Category Archives: golden retrievers

Binging whilst Recovering…

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been recovering from a ‘minor’ surgery. Aside from the cataract that I had fixed last year I haven’t had any out of the ordinary medical procedures since I was a small child – so for me, this minor surgery was something of a major. Requiring one week of bed rest with the help of prescribed narcotics, and one week of working from home with a lot of super strength advil. I start back at work tomorrow. I’ve had only a couple of outings this weekend, couple of short walks with the dogs and a dinner with friends that wiped me out. HOPEFULLY I’ll be ready for tomorrow – but if not I’ll continue to work and nap from home. BUT that is not the point of this blog. The point is the love of the binge.

Really in the past week plus I’ve been able to binge on lots of indulgences books, movies, tv, chocolate (who’s going to say no to a patient!) whilst lying around my house. Part of my recovery was lying pretty flat/straight, so sitting up and actually going anywhere wasn’t part of the prescribed recovery. Therefore, I took advantage and did some catching up and here is how I spent the time:

Sports. How could I avoid them. Wimbledon (my first true sports love thanks to Dad) always fun to watch. Well done Novak and Petra hard fought and deserved. On to the US Open. And the World Cup. While admittedly – I am not really a soccer fan (120 minutes and NOT ONE SCORE?! seriously) – but it was hard not to get caught up in the USA hype. Exciting to watch those supreme athletes. Go… um? Netherlands?

Witches. Yup, you heard me. I think I must have watched something that prompted me to binge watch the new’ish series Witches of East End. I watched a couple of episodes when it originally aired and thought….meh, sort of silly, bed hopping drivel with not enough magic. Well, perhaps it was the narcotic buzz I was under, but I actually enjoyed the final eight episodes and am looking forward to the start of the second season tonight. From there I hopped over to Once Upon a Time. I stopped watching mid-season, for no reason other than I ran out of time in my schedule and P doesn’t watch (though he should, we’re both Disney-philes, why WOULDN’T he love this show!). Anywhoo – poor Regina. She is one of my favs in that show, and I actually like her evil and nice, but that witch can’t catch a break. And who isn’t excited to see Elsa, Anna and Kristoff join the show this fall?! Weeeee! AND… it didn’t stop there. While I’m stoked about the final book in the All Soul’s Trilogy coming out on the 15th (Deborah Harkness – check them out…), I wanted a little witchery in some reading as well and came across a unique series from a newly published writer named J.D. Horn called the Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source and coming in 2015 The Void are the three in the series). I read through The Line and The Source in a matter of days and L O V E D them. Fresh material and voices, in a rich setting that he wrote so well. The secondary characters often outshone the primary, but the voices and tension and mystery of this family of witches was entertainingly written. I actually sent the author a thank you note and he responded within minutes. Lovely. Can’t wait for The Void. Trying to decide what to read next before my Book of Life (Deborah Harkness) is delivered to my kindle – choices are: the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wicker (another new novelist)(picked up for $2.99 through amazon, have been wanting to read this mystical tale for a year now), the first in the Dresden Files series (a friend loves these), or The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I’ve pushed this one away more than once despite all the high reccos because I think it’s going to be too romantic for me…blech). I think I’ll land on the Golem and the Jinni and see where that takes me.

I finished up a couple of other books before my inner eye turned me to Witches. The first was the last in the Shatter Me YA series Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi – cool super hero Xmen stuff, though fell down a few times as the story progressed. The third was definitely my favorite of the three, even if it wrapped up quickly. The other was a recco from my mom, Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse (not the model) – and while it was a well written yarn, it was not the scary ghost story it made itself out to be. pretty predictable.

We also started up a couple of new mid apocalyptic shows Last Ship (TNT) and The LeftOvers (HBO). I am liking the Last Ship better than The LeftOvers – but a lot of that is due to the fact that the Last Ship I can get my head around and the LOs just started with a ton o questions left unanswered. I can’t imagine either show will make a second season, just due to the subject matter – mid apocalyptic is tough. Looking forward to Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain later this month too to round out my mid-apocalyptic month!

