Audio Books

I am not really a fan of audio books. Don’t get me wrong. I, like many of you, love to read. But in my heart of hearts, I feel that reading is the intimate act of caressing written words with my eyes* as I interpret the meaning and tone for myself. I’m not a huge fan of e-books either. I do envy people who enjoy their little portable libraries that make bringing dozens of books where ever they go so simple. For myself I prefer feeling the weight of what I’m reading in my hands while I touch the printed words. When I put a bookmark between the pages, I always find myself looking at the edge of the book to see how far I’ve come. I don’t get that same reward from an e-reader, but when I have finished an e-book I still feel like I’ve read something. Not so with an audio book.

I just recently had to take a 24 hour round trip drive to visit an ill parent. On the way there I listened to a book that I downloaded from my local library. I’m not going to say the name of the book because I honestly believe I would have enjoyed the story if I had read it instead of listened to it. The problem was the narrator. She tried a bit to hard to make different voices for all the characters. When I paused the story, it was to see how much was left instead of how far I’d come. The first half of my trip was a long one because at the end of it I felt like I’d heard a long winded story instead of having read a book.

Cut to the trip home. I wasn’t feeling up to another audio book, but my sister insisted I should borrow her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird narrated by Sissy Spacek. Okay. TKM is my favorite book. I’ve read it about once a year since the ninth grade (forever ago). I didn’t want to not enjoy hearing Scout’s storybecause the character’s voices didn’t sound the way they do in my head. I gave it a try anyway and I am glad I did. Sissy Spacek might as well be the grown-up Jean Louise Finch telling me the captivating adventures of her childhood. Her voice has the perfect Southern lilt required. In the end, do I feel like I’ve read a book when the last word was spoken? No. But now the book I’ve read so many times has a freshness to it that I never anticipated.

*If I were blind I bet I would probably like Braille over audio books.

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A Blogiversary For A Neglected Blog

1cupcakeToday is the second anniversary of the day I started my blog. It was supposed to be a site where I would share YA books that I love, talk about how my writing is going and generally spill info about myself. Well, if you have been following me for any amount of time you will know that my computer died back in the winter. That kept my access to the internet dodge-y and I rarely went out of my way to find a way to post anything.

In the spring I took a second job. It is a delightful part-time number that lets me work with kids. I love this new position. If I was wealthy, I would do it for nothing. In the summer it became full out “hands on.” So after I got used to doing the work, it multiplied. That and I still needed to do my full-time job in our family business.

Needless to say. I got busy and neglectful. I am sorry.

I want to get back into the swing of things with the blog. Please don’t give up on me.

Take Care,


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2015, Hachette Book Group
DPFHolly Black is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Doll Bones pulled me in head first. Now I’ve been wrapped up good and tight in the grips of Holly Black’s writing expertise, all thanks to her latest novel.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is Holly Black’s adventure back into the world of fairies. The story is set in modern times in a quaint little town called Fairfold. While tourists come to see the beautiful horned boy asleep in a glass coffin there, the people of the town know to be wary of what the fair folk can do.

The story centers on the lives and friends of two of these locals. First and foremost, we have Hazel Evans. She fancies herself a knight bound to protect the town from what dwells in the darkest part of the forest. Her older brother Ben was given the gift of music by the fairies, but he has no idea how to control it. Their friend Jack is a changeling who has one foot in the mortal world and the other deeply rooted with his fairy family. Of course, there is also the horned boy that everyone comes to see. When he wakes up, everything changes.

This story isn’t as heart racing as The Coldest Girl In Coldtown nor is it as disturbing as Doll Bones. It has a charm to it though, that is decidedly Holly Black. She takes great time in developing this world. I appreciate that. Some might find the pace slower with a lot of flashbacks, but I think the story needs this. If you like Holly Black’s writing, even a bit, and are interested in a good tale full of fairies, I recommend this book.

You can check out more about Holly Black and her writing at her website,

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve been reading and reading and reading some truly wonderful books over these past months and I must say my negligence in sharing them with you is weighing on me. Well, no more. I am going to be bombarding you with some book recommendations. Be warned.

Shadow And BoneShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The heroine in Leigh Bardugo’s Russian inspired Shadow and Bone is Alina Starkov. She, like her best friend Mal, was a war orphan from the outskirts of Ravka. Now teenagers, the two have joined the military to continue in the ongoing fight for their kingdom.

