H is for Heat Wave by Richard Castle



Richard Castle

Back Cover:  Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly bestselling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat.  Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads.  She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's finest.  Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome.  His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems.  As she works to unravel the secrets of a murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between her and Rook. The one called heat.

I'm reminded of the Irving Berlin song "We're having a heat wave"  

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can.

I'm a big fan of  the tv show "Castle" so was quite overjoyed to finally get my hands on Richard Castle's "Heat Wave."   

Wait? you say. Isn't he fictitious? Why yes, my darlings.  ABC hired a ghost writer to write the books, although Nathan Fillon is doing author appearances and book signings.  The Nikki Heat series started with Heat Wave, then Naked Heat and the next book to be released in September,  Heat Rises. 

There are many similarities to the TV show, but also some differences.  The story is told totally from Nikki Heat's point of view and from her viewpoint, Jameson Rook is a pain in the behind.  She really doesn't like him, though they do have their 'moments' which can be blamed on the heatwave and a black out and other circumstances.  She is in the process of trying to solve the murder of a wealthy real estate developer and neither the murder victim or his wife turn out to be who they appear to be. There are a few twists and turns and you aren't quite sure who the murderer is until the very end.  Heat Wave is  very well done and a fun read.  

Check out the author's website here for more information about the books

Richard Castle is the author of numerous bestsellers, including the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm series. His first novel, In a Hail of Bullets, published while he was still in college, received the Nom DePlume Society’s prestigious Tom Straw Award for Mystery Literature. Castle currently lives in Manhattan with his daughter and mother, both of whom infuse his life with humor and inspiration.

Such a handsome guy!

Tuesday blog wondering finds: Conformity, Confidence, Creativitity

Oliver Van DeMill of Thomas Jefferson Education -
The Clash of two Cultures:  conformity versus innovation

Love this post by Jen at Laughing at Chaos:
Gifted kids are not like other kids.

"Confidence will give you the strength to doubt yourself."

That time of the month again over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Quote to ponder:

How often--even before we began--have we declared a task 'impossible'?  And how often have we construed a picture of ourselves as being inadequate? ....  A great deal depends upon the thought patterns we choose and on the persistence with which we affirm them.  ---  Piero Ferrucci

Sunday Salon: Reading and writing mojo

He is risen!

Happy Easter!  I was thinking on the way into the shop Saturday morning, how Easter presents one of those opportunities for a fresh start, mid year.  How lent gives you a time to contemplate, rethink how you do things, prepare you for something new or for a change.  I always make these grandiose plans to get inspired by reading this book or that book, taking up a new habit or getting rid of an old one.  Somehow my plans always seem to change.   My unplugged friday's sort of got derailed by class stuff.  I couldn't completely unplug because my class is, of course, online.  Instead of reading the books I originally planned, I ended up rereading Charles Filmore's Keep a True Lent and book one of  Thomas Merton's  Bridges to Contemplative Living series "Entering the School of Your Experience."

I also found myself not wanting to read fiction for some odd reason, just couldn't get into any book.  I started several non fiction books, multitasking away and after a while, realized I was having trouble writing fiction as well.  Hmmm!   Finally came to the realization, that fiction feeds my soul, both intellectually and imaginatively.   My mantra - reading is as necessary as breathing.  I've amended that - reading fiction is as necessary as breathing.  It's not only an escape, but fills my brain with ideas.  Non fiction - takes my brain down another path entirely.  So, backing off and sticking with one non fiction book at a time.  Who saved me:  Nora Roberts, of course.  She's my diva, the one author I will read anything she writes.  Her latest "Chasing Fire" came out a couple weeks ago and I sat down to read it. Like taking in a breath of fresh air.  Nobody does it better, in my humble opinion.  My reading mojo is back.   :)

It's also helped revive my writing.  I was struggling with the story, thinking this is going nowhere. Yesterday I sat down and read the last few chapters I'd written of Red Thief.  Yes, I know, everyone says, don't go back and read what you've written before you are finished because you'll want to edit it and blah, blah, blah.  I was pleasantly surprised. The story flowed, made sense, it was all connecting.  Father interrupted me in the middle of reading, to ask me a question and it was like getting snapped up out of book you are deeply entrenched in. It took me a moment to focus on him.  What an awesome feeling, to know it was my own writing, that gave me that feeling.
I came across this video of Lady Gaga talking about her writing process and in it she said:  

"All of the songs on the album, to be completely candid [were written quickly]. The creative process is approximately 15 minutes of vomiting my creative ideas, in the forms of melodies, usually, or chord progressions and melodies and some sort of a theme lyric idea. It all happens in approximately 15 minutes of this giant regurgitation of my thoughts and feelings. And then I spend days, weeks, months, years fine tuning. But the idea is that you honor your vomit. You have to honor your vomit. You have to honor those 15 minutes."

