Monthly Archives: July 2009

Finding Peace in Unexpected Places

I grew up in the country in a home set back off the road and nestled among tall trees.  I was accustomed to running barefoot along worn dirt pathways through the woods surrounding our home, with only the sounds of birds and squirrels rustling in the green canopy overhead.  Occasionally, the stillness would be interrupted by the distant crack of a hunter’s gun or a zealous driver taking advantage of the open road.  But mainly, my childhood was filled with the calm, hushed sounds of nature.

Up through my early teens, I would go visit my grandma and grandpa every summer, sometimes for a week at a time.  They only lived about thirty miles away from us, but for all I knew, it could’ve been half a world away.  Grandma and Grandpa’s house was full of more intense noises, and ironically, some of my most treasured childhood memories are centered around those sounds.

My grandparents lived along a busy stretch of highway 50 in southern Indiana.  At night, sounds from the traffic would drift in, carried on the warm summer breeze and fanned by billowy curtains that hung from the open window over the  bed where I slept.  On the first night of each of my visits, I would lie awake for what seemed like hours.  I found it difficult to sleep with the unfamiliar sounds of cars and trucks buzzing by to destinations unknown.

By the second night, I’d become reacquainted with the highway sounds and sleep would come easier.  I’d even welcome the soothing hum of the night-time traffic.  Subsequent nights would bring a certain acclimation, a knowledge of the difference in pitch and tone between passenger cars and trucks and the big eighteen-wheelers that traveled that two-lane highway.  Once in a while I would be rewarded with a long, droning honk  from a passing semi, and it would seem, to my young, imaginative mind, that it was meant just for me.  A special message, a whispered ‘good-night’ in the darkness.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing, Writings and Ramblings

Reading List

I realized how many books I had on my mental want-to-read list and decided the best way for me to keep it all straight and not leave anything out was to post my ongoing list here.  Plus, I thought I’d share the list with my readers (thanks, Mom!) in case you want to check out some of them, too.

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (I don’t generally read memoirs, but never discount them and this one intrigued me)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (You probably noticed this book is already on my favorites list, but it’s a definite re-read and a must before the mini-series next year…can’t wait!)

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Peace Like the River by Leif Enger

The Host by Stephenie Meyer


2 Comments

Filed under Reading

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

The latest in the Stephanie Plum series, Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, delivers the usual juiciness and robust flavor that fans have come to expect from bestselling author, Janet Evanovich.

Cover courtesy of http://www.evanovich.com

Cover courtesy of evanovich.com

Full-figured sidekick, Lula, pushes her way (in true Lula-fashion) to center stage in this story, having to dodge the bullet (well, in this case, the meat cleaver) more frequently than our all-time favorite heroine, Stephanie Plum.  Stephanie is never short on her fair share of near-mishaps though, leaving the reader laughing out loud at the antics of this beloved duo.  Hey, it’s all in the name of justice.  Well, that and a gravy boat-load of reward money!

And, who can forget Grandma Mazur?  Fans won’t be disappointed as this spunky senior definitely knows how to kick things up a notch or two whether in the kitchen or while hot on the trail of the bad guys.

Speaking of turning up the heat, we can’t leave out the yummy men in Stephanie’s life; the always hot and mysterious hunk, Ranger, or semi-sweet and spicy Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.  It’s an inevitable smorgasbord of choices, but can Stephanie have her cake and eat it too?

Rating: 5 Stars  (out of 5)

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

Book Review Rating System

Below is my rating system for books I’ve read.  I enjoy a wide variety of books in various genres.  I keep an updated list of my favorites and current reads on the right.  If you’re ever at a loss for something to read, check out some of my bookshelf favorites!

