July’s Audio Books, Jimmy Kimmel and Writing

What an absolutely crazy month July was, let me just get that out of the way ha! Crazy in a very good way. I was successful in submitting my first polished fiction. You can read about that in my last post. I’m waiting to hear back on that. There’s a submissions page where I can go to check on it and it’s just listed as “in progress”. If I remember correctly, the call for submissions said selected authors should know by the end of July. I can’t double-check that since the page has been taken down. so I’m not sure what it means that it’s still listed as “in progress”. At least it’s not listed as “rejected”. ha!

Jayden and I went to LA to a live taping of Jimmy Kimmel life, which was awesome. the guests were Owen Wilson (awesome!), The Bachelorette and her fiance (whatevs) and Juanez, who my friend and I checked out on Apple Music on the road between Indio and LA. Very cool Latin music. He passed us just outside the green room and said my dog is beautiful. Yeah he is. His segment of the show was performed outside. I’m not going into too much detail about this trip on my blog because—

—the afternoon before the Kimmel show I got an email in response to something I submitted months ago that involves non-fiction writing. Paid non-fiction writing. paid! I’m currently working with the person who selected me as one of the new freelance writers and I might be writing about the LA trip so I’m keeping details under wraps for now. The writing thing is really starting to feel real now. It’s kinda nice to write something totally stress free on my own blog ha!

What else about life? I’ll be ramping up research for the Egyptian book I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo. I want to get it all mapped out but I need more information first. I’ve developed a few of the characters which was totally fun. I love developing characters. What else? Oh yes, I mentioned reading a book for a book club and I said I’d include it in with my book post, however I’m going to wait and write about that when I’m done with it. We’re halfway through the book. In fact I need to ask if we should start reading the next half. Ok, on to books!

*7.5 books this month*

62. “Between You and Me: Confessions of Comma Queen” by Mary Norris – narrated by Mary Norris

Finished July 31

One of the authors I follow on Twitter retweeted an article that referenced this book but I can’t remember who tweeted it or where the article was. blame my addled brain this month, which was more addled than normal. This book bloody rocked. That’s all I got. I don’t know if it would interest a person not into words and writing like me, but I just loved this book. Notes I jotted today when nearly finished with it:

Pencils, #1, oh the memories. The way of doing things before computers. the store with all the office supplies and how she loved it. Mom and I in the stationary isle forever, the smell, the possibility. Office Max? Heaven. Her talking about pencils and erasors is freaking awesome. Mom’s mechanical eraser, I had forgotten all about that. Our electric pencil sharpener, I can still picture it.

end notes.

the author narrated which is usually pretty bad. She didn’t do a terrible job though and hearing her dry humor from her own lips was pretty awesome. Jokes sped by like a guy driving his mid-life-crisis car on the highway, so if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss the kitchy custom license plate.

Mary Norris sounded like my old choir director’s voice after a lot of singing and shouting during rehearsals. It was comforting haha. I just freaking loved this book.

Twitter: @marynorristny

61. “In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume – narrated by Kathleen McInerney

Finished July 28

A book by Judy Blume for adults? yes please. Judy Bloom is part of my childhood so I was super excited to hear that she wrote a book for adults. I had no idea this book was historical fiction, that the three plane crashes which the story is centered around really happened. I try not to read publisher’s summaries of books unless I’m checking out a daily deal or something. I just read the summary for ‘Unlikely Event’ and I have to wonder if knowing about the historical aspect would have changed the way I felt about the book.

There were parts that were downright creepy and I thought, wow, Bloom has one creepy imagination. She added a paranormal element to the story that may or may not have been part of what really happened in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950’s. It was a sometimes entertaining read with semi-interesting characters going through a truly terrible time in their lives.

It was crazy to read about what it was like for girls and women in the fifties. I mean we all know what it was like back then but Bloom’s writing made it seem so real. I’d recommend if you like stories about people and want to see Judy Bloom write about sex and use swear words, ha! Though really, this book is more along the lines of young adult than adult in my opinion. It was also rather soap opera-y at times.

I’m not a fan of this narrator. I read another book with dual narrators awhile back and she was one of them. I think she’d be great for children’s books. ‘Unlikely Event’ has many jewish characters and the narrator doesn’t even sound slightly Jewish when she says Jewish words. She’s also way too sugary sweet. This was a young adult book with a few adult situations and she sounds like a child trying to sound grown up.

@JudyBlume

60. “Paranoia: A Novel” by Joseph Finder – narrated by Scott Brick

finished July 21

This book took me a little longer than my usual reads since I was working on getting “That Meddling Dog” finished by deadline and also reading a book for a book club. I’ve decided to withdraw my campaign for president since it would cut into my writing, reading and baseball time.

“Paranoia” was not very believable unless I just don’t want to believe in corporate espionage. I mean I know it happens but I doubt it does to this extreme. None of the characters were likable and for the first few hours of the book I started wondering what I’d read next.

But then…

All of the sudden I was like yeah, that could happen, yeah, I’m rooting for this guy now, I dislike the people I’m supposed to dislike and mistrust the ones I’m supposed to mistrust. Right? When it was over I wasn’t ready to be done with the main characters. Now I think I’ll try and find the movie. they made a movie out of it right? This book was a daily deal and I think I remember Audible making it a daily deal because the movie was coming out or something. Really all I remember is that it was a Scott Brick narrated daily deal which means I get it no matter what it is.

Fun, entertaining, fast-paced read. *checks out Finder’s other books* Ooooh found another one narrated by Scott Brick. This is what I’m doing to help me get through a Rays game.

@joefinder

59. “Lexicon” by Max Barry – narrated by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman

finished July 14

Um, what? No really, what? What was this book about? I um, what? Can you please just click the above link and read the publisher’s summary? Because I don’t know what I read. I didn’t know what I was reading when I read it. What? It was good. the narration was good, especially Zach.

the book? Huh? Words. Yes. Words. Do I recommend? Huh? Action. Definitely action. Who what when where why? Huh? Whatevs.

Seriously though, there was something missing. I’m not sure what, but something was missing. There were also times of being completely lost that I did not enjoy, and edits I wanted to make. Beyond those things, it was an entertaining read.

@maxbarry

58. “The Long Goodbye” by Raymond Chandler – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished July 11

And I thought Michael Connelly was good. Wow. Raymond Chandler comes up in writerly circles as one to study so when this book came up as a daily deal, and narrated by Ray Porter, I snatched it up without a second thought.

I think I found the style of book to which Ray Porter isn’t quite well suited. Shocker, I know. I think someone like Scott Brick would have been a better Phillip Marlowe. Not to say Ray Porter was bad, that’s impossible. He’s just too current. He doesn’t have that noir sound. There is some Spanish though, which he’s really good at. So maybe that’s what got him the job.

Notes I jotted:

Comment to the writer, how’s the book coming?

*The writer in the book found this comment very annoying and I must say I agree with that sentiment, though when people don’t ask how the writing is coming, I feel like they don’t care, so there’s just no pleasing the writer.

“Maybe it’s the TV commercials. They make you hate everything they try to sell.

*This is me with radio commercials during game broadcasts. I am actively boycotting Subway as a result of their terrible commercials.

I loved this book. I’ll be reading more Chandler for sure.”

57. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green – narrated by Jeff Woodman

Finished July 8

I’m glad I watched a video (which is now unfortunately not available, sorry) of John Green talking about “Looking for Alaska” becoming a movie before I read the book, which Audible put up as a daily deal right around the time of the youtube video which I don’t think is a coincidence. Green says in the video that the book is very personal to him and when he sold the rights for the movie a decade ago, he had his misgivings but the money put his wife through college so yay and now he’s excited about the possibility of the movie because it has the same screenwriter as the movies for both “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Paper Towns”. I read both those books and watched the TFIOS movie which I thought was wonderful and which made me cry just as much as the book.

I’ll probably watch the Paper towns movie since it’s John Green though I didn’t have a strong response to the book which I read last year on my Florida trip.

There were many similarities between “Paper Towns” and “Looking for Alaska” I think. I enjoyed ‘Alaska’ more, so I sure hope they make a movie of it for sure. And I just used the word sure twice. Oops.

Oh here, have some famous last words.

Twitter: @JohnGreen

56. “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh – narrated by Ariana Delawari

Finished July 7

I follow an author on Twitter named Lauren DeStefano. (@LaurenDeStefano) I haven’t yet read her books, but follow her because I think she’s hilarious. One of my favorite authors, Samantha Shannon, (@Say_Shannon) retweeted her at some point and that’s how I began following her. Lauren DeStefano did not write ‘Wrath’, she just forced all her followers to read it. No really, she did. She tweeted about it non-stop and when I looked it up and found it on Audible, the publisher’s summary intrigued me so I put it on my wish list. I bought it as a reward when I finished writing my piece of short fiction. I swear, it did not inspire the Egyptian novel I’m planning to write for NaNoWriMo this November haha. The setting is similar, but that’s about it. I couldn’t help smiling though, when parts of ‘Wrath’ made me think about the novel I’m developing.

If you enjoy young adult fiction, I highly recommend this book. It has everything from ancient royalty to teen marriage, to sword fights to curses and oh yes, a love triangle full of “YA hotness”.

The narrator is good, though I thought she had a rather harsh, serious tone to her voice, even during light hearted moments. She wasn’t whiny though, which can really ruin YA teen angst.

I hope there’s a sequel! I’ll read some Lauren DeStefano now as a thank you for the recommendation.

