Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Forays in Fiction: Story on the Ropes? Get Tropes.

The Periodic Table of Storytelling, Second Edition
by Dawn Paladin
Designs & Interfaces / Infographics
I found a new playground for storytellers today: TV Tropes Wiki.  It began as an exploration of tropes in TV stories but has expanded to include all media.

On this page for the trope spoofs and parodies of the periodic table there is a list with links to examples, including one that is a periodic table for the TV Tropes wiki itself.  When linked to the relevant articles in the wiki it almost amounts to a table of contents.  Some are calling it a cheat sheet for storytellers.

In my exploration in the forums on TV Tropes and the comments on the image's page on Dawn Paladin's Deviant Art site I saw several nay-sayers who felt something was wrong about thinking you could break down the rich complexity of all stories into these simple (simplistic?) elements. Or that it meant there was something wrong--simple headed? shallow?-- about the human mind that needs story to be comprised of simple, familiar elements that can be moved around like lego blocks.

My answer to that is:

  • Look at all the rich complexity in all that computers can do, including the internet.  Would you complain that breaking it down to the two states of on and off, which is what the ones and zeros represent, is proof of some lack in that complexity or that it somehow dishonors it or the mind that comprehends it? 
  • And what about the four elements that make up DNA which is the code for building all living things?  Does that make living organisms less awesome? Or the brains some organisms have less useful?  
  • Then there are the atoms and molecules that the original periodic table was designed to organize which are the building blocks of all matter in the universe.  Does that lessen the astonishment and awe one feels when contemplating the universe?  Or reflect poorly on its existence? Or in any way make it irrational to admire it? 

At any rate that Storytelling Periodic Table only captures a small subset of the thousands of tropes that have been added to TV Tropes.  That should calm the naysayers objections.  Though I think it is the fact of the existence of repeatable, reusable, recognizable mix and match elements they are objecting to.  Some are confusing tropes with cliches.  Do I really need to make another list?

Read more...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

National Library Week 2014: Lives Change at the Library


Lives Change at the Library
moar kittehs  caption share vote


This week is the 2014 National Library Week sponsored by the ALA  The theme this year is Lives Change at the Library.

The event began in the fifties (the spring after I was born) and is intended to raise awareness of all that the libraries and their workers do for individuals and communities and encourage the funding for those services.  

Now, during these economic hard times, this is more urgent than ever as libraries have been loosing funding and closing down.  In those that survive services, hours and materials have been cut.  Which translates to fewer librarians and their aides, fewer books and magazines, fewer multimedia items, fewer days open, fewer events held at local libraries.

It is the most astonishing shortsightedness on the part of library levy voters who can't see that the value they get from the libraries compounds the value of the money levied many times over even if they don't use the services themselves.  

And what can I say about the alarming arrogance on the part of community leaders, politicians and local business owners who are often spouting off about how they got where they are without setting foot in a library?

How can they all not see that even if they don't use the library themselves they are benefiting as much as anyone who keeps their card tapped out at all times?  Or that there are library services they could be using that could save them time and money if they didn't see it as a status step down or a violation of their libertarian doctrines?  Or that the services provided contributes to community health in ways that save hundreds of dollars for every dollar spent on the library?

Consider these few:
  • Help with tax forms.  Besides those on fixed income like the elderly and disabled there are the employees of local businesses whose peace of mind translates into more efficiency at work.  But not if the library is never open when they are off the job site.
  • A source of information on the people and issues on the next ballot.
  • Fact check via phone or email.
  • Activities for juveniles that keep them safe and the community safe from their boredom fed shenanigans while inspiring their imaginations toward their future contribution to the community and expanding their aspirations.
  • Resources for study and homework help for the students who will be the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs.
  • Resources for teen and adult hope-to-be entrepreneurs in learning all the requirements to setting up and running a business.
  • Resources for homeschooling families who are also heavy consumers of specialty products provided by local business.
  • Help for non-native speakers of English in becoming proficient at communicating in English enhancing their value to employers and the community at large.  Not to mention relieving one of the stressors contributing to dysfunctional behaviors that break down family and neighborhood cohesion and clog the justice system.  How do those costs compare to the few dollars per month asked of local property owners for a healthy vibrant library?

I blogged several times about the Southern Oregon Library System's closure in April of 2007 and how it reopened that fall with most of the 15 branches cut to less than twenty hours over two or three days.  It has yet to bring those days and hours back.  Several of the branches opted out of the system and closed altogether.  It still saddens and angers me.

But I'm currently living in Longview, WA and using the library of my childhood and it seems to be as vibrant and bustling as ever.

I've talked often here about how much I owe to the library systems I've patronized.  
  • I've called them my universities.  
  • This autodidact has depended on libraries to satisfy her every craving for story or knowledge.  
  • I've checked out several thousand library books over my life-time and without libraries I'd never have had access to most of the several hundred novels I've read.  
  • 95% of everything I've learned about the craft of writing and storytelling I owe to library books and media.
  • The research for my stories depended entirely on libraries before the Internet and it is my belief that the Internet will never completely replace libraries for serious researchers*.  

*Research librarians with advanced degrees in media storage and information technologies still outshine and outsmart the search engines--especially now that most of the common free ones are now sponsor driven or the top tier in search results achieve their positions not because of their relevance or usefulness or even truthfulness but rather because someone with something to sell has paid for the slot.

Read more...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

154th ROW80 Check-In

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life
Before this round (2014 R2), my goals were all time investment and are detailed on the  ROW80 page   [That strike through will remain until I can clean up and update that page.]  In its place I've created a section called GOALS AND HABITS where my current commitments are detailed.

I keep track of the time invested with a Google Doc spreadsheet linked on the goals page and also in each check-in along with a screenshot of the most recent days.

This round I've added time-management and habit formation goals that aren't easily tracked on a spreadsheet.  Or at least not the same one.  These skills are the subject of the coaching my husband has been providing.

