Monthly Archives: September 2011

Booking it loudly

This week on Booking Through Thursday:

1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?

2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?

3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

I’ve spoken before about how much I love audio books. Yes, I know some people don’t consider this “real” reading. I. Don’t. Care. I’d be certifiably insane right now if I didn’t have them to listen to during the commute. (Don’t get me started on “drive-time” radio …)

1. I love being read to and reading aloud. In fact, I still read with Kyra and we’re planning on reading The Secret Garden this week. Actually she’s going to read it herself first, then I can read it to her. She’s convinced it will be that good. A few weeks back, when I had a horrid cold, I pulled the audio book from the car (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) and listened to the rest of it while curled up in a chair with a cup of tea.

2. There is something very comforting about being read to. It’s a great way to decompress after work and survive the commute, so there’s that.

3. As I’ve mentioned, yes, I do read aloud and listen to books. I also do a listening edit on my own books. I import them to my Kindle, then use the text to speech function to listen while I follow along on the page.

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Filed under Books, Memes, Reading

View from the revision cave

So, I’m revising again. Because I like to. Everyone needs a hobby. This is mine.

One of the first things I did was to list out the scenes in each chapter, essentially an outline, using the method from Cheryl Klein’s Second Sight book (I’m essentially doing the exercises listed here, along with some from another book).

Here’s what I discovered:

  • Wow. There’s a lot of crap in this book. I’m not sure I’m actually the one who put it there.
  • Why is there a chapter with only one scene?
  • Why is there one with seven?

To be fair, the very first thing I did was strip out the self-contained subplot for revamping and revision. So that lone scene in its own chapter wasn’t always quite so lonely. That fat chapter hoarding seven scenes? No clue. It’s like that reality TV show about hoarders, only in manuscript format.

I’m doing a lot of work with structure. Because that self-contained subplot? It’s in diary format, which is why it’s so easy to pull from the story. Weaving it back in? Yeah. Not so much.

I think I’m going to need that T-shirt.

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Filed under Reading & Writing, Writing, YA

Booking it covertly

From Booking Through Thursday this week:

Do you carry books with you when you’re out and about in the world?

And, do you ever try to hide the covers?

Shh. It’s a secret.

The answer is yes. I almost always have a book (or two) with me whenever I go out. If I don’t, it’s an oversight. I simply forgot to take one with me when I left the house.

And seriously, this is the beauty of the Kindle. Not only can I carry multiple books with me, I can also read them on the sly. No more cover angst for me. That being said, I often have a paperback, hardcover, or library book I’m reading with me that might be seen as a little odd. No, no heaving bosoms or Fabio covers ala old school romance.

But.

I’ve been reading middle grade books.

I sometimes wonder what other people think when they see me tearing through the pages of The Mother-Daughter Book Club, or The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet.

And speaking of mother/daughter and books. Last weekend, Kyra and I went on a driving adventure when Bob’s car broke down. She packed up a bag of at least seven books to take with her–just in case.

I’m pretty sure this is hereditary.

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Filed under Books, Memes, Reading

Review: Women Heroes of World War II

Women Heroes of World War II: 26 stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue
By Kathryn J. Atwood
Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Summary from Amazon:

Noor Inayat Khan was the first female radio operator sent into occupied France and transferred crucial messages. Johtje Vos, a Dutch housewife, hid Jews in her home and repeatedly outsmarted the Gestapo. Law student Hannie Schaft became involved in the most dangerous resistance work–sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinations.

In these pages, young readers will meet these and many other similarly courageous women and girls who risked their lives to help defeat the Nazis.

Twenty-six engaging and suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls’ refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.

An overview of World War II and summaries of each country’s entrance and involvement in the war provide a framework for better understanding each woman’s unique circumstances, and resources for further learning follow each profile. Women Heroes of World War II is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

This is a terrific volume of stories, all centering around women during World War II, in the European theater. The book is classified as juvenile or YA nonfiction, but I found it very engaging. The prose is straightforward and accessible. I really think the book would work for middle grade on up. Take note, those doing projects on WWII–your search starts here. The bibliography is extensive.

If you’re a World War II buff, the overview of the war and each country’s involvement won’t tell you anything new. However, either as a reminder or as new information, these summaries help illustrate each woman’s circumstances and challenges during the war. Plus, there’s a glossary at the back of the book as well.

If there’s a downside to this volume it’s that each woman only gets a few pages of text. Since the book is only 272 pages, that’s to be expected. At the end of each segment, the author includes a list of additional resources on each woman, including memoirs, biographies, movies, and more. Plus, as I mentioned, there’s an extensive bibliography at the end of the book.

Engaging, easy to read, informative? Yes, yes, and yes. I recommend Women Heroes of World War II for both the budding and established history buff.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, YA

Taking (summer) stock

I haven’t been writing in my blog–uh, yeah, clearly–and I miss it. I really do. I have been writing. A lot, I think. When school started for the kids (right after Labor Day this week), I took stock of my summer. Just what did I do on my summer “vacation”?

Starting with Memorial Day and ending with Labor Day, I did the following:

  • Second draft of a middle grade novel I’m calling Speechless. ~ 42,000 words. This is the “that which does not kill you makes you stronger” draft.
  • Second/revised draft of my short story (The Trouble with Firsts) for the Debs anthology The First Time. Started at 7,800 and ended up just under 6,000 words. Cutting 1,700 seems like an arduous task, but once I focused on the story, it was relatively easy. I had a lot of things in there that would’ve been fine for a novel. Short story? Not so much.
  • Revised/edited Dating on the Dork side with Darcy for our agent. 83,000 words. Y’all can just keep your fingers crossed for us, okay?
  • Third draft of Speechless, which is the “draft other people can read and it won’t injure them” draft. 43,000 words (oh, I added to it!).

Bonus items:

  • Took a class on metaphors and did all the assignments. I’m so freaking proud of myself.
  • Read a terrific manuscript by my friend Joy Hensley and got to celebrate (virtually) her agent call/representation. Can you squee via email? Yes, yes you can.
  • Mentoring another writer via one of the RWA chapters I belong to.

Oh, and I bought these awesome boots:

Okay, so the boots don’t = writing progress. Still. I think the potential is there for writing awesome things while wearing these boots.

So. How was your summer?

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Reading & Writing, Writing, YA