Books I’ve Enjoyed Most the Past Month

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I’m a voracious reader, so I’m limiting myself to my favorite five books read in the last month and linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy where she hosts Twitterature the fifteenth of every month.

— 1 —

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews – OK, I know her real name is Kathy Hogan Trocheck and she writes under that name. . . but I just don’t like those books as well. This one was almost like taking a beach vacation myself by the time I finished it. There’s just no higher praise than that!

— 2 —

 Dead Ice by Laurell K Hamilton – I’d stopped reading her books for a while since they’d devolved (IMHO) into a series of sex scenes strung together with a thin plotline. But this one has Anita back at her zombie-raising best. She’s a total badass, just as she should be!

— 3 —

Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich – She’s at her peak with the Lizzy and Diesel series in this one. A spectacular summer read! (But it’s co-authored – what’s up with that?!)

— 4 —

A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker – I’m picky about my historical romances. I actually want to learn something about the historical period the novel is set in while reading. This gave me all that and much more. I stayed up late until the night reading and had to move to the sofa for a couple of scenes that had me crying so hard I would have woken my husband. But trust me, it’s worth all the tears in the end!

— 5 —

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson – This is a re-read for me, and I’m sure I’ll read it over and over until it falls apart and then buy another copy. It’s the perfect inspirational “baby steps” approach to changing anything. Financial independence, weight loss, parenting, marriage, cleaning – anything in your life you want to improve permanently.

Getting Back Into My Writing Groove!

The ability to write is something that some people are born with. However, many people need to practice writing on a regular basis in order to get good enough to be published and make a living at it. If you ask 10 authors how they developed their writing talent, you may very well get 10 different answers. This is because certain methods work better for certain authors. With that having been said, there are several methods that have proven successful in helping a large number of authors like Daniel Handler get better. Here is how to develop your writing talent.

Write whenever you can

Like most things in life, you will never become a better writer unless you practice writing at every opportunity. Authors such as Handler have let everyone know how much practicing helped his ability to write, allowing him to become an extremely successful author. Ideally, you should set a time aside for yourself to write each day. While some days you will need to change your schedule, you should try to keep it as consistent as possible. Write about whatever you want during this time. Try your hand at various styles of writing and different genres. This will allow you to get a feel for what you enjoy writing.

Get lots of feedback

The only way for you to tell if you have truly progressed as an author is to have your writing read by people you respect and trust. These people that you ask to evaluate your writing should not be close friends and associates. They should be people with a background in writing. If you know any authors who have been published, it would be very useful to have your work read by this person. Ask the people to make detailed notes as they are reading your book. What do they like? What did they hate? How do they think the overall narrative could be improved? The reason you do not want to have your close friends or family giving you feedback is because they will never want to criticize your writing or discourage you in any way. They only have your best interests at heart. Therefore, they will always tell you that your writing is good, even if they do not think it is. This type of feedback will not help you. Getting constructive criticism from people you respect will allow you to get to the point where a publisher will sign you.

My New Crack: Ancestry.com

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— 1 —

I couldn’t write this last night because I was so involved in Ancestry.com. I started a 14-day free trial in the early evening, switched from my computer to my tablet when the pain got too bad, and kept going until I fell asleep, drooling on my family tree. Those little leaves – it’s worse than Farmville. There are very few pictures, but lots of census records. Let me just say that legible handwriting was obviously not a job requirement for census takers. And the forms themselves – wow. And not in a good way. In 1910 someone could actually be legalled classified as a mulatto idiot. Yes, mulatto and idiot were boxes that could be checked. And boarders were present in most homes. People just rented out spare rooms to strangers. I can’t imagine anyone doing that in this day and age.

— 2 —

 The other excitement this week has involved making financial decisions. Lots of things are up in the air, and ever since our lawyer told a big ‘ole lie right in front of us during a hearing (about a minor detail, but still!) I don’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth. I mean, yes, we’ve all heard about the stereotypical dishonest lawyer, but this guy doesn’t even lie well. Every time he lies he does it very enthusiastically. If he says something calmly chances are it’s the truth. But when he gets all earnest and gives great weight to what he’s saying he’s totally lying. And since he never gives a short answer to anything, so every interaction is exhausting. Thankfully, his paralegal is wonderful, helpful, and honest. But she’s also very pregnant, so I’m dreading her maternity leave.

— 3 —

I made Oreo balls for a Nerium party. They were supposed to look like this:
briana oreos
But mine looked like this:
my oreos
It’s obviously a technique issue, since only three ingredients are involved. You mix a box of crushed Oreos with a softened 8-oz block of cream cheese, refrigerate, and then dip in melted almond bark. Maybe I was supposed to freeze them instead. Or maybe I should have used the smaller scoop. Oh, well. They taste fabulous even if they do look pretty awful.

— 4 —

My son wanted some extra T-shirts for band camp, so we went to a thrift store I hadn’t been to for a while. He wanted shirts that could be stained, ripped, or lost since that’s pretty much the destiny of all band camp T-shirts. I was pretty excited. A chance to go thrift store shopping with a valid excuse! I took him to the men’s medium T-shirt section, and by the time I’d walked to the women’s section of the store, before I had even touched a single garment – there he was, a half-dozen shirts in hand. Thankfully one of them didn’t have a price tag so that delayed him long enough for me to find dog toys, but that was all. He very thoughtfully offered to hang with me while I browsed, but we really did have other things to do. It made me really miss my mother-in-law, Pat. She and I would spend all day thrift store shopping. It was awesome.

— 5 —

Band camp, by the way, starts Monday. I feel like John’s had no summer. He dome some of the PSAT prep book I got him, but hasn’t even cracked the copy of The Slight Edge for Teens I wanted him to read over the summer. It’s short, maybe he can read it at the pool tomorrow if we can get a day without rain.

— 6 —

I could really use some time at the pool, and tomorrow’s our last day with my father-in-law’s borrowed pool key. He gets back from vacation Sunday. The storm front moving in have been killing my neck, and the week’s other activities haven’t helped. I waited for two hours in an exam room Wednesday for my doctor to get to me. Of course, by the time he got there I was curled into a ball on the exam table with a pillow wadded up to support my neck. I had pre-op and disability forms for him to sign, and I may or may not have been a real bitch about it. I don’t even remember driving home.

— 7 —

I spent the morning running errands in the rain, and now that everyone has the paperwork they need I’m just waiting for calls about disability, surgery, and financial assistance. I’d like a large YES with a side of IMMEDIATELY, but I’d settle for a optomistic maybe soon across the board.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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