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carriejones July 30 2014, 00:32

Darn you, Jennifer Maimone!

So, I have a lot of author friends who are super cool and amazing writers. They are pretty much across the board awesome. I read their books. I read strangers' books. I pretty much love books.

But every once in awhile, I come across a book that makes me sick.

It doesn't make me sick because it's bad or naughty or full of death. Books that make me sick are the kind of books that are such freaking page turners that I do one of two things:

1. I skip to the ending. When I do this, I imagine my mom (who is dead) yelling at me and basically appearing in ghostly form to tell me that I am now going straight to hell because you should never-ever read a book's ending no matter how badly you want to know what happens.

2. I stay up all night reading, resisting the urge to read the ending, and avoiding my mother's ghost. (I only avoid her ghost when it is cranky).

Anyways, when I take option #2, the staying up all night option, I tend to get sick because I am a person who needs sleep to function. You know a book is pretty freaking spellbinding if I sacrifice my health for it.

Yet, I occasionally do.

And I totally did with Jen Maimone's first book in her Alpha Wolf Series, Demon's Prize.

THIS IS THE COVER! Sorry, that isn't the best image of the cover. But it looks amazing in real life. I don't have a kindle because I just, um, don't. But the in-your-hands-book looks super good. Also, it does not smell like a kindle. It smells like a book.

This is from the website:

The Alpha Wolf Series is a work of paranormal fiction that is centered around a group of paranormal beings who are either trying to find acceptance among their people, peace from their tormented thoughts, or trying to cope with the murders they had committed in the past.  There is magick, history, horror, love and betrayal.

There are werewolves, witches, vampires and demons (oh my!), all of whom are connected to Doctor Brent Carson, a person who is more than he seems to be.

The series is expected to range between 5-7 books.

This book is sexy and funny and awesome. It worries you. It cracks you up. It is way too much fun in a scary/good way. Plus, it has cats in it. Cats are cool. So, if you want to read it there are a bunch of options listed below, but be warned. If you need sleep? You should NOT read this book. Unless you can skip to the end because your mom isn't as tough as mine and isn't a ghost.

Book Website: www.alphawolfseries.com

Etsy Merchandise page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/alphawolfseries

Amazon Kindle and Softcover: http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Wolf-Series-Demons-Prize-ebook/dp/B00KVUK6I0

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22043864-alpha-wolf-series

kellyrfineman July 29 2014, 23:19

Tuesday evening

I have (yet again) been surprised to learn the power of lists.

On Sunday, I spent about an hour assessing what I wanted to get done, and I made up two to-do lists for the week. The first is all about writing and writing-related business (they aren't the same thing, but are related). The second list is about everything else in life -- shopping, cleaning, etc.

Yesterday, I operated off of those two lists. Sort of. I have one writing goal that involves me writing two poems (minimum) every day, and another writing-related goal that involves reading poetry every day. They can't really get crossed-off the weekly list unless and until I manage to accomplish both of them by the end of the week. Nevertheless, I managed to get a couple of things done - progress on several multi-part goals, so I could put a little check mark there, but couldn't cross things out.

Did I mention how much I like crossing things out? Hell, I've been known to add something I just did to a list just so I could put a line through it.

Last night, as a result, I spent a little bit of time trying to figure out what tasks on my weekly list belonged on today's list, and made a separate list just for today. Even if it includes a subset of something on the list, it means once I'm done, I can line it through. I am SO much happier than yesterday, since I can go ahead and do that. And also, I got through nearly the entire list, motivated by my desire to draw lines through things.

That's the power of a good list. You have to write it. You have to plan ahead. And then you have to consult it. If you do, you end up getting a lot of tasks done. Talk about a sense of personal satisfaction.

One more task to finish this evening, and then I get to write out tomorrow's list. I'm hoping there will be more success tomorrow.

Site Meter

anghara July 29 2014, 23:04


"DEARLY BELOVED, SAVE HUMANITY!" says the subject line on one the messages in my spam box.

I am tempted to send an autoreply.