 









Note: I broke this up into themed sections to make updating easier:  


Current Check-In --  This section, just below the spreadsheet screenshot, will contain commentary about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in, LOLs, post roundups and any relevant links.  They are arranged like a blog inside a blog.
GOALS AND HABITS:
__Habits and Structure that Supports Writing --  These are the things my coach aka husband is working with me on.
__Month by Month --  Very specific and limited projects for each month
__Ongoing Fiction Files Tasks: -- Big and small projects--WIP, editing, organizing notes, timelines, rosters, sketches, research etc
__Other Writing -- working the AWAI  copywriting course; book reviews; poetry; freewrite and journaling 
Read Craft -- currently reading and recently finished
The Lifequake -- Life decided to give me free lessons on the art of flexibility in January of 2013. There have been continuous aftershocks.
Self Management -- applying flexibility, persistence, habit rehabilitation as I learn that caring for myself is the foundation for all else. Including writing.
Evolution of the Workstations -- the never-ending story with pictures and commentary about the attempt to create a productivity environment here at Mom's



With my husband's coaching in time, self and project management, I'm slowly recovering from the massive setback in March when my mood dove into the Marianas Trench of my psyche.  The last two check-ins of Round 1 provide the explanation and the plan for recovery so I left them in place when I cleared the last round's check-ins.

CURRENT CHECK-IN


Waisted
I refuse to kick this habit 
April 16 -- Ed started coaching me on time and self management on March 12. I wish I'd been journaling it from the begining so I'd have a record of the long haul--the steady improvements amid scattered failures, the incremental adding of new expectations as one new habit after another was attatched to established habits.  Then I'd have a play by play of what led up to yesterday which was my first PERFECT day:


  • I got up at 5:25 half an hour before my alarm.  
  • First visit to bathroom includes face/hair/teeth task.  
  • Next task is getting tea and breakfast and grazing snacks for the day and feeding the cats  
  • I was sitting down at computer ready for vid chat by 6--15 minutes early.
    [It did not occur to me until late yesterday that that would have been the perfect opportunity to add FREEWRITE back into the daily routine as it is best when I've not had occasion for conversation or other encounters with language beforehand.  That is what I did today]  
  • I messaged Ed that I was ready when he was then fiddled with email and played Bejeweled Blitz  on my Nexus 7 while waiting.  
  • Vid chat began at 6:15 and ended at 6:40.  
  • Fiddled with email for a few minutes before getting on tramp where I played more Bejeweled Blitz, read several pages of Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton, and watched an episode of Malcom in the Middle.  All on my Nexus 7.
    [This is how I bribed myself to start getting on the tramp after vid chats in late February.  Haven't missed a single day and the committed to 15 minutes grew to over 50]
  • I started work on Monday's IMWAYR? post right after tramp.
    [Got behind during the weekend HABA project, which may have been the last piece of the puzzle needed to set me up for this perfect day] 
  • As soon as I  finished posting the IMWAYR? link on Joystory's fb fanpage I started work on Tuesday's post re the black jeans and white belt. [Another triumph] It was 10:30 and I had that posted by 11:30.
    [Both posts begun and posted before the usual 1PM lunch break thus an extra task proving there is time for at least one more significant brain work task besides posting before lunch and with some more streamlining of tasks there would be room for a third and even a forth. Or the two significant 45+ minutes and several 15 to 30 minute tasks.  Depending on which tasks.  Especially since I quit for lunch an hour early because of another extra (non-daily) task]  
  • I got dressed before heading to kitchen which is one of my goals--no more wearing what I slept in all day or sleeping in what I wore all day.  
  • Then I gave Mom the choice of having lunch inside half an hour or after I'd sorted her supplements and meds for the next 4 weeks which is at least an hour's task if it goes smoothly.  She chose waiting so I started the pill sort but was only half done when she said she was hungry so I stopped to fix our trays. 
  • Ate lunch with mom
  • Finished pill sort.  [the extra task referred to]
  • Cleaned up kitchen.  
  • Was back at desk by 2:45. Messaged Ed that I was back from lunch but would not be hatching the Google messenger or email so he should call me if I didn't respond inside of 5 minutes.  I keep my Blaze smartphone in my pocket ever since he gave it to me for my birthday in November.
    [There are many ways I could be using it to streamline tasks, fit more small tasks into various small slots of time throughout the day and jot quick reminders or story thoughts when unable to get to desk.  I will be making that a front burner task soon]
  • Next I started work on desk area--clutter clearing and rearranging of items from the size of books and papers to the printer and crates and boxes full of files, books and crafts.  No furniture this time tho had done a bit of that on Sunday.
    [Another extra aka non-daily task]
  • Vid chat with Ed began just before five and finished at 5:30.
  • Next I cleaned the downstairs litter box.  [another extra non-daily]
  • Followed by a quick in and out in under 15 minutes shower (no shampoo)  and another 15 to dry and dress.  [another trumph as showers had been such huge productions taking 45 to 120 minutes from hunting clothes and task misc to getting dressed before the weekend HABA project]
  • Tuesday is my regular on duty day so I was back in kitchen to fix dinner by six thirty.  Fixed a tray for Mom with a leftover chicken slice with bacon bits from Monday's dinner and cooked baby carrots and  had her served by 6:50.  Then fixed turkey burgers with carrots for my nephew and me.  i ate mine without bread then served Mom and I ice cream--one scoop each.
    [Though having responsibility for dinner has become more common lately (two or three besides Tuesday that get randomly added) it is still not a daily task thus an extra]
  • Next I read to mom for 30 minutes. 
  • It was 8:10 when we quit and she headed to dress for bed and I started cleaning the kitchen.  
  • I was finished in kitchen and changed into PJs by 8:45 and crawling into bed with Nexus 7 to play Bejeweled Blitz until the Trazadone kicked in.


Today I woke at 4:50--65 minutes before the 5:55 alarm.  I'm hoping to push wake-up back towards 4:30 but would have to be asleep by 9pm (7.5 hours minimum required for mental, emotional and physical health).  4 would be better but would have to be asleep by 8:30 and that doesn't seem like a reasonable expectation.

The reason I'm aiming for earlier is to give me more slots of time before vid chat for my spiritual path work, freewrite and another brainwork task or two.  Ed began the coaching work by suggesting that all but the bare minimum of my projects be put on back burners until we got the structure of my days built.   For the first week there was only the daily post and I was struggling to stay on top of it.

It wasn't that I couldn't work on the other projects but I was supposed to have the post done first.  I balked and took advantage of having everything on the back burner to choose on the whim of the moment which had a certain benefit in allowing me to see where my heart would take me.  I added in a lot of reading, free webinars during which I'd crochet, storyworld dreaming, fiction and misc writing.

Which is great but by not having the post up before lunch I risked not getting it up before dinner which put it off until after reading to Mom which often pushed bedtime well past 10 which shorted me on sleep IF I didn't sleep through the alarm and mis vid chat altogether.

I think I've seen the light. And it is the light at the end of the tunnel.


