Saturday, November 30, 2013

Books Read November 2013

Adams, Ellery
  • Poisoned Prose 
Fiction.  Fifth in a cozy series.  In this book, a mysterious storyteller who comes from the Appalachian mountains where her family has lived for generations.  What stands out most in this book for me is that she has a medical disorder that causes her skin to be blue, based on real occurrences of methemoglobinemia, a disorder that many members of an Appalachian family suffered from.  When the storyteller is murdered, Olivia finds that her tales hold the secret to a treasure that people are willing to kill for.

Barrett, Lorna
  • Bookplate Special 
Fiction.  Third book in this cozy series about a mystery book store owner in a small New Hampshire town who keeps finding dead bodies.  With her sometimes acerbic sister and faithful employees, she keeps herself very busy solving murders.

Blake, Heather
  • A Potion to Die For 
Fiction.  First in a paranormal cozy mystery series starring Carly Bell Hartwell, also known as Care Bear to her currently ex-fiance.  She owns a potion shop specializing in love spells and comes to work one day to find a body taking up space on the floor of her breakroom...surrounded by blood.

Child, Lee
  • Tripwire 
Fiction.  3rd in the Jack Reacher thriller series.  A private detective shows up in Key West where Jack happens to be working, but when he asks Jack if he knows who Jack Reacher is, Jack tells him no.  When he finds the private detective dead on the street, he goes in search of the client.

Clark, Mary Higgins
  • The Night Awakens
Fiction.  Collection of short stories by various authors.  Most have something a bit dark and a bit romantic.

Dalai Lama, The
  • In My Own Words 
Non-fiction.  Introduction to Buddhist philosophy and the practice of meditation, as well as a treatise on how the Buddhist contemplative tradition and neuroscience can work together to better the human experience.

Norman, Michael
  • On Deadly Ground
Fiction.  First in a series set in Kanab, Utah starring an ex-Denver police detective who left the force in questionable circumstances and now works as a BLM ranger in the town he grew up in.  His job is made difficult by the two factions in his town...the cattlemen and the environmentalists.

Richan, Michael
  • The Bank of The River 
Fiction.  First in a paranormal series about a man just getting to know his father and the secrets that they share, a magical book, and dangers of the unknown.

  • A Haunting in Oregon
Fiction.  Second in a series about a father and son with special abilities who are called in to assist an old friend and his daughter with a paranormal problem at their bed and breakfast.

Tan, Amy
  • The Joy Luck Club
Fiction.  Related stories of Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters, the trials they’ve lived through, the differences between then, and how they finally connected.

Todd, Charles
  • The Confession
Fiction.  Scotland Yard Inspector, Ian Rutledge, is approached in his office by a man reporting a murder.  He refuses to give any details about the murder other than revealing the names of the killer and the victim.  Rutledge begins to investigate the case, when suddenly another murder takes place.  This time, the victim is the man who had come to report the other murder.

NaNoWriMo is finished for this year

...and I won, though I didn't finish as many short stories as I had hoped to.  I did add to most of the MMORPG character's stories that I'd already begun and started writing scenes for those characters that I hadn't begun before, and I'm happy with what I wrote.  I also wrote some individual and unrelated scenes for stories that don't yet have plots, so that's something to work on.  Lots of humor and romance in those.  I truly don't want to write the typical romance stories, as I find most of them very boring to read, but with a lot of humor or added to mystery, I could handle that.

I'm just glad to have finished NaNo this year.  For some reason, I wasn't as motivated as I usually am, so I was struggling a lot to keep up with the daily word count, and I did write a lot of garbage.  Now that it's over, I realize how stressful that was to worry about reaching 50k words, and I'm not sure the best way to write.  However, it does encourage you to write every day, and that's a good habit to get into.  Now I can relax and enjoy the writing instead of concentrating on hitting a particular number.


Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNo is coming along...


