavy breathing, blood thudding in the ears, distant voices, lights buzz, boards creak, shoes patter on the wood, railings squeak, hushed voices, subdued laughter, shuffle of feet, slap of a hand against the stone, murmurs, someone humming, cries of welcome to other tourists, jingle of coins, camera clicks, groans and complaints as people descend the Gallery, exclamations as they emerge from the pyramid.

Smells

Cigarette smoked by bus driver, greenery, diesel, leather, metal, hints of lemon, cumin, mint, cardamom, bean paste, garlic, deodorant, sunscreen, smoke, heated vinyl, dust, stone, water, perfume, aftershave, bad breath, fresh air.

Tastes

Toothpaste, breakfast: bean paste, tomatoes, eggs, bread, feta cheese, olives, water, mints, gum, stone dust.

Touch

Soft seats, cool hard window glass, air conditioning cold on the skin, bus bouncing along roads, heat after exiting bus, sweat dripping and drying before it wets clothing, humidity, camel hair, hat pressing into head, skirt flapping in the breeze against legs, water soothing the throat, plastic bottle squeezing in your hand, camera button and lenses, rocks under the soles of shoes, pocked stone, sharp edges under palms, smooth metal railing, jouncing wooden boards, rough stone, shoes slipping on the boards, sweaty hands on railing, weight of history bearing down; pebbles under shoes, sun on back, breeze cooling the sweat.

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Louise gripped the rough edge of the stone, bounced twice on the balls of her feet, then leaped up to the over sized step. The irregular opening of the Thieves' Entrance, hacked out of the side of the Great Pyramid, swallowed the khaki-clad tourist who had clambered up the rock in front of her. This was it! The culmination of a dream. She stepped across the threshold, into the darkness.

Example 2:

Imhotep wiped the sweat from his forehead. The torch he held shed a puddle of light on the stone floor of the corridor that led to the lower chamber. The puddle moved with him, illuminating only a tiny bit of the darkness at a time. He was glad for his lack of height. Crouching all the way, as his supervisor, Merenptah, was required to do, would have made all of his trips to the Chamber irritating, if not painful. He clutched a small, wooden box to his side, the latest addition to His Majesty's burial collection, and hopefully, the last.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)


During the earthquake, not one stone of the pyramid had moved, it was that stable. And yet, Arthur could feel all that rock above him pressing down like the weight of centuries.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The pyramid rose up into the sky, massive block by massive block, a staircase to the gods.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Perseverance

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

A person or animal fording a river
Animals swimming against the current
A narrow track winding up a steep, rocky hill or mountain
Mountain goats, yaks, snow leopards, mountain lions and other high altitude animals
Nests on top of high pines
Predatory birds circling, on the hunt (eagles, falcons, etc)
Ants carrying big loads
Anthills
Termite hills
A flower in the desert
Dung beetle pushing a dung ball
Grass and weeds growing in stone cracks
A trees clinging to a cliff face
Bird/butterfly/moth with a damaged wing, struggling to fly
An animal standing at the top of a hill or summit
Sunlight straining through the clouds
Water flooding past beaver dams and blockages
Animal tracks through deep snow
Pack animals
Rocks on ledges balancing at impossible angles
Injured animals straining to keep up with the pack
Animals that thrive in extreme temperatures (desert, Arctic)
Cacti plants
Woodpeckers
The repeated call of a bird searching for a mate
Fledgling birds learning to fly
Tortoise

In Society:

