The 2013 TBR Challenge

Dec 24, 2012 by

2013 TBR ChallengeWendy, the Super Librarian, is doing it again. “It” in this case is the 2013 TBR Challenge, an opportunity to go through the TBR pile you’ve got stacking up either in physical books or on your tablet/iDevice and actually read some of them. Considering I’ve got a house filled with books I haven’t read yet and I don’t want to admit to how many TBRs are happily sitting in my Amazon account, this is probably a good idea.

Dates and themes are listed below. Wendy always insists the themes are not set in stone, so what I come up with for the challenge each month may not match exactly. If you’re interested, hie thyself over to Wendy’s blog and check out the details. It’s going to be fun.

January 16 – We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)
February 20
– Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)
March 20 – Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you’re behind on)
April 17 – New-To-You Author
May 15 – More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).
June 19 – Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners).
July 17 – The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre – an author, a specific book, a trope/theme – I’m open to wide interpretations here!)
August 21 – Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)
September 18 – Western (Contemporary or historical)
October 16 – Paranormal or romantic suspense
November 20 – All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).
December 18 – Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, it’s all good!)

Happy reading, everyone!

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Sunday Quote

Dec 23, 2012 by

11-18-07fox1_eyesthatslay“We are not human beings trying to be spiritual. We are spiritual beings trying to be human.” — Jacquelyn Small

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With Apologies to John Lennon

Sep 24, 2012 by

Relatives are what happen when you’re busy making other plans.

(Be back soon, hopefully.)

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Fun From Around the Web: Momaiku

Aug 23, 2012 by

Proof Twitter has it’s uses: I encountered Jeannine Bergers Everett via the #MyWANA tag and discovered she writes snarky haiku about her teenagers. These little bits are seriously funny and a great break during the day. Consider He Didn’t Notice the Big Black Plastic Bags.

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What Glorious Feeling

Aug 22, 2012 by

Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain, MGM, 1952

The plot is not just simple but simplistic, the “black moment” lasts all of 15 seconds, there is no deep characterization or expertly layered subplots. There is, however, a street, a song, a rainstorm and Gene Kelly in one of Hollywood’s most iconic and joyous moments. Who needs plot?

Singin’ in the Rain is considered by many the pinnacle of the legendary Freed Unit at MGM. It was also built completely around the songs of Arthur Freed, the producer who’d had his start as a songwriter at the studio during the early days of talkies. It was he who assigned Adolph Green and Betty Comden the task of coming up with a story that would feature Gene Kelly and Freed’s songs (for which MGM paid Freed $25,000, an excellent example of leveraging one’s back list). Years later, Gene Kelly said in an interview that Freed asked him during development what they were going to be doing for the title song. “Well,” Kelly said, “It’ll be raining and I’ll be singing.”

The film is pure technicolor cotton candy fluff, a delight parody of Hollywood’s panic as they transitioned to talkies and the dawn of the musical. It is also celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary and to mark the occasion, Turner Classic Movies is hosting screenings around the country. Naturally, I couldn’t resist and the husband and I have tickets for tonight. I’ve seen the film more times than I can count, but never on the big screen, save for some bits included in That’s Entertainment!. But those clips were somewhat faded, just as the backlot on which the linking sequences were shot would soon be sold off and developed. Tonight, I’ll be seeing a newly restored print in all its glory, part of a shared experience with other people who couldn’t pass up this chance.

This isn’t a story to analyze; boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl and dances with her, there is a Misunderstanding and boy sings reprise of love song to get it back. No character development, especially with villain Lina Lamont, superbly played by Jean Hagen — who was nominated for an Academy Award for this role. But it is lightning in a bottle, and it’s wonderful to see it restored for yet another generation to enjoy.

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There Are Many Roads to Oz

Aug 20, 2012 by

I highly recommend popping over to Routines for Writers today and reading Kitty Bucholtz’s post on “When Shouldn’t I Write?” Funny, but she’s talking about some of the same things I wrote about yesterday.

Kitty also takes on one thing that consistently bugs me about how writing advice or classes are phrased, no matter how good the material is. Far too often, the word is “must,” as in “you must do it this way.” There is no one true way and my way of writing is not your way of writing which is not her way of writing, which is not then his way of writing, etc., etc. We are all individuals and our paths to telling our stories are all different. Sometimes, it’s far too easy to allow yourself to get caught up in the “I must” to the point where you freeze because what you want to write is instinctively moving in a different direction.

I’m a pantser. One important thing I learned at the RWA conference this year is that I need to own that fact and work with it, not against it. I can do plotting boards until I’m blue when I’m trying to plan out a book and for me it’s a bloody waste of time. What I need to do is start writing — and I need to start writing on that big scene or key moment that’s driving the inspiration. Just go with it. Then, the next moment and the next, even if they’re considerably after or somewhere before that first moment for me. (Scrivener makes this possible for me, but singing the joys of that software is for another post.)

I know this method would drive some people crazy and I will admit I have driven down more than one blind alley in the process. But I’m also in the middle of a Camp NaNoWriMo project that is some 30,000 words strong and I’ve got most of my core scenes done. The rest of the month is going to be figuring out the connective tissue that binds everything together. That will help flesh out the rest of the book and also begin the revision process because as I figure out those connections, I’ll start to see where bits need to change. It’s working and I’m happy with what I’m seeing form on the page.

The title for this post is a reference, of course, to Frank L. Baum’s classic series, but it’s also a phrase Jenny Crusie and Lani Diane Rich use in their Writewell Academy classes. The advice is good, the classes are only $10, but the acknowledgement that the student should take what is useful to them and walk away from the rest if it doesn’t work is good advice. Writing opens up a world a possibilities; why limit ourselves by saying there’s only one way to create this world, even if it doesn’t work for everyone?

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