Friday, February 27, 2009

Publishing and newspapers

I saw a report last night on the news that, although it wasn't entirely unexpected, was rather shocking. I know with the rise of the internet that newspapers have been having a tough time making their numbers, but to see large papers like the LA Times declaring bankruptcy and the NY Times struggling financially is hard to fathom. What will our world be like with no more newspapers. Will political corruption run rampant as one of the people interviewed suggested?

I have a good friend from high school who is a reporter for the LA Times. She got a degree in journalism from a prestigious university. What is this going to mean for her? For other journalists? Will newspapers become a thing of the past in the next 10-15 years?

Do y'all think that all those (future) out-of-work journalists will try their hand at writing novels or will they stick to "the facts"? Maybe they will head toward magazines or TV? How will this impact us as writers?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--What a tangled web!

I'm really excited for what I have up for next week and was hoping I'd be able to do it this week, but with the DC trip and family visiting when I got back, I wasn't able to finish reading it--something to look forward to. Here's a book I read a few weeks ago.

Up for this week:  WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell

What I Saw And How I Lied

Why I bought it?  This was one that I put on my Christmas list. I found it on a list of good books to read, and the synopsis sounded interesting. 

Synopsis:  It is set 2 years after World War II. Evie is 15. Her stepfather is back from the war and life is resuming. When he unexpectedly takes Evie and her mom on a trip to Palm Beach, FL, and they meet up with a handsome young man who served with her stepdad in Austria after the war, a complicated web of secrets and lies starts to surface. Evie falls in love with the young man and hopes for a future with him. An unexpected death throws her life upside down and Evie has to sort through her priorities about where her loyalties lie.

What I thought?  It was an unexpected story with interesting twists. The ambiance does bring with it the feel of the 1940s. It is well researched. It is definitely worth reading. I enjoyed it pretty well, but I'm not really interested in reading it again. It is a National Book Award Winner, so you know it has some literary merit. Blundell does a great job making the story very vivid.

My Rating:  ****

Cleanness Score:  5, It has some language, but the score is mostly for sexual situations--nothing really bad or anything mostly just innuendo and making out. It'd be a PG-13 kind of rating.

You may have gotten a little short shifted on this book. I'm too excited about the next one to work up much enthusiasm for this one. It is good though, if the premise strikes you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Our Nation's Capitol

I met with some friends over the weekend in DC and had a marvelous time. We have such a beautiful nation's capitol with some insane streets. Driving there was crazy but entertaining and possibly terrifying for my passengers. 

Classical Architecture

Beautiful streetlamps and museums  (Smithsonian) 

Colorful neighborhoods

Geometric patriotism  (FBI building)

Shining Monuments

Whenever you get the chance you should take advantage of it. It's an amazing place.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Pass me that peach

Up for today PEACHES by Jodi Lynn Anderson

10) Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson by teamedward498

Why I bought it? I actually bought the 2nd book first from a $5 table at the BN thinking it was the first one. I thought it would be a good, cheap way to try out a new author. I troll the YA section a fair amount and don't know how I would have missed the first one because I'm a HUGE fan of the peach as a fruit. Growing up in SC, I think it may be required. Anyway! I digress, but my love of the fruit is part of why I picked up the book in the first place. On the cover of The Secrets of Peaches (Book 2) the quote from Ann Brashares carried weight for me. It said: "Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing is packed with loveliness. Peaches is a sweet and delicious read." I'd been looking for something like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to read, and, as I read inside the cover about the main characters, I thought this would fit the bill. When I got it home, I realized it was book 2, and then I had to go back later and search out book 1.

Synopsis: Birdie's family owns a peach orchard in Georgia. The story follows the unlikely friendship of Birdie, her cousin, Leeda, and Murphy as they are forced together while working at the orchard. It explores love and friendship--what it means to find the right boy and how that affects your friends.

What I thought? It's a pretty enjoyable read. There were times when I LOVED Jodi Lynn Anderson's prose. She has a wonderfully charming voice. The story frustrated me sometimes, but, ultimately, I did like it a good bit and was glad that I had the 2nd book already to dig into. I enjoyed the characters a lot. When I got to the end of the 2nd, I was looking for the third even more, but it wasn't out, and so I had to wait a few weeks. I bought it right when it came out because I felt invested in the characters and wanted to know what happened to them. I enjoyed the 3rd book, as well, even though the storyline still frustrated me sometimes.

My rating: 4 (for all three books really--I enjoyed them quite a bit but not in an "over the top" way.)

Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10. The first book was cleaner than the 2nd and 3rd. I would give them ratings of 5. There was some language and some PG-13 sexual situations--nothing too terribly overt.

The sequels:
Book 2
11) The Secrets of Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson by teamedward498

Book 3
29)Love and Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson by teamedward498

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music Soundtracks

This weekend I was reading a friend's blog, and she highlighted a song that would be great for the main couple in one of her books. It made me laugh because it was one on my list for my novel soundtrack. Magic by Colbie Caillat.

