But the children love the books!

I made friends with the library again! Hopefully this will keep me busy (and OUT of the bookstores) for awhile… 🙂

I only have five chapters left in my revision! I’m SO excited. Gotta remember to buy some paper so I can print the thing out, reread, and make any necessary additional changes. Then it’s query and change gears time! I’m super happy about that, in case you couldn’t tell!!

Kind of eyeing this contest as a possibility. It’s nice when they actually give you 10K words to work with, and the deadline is far enough away that I could potentially write something new. Hmmmm…

All righty, back to work!

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Books and Movies and Not Really Much Writing (oh my!)

So somehow it’s April, and I don’t know how that happened! Guess I’d better do my taxes soon, right?

Still haven’t gotten much done on the writing front lately, although my subconscious has been doing some serious noodling the last couple of weeks, which is generally a good sign. Either a hardcore revision or a story/novel about post-apocalyptic Camelot should be seriously in the works soon. (Yes. Post-apocalyptic Camelot. Don’t ask.)

Just got The Ring of Solomon and Sapphique in the mail from Amazon, so I’m super excited to read them. Also bought copies of StarCrossed and Plain Kate via one of my local Borders’ going-out-of-business (sad face) sales. I ordered Rosemary Sutcliff’s Mark of the Horse Lord, too, but it’s currently out of stock on Amazon, so don’t know when it will arrive. Love me some Sutcliff.

Which reminds me, I went to see The Eagle back in February (I think), and despite some book-to-movie-adaptation changes, I liked it a lot. Still think they should’ve kept the original title, but you’ll have that. The movie was great, and the scenery was completely to die for. Dude.

Also saw the new Jane Eyre a couple weeks ago (I actually won a pair of free tickets via a GoodReads promotion, which was pretty cool), and although I heartily approved of the casting and costumes and sets and scenery, the movie didn’t really do it for me. It felt a little like cliff-notes, and it was missing… I don’t know. Something. Somewhere in the adaptation process they lost something important in translation. I was expecting the most awesome movie version of Jane Eyre ever to grace the silver screen, and it just… wasn’t. Which made me sad. ‘Cause, as I sad, the casting was awesome.

I’ll leave you with this adorable little video: It’s a Book!

1/11/11

So happy 1/11/11 to all and sundry!

I am very sorry to announce that I have been doing absolutely nothing in the realm of noveling lately. Haven’t worked on anything since November and am developing a serious need-a-creative-project twitch, so I’ve decided to attempt that revision of Whale and the Tree I’ve been meaning to get around to since, you know, July. Got as far as officially upgrading to Scrivener 2.0 this evening before getting distracted, but that’s a start, right?

Just started reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers, which is the third of her loosely-connected series of books set in Roman Britain (the first of which, The Eagle of the Ninth, is hitting the big screen next month!!). Finally finished Pegasus, which I had mixed feelings about, and am also partway through Beowulf, which, embarrassingly enough, I’ve never actually read before. Awaiting an Amazon package that has gotten lost somewhere between Phoenix and Mesa but will hopefully show up soon—it contains my very own copy of StarCrossed, and the fourth Bartimaeus book, which I’m soooooooooo excited to read! I keep meaning to do a “Best of 2010” book list, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet…

Here’s to a challenging and rewarding 2011!

Re-reading

I’m a hardcore re-reader and re-watcher and 99.9% of the time order exactly the same thing at restaurants and coffee shops and ice-cream parlors because I like repeating fantastic experiences. Well-loved books and movies (and sandwiches) are like old friends. You can always count on them to look and feel (and taste) the same, to move you in the same ways.

I’ve been re-reading Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series over the last week or so, and while, admittedly, nothing is quite like the first time through, with all those wonderful startling revelations and aha! moments, I still very, very much enjoyed them. In fact they were still eliciting audible reactions from me, to the point where my roommate looked up from her important doctoral studies to remark, “You do realize you’ve read that before.” 🙂

Another reason I re-read is that if I don’t read a book at least twice, details tend to fade, and I’m left only with vague impressions of I liked it or didn’t like it, which isn’t ultimately very useful. And some books stand up to multiple readings more than others; some I find kind of “meh” on a second read, some I find as amazing as I remembered, and some—like, for example, the Attolia series—you almost have to read more than once to soak up all the awesome and intricate things that are going on.

And then there’s mood to consider. As much as I love them, sometimes I’m simply not in the mood to adventure into a brand new book and unknown territory. There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing exactly what’s coming and looking forward to parts I already have completely memorized and revisiting beloved characters and just experiencing the story again.

Man, now I want to go re-read Lord of the Rings. It’s been a few years…

What about you? Are you a habitual re-reader?

