Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: It’s on the Internet … must be true

Friday FareFriday Fare is a round up of my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week. Enjoy!

There were a couple things I read that got elevated to “Post-It” status on my desk this week.  Sure, I had to unearth said Post-It from my desktop, but these items were important enough for me to remember and post for your reading enjoyment. 🙂

First is this post called Slow Berkshires from Alana Chernila at “Eating from the Ground Up.”  Ms. Chernila is known for her incredible recipes and their reflection of the “farm to table” movement and while this post is a departure from the typical fare of her blog, it is in line with the aesthetic of her recipes – local, organic, intentional.  The post is a reflection of the hike that Chernila and her husband took from one end of the Berkshires to the other.  And while I know that such a jaunt is a few years from my present life (hel-lo, mother of toddlers!), it is something that’s on my bucket list.

The other three things I jotted down are a little more random … one of them is down below in “Listening,” while the other two are food related.  1) If you have an abundance of cucumbers right now from your garden or CSA, make these pickles.  Now.  2) I’m kind of obsessed by the concept of turning zucchini into noodles.  It seems like a travesty, but it sounds like a tasty one to try …

BUT THIS IS NOT A COOKING BLOG.  Now to the articles that enriched me as a reader and writer this week …

I grew up in the Midwest and I was reared on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  (Do not get my mom started about the side trips I begged to go on during our bi-annual trip to South Dakota where I would seek out random LIW-related sites.)  So this literary mystery about whether or not Pa Ingalls brought a heaping helping of vigilante justice to some serial killers was interesting (even if unlikely).  Side note – I still need to read “Pioneer Girl.”

Here’s another bandwagon I’m late for:  Ann Rule.  Turns out that one of my FB author friends was real-life friends with the late author so upon Ms. Rule’s death, I found myself reading a lot about this amazing ex-journalist, turned author.  And while it seems that everyone and their mother has a Ted Bundy story in the Midwest, I need to get my hands on “The Stranger Beside Me.”

Finally – Facebook, it’s ability to stalk me via whatever “feels” I’m having and its targeted ad suggestions should squick me out, but I tune out ads as handily as I ignore whining children.  However, I’ve noted that FB thinks I should take James Patterson’s “Master Class” for writers that is offered online.  Luckily, another writer did that for me.  Joyce Maynard’s piece is light on the snark and her conclusion is surprising …

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Here are the other mediums that have been inspiring me:

Listening to: One of my coworkers texted me an article the other day about the television debut of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.  I’m in love.  Jimmy Fallon said that their music is pure barroom soul and he’s not too far off the mark.  NPR is currently streaming their upcoming album.  I have a sense that this album is going to find it’s way into my home soon.  And hopefully, my children won’t start running around singing “S.O.B.”

Reading:  Just finished “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah.  I’m still processing this one … it was an incredible read and it’s the kind of book that an aspiring writer can learn a lot from …

Fiction Update:

Wine and song ... er, outlining
Wine and song … er, outlining

This was the scene at Casa de My Kitchen Table the other night … I unearthed the folders that had the notes for my “resort story” and I started to page through them.  I was surprised to see how much I had written (I apparently went on a jag with this project in October 2012 through February 2013 … my eldest son would have been three months through eight months old during that time … no wonder I barely remember anything!) and even more thrilled to discover it wasn’t total shit!  Woo for some postpartum progress!

Happy Friday, friends!

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Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare: It’s on the Internet … must be true

Friday FareFriday Fare is my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week.  And it’s been so long since I’ve written one of these, I had to look back to see the format!  Uff da.

Without further ado – these are the articles that caught my attention and maybe made me a smarter person this week:

Forbes ran an article about what is considered to be “on time,” “late,” etc.  I hate to admit this, but I’ve become terrible about making appointments on time.  I could blame my children because readying for an outing, loading two toddlers in a car, and refraining from drinking is probably the closest thing I’ll come to competing in a triathlon in my life, but this is something I need to be better about.

