Month: July 2013

WriteMotivation Round-Up

Things are going. Having my mom, sister-in-law, and niece here derailed the writing train, but I wouldn’t trade the time I had with them for anything. As far as goals go, here’s how I did.

1) One blog post per week.

End: If I average, I did one post per week. Does that count for something? I know I didn’t report my progress, but getting the site up and running was a huge hurtle for me, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

2) Visit twitter three times per week.

End:  Done. Accomplished!

3) Eat some cookies.

End: This was tough, but I did it. The success tasted sweet!

4) Finish my final edits for WIP, THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

End: Some previous CPs contacted me to join a new group. It has proved a good thing, and when they looked at my work, they spotted some no-nos like passive verbs and such that have caused me to go back and make some changes. They are way better. Just proof that we can always improve. Thanks SW, KH, and BJ! Thought it wasn’t completing my previous goal, I did make the WIP better with a lot of editing and feel good about what I did.


I did okay. Looking forward to August!

Books I Love


All of us have books that make us love reading. These are mine. I add to this post occasionally, as I get more favorites. To be here, the book has to change my world view, confront me with a new idea, or make me rethink something, doubt myself. I’d love to hear about the books that do that for you. Books put in the comments of this blog will be added to my list of books to read!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

the count of monte cristoThis beloved novel tells the story of Edmond Dantès, wrongfully imprisoned for life in the supposedly impregnable sea fortress, the Château d’If. After a daring escape, and after unearthing a hidden treasure revealed to him by a fellow prisoner, he devotes the rest of his life to tracking down and punishing the enemies who wronged him.Louis Français-Dantès sur son rocher.jpg

Original Title: Le Compte de Monte-Cristo

Published: The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts. Serialization ran from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846. The first edition in book form was published in Paris by Pétion in 18 volumes with the first two issued in 1844 and the remaining sixteen in 1845.


Red Rising by Pierce Brown

From Kirkus Reviews:

red risingSet in the future and reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, this novel dramatizes a story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power.

In the beginning, Darrow, the narrator, works in the mines on Mars, a life of drudgery and subservience. He’s a member of the Reds, an “inferior” class, though he’s happily married to Eo, an incipient rebel who wants to overthrow the existing social order, especially the Golds, who treat the lower-ranking orders cruelly. When Eo leads him to a mildly rebellious act, she’s caught and executed, and Darrow decides to exact vengeance on the perpetrators of this outrage. He’s recruited by a rebel cell and “becomes” a Gold by having painful surgery—he has golden wings grafted on his back—and taking an exam to launch himself into the academy that educates the ruling elite. Although he successfully infiltrates the Golds, he finds the social order is a cruel and confusing mash-up of deception and intrigue. Eventually, he leads one of the “houses” in war games that are all too real and becomes a guerrilla warrior leading a ragtag band of rebelliously minded men and women. Although it takes a while, the reader eventually gets used to the specialized vocabulary of this world, where warriors shoot “pulseFists” and are protected by “recoilArmor.” As with many similar worlds, the warrior culture depicted here has a primitive, even classical, feel to it, especially since the warriors sport names such as Augustus, Cassius, Apollo and Mercury.

A fine novel for those who like to immerse themselves in alternative worlds.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-345-53978-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Nov. 3rd, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2013


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

pride and prejudicePride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.

Published: 1893




Goal Check for #WriteMotivation

So far, so good.

1) One blog post per week.

Week 1: I’ve posted two posts.

2) Visit twitter three times per week.

Week 1: I’ve visited every day, not always commented but still saw what was going on.

3) Eat some cookies.

Still not done. But my kids did make home-made ice cream with Monster and strawberries. Yummy.

4) Finish my final edits for WIP, THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

Week 1: I’m 1/3 through the MS, so on track.

its working

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

This book was a recommendation from my daughter who loves books that can be lived in. This is one of them, and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. The characters are real, complex, and the story of the true Dracula was fascinating. His name was Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, a really interesting guy now that we can’t be impaled by him.
Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler

The depth and breadth of the settings made me feel like I had traveled Europe, from Romania with the wrinkled men and women of the villages to the rich, bustling cities of Buda-Pest. Kostova’s writing is beautiful, thoughtful, and historical, and still manages to have elements of fantasy and suspense that kept me turning the pages.

About Elizabeth Kostova: Elizabeth Johnson Kostova is an American author. She’s a graduate of Yale University and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress.

elizabeth kostova
Her first novel, The Historian, was published in 2005, and it has become a best-seller.

Jacket-flap: To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…

the historianLate one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.

Hope you all take the time to read it!

Less is More

I went to a conference where Linda Sue Park presented a workshop.

lindasueparkShe said something I’ll never forget. “If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to give up things. You have to make hard choices, maybe have less sex, give up television, sleep less.” It was the first time I thought, Do I really want to be a writer?

Then I realized that without writing, I wasn’t happy. In her keynote address, she told us about her latest book, bk_longwalktowaterA Long Walk to Water, about a boy named Salva from Africa, the amazing trials he had to overcome, and how he freed 150 other boys and went back as an adult to help his community. She’s an amazing writer who gives to the community and to kids all over the world. And she’s super nice.

Looking to her example, I decided that what I wanted most for myself was to be a published author. Life isn’t always easy to prioritize, and I’ve found there are things I won’t give up for writing, like time with my kids, because my time with them is slipping away. But I’ve managed to make writing a daily part of my life, and I love it!

Joining #WriteMotivation

One of my critique partners, K. T. Hanna, hosts a monthly goal-setting challenge called Write Motivation. The group encourages one another on twitter and on their blogs. This month, I am joining in the fray. It could be dangerous if I get in the way of flying cookies or the T-Rex who eats them, as illustrated below by one of the members, Lady Jai.


So here are my goals:

1) One blog post per week.

2) Visit twitter three times per week.

3) Eat some cookies.

4) Finish my final edits for WIP, THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

Thank you to my wonderful CP! I love you KT.