Booking through Thursday - Worse

Deb poses an interesting question this week on Booking Through Thursday:

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author I love is more forgivable than discovering a new author and hating every book you read after the first one. If I love an author and there are many that I do, I'll overlook the disappointing book and continue. But if it becomes a trend, then they lose me. Not every story can be golden, but for some authors like Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Howard, you just come to expect it. What a reputation to live up!

I've discovered a lot of new to me authors within the past year and nine times out of ten, their other books have been just as good. Then there is the one, you absolutely love the first one, the 2nd book you try is mediocre. But hey, you decide to give them another chance because that first book just really hit the mark and they are a really really popular author. And again you are disappointed. I think that's the point when I give up on them. It is sad, really. It makes you wonder what happened. Sorry, not going to ditz any authors and name names. We'll just leave it up to your imagination.

Are you disappointed when an author doesn't live up to the hype about them?

Work In Progress Wednesday

Work In Progress Wednesday

Time flies when you are having fun

Where did the day go? It's 4:30 and I just came in from sitting outside, enjoying the sunshine and writing. All this past week I've been working on the rewrite of "Floating on the Surface." My method is to write out the story in my handy dandy notebook, then type it all up. In essence, when typing it up, I'm expanding upon what I wrote, plus editing it somewhat. It also takes a lot longer, because I'm spending an hour or two writing, then another couple hours typing everything up. However, my thoughts flow much more smoothly when I'm writing so the extra time is worth it.

Last week, I was pondering whether wanted to start the story with Samantha arriving and surprising her brothers. Or... begin with the past event in which the villain attacked her and she had an out of body experience, then jump forward to the present. I started off with the surprise and found myself adding tidbits that gave hints of the past, but not explaining. I felt like something was missing. I played with it, edited it and still had that feeling. I decided I just had to do it and spent the day writing out the attack scene, which amounts to about 10 pages and has yet to be typed. Father is heading over to a friend's recording studio tonight to help set up a bunch of patch bays, so I'll be spending my evening typing it all out.

I know your curiosity is getting the best of you, it would me. During the struggle, she gets slammed into a plate glass window and it unexpectedly shatters with both of them falling through. I have a wonderfully vivid imagination and it has been an interesting scene to write. The scene has been floating about in my head for quite some time and don't know why didn't write it down until now.

I've also been doing some research, working on character descriptions, coming up with a couple new characters, plus getting back into my main characters heads.

I managed to write a total of 2885 words (typed word count) so far, not including the 10 handwritten pages I just finished. They amount to approximately 2000 words, however once I get them all typed will definitely end up being more.

My goal for this next week: I haven't been writing every single day and have been writing in spurts. Going to shoot for writing every single day, at least 500 words a day and finish the two chapters I started.

Thank you to Kate of The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me for hosting Work In Progress Wednesdays. If you would like to participate, post your wip entry and leave a comment on Kate's blog.

Are you making good progress this week on your WIP? What is something new you discovered about your main character?

Homeschool Spotlight

Great article at by Stacy Conradt

Homeschooled Celebrities

"Agatha Christie was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school

Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.

Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn't feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

If Thomas Edison were around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD -- he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn't stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint." Mental Floss: Jefferson vs. Adams and the birth of negative campaigning

Ansel Adams was homeschooled at the age of 12 after his "wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers" disrupted the classroom. His father took on his education from that point forward.

Robert Frost hated school so much he would get physically ill at the thought of going. He was homeschooled until his high school years.

Woodrow Wilson studied under his dad, one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).

He didn't learn to read until he was about 12. He took a few classes at a school in Augusta, Georgia, to supplement his father's teachings, and ended up spending a year at Davidson College before transferring to Princeton.

Mozart was educated by his dad as the Mozart family toured Europe from 1763-1766

Laura Ingalls Wilder was homeschooled until her parents finally settled in De Smet in what was then Dakota Territory. She started teaching school herself when she was only 15 years old.

Louisa May Alcott studied mostly with her dad, but had a few lessons from family friends Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Can you imagine?"

Entire contents of this article copyright, Mental Floss LLC. All rights reserved.

What's On Your Nightstand - April

It's time once again for

What's On Your NightStand?

hosted by 5 Minutes for Books.

My nightstand is still overflowing and I'm trying to be good and not buy too many books or request too many ARC's for review. But you know how hard that is and the temptation is greater than the resistance when something great comes along.

I've managed to read a total of 52 books this year so far and 10 since the beginning of April. Last month at this time, I was reading "War and Peace" and really enjoyed it. If you want to see my reviews, they are here or just scroll up to the linkbar.

This month finds me reading the 800 page Stone's Fall by Iain Pears and really enjoying it. Also getting used to the British spellings versus Americanized has had me stumbling a few times. My internal editor was going crazy at first. "Wait, that's not spelled right." Check the dictionary and find it's the British variation. Okay, moving on. However, would someone please explain to me what "raddled women" are? Who says reading fiction isn't educational.

What's next on my plate. I'm still participating in a number of Challenges including the Spring Reading Challenge in which I'm reading authors never read before. Plus the Once Upon a Time Challenge, dipping my feet back into the land of Fantasy.

I've had the fortune of receiving some interesting books.

Romance novel - Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye - Courtesy of Sourcebooks and coming out as of May 1st, so will be my next read.

Superhero action novel - Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson - Courtesy of Shelf Awareness and coming out May 5th.

Historical Fiction Novel - The Link: the Third Millennium by B. Sandy - Gift from my Dad. He met Mr. Sandy at Borders doing a book signing and thought I would enjoy the book.

Time travel action thriller - Re-Deal by Richard Turner - courtesy of Lillie Ammann

E-Book French Bred by Frederic Guarino sent to me by Mr. Guarino. I just don't have time to read a 400 page book on my laptop, so going to print it off and read it. Otherwise I probably will never get around to it.

I've also purchased quite a few and am going to try and read these this month:

Classic House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - Reading for Dewey's Books reading challenge.

Murder mystery 1st to Die by James Patterson - My first time for him believe it or not.

Romantic Suspense Forgotten by Mariah Stewart - Romance Reading Challenge.

