Category Archives: Books

One-Liner Wednesday

I’ve been neglecting my reading. May has been a zero-book month. How sad. I’ve been super busy with projects outside of work, including my own writing, and I’ve simply been exhausted at night. I need to make reading a priority again. Writers should read more than blogs and twitter. I miss books!

The great thing is that they’re all still there waiting for me.πŸ“šβœ¨

~*~

One-Liner Wednesday

Why I Write…

The answer to this question varies with my mood. Some days I have a story to share that I think people will enjoy. Other times I simply need to express myself and words are my best tool for that. There are times I feel like being clever with language. Other days I have this ridiculous notion I’ve come up with something important to convey. Once I answered this question by talking about how writing fiction and poetry is the best way for me to organize my scattered thoughts and make some kind of sense of this messy world too.

I was thinking about all this a little while ago when I re-downloaded my drafts of Attractive Nuisance and Sweet Nothings from the cloud. The other day I’d told a friend I hadn’t been working on a novel lately, only flash fiction and poetry, because I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time. But ever since yesterday, when I impulsively replied to Jim’s post about a song, by jabbering on about an old pile of writing, I’ve been energized about working on this layered tale again.

Thing is, I don’t think it’s coincidence that this happened at the end of a week when I’m feeling especially frustrated at other people’s behavior. I’ve never been good at seeing patterns in the actions of real characters unless they’re completely obvious. I’m much better with fiction. And, of course, writing my own gives me a feeling of control I get nowhere else ~ I create a new world, populate it with my creations, and make them do what I want.

Just noodling. Back to work! πŸ˜€

The Mighty Quinn

Jim writes about this song today and gives various ideas on what it might be about. An ex told me it was about a drug dealer. That makes sense. I nicknamed a character in a book “the Eskimo” because of that, and yes he was a drug dealer. I didn’t write much about the drugs themselves, since I don’t know anything and research is boring; instead I wrote about two guys having a long funny convo in the drug dealer’s house about which women they’d rather bang, such as Ginger or Mary Ann, etc. My story got way off-track because I began to enjoy writing these conversations more than the lurve scenes between the actual main characters, and I struggled with giving the protagonists enough screen time, so to speak. For some reason, this book isn’t even up for sale in my glob of books. That must be because I couldn’t decide which version to self-publish. Let’s take a vote.

1. The long one with all the off-track scenes left in that don’t even have much to do with the lurve story at all and make the book way too long for a romance novel but are funny?

2. The semi-cleaned up one that is less funny but more focused on the actual lurve story?

3. The super cleaned up version?

Then vote:

A. Prologue, which Elmore Leonard hates, but adds texture.

B. No prologue.

Title:

i. Attractive Nuisance (relevant legal term).

ii. Sweet Nothings (name of her lingerie store).

Thanks for your help!

P.S. Please remember that I still can’t read minds and you actually have to tell me in the comments what you want! πŸ˜€

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

β€œHow do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that you’ve found to be particularly effective?”

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

The Most Important Lesson from GOT

***WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GAME OF THRONES’ SPOILERS!***

It’s sport for GOT fans to mercilessly drag every episode of this last season, in gory detail, and I agree with the main criticism ~ the ending is rushed. The show runners spent 7 long seasons setting up an intricate story, and now they’re zooming to finish, stuffing two wars into three episodes out of six, and leaving lots of loose ends.

Meanwhile, I’m basically enjoying the eps, besides wishing there would have been more of them. I don’t share the common criticism that the plot twists and character arcs are “unearned.” The first seasons generally followed the books, so if you’d read them, you weren’t shocked by twists. Ned’s beheading was accepted because those of us who read the books knew it was coming, but normally the sudden death of a beloved character early on would have generated criticism from fans.

So, when I read today that people are upset about Varys’ death, I roll my eyes. The dude was a great character, but he was always plotting and scheming against rulers, and it was inevitable one would discover it and kill him. You have to wonder why it took so long really, except for the fact that he was smarter than all of them. Littlefinger was also, but Varys was not evil and selfish, so he caught more breaks. Both men were lucky they lasted as long as they did.

People who are carrying on today about Daenerys going “mad” haven’t been paying attention. She has stated all along that she was going to take what was hers “with fire and with blood.” She has torched people throughout the show, but that was okay with us because we didn’t like them. Her character has been stable, her mission unchanged, and her vision focused on one goal.

If you want to pick apart the military strategy of Euron and his crew, I get that. One day he takes out a dragon with his first shot and sinks the entire opposing navy; in the next encounter, he’s totally inept. What the hell happened there? Gotta say though I enjoyed his rambunctious battle to the death with Jaime. Good stuff, though I did think Euron would have mentioned the baby he thinks is his. Might have thrown Jaime off-balance.

