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Saturday, December 28, 2013

WIPMarathon Check-In #4

Since this is the first time I've actually posted I have no previous word count. So far I have written 4,419 words on my first short story; this week I've written 1,028.

WIP Issues this week: I probably have had the same issues everyone has had: Christmas. I was barely able to get to a compuoter until the day after Christmas. Next week I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get much done either with New Years and getting ready for the new semester.

What I learnt this week: I had no idea how I was going to end the sex scene and transition from the morning after to the discovery of her missing period, but during a writing sprint it all flowed pretty easily.

What distracted me this week while writing: The holiday of course, but I must admit I was watching tv and playing video games while writing too. That probably didn't help too much.

Last 200 words:
School started and the weeks went on with her swept up in the school current.

It wasn't until shortly after midterms that Mackenzie noticed something. It started when Danni came to her for a favor.

"Hey Mac, do you have any tampons. I'm out."

Mackenzie rolled her eyes. "How many times do I have to tell you, I hate being called Mac. I should tell you no just because of that, but I am a way better friend than you and happen to have plenty. Check under my bed."

Her sentence trailed off as a thought struck her. It was true; she did have plenty of tampons. She hadn't had to use them in months. The craziness of her first semester of school distracted her enough that she didn't notice her missing period.

"I have to go." She didn't wait for Danni to reply back before dashing out of the room. She crossed most of the campus at a half job until she reached the school clinic. At the sight off the clinic doors, she stopped short.

No. She wasn't...she couldn't be. It had only been one time and they used protection. There was no way.

She took a deep breath and walked into the building. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

#WIPMarathon Intro

A few months ago I made a few new friends on Twitter that were all participating in a group effort to meet their personal work in progress goals. That round ended and now they are about to start a new one. This time I am participating, so this should be fun. I'm joining a little late, but better late than never!

Each participant is supposed to write an introduction blog post, so here is mine.

Marathon Goal:
My personal goal is two finish the first drafts two short stories I am working on. This will be a total of almost 30k words. This breaks down to a little less then 700 words a day. They are very different genres, but I am looking forward to both.

One story is a romance/coming-of-age tale about a young college freshman who loses her virginity in a one night stand and ends up pregnant. Her and the boy are trying their best to navigate this new terrain. The second story is a science fiction told from the point of view of a woman telling the story of the world being changed when she was a child by the advent of a new creature that was created to protect the human race.

Stage of writing:
I have a few pages of each story done so far. So, still very early stages with both.

What inspired my current project:
The romance was inspired by an #NAchat conversation a few months ago on Twitter about unplanned pregnacy stories in the New Adult category. The science fiction idea came after I saw a call for stories about mythologies in science fiction about a year ago. Obviously I never finished it for the call, but the story still intrigues me.

What might slow down my marathon goal:
I may be starting grad school in January, so if that happens it will be a huge time suck. Also, I write pretty slow, so it can take a long time for me to just get a couple hundred words down. I also get distracted pretty easily. So yeah, I will probably need help focusing on writing.

Best time of the day for writing:
I've always done my best writing at night. It's the time of day when I most have time to relax and that gives me the time to sit and write. I really enjoy doing sprints and they help me get words down faster, so if you are around at night and want to sprint, then let me know!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Guest Post: Writing in a Digital World: The Pros and Cons of Digital First Releases

Today we have a guest post from Chanel Cleeton, author of the upcoming Harlequin New Adult novel, I See London.