While their unit is traveling through the darkness of the magical Shadow Fold that splits their country, they are attacked by winged monsters. Mal is wounded in the exchange and Alina uses a power she didn’t know she possessed to light the darkness. Identified as one of the magic Grisha, Alina is taken from the eerie Shadow Fold to the riches of the King’s castle by the mysterious Darkling. Here she has to discover what she really is and what she holds dear.

Shadow and Bone is the first in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. I read Shadow and Bone back in December and instantly became a huge Leigh Bardugo fan. Her writing draws you in and doesn’t lag into filler. The high adventure fantasy story was engaging from the start to the explosive conclusion. While the “will they or won’t they” romantic elements of the reads I choose was there, I also was hit over the head with some surprises. That was quite refreshing.

You can read more about Leigh Bardugo, her Grisha Trilogy and even find some original Ravka folktales at her website:

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Being Torn

I’m torn. I’m torn about a number of things.

I’m torn about my status as a writer. I get this way from time to time.

calendar-on-waterDecember seems to be a throw away month for me in the area of my writing. The past two years I was treading water from my experience with NaNoWriMo and didn’t have the will or the strength to pull myself up on a lifeboat to write. In a way January has turned into a recovery from December. Just like the past two Decembers, I did not write a thing worth keeping in either January. But I wasn’t drowning. It was more like I was floating around on my back enjoying the quiet of the water around my ears and just how prune-y my fingers could get.

Now it is February and I will have a guilty conscience if I don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). February is the swift kick in the rear that flings me into the new year. January is nothing.

I’m also torn about some news.

Yesterday I heard that a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee will be published this summer. When I first read that my heart leaped into my throat. That one book single-handedly introduced me to a world outside of my own and one, as a small town Southern female, I knew so well it was like looking in a mirror. It is THE book of all books I hold up as my favorite (yes, even above Pride & Prejudice).

For a long time I have known that the public life was not something Harper Lee enjoyed. She did not write that book to become famous or to have people like me pour over the story in an obsessive way. It was too much for her. I also remember her saying she wouldn’t publish anything else. So, the report that a new book was coming from her camp surprised me.

Now I am wondering if, as a woman in her eighties, is it really her wish to have this book put out for the world to see. A great part of me doubts it. As much as I WANT to read it, I wonder if I should.

Are you torn about anything today? How is your writing or other goals for this year going? Are YOU going to read the new Harper Lee book?

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry co-hosts. This month they are: Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

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My Computer Went Down, Down, Down In A Burning Ring Of Fire

computer-on-fireWell…not exactly. It did crash though.

A few weeks ago a strange message came up on the screen that said one of the files on my computer was corrupt. That program didn’t seem to be effected, but I decided to re-boot the machine anyway. Then it turned out my entire drive was showing up corrupt. In other words, it wouldn’t start again.

And the thing is, I am uber careful about sites I visit or emails I open. Norton Anti-virus and I are on a first name basis. How or why my computer died is a mystery.

So we’ve been trying to salvage anything we can from the hard drive. Luckily I have already been backing up my books onto jump-drives. Now I just need to back up the jump drives. The thing that KILLS me is that for more than a year I have been filing away emails from writing blogs that I knew would help my writing. Those are all gone. So are all the bookmarks for websites and graphics I created for this site.

It just hurts so much.

I wanted to let you know why I was missing from the blog. This is coming to you from a borrowed computer. Technically I could have posted on my phone, but I can’t stand typing in more than the 140 characters a post for Twitter allows on that thing. A full-blown blog entry would exhaust me.

I have been reading an unusually large amount in the absence of my typing ability. So, look for some book recommendations in the next little bit.

Take Care and Stay Warm,


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Wants And Needs

There are plenty of things I want.

Treehouse MastersI want to be rich enough to have that guy on Animal Planet come build a writing space tree house in my backyard. I want to be a healthy size without having to exercise or diet. I want to have perfectly fitting cool clothes that I don’t have to go anywhere to buy. I want to snuggle cheerful little round babies and give them back to their parents when I’ve had my fill. I want to sleep in every morning until I just wake up. I want thick hair. I want no worries. I want to beat all those stupid levels on the Bubble Witch 2 Saga. I want a maid, a cook and a chauffeur. I want the Holodeck from Star Trek Next Generation in my basement. I want to see my books on the bestseller list.

I could go on, but you get the gist. I have a lot of wants that I am not likely to get.

