I’m in the mood for a little library heaven. Books comfort me. I love being surrounded by them, teased by the words and the worlds tucked between the covers, soothed by row upon row of orderly spines inviting me to come discover new places and people and things.
Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. No… eight days a week.
So let’s take a walk through some gorgeous pictures of heavenly libraries and pretend for a little while that we can visit. Or, better yet, import some of these ideas into our own homes!
A room with some views (books AND a lovely big window!)… (Via Tumblr)
This cozy nook by John K. Anderson just begs me to curl up and indulge in a good book! (From CrunchLipstick)
What’s not to love about twinkle lights, lots of green plants, bright windows, and books in this downtown Los Angeles loft? (Via Apartment Therapy)
More inviting coziness… Don’t you love the look of that cushy chair and the oversized ottoman, all surrounded by books? (From Pinterest)
Welcome to A Drift of Quills, and today’s fun topic of “Book Spine Poetry.” This form of literature is pretty simple, and we’re excited about simple this month. Book spine poetry is a kind of “found” art. First, you need books. Start with one or two that spark your interest. As you stack them up, swap them around until they create a poem or a poetic “story.” The limitations encourage creativity, and we love creativity!
My taste in poetry is questionable.
I gravitate toward freeform (usually only my own—how arrogant!), the unusual (sample below), or limericks and “revised” song lyrics (for which I blame my husband).
In my teens I went through an angsty period where I wrote reams of freeform poetry, 98% of which were terrible. Wrist to forehead dramatically, I determined I would make my living as a moody poet. Until I discovered a) how bad I was and b) how difficult that career choice actually was. I like food far too much to take up life as a Starving Artist.
Dr. Seuss might have had some influence on my choices of “unusual” poetry. I liked the silliness then, and I still do. So I find myself tickled by such things as “The Song of Milkanwatha,” by Marc Anthony Henderson, a parody of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha.” And I love the dubious humor of Ogden Nash:
I don’t mind eels. Except as meals, And the way they feels…
Limericks are easy to like, and easy to have fun with, though I prefer the non-bawdy variety. There are such things, yanno! Trivial detail for you: limericks are said to have derived from the chorus ‘will you come up to Limerick?’, sung between improvised verses at gatherings. “Improvised” is the key word here, and segues well into the “revised song lyric” category.
My wonderful, funny husband is always changing up the lyrics to songs to suit the occasion. His most often misused song is probably the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies television show, but he is perfectly willing and able to exercise his (really questionable) talents with any other song in the universe. He discovered early on in our marriage that it was nearly impossible for me to stay angry at him when he sang silliness at me.
Now that we’ve established that serious poetry is not my forte, I present you with my latest attempt at book spine poetry:
There is something Freudian involved here, I’m sure. It turns out that I used two of the same books that appeared in my lastbook spine poetry exercise. I assure you, it was unintentional. Please feel free to translate what you think this means; I’d be interested to know!
These days, as I’m wrapping up my latest work, I’m realizing how much of what I write is intended for—is directed specifically at and to—young women. While I’m certainly old enough, I have no grandchildren of my own. I’m finding, however, that the grandmother in me is coming out anyway. She comes via my life as an author, and my granddaughters include… (Read more!)
Poetry pushes us to the limit of our understanding – to the edge of ourselves. That’s why it can be so chaotic and disorienting, but it can also be where we learn something new. Something that we couldn’t have known before, had we not been challenged.
But the challenge of poetry is a soft one. A gentle breeze that carries us beyond, to a new place, and then brings us back, changed. Because when you learn something, you change. You become something new. The old has died…
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We’d love to have you join us in our poetry-making. Post your family-friendly photos below in the comments!
Crow here, taking over for the sluggard otherwise known as Robin Lythgoe. She was going to post something about alleged “good things” out in the internet. (She’s explained what that is, but I keep picturing the Beisyth Web, and that thing was nasty. Ask the dragon it hit. Oh, wait, you can’t. It’s no longer breathing!)
Why? I asked, when you have me to talk about? Seriously, messy web thing, or a handsome, charming, professional transporter of valuable goods?
Anyone with any taste at all prefers the latter. So I sent her off to chase wild geese. Maybe she’ll bring one back for dinner.
Here’s the thing, but you’d better keep it to yourself, because if she finds out I told you, I could get stuffed in the closet with that other guy. The one in the first novel she ever wrote. Seriously—he’s in a box. Makes me shudder to think of what kind of magic she used to get him in there, because it is barely big enough for the fellow’s head.
It’s a good thing cover candy isn’t bad for my health, because I consume a lot of covers. With my eyes, that is! I look at covers of every genre, and I am always fascinated by the stories they tell. Do they match what’s inside?
