31 May 2011

Lost for Words

Do you ever get to the point where you cannot think of anything to say?

It's not typical that I really get to the point where I cannot think of a single thing to say. Yet, I've been dangerously close the last couple of weeks.

I've read some okay, but not great, books. I like to do reviews when I have something to say about them, otherwise they feel like a book report. Work is off-limits, so no comment there. And this blog is about writing, not running. Running has really become a passion for me.

In fact, running is a passion in the way that writing never was. The cool thing about running is that you are always winning simply by being out there. Any runner will tell you that completing the long run is more in your head than in your body. I'm willing to get up at 4:30 two or three mornings a week and run before work. At 6 or so on a weekend to take a long run through one of the winding trails near the college. I can't imagine getting up at 4:30 to write.

But when I run, I compose some great passages. They are for the book I'm still thinking about, the one that I won't talk about for fear of scaring it away.

It's a book that wants to be written from 8-5, Monday through Friday. And that's really odd for me. I used to write, pre-MBA program, after hours, later the better.

For now, I'll keep running. Chasing after those ideas, random thoughts and passages that come to me. It's enough for now. The paper will be waiting when it is ready.

30 May 2011

26 May 2011

Book Banter -- The Orchard

Title: The Orchard
Author: Theresa Weir
Genre: Memoir
Length: 227 pages (ARC)
Where Bethany's Copy Came From: Advanced Reader Copy from Theresa Weir (Sept. 2011 pub. date)
Plot Basics: In the heart of the Midwest, young Theresa meets Adrian Curtis, the heir to a prominent apple orchard-owning family. After a whirlwind romance, they are married and Theresa quickly learns how uneasy farming life. Considered an outsider by Adrian's family and haunted by her own past and failed family, she struggles to compete with farming for her young husband's love. As more and more chemicals are used to combat pests that would threaten to destroy the fragile orchard, Theresa and Adrian must make devastating choices about their family and their farm if they are keep their marriage in tact.

Banter Points: The Orchard is soberingly beautiful and an astounding feat of writing. Weir has written chilling thrillers under her Anne Frasier nom de plume, but none are as page-turning as her own story. While normally an orchard is thought of as peaceful and beautiful, Weir casts the trees and their common fruit into a villainous role, the force that could save or destroy her young family. The writing is finely tuned, not wasting any words to propel the reader through these years of her life.

Bummer Points: The book doesn't hit store shelves until September. It's a bummer for the rest of you that you'll have to wait till then to read this book.

Word Nerd Recommendation: Even if you don't read memoirs, you need to read this book. It will definitely place high on my top 10 books I read in 2011 list, a sure contender for the top spot.

25 May 2011

Author Answers with Jennifer Nielsen

Today's answers come from Jennifer Nielsen, who writes two series for kids. Let's dive in.

WN:
I love the first paragraph of your bio -- For as far back as Jennifer can remember, she has shared her brain with imaginary characters. She figures it’s okay if she talks to them as she’s working on her stories, as long as they don’t start talking back. -- Tell us more about your process though. Who's really in charge, you or the characters? (Personally, when I write, I feel like I am eavesdropping on someone else's conversation at times.)

JN: I come from a theater background, and one thing an actor learns very early is that acting is all about making choices, so that their character creates the events rather than simply responds to them. This isn’t so different from a writer’s job, only the writer is making these choices for all the characters of the story.

So as I’m writing, I spend a lot of time in my head stepping into the shoes of my various characters and interacting with them almost as if it’s the scene of a play. I might review the same scene over and over, each time through a different character’s eyes. By doing this, I often discover a lot of options that wouldn’t be clear to me otherwise. I can also feel their resistance when I try to take the plot in a direction that might be inconsistent with a character’s personality – because the scene just becomes too forced and unnatural.

It’s similar to what you say – that you feel like you’re eavesdropping. Only in my case, I prefer to sneak into the conversation and participate.

WN: What’s something readers or their parents should know about Elliot? And are the goblins friendly?

JN: My favorite thing about Elliot is that he’s just an ordinary kid – and like all ordinary kids, there is something extraordinary that he hasn’t yet discovered about himself. At its core, this is really what the series is about – Elliot is a boy who learns that everything he needs to be amazing is already within himself.

And no, the Goblins are definitely not friendly. In ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR, they’ll try every trick they have to officially get rid of Elliot, including blowing up his house. Unfortunately, as the series continues, he has even more unfriendly creatures yet to deal with, including troublesome Pixies, a vengeful Yeti, evil Shadow Men, and a large demon who really, really, really does not want to be woken up from his nap.

