Posts Tagged With: books

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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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 21

Participant-2014-Square-ButtonIt was a good day on the NaNoWriMo front.

I managed to churn out more than 2,000 words in just an hour.  Plus, even though I am in the middle of my story, it feels like I am heading in a good direction.

I also crossed the halfway point of the 50,000 words requirement to complete the challenge. To bad we are more than halfway through the month.

Here is hoping the weekend brings hefty word counts.

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 2,119 / overall word count: 25,549.)

 

I am also on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

 

 

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IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Penguin Group 2009

If I Stay Book CoverI was slow to come to this story. It took a movie yelling at me that it should be read to actually get the book in my hands.

I knew it would be sad.

I don’t always like sad. Oh, I enjoy a good cry as much as the next girl, but the sad in this story is very possible. Possible sad can be hard to handle.

Seventeen year old Mia is a cello prodigy. She’s in love with her family, even her little brother, and a punk musician named Adam. One February “snow day” her family goes for a drive. An accident with a truck leaves Mia alive but in a coma. An out-of-body experience allows her to sort out the fact that her family is gone and gives her the chance to decide if she wants to stay in this life without them.

Let me say that Gayle Forman is an amazing writer. She handles the potentially overwhelming aspects of this tragic story like a virtuoso might play…the cello. There were highs and lows, though I found at times the story was moving along at an enjoyable pace. We were given lovely flashbacks and just the hint of sorrow. I was almost lured into a sense of serenity.

Then the melody changed tempo. I was brought from the beautiful highs to the depths of the low notes. It physically hurt. And I can’t just say that I cried. There were two (well, maybe three) times in the reading of this story that I blubbered uncontrollably. That is all because of how much control Gayle Forman has on her writing.

Even though I suffered, I appreciate it. I love it.

Do yourself a favor. Read the book. Then, go see the movie. Just make sure you are packing a few handkerchiefs or a whole box of tissues.

You can find out more about IF I STAY, the sequel WHERE SHE WENT and all of Gayle Forman’s other lovely books on her website: gayleforman.com

 

Take Care,

Leanne

 

You can find out more about me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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Coming Clean

soapI’m not a fan of taking a shower. Getting wet each morning just isn’t appealing. I’m supposed to climb out of my cozy bed, stumble into a cold or hot bathroom, drench myself in cold or hot water, re-emerge into the now humid space and then try to get dry.

Fun!

Oh don’t get me wrong…I do it. Sometimes I stretch out the days between the events, but that’s usually in the winter. These summer days where the shirt sticks to my back makes me rush to the cool water.

I bring all this up because this morning I was thinking about clean hair and about my writing.

As much as I dislike the routine of showering, I enjoy my hair being clean. I like the way it smells, how it feels running through my fingers and even how it misbehaves. It dries naturally a bit fluffy, with waves next to my face. No flowery products are needed.

When my hair is dirty it feels weighed down. The thin areas seem to show. I never feel confident.

I will take clean hair over dirty any day of the week.

This also applies to writing.

CLEAN writing is the stuff we all love.

When I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I was astonished. Okay. Yes. The story was mind blowing, but the thing that struck me the most was the way she used words. Ms. Collins’ writing is so clean and crisp you could butter your bagel with it. She doesn’t weigh down the story with flowery language that doesn’t need to be there. She cuts to the point.

Maybe I should do that now.

I want my writing to be clean. I want to smell it, feel it and watch it misbehave. I won’t worry about thin areas. I will feel confident when it is out in the world.

And I know how to make that happen.

It’s routine.

Like taking a shower every day to get clean, writers have to write on a regular basis. Clean writing comes from pushing ourselves out of that cozy bed and getting wet. Otherwise we’ll be shoving a colorful baseball cap over our story’s ears just so it can be seen in public.

*¨)        ¸.·*¨)
Take Care,   .·*´)
(¸ .· ´      (¸ .·´Leanne

 

I’m also rambling away on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Adults Should Be Embarrassed To Eat Applesauce (or Read YA)?

(Read below to hear me compare Rainbow Rowell & John Green’s YA writing to applesauce – OR – my take on the recent article that told adults to feel shame for reading YA – Thanks, Leanne)

ForAS

“Eat whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re eating was made for children.”

(quote from the article in question – sort of)

 

In an “article” that came out last week, the author made it clear that she has put away childish things. Applesauce, that deliciously satisfying and quick to devour food, just isn’t how adults are supposed to be eating apples. According to her, we should only be biting into the thick skin of the mature apple and chewing the delicate intricacies that could never be found in the pleasurable applesauce. Grown-up teeth can do better than eat applesauce.

