My favorite way to work out pesky plot problems is step by step, preferably in a gorgeous setting.
My favorite way to work out pesky plot problems is step by step, preferably in a gorgeous setting.
It gives me such pleasure to discover a new favorite author or a book that I know I will read a second or even a third time. I find myself talking about it to everyone I run into, and if I find out they already love that author or have read the book, it’s an extra rush.
Lending a favorite book out…it’s hard. I am possessive of my collection. Especially in this era of the e-book. If I have a genuine physical copy of a book, it’s because I either fell in complete and utter love with the Kindle edition, or found I had a hard time letting go of a library copy.
I must be growing up or something, because lately I have been lending out Tim Farrington’s books like crazy. Seriously. These books are making a round robin of the members of my Centering Prayer group. I’ll lend my copy of The Monk Downstairs to M and when she brings it back to the next meeting tell her, “Oh, just give it to K.”
It’s working out. All my babies have come home.
My latest prodigal is Tim Farrington’s The Lazarus Kid. It’s the THIRD novel he’s written about Mike Christopher, a former monk building a new life in San Francisco. The Monk Downstairs is followed by The Monk Upstairs . They are spectacular. I also featured his debut novel The California Book of the Dead on this blog last week. There are a couple more novels of his and a wonderful memoir. I hope to talk about them in the near future.
Farrington has a gift for creating characters you wish you could meet for coffee. They’re by turns generous, selfish, compassionate, thoughtless, silly, and incredibly deep. Deep is also the word I’d use to describe the major themes in his work–finding the extraordinary in the mess of the ordinary, fundamentally flawed people living out their own highly idiosyncratic idealism, and the human search for the transcendent. Good stuff!
First in a series of images that demonstrate why I love living in Las Vegas.
This is going to be short. It has to be. Thanks to an unexpected case of tendinitis–though is there ever a case that is expected?–in my left shoulder, I’m typing it with my non-dominant hand as I wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in.
And my blog reboot had been going so well!
Luckily, I did some serious spiritual work during my disappearance from social media. Let’s see if any of that meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude practice took root. Right now, I’m calling upon the sage advice of Eckhart Tolle, whose books I’ve read and re-read this past year. As he sees it, there are three sane ways to deal with hard breaks:
My tendinitis IS. I can’t change it. I also can’t walk away from it. I can only accept that this is what’s happening to me NOW. Well…Tolle admits that there is a fourth way to deal with hard breaks–suffer. But why bother? This injury has caused enough inconvenience and physical discomfort, must I add anger, resentment, impatience? Must I wound myself far more deeply and painfully than the stab in my shoulder?
Not saying it will be easy. I can’t drive like this. I have a disabled mother who requires a lot of physical assistance, and a stepfather who will need transportation to/from a medical procedure in about three weeks. He’s counting on me to provide it. So this is scary.
But I can feel the fear, the frustration, acknowledge it, and then let it go.
So even if my shoulder is injured, I am just fine.
All the rest? It will work out the way it works out, and probably a lot more smoothly without me getting hysterical.
Want to know more about how to thrive no matter your circumstances? Start here:
Seems it’s best to read what you genuinely enjoy rather than what you think you should read, or what you’d like to be “seen” reading. Here’s happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s take on the matter:
“I wanted to make more time to read–more books, with more enjoyment. To do so, I gave myself permission to read at whim. Samuel Johnson observed, ‘If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.’ Science backs this up. When researchers tried to figure out what helped third-and-fourth-graders remember what they read, they found that the students’ interest in a passage was far more important than the “readability” of the passage–thirty times more important.”
So when not compelled by work or school or promises to your author sister-in-law, READ WHAT YOU ENJOY.
And if you want to read more from Gretchen Rubin, I suggest starting with The Happiness Project.
She’s been happily married and gooey in love
with her husband for more than twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest
with their two sons.
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My genre is: romantic suspense – I write mysterious and romantic adventure stories with plenty of action and strong characters.
I started writing because: I had a story that had finally come to me in a complete form and this time I was determined to get it down before it disappeared from my head, as my ability to be able to hold onto such thoughts in the past has been pretty ephemeral.
