If there's one thing we have to get used to as writers, it's the waiting. Whether it's waiting to hear back from beta readers, agents, or editors, they say the best way to endure is to work on another project. So it was pretty much perfect timing when shortly after I sent my WIP to beta readers, I was asked to work on a mural for the nursery area in our new church building. I got to play around with paints and be a part of a larger creative process with two very talented people. It was great fun.
Now that the mural is (mostly) finished , I've turned to a more familiar distraction: reading. These are a couple of YA titles that I highly recommend.
And now, I'm ready to get back to writing. What are you waiting for?
Author Hugh Howey published an interesting blog post on happiness last week. Oh, wait. I guess it was on selling books, or not selling books. But really it was on our innate base level of happiness. Basically, he believes we choose our own happiness, which is only temporarily affected by outside factors. I believe that's true. For proof, we only need to look to our kids at Christmas when they get that toy, game, or gadget that they absolutely had to have. The initial happiness they experience upon opening that gift wanes quickly and their relative happiness goes back to base level before we parents have even paid the credit card bill.
We do this in our writing lives, too, don't we? I'd be happy if only I were a better writer, could land an agent, get published, sell more books, win an award. . . But the reality is that those things may bring a momentary surge of euphoria, but won't change our innate base level of happiness. Growing up, my mother always said that it was possible to be happy no matter what your circumstances. Mr. Howey says it this way: "How we feel should be up to us." Which is actually pretty empowering. I do not have to rely on anyone else for my state of mind. It is within my choosing to be happy and that starts, to quote Mr. Howey again, "by seeing the small good in the world."
I watched About Time last night. It's a romantic time travel movie with Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, that, in the end, reminds us to live every day deliberately, to find the extraordinary moments in an ordinary life, to savor the moment. This one. Right now. Without fretting over how it could be better if only...
Today, this music video is making me particularly happy. It may be a temporary high, but hey, I can hit play as many times as I want ;) I dare you to watch it and not smile!
Do you have a favorite feel good movie, song, or book to recommend?
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
takes you to the wilds of the Amazon.
My thoughts returned there to ponder
the story and characters long after I'd
finished the last page.
I Will Save You by Matt De La Pena
is chilling, shocking, and impossible to
put down. I finished it within two days
and couldn't request his next book (or
two, or three) soon enough.
These Broken Starsby Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
Okay, I haven't finished this one yet, so I guess the rating is premature. I'm 75 % into it, but as I look at my schedule for the next few days, all I can think about is
finding time to read more of this book. I would possibly forego meals to continue reading this one. (My family may not be on board with that plan.)
I love book recommendations! What was your last five-star read?
I'm a creature of habit. I sit in the same seat at church every week, I have been known to eat the same thing for breakfast for years, and I read a lot of contemporary YA. It's easy to get stuck in ruts. So in the interest of breaking away from the norm, for my first read of the new year, I pulled out a Lisa Genova novel (not YA) that I got last Christmas. I devoured it in a day and a half.
I'm thinking of reading a fantasy/sci fi novel next. I never read fantasy/sci fi, but I do have an ARC of The Bone Season kicking around here somewhere.
I usually write in silence, but I discovered The Lumineers album and I'm finding it impossible to turn off. Thankfully, I'm also finding it easy to write to. This song, Stubborn Love, is currently my favorite.
I'm totally enjoying revising one of my novels. This is the power of good feedback: when someone points you in the right direction and you can take off without looking back. That's where I'm at right now, and I'm so grateful.
For breakfast, I have given up my maple-flavored oatmeal for blueberry pancakes, fruit salads, Portuguese muffins and peanut butter/banana milkshakes (not all at once). But I confess, I still sat in the same seat at church this week.
Do you have new things on the horizon for 2014? What are you looking forward to most?
First came The Moses Conspiracy, now comes..... The Scent of Fear.
The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.
Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?
Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life.
Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?
Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.
Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of The Scent of Fear. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced January 17, 2014. Good luck!
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Susan J. Reinhardt. The author provided me with a free copy of The Scent of Fear to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
THE FREEDOM THIEF By Mikki Sadil. Mikki is one of my critique partners and her debut MG novel released last month from MuseItUp Publishing. I'm so excited for her! She completed this manuscript before I
joined the group, so although I’ve read several of her works in
progress, this was my first time reading The Freedom Thief. It’s the story of thirteen-year-old Ben, the son of a slave owner and the lengths he goes to save his friend and stand up for what he believes. Ben leads his best friend, a crippled slave, and his family through collapsing tunnels, foreboding swamps, a dangerous forest in a life or death adventure towards freedom. This is a book I would have enjoyed reading with my children when they were young. It's a story both boys and girls will enjoy.
Once I had commandeered my daughter’s Kindle, I decided to
keep it long enough to read ELIXIR BOUND By Katie L. Carroll.(Am I the only one who forgets about books once they're loaded onto the Kindle?) I don’t usually
(ever) read fantasy, but I’ve been visiting Katie’s blog and hearing about her
book and, I just couldn’t help myself. I won’t say it made a fantasy convert
out of me, but I did enjoy the family aspect to the story. The quest and the life-changing decision Katora had ahead of her kept me pressing that page turn button. The characters were
likeable, there was a sweet romance, and I couldn’t help but
root for Katora and hope she would make the right decision.
Another title that had been waiting on the Kindle was
Rachele Alpine’s CANARY. Contemporary YA is where my heart is and I thoroughly enjoyed this one – even though I
wanted to shake Kate sometimes. She, her brother and her father are all trying, in their own way, to hold what’s left of their family
together after their mother’s death. When Kate and her brother transfer to the elite private school
where their father has become the basketball coach, a whole new world opens up
to them, and changes them both in very different ways.
I also read Gayle Forman’s JUST ONE YEAR, the
sequel to Just One Day. I loved Forman’s If I Stay and Where
She Went and how the second book was told from a different character’s
point of view. I was excited to hear that Just One Day and Just One Year
followed suit. But after reading the first book, I felt duped, slogging through a fluffy middle only to arrive at an end point that wasn't an ending at all. It felt as if one book had been split into two. I would have preferred one tighter
book where the viewpoints alternated. Still, as disappointed as I was in the first book, I read the second one –
because, let’s face it, I was invested. *SPOILER ALERT* Sadly, a lot was lost in the wait for
the second book. The near misses the characters have while searching for each other go under appreciated because the finer details have been forgotten in the wait for the second book. And by the end of book two, Willem doesn’t
seem like much of a prize anymore. You almost don’t care if they end up
together. But the biggest disappointment was that book two ends exactly where book
one ended. (With all of a paragraph or two more – which is all telling.) Yup, I
got to the end feeling even more duped than I had with book one. At 368 and 323 pages, it was a big investment with little payoff. What have you read lately? Tell me about a book I just have to bump to the top of my TBR pile ;)