A Day Outside The Library

Sitting outside the New York Public Library. A little girl runs up to her mother pulling a picture book out of the red lion imprinted brown paper bag. Her words are French but her excitement is unmistakable. She is talking fast and I don’t understand the words meaning but I know why she is animated. Here is a little girl thrilled over a book. Her father and I share a smile. We understand each other. But in the moment I see a family’s exhilaration over a child’s enthusiasm for a book purchase I become sad. Others like to say dead tree editions of books are quite literally dead. Does that mean people will miss out on child’s thrill for reading. I can’t imagine a child getting excited about a downloaded picture Kindle edition book like that little girl did. As long as children read I don’t care the platform. I wonder how many Library card and book eager faces the regal lions have seen? It’s possible the lions at the New York Public Library branch have a superpower most places don’t. Or will they see less keen faces over books and more camera flashes with stories of paper past.

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New York Public Library Main Branch Lion Taken By Me

Simple Writing Advice

I think I’ve seen this video in the past or maybe I the quote somewhere but I have found it again and I thought I would share. If you haven’t seen it watch it. It is from Ira Glass. It is not just advice for writers but to all people in creative work. If you’ve seen it, watch it again. Nothing like a friendly reminder that you’re not alone and you have to keep fighting for what you want. If you can’t watch it this second, (you’re reading this a work right now aren’t you. No judgement.) I have posted the text below. So be inspired. Don’t feel so alone. Keep fighting.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

– Ira Glass

I have a few other quotes and speeches that help me trucking along. Stay tune for more advice form others that helps me keep going on a troublesome writing day. Do you have simple advice that keeps you writing?

Planting The Garden

Mother’s Day was busy. In the morning we planted the garden. Beefsteak and Big Boy tomatoes, red bell peppers, frying peppers, and eggplant have made it into the grown. Just like last year we pulled the weeds which wasn’t much compared to last year. Instead of adding manure this year we added peat moss. We spread the peat moss over the top of the area and was going to turn over the soil but the rotary tiller wasn’t working. After sometime we just decided to let the moss enter the soil naturally. We laid the seeping hose and pinned in the weed barrier fabric with staples. I planted the tomatoes in a row in the back, the peppers to the front near the stoop and eggplant next to the driveway. (Picture below). We left a space for the Romanian tomato pepper. I didn’t know I had to soak the seeds before planting so they ended up being late bloomers but from pictures below you can see they are growing strong and heathy. We are thinking of putting them in the grown this weekend or sometime next week. I was nerves after years of tilling that the worms present in the soil have been torn up. So we added some new worms to the soil. I didn’t take a picture but we also planted cucumbers and kale over in a small area of the yard.

This week we are helping the boyfriend’s grandma plant some of her veggies in her planter pots. So excited. I love gardening and I can’t wait for the veggies to start growing.

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Romanian Tomato Pepper Plant

The Garden

The Garden

Query Criticism

If you’ve been reading along you know I’ve been sending out queries. Most of the responses have been general rejection until a few weeks ago. Whenever a submission’s response pops into my inbox I am uncertain of the outcome. Crazy I know because I think if it was good news they would call me. But always, this little part of me hopes they accepted my story and want to schedule a meeting to discuss something along the lines of publishing. So far most submission responses have been generic rejections except for the last one. I finally got a rejection with some positive and the negative feedback.

It’s amazing how criticism can stop someone in their tracks. I was looking for more places to send, writing more stories, writing and promoting this blog when this email made me stop and think. Why am I writing? But it took me some time to continue on and just say, “this is one story. This isn’t the end.” Also, I didn’t expect this story to be wildly successful. Just something I thought could be out there on the shelf of a bookstore or in someone own personal collection.

It still can be. I have decided not to quit on this story and it’s characters. While, this was just this one person’s criticism there have been quite a few rejections and maybe this is what the others are thinking. Maybe it was what I was thinking deep down. As a writer I think I always knew something was off. It’s hard to see being so close to the story. Handing it off isn’t always easy either. Friends and families just give a once over and gush over the perfect.  I was thinking of reading and editing one more time. Seeing if the narrative voice does need tweaking. I’ve been away from this character for some time. Fresh eyes can be all that’s need to make this story everything I know it can be. Even if, in the future, it’s not published I don’t think this was ever a waste of time. I’ve learned so much.  Here I go, back to the writing board.

Days of Blood and Starlight Review

Should I buy the hardcover additions of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series? The debate still lives in my mind. And an update on the box set available in October is a price decrease from $57 to $51. Barnes & Noble has even a better deal. The box set is only $37. Thanks B&N for making my decision a lot easier. In this post, to help my brain, I will review the second book in the series Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Talyor. If you haven’t read the first, warning, just the synopsis may give away some spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk.

Karou has finally learned about her past. She know knows where she comes from and who she is. Karou’s stories continues but she sets out without her family or friends. Karou must work for The White Wolf the same wolf that ended her last life. She uses the skill she learned from Brimstone to make monsters to fight in the Wolf’s army. Her once-beloved, Akiva, tries to undo some of the wrong of his past and ties to save as many as he can.

I still love the wonderful unique prose. The first half of the book was slow and made it hard to get into until it wasn’t. The world building is clear and vivid. The character descriptions of half human/ half beast is imaginative.  Still the same engaging characters and a few new interesting introductions. Taylor has gift by making the reader feel the defeat of her character’s and their situation but as the story plays out the reader can feel the main characters, Karou and Akiva, grow from followers to leaders. Love how this young adult novel has found a grown-up voice with the cold truth of the ugly side of war. This story is not all daggers and pain. Taylor still manages to add some humor, romance, and hope. What I loved about this story is that this is not just about star crossed lovers but the depth to save a people, save two worlds, and save themselves.

Recommend this series.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor