Book List of 2014

This is a list of books I read during 2014, I’ve been making an effort to finish more books. I’m getting to that place in my life where I have trouble finding time to read, I remember when I was younger wondering how that was even possible, but I’m starting to understand. A lot of times it isn’t even that I don’t have enough time, it’s simply that I don’t have enough energy or focus. After a long day it’s so much easier to veg out in front of the Tv, instead of reading. The problem is I’m a reader, I love to read, and when I don’t read I feel like I’m failing myself in someway. So I’m working on regaining an attention span that’s been stolen by hours of tv and the internet. At the end of 2015 I hope to post a longer list.

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Supervillian Hunters: International

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Dreams and Shadows

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Supervillains of London

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Regan O’Reilly: Private Investigator

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Writing your Novel from the Middle

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Fortunately the Milk

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Steelheart

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Chasing the Star Garden

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Emperor’s Soul

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S.H.R.A.I.D: Shadow Play

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The Alchemist

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Superhero of the Day

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Shadow and Bone

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Lady of Devices

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The Night Circus

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The Book of Kindly Deaths

download (9)Ocean at the End of the Lane (reread)

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In Silence Waiting

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Alice and Wonderland

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Coraline

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Slow Regard of Silent Things

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Dragons of Dorcastle

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Nothing is Sacred

This November I’m planning on re-writing last year’s NaNoWriMo novel. I am amazed and terrified to see how many things have changed for this story over the course of a year. I know this is a good thing, because first drafts usually are full of cliches and bad ideas, with a few hidden gems. But it’s hard not to second guess the decision to make these changes.

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I used to write a first draft and consider the story almost done. I cringe to remember how proud I was of some of those first drafts. But they were important stepping stones and there were some great ideas, but I now see that all those stories would need serious reworking before they saw the light of day. I’ve learned that editing is more than proofreading and re-writing a scene here and there. You have to be willing to rework characters, plot arcs, and concepts which seemed essential in the first draft. The truth is that nothing is sacred in a first draft. Everything is subject to change.

Hopefully these changes will strengthen my novel and move me closer to publishing.

I wish all the NaNoWriMo participants the best of luck. I’ll see you at the finish line!

Now it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to planning for November.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

NaNoWriMo Is Coming!

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Well it’s October, AKA Panic-And-Outline-Your-Novel-Month. November is just around the corner and while the rest of the world may associate November with Thanksgiving and pumpkins and the early start of the Christmas season, we writers associate it with NaNoWrioMo (The National Novel Writing Month) where we lock ourselves away, ignore the world, and stress over our respective novel projects for a month.

I’m not too panicked this year, I’m planning on re-writing the novel I wrote last year. So I at least know what I’m going to write. Still it will be a challenge trying to figure out how to fix the numerous problems in this novel. I am excited to get back to the novel, though. I really want to get it polished.

So who else is doing NaNo this year and what are you planning to write? If anyone would like to add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy my username is Lady_Of_The _Pen it’s always fun to meet new people and encourage each other during NaNo.

Best of luck to all!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Superheroes

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I was sitting in the movie theater watching “Captain America: Winter Soldier” (for the second time) and started thinking about why we have superhero stories and why we need them. The reality is we’ve always had stories about heroes who are larger than life and preform super human feats. 

In mythology we have heroes such as Hercules, Achilles, Ulysses, and countless others who preformed heroic deeds, fought evil and inspired us. In early America there are folk heroes: John Henry, Davy Crocket, and Paul Bunyan. And now we have superheroes, which are only the newest manifestation of our desire to have beings beyond us fighting for us and teaching us important lessons about right and wrong, good and evil. 

Superheroes inspire us to be better by raising the bar beyond what we are humanly capable of. They are an ideal. They allow us to explore ideas of right and wrong on a grand level. They help us in our struggle with the big questions of morality. Despite their superhuman status, they are still human, they make mistakes and fail. But they teach us to stand back up, to keep fighting, to do what’s right. We have an innate human desire to have heroes and this appears in all storytelling, it’s just not always as pronounces as in tales of superheroes. 

Superheroes are an important part of our culture, because they are glimpses into who we want to be.

~~Lady of the Pen~~ 

Two Worlds

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Life can be challenging for writers and artists because we live in two worlds. We live in reality where we work our 9 to 5 jobs, we do chores, we run errands and spend time with family and friends, we live like most everyone else. But for the creatively minded we live in a second world as well, one that often seems to conflict with reality, we live in our heads, we live with our dreams and our imagination. We want to spend our days creating new masterpieces, but most of us can’t do that. Instead we spend a majority of our time doing the things that need to get done. We must settle for doing the things we want to do in our sparse free time, a time that we divide between: errands, chores and spending time with the important people in our lives, and sometimes by the time we have free time all we want to do is sleep. It’s hard to live in two worlds at once.

Sometimes it feels as though our dreams are being weighed down by a giant millestone called Reality. Unfortunately reality isn’t going to go away. The only thing we can do is make our dreams strong enough that they can bear the weight. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s the price we pay for living in two worlds.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

War of the E-book vs the Printed Book?

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What’s your opinion of e-books? We all have one. Some people love them because it’s convenient, others are purely traditional, some people don’t really care and will read either, and others consider e-books to be a horrible sacrilege which will herald the downfall of books.

For me I have a strong attachment to physical books. I love being able to flip through the pages, put it on my shelf and remember the adventure I experienced between its covers each time I look at it. Not to mention there’s a very particular book smell that I simply adore; it’s the smell of a book that’s been around, it’s passed from hand to hand and shared the company of many other great books and as a result has gained a rich scent like a fine vintage wine…

I think I’m beginning to get off topic. The point is I love physical books and nothing can ever replace that love. But having said that, digital books do have their place in the world. They’re small and compact and I can buy books and receive them instantly, it’s very convenient. E-books are also giving Indie authors more options to work with. I for one keep an eye open for promising looking free and 99 cent e-books, even if I’ve never heard of the author before. It’s a good way for new authors to establish themselves.

I know some people feel threatened by e-books. They’re afraid traditional books will disappears. But from what I’ve seen most people who read e-book still read physical books as well. I doubt the physical book is going anywhere soon. But even if it does I recently read something that Stephen King said that put it all into prospective…”The book is not the important part, the book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.” I think sometime we get too caught up in the medium, the truth of the matter is that what we really love are stories. We might have a preference of what form that story comes in, but in the end it’s about the story, not the packaging.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

The Emperor’s Soul

 

 

I recently got a bundle of e-book for $12 and Brandon Sanderson’s novella, “The Emperor’s Soul” was among them. I highly recommend this short fantasy book. The writing is beautiful and rich, the characters are fascinating, and did I mention the magic system is brilliant?

The story’s about a woman named Shai who is a Forger, a person who rewrites an objects history in order to transform it. The story starts with her being in prison awaiting execution, having been caught trying to replace the Moon Scepter with a forgery. But then she is offered a unique challenge that might save her life; to succeed she will have to create her masterpiece.

The story is wonderful and it is written with a unique understanding of its characters. I believe it is the finest piece of writing I’ve read from Brandon Sanderson thus far–I admittedly haven’t read that many, but it is excellent.

~~Lady of the Pen~~