It got me thinking how many of you set up soundtracks for your novels. I love my music like I've told you before. Me and my itunes are great friends. I set up soundtracks for each novel I'm working on. It helps me on some level identify with the feelings that the characters are going through. Sometimes I just love finding a song that fits the setting of a certain situation. The closer it fits the scene or scenario the more I love it. I love picking songs that are not on people's general radar. Here's one that I have for my current novel "The Gifted."

Freckles by Natasha Bedingfield

How many of the rest of you make soundtracks? and why?

Friday, February 13, 2009

How about a couple of poems?

I'm still in the depths of wheezing and coughing and essentially feeling rotten, etc., so I thought I would throw up a couple of poems for y'all. (pun intended.)

The Zit


Chocolate feeds it!

Oxy 10 impedes it!

The adolescent curse!


Stop it!

Don’t pop it!

You might mar your face!



I looked at your empty hand

            and  thought:


It should be filled…


With trophies

            and stardom


With my hand

            and heart


With my face

            and  kisses


With precious gifts


With life

            and happiness


But it remains empty

            and I ache.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time

Up for today: SMILES TO GO by Jerry Spinelli

Smiles to Go

Why I bought it? I got this because I like Jerry Spinelli's writing usually. The main character is a boy, and I was hoping that would help my boy want to read it. When I read inside the front cover it made me laugh, and so I thought my daughter would like it a lot if no one else did.

Synopsis: Will Tuppence is worried about the universe around him falling apart when he finds out that protons decay. Will life ever be the same again? He is constantly annoyed by his little sister. He's falling for a girl and getting love advice from the 5 year old next door.

What did I think? It was pretty good. There were funny parts and poignant things that I liked.  I especially like how Spinelli got the title. This book didn't reach me as well as most of his do. I think this was aimed at his target audience a little better than at me since my daughter loved it. She read it first and kept telling me I should read it. Now that I've read it, I'm not sure my son will go for it. Oh well. He's a hard sell.

My score: ***1/2

My daughter's score: *****

Cleanness score: 2, This has very little bad in it, but there is are a few descriptions of injuries.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Critiquing Blogs

Sorry about not blogging Friday, Folks, but uh. I was completely incoherent. I'm barely there today, but I want to do a quick post about something I'm working on for later in the week.

I was wondering how many of you do blogs for critiquing your WIPs? (That's Works in Process for the non-writers.) I have been setting one up and am about to put up the first few chapters for those that I invite to read and critique to give their input. 

How do they work for you? Is it better to rely solely on a critique group like Critique Circle or others? If you don't use a blog, how do you send your wips out to your beta readers?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--I'm starving

Up for today:  THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by carly_cue

Why I bought it? This was another one on my Christmas list that my husband got me. I had heard so many good things about it, and it kept coming up different places that I felt I just had to read it.

Synopsis: The United States no longer exists.  In its place is a society where every year one girl and one boy ages 12-18 are chosen from each of 12 regions of the country as tributes to the Capitol to fight in the Hunger Games. All you have to do to win is survive. It's considered a death sentence for most of the 24 kids whose names are drawn. When Katniss' little sister's name is chosen, she volunteers to go in her place. The winner brings back needed food and honor for their region. How will Katniss ever survive? And what of her fellow tribute who once saved her life? How can she kill him?

What I thought? This is getting to be a trend, but I LOVED it. It is very compelling. The premise promises lots of tension and it delivers. It's a page turner extraordinaire. I had a hard time putting it down, and when I finished, I started over to remind myself of what happened in the beginning.

After the last book, I think I should write out what my ratings mean and get a better grip on the 5-star system.

* = Complete drivel. Not worth the paper it's printed on.
** = So, so. Has some redeeming qualities but is, essentially, a disappointment.
*** = An enjoyable read but nothing too terribly earth shattering
**** = Very enjoyable. This is where I'd recommend for others to read. I'd consider buying it.
***** = So much fun reading that I can't put it down or so compelling that I can't stop thinking about it. I HAVE to own this book.
*****+ = One of my all time favorite books. I know some people would think this is over the top, but then again sometimes I am that kind of person. I won't give many books this rating though. 

My rating:  *****

Cleanness Score: 7--there is a lot of violence as you would expect in a book that is a fight to the death. Some of it is very disturbing. I don't really remember any language, but the gruesomeness of some of the deaths is going to keep you from letting your "tender" ones read this one. It's classified as YA, but I wouldn't let those under 14 read it. 

The sequel, Catching Fire, comes out Sept. 8, 2009. I can't wait.

On Amazon, there is a review by Stephen King that does a great job (as you would expect) and is really funny at the same time. 

Monday, February 2, 2009


With all you sickies out there, I've finally succumbed. Can germs be passed online?

Since I'm not thinking clearly enough for coherent thought, I decided to put up a picture. It reflects to me how we see the world sometimes--close up and distorted--losing sight of the big picture.  

Anyone have a guess as to what it is?