Bailing water from a boat
People fishing
Boats fighting the waves/current/rapids
Standing steady when a wave hits
Weeds growing in sidewalk cracks
Plants growing toward windows and sunlight
Competitions, sporting events, talent contests, races
Someone being bullied, showing up day after day
Straight shoulders, eye contact, lifting chin
Crowded, stunted trees struggling to grow among bigger, healthier ones
Marathons
The tallest skyscraper
Stopwatch
A person reading a thick book
Someone pouring over a map
Mountain climbers
Stray animals
Job hunting
Posting fliers
Military presence
Having more than one job
Learning sign language
Immigration/immigrants
Cancer survivor, pink ribbon
Stripes on the American Flag
The Olympics
Athletes
Climbing wall
Taking a re-test (driver's permit, admittance exam, etc)
Standing in line for sought-after concert tickets
Single parents
Victims-turned-advocates
Story of Hansel and Gretel
A person carrying/dragging a heavy burden
Adapting to the loss of a limb or medical condition

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Perseverance. Some are more powerful than others. A tree clinging to the side of a cliff is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a stopwatch may not foreshadow perseverance on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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EPIC Resource for Fantasy Writers

Writing about castles? Knights? The plague? Want to know how Medieval Societies lived, how people farmed, how they dressed, what they ate, how they worshipped and what a woman's role was? Need a timeline or maps during the Middle Ages?

Well, you'll want to bookmark THIS.

Total. EPIC. Resource.

That's all I have to say. Enjoy!

Guest Post and Thanks

Hi Musers!

I'm guest posting over at The Sharp Angle, talking about why blogging can be a smart move for writers thinking PLATFORM, and how blogging can really jump start a writer's online presence.

In the post I outline the 5 TYPES of blogs that are attractive to a 'writer' audience, so if you're looking for areas to focus on for your blog content, please do check it out. :)

Once again, thank you so much to everyone who sent their well wishes and understanding my way this last week. My husband is out of the hospital and doing fine now. In fact, he made it onto the golf course this weekend, so I'd say he's well on his way back to feeling 100%.

I hope everyone had a great long weekend. :)

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Posts This Week

Hi guys,

I just want to give a heads up that I may not post this week. My hubby is in the hospital (but getting better!) so things are a bit erratic around here. My thesaurus entries tend to be pretty labor-intensive, so if I'm able to get them up I will, but if not then regular posting will resume next week, I promise.

Have a great week!

Angela

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Airplanes

Sight

Narrow aisle. stewards/stewardesses greeting you as you walk on, navy blue fabric seats, overhead compartments, armrests, seat belts, small porthole windows, some shutters open & others closed, people blocking the aisle putting carry on away or grabbing something out of the overhead compartments, emergency exit mid plane, fold down trays, in-flight magazine, safety instructions manual tucked in a slot in the seat back in front of you, TV in seat in front of you, barf baggie, old newspaper left behind from previous passenger, people playing cards or a travel board game like crib, drink cart, airline pretzels/cookies/health snack, plastic cups of coffee, pop, water, tea, coffee carafe, single serving alcoholic beverages, napkins, stirring sticks, cookie wrappers, passengers, laptops, ipads, iPhone, ipods, handheld gaming devices, magazines, people reading books, people holding babies and toddlers on their laps, turnable air vents above, overhead light, call button for the stewardess, jack for headphones, volume control button on seat, radio settings on seat, people eating food brought on the plane or purchased if the plane serves food, curtain separating first class, cheap foam pillows with recyclable covers, headrest covers, cubbyhole at feet for purses, backpacks and bags, carpeted flooring, lighted aisle in case of an emergency, seat-as-flotation device, oxygen masks that drop down if cabin pressure is compromised, jump seat for stewardess on wall, galley , narrow bathroom stalls with toilet, mirror, sink and smoke alarm, row number and seat letters above seats, fire extinguisher on wall, medikit close by on wall or in galley, locked, reinforced doorway to pilot's cockpit, galley fridge compartment, coffee maker, stocked carts, storage bins, extra beverage containers and sundries, aspirin/Tylenol, plains clothed air Marshall

