Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing Bucket List

There was an article in the September issue of Writers Digest by Elizabeth Sims titled, "10 Things For Every Writer's Bucket List". And there were some interesting items on the list, but it got me thinking about what I should have on my own Writing Bucket List. So here's my list, at least the beginning of my list. I'll be addint to it, I'm sure. At the bottom, I've included things that would have been on the list had I not already done them.

My Writing Bucket List as of 7/27/11
  • Finish Novel (almost there!)
  • Sign Literary Agent
  • Publishing Contract for above named Novel
  • Attend a Writing Retreat
  • Transition to full-time writing career
  • New York Times Bestsellers List
  • Walk into unknown bookstore and see my Published Book there
  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th...Novels
  • Have my own Book Signing (and a crowd in attendance)
  • Travel the world & see how the different locales influence my writing 
  • Writing Award
  • Attend screening of movie version of my book
  • Start Writing Grant/Scholarship fund - 1 for writers any age, 1 for high school students
  • Travel to high schools & talk to young adults about writing

And here are the things I've already done:
  • See my name in print with publishing credit
  • Create a consistant daily writing schedule
  • Online presence with social media
  • Attend Writing Conference (two posts about my experience: here and here)
  • Attend Book Expo America - BEA (blogged about it: here)
  • Visit The Alonquin Hotel to see where the members of The Round Table and other literary giants frequented (here's a link)
  • Attend a book signing (I've attended a few now: R.L. Stine, Breathless Reads National Tour, Allison Winn Scotch
  • Read my work in front of a crowd (poetry reading)
What about you...what's on your Writing Bucket List?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review - Forever

ForeverBook Review - Forever  by Maggie Stiefvater
This is the best book in the series! I was glued right down to the last page. Maggie Stiefvater did an amazing job of bringing this series to a close in Forever.
For those who haven't read any of the previous books, The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is about wolves, yes, but not a typical werewolf story. In Maggie Stiefvater's series there's a real sense of the people in the story, the characters both as humans and as wolves. The driving crux of the story is more about the love between Sam and Grace, Isabel and Cole, what happens to Olivia, and Grace's split from her family than it is about a crazy wolf running around trying to kill people (typical werewolf scenario). There's also a real connection with wolves here, a kindness and respect. 
There's a lot going on. But it's all handled masterfully by Maggie Stiefvater. I was content with how it all ended and didn't feel like there were any nagging loose ends. It felt exactly right. Bravo!
Highly recommended read for young adult readers. High cross-over appeal for adult readers as well.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tools for Taking Notes While Reading

I've been looking for a more effective way to jot notes when I'm reading physical books. It's easy on my kindle because I can type up notes and bookmark sections of text. When I'm reading physical books I don't usually think to grab a piece of paper to jot notes...particularly when I know I'll be writing up a review at the end. So after some research, here are some helpful tools to use in jotting notes while reading. I hope they help you too.

Photo Courtesy:
 Book Mark Cards - "Mark your pages without marking your pages" These are bookmarks that are made for notes.

Set of 250 for $19.00

Available at

And while you're there, check out this article about "Writing in Books" by Steve Leveen.

Photo Courtesy:

Here's another option, a Post-it Flag Marker where you can mark the page and jot tiny notes on the flag (or flag notes on the page). These are available from most office supply stores, but here's a link to Staples where I found the information: Post-it Flag Marker.

This next one isn't useful in jotting notes, but really such a cute idea for
helping you remember where you left off, that I had to include it. This is called FingerPrint and it literally has a finger that points to the spot where you left off (or to the spot where you will begin again). This one is available at Finger Print - Bookmark.

Finger Print - Bookmark
Photo Courtesy:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review - The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries)Book Review - The Boxcar Children 
by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I have to admit, I had never before heard of The Boxcar Children before this year, when a co-worker talked about it as being a book she remembered from her childhood. So, I was curious to see what it was all about, and if it might be something my 7 year-old son might be interested in. Then I saw the name pop-up on Netgalley. So I downloaded it.

