Category Archives: 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, 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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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, accomplishment, Audio books, baseball, gratitude, twitter me this, writing

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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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, Jayden, music, twitter me this, workouts, wow, writing

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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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, Jayden, twitter me this, Uncategorized, vet visit, writing

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, 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

Thanks for everything, NaBloPoMo

Well NaBloPoMo is over for another year. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. This month was most definitely not what I had planned. But, MS doesn’t care about your plans.

November is ending on an awesome note though. My writing slump is officially over and I am hard at work on the novel. I’m rediscovering it as I revise and refine the zero draft I wrote so many years ago and it is a joy to see my characters come alive again. I wrote all day yesterday instead of just one chapter and boy did I pay for it in the middle of the night. I woke up in such pain in both shoulders I frightened B by creeping into the kitchen to heat up my heating pad thing. It’s my own fault for not stopping and stretching my muscles yesterday. In my defense, my writing pain is usually my forearms and they were fine so I guess the pain has shifted to my shoulders. I will be calling my massage therapist this week.

I’m hoping to continue writing posts here since I’d like to finish what I started at the beginning of the month with the book posts with life updates sprinkled in. I’m also very grateful the Roof and NaBloPoMo did what I hoped it would and jump p started the writing. Success! Ok, not going to edit, just publish. I’ve reached the cave scene in my revisions and I’m excited.

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Filed under gratitude, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, writing

Walking and Writing

I’ve gotten a lot of work done on the novel today and I really want to get back to it but I need to write today’s post. Dang NaBloPoMo haha.

This afternoon B walked with Jayden and me to check out our street. It’s a nice residential street but unfortunately there are no sidewalks. We walked down our side almost to the end before turning back towards home. Jayden was very distracted by smells along the curb but he did a decent job of staying on the curb. I had to recall my sidewalkless street training from GDB and do a curb check every once in awhile. We crossed the street to go back and he was obsessed with trying to go up driveways. There’s an area near the house where there’s a complex of duplexes and there’s a sidewalk in front of them that Jayden happily took me to. It curves around alongside the main road so we followed it for a bit but there’s houses along there and B didn’t like the driveways. I think I’m going to check with GDB and see when there might be a representative out this way to do a refresher and help me learn the area. It was nice to take a walk with B though! He just sees the world as a sighted person with every danger a sighted person sees for the blind without the training to know what the blind can use their ears and guide dog to “see”.

I had started work on the novel this morning, taking a break for the walk, and then got right back to it. I got a few chapters done today. I’m learning I like to write by chapter. I’m taking out bits of the novel I had written years ago and refining it and shaping it. I’m getting good feedback from my test reader so it’s very exciting! Ok, back to it. Not editing this post. I want to get back to work.

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Filed under GDB, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2014, working dog, writing

At one point he peaked through the hedge at the field behind his and there stood Michael Jordan!

You know, I could go for steroid infusions every day. There is something comforting about other chronically ill patients and the nurses who care for us. We’re all a rather kooky lot. Everyone at treatment the last two days have been in good spirits. They all laugh easily and share stories openly. My nurse is a riot and is very helpful when my treatment is done, helping Jayden and I get outside to his relieving spot and getting me settled to wait for my ride. It’s been beautiful the last two days so Jayden and I get a good hour of fresh air and he bathes in the sun.

When we got to the hospital, we went to the volunteer desk like yesterday to grab help to the infusion center. An older gentleman exlaimed, “I’ll take her! What’s Sparky’s name?” I could hear a female volunteer asking the man if he was sure he knew where he was going and he assured her he did. As we walked he explained that he used to come do some sort of charity work for the patients at the hospital and it had been awhile since he had done it. He said it felt nice to be helping someone again. We walked passed infusion and he read a sign that said imaging.

“Oh imaging, that’s the same,” he said uncertainly.

“I don’t think they’re quite the same,” I said, hiding a smile. He turned us around. He had passed infusion. When we walked into the right place he said, “Is this the veterinary clinic?”

Haha! That was a good one. the nurses took me to my same chair. My steroids had already arrived from the pharmacy so they went right to work. Another nurse besides Christy started my IV. Neither of them hurt at all.

As I got settled in, the daughter of another patient was going to get coffee. I said I didn’t have enough coffee in my bloodstream yet and she asked if I’d like coffee. I hesitated, having limited my fluids like I did with Jayden, but then she said the magic word, Starbucks. I checked to make sure I had some cash and then asked for a pumpkin spice latte.

