Thursday, November 22, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Inside the Box with Chris Ware I love this idea. There are different elements to the book and many layers to the story rather than just a straight narrative compiled in one form. It's a unique idea and I'm interested to see how well it pans out. (@ Guernica)
Book publishing crisis: Capitalism kills culture This is a thoughtful reflection on what the Random House-Penguin merger will mean for the future of publishing and American culture as we know it. (@ Salon)
Truman Capote Reads from Breakfast at Tiffany's April 7, 1963 I love hearing authors read their own work. I only wish there was a video to go with the audio. (@ YouTube)
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The house I live in has two resident pets: a chinchilla named Matthias and a cat named Boo.
Both of these names came from books. Matthias comes from the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques, which by the way, you should read if you haven't. Boo, of course comes from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
The literary pet names phenomena turned out to be a happy coincidence, but we've decided to keep it going. The next cat to come in to our house will be named Scout, especially if it's a girl.
And personally, I've always thought Bartleby would be a great name for a turtle.
Do any of your pet's names come from books? Share them in the comments section.
Monday, November 12, 2012
I'm at a loss for words. Superstorm Sandy has come and gone but two weeks later we are still cleaning up after her. In my house, we went 12 days without power, which seemed like a lifetime, even though I know that we got lucky. We didn't have any flooding or other damage to our house, we have gas stoves and a gas water heater, so the only things we couldn't do were turn on the lights and surf the internet. Boohoo.
Many other people out there lost their homes, their cars, everything. The devastation from the storm is widespread and sadly many families out there are still trying to figure out what they'll do now. There are still families out there that still don't have power.
If you'd like to help the victims of the storm go to www.redcross.org to find out what you can do.
Monday, October 29, 2012
To all my East Coast readers - please stay safe in this storm. Stay inside and take care of your family.
To all my West Coast readers- Happy Halloween!
No, this is not a Nike commercial.
Sometimes there are things that we know we should get done, but they seem difficult or unpleasant, so we let them linger and hang over our heads until it gets to be too much. I'm here to push you over the edge today and tell you to get it done, whatever it is that you're putting off.
I'll give you an example from my life. I recently (I'm being liberal with my usage here) moved across state lines with a brand spanking new car. I waited a while to switch over my license and registration because 1) I didn't know there was a time limit on these things and 2) I didn't feel like going to the DMV.
Everybody has a bad story about going to the DMV, especially in this state that I'm now living in. So, I put it off and tried not to worry too much. Eventually I realized I had to suck it up and do it, so I journeyed to the DMV where everything was just as horribly unpleasant as I expected it to be. Fast forward a few months and I was still waiting to hear back about my registration and my plates. I was frustrated and I knew I would have to go back to the DMV.
I didn't want to go. I was expecting to have to fight with someone to get what I wanted. I was expecting to have all kinds of problems. Finally, I forced myself to get in the car and go so that the issue wouldn't linger any more and I could get on with my life.
Guess what happened?
There had been a paperwork mix up and I should have been able to get everything straightened out more than a month earlier. If I hadn't shown up, I might never have gotten my registration. Once I showed up at the DMV and explained my situation to them everything went smoothly.
Four hours later, I had new plates, an inspection sticker and a huge load off of my mind.
I felt hugely accomplished by the end of the day. Nothing would have changed if I hadn't made myself show up at the DMV and ask about my paperwork. Sometimes all it takes is a single action to get the ball rolling and from there, you might just find that the task was easier than you expected.
Is there a project weighing on your mind that you're reluctant to start? Why not just do that one thing that you've been putting off?
Friday, October 26, 2012
My 6,128 Favorite Books An interesting take on a life spent reading books. (@ Wall Street Journal Online)
Younger Americans' Reading and Library Habits The results of a Pew Research study regarding young Americans. (@ Pew Internet Libraries)
Rumors of Random/Penguin Discussions Confirmed Big news in the publishing world. Can't wait to see how things turn out. (@ January Magazine)
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Do you mumble uncomfortably when someone asks you what you do?
Is it hard to admit to people you barely know that you like to tell stories and make things up?
I used to be like you. I used to be terrified to tell people about my writing. I worried that I would be judged, or people would think I had my head in the clouds. (To be fair, when I'm in writing mode, I often do have my head in the clouds, but that's a different story.)
Sometime between graduating from college and not being able to find a "real job" I started asking myself why I was so afraid to tell people what I wanted to do. I landed a day job and allowed myself to tell my coworkers about my writing. They didn't laugh.