Twitter: @rahdieh

55. “The Winds of War” (winds of War book 1) by Herman Wouk – narrated by Kevin Pariseau

finished July 5

This book was split evenly between June and July. I’ve noticed I’m starting to prefer books in the fifteen hour range. These forty-five hour books can get tedious and book two in this series is even longer. Oy vey.

There were many times I almost took a break and moved on to something else. I’m not a fan of how this novel was written. Some chapters began with long excerpts from a fictional book written by a German who one of the narrators of ‘winds’, Pug, translates. The point of these excerpts is to sort of summarize what happened historically that is about to happen to the fictional characters. These chapters were tedious though, and for me, interrupted the flow of the narrative. ‘winds’ follows one family through World War II and just when something gets interesting with one branch of the family, we’re suddenly stuck with the fictional German book. It’s distracting.

There are also sudden changes in the style of the writing. Wouk gets all poetic and artful out of the blue, following the rise of the sun as it touches “our heroes”, or however he puts it. It’s such a sudden change in style, I found it jarring. I’m writing this on July 2, before I’ve finished the book and at this point, I’m just counting down for it to end. Parts of it are really fun but it’s just too long and my mind wanders often. I crave a good fast paced mystery.

Ok, finished this book last night. I had already written the above since I was going to include this book in last month’s post but changed my mind. There’s a second book but I need a break and it’s even longer than this one was. I’m not sure I can handle another one. So often it just felt like nothing was happening, and I wanted to urge it on like a song being played at too slow a tempo. I can’t say I recommend this book. There are so many excellent historical fiction novels around the second world war.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, accomplishment, apple Inc, Audio books, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, Miss K, mom, music, twitter me this, writing

My First Submitted Fiction – What A Ride

I need to just free write a post while my body calms down. I just submitted my final draft of ‘That Meddling Dog’ for the YA anthology. Now I wait. Will it be chosen? Will I get my first real rejection? What happens next?

I began work on the story on May 30 and received the final draft from my volunteer copy editor yesterday. the writing and revising was awesome, ending up five hundred words over the limit and getting it down to the six thousand, sending new revisions off to my friends and getting their feedback and talking about things that happened and how the story affected each reader differently and change this word for that and get rid of that story line all together because there’s no room for it and I wasn’t ready to introduce that character anyway but oh I still need to reference him ok let me just change his name.

All the creative stuff was awesome, naturally, then it was coming down to the wire, the story pretty much done, the surface so shiny from all the polishing that I could see my reflection and all that was left was formatting. the visual part.

I’ve known I have a trigger happy thumb. I’m sure it’s evident in this post since I’m not being careful at all, just getting thoughts down. I enter way too many spaces. There’s no way with Voiceover and my word processing program, Pages, to easily tighten up spacing issues. So I went character by character of a six thousand word document, deleting spaces.

Wanna hear a sample of that process?

After I got done deleting extra spaces, I went through and added all my paragraph indents. I do all my first drafts in a basic app called Text Edit, kinda like Notepad for Windows, since it’s the easiest for me to use with voiceover. When I’m writing my first drafts of a fiction story, I never remember to tab for paragraphs and dialogue and I’m not sure that would copy over to Pages anyway.

So I went through and added my tabs and then I counted the new lines of a blank document. fifty lines. I wanted to do that thing with new chapters so the chapter would begin halfway down the page, right? So I’d find the new chapter and press enter twenty-five times. In my head, there’s the white space for the chapters.

I exported the Pages document, was it twenty-seven pages or seventeen I can’t remember. Anyway, converted it to Word for my volunteer copy editor and sent it off Wednesday. Deadline Sunday. today is Saturday. Are you with me?

I’m feeling so good about it. Really good. I feel like the story is solid, the protagonist being a secondary character in the main novel I’ve had in my heart and have worked on for years, and the protag from that novel in the story too. I feel great about it. I’ve had fun hanging out with my kids and creating new ones.

Then Thursday morning, before I’ve had coffee, before I’ve played Trivia Crack, I check email on my phone.

Don’t check email on your phone when you haven’t had coffee or played Trivia Crack and you’re already a bundle of nerves from this whole process oh and when Brian is in Sedona for a conference and your sleep is all messed up from staying up all night on Tuesday in a Google hangout with your besties.

email from copy editor lets me know he found extra spaces and other formatting stuff. Extra spaces. After I spent two days going character by character to get rid of them. Words that aren’t capitalized, crazy stuff. Stuff I know I fixed right?

turns out, when you export from Pages to Word and vice versa, formatting errors occur. So I can’t just go through, read his comments, fix what I agree with, stet the rest. this isn’t going to work. I can’t fix those visual errors. I can’t figure out how to make his comments correspond to the area of the manuscript which they refer. I start to panic. I’ve worked so hard. I love this story.

I’m reminded that I’m blind.

later I talk to Ricardo on the phone. He looks at the document with voiceover on his Mac. We try and figure out the comments thing. It’s all so overwhelming. It’s Thursday and the deadline is Sunday. Should I send the manuscript to Amanda who is also blind but uses Jaws with Word? She can fix the formatting issues, keep it in the blind family. but then I still can’t convert back to Pages.

Oh crap I totally left out the cathartic screaming crying fit from earlier in the day. I threw myself on the bed and screamed into my pillow so hard it hurt. I sobbed and sobbed. the cats piled on the bed with me. All I want to be is a writer and there’s all these barriers.

When I’m talking to Ricardo I’m trying so hard not to let the tears come but they do because I can’t do this. I can’t be a writer. There are too many challenges. I need Jaws and Word. All those things I’ve heard for years about Mac and voiceover not working well for professionals, all those things are true. Who am I kidding? I’m a blind disabled nobody and that’s who I’ll stay.

No.

Fuck that.

Deep breath.

Talking to Ricardo. He’s saying all the things I know in my heart, all the things my doubts want to kill. Sure it’s hard. Sure there are barriers. But there are also resources. Amanda told me to use my tools. What are my tools.

Email from the Professor. He can fix the visual stuff. He can just do it, we can talk in the morning, Friday, then he sends me the Word file, I don’t touch it, I submit that.

I tell Ricardo. Should I do that?

Hell yeah!

Weight lifts from my shoulders. People. People are my tools. People are more than happy to help a person who’s doing as much of the hard work as she can on her own.

I think back to the meetings. God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. For me right now, god is those people.

I’m going to be a published writer. I know this. This experience has been so valuable. Even if TMD doesn’t get picked for the anthology, the things I’ve learned from making it the best story it could be are invaluable.

And if it does get published? It could be a launching point.

I struggled with whether to include in my bio that I’m blind. I don’t want to be picked because I’m blind I want to be picked based on the merit of the work. But then I thought back to my last job, the one voc rehab helped me get and they told me not to disclose my MS. Look where that got me? I didn’t get any of the help I needed to be successful while working with a debilitating disability and I went blind.

so I chose to disclose. If I’m going to use the resources available as a blind writer, I can’t pretend I’m not. Hey look at that, tense change. I’m really bad at staying in tense. Hehe! Wait, in tense. Hahaha. Oh but I am so intense at times. In tense. intense. I love freaking words.

I thought back to an essay I read years ago that pissed me off so bad I almost wrote about it here but chose not to. the essay was written by a visually impaired woman who had kept her impairment secret for the same reasons I almost did. She had to admit it though, because she was loosing more and more of her vision.

I was so angry at her at the time but now I get it. It sucks to have to look your weakness full in the face. it sucks to admit oh crap, I can’t do this all on my own. It sucks. It’s painful. I understand now why she wanted to hide it and how much pain she must have been in the day she decided to post that essay.

I have put myself out there now. Until today, five people read TMD. Two blind friends, a young adult friend, and two sighted friends. Friends. All people who care about me. Now the story is in the hands of strangers.

It’s like bearing your soul, which Strunk prepared me for when I read his book.

I slept and slept and slept last night. I woke up at eleven this morning, an hour into the Rays game. So not like me! I was, and still am, exhausted.

After the Rays won (yay!) I opened the submission manager. Deep breath. Heart began racing.

“My heart is racing,” I say.

“Why, because you guys won?” Brian asks.

“No, I’m about to submit the story.”

“Oh!”

He knows what a journey this has been. He’s heard me mumbling during revisions, that doesn’t sound right, how can I reword that, he knows how important this is to me.

Of course I ran into a quick technical issue while looking for the file, the only one on my desktop, to submit. Silly mac.

I clicked submit. There goes the bio I wrote, there goes my baby, bye!

“Your submission has been sent.”

Oy vey, right? Holy crap. I mean holy crap! I tweeted, then grabbed Timmy and went to cuddle him in bed. His purring soothes me. I lay in bed, collecting my thoughts, the feeling slowly returning to my feet.

Now we wait. I posted on Facebook that I’m equal parts sure it will be accepted and that I’ll get my first real rejection.

Whatever happens, I’ll keep writing. Ren and georgie insist on it and their story isn’t done. They’ve got at least an entire novel to appear in, if not two or three. And my friend Dulce made her appearance in TMD when I had to work in a flashback to explain something. We find out she had her first kiss. And Dulce the character needs to meet Jedi the dog, who will love her as much as Jayden loves the real Dulce.

This story isn’t over. It’s just beginning!

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cats, coffeeholic, faith, fellowship, gratitude, Jaws, Jayden, man o mine, Microsoft, misty eyes, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, Voiceover, writing

June’s Audio Books, Writing, Etc

I’m late on June’s post because I was going to include the book I’m currently reading which is seriously long and which I’m now half done with, but while working on the post today, I decided I’d just put that in with July’s books.