Young adult fantasy adventure The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - Once Upon A Time Challenge.

What book are you reading next?

Sunday Salon - Gifts, time, reviews and perspective.

The Sunday

Welcome to My Sunday Salon and the Sunday edition of All About Books! Or maybe should call it My Life with Books! Is it any secret I love books and reading? Silly question. I am thoroughly pleased and enthusiastic as all get out about the press release announcing Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Secret. It is being published by Doubleday and the release date is September 15, 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code." Read it twice as a matter of fact, when all the hoopla came out about it. I thought it was a good fictional story. Somewhere the word fiction got lost in the translation with a number of people.

I have read every single one of Dan Brown's books and enjoyed each and every one. So, I'll be the first to raise my hand and say "I would be pleased as punch to receive and review an advanced reader copy of The Lost Secret." So if anybody wants to pass that message along to Mr. Mehta, the Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, I would appreciate it.

Speaking of advanced reader copies, I received two this week that I'm looking forward to reading. Through Bostick communications, I received Kevin J. Anderson's Enemies and Allies which is going on sale may 5th. Through Shelf Awareness, I received Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angel's Game which is going to be released here in the U.S. on June 16th. What is really neat is that Zafon's book come in the mail on April 23rd. Included in the book was this note:

La Diada de Sant Jordi,

the great National Feast Day in Catalonia, is celebrated by giving a rose and a book to a loved one. Also know as St. George's Day around the world and celebrated on April 23rd, this feast day has been declared the International Day of the Book.

Please accept this book, The Angel's Game, as a gift from Doubleday and Carlos Ruiz Zafon.


I'm currently reading Iain Pear's Stone's Fall, another advanced reading copy which is 800 pages long and about to be released on May 5th. "It is a grand scale historical mystery set in three different time periods, told by three different narrators, and moving backward in time." (Julie Grau of Spiegel and Grau) It's all about Europe's first great age of espionage, start of the 20th century's arms race and high stakes international finance. Just reached Chapter 11 so you know what I'll be doing all this week.

I finished several reviews this week and have managed to read 52 books so far this year. Which means I've made the goal for 52 books in 52 weeks challenge, hosted by Kay from Well Trained Mind and me. I've completed 50% of the 100+ Books challenge hosted J.Kaye. I'm 1/3 of the way through the Once Upon A Time Challenge and the Spring Reading Challenge.

There has been a number of interesting conversations taking place in the blogosphere this week.

Trish of Hey Lady, Watcha Reading : When do negative reviews go too far. My take on the whole issue. I consider myself very fortunate to receive courtesy review copies of books from a variety of sources. Even though I'm not a professional reviewer, the publishers are trusting me to give advance press about their author's books. Over the years, I have worked for major corporations, lawyers, public broadcasting and independent small businesses. I learned quite a few things during that period of time and one of the things I learned is how to give constructive criticism. You never attacked the person. You didn't nit pick or debase or ridicule them.

If I don't like a book, it's generally because I didn't like the story or how the characters acted in the story. Is that poor writing on the fault of the author. No, absolutely not. They don't deserve to be told their book is crap, just because I didn't like it. One of the things publisher deserve is for the book blogger to act in a professional manner, with a modicum of civility, because after all they are representing the publisher and the author. We have to keep that in perspective.

Another reason why I feel fortunate to be receiving courtesy books, is 20 some odd years ago I had a dream of working in the publishing business. I wanted to work for a publishing house, be a proofreader, then work my way up to editor. But for whatever reason, it didn't come to fruition. And I let it go. I still dream of opening my own bookstore, publishing a book, and all those other bookish dreams you can think off. Never in my imagination, did I ever think that blogging would lead to fulfilling something I always wanted to do. Even though I'm doing it voluntarily, in essence I'm fulfilling one of those dreams by reading and reviewing and getting to network with the publishing world. I consider myself fortunate and the experience invaluable.

I came across something interesting the other day. Project Gutenberg is looking for volunteer proofreaders and it can all be done online. I'm hoping to find the time to do this.

Speaking of time, Lady Glamis of The Innocent Flower talks all about What's on Your Plate and when do you step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Great discussion and made me stop and think about what's on my plate and all I want to accomplish.

I'll leave you with this one question: If you had to give up one thing in order to accomplish your goals, what would it be?

You've Got a Friend

Blessings of being a Blogger

I've been graced with two awards this week by Desert Rose of Desert Rose Booklogue

The Zombie Chicken Award

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

I don't know who created this award but they have a unique sense of humor . Yes, I tried to trace the origin down, but didn't have any success. Talk about persistence. Plus:

Thank you, Rose. I am going to risk the wrath of the Zombie chickens and not pass on the award - right now. Just when you least expect it though....

My policy when it comes to awards is if you are reading my blog, you are entitled to an award. Feel free to take any one and pass it along. Seriously! I have seen some awards out there and thought "Oh that is so cool, I like that." But refrain and hope it comes my way. Be honest, you've thought the same thing. So, tag. You are it - choose one or two or three. All my awards are listed up in the link bar with their rules, minus one aspect. I don't require anyone to pass it on to a certain number of people. That is the recipients choice.

Book Review # 51 - Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed

(Mercy Thompson Novel # 3)


Patricia Briggs

Back Cover: "Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape--but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kid, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not know for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her..."

Iron Kissed is a continuation of book 1 Moon Called and book 2 Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Mercy becomes more closely involved with the Fae as she tries to help Zee discover who has been murdering some of his people. The Fae let Zee be arrested and are willing to let him be the fall guy, but Mercy is not. She puts her life at extreme risk in order to help her friend. She also finally decides who she will chose - Sam or Adam, but a traumatic event in her life seriously alters what the outcome will be. Highly recommended. Next book in the series is Bone Crossed.

Pages: 304
Publisher: Ace Books, Penguin Group
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Other thoughts about the book:

Keishon of
"As a former Lau­rell K. Hamil­ton fan, I am quite pleased to be engrossed in a well writ­ten and well struc­tured urban fan­tasy series that blends the ele­ments of fantasy with reality almost seamlessly. My grade A."

