You Are Here: Jenny Lawson’s Coloring Inspiration Book

Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, doodles and writes inspirational quotes on her doodles. She put them together with inspirational quotes on the pages between. The result is You Are Here.

She read the introduction aloud. And it was just as funny and touching as you’d expect. I won’t spoil it, but it is awesome.

And she told some stories, including one that made me smile. Neil Gaiman, another writer I adore, seems to know every other writer I like–and he knows Jenny, too. He reads her books first, and gives excellent feedback. This works in reverse, too. She offered to read a book he was struggling with, and he sent her a draft of Ocean at the End of the Lane.

He offered her the best advice she’s ever gotten: “Pretend you’re good at it.”

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Jenny is hunting for some horribly bizarre taxidermy for the cover of her next book. I wonder what she’ll come up with. It’s difficult to beat a Shakespearean mouse and manic racoon.

It’s always fun to see the people who come out to a signing. Even if all those people mean I have to stand (or sit on the floor, like I did this time.) It’s mostly the devoted fans who come out–and the bookstore was packed full of people who love Jenny. It’s wonderful to see people who love the same things you do.

You are here. Stay crazy, my friends.

Top Ten Tues: In One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and 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 of other bloggers who participate.

March 21: Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I’ve read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.

I divided this into favorite quick reads and recent reads you won’t want to put down.

Quick Reads

1. Sleeper and the Spindle; Neil Gaiman. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a rescuing queen instead of prince.

2. Rolling in the Deep; Mira Grant. Scary, scary mermaids.

3. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances; Matthew Inman. For runners, people who know runners, and just people seeking motivation.

4. Baba Yaga’s Assistant; Marika McCoola. It takes a very brave person to be Baba Yaga’s assistant, but Masha is plenty brave.

5. The 13 Clocks; James Thurber. A fairy tale with a wicked duke, an imprisoned princess, and a lot of clocks.

Gripping Reads

6. A Darkness Absolute; Kelley Armstrong. #2 in a series. A town full of people on the run, and hidden monsters.

7. Masque; W.R. Gingell. A great re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, with a strong, independent female lead.

8. The Enchantment Emporium; Tanya Huff. A magic family, a junk shop with some spectacular items, and dragons.

9. Nevernight; Jay Kristoff. An assassin in training, seeking revenge for the death of her family.

10. Truth or Beard; Penny Reid. A really cute, fast paced romance.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/18

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!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work.

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“Is Jo-Jo complaining about the clients again?” a man with graying brown hair asked from the table behind Johansen.

With effort, Rekka controlled a smirk at the pained expression on Johansen’s face. “No, of course not. If we didn’t have monoglots, we wouldn’t have jobs, so we were discussing their importance.”

“Yeah, Rey-Rey, you shouldn’t listen in on other people’s conversations, you might hear something terrible,” Johansen turned her face to hide a teasing grin from the man, “Like pregnancy. You have any kids yet, Lang?”

“Not yet.”

“Oh, let me tell you, everyone talks about the miracle, but no one really wants to talk about the side effects. Sure, morning sickness and back pain, but do they warn you that you might grow hair in some really weird places, or—” She paused, glancing at the man, who’d recoiled in exaggerated fear somewhere halfway through the speech, and gone back to his conversation.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Nostalgia for Fans: Review of Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

I absolutely adored Gilmore Girls, so when I saw that Lauren Graham had written a book, I had to give it a shot. Since I’ve been trying to listen to more audio books, and I’ve found memoir types work best for me, that’s the format I got it in. It comes with an e-pub of the book, too, so you can see the pictures.

And I loved it, of course.

She covers a wide variety of moments from her life, looking back to the start of her career, meandering over friendships and relationships, shows and books, and even an excellent piece of writing advice she received on how to stay productive. In the beginning, she struggled, and then wasn’t quite sure that she’d “made it.” She talks about celebrity dieting, work, and her personal life with a sense of humor and fun that makes the while book enjoyable to listen to.

There is, of course, plenty about Gilmore Girls–the show, and then the four-part retrospective. She talks more about what it was like to do both than the episodes themselves, so it’s fairly spoiler free if you haven’t watched A Year in the Life. (As I haven’t. I need to fix that!) She mentions guest stars, the titles of the episodes, but that’s it. And even the guest stars are almost spoiler free, since she has a fondness for getting a minor role for everyone she knows, apparently.

A great read or listen for any fans of Lauren Graham’s work, and highly recommended for Gilmore Girl fans. While it’s more about her life than the show, there’s plenty of gems to keep fans happy.

Top Ten Tues: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and 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 of other bloggers who participate!

March 14: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

These are the books I most look forward to reading from March 20th to June 20th.

1. White Hot; Ilona Andrews. This book can’t come out soon enough. I need more Nevada and Rogan.

2. A Man Called Ove; Fredrik Backman. The Bloggess loved it. Must read!

3. The Skill of Our Hands; Steven Brust. Reincarnation and secret societies and trying to make the world a better place.

4. Atlas Obscura; Joshua Foer. Collects a bunch of strange places. Sounds interesting!

5. Norse Mythology; Neil Gaiman. A collection of Norse myths, by a favorite author.

6. The Stars are Legion; Kameron Hurley. Spaceships and treachery!

7. Wintersong; S. Jae-Jones. Pretty cover, some hype, I’m curious.

8. Wires & Nerve; Marissa Meyer. The story of Iko. Yes, please!

9. Strange the Dreamer; Laini Taylor. I liked the Smoke & Bone series, so have to give this one a try. Also, the main character is a librarian.

10. Heartstone; Elle Katharine White. Pride & Prejudice with dragons!

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/11

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!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work.

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“How long have you been in the city, Lang?” Johansen asked.

