Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So overflowing with love and joy

that it rains down my cheeks as tears.

Even with all the chaos of this November, and utterly failing at Nano, I find myself so loved that I can't imagine what I have done to deserve it!

I am preparing to head to my home town for a brief visit to celebrate my brother's wedding and I find that my dance card is full! So many people are going out of their way to see me, I am touched! My parents had run out of Christmas decorations and weren't able to decorate my special tree Fred (yes I named my special pine tree, he started out less than a foot tall and now towers over 7 feet) so their neighbor stopped decorating his house and brought over his decorations for Fred just because he knew I was coming home and would want to see Fred all prettied up. The old janitor at my school remembers a promise he made to me that he had to be there upon my 10 year reunion, well I wont be able to make it. He had planned to take a day off work but upon finding out I would be visiting he changed his plans so that he could be there to see me! Many many people I never expected to are dropping their plans to visit with me on my brief trip. It truely is amazing to find all this love pouring in my cup!

Some of this joyous out look on life suddenly maybe partially due to the books I have recently read.

To start off with the opening quote from The Unsuspecting Mage by Brian Pratt

""Having your nose stuck in a book may be a great way to spend your spare time unless you do it to the exclusion of everything else. You get up, grab your book, then read until the night comes when your forced to put it down for sleep. Oh sure, you have the occassional interuptions in the pattern like eating and school but that, I suppose, must be tolerated"

Talk about a totally appropriate opening line for any book lover to read! I have felt this is my life lately, so wrapped up in my books, but the need for them was great this month. I had to be able to escape into the fantasy world where more often than not Love triumphs over all.

I have also been reading a series by P.C. Cast called the Goddess Summoning Series.

The first book - Goddess of the Sea - was by far the best book I have read in a long time! I was reading it at work and when the time came to leave I was giggling with glee the whole way home. Then later in the night the emotions of the book overwhelmed me and I swear I could feel my heart breaking with the character's. I have not cried so hard in a very very long time! Tears of anquish and pain were soon followed with tears of relief and joy.  I suggest this book to anyone who loves the myths and romance!

The next book in the series that I read - Goddess of Spring - makes me wish I had more talent with art. I wish I could show what I see forming in my mind with the descriptions of the underworld! I think everyone needs to read this especially the soul mates portion. It gives hope and wonder! I may still attempt an art piece for that particular scene!

I then read - Goddess of the Rose - and wow! That is almost all I can say, the pain and sacrifice this story contains is not for the faint of heart, but Wow! So worth it!

I am now reading - Goddess of Legend and can't wait to see what this tale holds.

All of these books by PC Cast has renewed my love for the Myths! I hope the stories continue!

I hope you are all surrounded by the love you desire!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Its Nano Time!

Wow November 1st came around quick! I managed to finish the book I was reading before the start and even got all the chores and shopping done, but I still have a few pending projects over my head.  Of course as usual I am already procrastinating on this project, still sitting at a big ole Zero words out of 50,000.  Maybe I can motivate myself to at least get 1,667 done as needed daily.  For being so excited about this project for the past two weeks, I have a really slow start going.

Oh well! Time to get motivated! I'll try to keep you all updated as to my progress.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Need more days in October

November is coming way too fast! I feel like I am no where near prepared for the Nanowrimo and have already started procrastinating. I should be taking the spare time I have at work to get more phases done on my outline and more character descriptions down but instead I am distracted by Christmas shopping and blogs.

I have grown completely addicted to shopping on Etsy.com.  Its so easy to find unique gifts for my loved ones.  I find myself spending hours browsing elephant items and jewelry. Oohhing and Aahhing over paintings and photographs, adding more and more things to my favorites list.  Anything that makes me not think about my Nano Novel or other things I need to get done before November.

And then the blogs! I have been reading blogs about books, about horses, about dogs and cats.  It seems every blog I read there is a link to another and another until I don't remember exactly why I was looking at a blog in the first place or how I got to the current blog.  I did pick one particular blog to go to on purpose though and that is The Daily Coyote.  I just recently finished the book with the same title by Shreve Stockton.  The book brought me back out of my East Coast city self into the old Wyoming cowgirl me, helped me get my feet planted back on earth.  I will eventually have to have a whole post just on that book but that is for another day. Anyway back to the blog, so I was looking at the Daily Coyote blog and there was a link to another one of Shreve's blogs Honey Rock Dawn, I have been reading through this site for hours now. Work is piling up next to me, my outline is laying open with nothing new added, I am completely absorbed by her posts and photos.

So the procrastination continues . . .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ugh another morning to wake up to

And hence my day starts :(

It was so chilly this morning and it was so cozy curled up in bed with Valerie.  But I managed to drag my toosh out of bed this morning and off to work I went.

