Archive | Books: what I like, what I’m reading RSS feed for this section

A Hodge-Podge About Life and Writing

21 Mar

Sooo, after spending the majority of the day dealing with a migraine I  finally get around to trying to write a blog post. However, my computer and my internet connection had something of a battle, and now I’m too ticked off at the world in general to write a flash fiction.

Therefore, I am going to talk about something completely different.

I’m just not sure what.

I could talk about how well my current diet erm… eating lifestyle change is going. (The household is following the diet laid out in The 4-Hour Body)

The fact that I’m a little over two belt holes thinner.

Or talk about how my book sales have not been what I had hoped.

Then there’s this fantastic fantasy series I’m reading. (Elisabeth Wheatley sure knows how to weave a plot.)

Perhaps I could touch on the idea of sharing the first few pages of my husband’s portion of a steam punk graphic novel he’s working on (Words only so far. We need an artist.).

Then there’s the undead flash fictions he has been spitting out. (he’s writing circles around me, people!)

Of course there’s the business we’re still hoping to put together in a town very close to where we live. It’s still very hush-hush, but I’m excited! (We thought we almost had it last winter, then federal regulations changed and our supplier had to revamp their product. The scale of our future enterprises has enlarged… hopefully in a good way.  :/  )

I keep thinking I need to whip together some of my steam punk flash fictions and put another book out there. But for some reason my heart isn’t in it at the moment. I’m not sure why. Very confused. I’m also stalled on my other writing projects. Perhaps it’s the approaching spring. Maybe it’s worry over five hundred big and little things. Very likely it’s nothing and I just have to push myself through it. Like most of my projects, I’m pretty sure that the moment I really start to work on it it’s all I’ll be able to think about for a month or two. Kinda like those Carls Jr. commercials, except I may as well wear a big shirt that says “Don’t bother me. I’m writing.”

With it being a lot nicer outside, I won’t feel guilty at the idea of pitching the dogs out the back door and into their pen for an hour or two while I concentrate on a project. You see, I write best alone. However, the dogs hate it when there’s only one person in the house. Especially if they hear my husband getting chores done outside. They don’t leave me alone. It’s like they are trying to make me go outside and bring him back to them. That means that my writing time goes something like this:

Let’s see… she’s just decided what poison to use on… What? Why are you bumping my elbow? Yes. I know he went out that door. No, I’m not going to go get him.

Please stop whining. It’s the most annoying sound on the planet.

Thank you.

Now where was I? Ah, yes… she’s crafting the gelatin dessert, should it be orange or raspberry?  WHAT?! No! I won’t go get him! Please go lay down!

No, the sad eye thing won’t get you anywhere. Knock it off.

I didn’t mean literally!  How did you even manage to tip that over? It was way over there!

No, I did not stand up to let you go outside to find him. Stop barking.

GAH!!!

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Yeah, so needless to say, this has been a creatively barren winter.

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If only they stayed this cute and small:

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A Little Of This And A Little Of That And Presto A Poem

24 Nov

I am so uninspired this evening it’s almost painful. So I’m going to talk about a whole range of random things from the last couple of days and hope to come up with something. Fingers crossed this works.

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First off, Lonnie and I have taken a couple of baby steps toward (hopefully) putting an office together where people can come in and rent an office space by the hour. We have looked at one place that’s up for rent, and have the number of the realtor for another possible location.

On Thursday afternoon we put in a call to our law firm about how we will want to get things set up for starting this business with crowdfunding. The last thing we want to do is screw something up in the first couple of weeks. That would really put a damper on things. (no duh, Rose)  The lawyer we talked with is scheduled to call us back Monday afternoon with her opinion on things, and hopefully we can move forward with a crowdfunding campaign by the end of this week. Hopefully. We’ll have to hear what she has to say about what needs to be set up before we start.  :/ 

My wonderful husband is also looking into grants as well.

Needless to say, my brain is about to explode.

I think I’ll stick with helping with the business plan, playing with the cost projections, and trying to decide which site to go through for raising the funds. If you miss me on Twitter and other places in the internet world, please, say a little prayer for our sanity as we stare at the instructions for how to create a five-year projection and write a business plan; and dream up marketing ideas for the fundraising and the future business.