It’s a very busy writing time for me since I’ve been working on a piece of short fiction for this call for submissions for a YA anthology. Did I write about this last month? anyway, I’m super excited about it and the story is done (I wrote, The End, Lyndsay Faye!). I’m working on my second revision, third draft. The story is a prequel of sorts to the main YA novel I’ve had in my head for ages now. The deadline is the nineteenth and I’ll make it, for sure. I just need to trim around five hundred words or so to meet the word count limit, so sorry Thomas, the character I made up on the fly, you gawn. You’re not important to this story. Kill those darlings! though actually, he was a little shit anyway, and I’m not ready to develop that particular character who will indeed be in the main novel.

I’m also developing a new novel for this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which I’ll be doing for real. Between finishing the YA short story, working title “That Meddling Dog”, and November when NaNoWriMo starts, I’ll be mapping out the new novel and doing research once I decide in which direction I’ll be taking it. I already know about my protagonist and main plot device, but I don’t yet know if it will be Alternate history, historical fiction or a dystopian future. I’ll also be working on finishing the memoir so I can begin revisions. I’m pretty much writing full time now, though nothing yet to show for it other than pride, which is worth more than any dollar. too bad I can’t pay bills with pride. Ha! the money will come.

On to the books for June. Reading is all part of honing the craft. yay books! Oh right, also joined a baseball book club this month, so I’ll be adding the chapters we read in with my normal reads. All this while trying to keep up an exercise regime. At least I’m feeling pretty good, *knock on wood*!

Oh right, baseball. The Rays were in first place of the American League East for several weeks despite their many injuries. they’re slumping right now, so fell out of first, but they’ll be back at the top in no time, believe you me.

Ok, to the books for real. This post is not revised and polished like my fiction haha. I’d never get these monthly posts done if I spent all the time polishing that I do on my fiction.
*7.5 books this month*

54. “Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian” by E. L. James – narrated by Zachary Webber

Finished June 21

Ah, but how fun it is to read the Sharknados of literature. It’s like flipping through channels and pausing to watch some trashy movie one has seen a million times. That’s how I feel about these books.

The first three were truly terribly written, yet they kept my attention and wiled away the hours just like Sharknado and “Grey’ was no exception. Honestly, I just want to copy edit the entire collection and solve instances of, hey, wasn’t Christian just in that room? How is he now at the office Or, wait, is he leaning against the chair or the desk? James, do you not believe in revisions?

Still, no matter those flaws, and perhaps in spite of them, I find the books endearing.

‘Grey’ is just the first fifty Shades book retold from Christian’s perspective. It was fun to see what he was up to when the couple was not together, and the thoughts going through his mind. It was also nice being out of Ana’s head and not hearing about her stupid inner goddess. the male narrator was nice, too. Wait, nice? Is this nice?

This was simply a for fun book and I very much enjoyed talking about it with my friends. I’m also grateful I’ve read these books so when they are discussed on social media as being about abuse and rape, I can roll my eyes and think, have you *read* the books?

53. “The Fatal Flame” (Timothy Wilde book 3) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Kirby Heyborne

finished June 17

*sob* the end of a trilogy *sob* nooooooo! Damn, but can Lyndsay Faye write. She’s most definitely up there with my favorite authors and Timothy and Valentine Wilde are characters who will be with me forever. I’m going to miss them terribly!

What more is there to say about this book? I highly recommend the series so since I want you to read them, I don’t want to give anything away. Just go read them. My friend Brooke did and she loved them too.

Lyndsay Faye also very much inspired me as a writer when I listened to a podcast she did about the trilogy and her Sherlock Holmes book and her writing. I literally cheered out loud because neither of us were formally trained in writing, we both had a teacher in high school who was instrumental in the way we write and self edit and since all it took for her to become an author was dedication and hard work, I know it will happen for me, too. So cheers to Lyndsay Faye! I can’t wait for her next book which she talked about in the podcast which I’m not linking to because it’s spoilery for the timothy Wilde trilogy, so there. Just go read her books.

52. “The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving – narrated by Bob Asky (? Talking Books recording)

Finished June 14

This book is not available in English on Audible, which is interesting since it’s an American book. The copy I have is an old Library of Congress talking book, that’s why I put a question mark next to the narrator’s name above since I have no way to check spelling. The audio quality of this book was really bad, but I’m grateful for it since I remember enjoying the movie years ago and wanted to read the book. My friend Chupa loved the book as well, so now we can talk about it. I don’t want to go into detail about the book in case it makes you want to read it. Perhaps it’s easily available in print.

I’m not really sure how I feel about it, if I liked it. Parts of it were good and there were some laugh-out-loud moments but I’m not sure how I feel about taking such dark matters as rape and incest and spinning it into a tale of quirky humor. Then again, maybe that’s the only way some people are able to digest such serious topics. I’m definitely not depressed like I have been with other books about terrible things written without levity. So maybe I did like this book. Maybe I’m still digesting it since I just finished it this morning.

“Keep passing the open windows.”
“Get obsessed and stay obsessed.”

51. “The Coroner’s Lunch”(Dr. Siri Investigations book 1) by Colin Cotterill – narrated by Clive Chafer

Finished June 10

Several laugh-out-loud moments. Dry humor, deadpan narrator, coroner turned Sherlock Holmes with a paranormal element.

Good luck instead of cheers?

Those were the notes I jotted about this book while I was reading it. Very fun book, and part of a series which I will definitely be interested in checking out. I really thought perhaps it was translated because they kept saying “good luck” instead of “cheers” when they toasted. Maybe that was normal for the time and place in which this book was set, Laos, 1975. Good read, I recommend.

50. “The Killer Next Door” by Alex Marwood – narrated by Imogen Church

Finished June 8

This book gives Stephen King a run for his money. I’ve never had a weak stomach, but several times I wished I had not been eating while listening to it. It reminded me of the movie Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. It had that sort of feeling of wrongness about it. It’s shiver making. It gave me the heebie jeebies and made me want to walk quickly away, put it in the freezer, hurry and get back to it…

I jotted those notes down yesterday and today I could not put the book down. Wow. I applauded when it was over. This book was filled with unimaginable, and unfortunately imaginable, horrors, yet I don’t want it to be over. I’m going to miss these characters. Every single one of them were real and relatable, even the um ok what is wrong with you characcters. I felt as though I could just as easily find myself in their situations. Well, maybe not all of their situations…

A freaking plus. I think I’ll start grading books as of now. Man, what on earth will I read next? I’m not at all sure what can follow this one.

*Note written July 3 – my paratransit driver creeped me out yesterday and I didn’t know why until I realized he reminded me of a character from this book. I tweeted this to the author, who replied with an evil laugh that her job was done. Authors, *fond shake of the head*.

Twitter: @AlexMarwood1

49. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, E. B. White – narrated by Frank McCourt

Finished June 5

I immediately replayed this book after finishing it. Only being four hours long, it took no time at all and the information gathered was invaluable. The book was also just entertaining. The older I get, the more I enjoy educational books as long as I’m interested in the topic.

Stephen King recommended this in his book ‘On Writing’. That book was a huge influence on my writing. This one changed my life. It brought everything back to basics. Most invaluable? Write for an audience of one. Myself.

I felt like I was back in school and loved every minute of it. A lot of it was refresher, like continuing education. Many times during the listening, I felt invigorated as a writer. Nodding my head I thought, yes, that is what I do, or, no, I don’t make that mistake. On the other hand, I learned to “omit useless words” and never write, “the fact that”. Great fun for a word nerd!

48. “New York: the Novel” by Edward Rutherfurd – narrated by Mark Bramhall

Finished June 3

The first thing I noticed about this book was Rutherfurd’s tremendous understanding of human nature, making the characters and their emotions feel real. The book follows the stories of several generations of many families from before the Revolutionary War into the twenty-first century. The constant family is the Master family and it encounters members of other families throughout the decades, the lives of everyone weaving together seamlessly. I couldn’t help feeling a little sad when the female lines of the families faded out, but that’s reality.

The tone of the book shifted with the times, the thirties becoming looser than the late eighteen hundreds, the women becoming bolder, the social rules loosening.

An Italian family immigrates to the US and we arrive at Ellis Island with them. I rarely feel an overwhelming sense of pride for my country the way I did when the Italian immigrants saw the Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island. There was a sense of majesty as Lady Liberty was discussed excitedly between the members of the family.
I was never bored. Not once. The passage of time blended together seamlessly. Time passed in the book the way it does in life – one experience after another. Absolutely brilliant. How Rutherfurd managed the pacing in such a monster of an undertaking astounds me.

I love historical fiction novels because even though I’m in my mid-thirties, I know very little about history. I’m working on changing that and historical novels are huge in that endeavor.

Twitter: @ERutherfurd

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Carnival Post: I Will Not Regret the Past (Except for the Purpose of this Post)

Posts are being written and compiled for the next round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, the topic of which is regrets. I’m down to the wire on this one. The deadline is in just over an hour as I paste my post into WordPress.

the first idea to come to mind when I pondered what I regret about my first and current guide dog, Jayden, is that we didn’t go to Muir Woods when we were at school together at guide Dogs for the blind. As if to punctuate that thought the day I was considering what to write about for the blog carnival, I ran across this article about Muir Woods’s tallest tree.