WN: Let’s dish: what character are you most like? Why?

JN: I think every author puts a little of herself into each character she creates. So maybe the easiest way to answer this is to say which characters I’m least like. Which are the Goblins, for the obvious reason that I love chocolate, and they don’t. Oh, I should probably also include that they’re really horrible, despicable creatures, whereas I have never, ever blown up anyone’s house.

WN: What's up next for Elliot?

JN: ELLIOT AND THE PIXIE PLOT will be released in August 2011 and I’m so excited for people to read it! In this story, the mischievous Pixies kidnap Elliot to the Underworld in a plot to ransom Grissel the Goblin from the Brownie prison. The Goblin War might have been bad, but if Elliot fails, he’ll launch a war that will brand him as the kid who got earth destroyed. Who’d want to be his friend after that?

WN: Elliot isn't the only series you write. Who is the false prince?

JN: THE FALSE PRINCE is a very different series than ELLIOT and will launch with Scholastic in April 2012. It’s the story of four orphans, including a defiant boy named Sage, who are forced into competition to become an imposter prince. Sage’s life balances on a sword’s point. If he is not chosen, then he will certainly be killed.

THE FALSE PRINCE is full of suspense, danger, swordfights, and a boy whose voice is fiercely compelling. I hope people will love this story as much as I do.

WN: Writing for kids must lead to some good stories about your fans? Will you share one with us?

JN: I do have one favorite – after a school visit last fall, a 1st grader came up to say hello to me. She was an adorable little girl who wanted so much to have a way to thank me for coming. She pulled from her pocket a pink plastic jewel, so small I had to hold it close to see it, and covered in lint. That was her gift to me, and I still treasure it.

WN: What question should the Word Nerds have asked, but didn't?

JN: The Word Nerds might have wondered what is my favorite kind of ice cream (chocolate with marshmallows). Or better yet, if someone wanted to invite me for some ice cream, you can reach me at my website, www.jennielsen.com, and learn more about my books while you’re there!

Mmmm...ice cream is always good. Thanks for the answers, Jen!

24 May 2011

Escape

I'm in the middle of a three week, twice a night class, on Business Law, Regulations and Ethics. It would be a great class for any writer.

Basically, the course is teaching us to think through situations from an legal and ethical stance. It forces one to consider an alternate point of view, such as lying in order to achieve a greater good.

Is lying right or wrong? What if it creates a greater good? What is the greater good? How does it impact trust?

While we are thinking about it from a business point of view, my thoughts keep straying to some of my favorite villains and heroes, especially those found in Jim Butcher's Dresdyn Files.

Harry has a typically black and white stance on the world that is exaggerated by applying his own filter. He refuses, at times, to consider anyone else's point of view. But he tolerates one of the villains - Johnny Machone - who has a fair amount of good behind his bad behavior.

Putting characters into the morale dilemma works for Butcher. I love his books because of it, to see how Harry is challenged again and again.

The course is a required one for my program, as it is for many of the students in the class with me. Yet, I can't help but think that under different circumstances that this class would be fun. Instead, it's cramming as much information as possible into my head so that I can pass the test.

Which makes me wonder - is the college acting in an ethical manner by offering this course during interim, knowing that most students are going to cram and forget?

Of course, that idea potentially could be applied in a variety of ways. It's probably a slippery slope and one that I shouldn't start down.

But that's sort of the point too. Ethical violation usually start as a slippery slope that a small step leads to a big step (or several small ones that add up to a big one that cannot be recovered from.)

It's an interesting line of thinking.

What have you done to challenge your characters today?

23 May 2011

Anna Karenina -- The Whole Thing

Last week, I finished Anna Karenina. I was going to put "finally finished" but I figured that would induce more wrath from people who really like this book.

I'm not going to write a review, per se, because that would just be a strange format for this classic that I've blogged about several times during the reading. Through the reading, I've learned a couple things and I'll get to those in a bit.

First, let me say, I'm proud of myself for sticking it out and finishing it like I said I would and on the schedule I said I'd use. There were many, many times when I contemplated stopping, but I soldiered on and I'm actually really glad that I read it.

Second, I've made this point before, but it's worth saying again: I don't hate the book. It's not my favorite; I doubt I'd ever read it a second time, but I don't hate it. I think it's all in the marketing -- the book's called "Anna Karenina" when, at least to me, the most important and interesting character was Levin. Anna was not a happy character and it was hard to feel any kind of sympathy for her in her choices.

