Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Ning and the Spruz

Have you heard the buzz about nings closing down? Probably not unless you ended up belonging to lots of nings back when they got popular. I was trying to hard to "network" then - it seemed like the thing to do. Somehow I ended up with a list of "my pages" as long as the screen (though at least it wasn't as long as my arm ) in "my favorites."

Rumor has it those nings aren't going to be free to their owners anymore, so some of them have started to migrate. One of the first I joined was Carol Denbow's "Book and Author Event Center," so now I'm creating a page at her new networking site, the aptly named "Book Event Centre" -

Spruzzes seem to look remarkably like nings. They gives you a place to post pictures, blog, interact, join groups, chat, advertise... Though I must admit that "blogging" bit kind of got old once I started this blog - who wants to post the same thing several times over. So, I've linked my nice new Book Event page to my blog, so visitors can find me in just one place. And if I join any other spruzzes I'll try to do the same (assuming it's allowed), though maybe I'll be careful not to join a whole pageful this time.

I guess my only complaint is !!! How one earth can that be the address of my profile? Yuk!

Anyway, if you're looking for a community of readers and writers, I'd love to meet and "friend" you at the Book Event Center on spruz.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's Squids got to do with it?

It took a while. I sort of got an idea of how to feed and furnish a blog. I made one for "stuff," one for writing. and one for Bible studies. Then I sat back, feeling suitably proud of myself till I realized I had to write things too. And finally I stuck them all together, made a website and felt really good...

...and then I found all these writer friends that used Facebook and Twitter and nings, so I followed them there...

...and then they had "lenses" that had nothing to do with my eyes growing old and tired, and squids that didn't need to swim in the sea...

So now I've tied my blogs and my website together, added another potential website, and included links here and there to a Squidoo Lens that I linked to some quizzes. If you're bored (and not just bored with my boring old blog) or otherwise have time (ah but what is time? Existentialists rule) I'd love to know what you think of the new-look links, and even the squid:

Many thanks, don't let the sea-critters bite, and now I'd better go and make some dinner.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Stops on that Reading Journey

I read a book yesterday morning, and half a book in the afternoon, while the guys were watching soccer on TV. But I haven't written reviews of them yet, so I'm not sure they really count towards that reading journey.

Still, I have posted a few more reviews on gather since my last "reading journey" blogpost.

Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin had me thinking about how I think, and how we communicate. I came to the conclusion that I might think in pictures sometimes - e.g. when playing that "memory" game that I used to be so good at when the kids were little. I even wondered if that's the reason I always get confused by the words left and right. The book was fascinating - a memoir, a description of a completely different way of thinking, an interesting study in treatment methods and options, and a conversation with a stranger whose voice is well worth listening to.

Next is Winter Queen by Aubrie Dionne, the first of four short books, and a really enjoyable lunch-time read, with musical language portraying mood and scene quite delightfully. I'll post reviews of the other three books soon.

Jordan, by Susan Kearney, is the third book in a her Pendragon trilogy. I've just found the second book, which I shall probably read this week, if only to find out where shape-changing dragons come from. I suspect this series is one best read from the beginning, though the third book certainly kept me interested. The combination of science fiction and King Arthur is intriguing, but the sudden passionate love of hyper-intellectual businesswoman and oddly deceitful scientist was somewhat jarring, despite the explanation in it's mystical source.

So, back to reading Catch of a Lifetime and reviewing A Certain Wolfish Charm. The guys are watching soccer again. The stage is set...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Feedback from my writing group, and a question

I got some really good feedback about my middle-grade novel series yesterday. The first three chapters of book three were up for critique at our local writing group. I'd been wondering if it was even worth persevering with, but they seemed to find enough that they liked to persuade me I ought to try. So now I have three main things to think about:

1. I need a stronger start. One suggestion was to start with chapter two, but they liked the character introductions in chapter one, so maybe I should look for some other strong event... or at least a strong sentence.

2. I need to be more careful about introducing "new" characters; readers might not have read the previous books.

3. I need to think about how my chapters end...

So, here's where I ask you a question.

My instinct is to treat chapters like short stories each with a beginning, middle and end. I suspect that's born of the fact that I read in short bursts; I like to know where I last left off, and I like know when I'll next feel able to stop. But...

Is it true that middle-grade readers need cliff-hanger endings?

Come to think of it, what about other readers readers too? Am I doing this all wrong? I really should have asked before they finished the critique, but please tell me what you think.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Reviews of My Book !!!!!

There's two reviews of my book, Genesis People, in this month's Poetic Monthly Magazine, volume #51. They're both really nice and it's so neat to see them there.

Maybe I should ask them to review the sequel, Exodus Tales, as well:)

Anyway, I'm feeling slightly over the moon and wanted to let everyone know. You can download the magazine free (or buy it) so I'd love to read what you think.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Book Reviews

I'm still continuing that reading journey, though the reading seemed to slow down last week. Only four reviews posted on gather since my last review post here...

...but I have got three more books on Lulu, so at least I know what my next blogpost will be about...

Copper and Candles was an enjoyable romance, read while the guys watched soccer. (I stop reading for goals, but my teams aren't doing too well...) Set in Detroit in the late 1800s it gave me a glimpse into a time and place that's definitely unfamiliar, and left me thinking people in America's past are not so different from those in England's.

