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Showing posts from April, 2014

Fiction Fundamentals - Writing Exercise #1

For week 3 our discussion  read:
After reading Chapter 8 in The Scene Book, pick one of the examples offered in Elaborating Sentences (page 121) and write a single paragraph using descriptive language, symbolism, and imagery to communicate the deeper meaning of the simple sentence.  I chose the simple sentence:

The attack happened in the blink of an eye. 

And wrote this descriptive paragraph:

A glitch in the system and then damage reports came flooding in; right and left hands reporting minor damage, left knee was hit hard, right knee reporting only minor scrapes, right shin is reporting high levels of pain, no word from back or any join locations. Movement in all extremities. Attempting to stand in 3, 2, 1. Stand achieved. Lower back is reporting major pain with limited movement. Humility has been depleted. Embarrassment level on the rise. All systems are functional; continue walk into house.

Fiction Fundamentals - Short Story #2

Two Brothers             Maggie sat in the crowded pub watching as Stephen and D.J. set up to play.  She didn’t know why she was even there. She hadn’t seen either of them since she broke up with Stephen over a year ago. But some how she got talked into going and watching as well as helping to transport equipment. Now she watched as Stephen set up his drums, and D.J. set up the amp for his guitar.  They started to tune up and Maggie was joined at the table by a few of their friends that had been helping to set up.              “So why’s Maggie here?” D.J. looked over his shoulder to talk to his brother.             “Just felt like inviting her.” Stephen didn’t want to let his brother know the only reason Maggie was here was because he needed a ride and knew he could talk her into it.             “She looks good since the last time I saw her.” D.J. was watching Maggie as she made small talk with the others at the table.             Maggie looked up from her conversation and noticed both …

Writing Exercise #7

For our second meeting in April our Writers' Group prompt was:

When _____ ignored the "Enter at Your Own Risk" sign on Mr. Sedgewick's property line, she had no idea what the consequences would be.

This got me thinking about a story I had wrote years ago, so I dug around in my files and found the story, but somewhere along the line I had deleted most of it and only had a beginning and some notes. As I looked it over I realized that with some tweaking this could work as a pretty good story.  I only got so far as to edit what I already had written and this is what I presented:

Welcome to the little town of Trent Valley.  There isn't much to do here.  The kids have options limited to the bowling alley, the one screen movie theater, the Trent Diner, or Keller's Pizzeria and Ice Cream Shoppe. By the time they turn seventeen and get a driver's license they are ready to get out of town on a Friday night. Again their options are limited, to the mall the next town ov…

Earth Day Book Recommendation - The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

I suggest this book all the time (well when the situation warrants) and I think Earth Day is the perfect day to suggest it as a must read!
Book Description from Goodreads: In The World Without Us, Alan Weismann offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth without us.

In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.

The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world's cities crum…

Scrapbooking Book Reviews!

Getting Started With Scrapbooking: How to Create Your First Scrapbook by Phyllis Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have tried to scrapbook once, and failed.  Well not so much failed as I wasn't properly equipped or prepared for the project. Had I had a copy of this book, I would have probably made a better first scrapbook! Phyllis Matthews has put together a simple yet informative book on the basics of scrapbooking.  Instead of feeling like a strict instructor is giving you step by step instructions, Phyllis's tone is more of a friend teaching you her favorite hobby.

I pulled two important lessons from this book; one I knew and one I wish I had known before.  First, Phyllis reminds the reader that scrapbooks don't have to be filled with just pictures.  Tickets, maps, information pamphlets and the like are perfect fillers for a scrapbook. I knew this going into my attempt and used post cards and other materials from my trip.

The second lesson is the plan your scrapbook be…

Book Club Catch Up!

Since I fell behind in my posts for March I missed posts for my various book clubs. Here's what I read and a brief review of the books.

First up here are February and March's books for Forever YA:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of Rainbow Rowell's work.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson's books, I think she writes some of the best YA fiction.  I enjoyed this book, but struggled a bit some of the plot.

For our last Winter Book Club* meeting in March we read:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I could not get into this book.  I thought the plot was a great idea, but I just felt like everything dragged.

For Tea & A Book** we read:
Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is in two parts with the author originally planning for the book to contain 5 parts. …

Book Review: Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I consider myself a mini-foodie.  I love to try new things, but I put a limit to what new things I would consider. I love watching cooking shows and I try to experiment in the kitchen.  I've read a number of memoirs by celebrity chefs and I'm fascinated with their journeys but they never talk much about what goes on inside a kitchen on a normal day.  That aspect alone really excited me about this book.

Michael Gibney takes the reader through a typical day in the life of a sous chef. It's a crazy, hectic experience, one I never see myself surviving. He does in it by writing this book in second person singular, or using 'you' to describe the action; you do this, you know that, Chef says to you. I both enjoyed this style and was annoyed at parts.

I watch a lot of the cooking competition shows and most if not all of the contestants smoke.  I never understood why, to my knowledge smoking destroys your palate.  This can…

Fiction Fundamentals - Short Story #1

Last week I started the first of my fiction concentration classes, Fiction Fundamentals. We had to write a short story between 1,000 and 1,200 words long. I finished writing this one and was at about 1,400 words (and I wasn't even fully happy with the story). Here is what I submitted, but I'm keeping the longer story for my portfolio. Maria’s Family Maria quietly moved around the bedroom trying not to wake her sleeping child.  Santina was finally sound asleep on her parent’s bed after an hour of restlessness. She ran a hand down her daughter’s mass of black hair, saying a silent prayer that her child would feel better in the morning. Santina was looking forward to the small Halloween party her class would be having in the afternoon.  Which reminded Maria, part of her sewing for the evening was to finish the little hat for Santana’s clown outfit. Gathering her supplies, Maria slipped out of the room and quietly closed the door. Walking down the hallway, she passed by the room h…

March Summary of Reading Challenges

Here's Where I Stand on the I Love the Library Challenge

Books Checked Out and Read:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed (BCD)The "I Hate to Exercise" Book for People with Diabetes by Charlotte Hayes, MMSC, MS, RD, CDEI am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (BCD)My Brief History by Stephen Hawking (BCD)Humans of New York by Brandon StantonThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie H. AndersonThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Books Checked Out and Currently Reading Paris in Love by Eloisa James (BCD) Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet The History of diners in New Jersey by Michael C. GabrieleThe Returned by Jason Mott Books Checked Out but Didn't Read Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew QuickYoga XXL by Ingrid KollakI Love Coffee! by Susan ZimmerOnce Upon a Time by John BarthHouse Calls with William Carlos Williams by Robert ColesMade in America by Lisa Malin SteinmanSomething Urgent I Have to Say to You by Herbert A. LeibowitzThe Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford by Wendell Berr…