Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the reading table and movies

(Because even though it is beside my bed, let's face it, the primary purpose of that table is not just to sit by my bed but to hold my reading lamp, glasses and my stack of books.)

I just finished reading the first two books in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series namely Uglies and Pretties. I found both these books a tad intriguing i how an entire society (world?) could be controlled by the idea that being beautiful only fits into a boxed criteria. "This is pretty and this is only pretty and if it isn't this then it isn't pretty it is ugly." Individuality is frowned upon and uniquenesses aren't admired. Of course there is much more to this society than just looks. There were quite a few things about these books that I found very believable and other things I found a little hokey, but then that happens in just about any book where the far future is explored. These would make excellent books for a young adult reading group (or an adult one for that matter).

Last night (after coming home from the midnight release party of the third Twilight Saga movie, which isn't always the best time to start a new book, but I had to let my mind unwind a bit through literature) I picked up Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci. I read the firs two chapters before my eyes screamed to be shut. My brain still wanted more, but the physical overtook the mental last night and it was probably a very good thing. Absolutely loving the set up in this book and am intrigued enough to continue. I'll post a better review later.

I also picked up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I seem to be drawn to post apocalyptic stories these days. I haven't seen the movie, but probably because I have a teen who hates post apocalyptic movies (especially those with Kevin Costner). I might rent it after I read it. (Never before).

As I mentioned above, we went to see Eclipse at the midnight showing. It was me and my fifteen year old daughter. The twelve your boy didn't want to go and the seventeen year old boy feigned that she didn't want to go. I've read the books (good plot, not-so-great writing) and seen the first two movies (not impressed and don't get me started on the lack of acting). Last night was impressive though. It was fairly complete to the way things happened in the book (albeit some things were greatly compressed, but I've come to expect that in movies made from books) and the acting was much better than in the last two movies. For fun my daughter and I did a scream girl poll to see if we were in a Team Jacob or Team Edward room. Final count was Jacob: 6, Edward: 3, Seth: 1 (although it was more "aw cute" than "OMG HAWT").

Tonight is the opening of The Last Airbender. Unfortunately there is no way my body will allow me to do back-to-back midnight movies and I think that Mr. KCW would kill me if I actually went and saw it without him as he has to work very late tonight. We will go on Saturday and hopefully I will be able to stay away from any spoilers (even though I *know* what the story is and have seen all the trailers.)

What I love about finding really good movies and books is that it feeds my creativity. I thrive off good stories. Lately the Word Fairy has been blessing me and hitting me upside the head with a good dose of logophilia. I am greatly enjoying seeing daily word counts of four and seven thousand words. Thank you Word Fairy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Writing Prompt Sunday Strikes Again!

Have a conversation with your MC. Do your personalities mesh? Do you even like your MC? Does your MC like you? What part of you do you find in your MC that you don't like? Is that in anyway a reflection of you? What do you talk about? Where do you meet? Are you in your MC's world or your own?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Busy keyboard and a possible laptop

The past two days I have had a flurry of good writing going on. (Why does the inner editor in me go, "Gah! You ended your sentence with a preposition." Happens when you are writing in a teen's voice. So let's try that again.) The past two days I have had a flurry of really good writing happening. Yeah, I added a word. I have managed to get out over 9,500 words in the past two days of a new book that doesn't feel like crap. Amongst all the wordsmithing I also have run errands, gone to knit lunch, and remembered to eat. I'm very pleased with the way my writing has energized me this week. It's so much nicer than last week when I might as well have just sat at the computer and written the word crap again and again.

When we were at the office supply store today getting paper for the printer I went to the laptop display just to have a look. They had several nicer full laptops that were priced very economically. I had considered a Mac, but they are just so expensive and as nice and as sleek as they are I just can't justify it. Plus I told myself that a MacBook was going to be a gift to myself when my first book finally is published. I need something now though. I have also looked at the little netbooks as they are very affordable and quite cute and light weight. The only thing is that most of them don't have a CD or DVD option and while it isn't a deal breaker, I'd like to at least have that option. I think I am going to get a Toshiba, though. It's what Mr. KCW has almost always had and they seem to have held up through all he has put them through. The price is also very right (right at $400). So hopefully soon I will have a laptop and be able to escape to the coffee shop or bookstore or other retreat and be able to take my writing with me. It will save some frustration too as I can always type much faster than I can write and I loathe copying what I've written by hand into the computer. I've already written it once and that pesky little inner editor tries to fix things.