0 Stars = Big thumbs down; couldn’t get into it or didn’t finish it.

1 Star = Finished it (finally) but not one of my favorite books.

2 Stars = It was alright; not particularly my genre, but well written and probably enjoyable for someone else.

3 Stars = Glad I read it and I’d recommend it for some people.

4 Stars = A good read; would definitely recommend it and possibly re-read it.

5 Stars = It’s a bookshelf keeper; would definitely recommend and read again (and again).

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

The Art of Avoidance

A 300 plus page novel waiting for an agent.  A second novel in the works waiting for its literary composer to help it take shape, to bring it to life.  A dilly-dallier.  A procrastinator.  A weaver of words, too terrified that the tapestry she is creating will not be worthy of display.  An artist waiting for everything to unravel.

Even now, as I write this post, I am aware that I have , if only semi-consciously, been devising means by which I can delay my own creativity.  What book would I like to read next?  What bills need to be paid?  What recipe should I try for the pork roast I purchased for dinner next week?  Things that are so far away from where I really long to be.  Anything, it would seem, to avoid the task at hand.

Even with the novel I have already completed, I have successfully managed to avoid sending queries to any other agents beyond the handful to whom I’ve already submitted.  Perhaps I am trying to elude any further rejection.  But, I am also avoiding any possibility of future acceptance in the process.

Fear.  Gripping and paralizing.  Trepidation preventing me from becoming who I know I am meant to be.

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

Stephanie Plum Series

I’m usually one for structure when it comes to reading.  Typically, I’d never push the envelope by starting a new book series anywhere but at the beginning.  But that’s exactly what I did when I started reading Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich, only I didn’t realize it at the time.  I was clueless to the fact that Ms. Evanovich has apparently been at the business of writing novels for some time now.  She started off first with romance novels before finally settling in on the life and times of quirky, Jersey-girl bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, and finding voice through an eclectic mix of laugh-out-loud humor, some love, a little lust, plus crime and mystery all wrapped into one.

It started with Plum Spooky, the eighteenth book (and not the last) in the series.  Nevertheless, I was pleased to see how effortlessly I was able to jump right in and follow most of the storyline without having read any of her previous novels.  (She’s good like that!)  Plum Spooky could have been a stand alone novel for all I knew, and it wasn’t until later that I realized, looking in the front of the book, that low and behold, Janet had accumulated a long list of other juicy Plum works just waiting for me to sink my teeth into.

Of course, I know that it’s always best to start at–or in this case, go back to–the beginning.  And that’s just what I did with One for the Money, where I completely fell in love with not only Stephanie, but her entire family, her on-and-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop, Joe Morelli, her tempting mentor, the mysterious Ranger and a plethora of other likable characters and irksome bad guys.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet, Janet likes to make it easy for us followers.  She numbers her book titles, like Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly.  Then, just for kicks, she throws in a few off-the-cuff books (including Plum Spooky) into the mix.  She brings back the favorites and tosses in a new (possibly supernatural and definitely hunky) guy named Diesel, into the mix, with titles like Plum Lovin’ and Visions of Sugar Plums.  “Plum”–ha, ha–get it?

Janet’s latest, Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, lives up to all its promises and delivers once again, with its page-turning plot and laugh-til-you-cry amusement.  One of the best series I’ve ever read.

Overall series rating:  5 Stars

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

A Great Place to Be

Thirty-something is a good place to be.  Maybe I’ll just stay thirty-something forever–at least in my mind, anyway.

In my late teens I thought I had everything figured out.  But, of course, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  In my twenties, I finally realized that I didn’t know a damn thing about where my life was headed–not anything profound, anyway.  And it bothered me immensely.  The meaning of life, so it would seem, would forever elude me.

Now, fast forward to thirty-something.  I still haven’t figured out the meaning of life.  But I’m at a point where I’m not so sure that’s such a bad thing.  The not knowing–sometimes that’s the wonder of it all.  I try to live each day in the here and now, and I’m a much happier person for it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have hopes and dreams for the future.  Of course I do.  I have goals and aspirations everyday of becoming a published novelist.  But that as-of-yet unrealized ambition doesn’t change the fact that right now, as I sit here, I am a writer.  Published or not, the only person who can take that designation away from me is me.  And I know one day the publishing part will come.  It may not come until the second or third leg of my thirty-somethings, but I’ll be content while I wait.

1 Comment

Filed under Writing, Writings and Ramblings