Monday, November 16, 2015

#BooktagsBlogHop with Toi Thomas

It's the third Monday of the month which means it's time for another #BooktagsBlogHop book review! If you'd like to join us, please go here.

Today I'm going to discuss the latest book by my favorite author, Stephen King, called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

On the inside cover flap, the publisher is proud to point out that some of these short stories have never been published! What? That's supposed to be a selling point? I guess it's nice to let the reader know that not all the stories are new, but gee-whiz. Some of them have never been published? Like, yippee y'all.

So I was a little concerned, but since I'm such a huge fan, I decided to go for it. And I'm glad I did. My memory is absolutely terrible these days, but I did recognize the first tale (Mile 81), one in the middle called Blockade Billy, and the last tale (Summer Thunder). So those weren't my faves, but everything else (17 stories) was great stuff. No stinkers.

I particularly liked the Kindle Single King wrote called Ur in which one Wesley Smith gets his paws on a magic Kindle that sells books from thousands of other dimensions than ours. So Wes gets to read stuff by Hemingway and Faulkner that was never published in our dimension. Here's an excerpt of Cortland's Dogs "by" Hemingway. 

A man's life was five dogs long, Cortland believed. The first was the one that taught you. The second was the one you taught. The third and fourth were the ones you worked. The last was the one that outlived you. That was the winter dog.

Cool, huh? Could you imitate one of your favorite authors? I might be able to take a stab at King (pun not intended), but the classics? No way.

Speaking of an author's voice, each story comes with a little intro. from King describing the tale's origins. I love reading stuff like that. King writes how other author's voices influence his work and, as a writer, I found that fascinating. When I went to hear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun) speak, she said she didn't read fiction while she was writing fiction because she didn't want another author's voice coloring her work. I was impressed and horrified. How could I not read fiction while writing my own? That would be like not breathing while writing! So it was a relief to read that King doesn't worry about that. Instead he embraces it.

If you are a writer, do you worry about another author's voice coming out in your work?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group--Me vs. The Universe

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen! In this corner, weighing in at 20 pounds past the ideal, writer, complainer, and occasional blogger--me! And in the other corner, weighing in at (well, that's complicated since we'd have to discuss mass and known vs. unknown matter--argh--just go here)--the Universe!

(Early October) Round One: Ding-ding!

Me: I am so going to finish my short story even though it bloated into 26K novella on time. I can do this! Plus, I'm going to enter the IWSG Anthology contest. Take that, Universe!

Universe: Here, have a cold that will whip you abs in shape with a nonstop, near vomit-inducing cough. Wham!

(Mid October) Round Two

Me: I don't care if I have to expel a pound of snot! I'm writing that IWSG story come hell or high tissues!

Universe: Oh really? How about I give the same cold to your daughter? WHAP!

Me: Mother!

Round Three

Me: I will tell my daughter I have deadlines. She will understand and go into a mind meld with her iPad mini. 

Universe: True. But only for the first day. Then she'll stick to your side like velcro. For funsies, I'll let her cold develop into pneumonia so it'll last ten days instead of five. BLAMMO!

(Final week of October) Round Four

Me: I still don't care. I will give up Netflix in the evenings and finish both of my writing projects. Nothing will stop me!

Universe: The pneumonia isn't keeping your darling up enough. Let me throw in an ear infection. She's got super sensitive ears and now she'll want to stay up way past her bedtime to keep you company. And while I'm at it, here's a migraine to take away your last evening of work.

Me: I hate you.

(Saturday, Oct. 31) Round Five

Me: HA, HA, HA. I finished both writing projects and turned them in on time. I ROCK!

Universe: Bully for you. But you've forgotten one little thing. 

Me: What?

Universe: Marketing. And here. Have another migraine. KER-WHAM!


Winner by a knockout: Universe.

How was October for you? Did you enter the ISWG Anthology contest?

Thanks as always to Alex Cavanaugh for creating the ISWG. Be sure to visit this month's cohosts: Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Question of the Month with Michael D'Agostino

This month, Michael from A Life Examined asks: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

That's easy. I'm an introvert. The things I love doing are all solitary pursuits: writing, reading, watching TV shows my husband would hate, biking, kayaking, rollerblading, and jogging.

My favorite definition of these terms involves energy. An extrovert gets energized from being around other people, while an introvert is recharged by being alone. Being shy is a side effect.

As an introvert, this Internet/Blogging/Email stuff is a godsend. I can interact with others when it's convenient without the stress of being in the same room with them.

I've been an introvert my whole life. I used to wonder why I always had such horrendous headaches after school. I was a great student, but being around others just made me tense as hell. College was tough. Between classes and my roommate, I was around others 24/7 until I managed to snag a single dorm room my junior year.

These days I'm home alone only if the kids and hubby are at their respective schools. It's bliss, mostly because my kids are spoiled and will ask for every little thing under the sun like "Can I have some water, some cheese, and will you please press the buttons on the TV remote because I'm too tired to lift a finger." (I'll give you a finger, darling.) Anyway, my kids are serious energy vampires, but I think that's from bad parenting more than me being an introvert.

Blocks of alone time are the stepping stones that get me through the day. Take them away and I'll turn into this:

Agrunia smiling... Yes, she is smiling!
Image courtesy: Tambako the Jaguar

(Actually, I'm nowhere near this awesomely fluffy, but it's all in the eyes.) Now I'm off to see who else falls into my camp. Not that I have anything against extroverts. Actually I'm quite jealous of them. I even married one!