“Do you wait for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself? I believe in writing your own story.” -Charlotte Eriksson
March is the month for luck, leprechauns, and the color green, but when it comes to my dreams, I’m leaving nothing to luck. This month I am revitalized, rejuvenated, and ready to get back to the corned beef and potatoes of what writing means to me. A lot happened in February and I am still spinning from the rapid fire progress I made, in fact, there was so much progress that next week’s blog will actually be a vlog! Make sure to head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel after you finish reading the news, and if you have questions or topics you want me to cover in the vlog, leave a comment.
Let’s make March the best of 2016 and may luck be ever in your favor!
Last’s month’s homework was to have an affair with a book, which did you choose? Perhaps you’re a Fifty Shades of Grey fan and that’s what you chose to snuggle up with. Maybe not. If you did enjoy Fifty Shades (for whatever reason, I’m not judging) then maybe there’s a new romance series out there for you; Calendar Girl. Personally, I’m just enjoying some of the quotes from it. *giggle snort*
"Lust swirled in those inky depths, and my feminine side jumped for joy and did the chicken dance."
"I nipped at his lips like a starving animal would a steak."
"His eyes went from a normal Crayola green to a bright forest green in an instant."
Welcome to the book review for one of my favorite books. Ever. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is the book I could read forever and not get bored. A few years ago I posted (wow, that’s strange to say) about this book after I had finished reading it for the first time. When someone in the IA Book Club suggested it for January’s book of the month, I couldn’t wait to read it again! [goodreads]
Celia and Marco, two star pupils for their great Masters, each a pawn in a game they don’t know how to fight. Years before, two old men made a pact just as they had many times in the past, but this time they miscalculated. A story of love and sacrifice, Celia and Marco hold tight to their circus, their friends, and each other.
The imagery in The Night Circus is AMAZING. As I read, I could smell the treats and feel the snow garden giving me goose bumps. The descriptions were detailed enough to pull the reader in deep, but not too heavy as to smother the reader’s own imagination. Each tent was breathtaking, different, and enticing and I always wanted to know more about them. Celia's tent specifically, I wanted to watch her show and sit next to Marco and bask in their love for when he would attend and watch her, I would choke on the emotion those passages held.
The story progresses nonlinearly has an Alice in Wonderland vibe to it. Often I would reread passages or chapters a few times to catch all (or as many as I could) of the hidden secrets. Every character was planned, and calculated, none were throw away or fluffy. Even when a new one was introduced slowly, trying to trick me into thinking they were unimportant or only a device to give other characters more "face time" I was stunned by how their story thread in with the others.
Each time I finish reading The Night Circus, I am a wreck for at least a week. I cry, I mope, and I love it. The ending is satisfying, a mixture of sadness and well deserved justice for Celia and Marco accomplish their goals and in the end, how it happened was enough for me.
What does being a writer mean in the modern era?
Is it still the stereotype of a person sitting alone in a room spending hours upon hours trying to tie the best words together. The attempt to make a jigsaw puzzle of creativity and perhaps even a new way of saying the same old thing differently.
What about publishing?
Are writers still writing books and pitching them to publishers. Begging to be published, to be put into bookstores, and on shelves for people to pick up and read. Or has the Internet changed the way that both readers and writers see publishing. How has the advent of blogging, social media, and self-publishing tools changed the process and experience of writing. Places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and countless Internet publishers allow for independent authors to get their work into reader’s hands without the need of a traditional publisher and/or agent. At first glance, it may seem like these tools do make it easier for someone to publish their work. After all, it's easy to find these utilities that don’t require an agent or publisher, they’ll package up your writing, upload it, and then click publish. Or maybe you’re like me, you hook up PayPal account to your own website so you can scrape by and get paid for the work that you're doing so you can keep doing it. Alternatively, some authors just publish their work for free, or “pay what you want” because they want to share their work with the world and don’t care how.
There’s nothing wrong with being published as an “indie” author, but what about the authors who want to go the traditional route?
One day I want to see my novels on shelves. I want to be able to hold something tangible in my hands, to smell the ink, feel the words on the paper, and run my fingers over the embossed cover. I want to not just see it on a screen or an e-reader. I know there are places that writers can upload their documents to and a physical copy of their book is then printed, but is that really the same as being published like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or Brandon Sanderson? Or will your book just be lost in the void of the millions of others. There are hundreds of thousands of writers in the world, all scrambling, trying to get their words out there. Some find the traditional methods more beneficial, others swear by the new modern means with WordPress or Amazon Kindle Direct. Both have their own struggles.
Can both forms of published writers even be called “published authors”?
My feeling is, why wouldn't they be. I’m sure not everyone agrees with that, and that’s okay, they don’t have to. I don't have anything printed, and I certainly don't have anything published with an agent or a big publishing house, or sitting on a store shelf somewhere. That’s my goal, just as many other writers, but how we'll get there is what makes the difference. For one person it might be enough for them to publish freelance via Amazon for their entire career. That might make them enough money, satisfaction, and recognition. Another person may not agree, and for them being published by TOR or another publishing company is what they need to feel like they really accomplished their goal.