Oh, and for all you foodies: raspberries and Gruyere.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Prompt

Yes; Sundays are much better days for prompts for me than Saturdays. So here is this week's. Let me know how it worked for you.

Your MC is sitting down to his/her favorite meal. What is it? Who is with her/him? Describe the ambiance, the location, and even what s/he is wearing. Go!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


It seems as though these doldrums that I am in in regards to reading I have also fallen into in my knitting life. I have two projects OTN that I have so little interest in doing. They are going to be fantastic projects by the time I am done. People are going to ooh and ah over their brilliance and beauty, but intellectually they are just not stimulating enough for me to have this undying desire to get up every morning and knit. The first are the Hexagon socks. This is a marvelously wonderful creation of genius in construction. the entire sock is made out of nothing but hexagons, one worked on to the other until you have a sock. Some hexagons are stretchier than others (by design) so that they contract or stretch to accommodate things like heels, arches, and ankles. Made with self-striping yarns and they are just a delight. I have the foot and part of the leg done on one sock. It's going to be a fun sock in the end, but I can't convince myself to continue.

The other project is a sweater that I saw at Stitches South. It's from the Berroco Origami book (but I'm making it with a silk rayon blend instead). It has a gorgeous drape to it and is in a beautiful blue colorway that is going to look marvelous with the rest of my wardrobe. But it has become tedious as every other row is exactly the same. K1, P1, K1, P1 ad naseum. Then just to shake things up and make it interesting we are going to purl back. Yawn. Again, though, this had a unique construction and will make for a lovely sweater.

I'm looking for something that will at least inspire me. The worst thing is that I can't find that engaging pattern. I see lots of lovely patterns out there and have tons of gorgeous yarn (trust me on this one). I'm considering doing a Summit in a beautiful buttery yellow and mango lace weight yarn I was recently gifted or Maja in Malabrigo worsted. Both of these have "easy to remember" patterns which I am afraid will translate into "you will get bored half way through and want to pitch this project across the room where it can sit until the cats make it into a bed." I don't know what is stopping me from doing a full lace shawl. It's not like I don't have the yarn or the expertise. I just can't make myself do it. Maybe I'm afraid of committing. Maybe I'm afraid that it will disappoint me part way through.

I truly need a nice wind that will blow me out of my literary and knitting (knitterary?) doldrums.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Off to the library without a clue in the world

OK, I do have a clue as to why I'm going there. I have a Mission. My son has been reading a series of books and our library owned the 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the series but not the 3rd. Odd that. Or maybe they did at some point and it got lost or damaged (I will refrain from accusing someone of stealing it.) My son really wanted to finish this series so instead of waiting for Inter Library Loan (of which I am a frequent user) I bought him the book. But, sweet kid that he is, we aren't keeping the book but donating it to the library to make the collection complete. I spoke with a librarian last week about this only to discover that the library has lost almost all of its acquisition funding. (I'll give you all a minute to mourn.)


I asked if the library took donations and explained the gap in the series. The librarian was thrilled that my son would want to donate a book to make up for the missing one in the series. So we are headed off in a bit to donate said book and pick up the fourth in the series.

But why do I not have a clue? I'm in one of those lost periods of reading. I have floundered around trying to find something to read and nothing I pick up is drawing me in. I'm finding nothing engrossing enough that I want to read the entire book. I have three books by my bed, all partially read, all left because the plot was predictable, the characters depressing or the writing just simply bad. I'd love to know what recent books you have all read recently that have enriched your reading lives. I love libraries, but I hate wandering around aimlessly looking at book covers, reading synopses and hoping that "this is the one." Suggestions?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Writing Prompt Sunday

Yes, I know that I used to do this on Saturday and I may go back to that, but yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public day so it didn't seem like a Saturday to me. And Sundays are usually more leisurely for me anyway, so maybe I'll change it to Sundays permanently (provided of course I can remember it is Sunday and come up with a nice prompt.)