Fifteen Books

So over on the Blueboards everyone’s posting fifteen books that they’ll never forget.

Here’s my list:

  1. The Lord of the Rings (especially Return of the King), by J.R.R. Tolkien—as much as I love the movies, the books will always be better, if not least because book-Faramir/Eowyn are vastly more amazing than their movie counterparts. Frodo lives! 🙂
  2. Middlemarch, by George Elliot—an immensely great novel (and oh my gosh WILL LADISLAW!!).
  3. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky—intriguing both for its subject matter and the way Dostoevsky makes you sympathize with a guy who killed two old ladies with an axe.
  4. Beauty, by Robin McKinley—a gorgeous little novel I’ve loved and re-read for years. Poetic and stirring and just really special.
  5. The Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis—deep and haunting and disturbing in places; I’ll never forget the time I stayed up late to finish the ending of Perelandra. Still gives me the shivers (in a good way).
  6. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte—I both loved and hated this book. It was lyrical and beautiful and immensely frustrating.
  7. Persuasion (well, everything), by Jane Austen—I didn’t really appreciate this novel the first time I read it because I found it so frustrating, but a re-read illuminated just how brilliant and beautiful it really is.
  8. The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye—haunting, gorgeous, epic: this is the novel that nearly made me break down sobbing in the middle of Panda Express.
  9. The King of Attolia (well all of the Attolia books), by Megan Whalen Turner—I know I always talk about these books, but they’re really that good. Really.
  10. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones—so not what I expected, but gripping and fascinating and just all around awesome.
  11. Crown Duel, by Sherwood Smith—I’ve read this so many times I’m pretty sure I could quote the entire thing from beginning to end.
  12. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud—still in awe of these.
  13. East, by Edith Pattou—gorgeous fairy tale retelling, with fascinating multiple POVs.
  14. The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein—haunting.
  15. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine—another one I’ve loved for years. Vastly better than the movie.

And I’ve gotta give an honorable mention to Brian Jacques’s Redwall series, most especially Mattimeo. I devoured those when I was younger and absolutely adored them.

So that’s my list. What’s yours?

Revision Update, Reading List, and Some Links

So I’m still in Chapter One. Ugh. I always forget how looooooooong it takes me to revise. Not that I’ve exactly been faithfully plugging away at Draft #2 of Seer… I keep getting distracted. On Journeys Bound is niggling away in my brain again and a deep philosophical conversation with the BFF about Whale and the Tree has gotten me thinking about another revision… which is a pretty clear sign I’m done querying it for now… which is sad but kind of okay I think… maybe? (Don’t worry. I’m gonna stop with the ellipses now.)

But I do quite like the revisions I’ve gotten in thus far, and I am almost finished with Chapter One and am completely determined to plow through this second draft. Just have to step up my game a bit is all. I can dooooo it! There are six check marks on tRLoHLA so far but there will soon be many more. Many more!! Raawwwwwwr!

Erm.

On a semi-related note, my cold-hearted villain scrounged up a spark of humanity in the scene I finished rewriting today. Made me kinda like him. Aw.

Also, after a horrible dearth of reading material during which I discovered that the Phoenix Public Library system has drastically cut back their hours (the branch near me isn’t even open on Mondays anymore 😦 ), I am happy to announce that my TBR pile is stacking up nicely. Just finished Diana Wynne Jones’s Dogsbody, which was lovely even though I wasn’t *quite* satisfied with the ending, and am partway into The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein, When You Reach Me (this year’s Newberry award winner) by Rebecca Stead, and Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken are waiting in the wings. I know virtually nothing about any of these books—they’re all mostly recs from reliable internet sources—but it’s almost more fun that way. Excited to get into them!

And now for some links:

The controlled schizophrenia of writers (via inkygirl)
An interesting article on the theory of mind as applied to creating believable characters.

Hunger Mountain
The VCFA Journal of the Arts—I subbed a short story to them a while back and haven’t gotten a response yet (though I’m expecting one soon). I’m thinking of entering one of their writing contests, just have to figure out if I can tweak a story I’ve already got or if I need to write a new one! I have until June 30th to get my submission ready.

Omniglot
A thoroughly fascinating guide to the languages and writing systems of the world.

 And that will about do it for today’s Blog Post of Random Disconnected Stuff (BPoRDS).

Until next time!

Favorite Reads of 2009

There’s been lots of “Favorite Books of 2009” lists floating out there in the blog-o-sphere lately, so here’s my humble offering, in no particular order:

  1. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud
  2. Hunger Games and Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
  3. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  5. The Claidi Journals, by Tanith Lee
  6. The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein

What were your favorites?