Face Hair Teeth
April 12 -- The self and time management project is going leaps and bounds.  7 of the last 10 days I've had my 7.5 or better sleeps.  That's a huge accomplishment.

I was telling my coach aka husband this evening (Sunday) that I'm starting to sense the presence of the new structure to my days in the same way that I sense the structure of the building I'm inside and the neighborhood surrounding me.  It feels a bit like being inside a 3D spreadsheet that resembles a jungle gym or monkey bars.

I didn't get much work on my Camp NaNo story done over the weekend, including Friday.  I had a counselor appointment Friday and Friday evening Ed gave me my assignment for the weekend.  A suggestion I could have vetoed but I knew he was right.  He thought I ought to get my HABA organized in the bathroom (face, hair, teeth and shower), the bedroom (folding clothes and accessories) and the office (hanging clothes).

Shower
Nearly every morning I was complaining about something going wrong while doing my face, hair and teeth before morning vid chat--fumbling for things on the counter, knocking things into the sink or causing a domino effect among the items on the counter.  Showers were equally frustrating with fumbling for things with soap in my eye or water beating my face or the floor outside the tub and the bench my bottles set on.

Fumbling around adds extra time to a task and along with extra messes to clean up means less time to write or read or crochet or study or work on my writer's webpage.

Then there was getting ready to go somewhere.  Nothing but one frustration after another.  It was nearly impossible to put together a whole outfit including accessories without having to spend extra time searching for something.  Several somethings. During the mood dive in March I'd been neglecting putting things away after use or after I was handed my clean clothes.

This habit had begun after I'd moved my accessories and folding clothes into the bedroom during one of the room rearrangements in late February but did not get around to establishing their new homes in there before my mood tanked.  Then by the time I was feeling better the mess was so bad I couldn't look at it without wanting to crawl into bed.

With Mom away at my brother's this weekend I was able to spread sorting stations over the bed.  This allowed me to clear the surfaces where I would be establishing homes for each type of item--socks, pjs, scarves, and so on.  I knew I didn't have time to sort and fold and organize each one of these so I chose the most important.

Looking at the large pile of hanging clothes on the bed and thinking of the crowded closet I went with that.  I managed to make room for everything and still allow them all to hang free so wrinkles wouldn't form by hanging a hanger on another hanger at the point where the hook meets the slopes.  For slacks and Ts I could do a third but for longer shirts and skirts I could only do two.

What does all of this have to do with writing?

Well I've finally learned that with the structure to my days I get to spend more time on reading and writing and by keeping organized and creating rituals for tasks that put them on autopilot I'll be opening up even more time for the projects dear to my heart--reading, writing, research, blogging, fiber arts, study, working on my writer's web site, etc.

You can see in the spreadsheet how I've already quadrupled or better my reading time investment.  This is deliberate rewarding for staying on track with the non-negotiable--sleep, meds, food, hygiene and exercise.  I bribe myself to get on the tramp or lay down ahead of the need to be asleep with music, reading, a computer game or a TV episode on my Nexus 7.

My project over the next week is to get my daily posts up before lunch so they are not crowding out afternoon activities and keeping me up past my bedtime.  Like tonight.  This is supposed to be my Saturday post but it is nearly midnight Sunday night as I wrap this up.  I'm going to get less than 6 hours of sleep before morning vid chat with Ed.  Unless of course I turn my alarm off in my sleep and miss vid altogether which really sours my whole day.



April 9 -- I've already put hours of work into cleaning up and updating this wash and wear post so I'm going to try to keep this minimal.  Besides I've already covered all the info in a series of posts over the last two weeks.  There is a roundup of those posts in my Round 2 Goals post along with an explanation of the self manage goals now a part of ROW80.

I still need to clean up, tighten up and update the sections below READ CRAFT.  Hoped to have it done before I posted this check-in but it is already Thursday afternoon.  Sigh.

Which means I still need a Thursday Post before I go to bed.

March 26 -- Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire. - Arab Proverb


I featured that Arab Proverb on the accompanying LOLcat with the witty kitty's take in Monday's post and then in Tuesday's post discussed how, thanks to my husband's time-management coaching, I've just experienced the truth of it in an object lesson:


If you haven't been following my ROW80 over the last year, you might wonder what this has to do with ROW80 writing goals.

And if you've read all of the last week's posts but were new to my story, you might wonder why a 50 something woman needs to have tasks assigned to her like a tweener.

Some women might even see my submitting to my husband's guidance as an offence to a modern woman's social position.

Well I'm going to answer those questions in tomorrow's post. (I will try to remember to come back and link it right here)  Or you can check out the Lifequake section below the check-in section for context.

The short answer is: I tried it my way since I left my parent's household at age 21.  It didn't work.

Tomorrow's post will describe my way and why I now think it would never work. And why I practically begged Ed to continue helping me like he did last spring and summer.

Meanwhile there have already been several small successes since we reinstated the coaching on Friday that are adding up to something more than the sum of their parts.  More on that tomorrow.

Have you figured out what all this has to do with ROW80 writing goals yet?

The short answer is that these things: time management, self care, and habit formation need to be in place to support the writing goals.

Especially when the challenges I face include: vision impairment, ADD, mood disorder, living in a chaotic household where 85 to 90 percent of the chaos is not under my control because it is not mine to control.

I'm going to be sharing this journey throughout the next round both in check-ins and other posts.  I have high hopes that by the time Round 3 begins the habits and routines to support my passion will be in place so that productivity will begin to soar.

Why do I pose more questions than answers here with the teasers about tomorrow's post?  Because most of the answers were composed right here as I wrote this check-in which was on its way to a mile long.  Besides most of what I was sharing I wanted to also share outside the ROW80 fence and didn't want to cover the same territory twice.

It's an extra bonus that I now have the hardest part of tomorrows post done--the first draft.  Yay!  Not only not behind I'm ahead!




but never give up
March 23 -- As you can see from the spreadsheet screenshot above, I've lost a lot of ground in the last couple of weeks.  I have worked on this post every check-in since the last one I successfully posted on March 9th but each time failed to get it ready before the next check-in was only a day away so I held off.  But then the spreadsheet scrreenshot had to be redone and the check-in section rewritten.  I finally just got rid of all of the commentary intended for check-ins that didn't happen and started fresh.

The gist all that I cut out was whining about the nose dive my mood took.  Deeper than in a long time.  All the way into the Marianas Trench of my psyche as I put it in one or more of the posts in the last two weeks.  It was demoralizing after the way things were looking up for the March 9th check-in.