What does your character do for leisure? What does s/he do when not saving the world, crying over a lost love, running from the enemy, or whatever it is in your plot that your character does? Be specific. If s/he reads, what is the genre? If s/he paints, what is the medium or the subject? If s/he watches television, what are the shows?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The week of "Things You Should Know But You Do Anyway"

As a followup to yesterday, you will be relieved to know that I have found my three most important stories in their most current form (as I had sent them to a few friends to read) and I found most of several others. Three stories are still lost, although Mr. KCW thinks there may be a way to retrieve them. (He's awesome that way.)

I decided since it was my birthday I would reward myself by sending off a query letter to a potential agent. Now this is where you need to pay close attention. Before you send off a query letter make sure that the first sentence does not contain the phrase "agents who has." It was a stupid change in phrasing as I had started off saying "an agent who has" and then decided to make it plural (for some unknown ChocoVine induced reason). And I sent it with that error. Now if I were an agent who received a letter with a stupid subject/verb disagreement I would circle file that letter (or in the case of modern agents hit the delete key) quicker than I could blink. And the sad thing is this agent looks like she would be a perfect match based on the authors she already represents. Sort of one of those "Oh she would be perfect." Meanwhile I look perfectly inept. (sigh) Chalk it up to AFGO.

What have I learned from this mistake? 1. Google doesn't grammar check and I should really run things through Word just to catch the obvious before sending something out. 2. I guess even one sip of ChocoVine is too much if you want to sound like the word author should be anywhere near your own name. 3. ChocoVine is really really good.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Back it up. And then back it up again.

And just for good measure back it up a third time. By now I hope that all of you writers have gotten into the habit of Ctrl S. You write a few sentences and then you Ctrl S. Right? You are doing that, right? Now how many different places are you backing it up? I was a good girl for a while. I would remember to back up both onto a memory stick (so I could take my books with me should the house burst into flames) but I was also remembering to make a back up on my external hard drive. Well guess what? I got lazy. And when you get lazy it costs. See that little pink thing up there in the left hand corner. That cute little pink memory stick. Yeah, well it died. And guess what? I have NO back up of three of my books. None. They are gone. Poof. Unless Mr. KCW can come home and work some magic on it, I have lost months and months of writing. And, because losing three books isn't bad enough, I've lost edits from even more. All because I was lazy.

And let's add insult to injury: It's my birthday. Oh joy!

I'm going to go cry now. But all of you other writers (and designers) take heed: back it up. And back it up again. And just for good measure back it up a third time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A fun read for wordsmiths

I'm always looking for books about words. I like words. I read a quote yesterday that just about summed up my feelings about words. "Words make love with one another" - Andre Breton. OK, maybe well-formed sentences are words making love to one another, but then I try to only read well-formed sentences. My latest word book that I found is Just Ask Mr. Wordwizard by David Grambs. OK, first, I love the name Grambs. Not sure why, but it just is a fantastic name. And then you open the book and there is an amazing amount of information to soak in presented in so many different ways. He even has a section where he encourages you to create devilish definitions of common words. And example (and my favorite) is Modesty: passive arrogance. It made me giggle. And anything that makes me giggle is worth sharing.

Each chapter begins with a "Word of the Week" and a "Quote of the Week" which is always about words. The chapters range in subject from the history of word phrases to word uses. I love when he explains how we misuse words and how those misuses came into being. Each "lesson" is presented uniquely and there are even exercises for one to complete and in such a way that they seem to help keep them trapped in your brain.