I knew about the trip to Muir Woods before I went to GDB and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to. I imagined beams of sunlight sneaking through the canopy of tall, stately redwoods, the scene suffused with a warm golden glow, a lovely and peaceful walk with my dog through the beauty of nature, the quiet and meditative quality of the stroll with my new partner, it was going to be beautiful.

My first mistake was having that expectation. Never, never have expectations. Nothing is ever what we think it will be.

My training at GDB was hard on me emotionally and physically and when it came time for the Muir Woods trip at the end of the three weeks, I didn’t have it in my heart to go. All I could think about was returning home with my boy and settling back in to life where I was comfortable, without instructors popping out and telling me what to do. why wouldn’t they tell me what to do? Even major league baseball players still have hitting coaches.

I regret being so damned willful.

What an experience that would have been, to stroll through those woods, to smell the trees, to take a break from the honking, humming and thumping of cars but I was just so tired. I was tired and I did not want to ride on the bus for an hour on a winding road, worrying about limiting my fluids, not just Jayden’s. Not being able to smoke. I regret that I used to be held hostage by nicotine.

Looking back, I always think Muir Woods would have been the perfect place to have that first amazing walk with jayden; our other walks were stressful for both of us while in class. I deeply regret letting the physical and mental fatigue win.

One of the ways I live today is not regretting the past, yet here I am doing just that. Jayden and I did have that first awesome walk together the day we arrived home in tucson and he guided me out of the airport, around concrete poles, following B through cold rain and biting wind to the car. I grinned the entire time even though it wasn’t majestic redwoods he guided me through.

Thinking about regrets is dangerous territory unless we look at regrets not as regrets, but as mistakes.

I made a mistake by not going to Muir Woods and I won’t make that mistake again. I learned my lesson. I have not turned down a trip since then and Jayden and I have had some pretty awesome experiences together.

If you wrote your own post on regrets for this blog carnival and if that post dredged up painful feelings, just remember the past cannot be changed and we only grow by making mistakes and learning from them.

On a lighter note,another regret I have is not teaching Jayden to stay out of the kitchen. I envy my friend Carin that she did with her guide and you can bet I won’t make that mistake again. This is a small regret, but it’s the only thing that can grow into a big thing when He won’t get out from under-foot. I’ve been able to teach him to stay on the couch when I put him there however, so I found a solution.

Oh and one more thing speaking of the couch, I regret that he was taught such good house manners with regards to furniture because here at home, he does not need permission every single time he wants up on the couch. It’s your couch too, buddy!

(Ok, that’s not really a regret since I’m incredibly grateful for his house manners. thank you to his puppy raisers!)

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May’s Audio Books Etc, Etc, Etc and Etc

I’ve got a lot of writing to do in the next month so the memoir is on hold for a bit. My first project is the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival who’s topic intrigued me. this round’s topic is, regrets. There isn’t much I regret about Jayden but I’d be lying if I said there were no regrets in the way I trained him in the home. Keep an eye out for that post if you’re curious.

I’ve just begun work on a piece of short fiction which I hope to have published in this young adult anthology which was just opened for submissions. The story is a prequel of sorts to the YA novel that has been in my heart, and partially written, for years. It’s the back story of one of the secondary characters who has a compelling story of her own which wouldn’t quite fit in the main novel. I’m thinking if her story is published, I could reference it in queries about the main novel. I’m excited! Usually when these calls for submissions come up on Twitter and I check them out, I don’t qualify for whatever reason or they’re looking for some kind of fiction I wouldn’t know how to begin writing. This one is right up my alley.. I was overjoyed when I read that this one is open to the world. yay! I mapped the story from start to finish today which is something I haven’t done in the past. I am learning so much about writing, just from following writers on Twitter. They tweet the best stuff!

I didn’t work on this post at all as the month of May went on. What did I do in May? Hmmm. Oh, B went on a road trip and was gone for two weeks. Cooking in this kitchen was interesting and different. Oh and I was deathly ill for the first part of his trip. He was sick, passed on his germs and then went out of town. What a guy! Haha!

I’ve been steadily ramping up my workouts yet again and I just love my writing room/office/gym. It has a hook in the ceiling for my TRX and when I position my rebounder underneath it, the TRX straps become the perfect balance handles for my Zombies Run! jogs. I’m feeling steadily better and better even with the heat of summer having so quickly descended upon us.

Baseball has been interesting this season, too. I’ve learned from watching Kevin Cash in his first year managing that I’d never want to be a baseball manager. despite new management and tons of injuries, my Rays are tied for first as I write this Sunday evening. granted, the division in which they play, the American League East, isn’t all that great this season, but still! First place is a fun place to be. Let’s see how they do on the west coast this week. Late night with the Rays on Twitter should be fun as usual. While I’m dreading the later games, I really can’t complain since they aren’t late by east coast standards.

Ok, on to books.

*Seven books this month*

47. “Trauma: A Novel” by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer – narrated by Xe Sands

Finished May 27

Did you know that Michael Palmer died? I had no idea. I thought he just collaborated with his son on this book. It wasn’t until the end and I was surprised to hear an interview with Daniel Palmer that I realized Michael had died. It turns out Michael had the idea for ‘Trauma’ and had begun work on it when he died suddenly and his son, who writes non-medical novels decided to pick up the pen and continue it. I thought he did a pretty good job.

I very much enjoyed ‘Trauma’ being the medical junkie I am. The book begins with the protagonist Carrie in two different surgeries. Something goes terribly wrong and as a result, her life and career take a turn and end up on a completely unexpected path.

Carrie is brought into a program at the VA using experimental surgery to cure post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. Carrie has high hopes for this procedure to work on her brother, who suffers PTSD.

Naturally something isn’t quite right about this program and Carrie teams up with a young investigative reporter to discover the truth.

I very much enjoyed the cutting edge science even though it seemed to take an unbelievable scifi twist at first. It was definitely a page turner. The narrator was decent though she tended to oeveract a little bit and voice Carrie like a damsel in distress rather than the strong female under duress she was. I’m glad Daniel pointed out in the interview that Carrie was a strong woman because the narration really overshadowed that until I thought back on it.

Oh, a quick detail that stood out to me was Carrie’s skin growing suddenly hot beneath her scrubs during surgery. That happened to me countless times during my blood drawing days when I’d encounter a problem. It was such an awesome and accurate detail.

@DanielPalmer on Twitter

46. “The Gods of Guilt” (Mickey Haller book 5) by Michael Connelly narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May 23

Sigh, no more Mickey Haller books out for awhile. I looked up Michael Connelly and it looks like the next one is also a Harry Bosch book so that’ll be cool. These books are just fun. I don’t want to go into any detail about the book since there’s an interview with Michael Connelly at the end of the audio book before this one which, taken with details of this book, might be spoilery. Thanks for that word, John Green.

I can’t decide if I like the narrator. He’s good, don’t get me wrong. I can’t figure out how to describe his voice. Almost mechanical maybe.

45. “Jurassic Park: A Novel” by Michael Crichton – narrated by Scott Brick

finished May 2-0

When I first discovered I could buy audio books on the internet, I began trying to restock my “book shelves” with books I’d always had when I was sighted. ‘Jurassic Park’ was one of these books, however I could not find it unabridged. How disappointing. Abridged audio books need to go away.

so imagine my elation when Audible should tweet one day that for the first time at Audible, ‘Jurassic Park’ was available unabridged! And who should narrate it but Scott Brick! I was about to buy extra credits until I noticed the book was only ten bucks so I snatched it up immediately, symbolically hugging the book to my chest. Would there be cause for Brick to growl? I’ve heard of his famous growl but have yet to read a book he narrates that calls for a growl. I’ll leave you to find out if you so desire.

I enjoyed the book just as much as I had in the past and am so so grateful I have a copy of it once again! It really is worth a read since there are many differences from the movie which I think are good ones, and the science is just plain fun to hear about in detail.

44. “The fifth Witness” (Mickey Haller book 4)by Michael Connelly – narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May16

This book was goooooood. It was so good in fact that I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it after being on Google Hangouts with my friends until one in the morning since B was on his trip haha! I had only intended to listen for a few minutes before I slept and the next thing I knew I was finishing it. And it had a wonderful holy crap moment at the end. Damn but Michael Connelly can write. Maybe it was the interview with him at the end that caused me to stay awake until three, though it was really only about ten minutes, ha! Mickey Haller is just a guy you want to root for despite his many flaws. He is such a well written character. I am so hooked! I had forgotten I had this book somehow and was delighted to discover it in my Audible library.

Haller uses the song Bolero to describe the prosecution’s case to his client so naturally I had to play the song which I have in itunes. If you’ve never heard it, give it a listen. it’s about fifteen minutes long and begins very quiet so turn up your speakers. Bolero on Youtube

My friend Sadia on Facebook commented when I posted bolero, asking me if I’d heard this podcast called Unraveling Bolero I had not. Wow. Just wow.

43. “Little Mercies” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Kate Rudd and Tanya Eby

Finished May 12

I got this book with my listening rewards from Audible. I’d had it in my wish list ever since reading “The Weight of Silence by the same author. ‘Mercies’ was really good. It’s about a social worker who’s life intersects with that of a ten year-old child and the two help each other in ways neither of them expected or wanted. The Reader cares about the characters right away and Kate Rudd does a wonderful job as usual with her narration, though sometimes she sounded incredibly whiny rather than just emotional. Eby voices the chapters of the child and while she does a decent job, I rarely enjoy it when an adult tries to sound like a kid. It more often than not just sounds creepy.