She reminds me so much of Madonna. When Madonna came out in the 80's with her songs, Like a Prayer and Like a Virgin, it created a furor.  Now Lady Gaga is following the same path - the clothes, makeup, the sacrileges videos, the shock and awe.  But underneath it all she has a voice and a presence.  And when, like Madonna, she grows into her skin, she'll become herself.  We'll get the real person, the real talent.  Personally I don't know how she manages to stand up in those shoes. I'd have broken both ankles by now.  But I digress. 

So, I'm not going to sweat the small stuff and just keep plugging away.   I remember when I saw David Baldacci and Lee Child at Bouchercon last year, even they said they don't always know how their stories are going to end. They pretty much wing it.  I have a idea of how I want the story to end.  We'll see what happens when I get there.  

Round 2:  April 4 to June 23, 2011

My goals for this week:  

1) Write for half hour every morning on current WIP: Red Thief
2) Complete Week 9 in the Artist's Way
3) Research resources for Final Project page for Humanities class: subject George Bernard Shaw

 Check out how everyone else is doing here.

The Sunday Salon.com

Blogoversary Winners:

(Book of her choice) 

Michelle Davidson Argyle of The Innocent Flower
(book of her choice)

Michelle of the True Book Addict 
(Scarlet Lion)

(Something Wicked This Way Comes) 

Congratulations Ladies!

Good Friday

Crucifixion of Christ of San Placido by Diego Velázquez (1638)

The Crucifixion

They placed the cross upon His back
Yet, no one seemed to care
The weight across His shoulders
Seemed more than He could bear.

The spikes were driven in His hands
And pounded through His feet
The ones who had convicted Him
Were cheering in the street.
The crown of thorns placed on His head
Brought blood upon His brow
The day of prophecy had come
He had to face it now.
The sins of man were laid to rest
He bore a heavy loss
The agony He must have felt
As He hung there on the cross.

The innocent blood of Jesus Christ
Was shed for all to see
The Son of God was crucified
And died for you and me.

Author/Written By:
Marilyn Ferguson

WIP Wednesday - Interrupted by Notes from the Universe

The universe is telling me today - to read, to sit, to ponder, to think, to just be.  Especially when Nora Roberts releases a new book into the universe.  Life stops when one of her books arrives.  

Chasing Fire

I think the problem with my reading life lately. I needed a Nora fix. *sigh*
Plus I received this note from the universe this morning

Robin, it's the way you think. That's your purpose. It's never been about what work you choose, what gifts you develop, or what niche you fill - let these be for your pleasure.

Think as only you can think, which will lead to feelings that only you can feel, from which connections will be made, lives will be changed, and worlds will come tumbling into existence.

    The Universe

Not much to report on the ROW80 front. Check out everyone else's progress here

Happy Writing and Reading!

Sunday Salon: Getting in the rhythm and ROW80 Checkin

Melvin and Gracie snuggling
It is a beautiful day out and what are we doing?  Watching Tron Legacy.  Father and I watched it last night and James was very anxious about seeing it as well, so.....    This has been the week for movies.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 was released on Friday.  I pre-ordered it from Amazon and it arrived Friday morning.  So ask me if I got any writing done.  Not on Friday.  We sat down to watch it right away, instead of writing and even doing lessons.   Actually we can call it research  - comparing the movie and the book.  
Between that and my humanities class, I only managed to work on Red Thief a couple days.   I had to come up with an argument in favor of Physician Assisted Suicide based on utilitarian ethics and also write a faux letter to my assemblywoman about the Death with Dignity Act.   It seems my fellow classmates were having as much difficulty writing their papers as well as everyone procrastinated in posting their responses until this weekend.    Next week will be lighter and concentrating on Art and Critical Thinking.  I still managed to do my morning pages every day - yeah me!