"You have reached the Messiah Hotline. We value your call. Due to the heavier than usual call valume, you may have to wait a little longer than usual for a response. Your expected wait time is approximately 2000 years. Please stay on the line and someone will be with you momentarily."
asakiyume July 29 2014, 21:07

The Lunchbox

A thing on Twitter reminded me that I wanted to say how much fun the movie The Lunchbox is. Apparently I just really, really love epistolary stories? This one unfolded like a flower: there is nothing unexpected about how a flower unfolds, but you sure do enjoy watching it. And it wasn't just the main characters, the secondary characters were excellent as well: Saajan's young disciple Shaikh and Ila's heard-but-not-seen Auntie. And every small detail--a window closed so Saajan can't look in, which becomes, later, a window from which a child waves at him--is excellent.

professornana July 29 2014, 19:42

Show, don't tell

Many moons ago, I was fortunate to be selected to be a part of the Greater Houston Area Writing Project. During the summer 50 educators from across the greater Houston area travelled miles down to University of Houston Clear Lake (it was about a 200 mile round trip for me) to learn about writing. And ow to teach writing. And how to be writers ourselves. It was a magical summer. So much of what I learned has stood me in good stead as I wrote the columns for Voices from the Middle and The ALAN Review and The Journal of Reading. It stayed with me as I wrote three books. It is still here as I work on the new boo with Donalyn Miller and a few of our closest Nerdy Book Club friends.

One of the project speakers talked about the importance of "show, don't tell" in our writing. I was reminded of that when I saw a tweet yesterday that said something to the effect that the best thing we could do for kids is to tell them they matter. Now I do not dispute that telling kids they matter is a good thing. I was telling some teachers about the book, SAY IT! by Charlotte Zolotow with illustrations by James Stevenson. It is the story of a mother and daughter who spend a "splendiferous" day together. It is about needing to hear how much we are loved. So, I know that hearing "you matter" or "I love you" is an affirmation.

But I think showing kids they matter or they are loved (or both) is even more important. Words can come easily. Actions speak more than words. For instance, if I say that I value books and reading but you enter my home or office or classroom and do not see books, what would you think? If you never heard me talk about staying up late to finish a book, or listened as I related some of the plot of my new favorite book, would you think I was much of a reader? I think actions are important. We can call them modeling, but they are the actions of a reader. I do not read to be a model. I read because I cannot think of anything I would rather do than read. I make time to read. I have stacks of books to read. I write down recommendations of other readers.

So, yes, I will tell you that I am a reader. But let me show you the ways, too.
athgarvan July 29 2014, 18:09

An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

Miko Peled was born in Jersusalem into a famous and influential Israeli Zionist family. His father was a famous General in the Israeli Army, in which Miko also served his time.

Miko is just one of the many modern day Jews against Zionism and the state of Israel, and with the information he delivers in this astounding talk, it is not difficult to see why more and more Jews are rejecting Zionism and calling for the dismantling of Israel.

It is a true eye-opener for anyone who has for too long been blinded by the fake misinformation given by the mainstream media, and the truths come straight from the heartland where he has spent many years documenting the real story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etXAm-OylQQ&sns=fb (2012)
asakiyume July 29 2014, 15:02

1400 people….

On the news, talking about fires in California, they said 1400 people were evacuated. (Or maybe it was 1200--it was either twelve or fourteen. Hundred.) I always assume, when I hear a number like that, that it's rounded off. The chances that it's a perfect fourteen hundred--not 1,396, not 1,407 or 1,421--seem low to me, though I suppose it's possible.

But if it's rounded off, that means the actual number is either higher or lower. If it's higher, that means there are displaced people who aren't counted--how would you like to be among the unnumbered? You are an untidy extra, a scrap cut off the piecrust.

And if it's lower, that means there are phantom people swelling the ranks. Imagine sitting at the shelter, maybe having a package of Funyuns that have been handed out, and next to you are these barely visible disturbances in your visual field, like heat ripples--the ghostly extras who have been added to round out the number.

I'm not really distressed. I understand the necessity and practicality of rounded numbers: truly! But still--it's thought provoking.

cynthialord July 29 2014, 11:42

Summer Glorious

My husband took this photo a couple weeks ago on his way to Rangeley, Maine. "I didn't even juice up the colors," he told me. "I just waited and it happened."