Angie Girl of Angieville
"In what is becoming classic Briggs style, Iron Kissed combines an intriguing mystery with a streak of compelling romance, interspersed with glimpses of your worst nightmares. The combination is the height of entertainment."

Rhinoa of Rhinoa's Ramblings
"I highly recommend this series and I can't wait to see what will happen next."

Scooper of Scooper Thinks
"Revelations will be made about the fae and Zee. Nightmares will come to life and dreams will both end and begin. Life seems to have a way of biting everyone in this book, leading the reader to flip each page faster than the last. A major question will arise showing Mercy more vulnerable than ever before."

Weekly Report # 26 4/20 to 4/24

I think we all had a case of spring fever this week which made it quite difficult to get anything done. We were all scattered - the same as the weather. We had a couple cool days, then two days over 90, then is cooled down again and rained. Our weird April weather happens every year, so not sure why it threw us for a loop. Must be the barometric pressure.

Explorer Bible Study: Discussed Genesis 10-11 about the tower of Babel and God's reaction to it.

Voyages in English: We only completed one section in Section 7 Punctuation and Capitalization but it was a good one: Titles of Books and Poems. It was an excellent reminder on how to write the Titles for books which I had completely forgotten about.

Each important word in a title begins with a capital. The first word and the last word are capitalized. Short words such as of, to, for, a, an, and the are not capitalized unless they are the first or last word of the title. Underline the title of a book.

Put quotation marks around the title of a poem.

I don't ever underline the titles of books in my posts because I don't have the option in the menu bar and I'm lazy, but just discovered code for underlining here - "Html for the conceptually Challenged." That's me, definitely and the site is very helpful and makes it all look so simple.

Spelling Workout C: Lesson 24 was a review of lessons 19 through 23.

Handwriting without Tears Cursive: Completed the book and James wrote the graduation Poem translating it from print to Cursive:

"I used to think cursive was confusing

I look back now and that's amusing

I learned it's easy to connect each letter

Now I write faster and my looks better."

Notice anything interesting about the poem. Seems to be missing some punctuation. Hmm! I'm contemplating whether to continue with the grade 5 cursive or printing book. James still has a habit of printing everything either in all capitals or all lowercase. However, I don't want him to stop doing the cursive. Just made up my mind and will get both.

Math: Finished My Book of Subtraction and ready to move on to double digits, addition and subtraction combined, and multiplication.

Science: James and Father read Chapter 2 of Galen - Galen's World.

History: In This Country of Ours read Chapter XIX "The coming of the cavaliers." The followers of King Charles tried to take over the colonies and tell them how to behave and act.

Cub scouts: We worked on several achievements including writing a couple of letters to relatives, getting facts for a job, and pretend shopping for a car for the family. I picked up the Sacramento Bee last Sunday thinking it would be really helpful because it is usually huge on Sunday's with lots of car ads. The paper seemed thinner than usual and found out the reason why. Not as many ads and sections anymore. The car ads was a section of dealerships and websites to check.

We went online to look at Saturn, Lexus and Chrysler. James decided he wanted to buy a PT cruiser for the family after we studied the various cars. Even though the interior is ugly as heck, that's the one he chose. He's not influenced by mom at all. Me, I'd like to have the Lexus at the PT Cruiser price. Oh Well!

Father took James through the process of what he does to find parts utilizing catalogs and the internet for his prototype design and had him help look up parts and write the part numbers down.

Last weekend James had the fun but educational experience of exploring a B17 airplane: The Liberty Belle. Now that I look at what we did during the week, we actually did get quite a lot done. Next week is an off week for formal lessons, but we will continue working on Cub Scout achievements.

Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
-- Plato

Book Review # 50 - The Graveyard Book

"The Graveyard Book"


Neil Gaiman

Front Flap: "Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy--an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed bod's family...."

"The Graveyard Book" is the first book I've read by Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed it, even though it was weird and quirky. The story begins with a man named Jack walking through a home, killing first the parents, then bod's brother. Bod, even though a toddler, somehow manages to climb out of his crib and wander out the open door, while Jack kills his family. The killings are not graphically depicted but implied. The writing is very well done and paints a picture

"The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and man who held it had slipped in, and wisps of nighttime mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door." (pg 5 - 7)

Bod wanders up and into a graveyard where the ghosts and other denizens of the place decide to protect him. Of course, they have to put it to a vote first.

"A graveyard is not normally a democracy, and yet death is the great democracy, and each of the dead had a voice, and an opinion as to whether the living child should be allowed to stay, and they were each determined to be heard that night." pg 29

Bod is raised by the ghosts and Silas, who neither dead or alive, protects him and makes sure his physical needs for food and dress are taken care of. Bod gets an interesting education in history and thought from various ghosts from the different eras as well as lessons in slipping through shadow and fading from awareness, "the ways of the dead".

"Bod tried again. He closed his eyes and imagined himself fading into the stained stonework of the mausoleum wall, becoming a shadow on the night and nothing more. He sneezed.

"Dreadful", said Mr. Pennyworth, with a sigh. "Quite dreadful. I believe I shall have a word with your guardian about this." He shook his head. "So, the humors. List them."

"Um, Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, And the other one. Um, Melancholic, I think."

"And so it went, until it was time for Grammar and Composition with Miss Letitia Borrows, Spinster of this Parish (Who did No Harm to No Man all the Dais of Her Life. Reader, Can you Say Lykewise?) Bod liked Miss Borrows, and the coziness of her little crypt, and that she could all-too-easily be led off the subject." pg 106

Throughout the story, Jack never ceases to look for Bod and finish the job he started. The villains (the Jacks of all Trades) reasons in the story for killing bod's family and him are a bit vague and I'll leave the mystery of what happened to your imaginations.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Graveyard Book" and look forward to reading more stories by Neil Gaiman. His books are intriguing, imaginative and entertaining. Even though they are written for the 9 - 12 year old age group, they are enjoyable for adults to read as well. Highly Recommended.

Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Other thoughts about the book:

Michelle of 1morechapter:
The Graveyard Book contains a colorful (though some are long dead) cast of characters, some very creepy scenes, and some genuinely heartwarming ones."