I have been working feverishly to get some of my pending projects done before NaNo starts.  I have been working on my story as well.  Haven't quite finished with character and landscape descriptions.  I do however have a title finally (I think anyway) "Last Mountains".  Its very exciting, now if I could just come up with a synopsis I could submit a nomination for the 30 days 30 covers contest.

Oh well, my current focus is on getting a phase outline put together, currently at phase number 26, I figure I will need about 125 to 150 total phases to complete my book.  The 50,000 word count is looking a little daunting right now, looking at my minuscule little outline I am thinking I will probably get stuck somewhere around 20,000 to 25,000 words. No where near where I want to be, but I'll keep pushing forward.

Hope you all end each day with warm snuggles!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun and Plots

So this past weekend was so much fun at the Boston Book Festival!  I was only able to attend two of the talks but they were both great!

The first I attended was the discussion about the Ancients. Caroline Alexander started off discussing her new book The War That Killed Achilles that looks into the epic the Iliad (one of my favorite books).  It was interesting to see the take on just the aspect of war and not read into what people think of the symbolism etc. I do plan on purchasing her book to read with the Iliad next time I read it.  Then Sir Peter Stothard discussed his book The Spartacus Road. It was interesting how he made us all think back to how the people of the time lived, it was common for wars and slaves. He also discussed about how when you read these epic poetry books that you must read it from the thinking of the time and not how we look at things like slaves and war now.  The final author who spoke was Stacy Schiff who discussed her book Cleopatra. She touched on the process of researching when there is little to go on.  She talked about how she had to research not only Cleopatra but also other important figures of the time in order to fully grasp the time and live of the figure of her book.  Another book that sounds interesting and I may have to read at some time.

My hubby and I then took a lunch break at a local restaurant/bar called Vox Populari.  It was fantastic food and drinks! The best lobster bisque I have ever had!!

And then the main event I attended for, the Young Adult authors!! The first speaker was Noni Carter, she read a brief passage from her book Good Fortune.  It has an interesting flow to the book but not exactly my cup of tea.  Then Kathryn Lasky, author of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series (the owl books that just became a movie).  She discussed how she brings real events into her fantasy books.  Some of the battles that the owls fight are based in actual historical battles.  She discussed how she must spend many hours researching each of her books, ie. how owls fly, what they eat, where they go, etc.  The next presenter was Francisco Stork, author of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors.  He chose to discuss how he chooses to write a book by coming up with people who wouldn't normally be together and putting them into a situation where they meet and how they interact with one another. 

And Last but not least Kristin Cashore came out to discuss the writing process for her! Even my hubby who does not read books at all and really had no interest perked up and was laughing along with the rest of us as she discussed her paranoia and process. She talked about how she feels the need to hide her writing in a water proof fire proof safe, but then begins to fear meteors so send a copy to a friend down the street and then starts to wonder about bouncing meteors LOL She then uses voice recognition and puts everything on the computer and emails it to herself on several accounts. She then walked around with one of the notebooks from Bitterblue *squeals* (I couldn't read anything, her hand writing is tiny tiny tiny!) and it looks like when I write stories, whole pages crossed off!!

She then talked about how her work is crap, how all authors work is crap and it only gets to be a good or great book thru numerous revisions and a lot of work. She made it very clear that it was a lot of work to put a good book out there and how by the end of the process you pretty much hate the book because you have looked at it so many times!

One of the questions that was asked of her was how long it took for her to decided on the land (map & terrain) and she laughed "not as long as I should have spent on it." she said I decided Katsa & Po needed to take 3 weeks to get from point A to point B but it wasn't going to take that long so I threw up some giant mountains and an impenetrable forest. Now in the process of writing Bitterblue I am having to get down details of the landscape that should have been done in the first book.

She said that Graceling took her about a year and a half to complete and Fire a little longer. She said that it was more difficult to write Fire because she had to get into Fire's head and it was a dark and scary place.

She was fantastic!

She took her time with the signing too, even though her line was super long! She commented on loving signing Advance Reader copies when i handed her my Fire book to be signed.

It was a very exciting and motivating experience! I returned home feeling absolutely thrilled, and looking forward to reading the books again!

On top of reading again I have finally given into some of my friends and joined the NaNoWriMo.  For those of you who aren't aware this stands for National Novel Writing Month.  Aspiring writers and already accomplished writers are encouraged to join a one month challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel.  Now I have had an idea for a fantasy novel floating around my head for some time now and thought this would be a good opportunity for my to really get it down.

So here we go, all signed up and looking forward to November 1st!  As we are not allowed to begin writing until November I have taken the time to gather several notebooks and a notepad/planner.  I have begun detailing each of the main characters so that I wont be stumbling over who has what eye and hair color. I have also started a basic outline that will cover roughly the first half of the novel, and I will just see where the book goes from there.  I am hoping to finish my main characters today and possibly get some major plot points down that I want to make sure I hit.