I am not going to say much more about it here as I've already said it all in these three posts:

Get Up and Move In which I share a motivational video I found while on the prowl for aids to regain and optimize motivation, energy and optimism after having just been through another very rough patch with my mood disorder.  It also featured the LOLcat that accompanies this check-in which I made to reflect the theme of the video.  I thought the ROW80 crowd would really enjoy it.

Habits and Hypnosis  In which I share an hilarious animated GIF of a kitten being hypnotized by a shinny object on a string and relate my first experience of a successful hypnosis and it's fall out.

Report Card  In which I share an LOLcat of a stern bespectacled tabby that I made to reflect the theme of the post about the list of priorities my husband helped me make and then assess my performance over the last three months so that I could acknowledge where I stood in order to see clearly the path forward and submit to the necessary discipline.

This was how we kicked off the renewal of his coaching me (at my request) on management of time, self and projects that we  began last spring and dropped as the holiday season kicked into gear where he works last fall.

I had been keeping most things on this theme inside the check-in posts which were primarily looked at by a supportive community but I'm going to start putting it out there for the general public as well.  I hope for this to make my whole blog as honest and sincere and real as the ROW80 posts.

There will be fewer filler posts to hide behind whenever the primary thing on my mind is touching on these themes of self-management, mood-disorder, lifequake, dreams and goals.  Who knows, maybe it will end up being a story tracking the trajectory of my progress as many small triumphs accumulate into one big one as I reach one of my dream goals.



GOALS AND HABITS:

HABITS AND STRUCTURE THAT SUPPORTS WRITING:


Ed says these have to be in place and on autopilot to support everything else.  So that's my goal for Round 2--that by the end the routines are in place and the habits formed for:

  • - TIME MANAGEMENT -- establish a structure to my days that supports the following five and makes room for the writing goals
  • - SLEEP 
  • - MEDS
  • - HYGIENE 
  • + NUTRITION 
  • + EXERCISE 
The reason for the +/- to the left of each is due to my having copy/pasted from my post about the priority evaluation list we created during our first coaching session.

MONTH BY MONTH:


This time my husband has helped me create my goals list and establish the priorities.


My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs 
April Camp NaNo

A structural rewrite and several edit passes for Blow Me a Candy Kiss to prep for self pub:
  • An edit pass to create a printable rewrite draft for marking up with page breaks at end of scenes. The primary fixes will be formatting, changing the indented paragraph and no line spaces to the WWW friendly form with no indents and blank lines between paragraphs.  Also increasing space between lines inside paragraphs to provide room for notations.
  • Print hardcopy.  [The computer and printer's need marital therapy.]
  • Print hardcopy of my beta reader's marked up copy
  • An edit pass on the hard copy noting any issues as listed in edit passes below but primarily for structural and expansion and breaking up overlong paragraphs
  • A structural rewrite that incorporates suggestions of my one beta reader and includes expansion of scenes, addition of scenes and extensive rewriting of many paragraphs. [This, the biggest task, has begun and will be ongoing at least through the second third week]
  • An edit pass for grammar and punctuation, word choice and word overuse and consistency of story facts.
  • Read aloud noting any issues with how it sounds, listening for sour notes and tongue twisters and out-of-character voices in dialog, rewriting to fix
  • An edit pass for spelling and typos and formatting consistency, including reformatting paragraphs to remove the extra space between lines.
  • As time permits throughout, write new material for future Greg and Iris stories as encounters in Candy Kiss trigger memories or spark new ideas.  [Also begun and will continue throughout the month]
That list is an example of a step in project management.  Naming the project and breaking it down into discrete tasks (mini-projects inside the umbrella project) and whenever those tasks contain tasks that contain mini-projects you repeat until there is nothing that can be broken into smaller units of action.

May Self-Pub Project

  • Convert Candy Kiss to epub
  • An edit pass of epub for formatting issues created by the conversion
  • Convert to mobi
  • An edit pass of mobi for formatting issues created by the conversion
  • Upload epub and mobi to Smashwords
  • Upload mobi to Amazon to convert to Kindle
  • Another edit pass of the Kindle for formatting issues

June JuNoWriMo

Will decide in mid-may which project to target

ONGOING FICTION FILES TASKS: 
[the grey highlight means back burner.  I'm free to tackle any when time permits but they don't have commitment status and the agreed upon priorities with my coach must be on track first]
  • work at cleaning up the Wrimo messes
  • target a second finished short story for the self publish route: How Does Your Garden Grow?
  • work on cleaning up the WhizFolder for the NaNo Novel, Wailing Womb [task list similar to that for FOS Storyworld below]
  • work on the FOS storyworld:
  •  -- add notes from DAYDREAM STORYWORLD notebook to FOS Worksheet WhizFolder as well as the specific story's Whiz
  •  -- add events to timeline
  •  -- add character sketches, rambles, and metadata
  •  -- move or copy metadata from each story's Whiz into the FOS Worksheet Whiz
  •  -- add to FOS mind map in Xmind
  •  -- clean up notes, research, reference, links, etc in each story's Whiz, adding any relevant to multiple stories to FOS Worksheet Whiz
  •  -- clarify specific research needs
  •  -- edit existing scenes and add new
  •  -- target one of the POV character's stories to focus on  [When Home Is Where the Horror Is AKA Crystal's story]
  •  -- break out Aeon Timeline and start inputting info from the text timeline
  •  -- breakout Smart Draw and experiment with creating story boards and plot flow charts
OTHER WRITING TASKS
  • Daily blog post -- goal is to break habit of starting work on post in late afternoon as it tends to not go up before dinner which means I have to return to it after 8pm after reading to Mom.

    This puts one high priority in conflict with another because I'm supposed to take my Traz and be in bed by 9.  Then I get shorted on sleep and still have Trazadone in my system until late morning which makes the morning brain work less productive.

    I also miss about half of the morning vid chats with Ed.  Altogether it sounds a sour note across the beginning of my day and its hard to recover.

    The post needs to go live before lunch!
  • AWAI Copywriting course work: working the course involves reading, writing and research as well as videos, web seminars, and teleconference recordings and networking.  This has been on hiatus since my mood dive in early March.  It's time to start easing back into it.
  • morning freewrite and/or journaling
  • work on cleaning up my poetry Whiz and get poems composed on LOLs and in blog posts and wherever else they are scattered collected into it.  Print hard copies of any that have none.
  • keep on top of the upcoming blog tour reviews
  • tackle the backlog of book reviews for ARCs 
  • tackle the backlog of book reviews for books owned and borrowed finished 2012-2013
  • tackle the backlog of book reviews for finished ROW80 READ CRAFT books

READ CRAFT:

Currently Reading

For Round 1 2014 I removed all but five of the books the ever growing list. I intend to totally abandon the others but I'm targeting the five in this list for focus until finished.  As a book comes off I'll add another.