Great book though, and there’s an interview with the author at the end. She discusses how she did her research on social work for this book. Seems like the theme for this month is interviews with authors haha.

@hgudenkauf on Twitter

42. “The Caine Mutiny” by Herman Wouk – narrated by Kevin Pariseau

Finished May 9

I had to record this quote because I loved it.

This life is slow suicide, unless you read.

One of the characters says this in the beginning of the book and I just find it to be oh so true, though I think he was referring to military school haha!

this book was really good though in the beginning I was losing patience with Captain Numskull as I called Captain Queeg, the captain of the Caine, an aging ship with the Navy during World War II. After awhile though, I got sucked into the story and the characters, all of whom are fairly deeply flawed. Nothing was predictable except the mutiny which seemed to take forever to happen. When it did however, wow. I’ll be reading more books by this author.

There was just a good article in The Atlantic about him. I was surprised to see that people didn’t like his books back when they were published. Weak women? I didn’t think the woman in this book was weak at all, especially for the time in which she was written.

Oh and if you’re terrified of the ocean the way I am, just prepare yourself for a very vivid typhoon scene. *shudder*

41. “Tabula Rasa” by Kristen Lippert-Martin – narrated by Kate Rudd

Finished May 2

Oh man this book was so good, so so good! It was a daily deal and oh thank Audible it was because I loved it! It falls into YA but really it could fit into most any genre where an evil agency decides to “help” people by erasing their memories. I can’t describe it any better than the publisher’s summary at the Audible page. I’ll just say I freaking loved this book! I can’t wait for more from the author. this was her debut novel. wow! I’m so jealous. Highly, highly recommend this book for non stop action and awesome sarcastically funny characters.

@KLipMart on Twitter

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April’s Audio books and Life Update

In case you read last month’s post and are wondering how Jayden’s neck pain turned out, he’s totally fine now. We never did have to have x-rays since after the ten day course of anti-inflammatories, he was no longer whimpering and was slowly getting back to himself. I kept him calm for several days after he finished his meds just in case, but he’s totally fine now and we’re returning to the vet this week to get his shots which the vet did not want to give Jayden while he wasn’t feeling well.

I seem to be responding well to my new thyroid med and iron supplement, knock on wood, which I just did. I worked out all last week and am looking forward to doing a zombie run for the first time in forever tomorrow. I saw the neurologist this month and since I have no new symptoms I’m good to go until my next MRI in October. I told him I still have bouts of fatigue and he said that’s the MS, not the gilenya. So Gilenya doesn’t help with the fatigue? Nope. But, the thyroid med and iron supplement is helping with that so all’s well that ends well right?

I’m up to 51,500 words on the memoir. I’ve hit a rough patch on that, getting to a point in my life where nothing much seemed to happen and I’m just pulling taffy to get to the fun baseball stuff haha! I started off strong on the Stephen King plan working up to 2K words a day but I just could not keep up that pace. I’m doing some sort of writing every day though for the most part, even if it is just playing with some fun fiction that isn’t for publication.

Baseball is back and the Rays are off to a good start even though they are the walking wounded. they’re playing at and above .500 baseball without all their parts so I’m pretty happy so far with 2015.

Ok, on with the books!

*Six books this month*

40. “Rogue” (The Talon Saga book 2) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton and Tristan Morris

finished April 30

See my review for the first book in this series below. This second book wasn’t as good as the first one but it was still most definitely a page turner what will happen next book. I just wish there was a different female narrator.

This second book had the dragons leave the beach for all the lights of Vegas as they ran for their lives from two big enemy orders. The action was good but nothing can quite beat the ending of the first book, in my opinion. I wonder if this will just be a trilogy or one of those series that goes on and on. I think there should be an ending no matter how much I enjoy the series because people can only run from their enemies for so long.

39. “Dangerous Women” by George r. r. Martin, Gardner Dozois

Finished April 27

I got this anthology specifically because Scott Brick reads a story by Diana Rowland. This I found out on Twitter after mentioning how good Scott Brick is. Diana rowland saw it and told me about the story of hers he read and I knew I had to hear it. I’m not a huge fan of anthologies since there’s no guarantee every story will be enjoyable and this one was cross-genre so There were some sci-fi stories that were like wtf? But some that were really good. Knowing the stories are all about dangerous women made some of them predictable and some I wondered which woman was supposed to be dangerous. It was over thirty hours of stories, so it took some time to read, especially with baseball being back.

Ok I’m skipping through the book and have to mention a story read by Jonathan Frakes that disappointed me because it’s Jonathan Frakes! Commander Riker! number One! He should stick to acting with scripts though. He’s not a great audio book narrator. The story was called, the Hands That Are Not There and it was just weird. Hmmm, furry alien sex.

Oh! So there’s a story called Neighbors and in the introduction, the author’s name is given but her pseudonyms too, one of which being Robin Hobb! I was so excited. I love Robin Hobb! This story was set in present times though and was rather depressing since it has an older woman dealing with episodes of dementia and her family is arguing about putting her in a home. there’s a supernatural’ish element and in the end the woman escapes into an alternate dimension. So I was excited but then let down. No dragons or royalty or Fools haha.

My favorite story by far was I know How To Pick ‘Em by Lawrence block. The story was only forty-five minutes and that’s all it needed. Block hit it out of the freaking park with this story and i looked him up. I’ll be checking out his other work which is a lot. I’m rather surprised I’d never heard of him. this guy has been writing since before I was born.

There was a futuristic dystopia called Second Arabesque, Very slowly by Nancy Kress. This story was soooo good. I think she’s another author I’ll be looking up. It was beautifully written and had women rebelling. Oh and ballet, don’t forget the ballet.

Diana Rowland’s story was good but had no zombies or demons! It was set in Louisiana like her other books and while Scott Brick dropped rowland’s sarcastic lines with his usual ease, his voice is more New York than New Orleans. The story had a male protagonist which was a fun switch from Rowland’s usual females but he wasn’t likable in the least. Bad cop, need I say more? I’m glad he encountered a truly dangerous woman.

There was a story by S.M. Sterling which just so happened to be in the canon of a series my friend Ricardo wants me to read about a future dystopia with Wiccans. I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this anthology so I can’t wait to get started on the series. This story was good, with people in the future trying to prosecute a sexual assault using their own brand of justice.

Another good story was Caretakers by Pat Cadigan. Here we have an elderly lady again but with her two sharp tongued and witty daughters. the dialogue in this one was laugh out loud funny and the end of the story was goose bump inducing. I’ll be checking out more Pat Cadigan, to be sure!

A story called Lies My Mother told Me by Caroline Spector was like wtf but in a good way. A super hero who gets fat and then throws fat bubbles with the deadly accuracy of a sniper rifle? A woman who can call dead people from the grave to become her very own zombies? A dude who can steal powers with a touch? Oh and how about a child who’s half insect half human? Alrighty then! It all works in this story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The last story was by George R. R. Martin of course and by then I was just ready for one novel with plenty of character development and plot. Martin’s story was set long before the happenings of ‘A Game of thrones’ and I’m sorry but an epic just doesn’t work in a short story. I fell asleep and missed the ending and didn’t really care. There wasn’t time enough to develop any feelings for the characters.

This was a fun anthology and I discovered some writers I plan to check out. and who knew Janis Ian was a good audio book narrator? she read several of the stories I liked. In fact all the narrators were good except Jonathan Frakes, though I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to audio book narrators.

38. “Talon” (The Tallon Saga book 1) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews and Chris Patton

Finished April 16

This was an Audible daily deal that caught my attention and which my friend Ricardo also picked up. I began it grudgingly after the Ledger book at Ricardo’s urging even though I really wanted to begin an anthology with a Diana rowland story.

At first I didn’t think I’d like this book. I couldn’t, and still can’t, stand the female narrator. she’s just so whiny and sounds like a bad soap opera actress. I wish someone like Kate Rudd had narrated but oh well. You can’t have everything. At least it had MacLeod Andrews! Love him.

I didn’t realize this was a young adult book until Ricardo wondered if it was and I began reading. At first I was put off by the usual YA tropes, sixteen year-old girl figuring out who she is, deciding to defy the only organization she’s ever known, needing rescuing by males etc. But when that sixteen year-old just happens to be a dragon who shifted into human form so she and her twin could infiltrate a small beach town and blend into human society, it was easy to move beyond what annoyed me and escape into the characters and eventual heart pounding action.

I loved the parallels between two of the main characters, who both ended up on a journey of self-discovery, stumbling together along the way. Would they realize too late that they were centuries old enemies? I immediately preordered book two in this series. I wonder how many books it will have!

Julie Kagawa on Twitter: @JKagawa

37. “Predator One” (Joe Ledger book 7) by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

finished April 13

Holy crap wow best Joe Ledger book yet! Holy crap. I mean wow. Laugh out loud quote? “Well fuck me blind and move the furniture.” Haha! No one could have dropped that line in top’s voice better than Ray Porter.