Sounds

Plane engines, a squeaky beverage cart, music/TV in headphones, laughter, people talking, laughing, snoring, babies crying, the swish of fabric as people readjust for comfort or remove a coat or sweater, zippers unzipping, rustling bags and backpacks, the clunk of a tray locking into position, the rustle of newspapers and magazines, crisp book pages turning, people typing on keyboards, The stewardess asking questions, food wrappers wrinkling and being balled up, coughing, throat clearing, a shudder and hull squeak as the plane hits turbulence, thumping if it's strong enough to cause luggage to shift in overhead bins, People saying 'Excuse me' as they walk past in the aisle or get up from their seat, toilets flushing, bathroom door shutting and the click of a lock, bins snapping shut, a loud passenger complaining, creaky seats, the bell signalling seat belts can be removed or that the captain is going to address the flight, the captain's voice over the loudspeaker describing the flight conditions, weather at destination, flight time and possibly a few jokes

Smells

A person sitting close by wearing too much cologne or perfume, food being eaten, coffee, canned air, minty gum, bad breath, beer, a whiff of hand sanitizer, sweat, BO, old fabric, hair products, smelly feet if someone takes their shoes off, diapers that need changing if sitting with a baby or toddler, vomit if someone needs to use their airsickness bag, cough drops, paper from books and ink from glossy magazines, taco chips

Tastes

Water, coffee, pop, juice, tea, sugar, alcoholic drinks (wine, beer, spirits), plane food or food bought in airport (sandwiches, pizza, chocolate bars, chips, granola bars, bagels, muffins, wraps, cookies, pretzels, snack mixes) cough drops, mouthwash, mints, gum, sour or bitter 'dry mouth'

Touch

Hard, too-narrow armrests, bumping/nudging/brushing against the passenger next to you, cramped, hunched back trying to get from window seat to aisle, sliding a bag out from seat in front, digging through it for a book or snack, feet sliding on floor, adjusting fr comfort and to stretch legs, rolling shoulders and neck, kinks in the neck, twisting and lifting to stretch back, slouching in seat, trying to make self small to get past passengers to the aisle, having to lean over someone while standing in the aisle so another can pass, waiting for the restroom, kid behind you kicking the seat, a tight seat belt, pressing the TV's touch screen, fingers on a mouse or keyboard if using a computer, holding a book open and reading, turning pages, playing a card game or crib with another passenger or family member, balling up a napkin, pulling off the wrapper of a complementary bag of cookies, sipping at hot coffee, stirring in a packet of sugar, sipping drinks, patting lips with a napkin, brushing crumbs off shirt front, lifting or lowering the shade on the window, leaning this way and that to see out the window, walking down the aisle, smiling and saying hello to passengers as you make eye contact, setting seat back to sleep, covering self with a coat for comfort or sleep, passing trash to the stewardess, rifling through the contents of the magazine pouch in the seat in front of you out of boredom, drawing, doodling or writing in a notebook

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Donny had the worst luck on business trips. If the flight was a small, forty-five minute hop, he'd have the the row to himself and sometimes even be bumped to the front where he could take advantage of the ample leg room. But for the soul-crushing, eight hour flights to the UK, he'd always be stuck next to a shrieky toddler whose Mother hadn't bothered to pack anything to entertain the kid with, or a grossly overweight guy creating seat spillover because he was too embarrassed or cheap to spring for a second seat.

Example 2:

I glanced sidelong at the passenger next to me in the window seat. Sweat glistened on his pale face and his hands gripped the armrests hard enough to cause bruising. I closed my eyes and leaned back in my seat, praying the plane didn't hit air turbulence. Something told me this guy was a hurler, and I didn't trust that he'd be able to make it to the bathroom in time.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The bitter, snarky stewardess who complained about keeping my guitar case in her galley was even scarier at the helm of a metal serving cart. The gleam in her eye and the cart's sudden jerk forward as I rose from my seat said she was locked and loaded to mow me down like an evasive weed if I came within range.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The rough pocket of turbulence transformed the passengers into a group of unfortunate epileptics suffering a mass seizure.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Hope