(It’s going to be great once everything is set up, but for right now…?

Okay, enough of trying not to hyperventilate. On to something else.)

*            *            *

Jay and I have started reading Louis L’Amour’s The Shadow Riders. Our first sitting we finished the 3rd chapter. Already really sucked in. He has seen the movie, but I have no idea what is coming and I am on the edge of my seat. It’s so frustrating being so interested in a book that’s sitting on my phone, but only being able to read it once a week.

By now you’ve probably figured out that I try my best not to have to cancel days with Jay.  lol

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Thanksgiving is almost here and I can not wait.

The pumpkin pie is already calling my name.

One problem with this whole food thing… I have decided to go back onto my diet after Thanksgiving.

Part of me died typing that out.

It’s not a hard diet, really. It’s just the avoidance of refined sugar, almost all simple carbohydrates, and most fruit. I know it will be a lot better for my health, my blood sugar swings will stop being as dramatic, and I will have more energy, but it’s difficult to be really excited.

One thing I will allow myself this time is one of those little wrapped Dove or Hershey’s dark chocolate squares a day. You know those little piece that are wrapped in foil, and in reality there’s like five of them to a serving? Yeah, one a day. Believe me when I say, those things will be savored.

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My mind is empty

No words to fill

I’ve tried for hours

No thoughts to spill

The page lies blank

Just an accusing stare

Nothing to write

So nothing is there

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*            *            *

Hah! I did it!  😀 

A spur of the moment photo shoot that really paid off.  :)

A spur of the moment photo shoot that really paid off. 🙂

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Video

I Remember This One As ‘Green Glass Beads’

20 Nov

When I was little (and still today) my parents had the most amazing hoard of books. I remember sitting on the floor, or curled up in a corner of a couch reading stories, admiring illustrations, pouring over poetry. I remember us all piled on my parents’ bed as mom read The Secret Garden, doing all the different voices. Accents included. I remember dad reading My Side Of The Mountain to us, a chapter at a time, at bedtime. To this day those two books are still among my favorites.

I also remember mom reading a poem about green glass beads to my sisters and me. A little while later, I went on a hunt to see if I could find the poem hidden inside one of the many books stashed throughout the house. I finally found it. The drawings and the words once again captivated me.

Now, I’m all grown up (reluctantly), and I still search for this poem. This time, on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04TW5FUNi7s

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Is it any wonder I love reading and writing books and poetry?

It was all around me growing up. Some of our favorite books were those thick books of poems by Shel Silverstein. Especially Where The Sidewalk Ends. Then of course there were the many Calvin and Hobbs books which could take up many hours of a rainy afternoon (so many big words to learn!). Even with all the other books surrounding us, we also found time to simply flip through the pages of random tomes from the encyclopedia collection. All sorts of wonderful things to learn in one of those.

I think most of us four girls memorized a certain poem by our mother. The one I am thinking of was published in a little booklet from her college. It’s about 3 men in a tub…in the sea. It always makes me smile and sometimes even giggle.

Perhaps I’ll ask her to let me put it on here. Although, the more I think about it (and I have been thinking about it for several months) the more I would like to have that poem in the fore matter of my book of bathroom poetry.

Something else to ask her about.  🙂 

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Afternoon Adventures

17 Nov

I can hear him shuffle across the floor as he comes to answer the door. His face breaks into a huge grin when I holler, “Hey, Jay! How’ve you been?”

“Not bad. Not bad. Yourself?”

“No complaints.”

He chuckles with pleasure as I walk over the threshold.  I stop in front of a half covered couch, dropping my coat where he gestures. “Don’t mind the mess, I’ve been unpacking.”

“So you did manage to get to Vegas. How was it?”

“It was a lot of fun. Won twenty bucks at craps, and lost it at the roulette table. The only bad thing about the trip was my nephew’s driving. He gets to talkin’, then suddenly he’s got his knee holding the steering wheel in one place ’cause he’s talkin’ with his hands, too! In a way I’m glad we only go once every six months. Gives me time to recover from all that adrenaline.”