One the writing fellows at the Midwest Writers Workshop Retreat described AK as a "page turner" and I have to admit, I just don't get that sentiment. I was turning pages to get done, not reading with much anticipation like when I read a mystery or a thriller. And maybe therein lies some of the problem -- I just don't read enough books like AK and don't know how to change my anticipation for a book like that.

Third, the next time I read a masive classic like this, I'm going to turn to a source like SparkNotes for some help in interpretation. I did pull up SparkNotes for part of Part VII, just to make sure that I'd read a section right and that I hadn't again missed a vital action in Tolstoy's very subtle style. I had interpreted a scene correctly, but reading the SparkNotes helped bring whole parts of the story into better focus. I want to keep reading "important" books that I feel like I've missed in school, but I think it's ok to turn to another source to make sure I'm appreciating them in all their fullness.

Fourth, I discovered that I'm actually kind of frustrated with many of the English teachers I had throughout school. They were great writing teachers, actually, but I think I was given a pass on reading a lot of great books. For my reading goal for this year, in addition to AK, I said I was going to read three more "important" books. I know the next one I'm tackling and while it's far, far newer than AK, I think it still counts. I've got a copy of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" on my shelf. I read an excerpt of that in a lit class and liked it, so I'm going to read the whole work. I'm also eying Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" for another one. There may be a contest for the third, so keep your eyes open.

Now that I'm done, I'm expecting a promised rant from a writer friend of mine. I probably deserve it, but I'm sticking by the fact that I did what I said I was going to do. Read Anna Karenina over the space of 4 months and I'm happy that I did just that.

20 May 2011

Writing for School

One of the odd things I've encountered during my MBA program is writing assignments. To be precise, it's not the assignment so much as it is the assessment of the assignment.

Every assessment has had one of two reactions: lacks detail and needs to be expanded; great explanation and understanding of the content.

To me, I write the same regardless of the content. How can I in one situation be lacking detail and in another explaining just fine?

If I apply a critical eye to it, I get this feedback when I am not as comfortable with a subject. Even though I feel like I am not adjusting my writing style, my lack of confidence in the subject matter is showing through.

Have you experienced this sort of dual-sided feedback? If so, leave a note in the comments. I wonder if others have found a similar reaction as I did: If you fake it, it shows.

19 May 2011

Max and Lena

Meet Max and Lena.

This precious set of twins are going to become part of my best friend, Alex's, family. Right now, they live in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. They are HIV positive, which is all the more reason they need a great family to become theirs and love on them lots.

After some long months of paperwork and then waiting, it's time for Alex and her husband to travel to Eastern Europe and begin the next steps of bringing Max and Lena home. Alex has wonderfully chronicled much of the story here, and I'd encourage you to read. Won't take too long, but if you are easily emotional, you might want a tissue handy.

As you can imagine, the adoption process is costly.

To help raise some more fund toward bringing the twins home, they are holding a giveaway for an iPad. $5 gets one entry. Every $5 after that gets an additional entry, so generosity can increase your chances of winning. They have official rules and how to enter here. You can enter until May 21st.

IPads are cool. Alex's family is cool and I fully expect Max and Lena to be a cool addition. However, as a fundraiser, I have to say coercion to give is not cool. If this story doesn't move you, keep your $5 and find a charity/cause that speaks to your heart.

18 May 2011

Laura Lippman Giveaway!

Want Laura Lippman's latest book? Or how about the one that kicked off her series, Baltimore Blues? This is your chance.

Word Nerd's got one copy of Baltimore Blues and two copies of her new one, I'd Know You Anywhere to give away today.

Rather than us going on about the new book, here's a video from Laura herself:

And for those of you reading at work or somewhere where watching a video doesn't work so well, here's some book jacket copy and reviews from others. 

There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.
Suburban wife and mother Eliza Benedict's peaceful world falls off its axis when a letter arrives from Walter Bowman. In the summer of 1985, when Eliza was fifteen, she was kidnapped by this man and held hostage for almost six weeks. Now he's on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, and Eliza wants nothing to do with him. Walter, however, is unpredictable when ignored—as Eliza knows only too well—and to shelter her children from the nightmare of her past, she'll see him one last time.
But Walter is after something more than forgiveness: He wants Eliza to save his life . . . and he wants her to remember the truth about that long-ago summer and release the terrible secret she's keeping buried inside.

