I’ve way too many books to read–like a girl with too many pairs of shoes, or handbags, or watches (guilty of this, too!)–but I’ve been a reader since I was three, and writing seriously thirteen years later. So it’s a given when writers write, they’re readers who
read, too. And this post will be long, the next one, too. If you’ll indulge me, fantastic and I’m glad you’re reading. If not your cup of tea, thanks for stopping by and vaya con Dios.
On my Kindle Shelf:
• The Trials of Apollo
• Who Censored Roger Rabbit
• The A to Z of You and Me
• Right to Write
• Little House in the Big Woods
I’m thoroughly enjoying Riordan’s latest, called The Trials of Apollo. We’re following Apollo, twin to Artemis, the moon goddess to his sun god. Evidently, he did something pretty rotten to piss off his dad, Zeus, so he’s a four millennia-old god deemed to live out his existence as a sixteen-year-old guy. No powers. No gifts. And he’s befriended a quirky demi-god (in service, more like). Love it so far, despite its rife with pop culture and checked-box references, but I’m sad to see it end. I’m eager for Book 2 (releasing May 2nd, 2017 and ALREADY available for pre-order; YIKES!!!)–we don’t know why he irked Zeus, so there has to be a follow up. So while waiting on this–and the 8th Harry Potter story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set for a July release in time for the play this story’s based on–I’ve moved onto other reads in varied stages of completion. Evicted highlights several low-income families during the author’s fourteen month, 2008-2009 study in an inner city of Wisconsin. I think this encapsulates what’s happening around the United States regarding housing, frankly.
Yep, kids, that Roger Rabbit movie was based on Gary K. Wolf’s book! But only the characters and the name are similar; the book’s VASTLY different from the movie. I’m only less than thirty pages into Who Censored Roger Rabbit, but that could be this book, written and published in the early 1980s, was done during a somewhat slower time: no computers, no cell phone, no Internet. As an author studying craft, it’s important I read things like this to let me know what NOT to do for every mystery or other story I pen. It’s a bit of a bore, I won’t lie, but I’ll get through it and report back.
Speaking of slower, but in an enthralling, nostalgic, reference-point way: Little House in the Big Woods. Who’s NOT a fan of the Little House on the Prairie TV series Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books are based on. After having read Alison Arngrim’s Confessions of a Prairie Bitch in 2013–I highly recommend this, BTW–it was a lovely surprise to find Laura’s actual stories available on this gizmo we call an e-reader. Gadzooks! Pa’s playing his fiddle by lamplight, we’re reading about it by soft, mechanized backlight! I learned trees have blood (sap), her dad made sugar snow (you’ll have to read the story to know what that is), and I cracked up laughing at the picture of Laura and Mary playing with a blown-up pig bladder the girls had fun with as a balloon!
There’s a quietness about the stories, and how Laura managed to tell about her adventures in third person close is even more special. I think it said for the time a level of modesty about who she was and how she’d grown up with the Bible as their guide in everything they did from sun-up to sundown. I’m still on the first of the five books, and a nice visit to them from when I read these when I was a girl.
Hard Copies Shelf:
• The Book of Lost Things
• The Merchant of War (Pendragon, Book 1)
• 179 Ways to Improve Your Novel
• The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
• Writing with Quiet Hands
• Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us
See that neat lit cube? It’s called a Sonlight: a solar-powered, 10 LED-watt light source. Now I can read my hard copy books at night! And those copies, I’ll only summarize three of the six on my Hard Copies Shelf.
Thanks, But This Isn’t for Us tells writers across every aspect of their careers what not to do in their manuscripts. In many, many instances I agree with Jessica Page Morrell’s assessments in making sure my work runs like a fine watch in plot, story, characters, voice, setting, style, imagery, dialogue, no logic holes in said story, etc, etc. But I’m reading this from an editorial standpoint without having to pay for her services, as I’m indie publishing, I’m on a tight budget, and I’m just a friggin’ cheapskate. :). Her take-no-prisoners approach to the industry, be one seeking a traditional book contract, an agent, or going in the indie route like me, can benefit from this. Because at the end of the day, it’s the reader that’ll be discerning enough to share this product–which our works are–to keep reading me as an author or move onto another. Since I can edit pretty tight, I’m handling that role in my projects (a shoestring budget, indie publishing author, remember?), but when I have funds for an editor, no question she’ll rip me and work a new one. In a loving way where she “gets” my message, but puts a spit-shine on it of tidiness, naturally. When that day comes, get ready to call me Missye-San.
Like Julia Cameron’s amazing The Artist’s Way brand, in THE RIGHT TO WRITE, it’s much like WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, but with gentle belief in the questioning reader/doubting emerging writer: “Can I really write, too? Who’s interested in my story? And, when all’s said and done, so what?”
The difference in Cameron’s book: You can write, so do it. You might not find commercial success, but don’t equate the art and the beauty of writing to that, because that’s why you shouldn’t begin/have begun writing in the first place. Focus on the JOY writing brings, the release, the catharsis. While Paula Munier’s WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS leans toward Cameron’s thesis in a pro-product, geared-to-the-business-side-of-selling-the-written-word POV–and there’s nothing wrong with that–Cameron’s arguing even if you might be a tone-deaf writer, like a tone-deaf singer won’t ever get a recording contract, that singer’s voice, and writer’s voice, though still terrible on a commercial level, isn’t any less valuable. Its sheer existence brings that value. And writing comes in a bazillion forms: topiary, ice sculptures, graffiti art, song-writing, poetry, flash fiction, plays, limericks, even meme posts, blog posts, copy-wrighting, ghost-writing, sky-writing, non-fiction, children’s books, speech-writing, haikus, travel writing, editorial cartoons. Not everyone can be a novelist, nor should they be. Not everyone can be a vocalist–but you can tune instruments, or conduct, or write sheet music. Find which way to write through the best medium in which you’re soulmates to, and do it as best you can.
My final read, I discovered in a FB book group I was sacked from (yes, again!), but I’m glad I left aware of D.J. MacHale‘s new to me Bobby Pendragon series. As a fan of series’ long reads, and still Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and The Olympians hungover, THE MERCHANT OF WAR opens promisingly for me. I’ve still got to make time to read this, but the story premise blends my love of fantasy, mystery, adventure, a male protagonist, first POV, interdimensional intrigue and possible espionage, and–my personal favorite!–ORIGINALITY! NONCONFORMIST WRITING! Writing what MacHale wanted to read, not what the market said to do, and he listened to his sister’s nephew’s feedback, too! Oooah!!!
Time to go, and thanks for reading this far. I’ll be back next time with SIX BOOK PROMOTION TIPS, according to the #LifeBooksWriting challenge. This is a good thing: keeps this blog fresh, I’m writing consistently again, and you get to know more about me without my coming across as an arrogant bitch of a windbag. #360Win.
Later, y’all. Stay awesome.