Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A&R 2015 Top 30.

And from that list, these are mine.
 This is a story about life and death, and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.
This is on my laptop waiting for me, so can't wait to begin.
Twins Jude and Noah are incredibly close - until a tragedy drives them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Told from the perspective of each twin over two different timelines, it's Jude and Noah, faults and all.
A story of friendship between an unlikely pairing of an old woman and a young man just back from the war. It’s a beautiful and moving story of Marvellous and her full life. 
Yeah, life. Live it with fullness!
Don't roll over and play dead.
A Year of Marvellous Ways
The exciting world of 19th Century lower class New York  where four intriguing characters worlds become entwined,
and all their secrets.
SAn Ember in the Ashes is the book everyone is talking about. What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution? For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.
Girl at War, the story of Ana, a carefree tomboy at the time the civil war breaks out in Yugoslavia. It is a haunting debut  rooted in historical fact and personal experience.
Y'all know I love Neil.
This is a collection of  short stories that
 pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. 
Ah yes, there's that veil again.
Pierce it baby. Go on, look straight through.
Okay,
this will do.
Bienvenue.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

The woman cut and shaped of stone.

There is a girl.
No, not a girl, for she is of mature age. 
A woman.
She leans with words a sneer of sincerity.
"Tell me, tell me, Bella do, tell me, tell me, how are you?"
Her eyes latch,
seeking those that mirror words.
They don't.
For you know her secrets,
and she wants all yours.
Her hand lifts, nails glisten, sleeves of a glittery shift.
She sparkles,
until she looks away, 
and then you see the dark.
The sparkle has gone.
The face now hard.
Cold.
She wants the words.
She wants to know
 to bend them to be hers.
For she is the story of how it will be.
 The woman that is
cut and shaped of stone.


The Girl On The Train!!

An alcoholic, a liar and a cheat.
These are the three women at the crux of this story.
So, who can you trust?
The Girl on the Train
There's been a lot of talk about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN as a comparison to GONE GIRL. 
Most say, "Nah, not close," but
it's the territory of psychological thriller that puts it in the box of GONE GIRL.
What intrigued me about this story was the train itself and the 
glimpse of lives as you chug by.
I remember so many times as a child riding the train and doing just that,
peering into peoples backyards, their kitchens, seeing them
gathered inside. 
It was intriguing to create stories around these people, to imagine
 how their lives existed.
And in, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, it is during one of these moments when 
she happens to see "something." 
What that something is, I can't yet say.
I will be picking this one up, if only for the memory or glimpse into riding that train again.
If you're looking for a good thriller,
hop on that train and
come along for the ride. 

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 
Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. 
She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. 
Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. 
It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. 
Now everything’s changed. 
Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. 
Has she done more harm than good?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Plato's Cave.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
game of thrones animated GIF
The shadows we face chained.
What do we see?
Do we agree?
Should what flickers in the light be the vision united?
Where and when do our own perceptions kick in?
The shadows of our life, 
the stories we live, seen and not seen,
perceptions aside, should we not decipher?
Ask what is seen and see what comes back.
See too the varying degrees, the span of a story,
the arc in darkness and light.
And do we, should we, agree?
Plato's Cave
 how we live,
 how we perceive.
To see.
trippy animated GIF
“It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again  to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not."
Is this not
Life + Writing + Life?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Breaking THE RULES.

Aujourdui, mes amis.
Qu'est ce que c'est? 
Are you looking for scary?
For the rule breaker?
It lives inside these pages. It lives in other places too.
The game of breaking rules. 
A scavenger hunt that no one wants to win?
Sometimes rules must be broken, to live!
D├ęplacer qu’un pas, une seule page.
Vers l’avant.
Move but one step, one page.
Forward.
Careful now. Go slowly. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Every Ugly Word.

Ugly words.
They cut nasty, nasty marks.
I've talked about bullies. I've talked about adult bullies.
I've even talked about men behaving badly kind of bullies.
Age, gender, or circumstance,
it's just a, "No go!"
Every Ugly Word
Bullies taunt and push Ashley Watson.
It's been going on for far too long.
But, Ashley has something no one else knows she has.
Want to know?
Pick up EVERY UGLY WORD.
It sounds wonderfully intriguing.
Brown Skin Blue
My mum's skin is white, my skin is brown and I have a blue birthmark.
Two secrets rule my life. 
One is something I need to know and the other is something I need to forget. 
They won't let me go.
Some people say you can't death roll with a beast that has already survived a million years
 and live to tell the story.
Or can you?
Sound interesting? You bet!
BROWN SKIN BLUE, is an unassuming, snuck under the radar
people rave, and it's by an Aussie to boot.
Picked it up yet?
Do.
We all love a good surprise, and
we love our surprising stories.


