Blog Hop: Reading While Haunted

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  You’re spending a night in a haunted house.  What book would you bring with you?

Firstly, I would not spend the night in a haunted house!  I jump and freak out in fake haunted houses, when I know perfectly well it’s all actors and effects, so even a hypothetically-haunted house is completely out the window.  Absolutely nothing supernatural could happen and I’d still be freaked by every sound!  In fact, I recently beta-read Audrey Murphy by Karen Blakely (due to be published this December!), in which the heroine accepts a dare to spend the night in a haunted house.  I swiftly learned that I would fail this dare, as I offered frequent advice that the heroine ought to be more scared…

Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s try to imagine a situation where I do in fact spend the night in a haunted house.  What book would I bring?  If I thought the house was actually haunted by malevolent spirits, I’m going to have to go with a Bible as the most likely to be helpful and protective under the circumstances.

If we’re theorizing that it’s not really haunted, just creepy, then I’m leaning towards something comforting that doesn’t require too intense of concentration.  Probably either L. M. Montgomery’s journals (because I’m weird that way 🙂 ) or maybe Winnie-the-Pooh.

Is there any hypothetical possibility that I might want to bring something atmospheric, like Dracula or something by Steven King?  No.  No, there really isn’t!

Writing Wednesday: NaNo Is Coming

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching!  With only half of October left, I’m getting ready for November’s writing in earnest now.  I’m set up on the NaNoWriMo website (add me as a writing buddy, if you’re writing too!) and am putting the pieces together to be ready to go on my next project, The Princess Beyond the Thorns.

I already have 35,000 words written for this project, but those words are in a somewhat complicated shape.  I essentially wrote two novellas some months ago, which are now Parts One and Two of the planned novel.  I revised Part One before my September writing retreat, but I still need to finish revising Part Two, so that everything is lined up and sorted before I dive in to completing the novel for NaNoWriMo.

I’ve already gone through Part Two and determined where I need to add a chapter or reorient an existing one.  The biggest changes I need to make are to bring Terrence’s perspective in (because the original version was all Rose, and now I want it split more evenly between them!) and to add in details and context that weren’t important when this was a smaller piece.  So I need to rewrite around three chapters to put them from Terrence’s point of view, and add in about six more (mostly Terrence, but there’s some extra Rose stuff I need too).  Plus do any revision on the remaining, less heavily to-be-altered chapters.

As I calculate it, if I take care of one chapter per day, that will get it all done before NaNo starts (with three days to spare).  And if that turns out not to be feasible, there are less significant changes in the final portions, so it won’t be too big a crisis as long as I get most of the way through.

We’ll see how that all goes…  In the meantime, here’s a bit I expanded in a Rose chapter, now that I have a better sense of her character growth over the span of the novel.

***********

Instinctively, automatically, she reached out for Terrence’s hand again.  She had known they’d be separated eventually, but she still wasn’t ready for that, not yet.  Only after their fingers were entwined did it occur to her that the entire room, and the king, had seen that gesture, had seen her reach for Terrence.  What would they read in it?

Without even looking at her, Terrence’s fingers tightened around hers and he said evenly, “I’ll show Princess Rose to her new rooms.”

A longer look from the king this time, and did she hear a faint murmur in the crowd?  But finally the king said, “My youngest son has grown suddenly bold.  How…remarkable.”  He turned away, to return to his throne, everything in the movement speaking of dismissal.  “Very well then.  I expect to meet with you directly after.  We have much to discuss.”

For just a moment, this felt like a solution.  And then some little part of Rose rebelled, maybe the same part that had been so angry when she thought she was going to die.  Because this was a solution, but it was a dismissal too, and she didn’t want to be that girl anymore, the one she had been in the before time.  The girl who was sent off into another room while the men discussed important things.  While they discussed her.  And if she had just showed the king and all his court that she couldn’t stand without Terrence next to her—it felt suddenly as though, if she didn’t make some kind of gesture right now, right at the beginning, she would never be anything more than she had been.

Squeezing Terrence’s hand, wanting him to know she wasn’t exactly rejecting his effort to help, she very carefully, very clearly said, “I appreciate Prince Terrence’s kind offer, but I would like to attend that meeting.  To discuss my return to court.”

This prompted a louder murmur among the crowd, and the king stopped a step away from his throne.  He turned very slowly back around to look at her, eyes narrowing.

Friday Face-Off: Spooky Lodgings

FFO.jpg

It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn/Hotel

It took me surprisingly little time to hit on a book featuring an inn–and it’s even October/Halloween appropriate!  I offer Howliday Inn by James Howe.  This is part of the Bunnicula series, but I read it first, and always seemed like the primary book in the series to me.  Chester the cat and Harold the dog are sent to stay at “Howliday Inn” while their humans go on vacation, and the overactive imagination of Chester promptly decides villainy is afoot.  The story is funny and delightful.

I like Harold’s expression here, and the inn is suitably spooky in the background…but I feel like the relative size of Chester and Harold is a bit off.  Or that’s just a really BIG cat!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Spooky Lodgings”

2019 Reading Challenges: Three-Quarters Update

It’s October, and time to check in again on my reading challenges for the year!