Well, I disagree. Applesauce might be meant for the young, but why should we feel bad if we indulge now and again? Or even every day?

rainbow-cups2_Applesauce is delicious.  Just like regular apples, it comes in many varieties from the super sweet to the down-right savory. You can get it in huge containers and even in quick to enjoy packets that fit easily in a backpack or purse. Plus, applesauce is chuck full of good things for everyone, young and old alike.

as-pouchesGranted…applesauce is not the same as eating an apple. The peeling alone counts for more fiber and bulk than you get in applesauce, but who is saying WE CAN’T FEEL GOOD ABOUT ENJOYING BOTH (besides the article)? I’ve been doing just that for a very long time and any pleasure I’ve gotten out of eating applesauce has never taken away from my pleasure at eating a whole apple.

green-jarThe thing that burns me the most is that the author picked apart some really amazing brands of applesauce (The ones created by Rainbow and Green are a couple of my favorites). Some varieties more closely resemble the realistic essence of the apple, but if you want to eat applesauce with different amounts of spices…go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t.

I’m working on perfecting my own applesauce. Every day I try to stir up some magic that will make my variety stand out amongst the others. It’s my applesauce. I’m proud that I create it and proud that I enjoy it.

I guess what I’m really saying is that telling adults that they shouldn’t feel good about eating applesauce is as ridiculous as telling them that they should be embarrassed about reading Young Adult books.

 

Now THAT would have me laughing my head off.

If you must, you can read the article here.
I-Eat-AS

Share the Applesauce LOVE

 

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THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

Scholastic Press, 2011

The_Scorpio_Races_CoverThe Scorpio Races takes place on the tiny Irish island of Thisby. Here every autumn carnivorous water horses called Capaill Uisce climb out of the ocean looking for blood in whatever form they can find it. Sometimes a sheep gets slaughtered, sometimes humans are taken and sometimes the horses are captured to be ridden November first in the annual Scorpio Race.

The story, in alternating voice, follows the lives of teenagers Sean Kendrick and Kate “Puck” Connolly. He is in love with these horses and the sea from which they climb. She is part of the island and wants to keep what’s left of her family together. Each of them has lost someone to the Capaill Uisce, but that doesn’t stop them from taking part in the most dangerous sort of horse race.

I absolutely loved this book, though it took me a while to get into it. There is more blood than I would normally like in a read. I found myself saying every night as I closed the cover that I would probably quit reading it.

But I didn’t.

And then I couldn’t.

I became so engrossed in this story that Puck and Sean ran around my brain all through the day – I thought about how I wanted both of them to win the race, what could possibly happen next and why I needed these two characters to be together.

Maggie Stiefvater has an amazing voice. Her metaphors and analogies are something to be cherished. Get this book. Read it. Cheer on Puck. Root for Sean. Worry about Dove. Appreciate Corr. Hope for a happy ending.

I think you’ll be glad you did.

You can find out more about the talented Maggie Stiefvater and all her books on the website: http://maggiestiefvater.com/

 

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Categories: Book Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

FREE YA Books for your EARS!

I’m excited to announce a great way to get some FREE Young Adult audio books this summer!

SYNC is offering 2 FREE audio books each week May 15 – Aug 20, 2014. You just need to have OverDrive Media Console (the same program used by our local library for downloading audio books & it’s also FREE) on your computer or handheld device.

Every Wednesday for the 13 weeks, a new complete pair of titles will be available to download for ONE week. Once you’ve got the books, you have as long as you want to listen to them over and over. The MP3’s on your computer or smart phone won’t expire and they don’t have a due date. If you don’t have time to listen to them now, download the books anyway. You can always put the MP3’s on your device whenever you want.

SYNC has set up a weekly theme to pair the books – this past week was TIME TRAVEL (you still have the rest of today and tomorrow to GET THE 1st SET OF BOOKS).

One book in the set will be a current YA title and the other a Classic or Required Reading Title.

SYNC-WEB-Header

Click Image to link to http://www.audiobooksync.com/

Here’s the SUMMER 2014 SYNC TITLE LINEUP:

 

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Categories: Book Recommendations, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter C

A2Z-Pride-and-Prejudice

The April A to Z Blogging Challenge  is a month long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.

CC is for Class

“They are descended, on the maternal side, from the same noble line; and, on the father’s, from respectable, honourable, and ancient — though untitled — families. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. They are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses; and what is to divide them? The upstart pretensions of a young woman without family, connections, or fortune. Is this to be endured! But it must not, shall not be. If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up.”   Jane Austen  – Pride & Prejudice

Please don’t think I’m in love with the class system of the Regency Period. There’s nothing further from the truth. I’m thrilled that it’s antiquated and hope it never rears its ugly head again.

