I Finally Tried Audible

audio books

Everywhere I go I see ads for Storytel, a Swedish app that provides books in audio format, similar to the app Audible. I see these ads on the backs of buses, in subway stations, plastered above the seats on the train, and anywhere else they can get away with advertising.

When I speak to other authors, it feels like ‘audio’ is the new buzzword. The word that takes on a life of its own. It shows up in conversations like an unexpected lurker. One minute you’re talking about a female treasure hunter and the next you’re talking about audio books. Later you look back and wonder how the subject wormed its way into the conversation. Read more

What I’m Reading, What I’m Writing

rivers of london

way station 2

steering the craft.jpg

What I’m Reading

One thing you need to know about me is that I’m reading polygamist. I normally read at least two books at one time. In my past, I could be at various stages in more than five books at a time, but I’m trying to keep my limit to three these days. Those three include one physical book I can open up, one on my Kindle that I read while I’m putting my son to sleep, and one craft book that I read during the weekends.

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What I’m Reading, What I’m Writing

20171230_164152Last year I read 23 books. By my standards, that number was completely unacceptable. I normally read at least one book a week, if not more. Books are what keep my creativity flowing, they are what I study to hone my storytelling abilities, in other words, they are necessary. So when I see how few books I read last year, I cringe.

As for writing, I only wrote three poems, two halfway completed short stories, two completed rough draft short stories and one novella last year.

Also unacceptable.  Read more

Project Update

Blue Light Revision
Blue Light Revision

As some of you know I’m a member of the Stockholm Writers Group, a select group of writers founded over twenty years ago to provide feedback, encourage each other, and support each other with their writing goals. We meet on a regular basis and offer feedback to those who’ve submitted their work. In addition, we pair up with a writing buddy. Some terms we switch buddies, some terms we keep the buddies we have. At the moment, my buddy is a wonderful writer named Rebecca, and this past week when we met, the conversation turned to blogs.

We’ve decided to both revisit our blogs with a concentrated focus. She’s studying craft books and enjoys the exercises these books provide. She’s decided to focus her blog on those exercises, or insights she’s gained from the process.  Read more

What do you like in a story?

What do you like in a story? Have you ever thought about it? And by that, I mean more than for a few seconds. Have you ever sat down and made a list of the things you enjoy about the stories you read?

I read Chris Baty’s book, No Plot, No Problem last week. For those of you who didn’t know, Chris is the guy who started NaNoWriMo and I was curious to see what he said about writing a novel in 30 days. If you’ve never written a novel before, you would benefit most from the book, which gives you tips to keep track of word count, how to tell your family you’re writing a book, along with advice on how to stay sane during the month-long challenge. Read more

2016 Reading Challenge

My post last week recapped the books I’ve read in 2015. In that post, I was excited to try to reach my goal of a book a week for 2016. With that in mind, I’ve created a reading challenge because I think they’re fun. I’ve based it on the alphabet =). Here it is:

  • Read a book with Animal characters.
  • Read a book by a best-selling British author.
  • Read a book with Cooking in it.
  • Read a Dystopian book.
  • Read a book with a character who’s an Engineer.
  • Read a book about Freedom.
  • Read a book about a Gift. Alternatively, read a book you received as a Gift.
  • Read a book about a character with memorable Hair.
  • Read a book where a character is Innocent.
  • Read a book written by an author whose name begins with J (first or last).
  • Read a book a King has read.
  • Read a book with a Long title (more than five words).
  • Read a book your Mother recommends.
  • Read a book by an author you’ve Never read before.
  • Read a book that has a character crossing an Ocean.
  • Read a book Published in 2016 and one Published the year you were 16.
  • Read a book about a Quest.
  • Read a book Recommended by your friend.
  • Read a book about a Spy.
  • Read a book about Time Travel.
  • Read an Urban fantasy book.
  • Read a book written by a military Veteran.
  • Read a book written by a mighty Woman.
  • Read a book with a Yellow cover.
  • Read a book about a Zoo.

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2015 Reading Challenge Recap

20151219_104655In 2015 I posted a reading challenge. Forgot about it, did you? For those of you who didn’t, I know you’re dying to hear how it went.

Well . . . I got almost half of them ticked off. Here are the details:

  • A book with more than 500 pages — Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson (these books are huge!)
  • A classic romance —
  • A book that became a movie — A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
  • A book published this year —
  • A book with a number in the title — Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • A book written by someone under 30 —
  • A book with non-human characters — (technically The Amulet of Samarkand and Stroud’s other books fall here, but I used them for another entry).
  • A book by a female author — Oryx & Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • A mystery or thriller —
  • A book with a one-word title — Ireland, Frank Delaney
  • A book of short stories — Angels and Visitations: A Miscellany, Neil Gaiman
  • A book set in a different country — The Truth About You, Susan Lewis
  • A non-fiction book — Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, Gabriella Coleman
  • A popular author’s first book — Storm Front, Jim Butcher
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet — I wanted to fill in this category, trust me, I did. American Gods is waiting for me, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet =(.
  • A book a friend recommended —
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book — Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
  • A book based on a true story —
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list —
  • A book your mom loves —
  • A book that scares you —
  • A book more than 100 years old — Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • A book based entirely on its cover —
  • A book you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t — Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • A memoir —
  • A book you can finish in a day — Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  • A book with antonyms in the title —
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit — (Ireland, Frank Delaney)
  • A book that came out the year you were born —
  • A book with bad reviews —
  • A trilogy — The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate, Jonathan Stroud
  • A book from your childhood —
  • A book with a love triangle —
  • A book set in the future — The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • A book set in high school —
  • A book with a color in the title —
  • A book that made you cry — Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  • A book with magic —
  • A graphic novel —
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before — The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
  • A book you own but have never read —
  • A book that takes place in your hometown —
  • A book that was originally written in a different language —
  • A book set during Christmas —
  • A book written by an author with your same initials —
  • A play —
  • A banned book — (Lord of the Flies, William Golding)
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show — (Storm Front, Jim Butcher)
  • A book you started but never finished —

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Why Aren’t There More Pictures?

20151116_134312Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about the smell of books. Normally I try to use my own photos on my posts, mostly because it takes forever to find royalty-free photos. For that post, I knew I wanted something book-related, so I pulled out a few of my older books, and in one case, one older-looking book, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, took a few photos, chose one I liked, and added it to the post. When I was finished, I put all the books back in the bookcase.

Fast forward an hour later and the kids are eating their snack. My five-year-old son picks up the one book I apparently did not put back and in his most incredulous, I-can’t-believe-people-actually-want-to-read-words, voice asks, ‘Why aren’t there more pictures in this book? What kind of book is this?!’

I told him the pictures are trapped inside the words. He has to read the story to release them.