“Laura Lippman is among the select group of novelists who have invigorated the crime fiction arena with smart, innovative, and exciting work.” —George Pelecanos


“This is a story that grips you not with suspense but with its acute psychological autopsy of a survivor. Lippman’s knack for elucidating the horrors humans can inflict on one another through violence and manipulation — while telling a compelling story —is disarming and fascinating.” —USA Today

Lippman’s taut, mesmerizing, and exceptionally smart drama of predator and prey is at once unusually sensitive and utterly compelling. —Booklist

Lippman’s dedicated fans will find themselves well rewarded with I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE, an exceptional novel in every way, which is sure to gain her many new followers.” —San Diego Union-Tribune

How to win one of these books? 1. Live in the US or Canada. Sorry folks across the pond.... 2. Post a comment to enter about somebody you'd recognize anywhere, or wish you could run into again, or if all your loved ones are around you where you want them, just put your name in the hat. For extra emtries, post a link to this contest on FB or Twitter and copy it into the comments so we can track entries!

Three winners will be drawn next Monday, 5/23. The contest is open to everyone, even if you've won before.

17 May 2011

Book Banter -- The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life


Title: Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of Running Has Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Heart
Author: Amby Burfoot
Genre: Non-fiction
Length: 150 pages
Where Stacie's Copy Came From: Personal Library
Plot Basics: Amby Burfoot has been running for 35 years. This book won't tell you about what stride to hit or breathing pattern to follow. Instead each chapter is designed to reignite the reader's passion for running.

Banter Points: I loved this book. Each chapter had some heartfelt lesson about the strength, grit, determination, it takes to get on the road every day. To log the miles, face the mental battles, to get through the hurdles.

Honestly, the book moved me to the point of tears at times.

I have fallen in love with running an away that I could not imagine a mere six months ago even. Amby captures that spirit I feel each day when I run. Whether the run is pure joy or pure punishment, the book gave me the "Me too!" feeling in every chapter.

As a Word Nerd, I feel like Amby also gets the joy and pain in writing. It's a long solitary activity that is as maddening as it is rewarding. As editor of Runner's World, Amby surely gets the parallels I saw between the two activities, even though he never mentions them.

The best part of the whole book is the passion that he captures. Running isn't so much about speed or beating the other guy. Running is overcoming the mental hurdles and knowing you can do it. During a tough day at work, I can think about the morning's run and know that if I can slog through 2-4 miles, the problem in front of me isn't going to get the best of me. If I can log 12-15 miles a week, the to-do list isn't going to beat me either. I'm not the fastest, longest or best runner. I'm never going to be. But I'm not stopping either.

That personal satisfication is the best feeling in the world.

Amby captures is perfectly.

Bummer Points: The book ended. No, seriously, I wasn't ready for it to stop.

Stacie's Recommendation: You don't have to be a runner to understand the passion of Amby's experience. You just need to be passionate about something to get why he is about running. Pick it up. (Or borrow from your fellow Nook reader.)

16 May 2011

Fellowship

This past weekend, I was at a writing retreat for nine fellows selected by the Midwest Writers Workshop.

We spent all day Friday and most of Saturday at the Pokagon State Park in northern Indiana honing the opening chapters of our manuscripts, learning how to make pitches to agents and generally having a great time.

Part of what was so great is that, as fellows, we got to spend our time with other writers, people who also get this intrinsic drive to sit alone for long stretches, developing characters, situations and problems that we create in our heads and put down on paper.

This wasn't a convention where writers with book spend the whole time on panels telling us about how they do things. This retreat was focused on us as writers. Our work. Our problem areas. Our strengths. I needed to make a guy creepier and show the audience that instead of the classic telling. We were given time to do re-writes and bringing the scene back, it was better with some reworking.

I'm sure I'll post more things that come to mind from the two days as I keep applying them to my manuscript, but a few moments that really stuck out.

My small group -- in a moment of levity -- started doing mash-ups of mystery series. The best one? If Tony Hillerman and Sue Grafton wrote together, we'd get these titles: A is for Apache, B is for Brave, C is for Comanche.

Also -- the best quote of the weekend was from one of our very short round table sessions with all 9 writers together listening to the mentor-writers. "Novelists are the only artists who have to create their raw material," said novelist Terry Faherty.