If I pick up a book with spaceships on the cover, I want spaceships. If I see one with dragons, I want there to be dragons inside the book. Proper labeling. Ethical labeling. I don’t want to open up my cornflakes and find that they’re full of pebbles… You need to respect the reader enough not to call it something it isn’t. ~Margaret Atwood
What a chore to have to make sure the innards match the outers… (wink wink)
I’m taking part in the Reading Challenge on Goodreads again, toning my goal down a bit this year because there is a lot going on in my life, not the least of which are plans for publishing more books. In fact, I should be editing right now!
On with the show, then, and this time we’re looking at covers with fire on them. As usual, I can’t vouch for the contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!
Cover Candy: On Fire!
THE TINKER KING
~Tiffany Trent~ This is the original cover.
Kindle pages: 321
Publisher: Saga Press
Pub date: 11 Feb. 2014
Artist: (unknown) Amazon link
QUEEN OF FIRE
Kindle pages: 643
Pub date: 7 July 2015
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Artist: Cliff Nielsen Amazon link
WHERE LOYALTIES LIE
~Rob J. Hayes~
Kindle pages: 374
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pub date: 26 May 2017
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Artist: Alex Raspad, Shawn King Amazon link
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Which cover is your favorite of the three? Share one of YOUR favorite covers! Do you have a favorite cover artist? Who is it and where can we find them?
Face it—nobody likes a one-star review, whether we’re authors, parents, employees, or anything else. Today A Drift of Quills discusses how they feel about those zingers. Are one-star reviews ever helpful? The more I thought about this particular can of worms, the more I wanted to put a lid on it! Yes, people have the right to express their opinion. No, it’s not always kind, helpful, or even necessary. Yes, the person under the glaring light of criticism might learn something valuable. No, that doesn’t give Everyone Else the right or the duty to shred someone’s work to pieces.
Did it just get really foggy in here?
Has a low rating of my book ever helped me? Well… no. I can’t say it has. The few I’ve received are vague or whiny. There’s no meat to them, you know what I mean? They don’t do me any good, and they don’t really help other readers, either. It’s like having someone say that peas are nasty, disgusting things that everyone should avoid. But wait! Other people like peas! And I hear they’re good for you. And such a pretty color. And round. (Do you happen to like round things?)
Don’t go getting too excited about stabbing folks with one-star reviews and tacking on lengthy criticisms, though. While some books are really horrendous (I’ve read my share!), take a minute and breathe. Remember what it’s like to be a human being. (You are one, right?)
I’ve found it helps if I walk away from the book I hated. Simmer down a little. And then I try to think of something I actually did like about the book. Yes, sometimes it’s a challenge, but there’s usually a description or a funny comeback, or something worthwhile.
And if I can’t think of a single positive thing about the book, I write a flaming rant of indignation and fury—And then I never post it anywhere.
Interacting with criticism is never easy as an author. There’s opportunity to grow, to shape our stories, and do better, but it still isn’t easy.
From the reader’s point of view, reviews can provide a wonderfully unvarnished perspective on what to expect. I read reviews on everything from books, computers, a new lawn mower or a plastic doodad to organize junk. Just how well does this doodad organize? How well does a this mower mow? How well does this computer compute, and how well does this book read? (Click here for the rest of the story!)
I believe that in general, the more reviews, the better. When I see a book with few reviews and those that are posted are all 5-stars, I tend to think that the author got a few friends to post positive ratings in an effort to promote sales for the book. By contrast, when I see a book with quite a number of reviews, I expect that I will find that some people have highly praised the work, while others will have been considerably less flattering.
When I personally review a work, I try to put myself in the shoes of the average intended reader for that work. (Read more!)
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How do you like getting “one-star reviews” for things you’ve done? How do YOU deal with giving them?? Let us know in the comments below!
Hubby and I like to watch the television to unwind—but I also like to watch it to see how stories and characters are developed, plots twist, themes are addressed, weird things happen.
We’re currently watching Colony, USA Network’s science-fiction drama series starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies. “In the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles has been invaded and occupied by outside forces, causing a rift between the city’s residents.”
So Why am I Hooked on Colony?
In many ways it’s like watching futuristic version of the Nazi Occupation. I was puzzling about that: is it a case of duplication-with-a-twist? I decided it’s a case of human condition. Any human beings put in the same type of situation (sudden violent occupation by someone bigger, badder, and more technologically advanced) would behave in the same general pattern. There’d be rebels, collaborators, and the neutral don’t-rock-the-boat folks in between. I do find it really interesting to see the problem put in a modern day situation, with modern day advancements in communications, weapons, police work, government policies…
The family situations intriguing—and utterly horrifying. I can empathize with the grief and helplessness of losing a child (thank you, overactive imagination!), the anger of being trapped in an untenable situation, the desire to want to “do something bigger than myself.” Sometimes people do really stupid things in the name of love and/or freedom. Are they right? Wrong? What happens to our pretty little moral lines when the whole world goes to pieces?