Check out how the rest of the ROW80 writers are doing here.

I'm currently reading a historical fiction novel, "The Silver Eagle" by Ben Kane.  #2 in a series   Excellent so far, though it is going a bit slowly.  My treadmill nook book is a new author for me Anne Marsh's Bond with Me. Kind of a dark, sexual paranormal. Ahem -  very r rated.   However not sure I'm liking it.  It's all about the fallen angels and totally paints archangel Michael in a bad light. Just have to keep reminding myself it is fiction. 

Still working on A Thomas Jefferson Education.   I posted an excerpt from it on Friday that totally reminded me of what is happening today.  Kind of scary. The primary reason I started reading it is to learn how to be a better mentor to James.  In the process, I've decided I really need a mentor myself.   Also started reading Holy Yoga by Brooke Boon and still on week 8 of The Artist's way. Working on tasks from previous week making image file and image collage.  I seem to be failing with the Artist's Dates and have to get a bit more creative.

We are in week 16 of Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  Since this month is National Poetry Month, still talking about poetry. This week was a bit simplistic with O is for Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear.

I discovered The Positivity Blog yesterday and came across a post with One Powerful Tip for When You Feel Like Giving Up on a New Habit.   Excellent advice - one day at a time.

A Time to Talk by Robert Frost
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

The Sunday Salon.com

Philosophical Friday: Post to ponder while I'm unplugged for the day

I'm currently reading A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille.  There are some days we get bogged down in the day to day lessons and start to lose the big picture of why we are homeschooling in the first place.    James gets bored and would much rather be doing something else, mother stops being a mentor and starts being a task master and soon we are both dreading lessons.   I picked up TJE some time ago but it got lost in the shuffle as things naturally do.  I'm enjoying reading it and getting a fresh perspective, a reminder of why we are doing this.   I came across a section yesterday that just jumped out at me so thought I would share it.
"Our modern {educational}  system is a fairly recent development.  Only in the past seventy years has it become the predominant system.  In the history of education, the current American model is very non traditional, very different from what has been done for generations.  Almost everybody in America is getting the kind of education that has typically been reserved for those who simply had no other options.  Where this used to include the poor and lower classes, today it has become almost universal.

What happens when a society does not prepare leaders?  We get managers and professionals leading in areas they have no training for, such as government, and we get a nation of followers who see no problem with that because they have no experience with anything else.  In a nation where the government is supposed to be the servant of the people, it is easy to see that our traditional form of government and its cultural underpinnings will deteriorate beyond repair if the citizen neglects to fit himself for leadership; eventually the result is widespread specialization complemented by arrogance, pride and general ignorance.  This is the legacy of German in the 1930's - a highly trained but undereducated people easily swayed by Hitler. (pg 36)

A Thomas Jefferson Education in a nutshell.

WIP Wednesday: Row 80 check in

I want one of these.  This is Mark Twain's Writing hut located on the Elmira College Campus in New York.  Think my hubby will go for it?  Might be less expensive than enclosing the patio.  :)  

I'm ready to finish Red Thief, but the characters, not so much.  It's moving more slowly than I like, but only have so much time to work on the story.  Trying to make sure each scene advances the next.  Some days are a bit frustrating and it is like pulling teeth to get the words down on the page.  Other days it flows like smooth wine and just can't get enough.  Hmm! A nice smooth St. Emilion Bordeaux sounds good just about now. 

My goals this week.  

1)  Write every morning for half an hour and complete at least one full page front and page.
2)  Continue with morning pages.
3)  Start Week 9 of Artists Way
4)  Finish discussion questions on ethics for Humanities class due on Sunday
5)  Decide O theme for 52 books in 52 weeks. Continuing discussion on National Poetry Month.

Speaking of poetry.  I leave you with couple Haiku.  How about a mini writing challenge since it is National Poetry Month. Write a Haiku about ROW80, your writing or whatever you are feeling today.

Lavender and Vanilla
Kitty tail brushes my knees
soft hugs, tickling laughs.

Swirling, whirling mind
bending thoughts pass through like bees
buzzing the heather.