10 May 2011

Tuesday Fun

I couldn't resist. I'm a huge podcast fan, so I thought I'd throw out some of my favorites. Podcasts are the reason I listen to fewer audio books than I used to. If I could invent a formula that makes minutes into pages counts, my book count for the year would fly through the roof!

This American Life -- Every week Ira Glass and team take on a theme and challenge you think of ordinary people in a new way.

Radio Lab
-- Jad Abrumrad and Robert Krulwich make me love science again, just like I did as a kid. The wonder and mystery are back. Think that you can't be a Christian and a scientist? Think again. Robert is.Link

Escape Pod -- Sci-fi short fiction. Usually about 2o minutes long, there's always a good story in here. Some are to die for. No, really, check out Episode 242 -- The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake. You'll never look at a Hostess product the same way again. Or any other form of marketing.

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
-- Ever wonder what the Ivy Leagues are teaching? Here's your chance to listen to the guest speakers for one of the courses at Standford.

Knowledge@Wharton
-- Wharton's out there too.

I am a firm believer in growth through learning. I stumble across loads of different and interesting things this way. It can make for some great conversation or stories.

Who is on your must listen to list?

09 May 2011

Monday Fun

Trust me, as much as we're Word Nerds here, we do get captivated by other things than just books.

A few things that might liven up your Monday.

1. The Public Radio Name Generator. I'm a huge NPR listener. I can pick out which reporter is it just from voice alone most of the time. In a perfect world, Scott Simon would follow me around and narrate my life just so I could listen to him all the time. But, most of us don't just come with names that sound like they belong on public radio. Using some of the real reporters names, this generator will bestow on you a new name to launch your public broadcasting career.

2. Tonematrix (Don't try this if you are photo-sensitive. If you are not, make sure you have a good 20 minutes to kill right now, or try it later.) I found this over at Pbackwriter's blog, who got it somewhere else. Unlike them, I am not cool enough to figure out how to embed the flash app into this post. It's a nifty little sound application that lets you create some music -- no know-how needed.

3. The Daily. For you iPad users, this may be the best app that's not a game that I've found. I'm a news junkie at heart (what? really?) You can try The Daily for free for two weeks and then a year's subscription is $39.99. When you divide that out, that's $0.11 a day for news magazine quality journalism, photos, song of the day, crossword, sudoku, and more. While I love newspapers and always will, when this kind of creative journalism is out there, the writing's on the wall that they've got to deliver this kind of product or they are doomed (wow, so my Monday fun just turned into a soapbox... sorry about that).

Have a great Monday.

For NPR, this is Themba Murphy-Pahlavi, reporting from Indianapolis.

06 May 2011

Where did you learn Grammar?

Think about it for a minute. Where did you learn grammar?

(pausing while you post your story in the comments.)

Me, I had a mother who corrected pretty much every sentence I ever uttered through grade 8. I also loved Mad Libs and parts of speech are pretty easy from there. In high school I had an English teacher who was a stickler for grammar as well. Diagramming sentences anyone? I have a love/hate relationship with them.

Now switch gears a bit. Where did you learn to write? Did those grammar lessons make you a good writer?

Good writing and good grammar are two different things. It's balance between the two that make it worthwhile. I can't ever read Angela's Ashes because of the complete lack of punctuation. It makes me want to pull out my red pen and edit away.

I like to think I'm a decent writer. But as far as a good grammarian? The jury is still out.

05 May 2011

Top Suspense -- Take Two Review

Here's another Take Two Review. Stacie and I both lucked into ARCs of "Top Suspense." She read hers right off the bat and I left mine until the deadline (cough). Still, making good on the promise to review it, I read the collection of stories over the past few days and now have a review to post.

Top Suspense, ed. by Dave Zeltersman, Take Two
First Reviewed on Word Nerd: April 12, 2011
Bethany's Take: I liked many of the stories in this collection, but I got hung-up on the title -- I think it promises a different kind of story than what's actually in the book. I think "Top Noir" would have been better with all the dark turns that every story seemed to take. But suspense... I'm not so sure. Maybe my definition of suspense is just different.

Though it would give it away, a great title might be "Come Uppance" because that's a common theme among all the stories. Many of the protagonists are bad guys to start with, or people who think that they are somehow above the law or smarter than the cops. Of course, in the course of committing a crime (mostly murder) they make a fatal mistake and get their come-uppance for the wrongs they've done. This was so prevalent in the stories that about halfway through the book, I started looking for it and trying to figure out how that plot twist was going to work.