This book was freaking awesome and totally terrifying even more so than deadly plagues and zombies. One word – drones. Drones everywhere. Drones controlled by hacked software done by a genius held under duress by a madman. While I was reading this, and for a time after, every mention of a drone or any kind of autonomous vehicle on Twitter gave me chills. Of all the Ledger books, this one seemed the most feasible.

the only complaint I have about this book is the beginning, which takes place in Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon for “National League Opening Day”, the Orioles visiting. I really thought Maberry was a baseball fan since he mentions the Orioles in every Ledger book, but that’s just not accurate. Terrifying though, a drone strike at a baseball game. *Shudder*

Jonathan Maberry on Twitter: @JonathanMaberry
Ray Porter on Twitter: @Ray__Porter

36. “Vengeance of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book 7) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Liv Anderson

Finished April 9

I so do not want to wait a year for the next book in this series! I tried not to fly through this one but it’s just so hard to take it slow. This book had more twists than a Renaissance Festival hairdo. There were wtf moments that had me screaming and at one point I was crying as hard as I did to “The Fault in Our Stars”. Whoa. After I got myself under control I wondered how I would do that to my own readers one day. Beware!

This series is just sooooooo awesome! Man. A year? I have to wait a year? Noooooooo!

“35. “Persuader” (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished April 6

Ok Why does Jack reacher just get to come in and take charge away from all FBI people, Secret Service people etc? He’s issuing orders and I’m like really? I don’t know; I’m grumpy with this book. I just can’t suspend my disbelief with this one I guess. Who died and made Reacher the king of all badass drifters?

I jotted those notes a couple hours before finishing the book and my opinions didn’t change with the conclusion. I just couldn’t support the mission of vengeance Reacher was on in this one. There was nothing to like about him.

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Something Special for a Decade?

I was asked earlier in the week if I was doing anything special for my anniversary on Friday. Oh that’s right, it is Friday, isn’t it. My favorite number next to 3 is 424. My sobriety anniversary is the most important anniversary in my life since there’s no way I’d have the life I have today without my sobriety. No way.

Unfortunately the universe decided to make things easy for me and help me remember the date I went blind by letting that happen on my three year sobriety anniversary. I swear, I have bad luck with double anniversaries.

Of course I knew my ten year sobriety date was this month. Of course I know today is special. It just snuck up on me, what can I say? It’s been a great book month, with two books out by two of my favorite authors, the baseball season began, Josh Groban has a new album out next week along with another book by an author I just discovered, my friends got two new snakes, B and I celebrated eight years together, see how easy it was for today to sneak up on me?

I thought about my friend asking if I was doing anything special so to days ago I went looking on Amazon at sobriety medallions since I no longer attend meetings and I’m not gonna be one of “those people” who show up just for the free medallion and cheers and claps on the back and hugs. Do I miss those things? Sure. do I feel the guilt I felt when I first stopped going to meetings and showing the newcomer sobriety is possible? Nope. Ha!

That’s called growth my friends. There are plenty of people able to be constantly available to show the newcomer sobriety is possible. It’s not up to just me to save the world and I can’t be one. And that’s ok. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my life has meaning, my story has meaning, and my friends prove that to me, so much so they made me cry this morning. Ya’ll know who you are, *cough* Twitter people. Twitter people who have become my friends and constant support, who make me laugh harder than anything else ever does, who understand that going blind is not the same as breaking one’s foot.

Oh but back to Amazon. I did buy myself a trinket for today that unfortunately won’t get here until next week since today snuck up on me. It’s a dog tag necklace with, 10 Years and, One Day at a Time on it. Simple, twelve bucks, and I can’t wait to get it. Dog tag necklaces are cool!

A few hours ago I was debating writing a post today since all I’ve done over the last several months is write about my life in that memoir. Would I do anything special today? My washer just beeped. It’s never beeped before. Odd.

So no, I’m not doing anything special today. I’m washing sheets. Josh Groban is singing from the bedroom. I listened to audio this morning of my friends feeding their snakes. I laughed and smiled, and then I cried after feeling a sudden bout of melancholy, thinking over the last ten years. Maybe writing would help, as a friend pointed out. I’ll write a post and title it, A Decade in Review. I’ll write about funny memories, touching memories, I’ll cry and laugh and hope you laugh and cry too. I had a good sob when the feelings of gratitude over my friends overwhelmed me, listened to my book while I ate my cereal and the urge to write a decade in review post fled. That story is in the memoir, not yet complete, not yet close to complete, but it will be there all the same.

Instead, today is a day of reflection and memory and grateful tears, all of which are personal to me on this day of double anniversary.

I’ll do my usual Friday thing, chores and reading and Twittering and I’ll think about the past absolutely insane decade of my life at times, but then I’ll stare into space and listen to the birds and be in today and just feel.

Oh and anxiously await the male and see what my friend sent. I guess I am doing something special. *Happy giggle*

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Filed under anniversary, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, laundry, man o mine, misty eyes, music, sobriety, treat for me, twitter me this

My Not So fiery Thursday

Picture it: Sicily I mean Tucson, a beautiful day in mid April, a 1950’s era home with doors and windows flung wide, a breeze full of deliciously fresh spring air dancing from door to door and door to window.

It was about 12:30pm on Thursday and I was contemplating making my lunch while doing something on the laptop, probably reading Twitter,while Jayden snuggled beside me on the couch. All was quiet and lovely and I was in a wonderful mood after a surprise from iTunes that morning.

After preordering the new Josh groban album, Stages, I was confused to hear the tritone chime alerting me to new downloads. Since the album isn’t out until the twenty-eighth I wasn’t expecting a download. Was it because I preordered the deluxe version? I knew some of the songs were out in the wild since I’d read tweets from people commenting on them. I have avoided reading the song list or listening to any of the new ones, wanting to experience the album song by song, sight unseen.

Curious, I searched my library for Stages and had songs! What was this magic? I didn’t check how many, wondering which songs they would be, anticipation building as I grabbed my bluetooth speaker and settled in to listen.

I had four new Josh Groban songs! four! Is it April 28 yet? April has been an awesome month for books and music, I must say.

So a few hours later as I contemplated making my turkey and radish sandwich before my Thursday call, relaxed back on the couch with my laptop, it took me a few seconds to understand the sudden horrible blaring screeching noise, Jayden bounding off the couch and running, cats running, everyone running and the blaring, was it coming from outside? No. In the house? yes. Do I smell smoke? No. Jayden was leaping around, nails clicking on the tile floor, if the screeching was hurting me it must be killing him.

Follow the sound, it was bouncing off tile and walls, bedroom? windows open in there, the only windows with screens. Neighbor burning weeds again? blaring. I can’t hear myself think. I can’t see. I can’t hear, anything but the blaring. Is something on fire? I don’t smell smoke. Are we ok? I don’t smell smoke. Bedroom, it would be up near the ceiling. run my hands along the rough brick of what used to be the outside of the house. I mutter the word help. A neighbor will hear the blaring and come to help. I can’t reach it. Run out of the bedroom, close the door.

Hurry away from the sound. Pull my phone from my pocket. B might be taking a lunch break. He has working eyes. He can come make the sound stop.

Ding ding: Call B.

Siri: Calling B.

ring ring. Ring ring. ring ring. voicemail.

Hi, um everything is fine and nothing is on fire but the fire alarm thing is going and I can’t stop it but you didn’t answer, think I’ll call the fire department just in case.

Ding ding: Call 911.

Siri: calling emergency in five seconds.

Blaring fire alarm. Head pounding. Nervous giggles threatening.

Silicon Sally: What is your emergency?

Silicone Sally? Seriously?

Um, fire alarm is going off.

Dispatcher, a real woman.

Your fire alarm is going off?

Yes and I’m blind. I don’t smell smoke.

Her voice takes on an edge. You’re blind? Ok sending a truck right now. What is your address?

I tell her, beginning to spell the street name and she interrupts.

I’ve got the spelling. Go outside and wait for the truck ok?

Ok. We hang up.

I freeze in the living room. I usually put timmy in a room when I go outside so he won’t escape. No time. No time to find timmy. He freaked out with the other animals anyway and is probably hiding. Go to back door, grab Jayden’s leash , go to front door, put leash on, step right outside the door, stop.

Wait. In school we always had to walk away from the building. Jayden’s harness is right inside the door. Step back in, grab his harness, step out, put it on, direct him to the curb.

The distant siren growing closer and then the sound of a heavy engine turning the corner. I waved, feeling so happy to hear them so fast. Even though I knew nothing was burning, I was running on pure adrenaline, and that blaring, so loud, hurting my ears…I had known what it was like to lose that all important sense, at least in a way.

the men stomped towards me and cheerfully said hello and I followed one back to the house. Jayden stopped at the door and a fireman behind me said the door was closed.

“I thought he went in ahead of me.”

“He did, he left you in the dust,” a fireman said with a chuckle. We all tromped into the house and the blaring suddenly stopped.

“Did you have anything on the stove?”

“No.”

“Did you have a candle burning in the bedroom?”

“No.”

“We could smell something sweet in there,” he prompted.

“Oh well I have a Plug-In in there.”

They went on to tell me the fire alarms were all rather old. I said I would call the landlord. the first fireman said he left the detecter on the dresser next to the fan. I mentioned the neighbor burning grass and I could hear the eye roll in the first guy’s voice.

“He shouldn’t be doing that.”

I was so wishing he were, so he would get caught at no fault of mine. It was the smoke alarm’s fault.

The men left and I sent a thank you behind them.

Firemen. Even without vision I could tell they were hot. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing no braw under a t-shirt and men’s pajama bottoms. At least my hair was freshly cut!

B arrived five minutes after the men left and it was good he did because the smoke detector started chirping. We walked around the house thinking it must be one of the other ones but no, it was the same one. The fireman had pulled it off the wall and stopped the screeching but it still had its battery, which B promptly popped out. I left a message for the landlord, b went back to work, and I had my Thursday chat.