Lee Lofland, the mastermind/force behind the Writers’ Police Academy, published these “6 Police Apps for Writers.”  I’m upgrading to a better phone in October, I think some of these are going to find their way on my phone …

And this has nothing to do with writing, but a lot to do with who I am as a person … one of my all-time favorite movies is “Real Genius.”  And it turns 30 this year.  Kids and writing have cut back on my movie watching bandwidth, but “Real Genius” is a movie that I could watch over and over again.  It’s eminently quotable and it has Val Kilmer in it.

***

Speaking of movies, I’m making time to take one in this weekend – Ricki and the Flash.  I’m not one of those people who fawn over every film that Meryl Streep makes (and honestly, I have never seen the older films that put her on the map), but some of my favorite movies from recent years feature her: “Julie and Julia” (dragged my hubby to that one, he didn’t complain) and “Mamma Mia!”  Plus Kevin Kline is in it … this can’t be a bad thing (“In and Out” is also one of my favorite movies.)

Otherwise, this is what has been inspiring me lately:

Listening to:  I’ve been on an Old Crow Medicine Show kick recently.  I went to see them in concert in May and it is in one of my top five shows.  Here are a couple of YouTube concerts that give a glimpse of how talented these guys are.

Reading:  Sheyna Galyan gave me an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of her latest book “Strength to Stand” (will be released on Sept. 1.).  And damn … it was a good read.  I’ll be posting a review on my Goodreads feed soon.  I’m also reading “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah.

Fiction Update: Right now, I’m filling the well back up and reading good books, getting ready to beta read a friend’s novel, and mentally weighing what project I want to start outlining next!

Happy Friday, friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareI was a little early heralding the arrival of spring – we got nine inches of snow dumped on southeast Minnesota Sunday night (March 22nd).  My friend Jerry warned me, but I was too busy basking in the sun to pay heed to what I should remember about winter in the Midwest – March is a harsh mistress (or as Jerry put it:  “… that raucous, heartless wench.”

What have I been reading lately on the interwebs?

Anyway … New York Times’ Sunday Routine is one of the series that I follow faithfully in my newspaper reading.  This one with Tim Gunn was spectacular.  Not sure if it was Mr. Gunn, what he does for his Sunday Routine, or what it was about this one in particular, but I liked it.

This article regarding coffee and how it can negatively i impact a person’s productivity is bunk and I refuse to believe it.

I found a couple decadent recipes on the Interwebs this week:  Inspire(d) Magazine is a periodical out of my homeland of Northeast Iowa and the Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala is going to happen this weekend.  And then a friend of mine posted a recipe for Elvis Cheesecake – and it features a Nutter Butter crust.  I have an unhealthy love for Nutter Butter cookies that I can largely dismiss unless I hear the product name.  But while I fixate on the NB, this cheesecake features peanut butter, banana, and bacon bits.  While I do not think I’m going to make this, I would gladly order this off of a menu.  Or if my friend Jenny goes into the baking/delivery business – I would be happy to have this show up at my doorstep.

***

Listening to: Every once in awhile I try to educate my sons in the “finer” music in life (beyond my usual folk fixation and their love of anything Sesame Street or secular Veggie Tales.)  This song got some heavy rotation this morning.

Reading:  I kind of abandoned Skellig.  Which means I should likely put it back on my “to be read” list for another day when I have the focus to finish it.  In the meantime, Sheyna Galyan is a member of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime group that I belong to and we met over a morning involving firearms training.  I’m currently making my way through her debut novel “Destined to Choose” and I’m enjoying it – Galyan is a Jewish author and in her words, her books are written to “answer Big Questions.”  The former religion minor geek in my psyche is enjoying this in depth look at the Jewish faith.  And her story is well constructed, so bonus!

Fiction update: Editing.  And it’s going well.  There are some good things that are happening on the page and I’m getting ready to release my baby out to the beta readers soon!

Happy Friday, dear friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare First and foremost – HALLELUJAH, it is Friday!  And secondly – IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!  Winter wasn’t as bad as it could be in the hinterlands of Minnesota, but when you’re the mom of two toddlers – any extended periods of time spent indoors is just cruel to all involved.

