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Showing posts from August, 2010

Book Psychology: Now she's reading romance novels...

This past weekend I headed off for a relaxing weekend in Steamboat Springs (pictures to come on Wednesday) and packed a couple novels to read.

Actually...

Last week I picked up Suddenly You an historical romance by Lisa Kleypas. I was enjoying it so much that as we headed out of town, I made a quick stop at the library and picked up Then Came You, another of her novels to take with me since I was already half-way through Suddenly You.

And I finished both of them over the course of the weekend. And then I went back to the library this morning and checked five more historical romance novels.

I'm not sure what's going on:

1) I haven't read an historical romance since the mid-1990s when I went through my Amanda Quick phase.

2) When's the last time I devoured two books in a weekend? Last month I had a difficult time finishing any book!

3) And why pick up five more to read? Am I studying the genre? Or am I just in need of a story with a happy ending?

4) Here's the weird…

Written Today in the Library (aka this is what a rough draft looks like)

Finding her grave wasn’t difficult; I just looked for the larger granite markers that I remembered from my last visit. The slab with the laser etched portrait of an elderly babushka, the hard technical lines of the etching incongruous with the weathered face that peered out from the rock and a terrible irony that the granite slab cost more than the crumbling state-issued apartment where she’d spent the last thirty years of her life, with the mold that crept into the corners from the damp foundation during the rainy spring. That her grave was marked by such luxury was more a testament to her son’s prosperity in the post-Soviet economy than to her comfort in old age.
Katerina’s grave stood nearby, her youthful portrait adorned a much more modest slab as if the size of the stone bore some relation to the length of years she’d lived. Leaning against the gravestone were a bunch of dead flower stems grasped in faded scalloped edged once red, now pink, paper that had held them together, the o…

Random Thoughts: Self-Publishing

I think the beauty of self-publishing and now especially with the advent of ebooks, is that it allows an author an outlet of last resort to distribute their work, even if every agent and publisher rejects it.

Could the unanimous opinion of agents and editors be a sure sign that their work is not ready for publication? Sure. And once it's self-published, if it's really that bad, no one will buy the book, no matter how cheap.

But despite all this nay-saying, the value of self-publishing is the creative outlet it provides for the author that might never otherwise see their work in print. Maybe no one other than Mom, Dad, and the unfortunate recipients on the author's Christmas list will ever see the book. But I'm guessing that even a failure, once in print, feels better than the failure tucked in a drawer and covered with a mountain of rejection letters.


For those of you who have self-published or contemplated self-publishing, I would welcome your feedback.

What are Your Twenty Wishes?

I've been reading Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. Originally, I checked this book out from the library for Mom, who has become an avid reader since we moved to Evergreen. However, after she raved about how much she enjoyed the novel, I decided to read it before returning it to the library.


"A gentle and uplifting story . . . It's impossible not to cheer for Macomber's characters, and there's a story in this book for a woman of every age. When it comes to creating a special place and memorable, honorable characters, nobody does it better than Macomber." —Book Page

Ironically, I became a fan of Debbie Macomber not from reading her extensive fiction collection, but from a non-fiction book she wrote in 2007 called Knit Together: Discover God's Pattern for Your Life. In this inspiring book, Debbie outlines her long journey to becoming a published author, how it took writing seven books over the course of five years before she was finally published. Now more …

Chilled Soups: Cucumber

I am a great fan of chilled soup in summertime. It's the perfect light dinner at the end of a steaming, hot, day when the thought of a heavy meal is enough to send you to bed without your supper.

Generally my chilled soup has been a one trick pony limited to my random-ingredient gazpacho. However, after reading this month's Southern Living (a magazine I will continue to subscribe to even though I now live in Colorado, yes, it's that good.) I was inspired to try their recipe for Chilled Cucumber Soup.

What follows is my version, since I am spiritually and temperamentally incapable of following anyone's recipe to the letter...




Begin by roughly chopping one large English (seedless) cucumber and two green onions. Toss them into the bowl of the food processor.




 Add about 1/2 cup each chicken stock and plain Greek yogurt to food processor bowl.



Process until smooth, then taste. At this point you may want to add salt and white pepper. Because the cucumber, yogurt, and stock p…

Do, Do, Do.

Yesterday, I received this profound thought in my inbox and it got me thinking. Read on and let me know what you think...
You can choose to go, do, be, and have, and in the end you'll exclaim, shocked and bewildered, that because of all the synchronicities of your life, all the "clicks" and "coincidences," and the many happy "accidents," your bounty and good fortune must have been your destiny.
Or, you might choose to wait for a miracle, a savior, or divine intervention, and in the end you'll exclaim, shocked and bewildered, that because of all the synchronicities of your life, all the missed chances and disappointments, and the many unhappy accidents, your lack and misfortune must have been your destiny.

I receive these inspirational emails daily via Mike Dooley's Notes from the Universe. Like some of the other inspirational email I receive, the messages are a mix bag of banal and hair-tingling, right on target. This was one of the later. 
Oddly …

On Reading and Learning

Recently, my progress on my novel-in-progress, could be measured in words rather than pages. Weeks have gone by without opening the file. Days have found the file open, and me changing a word or two in a sentence before closing it, and leaving my desk. In total, I've managed about five hundred words, which actually sounds better than the reality of two pages.
I've been: 'stuck in the middle' with no clue where to go next in the novel's progression, not sure whether I'm writing a murder mystery or women's lit, sucked into the drama of an ultimately aborted house purchase that left me wondering whether I should buy, rent, or just try a new town, battered by a non-progressing job search, and overcome by a general sense of fear and loathing about my ability to complete anything successfully. Especially, a novel.
The impact of this general malaise on my reading habits has been documented in a recent post. But then I was saved from absolute despair by The Guernsey …

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This afternoon I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Yes, I know, it came out three years ago and was a best-seller for the next two years. Somehow I neglected to read it all this time, and only picked it up on a whim as I walked by it in the library last week.

The fact that I am writing about it here is an indication of just how much I enjoyed reading it. The story, told through a series of letters, is extraordinarily adept in managing several different voices, in cleverly carrying one major story and interweaving several minor stories over the course of the book. That is its technical merit. It is one of the best written books I've read in ages.

From the point of emotional enjoyment, the story soars. It is by turns a charming, funny, love-story and a heart-felt retelling of the tragic consequences of occupation during World War II. The story is so satisfying that when I read the final page, I immediately wanted to turn back to the first page and …