I'm managing to keep up, but that's about it.  My storytelling isn't very impressive this month, though I have come up with some interesting insights into my motivation and psyche in regards to the writing.  I've also managed to keep up with my monthly reading challenge, although probably to the detriment of my writing.  

And it's true what they say.  To write, you just need to do it.  Daily.  Even when the words come slowly and even when they're accompanied by much hair-pulling and trips to the kitchen for more coffee.  

After a week and a half of very odd energy circling around me, I finally figured out that my problems were the result of medication maintenance and have gotten things back under control.  I think.  It's hard to cope when your brain is in another world.

All the introspection I've been doing lately has me wondering about life lessons, and what are the lessons that I'm supposed to be learning now?  If only I could identify those, I could work to learn those lessons and move on from there.  Where's my handbook?  That would certainly make my life so much easier, but maybe the struggling to figure out the question is part of the answer.  It's like the first day of class, when they pass out the syllabus that lists the topics to be discussed and tells you when the tests will be.  I look at my neighbors' copies sitting on either side of me and realize that the syllabus I have is for a completely different class!  

Five days left for NaNo.  My fingertips are sore from all the typing I've been doing.  Must.  Keep.  Writing...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Off to a slow start

After months of knowing, or thinking that I knew, what I wanted to work on for NaNo this year, suddenly it was November 1...and I stalled.  I had nothing.  No words.  On the words.  The same on the 3rd, and I started to panic.

I was stressed because I wasn't writing.  I wasn't writing because I was stressed.  I got depressed because I was stressed and not writing.  And all I wanted to do was sleep.  So I did.  On and off for three days.

Finally, tired of causing myself so much stress, I began to write.  Free writing, not the writing I had intended to work on, but I was putting fingers to keyboard, and words were appearing on the screen.  That's all I cared about.

Those first several days that I was writing, it came so slowly, like pulling teeth.  I was still stressing and napping a lot.

Then I gave myself permission to JUST WRITE.  It didn't matter WHAT I was writing, just babbling at times.  But the words began to come faster and easier.  And then one day, I was writing again.  Still not what I had planned to write, but plotting, story ideas, a short story about a camping trip I took years ago.

And the stress went away, and I was okay.

The lesson here is to...just write.  Write every day.  When it becomes a habit, you NEED to write every day.  The day doesn't seem complete unless you have gotten words on the screen.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll be ready to call yourself a writer.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Books Read October 2013

Aiebuaer, James W.
  • Port Townsend’s Victorian Homes
Non-fiction.  Photos and descriptions of the famous Victorian homes of Port Townsend, WA.

Ball, Donna
  • Love Letters from Ladybug Farm 
Fiction.  The ladies’ first foray into celebrating weddings on their farm is fraught with problems as they battle a goat, freak storms, bridezillas and their mothers.  Will they be able to pull it off, or will they need a little help?

Daheim, Mary
  • The Alpine Advocate
Fiction.  Emma Lord, newspaper owner, publisher and editor in Alpine, Washington is struggling to keep her newspaper afloat.  Her son calls from Hawai’i asking her to look after a friend of his who will be visiting Alpine.  A visit that sets in motion a series of events that open old wounds and unveils old secrets reaching into even the most influential family of the small town.

Dereske, Jo
  • Cut and Dry 
Fiction.  Second in the Ruby Crane cozy mystery series of a single mother raising a daughter suffering from post-trauma brain injury on the banks of Blue Lake in a small Michigan town.  With the help of a retired police detective, Ruby attempts to solve the murder of the owner of a local beauty salon while keeping herself and her daughter out of harm’s way.

Fanick, Helen Haught
  • Moon Signs 
Fiction.  Two elderly sisters take a short vacation to a ski lodge in the West Virginia hills and trip over a murder as they try to solve the mystery of hidden paintings.

Harris, Charlaine
  • Shakespeare’s Champion
Fiction.  Second in the series set in the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas.  Lily Bard, karate expert and housecleaner fights emotional battles with her past and emotional complications with her present while tensions in the small town erupt into racial hatred, and Lily is caught right in the middle.

