Tag Archives: reading

Sue Harrison: “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23: Books, Books, Books!

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue.

** Note: Last year we took a break from WTTD in December, but this year Sue has prepared a special post which is up a week early to give you time to shop. Therefore, there is no post from Sue on December 25, the fourth Thursday of this month.

Now for the topic for month twenty-three:

********

“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23:  Books, Books, Books!

To celebrate the busy, happy, and frantic holiday season, my 2014 Christmas card to you is a very short post about the question I’m asked most frequently by new writers.

The Question: What’s the one most important thing I can do to help develop my writing skills?

The Answer: Read!

booksSo, during this holiday season, which for me means a Christmas celebration and for many others means Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or even December birthdays, my suggestion is to give books — to others and to yourself! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!

Strength to your pen!

Sue

 *Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back January 22, 2015 for part 24!

PS: If you need some book suggestions please check out my BUY THE BOOK! page, and my BOOK REVIEWS page.

What have YOU read lately?

Hi All!

I’m sorry to say it’s another day – or maybe week – of no book review as I am having to take a little break. I really thought I would have one ready for today, but … have you ever found yourself in a place of being hardly able to even read a book? I don’t want reading and reviewing to become something I don’t enjoy anymore, so that’s a bit worrisome for me.

Since this is my week at home it’s my chance to try to get caught up in my own house a bit – if possible. My naturopath gave me capsules to help me sleep better so I will be more rested my next week with Dad, and to help me de-stress.  I’m hoping to get back to devouring books again very soon. :)

I do have some exciting news to share with you depending on how quickly I can get a post together about it. Of course, it is to do with BOOKS!  :)

In the meantime, what I would love is for YOU to share a sentence or two about the books YOU are reading this month, or this season, or tell us about your favourite book of all time. I am really interested in knowing what you are enjoying and if it’s something I would like for my own reading pleasure. Even if you have never left a comment it would be so nice to hear from you with your book thoughts. 

Would you do me the favour of sharing in the comments about your reading and help me out a little here, please?

Thank you for faithfully following my blog; I appreciate you so much.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Hillsong music, and Helping one another

A rambling post …

Here it is Sunday again. Weather-wise it has been like a late summer day – but it is supposed to warm again this coming week. I appreciate the summer so much; it’s far too short for me.

My spirit longs for particular music sometimes, right now being one of those times. Here is a link to Hillsong so you can enjoy the music I’m listening to as I’m writing this post.

Life continues on with its caregiving challenges (almost 3 1/2 years now!) – some days make me appreciate the good ones so much more. If it weren’t for the help we are getting my sister and I could not have managed all this as long as we have.

As you know, one of my goals is to write children’s books, or even any writing for myself would be good right now! Last month a friend and I were discussing our mutual desire to write, and I suggested a challenge. From that conversation we are now both writing – actually, we are writing together although long distance – one writes, the other adds to it and sends it back … and so on and so on. This effort is challenging us and helping to release our creative (writing) energy. Have you tried anything like that?

Now for the burning question:
How are you enjoying my blog; is it helpful to you?

I’ve been looking into ways I can help you more. Since I’m interested in helping promote your books (the ones I agree to read and review) and others I think you might like or should know about, you know I have a new page for that purpose: BUY THE BOOK!  On that page I’m in the process of adding a few more things – both for writers and for readers.

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of my available time reading books, updating my blog and writing posts. (and I enjoy it all!) When I upgraded my blog to better suit my needs it meant I’d have to pay for its hosting. (WordPress is very reasonable or I wouldn’t have done it.) After much consideration, I recently decided to look into affiliation which will bring in a very small percentage for any sales made through your clicks from the links I have here on my site. It will help me pay for my blog as it is, so is a way you can help me, too, if you want to.

The affiliations I chose are ones I think are of the most benefit to you as writers and readers. Once all the techie stuff is worked out you will be able to click to great things not only at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and WritersDigestShop, but also at Christianbook, Chapters.indigo, CafePress, and Vista Print. When I get them all set up you will find them through BUY THE BOOK! and on my Writers’ Helps page. Exciting!

Now I must grab some time to read more of the book I am going to review soon. So many books — so little time!  :)

Please tell me what you think of what I’m doing here on my blog. I appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

How I got into Writing book reviews

Tuesday is one of my usual days to post a book review. Obviously, I didn’t manage to do that this week, for which I apologize. I’m not sure I will even get one ready for Thursday, but I am still reading as much as I can.

There have been a few personal things come up to alter my course a bit. On Friday I had a scheduled few hours’ hospital stay, Saturday I was still getting my energy back from that, Sunday was my dad’s 89th birthday and also Father’s Day – so we had a family gathering at his house. Among our group there are five fathers. It was a great barbecue day and we had lots of delicious food to enjoy. Sunday was also my first day back at my dad’s for my week, which this time will be three to give my sister a needed break. Then Monday was my grandson’s ninth birthday! (Time is passing quickly!) Today, Tuesday, I took my little Meyya to the groomers and while she was there I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with a friend. So you see, I have been busy in various ways. But that doesn’t stop the books from coming to me; yesterday another arrived in my mail and I’m trying to remember where I won it or chose it! (I really must keep better track.)

