Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reading with kids

They say that if you want your children to be readers then read to them when they're young. Well, I have read to my kids since I was pregnant with them and they are definitely readers. They are also independent readers now and have been for some time. So, when they asked me in December to start reading to them again each night at bedtime - I was extremely thrilled! We had purchased our oldest child a signed copy of Chris Colfer's The Wishing Spell. It is the first in his Land of Stories series. We will finish the book tomorrow night and I must say it has been a delightful book to read. It is a well-imagined book about an alternate universe set in a land of fairytales. To me it was a bit redundant in places but still, as a said, a delightful book. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of the series with my kids.

The next book I'm going to read to them is Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka. I admit that this book is as much for me as it is my kids. They chose it but I think I'm as excited to get to it as they are. This book gives some history about the new characters - Rey, Poe and Finn - that are introduced in The Force Awakens. We were (surprisingly) able to see the movie the night it opened (December 18, 2015) and we've all (including my husband) been anxious to know more about these new characters. So, the reading of this book will hopefully help all of us to understand and know these characters better.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Oh my...

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have wanted this newly illustrated and formatted edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone since I first learned of it. My husband and children got it for me for my birthday - at the suggestion of my youngest. I haven't been through the entire book as of yet but what I have seen is absolutely breath-taking. The new illustrations by Jim Kay are so stunning and right on, in my opinion. They bring the story to life all over again. And even though my kids and I know this story inside and out we all want to read it together once more so that we can experience it in the midst of the new illustrations. I don't know if there are plans to do this same thing with the other six books but I sure hope they do!
 
Editing to Add: They ARE doing new editions of all seven books - with Jim Kay doing the illustrations! I am beyond excited about this! My husband laughed and said I am buying into the 'marketing machine' because of course I want all of them. I said that's all right because this is ART! Also, here is a great interview with Jim Kay:
 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 47 of Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts:

As a matter of course, Tucker preferred to talk, charm or run his way out of confrontations. But there was always a point, no matter how he tried to prevent it, when pride and temper kicked in.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Skimming

Do you ever feel like skimming through certain parts of a book? I admit that not only do I feel this way sometimes but that I actually do skim on occasion. And I feel guilty when I do! I'm a writer for goodness sake! I know how hard it can be sometimes to write a book. I know how long it takes. And even worse, I know how long and painful the revision process can be. So I feel like I have absolutely no business whatsoever skimming any part of an author's book. And yet I do it.

I skim if I'm bored but still want to know the outcome of the book. I skim if I'm short on time but still want to fit in some reading. I skim if I think the author was long-winded in a certain part of the book. I'm not entirely proud of this sometime habit of mine but I'm probably not going to stop it either. So, do you ever skim and if so why?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (2)

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 151 of Robert Galbraith's The Cuckoo's Calling:

"I didn't imagine that voice upstairs. A man was there and he killed her."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A wonderful Sunday

Today was such a great day! I am thankful for every single day I get to spend with my husband and our daughters. Today was a day I spent with just my daughters, though. We had a great day together. The weather was really nice here with a high of sixty-seven degrees. My girls and I slept in a little bit then began our day reading. Then we went to the bookstore and got new books. They actually used some of their Christmas money and were thrilled to buy their own books. It was actually quite adorable! Then I surprised them by going out for lunch. Afterwards we went to the park where we stayed for two hours. At the end of which they still didn't want to come home. It was getting dark though and all the kids they were playing with were heading home also. It was a sweet and pleasant day that I am so happy to have spent with them.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fused Glass Butterflies



These are butterflies that my kids made out of glass today. They will go into a 1500 degree kiln to melt down and fuse all of the glass together. The butterflies will then become a part of a mural of about 250 total butterflies at their school. I am so excited to see the finished project. I'm in love with these butterflies as they are. I can only imagine how much more beautiful they're going to be when fused and a part of the mural. I'll definitely post pictures at that point, as well. 