YA, YA , Baby. Yeah!

Ah, the heart never lies...does it?

Stella Cross's heart is poisoned.
After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.
But it's what happens afterward where trouble begins
with a boy named Levi and heart that plays tricks.
An edgy and intimate glimpse at what one girl will do just to be the life of the party,
until that one night when everything changed.
The cost of being someone is more than anyone can imagine. For every moment, there’s a price to pay. For every party. For every choice made.

What do you reckon? 
Are you safer with the devil you know?
Probably best to just stay away from all devils and be done with it,
but Arcadia wants adventure.
This is a road trip to hell story where one companion is not what he seems.
Hmmm.
The devil you know.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

YA July Contenders.

Amazon's July YA Contenders.
Which one?
Which pick?
If, of course, you had to pick.
The Impossible Knife of Memory
Laurie Halse is spectacular. 
Read the first few pages and you'll see why.
So, 'The Impossible Knife of Memory' is going to be mine.
Finding Audrey
A 'talking through your fears' story.
Y'know finding that person who listens and hears.
Sweet story.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
"Incredibly rich moments of universal experience."
No need to say anything more.

Words that tumble past a heart.

When we talk...
What do you hear?
What do you try and say?
One Direction Serious animated GIF
I was at a function. 
It was busy and crowded with clusters here and there.
One woman spoke in-depth about things that weighed on her.
It wasn't the "right" time to speak about them, 
but for her, it was.
You see, she was trying to work her way through something.
Trying to understand.
She was hurt.
It made me terribly sad, because I understood that simple and 
basic need.
I'd been and done the same.
It is in our humanity that we must take pause 
to understand the most basic and human desire to unravel
things so they make sense.
Music Bjork animated GIF
This lady had a weight on her.
She was trying to shake it off.
If talking helped release it just that little bit,
well then,
talk.
I will always listen
to words that tumble past a heart. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where there is...

Where there is a beginning, 
there too is an end.
That end can be long and twisting, a piece of twine
caught and blown in the wind.
It could be the wind.
It is that illusive.
The stories.
Of us.
Where they end.
And, where they too begin.
Black And White Landscape animated GIF



Monday, June 8, 2015

The list.

Ah, the list that grows.
I frankly don't know how much longer it could get.
It winds in circles, loops and bends,
and stacks itself around my bed.
Who's on it? Who's not?
What's on it? What's not?
More than a few, certainly, but there is only one
that will sit up top.
Take your pick.
I've taken mine.
.
"In The Unlikely Event" of "Remembering The Things" like the "Joining
of Souls at Night" and "The Water Knife" that sliced
through "Seven Good Years" and left "Charlie Presumed" "More Happy Than Not,"
as he went searching and"Finding Audrey"
in the branches of a "Tree that Grows in Brooklyn."
June's best picks.
The list that grows.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What Tricks Book Clicks?

Okay, so it's done.
The pages are filled and words are many.
You take a satisfied sigh, but once you've gone and patted yourself on
the back, lock it up and lock it away.
Don't look at it.
Pretend it's not there, that it's never been.
It does not exist.
Gone With The Wind Vivien Leigh animated GIF
Okay.
If you can survive 
leave it for a few weeks, then open it up again.
You're going to look at that manuscript with new eyes.
You're going to see things you didn't before see and those things.
are going to leap off the page at you.
We did the same in art school,
stepped away from a painting cause if you've got your nose stuck against
it for weeks and weeks, you're not going to see the whole picture.
But, we're talking books here, so let's get to the tricks.
Loop Tricks animated GIF
Change the font.
Change the font size.
Put it up full screen.
Send it to your Kindle and read it there.
Change the view in anyway you want cause that change is going to get
those sneaky things leaping.
Try it out.
During the process of editing it's a guaranteed
you'll see.

The bend and twist of a story.

Ah, the bends and twists.
That's where you need a row of minions to help you twist it, or
foresight, or a magic eight ball, or...
pantzer or planner?
I am of the pantzer type.
It's harder.
It takes more work, but the story reveals itself along the way,
and that can be so much more interesting.
I do believe though, whether pantzer or planner,
you must have your beginning and end in place.
A to B, keep moving forward.
Cat Black And White animated GIF


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Madcap Writing Retreats!