In lieu of a book review I want to talk a little about writing them. Writing reviews isn’t something I planned to be doing; it simply evolved. In 2010 I was excited to win a book in a writers chat room and mentioned a little about it here. Later, through what was then called BookSneeze – now BookLook Bloggers – I won a Max Lucado book in exchange for a review. Early in 2011 I reread author Laura Best’s first novel and reviewed it here in support of her work. That year, after Laura’s book, I reviewed fifteen others because I enjoyed it. I had become a book reviewer! Occasionally I receive requests for reviews, but I now have such a backlog of novels to read first that I don’t/can’t always accept. I am trying to get caught up, which is not as simple as it may sound.

When writing reviews, sometimes it isn’t easy to put into words what impressions I feel from the story I was immersed in. I try always to be fair no matter if the content appealed to me or not. What trips me up is that I tend to notice errors in spelling, punctuation, details. I say it ‘trips me up’ because they seem to stand right out as if screaming ‘Here I am! Notice me!’ and pull me right out of the story.

I really don’t want to write bad reviews because of that, or at all, because the errors are not the story, but they do affect an observant reader. Instead I try to be honest about my findings without trashing a book.

Even after a writer’s hard work there may be much yet to be done. Sometimes the typos and conflicts are glaringly noticeable and very distracting to the reader. In my next post I will be presumptuous and present a few tips – or maybe more like observations – for authors, especially those who are self-publishing or are trying to cut corners.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

When we need Encouragement

I don’t know about you but I get weary. When I get weary the negativity creeps in, which should not be the case. Nothing has changed except my energy level and attitude. The situation has not changed, God has not changed, and my attitude changes nothing … at least not in a good way.

Negative begets negative. 

When I get home from my week at my dad’s I just can’t face doing an effective job of my own housework. (Sad admission there.) But … this past week I was blessed to receive help from my youngest daughter who has time off work. She spent a few hours each day helping me clean my house, because it had become overwhelming for me. We went room by room, even decluttering a few things, and still have much to do. I knew it had become a weight on me, but after just the first room was done … I felt lighter! Really! I am excited to see how good it feels being in my house once it is all done. Most of my houseplants even got repotted and freshened up, but what do I do with the plants I no longer want?

Encouragement.

There are a few quotes I like that are encouraging with regard to what I said above.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris   (That one helps with decluttering.)

“The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.” – Yutang Lin  (It seems this is basically saying to live within one’s means, and don’t accumulate things just for the sake of having them. As Paul of the Bible says: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Philippians 4:11 (KJV)  This is something I am still working on.)

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.” – Samuel Butler  (We really do take ourselves too seriously. I need to allow myself to laugh more and relax about things. When feeling it all is too much, be honest and admit it’s never as bad as it seems, so just wait a little longer; it will get better. These words, “Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle,” have helped me more than once. )

And if all else fails, lose yourself in a good book (or THE Good Book, The Bible) for awhile. Your life will still be there when you get back, but dealing with it just may be easier.

Yesterday I finished reading another novel which I will be reviewing soon. I hope you enjoy reading reviews. Eventually, my list will have dwindled down so that I might be able to get back into my own writing.

Also, I hope you sometimes check the menu at the top of the page. When I add things I don’t always make mention, so look particularly under Book reviews, Books I read this year, quotes for writers, writers’ helps

Today was a gorgeous day – hot, sunny, with a bit of a breeze. The blackflies loved me. (Tiny pesky little flies with big teeth, I think!) The good thing – it’s Spring! and … I must be sweet; I have lots of bite marks to prove it.   :/

Here is a clip of one of the best Spring sounds – peepers! You know, those tiny frogs that are a sign of Spring. I love to listen to them at home, their delightful peeping relaxes my soul. Interesting facts: The peepers that sing are the males enticing females; peepers live three years in the wild and grow to only 2.5 cm (1 inch).

Now I must stop scratching those bites I mentioned and start writing a review. Blessings to you and have a great week!

What have you found to be of encouragement to you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Book Review: Shadows in the Stone: Book 1, The Castle Keepers – by Diane Lynn McGyver

01dlmcgyver-shadows-in-the-stone-smallBook: Shadows in the Stone: Book 1, The Castle Keepers
Author: Diane Lynn McGyver
Publisher: Quarter Castle Publishing
Date: September 2012
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 368
Price: on Amazon – paper, $15.91 CDN; for Kindle $5.31
My rating: A memorable fantasy world with characters that will stay on your mind.
 

I had the privilege of reading this book, Shadows in the Stone, before its release. It had to brew in my brain awhile, as some stories do, so it has taken me a long time to write my review, for which I apologize to the author – but here it is! 

Fantasy is one of my favourite genres to read. This story took me to a different place and even yet some things have stayed with me. Diane Lynn McGyver created a whole new world, with characters the reader quickly cares about, and suspense, drama and mystery to keep the pages turning.

Having said that, I would not recommend Shadows in the Stone to young readers as some battle scenes may be disturbing, and there are very descriptive scenes of relationship intensity and some violent scenes.

