I have hit the 100 followers mark on this WordPress blog. Thank you to all my followers for reading, liking, and commenting. I started this blog a little over a year ago and I can’t believe how much it has grown since I started. I can’t believe how much I have grown. I have seen my writing improve and I have seen the weeks I struggled with words and finding topics to talk about. I greatly appreciate all of you. For some 100 followers means nothing. Especially the ones that have 1000’s but for me I am shocked, amazed, and happy. Also, would like to thank all the follower on my other platforms. Just because Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter haven’t reached a easy round number doesn’t mean I don’t love you any less. You are all my favorites.Thank You! I hope to continue to post once a week so here’s to many more posts in the future and many more Thanks.
I’m trying to keep the spending down. For me this isn’t hard when it comes to things like cloths or extracurricular activities but books, they are my spending weakness. I’ve been doing well lately. I have mostly borrowed from the library and friends. There hasn’t been too many books I’ve come across I feel I need to own. I’ve been pretty happy reading them and giving them back. I’m very proud when I’m able to put down the books I find in book stores and simply check it out of the library. It has saved space on my bookshelves already overflowing with read and to-read copies of dozens of books. I now have a set of books I feel I need to own and in hardcover no less.
The book series is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I love the story, the characters, the settings, and the cover art. I’ve tried to win them in Goodreads giveaways but I’ve had no luck. The good news, the hardcover is still available for the first book in the series. Since this thought has been on my mind since the release of the third novel in the series I decided to look up the damage this purchase would cost my wallet and the outlook is not good. I understand what I wanted but it still hurts when you see the $56 dollar price tag. But that total was all the individual books added to the cart. Next, I looked up to see if they have a box set. It looks like the box set is not out yet and not planned to be released until late October but with a $52 tag. I think I will wait and keep an eye on the price of the box set to see if it decreases before October. Maybe by October my wallet will be a bit better, the set will be somewhat cheaper and I can justify a great series on my bookshelf. If you haven’t read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series my short review is below of why I think it’s worth the read.
I came across this book because of Vaginal Fantasy, a book club introducing me to romance genre books with strong female leads in the urban fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. The first book is called The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and as I said above it is by Laini Taylor. This story is about Karou, a blue haired, tattooed, knows multiple of languages, art student, and orphan living in Prague. To her sassy, sarcastic, lovable best friend, Zusana, Karou is a girl who draws amazing monsters in a sketch book. What Zusana doesn’t know is Karou’s demons are real and the only family she has known. Karou is just trying to get over her crummy ex-boyfriend and do her job, collect teeth for her beast like foster father Brimstone. As Black Hand prints start showing up on Brimstone’s portal doors in cities around the world what comes to past is a history with no good or evil but a muddled gray of sides.
This book is labeled young adult but I believe it can appeal to an adult audience. The author has an impeccable writing style. The world building and setting is clear, imaginative, and beautiful. The characters are unique. I liked Karou, Brimstone, and the shop full of teeth. You know that Karou’s job to collect teeth is serious business when it is on the black market in exchange for wishes. Taylor doesn’t disappoint when the reader learns what the teeth are being used for. The romance that develops in the second half of the narrative slows down the book a bit but the mystery of the characters and their pass is what kept me reading. When the story ended I was left with more questions and looking forward to the sequel.
“You were true to her, even if she was not to you. Never repent of your own goodness, child. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of great strength.”
“Strength,” she said with a little laugh. “I gave her strength, and look what she did with it.”
I want to thank Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton (the girls from Vaginal Fantasy) for opening my mind to wonderful books I would have missed out on like this one. I’ll write a review for the second book in the series, Day of Blood & Starlight next week. Maybe this will help me make some bookshelf decisions by then.
When I had the money some days I would go to the MET. I would find a favorite painting, statue, or place, sit in front of it and write. Sometimes it was just a journal entry, an idea or a story. Sometimes it was nothing. When it was a story it was usually about what I stared at. I loved those days and miss them. I would go by myself. I could take the day and wonder wherever I wanted. There was no worry it wasn’t what someone else wanted to do. All that mattered was what my mind and writing hand wanted to do. Sometimes I would spend hours in one section or at one painting. But sometimes if the day was nice it was through Central Park for some nature inspiration. I hoped nothing would become to familiar or boring. That my mind would clear and my writing would take off. Sometimes I could write pages upon pages. The worst days were when no ink would leave the pen tip.
