"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 What I'm Reading #11


Time for Round 2
This round, my goal is to start a daily writing practice.  I am starting by completing Blogging University's Writing 101 through The Daily Post.  I will be posting on my blog daily using the prompt and twist provided.  I will also be continuing to work on my reading goal of 30 books this year.

Number of Books Read: 15
January
  1. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  3. The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer
  5. Blue Bloods: The Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz
  6. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
February
  1. Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz
  2. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
March
1. The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
April
  1. The Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
  2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
May
1. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
2.  On Writing by Stephen King

I have not been reading a lot this week, so I am still reading The Shining and still really enjoying it.  I have another book checked out from the library and another 5 on my hold list.  I guess I'd better get reading :)
What are you reading this week?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing Update 5/18/15


Time for Round 2
This round, my goal is to start a daily writing practice.  I am starting by completing Blogging University's Writing 101 through The Daily Post.  I will be posting on my blog daily using the prompt and twist provided.  I will also be continuing to work on my reading goal of 30 books this year.

This week I tried morning pages.  It didn't go so well.  I discovered very quickly that I get up too early for my brain to function properly which means that the writing I produce is not very high quality.

I blogged Monday through Thursday this week.  I wrote in the morning on Monday and Tuesday, each time eventually thwarted by this cuteness:
Wednesday and Thursday I wrote in the afternoon/evening, one day during some free moments at work and the second day after work.  The weekends still remain the most difficult time for me to devote time to writing.  I continue to progress through the Writing 101 prompts, and my reading goal is going really well.  Overall I am happy with my progress this round, although I know that there is room for improvement.  

Stuck in my Head: Whiskey

A few of my favorite songs about whiskey.

"Old Number Seven" The Devil Makes Three

The first time I saw this band live, they admitted that they always sing faster when they do live performances.  After seeing them live a few times, I now think the studio versions of their songs are too slow.  Great song.

"Quiet Whiskey"

There are many versions of this song.  I love the lyrics and I really like this version.

"Whiskey" Trampled by Turtles
So, these are my favorite songs about whiskey.  Have any other suggestions?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Point of View: Writing 101, Day 9

Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

POV#1
The park is peaceful, rhodies in full bloom, bees buzzing around the plump blossoms.  I walk slowly with Caroline savoring the heady perfume of the May flowers.  We walk hand-in-hand dreaming about the future, our future.

Then I see her: a frail, old lady sitting on a bench, knitting a red scarf.  The sun shines on her face, shadows settling in each wrinkle.  Her eyes are young and bright.  She looks off into the distance as the knitting needles dance in her nimble fingers.  Her sweater and skirt swallow her small frame, as if she is shrinking inside her own clothes.

She reminds me so much of Oma that I want to run up to her and jump on her lap.  I remember how Oma taught me to knit my very first scarf, bright blue with a fringe.  My fingers were clumsy and unsure, the scarf a misshapen patch of uneven fabric.  The scarf that still sits in my treasure box.

I had hoped that Oma would make it to my wedding someday, hoped that my bride's something old would come from Oma's treasure box, hoped.  I feel the weight of the memories and I feel the hot tears fill my eyes.  I squeeze Caroline's hand a little tighter as we pass the little old lady.  Oma smiles at me from behind the red scarf, and I feel hope again.

POV#2
Ugh!  Why are we walking around this stupid park again?  I should be at home.  There is so much planning to do.  The wedding is in less that a year.  I need a venue, a dress, bridesmaids, groomsmen, cake, flowers, all the details must be perfect.

The ring is already perfect.  Of course it should be.  It's the exact one I told him to get me.  It sparkles on my finger as the sun hits the diamond.  My amazing ring outshines all the flowers in this stupid park.  My stupendous ring will outlast all the sill flowers.  Not to self:  find a venue with no rhodies.

Ugh!  My feet hurt.  Jimmy Choos are not made for this level of activity.  But if I want a part of his money and his lifestyle, I have to put up with a walk in the park every so often.

O..M..G..  Is he crying?  Why the hell is he crying?  Maybe it's that little old chick.  I would definitely cry if I had wrinkles like that.  Did those wrinkles scare him?  Is that why he's crying.  Well, I hope his budget can keep up with my Botox then.  Maybe it's that hideous scarf that's making him cry.  Thank God he has the money to keep me in designer duds.  I just love thinking about our future together.  Perfect.

"Let's go home," I say aloud and lead him to the car.

POV#3
Knitting is so peaceful.  I love the feeling of the yarn slipping through my fingers and along the needles as the click together rhythmically.  I take my knitting everywhere with me.  I always have.  It's helped me through a lot.  Knitting makes waiting in line less boring, using public transit more enjoyable, and it helped me maintain my calm as my husband wasted away in his hospital bed.