Without further ado – here’s the articles that piqued my interest this week:

What common editing mistakes are you making?  Lourdes Venard is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies (Great Unpublished) online group that I am a part of.  Recently, she wrote a blog post that encapsulated some of the common mistakes that editors see when editing fiction.  Confession:  I know I’m guilty of a couple of these!

Wow – I haven’t read any of Adrian McKinty’s books, but need to start based on the soundtrack for his Detective Sean Duffy’s books alone.

I do a decent amount of research for some of my stories – I’m nowhere near as detailed as someone like Diana Gabaldon is, but some of the things that I write prompt me to consult subject matter experts or look up articles / various sources to find out random things like the history of embalming (don’t ask.)  Sometimes, I’m simply bookmarking articles for future information – storing little nuggets of information in my head that could be relevant in future stories.  Like this article about a super-secret policing gadget that can listen in on cell conversations.  Hel-lo big brother.

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Listening to:  As I finalize this post today, I have Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park playing.  My parents had this album on cassette when I was a kid and I wore it out.  If I ever had to exist on a desert island, this is probably one of the albums that I’d bring with me.  This one and Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs.”

Reading:  I have a couple of books that I picked up from the library – Sanctum by Sarah Fine and The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (see the link above that got me interested in reading Mr. McKinty’s books).  I am 99% sure that I’ve read Sanctum, but need to page through it to see if that is the case.  If so, I’ll do a quick re-read since this is part of a larger series of Young Adult (YA) fiction.

Fiction update:  Edits, edits, edits.  I’m still on my April 1st deadline.  Just got to keep plugging away to that goal line and not let life derail me.

Also – I’m getting ready to go to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference next month in Minneapolis.  I had been on the fence regarding my attendance, but they have a Saturday pass for $40.  With my work schedule and with my family, that’s going to be the best option for me.  I’ll be writing more soon regarding what I hope to get from the conference, but honestly – I’m just looking forward to rubbing elbows with some of the Minnesota writers that I’ve befriended over the past few years and drinking with my Writer’s Guild at the conclusion of Saturday’s festivities. 🙂

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this headline:  Mansion for sale.  Not cheap.  The Pillsbury mansion is up for sale – if you have north of $4 million lying around, you could be the next owner.  I sent the link to my mom (who is also a kick ass real estate agent) and she was amazed how small the bedrooms were.

This has nothing to do with writing, per se – but I love Cary Elwes.  And although I thought that the writer was kind of lame to bring her niece to the interview, it made me swoon a little bit to think of him fawning over a baby.

And wait … this is a writing blog?  OK – this has nothing really to do with the writing craft, but does have everything to do with the genre that I like to write in the best … crime.  And again – another good headline:  Chopping up a body takes a special type of depravity.

***

Listening to: Don’t ask me to explain why, but I am kind of obsessed with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.”

Reading:  As I noted earlier this week, I went to the Fair Trade Books bookstore in Red Wing to see William Kent Krueger.  What’s neat about Fair Trade Books (other than the fact that it’s an indie), is that it’s a hybrid of used books and new books.  I picked up a couple of books while I was there.  One of them was Skellig by David Almond.  This is a kid’s book and I’m breezing through it, but I gotta be honest – it’s a gripping story.  And honestly, I don’t know if I care that I’m reading a “children’s” book.  It still has all of the elements of a good story.

Fiction update:  Edits!  I’ve taken a couple of evenings and I’ve been sketching out story arcs to make sure that all of my characters are getting all of the “love” that they need and that I’m not leaving any loose threads undone or narratives unresolved.  I’m still on target to have a draft to beta readers by April 1.  EEEEEEEK.  I am about to let my baby out into the universe.

Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this article about Nora Roberts from the New York Times’ “By the Book” feature.  I’ve wrote down many of the suggestions and have added them to my Goodreads.