Okay, so Jaime fooking Lannister, amirite? People are yelling about his character arc. Pffft, I say. You know what? It’s perfect. The more I think about it, the more perfect it is. Here we have a handsome, spoiled, rich jerk who is in love with his sister and does horrible things for a long time. Some of these things he does for her and some he does just because he’s an arrogant ass.

Then, Jaime gets captured, tortured, and has his comeuppance and epiphany. He begins to be a slightly better person. He sees that he could maybe love a woman who isn’t a monster and be loved in return. He could fight for the people instead of his shitty family name. Some of his interior ugliness is replaced with goodness.

But then… then… bratty, snotty Sansa (more about her in a sec), says nyah we’ve taken King’s Landing and your sis is gonna die! Jaime immediately reverts to form, dumps his new sweet love and breaks her heart, and gallops back to his wicked twin. Why?

Because people don’t change!

That’s the lesson here, folks. And it’s a good and important one. Dany never changed, not one iota. Jaime appeared to change, but he didn’t really. And what about Sansa, who began as a pretty wounded bird and allegedly turned into a strong confident woman? Nah fam. She’s still a petty, snide, gossipy bitch. Dishonest and backstabbing.

Jon/Aegon never changed either. He can’t help but be a noble, relentlessly honest lump of boring. Tyrion is still the same brilliant little scamp who puts his family first no matter how terrible they are. And he does sometimes back the wrong horse, especially when it’s very pretty. Sandor had one main mission in life, and though he did get sidetracked with other tasks along the way, ultimately he refocused on his goal, the Cleganebowl.

Arya? Let’s see what she does in the final ep. Any predictions? I admit I was wrong when I predicted Jaime would kill Cersei, and I’m glad to be wrong. I love that they stuck to the “people don’t change” theme instead, and decided to ignore Maggie’s prophecy. Now, the prediction is that Arya will kill Dany. I don’t know… What do you think?

Thanks for reading all this!

Three of a Derp [100 words]

So, my likes have been light
And my comments are nil
Cuz I’m going away
To see my daughter and SIL.
But I thought I would post
To the pix prompt of three,
Then I saw I misread…
Oh whoops, woe is me!

*

Posting them anyway, nyah! I won’t include the prompt link, so my post will just float in the WP pool untethered to any other post, just like in the old days. Weird now though.

The idea was to take three photos of one subject in three ways, not have three subjects in a photo, but like whateverrr.

X is for Xenobia [A2Z]

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James is a perfect Regency romance novel. It has everything a fan of the genre wants. There is a beautiful and headstrong heroine, who is determined to live life on her own terms, even if it is 1799. We also have an arrogant, handsome, bastard son of a duke, focused on marring someone sweet and biddable. Said sweet miss is terrified of the bastard and would much rather hang with the affable country doctor. School friend comes to visit bastard and says hey nice decorator you got there… shame if some other man took her away from you. Bastard doesn’t like that idea!

Very fun book with little Easter eggs (homages) to other pieces of literature buried in the pages. I probably missed some. Explicit sex scenes abound.

Late Night Quick Draw

Late Night Quick Draw ~ sorry for the oopsy. Rory seems to have deleted or rescheduled his post. Maybe it will magically reappear later. Copy pasta the questions at your own risk!

Season 1

Describe yourself in 7 words?

Funny, serious, organized, reliable, introverted, poetic, neurotic.

What do you find funny?

Yer mom.

Favourite Food?

Cookies.

Favourite Tipple?

Constant Comment black & orange tea.

Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?

Cookie dough.

Currently Reading?

The Essex Serpent.

Last Film you saw [Cinema/DVD]?

While You Were Sleeping.

Favourite Comfort Food?

Cookies.

Ideal Breakfast?

Cookies.

Favourite Music Genre?

Classic rock.

Best Holiday you have had?

Portland with my daughter.

Holiday destination you would love to see?

New Mexico might be nice.

What’s your favourite animal?

Favourite Game?

Ticket to Ride.

Favourite sport [Take part in/watch]?

Meh.

Most Favourite Nursery Rhyme Growing Up?

Pop Goes the Weasel.

Favourite Colour?

Turquoise.

What would be your perfect day?

Assuming I can’t go back in time, just a pain-free, stress-free day would be nice.

U is for Until [A2Z]

Until We Kissed was such an enjoyable read that I went and downloaded the other 6 Pine Valley contemporary romances right after I finished it!

