Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 8/26/16

Friday FareFriday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

I’ve had a hell of a hard time adulting lately.  Not sure if it’s been the endless rain, still recovering from my weekend at the Writers’ Police Academy (WPA), or what’s going on, but I’m ready for fall.  I’m ready for jeans, my favorite hoodie, toasted graham lattes from Starbucks, etc.

Without further ado – the interwebs have been full of good stuff lately.  In no particular order:

I was a proud Kickstarter supporter of Jessica Lourey’s novel “The Catalain Book of Secrets.”  Ms. Lourey taught a class at the first writer’s convention I attended and I appreciated her insights.  Recently, she gave a TEDx Talk on using fiction to rewrite your life.  This video is about 13 minutes long and well worth a watch.  I was gobsmacked at the amount of grace that Jessie brought to her audience and blessed by the levity and humor she brought to her personal story.  Seriously – 13 minutes.  Coffee break.

Speaking of people named Jessica … my WPA roomie and sister-in-arms Jessica Ellis Laine wrote her Top 10 list for why she loved the 2016 WPA.  And crazy story … there’s a darkened picture at the end of the post.  There’s this lady who looks like me, but she’s dancing. Since I’m the boring-est person in the world, that’s likely my evil doppelganger.

Rick Astley talked to Rolling Stone about the benefits of “rickrolling.”  Seriously.  A) The man talked about rickrolling. B) He wasn’t a dick about his past as a 1980s heartthrob.  The interview revealed an amazingly gracious man who embraces his footnote in pop culture history.  It’s a good read.

I’m not saying that this is a contrast, but when it comes to people who are “uncomfortable” with the past, my favorite Monkee is famously prickly about his role in the US version of the Fab 4.  But … this article (also from Rolling Stone) talks to the three surviving members of The Monkees and goes through their musical history in 15 songs.  Considering that their catalog goes back 5o years (and includes songs from Neil Diamond, Carole King, and Harry Nilsson) it’s not a bad look back.

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Listening to: Recently discovered Lord Huron.  There is some good stuff to be heard here.

Reading:  I’m currently trying to read an overdue copy of Sarah Fine’s “Fractured.”  (YA novel, second in a series, the first was very good but I’m having attention span issues [see intro note about “adulting.”].)  I finished reading a draft copy of Jerry Johnson‘s upcoming novel.  (And that. was. GOOOOOOD.  Should be out in October.)

Fiction Update:  Shhhhh … shh … shh!  After Life (AL) is currently resting and getting ready for the next round of edits.  More about that in an upcoming blog.  The next round of edits will commence on October 1st!  In the meantime, I have a lot of books I want to catch up on.  Some involve craft, some are just good fiction.  All good stuff for the brain!

Enjoy the weekend!

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Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 5/27/16

Friday FareFriday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

First and foremost, I get to have lunch with this guy today.  I’m lucky to have this writer as one of my mentors.

I’m not a huge Johnny Depp fan, but came across this 2013 article whilst clicking around the internet.  I share this article because of this line:  “Says Depp, ‘I thought if I had just got out of the pokey after 18 years, I’d want some fucking Tater Tots, man. I’d want some tacos. Give me some deeply trashy food.'” I can dig the concept of “deeply trashy food.”

Dung beetles.  Just ’cause.

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Listening to: As always, I’m late to most musical games.  Iron and Wine is no exception and admittedly, I found them through the original “Twilight” soundtrack.  But I found the first public performance of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” and I’m not going to lie – I listened to it three times in a row while sipping coffee on a recent morning.  Absolute chills.  (Bonus content:  This NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance is also pretty awesome.)

Reading: Still hovering at 75% through Stephen King’s “IT.”  I made it through Book 5 in Lincoln Child/Douglas Preston’s Pendergast series before I was put on the wait list for the next one.  Probably better for my social life and my eyes.

Fiction Update: I got to spend some hours last Saturday in the Stillwater Public Library working on “AL.”  I’m slogging my way through some original content that is just taking time to generate, but it’s good.  I’ve also been trying to change up my writing routine to get an hour in before my kids wake up.  It’s all about constant progress.

Have a good weekend! xo

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: Hello April!

Friday FareFriday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

The Interwebs were just plain kind this week with entertainment:

This advice from the creator of Calvin and Hobbes was much appreciated.

I’d watch Meryl Streep read children’s books, it’s no surprise that I devoured this article from Vanity Fair about her experience making “Kramer vs. Kramer.”  I am also once again reminded that I need to re-watch some of the classics from the 1970s.

Lemon Cream Cake.  Because … well, cake!

Finally, another beautiful post from Jerry, my mentor.

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Listening to: This mashup of classic movie clips and Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk … glorious.

