Posted in Personal

My work or lack thereof

Here’s an update of my life (or lack thereof)…

What I’ve recently read:

Insurgent_212Insurgent by Veronica Roth

If I keep this up I’ll average about a book a week. But, of course, I can’t keep it up. When I’m in the midst of a book, I’m not tired at all. No, the weariness comes upon me after I’ve finished. It makes me not want to pick up another book for a couple days. Of course, before that happens the desire to read another overwhelms me and I’ve picked up another.

How many books do I have waiting for me from the library? A handful. How many do I have waiting at home? Goodness. Do I have to answer that?

Mountain-of-Books

What I’ve recently written:

Goodness. Do I have to answer that as well? I’m in a quandary. NT is out amongst the agents so that’s being taken care of, but I’ve reached a point where I pose the question that is, I’m sure, in every writer’s mind: Why bother finishing the sequel if the original hasn’t been snatched up?

Why indeed? I have yet to meet or hear of a writer who doesn’t feel this way at least once (more likely it’s many times) and it’s not the first time I’ve felt it. I know I’ll get over it and I know I should endeavor to write through it. But I’m not. I’m doing the ostrich manuever except instead of sticking my head in the ground, I’m sticking it in book after book.

At least I’m getting a lot read, right?

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Posted in Books and Authors, Fairytales/Myths

“Cruel Beauty” by Rosamund Hodge

image I recently finished reading Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel. It’s a young adult fantasy combining a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast and Greek mythology.

Her mission was to kill him. Her destiny was to love him.

Since birth, Nyx has ben betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom – all because of a reckless her bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle – a shifting maze of magical rooms – enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?

As I was searching for agents to query, I found Hannah Bowman from Liza Dawson Literary Agency. In an attempt to better understand what projects Bowman takes on, I looked through her client list where I found Rosamund Hodge’s name along with her novel Cruel Beauty.

I was immediately interested when I saw that it was a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. When I got it home from the library I saw that there was an unexpected bonus – Hodge wove Greek mythology into the story! While I read, another bonus popped up – it was a dark fantasy!

My three favorite things to read: fairytales, Greek mythology, and horror.

Luckily the writing and the story idea didn’t disappoint. I read it in 2 days. It was an easy read that kept my attention so that I didn’t want to stop even to go to bed. The growing romance and changing hearts of the characters was believable and well-drawn. It was fun to have a heroine who had so much bitterness and hate in her heart. Someone who wasn’t pure.

Cruel Beauty sparked my imagination. I have to admit that a part of me is disappointed that I missed the opportunity to write   something like this, but I’m glad it’s been written and published because now I at least I can read it. It raises questions in my head about my own writing. Not bad questions, just things to consider.

imageRosamund Hodge also has an e-novella available – Gilded Ashes. It’s a retelling of Cinderella’s story and is set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.

imageComing out in the Spring of 2015 is her 2nd book, Crimson Bound. It combines 2 fairytales: Little Red Riding Hood and Girl With No Hands. It’s not often I hear about another person who’s heard of that 2nd fairytale. I’ll have to wait until Spring to see how she pulls it off. I’m really looking forward to it and would love to add Cruel Beauty to my book collection in the meantime.

Do you have any fairytale retellings to suggest?

Posted in Personal

Books as rewards? Yes, please!

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Yeah, that has nothing to do with the post but I thought it was hilarious especially since that’s really what I look like when I’m not making an effort to look pleasant. I have mad skills at looking scary angry. All I have to do is let my face relax. BWHAHAHAHAHA!!!

No, I’m not joking. That’s totally true.

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Anyway…

The Turdlet’s teacher started a reward plan for him to help give him incentive to behave himself at school. It’s been working very well I think. Here’s how it works: the teacher gives him a goal to work toward (the first one was following classroom rules) and if he completes the goal satisfactorily during a specific time, he can color in a star for that time period. The day is broken up into 5 periods and right now since it’s the beginning, he aims for at least 3 stars. When he comes home with at least 3 stars colored in, I give him a reward.