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

Sun coming out behind a cloud
The warmth of sunshine
Rain on a dry landscape
The smell of rain or moisture in the air
Sunrise
Water
New growth
Spring
Sighting seagulls at sea
Sighting land at sea
Rainbows
Babies/offspring in the animal kingdom
Yellow daffodils
Snowdrop flower
New Moon (Hunter's Moon)
The horizon
Fish
Butterflies

In Society:

Children
Pink cancer ribbon
Random acts of kindness
Open doors
Schools, youth centers
Light bulbs/light sources
Statue of Liberty
Soup Kitchens
Anchor
Pandora's Box
Newborns
Church and cross
Education
Amethyst
Medicine/vaccines
Experimental treatments/drug trials
Advances in science
The comforting arms of a loves one
Second chances
New beginnings (new job, new school, new look)
Moving into a new house or neighborhood

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Hope. Some are more powerful than others. Being given a vaccine for an illness or finding out one is a candidate for a new treatment is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, an open door may not foreshadow hope on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Awesome Wins and How I Became a Murderer

First, the wins: TWO signed BOOKS in the recent Spread the Awesome Book Blogging Extravaganza hosted by the wonderbar ElanaJ.


Which ones you ask?




Escaping the Tiger



Given away by Christina Farley





Woods Runner


Given away by Suzette Saxton

Winning 2 books! Fabulous, right? And the great thing about these is that both my son and I will enjoy them as he's big into any type of survival or war story. It's like it was meant to be. Karma.

Which, if I'm honest, I thought I screwed up royally on after Saturday's hot tub incident.

You see, I'm the kind of person who my hubby shakes his head at because if there's a bug in the house, I take it outside. If there's an earthworm exposed to the sun as I garden, I make sure it's re-covered in dirt to prevent flash frying.

And if there's a spider in the cup holder of our hot tub, yes, I WILL help it out and over the side so it doesn't get trapped beneath the hot tub lid and die. And it just so happens that on Saturday, this EXACT scenario happened.

Naturally, I attempted a transport.

That's the important thing to remember here, folks: ANGELA HAD GOOD INTENTIONS.

But, well...it fell out of my palm and landed in the water.

Images of lobsters and crabs boiling in hot water flitted through my head as I tried to grab him out from behind a jetted headrest. Sadly, by the time I got him in hand, he was a goner.

I felt pretty awful about it. Murder wasn't in the plan for my Saturday, I swear.

My husband had great fun with this, giving me a squeaky-voiced impersonation of the dead spider, regaling the story of how he was the way home, crossing vast yards and climbing over houses in an effort see his mother on Mother's Day, and the poignant account of growing up an orphan only wanting a mother, and the discovery a week ago that she was alive after all.

Husband dear continued to channel the dead spider, informing me that his mother was ill/had cancer/two prosthetic legs/was about to be kicked out of the spider web for not paying the rent/drank too much from grief/etc and only wanted one last visit from her long-lost spiderling son before dying/becoming homeless/selling legs to pay rent/drinking herself into oblivion.

Ah, darling husband. Nothing like being reminded you're a killer on the eve before Mother's Day.

So, needless to say after my well intentioned spider relocation-turned-murder, I didn't expect Karma to treat me so well, much less award me 2 fantastic books. I guess good intentions must count in the big scheme of things, huh?

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Storm Sewers

Sight

Curved cement walls, rusted metal grates, pipes, mesh debris collectors, standing water, canals, raised walkway, manhole access points, ladders, graffiti, mold, mildew, oily, stagnant water, waterlogged garbage, pipes, access chambers, tunnels that branch off the main line, shadows, algae, dripping water, rats, spiders, cockroaches, beetles, centipedes, drug paraphernalia, weak light from grates on the street, aqueducts, slime, dead animals/rodents floating in the water, air vents, tunnels, passages, overflow lines high up on the walls to carry runoff, brick walls, branches, sodden plastic bags, leaves