Small Favor and Turn Coat are the next two Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher, and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in paperback. Of course, I may have to wait a while. I really admire how the author creates complete and satisfying stories while continuing to advance the overarching storyline. I like the good guys with all their imperfections, and the bad guys with all their oddly wise and good intentions. And I love the thought-provoking questions of faith and freewill and destiny.

My fourth book was Swope's Ridge by Ace Collins, part of a very different series, but still fun. I read some criticism elsewhere that this "Christian" mystery didn't have enough faith in it, but to be honest, I felt like it had just the right amount for its characters. I guess I don't like to feel preached at when I'm reading, and this series strikes a good balance.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Books and Tulips

I was heading out door for a trip to the tulip farm yesterday when my friend pointed to the rather large parcel on the doorstep. My Lulu books had arrived! But the sun was shining and tulips were calling my name. Aren't they gorgeous?

The sun's shining again today so I guess I'm running out of excuses for not cutting grass and pulling weeds. I'll work on pushing the button to publish those books later, after I've checked through them all. But meanwhile, life is good. It's nice to see my name in print and the covers looking so very bright and real.

And nice to see tulips.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I just got a lovely happy award

I just got a Happy 101 award from Hywela Lyn, author of Starquest and other good books. Many thanks Hywela; what a lovely Easter gift!And it comes with the reminder to think of ten things and five blogs that make me happy…

Ten things/people/ideas…
1) My mother’s visits at Christmas
2) Three sons who still phone and/or talk to me
3) My husband coming home from work
4) Friends, real, virtual and imaginary
5) Chocolate
6) Coffee
7) Reading
8) Writing
9) Gluten-free pizza and a movie with the family
10) Easter (chocolate, coffee, faith and salvation)

Five happy blogs…
1) Mary Russell’s blog—her first book, Flickertail and Paint, Barnyard Sleuths has just come out so she’s very happy.
2) Bearman Cartoons because he always makes me smile—and he’s running a healthcare caption competition at the moment.
3) Books and Needlepoint, where there’s an amazing Birthday Bash going on—Kristi’s giving away books, and books always make me happy.
4) Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews, which introduced me to some really fun cozy mysteries and is now giving some away.
5) And finally Poetic Asides PAD challenge, ’cause April is poetry month and I’m enjoying trying to write a poem a day (see #8).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

What do you hope for?

Sun or at least less rain,
Peace or at least less strain,
Joy or at least less pain,
Hope or at least less shame.
Love and a world to gain
Risen, eternity’s reign.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This week's Book Reviews

Maybe trying to edit 150 children's stories based on Psalms, plus 40 based on Exodus, was bound to leave me with a rather strange reading mix. But I finished the edits, dismayed myself utterly with the number of proof-reading glitches, considered writing a mathematical algorithm relating glitch-detection to glitch-fixing and creation (minimizing the function with respect to time might give the optimum point at which to self-publish), failed to differentiate my function, decided it was as good as I'll ever make it, and put in my order. Now I'm trying (and failing) to stop thinking about it till the books arrive.

Anyway, here's this week's books read and reviewed for that continuing Reading Journey.

The Miracles of Exodus, by Colin J Humphreys: This was a reread - The first book to make Exodus come to life for me (and get me over that feeling that surely someone would have touched the pillar of fire and found out if it was hot). I wanted to make sure I'd not made any too glaring errors in my stories so I had to reread before pushing the button, and I realized anew what a brilliant book it is. So I had to review it.

When Rape Flowers Bloom, by Swann Li: I downloaded Amazon's Kindle-for-PC last week - a free program that lets me read Kindle books (it's really kind of neat). Then I downloaded several free books. Then I found that a friend at our local writers' group has a short book on Kindle for only one dollar. It was a dollar very well spent, and the book paints a very powerful picture of life in rural China, of poverty through a small child's eyes, and of the awful wounds that good intentions can leave to fester and grow. My gather review of When Rape Flowers Bloom.

Wild Blue Under, by Judi Fennell: A little light reading, talking seagulls, amorous mermen, and really good fun, plus some intriguing thoughts on predestination and free will. See my review here.

Hunted, by PC Cast and Kristin Cast: I think I'm getting hooked on this series. My review is here.

And finally, Flickertail and Paint, Barnyard Sleuths, by Mary Russell: A fun collection of short stories about a horse and llama detective team as they travel the seasons and the world. I met the author on gather, so of course, my review is likewise on gather.

Then there were two book reviews submitted to Nights and Weekends. They still have my reviews of Dink, a fascinating tale of werewolves and a chihuahua, and Hearts Crossing on the front page of their Lunch Break e-Book Reviews section. And two reviews for Poetic Monthly. My review of The Essence of Love is in the current issue (#50).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guest blogging

I'm guest blogging over at Moonlight Lace and Mayhem today, so if you want to read about my self-publishing journey, I'd love to meet you there.

Of course, I'll also be catching up on housework, yardwork, shopping, washing etc... all those wonderful things I've been ignoring while chasing my latest Lulu self-publishing deadline (which I met last night). Maybe Moonlight will Lace my Mayhem with coffee and pleasant conversation.

Please drop by and cheer me on.