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

My ongoing nonfiction reading continues, with a lot of variety in topics.  At my last update, I’d decided to try the “Century Challenge,” reading one book from each century of the Dewey Decimal system.  I only had a few left to hit, and I got all of them in during this last quarter.  So I guess it’s all just a free ride from here for the rest of the year on this one!

  1. We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (590.73)
  2. Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb (158.1)
  3. Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (813.52)
  4. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (571.09)
  5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (028.9)
  6. Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim (294.35)
  7. The Creative Life by Julia Cameron (818.54)
  8. Do Nothing by Siroj Sorajjakool (299.51)
  9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (153.35)
  10. It’s Better Than It Looks by Gregg Easterbrook (306.09)
  11. Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
  12. A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton (387.73)
  13. Growing Up Again by Mary Tyler Moore (362.19)
  14. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy (428.00)
  15. 30 Before 30 by Marina Shifrin (650.10)
  16. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (974.7)
  17. Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom (910.40)
  18. I’ll Have What She’s Having by Rebecca Harrington (791.43)
  19. Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung
  20. Living a Life That Matters by Harold S. Kushner (296.36)
  21. There Are No Grown-ups by Pamela Druckerman (305.24)
  22. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (155.23)

Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges: Three-Quarters Update”

Writing Wednesday: Plans Revisited

Before I went on a writing retreat in mid-September, I put up a list of writing goals.  I didn’t get to most of them on retreat, but I’ve been working away at projects since then.  I thought it might be fun (and good for me to keep things straight!) to come back and see where projects stand now.

Here was the list…

  1. Finish revising Guardian III for beta-readers – I completed this on retreat, my main goal!
  2. Guardian II revisions based on second-round beta reader feedback – This got done as my first project when I came back.
  3. Guardian I revisions based on read-aloud review – I started this on retreat, and finished it within a few days after.
  4. First-round revisions for Thorns I, Part Two – This is my next project, and planned focus throughout October!
  5. Beta-read a friend’s novel (due by mid-October) – I sent this off to her at the end of September.
  6. NaNoWriMo prep for Thorns I, Part Three – Closely related to #4, this is my other October focus, especially as NaNoWriMo gets closer.
  7. Continue drafting short stories for planned “Bookstore Anthology” – My main project of late September, I made some good progress on my story of a ballerina falling into Leroux’s Phantom.
  8. Stonehenge Circle Writers’ biweekly blog prompt short story – Well, this is ongoing…

So that’s five out of eight complete, which is a nice feeling.  I don’t usually have quite this many things going all at once in different stages. 😀  It’s been interesting, but I’m looking forward to being more focused again…

Blog Hop: Bookish Holidays

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  Have you ever wished that there were official government bookish holidays, and that, by law, employers HAD to give their workers a paid day off? If so, what kind of bookish holiday would you like to have?

I’ve rather thought that Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23rd) would make a nice holiday.  In college, I was in a Renaissance-but-heavily-Shakespeare class that happened to meet on Shakespeare’s birthday (and since we only met once a week, it was actually a pretty lucky chance).  I brought cookies in to celebrate. 🙂  Mostly just because, but also a little bit because I’m a Stratfordian (I believe William Shakespeare of Stratford, who was born on April 23rd, wrote the plays), and I knew my professor was decidedly not…  Nothing like fighting a literary war with cookies!

If Shakespeare’s birthday was an official holiday, obviously it should be celebrated with Shakespearean plays.  And maybe something to do with dragons, considering it’s also St. George’s Day.

November 30th would make a good writing holiday–it’s the birthday of L. M. Montgomery, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill (prime minister, but also a writer).  Plus, it’s the last day of National Novel Writing Month, so a final-day celebration seems both appropriate, and helpful to all the writers who need a day off to get their final words written.

I tried to think of a fictional holiday in a book that I’d like to see really celebrated, but I came up blank.  The only one I thought of was Hogswatch from Discworld, but that’s very close to Christmas (with more meat pies).

Are there any bookish holidays you’d like to see celebrated?  Any holidays from books, or holidays celebrating books?

Writing Wednesday: Down Once More?

I’m having a bouncing-around kind of period for my writing right now.  Until I dive into NaNoWriMo, I’m working more casually on a number of smaller projects.  One of these is my short stories for a planned anthology, in which characters magically enter books.  I wrote about my plans to send a character into Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera before.  I wrote roughly the first ten pages some months ago, moved on to other projects, and now have circled back to write a bit more.  Because obviously the weeks before NaNoWriMo should be spent writing!

Michelle has been at the Opera overnight, and in the morning is ready to hunt for the Phantom.  She just isn’t sure exactly how to go about that.

*********

I thought about trying to find a way below the Opera—if I descended enough stairs, would I find the underground passages the Phantom had led Christine through?  Could I eventually find my way to the Phantom’s rooms?

Somehow I doubted it.  After all, it couldn’t be that easy, or the Opera Company would have found the Phantom long ago.  Unless that was authorial suspension of disbelief.  Maybe Leroux’s story just wasn’t that plausible.

Yeah.  It was weird being in a book.