Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade

What am I reading now?  The Girl with the Iron Touch (Kady Cross, Steampunk Chronicles #3 )

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  I really do love this series. I love the steampunkness, the feisty characters, the romance between Finley and Griffin and the incredibly wicked villain! Oh, he's a nasty one on so many levels. There were a couple of great new characters introduced that I hope to learn more about in the coming books (yes, I think this series will go on for  a while,) Mila, a machine that is becoming human, and Mr. Isley, a spiritual medium.

Something to love about this series, the character arcs continue in each book and over the series, but the stories themselves are self-contained. They are still a series and are best read in order, but they read like episodes with clear beginnings and ends for each book. I'd put this series in the New Adult age although at the beginning Finley is 17 years old, she isn't a teenager. (Although New Adult is getting a reputation for erotica--this isn't! I also hope other authors take back the New Adult category and write books with wide audience (read: not offensive) appeal.

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade
Not quite as thick as a slush, but still chilly, icy summer-yum!

Watermelon chunks (liquify in a blender then freeze for 4 hours--I pour it into a 9X13 pan then stir it every hour to make watermelon ice)
Crystal Light lemonade (mixed according to package directions) then add 1 teaspoon dried mint and chill for 4 hours
Club Soda or Sprite Zero chilled

In a blender, combine chunks of watermelon ice and enough lemonade to just reach the top of the melon and blend till smooth. Pour into a glass to fill to 2/3 then fill the last 1/3 with sparkling water.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Art from Life

What am I reading now?  Forevermore (Cindy Miles)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Sweet YA romance.
Ivy and Logan share a love of music and each other, but can never touch. Logan lived in the 14th century Scottish Highlands. Ivy is an American girl displaced to Scotland when her mother marries Niall, who takes them to live in his ancestral home, Glenmorrag Castle, in present day Scotland. Logan is a ghost and Ivy searches for answers to the mystery of his death--which may result in her own.

Honestly, I fell a little in love with the Scottish brogue, which always makes someone more adorable, and in this case all the secondary characters.


Art from Life

Howard Taylor (another presenter at the iWriteNetwork workshop) spoke about world-building for our novels. One of the notes I took says: Look at how current events can it be mapped onto your story—how would the story or fact be different in your character's situation or your novel's world? So I looked through the current events (Yahoo) to see what could be tweaked or twisted for story ideas.

Here are a few:
•Deformed fruit and veggies grow around site of nuclear accident
•Robot gymnast sticks landing
•On-demand Ice Cream trucks -- cell phone calls bring the delivery
•Big-nosed horned-faced dinosaur discovered in Utah
•It's not too far-fetched to worry that the National Security Agency could one day ask Microsoft for access to video feeds of users' living rooms through the Xbox One Kinect sensor
•Liquid metal can be molded but has twice the strength of titanium

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Writing Serials

What am I reading now?  Blood and Snow (RaShelle Workman)
Annd . . . what do I think so far?  I've just read the first two volumes of the twelve in this book. 

Here's the blurb from Goodreads though:
"Lips red as rubies, hair dark as night. Drink your true love's blood, become the Vampire, Snow White."

EVERY THOUSAND YEARS THE VAMPIRE QUEEN SELECTS A NEW BODY, ALWAYS THE FAIREST IN THE LAND, AND THIS TIME SHE'S CHOSEN SNOW WHITE. 

Snow White lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her dad, stepmother, and her cat, Gatsby. Her entire life she's been teased for her fairy tale name, and the fact that her seven best friends happen to be guys whose names begin with the same letters as the seven dwarves. 

Everything changes two months before her sixteenth birthday. She's bitten by The Hunter, and transformed into a revenant—not quite human, not quite vampire.



Writing Serials
I attended the iWriteNetwork Summer Workshop this past weekend and heard some great ideas from the presenters. One of the Friday presenters was RaShelle Workman with the topic of how to write serials. The book I'm currently reading was written as a serial: 12 short stories with about 10 chapters each were published independently from each other as novellas. Then when the series was complete they were combined into a book to tell the full story.

During her session, we were given time to map out an idea for a story to tell through serials using the method she explained. Deanna and I mapped a story that we've been considering for a while but didn't have a vision to start yet. It was so exciting to see how this format could enhance the story idea and be an exciting new writing adventure for us.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Writing is a Disease

What am I RE-reading now?  Boy Meets Girl (Meg Cabot)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Chick-lit! and a crazy-fun read.

Kate works in an HR office. Her boss in s tyrant. She has to fire someone she thinks shouldn't be fired. Her boyfriend won't commit. She can't afford her own New York City apartment. And just as it looks like it can't get worse it does. Remember that woman she fired? She's suing Kate for wrongful termination. She has to give a deposition in front of Mitch Hertzog (beautiful, dreamy body, wealthy, great smile, from a nightmare family of blood-sucking lawyers).

One of the reasons I love this book (besides the fact that Meg Cabot does awkward very well with believable, relatable characters) is that is isn't written with narration. Everything is told through other forms of communication. Here are a few examples:
•letters from lawyers
•memos
•IM
•email
•menu
•notes written back and forth
•transcripts
•telephone messages
•grocery receipts
•business cards
•newspaper ads
•recipes
•journal entries
(By way of warning, there's a lot of swearing in this book. If that bothers you, don't read it.) 

Thought for the Day:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mentors, Sidekicks and Minions

What am I reading now?  Going Vintage (Lindsey Leavitt)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  You'll notice on my blog that I shy away from (read as run screaming from)  YA contemporary fiction. I hate issues; I hate dealing with someone else's issues, and even I hate romances when they have heavy issues. Any questions? Didn't think so--pretty plain.

So when my daughter suggested I read this book, I was a little skeptical. But no worries! I love chick lit and this book reads like that. Kinda fun. Kinda crazy. Kinda feel good. That doesn't mean there aren't problems, like rotten online cheating boyfriends who leave their computer wide open with messages from the other woman on it. Mallory's boyfriend, Jeremy, says his online status is "MARRIED". Married? And his virtual wife is Bubble Yum. They have an virtual dog and very intimate conversations while Mallory is completely absent from his online life. Fine, she can be absent from his real life too.

My favorite character is Mallory's little sister, Ginny. She's wise beyond her years (2 years younger than Mallory), says what she thinks and doesn't miss hidden clues into her family's troubles. Grandma is fun too--but I'll stick with Ginny as the fave. If this book isn't on your to-read list, put it there or just skip the list and go buy it.

Mentors, Sidekicks and Minions

Just like the book I'm recommending this week, novels need great secondary characters to support their main characters. The supporting cast helps the protagonist see a range of possibilities for the outcomes of several choices they have to make. For example:
One supporting character can try to lead the Protag to make better choices while another one tempts her to go another way
One might be a friend through thick and thin and another might betray her
One has much to teach the Protag while another is completely clueless and makes everything worse
One's life could mirror the Protag but being a little further on a similar path can share wisdom while another's life could mirror the result of not listening to good advice
One builds up the Protag and another plants doubt
One can make the Protag laugh and another can make her cry