And last week, I met my friend author Tamra Wight at 5:00 am for a sunrise kayak paddle. She took these amazing photos of a bald eagle that we saw.

This summer has been especially beautiful in Maine. Or maybe I'm just noticing it more because we waited so long for it. A flash of brilliance, quickly gone. In A Handful of Stars, the book I just turned in for copyediting, it says about summer:

            At the beginning of summer it always feels like there’s so much time ahead: whole empty calendar pages of sunshine, warm sea breezes, midnight thunderstorms, and running barefoot in the grass. Enough afternoons to do every single thing you wanted to do and even some days left over to do nothing at all.
           But somehow summer fills up and flies by.

So this morning when I woke up early, I drove to the water to watch the sun come up on this new day.

athgarvan July 29 2014, 07:33

The Life of a simple farmer.

Jos--Mujica-009Following my recent post about Pope Francis taking lunch with workers in a Vatican café, an LJ friend asks why we were surprised? Is it not normal for him? Is it not part of his duty?

He then suggests I take a look at the life-style of José Mujica, the President of Uruguay, a self-declared atheist, in the following link: http://www.wimp.com/poorestpresident/

Would you agree with your country's President (ruler) living such a life-style?
writerjenn July 29 2014, 02:46

What to write next

"Please know that I am not trying to avoid my editorial responsibility, but I think it is always unfortunate that an editor decides what an author should do next. ... I do think you should do the one you really want to do. I never want to forget that if Lewis Carroll had asked me whether or not he should bother writing about a little girl named Alice who fell asleep and dreamed that she had a lot of adventures down a rabbit hole, it would not have sounded awfully tempting to any editor."
--Ursula Nordstrom, from Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, Collected and Edited by Leonard S. Marcus
bbovenguy July 29 2014, 02:36

Time Flies

I remember a time - many, many years ago - when my dad told me about a student of his who had a theory about why time seems to go faster when you get older. It all has to do with proportions. When you're young, only five or six or so, for example, a full year represents a big chunk of your life. When you're older, perhaps nearing fifty like I am, a full year is only a small slice.

I've always liked that idea, but I think there's more to it than that. When you're young, you're experiencing almost everything for the first time. There's all this new information flying at you constantly, and it all takes up space in your memory. When you're older and you've done things a multitude of times, the details don't register unless something really unusual happens. What you're left with is a lot of memories from when you were young, and not as many from when you were older, so it feels like time ran more slowly when you were younger.

So I guess the moral of the story is that you should always try to do new things and have new experiences. Right?

The reason this notion crossed my mind today is that I realized I've been writing my "Mathematical Nights" books for almost as long as I wrote for You Can't Do That On Television, and by the time I finish Night of the Eerie Equations, it will have been much longer. I never would have guessed that. Compared to the rest of my writing career - let alone the rest of my life - my time with YCDTOTV was surprisingly brief, and yet it feels so much longer. How odd.
professornana July 29 2014, 01:53


I am here in Little Rock attending and presenting at the Arkansas Association of School Librarians. Today I got to hear book talks (always a treat for me) and listen to Ruta Sepetys talk about her books (still absolutely bowled over by her talk). Then, I did a a session on picture books for K-12 readers.

Dinner was at the Governor's Mansion (no, I am not kidding). As we walked up to the door, there was the Governor strolling outside. He greeted us, shook my hand, and welcomed me to the "People's House." The Governor's wife brought greetings which included sharing a book with his (Winston, the Book Wolf) and her Flat Stanley as well. Dinner was lovely. Then, Ruta Sepetys talked about history and our stories as well.


I have to admit, I am blown away. Politicians who act as host and hostess and mean it, who support literature and literacy even when there are no cameras nearby, who care deeply about the people and especially the children of the state.

I am including some photos here. One is of the staircase with each riser featuring the name of a Governor of the state (Faubus, Clinton, Rockefeller, etc.), the room in which we dined, the Governor with Ruta. The grounds of the mansion were equally stunning and we walked around a but after dinner, too. What a terrific day!


Tomorrow, I speak at the closing luncheon and then it is back home to Texas to prepare for workshops next week in Aldine. But I had to take some time to share this wonderful event with all of you.

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