Dec 18, 2008

Guess What?

I cannot believe I went to the Kelly Parra book chat tonight and won a book! I am totally excited to read her young adult paranormal novel Invisible Touch.

It was great chatting with Kelly and getting some insight into her writing process. One of the things I enjoyed hearing about the most was her story creation/editing process. She said that she starts with a very bare bones story and adds another layer to it every time she rewrites it. I am excited to see what kind of depth this will add to her story.

Kelly shares more of her experience about become on a writer on her website. Here is a taste:

“I wish I could say I was an avid reader all my life, but that would be stretching the truth. The real truth is, I've been an avid lover of stories all my life. I've loved movies since I was a kid and was hooked on VC Andrews as a teenager. Beyond television, it was art.

So when I became pregnant with my first child and someone gave me a Nora Roberts Romance novel, I was hooked from there on out. I had caught the Nora Roberts fever. When I got my hands on as many NR books as I could, I started exploring new authors with a special enjoyment for Romantic Suspense. One day as I was reading an Intimate Moments author bio, I discovered a stay-at home mother and author not far from my hometown who wrote books for a living. There was nothing glamorous or mysterious about her life. She was in fact a regular Jane...like me.”

Read more about Kelly’s life and writing on her website.
You can find her lots of other places online:

  • YA FRESH: A young adult focused blog Kelly shares with Tina Ferraro, fellow author.
  • SECRET FATES: An secret blog to help celebrate the launch of INVISIBLE TOUCH.
  • MYSPACE
  • WORDS OF A WRITER: Kelly’s blog about writing and publishing.

Have you felt the crush of the Iron Heel?

The Iron Heel by Jack London is considered to be on of the first pieces of dystopic fiction. I was eager to read it when I was it listed on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, but was dismayed to find it wasn’t at the library. But I am SMARTER than the library search system and I found the book in a Jack London collection annoyed that it did not come up with my first search.

I have never read any of London’s writings previously but I fell instantly in love and feel eager to read more of his work. What Jack London books have you read?

The Iron Heel is in the public domain and available online. The first two paragraphs I found overwhelmingly striking and I will share them with you now. (This work uses a considerable amount off footnotes which I am leaving off for now.)

CHAPTER I

MY EAGLE

The soft summer wind stirs the redwoods, and Wild-Water ripples sweet cadences over its mossy stones. There are butterflies in the sunshine, and from everywhere arises the drowsy hum of bees. It is so quiet and peaceful, and I sit here, and ponder, and am restless. It is the quiet that makes me restless. It seems unreal. All the world is quiet, but it is the quiet before the storm. I strain my ears, and all my senses, for some betrayal of that impending storm. Oh, that it may not be premature! That it may not be premature!

Small wonder that I am restless. I think, and think, and I cannot cease from thinking. I have been in the thick of life so long that I am oppressed by the peace and quiet, and I cannot forbear from dwelling upon that mad maelstrom of death and destruction so soon to burst forth. In my ears are the cries of the stricken; and I can see, as I have seen in the past, all the marring and mangling of the sweet, beautiful flesh, and the souls torn with violence from proud bodies and hurled to God. Thus do we poor humans attain our ends, striving through carnage and destruction to bring lasting peace and happiness upon the earth.

Dec 17, 2008

Learn To Be Quiet

Learn To Be Quiet
Franz Kafka
***

You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait,
just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Dec 16, 2008

Well Read Challenge Update

As I mentioned the other week, my 1% Well Read to read list has changed from the original choices. The first two titles on the list were ones that I read otherwise, but within the time frame of the challenge. I decided to include them in order to finish the challenge by the end of the year.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale

2. Frankenstein

There are not many young adult novels on the list. As you know this is an area of literature that is a passion of mine so I made a special note of them and have read the following:

3. The Little Prince

4. Franny and Zooey

With my recent interest in science fiction titles from that genre have taken a prominent place on my list. Frankenstein, as seen above and

5. The Time Machine

Taking part in this challenge has been extremely motivating and I am looking forward to continuing to read books off the list. I have found them to be a nice guide through literature.