I woke up this morning feeling very excited about this project but even more nervous that I may fail as I have on many other similar projects.  All I can do is hope that I can keep the words flowing!

Wish you all an amazing day filled with words!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grinning from Ear to Ear

I just finished re-reading the two books by Kristin Cashore and I just can't stop grinning! This is the second time in less than a year that I have read these books (I almost never do that unless another book in a series is released and I need to refresh) and honestly I already can't wait to read them again!

I read Graceling first this time (in the order they were actually released) and I was instantly absorbed into the world of Katsa, Po, and numerous other excellent characters.  It started another sleepless week where I would hear my hubby come home and quickly shut the reading light off and slip the book to the floor and pretend to be asleep (not that he gets mad just knows that I need to sleep at some point and it drives him nuts that I never want to put the book down).  I again found myself crying or angry along with the characters (watch out hubby) and even felt the chill of the winter air (probably due to not turning the heat on in the house). I have to say in Graceling my favorite character was Po with his secrets and love for family.  I do love Katsa as well but her ways of thinking and power was just more than I could imagine for myself.  It was difficult to drag myself away from their world to work.

I just only a short time ago finished re-reading Fire which is definitely my favorite of the two. I adore the characters and the land with the monsters and power.  Again, I was smiling, crying and feeling a sense of loss right along with Fire. I am left with such a feeling of joy at the end of this book I almost can't wait to go home and hug my hubby.  I think the complexity of the characters in this book were much more appealing to me, not sure if it was that I could connect more with their quirks or what, either way I am madly in love with each and every one of them.

Now sadly I am stuck back in the real world where we don't get to ride horses everywhere or have unusual but dangerous monsters or mind readers/controllers.  At least I get to head to the Boston Book Festival tomorrow and hear the amazing author of these two books, Kristin Cashore, talk about her books and writing process and hopefully get to shake her hand and thank her for bringing such a joy to my life (and possibly have her sign Fire for me)!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and find some world to get lost in as well!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I want to do that

So after following a few readers during the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon I want to participate next time around.  I believe the next one will be in April and I can't wait! I love reading for hours on end, and think I might just be able to pull of at least 18 to 20 hours.  The hardest part will be getting up at the start time!

So that is my first I want to do that of the day. 

The second is the Boston Book Festival! I have been looking at the site for a couple of weeks now after discovering it.  I knew I could never convince my husband to go; however, we do a NFL pool picks every week and instead of cash going into the pot, the winner gets to pick something he or she wants the other to do.  So guess who won this week . . . that's right ME!! So I get to go to the festival! I am so so excited that I will be able to join other book lovers and authors to celebrate our love of books. 

On top of just going to the festival, I already have made plans to attend a talk that includes one of my favorite young adult fantasy authors Kristin Cashore! I am going to re-read both her books, Graceling & Fire this week and hopefully I will get to the chance to have her sign one or both of them!

It has been a very exciting weekend, so much so that I forgot to start putting together my list of top ten YA books.  I am sure this is going to be a very difficult list to put together!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Disapearing Act

After looking over several sites again trying to determine the top 10 middle reader books, I was surprised and somewhat disappointed that some of my favorites didn't make the list.  I think that will be the hardest part about this project is sticking to an overall top ten instead of my favorites.

So here is the top ten Middle reader list that I finally settled on:

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
3. The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4. Holes by Lewis Sachar
5. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L. Engle
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I have to admit that I am looking forward to reading a couple of new books, but I am saddened by the fact that James & The Giant Peach, Indian in the Cupboard, Wind in the Willows, etc. aren't included in the list.  I also admit that I did fudge a little bit to squeeze a Laura Ingalls Wilder book onto the list *looks sheepish* I just couldn't help leaving it off.

So after the torment of having to choose this list without including some of my favorites I had to call my mother. After chatting for some time about the books that we wish had been up on this list we came across the subject of the recent library book sale in my home town.  I was shocked when my mom told me about how many children's books were being sold because they just weren't being checked out anymore.  She went on to tell me that there are very few Dr. Seuss books even left in the library, most had been sold or discarded. How can that be? My honest hope is that parents are just buying the books for their children but I have a sinking feeling that there is a possibility that parents aren't reading aloud to their kids.

Now I can't say too much as I am not a mother myself, but it is truly a sad day when parents don't instill that initial love for books.  I am not very comfortable reading aloud myself but if I do have children I fully intend to read to them like my mom did for me. So with that said I think that I shall practice reading out loud while reading through these children's books.  Niko & Valerie may not care what I am saying or even understand the words but I know that they do find comfort and joy when I talk to them.

So with that I bid you a good day and ask anyone who reads this to read out loud to their children furry or otherwise.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On the search for childhood

The past few days I have been in the process of gathering a list of the top ten children's books.  I quickly came to the conclusion that this category need to be broken down into young children's books, like picture books, and middle readers, beginning chapter books.  So after looking at five or six different websites giving their picks for the top 10, 50 or 100 books I have narrowed my reading list down.

