On the Importance of Reading Aloud

Following on this awesome post by Lindsay Allison about the importance of being a good beta reader, I’d like to share something I’ve learned from our little cuddle-fest of local writers.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from my critique group is how important it is to read your own fiction aloud. Before the formation of this group, I never used to read my own writing aloud, but now I do it in my everyday practice. After I’ve finished a chapter or long section of writing, I will go back over it and, rather than simply reading it silently in my head as I would once have done, I read it out loud to myself. Continue reading

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A Wild Blogger Appears! 2013 Goals Update! Also New Theme!

2013 Writing Goals Update

Back in January, I did a list of writing goals for the upcoming year. And I gotta say, I haven’t done too horribly. I’ve always been the type of person to set inhumanly lofty goals for myself (insert shooting for moon, landing among not stars because stars are not closer than the moon thank you science clichéd phrasing here) and this was no exception. So, despite not meeting all of my goals, I think I’m doing well so far. Let’s do a quick analysis, shall we? Continue reading

True Love Waits – A blurb for my new novel project

I’m very happy with this blurb, so I wanted to share:

Patsy Godwin is a good Christian woman, but lately God has been testing her. She and Peter were having some marital problems, but that’s all behind them now. So is Peter’s bashed in skull. She should have seen it coming. He was too perfect. Too holy. Outwardly, he was the perfect Baptist preacher, protector of his small rural flock. But even the godliest of men is bound to have a flaw. Peter’s fatal flaw turned out to be fucking Patsy’s daughter in the tool shed one night after the Father/Daughter dance. Now Patsy’s got a taste for blood that can only be quenched with more murder.

Yowsa.

This will certainly be something different from what I’m used to writing.

Top 10 Books of 2012 (Read, not published)

I like making lists. I’ll admit it. I’m a list maker. So at the end of the year I like to make a lists of all my favorite things from that year. Now, in this case, these are not all books that were published in 2012, they are just books I read in 2012. I’m way late on some of these books, and I realize that. I’m also kind of late on doing New Year stuff. *shrug* I regret nothing.

Okay, here they are: Continue reading

Yallfest! Charleston Young Adult Book Festival – Nov 10, 2012

So many awesome author events coming up in the near future for yours truly! I managed to snag tickets for Neil Gaiman next month (excuse me while I flail haphazardly), one of the Erin Hunters later in the month, and now I find out about this awesome YA Lit Event coming to Charleston, South Carolina in November of this year! As I was looking through the author list, I was mildly interested in a few of the guest speakers I was seeing… and then my eyes fell on one name.

BETH. FREAKING. REVIS. Author of the Across the Universe trilogy.

AHHHHHHHH I AM SO PSYCHED.

Definitely going to add more YA books to my “to read” list over the next couple of months, so I can be up on some of the other author guests at the event. Some are writers I’ve been meaning to check out for a while anyway. Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Deborah Harkness (I *started* reading A Discovery of Witches and really like it so far), David Levithan, Cat Tiernan, and Kami Garcia, to name a few. To see the full list of authors coming to Yallfest, click here!

It’s a good thing John Green isn’t coming, because I might actually explode with happiness.

Finally finished The Millennium Trilogy yesterday…

Oh man. Oh man. Ohhh man. Epic long post coming up in the next few days, but… suffice to say. The final book did NOT disappoint. Lisbeth Salander is my waifu.

Reading tons of great books lately. Right now I’m working on the first in Molly Harper’s “Nice Girls Don’t” series. Omg that woman is absolutely hilarious. The MC is a recently fired librarian who is shot by a drunk hunter who mistakes her for a deer in the woods, after which she is changed into a vampire. Hijinks ensue. This book is definitely feeding my need for actual GOOD vampire fiction, which is something I have been lacking since finishing The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice about 15 years ago. And it’s FUNNY. Awesome. The literary world definitely needs more monster comedy.

So what are you guys reading right now?

