Dark Watch and other Mormon-American stories on sale

To celebrate it being one of three AML Awards finalists for short story collection, I have dropped the price of Dark Watch and other Mormon-American stories to $2.99. Buy it from your online store of choice: Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks

I’m also hoping to bring in a few more sales to plump up the pool of funds for contributors to my upcoming Mormon alternate history anthology. We’re currently at $165. I will supplement that total out of my own pocket to get to what we need to in order to pay the contributors to the anthology (likely somewhere $225-275). But it’d be nice to be able to fund some or all the rest of it from book sales.

If you bought the story collection at the higher price, you’re the best and a true patron of Mormon arts. Please consider nudging other people in your life to buy it. Or gift it to someone who might enjoy it.

If you haven’t bought it, I can’t guarantee that you’ll like it — but I can say that it’ll be one of the most interesting bits of Mormon culture you’ve ever spent $3 on.

The Tooth Fairy Wars

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An occasional series of brief posts on the 2015 AML Award nominees.

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tooth fairy wars

I’m not familiar with the work of writer Kate Coombs, but illustrator Jake Parker is a friend of mine whom I’ve written about before. This book puts all his skills to use. In fact, I would say this is his best picture book to date. Coombs’s story is a perfect match for his skills.

The story is of Nathan who does not want the Tooth Fairy to take his teeth. He tries hiding, he tries reasoning—she keeps taking his teeth and leaving a dollar behind. She has a job and she does it well.

Coombs is wise to play things straight. Everything is plain and understated (except, perhaps (and suitably), the insanely over-the-top bureaucratic mumbojumbo the Tooth Fairy cites). Parker follows her lead, and even as the conflict escalates, even as the stakes get higher and higher, the visual jokes are never forced either.

But when the Tooth Fairy brings in the big guns, well! I turned the page and started—I kid you not—guffawing. This is hilarious stuff. And then the diplomats arrive (including the cousin of a Hugo Earhart sidekick) and the story is resolved into a pleasant denouement, a perfectly paced wagonride downhill from the conflict’s climax.

A perfect piece of picture-book comedy.

The Princess in Black

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An occasional series of brief posts on the 2015 AML Award nominees.

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princess in blackIf you haven’t been reading Shannon Hale raging about the artificial walls we put between boys and books with princesses, you’re missing out on an important discussion. Me, I got this book (written by Shannon Hale and her husband Dean) to read it to my boys, ages five to eleven.

I sat next to my five-year-old and started reading it. He was sufficiently interested, but when I got to the line

But then, most princesses do not live near an entrance to Monster Land.

the other two ran over to follow along.

Middle son was reading Tintin so he would come over and leave and come over again, but when I finished reading it, the eldest was the first to respond to my what-did-you-think question with an enthusiastic positive.

In short, she’s doing a good job making the girl-half of the world boy-friendly.

As for the book, it’s very funny and charming and, simply, fun. It’s like a longer form (and wackier) version of the Ladybug Girl picture books (which, like the Princess in Black, set up room for a male sidekick). It’s also literalized—Princess Magnolia is an actual costumed hero; she’s not merely paying pretend. And the stakes are high. Goats will get eaten without the Princess in Black! Monsters are entering the her kingdom with goats on their mind!

I’m also fond of how Princess Magnolia is an actual cute little girl, including what I suppose we could call a bit of chub left in her cheeks. Sure her day job involves frills and tiaras and lots of pinkpinkpink, but she also kicks monster butt. And the character design and execution by LeUyen Pham makes that believable on both counts.

The story itself is not that innovative (can our hero save the day without having her secret identity compromised?) but the telling is a lot of fun.

It’s got a sequel headed to press; it’s been optioned, it’s inspired cosplay.

Sounds like a winner.

I’m not going to gripe about the 2009 Whitney, AML awards

Now that the 2009 Whitney Awards have been awarded, I was all set to do a detailed post-mortem on them and the 2009 AML Awards. A little compare and contrast. Some armchair psycho-social analyzing. A strong dose or two of obvious oversights. etc. etc. But as that analysis swirled in my head Saturday evening, I realized that I had no desire to do it. Not because I’m going soft (although that’s always a possibility), but for this one reason:

The AML gave the best novel award to Rift by Todd Robert Petersen. (Amazon)

The Whitney voters gave the best novel award to In the Company of Angels by David Farland. (Amazon)

That’s a pretty good year, and if those awards inspired just 10 people each to pick up one of those novels and read them, I’d be quite pleased. They are both thorougly Mormon; they are both thoroughly LDS; they are both challenging and affirming; they are both very well written; they are both by writers who deserve to be remembered decades from now (and awards like this always help with that kind of cultural memory). Well done, brothers and sisters. The bottom line is ya’ll came through in the categories that (in my opinion) matter the most. I’m not going to gripe or quibble about the rest. There’s always next year for that.

