What I’m Reading: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I attended a writer’s group around here and someone recommended this book to all of us. It was a winner of a contest called Pitch Wars, which she also told us about. If you don’t know what pitch wars is, I suggest you Google it. Got a manuscript? Want some advice from experienced writers? This contest is for you. You get a chance to partner up with with a mentor, who will offer you advice and ways to edit your novel so you can pitch it to agents. In the end it’s like a bidding war for the best novel and sounds so exciting. I’m going to give it a try myself.

Anyway, this book is about four young adults who are brought together by tensions exacerbated by the politics surrounding the world of the novel. On one side there are those who have magic, or used to have it. On the other: the evil king who is determined to keep magic away for good.

Friendships form, romance kindles, and adventure makes this book as absorbing as the world the author has created.

Happy Reading and Writing!

What I’m Reading Tonight

Got the Yankee – Astros game playing in the background, the fan is whirling and making a steady shwooo noise, and I’m snuggled in bed with a book.

Everland, by Wendy Spinale. It’s this steam punk version of Peter Pan. I love the cross genre and diving into the realm of fiction classics is always fun, too.

What are you reading? Anything good?

NaNoWriMo is less than a month away!!

So, apparently October is Preptober…

and that means that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!!! (National Novel writing month.)

I have actually never heard of Preptober before, but I think it is something new that started last year. Now, let’s hope this year’s NaNoWriMo goes a lot better than lasts, eh?

Have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet? Well, what are you waiting for!!

New Book to Read: In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O’brien

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Not much going on this weekend. Parents came and visited our new place, did some errands, and now tacos for dinner. Yum!

Yesterday, got a new book at the used book store down the street: In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O’Brien. I remember reading this book in school and I loved the writing style. The voice through out the story just flows and you don’t want to put it down. I also loved The Things They Carried, too.

Do you guys have a favorite writer whose writing voice just speaks to you? 

A Year’s Worth of Books

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Today is a quiet and lazy day. I am worn out from the last few days, and so I am relaxing in front of the fan in my office and thinking about what to write. I was able to have lunch today with a friend, and she gave me this little book where you can record the books you’ve read and what you think of them.

img_20160530_151420369.jpgIt reminded me of what I did last year around this time. In the post I listed all the books I was able to read in five months and what I thought of them. This time its been longer, though. This is really for my benefit, mostly, as I have a terrible memory.

What could I have possibly read in a year??

Here we go, and in no particular order…

Audio Books I’ve listened to:

American Sniper, by Chris Kyle

Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth

I Was Here, Gayle Forman

Matched, by Ally Condie

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, by Michael Scott

The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner

The Color Magic, by Terry Pratchett

The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, by Brian Grazer

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, by Peter Allison

img_20160426_163707562_hdr.jpgAnd other books, not on audio:

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Iron Warrior, by Julie Kagawa

Winter, Fairest, by Marissa Meyer

Hmm…not a bad list, although its clear I need to read more books that aren’t on audio. I think its time to focus on reading some more adult fiction, non-fiction and science fiction and fantasy. And this doesn’t include the Harry Potter series that a listened to again this year on audio. (I think I have an obsession!)

What do you guys like to read? Read anything new recently?

Happy writing (and reading)!

Saturday Musings: Books and More Books!

wpid-img_20150829_143915630_hdr.jpgWas doing some cleaning around the apartment this afternoon, and thought I’d take a pic of all the books I collected from my bedroom.

This is just from the bedroom, people. I found books in my top dresser drawer, books on the floor, books on top of my jewelry box, and books next to my hamper. If you say I need a bookcase in my bedroom, I’d say you’d probably be right.

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(Bookcase in office)

I’ve now come to the conclusion, that maybe I need a bookcase in every room, because it is clear that I love books! The top shelf of this bookcase are mostly books that I’ve purchased within the last month or so.

For all you book lovers out there, (especially young adult fiction readers) I recommend picking up An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir, and Maggie Steifvater’s The Raven Boys (and sequels that follow) as well as, The Scorpio Races.

Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author, and Ember in the Ashes is a new favorite. Its got romance, an intense dystopian world and real at-risk action here.

Lately, I’ve also liked checking out non-fiction and autobiographies. I think its because its so inspiring reading real-life stories, and triumphs.

Why do I love books so much?

I think it has something to do with the fact that you can go anywhere you want and never leave your chair, or bed, or couch, or wherever you like to curl up and read a good book.