I don't know what your goal is, maybe you’re not even a writer, just a reader, or perhaps you’ve stumbled here by accident (in that case, thanks for reading to this point, I hope you enjoyed it!). To be honest, some days I'm not even sure what my goal is, but without pride, practice, and determination and asking for help from others, it doesn't really matter because I know I’ll never get there anyway. No matter what that light is at the end of your tunnel, keep pushing to get to it. New authors are published everyday, and one day in the future, may be our day.
IT’S FINALLY HERE! CHRISTMAS!
Wait, what? It’s not Christmas? Oh… well that’s embarrassing. I just finished reading Wet, Hot, Australian Christmas by A.V. Sanders and I must have gotten confused. Well anyway, are you looking for a five star story, then look no further! [goodreads]
Reid is an American shark researcher on a mission to revolutionize the way sharks are treated in Perth. It’s Christmas time, and being away from home starts to take a toll on his cheery holiday spirit and his boyfriend Graham has his own preoccupations on his mind. When Reid’s favorite shark goes missing, the struggle for Christmas, his passion for sharks, and his love for Graham all collide into one heartracing finale.
Wet, Hot, Australian Christmas is the second novelette from A.V. Saunders and she’s done nothing but improve! Reid and Graham are deep characters with struggles, flaws, and countless relatable qualities. From the first page their love and relationship is laid out bare for the reader to cheer for as the story progresses and while I would categorize WHAC as a romance, it’s actually not. Reid and Graham have very minor bumps in their relationship, apart for a bit of misplaced envy, their love is not tested at all. This allows the focus of the story to be more on Reid’s passion for his work and Graham’s struggle with his future. The men are portrayed as opposite sides to a coin; Reid knowing his “destiny” at a young age and Graham’s thrust upon him unwillingly when his father passes. The mirrored similarities between the two characters give a refreshing glimpse into a real life relationship and how support from a partner can make all the difference.
I don’t know much about Australia, but I certainly felt like I was oceanside and sweating as I was reading WHAC! The imagery, both for Christmas and Australian life itself, was enjoyable, realistic, and flowed seamlessly alongside the character interactions.
It’s often said that writers live not one life but many, and that may be true, but when you realize that you only have one physical life… you may want to start taking the chances you’re being given. Inspiration can hit at any moment and this blog is a great example of that, I’m recording it whilst I drive, safely I promise. If you’ve ever thought about doing something with your life, something specific, like traveling to another country or writing a book or skydiving but then you talk yourself out of it because you think about how you’re too tired, or that you don't want to today, you may not realize just how much we’re actually putting off.
I am driving home from work today and I listening to Adele on the radio and I'm thinking about how I've always wanted to be British. Strange dream, I know, but accents make me smile, and there’s so much history over there, and food. Cheese, I like cheese. Wouldn't it be amazing to live in Europe, to experience new things and talk with a beautiful accent, and be immersed in the history that would surround me everyday? As I start to think about that dream it’s easy to let fear start to creep in. That would be a lot of work, or I’m only twenty-seven, I have plenty of time, or, what about work, and kids? All of the current and future commitments start to invade and I justify why it can never be possible.
Part of me might believe that and I think, I’ll just catch up with that dream in my next life. But won’t be here for my next life, not like this, not this incarnation of me. Today, it’s just me who so badly wants to go to Europe and speak like they do, and eat cheese, and see the Eiffel Tower, and see the white buildings of Greece. So why would I put off a trip to Europe, or writing a book? Why do I go home everyday after work and say, “you know I've had a really rough day, I worked really hard, I made good money doing it, and I'm satisfied with that.” Why do I settle for that? I think I need to try to stop and think about my choices, and instead say, “why am I spending ten hours a day doing something that's really difficult and saving money? What's the point?” Isn't the point so that I can spend the money? To tuck it away in a savings account for future kids, or plan a trip to Europe, or save it up so I can take a month off of work and write a book. Isn't that the point of working hard, so I can get to my dreams?
What have I learned today while I mumble to myself, alone in my car? Next time my brain says, “wouldn't it be be awesome to,” or “I’ve always wanted to do this,” I’ll try to stop and think about my dreams and figure out what I can do to get myself closer to it.
Every little step counts, do something to further your goals. We can do it together. If you need me, I’ll be at my desk, writing a new story about a woman who grabs her dreams… and the first flight she finds to the UK.
It’s that time again, hearts and flowers are everywhere, pink and red dominate the shops, and candy is pumped out in the shape of tiny hearts. Valentine's Day approaches, cards and candies are bought for sweeties while singles raise their fists in the air in defiance, but Valentine’s Day is not just a day for lovers.
This year let's makes Valentine's Day a day for LOVE. Love of a brother, a mother, a book, a cook, a cat, a hat, ANYTHING! Profess your love of music and attend a concert. Wrap your embrace around new yarn and knit something if that’s your passion. For me, I’ll be curled up with a book, for the written word is my boyfriend and this month… I’m having an affair!
february book reviews