Most of them are between college and where they want to be too, so funny thing is, they got it. They said okay, so you're a writer, let us read something. And suddenly I felt so free to create. I could write whatever I wanted because I was - I am - a writer.
Before, I was shy about it. Even when I went to critique groups, I'd only let others read my work after heavy revisions. I didn't want anyone to see first or even second drafts. That's (mostly) all over now.
The very act of admitting to people that I'm a writer has freed me to show my work, and to create many new and exciting things. Just because I haven't been published yet doesn't mean I have to say, "I'm going to be a writer someday." The act of writing is what makes you a writer, and being published is the icing on the cake.
Try it. Say it out loud, so someone, anyone can hear you. Say "I am a writer," then sit down and get to work. You'll be amazed at what you can produce.
Monday, October 22, 2012
I know things have been quiet here lately. If you're wondering where I've been, I'll tell you the truth -- I've been having a tough time creatively.
I've written in the past about the importance of focus for writers and artists, but sometimes the ideas come so fast it's hard to keep up with them.
I know what you're thinking, "How can you complain about having too many ideas?" I'm not trying to brag or make myself sound brilliant. This is seriously a problem. I sit down to write one thing and ideas for other things keep popping into my head and if I stop to write a note to myself so I can work on the other things later, I often have trouble going back to focusing on the first thing. The only way I can think to describe what I've been dealing with is monkey mind.
At times like this, I feel like I'll never get anything accomplished because I can't sit with one project long enough to finish it. You simply can't publish unfinished work. So, here I am, sitting at my keyboard, trying desperately to calm my thoughts and focus on one thing at a time.
I hope that you, dear readers, are having more luck.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Got an MFA? Teach High School I see the point he's trying to make, but I'm not sure I would want to follow his advice. (@ The Millions)
bikinis meet their match This is a cute little tumblr that matches swimwear to book covers. (@ Tumblr)
Colson Whitehead's Rules for Writing If you haven't read this piece from last Sunday's book review, check it out, it's pretty good. (@ NY Times)
Friday, July 27, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
|I took this photo last summer on the coast of Maine, while waiting for a table at one of my parents' favorite restaurants.|
I've spent most of the day inside because we've finally gotten some much needed rain here in New Jersey after 100 degree weather earlier this week. Luckily, I haven't needed to run any errands or go anywhere today, so I've been at home doing the things that I love to do.
I've finally had some time to sit quietly and relax without worrying about a schedule or trying to get ready for work on time. Trust me, if I had an entire week off, I would be up in Maine, where the picture above was taken, but sadly it doesn't look like I'll get there this year. Instead, I've been looking at all the pictures I took last summer, and remembering the fun that I had. It's not the same, but it's enough to inspire my current WIP and get my mind off everything else right now.
I'm spending my day looking at pictures, remembering good times, reading interesting things, drinking tea and most importantly writing a story I'm thrilled about. All in all it's a great, relaxing day.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
How to Have a Career: Advice to Young Writers This one is a little more serious, but will probably still put a smile on your face. (@ Work in Progress)
MFA Nugget: Are You Sharing an Anecdote or Writing an Artful Story? This is an important distinction. In our everyday interactions, we don't always need to acknowledge the who or the why, but in our writing, those elements make all the difference. (@ The Artist's Road)
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
(Photo Credit: Mayan Brenn on Creative Commons)
What do you usually do when you're faced with a task that you don't now how to complete?
Friday, June 22, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
(This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.)
Friday, June 15, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Friday, June 8, 2012
Flip the Script: Write Some Days I like the idea of writing everyday, but as we all know, sometimes it doesn't happen. As long as we don't let too many days slip by, I think it's okay to be forgiving. (@ Writer Unboxed)
Taking the Mystery Out of Query Letters This is reasonable, straight-forward advice to keep in mind. (@ Rachelle Gardner)
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Friday, June 1, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
10,000 Hours "It takes a long time for most of us mortals to get good at writing." (@Writer Unboxed)
Designing Books is No Laughing Matter. Ok It Is. This guy is so funny. He has some really interesting points about book cover designs as well. (@ Ted.com)
Friday, May 11, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
I know I'm not alone in this: I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want a project to turn out, so much so that I often end up procrastinating starting the project for fear of it not living up to my expectations. That's right. Sometimes I put off starting a project because I don't think that it will be perfect when I'm done.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I've been dealing with a nasty cold for almost a week now. Yesterday when I woke up, I could barely stand. So, I called work & let them know I wouldn't be coming in.
