Posted in Books and Authors

Darkfall by Dean Koontz

Holy Macral! I just finished the audiobook for Darkfall by Dean Koontz. Read by Christopher Lane, a product of Brilliance Audio.

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It’s a horror book with some spiritual themes (mainly dealing with voodoo and how it ties in with every other religion in the world). Demons big and small are trying to claw their way into our world using an evil voodoo man who’s wreaking vengeance on a crime family in New York.

He senses Jack, a cop working the case, can ruin everything for him so he attacks Jack’s kids. In an effort to save them and the woman he loves, he seeks help from a man who practices good voodoo. They discover the danger is greater than initially supposed and that the world itself is at stake.

It’s AWESOME! There were times I was wiggling in my seat (I’m currently listening to audiobooks while I crochet my little heart out – working on an afghan for my in-laws) because I wanted Koontz to hurry up so I could find out how everything turned out.

10 hours long on 9 discs with action starting on the very first “page”, I thought it would be impossible for Koontz to drag things out. He’d put his characters in severe danger seemingly without a way to escape only to pull them out in the nick of time.

Amazingly, the action continues disc through disc without cease. I was sure things were hopeless for the hero nearly the whole time but I was happily proved wrong.

Whew! What a ride.

For awhile I was really confused though. I wondered why everyone was relying on pay phones and home phones. Why not use their cell phones? It’d save a lot of bother and worry. Don’t catch them at home? No worries, everyone has a cell. It occured to me halfway through (it wasn’t an active thought in my head because the story was so engrossing) that perhaps this was a time before cell phones. When the book was done, I looked at when it was written – 1984. I laughed. Yep, definitely before cell phones. At least I was alive when it was written though. 2 years old but still alive.

Dean Koontz is a good writer. My favorite of his is Phantoms. My sister has been an avid reader since I was in grade school (I’m 32 now). When I recommended the book to my mom, I told her to check with Sarah because she probably had it already. I was not mistaken. In fact, she had recently read it. She raved about Twilight Eyes as well so I’ll try to find that one soon. But right now I have Game of Thrones to devour. So excited!

Do you like Dean Koontz (horror writer)? What’s your favorite book of his?

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Posted in Personal

When You Feel Sleepy

It’s not often that my posts in my two blogs (Writing World and Fitness Freak) will correspond to each other… actually I don’t think it’s ever happened in the past… but that’s what happening today.

I was looking through pictures I have saved for potential use on my blogs because I was showing my dad what studies are now showing concerning the effects of coffee/caffeine intake. We found some infographics about sleep.

What does that have to do with writing? Well, I also had this…

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I think most people I know would be able to answer this question. Goodness, anyone who’s been a college student (and many high school students) will know how to accurately portray a sleep-deprived character.

We’ve all been there. The feeling is awful. Eyes burn, there’s a black hole in your chest that no amount of yawning can fill up, nerves feel dull, brain activity is anywhere from slow to flatlined, attention span is near nonexistent, reflexes are slower, etc.

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The few times I’ve been hit by insomnia, I’ve been able to sympathize with suicides. I feel like I’m going crazy and I would have a strong urge to sit against a wall and methodically thump my head against a wall (like what I saw in a House episode years ago).

Have you ever been attacked by insomnia?

Posted in Fairytales/Myths

My Favorite Fairytales: Beauty and the Beast

One of my favorite fairytales of all time is Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read various tellings of the story all my life and have liked them all, some more than others. I think my favorite version might be Beauty by Robin McKinley. The cover is also quite pretty.

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The basic story is pretty simple:

Beautiful girl’s family falls into poverty. After hearing news that their fortunes may have improved, the father travels back to the city but is given bad news. On his journey back to his family, he gets lost and seeks shelter at a great castle.

When he’s refreshed he leaves but picks a rose for his daughter (her favorite flower) and the lord of the castle – the Beast – demands his life in exchange for the theft. Upon hearing the father’s story, the Beast allows him to go home to say goodbye to his daughters. He must return in a few days for his punishment or one of his daughters must come in his place.

Beauty, the daughter the rose was intended for, goes back to the Beast’s castle in her father’s place. Instead of dying, however, she’s treated like a princess. Every night the Beast visits her while she eats dinner and asks if she will marry him. She continually denies him, but grows friendly toward him after awhile.

She soon becomes homesick and is allowed to look upon her father through the means of a magic mirror. She sees he’s very sick and begs to return to him to nurse him back to health. The Beast agrees but makes her promise to return to him in a week’s time or he will die.

Beauty’s reunion is a happy one and she waits until the last minute to return to the Beast. When she sees him she believes him to be dead and grieves. It isn’t until that moment that she realizes she loves him and tells him so.

The Beast disappears and in his place is a handsome prince. He explains that he was under a terrible spell. He would stay a hideous beast until he could gain the love of a beautiful woman. Beauty’s love for him broke the spell and they lived happily ever after.

What version of Beauty and the Beast do you like the most?

Posted in Personal

Busy Busy Busy Bee

I’m getting so late with my writing posts. And I haven’t done a Weekend Writing Warriors post in nearly 3 weeks!

What’s my problem?

I’ve been busy. I’m listening to Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring as often as I can (I borrowed it as an audiobook because I’d never have the time or eye power to read the book.