Help! I’ve fallen prey to a sappy pet story! Laura reads “Dewey”

I’ve been eyeballing this book with the adorable orange kitty on the cover for a very long time. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, and I needed something new to read. This is a dramatic re-enactment of what I look like about 10 pages in:

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

Dewey was a library cat, which is exactly what it sounds like. Cat Channel dot com gives a brief history of cats living in libraries; a tradition which seems to date back all the way to Ancient Egypt:

Throughout the ages, library cats have upheld literary works, inspired reading and literacy programs, boosted librarian morale and befriended patrons. Experts trace the origins of library cats to ancient times, when Herodotus reported the existence of libraries in Egyptian temples. While many felines prowled the fields of early Egypt protecting crops, others underwent special training to stop rodents and serpents from infesting houses and temples, where preserved papyrus has since been unearthed.

So I found that background pretty interesting. But, back to Dewey. His story begins on a cold morning in January. The librarians of Spencer Public Library have just begun their day when they hear a strange noise coming from the after hours drop box. It sounds like an animal. Fearing some wild creature, Vicki Myron peeks cautiously into the box and is startled by what she finds there. Huddled in a corner, frozen and scared, is a tiny kitten. After a warm bath in the office sink, Dewey feels a little better and begins purring and rubbing his face on anyone who will let him. His paws remain injured from frost-bite for his first week or so at the library, but that doesn’t stop him from exploring his surroundings and getting to know any and everyone he can. The staff and patrons immediately fall in love with him and it is decided he will stay. They name him Dewey Readmore Books after the Dewey Decimal System. From young to old, Dewey is loved by and inspires everyone he meets. Yes, it’s a mushy pet story book… and it’s wonderful. Go read it!

There is also a children’s picture book version, Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library!

Ugh, now I want a cat for our library SO BAD.

PS: I found this Google Map of all the library cats around the world. Apparently a good number of libraries still have them! Pretty cool!

Review Thursday: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Originally posted on GoodReads – Nov. 2011

So, yeah. Stephen King is still the master of suspense. In case you were wondering. In this latest behemoth of a novel, the plot runs something like this:

1) Guy goes back in time.

2) Guy prevents the Kennedy assassination.

3) Profit ???

4) Yeah… Not so much on the profit.

I really liked King’s approach to time travel in this. The method of time travel is a naturally occurring portal rather than a machine or otherwise man-made thing. Al discovers it completely by accident and has no idea as to how it works. All he knows is that it does work, and in exactly the same way every time. You simply step through the invisible doorway in space-time, and boom, there you are. But there’s a hitch. (Of course) Once you step through the portal, you always come out in exactly the same time. The exact same date and time, every time. When returning through the portal to the original side, the traveler loses exactly 2 minutes from the time they initially stepped through, no matter how much time was spent in the past. In this way, every time a traveler goes through the portal, to the people they encounter on the other side… It’s the first time they’ve seen you. Interesting. But of course this also means that if you want to get to a specific date anytime in the future beyond the original starting date… You must simply wait it out. There’s no quick and easy way for time travel in this situation. This is where it gets interesting.

BEWARE! THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Continue reading

Book Club Monday – The Joy Luck Club pt. 1

Kicking off our first book club title, we have a modern classic by Amy Tan – The Joy Luck Club. Perhaps like me you’ve read it before and wish to read it again, or maybe you’re reading it for the first time. Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy it and check back for further discussion of the first 4 chapters next week. Below are a couple of discussion questions we can consider for next week. Feel free to post any responses you might have!

The Joy Luck Club – Discussion Questions

1. When and why was the Joy Luck Club formed? Why were the words “joy” and ” luck” included in the club’s name? What is the significance of these meetings? Do you have meetings/rituals with friends/family that are similar to this?
2. Why do the characters in THE JOY LUCK CLUB use stories to communicate rather than simply stating stating what they are thinking and feeling? What effect do the stories have on the listener in the story? What effect do they have on the reader?