As Round 2 2014 begins all five of the same books are still here.  It is my goal to have all but AWAI  finished by end of round.  And AWAI should be well on its way.

What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack   my todo lists are way overloaded even for someone with a reasonably quakeless life.
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  Review for blog tour  Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.  This is more like a reference book tho.  Organized by literary terms that hyperlink to every term referenced in its explanation that has its own entry.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent.  Found on my shelves while packing books.  I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007.  It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.
AWAI Copywriting Course materials

Recently Read:

A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg  Finished this fall of 2012 and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned..  This is where I got the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire.  A tiny little paperback published in the mid 70s.  I pulled this off my own shelf, having found it while packing/unpacking my books.  Don't remember how it became mine.
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published) 


THE LIFEQUAKE:

Ed and I April 2nd
5 minutes before leaving
The event I'm calling the lifequake hit me in late January and for the most part of most days I'm accommodating myself to the new realities shaking out from it.  The details are covered in ROW80 #69 check-in. and  this Sunday Serenity and in It's Like This and The Eyes Have It so I won't keep reiterating the story in these check-ins.

The most important fact affecting ROW80 goals is that my 5 week visit at my Mom's begun in early January has been extended indefinitely.  It has been a huge disruption in itself not counting all the disruptions of life, thought and emotion behind the whys and wherefores.


Between the last week of February and the first week of May 2013 my sister and I made several round trips to my place in Phoenix to pack up my stuff and bring it back to Longview.  It was supposed to be only for my books, crafts and summer clothes for an extended stay until medical insurance for me was back in place.  But in March our landlord decided he needed to sell the trailer and set May 15 as our move-by date.  So I made two more trips and my sister made a forth the first week in May, leaving me behind while she took a load back and returning for the forth load.


Merlin
Merlin, our cat, came back with me in May.  During our trip in early April my sister took him to the vet and the following week he had surgery to remove rotten teeth and fix his eyelids so his lashes would stop scratching his eyes.  He looks oriental now.  The pic is from several years ago when he was still healthy.  He has started to regain the weight he lost while he was sick winter of 2012-1013.

As 2014 Round 1 begins we're pushing 8 months since leaving Phoenix with the last load by February 11 it will be 9 months.  There has been no further visits.  He's living with his folks in the same tiny room we shared for ten years but we both agreed that environment would be unhealthy for me and our relationship.  So we're waiting for him to find a place before I come back for a visit bringing a van load of household miscellany and Merlin.

Before I can go home for good my meds need to be stabilized and healthcare assured.  I have to be separated from Ed in order to qualify for health care.  So much for those wascally wabbits and their so-called concern for the sanctity of marriage.

Meanwhile we make do with phone calls, text chats, emails and one or two vid chats each day.


SELF-MANAGEMENT

A significant development in self-management was the timer my sister bought me just before she left me alone with Ed the first week of May.  It has two timers, a clock and a stop-watch function.

One of her concerns about leaving me there for a whole week was the tenuous nature of my ability to stay on my med schedule, sleep schedule and food and water intake schedule without outside monitoring.  That is one of the repercussions of an unmanaged mood-disorder.

In December I transferred all my task alarms to my smartphone, a birthday present from Ed in November, and no longer use this timer except for one off tasks.

There have been enough improvements in my ability to function that I've been able to commit to making and serving lunch for me and Mom every day since August.  I have gained more ground each month.  Adding minor and major commitments to self and family.  I've just [Feb 3 2014] taken on care of one of the two litter boxes.  I've been on duty with Mom from lunch to bedtime most Tuesdays since fall and oven fix dinner at least one other time during the week.  Significantly, except for Tuesday, most evening dinner preps are sprung on me in the one to four hours before time to start which would have flummoxed me into paralysis a year ago.

One of the fallouts from the stabilized sleep schedule has been an increase in those intense, creative, colorful and story-like dreams that have often contributed to what I call the storyseeds for my fiction.  This augers well for the future work with my fiction files--both editing and new writing.  And is a sign the depression is lifting or at least being managed well.

The early-bird schedule I switched to last August specifies the pre-lunch hours for brain work--reading, writing, blogging, research, netbook maintenance, daydreaming story world and the afternoon for active/social tasks like exercise, sorting/organizing, chores, hygiene, family interaction, vid or text chats with Ed.  But so far I've nearly always gravitated back to the brainwork after lunch and once engaged in a task it is hard to break away for another.  So many things get neglected.  Which often leads to fudging on sleep... Slippery slope.

My Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus
w/ high lux light and air ionizer
The two most significant things that contributed to the healthier sleep patterns were the melatonin I began using in late summer and the the full spectrum light therapy lamp I bought during the Cyber Monday sales.  This gives me hope that I won't have to be on the meds forever.  There are still several more things I can add to my Natural Remedies bag.  Like maintaining consistency in the sleep schedule (still pulling too many 20 to 30 hour days and too many under 7.5 hour sleeps) exercise, meditation weight loss, water intake, detoxing from sugar and food additives and diet changes for starters.  Except for the sleep schedule most of these I've been dabbling at in the last six months but I need to be committed and consistent with those things I've experienced as helping. 

Meanwhile I'm trying to learn patience with myself and flexibility.  One of the new skills I'm honing is the ability to analyse what is working and what isn't and then apply a likely fix and observe what does and doesn't result.  I'm trying to keep a vision of what success looks like in my head so that I'm always aiming for it.

WORKSTATION WOES AND WOOTS
The evolution of the writing and workout room:

Workstation and
Indoor Workout Space
January 2013
Late January 2013
Tramp set on end after
2 falls and a close call

March 2013
Making room for 1st van load



Reference Books
The 1999 World Book set
and the Britannica Great Books set
bought from the library in 2005
And writing related misc.

Looks more like a nest
Primary work and play and mope
station May 11-24 2013

Cubby desk May 25 2013
replace exercise ball
with office chair


June 2013
Almost good but hard
to get in and out and no room
to scoot or swivel chair

April-August 2013
Standing desk above tramp
Good for writing, reading ebooks,
text and vid chat, videos and music
All while getting a gentle workout
Or vigorous with videos and music. 

