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Showing posts from June, 2010

Reading and writing and blogging - a balancing act!

When the Moon Breaks Down - Robbert Van Der Steeg
What happened to June?  The month seems to have flown by and Summer has arrived with a vengeance with our typical hot, hot days.   The one thing I love about the summer months are the early mornings sitting out on the patio reading and writing.  For some reason, my imagination soars and I feel more creative.  I've decided to dedicate the month of July to writing and going to do my own mini nanowrimo, plus join Sarah in her 50,000 Words in 50 days challenge.  I need to finish Eyes in the Ashes and father has been bugging encouraging me to finish it so he can read the rest of the story.  He wants to know what happens...that's so cool! It's also time for me to get started working on my free form application and story for Literary Labs,  Notes from Underground Contest. I have a few extra scenes from Floating on the Surface that would actual make a good 10 page story.  So, if posts and blog visits are a bit sporadic for the next …

Spring Reading Thing Wrap-up

Summertime and the weather is fine.   Do you like my summer header?  I took that picture while we were on vacation in Pajaro Dunes on the California coast.  With the start of summer, comes the end, of course, of Spring Reading Thing 2010 hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Day's.
My Spring Reading theme was to continue to read new to me authors and read 14 books. Out of the 14 books, I only read four, started but did not finish three and for some reason just didn't get to the rest.  There are some books you just have to be in the mood for and my mood changed constantly.  However, I did read eleven other books that weren't on the list. 
Finished from the list:
The Scarlet and the Black by J.P. Gallagher:  I really don't read a lot of non fiction but this particular book about a monsignor in the Vatican running an underground to protect Jewish and other citizens during the German occupation of Italy in the 1940's was absolutely amazing. 
People of the Book by Geraldine Bro…

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson

The Great Lover
Jill Dawson 

Back cover:  In 1909, sixteen year old Nell Golightly is a housemaid at a popular tea garden near Cambridge University, and Rupert Brooke, a new tenant, is already causing a stir with his boyish good looks and habit of swimming naked in nearby Byron's Pool.  Despite her good sense, Nell seems to be falling under the radical young poet's spell, even thought Brooke apparently adores no one but himself.  Could he ever love a housemaid?  Is he, in fact, capable of love at all?  
Jill Dawson's The Great Lover imaginatively and playfully gives new voice to Rupert Brooke through the poet's own words and through the remembrances of the spirited Nell.  An extraordinary novel, it powerfully conveys the allure of charisma as it captures the mysterious and often perverse workings of a human heart."
I really stepped out of my reading box with "The Great Lover."  Believe it or not, I had never heard of the poet, Rupert Brooke, so really di…

Wannabe Writers - writing journal and ideas

Wannabe Writers is the brain child of Sarah at Confessions of the Un-published and is a writing group for the un-published and anyone is welcome to join. It's a place where future authors can ask questions, share stories, and get feedback. Click (here) to find more about how it works.
Where I am in the Writing Process:  Still working on the first draft of Eyes in the Ashes.  I have to type up 15 pages I wrote previously before taking a break and then will continue the story.  Sarah is doing a 50k in 50 days starting July 12th and running through August 31st.  This time I'm going to concentrate on finishing the story during that period of time.  I went back and took a look at my first two WIP's and they need lots of work. Lots.    And I have an idea for the Notes from Underground contest by Literary Labs so will be working on it as well.
My current problem: Summertime.  Procrastination. The internet. I happen to come across this old article on the internet: Is google making …

Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart by Beth Pattilo

Mr. Darcy broke my heart 
Beth Pattilo

Book synopsis:  "Claire Prescott is a sensible woman who believes in facts and figures, not fairy tales. But when she agrees to present a paper to a summer symposium at Oxford on her ailing sister’s behalf, Claire finds herself thrown into an adventure with a gaggle of Jane Austen-loving women all on the lookout for their Mr. Darcy. Claire isn’t looking for Mr. Anyone. She’s been dating Neil, a nice — if a bit negligent — sports fanatic. 
But when a tall, dark and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire suddenly discover her inner romantic heroine? Her chance meeting with a mysterious woman who claims to have an early version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — in which Lizzie ends up with someone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy — leads to an astounding discovery about the venerated author’s own struggle to find the right hero for Lizzie Bennett. Neil’s unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire’s journey to finding her own r…

What I'm working on for the rest of the week!

