Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March IWSG, 2021


And it's March. Almost a year has passed since school was closed for our kids and the big lockdown occurred. Things haven't changed a whole lot since then. The kids do go to school twice a week, but we still don't eat inside restaurants, we have not gone on a vacation, and we don't plan to until we're vaccinated. My parents got Covid (mild cases) and recovered. I don't obsess over the news as much as I used to, but I'm watching to see if there will be a fourth wave due to the variants. Strange times.

Books are a great escape when the stress gets too much, so I was happy to see this month's IWSG question. But before that, let me thank our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his posse of co-hosts: Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose.

March 3 question - Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

Stephen King's Firestarter, Amazon

When I was a kid, horror was the best and only genre worth my time and Stephen King was the ultimate. I wanted to be The Firestarter. Yet I can remember loving the first six or so books by V.C. Andrews as well and sincerely hoping to find a doorway to another realm as in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.


Jonathon Kellerman's First Alex Delaware novel, Thriftbooks

As an older teen and in college, I stretched a bit into the horror of the real world and got into detective/crime works with Jonathan Kellerman's series featuring Alex Delaware as a particular fave.

Then I branched out, taking in more popular fiction and literary-leaning fiction. I fell madly in love with the books of Barbara Kingsolver (especially The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna), Anne Patchett (State of Wonder), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), Sue Miller (The Senator's Wife), Kathryn Stockett (The Help), and Wally Lamb (The Hour I First Believed).

Before I wrote a historical novel featuring antebellum times, I read a big stack from that genre, both an inspiring and intimidating task.

I stuck a toe in the wide world of nonfiction and discovered treasures like John Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Andre Agassi's Open, Cheryl Strayed's Wild, and Tara Westover's Educated

Books that entertain and inform with characters that feel alive motivate my reading choices. Two of them that I've recently finished include Suzanne Redfearn's In An Instant in which a horrific car crash contrasts the best and worst of humanity. The other is The Window by David Cole (publish by Dancing Lemur Press!) in which a magic portal to the future brings absolute chaos to the main character's life.

Do you use reading to escape and de-stress, gain writerly inspiration, or all of the above?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

February IWSG 2021


Another IWSG day, and another snowfall! Yesterday, I saw plenty of jokes on how every day is like Groundhog Day, and I swear, I thought I had an idea for a post today until I read my December IWSG post and realized I'd be repeating myself. Sigh. 

Anyhoo, let me thank the host of this here par-tay: Alex J. Cavanaugh and his cohort of cohosts: Louise - Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

This month's optional question is about blogging and friendships. There are many wonderful bloggers I've been in contact with over the years, but my brain is locked in other areas, so I will skip it this month.

Today I'm wondering: How long can you be on a writing hiatus and still consider yourself a writer?

When I first started writing, my girls were three and one years old. The three-year-old went to a preschool in the morning and my husband took my one-year-old on two-hour shopping trips twice a week so I could write. What a guy.

I used that time wisely and cranked out a first draft (what a mess) in a matter of months. Later, when the kids were in grade school (and rode the bus!!!), I might have seven hours to write, five days a week. What a windfall. Those were the golden years and I should have appreciated them more. 

Then came middle school and the bus became the ninth circle of hell, apparently. My time started to dwindle as evening time started to shift to more and more homework help.

Skip ahead to today. High School. Pandemic. Hybrid schedule with in-person classes only two days a week. I've come full circle, and yet that is not true. I haven't been using those precious, quiet hours to write. Yesterday, I spent them drafting a study guide for AP Chemistry, Unit Four on Lewis Dot Structures, Lattice Energy, and Bond Enthalpies. Not quite as exciting as writing fiction, let me tell you. 

But I'm a former professor who loves her kids and will do anything I can to help them through this current state of educational chaos.

Am I still a writer? 

Are you?

Snow, Clouds, and Christmas Lights at dusk from my front door.