Not to worry, if I had smelled smoke, B would not have been my first call. It was a good learning experience. I will get another leash to keep by the front door and will grab Jayden’s harness in the event of an emergency so we can walk to the curb just like I learned in elementary school. The day was interesting, to say the least. And one word: firemen.

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Filed under apple Inc, cats, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, man o mine, music, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this, working dog

March’s Audio books

*Eleven books this month*

I did not keep track of books very well this month beyond keeping a list. I must remember next month that unless I want hours of work at the end of April I must write as I go.

I’m pretty much calling the month of March a wash anyway since tons of medical appointments got me out of my good writing habits. How easy it is to have plans derail. since I’m on that MS drug Gilenya, I had to have several medical appointments plus it was time for my yearly check-up with my doc as well as Jayden’s health and wellness visit. My stupid blood came back not happy (thyroid and anemia) and Jayden is having pain in his neck. His pain has been the worst part of this month though it’s getting under control. The vet checked his blood and he’s not anemic like I am. We’re still waiting on the result of the valley fever test the vet ran. His pain could just be a pulled muscle for all we know and hope.

I’m up to nearly forty-five thousand words on the memoir. Last month’s post tells me I was at twenty-five thousand so I made some progress even with the stress of this month. I wrote a little fiction last week for something different and I submitted an essay on my life with MS after a friend on Twitter alerted me to a call for submissions but I never heard anything on it.

Anyway, on with Marche’s books. Oh, this time last year I was in St. Pete. hard to believe it’s been a year since #RoToTrop. Speaking of baseball, B and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a spring training game between the Cubs and Brewers. Two of his co-workers met us there along with one of the co-workers seven year-old son for his first ever baseball game. Within five minutes of sitting down, the seven year-old got a foul ball a spectator caught and gave to him. How freaking cool is that? Oh, the kid also brought me a randy Johnson baseball card which was doubly cool since he’s one of two baseball players I can remember from my sighted days. Any guesses as to the other? Ok, now really on to March’s books.

34. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben – narrated by George Newbern

finished March 30

Classic Coben, to be sure. However, I think this audio book proves that a narrator can really give a book that final push to greatness. I’m so used to Coben books being narrated by Scott Brick that I was truly disappointed this one had a different narrator. Newbern wasn’t terrible by any means but c’mon, you can’t compare anyone to Scott Brick.

Harlan Coben books have a wonderful sarcastic style perfect for Scott Brick. He drops the lines so flawlessly as to be constantly laugh-out-loud funny. I chuckled a few times while listening to ‘Stranger’ but I didn’t get the hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten with past Brick narrated Coben books. I found the book dragging for quite awhile until the mystery began to unravel and then I couldn’t stop. This book packed a gut punch I certainly was not expecting. Good book but not one of his best. I honestly don’t think i would have said that if Scott Brick had narrated.

33. “Without Fail” (Jack Reacher book 6) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished March 28

I was reading “Gulliver’s Travels”, trying hard to get through it, when I just gave up one night and frantically began scrolling through books to find something I could get lost in when I scrolled to this one and thought, Jack Reacher to the rescue! Oh wow I just looked up the series to find which number book this was and I have the next book too! I do not remember starting to collect Jack Reacher books but that makes me happy haha. Man, it’s going to be hard to finish the American history book I’m reading knowing I have another jack Reacher…

Reacher books are just plain fun reads. Mystery, action, romance, dead-pan comedy, the whole nine yards. I get a kick out of an American series being written by a Brit. It works, that’s for sure. This one was just as good as all the others, if I’m remembering right. I read a lot. Oh hi there, Captain Obvious.

32. “gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift – narrated by David thorn

Gave up halfway through on March 24

This had been a daily deal that grabbed my attention and based on the publisher’s summary and reviews I picked it up. I found it so incredibly boring though. Ok yeah fantastical stories of his travels, first he’s a giant, then he’s tiny and by the time we got to the third story I just wanted a nice concrete story with constant characters with back stories and a beginning, middle, and end. This book reminded me of “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which I enjoyed though still had the same sense of ok yada yada let’s move on. I just couldn’t finish this book and that is really rare for me because I hate abandoning a book.

31. “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodownik – narrated by Michael Page

finished March 22

So, if I ever get the opportunity to hold aerogel, it’ll be one of the most fascinating days of my life. Yeah because commoners like me often get to hold a piece of awesome material that looks like sky. Yep. Happens every day.

This book was soooooo fun! Do you ever wonder why something is the way it is? Do you ever run to Google to ask? Then this book is for you. Absolutely fascinating stories of different materials and how they work the way they do. I worn you though, the chapter on chocolate is pure torture if you don’t have a chocolate bar so do yourself a favor and pick one up before reading this. That is however, unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t like chocolate.

Oh! Forgot I had jotted down this note while reading because I was so excited to have a chapter on pool, which was begun with a cute little screen play. I’m telling you, this book was just plain entertaining. Ok, my note: Billiard balls, sticks made with leather tips and covered with chalk to control the spin of the balls, brought to the west by the English, hence, putting English on the ball.

30. “The Woods” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished March 21

I am so grateful I didn’t read this right before “The Stranger” because then it would have been even more difficult to go from Scott Brick to that other guy.

This book was freaking awesome. A twenty year-old murder, a lost first love, an eccentric hippy, a court drama and just when you think those are all the details to wrap your head around, Cold War Russia decides to make an appearance. What! Yep. And all read for you by the incomparable Scott Brick. Highly, highly recommend.

29. “Involuntary Witness” (Guido Guerrieri book 1) by Gianrico Carofiglio – narrated by Sean Barrett

Finished March 18

The things you learn when you get the links to books you’ve read. This book is the first in a series and I had no idea! There are four books out and I will definitely be checking them out. This must have been a daily deal that caught my attention though in the publisher’s summary it mentions the series. I blame subsequent brain fogs for forgetting that. Also, it’s not mentioned anywhere on the Audible page but announced at the beginning of the book that it was translated from Italian to English.

I really enjoyed a murder mystery set in a different country with different laws and different courts. Guido is a lawyer set to the task of defending a “non-European” (black) man accused of murdering a child. Having no faith in the Italian courts thanks to the Amanda Knox case, which coincidentally was back in the news just weeks after this book reminded me of it, I thought would take magic for guido to succeed. It truly is a seemingly hopeless case, if you believe in his clients innocence that is.

The book is a perfect mix of serious and humor and Guido is a relatable character battling past demons and what is quite possibly a mental illness. I’m glad to know there are more books!

I only wish they had gotten an Italian narrator. Barrett’s slight English accent is pleasant but not at all Italian sounding.

28. “The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Jim Colby, eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, andy Paris, Therese Plummer and Tony Ward

Finished March 16

As I was reading this I had to wonder if it was the author’s first book. Not because it was bad, just the opposite, but it just felt like a first novel. Was it the shifting points of view from first to third and even second which I’ve just never seen that gave me that impression? I’ve done that with my short stories but never would have dreamed of experimenting with all three in a novel. It works in this book though, it really does. Just now when I grabbed the link to the book page I discovered that this was indeed her debut novel.

There is such a large cast of characters in a relatively short novel that I can see why she wrote this the way she did. The delineation between all the characters was very well done and helped keep the story moving. Where are the girls? I mean where are they!

It reminded me a little of a gillian Flynn novel but with even more subtle darkness. I definitely enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Gudenkauf’s stuff.

27. “Tandia” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

Finished March 13

I don’t remember when I first began reading this book but it must have been last year. Actually yes, I think I remember making an egg salad sandwich while listening and that kick was sometime towards the end of last year. Anyway, I had to stop. the beginning of this book is just plain brutal as Tandia, a beautiful Indian/African has her first run-in with the South African police. What happens sets up her character and the police officer for what follows in the book as she becomes a freedom fighter of sorts during the days of Apartheid.

I decided to return to the book after my friend Ricardo, who also had to stop during the first reading, returned to the book and said it was really good. I’m glad I trusted him and returned and I’m also glad the Audible app keeps position because I was able to pick up where I left off.

Bryce Courtenay books are awesome and Humphrey bower is the perfect narrator for them. If I meet Courtenay in the afterlife I’m going to ask him what his deal was with incredibly obese women and prostitutes.

26. “Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier – narrated by Rebekka rimmington, Fiona Hardingham and David Ligudzinsi

Finished March 8

I was sooooo disappointed with this book. I had high expectations after reading Larbalestier’s tweets as she researched and wrote this book. I don’t know what went wrong. It had so much potential. I jotted some notes while reading:

The narrator that reads the Kelpie chapters sounds like she’s reading a Shell Silverstein book to kindergardners and is not enjoying it. I don’t understand the separate narrators.

The other female narrator sounds like she’s running out of air. And it sounds like there are commas in really odd places.

There was no description of 1930’s anything. No description of clothing. I’m shocked after all the research she did and movies she watched.

I just didn’t like it. It was neither an adult book nor a young adult book to me. It didn’t ahve the fun feeling I get when I read YA. I just didn’t like it.

End notes. Referring to the multiple narrators, I don’t understand why there was more than one narrator needed. the book shifts between two character’s points of views so that explains the female narrators I suppose but the chapters the man read were back story chapters. The book was just sort of a clustermug, to use a Stephen King word. I was so let down that’s why I ran to Bryce Courtenay.