Em of Em's Bookshelf:
"The Graveyard Book is pure delight from start to finish. This is the first book that I've read by Gaiman and, after the first couple of pages, I knew that I was in the hands of a master storyteller."

Rob of Robaroundbooks:
"It entertained me completely and as a reader who normally gets his kicks from the more dense prose of writers such as Steinbeck, Dostoevsky and Hamsun etc. that’s a big achievement. Bearing that in mind I’m confident that The Graveyard Book will entertain just about anyone."

Penny of Penny's Pages
"The book read really well, allowing a live boy to live in a unique setting without sounding exaggerated or too phony. I can just picture Bod sitting on one of the tombstones, taking lessons from one of the spirits that live in the graveyard."

Booking Through Thursday - Symbolic or not

Today's Booking Through Thursday is a question suggested by Barbara H:

My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when teachers would insist discussing symbolism in a literary work when there didn’t seem to him to be any. He felt that writers often just wrote the story for the story’s sake and other people read symbolism into it.

It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

I remember an English class I took in college in which the professor found sexual symbolism in every story we read. There was a story or maybe it was a poem about loggers and trees being cut down in the forest. How on earth can you find sexual symbolism in that, right? I wanted to get a good grade on the paper so decided to write it from his perspective, give him what he wanted (figuratively) and get an A. I wrote a paper about the tree being symbolic of woman and the cutting down of the tree, the loss of her virginity, etc., etc., etc. You know what, I didn't have the nerve to turn the paper in and rewrote it. Barbara's husband is right. Sometimes people just write stories and other people read symbolism into it, depending on their agenda, make-up, desires, etc.

Does modern fiction tell a story without much symbolism. Again, it depends on your definition of modern fiction. I'm about to take a modern fiction literature course and it only deals with fiction from 1890 to the 1940's. I do think there is a lot of symbolism that went into the stories during that period of time.

Is there much symbolism in present fiction? I generally don't look for symbolism in stories so wouldn't see it unless it was pointed out to me ahead of time. If I know the story is symbolic in some way, then I will see it. I just finished an Art History course that taught me quite a bit about symbolism in art, which I know will stay with me for a long time.

I read so many books, that at this point I really couldn't come up with an example of symbolism within one of the stories without taking a few hours to sit down and analyze it. Then I'd be so caught up in doing that, I'd be reading instead and never get this post written. So excellent idea for a future post - take one of my books, analyze it for symbolism and write a post. I just finished "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman so this will be an excellent opportunity to examine the symbolism in my review.

The question of symbolism is interesting, because even though I don't look for it when I read,(but I may start doing so now) I do use a lot of symbolism in the stories I write. Which begs the question, will the symbolism be noticed or not. I wrote a dream sequence for "Floating on the surface" in which many of the objects have symbolic meaning for my character. But would the reader get it?

Gautami made a good point in her post: "
The present day reader is in too much of a hurry. He/She prefers it all in black and white. Reading through symbolism is time consuming."

What do you think? Do you look for symbolism in every story you read or just when you know the author usually uses symbolism in his work.

An interesting exercise to consider for fun - I will post the dream and you all find the symbolism. Let me know if you would be interested.

Work In Progress Wednesday

Work In Progress Wednesday is hosted by

Kate of The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me

My goal this past week was to work up a new outline for "Floating On The Surface." I actually didn't get much writing done for the story, but I did do a lot of writing for my Art Final and other things. I did a lot of thinking about the story and what I wanted to do. I finally came up with a broad outline and general idea of what direction to take the story. There are quite a few passages that can be rewritten to match up with the changes in the story. Plus scenes I had written but didn't include that will now be salvageable. However, I am far from coming up with any elevator pitch or short synopsis - for the life of me I can't come up with a short description.

I mentioned the original story in last week's
WIP and have changed quite a bit. The backstory is Samantha, retired from teaching at a private affluent school due to an attack, and left her partially disabled. The person who attacked her skipped the country because he thought he had killed her. He had mafia ties and thought she overheard something. Did she? She turned to writing and has had two books published. One of them semi biographical from her experiences. She's basically been living under the radar somewhere in New Mexico for three years while she recovers.

Her two brothers currently reside in Holly River Valley, Oregon - one is the Abbott of the monastery and the other has a professional contracting business. Her brother's business partner, Jacob is also her good friend and brother to Benjamin. She travels to Holly River and meets Jacob's brother, Benjamin who becomes the love interest. He is a master sculptor and facing a life decision. While visiting she comes up with an idea for a story - involving the monastery, bats, detectives, sculptures and a mystery. Hence the birth of "Eyes in the Ashes" which will be my 2009 Nano.

Brothers are in the process of building a Catholic Elementary School and will be needing a principal. So talk her into moving for mutual benefit of she picks their brains for her book and they pick her brains about how to run school and best person to hire. In the midst of all this, someone mails a copy of her book to the villain and he returns to finish the job.

I'm sure story will morph as go along in but that is the jist of it. The story begins with her surprising her brothers when she arrives for a visit in Holly River. Or... and I have been considering this, starting with the attack and an out of body experience, then proceeding from there.

My goal for this week is to begin writing the new story and write a least 500 words a day. Given what I told about the story, what would you suggest my synopsis be?

Book Review # 49 - A World I Never Made

A World I Never Made


James LePore

Front Cover Flap: "Pat Nolan, an American Man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan's and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help.

This sends Pat on an Odyssey that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists. Joining Pat on his search is Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective who sees in Pat something she never thought she'd find--genuine passion and desperate need. As they look for Megan, they come closer to each other's souls and discover love when both had long given up on it.

Juxtaposed against this story is Megan's story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi businessman. They begin a torrid affair, a game Megan has played often and well in her adult life. But what she discovers about Lahani puts her in the center of a different kind of game, one with rules she can barely comprehend. Because of her relationship with Lahani, Megan has made some considerable enemies. And she has put the lives of many--maybe millions--at risk."

"A World I Never Made" is a debut novel written by new author James LePore. The story begins with a letter - a suicide note from Megan to her father which I had previously mentioned in a Tuesday Teaser. Pat and his daughter have never been really close, but he is surprised by her note. As soon as he realizes the dead woman is not his daughter, he begins to search for her not realizing that other parties interested in his daughter also are searching for her. Pat comes upon the young flower girl who Megan mentioned in her note and she tells Pat his daughter needs him and he will find her. The girl keeps popping up throughout the story, which is a another mystery in itself.