Check out the returning and new peeps this go round and see how they are fairing

James LePore e-book promotion

Approximately two years ago I discovered a new author or rather he discovered me and asked if I would read his book.   The author James LePore and his deput novel "A World I Never Made."   I thoroughly enjoyed the story  and you can check out my review here.   Not long after he received several glowing reviews, James sent this letter via his publisher:

"I am sure that I am not the first to recognize that writing is a solitary, and isolating, affair. There is the writer, his or her imagination, and the computer, with occasional forays onto the internet, also via the computer, to do research. Since I had written two previous novels, neither of which had gotten published, I often asked myself, as I was writing the third--which turned out to be A World I Never Made--why was I still writing?

There are things I like about isolation and the mysterious process of creating fiction, but--and this is something I have only learned very recently--process is only one half of the equation. The other half is the realization that once a book is published it will actually be read.

I will be grateful always for your willingness to read A World I Never Made a first novel by an unknown writer with no credentials except the fact that he made the effort and a few people believed in him. The positive things you said were a thrill to read, and have begun to make me think--tentatively--that I really am a writer."

Jim LePore
South Salem
May 1, 2009
Just makes your heart sing doesn't it?   His second novel "Blood of My Brother" came out December 2010 and I unfortunately deleted the email and couldn't find it again (boo hoo) asking if I wanted to review it.

Fortunately, his publisher didn't forget about me and when I received an email asking if I want to read and review his latest novel "Sons and Princes" which will be released May 2, 2011, I jumped at the opportunity.

Along with Sons and Princes, there is a special promotion happening right now so everyone will have the opportunity to read "A World I Never Made" and "Blood of My Brother."    I've been a bit remiss since the special promotion started April 5th.   Until April 19th, the e-book edition of  "A World I Never Made" is being given away for free.  Starting on April 19th and running through May 3rd, "Blood of My Brother" will be available in for $2.99.    Cool!   Put James Lepore on your must read list and check out his books.

Promotional cost available on Amazon Kindle  Sony E-Books, Apple Ibookstore,

Sunday Salon and ROW80 w1r2: Pondering, Reading, and Writing

Silverback Gorilla in Africa courtesy of National Geographic
It is an absolutely beautiful day out today and Father and I sat out on the back patio for the first time in weeks enjoying the sunshine and chatting for a while.  The time has come to write up a list of flowers, veggies and herbs we want to plant and head out to the nursery and OSH for a new patio umbrella. I finished the taxes. We don't owe anything fortunately, except for our estimated taxes.  We are actually getting a tiny bit back which can use for garden supplies. 

I love this weather and sitting out on the patio in the early morning, writing and listening to the birds chirp and chatter.  Writing wise I'm plugging away slow and steady everyday on Red Thief.   I'm writing between two to four pages a day. There are some days I feel like I should be doing more by editing a previous story or doing research, multitasking on more than one story but I don't want to jink not finishing the story. I'd get involved in research and run out of time to write. Or have the characters from different stories all vying in my head for attention. Good way to drive yourself crazy.  My goal is simple - to write everyday until I finish the first draft.  Check out how everyone else from ROW80 is done here and cheer them on to meeting their goals. 

The Sunday Salon.comI actually relaxed a bit and read this past week.  I finished reading "Harvest Moon" (virgin river series) by Robyn Carr and "Almost Home" (Chesapeake diaries series) by Mariah Stewart.  I'll be reviewing "Almost Home" for TLC Book tours next month. I kind of jumped ahead and read it because I lurv Stewart's stories.  My next read is "The Silver Eagle" by Ben Kane which is book 2 in his historical Forgotten Legion Series. Book 3 "The Road to Rome" was released in the U.S. on March 29th and when I finish both, I'll be reviewing along with a giveaway.  My goal is to finish the two books within the next couple weeks.   

My treadmill nook book is "A Man Called Outlaw" by K.M. Weiland. On par with Louis L'amour if you like westerns.  So good, I'm spending longer on the treadmill, getting involved in the story.  