The main character, Corporal Bronwyn Darrow, made up his mind to never love again after being deeply hurt by a woman he trusted. That is, until he meets the enchantress Alaura of Niamh. Bronwyn tries to keep his focus on his duty as he wants to move up in the ranks of the castle guard but he is very distracted by this troubled mysterious woman. She needs his help, though, and he cannot resist the challenge, being an honourable man. 

What nagged at me the most may not even be an issue for another reader. Bronwyn constantly runs through his emotions and thoughts regarding Alaura,  for whom he soon cares deeply. There were places I felt should be left to the reader to ‘get’ the first or second time and know from there without the constant repetition. Even so, the author built characters of dimension and heart.

There are warriors, royalty, peasants, villains, secrets, betrayal, danger, heroism, love, passion, suspense, exciting moments that are magical, and more, all leading to a satisfaction for the reader in the way events unfold. The author describes scenes and situations very well, weaving pictures in the reader’s mind. Where the author ended this story leaves the reader waiting for more. There are several unanswered questions relating to Alaura, the castle, the child Alaura cares for, and more mysteries. Fortunately, this is the first in a series, so we have more books to watch for in which we can anticipate those answers.

All in all, this is a good read fantasy lovers will find captivating and fascinating.

You can find Shadows in the Stone listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Come back for my interview with Diane Lynn McGyver, the Canadian author of Shadows in the Stone, here on January 30’14. She has two copies of her book to give away to visitors who leave a comment after the interview! Don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 
 

‘Read More Books’ challenge: Week 10: 468-519 of the list of 623 of the best books ever!

Are you ready for week ten of our Read More Books challenge? 

 

Read HERE to learn about it. It’s never too late to join in.

 

Check the ones you may have missed or want to review:

 

WEEK ONE   WEEK TWO   WEEK THREE   WEEK FOUR  WEEK FIVE    WEEK SIX  WEEK SEVEN   WEEK EIGHT   WEEK NINE

 

How did you do with your reading? Even if you didn’t finish the book you selected, it counts if you select one for this week to add to your TBR pile.

468. A Room of One’s Own — by Virginia Woolf
469. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — by John le Carré
470. Berlin Alexanderplatz — by Alfred Döblin
471. Cold Sassy Tree — by Olive Ann Burns
472. Look Homeward, Angel — by Thomas Wolfe
473. The Martian Chronicles — by Ray Bradbury
474. Skinny Legs and All — by Tom Robbins
475. Oliver Twist — by Charles Dickens
476.It — by Stephen King
477.A High Wind in Jamaica — by Richard Hughes
478. Cities of Salt  — by Abdelrahman Munif
479. You Shall Know Our Velocity — by Dave Eggers
480. Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein — by Marguerite Duras
481. The Death of Artemio Cruz — by Carlos Fuentes
482. The Power and the Glory — by Graham Greene
483. War and Remembrance — by Herman Wouk
484. Baudolino — by Umberto Eco
485. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant — by Anne Tyler
486. The age of wire and string — by Ben Marcus
487. The Sorrows of Young Werther — by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
488. Where the Wild Things Are — by Maurice Sendak
489. Night Watch — by Terry Pratchett
490. Tropismes — by Nathalie Sarraute
491. Tlooth — by Harry Mathews
492. The Godfather — by Mario Puzo
493. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me — by Richard Fariña
494. Pricksongs & descants — by Robert Coover
495. Waiting for the Mahatma — by R. K. Narayan
496. The Journal of Jules Renard — by Jules Renard
497. Notes from a small island — by Bill Bryson
498. Centennial — by James A. Michener
499. the man in the high castle — by Philip K. Dick
500. The Last Chronicle of Barset — by Anthony Trollope
501. Night — by Elie Wiesel
502. The Pickwick Papers — by Charles Dickens
503. Écrits — by Jacques Lacan
504. Silent Spring — by Rachel Carson
505. Jayber Crow — by Wendell Berry
506. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont — by Elizabeth Taylor
507. The road from Coorain — by Jill Ker Conway
508. The Theater and Its Double — by Antonin Artaud
509. The Three Musketeers — by Alexandre Dumas
510. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — by Gertrude Stein
511. Little, Big — by John Crowley
512. Manhattan Transfer — by John Dos Passos
513. A Brief History of Time — by Stephen Hawking
514. Candide — by Voltaire
515. The Sheltering Sky — by Paul Bowles
516. Popol Vuh — by Anonymous
517. Time and Again — by Jack Finney
518. Moravagine — by Blaise Cendrars
519. The Left Hand of Darkness — by Ursula K. Le Guin
 
I love to hear from you!  From the above list:

 

  • Which books have you read?
  • Which books do you want to read?
  • Which books are you going to obtain this week?(Even if you are not officially taking the Read More Books challenge I would love to hear about your reading.)

 

Note: I got permission to share this list on my blog. (Thank you, Stuart!) You could go HERE for the list of “623 of the best books ever written” and see them all at once for yourself, and/or you can follow the list here a few at a time.

 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)