What is interesting about the story is while we follow Pat during the year 2004, meghan's part of the story begins in 2003 until at some point they begin to merge. "A World I Never Made" is very suspense filled, action packed and the body count starts to add up as Pat tries to stay ahead of everyone else looking for his daughter.

I received "A World I Never Made" courtesy of Julie at FSB Associates and thoroughly enjoyed the story and hope to see more from James LePore. Thank you Julie for sending me the book.

Pages: 288
Publisher: The Story Plant
Released: April 2009

Other thoughts about the book

Elizabeth at As Usual, I need more Bookshelves
"A World I Never Made is a highly entertaining novel - a great debut. I will certainly read LePore's next work - I can only hope it will be this much fun!"

Cheryl at Cheryl's Book Nook
"Nothing could have tore my attention away from this story. The World I Never Made by James LePore is a must read for thriller fans!"

James at Rough Edges
"I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book, since it’s a first novel from a publisher I wasn’t familiar with, but what I got was a well-written thriller with a likable hero and interesting characters."

The Liberty Belle B-17

The Liberty Belle B-17

Sunday morning we are at home and heard the rumbling of an airplane. Father knew instantly it was a old military plane and heads out onto the patio. The Liberty Belle flew overhead and he got quite excited about seeing the B-17. That afternoon He and James went over to Mather Field near our house to see the plane.

What is the story behind the Liberty Belle?

WWII crew photo for Liberty BelleOn September 9, 1944 the 390th Bomb Group attacked a target in Dusseldorf, Germany and suffered its second largest single mission loss of the war. Over the target just prior to bomb release, one of the low squadron B-17s was hit in the Bomb bay by flak. The 1000 lb. bombs exploded and nine of the twelve aircraft in the squadron were instantly destroyed or knocked out of formation.

Six of the nine went down over the target, one flew two hours on a single engine and landed at Paris, another "crippled plane" landed in Belgium and the other struggled back to its home base and landed long after the other thirty nine B-17s had returned from the mission. The one that came home was "Liberty Belle", she went on to complete 64 combat missions before being salvaged on February 18, 1945.

James and Father had a grand time climbing around the old plane and of course Father, ever the engineer took many many pictures of the electronics of the plane. These types of things really fascinate him.

James was more fascinated with the rest of the airplane

The cockpit

The guns

The view out the window of the propellors

Book Review # 48 - 14


(A Taylor Jackson Novel)


J.T. Ellison

Back Cover: " In the mid 1980's the Snow White Killer terrorized the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Then suddenly the murders stopped. A letter from the killer to the police stated that his work was done. Now four more bodies are found, marked with his latest signature. The residents of Nashville fear a madman has returned, decades later, to finish his sick fairy tale. Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson believes the killings are the work of a copycat killer who's even more terrifying. For this monster is meticulously honing his craft as he mimics famous serial murders...proving that the past is not forgotten."

Continuing my theme of first time author reads for the Spring Reading Challenge, I read J.T. Ellison's "14." Ellison is one of the authors who blogs at the group site "Murderati." I have been slowly making my way, reading books by all the authors who blog on the site and have to say, so far none of them have disappointed me.

"14" is a psychological thriller that will hold your attention every step of the way. Taylor is just a few days away from getting married, but she wants to solve and catch the murderer before she does. The story is a blend of her professional and personal life as she and her fiancee FBI profiler John Baldwin try to stop the madman from striking again. I don't want to give away any spoilers so suffix it to say, "14" is intense, creepy, and you never quite know what is going to be around the next corner. Don't start reading it right before you go to bed.

Pages: 416
Publisher: Mira
Released: September 1, 2008

Other thoughts about "14"

Michele - one "L"

"This was a very detailed, interesting plot that had me guessing throughout. Even when the killer is revealed to the reader but not yet to the lieutenant, there's so much drama and intrigue it kept me glued to the book. Quite fascinating, really."

“14 is a twisty creepy and wonderful book... Ellison is relentless and grabs the reader from the first page and refuses to let go until the soul tearing climax.”

Romantic Times - 4 1/2 Stars!
"Ellison's second Taylor Jackson story is precisely plotted and crisply written, and there are several effective twists. It's guaranteed to elicit shivers with its cold-blooded, sociopathic villain--and to keep readers on edge until the last page."

Post to Ponder

Beauty in the face of adversity

I finally watched the whole Susan Boyle youtube video after seeing a small portion of it on the news the other day. It choked me up to watch this woman face this crowd of people who doubted her and sing her heart and soul out bringing them all to their feet in admiration. Someone with less strength or self worth would have folded and walked out in defeat or choked up and sang horribly before they even began because of the audiences attitude. But she didn't.

Susan Boyle knew...she knew and said it herself in the preinterview "I'm going to make the audience rock." I had my husband and son watch it as well and my son who typically can't stand watching anything youtube stood there with a big smile on his face. My husband was as choked up as I was.

Author Toni McGee Causey over at Murderati (my favorite author group blog site as everyone should know by now) has some very profound words to say about not only Susan Boyle but "How Do You Know When To Quit?"

Did you read it? Good. Deciding to perservere in the face of any odds also begs the question do you have the patience. Jody Hedlund of On The Path asks the question "What Are You Waiting For?" Writing is a process and I realize it will probably be a long process. Here I am going on 50 and choosing a new path to head down. Will I have the patience, will I persevere or let the first few rejections change my mind. I decided to see what is around the next bend in the road, even though I have no idea where it will take me.

We can't always sit and wait for life to happen, we have to make life happen. No matter whether you are 18 and just graduating from high school or 35 and making a career change. It is up to you to make that next move that will change your life, make you grow, teach you a lesson or open up a new world. We are not entitled to a job just because we graduated. We aren't not entitled to that pay raise unless we work for it. We are not entitled to anything...we have to work for it.