AML Awards, Whitneys, LDS Publisher contest reveal and much more

I have a ton of updates for ya’ll so let’s get right to it:

AML Awards + Annual Meeting: Here’s a link to the AML Awards for 2009, including the award citations; Tyler has write ups of several sessions at chasing the long white cloud. I’ll reserve my take on this year’s awards for the comments section.

LDS Publisher’s Book of Mormon YA fiction contest: The results are in! Congrats to David and all the other winners. Here are the entries by AVVers and friends of AMV. Speak up in the comments if I missed you (and my  apologies if I did):

Wm may be a Whitney Awards voter: So Rob twisted my arm (amazing how forceful he can be in spite of the shards of glass injected in to his heart [kidding, Rob. I hope the treatment works.]), and I’m in a LDS-Fiction-y mood so I’m going to try and hit two or more categories as a Whitney Awards voter. Historical Fiction is my best bet, and I may be able to do Speculative Fiction as well. Sadly, General Fiction will likely not happen because of a lack of review copies and the fact I need to do put my time over the next 29 days in to categories where I’m going to be likely to contribute (you have to read all 5 finalists in order to vote). If you are interested in what I have to say about the finalists as I read them, check out my GoodReads account and friend me if you haven’t already or subscribe to the RSS feed if you don’t have/don’t want an account.

More Stuff You Should Check Out

  1. Gideon Burton is open sourcing his sonnets
  2. The Up Beat, a documentary on the Utah/LDS Ska scene, is now available on DVD (updated 3/3 — forgot to HT The Mormon Left for this item)
  3. This March 20 Mormon Artists Group concert looks like a not-to-be-missed event for anyone who can make it to NYC
  4. Yes, it went straight to DVD, but the New Yorker makes a case for (and provides a weird Mormon gloss on) Jared Hess’s Gentlemen Broncos
  5. Here’s a way to view all the Mormon fiction titles BYU Bookstore is currently selling

Short Story Friday: “Amanuensis” by Stephen Tuttle

As mentioned in my post on the 2008 AML Awards, this week’s Short Story Friday features the 2008 winner for short fiction — it’s awesome that the story is available online because oftentimes the winners aren’t. Next week something from Popcorn Popping and the week after that another story from Dialogue. Still looking for someone to pull a story out of the Sunstone archives. I’ll see what I can do about that in the next couple of weeks, but if something comes to mind fill out the form that’s linked to below.

Title: Amanuensis

Author: Stephen Tuttle

Publication Info: Hayden’s Ferry Review, Issue 42 (Spring/Summer 2008)

Submitted by: Wm Morris

Why?: Because it won the 2008 AML Award for Short Fiction. To be honest, I haven’t read it yet and probably won’t until tomorrow morning.

Participate:

Submit to Short Story Friday

Possible online sources of stories and link to spreadsheet with current submissions

All Short Story Friday posts so far

AML awards for 2008

The Association for Mormon Letters has released the awards it presented at its Feb. 28 meeting:

Poetry:

Neil Aitken, The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga Press)

Warren Hatch, Mapping the Bones of the World (Signature Books)

Short Fiction:

Stephen Tuttle, “Amanuensis” (Hayden’s Ferry Review)

The Novel:

Angela Hallstrom, Bound on Earth (Parables)

Youth Fiction:

Brandon Mull, Fablehaven: The Grip of the Shadow Plague (Shadow Mountain)

Drama:

James Goldberg, Prodigal Son (New Play Project)

Personal Essay:

Patrick Madden, “A Sudden Pull Behind the Heart” (The Best Creative Fiction, Volume 2, W. W. Norton and Company)
Stephen Carter, “Calling” (Sunstone)

Film:

Christian Vuissa, Errand of Angels

Ron Williams, Happy Valley

Special Award in Criticism

Alan F. Keele, Professor of German at BYU

Special Award in Textual Criticism and Bibliography:

Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Series, vol. 1, Journals 1832-1839 (Church Historian’s Press)

Special Award in History:

Richard E. Turley, Jr., Glen M. Leonard, and Ronald W. Walker, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Oxford University Press)

Smith-Petit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters:

Douglas H. Thayer

Lifetime AML Membership:

Terryl L. Givens