I'm reading a few non fiction books. Finally learned how to multitask with my reading. I'm still on week 8 of "The Artist's Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity" by Julia Cameron. Still writing those morning pages everyday.  Came across a great post on Procrastinating Writers: Morning Pages Experiment, One Year later. Check it out.  On chapter two of "A Thomas Jefferson Education" and taking copious notes. I'll be sharing what I'm learning soon. Just taking it all in right now.  And finally got back into the U.S. Presidents reading project and started "The Real George Washington.

This month is National Poetry Month and I've been highlighting poets and poetry over on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  This week N is for Nature since a big theme in poetry is nature. I even included a poem and a Haiku I wrote, with a challenge to participants to spread their creative wings a bit and attempt to write one themselves.  Come join in the fun.  

The tour of Angelology is over and the winner of the giveaway is "Ashley Holt" of Bookcase Siren.    Congratulations, Ashley.  

I'll be announcing the winners of My Blogoversary giveaway in a couple days.   See this book: 

The Reading Woman

Absolutely gorgeous with fantastic artwork and quotes from various writers.   I ended up buying one for myself.  I love the quotes inside and already started using it.  I'll leave you with a quote that truly resonates:

Books are the carriers of civilization.  Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.  They are the engines of change, windows on the world, (as a poet said) lighthouses erected in the sea of time.  They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind.  Books are humanity in print.  

---  Barbara W. Tuchman

Philosophical Friday - Poem to ponder by Billy Collins

On the way in to work Thursday morning, I was listening to NPR and introduced to poet Billy Collins.  I was intrigued of course, and  looked him up.  Interesting man and even more interesting poetry. Not the usual and I guess that's what I like about him.  Not the usual.


 The Chairs That No One Sits In

by Billy Collins

You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed   
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one   
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It might be none of my business,
but it might be a good idea one day
for everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock to sit down in them
for the sake of remembering
whatever it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs   
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is nothing but the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning—
it passes the time to wonder which.

WIP Wednesday - 2nd round of A Round of Word in 80 Days

A Round of Words in 80 Days

Strap yourselves in and restart your engines for the 2nd round of A Round of Words in 80 days has begun. Check in's will continue to be twice a week on Wednesday and Sunday with Mr. Linky available on the ROW80 website.  Least we forget, ROW80 was created by Kait Nolan, hosted by her and helped along by a bevy of sponsors who had oodles to say and inspire us during round one.  I'll tell you a little secret.  I was so busy writing, I missed half of their wonderful posts and have just been reading through them.  There will be new words of wisdom during Round 2 but throwing a big thank you and a bit of linky love for the round one sponsors and their marvelous, sensible advice:

Problem Solving, Inc. by Andrew Mocete
How to Stick to It by Claire Farrell
Productive Procrastination by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Three stages of Writing by Lauralynn Elliot
Writing To The Future by Craig Hansen
The Long Stretch by Kait Nolan

My goal for round one was to complete the first draft of Red Thief.  It didn't happen and I didn't sweat it since the characters still have much to say and changed the direction of the story.  I had previously jumped ahead and wrote a great escape scene and revealed some info to my main character.  But as in all things - in going back to the earlier parts I had been writing and all the in-between parts not written yet, things changed.  Those darn pesky characters.  So, enjoying the journey and round 2's goal is to finish the first draft.  I'm 80% there.   I write everything long hand, so once I done writing the story, it will  need to be typed up.  That will be the other part of my goal during round 2, plus edit/outline as I go. Will worry about that part when I get there.

I'm still in the middle of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  I'm on week 8 working on name your dream goals previously mentioned.  So part of the weekly goal will be writing morning pages and completing various tasks. I'm in 3 week of my humanities class and tasks this week involve ethics and discussing physician assisted suicide and whether I think it's ethical or not.  That's going to be a fun paper to write.   

How do I plan on meeting these goals. Very simply.  I'm unplugged every day until 4:00 p.m.  I write morning pages while eating breakfast, then work on my first draft. I write at least for half an hour completing one page, front and back. I'm not worried about word count at this point, just writing.  My goal also includes checking in twice a week and I promise to be a bit more succinct.

Check in on how every one else is doing here.  We have lots of new folks joining in for the second round.  Be sure to give them some love by visiting and comments on their posts. 