So what is it about class that I’ve found to love? Well, I love the way Jane Austen used the standards of her time, what she knew best, to play her characters off of each other. I always enjoy great conflict in a story and Pride & Prejudice uses the Social Class structure of the time to its advantage. The degrees of separation between the classes are the backbone on which the plot and sub-plots rest. It’s what drives the tension filled romance.

regency-life2

Still from BBC’s Regency Life: 3 Lives in 1 Day

The Bennet family is considered landed gentry. They do not work or tend their own land. Mr. Bennet is a gentleman whose estate, Longbourn, earns at least 2,000 pounds a year. This isn’t a large sum, even during the 19th century in Great Britain and especially when they have five children to support, but it still means that Elizabeth and all her sisters are considered part of the upper class. They are a gentleman’s daughters, even though their mother was born into the trade class (as the daughter of an attorney…oh how times have changed).

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is also of the upper class, but with more distinction. He owns a large estate called Pemberly that earns him 10,000 pounds a year. Beyond that, his mother came from an aristocratic family. His aunt, the sister to his mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh boasts of it and uses this standing to bully others.

While the Bingley’s are wealthy, the money that they have inherited came from trade. They do not own property, though it is mentioned that Charles, Louisa and Caroline’s father meant to buy an estate before he died. This actually makes them middle class; beneath Elizabeth and her family in social status. The irony is that Caroline and Louisa make fun of Mrs. Bennet and her connections when they come from a similar background.

Still from BBC's Regency Life: 3 Lives in 1 Day

Still from BBC’s Regency Life: 3 Lives in 1 Day

If it weren’t for the social class order in Britain during Austen’s day, the story wouldn’t have taken the turns that it did. Mr. Darcy wouldn’t have looked down on Elizabeth because of her connections and money. She wouldn’t have been turned against him because of his arrogance. It would have just been another story of boy meets girl. The division of the classes is what kept the tension between Elizabeth and Darcy going. It is also one of the things that makes the story enjoyable to read.

(PSSST!…..Do you want to read the story told from the view point of the Bennet family servants? Check out Longbourn by Jo Baker. You’ll get to see what the scullery maid thinks of Elizabeth walking through the mud to visit her sick sister).

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Categories: Book Recommendations, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

A to Z Blog Challenge Theme Reveal

A-to-Z-Challenge-theme-reveal

In celebration of the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April, I’m participating in the March 21 A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest.
This is a chance for us brave souls who are taking on the task of blogging every day, except Sundays, in the Month of April to pre-stretch our minds around a theme.

Today, hundreds of other bloggers are also announcing what they plan to share with the world for the whole upcoming month. You can find out more and see a list of the other blogs in the fest by clicking here or on the lovely red, curtained badge above.

And now, I proudly and without prejudice (hint) present my Theme for April…..

A2Z-Pride-and-PrejudiceI hope you like this banner because you are going to be seeing a LOT of it (+ it took me forever to make).

For a while after I committed to the A to Z Challenge, I had no idea what I was going to write about for 26 days.

Then it struck me.

We writers are always told to write what we love. There is hardly a story I love more than Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. So here I am proclaiming that I will give you the A to Z on what there is to love about Pride & Prejudice.

I hope you enjoy!

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Categories: Book Recommendations, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

You Say You Want To Write A Book

This post is the fourth of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. Once you read my post you should “HOP” on over to see what the other writers have to say.

The fourth topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “Advice I’d Give a Newbie Writer”

Now, I still consider myself a newbie. Of course I’ve been writing since I could hold one of those chunky pencils in my hand, but I didn’t start classifying myself as a “writer-writer” until about ten years ago. That’s when I sat down to create my first novel.

It was an everyday commitment. I scribbled for hours and hours in notebooks while my baby slept and then plugged away in the early hours of the morning to get what I wrote into a computer. It was something I had to do; otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. Writing is hard work. It drains you and most of the other aspects of your life suffer for your commitment.

That being said, I wouldn’t change it either.

The most important thing I can say to someone who wants to write is you have to read.

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It is so funny to me to hear people say that they want to write a book but in the same breath they admit they don’t READ.

WHAT?

If you don’t read, how can you know how to write?

If you don’t read, why would you even want to write?

When I was a teacher, reading was the thing I harped on more than anything else.  If you can read there is nothing you can’t do. Reading opens up worlds you can never know on your own and to get practical about it, you can read how to do anything.

For a writer, that would mean reading books on craft. It is so important.

But more important, is to read book after book after book in the genre you will be writing. You have to write what you love or the reader will know it. Trust me on that. Even before I dreamed of writing Young Adult books, I was reading them.  I devoured them.

Now I look at this reading as more than just stories. It’s research.

Look at it this way: Haven’t you read a book and you got lost in the words. Before you know it, you were up all night because you couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing what happened next? Haven’t you also read a book and for some reason you felt nothing for the characters? The plot was solid, but the writing didn’t take you anywhere?

That is you as a critic. Your inner voice telling you what is good and what is just…<shrug>.

 I want my stories to be the former…ones that eat you up and won’t spit you out until you reach the back cover.

Will I ever get there? I don’t know, but I read each day like a man starving for words. Every single book I finish helps me become what I want to be: a better writer.

blog-hop-for-writers

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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