He’s been doing so well! He’s done following classroom rules and is now working on controlling his body. He got 5 stars yesterday!! Woo!!

I was going to give him 50 cents for his reward but my parents visited and my mom and I went crazy in the bookstore. Last time this happened I got away with way too many books. This time though, it’s my son who made out like a bandit…and he wasn’t even in the store with us!

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The bigger purchases went with her to be held hostage in the guise of Christmas presents. The smaller (and much more numerous) ones went into a Surprise Grab Bag which became his reward. He closes his eyes, reaches in, and pulls out his surprise.

There were 2 videos in there (Bob the Builder and Thomas) and he enjoyed them but they didn’t hold a candle to the books. My little book lover! Woo!

imageHe pulls out a book and goes berserk happy. I ask him every time if he wants me to read it to him right then and there but he always says no. He’d rather look through it himself a few times first before I read it to him.

imageIt really makes my day that he loves books so much. And if they’re Lego Star Wars books, he practically pees his pants from joy. Lego City books have almost the same reaction.

Awesome!

What would you pee your pants out of joy to get?

Posted in Writing Endeavors

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules For Writers.

Awesome advice recap of Stephen King’s book, “On Writing.” Check it out!

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are notthe story. Your stuff starts out being just for you, but then it goes out.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. The timid fellow writes “The meeting will be held at seven o’clock” because that somehow says to him, ‘Put it this way and people will believe you really know. ‘Purge this quisling thought! Don’t be a muggle! Throw back your shoulders, stick out your chin, and put that meeting in charge! Write ‘The meeting’s at seven.’ There, by God! Don’t you feel better?”

3. Avoid adverbs.

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Posted in Personal

Books Galore

Whenever my parents come to visit I always feel as if I’m gorging…on books. A love of reading and a love of books runs deep in my family’s veins. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings.

After my dad’s mom died, he and my mom went through her house to sort things etc and ended up taking home about a bazillion books that she had collected. All ancient and none of them collector’s editions. We’re talking old paperbacks and ratty hardbacks. Now my parents’ basement is chock full of books. Books crammed on bookshelves, in boxes, and then floating willy nilly throughout the house.

books

I don’t have that luxury, though it seems I am acquiring their books. I told my mom that when she died I wanted all of her Georgette Heyer books. And now I’ve added all of her Agatha Christie books as well. She’s cool with it. In fact, she’s not waiting for her death and told me at the end of this last visit that whatever books she brings to me get left with me…for forever. My guess is that they’re running out of living room.

Now I even have some of my grandma’s Agatha Christie books. It’s terrifying really.

I am terrified of breaking my grandmother’s books. Then I’ll be the one who destroyed her stuff. We’re talking paperbacks from the time when they cost, like, 40 cents or less.

Shocked-Face

What a deal!!!!

Then I get to my mom’s generation of copies and they cost, like, $1.50. Still mind boggling!

Then my generation comes up…anywhere from $7 to $13. WHAT?!

UGH!

2457004-crying2(looks like this baby’s seriously constipated)

True, it’s usually pretty cheap if it’s an e-book but then you don’t get a hardcopy. I try to buy used but even then a lot of times they’re still a bit pricey. And I want my book to be as blemish-free as possible which isn’t always possible.

There was one point in my life when I had to give up practically ALL of my books. We had no space. Sacrifices had to be made. So out went the books. It was heart-wrenching but I got over it.

It’s my belief that one shouldn’t be emotionally attached to physical items. We should learn to let go and not be hindered by material objects. I try to practice this belief with everything in my life, including books. Though I stumble along the way and some things are harder to let go than others, I do rather well living this way.

However, I don’t like getting rid of books. Nor do I enjoy giving up movies or music. I take great pleasure in acquiring, not relinquishing. And I’ve rebuilt my books collection. It’s not very big but it’s big enough. I don’t need a huge collection right now because my local library rocks.

books

What would you hate to give up?