Poetry Month: Aftermath

Happy National Poetry Month!

Here’s an erasure poem I did. (The library had pages from old, dead books, and markers for poetry month.) It’s fun to play with shapes.

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Top Ten Tues: Freebie

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

April 17: Freebie (create your own topic)

Top Ten Books I Need to Reread. I read far more new books, but every once and awhile, I want to visit old favorites.

  1. The Dresden Files; Jim Butcher. It will help fill the time until the next book comes out.

2. The Expanse; James Corey. Book 7 came out not long ago, and it made me think I’m due to start over to keep it all fresh before 8.

3. Jane Steele; Lyndsay Faye. Because the copy I bought after I returned the library copy needs breaking in.

4. The Princess Bride; William Goldman. It’s been a bit.

5. Redwall; Brian Jacques. An old childhood obsession.

6. Illuminae/Gemina; Amie Kaufmann & Jay Kristoff. I now own all 3, so I want to Reread 1 and 2 before finishing the series.

7. Uprooted; Naomi Novik. Saw this on another TTT.

8. Mort; Terry Pratchett. Doing a buddy read.

9. Harry Potter; J.K. Rowling. It’s been a couple years, so why not?

10. The Martian; Andy Weir. To see if the protagonist and Artemis’ protagonist still remind me of each other.

 

 