A young man walked into my shop and asked for a job. I advised him we weren't hiring and as he walked out the door he commented to his companion. "S**t, man. I deserve a job, I graduated." I really really wanted to walk out the door and explain to this young man that he didn't deserve it. That just because he graduated from high school, it didn't give him any privileges. Yes he has a right to a job, but he would have to earn it, he would have to prove he was capable. But I kept my mouth shut and he will learn the hard way, like most do. Like I did.

Seize the day before the day seizes you!

Book Review # 47 - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon Dragoneye Reborn


Alison Goodman

Front Flap: "Twelve year old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye--an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; it anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured. When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.

Only Eon's master knows her secret and is risking everything for if Eon becomes a Dragon Eye, it will improve his standing with the emperor as well. No one takes Eon seriously because he was crippled in a accident and is weaker than the rest. When the most powerful and oldest dragon appears and chooses Eon, he is suddenly catapulted from obscurity into the rich opulent life of the palace and befriended by the emperor's son. The boy who nobody took seriously, now has more power and influence than imagined. LIfe is treacherous,especially since he is a she and his allies must help devise ways to keep her secret. Intrigue, battles, suspense, secrets, powerful allies and even more powerful enemies make for an interesting story. Highly recommended.

Pages: 544
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure

Other thoughts about Eon:

Becky of Becky's Book Reviews
This is a compelling story set in a fascinating world. A power-hungry world in a way. A world with plenty of corruption. But an intriguing place all the same. Secrets. Mysteries. Ambition. Greed. Betrayal. The universal struggle of good versus evil. Good stuff."

Em of Em's Bookshelf
" I was never compelled to finish the series by Lian Hearn, whereas I am very excited to read the sequel to Eon. And the best thing about the Eon series is that it's a duology so I only have to wait for Book 2 to come out."

The Compulsive Reader
"he ending is heart stopping, and the complete cliff hanger will most certainly leave readers yearning for the conclusion of this smart and drama filled duet in the next book—whose title is too much a spoiler to reveal yet, but hopes to be just as riveting and breathtaking."

New and Improved doesn't always mean better.

New and Improved doesn't always mean better

Don't you just love it (not!) when a manufacturer of a product you have been using for years decides to improve upon it. "New and Improved" I really dislike with a passion those words because it means that once again I will have to go in search of something else.

I have been using Shell gasoline for years and years and years. My gas of choice, until recently. Enter Shell's Nitrogen enriched gasoline. I stopped to get gas and notice the signs and all the banners in celebration of their "new gas." I go home and mention it to my hubby who just looks at me strangely and tells me that doesn't make sense, why would they do that. Yes, why would they do that? Supposedly, it will make your engine run cleaner, blah, blah blah.

I have a 1996 Mercury Cougar, which is in excellent shape and has a well tuned engine. The next morning, I take off for work and my car is making all kinds of weird noises - knocking, rattling, pinging, and dragging. It felt like I had left the emergency brake on. My car is running so rough to the point that it actually backfired as I drove out of a shopping center parking lot. I'm looking all over the place, thinking that it seriously couldn't be my car.

We decided if the car kept running just a rough after getting gas elsewhere, we would take it in to be checked. Could it just be a coincidence? I had to put up with this annoyance for a week or two until it was time to gas up the car again. Within a day of filling it up with 76 gas, she was back to running normally. It was the gas. Shell has lost pretty much a life time customer and I will never again use their gas.

Shell gasoline is just one of the few products I have had to give up because they new and improved it. Years ago, I used to use Head and Shoulder Dandruff Shampoo. Worked quite effectively until they "New and Improved" it and it caused dandruff. Infusium 23 did the same thing. Wonderful shampoo that my husband has been using for years and I took a liking to it. Didn't have an obnoxious perfume scent and cleaned our hair nicely. Yep, they "new and improved" it and included a wonderful new scent that neither one of us could stand.

Off to search for a new shampoo, but in the meantime searched the store aisles for pre-improved bottles of the old brand they had stuffed in the back of the shelves. We managed to score three or four bottles before they disappeared forever. Do you know how hard it is to find an unscented shampoo! The crazy woman you saw scratching her head and mumbling to herself in the shampoo aisle, that was probably me.

I managed to find two or three candidates on line through and happy to say after trial and error we found a new shampoo that did not have any obnoxious scents and worked for both of us.

Open letter to all manufacturers, please please please don't discontinued the old style when you new and improve your product. It will make life less difficult for those of us who hate change....

What has been "new and improved" in your household lately? Did it force you to change or were you happy with the change?

Read A Thon Recap

Dewey's Read A Thon is over and I had fun participating. I managed to read a sum total of 2.5 books and 762 pages. However Father gave me a bonus of 20 pages since he interrupted my reading to talk about his electronic project. We decided to donate .10 cents per page read to The American Heart Association and I just going to round it off to an even $100.00

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I read during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. With all of life's interruptions, I managed to read a total of 8 hours which means I read about 100 pages an hour. Not bad. The most daunting hour would have to have been the last hour.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Not really, because a book that will keep me engaged, won't necessarily do it for another person. Really depends on what they like. I would suggest suspense thrillers or if you want to learn something about art, one of Iain Pears Art History Mysteries.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Oh Mercy no. Nymeth, Trish, and Hannah did an absolutely fantastic job and big Thanks to all you. You guys Rock!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Well, since I've never participated in the Read-a-thon before, it seemed everything worked well from the read fead to the Cheerleaders. Much thanks to all of you who were out there cheering me and everyone else on. It really helped.

5. How many books did you read? 2.5

6. What were the names of the books you read? "Mercy Street" by Mariah Stewart, "The Titian Committee" by Ian Pears and half of Patricia Briggs "Iron Kissed" The plan had been to read 6 but got derailed by life.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? I was actually enjoying "Iron Kissed" the most which is why I was really bummed couldn't finish it last night. My eyes got all blurry and my brain just wouldn't comprehend the words anymore. I should have read it first, but was, you know, saving the best for last.

