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Meeting Writerly Friends - My Trip to Zürich Switzerland

The internet used to be a creepy thing where if you met people they were just scumbags who would steal your identity and if they wanted to meet you in person it meant they wanted to rape you and then skin you alive, or something like that. But in the last two years I have traveled to various places to meet with three different online friends, and every experience has been sublime.

First there was Christine in München.
Then Hanna in Oklahoma.
And this week I went to Zürich to meet Jessica Bell.

It was just for an afternoon, but I had a really wonderful time. I spent the afternoon with Jessica's sister and then we went to dinner at a swank vegetarian restaurant. I find it a real privilege to have these opportunities. The world doesn't seem as big as it used to when I can meet three people from around the globe all in quick, easy trips.

On a side note, here is a picture of the mug Hanna made for Jessica for the Random Act of Kindness blitz. It's now in the mail!


Drabble Dienstag - Goodbye

Here's another drabble that simply poured out during StoryADay May. It feels like it shows a lot, since I don't explicitly say what's going on. What do you think?

She sat in her rocking chair on the porch, sweet tea on the glass and iron table beside her and the sun setting before her. The last person had left, walking their way down the creaking stairs and across the gravel to their car. She watched the dust cloud follow the car out to the highway. Alone was better, not best, but better than having people in her home invading her space. Her knees popped with every push against the rocking chair. As the sun sank below the horizon, she whispered her last goodbye to the love of her life.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Thoughts

This isn't so much a book review as it is my rambling thoughts. I probably should have typed it up right after finishing the book because at that point I was broiling with emotions. I wanted to let it settle, but I've waited too long. I want to discuss a few ideas so please chime in in the comments.

Whenever I read John Green I become this big blob of hormones. I cry, I laugh, I'm completely jealous of his characters and his abilities as a writer, I want to scream, and I can't put the book down until I'm finished. It's a complete overload of feeling. I love his books, but I can't read them too close together because his characters feel like the same people from book to book. The plots change, and I am still totally sucked in, but the characters all seem the same: angsty, overly vocabulary-capable (if that makes sense), too smart for their own good teenagers.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green young adult novel

But the parents in The Fault in Our Stars, oh the parents. I loved them. They weren't nonexistent, they weren't distant and silly, they were there. Does anybody else find that annoying in young adult books? Parents are a big part of kids lives, even if they are distant and irresponsible. They still have huge impact.

The way he dealt with cancer was just, wow. I could not have done that. It was raw. But not awkward. And getting to see how a cancer kid treats another cancer kid while commiserating together over the way people without cancer react. It was simply well done.

I highly recommend this book (and John Green's other stuff) to anyone wanting to get into the young adult market who hasn't before. I always give my copy of Looking for Alaska to young adult newbies.


Drabble Dienstag - Choices

This is isn't pertaining to a specific something. It's mostly just a reflection and was a away for me to play with words.

That moment; when your heart, or maybe head, makes the choice. You are no longer confused. But now you tumble into yet another trap. Was it the right decision? Will you get a mulligan if you want one?

You spent all that time debating the answer itself that you almost wonder what the question was in the first place. Sunshine bursts through the clouds, dappling your face with shadows of leaves.

It doesn't matter now. It is done. The act of constantly flipping and flopping between the choices made the consequences instant. It is too late to go back now.


Random Act of Kindness BLITZ!

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

I'm blitzing Jessica Bell because she is one of those amazing people who has loads of things to do and yet takes the time out to help out other writers (or how she has helped me with freelance editing). She is extremely supportive and I think she deserves a little support back.

I have another writerly friend who has guest posted here (Hanna) who paints mugs with literary quotes, and I will be sending one of those with Jessica's favorite quote from Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson on it.

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!


Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer - Book Review

Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer is a young adult post-apocalyptic science fiction. A comet's dust turns the sky purple, and space germs kill everyone who is past puberty. The world is left with a few scientists who were quarantined, and thousands of kids. On an island off of Maine, a group of kids bands together to survive.

Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer book cover

The high stakes and constant motion just kept building throughout the book. I didn't want to stop. The idea was what really intrigued me, but the personality and writing really hooked me. It's written in third person so we can bounce from character to character. I liked that, but I also think it could have benefited from being first person for the emotion. Still, a lot of moments had me gripping my seat in anticipation.

The characters are all very solid and real. For the story revolving entirely around children, it didn't feel childish or silly at any point. A lot of science and knowledge was thrown in because of one nerdy character; hope and love and worry were projected by another. They all had their roles and were connected to each other in simply beautiful ways.

Scott touched a few times on the fact that these thousands of children would one day have to procreate in order to keep the race continuing, but it was never weird or wrong. There were still twelve-year-old crushes, not intense love you wouldn't expect from pre-teens, and every once in a while someone would mention it but they would just continue on as if it wasn't said.

The beginning of the book threw me a little. The timing seemed strange, but once I got into the flow of the writing and the comet dust fell into the atmosphere, curling its way around the moon, I couldn't stop.

I received this book from the author for review.