There are also things that I need. These aren’t as grandiose or silly. They aren’t even as fun. My needs are what I must have to function through the everydays of my life. They go beyond the basic food, water, air and shelter that all living creatures are required to have.

Right now, at this particular point in my life, I need to make sure my daughter is getting the education she should have. I need to feel loved and appreciated. I need to accomplish something each day. I also need to write.

Besides being needs, these things are also my struggles.

Homeschooling my girl is a crazy, wonderful experience and I doubt my choices all the time. I also know that my family loves me, even when there are times that the appreciation part of it seems non-existent. And some days doing the laundry is the only thing I get done.

But writing is different. My need to put down these stories that find their way into my brain isn’t the same sort of need as I just described. It’s more of a tapping on the shoulder that won’t leave me alone.

I have to write.

The struggle here is that those stupid levels on Bubble Witch keep calling to me too. HA!

Bubble Witch

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his  comrades in arms. This month they are:Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, andMichelle Wallace!

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Vow Of Silence

I didn’t mean for it to happen. My goal is to touch base at least once a week. But all of a sudden, I looked up and it’s been 18 days since I’ve written a post. That’s a new record.

Of course December is a hectic month for me (and everyone else in the world). Our business goes into overdrive this time of year plus I’m still recovering from the whirlwind of NaNoWriMo. When I put my novel to rest I said I wasn’t going to work on it again until January. Nonetheless, I never thought I was abandoning the blog until it just happened.

But I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the interaction with you folks. I’ve missed spilling my guts. I’ve missed writing.

I’m a creative person. All my life I’ve drawn and painted and sculpted. I can come up with crafts for any occasion. I’m even a decent singer. All of these things I do fairly well, but I don’t have a need to do them. I don’t wake up from sleep with an idea about a painting I must create. I don’t fantasize about traveling around the world singing on the stage.

My creative need is writing stories. This I know.

But, since I am letting my story and my brain rest (right), I have been playing at other outlets. Reading has been filling my evenings (Leigh Badugo’s Grisha Trilogy is delightful…look for a written recommendation in the weeks to come). I’m also knitting a jester’s hat, making jewelry and trying out new recipes.

I’m going to finish working on these things (some of them are Christmas gifts), but then I know I’m breaking my vow of silence. A month is too long to go without writing. Besides, I have it from a reliable source that Santa is putting Scrivener in my computer stocking. That alone is exciting enough that I know I can’t keep my words quiet any longer.


Happy Winter Solstice and any holiday that you celebrate this month.

Take Care,


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IWSG and Now That NaNoWriMo is No More

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his  comrades in arms. This month they are: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

After the October I had, November and NaNoWriMo should have been easy as falling over.

Well, I fell over plenty and it wasn’t easy.

I started the novel-writing challenge six days late. First stumble. Then my usual wake up at 4:30 am to write was not happening. Most mornings I hit snooze until 7:30 and wondered where all my time went. Major trip ups. There were even a couple of days I didn’t write a single word. Picture full-blown face plant.

I considered calling it quits. My story could wait until the New Year to be muddled through. It was going to be okay. So, I stopped being hard on myself.

Somewhere in the midst of all those days I was introduced to the wonderful idea of sprinting. In just 15 short minutes I could accomplish what I wasn’t getting done in an hour. Little quarter-hour blocks of time became my best friend. I could write 500 words while waiting for water to boil. 500 more when my daughter showered. Another 500 as I waited on hold for a representative. Before I knew it, I had written my required 2,000+ words a day in the little times that I thought were wasted. Who needs to carve out huge chunks of time? Sprinting is the way to get through a first draft.

Oh, there were still days I accomplished nothing other than my regular life, but I knew I could get through it. My last big push was on Saturday, November 29. I sprinted and then I wrote in long blocks of time. My family was ignored and no dinner was  prepared. I am happy to say I finished the challenge on that evening.


Of course the story isn’t finished. 50K just got me past the murky middle. But I did what I wanted to do: Complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge. That was good enough for a November.

So, how did everyone else do this month? If you competed in NaNoWriMo did you accomplish what you wanted? I would love to hear how you did.

Find me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 29


Okay. Did you see what that image says?

It was a L-O-N-G day and I have NEVER written so much in one day, but I did it!


NaNoWriMo 2014 is history. My story isn’t finished, but I am…for now.

Thanks for your support.

Now I am off to bed and I am NOT setting an alarm.

I doubt I will see ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 7,539 / overall word count:  51,556)


Look for me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!


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