Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Am, Have, Will (Reading, read)

 I am still reading - and loving - Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss. Fans of fantasy novels should really check out his trilogy. Book one is The Name Of The Wind and Rothfuss is an amazing storyteller.
    I'm half-way through Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had no interest in reading this, but picked it up at my sister's over the holidays and read a few pages. It was very funny and I loved the writing and I have not been disappointed.
   I am trying to read The Official Biography of Vincent O'Brien, famous British racehorse trainer, but I'm having a hard time getting past the first chapter. So far it's been a lot of history and miscellaneous facts and anecdotes mixed in with description of his early life and the lives of his parents and grandparents. I hope it gets more interesting.
    I recently finished the two latest releases by Janet Evanovich. Notorious Nineteen, of her Stephanie Plum series, was just as good as the previous eighteen books. Wicked Business is the second in her Diesel and Lizzy series and it was also great.
    I read Dean Koontz's The Good Guy. It was one of his more recent books and it was one that I liked. When I first became a fan I read several of his books and many of them were formulaic - felt like the same story with slightly different plot scenario and similar characters - and I was very disappointed. But several of his books are great. My favorites are still the Odd Thomas and Christopher Snow books.
  In anticipation of what I have heard is Stephen King's only sequel, I re-read The Shining. I'm not sure I finished it the first time I read it many, many years ago. Back then, before I was a writer, I read his books for the story alone and didn't appreciate the writing the way I do now. I hated the story in Carrie, but heard some of it recently on an audio book and was mesmerized by the writing.
     I'm about to start the latest by Tim Dorsey, Riptide Ultra Glide. Dorsey's books are not ones I can recommend to anyone. The main character is a hyperactive, good-hearted, social activist serial killer and the story lines are insane and jump around everywhere, so they can be hard to follow, but funny and entertaining in a very twisted way.
     I don't have an actual TBR list but I am excited about the newest offering from Jim Butcher and can't wait to get it. I am most looking forward to what I have heard is the FINAL Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire book in the series by Charlaine Harris. I am devastated that this series is ending and I may have to write an entire blog post about my thoughts on this.


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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dennis Lehane

I recently discovered this author through the most recent of what I refer to as my random book choices (books I pick up and start reading for no reason that I can pinpoint), A Drink Before The War. The novel reminded me of Robert B. Parker's Spencer series although the protagonist, Patrick, is younger, less experienced and more unsure of himself than Spencer. I love Parker and Spencer and thoroughly enjoyed this book.
     It wasn't until I finished the book that I checked to see what other titles Lehane has published and learned there were ones I recognized, including Mystic River, which my writer's group friends claim is one of the best books ever (and a great movie). I recommend this book to mystery fans and I look forward to reading more of Lehane's books.


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Goals

The top goal I had for 2013 - which I planned to accomplish in the first week of the new year - was to publish my second novel, Before Daylight. Toward that effort I was working diligently on revisions and even carried my laptop around with me so I could work on them more. The only result of this was  I lost my flash drive that had my novel on it. It also has nearly every completed work I've written, but all others have been saved on my hard-drive and a back up flash-drive.) Before Daylight is also saved on my hard drive - but not the last three rounds of edits.
     At this time, the idea of going back to the last saved edition was and redoing all the revisions is too overwhelming for me to consider. And - forever the optimist - since the only place I had taken my computer  on the fateful day I lost my flash drive was my mom's house, I am confident and hopeful that my flash drive is simply misplaced, not lost forever.  However, my mom did recently move and her new house is in the throes of being unpacked and is in chaos, so that's another glitch.
     Not a very auspicious start to the writing year. I am not one who believes all things happen for a reason, but this does have the upside of making me work on some other writing goals I have been ignoring. I have a second installment of my short story series and a collection of horse-mystery short stories I have wanted to publish and I am moving forward with these projects while waiting for my flash-drive to reappear.
     In my last post I sort of spoke out against making resolutions for the new year. In light of this recent dilemma, I resolve to always save all updates and edits to each and every work on both flash drive and hard drive.



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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not Resolutions

     People advise against making resolutions for the New Year for the practical reason that most don't succeed at keeping them. I agree with this.  I feel anyone who has the determination and self-discipline to keep resolutions, are the kind of people who don't need resolutions.
    I don't know if there is a negative side effect to making and failing to keep resolutions, other than having failed. Supposedly, experiencing personal failure is unhealthy for one's self-esteem or whatever. I feel that has more to do with (having the wrong) perspective than anything else. (See post "Success Via Failure").
    The main problem I see with resolutions is that individuals often see it as an all or nothing situation. Once broken, the resolution loses it's power. Once or twice, folks are willing to start over, but after the third failure they give up. And often by giving up they move in the opposite direction of their goals and further away from whatever they were trying to accomplish.
    On the other hand, almost everyone is in favor of setting goals. Goals are good. Goals are seen as something you keep striving to attain, despite setbacks. You get up, keep going, overcome, try again.  
    With goals, unlike resolutions, people are expected to not always succeed in every step. It's okay to fail in several attempts, as long as you can regroup and try again, and again and again. Goals also have room for adjustment, and can be reached in different ways, which is rarely true of resolutions.
    So it's a matter of perspective. Instead of a resolution to eat healthy, which is not something that can be done all the time, vowing to eat healthier is doable. Exercising every day may become overwhelming, but exercising often is easier.
     Writing a certain number of words a day, for me, is impossible, but if I give myself some room, like an average number of words per week, I can manage. It's a matter of avoiding the always or never principal. And as with so many things, it's a matter of perspective.
    This year, I resolve to keep a healthy perspective toward achieving my goals.

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