If you are as fond of words as I am, this is a fantastic little read. And who knows it may make you desire to use the word baragouin in conversation this week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why I love Librarians

When people hear that I used to be a librarian they are amazed. I don't fit into the normal realm of "librarian." My hair has been a variety of colors (from magenta to black) and my skirt length has ranged from nearly to my toes to barely covering my bum. My music listening is about as varied and I'm not exactly what one considers the "ssshhh" type (especially if you have seen me at our local Stitch n Bitch). Of course the people who are surprised are the ones who believe that all librarians are quiet, fussy, and proper. That is a facade that we put on for the public. Really. You should see librarians behind the scene. We are much more like the librarians in the video I'm about to share with you. We have a wicked since of humor and have been known to cut it up with the best of them.

A friend of mine tweeted this video and I just had to come share it with you. I hope it gives you a better understanding of what really makes up a librarian. This is not Music Man's Marian Librarian!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

10,000 words??

So I've been writing this series of short (short for me means less than 65,000 words) books. They are quick, fun and interesting (at least to my easily amused mind). 50,000 is my goal for each book. So I finished the third one (which is actually the second on in the series, but the third one I've written). I've read through it three times. It's a good story. It feels complete. But it is right at 40,000 words. I'm wondering if I should just leave it like that. I keep wondering what else there is to tell in this story. I don't even think I could get to 50K if I did all the NaNoWriMo word padding tricks. It's just a nice concise story.

I thought if I left it alone for a while and came back to it I would see what is missing, but after four months and spending the past three days reading it and re-reading it I am still at the same place. It amazes me how some books just won't quit babbling along and others I have to pull the words out one at a time. I guess I'm going to button this book up and leave it for a while. It isn't like it is going to be published anytime soon (I mean I'd have to get the first one published before I can get this one published) and I have two other books that are screaming to be written. OK, Universe. Are you trying to tell me something?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I found in the library

Yesterday I finally made it back to the library after several weeks of not being able to go because of one thing or another. I love libraries. I used to be a librarian. Most of my adult work has been in one form or another with books (either lending them, ordering them, processing them, cataloging them or selling them and now writing them). The more time I spend writing and increasing my circle of wordy friends the smaller my "degrees of separation" become.

My friend Rachael Herron who wrote the book How to Write Love Song has been so cute (sorry Rachael, but cute is the best word to describe you) in her first book's publication. I've enjoyed watching her from the time she announced she had a contract until the book came out. I got to meet her at Stitches South in April and congratulate her and watch her being "goshed over" by her new following (which was where the word cute came from because it was just so gosh darn cute to watch her interact with all her readers). She squealed with delight when she found her book at Target stores (she's an up and coming author you know).

So I knew she would be thrilled to pieces to know that her book is available at the West Florida Regional Library and it looks like it has been checked out a few times to boot. Sorry the picture is a little blurry, there was a librarian scowling at me because I brought my cell phone out to take a picture. Those librarians.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When you want to write

I've been in a writing frenzy lately. It feels good to sit and let the words flow from my fingertips. The problem is that life keeps getting in the way. It is frustrating to have an idea that is playing in your head and the desire to write and be in a place or activity where it would be inappropriate or inconvenient. I've been playing around with ways to try to get around this problem, but it doesn't always lend itself well.

I always have a notebook and pen(s) with me so writing by hand is sometimes an option (It's hard to do when one is driving or knitting.) I've been known to whip out a notebook in a cafe or bookstore and start making notes. I've even typed on my phone's notebook a few times. Although it is pretty funny to look up at what you have written only to realize that you forgot to take the "function key" off lock and your writing looks a whole lot like: "37 &)_ 8265+ (&2-) ;_)*=-=" I've toyed with using my phone's voice recorder for when I am in the car. I wouldn't look more unusual that I already do because I tend to be talking to myself or singing with the radio anyway.

The hardest thing for me is when I get one of those wonderful "ah-ha moments" and I can't write it down or get a note of it going. The worst part is that I tend to lose focus on what I am doing (usually it is listening to someone talking) and then I feel I've put everything in a sinking hole. I've ignored the person I'm listening to and I most likely will lose the thought that I had. It's almost as bad as having to recreate pages that you forgot to save or that you lost.

And then you have days like to day. You know that you should be going to the bank, the post office, the library and the recycling center, but your heart just wants to write. Maybe I can save the library for tomorrow.