I laugh while pulling the phone out of my purse.

“Let me get you somethin’ to set on.” Pulling a pillow from the end of the couch he sets it on one of the chairs at the dining room table. “Did you need somethin’ to drink or anything?”

“Thank you, Jay, I’m fine.”

“Alright. You need somethin’ you holler, Okay?”

“Will do.”

I wait as he makes his way to the chair a little way around the table from me. With a bit of a grunt he lowers himself into his seat, and says, “Now if I recall correc’ly he had just moved the gear and horses to another place, and was real’ worried about them havin’ his son and the girl.”

“That’s it exactly. Let me find it…” The phone comes to life as I unlock it, and scroll through the apps to the reader. Pressing the image of the book cover the screen changes to the page we had left off last week. “Chapter twelve.”

“Oh, good. Lay it on me.”

Laughing, I begin to read. “There was no blood anywhere on the sand. He felt sure he could have seen it on the white sand if there had been. No blood…no shots…so there probably had been no fight.

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*            *            *

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPOQz5STKBU

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*The book is a western by Louis L’Amour called Brionne.

Yes, it’s a good one. We read it in six weeks.  🙂

Our next book is going to be The Shadow Riders.

We can’t wait for next week.

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Video

I Forgot How Much I Like Good Fantasy

23 Oct

Good fantasy.

My favorite books in my teens were The Hobbit, almost anything written by Madeline L’langle, and Terry Pratchett’s work is still at the top of my favorites list.

I think what burned me out was trying to read not-so-good fantasy one too many times. Now for years I have been under the impression that it’s just not my ‘thing’.

Until I read The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Then The Key of Amatahns (Argetallam) by Elisabeth Wheatley

And now I’m reading No Angels: Keep the people safe by any means necessary by Eli Hinze

All of them are a little (sometimes a lot) brain bending… in a good way. They’re just enough out there to bring you out of your own mind and preconceived notions and drag you into the story. These are ladies who are now at the top of my list of Authors To Watch.

Basically because

I’m totally fan-girling out on their stuff!

And so is my husband!!!

If we both think these are good books, that’s got to count for a huge thumbs up from the critics.  🙂

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Nice job ladies. Keep ’em comin’.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuZSfvHHMr4

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Video

Marveling at Descriptions in a Sherlock Holmes Book

4 Sep

…Holmes and I walked slowly across the moor. The sun was beginning to sink behind the stables of Mapleton, and the long, sloping plain in front of us was tinged with gold, deepening into rich, ruddy browns where the faded ferns and brambles caught the evening light. But all the glories of the landscape were all wasted upon my companion, who was sunk in the deepest thought.

Very rarely have I found an author who can so succinctly describe a scene. Three sentences and you are there, walking across the moor, watching the sun set.

The above excerpt also explains where I got my prolific use of commas, and a love of longer sentences.

Then there’s this one:

An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was non the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantlepiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.

Talk about bachelor habits!

Again, within this paragraph we get a sketch of the person who was Sherlock Holmes. We learn that he was mentally sharp and thorough, he wasn’t a flashy dresser, but he was a messy room-mate (a not uncommon trait in geniuses). The examples of his habits are clear and easy to picture.

You also learn about the narrator. He is the friend and room-mate of Sherlock. He had been in Afghanistan because of a job. He is a doctor. He has a sense of humor. (after reading this book with the U.K. spellings of things, it was very difficult to leave out the second U in humor. lol)

I love the way Arthur Conan Doyle wrote. He had a comfortable way of getting to his point. The reader is led without being hurried. At the same time the plot is always moving, never stagnant. Everything moves you forward. Even the parts that seem trivial.

This, in my opinion, is an ideal in writing, and a goal toward which I am striving.

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Yeah, my mom’s right. You can always tell what we have been reading from listening to the way we talk…and write.  😀

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Now for the fun part. In my personal opinion, I feel that Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law are to date the most correct interpretations of this duo (although I don’t see any evidence of an ongoing childish argument between the two, and no animosity toward Watson’s wife by Holmes in the stories). So without further ado, here’s one of my favorite parts of the first movie.

