Creative expression through the written word

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Only a Writer

“A writer is a world trapped in a person” – Victor Hugo

Unless you are a writer, I don’t think people truly understand this. It’s hard to explain to people that there are worlds, characters, ideas and concepts that never leave you. That are never more than a heartbeat away.  It’s even harder to explain how those worlds and characters interact with you before you ever get them down on paper. 

I used to tell people I would write when the voices got too loud and I could not ignore them anymore. It may sound weird to some but yes, I am actually having conversations in my mind with different characters. Things happen around me and it sparks off an internal landscape that grows and shapes itself until I can’t ignore it anymore and it has to go somewhere. 

I dream about stories. I dream about characters. I get frustrated when what is in my head doesn’t come out on paper the way I experience it in my mind. I write and think it’s awful. I get anxious about other people reading my work because it’s such an integral part of me that their feedback has the power to destroy me or lift me up. 

I struggle with ending’s because, for me, their stories don’t end. Where do you call a life finished? Complete? As I write romance is that the moment when they recognize in each other a great love? No. For me that is the beginning. 

Ernest Hemingway Quotes. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I understand that. I feel it. I experience it. The thing is, it’s like a kind of madness I cannot escape even if I wished to. This is the burning flame within my soul and a good day is when I fan the flames and let them burn higher. 

They are real to me

I’m a reader. I love books. I love losing myself in some fictional location, with fictional characters. Yes…before you ask….I love some of those characters too. Today’s topic is my three favorite book characters. As I read a lot I thought this was going to be much more difficult. Instead, I found that they came to mind easily.

  1. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride & Prejudice) – She is spirited and smart. She is proud but very discerning in understanding the people around her and for the most part a good judge of character. She is loved by her family and she deeply loves them back. She defends those she loves ardently and she is rather adventurous.
  2. Ellysetta Baristani & Rain Tairen Soul (Lord of the Fading Lands) – Technically they are two very distinct characters but once you read the Lord of the Fading Lands fantasy series you realize that indeed their is no Ellysetta without Rain and no Rain without Ellysetta. I love everything about these characters. I love their faults and their insecurities and I love that they are indeed better people when they are together. I reread this series every year.
  3. Gregori (Dark Magic) – I love the dark character of Gregori. He is a healer and gives his all to his people. He never thinks about the sacrifices he makes. He only asks for one thing, Savannah, his soul mate. There is just something about his dark mysterious personality that I love. I’ve read every single one of the books in the Dark Series and I often reread them.

So, tell me, what characters have you read about and have quickly become a favorite of yours?

Feeling like some Fiction?

I don’t know about you but lately with all the political hoopla going on I find that I love books even more. Books give me an opportunity to shut down the bombardment of opinions that are flowing from every direction like a tidal wave and for however brief a time, let’s me focus on something else.

Today’s topic was “What is the last book of fiction that you read?” Well, that is kind of unfair as I am never without a few fiction books in progress. I just finished three romances and returned them back to the library and that doesn’t even include the numerous titles I am reading on my Kindle. So….the actual last book I finished was 22 nights by Linda Winstead Jones. My review on Goodreads for this book is:

“This was an interesting story about General Merin, who unbeknownst to him married Belavalari through her tribe’s customs on the night before he left their village. When General Merin returns to the village to bring Bela to the Emperor as a potential bride he discovers the truth and must submit to being bound to her for 22 days and nights before a divorce can be granted and she is free to be presented to the Emperor.

However, nothing as is easy as it sounds like it will be for these two, who have no love for each other and do not want to be married. Add in a magical sword and some danger and 22 nights might be long enough to change their minds.”

It was a pretty quick read and it allowed me to transport myself to another world and that is exactly what I needed. So tell me, how often do you use reading as an escape from the realities of life or the stresses you are faced with everyday?

Whose responsible anyway?

“Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.” ~ Stephen R. Covey from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Okay, so I admit it….when I first read this I thought, WOW, pretty cool. Then I really started thinking about it and pretty soon my inner dialogue was, “Well crap-o-lah!” I mean lets just take a look at this for a second. The word Response-Ability, the ability to choose your response. Great. Fantastic. I get that every moment is a choice and I am the chooser to how I respond to each moment. Got it – next.

Highly productive people recognize that responsibility. Okay, so I understand that too. If you are actively seeking to “be aware” you are cognizant of your personal responsibility to choose how you respond to everything. Again…pretty standard stuff but lets move on here.They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. EEK! (Come to a screeching halt)…..What did I hear you say? Um….hmmm….I consider myself to be a pretty balanced person and I know there are definitely times in my life when I blame circumstances, conditions or past conditioning for my behavior. I can admit it because I know everyone else does it too. True not everyone will own up to it but that is something they have to work on. So, to be highly effective and proactive I need to stop doing this? Well there is a life mission if ever I heard one. Too bad I’m already almost 44. This would have been so much easier to learn how to do when I was say…a newborn?

Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. So this has me pondering. How do I base my behavior on values rather than feelings? Don’t I have to KNOW what those values are? How do I discover them? I already try to adhere to my own personal set of ethics and walk with integrity but I’ve always found when I let my heart (feelings) speak it leads me to amazing places. So here I sit, pondering, wondering, just how many people are truly responsible by Stephen Covey’s definition? Who truly walks through life behaving according the concept of “being able to choose your own response” and accepting everything that comes with that “second by second” choice? I’m hoping I’m not alone in needing to grow in this area. Man do I have a LONG way to go yet.