That young fella over there reminds me of my Ernie, when he was young of course.  We used to walk in the park together on sunny days like this one.  I always had my knitting with me, like I said, but I never needed to knit when I was walking with Ernie.  Holding his hand made all my worries disappear.  Oh dear, it's been almost five years now since he's passed.  Never even got to see our newest little grandchild who will never get to wear his new red scarf if I don't focus on this knitting.

Oh!  I hope young Ernie over there is alright.  Looks like he's got some bad allergies, watery eyes.  I wonder if I have a tissue...

Reflection on Day 9:  I didn't realize that I had changed the sweater from the prompt to a scarf until I started typing this :)  I really enjoyed writing this prompt and I think I will use this concept again in my writing career.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2015 What I'm Reading #10


Time for Round 2
This round, my goal is to start a daily writing practice.  I am starting by completing Blogging University's Writing 101 through The Daily Post.  I will be posting on my blog daily using the prompt and twist provided.  I will also be continuing to work on my reading goal of 30 books this year.

Number of Books Read: 15
January
  1. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  3. The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer
  5. Blue Bloods: The Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz
  6. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
February
  1. Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz
  2. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
March
1. The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
April
  1. The Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
  2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
May
1. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
2.  On Writing by Stephen King

After reading Stephen King's book about writing, I immediately wanted to read a Stephen King novel.  I'm reading The Shining.  I am hoping to learn something about how Stephen King writes a man's descent into madness and gain some inspiration for the first revisions of ZF.  By the way, I am halfway to my reading goal for the year!!  Yay!!
What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten Authors I Would Like to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  Check out future topics here.

Here are the top 10 authors I would like to meet:

1.  Stephanie Pearl McPhee, AKA The Yarn Harlot
The Yarn Harlot writes humorous essays and books about knitting.  Also, her blog is one of my favorites to read.  I missed meeting her that last time her book tour brought her through my area, but someday I will meet her.  And I will start knitting a sock beforehand, so I can take a picture of her holding it.  It's something that she always does when she meets someone famous, like when she met Commander Chris Hadfield.

2.  Stephen King
First, I love his books.  Second, I just finished reading On Writing and I would like to tell him how much it has affected me and talk to him more about writing (I am already using some of his advice in this post).

3.  Barbara Kingsolver
I believe that I mentioned how much I love this woman's writing in a previous post.  I would love to talk to her about her process.

4.  Erin Morgenstern
I loved The Night Circus, although the review I wrote in the wee hours of the morning did not do it justice.  I want to talk to Morgenstern about where the idea sprouted from and also how she took a NaNoWriMo book and got it published.

5.  Anne Rice
I love her vampire novels.  I think we could have a great chat about how silly those sparkly Twilight vampires are.

6.  Maggie Stiefvater
I've only read one book so far, but I love her style and would love to chat about writing with her.

7.  Isabel Allende
House of the Spirits was the first real book I read in Spanish.  I went on a student exchange to Chile where Allende is from.  And she has had a very interesting life.  We would have tons to talk about.

8.  Charlaine Harris
I love her Sookie Stackhouse books.  I want to talk to her about bringing the supernatural into a normal town and into the lives of humans.  Maybe we would also giggle about the sparkly vampires.

9.  Oscar Wilde
I know he's dead but I just think he would be so much fun to hang out with.

10.  Roald Dahl
This list could never be complete without one of my favorite childhood authors. I wish I could have met him before he passed.

What authors would you like to meet?

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

image source:  amazon.com

What it's about:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.  -Amazon.com

What I thought:
This book pulled me in immediately and did not let go.  I love books where magic and real life are interwoven.  Some characters don't notice the magic happening around them, others notice but expect a logical, technological explanation.  A select few know that something magic is afoot but cannot explain or control it.  The Night Circus is definitely a magical book.

One thing that I think is successful in this novel are the chapters written in second-person point-of-view.  In these chapters, the author describes the circus from the point-of-view of a customer.  She moves the reader through this new world and makes it more tangible.  Second person is a rare POV to see in a book but it really made me feel like I was part of the circus.

Some of the tents in the circus are difficult to imagine, so I must applaud Morgenstern's clear use of description, which allowed me to experience all the impossible feats.  The world she created was complex and fantastic.  I spent most of the book wishing it was not a fictitious world.  I desperately want to visit the Cirque de Reves dressed all in black with a bright red scarf.

I also loved the characters in this book.  Many of them were mysterious but as I learned their stories, I felt for each one of them.  The love story in the book was a little expected, yet somehow Morgenstern managed to add new layers of magic and mystery, keeping it interesting.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book.  I would read it again in an instant!  Have you ever read The Night Circus?  What did you think?