Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Friday Five Minus One

Friday Five3

Happy Friday to you! I only have four things to share this week, but there’s a lot to chew on in some of them.

  1. Jane Friedman’s post on social media for authors was a soothing balm to me. Particularly these sentences: “It works best when you can see it as play, as a natural extension of your work. As soon as you carve it out as the ‘marketing and promotion’ part of work/life, your results may be lackluster.” Sometimes, I worry about my online presence, as the bulk of my writing time is spent in offline projects and SEO stuff. Then when I do post on social media, I feel like it has to really be something special. So I end up not posting for longer. It’s possible I’m overthinking it and just need to play.
  2. Melissa Febos via  Catapult urges us to fight the expectations placed on us (…that we place on ourselves also?) to better manage our time and get work done. I like any advice that tells me to ignore emails (except for customer emails at work, of course).
  3. If there’s one thing I love about the upcoming female remake of Lord of the Flies, it’s the opportunity it provides for satire. The last faux excerpt on this list is my favorite:

    “Murder?!” asked Erica.

    “Literally the only thing we’re trying to do on this island is not die. Why—” but Sam couldn’t finish her sentence. She was laughing too hard.

  4. The 2017 Texas Book Festival. I am going to this one year. This might not be the year, but maybe. I haven’t been to Austin in a while.

So that’s my week. Give me a fifth – what have you read this week that you liked?


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Friday Five2

Where do the weeks go? I’ve been reading and writing, and August is crazy, but now it’s September, so here we are. Hello! How have you all been?

Here are five things that have caught my attention/amused me/made me think:

  1. I read many good responses to the Nashville Statement (which I didn’t find as surprising, given the source, as others seemed to), this one being my favorite.
  2. What do you do when you are trapped in a bakery, held hostage by a hurricane? You make pan dulce, of course, for all the people who are going to be hungry afterwards. I love this story!
  3. I added to my to-read list. There are several on this list of non-fiction I’m interested in checking out.
  4. Lord of the Flies as an all-female remake…written by zero females? The people respond, and it’s hilarious.
  5. And because you need more absurd dog pictures in your life, here are dogs masquerading as people you may know.

Happy Friday!

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story cure

The Story Cure is a how-to manual from a book doctor on fixing your manuscript. This book can do for your manuscript what a physician’s home reference book can do for what ails you physically.

According to Dinty Moore, a book doctor is “a person who will take a book manuscript…and diagnose why it is not yet working.” He then goes on to detail what aspects you might need to address during the editing process. The goal of this book is to help writers get from “I finished/started/proposed a manuscript” to “I have a real book that people might actually want to read.”

When I am evaluating writing books, I look at three things:

  1. How many notes I take
  2. How many ideas I scribble in the margin for current or future projects.
  3. How long it takes me to get through it or how often I come back to it while editing

Judging from my five pages of excited jottings, this book was a success. I read it straight through once and then went back to start some of the tasks Moore lays out. It has improved my focus on my main fiction project and has inspired new ideas for a novel I’m going to start in November. It’s been so helpful, I may have to give him credit in my acknowledgements section when the books are published.

It should also be noted that I said “when” – not “if” – they are published, because The Story Cure has armed me with tools that I’m confident will lead to publication.

Elements that I found particularly helpful include

  • character motivation/development questions to focus your characters (and thus your story),
  • a massive amount of examples and advice from other writers (complete with reference list), and
  • adaptations for people who write fiction vs. nonfiction and for people who are at varying steps in the writing process.

I also appreciate his writing style, particularly when it includes gems like this when referring to why we fix bad writing – “So Roland is safe after all, but unfortunately not everyone is safe, because it is at this point that the reader pulls out a gun and shoots the author at point-blank range.”

The Story Cure is a helpful tool for people who are in the midst of editing a story that isn’t quite where they want it to be. This book can help get you there.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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My #24in48 Recap


*theme music to Rocky playing in background*

I have been excited about this weekend since I heard about it in early July, and it lived up to my every expectation. The only way this weekend could have been better is if I had taken my books to a hotel with good room service near a beach. Maybe next time.