The best story in the collection was "Remaindered" by Lee Goldberg. Goldberg tells the story of a washed-up author who's desperate to create buzz about his latest book. I can't say more without giving away plot (heck, we're talking short story here) but I thoroughly enjoyed this one the most of the whole book.

The e-book is on sale for $.99 for the first two weeks of May. For less than a cup of Starbucks, you might as well pick up this read if you like mystery stories.

04 May 2011

Author Answers with J.T. Ellison 2.0

Welcome thriller writer J.T. Ellison back to Word Nerd. She first appeared here in 2006 when she was a part of Killer Year and her first book was on its way to shelves.

Six books later, we're happy to have her back to talk about her latest, "So Close the Hand of Death."

WN: So Close the Hand of Death is the 6th Taylor Jackson book. What's it been like to push this character to this point?
J.T.:  It’s been rather amazing, actually. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years already. She’s such a fun
character, almost a friend to me now. When she hurts, I hurt. When she bleeds, I bleed. When she’s happy,
I’m happy. I love how she’s changed over the course of the books – no longer living in a world that’s so
black and white, she’s learned how many shades of gray exist out there.

WN: To write thrillers, you have to come up with some pretty nasty killers. Is it hard to come up with "bad guys" like that, why or why not?
J.T.: Not really. I tap into my fears, and the fears of people around me, and magnify them into nearly grotesque proportions. I take solace in the fact that nothing I can create in my own mind is nearly as bad as reality.

WN: Of course in thrillers, you also have the "good guys." What was the thought process in strengthening your protagonist, Taylor Jackson, to go up against all these killers?
J.T.: Taylor is a rare beast in the crime fiction world – a cop without a nagging trauma in her past to drive her.
She’s strong because that’s who she is, and she commands the respect of her peers. I like that part of her;
it’s what gives her courage in the face of adversity. And of course, not all the books involve serial killers, so
she faces the same horrors our cops do on the streets every day.

WN: What's changed (or hasn't changed) about how you write since you first wrote "All the Pretty Girls" to now?
J.T.: I’m a little less organic, because I have to share with my agent and editor what I’m working on. I’m writing faster now too – no more leisurely pace. So it’s changed quite a bit, actually. But the essence remains the same – find a way to tell a great story that will keep the reader engaged and entertained.

WN: You're one of the many authors out there on Twitter (as @thrillerchick). How has being a part of that online community helped or hindered you as a writer?
J.T.: It’s so much fun. I didn’t start tweeting as part of a marketing platform, or to promote myself. Hence the
name – I chose something I hoped was discreet so I could be anonymous. I got outed after a few months
and had to own up to who I was, so it changed a bit. But that’s the one place I’m really myself. It’s great for
news, socializing – all the water cooler aspects of a job that we writers don’t experience because we’re off
on our lonesomes.

WN: What's next for you as a writer?
J.T.: Nirvana, actually - more writing. The 7th Taylor Jackson comes out September 20, WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE. I have a multi-book contract that I’m working on right now, I just released a short story collection called SWEET LITTLE LIES, and I have two new shorts in anthologies this year. Life’s pretty sweet right now – and that’s not a lie!

Thanks so much for having me!

03 May 2011

Reading Stats -- January through April

It's been some time since I posted stats.

For the year, I'm at 26 books. Not too shabby, considering I'm in school and regularly reading case studies and textbooks. Just under half were read in January (12).

Total page count: 8,931 pages.

It's a strong start to the year.

02 May 2011

Shelf Space

Not my real bookshelf
I think it's the curse of all book-lovers that we're perpetually running out of bookshelf space.

A few months back, I reorganized my shelves to accommodate all the books I had at the time. Everything was alphabetized, double-depth shelved paperbacks, non-fiction elsewhere. For an organization nerd, it was something like nirvana.

Then -- then Saturday night I went to one of the Borders here that's going out of business. The fiction was all marked down to 50% off. I know that reduces what the authors get from the sales (if anything, seeing as how Borders owes so much). But for a girl on a budget, it made buying some books possible.

And lo and behold, there on the shelf in the sci-fi section, the first five books of the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman. I have read the first five and loved them -- Cal's snarkiness, Niko's cool brotherly protection, Robin Goodfellow's innuendo's -- and have thought long and hard about owning them.

But now, I have FIVE new paperbacks to add to my already overcrowded bookshelves. The dilemma...

Am I the only one who thinks too much about how to organize books? What system do you use?