Monthly Archives: October 2012

Your Saturday dose of writing inspiration

From the master:

Go forth and write!

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This week in books

What I read/am reading:

New books on the block:

Kiss, Kiss, Bark!A while back, I entered a Twitter contest to win Kiss, Kiss, Bark! from Tanglewood Press–then figured that would be that.

This week, I found out that I won a copy. Kyra was thrilled. So was I.

It looks like a cute and fun read. We both can’t wait to dig in.

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Filed under Books, Reading, YA

Flashing again

So earlier this year, when I wrote The Secret Life of Sleeping Beauty, it reminded me how much I love the short form. Sure, selling it to the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology didn’t hurt either. But the writing and the love came first. And I wondered:

Why did I stop?

Um. I don’t know. Because I can write longer forms and the short forms without my head exploding. So that’s not the issue. Since there doesn’t seem to be a reason, I’ve jumped back onto the short bandwagon with both feet (and a cliché or two in my pocket).

I decided to take In a Flash: Short-shorts, Micro-memoir and Prose Poetry from The Loft Literary Center. (Note: They have a great selection of online classes, so you don’t even need to be local to the Twin Cities to take a class.)

Some ideas really lend themselves to the short form. Maybe they just fit better there, or it’s an idea you want to have a fling with, but don’t want to marry (so to speak).

Sometimes it’s what we don’t know that truly makes the story–how many blanks we need to fill in. Because filling in the blanks can be fun. The ad below is an example of this less is more genius.

Yes, I know I’m not helping my “George Clooney doesn’t live in my blog” cause (see posts here and here), but I can’t help myself.

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Filed under Books, Famous people, Reading, Reading & Writing, Writing, YA

This week in books

What I read/am reading:

  • Finished Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle. My take here.
  • Working my way through the big fat book on the Russian Revolution (yes, that’s what it’s called). I’m on page 107. This means I’m 13% the way through the book. (I told you it was big and fat.)
  • Finished The One and Only Ivan, book #70 for the year. Terrific and charming, perfect for animal lovers of all ages. Passing it along to Kyra now. Pretty sure it will make her cry–not that it made me cry or anything.

Out this week:

Fabulous 2009 Deb Kirstin Cronn-Mills has a new release out this past week (October 8th).

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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WWI Read: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book # 5 in the War Through the Generations WWI reading challenge: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle.

I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to read this one. I knew it wouldn’t really have anything to do with Downton Abbey. What tipped the balance? This review on Amazon:

 … did not think the book would be 3/4 about war war war and her nursing abilities.

And I was all: Sold! Because that’s exactly what I wanted to read about. This is also why authors shouldn’t sweat the negative reviews. That being said, there’s controversy in some of the other reviews about how sanitized this version of Lady Almina’s life happens to be.

I suspect there might be some truth to this. The narrative is fairly scandal free, the author glossing over the fact Lady Almina remarries in the same year Lord Carnarvon dies and only briefly mentions the court case she becomes involved in (see Wikipedia for more info).

However, I did enjoy learning more about what went into running a private hospital during WWI and the problems encountered. Although in Lady Almina’s case, she solved a great many of these problems by throwing money at them–which seems to have been her SOP. Also fascinating was the time the narrative spent on the Earl’s interest (more like an obsession) in Egyptology. I hadn’t realized he was Howard Carter’s backer, and that together they discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Was the read worth it? From my point of view, yes. If you already know a bit about WWI, you won’t learn a lot here. And of course, the narrative doesn’t contain swoon-worthy scenes between Matthew and Mary or one liners delivered by Dame Maggie Smith. However, it is an interesting look at a certain strata of British society before, during, and after the war.

And just because the book doesn’t have any Maggie Smith doesn’t mean this blog post will go without. Enjoy.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Reading, War Through The Generations