25 Things You Don’t Care About

I was ecstatic today to find out that I had to been tagged by Chelsea to tell you 25 Things about myself. And while I am pretty sure you don’t care I am going to do it anyway. See, the thing is I have been waiting my whole blogging career to be tagged and no one ever does it. What is up with that people?!

So I was all thrilled and honored to be chosen by Chelsea and go to her blog to check it out. And what does she say? “I'm trying to tag people I don't normally tag!” What exactly does that mean, Chelsea? Why have you been leaving me out all this time?!

1. Last night I dreamed I was dating Ricco Rodriguez. We were dating in secret because apparently the first rule of dating Ricco is not to talk about Ricco.

Don’t know who he is? Yeah, I didn’t either until I started watching Celebrity Rehab.

2. Out of an out curious moment I decided to take a look at Celebrity Rehab online. BOY, was that a mistake. Because you can’t watch just one. I stayed up all night watching the whole first season. And what did I get out of it? Dating this guy^ in my dreams. AWESOME. Jealous?

3. I have two girls. Ages 3 and 5. The older one weighed 6lb 1oz and the second was 8lbs exactly. And by the way, the two pound difference, OW! They were both born through induction and without the aid of pain meds.

4. During the holiday season I feel it dutiful to point out that I am not a big fan of turkey. It can be divine when cooked to perfection, but I sure as hell can’t cook it to perfection.

So, what do I cook instead? Generally duck. I really enjoy duck. I do a hoisin-lime duck that is to die for. (If you click on the link and are interested in the recipe, make sure you print it out, it isn’t always available online. The first link is for the sauce and the second link for how to use it with the duck.)

5. And speaking of ducks. Did you know I am allergic to duck eggs? For a while I didn’t know that either. And believe me, it wasn’t fun finding out. The neighbors had a few ducks and they were producing a lot of eggs. They were using them in their baked goods and I would go over and borrow them sometimes too. BIG MISTAKE. Not going to tell you all the details. Just know, it was a really big mistake.

6. I cannot stress this enough. While I LOVE to read, I love books EVEN MORE. (I even had to resize this picture so that it took up more space on my page than Ricco, lest my preference be subconsciously conveyed to you!) I love the smell of them and the feel of them. I like to run my hands across the covers and bindings. I enjoy looking for a book and getting to touch the others in the process. I could go on and on and sound like a freak in the process. But no, I have never done THAT with a book. Hello people, paper cuts?

7. So, you may or may not have noticed this about me, but I love words and generally have an inability for brevity. If you look at Chelsea’s list she generally didn’t take up more than one line per item, and what am I averaging at? 6 lines, at least. I enjoy using words and expressing myself and I think sometimes I need to learn that less is more, but unfortunately for you TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY! :)

8. As a kid I used to dream of being wildly successful at a young age. Maybe we all have these dreams. But I wanted to be the youngest singer or the youngest something else to be popular since so and so. And clearly….my time has passed.

9. Giving my complete adoration for the god that is David Cook I have to just say his album kind of sucks. Anyone out there take a listen?

Could it just be that he is a glorified cover artist? I actually can say that even with its flaws I enjoy his pre idol album much better. And Idol seems to have been his peak. I hope for more from him in the future. We can always try and blame Idol for the suckage. Also, David, what is up with these rumors of you possibly getting engaged to someone who isn’t me?

P.S. Why weren’t YOU in my dreams last night?

10. Don’t tell my boyfriend this, but I prefer tall guys. Ricco up there is 6’4. The fact that he is a full foot taller than me makes me swoon. David Cook is reportedly 6’ so we are totally good to go. But seriously, I do not like the short hair. Can we do something about that please? But, yeah, love the facial hair. DO NOT TOUCH IT. Wait, what was this number about? Oh, right. So in conclusion, will someone please memo my boyfriend and inform him he needs to grow a few inches. No, a few more. Yeah, nearly a foot would be perfect. ;)

11. Chelsea thinks I know the answer to everything, and I don’t mind.

12. I have been making a lot of goals recently. Mostly reading ones. I want to try and read 10 books off the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. But I want to try and read 10 every 3 months for the next year. I also want to read some novels off the 100 Best Science Fiction Novels and I would like to complete the 30 books to read before 30 before my 30th birthday.