I’m also crocheting an afghan for my in-laws. It’s about 6-7 years late in coming; I started it nearly a year before I got preggers and then just never finished it. I’m bad about that when it comes to crocheting afghans because they take so long. But I’m finishing it now and making excellent progress! I listen to LotR while I crochet.

Cleaning/laundry to get ready for my parents’ visit. Also taking care of my son and everything that entails.

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And fitness of course.

And cooking. I’ve been trying out new recipes that will hide veggies in my son’s food (which I will write about later on my Fitness Freak blog) and I’ve been trying to get as many meals cooked as possible so my husband doesn’t have to worry about it when he gets home.

Because of these at-home things (and errands), I don’t get out much to internet places so I haven’t been able to do nearly as many internet tasks as I normally would.

Ugh.

I can’t wait for my son’s school to start. Then I’ll have much more free time to get everything done.

Ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day? How do you fit everything in?

Posted in Personal

Happily Querying Along

I’m sorry, did that say “happily”? Hmm…

While it was exciting at first to be getting queries ready once more, after perusing about 20 agencies listed in the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents and highlighting and writing down about a dozen, I felt like my eyes were burning.

Hours later after jotting down more agencies and writing up 3 separate queries, I thought my eyes would pop out of their sockets.

Day 2: looking up info on aforementioned agencies, choosing agents, and writing up another 6 queries. I am so done. Man are my eyes TIRED!

Naturally, one of the most promising agents I found the first day and wrote a query for turned out to be closed to submissions when I looked him up on his agency’s website the next day. Dang it. Hate it when that happens. GRR!!

I don’t suppose he’d make an exception and read a sample of my work if I mentioned his name here and said my manuscript was right up his alley? Probably not…

I did, however, discover a helpful blog from agent Marisa Corsiviera – Thoughts From A Literary Agent. Very helpful with queries and sending submissions to that agency. I’d recommend checking it out when you have the time. Ms. Corsiviera is the founder of the Corsiviero Literary Agency and is also the Senior Agent there.

Are you trying to query agents right now/soon/in the past? How many queries did you send out?

Posted in Fairytales/Myths

The Story of Arachne

While endeavoring to write something resembling maggot-infested feces (yeah, I’m that thrilled with what I’ve written so far on NT2), I decided to share some of the Greek myths I’m using or might be using in my ms.

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Today’s tale is a short version of Arachne.

The goddess Pallas Athena taught Arachne to weave but the young woman became so skilled in the art that she left the goddess. People came from across the land to view her work and watch her on the loom. Her pictures were the most beautiful and her movements the most wondrous to see. They praised her and asked how she had learned this craft.

Instead of naming Athena as her teacher, Arachne claimed that she had been born with the skill and had taught herself. The credit was hers and she basked in her glory and ego. Athena was displeased with this but did nothing until Arachne boasted that she was better even than the goddess herself!

Furious, Athena appeared before the crowd as an old woman and warned Arachne to be humble and admit the truth, but the foolish maiden’s pride was beyond her control. She cried out a challenge that Athena come and weave alongside her. Then everyone would see which of them was the best.

Athena threw off her disguise and accepted the challenge. The two set their looms up where they were and began to weave. Athena wove images of mortals’ hubris and the punishments for presuming to be the equal of gods. It was intended as a message to Arachne but the mortal did not heed it.

Arachne wove images of various gods deceiving and raping or seducing young women.

When the two were done, Athena looked upon her former pupil’s work and could find no fault with it. Incensed at the perfection of the work and the audacity of the subject Arachne had chosen, she ripped the weaving apart and then beat the mortal over the head with the shuttle.

In her despair, Arachne hung herself.

But before she died, Athena took pity on her former pupil and transformed her into a spider. Arachne continued to weave but from then on her wool was spider silk and her beautiful pictures were webs.

There are a couple lessons here. What lesson would you take from this story?

Posted in Personal

Books vs TV and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The last couple days I’ve been reading The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. I enjoyed the movie and the book was on the BBC 100 Book List I’m going by so I went for it.

Well, I don’t know if the movie just made a huge departure from the book or if it picked up incidents from other books (because Mis has a whole series of books chronicling her awkwardness) but, while the movie was similar it was also very very different.

I don’t hold that against the movie (or the book for that matter). Both were good in their own right and I giggled pretty often during the book. It was such a nice departure from dystopian angst and danger and love triangles that you find in popular YA books now.

Actually, the moment I started reading The Princess Diaries, I kept wanting to stop and watch the movie. The same thing happened when I was reading The Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Except in that case I did watch the movie whilst in the middle of the book. My son loved it! This would be the version with Brendan Frasier. I don’t care how cheesy it can be, I still really liked it.

However, because The Princess Diaries is so short, I fought the urge to watch the movie until I was done. Of course, when I finished it was time for bed. Hmph.

I can see why Stephen King says to throw your TV set out. He has his own reasons of course, but mine would be that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything else done AND watch everything I want to see. Because Divergent is waiting for me from Netflix too but I’ve been holding off on that as well for various reasons.

Le Sigh.

It really is easier to find time to read than to watch TV, although it used to be a lot easier when I was single and had no job. Ah the days of summer vacation when I was a teenager!

Would you skip movies to read?