A good book can take you places.

Knowledge is power. When you read you learn, and there is no limit when it comes to reading. You can read whatever you want, wherever you want, and be inspired.

Sometimes when you have all these things going for you, reading a good book is like discovering something magical. And I just love that!

What do you like to read?

How I devoured 20 Books in less than Five Months

Right now, I work in data entry, I’ve been there about five months and as far as boring jobs go…well, this one takes the cake. I don’t really mind it though. It’s not stressful, the people I work with are alright, and I don’t have to deal with customers, or customer service, or retail, (which I hate.)

And I can listen to music, AND audio books while I work, and this arrangement works well for a book-nerd like me.

spy8I’ve come to realize I have this obsession; I told myself that if I wasn’t in Grad school, I would absorb all the books that I could, and perhaps learn something new.

I guess I didn’t realize until now, (late twenties now and I’m just starting to realize) that I really do have a terrible attention span. I’ll watch a video for 20 secs, and I swear if it doesn’t insight some kind of meaningful reaction in that very short life span, I’ll exit and find something else to look at.

I think this is also the reason I love young adult and children literature. For that genre, you really have to start out in the middle of the action to catch its readers, it is immediate, it takes you along for the ride.

I love a great story, but sometimes I don’t have the attention span, or time to sit down and try to absorb a thousand pages of high fantasy with a trillion characters, and numerous worlds, but I CAN listen to an audio book and I’ve absorbed my fair share in the past couple of months:

The books I’ve now read (listened to):

Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling (all seven of them)

Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (all five)

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

American Gods, by Niel Gaiman

Still Foolin’ Em…Where I’ve Been, Where I’m going and Where the Hell are My Keys? By Billy Crystal

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris

Virals, by Kathy Reichs

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

If I stay, by Gayle Foreman

Where She Went, by Gayle Foreman

The books are pretty much in order from how I listened to them. I started with Harry Potter first, because, let’s face it – it’s the best! I’ve already read the books about a thousand times, but I do love listening to the audio occasionally.

And because it’s a list, I thought I’d do a little bit of ranking…

My favorite:   Harry Potter, of course.

Least favorite:  Virals, by Kathy Reichs. It wasn’t as original as I thought it’d be.

Funniest: Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ Em

Saddest: If I Stay, Gayle Foreman

Most thought-provoking: The Book Thief and American Gods

Most Surprising: The Casual Vacancy. The book was just different from what I was expecting. I think I expected more of a mystery-type novel from the way it is described, but the book is really more of a look into the heartbreaking world of human emotions.

And Most Inspiring: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. It inspired me to journal more, and write more non-fiction of my own.

And I guess that’s it. There really isn’t much else to this post except that I’m going to sit back and admire my own list and think about how awesome I am. 😉

I am contemplating listening to the Wheel of Time series next. What do think? Any suggestions?

What is your favorite book?

Have you read any of the books on this list?

Girl time, Cupcakes and a Poem by my niece, Madilyn

Two peas in a pod!

Two peas in a pod!

I had a great weekend this time around. I watched my niece, Madilyn, who is eight, and (like myself) is growing into a book lover and writer.

It’s great for me to watch her creativity grow, to hear the books that she likes to read, to listen to her ideas; to watch (somewhat enviously) her imagination come alive. She told me after inhaling one of her new but used books: “I love how books smell.” And I think I fell in love with her just a little bit more.

We had a grand ol’ time. She showed me some of her video games: Zoo Tycoon and got me hooked on Lego Lord of the Rings. We had a pizza party, ate chips, made cup cakes and put streaks of pink in each others hair.

Now, mind you, I am 26, but I had the best time that I have had in a while. Maybe it’s because my niece and I are so much alike; we are both sensitive, both dramatic and creative. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a girl’s day in a while…maybe I’ll always be a child at heart, but it’s amazing how the simplest things sometimes end up being the memories that last a lifetime.

Our funfetti cupcakes. Maddie did most of the decorating.

Our funfetti cupcakes. Maddie did most of the decorating.

Anyway, after the dying of hair, we also managed to watch The Book of Life, and How to Train your Dragon 2. Suffice to say, we had a busy time of it, and were ready for bed around 11pm.

My heart is still all warm and fuzzy recalling the great weekend I had, and it is amazing how much she inspires me. She asked me what I had my office for, (where she slept Saturday night on my futon). I told her it was because I write. And she asked me where my books were. Have you printed them out? What stories do you write?