I looked for someplace closer. I use to write at the Starbucks by me. It was a long walk, and a noisy place. Before people yell at me for not supporting a nearby cute Mom and Pop cafe there isn’t one near me. Still this Starbucks feels like a homey cafe. Maybe it’s the small town feel surrounded area or the baristas who seem to know many customers that come in by name and their drink. All that’s missing is the to stay (London style) ceramic mugs. I liked the ambient cafe noise. I liked hearing the sound of steam hitting the milk as coffee foam was made and the people around me working or talking. In the cafe I could people watch. I liked catching meet and greets, business deals taking place, the old men playing chess or children and teenagers giggling and laughing just a little to loud. I liked being able to get any type of coffee or tea creation. Probably the one thing I never went for that most did was the free WiFi. I found it easy to shut off Internet access and write. I stopped going because of bad weather, calorie intake, and maybe that one nosy interrupting person.
Next I tried the library. It seems it has been the one place I have always had trouble writing. In one library I couldn’t get any work done. One of the Assistant Librarians knew me from around the neighborhood and would love to chat with me. He was loud for the library and even said embarrassing, inappropriate things that got looks from other patrons and workers. Needless to say it made me feel uncomfortable. I tried to be polite but it was an every visit occurrence so I stop going to that location and tried another. I realized from another library location I have always believed libraries are too quiet. Hearing every turn of a page can be maddening when I’m trying to write. I look up from the screen with every movement.
I think the best writing I do is when I’m on vacation or away. A new city, place, and constant stimulation. I know what I have to write about and the short amount of time I have to write. It’s not story writing but journal writing and who cares? I write like a fiend. (Sorry for the cliche). I don’t care about imperfections just as long as I get everything I want to remember down. The air, sights, sounds, and the events of the day.
Lately I’ve been writing from home. I make my own tea and use the Coffitivity or Rainy Cafe website to get the ambient sound I need to write. When I need to leave I take a walk around the block or to the dog park to clear my mind. It always helps to watch my dog, Lana, run free from the leash and tumble around with her doggy friends.
Do you find going someplace helps you write? What place has inspired you? Or do you need complete silence to get words down on the page?
Ever read other people’s writing and think, “They are so much better than me. I’m hopeless. I should give up.” I’m not talking about strangers I’m talking about friends. For me writing is a struggle but they can write with such ease. They write and the first draft makes sense. They can sit down and write pages upon pages of a story with a word count over the thousands. Worst are the ones who never thought to write but they sit down and bang out a story. How much that hurts? It’s not their fault. I have been trying to be more confidence about by goals to be a writer maybe even an author. Sometimes I just don’t feel smart enough to succeed. I was always struggling through school. And while my mother always said do the best I could and didn’t pressure me to get top marks I pushed myself to be a good student. I got A’s in some subjects but no matter how much I tried I did get D’s and even F’s sometimes. Test for the classes I may have loved weren’t always kind. Sometimes the teacher and tutors weren’t helpful too. I can remember the negative as well as the positive but it is the negative I still fight against.
I had to keep reminding myself that just because that other student was a top student didn’t mean they would be successful. Hell, many now seem to have normal 9-5 jobs they hate and didn’t become famous or do better than me. But I am still reminded by the mean things that followed me through life. The tutor that told me, “You can’t expect to become a writer if you’re a bad speller.” Or the teachers who didn’t want me in their class because I was a “slow” student and would never “understand Shakespeare”. The adviser who told me my grades would never cut it in the profession I wanted and I should think about changing majors. The customers who were shocked I could read let alone read novels and told me I must be stupid because I was working as a cashier. Or the stranger at Starbucks that told me my goal for writing as an author was unrealistic. He said something like I shouldn’t expect to coast through life and I either had to get a job or married and pregnant because I’m not getting any younger. People.
I tried to not let it get me down. I tried to find ways around my weaknesses. At my essay exams I started becoming the Thesaurus queen so I could insert similar words to the ones I couldn’t spell. I went to the library and checked out Shakespeare plays and sonnets. I found I understood Shakespeare and even loved some I read. The adviser I went to in college didn’t help me and didn’t give me good advise but I didn’t fine out until I left college missing a few classes that would have looked good on my real world resume. So I try to hold on to the fact that I’m over coming and fighting to keep doing what I love no matter the “should’s” or “should nots” from strangers and listen to my loved ones who are great at incurring. I will keep going and try to fight for my passion.
All who read this, if you feel the need to say something to strangers’ maybe say nothing at all. You may mean well but when you don’t know the whole story you could be hurting someone. If you’re a teacher or tutor encourage and help a student learn. It may not be that you didn’t teach it right it could be the student has a different way of learning.
Everyday I fight the negative thoughts that have burrowed deep. I will try not to let hurtful words from memories bring me down today or in the future. I will try not to get angry with the ones who write with structure and ease because it’s not there fault I see their ease at writing as my failure. After all most of my doubts are only sticking with me because of my mind’s finger is on the repeat button. Guaranteed on the occasion you talk to your friends about their writing insecurities they will tell you they feel the same about other writer’s they have read.
Spring is here. It’s time for new growth. Time to get out of the house, feel the sun and warmth and shake the negative. Maybe feel inspired to write even if it’s not perfect…ever.