The best thing about being a writer is: when I get the chance to spend some time in the fictional world I am creating and write a bit more of the story I am trying to tell.
My current favorite read:
I have been fortunate since starting to write to have found some terrific writers in the online world I often inhabit, and I’ve enjoyed many wonderful books, but there is one that leaps to mind that I have not been able to forget since reading it. Once Upon A Time In The City of Criminals by Mark Barry. I recommend it everywhere I go.
GET GEORGIA ROSE’S Before the Dawn WHILE IT’S ON SALE!
‘…he moved closer and slowly ran the point of his blade along my jaw line as he spoke softly, intimately, to me.
“So, you are Trent’s woman. Now that is very…appealing.” I glared back at him silently.’
There are testing times ahead for Grayson and Trent as trouble threatens Melton Manor. When an attack is made against those on the estate, Grayson gets caught in the middle finding herself and those around her in terrible danger. Terrified when she thinks tragedy has struck again she fights to protect those she now views as family and, suffering bloodshed and pain, confronts her fears – both those brought by the enemy and by the one she loves.
Buy links – where it is currently on offer at 99c/99p!
Universal link for Before the Dawn at Amazon:- getbook.at/BeforeTheDawn
In this third murder mystery starring Victorian-era London detectives Stride & Cully, a case of arsenic poisoning becomes something much more sinister.
One thing that amazes me about this series is how Carol Hedges manages to set her novels firmly in their time and place and still give each book a twist that makes it completely unique. For DIAMONDS & DUST (my review), that means a scary, otherworldly flavor. HONOUR & OBEY (my review) out-Dickens Dickens in its realistic lens on the social and economic inequities of the era, while at the same time setting loose a gruesome serial killer who would make Jack The Ripper tremble in admiration. This time around the author dips her pen into the Victorian “sensation” novel, with its domestic melodrama, smooth-talking con-men, and cunning acts of revenge.
The plot of DEATH & DOMINION seems straight-forward at first–murder by arsenic poisoning–but things get complicated as the bodies multiply and useful leads lay thin on the ground. Detectives Stride & Cully, still the favorite prey of the local gutter press, are stonewalled by some of London’s most genteel ladies and gentlemen, who have more to hide than most courtesans–including our favorite ex-madam, Lilith Marks. Her cameo appearance is one of my favorite things about the book. I also enjoyed the Belinda Kite subplot. This “lady’s companion” with a murky past is a great mix of vulnerability and daring. She and the handsome trickster Mark Hawksley are a perfect match. Awful as they are (well, as awful he is and she would LIKE to be) I found myself rooting for them.
Hedges does a wonderful job exposing the seedy underbelly of Victorian propriety, especially when it comes to marriage and fidelity. I followed with morbid fascination the icy home life of Frederick and Georgiana Undershaft. Georgiana’s situation and her personal quandary–what does a good wife have the right to expect from her husband–remained with me long after I finished the book.
I will say that the wrap up of both the main plot and the sub-plot left me a little dissatisfied. Here I need to take care not to ruin it for you. Let’s say that both main parties get what they deserve, though the means of this “rough justice” is highly melodramatic. Now, this fits right in with the conventions of the Sensation Novel–soap opera at its finest. I can appreciate this, but being a modern reader, I would have preferred a more extended and character-driven wrap up.
A great book deserves to look the part!
I’ve featured Deb Dorchak and Wendi Kelly of Blue Sun Studios, Inc. here a couple of times now. That’s because they are good. Whether it’s their own Bonds of Blood & Spirit paranormal series or the book design and website creation services they provide to their clients, they are known for QUALITY.
If you’re in or near the Las Vegas area, you have an opportunity to learn how they create their stunning book covers.
Starting February 6th Deb will present a four-part course BOOK DESIGN FOR AUTHORS.
Basically, it’s everything you need to know to get started with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.
Deb values one-on-one time with her students, so attendance is limited to SEVEN for each four-week cycle. So you want to secure your place today. Click HERE for program and registration details.