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

Heart of Deception


M.L. Malcolm

Back Cover:  "Leo Hoffman is a man of many contradictions.  He is a Hungarian national with a French Passport, a wealthy businessman with no visible means of support, and a devoted father who hasn't seen his daughter in years.  He is also a spy.   Recruited by the Allies to lay the groundwork for their invasion of North Africa, Leo intends to do as little spying as possible; he just wants to earn his American citizenship, get to New York, and find his daughter, Maddy.  But while Leo dodges death in France and Morocco, Maddy learns the truth of her father's mysterious past, and this haunting knowledge compels her down a dangerous path of her own, into deception and discovery."
Heart of Deception is the sequel to Heart of Lies and continues the saga of Leo Hoffman as he works to earn his citizenship, working as a spy, playing one group against another group against another group.  None know whether to trust him or kill him. His fate is left up in the air and he is stuck in Cairo while the powers that be concentrate on more important issues: the invasion of North Africa by the Brits and Americans.  Meanwhile his daughter Maddy is taken in by her belated mother's sister who encourages her to be anything she wants, except a faithful daughter to Leo.  She refuses to read any letters Leo sends her, believing he has completely abandoned her and is lying about being a spy.  Her heart's desire is to be a pianist but her aunt expects more out of her.  Maddy falls in love with two very different men who lead her in two directions.

The story takes you from 1942 to 1960 alternating between Leo in various countries and Maddy in America.  The historical aspects are more backdrop in the story and the focus is more on the characters and their actions.  There is plenty of intrigue and deceit, but also moments the characters will frustrate the heck out of you by their decisions.  Heart of Deception will stand alone but I think you'd enjoy it better if you read Heart of Lies first. (review here)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour, HarperCollins for providing me with a courtesy copy and M.L. Malcolm for writing Leo and Maddy's story. 

Check out the rest of the tour stops:  

Tuesday, April 5th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 6th: My Two Blessings
Thursday, April 7th: Diary of an Eccentric
Monday, April 11th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, April 12th: Amused By Books
Wednesday, April 13th: Book Journey
Tuesday, April 19th: Reading Through Life
Thursday, April 21st: I’m Booking It
Monday, April 25th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, April 26th: Chocolate & Croissants
Wednesday, April 27th: Chefdruck Musings
Thursday, April 28th: BookNAround
Friday, April 29th: Booksie’s Blog

Pages:  352
Publisher:  Harper
Released: April 5, 2011

Sunday Salon: March sleeps / April Awakes

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday!   The rain has finally stopped and spring has sprung.  It is beautiful and sunny and I can finally start sitting out on my patio and enjoy my beautiful garden again.  Plus Melvin's broken foot has healed and I can let him outside and leave the door open so the cats can do their in / out thing without driving me crazy being door keeper.  We just have to monitor his activity a bit for the next couple weeks, make sure he isn't doing any crazy tall tree climbing.  Supervising a cat in the outdoors... Fun!  He was so hyper yesterday because it was his first day out in nine weeks.  Can you say FREEDOM! in meow speak.  

This week I'm working on taxes, hopefully will get majority finished today.  Also working on my goals for the week, the month, the quarter.  Week 8 of the Artist's Way is all about goals.  Naming your dream and one concrete goal that will tell you - you have arrived.  Your true north!  The task is to figure out action steps - where do you want to be five years from now, what steps can you take this year, this month, this week, today.  My dreams: one - to be a published author and the other is to open my dream bookstore in a writers colony.  A gathering place of sorts for writers and bibliophiles.   There. I said it and sending it winging out into the atmosphere.  Make it so!

The second round of ROW80 starts tomorrow and I'm working out my goals for the 80 days.  No, I didn't finish Red Thief.  Life got in the way, plus the direction of the story changed slightly.   The characters revealed some interesting things and challenges, so I'm going with it for now to see where we are going and what happens.  Once I finish writing the first draft, the goal is to type it up. In typing it up, will be editing and figuring out timeline.

March was a slow reading month for me.  I usually read an average of 15 books a month.  However, since I've been writing a whole lot more and school started again, slowed way down.  I read, are you ready for this, drum roll please:   4 books.  Yep, that's right.   I finished:

The Incumbent - Alton Gansky  (e-book)
River Marked - Patricia Briggs
Angels Everywhere which includes 2 books -A Season of Angels  and Touched by Angels by Debbie Macomber (ebook)
Hush Money - Susan Bischoff  (ebook)

The key word is finished.  I've been reading more non fiction and in the middle of reading "A Thomas Jefferson Education," "Disconnected Kid's" by Dr. Robert Melillo, doing an inductive bible study by Kay Arthur and a couple ebooks about essays.  I've turned into a polygamous reader.  I discovered that by taking notes as I read, I retain more.