So for Children's Books:
1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
4. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
5. Harold & The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
7. Corduroy by Donald Freeman
8. Curious George by H. A. Rey
9. Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi & Ron Barrett

and because it was one of my favorites I couldn't just leave it off the list

11. If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

This was so difficult! Looking over other lists and results from google searches I came across so many books I remember and loved! It was very hard to leave Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel off the list and all of the Bernstein Bears Books!  I also think eventually I will have to do an exclusive Dr. Seuss list since I could easily make this entire list his books.

So the Early Children's book list is done! Now I need to start on the Middle Reader list, ugh!  Time for more googling . . .

In the mean time I am planning a little tour of used book stores in the area to start gathering my books, not that my bookshelves can really handle anymore.  Also I have been browsing other book readers blogs and started following many of them.  I have come across a great mini challenge that many other bloggers are attempting.  I may during the next Read -a-thon that they host in the spring but for now I will send you on to the Dewey's Read-a-thon page and hope you can squeeze in a few hours of challenges.

All the best to you!


Friday, October 1, 2010


So I am a little new to blogging but have been debating a particular reading project of mine.  I have been planning on reading my way through popular and top books and sharing my thoughts with anyone who may want to listen.  Hopefully I can also get some of your feedback on these books as well.

Anyway, a little about myself, I am an avid reader and have been as long as I can remember. Looking back through my life, friends have come and gone, pets, jobs, classes, interests have all joined those friends that have made brief appearances, but one consistant thing I see looking back has been a book in my hand. I have my amazing mother to thank for my love of books, as a child she was constantly reading to my brother and me.  Once we were old enough to read for ourselves she took us to the library almost anytime we wanted, sometimes it was 3 or 4 days a week! She enrolled us in the summer reading program offered and I would read and read, until my dad would kick me out of the house and make me go ride a bike, my goal was always to get the free book (I think it was for every 50 or 100 books you read). Summers were the best time, during the day when dad was working mom would make a lunch and sit with us for a couple of hours reading a book aloud.  When bed time would roll around we would crawl into our beds while mom sat in the hallway between our rooms and read more to us.

In school my teachers encouraged the reading. I loved library days and the silent reading time, one memory I have in particular, I think I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and the teacher had a covered wagon in the room that I would sit in during silent reading and I read a  book called Stable Mates (I think) that I read over and over again.  I didn't encounter a book I didn't like until 6th grade when I was in an advanced reading program and had to read Jane Eyre, I don't know if I was just too young to appreciate to book or if it was just the fact that I was forced to read it.  That book was later followed with books in high school like The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Fin & Tom Sawyer.  All in all I loved most of the books I read.  I may have discovered some books I really didn't like in school but I also discovered books I would love forever in my English Classes.  I have to thank my 11th & 12th grade English teacher Mrs. H. for introducing me to some of my all time favorites which include: Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Frankenstien, and Island of Dr. Moreau just to name a few.

My first semester in college also introduced me to a new area of books that I fell madly in love with, Epic Poetry.  Dante's Divine Comedy, Iliad and Beowulf immediately joined the ranks of my favorite books!  That class was one of the classes I was most passionate about in my entire schooling career.

Now that I am out of High School and college I find myself in a job that I am not passionate about and so I try to get lost in my books again.  I read everything from childrens books to memoirs to poetry to fantasy.  I get so lost in my books, I loose complete track of time. No matter what happens throughout the day I always know there is a whole other world waiting for me when I get home.

 My only issue lately has been the fact that I have gotten stuck in a book rut, I have been reading only one particular type of book, I have been stuck in the Science Fiction/ Fantasy world for some time now even though I know that I would enjoy other genres of books.  So in order to help myself expand and to break out of my reading rut I decided on a little project for myself.  Over the next year I want to read what are considered top books of different genres. This idea started out big (and may eventually get there) with a goal to read the top 100 books of all time, the problem arose that everywhere I looked there was a different list of what was considered the best books.  The other problem was that I have a hard time finishing projects and the top 100 books seemed like far more of a project than I am prepared to take on.

So starting with the new year I plan on reading the top books of a few genres of books/pieces of writing.  I figure that I can start small with Childrens Books and then move to Young Adults, followed by Plays, Poetry/Essays and ending with Classics. This is just a tenative list, it may change once I start looking for lists.  With each genre I will try to compile a list of what are considered the top 10 works (in english at least). I will hopefully obtain each of these books for my own collection, if not then I will try to get them from the library.  As I read each book I will try to share with you all my thoughts, ideas, or anything that comes to mind. 

So any thoughts, ideas or suggestions for books or genres are really appreciated! 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope that you will join me on my journey!

Hope this finds you all in good health and high spirits!