Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Delicious Novella...for freeeeee


Right now, Laini Taylor's novella, Night of Cake and Puppets, is $0.00 on Amazon

If you haven't read it yet, hop to.

Here's what I thought of it.
And yes, I'm referring to a scrumptious piece of writing by that author I just sang about.  


Why I write here: 
  1. It helps motivate me to keep a record. My husband / sister / mother / friend doesn't routinely inspect my paper journal and ask why I haven't written lately. This is respectful.  But also...one of the reasons why few of my paper journals have writing on more than the first 27 pages. And while I do not write for the checkers (I write for me), the fact that they're checking helps me write.
  2. And it is a classy record. I would not take the time to include a photo or illustration on nearly every entry in a paper diary. I would also not have videos or links to things that inspire me or made me think. Also, printing that many photos would be pricey.
  3. Unless we're hit by worldwide EMPs, it is more likely my children will get to read this (and will be inclined to read this), than a paper journal. Journals burn. Ink washes out. Paper tears. Small things get lost. Blogs live on.  (Please?)
  4. My beliefs are a huge part of why I smile a lot. Sharing a little of what it is to be a Mormon mixed in with the every day is my way of not keeping what makes me so happy a secret - because a) that would be rude, and b) keeping secrets doesn't help our rep, does it? I think it's also a lot easier and less threatening for people to have a nosey into the "religion" topic at their own pace, and with privacy.  If I do anything to help humanise a religion, I'm happy.
  5. Maybe, just maybe, something I write could be useful to someone else. If you can learn how to make killer brownies because of me - awesome. If I can save you the grief of making a mistake by making it for you - great. If you feel a little less alone because you found out I've been in shoes a little like yours - now that's what blog-dreams are made of.
  6. It gives me a voice. A bad day, disastrous spill, failed recipe or rude service-person suddenly becomes fodder - it's easier to recover from a low moment when I've realised I just got some material, and I will get to vent later. More importantly (and more often) , I get to praise a service or person publicly!
  7. It helps me to connect. I’m not saying online relationships should replace real life interactions, but I have better built relationships through blogging that geography would otherwise thwart. With my sisters, for example, when I call them, they’ve already read all my blog posts, so we don’t start at square one in the conversation, I just have to add upon with the sisterly scoop.  Not only does it keep those I already know and love informed, blogging as undeniably helped me know and love more people.
  8. It’s fun to write. I enjoy exercising my language-muscles.
  9. Blogging is hot.
  10. It’s a way to “give back” in return for all the taking I do online. I regularly Google for answers, recipes, tutorials, lessons, images, and stories like mine. I figure if I'm not a contributor, I'm just a silent thief. It would be like me sending my kids to free schools and hospitals without paying taxes. The internet wouldn’t be the vast source of information it is if everyone clung to a "searcher only" attitude.
Click here to read "Why I Write" -- yesterday's post by another Dunedin Mama-and-everything-else-too-blogger; (the "short" in Tall, Short and Tiny).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meeting Laini

Thanks to Hachette, Sarah, and my supportive family, I am fresh home from meeting with Laini Taylor, in Auckland.  And it was glorious.

We came bearing cake.
We partook of said cake.

And Laini told stories of editing screenplays on transpacific flights, of reading Gail Carson Levine with her daughter, of finding her Muse; she spoke of early writing days -- wearing noise-cancelling headphones playing Persian music while she wrote in a café

Sarah and I met with her in a charming space in a boutique hotel after a long day of Laini being lapped up by everyone wanting a piece (and she was jetlagged), and she was just as genuine and generous with her answers and warmth as I imagine she would be well-rested and fresh.

You might like to know: that Laini hinted that if the worlds of DOSB+ were to inspire more books by her hand, she feels pulled towards fleshing out Scarab.
You won't want to hear, but it's true: the character you want to know if he/she is really gone? ...and did he/she have to be?  The answers are yes, and yes.  You'll just have to deal.   Karou is "meant to have the weight of the world on her shoulders," and "[The one who is gone] deserves rest."
My favourite story: when Laini (discussing her early interest in hamsas) retold how one long train ride...she drew eyes on her feet...and moved them around the cabin as though these feet-eyes could see..and eased one under a nun's habit. 
Second favourite: how Laini was challenged by an outgoing man of mysterious origins to guess his ethnicity (he looked Mexican, and that would have been the safe guess based on where they both were, at the time), and she, knowing the obvious answer and his clear delight at being an Ethnic Rumpelstiltskin, dug deep and pulled out "Persian!" and floored the guy.  Boom, now he can't steal her baby.

***A big thanks to Laini, too -- who was willing to share her time and thoughts with us.  THANK YOU!***

Why am I leaning in an odd way in the top pic?  What am I holding?  Oh, that would be cherub flesh.  Many pounds of it.  During all of this, Mia was making mud in a glass of water from a mauled slice of the aforementioned cake, and she's on my left hip in the hug-out.  Aw, baby got cropped?  I said it then, and I'll say it now: Show Stealers get what they deserve.  Mia was the only individual to get a named shout-out from Laini during a Q&A event later that evening...albeit in answer to her babychirps from the audience, but nonetheless;  Show. Stealer.  All is forgiven, because...cuteness/deep love/understanding of the wonder of her and...#mybabyshoutout.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Knox

Mortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox
Holy mackerel.  I am mightily impressed with this book.  And it is a slow-paced book, friends.  And I like it.  Nay, I love it.  That's saying a lot.  I am a very impatient reader.  So if you love an intentional, thoughtful, slow-woven tale already, you're not even going to feel forced affection for the first half -- this novel is going to seriously light your mortal fire.  It's late.  Sorry...but I was up late reading the second-half of a slow-paced book in one sitting.  Me!  Onto the bullets (because I expect impatience from my readers);
  • Knox's writing is so rich!  It is excellent, but it demands serious concentration!  And when you're running on sleep dep and you're accustomed to fast-flicking through YA novels...the richness is intense.  I had to hard blink and re-read some sentences, because they were so dense with meaning and poetry that it made my head hurt a tad.  And then upon rereading, I was so relieved I had, because sure enough, pushing on in pursuit of only the gist of the story I would have truly missed something exquisite...every...time. 
  • So: this book is not a holiday escape quickie, nor a word-snack buffet for waiting rooms and bathroom visits.  But if you allow for the slow burn (the puns, they keep coming!), it is so worth it.
  • Mortal Fire is crazy-intelligent, beautifully well-written, and oozing original.  I am crazy proud that Elizabeth Knox is a New Zealander.
  • Did I  mention, the magical writing is backed up by a preposterously excellent story?  Because that deserves its own bullet; truth.  
Read more about an earlier duet by Elizabeth Knox set in the same world.   You can read Mortal Fire without having read the first pair.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Un-anniversary Day

A few years ago I declared August 11th as our un-anniversary because I wanted to publicly celebrate being eternally wed to Haki more often. 
So I did; here, here, here, here, here and here.

One recent morning, our girls slid off of our bed, demonstrating their being done with The Morning Cuddle (a.k.a. Our Glorious Snooze Button). 
Calls for breakfast echoed all around.
Haki, from under the duvet: "We need to get them cat bowls."  
For the record, he gets up and helps dispense food a lot
He also makes me laugh.  A lot.
I love you, and I want everyone to know so.

Happy Un-anniversary, Haki.
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