April is National Poetry month and to celebrate highlighted John Milton of Paradise Lost on Read 52 books in 52 weeks: M is for Milton.  Found some really interesting and educational websites so be sure to check it out.    Speaking of poetry, in honor of poetry month, I will leave you with a poem I wrote. The Artist's way is teaching me to flex my wings a bit and try new things and to quite censoring my creative side.   I probably broke a full rules, but really, who cares.


We are the branches.
He is the tree.
Stately, strong
All in unity.

One without the other
like dead branches fall
together, three in unity.

Roots stretch deep,
Anchored to the ground.
Branches reach high,
Seek the sky.
There are no bounds.

Flowers bud.
Fragile, but strong.
Green vine cling
tenacious and long.
Deep brown limbs
lift to the sky.

We are the branches.
He is the tree.
Stately, strong
All in unity.

I'm currently reading M.L. Malcolm's Heart of Deception and will be hosting her tour stop on Wednesday, April 6th.    Today is your last chance to enter to win a book of your choice from my 2010 book list from my blogoversary celebration.  Speak up or forever hold your peace.   Have a wonderful, relaxing, beautiful day. 

2011 Blogging Authors Reading Project

 2011 Blogging Authors Reading Project

Over the years I've discovered some great books by following authors who blog.  I follow quite a number of group author blogs as well as individual authors.   Last year Florinda of 3r's came up with an excellent project and I'm going to continue the project for 2011.   One of the rules last year was you could only read those books by authors you already had in your stacks.  I'm amending that rule for this year since I frequently stumble upon an author and want to read their books.   The goal is simple - to read books by authors who blog.  I'll be starting with the books I already have in the stacks since one of my goals this year is to whittle down my current TBR pile.  

Individual Authors who blog:

Michelle Davidson Argyle of The Innocent Flower - debut novel "Cinders" 

C.J. Darlington's Thicker Than Blood

Richard Doetsch's - "The 13th Hour"

Diane Emley  - "The First Out" 

Karen Harrington's of Scobberlotch - "Janeology "

Jody Hedlund's debut novel "The Preacher's Bride"  

Kait Nolan's - "Forsaken by Shadow"

Diana Rowland - "Secrets of the Demons"

John Scalzi's of Whatever - "Old Man's War"

K.M. Weiland's of Wordplay - "A Man Called Outlaw"

Group author blogs

I've been following for a while and working my way slowly through their books.

From the Murderati Group blog of 14 mystery writers including Pari Noskin Taichert, Alafair Burke, Allison Brennan, Brett Battles, Cornelia Read, J.D. Rhoades, J.T. Ellison, Louise Ure, Robert Gregory Brown, Zoe Sharp, Toni McGee Causey, Stephen Jay Schwartz,  Alex Sokoloff and Tess Gerritsen. Wonderful blog. If you haven't been following them, you should.  So far, I've read stories by Toni McGee Causey, Louise Ure,  J.D. Rhoades, Tess Gerritsen, Robert Gregory Browne, J.T. Ellison, and Allison Brennan. 

  1. Alafair Burke's - Close Case 
  2. Brett Battles' - Shadow of Betrayal 
  3. J.T. Ellison's - Judas Kiss

From the former blogging group Running with Quills with 7 great romance suspense authors including Susan Anderson, Stella Cameron, Kate Douglas, Lori Foster, Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell and Carla Neggers.  I've read stories by Susan Anderson, Lori Foster, Elizabeth Lowell, Jayne Ann Krentz and Carla Neggers so far.   They shut down to follow their own individual interests and most are on facebook. I'm going to continue to read their books.

Jayne Ann Krentz aka Jayne Castle aka Amanda Quick: 
  1. The Perfect Poison (Arcane Society #6) - Quick
  2. Midnight Crystal (Arcane Society #9) - Castle 

These are just a few of the blogging authors whose books I have on the shelves. Which blogging authors are you following?