Weekend Writing Warrior: 4/14

~~~~~~No post next week, April 22nd, I’ll be out of town~~~~~~

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back. Day 4: Alix reaches a set of standing stones, and the king of goblins appears to offer her advice.

PreviouslyAlix came upon a standing stone circle, a much larger one than she’d seen so far.

“You’ve arrived here already, human? Well done, I expected it to take you another day at the least,” a male voice said off to her right.

The king under the mountain stood a few feet away, wearing another short cape, this one a deep rich red, a black tunic embroidered in geometric patterns in gold thread, and what looked like a kilt in a black, gray, and red plaid.

“Nice legs,” she said in response.

He blinked at her, amber eyes startled, and she had a moment to wonder if she’d overstepped, and then he laughed. “I am here to warn you, mortal. One of these doorways will take you closer to your cousin, but the rest will take you elsewhere, away from your goal. Some of the doors lead to places most perilous for the unprepared, and one will take you back to your home plane. So think carefully, and choose wisely.”

 

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

“Once you step through a door, your options—and your likely difficulties—have shifted drastically,” the king said. “But I can show you the gate that will take home.”

“No,” Alix said, then hastily added, “thanks.”

He smirked, letting her know he’d noticed the pause, but didn’t say anything.

“I’ll rescue Steph in record time,” Alix squared her shoulders, and drew in a deep breath, trying to will the determination and confidence she didn’t quite feel into her face.

“Very well. If you survive your journey, remember that you can call on me, and I may be able to come and fetch you home,” he reminded her, and vanished as soon as the last word left his mouth.

“Yeah, yeah, helpful, your highness,” she groused, staring at the stones and resisting the urge to kick the closest one, as her day would not be improved by a broken toe.

Slowly, she made another circle, staring up at the markings etched into each lintel stone.

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and while biking back to the dorms, Stephanie steps into a fairy circle and is taken to the kingdom under the mountain, where she will stay forever as a goblin unless rescued.

Poetry Month: Spring

April is National Poetry Month. So have a poem!

***

Spring

Yesterday the winds cut without pause

slicing through light coats and jabbing at ears and noses

people huddled, hands in pockets

The day before shone warmly–searing blue cloudless sky

parched of shade

all the flowers bright

in red yellow pink white

sweetly wafting lures to bees

Today is in between, the wind tossing the leaves high

lacking teeth or claws

sky a patchwork of sun and shade-casting vapor puffs

distant sounds of music and laughter

and a glass of sweet tart lemonade

Top Ten Tues: Loved But Won’t Reread

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

April 10: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read (submitted by Brandyn @ Goingforgoldilocks)

These are books I got from the library, and probably won’t purchase or check out again. Probably, but who knows?

1. Meet Cute; Jennifer Armentrout. Cute, but not substantial.

2. In Real Life; Cory Doctrow & Jen Wang. It was cute, but pretty light, a re-read wouldn’t find something new.

3. Turtles all the Way Down; John Green. Somehow, the characters didn’t speak to me enough.

4. The Mountain Between Us; Charles Martin. Read to go with the movie, but neither really spoke to me.

5. The Portable Dorothy Parker; Dorothy Parker. Though I like all her work, it turns out her poems speak to me far more.

6. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet; Reif Larsen & Ben Gibson. A bit slow.

7. Word by Word; Kory Stamper. Cool and informative, but not so much I’d reread.

8. Just Mercy; Brian Stevenson. A good, but rather sad read.

9. Annihilation; Jeff VanderMeer. Too creepy for a reread.

10. Princeless; Jeremy Whitley. Later comics let me down, so I won’t keep reading–or go back.

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/7

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back. She meets Nissa and Aengus, who explain the tithe/teind and give her a ride. (There are three races of goblins: hobs, erlkings, and kibi) Day 4: Alix reaches a set of standing stones.

Previously:  “You seem not to like the tithe, but are you alone in that opinion?” Alix asked.

“No, we are not,” Nissa said, “though I believe more support the teind than do not. Like many customs that carry with them a mix of shame and relief, it’s difficult to discuss.”

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Yes, I imagine you do not,” Nissa said, though not unkindly. “Goblins live a very long time compared to humans, but we do die from accidents, illness, and other reasons now and then. And our birth rates… we do not easily bear children.”

Nissa paused, and Aengus touched her hand, before she continued, “You may have noticed that this is a world of empty spaces.  Humans have filled your world to the bursting, but we have always been a drop in the ocean. And as time passes, we dwindle instead of grow.”

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

Alix came upon a standing stone circle, a much larger one than she’d seen so far.

“You’ve arrived here already, human? Well done, I expected it to take you another day at the least,” a male voice said off to her right.

The king under the mountain stood a few feet away, wearing another short cape, this one a deep rich red, a black tunic embroidered in geometric patterns in gold thread, and what looked like a kilt in a black, gray, and red plaid.

“Nice legs,” she said in response.

He blinked at her, amber eyes startled, and she had a moment to wonder if she’d overstepped, and then he laughed. “I am here to warn you, mortal. One of these doorways will take you closer to your cousin, but the rest will take you elsewhere, away from your goal. Some of the doors lead to places most perilous for the unprepared, and one will take you back to your home plane. So think carefully, and choose wisely.”

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and while biking back to the dorms, Stephanie steps into a fairy circle and is taken to the kingdom under the mountain, where she will stay forever as a goblin unless rescued.

Top Ten Tues: Diamonds in the Rough

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

April 3: Characters I liked That Were In Non-Favorite/Disliked Books.

This is a tough one, as I generally put down books I dislike. So these are less-than-favorite books. Alphabetical, as always.

  1. Don Quixote. Don Quixote; Miquel Cervantes. While he’s also a little tragic, I admire his pursuit of his dreams!

2. Loki. The Seafarer’s Kiss; Julia Ember. Loki is more than a bit of a jerk, but embodies ‘be careful what you wish for.’

3. Hester Prynne. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne. She’s a rebel, and I admire that.

4. Cressy Stavely. False Colours; Georgette Heyer. In a book full of silly people–who were also sometimes wasteful, stupid, or selfish, she was remarkably sane.

5. Scarlett March. Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce. While the story didn’t quite come together, Scarlett is a kick-butt fairy-tale hero.

6. Green. Foxlowe; Eleanor Wasserberger. She’s so deeply messed up, and not a nice person, but compelling nonetheless.

Book Riot Read Harder 2018: March

Here’s the new Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2018! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. It’s always great to see the new suggestions, and I’m still working on finding the perfect titles.

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.”

  • Read a book of classic genre fiction.

False Coulours; Georgette Heyer.

Christopher “Kit” Fancot’s twin brother, Evelyn, has disappeared. And right before Evelyn was due to meet Lady Stavely, the grandmother of Cressy Stavely–the woman Evelyn will marry, if he can win her grandmother’s approval. Lady Fancot convinces Kit to take his brother’s place, as it will just be for one night. But of course, the situation falls apart, and he’s forced to stand in for his twin for so long there are few simple solutions left.

With a set up as ridiculous as that, you can expect the story to be a bit silly as well. And I was hoping for that–a silly entertaining romance. Somehow, though, the characters were vapid and uninteresting, their speech labored instead of clever, and I had a hard time keeping reading. The expected end was a little more entertaining, but not enough to redeem the plodding that had gone before.

  • Read a book about nature.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Dillard.

This book is all about the land, plants, and animals in a particular area.

These nature mediations are strange. Drawn out, rambling, shifting with no transition. They focus on things seen (mostly insects or animals) and what thoughts they inspired. But there doesn’t seem to be a point to most, if any, of them

  • Read a book of post/colonial literature.

Half of a Yellow Sun; Chimamanda Adichie.

Set in Nigeria, and it’s main issue focuses around the borders imposed by colonists.

The story of three characters, all caught in in a civil war. They will lose family or loved ones, homes, and even their freedoms, but somehow come together in the hope of something larger than themselves. Full of culture shock, tradition, corruption and cruelty shown against kindness and compassion–a fictional account of a real tragedy.

Any book involving genocide and war (and all its attendant horrors) is going to be heartbreaking. This is no exception, with fear, loss, rape, and starvation. But it also captures the hope of a people, the drive for independence, love, forgiveness, and moments of kindness.

I liked some of the characters much more than others, but the story had enough of my favorites to keep me going through the less interesting spots. Parts of it were rough to get through, with a lot of suffering made worse by the fact that bureaucracy, greed, and incompetence made people’s lives more dangerous. But there were light hearted moments to hang on to, throughout. A well written story about a real, and often overlooked, war.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/31