I had to think a bit, as I mumbled: No, they’re not done. They are on my computer. They aren’t printed…aren’t published yet…

I guess this means I better get crackin’! What have I been doing all my life? Not writing, that’s what! I also thinks this means I should focus on writing more children’s stories. So I can have something more to share.

Anyway, I also wanted to share the poem that she managed to create on my fridge with the magnetic poetry I have. I thought it was cute. Here goes:

wpid-img_20150316_192629108.jpgI’ll call it: “Imagination”

ice and air            men    women   sacred [scared]

to blush                we like blue magic

not sad               boys               cat must

breath [breathe]  perfume     and in our

young green eyes      brilliant

joy

 

I love that last part: Young, green, eyes and brilliant joy. Yes, that pretty much describes my weekend. I got back just a little bit of my childhood on Saturday; that free, unaltered joy, which consists of pure happiness and utter bliss. There’s really no other feeling in the world. I loved it.

I hope everyone had a somewhat decent Monday; Happy Writing everyone!

Don’t Wake Up the Sleep-walker!

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sunset at Pine cradle lake, PA

I’ve been working on a story/writing for the better part of 2 hours, mostly because I am bored and mostly because I am procrastinating doing laundry – but the reason I decided to post was this: I just realized something.

There is a big difference between writing a story, and immersing yourself in that story. Sometimes you write on the page, but you never become involved. There’s a difference between staying in the present world that you are writing, and emerging into that world, where the sights, scents and conversation is what is around you – not the hum of the fan next to your computer screen, or the traffic outside, or the typing of your hands wandering across your keyboard.

Immerse yourself into that world fellow writers. Become one with the scents, the sounds, the people. It is jarring to come back from such a world sometimes, but if this is what needs to be done, then, hey, I’m all for it.

Now, what was I doing again?

Ah, being a writer really is a lonely thing sometimes. Only we see the world that we are writing and it is sometimes hard to explain to others why they can’t interrupt that thought process.

I compare it to waking up a sleep-walker. Don’t wake up the sleep-walker! It’s all disorienting and confusing. That’s why I always tell my boyfriend: don’t interrupt me when I’m in the middle of writing, its like waking me up from a deep sleep, yanking me away from a world prematurely. (And believe me he’s done it a couple of times, grumble, grumble).

Let the writer wake up in her own time. Ah, but anyway I digress.

Become one with the story…don’t be afraid to dive in! That’s all.

Happy Writing!  And to those that are experiencing warmer weather (finally): Big Smiles! Summer is finally here!

 

The House On Mango Street

Every writer has a moment where it all began. That point in their lives, where they were 10, or 14, or 42, where they realized that words can be something more than dots and slashes and letters on a page…that words can take you places.

For me it was a book called, The House on Mango Street, By Sandra Cisneros, which I read in eighth grade. The middle school that I attended had a new eighth grade teacher that year; a man from New York City named Mr. Van Dright. He was a bit unorthodox for an upstate New York school strict on curriculum and following the rules. He had long dark hair and grizzle on his face, who wore a leather jacket and drove a motorcycle when he wasn’t in school, who reminded us often how thankful we were to attend a school that was safe and clean with no metal detectors.

And although this unique teacher from the city was forced to resign before the following year, what I remember most about him was that he was an artist. He had that look in his eye of a person who had stories to tell. He showed me, although he probably doesn’t know it, (a very insecure and shy fourteen year old at the time,) that books and words could be something more, you just had to dream them.

“In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.” (Cisneros,10)

This is from a passage in the book entitled, “My Name.” I remember him reading it to the class that day. What does that mean, he asked us. A name like the number nine?

Perhaps it was because I was obsessed with names. Wondering what it would be like if I had a different name – to separate myself from the ten other girls named Amanda in my school. (I really did graduate with about 5 of them.) Perhaps it’s because later on in the passage, the narrator goes on to describe her name, “as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth.” (Cisneros, 11)

Up until that point in my life, I’d never given much thought into the meaning of words, how with a simple sentence you can describe your name as muddy and we know how you felt about whatever it is you were talking about.

My own writing as of lately, has become its own kind of muddy and I thought I’d take this time to go back and remember where it all began. How words can have inspiration just by how they sound in your mouth mixed around with a word or phrase that can have nuances of meaning. How something simple can change the way you think and view the world. Muddy. Muddy. Muddy.

Nothing was as clear to me as those words on those pages. I wanted to write muddy too.