Movies… of course, how could I forget those. Nothing I haven’t seen already – and mostly by way of what was available on one of the movie channels so I didn’t have to put in a dvd, but did watch some comfort food of movies; Jurassic Park (spared no expense), Oblivion (I really liked this Tom Cruise flick), World War Z, Indiana Jones, all 6 Star Wars. The only new movie we watched was called We’re the Millers and it was two star at best (my favorite part was during the outros and the whole group singing the Friends theme to Jen Aniston).

Special thanks to my lovely husband P, mom, dad, sis and her hubby as well as my lovely goldens who kept my spirits up and took care of me while I was down! xoxo

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Great Openings and then some…

As I prepared to read and reread and write and rewrite my 3 page opening for writing class, I thought it would do me some good to reread a few of my favorite books openings.

I selected the following for this exercise; The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Rings (Fellowship), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Marley and Me, The Princess Bride, War of the Worlds and Twilight. I was looking for variety in voice, genre, and point of view. I really should find a few more like Marley and Me since of the books I selected, that is the most ‘mundane’ of them (and subsequently the most like my idea for a book for class).

Some notes on these openings; 3 were written in 3rd person POV (Bride, LOTR, Potter), 3 in 1st person POV (Twilight, Marley, and Gatsby), and War of the Worlds almost felt like omniscient while still 3rd person.

4 were more people/character focused (Gatsby, Marley, LOTR, and Princess Bride), while the other three were more environment driven (in my opinion anyway – Potter, Twilight – poor rainy rainy northwest, and War of the Worlds – did you know there was intelligent life on Mars?).

A few of them had pretty giant prologues – Bride for instance is almost 1/4 of the book written to explain that this is an abridged version of a classic, but with the boring bits taken out. LOTR has pages and pages of notes on things concerning hobbits and pipeweed and the Shire to help set the setting, and fill in the blanks if you were one of the few people who didn’t read the Hobbit before reading Lord of the Rings. Others, like Gatsby – just jumped right into the the narrative, and really a narrative on that part – as the person narrating is an observer of Gatsby’s life, not Gatsby himself. With Twilight and Potter – I had a bit more time rereading and trying to forget how many times I’ve seen the movies, but interestingly – Twilight (just like in the movie) starts off with the ending where she’s being attacked by one of the rogue vampires, with a quick 1/2 page prologue – thought not sure it’s called a prologue if it’s really what happens at the end of the book during the main conflict.

Some of the books were tiny (WotW was less than 60k words – which in today’s world wouldn’t be considered a full novel really) – but really dense with tiny font and slim margins. Where as others looked dense (Twilight, 130k words) at 500 pages, but used giant font and large margins (probably to not scare off the YA readers it was aimed at). And then there was just giant – LOTR – but that was also because we have the trilogy all bound together (1125 pages – including a glossary and maps at then end and the beginning).

I’ll take a stab at genres:
LOTR – Fantasy (Epic)
War of the Worlds – Sci-Fi
The Great Gatsby – Literature
Marley & Me – Comedy (autobiographical – about a DOG)
The Princess Bride – Comedy (imo – but looking it up it actually is categorized ‘fantasy/romance’)
Twilight – YA/Thriller

All of these things make me question a couple of things 1) if mine is YA – is there a subgenre, and do I even read books like this? 2) I’ve planned a prologue to set the stage of their life before college – but does that become my opening? 3) I’ve always assumed I’d write with a 3rd Person POV – but seeing so many of these that I sampled had a 1st person – including Twlight, was sort of surprising. Come to think of it, I think Divergent (another YA thriller) was first person as well. I wonder if that is common with YA books. Need to investigate further. Potter certainly wasn’t.

Good news – I have 4-5 pages to play with now. Time to refine before the first critique.