Sounds

Dripping water, splashes, squeaking rats, echos, footsteps, traffic from above, street sounds, subway running nearby, man made waterfalls to create drainage flow, gurgling water in pipes, roaring water when high capacity (during/after storms), running water, debris scraping along the edges of pipes and catching on grates

Smells

stagnant water, sewage (if used partially for sewage), rot, death, pollutants (motor oil, grease and other 'roadside' lubricants that wash in with the street water), the tang of wet stone

Tastes

That water isn't for drinking, people! Don't lick the walls, either. Might taste sweat on lip

Touch

Water seeping into boots, cold water soaking clothing, rats running over boots, sliding hand along a slimy wall, the cold iron rungs of a ladder to the street, bumping unseen debris in the murky water, feeling things brush against your legs, holding a hand to the nose to keep the worst odors out, arms windmilling in an attempt to keep balance on a dry ledge, nudging a dead rat off a walkway into the slimy water so you can step there, swinging a flashlight side to side or up and down, searching for an exit, the side of the sewer scraping along back as you ease down a passage, jerking away to avoid something nasty floating in the water, rubbing swat off your face with the back of the hand because the front you've used to touch the walls and they are filthy, drips of water falling on the head and sliding down your neck

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

The beam of my flashlight played off the filth-encrusted walls, the tide line showing where the water had gone down a good four feet. Cold water pressed against my waterproof gear as I entered the offshoot tunnel and an unholy stench slammed into me. I pressed a sleeve to my nose--the blockage I needed to find must be close. After a week's worth of rains causing flooding in half a dozen neighborhoods, there were sure to be a few deceased pets caught up in the mesh debris catch.

Example 2:

Marty balanced on the ledge just above the trough of sludge at the bottom of the tunnel, his heart almost beating out of his chest. He waited in the darkness, straining to hear the race of footsteps above on the street, signalling that Ben and his crew had moved on and it was safe to go back up. His shoes, so precariously balanced on the five-inch ledge, grew heavier and his mind screamed to not look down. He looked anyway and found a well-fed sewer rat sitting on his shoe, cleaning its rubbery tale as if it had every right to sit there and survey its kingdom.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The storm pipes curved and twisted like the intestines of a giant mythical creature in desperate need of a thirty day, fix-you-right-up detox cleanse.

Example 2: (Metaphor)


Slimy lumps bobbed in the murky brown water, a rancid stew of litter, junkie needles and dead rats.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Instability & Turmoil

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

Rolling dark clouds
Thunder and lightning
Muddy ground
Churned up, silty rivers
Whitecaps
Crashing waves
Dead fish/birds/debris thrown ashore
Earthquakes
Crevasses
Crumbling cliffs, edges
An uprooted tree
Dry riverbeds
Floods
Fire
Flash flooding in deserts
Dust devils
Blowing tumbleweeds
Natural disasters (tornado, tropical storms, mudslides)
Birds flying off all at once in vast numbers
A forest devoid of animal presence, activity and sounds
Trees growing on the side of a cliff or precarious position
Storms
Volcanoes
Forest Fires
Thin ice/cracked ice

In Society:

Rioting
Riot gear
Sink holes
Explosions
Barred windows/doors
Car alarms going off
Picket lines
Unemployment office
Cracks in the sidewalk
Bump roads, pot holes
Rotten fences swaying in the wind
Loose shutters, rotten steps or porch
A car struggling to turn over
Frost heaves in pavement
Car crashes
A shaky bridge
Slippery surfaces
Gangs & crime-riddled neighborhoods
Domestic violence
Alcoholism
Legal separations
Raised voices behind a closed door
Protest marches
Stock market upsets and crashes
Business takeovers
Custody battles
Condemned buildings
Broken windows
Boarded up store fronts
Police tape
Overdue bills
Signs of pollution (garbage swirls, toxic lakes, etc)
Neighbors arguing
School fights
Opposing forces (on issues, agendas, etc)
Mobs
Police or ambulance sirens
The smell of something burning

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with instability and turmoil. Some are more powerful than others. An earthquake is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a broken window may not foreshadow instability and turmoil on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Celebrate the Awesome WINNER!


