Mid Week Check in: Sneezin and crittin

Sniff! Snort! Sneeze! Cough!  I've had my allergies under control for a very long time but this year, allergy season has hit and hit big time.  Have been feeling like I'm battling a long term cold for a while now, which of course has been messing with my productivity.  Know it's allergies though because the antihistamine works and the decongestants don't.   *sigh*

Brain fog has led me to coming online to write a blog post and end up instead reading celebrity gossip.  I'll admit it. I've become addicted to Daily Mail's showbiz and X17.  Let's just say it's research for my next wip.  *grin*.

Finishing up my critting class through Savvy Authors this week and have gleaned much about critiquing and how to be critiqued.  It's been quite a  learning experience.   Still editing Eyes in the Ashes and the plan is to finish the 2nd edit by the end of June.  It has been rather slow going but making progress and the story taking on more shape and learning more about my characters.  The critiques for the Kill Zone gang and critting class have been tremendously helpful. 

Reading wise, I discovered Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series and read all eight books in the series in the past couple weeks.  Now just have to wait until November for the final episode Magic for a Price to come out in November.  Meanwhile have plenty of other stories to keep me occupied.   Dared my 52 Books group to read  "The Great Gatsby" along with me, since this week highlighted literary style modernism.  Interestingly enough, Leonardo DiCaprio is starting in the movie version which will be coming out at the end of the year.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. ~Winnie the Pooh

TLC Book Tours: The Cottage at Glass Beach

 The Cottage at Glass Beach


Heather Barbieri


Synopsis:  Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, forty-year-old Nora Keane is a picture perfect political wife and doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she – along with the rest of the world – learns of her husband Malcolm’s infidelity. Humiliated, hurt, hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, seven, and Ella, twelve, and takes refuge with her maternal aunt on Burke’s Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Settled by Irish immigrants, the island is a place where superstition and magic are carried on the ocean winds, and wishes and dreams wash ashore with the changing tides. Nora spent her first five years on the island but has not been back to the remote community for decades—not since that long ago summer when her mother disappeared at sea. One night, while sitting alone on Glass Beach, below the cottage where she spent her childhood, Nora succumbs to grief, her tears flowing into the ocean. Days later she finds an enigmatic fisherman, Owen Kavanagh, shipwrecked on the rocks nearby. Is he, as her aunt’s friend Polly suggests, a selkie, a mythical being of island legend, summoned by her heartbreak; or simply someone who, like Nora, is trying to find his way in the wake of his own personal struggles? Just as she begins to regain her balance, her young daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own, a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course—and finally face the truth about her marriage, her mother, and her past.

Have you ever read a book, that when you are finished reading it, you want to turn around and read it all over again?   The Cottage at Glass Beach is one of these, but for a different reason.  I thoroughly enjoyed Heather's first book The Lacemakers of Glenmara,so was looking forward to reading it.  It's beautifulyl written and the story interesting, yet something was missing.  I did go back and reread the ending, felt like I missed something and started to reread the book again.  I was looking for more.  I wanted more, but more what?    The story hints at, teases you about magic and the selkies,  but leaves a lot to the imagination and doesn't really get into the history of the legend. Which leaves you wondering.....

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be part of the tour, Harper books for providing me with a courtesy copy of the book, and Heather Barbieri for her imagination.  Check out the rest of the tour here.

Sunday Salon: Happy Mother's Day!

My guys went off to home depot and returned with a few herb plants for me including Greek Oregano, Italian parsley, sweet basil, sweet marjoram, texas tarragon, cilantro and cinnamon basil.  Unfortunately the amend potting soil had chicken manure in it and my hands currently smell like ****.  Oy!   I've had a nice lazy day so far and started reading Neil Gaiman's Anasi Boys.  Also typed up chapter 2 and 3 edits for Eyes in the Ashes.  I received some valuable feedback from the authors of Kill Zone, plus my critique class classmates and will be pondering what changes to make to chapter one.  

I took last week off completely from writing or editing as well as everything else, feel refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle my edits again.   My goal is to edit five pages a day with the hopes to finish the 2nd edit by the end of June.  I also came across a wonderful idea which is to find a picture that symbolizes each scene and print it out so it will help you to visualize and include the 5 senses.   Awesome suggestion and will be working this week on finding those pictures that best represent my settings. 

Lately I have had the urge to draw and would love to take a drawing class.  With that in mind, unearthed from my bookshelves Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain which had started to do with James back in 2005 but never finished.  For some reason it got shelved and just came across it yesterday.  My attempts aren't half bad and I remember having fun doing them.  For instance, this upside down drawing.

Upside down drawing

I just finished reading Iain Pears' The Raphael Affair. I love art mysteries. This was the first book in the art history mystery series and his debut novel. Wasn't as well written as the rest of his books but that's to be expected. His other books in the series as well as An Instance on the Fingerpost and Stone's Fall are excellent.

Last week I finished reading The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri. Beautiful writing but lacking somehow. Hints at Irish folklore and selkies myth and leaves you hanging with the story lines. You're never quite sure where she's going with it. One of those that you read the ending chapter a couple times because you think you missed something.  My review for TLC Book Tours will be posted on Friday, the 18th with a bit more detail

Off to do my sponsorly gig and check in with my fellow rowers and give them some cheerful, positive encouragement. 