8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked them all

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

No advice - they did an excellent job. Thank you!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? 100% likely and I'll make sure I don't have to work that day. I will still be a reader, but I would have liked to have been a cheerleader too. I just didn't have the time to get round to other folks blogs, nor did I have the time to actually do any of the mini-challenges. Next year, my calendar will be totally free and no AT&T account reps coming round to tell us we are wired for fiber optics. A wonderful distraction, nonetheless.

Read A thon Update # 6

It is 12:30 a.m. here and I'm too blurry eyed to read anymore. I managed to read 144 pages of Iron Kissed. I'm off to bed and will recap in the morning. Good night and good luck to the rest of you who are still plugging away.

Read-A-Thon Update 5 - Book Review # 46 The Titian Committee

It's 9:15 here and I've managed to complete my 2nd book - The Titian Committee by Iain Pears. Total pages 230.

Description according to Amazon: "This playful satire of the squabbling international art scene and the Italian police bureaucracy reunites volcanic beauty Flavia de Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, and diffident British art dealer Jonathan Argyll, who first met in The Raphael Affair. Set in Venice and first published by Gollancz in 1991, the tale opens with the murder of American art historian Louise Masterson, a member of the scholarly international Titian Committee, who is found stabbed to death in a bed of lilies at the Giardinetti Reali. Then the elegant, reputedly incorruptible British art collector Tony Roberts drowns in a canal, and French art philosopher Georges Bralle is discovered suffocated in his home in France. Affection blooms between Flavia and Jonathan as they probe current affairs and Titian's paintings for clues to the killings and the answer to a question about the painter's life. Pears, who has a doctorate in art history from Cambridge, writes with a Beerbohm-like wit."

Interesting fictional Art History Mystery which included a lot of historical information at Titian. I enjoyed it which is a good thing because I also have Pears newest novel "Stone's Fall" to read and review before it is released in May.

I like Pears writing and he has some rather amusing ways of describing characters

"By no stretch of the imagination could he be considered handsome, even in the best of circumstances. Late forties, he had a thin face, slightly pointy nose, blotchy skin and small colourless eyes. Apart from that, there was not much to be said for him. If one of the fishermen in the lagoon accidentally dredged up a large herring, dressed it in a crumpled grey suit and arranged it in a chair with a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles over its nose, the resemblance would have been extraordinary." pg 17

I have managed to read a sum total of 618 pages so far and I really couldn't tell you how many hours. My time keeps getting interrupted. I am going to attempt next to read "Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson Book # 3) " by Patricia Briggs which is 287 pages. I am taking a break to read James a story before he goes to bed. I am going to try and at least stay up til 2:00 a.m reading. However, my night owl husband, whose not used to me be up so late, seems to be getting ideas. :)

Check out how everyone else is doing here

Happy Reading gang!

Read A Thon Update 4

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I got home and around 4:00 sat down out on the patio to read. Quickly gave up on Ray Bradbury and switched to "The Titian Committee" by Iain Pears. I managed to read about 61 pages before my son tells me that AT&T was at the door. "Huh" I think and go to the door. Come to find out our street has been upgraded to fiber optic cable. Yippee, says me. Yippee, say Hubby and we just spent the last hour discussing choices for telephone, internet and cable. We will now have zippier internet and father gets to have his blip blip capability back on the TV and we can ditch Dish. It all gets installed on Thursday. *sigh*

So, Pizza is now on order and French Fries are in the oven for son who for whatever unfathomable reason doesn't like pizza. I'm off to read until the pizza arrives. :) Will update again in a couple hours.

Happy Reading!

Read A Thon Update # 3 - Book Review # 45 Mercy Street

Still at work but managed to finish the remaining 153 pages of Mercy Street so have read total of 388 pages so far. Approximate reading time is 3 hours.

I enjoyed the story and it will continue for a couple of the characters in Cry Mercy which will be released on April 28th. Another book for my wish list.

Excerpt beginning Chapter one: "From the top of the jetty to the rocks below was roughly twelve feet, give or take. Not enough to break much more than a few limbs, the man standing at the far edge thought wryly. Hardly worth the jump. Not for the first time, he wished he'd had the jetty built higher."

Robert Magellan is a billionaire and has become a recluse since his wife and child disappeared a year ago. Two high school seniors are killed in a park and two others who were with them disappeared. The girl is the daughter of the church secretary and Father Kevin, Robert's cousin talks him into paying for a private detective to search for the two missing kids. Enter Mallory Russo, former cop and the detective who had been hired to take her place Charlie Wanamaker to find find the kids. Good investigate suspense story with a little bit of romance thrown in. Mariah Stewart is one of my favorite authors so I may be a bit biased, but highly recommended.

Next up is 158 page Ray Bradbury's "Zen in the Art of Writing." I have a half hour left before the shop closes, so need to wind things up and fill out my logs. Next update probably in a couple hours.

Happy Reading gang!

Read-A-Thon Hour 2 Update

I'm in my hour 2 - I think. Not sure how the hours think is supposed to work.

I've been reading since around 7:15 a.m. and it's now 9:24. Taking a break to make James breakfast. He slept in late for once.

Still reading Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart and on page 235. Minus the 45 pages I read last night, have read 190 pages in 2 hours. To see how much every one else has read check out the Read Feeds.

I have to get ready to go to work at 10:00 since it is my Saturday to work at the Shop. So taking the next half hour to wander round, check your blogs and be a cheerleader for a little while. Will be at the shop from 11:00 to 3:00 and depending on how busy we are, (which I hope is very) will try to finish Mercy Street. Will take another book as backup, just in case.

There's a mini challenge that will be open for another hour at Bart's Bookshelf
which is a quiz to identify as many books and authors as you can from thumbnail pictures. Good luck because I don't have a clue. Except one looks like it could be from Sir Gawain or maybe the Three Little Pigs.

Happy Reading!

Read-A-Thon: Ready, Set and she's off

Ready, Set and Go!

This first hour, let’s start with the introduction meme Darcie wrote a few read-a-thons ago. It’ll help us all get to know each other a little bit. Here are the questions she asked:

Where are you reading from today?

3 facts about me …

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Good Morning, It is 7:05 a.m. here in Northern California and I'm all set to start reading. I know starting a big late but even though I was awake around 5:00 a.m., just couldn't pull myself out of bed and start reading. Now I'm ready. I have my tea and a good book. Just to start off this morning, 3 facts about me: Besides the fact that I love reading - I'm married to my soul mate, I'm going to be turning 50 this year and actually looking forward to it and I'm allergic to roses.