Another thing I need to figure out – this book is going to have a lot of musical references, perhaps even some lyrics when my main character is singing along with her favorite songs – what are the copyright rules on things like that? Can you use lyrics in books that aren’t yours? I’ve seen authors reference musical artists or songs in books – though I can’t recall reading lyrics. Must research that as well.

Off with me! (woops – !!, not allowed to use explanation points in class all year. ALL YEAR. I need to be able to exude excitement/anger/anxiousness without using punctuation. I use a lot of !!. Need to start cleaning that business up.

It was a dark and stormy night….

How much trouble do you think I would be in if I used that as my opening line for my ‘novel’ in class?

I pulled myself out of a deep slumber at 5:30am this morning (with a little help from the monsters below who wanted to pee and get their breakie) to do some writing.   Or at least to get an idea of what direction I want to write. monsters

Instead I have now caught up on this season’s Vampire Diaries episodes (anyone else getting Buffy flashbacks – the girls have gone to college), and now The Originals (anyone else wondering why 200 years ago in New Orleans their other “Original” siblings – who have since died at the hands of bad guys in Mystic Falls in this century haven’t shown up? I mean, they were alive back in THAT day right?  and horror the wigs… o vey).the_originals__v_promo_poster_by_ryodambar-d5ypepb  I’ve made it through the first episode and there has been no mention of the what, 2 or 3 other siblings?  The-Original-Family-the-vampire-diaries-tv-show-28896766-750-563 Did I imagine them? I love how on the Originals we now have Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Hybrids AND an unborn who knows what.  How much weirder can it get.  Funny enough though – one of the characters in The Originals (Elijah) is high school mates with my work buddy.  We just happen to be chatting about paranormal and my work mate mentioned it on Friday – not knowing I was a fan.  Now to arrange an intro.  🙂 I do like that they gave Phoebe Tonkin (Hayley) a new home.  She was the only character interesting on The Secret Circle.

Currently I’m torn.  I want to write.  I can’t decide if I want to write normal or paranormal for the rest of the year.  I prefer to watch/read paranormal (my favorite showed this season so far are:  Sleepy Hollow, Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, and am looking forward to Grimm, Walking Dead, Tomorrow People, and getting into Once Upon a Time in Wonderland – whoa that seems like a lot of TV considering how much I need to accomplish this year).  I even got a steal of a deal on a book on how to write paranormal (there is  A LOT of world creation to be done).  But when I think about the daunting task of actually writing paranormal I get hung up on all of that world creation.  FOR instance, if I wanted to write about an immortal race – what do I do about the young people and the old people?  What do I do about people’s jobs – I mean, honestly, who would want a job in a grueling blue collar job (e.g. picking apples) for over 100 years?  I get bogged down in figuring that stuff out rather than focusing on the actual story and making that good.

I have an idea, at least a scrap of an idea for a paranormal book.  One thought is for class I go with the more mundane college girl YA story to get the basics down, and then for Nano and along side work on this paranormal thing.  That way when I get frustrated with the world building, I can take a break.  perhaps.  BUT – how does the mundane stack up against my fellow students?  I would say 75-80% of the class was going fantasy/sci-fi, and of those almost 100% were YA.  I guess mundane might be a nice break, or could just ostracize me from the real discussions.  Nah… that won’t happen.  I’m a nosy type A person who won’t be left out of the discussions.  And the discussions will actually  help me with my paranormal idea.  I’ve been noodling the ‘two fer’ idea since class last week and I think that is what I’ll do.  Start up the paranormal for Nano in November. I know it will create double the work – plus Paul is committed to this Anthro class we’re taking through EDX.org – so I’ll have that to worry about as well.  Hopefully I can manage.  We don’t have any travel in November and many of the football games will be away – so that means weekends will be ripe with catching up.

One final thought before I get moving… Why the heck do they think the Vampire Diaries/Originals audience would be interested in buying the first season of China Beach?  blah.  Give me Buffy or Angel or heck even that crappy Kindred show before you give me some MASH knockoff.  lordy.  Bad target marketing WB on demand people.