Sometimes I add recipes of things that I plan to make on this blog, since cooking is one of my other creative outlets.  I made this soup from my writing hero J.T. Ellison this past weekend.  Since my kiddos don’t touch it, it makes a ton of leftovers.  Which means I don’t have to cook for most of the rest of the week.  (WINNING.)  And I got a kick out of this post regarding Joan Didion’s cookbook.

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Listening to:  I wrote a blog post awhile back about listening to music while I write.  To that end, I made a Spotify playlist of the songs that have inspired me / contributed to the muse for After Life.  The songs are a little all over the place (Bowie!  Off-Broadway!), but they all have a spot in the canon.  (Let me know if the link doesn’t work … I’m new at this Spotify thing.)

Reading:  Still on Deborah Harkness.  Took a (very) quick detour to the first Pendergast novel “Relic” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  A boyfriend of mine from high school had loaned me that book during my senior year and it was an absolute joy to rediscover it.  It also reminded me how important pacing is in novels.  I am a fast reader by nature (and necessity – I’m the mother of two toddlers) and I slammed that book in four hours.  It was exhilarating.  I’m going to have to visit the library and read the rest of them as well.

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’m past the “this is shit” phase from last week and I remain cautiously optimistic.  The deadline I have set for myself is pages in hands of beta readers by April 1.  I can do this.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

How to Create a Social Media Posting Schedule from Constant Contact.  This was very interesting … I’m a prolific Facebook user (to a fault).  I just started using Pinterest regularly (although, it’s more to corral recipes that I’ve bookmarked on my browser than anything else).   I like Twitter and I just recently joined Tumblr (although I have no clue what the hell I’m doing.).  This is something to keep in the back of my head for the future.

When am I going to break through?  According to the Telegraph in the UK, it will be while I’m in middle age.  So … whee!  That should be shortly then.  (With lots of hard work and some good luck.)

***

Listening to: I just discovered Kacey Musgraves.  (Yes, I spend most of my days under a rock.  Well, in my basement, but you get the point …)  This version of the classic Elvis song just kills me.

Reading:  I’m rereading Deborah Harkness starting at the beginning with “A Discovery of Witches.”  (And I’m celebrating the news that the BBC will be adapting the All Souls Trilogy!  I think they will do the series justice.)

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’ve run into the scary part of my WIP and see that I need to do some structural work.  So I’ve been reading some fascinating stuff regarding the three-act structure and trying to sketch out what my story needs to work and proceed in a forward motion.  I also got some good advice from a mentor of mine. 🙂

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareConfession:  I love the Internet (affectionately known in my household as “the Interwebs.”).  On Fridays, I’m going to post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I am about 40% through the latest round of edits on Afterlife (AL) and I’m really excited with how it’s going.  I feel like the edits I’m making are helping to make a more cohesive story and it’s getting the story closer to beta readers.

Articles like this  help:  http://latenightnovelwriting.tumblr.com/post/101646227591/8-words-to-seek-and-destroy-in-your-writing

J.K. Rowling’s notes!  (I came across this a few years back and I loved how she did this – I’ve used something similar and really like how it helps track characters.)

And here I thought I was just lazy: http://elitedaily.com/money/science-simplicity-successful-people-wear-thing-every-day/849141/

I thought that this looked like a useful tool:  http://writerswrite.co.za/cheat-sheets-translate-emotions-into-written-body-language

And because I like to add a recipe onto these round-ups, here‘s what I am hoping to bake this afternoon.

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Listening to:  I had a couple recent road trips lately.  While I usually have some mixed CDs on hand to help the miles go by, I also like to listen to radio stations and see what’s new.  This song by Hosier is haunting and the YouTube video gave me absolute chills.

Otherwise, my musical tastes reveal how late I am to the game … I’ve just discovered Old Crow Medicine Show.  My eldest loves “Wagon Wheel” and that’s on frequent rotation, along with “Fuzzy and Blue” and “C is for Cookie.”

Reading:  When I originally started drafting this post, I was re-reading Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones.” I was reminded once again why I want to be a writer.  And because it’s brain candy, I’m re-reading Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.  (This might be the fourth time through??)

