Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: What are you reading?

It's Teaser Tuesday again already! Get the details on how to play along here, at MizB's Should Be Reading blog.

From Three Days to Dead, by Kelly Meding, which I just finished reading:

"This just won't do. 'Hey, Jesse,' I say loudy, "know what's uglier than a dead half-Blood?'
He grunts. "What's that?"
I look right at the spike-haired Halfie on the car hood. 'A live one.'"

And from Harvest Moon, by Mercedes Lackey, Michelle Sagara, and Cameron Haley (from Tangled Web), which I'm about to start reading:

"'By Zeus's goolies, it's about time you got here!' the young man said, indignation written in every word and gesture. "I thought you said the wench was going to come willingly! I finally had to gag and bag her! If I can't father children, Hades, it's all your fault!' Then he stopped, and stared at Persephone, 'Who,' he said slowly, 'is that?'"

Should be some fun reading!

Book Reviews - Aristotle, Andriods, and a Dead Vampire Hunter

Amazingly, I finished up THREE books since last Tuesday. Considering I have other things to do during the day as well, this amazes me just a little bit. And while I may not do this with any of the other books I read this year, I thought it might be fun to write up short reviews of each book.

Up first is Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno. Obviously, I'm not a screenwriter, even if I do want to try ScriptFrency in April. However, it seems that the essentials of storytelling are the same, regardless of the medium. This book is a concise, easy read that covers the essentials. I found it helpful enough that it's going on my reference shelf. I would have really liked it if he had gone into a bit more detail with some of his examples, but I'd still recommend the book to other beginning writers.Oh, and apparently Doug Clegg recommended the actual Poetics. My goof. Having him comment on my blog absolutely made my morning. :-) Now I have to decide if I'm up to reading the Poetics anytime soon. It's been awhile since my brain had to tackle any writing quite that complex.

The second book I finished was Andre Norton's Andriod At Arms, originally published in 1971. That the book is dated is obvious in the reading, placing itself easily after the beginning of the space age and before the era of the space shuttle - rockets "fin down" when they land - but the essence of the story still holds up over time. The setting is pure Sci Fi/Fantasy, with the main setting possessing a mix of "space age" techonology as well that of a more archaic/medieval time. Norton is such a deft storyteller that it works. I found myself caring about the main characters and believing in the world.

To briefly fill you in on the book, a group of captives on a very hostile planet are freed by a violent lightening strike. Coming from disparate worlds, they all work to return to their original homes. The story eventually focuses on our main character, a prince and future emporer, and his new companion/blood brother, as he tries to regain his throne. Our creative and capable prince finds himself in an alternate dimension where his world is being torn asunder by ultimate war between good and evil. Toss in the fact that the prince isn't sure if he's the real Prince Andas or an andriod and you want to keep reading to the end.

This was the first book in my list for the A-Z Writing Challenge, making me think I'm off to a good start.

The third book I finished up last night. It's the debut novel of Kelly Meding called Three Days to Dead. My husband requested this book via OhioLink and read it in a couple evenings, which means that it's an easy read. It's also a lot of fun. I liked that it was an urban fantasy with a happy-ish ending.

Evy Stone is a Hunter who, along with her Triad companions, deals with the Dregs of the Fey world - half-vampires, goblins, gremlins, etc.. - who don't play nicely with us humans. At least, she's a Hunter until her two companions are killed in an ambush and she's framed for the deed. Oh, and she dies horribly at the hands of a Goblin queen and comes back resurrected in another, recently dead body. But she's only got three days to figure out what's going on and setting it to rights. As I said, it's great fun and we're now off to track down the second in the series, As Lie the Dead.

Next up is a Mercedes Lackey short story recommended by Kate that retells the Persephone myth, followed by another book from Norton. I just haven't decided yet if I want to read them in alphabetically order or by series, which means I'll either tackle Black Tryllyam or Wraiths of Time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 A-Z Reading Challenge Reading List

Booklist Update

Whee! I'm not past the halfway point of Android at Arms. Yes, it's very much dated in some ways, but it's still proving a good read. I was starting to worry that my vocabulary was starting to suffer, but not after this. I love her use of language and of unusual words. And even though I'm reading the book for the enjoyment of it, there's also much to learn from how she plots the book out and the way she handles chapters and stop points. This could be a very educational endeaver for me as well as just plain fun.

Also, if you look in the right-hand sidebar, you'll notice that I've finished out my reading list. Yes, they're all Norton's work. For a moment I was afraid "L" and "U" might be my undoing, but I managed to find titles in the bibliography. The book titles with asterisks next to them are ones I'll need to track down through OhioLink or AbeBooks, but there are only FOUR of those. The fifth title, Ralestone Luck, is available online through Project Gutenberg, complete with the original illustrations. All of the rest of the titles are off of our bookshelves. That seemed pretty impressive.