It’s incredible how many things influence our perception, our education, and our actions. It reminds me of the old axiom, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” A burden that is light for one may very well be overwhelming for another.
And that’s as much philosophizing as I want to do today!
Let’s Talk About the People
Let’s talk for a minute about the characters. Katie and Will Bowman both want the same things (safety, unity, justice), but they have really different ways of viewing how to go about getting them. And often, they’re both right. How’s that for a moral dilemma? I call it “juicy.” Especially when each of them have to redraw the lines they previously thought were gold.
Then there’s the Proxy who’s out of his depth, trying to be a good guy (mostly), but sometimes dipping into the Kreep Kool-aid.
The sister who will do anything to keep her sick son safe and get him the treatment he needs.
Her self-serving mercenary boyfriend whose charm probably comes out of bottle of snake oil.
The rebel with military training and a cause to test his skills.
The actors are terrific. I don’t think I’ve seen one that didn’t work. That hair of Holloway’s though—ai ai ai! The actor is great, but frequently the hair steals the scene. And not in a good way.
I don’t know anything about directing, so I’m not saying anything about directing, except that there are some really awesome and clever things going on there. Maybe Hubby and I are easy to please, but neither one of us have groused about how unrealistic a scene was (even it if was technically unrealistic). Some of the segues are just plain awesome.
At the end of every episode, we have our own life-altering decision to make: desperately wanting to hurry to the next one, or wait until tomorrow so we can drag the thrill out…
Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words, eh? Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. It’s part of this mortal journey, but it is not all. Difficult times are not the only times. Maybe we have to look a little harder through the gloom, but the good things are still there: love and joy, successes and accomplishments, celebrations, dancing, and lemonade.
Our family is going through some terrifically trying times right now, but somehow there is still laughter, people bringing ice cream—Chocolate. Dark. Because milk chocolate is a color, not a flavor—unexpected hugs or phone calls, little things that remind us that there is joy.
Because I need it, because everyone needs it, here are a few reminders, a few encouraging words to help us see the good things and help us to keep our chins up and our smiles at the ready.
Thank you for being there—for me, for each other. Keep up the good work.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Have you got an inspirational, uplifting quote that has helped you get through hard times? A story about someone who’s done something amazing for you or someone else?
Once again, Mr. Broaddus has given us an entertaining, fast-paced tale of magic, intrigue, and adventure. A sequel to A Hero’s Curse, I liked this book even better than the first—and Parker has done a fine job of making it stand on its own.
The story tackles a challenge common to young and old alike: choice. Essie desperately wants to be able to see. Understandably, that desire influences her thoughts and actions. Nightrage offers her that possibility. Much to my delight, Nightrage remained shrouded in mystery through most of the story. Were they villains or heroes?
Essie has to learn for herself, but she is not alone. Her friends are more understanding and reliable than she imagines, and she finds support in an unexpected place. As with the purpose of Nightrage—and Essie herself—not everything is what it first seems to be on the surface. There is a wonderful depth in this story, and in the way it explores friendship, power, pride, and our perceptions of the world around us.
Finally, the ending promises further adventures with Essie and her friends without leaving us dangling from a virtual cliff. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series!
Essie Brightsday is blind.
But that hasn’t kept her from curses, dragons, or rock basilisks in the past. Now her family lives in the bustling capital of Plen, a far cry from their small farm tucked against the Valley of Fire.
As a shadowy anarchist cult grows in the city, a scheme to pit the slums and the trade districts against the protectors emerges—a plot to ignite a civil war and reduce the capital to ashes. A dangerous game ensues as Essie, her talking cat Tigrabum, and best friends Illiana and Sam attempt to thwart Nightrage and save her city, guaranteeing this adventure will be just as eventful as the last…
What’s our inspiration? Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!
As I near the day I push the “publish” button for the second book in The Mage’s Gift, this seems a good time to reflect on the motivation behind the story. I think it was years in the making, and I think I will say the same about all my books and stories. What does inspire me? What prompts me to set pen to paper (I really did start out that way), and then fingers to keyboard? I’m inclined to call it “magic.” Continue reading A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?→
Who wants some easy-peasy Chocolate Coconut Bars? I am super big on “easy,” and this little number is on the list. Not quite one bowl, but painless enough—and tasty enough—to add to my family’s “triple diple do-over” list. I’ve always been a fan of Mounds Bars, and this recipe has some of that going on, but not nearly so sweet. Check ‘em out. Continue reading Chocolate Fix: Chocolate Coconut Bars→