Bradley Desk Inspector
Major August 2013 Makeover
Cleared Mom's Desk
Finally room to spread
out books and paper

In late August it finally came together: a workable workstation.  The story and pics about it are in these Sunday'sMonday's and Tuesday's posts.  My productivity ratio increased from 1 in 5 days to 1 in 2 or better.  But a couple weeks after setting this up I got my Aspire and being significantly larger than the netbook it didn't work well in this setup and major tweaking commenced.

I keep meaning to add pics of the most significant tweaks to accommodate the Aspire and now there is the January 2014 whole room makeover pics to add.  But not this time.

Bradley
The family cat, Bradley has been a pill as I rearranged the two rooms.  He mountain climbs the stuff.  He picks up small things and carries them off.  Twice it was my reading glasses that I wear over my prescription glasses for close work.  He sits on top of the very thing I need to pick up.

Once he knocked my netbook off the desk.  I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.

Merlin nesting with me
Merlin had to stay locked in the laundry room for nearly three months until we were sure he was free of contagion or parasites.

My hope that once Merlin was allowed to join the family the two of them would entertain each other came true.  After a few weeks of talking to each other through the laundry room door they had a brief encounter when I brought Merlin up on his leash on our way out for his yard exploration they  touched noses and nobody hissed.  Bradley did raise one paw over Merlin's head and held it there until Merlin ducked his head and slunk away.

A couple weeks after that Merlin was paroled and they've acted buddies ever since with Bradley obsessed with grooming Merlin who had been lax with that due to his poor health.  They do occasionally fight over the spots of sun on the living room carpet.

But for over a week after Merlin got paroled I hung out on the tramp again so he could hang out with me.

Read more...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waisted


Who knew it was possible to get inebriated on a pair of size eighteen black  denim jeans and a white belt  needing a new hole 4 inches behind the last one.



But from the moment I tried these on at 4pm Monday and got them fastened until bedtime at 9pm I was giddy.  It ought to be understandable considering:

  • It has been decades since I was comfortable in any waist band that didn't stretch.
  • It was 1987 the last time I saw size 18--had topped off at size 24 pushing 26 in 2005. Started the downward trend in 2009 while spending 6 month at Mom's helping with her post stroke and broken hip care.  I reached 22 by 2010 and held steady until early last year when the steady down slope began in early February.
  • The T-shirt is Large with no X for first time in decades and it feels roomy.  I'd been wearing 2X since 2009 when I arrived in Longview January 2013.  Needed 1X when I shopped for clothes last October
  • I arrived at Mom's in January of 2013 with a 44 inch waist and reached 39 this month.


I refuse to promise to refrain from imbibing this intoxicant.

What do you think?  Can I reach size 16 by the end of summer?

I dropped from a 22 to 18 (except for stretchless waistbands) between January and September last year.  So maybe I could even hope for size 14.

Read more...

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

The sections of this template:


Intro (here)

My Week (or two) in Review (list of books finished and links to bookish posts in the previous week or two)
Reading Now (my current reading list broken up into NF and Fiction)
Upcoming (scheduled reviews and blog tours and list of finished books awaiting reviews)
Recently (links to bookish posts in the last few weeks)
New Arrivals: (lists of recently acquired ARC broken up into snail mail, email and Net Gallery)
ARC in waiting (a list that is getting shamefully long)

.
Flannery O'Connor
Mystery and Manners:
Occasional Prose
I finished two books again this past week.  Second week in a row.  Thanks to the coaching from Ed that is helping me organize my day as well as my stuff.

Having most of the currently reading ebooks accessible from all three of my devices contributed as did the creation of small chunks of time by the implementation of new routines suggested by my husband in our coaching sessions.

The two I finished since last Monday:

  • Going to the Chapel by Rebecca Kelly 2nd in the Grace Chapel Inn series I'm reading to Mom. They are coming in the mail once a month.
  • The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.


I also advanced in several others.

As the benefits to having habits and routines became obvious I began looking for ways to recreate the habit of reaching for a book even when there might be only moments.  Keeping one or more of the devices at hand always helps.  So did leaving it on an open book whenever letting it go idle.

As I've expected for weeks the establishing and strengthening the habit of reaching for the treebook on my desk, the ebook tab on my start menu, or the ebooks on my smartphone and tablet has created a feedback loop for reading is the kind of thing that the more you do the more you want to do.

Now if only I can get the same results for book reviews.

My Week (or two) in Review:

~Reviews:
nada
~Other Bookish Posts:

ADDlepated not exactly bookish but it explains the impact of the recently diagnosed ADD on my life and reading has been a big part of my life so you can imagine how the things I describe can mess with reading and reviewing.  ADD is probably the explanation for my long list of books begun and not yet finished.  Then there is the issue of spending more time collecting free ebooks and fussing with their metadata than actually reading them. *sigh*
Fallen In
Engulped by a Book
Enspelled By Story

Finished reading recently:

The Road to Success in NaNoWriMo: Your Guide to a Month of High Speed Writing by Terri Main
The Nano Experiment by Richard Brawer
Where the Wildflowers Grow by Vera Jane Cook 
Back Home Again by Melody Carlson -- read to Mom in March. 1st in the Grace Chapel Inn series
Going to the Chapel by by Rebecca Kelly -- second in the Grace Chapel Inn series I'm reading to Mom.
The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt

Began reading recently:

Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo  --  January 23 blog tour
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
by Eric Lindner  --  January 29 blog tour
The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour.
420 Characters by Lou Beach  -- library book
John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes
Going to the Chapel by by Rebecca Kelly -- second in the Grace Chapel Inn series I'm reading to Mom.
The Road to Success in NaNoWriMo: Your Guide to a Month of High Speed Writing by Terri Main
The Nano Experiment by Richard Brawer

Reading Now (Some Intermittently):

__Non-Fiction:

Most of these I plug away in at a snail's pace--a couple pages or chapters per week or even every other week as that is my preferred way to read non-fic.  It sticks with me longer. I'm closing in on the finish line for several but as I get close on one I tend to add two or three more. There are some not listed here because I read in them so infrequently.

This is getting to be too much even for me. So a few weeks ago I decided to prioritize five and grey out the rest and add one back for every one I finish.  

The top two are elevated above the 5 because they are commitments with different parameters--AWAI will be swapped out with the next installment 12 times and Hospice Voices, the current evening read-aloud, will take between two and three months to finish.
Feb 23 -- Will be keeping library books separate between the priority 5+2 and the inactive section showing as active when checked out and inactive when returned unfinished.