Sherlock Holmes scene “Meat or Potatoes” – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBcZwectv0

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Excerpt one is from Adventure 1 in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Excerpt two is from Adventure 5 in the same book.

The Cover Reveal For Laura Oliva’s What The Body Needs!

26 Aug

Hi All!

So here is the second post which I warned you about.

This one is all about my drinking, swearing, fun on the outside, tough on the inside friend Laura Oliva.

Here’s how she describes her writing:

I write tender love stories about tough people. You won’t find any candy-coating here. The men are men, the women are badass, the dirt is dirty, the whiskey is strong. Things aren’t always roses and sunshine.

But sometimes life’s more fun that way.

I quoted this from her blog Writing In The Night.

She has finished writing her second novel, and received the cover art for it a couple days ago.

Laura is super excited about it, and couldn’t wait another week to get it out there for all her fans to see.

Here it is!

What The Body Needs By Laura Oliva

What The Body Needs
By Laura Oliva

And the blurb! Don’t forget to read the blurb:

Jak O’Mara is a survivor.

 

She’s survived in her father’s construction company.  She’s survived in the boxing ring.  And she survived the brutal attack that left her permanently scarred.

 

For the last five years, she’s tried to convince everyone -including herself- she’s no victim.  But with the apparent return of her unknown assailant, the life she’s rebuilt crumbles overnight.

 

Ex-cop Marcus Cutter has his own scars, they just don’t show.  Following the violent death of his younger sister, he fled his old life in disgrace.  After almost six years, “rock-bottom” feels a lot like home.

 

As Jak’s new bodyguard, Marcus is forced to return to the city -and the memories- he’s tried to forget.  All he wants is to do his job, but Jak isn’t what he expects.  When he’s with her, he finally feels something besides pain.

 

When the danger escalates, Jak decides it’s time to take matters into her own hands.  She’s going to find who’s after her, no matter the cost.  Marcus knows he has to protect the woman who’s made his life mean something again.  But how do you protect someone who’s convinced they have nothing left to lose?

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Laura is all over the internet.

You can find her on Twitter: @writermama

You can also visit her book page on her site here.

Her Facebook is here.

And you can get her first book here. It’s currently available for $1.99 in e-book form only. So far, anyway.  🙂

I think she’s also on pintrest and something else, but my poor old computer is telling me it’s had enough of looking up social sites today so you’re on your own there.

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I enjoyed All That Glitters, and I can’t wait until What The Body Needs is also in my Kindle PC (and on my phone. Cause, really, you never know when that grocery check-out line will last more than two and a half minutes. lol).

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My Blog Vacation Report And An Announcement

25 Aug

It was a very good vacation from blogging. It was kind of freeing to spend a few nights just picking out cool stuff written by other people and telling you why it intrigues me.

But now, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.

First, I want to tell you a bit of what I did to refill my mental bucket of inspiration.

I started reading Northanger Abby, by Jane Austin

I got back to reading Regency Buck, by Georgette Heyer

I took some photos of an incoming thunderstorm…in a cemetery

I played round after round (trying for perfect scores) of Grub Guardian

I attended our Encourage Meant meeting and discussed a few possibilities and ideas with my girls

I watched a few episodes of Kekkaishi (an anime my husband and I like)

Lonnie and I went to the Senior Center dance and had a blast

I went shopping with a sister and her two little ones, then we all did lunch

I spent hours talking with my husband about random thoughts and subjects

I went over and spent an hour and a half with my grandma and an aunt (laughing most of the time)

I cheated on my diet and snuck in a few frozen fudge bars

I started working out again

Yeah, it’s been a good week. 😀

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Now for the announcement.

Tomorrow I will have two blog posts. The first will be my regular MMM (Mirth and Music Monday). The second will be the cover reveal and a blurb for Laura Oliva‘s new book What The Body Needs. I figure it’s a big enough deal, since she is a very cool friend of mine and I really liked her first book, that it deserves it’s own post. That and the cover isn’t exactly the most…four year old friendly image. But mostly because she has been a good enough friend that I want to help her in any way I can. 😀

On that note: Here’s a link to her first book All That Glitters on Amazon.