Reading: My reading has been a little crazy lately.  I’ve been digging into some books for research purposes.  Also been reading to see how some of the “masters” pull of particular concepts in their fiction.  (My fellow Minnesotan Jess Lourey recently wrote a post on how to read like a writer … very helpful!)

Fiction Update: I encapsulated the kickoff of edits to “After Life” (AL) in this post.  Edits are ongoing, I’ve identified what I need to work on during the next round of writing and am preparing for a chunk of time on Sunday when I can hopefully dig in and make some meaningful progress to start off my actual editing work.

Happy weekend, friends!

Book Review, Fiction, Random

2015: Favorite Reads

2015 - Favorite Reads graphicOne of the things that I love about this time of year (other than copious amounts of sugar cookies) is that this is when news outlets start assembling their “best of” lists. The best movies of 2015, the best songs from 2015, best books, best memes, etc. Since I’m firmly behind the eight ball when it comes to trends, I’m usually reading a book that was a smash hit five years ago and has already been adapted for the big screen (looking at you Gone Girl. Haven’t watched the movie though …). So I went through my Goodreads list for 2015 and picked out the books that impacted me during the year. This year’s goal was to read 30 books. It was something of a laughable goal, because if I really put my mind to it – I can slam a book down in a day. But I work full time. I’m a mom. And on the side, I – you know – like to write. So 30 was doable. I’ve already exceeded that goal by one. 🙂

Here’s what has stuck with me, long after I’ve turned the final chapter:

Shivaree – JD Horn Amazing – the first couple books on this list were actually published in 2015. This makes me feel relevant! But back to the book … I read Shivaree in one evening. Started in the afternoon, could not put it down, and went to bed shortly after midnight. And then proceeded to have some pretty haunting dreams. Shivaree is set in the south after the Korean War and is a paranormal, Southern Gothic horror. I almost didn’t make it past the first chapter but was glad that I stayed the course. Mr. Horn uses rich characterization of the setting, the historical context, and the people he’s created to drive a gripping narrative. Seriously – I need to read more of this man’s work.

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert In my Goodreads review of Ms. Gilbert’s non-fiction on nurturing your creative life, I wrote that I felt like Ms. Gilbert had wrote this book for me. There were so many spots where I wished I was reading a physical copy of the book (checked out the book from my library for Kindle), so I could take a highlighter and mark pages to go back to and re-read again and again. I will be purchasing this book when it’s out in paperback. (Don’t get me wrong – I love hardcovers, but I’m a paperback kinda girl.)

Winter Garden –Kristen Hannah Oh man, this book got me in the feels. I liked the historical nature of Ms. Hannah’s book, but even though I was reading about fictional people, there were parts of this book that had me sobbing. That’s how invested I was in the characters. (Yes, books make me cry – don’t get me started about “Harry Potter” or “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” My nose is turning red just thinking about it.)

Crazy Old Coot / Old Coots Never Forget – Jerry Johnson If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I talk a lot about Jerry, my mentor from college. I talk about him a lot, but I probably don’t talk about him enough, because Jerry’s one of the first people who really made me believe in my ability to write and he’s been a good friend and one of my best and fiercest critics.  If you’re a fan of creative nonfiction, you need to read Jerry’s books.  (Here’s the link to his Amazon page.)  His essays run the gamut between capturing the atmosphere of curmudgeonly men in their hunting camps to elegies Jerry has written for lost friends.  There’s something for everyone in Jerry’s work – reading his blog is time well spent.

What the Night Knows – Dean Koontz There is a fabulous indie used and new bookstore in Red Wing, Minnesota called Fair Trade Books. They have a nifty policy that if you are a newcomer to the store, the owner or one of the employees will try to find a book from their used selection that they’ve specifically chosen for you based on what you’re interested in reading.  What the Night Knows was the book that was chosen for me and it was a good read.  Koontz is an author I had never read before, but Koontz wrote a convincing thriller that had a heavy supernatural tone throughout.  And I loved it.  He built a world that I was not able to shake for awhile after finishing his novel.

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As for next year, I think I’m going to be bold and try for 35 books. (Sorry … sarcasm.)  J.T. Ellison, one of my favorite authors, has a standalone novel coming out, as well as a prequel that features her Taylor Jackson character.  I’m looking forward to reading both of those.  I’m also going to start diving into some of the classics of my chosen genre – Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.  I also have a goal to read every Sackett novel that Louis L’Amour ever wrote.  (When I was in college, I once spent a Christmas break reading a box of L’Amour books my dad had bought at an auction. I think I averaged two a day, figured out that L’Amour liked to plagiarize from himself and had one hell of a good time reading Westerns.  Then I passed them onto my grandpa.  Books can build bridges between generations … that was time well spent.)

What are you going to be reading in 2016?