Happy Mother's Day

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

ROW80 Mid week Check In - a whole lotta nuthin

Courtesy of Najwa Marafie
Last week I decided we were going to take this week off from lessons because we needed the break.  So glad I did because our computer hard drive crashed at the shop.  Unfortunately for me,  I had forgotten neglected to back up my back up's from Quickbooks onto a usb drive - since mid march.   *facepalm*  I fibbed and told my employees it was just a couple weeks worth of data because I didn't need want to hear  a lecture from my techs. Fortunately for me, they reinstalled the old hard drive from when we had Windows XP which enabled me to get everything entered, up to date and backed up.  Tomorrow the new hard drive arrives and I get the pleasure of installing everything and restoring quickbooks back to normal.  

I also signed up for a critique class through Savvy Authors and learning how to critique as well as be on the receiving end of a critique.  I have a tendency to be more of a teacher rather than a critter, so working on my critter skills.   Speaking of being on the receiving end of a critique, the fine authors over on The Kill Zone, a group mystery and thriller author blog including James Scott Bell, Clare Langley, Michelle Gagnon, et al  offered up their annual first page critique and I took the plunge. Here's mine.   Educational experience to say the least.   

Have been doing a bit of blog browsing and as always getting inspired by what I see:

Why do I write? -  Patrick of The Artist's Road asks.  Contemplating the reasons.

Have you been following K.M Weiland's Secret of Story Structure. She's just concluded the 11 part series and it well worth reading. She's very wise.

Meanwhile my 52 Books group has been introducing to me all kinds of books that need to be added here and here (read 3 so far) Starting to see a theme shaping up for 2013's challenge.  And I've added another group of authors to my Author Blogging Reading Project - check out the weekly line up at Mullholland Books.

I'm also intrigued by the responses to Audrey Niffenegger's visual book The Night Bookmobile.  It created a discussion within my book group about books that are so good they make you forget to put the groceries away.  It was a serial graphic novel published in the London Guardian in 2008 and published in book form in 2010.  

Anyway it prompted the thought:

There are so many books I haven't read yet and if I came across my own bookmobile full of the books I've read in a lifetime, what books would I have regretted not reading.

Time to start a bucket list. 

So those are the things that have derailed my progress this week.  How's your week been so far? Check in here and encourage your fellow rowers

April Wrap up and What's on the Nightstand

April is a promise that May is bound to keep.
Hal Borland

April passed by in a flash and I'm looking for a slower, lackadaisical May. However that's probably not going to happen until mid June when James graduates from 6th grade.  Our schedule has changed somewhat since he began working more diligently and suddenly having the desire to get his work done earlier. "Mom let's do math NOW" is the new morning mantra.   We discovered Life of Fred math books written by Stanley Schmidt and now math is fun and interesting.   Which means my writing time in the morning is being taken over by lessons and now I have to figure out where to fit it all in. Treadmill or write for an hour? Start dinner or write a blog post?  Read or browse the blogosphere.  Haven't quite gotten there yet. 

Even though I instituted a buying ban for the first half of the year, my TBR pile seems to have grown.  They keep having babies and the babies are having babies.  I managed to review one book - Illusions by Frank Peretti.   For the month of April read 14 books of which 6 were by new to me authors including Jennifer Estep and her paranormal series -  Elemental Assassin.

  1. Illusion - Frank Peretti
  2. Fit to be Tied - Robin Lee Hatcher 
  3. Hear the Dead Cry - Charlie Price
  4. Halfway to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost (ebook) 
  5. One Fine Cowboy - Joanne Kennedy (ebook)
  6. Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin 1) - Jennifer Estep (ebook)
  7. Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin 2) - Jennifer Estep
  8. Venom (Elemental Assassin 3) - Jennifer Estep 
  9. Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin 4) - Jennifer Estep
  10. Revision and Self Editing - James Scott Bell (non fiction)
  11. The Witness - Nora Roberts
  12. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (dnf)
  13. Spider's Revenge (Elemental Assassin 5) - Jennifer Estep
  14. By a Thread (Elemental Assassin 6) - Jennifer Estep
I had designated April as Read a Russian Author month for my 52 Books group and tried to read The Brothers Karamazov.  I gave up on it a 3rd of the way through when reached the chapter in which one of the brother's - Ivan - started going on and one about children being tortured and killed in great detail and it did me in.  I couldn't take anymore.  The characters were all overly dramatic and irksome and it was like one long soap opera.  I also shelved One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because it's one of those books you have to be in the mood for and I just couldn't get in the mood.    Nora Roberts saved my month with the release of her 200th novel  The Witness.

What's on the Nightstand for May?   I'm starting my month with another new Nora The Last Boyfriend  #2 in the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy.  For my A to Z by author and title challenge, the books on deck right now are: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Helpless by Daniel Palmer (review book), The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears,  The Inquisitors Key by Jefferson Bass (review book from William Morrow) and  The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri for TLC Book tours.  I thoroughly enjoyed her first book Lacemakers of Glenmarra.    And just picked up Cherry Adair's newest Afterglow which of course I'll have to read soon. It just happened to jump into my cart while I was shopping at Target a few days ago. *grin*

I'm still listening to J.D. Robb's In Death series on audio book and currently on Judgment in Death.   Plus the writing craft book I'll be studying for the next month or so - James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure.

What's on your nightstand for May and which books are you looking forward to reading the most.