“Counting today, three days,” Rekka said.

“You’re all shiny and new, aren’t you?”

“We all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Just a minute.” Rekka rescued a mug from the cabinet and poured herself some coffee before retaking her seat, glancing at the time on her phone as she sat.

“Yes…. somewhere,” Johansen said after Rekka had taken a sip of coffee, “Which side are you working on–text or speech?”

“Speech.”

“Bleh,” the older woman pulled a face, faint crow’s feet crinkling at the corners of her eyes, “Dealing with people all day? I don’t know how you lot do it.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

All About that Gold: Review of Orconomics

orconomics

On the surface, this seems like a pretty standard mercenary monster-killer satire. But it’s more than that–big corporations sell shares of monster hoards, and rake in the profits regardless of the outcome. Dwarf Gorm Ingerson was a famous beserker in the Heroes’ Guild, then he fell from grace, and ended up a thief–so he doesn’t have much say when he’s recruited by a priest as part of a team to fulfill a prophecy.

The satire’s pretty on point with this one. It has some things to say about financial systems, and what people do for profit, and most tellingly, how society decides who are people… and who are profit. And the fact that it’s well done is what makes it terrible. I could see what was coming before it happened, and I really hoped it wouldn’t… but it did. The whole thing made me so angry, because it was like real life, if you take out the magic and dragons and so on.

Have you ever had a book that you didn’t like–not because it was badly written, but because it was a little too spot on?

Pen Thief: Story about Objects that Steal Themselves

From the first line generator. Props to a Writing Center co-worker, who, when we went hunting for lost pencils, turned out to have more than a dozen pencils and pens–many of which were not hers.

The pen hadn’t been worth stealing. Not this pen, or the dozen before it, or all the pencils, either. Of course, she never meant to steal them, so it was hardly a question of worth. They simply wandered into pockets, leapt behind her ear, or migrated into her purse.

Maybe now and then, her eye was caught by a bright color, or a softly contoured grip, and the pens wandered with just a hint of intent, but really… when she’d dumped out her purse at her co-worker’s insistence, she’d thought there might be two or three pens in there. Hadn’t she cleaned out her purse just a couple of weeks ago?

From the litter of crumpled receipts, empty gum wrappers, half-used tubes of lipstick, and hair elastics, it had been longer than that.

With a kind of fascination, Lila counted out the writing instruments, separating them from the clutter. “One… two… three…”

She shifted her feet, annoyed. It was all a mistake, a petty theft, the kind of accident that just happened to people. Everyone found a pen or two that didn’t belong to them, now and then.

“Fourteen… fifteen…”

Someone in the crowd giggled.

“Some of those are mine!” she protested. “I’m always losing my pens. The green retractables.”

Without pausing in her counting, Lila nudged three green pens to the side of her growing pile. “Twenty-one… twenty-two…” She paused. “Twenty-two.”

“That’s nineteen! Three of those are mine!” Definitely not worth it, even if the pen that she’d picked up from Lila’s desk had a lovely cushioned grip and a sleek silver design. She sighed as that pen, and all but those three green pens, were carried away, people claiming their lost pens and pencils from Lila, and dispersing back to work.

Not worth it, but maybe if she slipped it in her lunch box, instead…

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/4

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!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

“Oh, hey, new girl!” one of the women at the break room table closest to Rekka said, waving.

“Oh, hey, old girl!” Rekka responded, moving forward to stand close enough for comfortable conversation.

“Don’t call me—” the woman began, then blinked, “Right, never mind. The coffee’s over there, and water in the fridge. The best vending machines are down by the restrooms to the right, if you want a snack. We won’t overwhelm you with names right now, but welcome, have a seat.”

“How about one name? I’m Rekka Lang.”

“Oh, you’ll do just fine here,” The woman flipped her golden blond hair, cut in a bob, in a habitual gesture. “I’m Ange–Ange Johansen.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: February

And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! 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. 🙂

(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 out.”

  • Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.

Ode to Common Things; Pablo Neruda.

odes-to-common

These poems are translated from Spanish, and are about everyday items.

It’s interesting to see the side by side comparisons of the poems. The bits of Spanish I still recall from school means I could see where the words were more or less exact translations. Alliteration, for example, is difficult to make work across languages. The illustrations are lovely, and different over each language.

The subjects vary, but they’re all common things–chairs, tables, soap, socks, and so on. But despite the common nature of the subjects, the poems are lovely and lyrical, with some deep philosophical moments, and beautiful imagery. A great read for poetry fans.

  • Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

Hold Still; Nina LaCour.

hold-still

This is a YA book, and Nina LaCour is on LBGTQ+ lists.

Warning: this is a book about teen suicide. It’s about Caitlin coping with the loss of her best friend Ingrid, trying to put her life back together–and then she finds a journal of Ingrid’s, which might hold the secrets to why the suicide happened. There’s not too much plot detail without giving things away, but Caitlin has to deal with her grief, and that of other people who loved Ingrid.

This is a sad one, but still a pretty hopeful story in the end. Suicide is a tough subject, and in the young even tougher, but it’s a thing that, tragically, happens. And having to cope with it is also a part life. No one grieves the same, of course, but maybe books like this can help.

  • Read a book about sports.

The Crossover; Kwame Alexander.

crossover

This is a story about two brothers who play basketball.

Told in verse, this is a enjoyable, quick read–and not just poetry, but poems with zig-zagging words and plenty of visual interest. The story is of twin brothers, who both love basketball. But as they grow older, their desires diverge. This pits brother against brother, and the changing dynamic leads to a lot of stress. Life throws a few more surprises their way, adding to the conflict, and the story throughout is quite easy to relate to. Everyone has had family problems and dreams–even if they don’t include basketball.