My son LOVED it! He wants me to get more Boxcar Children books. And I enjoyed it too. This first book is quaint, but intriguing. It's a fun story that incorporates children's curiosity, adventure, danger, and strong bonds between these children. The writing is simple and easy, so my son has no problem reading it on his own, but it's also the kind of story that I enjoy reading to him as well. The messages hidden in the pages are also good for our kids to hear. We see these kids as hardworkers, and loyal; not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty for the love and survival of each other.

I highly recommend this book for young readers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter - Amazing, As Expected!

Yes, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows-Part 2 was amazing. It racked in a whopping $169.2 million dollars. Would anyone expect less than stellar results from the finale to this epic story?

Photo Courtesy: Wikepedia

I went to watch it on Saturday, and I found myself reliving the book I had read years ago. And it reminded me how well crafted the story really is. I don't ever remember reading the series and thinking "that's a bit much" or "whatever happened to...". Every plot line worked. Every word seemed perfectly placed, and written in very simple prose. No gaps in storyline.

And to think, this is all from a single mother who had an idea one day, and worked on that idea for years before it finally got published. Hats off to you J.K. Rowling. It's been fun reading and watching Harry Potter for all these years.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review - Passion

Book Review - Passion by Lauren Kate

Passion ((Fallen))
This series by Lauren Kate has been a solid three star rating for me so far, except this book fell a little short. I would have preferred to cut most of the travelling-through-time scenes and opted for a little more text that delved into the higher meaning of the curse between Luce and Daniel. I just felt stringed along for most of the book. That is just my opinion. Online, I see that there are plenty of people who really enjoyed exploring this history between Luce and Daniel. I was just hoping for more answers, answers to questions that have been left open for most of the series. But then again, we do have the next book, Rapture, to look for those. And yes, I'll be reading the last book, because I'm just dying to know how all of this gets pulled together in the end. Call me a sucker for unfinished love stories, particularly ones between a human and an angel.

If you're curious about my reviews of the other two books in this series, I've listed them below with links to those previous posts:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter - It All Ends 7.15

It's here - the final movie in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. I've been looking forward to this for some time. It's exciting but also a bit sad too. Yes, I've read the books, I know how the story ends, I know what will happen when I go to watch it, but there's a finality about a series coming to an end like this. That's where the sadness is, in seeing such a magical story, end.

It all ends 7.15
Photo courtesy of Yahoo Movies

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Free webinar - "How to make your book a bestseller"

This just popped into my inbox from Brian Jud at Book Marketing Works and I wanted to pass it on. There's a free webinar being held today titled, "How to make your book a bestseller". Here's the link if you're interested in getting more information: Free webinar. When I've attended Brian Jud's webinars in the past I've always walked away with usable resources. I'll be attending this one for sure!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Get Healthy with The Presidents Challenge

Photo: Courtesy of
The Presidents Challenge
Writers do a lot of sitting. And sometimes snacking as work. Which doesn't bode well for our waistlines or our physical health. Writers are immobile for long stretches, not moving our bodies much except for our fingers. So it's important for those of us that are writers to make sure that we are also adding exercise to our schedules.
For years, I would have told you that I didn't have time to exercise. I would
have used the argument that time at the gym was time away from working on my next masterpiece. Actually, I did say that to my husband on many occasions. PHOOEY! - I say now. It's all just talk. For the last few months I have proven myself wrong. Not only am I still writing everyday, but I'm also going to the gym 5 days per week. I'm making time to get myself healthy.

So I would encourage all my friends to do the same, writers and non-writers alike. We all want to be around a long time, don't we?!

Here's a great place to start if you need a little motivation: Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. This is an excellent program that helps you set goals, log-in your progress, and actually qualify for an award. Or if you are already super active, try the Presidential Champions program. For me, it's help reinvigorated my exercise motivation...hope it helps you too!