Drabble Dienstag - Lotus Exige

We took our Lotus Exige on the Nürburgring. The sensations of that ride aren't easily describable, and I don't think I did it justice here. I may have to try again, but it feels like it needs stream of consciousness or a poem. I also wrote this drabble to start myself off easy in StoryADay. Here's to a productive month of writing!

blue Lotus Exige with raindrops

Dropping and dipping and floating and squealing, the car rocketed around corners, over bumps, through dips, and into the straight. My heart hadn't expected to last the trip. The adrenaline rush made my stomach plummet at first, especially on the first turn and when a Porsche passed our Lotus too close for comfort. My fingers tingled and when I stepped out of the car, my legs barely held me after ten minutes of constant flexing, pushing against the floorboard to keep my balance and sanity. But despite all of that I had a smile on my face. It was fun.


Ripper, My Love Debut Novel from New Author Glynis Smy

Today writer/poet, Glynis Smy adds author/novelist to her name. Her debut novel; Ripper, My Love, is launched in ebook format and paperback. The genre for this love story falls into the one of Historical Romance Suspense.

Growing up in late nineteenth century East London, Kitty Harper’s life is filled with danger and death – from her mother, her beloved neighbour and the working women of the streets.

With her ever-watchful father and living surrogate family though, Kitty feels protected from harm. In fact, she feels so safe that while Whitechapel cowers under the cloud of a fearsome murderer, she strikes out on her own, moving into new premises to accommodate her sewing business.

But danger is closer than she thinks. In truth, it has burrowed itself right into her heart in the form of a handsome yet troubled bachelor, threatening everything she holds dear. Will Kitty fall prey to lust – and death – herself, or can she find the strength inside to fight for her business, sanity and her future? And who is the man terrifying the streets of East London?

Who is Glynis Smy?

Glynis was born and raised in England, in the coastal town of Dovercourt, near the port of Harwich (where the captain of the Mayflower lived). After qualifying as a nurse, she married her school friend, and they produced three children. During her rare quiet moments, she wrote poetry and articles for magazines. In 2005 she and her husband emigrated to Cyprus for a new life in the sun. It was here that Glynis lay down her cross stitch and started making writing friends on the Internet. With their support and encouragement she shared her poetry, and was successful in a few contests. She shared a short story with a friend, who wrote back telling her it was worthy of becoming a novel, and not to waste the premise upon a brief plot. The story is the one being launched today. Glynis found her love of writing 19th Century, historical romances and her second novel, Maggie's Child, will be published at the end of 2012.

Aside from writing and Cross stitch, Glynis enjoys creating greetings cards, and sells them to raise funds for a small hospice in Cyprus. One of her pleasures is to sit on the back porch with a glass of wine, and reflect upon her good life. She can often be heard chatting to new characters urging her forward.

Her desire to pay back those who had supported her is realised in a blog designed specifically to promote the books of others: New Book Bloggerhttp://newbookblogger.blogspot.com/. You can find her personal writing blog at www.glynissmy.com. Glynis finds the community spirit of writers on Facebook a valuable one.

Want to purchase a copy?  Launch day price for the Kindle is 99c/77p!


The Light and Fallen by Anna White - Book Review

The Light and Fallen by Anna White is a young adult paranormal romance about angels and high school and lost things. Lucius is an angel who is sent to earth to find a lost key, and he ends up in a seventeen-year-old body. He meets Samara and is instantly drawn to her. But Jack, one of the fallen angels, wants her for himself.

The Light and Fallen by Anna White book cover

This book was a very fast read. I enjoyed how easy and fun it was. That doesn't mean uncomplicated, because the plot was pretty thick. As the story progressed I thought I knew what the key was, then I started to doubt, but I was right in the end. It wasn't that the story was simple to figure out, it was more that Anna took the readers on a journey where we didn't quite expect and then it meandered back to the more expected path and then she hit us with a big surprise in the end.

At times the love was sappy and silly, but at other times I really felt deeply for the characters. I certainly connected with them. The one problem I had was that a lot of the ideas felt cliche. It seems that young adult has become like romance fiction where they follow a specific path and don't deviate - Samara's parents aren't really part of her life, she falls in love with an angel and has a dark angel vying for her attention. It's good because the reader feels comfortable, but personally I'm looking for more. The one thing that stood out for me was that she stood up for herself. She wasn't some silly little girl who had to be saved.

I received this book from the author for review.


Plagiarizing My Own Ideas

plagiarism [pley-juh-rahyz, -jee-uh-rahyz]
an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author

according to dictionary.com

According to that definition I can not plagiarize myself. But other people (and especially colleges) say you can by submitting the same work twice. But what about re-using an idea? If I type brand new words involving the same theme, is that plagiarism?

I have loads of unfinished novels in my drawer (computer files in my case but drawer sounds better). Some of them have terrible writing, some of them have good writing, some of them have great ideas. And I always have this feeling of doing something bad when I re-use some of my old work in new pieces, even if that old work hasn't seen anything but the dark wood it is surrounded by.

This feeling is probably because of how harshly it was pounded into my head to NOT PLAGIARIZE. In college they didn't even trust us to tell the truth; they made us submit all papers to turnitin.com, a website that checks the work for plagiarism against all of the internets.

So what do you think...is it plagiarism to copy your own work if it's unpublished? Should I relax and not think that the FBI is going to bust down my door if I hit ctrl+c ctrl+v?