13. I was Sweet 16 and never been kissed.

14. I prefer to read books with people rather than alone. I like book clubs but that isn’t even what I am talking about. I like to share the whole process of reading with a group of people and share ideas about it as we read. Of course this is enjoyable one on one too.

15. I will always consider myself a dancer. I grew up dancing and while a lot of art speaks to me, dance speaks to me on the deepest level.

I started doing modern dance in high school and continued it through into college. Now that I am a mom I don’t dance as much any more. Though I sometimes teach my kids ballet steps in the basement. I want to get them into dance class but I keep managing to put it off.

I love shows about dancing and just watching people talking about dance. I also love all the backstage elements of the dance experience. I have done lighting design and assistant stage managed a few shows.

16. I really like to travel but it is has been a long time since I have done so. And recently when I do go away I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. Doe this mean I don’t like to travel any more? When I get there I am just really tired, and it isn’t as fun when you have to plan all the stuff and can’t just show up and have fun like you did when you were a kid.

17. Speaking of traveling, I have left the country three times by airplane and twice by car. Unless we are counting Puerto Rico and The Bahamas. In that case I have left the country times by airplane. In those journeys I have also been to: Ecuador, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

18. I have 2 tattoos. I got my first one in Australia when I was 18 and I got the second one in Las Vegas when I was 24. The first in on my inner left ankle, the second is on the top of my right foot. They have each come to represent one of my daughters. As my 5yo always say, “I am your butterfly baby and she (her sister) is the flower baby.”

19. I was a vegetarian for 7 years. Including the majority of my traveling years. As a result I have missed out on eating: ants, guinea pig, kangaroo, crocodile, and haggis. But honestly, I wouldn’t have eaten the haggis anyway.

20. I love roller coasters and I wish I was riding one right now! It has been a long time since I have been on one. The only place I really travel to lately is Vegas and to ride on just one one time is SO SO expensive.

21. So I am pretty pathetically afraid of heights (but roller coasters don’t bug me, go figure.) But no where near as pathetic as John Green.


22.
Due to the massive amounts of snow accumulating on the ground I have decided to keep my 5yo home today. I don’t want to drive in that stuff.

23. My favorite flower is a cala lily and this is in part because of Georgia O'Keefe who I was extremely interested in growing up.


24. I named one of my daughters after someone in the following music video.


25. I prefer my books beat up to begin with. I figure they are going to get messed up eventually so if they are messed up when I get them I don’t feel as guilty about it.

And there you have it. 25 Things You Didn’t Care About. List your favorite in the comments!

Dec 14, 2008

Sunday Salon: Goal Not Reached

The Sunday Salon.com
So I made it my personal goal to read 6 books this weekend. But I didn't make it. I only read 5. And you know what? I feel pretty damn good about it.

An uncut book after bookbinding from folded pa...Nope, I didn't read 5 full books. But it felt great to get these ones done and mark them off of my books to read before 2009 list! Here they are in order of completion.

1. The Cure
2. Franny and Zooey
3. Coraline
4. Larklight
5. The Time Machine

Have you read any of these?

My favorite was The Time Machine, though my boyfriend did point out something really interesting about it. He said that the idea of The Time Machine filled him with a sense of dread. He considered the idea of a future that was unrecognizable to be completely grotesque. I thought this was a pretty unique insight and in part an extremely valid one. I tried to think of what would be more upsetting to me, a horrible future with beings recognizable to me or any future with beings unrecognizable to me? I decided that it would be more upsetting to read about a horrible future that involved beings that I recognized.

I also think as a writer there is a lot more freedom in creating a completely new future, almost like landing on another planet then trying to connect our present with a future one. What speculative fiction interests you the mot? What do you find the most disturbing?
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