I now have 8 books in my pile to read. I started one last night so adding it to the pile.

"Mercy Street" by Mariah Stewart - 388 page (minus the 45 I read last night)

"The Titian Committee" by Iain Pears - 230 pages

"B is for Burglar" by Sue Grafton - 211 pages

"The Ghost and Mrs. McClure" by Alice Kimberly - 261 pages

"Iron Kissed" by Patricia Briggs - 287 Pages

"Zen in the Art of Writing" by Ray Bradbury - 158 pages

"The Little Prince" by Antoine De Saint Exupery - 83 pages

"The Soul Collectors" by Charles Quince - 78 pages

My goal is to read them all and I will try to update every hour or two and also check in on the other readers. Well, I'm off to read Mercy Street.

Dewey's Read A Thon

I'm all set for the Read-a-Thon. I finished my final and got a 90 of the multi choice part - yeah. Won't know for a few days what I got on the essay part but pretty sure will be getting a B for the course.

When I mentioned the Read-a-Thon to father all he said was "I don't have to read do I?" LOL! We discussed it and decided we will donate a certain amount to the American Heart Association. We have a lot of heart things that run in both our families, so seemed the most appropriate thing to do. For every page I read, we will donate .10 cents or at least $50.

The books I plan on reading are:

The Titian Committee by Iain Pears - 230 pages
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton - 211 pages
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly - 261 pages
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs - 287 Pages
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury - 158 pages
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery - 83 pages
The Soul Collectors by Charles Quince - 78 pages

At this point a total of 1308 pages

If I finish those, there are plenty of others waiting in the wings. I'm excusing myself from writing any major reviews but will write a brief synopsis with the first few lines and my thoughts of the book. I'll keep updating the same post instead of doing several so look for update through the day. Will probably start around 7:30 because my brain simply won't be working at 5:00 a.m.

Weekly Report # 25 4/13 to 4/17

This week we went gang busters with lessons and working on cub scout stuff. Last week I had the weird laryngitis virus that's been going around and tried to talk as little as possible so I wouldn't lose my voice entirely. We only did stuff that didn't require me to talk. One of my technicians has it and he is so much worse than I was and two weeks later is still not able to talk very loud. His voice is coming back very very slowly.

What we accomplished:

Explorer Bible Study: Genesis 8 - 9 After the flood which is all about the Covenant God made that he would never flood the earth again. We discussed the theories of whether the whole earth was flooded and if it was just more localized flooding such as described in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Voyages in English: We started Section 7: Punctuation and Capitalization. One of James weak areas. He loves to write either in all capitals or all lower case letters and has a habit of not capitalizing the first letter of the first word in the sentence. He doesn't like to use punctuation much either. Makes it difficult to read his stories. Completed 7.1 End Punctuation, 7.2 Capital Letters, 7.3 Abbreviations and 7.4 Personal Titles and Initials. He completed follow up worksheets with Father and did pretty well.

Spelling Workout: Completed Lesson 23 Silent Consonants. Scored 100% on the test so he's rocking those silent consonants.

Handwriting without Tears Cursive: Practiced writing Mnemonics, paragraph about the continents, and Dictionary Definitions. Dictionary definitions is a good one because he had to look up the word in the dictionary, write the word and the definition in cursive. Did an excellent job.

Writing with Ease: We are on Week 8 in the book and the excerpts this week were from the original "jungle book." One of the excerpts was about taking mowgli before the akela to discuss whether to accept him into the pack. Very apropos since James is now a cub scout so really caught his attention. We discussed central ideas and actions, James narrated the main actions of the passages and he wrote one of the sentences from dictation.

Math: Finshed Lessons 33 through 36 subtracting from 20. We are just about done with the book and he will be ready to move on to double digits addition and subtractions, plus multiplication. Things are clicking now.

Science: He and Father read all about forming salts in DK Chemistry book and started reading living history biography book - "Galen and the Gateway to Medicine." They read Chapter 1 about who was Galen. Galen was a scientist and doctor to 4 roman emperors, he learned about the human body from studying pigs and monkeys and he was a doctor who invented and recorded so of the many medicines we use today. Interesting man.

History: In This Country of Ours read Chapter XVIII - How enlightenment fought a duel with Tyranny. King James, while still in England, kept trying to tell the new colony of Virginia what to do and how to do it and who he wanted to run it. They didn't like that too well.

Cub Scout Achievements: James pack is moving up to Webelos on May 15th so we are trying to finish all his Bear achievements before then. This week he worked on several things. Achievement 9 - What's cooking: he made brownies (with mom's help of course. Good lesson is following directions and measuring ingredients. 3 more things to do to complete 9. Achievement 18 - Jot it down. Made a list of things to do and checked it off when done, Wrote two letters to relatives, Wrote a story about something he did with the family. James wrote about going to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. 2 more things to do to complete 18.

Tonight is the monthly pack meeting and James Den is suppose to do a little skit and each cub scout tell a joke. He is having a terrible cause of stage fright and really, really, really doesn't want to go. He has voluntarily gone to the other pack meetings and taken part in all the activities. I'm going to give him a break on this one, since he feels so strongly about it. Father and I have differing opinions of this. However he's not ready to stand up before a crowd and I understand perfectly how he feels. There will be other opportunities when he will be ready. Today just isn't the day.

I'm off to work on my Art History Final. I have 100 multi choice questions to answer and two essay questions to answer. The essay questions are:

Name two artworks that are examples of 19th Century Romanticism. In what ways does each of these works display elements of the Romantic sensibility? Discuss details of subject and style as they pertain to Romanticism.

Many late 19th and early 20th Century artists challenge traditional Renaissance illusionism. Name three works where artists have deviated from the optical appearance of things. Describe specific details, and explain why each artist chose to present the subject without adhering to naturalism.

I've never been a fan of cubism before but I like this painting. I think it's the colors.

Georges Braque - Violin and Palette

What do you think? I'm off to write.