I'll be thinking about you when I head to the gym tomorrow. Will you join me in getting healthy?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Postertext - Book Posters for Book Lovers

These are REALLY interesting...posters of classic books using text from the actual book. Depicting below are Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, and Dracula as examples. And if you don't see your favorite, you can even make a book request.

Check out the Postertext website for more information. Great gift idea for any reading or writing enthusiast.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review - Delirium

Book Review - Delirium  by Lauren Oliver

Ok, I think I've found my next favorite author. Lauren Oliver's writing is descriptive, emotional, and yet reads quickly. I was drawn to Delirium almost as much as I was drawn to the Twilight series (different Young Adult (YA) genres, but same feeling of wanting to read the story straight through to the end).

DeliriumDelirium is a YA story about a dystopian world similiar to ours but different in one major way. Love is forbidden. Actually it's considered a disease, and everyone is "cured" of the disease as teenagers. It's mandated by the government. The majority of society are lobotomized adults with little emotion, prearranged marriages, and fixed lives. The main character is Lena, a girl nearing her procedure to be cured. But soon her world is turned upside down, and everything she grew up believing is now flipped around, all starting when she meets a boy named Alex.

I have to admit one thing. When I saw that the book was nearing the end, I was confused because the action and tension were heightening and yet the story just kept building...and then it ended, abruptly. I was like, what? And then I was a bit angry because I thought, "That's it? What happens next?" But lucky for us we live in a society where I could jump online and do some research. And now it makes sense, because this is book one of a planned trilogy. I let out a sigh of relief, and my anger turned to excitement. This is definitely a book that needed to be more than just one book, the full story needed to be told, and there are so many unanswered questions. Do don't despair when you get to the end. There's more coming!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Book Mail is THE BEST!

Look at what just came in the mail from HarperCollinsPublishers...yippee! Another book to read and review .

Twisted (A Pretty Little Liars Novel) by Sara Shepard

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Echo SmartPen - Nifty Gadget

Here's another nifty gadget, the Echo SmartPen. It makes note taking fun! Perfect for jotting down those novel ideas before they fleet away. Also perfect as gifts for writers, students, or anyone who appreciates an easier way to record notes.

Photo: courtesy of Livescribe

The Echo smartpen is available from Livescribe or Amazon (see Amazon links at the bottom of this post). Here's a blurb about The Echo Smartpen from the Livescribe website:
"The Echo smartpen records everything you hear and write, while linking your audio recordings to your notes...It’s easy to send your notes and audio as a pencast to destinations like Evernote®, Facebook, MyLivescribe, your mobile device or your computer using the included Livescribe Connect™ Basic software."


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Book Review - The Gray Wolf Throne

Book Review - The Gray Wolf Throne

by Cinda Williams Chima

Another GREAT book by Cinda Williams Chima! The Gray Wolf Throne is book three in The Seven Realms Series, but not the final book, so it is definitely a transition book. It continues the story where book two left off, with more page-turning twists and a deeper immersion into the story of all our favoriate characters: Raisa, Han, Amon, The Bayars, and all the other major characters.
I loved the book, but just hate having to wait for the next book to see how it all plays out. This is a must read if you've started the series. The Gray Wolf Throne is scheduled to be released 8/30/11.
Recommendation: As this is a continuation in storyline, I highly recommend reading books one and two in the series, before picking up this book.

Young Adult, fantasy, good for boys and girls, strong adult crossover appeal.

Take a peek at my reviews of the previous two books in the Seven Realms Series here:
The Exhiled Queen
The Demon King

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do You Miss Your Typewriter?

Do you yearn for the days of old when writing meant hunkering down with a typewriter, complete with the click-clack arms that sounded with each letter, and free from the distractions of the internet, yet still with the editing & saving capabilities of a computer? If so, check out this freeware called Q10  which can convert your computer into a typewriter. Q10  is a text editor that was "created with the writer in mind". And it's free!

Curious? Here's a link to check it out:  Q10