Writer Retreats.
"Madcap" retreats check out.
 It's something new, but I'll get to that.
Last August, I was all gung-ho.
My writer's retreat had been planned for almost a year. 
Five weeks away, toss in New York to meet my agent,
and I was hell fire on my way.
But...
it was at VSC, and don't get me wrong, I loved it, I truly did.
 
The experience was wonderful, but it was a "happening" place
with a lot of rather serious artists, photographers, poets, writer's
from all over the US and internationally.
We had guests from Europe.
We had readings.
We had showings.
We had way too much food.
All these things were interruptions to my reason for being there, which was
concentrated work, WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS.
I mean that was the entire point, to get away from life's responsibilities back home,
kids and lunch boxes, booms and etceteras, and just concentrate on work.
I'm not quite sure how much further work-wise I got in such a busy environment.
Sure, I had a beautiful studio overlooking the river.
I had the mountain walk to the gym and glorious, glorious green for miles and miles.
It was spectacular.
But...
I'm going "small" next time.
For me, I'd rather cozy up and be very quiet and still and let myself do what I have to do.
So, if you're interested in writer retreats
check this out.
It's new!
http://madcapretreats.com/index.html
Register your interest and get on their mailing list.
I love the way N.C. spoke about writer's and wifi, aluminium foil and climbing roofs, and 
the importance of having all the "right" things for successful writing sessions.
Check out what N.C. Parker's up to and her giveaway!!
I think it's worth a look and worth a visit.
And for me,
maybe some planning to do.

Drama Comma.

Comma's and I...we've battled it out over the years. 
Animated Typography animated GIF
See, those damn comma's have a life of their own.
I am completely convinced.
They pop up in unexpected places or fly off from where they should be,
 hide and crawl on hands and knees.
Oh, they are sneaky.
I reckon you turn off the light and they're up to no good. 
Yep,
commas.
They really do have a life of their own.
Song Lyrics animated GIF
Of course, they do love the in between in
 "will I, won't I," lists,
or any other kind of lists you like to make. 
 Between two adjectives.
The guy was wiry, lean, eyes like a snake.
They love, love, love run-on's, the babbling goop that froths on and on for way too long rendering sentences senseless and forgetting all stops.
They tend to love words that introduce your sentence.
ie. Well, yes, why, hey, hello.
They also love to set off names or expressions, and then there is
 the, "drama comma."
Drama commas are natural breaths, where you want that natural pause.
Problem with that, I take a lot of pauses, and that's where
they catch me out. 
They end up landing all over the place.
So, if you're a breathy kind of person, 
make sure you take another breath, and re-check!
That's all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book. Guilt.

Hmm, what have you got to be guilty of when
it comes to books?
I could poke a finger and bet I'd be warm...
but I'll share MY guilt instead. 
You can keep yours.
I have a habit of getting WAY TOO EXCITED
hitting the library and seeing their
"New Picks."
Stack of books
I grab more than my share, take them home and stack them by my bed.
I look fondly at them,
enjoy the view, but when I get stuck into a book I really, really,
like, which happens to be the case at the moment,
I TAKE MY TIME.
I don't rush it.
I don't want it to end really, so I just savour the moment.
The books that are in stacks?
Well, they are my guilt.
Renewal dates pass and still they are not opened.
That's okay,
they will be taken back to their shelves,
and surely will come again.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Book. Read. Write.

Writers read.
A must in what we do.
It is, and will always be, our pleasure and our forever school.
The more the better, across the spectrum of voice and genre.
But when writing, I prefer to read in the same genre,
then I'm sitting in the same ballpark, watching the same game.
Baseball animated GIF
It's like a spooky movie is always going to make you feel spooky,
so you go home, open the door and 
every creak has a plunging knife behind it.
Scary Psycho animated GIF
Our minds move in and around what we feed it.
Read
what you write.
Write
what you read.
Share the same landscape.
Breathe the same air. 
Books animated GIF

A&R Top 50 Quick Picks.

Out of A&R's top 50 across all genres, fiction and non, 
these are my 5 quick picks!
We are All Completely Beside OurselvesThe Light Between OceansThe Girl on the TrainThe Narrow Road to the Deep North
All the Light We Cannot See
Enjoy!