The growing popularity of e-books has greatly altered the publishing landscape.  One notable change has been the new influx of digital first imprints. Imprints like Harlequin’s Carina Press have been focused on the e-book market for several years; however, within the past two years, the number of digital first imprints has dramatically increased. 
For authors, there are several advantages to digital first.  For authors looking to traditionally publish, digital first imprints provide the support of a traditional publisher with enhanced flexibility.  Authors enjoy the support and backing of an established publisher and editorial staff.  Digital first also releases authors from production costs.  In contrast to self-publishing, your publisher will bear the production costs and handle the production side of your release. 
Additionally, digital first can be a great option for authors looking to establish a relationship with a publisher and ideally work together with their publisher to build their author platform.  For newer authors and debut authors, digital first imprints are a great way to “get a foot in the door.”  Many digital first imprints will look at unagented submissions, giving authors a chance to get their manuscripts in front of publishers.
Accessibility— notably, pricing and timing— is key to digital first’s popularity and success.  Many digital first imprints are pricing e-books at $3.99 or below, enabling authors to reach readers at a competitive price point.  Another benefit to digital first is that your release will be much faster than with a traditional print release.The shortened timeframe allows readers to enjoy releases from their favorite authors at a more rapid rate.  Additionally, for speedy writers this is a great way to release a fewtitles throughout the year without the lengthy traditional print production schedule.  If you’re writing in a “hot” genre or category— like New Adult, digital first’s quick timeframe allows you to build your author platform more quickly than you would be able to with a traditional print release. 
Distribution options are also important when considering the merits of a digital first release.  If your book sells well, the publisher may do a print run months later.  The option for a print run provides for the possibility of greater distribution down the road.  Moreover, a traditional publisher will have the ability to place your book in foreign markets, either digitally or in print, as well as stocking it at major retailers.
While there are many benefits to digital first imprints, there are also some downsides.  Many digital first imprints pay a higher royalty rate, but no advance.For many authors the lack of an advance, or small advance, serves as a major detractor.  Additionally, publishers may pay royalties quarterly so it may be a few months before you receive your earnings.
Another downside to digital first is the lack of control.  With digital first your publisher will be responsible for major decisions.  Price point, release date, cover, and more, will likely be out of your control.  Some publishers will consult more than others, but ultimately, your publisher will have the final say.  This can be a benefit for those looking for more support,but for others it may be a deal-breaker.  Additionally, limited distribution can be a downside to digital first imprints.  While your book may be released in print if it sells well digitally, there is often no guarantee.  Some authors may choose to self-publish themselves and do print on demand or simply self-publish digitally.
            Ultimately, digital first isn’t right for everyone.  Authors have to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether a digital first release will complement their career goals.  But the important thing to remember is that between traditional publishing, digital first, hybrid, and self-publishing, authors have many options.  While digital first may not be for everyone, it provides one more opportunity to reach readers.

Bio: Chanel Cleeton writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 1, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.  An avid reader and hopeless romantic, Chanel is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.  Chanel loves to travel and is currently living an adventure in South Korea.  Learn more about Chanel at www.chanelcleeton.com.  

Friday, November 1, 2013


Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo (for those not in the know, National Novel Writing Month) and I have written a great big whooping 0 words. Yes I am already falling behind. I still have time today to write some, but I'm not happy with my lack of words written.

Hopefully when I get off of work today, I will have time to sit and write. I should be getting off by 5, so if anyone wants to do a word sprint with me, I can probably be found in the #WriteClub hashtag on Twitter. Even if you aren't doing NaNo, that is an amazing tag to follow every Friday for word sprints. I swear they help me get my best writing done.

If you want to add me as a buddy on NaNo, you can find me here under the name T.M. Canada.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Severed

Title: Severed
Author: Dax Varley
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 258
Source: Author
Where to buy: Amazon

Katrina's still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman-the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, see no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits. Now it's up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

What I Think:
With the new Sleepy Hollow show coming out, and Halloween just a few weeks away, this is the perfect time of year for Varney to come out with her young adult romantic mystery novel, Severed. I liked this story. I really wanted to love it, but it just didn't push me to that level. This was a really interesting take on the Sleepy Hollow tale. From what I remember of the original story, there is little left the same other than character names.

There was something about the book that I liked, but it is hard to put my finger on it. I know the reasons I didn't like parts of it, but it still had a certain something in it that made me want to continue reading it. One part of it was that the concept was very interesting and made me want to know more about what was going on. Another part of it was the mystery was so complex and engaging that you want to see if your guesses about who is behind everything was right. Sadly, for me the ending was disappointing and I did not get all of the answers I wanted.

Katrina was a fun character, but she felt a little too modern for the time period. Girls back then wouldn't go around kissing men in semi-public places and being allow with various men. Like with many YA romances, Katrina fell in love with Ichabod at first sight and was willing to put herself and others in danger for this love. Withing days and weeks of knowing him she was ready to turn her back on all of her friends and the only family she has in order to run away with him.

I was excited to reach near the end, so I could finally find out who was behind it all, but the twist felt flat to me. Overall, it felt more like the middle of a story than an entire story. The beginning gave the reader questions that were never answered and the last words of the novel hark back to these questions with no hit that there will be a sequel.

Rating: 2.5/5

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

A few weeks ago I heard of something called the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. For those who have watched the Gilmore Girls show, you know Rory was a huge reader. Many people have scoured the show and made a list of every book Rory has read, talked about, or had on her bookshelves and some have challenged themselves and others to read through this is.

I have decided to undertake this challenge. This list is over three hundred books long, so I am sure it will take me a few years to finish this list between reading other things and life.

I am going to try to keep this blog updated on what I have read from the list and what I thought about it. I am working through it in ABC order and the first book on the list is the classic 1984.