To prepare to read for 24 of the 48 hours in a weekend, I gathered a lot of books. I expected that I would read a little bit from most of them, switching things up as my attention waned. This was not the case for most of the time, though. I finished A Year in Provence, and then I savored Milk and Honey, reading it slowly and in the case of some of the poems, over and over. I finished the day (erm, next morning – it was definitely after sunrise when I went to sleep) devouring Love, Loss, and What We Ate. My reading on day two, however, was a little more like I’d planned. I listened to most of Roxane Gay’s Hunger on audio while cleaning, read the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Nayyirah Waheed, and spent a half hour here and there on several other items on my read-next list.

What I learned from reading all weekend:

  1. Is there a job where I can do this all the time? I feel like I’d be fantastic at it.
  2. 24 hours, even with breaks, is a loooong time to sit. Fine. I relent. Audiobooks can be your friend.
  3. It’s been really easy to eat well this weekend. It turns out that holding a book distracts me/keeps my hands busy enough that I don’t eat mindlessly. I’m almost annoyed that my secret to eating better is something as fun and simple as reading a lot. It seems I could have figured that out a while ago.
  4. I need poetry. I’ve been super stressed out lately, but halfway through Milk and Honey, I was completely relaxed. And those are not exactly soothing verses. There’s something about the way poetry captures language that slows me down and quiets me. I prescribe more poetry reading.
  5. I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, reading inspires writing. In addition to reading for a whole day, I have written more – poetry, my fiction WIP, future blog posts – this weekend than the rest of the days this month combined. I’m thinking of starting a practice of one wordy weekend a month. Oh, introvert bliss!

I loved this weekend. It was just what I needed.


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This is how the best dinner parties start.

“Which five bookish people (or animals, I’m not picky) would be around your perfect literary dinner table?”

  1. Britt-Marie, from Britt-Marie was Here. She would be right on time, and she would approve of my cutlery drawer. We could be nerdy about that together.
  2. Ernest Hemingway. I would seat him next to Britt-Marie. They would either go to great lengths to hold each other in detached but respectful regard or they would despise each other, resulting in her prim, passive-aggressive jabs and his outright roguish responses. Either way, entertaining for all. Dinner and a show.
  3. Peeta from The Hunger Games. He would be a charming, polite dinner guest. Someone to balance out the chaos happening across the table. Also, he would probably bring fresh baked bread.
  4. Mark Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. But only if he looked like the Colin Firth version. Because Colin Firth.
  5. The Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps the reason he had so much trouble staying awake at the tea party was that he simply wasn’t getting enough caffeine. Let me introduce you to my coffee, sir.

Who would be at your literary dinner party?

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Day 2 – #24in48

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This was my favorite challenge thus far – spine poetry.

It’s Day Two of the 24in48 Readathon, and I’m going to make it! I’ve finished three books:

  • A Day in Provence by Peter Mayle
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi

Today’s reading is going to be a combination of

  • The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
  • The audiobook of Hunger by Roxane Gay (because 24 hours is A LOT of sitting)
  • Pieces posted in my mastermind group’s Google drive

I’ve consisted on a diet of spinach and goat cheese lasagna, potatoes dressed with onions and various sauces (inspired by Padma Lakshmi), oatmeal, and all the coffee I have in the house.

Thanks to all that coffee, I reached hour fifteen early this morning before napping.

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Nine hours to go!

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This is what the majority of my weekend is going to look like.

Intro Survey:

Where in the world are you reading from this weekend?
In Denton, Texas – at home with the air conditioner

Have you done the 24in48 readathon before?
Nope – first time!

Where did you hear about the readathon, if it is your first?
A friend posted about it on Facebook.

What book are you most excited about reading this weekend?
Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy

Tell us something about yourself.
I write and read mostly fiction, but I like something from most genres. Winter is my favorite season. And if coffee were a person, I would marry it.

Remind us where to find you online this weekend.
Twitter (@coffeesnob318), Instagram (@_coffeesnob_), and here on the blog.

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