I talked it over with the garden gnomes and we agreed Random Number Generator has not let us down yet, so without further ado....

The PERSONALIZED, SIGNED copy of Carrie Ryan's The Dead-Tossed Waves goes to:

B.J. Anderson!

I am in total envy right now. Personalized. Signed. Copy! Thanks everyone for helping me celebrate this wonderful book!

Celebrate the Awesome Book Pick: The Dead-Tossed Waves

** CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED **

Celebrate the Awesome is the brain-baby of Elana Johnson, a most awesome source for all things pertaining to writing and most especially, querying. The idea behind it is to help celebrate books that make our personal A-List of novels, ones we would go to bat for and proudly proclaim as an absolute, not-to-be-missed favorite!

I'm sure it's no surprise to any of you that my top pick happens to contain the undead. And while there are many great authors out there penning these dark tales, my favorite has to be Carrie Ryan, master of zombie fiction. Her newest book, The Dead-Tossed Waves (released March 2010) will grip you from start to finish. TDTW is a companion book to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a tension-drenched post-apocalyptic novel where freedom is measured by the length of a fence, shackling those within to a life of constant vigilance against the Unconsecrated Dead.

TDTW picks up with the next generation and follows Mary's daughter Gabry, and their life in Vista, a coastal village with strong barriers that prevent the Mudo (the Unconsecrated) from harming the living. Gabry's feelings for her best friend's brother Catcher leads her to join her friends and leave the safety of city walls for the off-limits allure of an abandoned amusement park, ending in a horrific encounter with the Mudo. Gabry is unharmed, but Catcher is not. And those who did not die in the attack are imprisoned and at the mercy of the governing force, all except Gabry.

For me this book is a must-read because Carrie Ryan is amazingly skilled at pairing horror, despair and fear with strains of hope and compassion. Each page drips with intensity as doom chases Gabry's footsteps, yet she continues to fight, battling not only the Mudo but the doubt within herself, doing everything in her power to save those she loves. If you want a suspenseful novel that will keep you reading deep into the night, this is it.

I am HUGELY EXCITED to be able to offer a copy of The Dead-Tossed Waves to one FOLLOWER of The Bookshelf Muse that Carrie Ryan will personally sign and mail to the winner. Keep it as a gift for yourself, or have it personalized for someone else--it's all up to you. :)

RULES: Be a follower, new or old, and comment below. That's it! And as always, I really appreciate all tweets, blog mentions and the like to spread the word.

If you are in need of some outstanding summer reads, you can check out the FULL LIST, and please do drop in on Jon Arntson, who is featuring another fantastic author, Maggie Steifvater!

One more thing to add...Heather is my 700th Follower so I'm awarding her a 5 page in depth critique. Just mail me and we'll set up the details!
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Heads Up on Coolness

Monday, May 3rd. This is the date you want to keep in the front of your brain, people.

The most awesome Elana Johnson has staged a massive book coup to take over the internets. On blogs everywhere, you'll see books featured that aren't just good, or even great, but truly AWESOME in the minds and hearts of the bloggers everywhere.

And there will be prizes on many of these blogs. Giveaways. Including The Bookshelf Muse.

Head back this way to see the book I plan to feature, because not only is it an awesome read...you might win a PERSONALIZED signed copy, sent from the author's door to yours.

Hmmmm...I wonder what treasure will be up for grabs? If only there was a hint. Say, do you like the graphic I chose? :)

And just because I love you so much, a comment here BEFORE MONDAY will get you an EXTRA ENTRY to win this fabulous prize.

As always, I appreciate it when you guys RT and spread the word! Have a great weekend!
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