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Passion - Urban Writers' Retreat Bootcamp Competition

Passion. Is it something we all inherently have or is it something I need to find like a magic flower hidden in a fairy forest among moss and squirrels? I have always been in the pursuit of passion. Witnessing dreams come to fruition for others sends me spiraling into depression faster than anything else.

If I have had anything that resembles passion in my life, it is for writing. There are certainly others: loving my loved ones, giving of myself, reading…

I dread every sunset when a day passes that I feel I haven’t done something, I haven’t made a difference. I want to be remembered, maybe even cherished. Writing is my chance at that. Who knows if I can evoke emotion or make someone laugh, but I will die trying simply because it makes me feel wonderful.

I have one novel finished. But I need another. Just to prove to myself that I really am a writer, that I don’t give up when it’s too hard, that I am capable of being passionate about something.


Shoes by zefrank

Incredible. The world is small...and beautiful.


Date a Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."

by Rosemarie Urquiro


Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger - Book Review

Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger is about a werewolf, but he's really only a were-spaniel. When Caleb suddenly turns into a Cocker Spaniel once a month, he and his father don't know what to do. Until they find out that his mother's side of the family all do it too.

Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger book cover

The characterization in this book was wonderful. From the very beginning I loved everyone. They are all very authentic and complex. The beginning has this great little twist, and as the story progresses it just moves in ways that aren't normal but flowed well. The very ending was particularly good as it wasn't open, all the loose ties were neatly knotted, but a new idea was introduced and draws the reader in, ready for the next installment.

The theme of the book plays out well. Every mention of something dog like made the story that much more: Caleb wraps a present for his girlfriend in Peanuts paper; his cousin Kalista 'wolfed down' so much food; the family dog calls the telephone a talking box. The humor is engaging and fun without being condescending or stupid.

There was a bit too much setup, the real story didn't start until almost three quarters in. But it was never boring and was a great take on the typical werewolf tale.

I received this book from the author for review.


Interview with Author of Wrecked, Jeff Goins

I get the privilege of interviewing Jeff Goins today! His new book Wrecked is out and he's touring blogs. So check out the interview and check out his book.

Wrecked by Jeff Goins book cover

Hi Jeff!

Let's start off with a basic hello and who are you?

Hey there. My name’s Jeff, and I’m a writer. I believe words matter and that we are each put on this earth to help each other. Oh, and I love guacamole.

We'd like to get to know you a bit, but mostly we'd like to understand how you would react in certain situations. Your book Wrecked is about making the most of every situation. Let's take that to its most basic level and see your standard reactions. I can't play a game with you directly, but we can pretend.

So here's your first scenario. If you're playing Monopoly with some friends and one of them gets a hold of both Boardwalk and Park Place and all you have is the lowest value property, Mediterranean, what's your defensive strategy?

Own that property and build on it as much as possible. Try to monopolize it with the hope that my opponent will land on it. Clean them out, or offer to swap properties. Then do the same thing with that.

Now if you are having a poker night with the guys and you know of the five guys at the table, three are bluffing, one is shaking his leg under the table and probably has nothing, and you have a low straight…what do you do? Do you up the bet or hold it steady?

Up the bet. 
Go for it. Go big or go home (insert any other clich├ęs).

And lastly, chess. Chess is a strategic game. But there's a lot involved. What is your basic strategy for a game of chess? Do you play on the offense and plan your steps three in advance, or are you on the defense and try to figure out your opponent's moves and counter them?

Come out strong and try to get a checkmate in the first five moves (it’s possible). Depending on how the opponent reacts, I’ll be able to tell really quickly whether or not they’re a pro (or just lucky).

Hopefully we get to know more about who you are by playing these little games. Anything else about yourself or your new book we should know?

Sure. My new book, Wrecked, is about the life we’re afraid to live. It’s about finding purpose in the least likely of places. We think life is about our comfort; it’s not. It’s about serving others.



The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin - Book Review

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin is about two women who love each other. Yep, I just came out and said it. But it's also about loyalty and friendship and gossip and prejudice. A historical novel based in the old west of Nevada, a small town learns of Oscar Wilde's imprisonment for gross indecency and blazes with fury.

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin book cover

First off, I could not put this book down. It's a simple story with a lot of depth and background. The exposition of the history is welcome, I hungered for more with each piece that was revealed. Sometimes, though, the internal feelings of the characters were too much. The integration and telling of the history was perfect.

I wasn't sure what to think of the subject. I wasn't incensed either way. Probably because it is told from the perspective of the victim. There were prejudice comparisons to black people and Jews as well as gays, but the comparisons weren't that obvious they were just a part of that time. It felt natural. It never felt like the author's statement but the character's circumstances.

The story covered the idea that our past affects who we are. The way we grew up is a large part of what we do as adults.

The climax was a very unexpected twist. But it flowed so well and made the story that much more of a story and not a rant about prejudice that it made me love the book even more. I was worried about blogging about this book - it's not my norm - but I really enjoyed it.

I received this book from the author for review.


Egyptian Princess

I realized after I posted my Ireland pictures that I hadn't posted any of my Egypt trip. We went down there to meet up with my parents and cruise the Nile as well as visit the pyramids. It was heavenly (though completely, uncomfortably hot). And it was very safe, considering we hit this magic hole between when the revolution ended and when the Egyptians became riled up again. We were there just two weeks after the revolution ended. The tour guides kept saying, "Back during the revolution..." and we would all turn to each other and say, "Two weeks ago..."

I was sad that we missed out on Abu Simbel but it was way further south than we went. I love traveling with my parents, they do it in style. We had luxury hotels and a beautiful boat on the Nile. Tourism is dead down there (kind of understandable) but the poverty was a bit of a shock for my husband.

The Temple of Philae. They moved this temple piece by piece when they built the dam on the Nile and the area flooded.
My mama and I at Luxor Temple.
Best photo bomb ever by my parents' friend.
Lol. My mom is awesome.

Minarets and satellites.
All four of us at Luxor Temple.

This was happening on one side of the boat...

...and this was on the other.