Friday, December 17, 2010

Kissing 2010 goodbye

Wednesday's answer and winner: It was the Hope Diamond. It's at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. I wish the lighting were better. I've seen pictures where you can really see the color. Alas, this is not one of them. I blame museum lighting and a thick sheet of glass. The first to get it right was Alyssa. Way to go! I'm sure she's been looking at a lot of diamonds recently since she gets married tomorrow. Here's wishing you the best in nuptial bliss, Alyssa. I'm so excited for you.

2010:  It's been a great year. Pivotal for me. I feel more like an actual writer. I attended my first writer's conference. I had some serious agent interest in my WIP until I pulled it back in for more edits. (It really needed them.) I've realized I don't need to be racing to the finish line. (Major realization!) I'll finish when I finish. It's one of the luxuries you have as a beginning writer. I just need to make the story right. I had a major plot epiphany (at the afore-mentioned conference) and have been working on it ever since--slowly, I'll grant you, but I'm insisting that family and personal commitments come first.


Farewell, 2010. Kisses! You've been a good friend.

Happy Holidays to all of you out in the blogosphere. I'll see you in January.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What in the world?

How would you like something like this for Christmas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday=Book Review Time--My top 10 for 2010

This is for the NEW reads this year. It wouldn't be fair to include the rereads. Since this is my last week blogging for the year I thought I'd go ahead and do this even though the book I'm reading (Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder) is pretty good and could end up in the top 10, but seeing as how I'm not finished, the jury is still out. I'm going to cheat a little and put series books together.

Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, and House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
This Time Together (on CD) by Carol Burnett
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

There are so many close runners up. I had several I initially put in that I ended up replacing. The list went back and forth for a while, but these are the ones that completely swept me away. 4 of them are even debut novels. Go newbies! The biggest surprise to me was Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. It was not one I had been eagerly awaiting. It showed up on my doorstep one day from the publisher. (I think I may have won it in a contest.) I'm going to do a review of it early next year. So clever and funny.

There you have it. If you haven't read these, you should at least check them out and read a sample to see if they can entertain you as much as they did me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Photolife--Life is Fleeting

Wednesday's answer and winner: Yes! It was a wrestling tournament. Congrats to Samantha Vérant! She was very quick on the draw (nice cliché). The actual venue was the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. It was a special tournament where only the top 2 or 3 in each weight class from each state were invited. One of those was my amazing nephew.

My kids and I were coming home one evening about a month ago and the sky was an astounding, eerie kind of cool. This was during some powerful storms that were passing through. I was kicking myself that I didn't have my camera with me. I knew my cell phone wouldn't be able to do it justice, so I just hurried home thinking I'd get what I could when I got there. 

I rushed into the house grabbed my camera and dashed immediately into the front yard. At 6:04:12 I got this photo:

At 6:05:37 It has dissipated to this.

At 6:05:55 to this:

After that it was completely gone. If I'd stopped to change lenses or think I'd have gotten nothing. As it was I'd already missed the most amazing stuff (not being prepared with a camera in my car--shame on me--but that's another discussion), but at least I got something. 

In photography, as with most things in life, you must (cliché alert) strike while the iron is hot.  

Application to writing? Snap up opportunities when they come your way. Talk to that agent at a conference. He may not be there next time you walk by. Sign up for critiques when they are offered (if you need critiques). If you delay, the time may have passed or things may be filled up before you (cliché alert again) pull the trigger. Learn to act quickly or your chances may pass you by.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where in the world?

I'm not looking for the specific venue just what kind of event.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday=Book Review Time--I'll take mine gripping with a twist

Business: I'm back from my Thanksgiving blog break (yeah I know it was only supposed to be one week) for a couple weeks before I take another break for Christmas. I'm also back to blogger's commenting system. Ugh! While there were positives to Intense Debate and Disqus, they ultimately didn't do it for me--too many downsides. Anybody out there want to get up a petition with me for blogger to improve their system?

On to the Book Review: 

Up for today: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Why I bought it? I didn't although I do have it pre-ordered through Amazon and still plan to get that one when it comes out, because I want the hardback. I think I entered every contest there was to win the ARC, and eventually Penguin sent me one. Woohoo! Persistence pays off sometimes.

Synopsis/Setup: Amy is cryogenically frozen with her parents for a 300 year journey across the universe. She is awakened and almost killed 50 years before the arrival date. When one of the other frozens ends up unplugged and dead, Amy and Elder, the cute, rebellious leader in training on the spaceship, work to uncover the truth before anyone else is killed.

What I thought? The sample first chapter that Beth Revis provides here hooked me so much that I did my best to get an ARC. I "couldn't" wait for the January release. 1-11-11. I was not disappointed. The rest of the book delivers what chapter one promises. It was a gripping ride. Gripping, I tell you! I was completely swept along with Amy and Elder's tale. It was seriously one of the hardest to put down books I've read in a long time. Plus, there is a lot of depth and richness to these characters. No cardboard cutouts here. And the twists and turns of the plot! I was prepared for them but totally didn't see them coming, and that was incredibly refreshing.  

My Rating: *****, Yep that's right folks. 5 stars. I haven't given one of those in a while, but this book had me so entertained I can't give it less.

Cleanness Score: 6 out of 10, There is a little bit of mild language and violence (as you would expect in a murder mystery), but this score is mostly for some sexual situations that take place on the ship around Amy and Elder in one part of the story. They are integral to the plot and described in a more clinical way, but some parents may object. If you are a very conservative parent, you may want to read it first. I definitely wouldn't give it to my 10 year old. This is more of a PG-13 read.