Okay, off to either read or make some chain maille. And yes, I will try to get a post up this weekend about my new obsession, maybe even complete with pics. :-)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 A-Z Reading Challenge

As a result of tackling the Teaser Tuesday meme, I wandered down the rabbit hole to this fun reading challenge for 2011 called the A-Z Reading Challenge. You can follow the link to get all the details, but the gist of it all is that you read 26 books, each title starting with a different letter of the alphabet. The goal is to get all 26 letters in. And because nothing if really fun unless you make a serious challenge, I'm going to try to do it with just one author - Andre Norton.

Why Ms. Norton? Because I've read a couple of her books in the past and honestly liked them, because my husband has at least 100 of her books, and, finally, because she wrote 215 books over the course of her career. This certainly ups the odds of finding at least one title for every letter of the alphabet. (We've even got a couple of "X" beginning titles in there, although I'm checking on a "Q".)

Oh, and did I mention the free giveaways the organizer is offering? (Not that I needed to be bribed with the possibility of winning something, but it's a nice addition. ;) So, go check it out and join me in the Challenge.

Oh, and I want to give a shout out to owner of Moonlight Gleam's blog, which is where I found the link to the challenge. I should also mention that she was kind enough to leave a comment about my Tuesday Teaser post. Thanks!

You can catch my list of books probably in a side column, which I'll continue to fill in over the next couple of days as I pour over my husband's stuffed shelf of Norton's. I know I'm starting with the following books:

Android at Arms
The Elvenbane
Voodoo Planet
Wraiths of Time
Zarsthor's Bane

And yes, I'll get back to writing soon. Between being sick and loosing Jeff's dad, it's been a very weird beginning to the new year. However, I really do need to get back to work on Glimmer of Sight, as well as finishing up my NaNo novel from this year. And I'm thinking of trying Script Frenzy in April. And yes, I am crazy....just a little bit. But I've never tried a play before and it might be a fun way to work on dialog and pacing.

Okay, now off to pour over the SIX pages of very tiny print from Wikipedia listing all the books Ms. Norton ever published. And I do mean tiny (6 point type?). The .pdf download is 12 pages. I may need my cheaters to read this puppy. Wish me luck.

Teaser Tuesdays - What Are You Reading?

I just stumbled across this blog meme and thought it sounded like fun. It also got me to finally get another post up on here. MizB of Should Be Reading hosts this fun way to learn about more books. Go check it out and then play along.

I'm currently reading two books - the first, Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters by Michael Tierno, was a recommendation of Douglas Clegg. The second, Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White, is what I'm currently reading with a small group of 4th graders. (I've never read it before.)

Aristotle's Poetics teaser:

"The brief images of Harry killing the four people are used to jar his memory (recognition entailing discovery) that he's searching for himself and is the evil Johnny Favorite. Thereupon he undergoes a reversal of fortune (I'm going to Hell)." (pg. 90)

And Charlotte's Web:

"It was still only about four o'clock but Wilbur was ready for bed.
          'I"m really too young to go out into the world alone,' he thought as he lay down." (pg. 24)

Now, hopefully I'll remember to do this again next Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Well, I survived NaNo another year. And yes, it really was more like survival this year. Some sort of GI virus swept through the household the weekend before Thanksgiving, which left me decided to toss in the towel. However, some folks wouldn't accept that and badgered, er, I mean, encouraged, me to finish it out. I wrote over 22,000 in two days and finished the event in at Donkey Coffee with a couple of friends so tired that I was loopy. I'll need to go back and revisit the novel later, finishing it up and doing some revision before I let anyone really read it, but I still think there's a lot of good material there to work with. (Note to self: Sex scenes get boring to write at around the 5000 word mark.)

I also started another long term sub position at the end of November, which became a regular job for me in mid-December. Yep, I'm not regularly gainfully employed as an educational aide at the school, working mainly in a kindergarten classroom. It's great. And at only 4 hours a day, I still have time for writing and to help our eldest with her online academy work. (And I can start paying on those student loans again. Yes!)

Christmas was great. Since I was working, the normally barely there budget got tossed out the window. We didn't go crazy, but it was nice to have some extra to spend. Drama Queen got her keyboard and some of her American Girl wishlist. Monkey Girl got Steps High from American Girl plus her cell phone. (Look out world, she can text now!)

And then, the week after Christmas, my father-in-law had a heart attack. They life flighted him to Riverside, where he got two stents put in and seemed to be making a recovery. However, his heart never really got its function back. Sometime this past Saturday his body started shutting down. He passed away Sunday morning. I'm in a bit of a disconnect over it all, as the last time I saw him was Christmas Eve as we were opening presents. A particularly lingering upper respiratory infection started to set in the day after his heart attack and I never made it up to Columbus to visit. Nor did the girls. It makes it all a little odd as to how to process everything. And even though he had health issues, it still seemed a bit sudden. I cared a great deal for the man, although we sometimes had our differences. He could be bull-headed and stubborn, but he was also very kind, generous, and caring. And totally dedicated to his family. He will be missed so very much.

Okay, I've got myself all teary-eyed now. Time to end this thing. Here's wishing you all a wonderous new year.