Hi ho…Hi ho…to the library I go

871147_989689881 I love libraries. There is something very appealing about walking into the library and seeing rows and rows of books. I love the quietness disrupted by the sounds of movement or pages turning. I love to see rows of book spines facing me like siren calls to adventure. I love seeing a book I have read in someone else’s hands and secretly knowing the journey they are about to undertake when they open the pages. I love looking at the book covers and wondering about the artist that created them.

Really, there isn’t much I don’t love about the library. I always enjoy it when I go but I just don’t go often enough. I’m not sure why I don’t go more often. It makes sense to borrow books from the library rather than go out and spend money to purchase the book. (Not that I don’t like supporting authors by purchasing books) As I was looking around my local library I realized I would probably really enjoy working a day or two a month at the library. (Have laptop, can travel) The atmosphere is calming and sometimes that is exactly what I need to productive.

I actually know people who have never been to the public library. That’s just sacrilegious in my book. So here is my plug for supporting your local library. Next time you get an hour of free time, head to the library and see what kind of adventures await you in the myriad of books sitting on the shelves waiting to be taken home and enjoyed. You’ll be glad you took the time…I promise!

I read…therefore I am

ReadingBooks…they are a passion. Actually, they are more than that. They are an obsession. I love books. I realize we are in the digital age and books are so easy to “take along” with you in the form of smartphones, tablets, iPhones, iPads, mp3 players and multiple kinds of eReaders. I will admit that I absolutely love reading books on my phone and my tablet. It’s extremely convenient.

That being said, I would call myself a traditionalist because nothing replaces the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of a new book when it is opened or the highlighting and notes in the margins of books that I have found inspirational. I can look at a well-loved book and the worn cover, creased spine, sometimes tattered pages and feel overwhelming gratitude for the author that has given me so many hours of pleasure.

Books and reading are an essential part of who I am. If I couldn’t constantly be in the middle of some story or another I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I find there are so many thoughts in books that make me think, that challenge my own ideas, that engage my sense of humor or tap into so many of my emotions it feels like I am on a roller coaster but that is what I love about books and reading. I’ve learned so much about myself from books.

I guess that is one of the reasons that it was hard to claim I was a writer. I truly look up to writers. I admire and respect them so much. I value their courage to put their thoughts and opinions out into the world. I guess my dream is that someday, something I write will impact and change another persons life in a positive way and that person will be grateful that I had the courage to sit down and put my thoughts and opinions out in the world too. So, I suppose it all begins here, where digital pen meets digital paper and in the meantime, I read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.

In the Dark of Dreams

In The Dark of Dreams by Marjorie M. Liu

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I picked this book up and couldn’t stop reading. Read it straight through, despite the lack of sleep. Ms. Liu is a master story teller and it is easy to be swept away into a world of her making. I loved that she didn’t make the ocean a “safe” place, even for the creatures that live in it and I totally loved the idea of a being older than time lulled into a peaceful sleep by the dreams of the Guardians. If any one has ever heard of the “theory” that a huge shift is going to happen to the Earth and what was land will be under water and what was once under water will be land – then this story puts that theory into a very real perspective of possibility. Of course, you’d have to believe in the possibility that there are those among us who are rare, different and chosen the shape the world we live in too but I’m okay with that.

Marked by the Moon

Book Review of Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If your whole existence was killing werewolves and you suddenly became one but no one would kill you to put you out of your misery what would you do? If your whole mission in life was to torture and then kill the woman that had killed your wife but you find instead that desire overrules that mission, what would you do? If a killer was out there, stalking both of you…would you allow the things that divide you to separate you even more or would you bond together and fight for survival? This book answers all those questions. The story line itself was pretty good. I wasn’t really sure I believed the whole “magic” that the hero Julian possessed. That part would have probably been more believable if the people he made wolves exhibited similar traits, even if not to the same level as he had them. Otherwise it was a fast read and I really enjoyed it.

Deep Kiss of Winter

Book Review of Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole & Gena Showalter

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Untouchable – 
I must admit I had no idea how Kresley Cole was going to bring the lovers together when the heroine cannot be touched by anyone. Imagine for a moment…having a strong physical need to be intimate with another person and knowing that if you touch them it not only would bring you pain but could actually kill either of you. Now that is a dilemma. As I read the story it just seemed more and more unlikely that there was a solution but it wouldn’t be a romance if there wasn’t a way for love to triumph.

Tempt Me Eternally – 
Okay, so I am a Gena Showalter fan and probably not capable of giving a non-biased opinion of her work but I’ve yet to read one of her stories and not ended up loving it, including Tempt Me Eternally. I loved Aleaha’s ability to take on the identity of anyone she touches and I love that Breean can see the real her under any image she projects to others around her. I also loved that even though she was in love with Breean Aleaha did what she had to do to protect her people even if it meant losing him forever.

The Bride Collector

Book Review of The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
There is a book review quote on the back of the book that says,
“A white-knuckle ride…You want it to stop, but you don’t want to miss a word.” -Audiofile
and I can tell you that is the best description of this book ever.

From the opening scene in the book Ted Dekker pulls you in and captures your imagination with a thrilling ride through the mind of a psychotic killer, the FBI detective trying to stop him and the eccentric group of people who help him along the way.

It’s a story of coming to the understanding that we are all “favorites” in the eyes of God and how we accept that truth when we feel broken and dysfunctional on the inside.

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