25. “Seven for a Secret” (Timothy Wilde Book 2) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Steven Boyer

Finished March 5

I love Lyndsay Faye! I love these books, I love this narrator. Faye better write these books until she just can’t write any more haha. Beautifully written, intricate mysteries, fun and relatable characters, Faye has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. She’s on Twitter too, @LyndsayFaye, so I definitely won’t miss new books.

Timothy Wilde is a great guy but of course I’ve got a crush on his drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing firefighter and politician brother Val. wow, after writing those words together I see just what a complex character Val is haha! No wonder I like him.

24.“Falling Glass” by Adrian McKinty – narrated by Gerard Doyle

finished March 2

I just read the Audible page and apparently McKinty is a fairly well known author of Irish mysteries. I love the authors I discover thanks to Audible daily deals.

This book was really good. It’s about a hitman who comes out of retirement to track down some rich guy’s ex-wife who has disappeared with the two kids. Sounds simple enough of a story line right? Oh there’s just so much more. Very good, wonderful narrator, funny and witty.

Here’s a note I jotted down:

Sudden inexplicable switch to second person narration that made no sense. A few words that sounded like maybe n editor’s note. Very odd.

Odd indeed, but great book.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, in the news, Jayden, man o mine, twitter me this, vet visit, writing

February’s Audio Books

*Twelve books this month*I’m grateful I kept decent track of February’s books. this is definitely the way for me to do my book posts methinks. I’m over 25K words into writing my memoir so the last thing I want to do is worry about getting behind on audio book posts even if it is a self-induced unnecessary goal ha! Do let me know if you read a book based on my mention of books here at the Roof, won’t you?

23. “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank – narrated by Will Patton

Finished February 28

Note I jotted just after finishing: Brilliant and timeless. I was shocked when the copyright was given at the end.

This book was so so so good. I’m scrolling down my library in the Audible app and reading books I bought on daily deals that I don’t remember buying. I downloaded this one since it’s narrated by Will Patton and I love him. At times I could hear him breathing rather audibly which was distracting but other than that he did a tremendous job as always.

This book makes it very easy to imagine what life would be like after nuclear war for the survivors. Highly recommend!

22. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and other clinical tales” by Oliver Sacks – narrated by Jonathan Davis

Finished February 25

After Oliver Sacks’s name started appearing online since he came out publicly that he is dying of cancer, I checked my Audible library because I was pretty sure I had gotten this book on a daily deal and I had. The book was fascinating in the beginning but the latter half didn’t quite hold my attention since it dealt more with psychological issues without concrete diagnosis. The book is definitely worth reading however, especially if one is a medical junkie like I am.

21. “Naughty in Nice”(Royal Spyness book 5) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 23

These books are just getting more and more fun and the mysteries getting a little more complex. I think this one might be my favorite thus far and such a good pallet cleanser after a rough book. ‘Naughty’ actually caused me to gasp with surprise at an unexpected turn of events which was a nice change from how I generally predict what happens with georgie and the other characters I’ve come to love in this series. I hope they never end!

20. “The Power of the Dog” by Don Winslow – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished February 22

This was a hard read. Not difficult writing just difficult material. The older I get I just can’t handle descriptive torture and this book had a lot in it. I’m glad Ricardo Recommended bookending it with light reads since the second I finished it last night I jumped into the next royal Spyness book.

I guess you can’t have a book about drug lords without disturbing torture. I also didn’t care for the way the narrative shifted when focus went to New York gangsters. The narrative literally changed from regular third person narrative to a bad grammar version of third person narrative. That’s the only way I can think to describe it and it was distracting. It makes me glad I decided not to play with switching narrative style from chapter to chapter in my fiction novel. Maybe “The Godfather” ruined me for all other mafia books.

(I’ve since learned in my writing studies that what I had described so badly as bad grammar third person narrative could better be described as a shift in prose from eloquent to rough though I’m not sure that’s accurate either since my studies are all self taught ha!)

Ray Porter was brilliant as always. I can’t say I recommend this book unless you’re ok with torture. I’m just not anymore. There also weren’t quite enough likable characters for me and there was so much unredeemed corruption. And the way women were viewed, oh man. It started really good but then about halfway through I just wanted to be done and to think about puppies.

19. “Royal Blood” (Royal Spyness book 4) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 17

I love this series for a nice lite read. This one might just be my favorite so far. I remember being disappointed with the last one I read last year. I thought I might give up on the series but Ricardo recommended a book narrated by Ray Porter and said I’d want something lite before and after it. It was perfect since I had two credits and no plans for them so I bought the next two Royal Spyness books to bookend the one Ricardo recommended.

These books are just plain fun with fun characters and fun narrating. The murder mysteries aren’t exactly riddled with twists but they’re entertaining enough to keep you “turning the pages”. They are the perfect pallet cleansers between raw books that claw at the emotions. Just found @RhysBowen on Twitter. I love the spelling of her name!

18. “Freedom (™) (Daemon book 2) by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 16

The sequel wasn’t as good as the first but it explained everything nicely and wrapped up the story so there weren’t any glaring loose ends. I found myself not knowing what side I was on since who was good and bad seemed to shift. That was a very uncomfortable place to be as a reader and I’d love to achieve that in my own writing some day.

I’ll definitely be reading more Daniel Suarez (@ItsDanielSuarez) and finding more books narrated by Jeff Gurner (@JeffGurner.

17. “Daemon” (Daemon book 1)by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 13

Holy crap was this book ever freaking good! In the beginning some things turned me off but after we got past some of the early character development and the story really started flowing, holy crap! I just finished it and I’m so grateful there’s a sequel and that I have it because I’ve already started it. Wow! Thanks Ricardo, for the recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about this book. Weee!

16. “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden rivals that Ignited the Space Age” by Matthew Brzezinski – narrated byCharles Stransky

Finished February 9

I picked a book at random from my Audible library without reading its description or remembering anything about the book based on the title. It turned out to be about how the first ever space vehicle Sputnik was born and all the things it made possible. Sputnik wasn’t just a cool space toy, it’s the reason for student loans in America. What! yep.

The book started slowly after it began with a cool description of a missile in flight but after awhile it picked up and the characters involved in our past made it interesting and character driven. The more I learn about the Cold War, the more I am amazed we didn’t go to hot war with the USSR. That time in our history is fascinating and I’m so glad I read this book to add more to my vault of knowledge around the Cold War.

I only wish it had been narrated by someone like Scott Brick or Ray Porter. Maybe this narrator wanted to read the book straight or something but a Russian accent or two would have been nice. And listen how he narrates people gasping after a failed launch attempt: Click here.

I couldn’t help but smile when Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was mentioned since I know an engineer who works there.

In my Twitter browsing today I ran across This article about the DSCOVR satellite set to launch today. Crazy coincidences. Gotta love them.

15. “The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Novel” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – narrated by Simon Prebble

Finished February 7

I read this book in high school and remember liking it so when it was a daily deal I thought, why not? I enjoyed this reading as much if not more than my first time, especially since this time I was looking out for things Stephen King mentioned in his book on writing, though he specifically says he doesn’t read books to study them, just for the pleasure of them. I, on the other hand, study every single book i read, I can’t help it!

I was pleasantly surprised when ‘Hound’ was over to find a novella, ‘The Adventure of the Dancing Men’. Maybe it was mentioned on the Audible page but I don’t remember it, and it certainly wasn’t mentioned before ‘Hound’ started. I think I almost like this story better than the first! Definitely pick this up from Audible if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan. The narrator is great, so no worries there.

14. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King – narrated by Stephen King

Finished February 5

This book was just plain awesome. It begins with an autobiography of sorts of Stephen King, the ingredients that went into the recipe of an author if you will. I was immediately transported to books of his as he told stories from his youth and young adulthood.

I think anyone would enjoy this though when he gets to the part on writing, if you aren’t interested in writing, your mind will probably wander. I was riveted however. So much of it was stuff I’ve noticed in my own writing journey which only helped validate to me that I am a writer and a lot of it was just plain good info that I soaked up like a sponge. I’ll never forget the blue eight on the rabbit.

At the end, King talks about the accident that nearly killed him in 1999 when he was struck by a van while on his daily walk. I’ve always been curious about that. That experience definitely became more ingredients for his writing, evidenced in “11-22-63”. I’m so grateful I read “the Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins which led me to look her up on Twitter which led me to reading her tweet about this book being an influence of hers. I think it was the right time for me to read it. Oh, and Stephen King narrates, which is always fun to hear. He’s on Twitter, here. Oh and Stephen King hates abridged audio books as much as I do! Wahoo!

13. “Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale” by David Duchovny – narrated by David Duchovny

Finished February 4

This was great! I don’t usually get books as short as this one which was three hours, but c’mon, it’s David Duchovny and I’m an X-Phile. The premise sounded fun and I needed fun after that sinister “In Cold Blood”. I lay in bed last night laughing my fool head off at “Holy Cow”. It’s awesome! If the premise sounds good to you, I highly recommend the audio book because Duchovny’s deadpan narration just adds to the fun. I loved this novella! It had a fantastic message too.

I must say I felt a little weird making a ham sandwich at the end of this book. sorry, Shalom.

12. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished February 3

I was in the mood for some Scott Brick narration and this had been a daily deal not long ago. I am reminded why I stopped falling asleep to the Investigation Discovery channel. I used to love true crime but now I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Scott Brick said on Twitter the book was sinister. That is an excellent word for it.

I read Truman Capote’s Wikipedia page, reading about his friendship with Harper Lee literally one or two days before her sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was announced. Begin Twilight Zone music.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, in the news, twitter me this, writing