Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One!) by Jeff Goins

Jeff pulled a quick punch with this one.  It's a short, fast read that leaves you with several meals' worth of food for thought.

The biggest thing he talks about is that you have to act like a writer, whether you believe it or not.  You have to show up every day and write.  You have to think about how you present yourself (as a writer).  You need to have some kind of platform.  You need to network.

I think this is the kick-in-the-pants that I needed.  I've been moaning and groaning about not doing something with my life, and...well, why not write?  I can park my rear in a chair and pound out a few thousand words a day.  Nothing is stopping me, except me.

I can write small things, for starters -- articles, blog posts, a meme -- anything that keeps me writing.

As soon as I read about building a platform (using social media like Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, your own website, whatever), a few things popped into my head that won't go away.

He's right.  You need to START with small steps, build a platform (and an audience), and keep writing so that as you get better, the opportunities start getting better too.

This is a MUST READ for anyone who is struggling with their writing.  You're not a promoter, marketer, or networker, you're a WRITER, but you need those building blocks (for a short time you might have to do all those things, until you get an agent and publisher with their own teams of promoters/marketers) to start off well.

I'm going to be thinking about this a lot and may be revamping this site (or creating a new one) as an author/artist blog with lots of goodies for readers...

...stay tuned!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quick Update

Sorry, been on a bit of a vacation --

I'm reading quite a few books at the moment (at least 5) so I will have some reviews next week.

Been working on some ideas for my Camp NaNoWriMo project (starts on Wednesday!  So exciting!) and reading some great books on writing.  (Favorites right now: Hooked on Writing... by Les Edgerton and You're A Writer -- So Start Acting Like One! by Jeff Goins)

So that's what's been going on -- I've also made some book earrings and necklaces (from this tutorial), a Kindle cover, and a bookmark.  Staycation = crafty times, a little reading, and some movie watching.

Have you ever made anything from a book or for a book?  Have you made your own books?  There's a terrific book-binding tutorial I want to try soon.

Also, my birthday was a few days ago so my parents got me a gift certificate to Amazon.com.  My immediate thought?  "USED BOOKS OMG!!!!"  So now I need to make a list and see just how many I can snag...

See you next week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

This might end up being the Best Book of the Year for me (it came out last year but I didn't find it until this year -- thanks, Goodreads, for the suggestion!).

I can't even tell you all the reasons why it is so good.  I'm going to try to pin a few of them down, like butterflies under glass.

Here's the synopsis, from Tim Wynne-Jones' page:

"Two street kids get tangled in a plot over their heads — and risk an unexpected connection — in this heart-pounding thriller by Tim Wynne-Jones...charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst — along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption."

As you can see, it's not even close to my preferred genres -- fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, re-imaginings, etc.

But it is incredible.

Don't go read the whole blurb, it contains spoilers.

Here, then, are the Top 5 Reasons I Adore This Book:

1. It's written in a weird first-person-second-person-inside-a-person way -- usually this would be difficult (if not impossible) to pull off.  But Tim Wynne-Jones is a master.  It unsettles you at first because no one else writes like this (that I know of), but it draws you inside in a way that not many other books can.

2. Regular YA fiction of this sort usually ends badly.  For everyone.  Life is messy.  Blah, blah, blah.  We know (think almost every indie movie you've ever seen).  But THIS book -- THIS book actually shows that people can change.  For the better.  Life can get better.  And sometimes, it does.

3. Redemption is the main theme, and it is one of my favorite themes of all time.

4. The most beautiful non-sex-yet-intimate scene I've ever read.

5. The characters are complex (even the side characters) -- in a beautiful, broken way.

This is one of those books that I instantly want to read over again, even though I know I can't capture the magic of that first time again.  It's a book I'll buy in paperback and read til the cover falls off.  It's one I'll gab about for hours whenever someone mentions the word 'book'.  And it's one that will serve as a brilliant bulb of inspiration as I try to create my own stories.

...You should go read this book.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I've been out of town and sick but I'm feeling better and I've got two reviews I'm excited about -- one book to rip apart (it was just so BAD) and one to praise to the heavens (EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT).

Also working on my Camp NaNoWriMo project -- I bought:

4 notebooks (17 cents at the Place-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named)
2 packs of index cards
1 index card holder
1 pack of sheet paper for my notebook

Right now I need to flesh out the plot (still a bit weak on what actually HAPPENS) and make a music list -- right now I'm just listening to a few 80's Rock 'N Roll music stations on Pandora (AWESOME).

I'm too tired to think through the reviews today but they ARE coming (in case you thought I was dead or something).

Here are some other books I read over the last week:

The Girl in the Glass

Lawnmower Magic
How to Save Your Tail*
Write That Book Already! (awesome, hilarious book on finishing up a book and getting published)

What have you been reading/writing?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

100 Easy Camping Recipes by Bonnie Scott

I recently found a site that keeps track of all the free/on sale Kindle books -- updated hourly (!?!!?).

I subscribed to their site and so far have found 4 books (I'm picky, ok?) that I thought would be interesting.

One of these was a book of Camping Recipes.

I love camping.

Camping is something my family did every year since I can remember -- we'd go every spring and every fall and we usually went to a place in North Carolina near Sliding Rock  (We even asked for the same camp site and pretty often, we got it).

I remember eating egg burritos (eggs, salsa and cheese in a warm burrito shell -- mmm!), bacon, burgers, hot dogs, and the usual simple camp fare -- nothing beats an open fire when it comes to creating a simple, delicious meal.

So, I cracked this book open intent on reliving some happy camping memories and storing away some ideas for when I take my husband (an extreme IN-sider) on a trip.

The book started out obvious to the extreme:

"Water is essential."

...yes.  Yes, it is...and why would I not remember that?!

I was a quarter through the book before it even got to the recipes, and most of the "prologue" was basic, everybody-knows-this stuff (some of which didn't even apply to cooking!).

This did not boost my expectations for the recipes, and to some extent, I was justified in categorizing this book as a simple should-have-been-a-booklet for a crappy gift store somewhere in the wilderness (a for-beginner's camp site welcome center type thing).


Some of the recipes and how-to's are actually brilliant --

-- boiling eggs in a bag (???)
-- slicing a hot dog and sticking a piece of cheese inside, then wrapping it all in bacon (!!!!!)
-- easy hobo stew-type dishes (which are hard to get right the first few times w/o a recipe)
-- delicious options for dutch oven desserts
-- classic dishes such as hotdogs-in-biscuits, campfire chili, and s'mores

So while I laughed through the first part of the book, I became intrigued with some of the recipes (several I'm actually going to try out at home!), and by the end I realized I had a new cookbook -- for free!

3/5 stars and plans to make that cheesy-hotdog-bacon yummy-ness PRONTO.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo

I can't help it -- I've been sucked in by another OLL project -- CAMP NANOWRIMO.

In case you didn't have enough fun with 50k in November or 100 pages in April, you can write 50k more in June or August (or both)!

I'm taking the plunge next month with a YA Fantasy tentatively titled "Football, Pizza, Beer and Magic".  (It's tentative because I think I need another beverage in place of beer.  Suggestions?)

I'll be posting updates here as well as any cool writing tidbits, posters or quotes I find.

Next time (which might be tomorrow or Thursday) I'll be doing a review -- until then, my friends.

(If you want to join in the crazy at Camp NaNoWriMo, click on my participation badge and it will take you to the sign up page)