Fiction update:  Again, when I originally drafted this blog post, I was in the midst of letting AL marinate (I let my drafts rest between edits so they have a little bit of time to rest).  During that time, I started outlining another story that I had started (and abandoned) a few years back.  My thought process was that I’d have a decent outline ready for when my next round of edits on AL are done and while AL is out with beta readers, I’d start getting more words on the page for my next project.

While I didn’t completely finish my outline, I made some great progress on that project.  But, as it turned out – this past week has been a quiet one at work.  Since I never know when things are going to be quiet on the work front, I decided to go ahead and jump into edits.  (If I wait until there’s a “perfect” time to write / edit, I will never pen another word again.)

I am hoping that this finds you all well!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareConfession:  I love the Internet (affectionately known in my household as “the Interwebs.”).  On Fridays, I’m going to post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I have a lot of articles that I’ve pulled down this week and are waiting for me in my bookmarks, but since life is crazy, my time has been limited to read them!  Next week will likely be full of information.

In the meantime, since I like to cook and since I love J.T. Ellison, I was thrilled to see that she has now archived the recipes that she’s included in her monthly newsletters.

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Listening to: I spent a little bit too much time on the FB earlier this week and one of my girlfriends posted that NPR had a “First Listen” segment featuring Damien Rice.  I really like it when my musical tastes veer in other directions and am so very glad that my friend recommended this.

Listening II:  My parents and I are going to see Garth Brooks at the Target Center tonight.  So maybe I shouldn’t be listening to Patti Smith … it might be time to put on the “Double Live” album.  I. CAN’T. WAIT – tonight’s concert is going down in the books!

Reading:  “Shifting Shadows” by Patricia Briggs and I’m trying to get into “Sneaking Suspicions” by Jan Hinds.  In terms of Hinds’ book, it’s nothing against her, but it’s more about the genre.  It’s a futuristic thriller and that’s not a genre I choose to read often.  So – the future leaves me meh, but give me some werewolves and other paranormal characters and I am a happy camper!  “Shadows” is incredible – this is a collection of short stories from Briggs’ “Mercy Thompson” world.  Last night, I read “Grey” and I am just reminded what a wonderful transport a short story can provide.  I got “Shadows” from the library, but on the strength of “Grey” alone, I think I need to buy a copy of Briggs’ book.

Fiction update:  I am making progress.  Slowly but surely.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareConfession:  I love the Internet (affectionately known in my household as “the Interwebs.”).  On Fridays, I’m going to post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

The following column from UK’s The Guardian has caused a bit (understatement) of a brouhaha around the book blogger community. To be honest, I couldn’t stop reading Kathleen Hale’s narrative … it was kind of like watching a train wreck and wondering if the author would regain her sanity before making a total ass out of herself.  (Spoiler alert:  She didn’t.)

I think I’ve said this before, but J.T. Ellison is one of my favorite authors.  Hands down.  This article delves a little bit into Ms. Ellison’s professional life before her career in fiction.  As someone who has starry-eyed dreams about being able to hang up my day job (or even just go part-time?), this was inspirational.

I got my invite to Gmail’s new app – “Inbox.”  Just waiting to see if I can enable it without disclosing billing information.  (*Gnashes teeth in irritation.*)  Prior to receiving the invite, I had emailed this article to my husband and was super excited. Because this is an app I think I can actually use.

And finally – this has nothing to do with the writing world, productivity, or really … much of anything.  Except that I read this article from The Kitchn and was enamored with the idea of “mother sauces” as the backbone of French cooking.

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Listening to: “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse (That voice!)

Reading:  Just finished the “King” series from Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.  Oh dear … I’ll admit it.  These aren’t books that I’d recommend to my mother (or my mother-in-law who is a voracious reader), but this was absolute brain candy.

Fiction update:  Edits are going pretty well.  I’m back on my revamped schedule that will have me completing the next round of edits by November 10th.  After that, I’m going to let AL rest for a couple of weeks and then do a fresh read through before I send to my beta readers.  I’m excited and nervous.