My AWAI Copywriting course Installment 1 (of 13)
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
by Eric Lindner  --  January 29 blog tour (February 10 have started over, reading aloud to Mom)

It's Not About You by Max Lucado.  I found this on my own shelves while packing up my personal library.  It was one of the last gifts I received from my Dad in 2005 the year he died of cancer.
This Mobius Strip of Ifs by Mathias Freese (I've posted a reading journal post for this collection of personal essays also.  It is past time for another.)
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton  ROW80 reading list
What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) -- a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory. a NetGalley ARC

~Library Books
Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights
by Marina Warner  --  has gone back to the library.  want it back.  actually I want it on my own reference shelf
The Golden Thread: A History of Writing by Ewan Clayton This is the story of the alphabets and writing tools from the early stone tablets to the digital age.
American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance by Peter Gottschalk  The history of conflict between the major religions since the inception of America, the country whose constitution guaranteed freedom of religion.
Think: Why You Should Question Everything by Guy P. Harrison An apologia for skepticism and the scientific method.

~Blog Tour books still unfinished
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  ROW80 reading list  posted review for blog tour in March 2013  but still not finished
Before You Say I Do Again by Benjamin Berkley  for Blog Tour Review Feb 8 2013.  The review is up but I'm not finished.
Organic Beauty With Essential Oil  --  January 23 blog tour


The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshal -- this is a re-read.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent.  Also found on my shelves.  I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007.  It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.  Tho I admit it is hard to pull it out and read in it now that I'm back at Mom's
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron   ROW80 reading list
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff  on ROW80 reading list.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols    On ROW80 reading list as I'm reading this for an understanding of archetype, character type and the language of symbol.
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor    ROW80 reading list  This is a reread
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller   ROW80 reading list  Net Galley ARC a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels.
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler   ROW80 reading list
And So It Goes by Charles J. Sheilds a bio of Kurt Vonnegut.  (I've posted about this biography of Kurt Vonnegut several time in a kind of reading journal. Part of the fun is in stopping to read the stories as the narrative reaches the point he writes them. An author bio thus on my ROW80 reading list )
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley   ROW80 reading list
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.   ROW80 reading list  Who knew.  Dick was a mystic.  I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!


Psychology:

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon -- one of the new library books and also a NetGalley ARC that timed out on me a couple months ago.
Choice Theory: A Psychology of Personal Freedom by William Glasser M.D.

Philosophy:

Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson  I own this book.

History:

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch  I pulled this off my sister's bookshelf awhile back.  It is over a thousand pages in smallish font.  So it will be on this list for a long time.

__Fiction:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  (audio from library)  Was listening to this while working on this Xmas crochet project in 2012 and have had to restart it several times and get pulled away again and again and again.
The Civilized World by Susi Wyss Tree book ARC, this is a collection of interlocking short stories set in South Africa and I remember I was quite enjoying it.  I've had to start it over...and over...and over
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon  --  a NetGalley ARC was reading last fall when the blog tour schedule took over and of course now I need to find a library copy

~Library Books
420 Characters by Lou Beach  A beautifully made book physically.  With beautifully wrought prose composing several dozen flash fictions told in 420 characters or less counting spaces and punctuation that were originally published as status updates on fb.  One of six fiction books I checked out in late February.

~Blog Tour books still unfinished
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Head Games by Erika Rummel
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome


Upcoming:


___Blog Tours:


___Books I've Finished Awaiting Reviews (non blog tours):

Whenever I'm not pinned to a date like with the blog tours I do very poorly at getting reviews written in a timely way after finishing books and the longer I wait the harder it gets.  This is an issue I'm working on and hope to get a system in place to smooth the track from beginning book to posting review.

Jan Karon's Mitford series. 
The short lighthearted chapters of these books are almost like stand-alone short stories with beloved characters and make great bedtime reading for adults wanting pleasant dreams.  

I was reading them aloud to my Mom during my visits here for nearly two years and I decided some time back to wait until we finished them all and do one review for the entire series.  We began the first one spring of 2012 but had not finished before I went home after my November visit.  My sister had taken over in December and had finished book 1 and started book 2.  As soon as I caught up to where they were last January (2013) I took over mid book 2.  

Feb 10 2014: We just finished the last one, In the Company of Others, 
  • At Home in Mitford 
  • A Light in the Window by Jan Karon  
  • These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon  .
  • Out to Caanan by Jan Karon 
  • A New Song by Jan Karon.  
  • A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon
  • Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon 
  • In This Mountain by Jan Karon
  • A Light From Heaven by Jan Karon  --   the final book in the Mitford series.
  • At Home in Holly Springs by Jan Karon  --  Father Tim series first of two.  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series having adventures beyond Mitford after his retirement from Episcopal priest duty. In this one he returns to the town he grew up in. 
  • In the Company of Others by Jan Karon  --  Father Tim series second of two.  In this one he and Cynthia have a several week vacation in Ireland from where his father and grandfather had immigrated
Grace Chapel Inn series published by Guidepost which I'm now reading to Mom. New volumes will come in the mail monthly. We are loving it.  Maybe even more than the last half of the Mitford and Father Tim volumes.  Three sisters ages 50, 62 and 70 inherit jointly their family home after their father's death.  A Victorian in a very small town situated next door to the church their father pastored.  They decide to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast so they can afford to keep it and live in it.
  • Back Home Again by Melody Carlson 
  • Going to the Chapel by by Rebecca Kelly

Another series for which I'll probably do a single review. I think there is a 5th book out now so I may wait until I can get my hands on it.  These four were loaners from my niece.

  • Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Legacy by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
  • Spellbound by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Fiction:

  • The Land of Decoration by Grace McClean an ARC
  • The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff  a library book
  • Losses by Robert Wexelblatt an ARC
  • After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson  This is post apocalyptic horror with zombies.    I anticipated enjoying this even tho zombies are not my favorite horror theme because I really enjoyed his The Red Church and I did but probably not to the same degree.  And its continued.
  • Pie Town by Lynne Hinton
  • Good in Bed by Jennifer Wiener
  • Certain Girls by Jennifer Wiener (sequel to Good in Bed)
  • Joyland by Stephen King
  • Rose Fire by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Road to Success in NaNoWriMo: Your Guide to a Month of High Speed Writing by Terri Main
  • The Nano Experiment by Richard Brawer
Non-Fiction:

  • Boys Will Be Joys by Dave Meurer.
  • Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson   ROW80 reading list (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)
  • Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire.
  •  Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg   Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list.   I discussed this in such detail in this ROW80 check-in post which was practically a review and I'll probably copy/paste much of what I said there into the review.
  • Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon  This was a NetGalley ARC but later I picked it up for Kindle when it was free on Amazon.  I began it in Adobe Digital Editions and when that timed out on me switched to the Kindle for PC.  This was a memoir of an addict's decent into the abyss and rise back out again and was quite engrossing.
  • Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers (Research for a fiction WIP)




Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living by by Bailey White I thought this was a novel and getting set to put it in the fiction list below when I thought to check out its page on Goodreads and discovered it is a memoir.  It's short little vignette chapters and easy to read font made it ideal for taking with me to doctor appointments.  Which is how I managed to finally finish it.