Librarian Livvy believes she’s dating the perfect man until she meets writer Mason. Sparks fly immediately. Why doesn’t she feel this amazing chemistry with Mr. Perfect, the doctor? It’s a mystery she’ll have to solve as Mason returns to the library day after day to work on his next novel.

Neither Livvy nor Mason are flawless, and they overcome their imperfections to become better and build love and trust. Some readers dismiss books where protags are imperfect, but I like to see characters work on themselves as humans do (ideally) and become their best selves with the help and support of someone who cares for them deeply. When that happens, I find the happily ever after to be more satisfying.

This romance novel does not have explicit sex scenes.

Show & Tell

Warning: this turned into a rambling pointless bunch of jabbering. More than usual. πŸ˜‚

Melanie haz questions:

1. Was the last thing you read digital or print?

I’m not counting online “news,” since that’s like reading cereal boxes. Actually, it would probably be more informative to read cereal boxes (note to self: buy some Cap’n Crunch). The last book I read on my Kindle was Not Quite Dating, which I already reviewed for the alphablog and am now done with all those posts, yay! So, that leaves Us Magazine, which hits my mailbox every Saturday. Why? I dunno! I’m certainly not paying for it. Somehow, a free subscription has been gifted to me and it shows up every week. I spend a couple minutes paging through and then toss it. Can’t remember anything much about this one except the spread of celebs in their wine colored dresses. Every issue has two pages near the front with a clothing theme. I do like themes. Oh, Kate Hudson was in this issue too. She’s 40 and happy. I’m happy she’s happy cuz I like her.

2. Are you more an extrovert or introvert?

According to the definition, I’m an introvert. My friends also call themselves introverts, but they always want to get together, which I find curious. Shouldn’t they need to spend lots of time alone, as I do? Granted, I have been more social than normal lately due to Game of Thrones, but that’s temporary. It’ll be over in a month. There is something particularly compelling about the ending to this dramatic and complex show that makes it fun to watch and discuss with others. Most of the time however I have no need for that and prefer to watch things alone. I crave alone time to think and read and write in peace and quiet. It recharges me. Too much peopling makes me literally crazy and I feel the air getting so heavy with noise and vibration and other people talking moving breathing that my body will crush and implode if I don’t get away.

3. How is your life different from what you imagined as a younger person?

When I was a teenager, I imagined myself becoming a career-focused professional, possibly a scientist. I wasn’t dreaming of marriage and children, but that is what I did. Next, I assumed I’d be married for the rest of my life; when I divorced, I thought I should find someone else. It didn’t occur to me until relatively recently that I would spend my life alone, but now that I’ve accepted it, I’m fine. It might be the ideal state for me, even.

4. Do you think about dying?   Does death scare you?  Why or why not?

I think about it a lot. It used to terrify me ~ when it first hit me that I would die and be erased, I freaked out. I was 12 and in a car with my parents coming back to NJ after visiting peeps in Ohio. I knew earlier that I would die, of course, but the impact of the erasure didn’t affect me until that moment. I mentioned I was upset and my parents dismissed my concerns. For a long time, I was angry at them over this, but I’ve come to understand they did the best they could.

I didn’t sleep for a year ~ at least, this is how I remember it. I stumbled through the days, exhausted but somehow not letting on I had this enormous burden. And I must have slept some or I would have died or become ill, but I remember all that year lying awake utterly terrified, making words out of words in my head. My schoolwork wasn’t affected, so no one knew or cared.

Eventually, I grew to live with the bleak erasure knowledge. It’s what keeps me sympathetic to religious believers. Of course you would take the comfort of an afterlife option if it were intellectually available to you! You’d have to be nuts not to grab onto that if there were any way to make sense of it. Unfortunately, I can’t make it fit into my logical brainspace. I wish I could.

Lately though, I’m not so afraid any longer. Maybe it’s because I am just so damn tired of being in pain every day. At least that will stop, which is something to look forward to, blissful non-awareness of aches and migraines. I also won’t have to think about all the things I’ve failed to accomplish, what a freaking relief. Not to mention all the mistakes I’ve made, gahhh. All erased from MY mind, since there won’t be any more “my mind.” And if others criticize or gossip, I won’t know, so I won’t care. Nice!

Plus, things are getting old as I’m getting old. Samey same same same. Sure, I still enjoy stuff, but meh. As someone I once loved said: “Do I really care about seeing the millionth issue of the New York Times?”

It’s his birthday today, btw. Happy birthday to the man who broke my heart. Still much older than I am. Still living in a big lonely house with his wife and their money. Now we’re all unhappy, great.

5. Gratitude challenge: find something you are thankful for in nature.

California mountains and beaches and sunsets and flowers, of course…