~~~~ Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! ~~~~

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back. Day 3, Alix has seen a cart approaching her on a road, with a male and female goblin, who stop and offer her help–that evening, Nissa and Aengus talk about the tradition of the humans who become the tithe/teind. (There are three races of goblins: hobs, erlkings, and kibi)

Previously“The punishment for harming a tam is… severe,” Aengus said, after Nissa had been sitting in silence for a while, her knuckles white on the clay tea cup.

“We will not speak of those things,” she said, her tone like slamming shut a door, “The punishment for aiding a tam is less severe, however.”

“And I’m supposed to believe you’d risk it? For a stranger?”

“Now that we have seen you, we have to choose whether to help or not. If we turn our faces away… there are two hearts that we have failed, two deaths on our souls,” Nissa’s eyes glittered, though no tears fell.

Aengus reached over to squeeze her hand, and she clung to him for a moment, before swallowing hard, “On our word of honor, we offer no tricks.”

“On our honor,” Aengus murmured solemnly.

“If I don’t trust that your word matters, I don’t see how I can find my cousin in time,” Alix said, “I accept.”

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

“You seem not to like the tithe, but are you alone in that opinion?” Alix asked.

“No, we are not,” Nissa said, “though I believe more support the teind than do not. Like many customs that carry with them a mix of shame and relief, it’s difficult to discuss.”

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Yes, I imagine you do not,” Nissa said, though not unkindly. “Goblins live a very long time compared to humans, but we do die from accidents, illness, and other reasons now and then. And our birth rates… we do not easily bear children.”

 

Nissa paused, and Aengus touched her hand, before she continued, “You may have noticed that this is a world of empty spaces.  Humans have filled your world to the bursting, but we have always been a drop in the ocean. And as time passes, we dwindle instead of grow.”

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and while biking back to the dorms, Stephanie steps into a fairy circle and is taken to the kingdom under the mountain, where she will stay forever as a goblin unless rescued.

Smart and Wry: Review of The Doorbell Rang

This book–a pretty hardcover with simple graphic of a building on it, and an eye-catching splash of red–called to me at a used bookstore, and decided to take a risk on it. I’d heard of the detective. Despite it being a whopping #41 in the series, it worked quit well as a stand alone. It was scattered with little hints about characters’ backstories and development. Not as much as reading all those books, I’m sure, but plenty to go on.

I like an old fashioned sort of detective story, like Sherlock Holmes. The proper balance involves an intelligent, only moderately insufferable detective, and a partner who doesn’t put up with their nonsense.

The basis is an unsolvable case–a woman is being stalked by the FBI, and she wants it to stop. But how can one person (or even two) manage that? Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie are severely outgunned, yet they don’t let that stop them. Somehow, they plan to dig up the leverage to make the tails go away. Soon enough, Wolfe seizes on a murder that just might do the trick, but the case is a lot more complicated than that.

In the expected fashion for this kind of book, there’s plenty of lies and red herrings, hidden secrets uncovered, and the grand unveiling at the end. You know, the one where the detective walks the reader through each step, and it all makes sense. The ending is properly satisfying, wrapping things up without being impractical.

And the falling action contains and unexpected chuckle, too. In fact, there’s a few places, where if you enjoy a dry sort of humor, that this book will entertain. Wolfe and Archie have that back and forth witty banter down pat. A good read for classic whodunit fans.