Recently:

___Reviews and Bookish Posts:

April 7 -- But I went beyond that this past week.  I started a book in my Kindle library by impulse on Wednesday and scarfed it down in three days.  Several three to five hour reading sessions were involved along with more than a few of those small slices of in between times.

It wasn't even on any of my lists!  Spontaneity!  Typically so unlike me.

I was combing through my Kindle library with my Nexus 7 looking for all the books I had begun on the computer to get them downloaded onto the device when I noticed one of the NaNoWriMo advice titles and decided to add all of them as well.

One of the books I swept up was called The Nano Experiment.  I was surprised when I opened it to see it was fiction.  I thought it must be a NaNo participant sharing his NaNo project.  But it was awfully good writing for a raw rough draft.

I soon realized it was a thriller and I was sucked in to ten hours of reading over three days.  I was halfway through the story before it hit me that it had absolutely nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.  The story premise was about unauthorized human experiments with NaNo technology created drugs.  Such a doh!

Fallen In
Engulped by a Book
Enspelled By Story


John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes -- March 11 blog tour

John Smith is in his 80s and has lived in the bunker built and supplied by his family since he was eleven and the World that Was ended.  As he puts it, the Universe decided it was time to reboot.

It's been over 60 years and he has been discovered by scouts from one of the organized enclaves who have now sent one of their twenty-something female reporters to interview him about the the Microsoft Wars and the end of the World that Was.


Library Loot from today's visit--Fiction
Friday Forays in Fiction -- author quote on LOLcat with kittehs 2 cents worth

Friday Forays in Fiction

Looting the Library Brought home ten books.

Nexus 7 in Keyboard Case


Friday Forays in Fiction: Reading Hungers  -- it's mine now. No more schlepping back and forth to the library and restarting it 3-5 times a year.
A Nexus of Aspirations -- Another one has fallen off my Lust List
Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote -- a quote, a poem, a LOLcat
Sometimes You Just Gotta --  Did you hear the clatter as this 25 year resident of the top notch of my Lust List fell off?
This Is Just Wrong!  A lit cat LOL

Author Interview with James Zerndt for his, The Korean Word For Butterfly blog tour. Feb 11


The Korean Word For Butterfly by James Zerndt --  February 4 blog tour

I was in my late twenties when I was first introduced to novels featuring the interplay between two or more cultures.  It was the late eighties and one of my Literature and Creative Writing professors (Lawson Inada, later Poet Laureate for Oregon) assigned us a book by an Amer-Indian woman.  Silko?  I was entranced and began to seek them out and have continued to favor them ever since.  Trust me when I say, James Zerndt compares favorably with some of the best I encountered with his The Korean Word for Butterfly.  I am grateful to him for introducing me to the Korean/American relationship.

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner  --  January 29 blog tour


Eric Linder has given us a treasure in Hospice Voices.  He has taught us how to see beyond the visible evidence of physical degeneration and grief over imminent loss to the beauty of the souls preparing to pass on.  He has tapped into the power of storytelling to show us those souls as they sort through their memories and emotions in their attempt to find meaning in their life and share their insights or define the essence of their 'I' and see recognition and validation in the eyes of those, like Eric, with the patience, compassion and courage to bear witness--to listen and observe with neither prejudice nor prescription.






Small town Georgia, 1960. Passions and secrets marinate in a simmering summer heat.  Instead of a single protagonist like Sassy in The Story of Sassy Sweetwater to get attached to and to view the events through, Cook has given us a large cast of at least a dozen well drawn and differentiated characters (The Cassidy family of four and all those caught in their gravity well) whose secrets entwine their many lives like bindweed with some of the most insidious vines being those secrets individuals keep from themselves until they've gained a choke hold on their hope and happiness, their very lives and those of their nearest and dearest.


Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo  --  January 23 blog tour

With several personal experiences behind me I needed no further proof that essential oils were essential to health and happiness when the blog tour invite for this book landed in my email.  I was excited by the blurb description and this book, unlike some, totally lived up to its blurb.  It is jammed packed with recipes for personal hygiene whose names are drool worthy.

I suggest not reading this book while hungry.

My Friday Forays in Fiction featured another one of my LOLcats displaying a literary quote along with a kitteh's spin on it.

New Arrivals:

By snail mail:

By email:

from NetGalley


ARC in waiting:

Tree Books:

The Variations by John Donatich
The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith   My husband read this and loved it and is after me to read it so he can talk about it.
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller  Nobel winner!!
Skios by Michael Frayn
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbo
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman
Winter Journal by Paul Auster a memoir from an American literary figure that really excites me.
We Sinners by Hanna Pylvaine.   It's another story exploring the impact on family life of a fundamentalist religion.  One of the themes I'm drawn to like Pooh to honey.
Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010 compiled by The Organization Breaking the Silence
A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an american Metropolis by Mark Binelli
The Autobiography of Us
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar
Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman by Minka Pradelski

Ebooks:

____By email:


Troubled by Scott Nicholson

____From Net Galley:


A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Unloched by Candace Lemon-Scott
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I have just nabbed a library copy]
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
With or Without You A Memoir by Domenica Ruta   [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson
Kinslow System Your Path to Proven Success in Health, Love, and Life by Frank J Kinslow
Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Joe Dispenza
Women, Sex, Power, And Pleasure Getting the Life (and Sex) You Want by Evelyn Resh
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz
The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
Directing Your Destiny by Jennifer Grace
Hiding in Sunshine by John Stuart and Caitlin Stuart
I Am: Renewal from Within the Garden by Lucie K Lewis
The Book Publisher's Toolkit by Independent Book Publishers Association
The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
Why Priests? by Garry Wills
Why we Write by by Meredith Maran (Editor)
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.

If anyone reading this states a preference I may let it weigh my decision as to what I begin next from the above list.

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