Mickey Mouse is a Drummer

 
During the parade at Disneyland.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rest In Peace Alan Rickman

The world lost an incredibly talented person today. And from what I understand the people who knew and loved him best lost an incredible human being. Rest in peace, Alan Rickman. Thank you for the many pieces of art you leave us with.

 
Here he is in Love Actually. I just watched this movie a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 39 of Robert Galbraith's The Cuckoo's Calling:

"It's a death threat," she said.

"Oh yeah," said Strike. "Nothing to worry about. They come in about once a week."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Musing Mondays: Excited about...

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What book(s) are you most excited to read, this year? Is there anything special on tap?

I am quite excited to be reading The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. I am really enjoying the book and looking forward to reading the next two in the series. I am also looking forward to a book called The Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. My kids and I are also enjoying me reading to them again each night at bedtime. They want me to read them the Harry Potter series this year. We read the first three books together last year and they would like to continue with it - so we will.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Goals

I evaluated my goals for 2016 and made a list of the ones I want to accomplish. This is what I do rather than making resolutions. I get that the two concepts are fairly similar but for me the difference between a goal and a resolution means success or failure. I'm not sure why exactly this is but it's true. I succeed when I make goals and often failed when I made resolutions. Perhaps it's a matter of having the right mindset to do whatever works.

Anyway, here we are, ten days into the new year and so far, so good on my goals. It helps me to think of my goals in terms of daily achievement. Every day I will read with my children for thirty minutes. Every day I will write one thousand words. Every day I will crochet at least one granny square. Every day I will drink eight glasses of water. I haven't quite achieved this last one yet BUT I am drinking water every day - which is an improvement so I'll take it ad call it a win for myself. There are other daily goals I set for myself but these give a good idea.

As I shared in yesterday's post - I went to my local RWA meeting. I learned that I am eligible (and have been) to join the PRO level of the organization. I didn't know this but am glad that I know now. It's one more step forward in my publishing quest. I also realized as I listened to one of the speakers that I MUST make revision a part of my daily process. I have many novels that are complete. At least the first or second draft is complete. Now it is time for me to focus on making several (admittedly not all) of them fully revised, shiny and ready for submissions.

I need to focus more wholly on revision and submission. Will I still write every day? Absolutely. I need to write like I need to breathe. It is something I have done every day now for 851 days. I can't imagine stopping. It's more a matter of allowing myself to adjust this daily goal. Instead of holding fast to my 1,000 word per day goal I am going to adjust it to 500 - 750. And add that I must revise at least two chapters per day. If I do more then great but if not at least each day is another day forward toward being published.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

RWA Chapter Meeting


Today I went to my local chapter meeting of Romance Writers of America. It was a fantastic meeting with two speakers. The morning speaker discussed writing under the subgenre of Romantic Suspense. She went over the popular tropes and what works and what doesn’t within the genre. I found myself thinking that a lot of it was common sense. That could be due to the fact that I am incredibly familiar with the type of books, though. Still, she was so engaging that her information seemed fresh and exciting. She left me wanting to written Romantic Suspense book. I’ve dabbled with a story or two in the past but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be re-visiting the subgenre sometime this year.

The afternoon speaker was all about selling books on Amazon. While she also had a lot of great information and was a great speaker – I felt a little disheartened at the end of her presentation. At the end of the day I was seriously wondering why I am even trying to get a traditional publishing contract. Apparently Amazon has a stronghold on the book market through its Kindle e-books. Anyone can self-publish. ANYONE. Maybe that is the direction I should take. I just don’t know and that has me feeling a little unsure about how to proceed. I’m not opposed to self-publishing and have, in fact, thought about it quite a bit. I’m just wondering if it is the way I should go right now and not worry about a traditional publishing house.