For those who are interested in what is included, below you will find the complete list and a link. Would you ever consider trying this challenge?


2.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9.) Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16.) Babe by Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved by Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide by Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32.) Carrie by Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine by Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo by Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie by Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy by Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote by Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise by Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75.) Emma by Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics by Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance by Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93.) Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate by Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116.) The Group by Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V by William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad by Homer
138.) I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140.) Inferno by Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story by Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man by William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night by Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212.) Old School by Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello by Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237.) Property by Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento by James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260.) Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus by Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane by Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining by Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island by Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook by Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little by E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302.) Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again by Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312.) The Trial by Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses by James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless by Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing Exercises

This summer, one of the classes I took was Intro to Creative Writing. Now, I've been writing for years, but my school is one of the traditional schools who's writing program focuses on literary fiction and my interest is mainly in genre, so this is a fun challenge for me and I think I learned some new things (including an appreciation of writing literary short stories). One my first days of class we talked about Faulkner and his writing style, then my professor gave us an assignment. He wanted us to describe where we (or a completely fictional character) were from in a grammatically correct, 150 word sentence. If that sounds challenging, then let me tell you, it is. But it forces your mind to think in a different way and you to write in an out-of-the-box style. Here is the one I did. Try it yourself and see where your mind takes you.

I was born in a small town in south Georgia- no place you would have ever heard of- where the cows out numbered the people three to one, everybody knew everyone else's business, and it was a big deal when a Dairy Queen was built in the center of the downtown square (where old man Richardson's feed store was before he followed his wife, dead these past fifteen years, to the great pasture in the sky); we were never a town for fast food chains or none of those corporate stores- I never heard of Wal-Mart until I moved up here to Atlanta and the closest mall and movie theater was twenty miles away (every fourth Saturday Mama would take me and lil Jo Ann to see a movie and buy a dress)- the tallest building in town was four story city hall, so you can imagine my amazement seeing all these skyscrappers here...maybe that's why I decided to get my education here,you know, experience something new, expand my horizons.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Elephant of Surprise

Title: The Elephant of Surprise
Author: Brent Hartinger
Series: The Russel Middlebrook Series (Book #4)
Publisher: Buddha Kitty Books
Pages: 166 (ebook)
Source: Netgalley
Where to Buy: Barnes and Noble <> Amazon

People aren't always what they seem to be. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves.

So discovers seventeen-year-old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise, a stand-alone sequel to Brent Hartinger's landmark 2003 gay young adult novel Geography Club (which has now been adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky).

In this latest book, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise -- the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he's drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology obsession.

But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?

The Elephant of Surprise includes Hartinger's trademark combination of humor and romance, angst and optimism. Before the story is over, Russel and his friends will learn that the Elephant of Surprise really does appear when you least expect him—and that when he stomps on you, it really, really hurts.

What I Think:
I got this book from Netgalley, because it sounded interesting and, though it is the fourth book in a series, it promised to be able to be read as a standalone. I have never read any of the other books in the series, so I came to Russel with a pair of fresh eyes late in the game.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of YA books starring a kid under the GLBT umbrella. That was the first thing that made me happy about this book. Finally something for the minority. BUt I was also scared out of my mind on how it would be handled. I was relieved with the humanness of Russell. He was a normal teenage boy. There were no excessive stereotypes or places where the author tried too hard to seem inclusive.

Hartinger was able to strike a great balance between calling out the hypocrisies between  gay and straight culture without bashing either. The assholes weren't assholes because they were gay/straight, no they were assholes because their character was an asshole. Most YA books, GLBT or not, have a hard time not falling into tropes, but this one easily side steps traps everywhere.

Russell and his friends all have the voices of real teenagers. They did stupid things and said stupid things, but they were also quite intelligent. I appreciate that Hartinger did not shy away from cursing. Many teenagers curse and it is absurd that so many YA books refuse to acknowledge the fact. This just seemed to make the characters more believable to me.

Another part that made them seem believable to me was they were aware of only what matters to them. Most people, not just teenagers, unconsciously think of themselves as the center of the universe. These characters do, and seem to know it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the  realness of the book, even though that same realness made some of the characters a little annoying. I wish I could have seen more of some characters and less of others. I totally recommend this book to everyone.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cover Re-reveal for TEN DAYS

I have the honor of being one of the blogs to showcase Olivia Mayfield's new cover reveal for her novel TEN DAYS. Now I have seen both covers and I can tell you the first made me intrigued with the book, but the new cover is making this a must read for me. Now without further adieu, I present to you the new cover for TEN DAYS:

Genre: NA sci-fi romance
Author: Olivia Mayfield

Book blurb:

TEN DAYS is a New Adult/YA crossover romance novel, based on the sci-fi short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster.