I spent most of the day reading and sleeping. Today I'm still a bit sick, but I'll be able to go to work. Taking the day off gave me a chance to relax & heal, so I'll be over this cold much sooner than if I had tried to push myself to go to work.
Sometimes staying at home with a good book really is the best medicine.
What do you like to read when you're sick? Tell us in the comments below!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Knock Off Books Fooling Consumers This is my main concern with self-publishing: there are very little barriers on that road so it's incredibly easy for someone to pull off something like this. (@ January Magazine)
By now I'm sure you've heard that there will be no Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year, but in case you haven't here are some of the more interesting articles about the non-award.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
The Books We Come Back To There are a lot of books that I like to reread, but none on any kind of schedule. It fascinates me to read about authors making a point of reading their favorite books once a year. (@The Millions)
The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On You never know what you'll find in secondhand book shops. (@ BarterBooksLtd Youtube page)
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
For the last few weeks, Friday has been my only day off from my day job. For several weeks in a row now, I've had to schedule meetings and run errands on those days, meaning that my days off were just as (if not more so) stressful as the days when I had to go to work.
Last week, I was able to get my errands out of the way earlier in the week, and only had one quick meeting in the morning on Friday. This left me with an entire day to myself; a day to do whatever I wanted on my own schedule. I took out a notebook and got to work.
Before I knew it, I was digging through my books and re-reading old journals trying to find that one note I'd written myself three years ago. It seems only fitting that my new Kindle arrived in the middle of the day on Friday as well.
You might be wondering how much writing I got done. In terms of actual sentences and paragraphs, not a whole lot. What I did instead was create a timeline for my WIP. It takes place over nearly 100 years, so I had to get my years straight. I spent almost two hours working on this timeline, and another hour or so gathering all of the notes I had written about this piece.
It was an incredibly productive day overall, even if from the outside it might not appear that way. The fact is, focusing so closely on my writing made the day fly by. I barely noticed the time passing, and I felt relaxed and happy at the end of the day. It wasn't like all of my other 'days off' where I was rushing around town trying to get things done, and stressing out about not having enough time. I was able to sit and work at my own pace and accomplish only the things that I wanted to accomplish while not worrying about anything else.
This is why I do this. It's what I love. No, not everyday is going to be easy and full of sunshine and roses, but even on my least productive days, I'm still more likely to feel good if I've written even one word. It's the days when I haven't touched my WIP that make me feel horrible.
Go ahead. Get started. Write down two sentences. It doesn't matter if they're good or bad, just get them out of your head and onto the screen (paper, whatever). Just write a few sentences a day and see how much better you feel each time. Soon you'll have a whole page. Then a chapter. And so on.
You'll be amazed at how much happier you feel with each word.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Friday, April 6, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Update: David Foster Wallace The Pale King Paperback Truth be told, I didn't buy the hardcover, but I'm still annoyed by this news. It's a new trend in publishing to add things to a book when it comes out in paperback so those who bought the hardcover feel cheated or coerced into buying a second copy. Of course the publishers have to make money, but this isn't the way to do it. If anything it's going to encourage people to buy fewer books. (@ Melville House)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
The movie adaptation opened in theaters on Friday and to put it simply, it was excellent. The adaptation was incredibly well done, probably because Suzanne Collins, the author of the novel, helped write the screen play and worked as an Executive Producer on the film.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
One of the first things I did after I moved back in January was go down to the library and get a card so that I could check out books whenever I wanted. It was (to me) a crucial step toward becoming established in my new town.
I've always loved going to the library because they had all the books that I could possibly want -- for free! I know, as an aspiring author shouldn't I be encouraging readers to buy buy buy? Not always. Of course you should buy your favorite books, but you have to use the libraries too.
I know someone who says she doesn't use the library because she reads too slowly and never finishes the book before it's due. That's crazy though, because there are so many other things to do at the library. Checking out books is only the tip of the iceberg.
- If you can't afford internet access to your home, you can go to the library (with a free card) and check your email.
- If you want to visit your local museum, but can't afford the cost of admission, you can get a museum pass from most libraries.
- The library in my hometown recently started offering free audiobook & music downloads as well as online language courses.
- Many libraries are now also offering ebook lending on Kindle and Nook.
Not to mention author visits, book clubs, community gathering spaces, movie screenings...The list of benefits go on and on.
So tell me: If you don't use your library, what are waiting for?