My Nobel Lit final is due by 11:59 EST time Sunday and I will be writing two essays:

1)   Comparing and contrasting the theme (including author's style and literary techniques) of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann with another work I read this term.  By the time you read this I will have decided whether that book will be Nausea by Sartre or The Silent Cry by Oe.

2)  Imagine I've just been elected to serve on the Nobel Prize for Literature Selection Committee.  I must choose one of the works I studied this semester (see above plus Beckett's play Endgame and  Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea) and award the Nobel prize and argue for why it deserves the prize.  Yes, they were all Nobel prize books, but I really didn't think they were prizing winning.  So it will be interesting to argue for one of them.  Especially The Silent Cry by Oe.  It was an icky icky ptewy dark, morbid,  gross, throw it across the room novel. 

If you see me on facebook or twitter over the weeke…

2010 Anthony Awards Nominations

Anthony Award Nominations
The 2010 Anthony awards nominees for best mystery and crime writing in the categories of best novel, best first novel,  paperback original,  short story and non critical nonfiction are:

Best Novel:

The Last Child by John Hart The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death by Charlie Huston The Girl Who Played with Fire by  Stieg Larsson,The Brutal Telling by  Louise Penny The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan I read The Brutal Telling and guess will have to read it again, because I honestly don't remember liking it all that much.  Terrible thing to say, I know and will have to give it another go and see if it was just my frame of mind at the time or.....    I also have Larsson's The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo in my TBR pile and looking forward to reading it soon.  

Best First Novel
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by  Alan Bradley Starvation Lake by Bryan GruleyA Bad Day for Sorry  - Sophie Littlefield The Twelve/The Ghosts of Belfast (u.s) by  Stuart N…

Wednesday wrap up and wanderings

Welcome to my Wednesdays wanderings - kind of a Sunday salon in the middle of the week. My Sunday Salon turned into a quasi review of The Appeal and I had a bunch of stuff to talk about too. The rest of the week is going to be busy with writing my Nobel Literature final essays and 3 days of webelos twilight day camp thing for James.   

I seem to be on a roll and averaging 13 to 15 books a month now. During the month of May I read:

1. Moonlight Road - Robyn Carr
2. Certain Prey - John Sandford (TLC Tour Review book)
3. The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann (class book)
4. Running Hot - Jayne Ann Krenz
5. The Killing of Mindy Quintana - Jeffrey Cohen (TLC tour review book)
6. First Comes Marriage - Debbie Macomber
7. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
8. Black Water Rising - Attica Lock (TLC Tour Review book)
9. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment - James Patterson
10. Servant: The Kindred - L.L. Foster
11. Sudden Death - Allison Brennan
12. Fatal Tide - Iris Johansen
13. The Silent …

TLC Book Tour: Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm

Welcome to the first stop on the TLC Book Tour for  M.L. Malcolm's debut novel:

Heart of Lies

Back cover: "Meet Leo Hoffman, a dashing young Hungarian, born with a gift for languages.  After his dreams for the future are destroyed by WWI, he attempts to use his talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme.  When he discovers he's wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes including murder, he escapes with his love to Shanghai, taking with him a stolen treasure that will prove to be his salvation or his death warrant.  But he soon learns that the gangsters who control the decadent city do not intend to let him outrun his past, and when the Japanese invade, one wrong move costs his everything he holds dear.  Inspired by the author's family history, Heart of Lies is an epic tale of intrigue, passion, and adventure, and heralds the debut of a remarkable writer."

Heart of Lies is a well …

Sunday Salon: Are happy endings passe?

Are happy endings passe?

I just finished reading John Grisham's "The Appeal" and even though it was well written and an excellent story that captures your attention,  the bad guy wins.  There have been a few books I've read in the past year in which the ending were totally dissatisfying.  Made me want to throw the books across the room in disgust.  As I got closer to the end, I'm expecting a happy resolution to at least some part of the story. But no....   What was interesting about the story?   Long story short:  Mr. rich guy with a chemical plant in a small town has been illegally dumping for years and tainted the town's drinking water.  Lots of people get sick and the corporation gets sued.   The husband and wife small town lawyer duo take on the big corporation, practically bankrupting themselves in the process and win a judgment in favor of their client for 41 million dollars.  The corporation appeals of course to the Mississippi supreme court.  Here'…

Put this in the "now I've seen it all" and "just have to share" column

Excuse me? You want me to do what?