I do know that I am going to continue writing. There is a definite business side to this creative act of writing. However, without the story there’s nothing to publish – traditionally or electronically. So for now, I will continue with my revisions. I will even submit my book to the Agents and Editor that asked for it because I want to follow through with what I said I would do. After that, well, I guess I’ll see what I think with the next book.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Becoming a plotter

I have recently come to realize that I must start plotting my novels. At least to some degree. I have always been what is known as a 'pantser'. That means someone who jumps right into writing the new story without knowing what is going to happen. This works great for me in the beginning of the book but not well at all when I reach the middle. Once I plod my way through the middle my 'pantsing' works well for the end.

The middle though... SIGH! I always hit a writing wall when it comes to actually writing the middle of the book. And this is where I've come to accept that I need to plot. So now I need to determine what method of plotting will work best for me. I don't want to entirely give up my jump-right-in method. So maybe I can begin that way but before I reach the middle I can sit down and plot with what I have from the beginning. I need to figure it out and I need to do it soon - like now.

Does anyone know of any planning methods that are a happy medium between planning out the book - and not planning it? I'd appreciate any and all suggestions!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

People who understand

It's so nice to have people in life who understand the things we go through. For me, that is my family and my friends. I am quite grateful for both and really happy about those who understand my need to write. My husband and children do for certain. I have a good friend that I meet with once per week to write with and talk about things related to this career we're both in pursuit of. It is really wonderful and I am very thankful. We met today and we both got some writing done. We also made some plans about going to the RWA conference in July. It's exciting and maybe just a little bit nerve-wracking. We're looking forward to it, though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from Nook page 34 of The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty:

She says, trying not to sound too interested, "So, what exactly did she leave me?"

Thomas places his drink down squarely on its coaster and meets her eyes. "She left you her house."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Musing Mondays: Currently and up next

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
I am currently reading two books, one on my own and one with my kids. On my own, I am reading The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. I'm only about thirty pages into it but so far it is good. I am also reading The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer with my kids. We are liking this book, as well.

The next book we will read together is Star Wars - Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka. We are all greatly anticipating this book.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Princess Bride - Movie Trailer

My kids and I have been enjoying their Christmas vacation in many ways. One of which has been by watching movies. Tonight, we watched The Princess Bride. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I'm happy to say that they thoroughly enjoy it, as well. Here is the original trailer for the movie.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Writing Space



This is my little writing space. It is a little more cluttered than I'd prefer right now. Once my kids go back to school this coming week I am going to give it a thorough overhaul. I LOVE the desk. My husbands grandparents gave it to us. This was a wedding gift to them when they married in 1950. Why is it that furniture isn't as well-made now as it was then? Anyway, I am going to give the desk drawers (and the top, for the matter) a thorough sorting. Then, if I can convince my husband it will be fine, I want to paint the desk. The top drawer on the right also needs the drawer cover reattached. Oh, and I'd like to put new drawer pulls on it, as well.

Having pictures of my kids and some of their artwork here inspires me. And of course, you see the Duran Duran poster. They're my favorite band and I have been inspired by their music for, well, I'll just say a LONG time.

Oh, and on the left you may see the Star Wars book. It is called Before the Awakening. It is written by Greg Rucka and I am so anxious to read this book. My kids are anxious about it, too. This will be the next book I read to them. It supposedly fills in a lot of details before the start of The Force Awakens. This is right up our alley as we all left the movie wanting to know more about Rey, Finn and Poe - Rey especially. So, this book is at the top of our reading list right now.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! How has your holiday season been? It seems to me that it came and went so very fast. Actually, that is how I feel about 2015 in general. It was a bit of a challenging year for my family so I'm not especially upset to see it go. I am hopeful that 2016 will be better. How was your year? Are you happy to see it go or sad?

Something new I want to do this year is keep a Book Journal. I have a Good Reads account and I love it but I want an actual handwritten accounting of the books I read. I have the journal already. It was a gift from one of my best friends Julia. I decided to do this because I have been encouraging my children to keep track of the books they read along with their thoughts about the books. They are enthusiastic about it but said I should do it, too. And I thought, why not? So, we're going to keep track of all of our books together. It should be fun!