There was something oddly vacation like to reclining in a chair, dog at my feet, friendly conversation around me, sipping a pumpkin spice latte.

I don’t know how conversation turned to baseball but it was the best baseball talk I’ve had since I was in St. Pete. The man to my left told us that he retired for a senior baseball league here in Arizona about five years ago. He played center field. He had never gone out for baseball professionally because when he graduated high school in the seventies, he was only five foot six, one hundred twenty pounds. So he played soccer and joined this senior baseball league in his thirties. He said he played with several retired major leaguers. The rule for the senior league is that one must be retired from MLB for three years. I was just riveted, on the edge of my seat listening to his stories.

One story was about a game he was playing on a practice field in Phoenix years ago and minor league guys were on the field behind his playing winter ball. At one point he peaked through the hedge at the field behind his and there stood Michael Jordan!

I got around to talking about my St. Pete trip and when I told him I threw out a first pitch he exlaimed, “presidents do that!” He said he was going to tell all his friends he was at treatment with a girl who threw out a first pitch haha!

We got around to talking about writing and among his many jobs over the years he taught english composition. We laughed about the good old five paragraph essay since I credit all my writing experience to Mr. Heintz and the five paragraph essay we worked so hard for me to perfect so I could win a medal in the essay competition in Academic Decathlon. I placed fourth. fourth! No medal.

Anyway, when I told him I hope to publish he said don’t think about publishing, just write something every day, let it flow from the heart. He gave me his email addres so I can pick his brain about where he lives east of Tucson since I want to drop my fictional town out that way. He also wants a sample of my writing. I’m just trying to decide what to send. My first few chapters of the YA novel, one of my short stories I’ve published here?

Treatment was entirely too much fun, I gotta tell ya. The other patient who was there and sleeping through most of it was ninety-nine years ol! he perked right up when we talked baseball though.

Too much fun! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow haha! Two down, two to go. I feel fantastic today! I got home and decided I wanted clean sheets on the bed so I switched them out and decided I want to order another set of percale sheets. Those were the clean set and I just love the feel of them over my microfiber set. I can’t wait to go to bed tonight. The day isn’t over though, I’m going out for Pho for dinner! In fact I don’t have too much time before my friend gets here so I’m not going to edit, just post. Life is good!

Oh I almost forgot something cute I wanted to write down. While I was waiting for my ride home, I heard a mom and kid walking up towards the hospital, the kid saying something about an alligator. The mom said, “yes, we’ll ride the elevator.”then the kid made up an elevator song. How adorable is that? I then wondered if the little song would become a memory device for reminding the kid what the elevator is called. Not alligator haha. I love it!

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Filed under baseball, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, wow, writing

“Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor” by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi – narrated by Steven Weber

This book was freaking amazing. It was like Joe Ledger without the monsters. It was like any story about family and friendship without a normal office job. This book took men and women we can all relate to and put them in situations we can’t. This story tested the bonds of love and friendship and struck the chords of my heart strings. This book shows how we, as American citizens are kept safe. If one doesn’t support our troops, one should be forced to read this book.

I marvel at the fact that I’m up to this book on my list the day before Veteran’s Day. While the story is fiction, the authors have an incredible grasp of military life, not that I would know how close they are to accuracy but the forward by Tom Clancy makes it pretty clear these guys know their stuff.

Warning: Get the tissues handy.

Rating: Marriage Material

“Act of Valer” at Audible

I was on a streaming radio show last night talking about my trip to meet the Rays. There will be a podcast of it up later in the week and I’ll provide the information when available.

Today was a good writing day. I got my fifth chapter written. I’m learning what sort of writer I am as I go along and while I wrote nearly this entire novel several years ago during NaNoWriMo, I’m finding I am not the kind of writer who writes that way. I like going chapter by chapter, refining as I go. The first four chapters I pasted a lot of from the rough draft and then added and subtracted. Today’s chapter was completely new material and I really feel like my characters are taking shape and beginning to guide the story. I have a good feeling about this novel you guys!

I also successfully scheduled two doctor appointments for this week. This week! Same week appointments? Wow. I see the neurologist Wednesday to go over my MRI and discuss treatment. I see my PCP Friday to discuss the allergies I’m suffering from since moving into this house. It’s a good feeling to take charge of my medical care once more, now that I have the energy to deal with the transportation aspect of it haha! I love winter! Winter is coming. Sorry, but Farseer dragons are so much cooler. What is she talking about? I don’t know.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, doc, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2014, writing