Now that we've turned 50, our HMO sent both father and I a delightful little present in the mail.   You want me to do what and send it in the mail?  Oh Gag! The poor postman.....  I don't think so.    Negative, absolutely not, no way in h e double toothsticks, no how, uh uh, never in a million years.....

GO BIG or GO HOME! Plus a little contest

Go Big or Go Home
Say YES!!!!
Motivation and Commitment... two things I've been working on when it comes to writing.   Have you ever stood at the bottom of what seemed like a simple looking staircase.  Looks are deceiving sometimes and the staircase you chose to walk up becomes endless with multiple landings.  You can only climb so far, then you need to stop and rest.   I'm at one of those landings, looking down, looking up, contemplating how far I've walked so far.  Will I reach the top?  Do I have the motivation, the commitment to keep climbing....    I'm trying. 

I've been following quite a few aspiring and published authors for a while now and every time I read one of their inspiring posts, it spurs me up a few more steps.  Today, it is Christine who has helped light a fire under my butt. Occasionally I need a spark or two.    She talks about being consciously committed to your writing and persevering. She quotes Christina Katz - The Prosperous Writer who says:

Taking the plunge: Notes from Underground Writing Contest.

I've decided to take the plunge, instead of just dipping my toe in the water.   My Nobel Literature class is over with the final next week, and I will be taking the summer off which will free up my brain and and I will be able to write to my heart's content.   Less stress equals a more creative mind....hopefully.    The beautiful minds of Davin, Scott and Michelle at The Literary Lab have come up with a new contest for the 2nd annual Genre Wars Anthology.

What's it all about Alfie:

What is "Notes From Underground"?
The title comes from a novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that is part rambling narrative and part story. It's a piece of writing that is both highly experimental and deeply personal. For the contest, we want you writers to feel that same freedom of expression, taking out the judging process to the best of our ability.
To do that, we have two steps to the selection process. The second step will be completely non-competitive.
Step 1:
By August 15, we want t…

Versatile Blogger!!!!

I received a surprise award from a new blogger friend the other day - Buffy of Buffy's Write Zone.   She is one of the brains behind Inkwell - a new group for writers and illustrators.   Thanks, Buffy.    As the recipient of the award, I'm suppose to tell you 7 things about myself and pass it on to 15 other bloggers who you think are fantastic.
Are you ready:
1)  I meet my husband in 1992 when I placed an ad in the Sacramento Single News Magazine. We'll be married 13 years in August.  Who knew you could meet your soul mate through a want ad!
2)  When I worked for KVIE, our local PBS station, I played the cookie monster from Sesame Street for an event. Yep, dressed up in the blue suit, stuffed with pillow cases and all the kids thought I was the real thing. 
3)  I got adventuresome back in the 80's (especially since I'm an introvert) and took a vacation all by myself and went to Buccaneers Creeks Club Med in Martinique.  Meet many interesting people!
4) Guilty pleasure…

Unicorn Pegasus Kitten painting and fan fiction contest! Whatever!!!!

Greetings Wil Wheaton peeps!  
For those who found my blog and this post through his tweet or storytime reading about Unicorn Pegasus Kitten, please go to 
to read "Clash of the Geeks."  Thanks for stopping by.

For those of you who don't follow Mind Voyages, thought I'd let you in on a Fan Fiction contest surrounding a painting created by Jeff Zugale for John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton.  For the story behind the painting go to Whatever.  

Unicorn Pegasus Kitten
Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi

Artist Jeff Zugale

What's it all about!

The Unicorn Pegasus Kitten Painting was unveiled at the Phoenix Comicon over the weekend and   John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, along with Subterranean Press introduced  in a contest to benefit the Lupus Alliance of America.

"Write a 400 to 2,000 word story describing the picture above. Any form of fan fiction is acceptable except slash. The winner of the contest will be paid for their story (10 cents a wo…