Nineteen-year-old Cally isn’t like the others. In her society, the Machine caters to every whim, ensuring people don’t have to leave their pods. But Cally and her best friend Marshal find themselves drawn to how things used to be, when people lived on the surface of the earth and relied upon manpower, not technology. When physical contact wasn’t uncivilized, and love was normal, acceptable, embraced. Cally tries to swallow down her increasing dissatisfaction with the “rules,” as well as her rapidly developing feelings for Marshal, a task getting harder each day.

Then, things start going downhill, fast. Food is spoiled. Air grows musty. The population panics about the dysfunction–is it sabotage? Anarchy? But Cally and Marshal discover the truth: The Machine, the answer to all their problems for longer than anyone can remember, is breaking down. Now, these two have to risk it all to save themselves and the people they care about…before their entire world destroys itself.

You can find TEN DAYS at:

And find out more about Olivia Mayfield at:
Twitter: @OliviaMayfield

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hypocrisy in My Writings

Now if you read my blog, you know I love romance. I read it, I write it. It is hard for me to write anything without inserting some romance in there. Even if the romance is minor I love having it in my writing.

Yet I am frequently outspoken on the need for NA novels to be less romance driven. I love romance, but I am afraid of the stigma that is attaching itself to the NA category. Many people are starting to see NA as just contemporary romance, so I just want to see other genres being portrayed more.

I do want to challenge myself by writing something that has no romance in it. One of the things I am working on (a mystery) was romance free at conception, but now it has a small romance subplot. I am still trying to decide if I should drop the romance totally from it. I am currently writing a short story with no romance in it, so that makes me feel a little better.

I'm not saying that everyone should stop writing romance, it is a wonderful genre and you should write what you want to write. I just worry for the future of a category I have come to love. I understand that every category goes through phases where one genre dominates it, and romance is currently the "in" genre for NA. I look forward to the day I can more easily find more genres in NA.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Guest Post: Molly Cochran *Plus Giveaway*

What impelled me to write the Legacy series (Legacy, Poison, Seduction) was magic. That is, I needed magic because nothing else in my life was working.

At one point a few years ago, everything I cared about seemed to vanish. My marriage ended, even though I was still in love with my husband. My mother died. My sister stopped talking to me. My son went to college. Wanting to run away from my life, I sold my house and moved to a distant state where I didn’t know anyone. And in the worst decision I ever made, I stopped writing.

I’d been pretty successful up till then, with a couple of bestsellers (Grandmaster, The Forever King), but none of that seemed to matter at the time. It was the low point of my life, when I was full of questions and had no answers to any of them.

Searching for some of those answers, I went into therapy, talked to clergy members, experimented with a lot of unusual New Age modalities, and started reading about Wicca, which I discovered was not a satanic cult of wicked hags, but a way of thinking that embraces the sacredness of the earth, the value of women, and the possibility of magic.

Well, why not? I thought. Why couldn’t magic exist to counterbalance all the horrible things that people do? That’s when I got the idea for the Darkness, the distillation of pure evil that’s at the center of the Legacy books.

The first time I thought of Katy, I pictured her riding a bus on her way to stay with relatives she didn’t know, who would turn out to be nice, normal people who happened to possess a host of strange and wonderful abilities… Witches, in the way I’d come to understand them.

For the first time since my troubles began, I wanted to write again. I wrote about magic, but it was the writing that saved me. I think that was the magic.

And that’s how Legacy was born.

POISON (Legacy, #2) By: Molly Cochran
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13547250-poison
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Poison-Molly-Cochran/dp/1442450509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364354577&sr=8-1&keywords=molly+cochran
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poison-molly-cochran/1108180003?ean=9781442450509
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781442450509
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Poison-Molly-Cochran/9781442450509
About the author:

Molly Cochran, author of the teen paranormal romances LEGACY and POISON, has written 26 published novels and four nonfiction books under her own name and various pseudonyms. Her books include New York Times bestselling novels GRANDMASTER and THE FOREVER KING, coauthored with Warren Murphy, and the nonfiction DRESSING THIN, also a NY Times bestseller. She has won awards from the Mystery Writers of America (Best Novel of the Year), the Romance Writers of America (Best Thriller), and the New York Public Library (Outstanding Books for the Teen Age).

SEDUCTION, the third installment in the LEGACY series, is scheduled for release later this year through her publisher, Simon & Schuster.