Monthly Archives: January 2013

Book Review: Mother Earth Father Sky – by Sue Harrison

This is a slightly edited repeat, first posted June 24, 2011. I am re-posting because I have had the pleasure of an interview with the author, Sue Harrison. After the interview (coming January 17) she will be giving away one of her books to one of you – winner’s choice which title!  🙂

imagesBook: Mother Earth Father Sky
Author: Sue Harrison
Publisher: Doubleday
Date: June 1990
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Pages: 313, hardcover
Price: US $19.95; CDN $24.95
My rating: Amazing, startling, satisfying read

Mother Earth Father Sky is the first book in a trilogy that takes us into the lives of an ancient North American people in Alaska. If that sounds boring, don’t be fooled.

To be honest, I hardly know what to say about this book.  At the writing of this review, having just finished reading it I’m barely back to the here-and-now, and the story of Chagak is still fresh in my mind. To say that Sue Harrison wrote an amazing prehistoric fiction novel scarcely describes what she masterfully accomplished. Over the course of nine years she studied, researched and lived in her creative mind the tale of a long ago culture in Alaska, focusing on one Aleut woman’s struggle to survive and overcome a very harsh reality. That woman, Chagak, lived in a primitive time consisting of warrior tribes, legends, crude customs, myths, and magic, but also love, family ties, and community. The author made it all come alive through the power of the written word in a very easy-to-read style. I was held from the beginning of this book to its last page – left wanting to read more about the people I had come to know.

This bestselling novel is not newly released but was published in 1990. I was fortunate to be gifted a copy and I’m so glad to have received it. If you come across Mother Earth Father Sky and you are not offended by the cruel reality and graphic descriptions of the belief system of prehistoric man, then do grab the opportunity to read this book.

You can find Mother Earth Father Sky listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

At what speed do you read?

As you know, I love to read. I love to immerse myself in a book and not come out until absolutely necessary. That word ‘necessary’ covers more ground now, but on those days I can claim some time for myself just to read – and read only – it is delicious time well spent.

How fast do you read? Do you know? Does it even matter? My reading time varies, but once I’m into the story I cover a lot of ground in a fair amount of time. pile of books

Last year I came across the neatest thing! Perhaps you have seen this yourself. It’s a test to find out how fast you read at your normal speed. I tried it then, but I don’t remember my results. I tried it again this morning. Now, I’m not a speed reader by any stretch of the imagination; I tend to savour each word and scene as I go along which doesn’t even put me into college student reading speed. But, at my pace I apparently would be able to read War and Peace in twenty-six hours and ten minutes. That’s not bad considering the size of that book, and I’ve been nibbling away at it for months to now be a little over half way through it. (As an aside, I am enjoying War and Peace – it’s just that I don’t have a lot of time to spend on reading only, and without interruption, or reading only that one novel, or I’d be further along – and likely finished it.) The test also told me I can read two books on my Kindle before recharging, assuming an average book has 136,604 words. 

I thought you might be interested in trying it for yourself. Just click on this link and have fun with it:   INTERACTIVE READING SPEED TEST

You may find that if you do the test again you will be given an excerpt from a different novel to read and probably come up with different results.

Do you know how fast you read?  Try the test and let me know how it compares with what you thought.

Watch for an exciting, special feature and page to help writers — soon to be incorporated into my blog!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


In this New Year do you resolve to, or hope to?


Can you believe this is “the year of our Lord, two thousand thirteen“?  2013! To me, that seems a strange number; it feels different somehow.

2013 with bamboo

I think the beginning of a new year always brings with it that ‘starting fresh’ feeling, the way the outdoors looks after a fresh fall of snow — all sparkly and clean. The new year comes in like that — sparkly and clean with nothing marring it or tracking it up. We want our new year to be that way … unmarred with no tell-tale tracks. We want to start fresh, leaving the mistakes and disappointments behind.

Have you made any resolutions?  For the past several years I have not recorded or purposely written a list of New Year Resolutions. The many times I fell short, and then felt guilty about failing, led me to give up that emotional self-abuse.

Or are yours more like “hope to’s”? What I usually do is simply think about what I want to try to change in the new year, which is sort of making resolutions but it often happens less deliberately. It could be called my list of “hope to’s” instead.

My goals this year are centered around reading, writing, and attitude – none of which should be a surprise to you. 🙂

  • READING: You have no idea how many books I have collected over the years with the intention of reading them someday. The problem with that is my TBR (to be read) stash continues to grow as I keep adding to it and have less time to read. The older books are still waiting and the newer ones keep coming. My husband gave me an e-reader for Christmas (a Kindle) so now I have a growing digital TBR book stash! (What complicates it further is that I found a “free e-books on Amazon” daily list. Oh woe is me! but how delightful at the same time.) To say I love books is almost an understatement. My plan is for some of them to be reviewed on my blog, a few old ones, but mostly new titles. I have a waiting list.
  • WRITING: Of course I hope to continue writing picture book drafts and working on the ones I already have. I also hope to finish writing my novel this year. As for my blog, I’m now trying to formulate a better plan regarding my posts. I will still be writing book reviews, interviewing authors, posting about other things in between, but possibly something else will also take shape on my blog if I can get it worked out. Being better organized along with the habit of scheduling would be very beneficial.                                                             I have not signed on for the extra writing challenges this year that I enjoyed the past few years, as much as I would have liked that. Perhaps it will give me more chance to catch up on emails, blogging, and the book writing I mentioned. Maybe next year I will be able to try some of them again.
  • ATTITUDE: As you know, my word – since my birthday in November – is GRATEFUL. I have not made it my habit yet, but that is something I am aiming for – to become consciously grateful every day for something. And to say out loud (to God as well as to myself) — “I am grateful!” I believe in every circumstance there is something for which to be grateful, and once found it changes one’s attitude and perspective, and releases the stress – at least a little. I believe an attitude change will help me handle things much better, including the combined challenges as a wife, caregiver, and writer.

Perhaps I have set resolutions for 2013, but I prefer to call them goals … goals that I hope to achieve – not just in 2013, but as positive long-term life-affecting choices. 

How about you – what resolutions or ‘hope to’s’ have you made for 2013?


Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