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Here are some of the better photos I snapped on Thursday.

I just couldn't resist stopping to take a few photos as the storm started rolling over the landscape.

I just couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos as the storm started rolling over the landscape.

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Here's that storm from a slightly different angle. It's a little closer now.

Here’s that storm from a slightly different angle. It’s a little closer now.

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These lovely petunias were growing at the base of the flag pole in the cemetery.

These lovely petunias were growing at the base of the flag pole in the cemetery.

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Happy Sunday, y’all!

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The World Is Blurry

10 Jul

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I can’t come up with a poem without very specific inspiration.

I know. I just tried.

That’s the title up there…alone and lonely.

My world is currently blurry. My eyes are fried after staring at the computer all day. I’m proud of myself though. I got almost everything caught up and done.

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I have started reading a book titled Writing In Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly, by Jim Denney.

I haven’t even read half of it, and I have already figured out why my muse is silent about I Killed Them, Mama. I need the wrap up to go faster. As it currently stands the whole second half of the book could easily be summed up into the last chapter.

And I need something…else, something more to happen before the, er, wrap up chapter.

I don’t have it figured out, but at least I know what the problem is and can now address it. 🙂

I was also able to sit down for a full hour and turn my half page of a new book into three and a half pages. I then read it aloud to my husband and got a good response. He even laughed at something I hadn’t realized was funny until he reacted. 🙂

So, all in all it was a pretty good day.

Besides having to skip a posting on the other blog. Something to play catch-up on tomorrow. Except that tomorrow is pretty much full of family…hmmm. My life is getting complicated.

I already got up before my alarm this morning, and did not get my customary nap, so staying up late to get the other blog up to date is out of the question. I will just have to find time on Wednesday or Thursday to make it happen. The world will not spin off it’s axis. California will not fall off into the sea. I will survive.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybXrrTX3LuI

 

Or will I???

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The Cover Reveal For Elisabeth Wheatley’s The Chalice Of Malvron!!!

14 Jun
Janir3 cover draft006-1

A princess with no recollection of the past eight years. War on the horizon.

Who to trust? Who to save?

Sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam wakes, sore and disoriented in the home city of her people, surrounded by relatives who seem concerned for her well-being. As she tries to recover, the Argetallams’ allies, the Stlavish, prepare to unleash a magical relic of untold power against the Argetallams’ age-old enemies, the Brevians. Janir watches silently from the sidelines until she meets a warrior elf and a strange wizard-boy who claim to know her and make her feel…confused. They claim that everything she’s been told is a lie, that her memories were stolen at the command of her father, the Lord Argetallam. As the eve of Brevia’s destruction draws closer, Janir finds herself with the power to stop the Stlavish. Conflicted and confused, she must decide whether she will allow Brevia to be conquered or if she will betray her father and destroy the relic—the Chalice of Malvron…

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to get my eyes on it. 🙂
Only problem is I kinda promised Lonnie that I would read the other ebooks in my ‘pile’ before getting anything new. So as soon as this is out I need one of y’all to read it and tell me that it’s as good as I think it is. OK??? Please?!?
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Time to tell you about the raffle!

Elisabeth has set up an awesome array of prizes. First of which is a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The other 8 winners will receive one of 8 books (some ebooks, some paperback).
Good Luck!!!
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About this author:

Wheatley Pictures33
Elisabeth Wheatley is a high school student homeschooled in the Texas Hill Country. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, or hot guys in armor, she is reading copious amounts of fantasy, playing with her little brothers, studying mythology, and training and showing her Jack Russell Terrier, Schnay.
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You  can get hold of her in several ways. The hard part is choosing whether to just use one, or all. 🙂 
(I went with all. She’s fun.)
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You can find the first two books in this series on Goodreads!:

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Goodreads page for The Key of Amatahns (Argetallam Saga #1)
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Goodreads page for The Secrets of the Vanmars (Argetallam Saga #2
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