Harrison, Jamie
  • The Edge of The Crazies
Fiction.  Murder mystery taking place in the small town of Blue Deer, Montana.  The town is full of lies and coverups, and one day erupts as a bullet is shot through the window of a screenwriter’s office...and finds its mark.

Hart, Carolyn
  • Ghost at Work
Fiction.  Wonderful first book in this paranormal cozy series.  Full of humor and fun, likable characters and a great mystery.  The protagonist will surprise you, and I can’t wait to read more about her.

Hillerman, Tony
  • The Blessing Way
Fiction.  First in the series about Joe Leaphorn, a Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant faced with the murder of a young man.  With Navajo witchcraft seemingly at work, Joe struggles to find out what’s really happening.

Klasky, Mindy
  • Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft 
Fiction.  First in a series about a librarian down on her luck in the relationship department, and who finds out that her salary at the library is being cut by 25%, but her boss reimburses her by allowing her to stay in a small cottage on the library grounds free of rent.  While moving in, she finds a key that opens a whole new world for her.

Newman, W.D.
  • The Thirteenth Unicorn
Fiction.  Exciting tale of two children and their grandma who find themselves in another world fighting off snake people and ogres, while making friends among the elves, dwarves, and a very special bear.

Parra, Nancy J.
  • Gluten for Punishment
Fiction.  Toni is busy plying the good people of Oiltop, Kansas with the gluten-free pastries from her new bakery.  Some of the residents of the small town located in the heart of wheat-producing fields aren’t so happy about the types of goodies she sells.  When one of them ends up dead in front of her shop, Toni finds herself the number one suspect.

Pentermann, Meira
  • Firefly Beach
Fiction.  Beth LaMonte wants to start a new life.  After a divorce and the death of her mother, she feels exhausted and emotionally drained.  She leaves her corporate job, finds a fishing small town in Maine that might fit the bill and plans to start painting for a living, something she had a passion for when she was young.  One evening while relaxing outside her small cottage, she sees a firefly approaching her.  She’s surprised to see one so close to the shore, but she has no idea what waits in store for her and she begins to follow it through the forest.

Rosenberg, Joel
  • Home Front 
Fiction.  Ernest “Sparky” Hemingway, ex-Vietnam vet and current freelance copywriter, gets a call from a young girl who says that her father has been murdered and that she is next.  Once Sparky learns who her father was, he knows he has to help her.  

Rouse, Irving
  • The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus
Non-fiction.  Anthropological study of the history of the original and later inhabitants of the West Indies, their rise and fall, and the contributions they made to modern cultural and language.

Stabenow, Dana
  • A Fatal Thaw 
Fiction.  Second in the Kate Shugak mystery series.  Kate, a tough Alaskan native, is used to living alone and likes it that way.  Her only companion is the half-husky, half-wolf Mutt.  She wakes up one early spring day to hear that a mass murderer is out and about in her area...and she goes hunting for him before he can get to her.

Toussaint, Maggie
  • In for A Penny
Fiction.  First in a cozy series.  Cleopatra Jones is trying to get her life together after a divorce and enjoys spending time on the links at the local golf club.  One afternoon while golfing with her best friend, she hits the ball off the fairway and has to go retrieve.  She finds the ball...and a body, and she feels the need to find the murderer before someone in her family is harmed.

Wiltse, David
  • Heartland
Fiction.  Recovering from post-traumatic syndrome, retired Secret Service agent, Billy Tree, returns to the small Nebraska farm town he grew up in and left twenty years ago.  Billy’s sister can’t stand knowing that he won’t leave his bedroom and only stares out at life passing down their road, she calls up an old family friend, and one-time mentor to Billy, to help her brother get back into life.  Billy resists, at first, but is slowly dragged into the middle of small-town crime and murder.