Apr 27, 2014

Summer Book Challenge!

I've said it before…I love Megan's book challenges!  So what if I never finish them.  I love participating and making my list.  This list is not set in stone, but I'm going to give it a shot!  Now that I'm over my book slump.  If you haven't participated, you totally should.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.

10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.

10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn't finish the first time around.

10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore.

15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times' Best Sellers List when you begin reading it.

15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.

15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the challenge.
— TBD :)  But I've really been wanting to read Cinder…so you know…if someone could work that into their challenge…that'd be great. 

20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or “child(ren)” in the title.

20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014.

25 points: Read a book written by a blogger.


25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.


30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles.


So, what do you think?  Have you read any of these?  Which ones would you recommend I tackle first?

Who are you as a writer?

Last week, I shared my goals of being a blogger who writes, and I very much appreciate the feedback from that post.  I was so glad to see how many people "got" what I was trying to convey.  I will try to word this post to avoid sounding redundant.

This week, my course requires me to answer the question, "Who are you as a writer?"

Who am I as a writer? 

The irony of being a creative writing student is wrapped up in this one little question.  To already be someone that you are being trained to be.  To bring so much of myself into a craft I'm trying to sell.  Essentially, to sell myself.

I have poured over this blog post all week, trying to find the words to this impossible question.  Because it is so much different than saying, "who are you as a pilot?" or "who are you as a waitress?"  This isn't a punch-the-clock job.  It is all encompassing and there really isn't a "writer hat" that I can put on and take off.  The same goes for blogging.

But at the same time, it is more than just genre and style.

So, who am I as a writer?

Well, I hope that everything you see under this URL answers that question.  I hope that over these past three years I have conveyed exactly the same person you will see for the next three years, after publishing and becoming ridiculously famous.  I hope you know me well enough to know that that was a joke.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is that who I am as a writer is just me.  Just me, but writing books that hopefully you read and love.

In favor of answering questions articulately, I guess I could say, I will be equal parts professional and casual.  I'll be a public and slightly outspoken advocate of the benefits of reading.  I will be honest and engaging on social media vehicles like Instagram and Twitter so that you can see the person behind the veil.  I will remain in the same readership of the books that I write, always reading, loving and being slightly fanatical about the young adult genre.

Apr 8, 2014

Book Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now
by Ann Brashares
Delacourte Press
Release date: April 8, 2014

Goodreads / Amazon

Everyone should be aware of my fascination with Brashares' previous novel, My Name is Memory.  Full disclosure: I didn't read The Traveling Pants series.  I only know Brashares for that one heart-wrenching, mind-melding, haunt-me-for-weeks novel.  When I received the invitation to read the ARC for The Here and Now, I was all over it.

First thing's first.  Quick synopsis.
The Here and Now is about Prenna, a young girl from a plagued-ridden future who emigrates to 2010 with a colony of survivors.  They are free and safe in the present-day world, but are forced to live by a certain set of strict rules, to include forbidden relations with time natives.  Well of course, charming and adorable Ethan enters the picture.  Then, a cool mystery involving a death to be prevented and a world to save. Insta-conflict.

My thoughts:
The Here and Now is quick paced.  Not in the action sense but in the "cut straight to the chase" sense.  It's not as epic and drawn out as the other Brashares novel I read, but I'll stop the comparing here (maybe).  It didn't take me long to get into the novel or feel attached to the characters, especially Ethan.  There was not a lot of complicated world-building or background.  The story begins on page one, and I loved that.  It was un-put-down-able.

If you are a time-travel fan, as am I, you will love this fresh perspective.  This time-travel takes place in the past (future?), and the novel is really about the consequences of their travel.  They, of course, try to stop things that haven't happened yet and avoid things that never happen from happening, and it has that always-lovable mind-twist ingredient of the genre.

If I had any complaint about this book, it's that I want more.  I want the story to be a bit deeper and a bit longer. And I want our dear friend Ann to try to write an ending that doesn't leave her readers from shaking, weeping and screaming.  Too much to ask?

You'll like this book if you enjoy:
Young Adult

Apr 6, 2014

A Blogger who Writes Books

I came to a realization recently.  I'm enrolled in a course right now (my last one!) that helps us to explore platform,  marketing, and identity.  I find myself talking a lot about blogging in this course, quite annoyingly I suspect.  I talk about how blogging has put me on the track to writing.  How blogging has helped me to network with other writers, reviewers and book lovers.  How blogging is so important to me.

The realization that came to me was this: I want to be a blogger who writes books, not just a writer with a blog.

If you don't see the distinction there, let me explain.  Many (or all) writers create a blog for platform.  They post book news, bios, and whatever else the universe demands.  It's a great tool to give readers a place to "find" that writer.  It becomes his/her virtual office.  They'll draw in some followers, make a few friends, but the main purpose of the blog is to market and be present.

I don't do this to market, I do it because I'm a blogger.  Yes, I'm trying to become a published author, but I'll still be a blogger.  I'll still want to post Top Ten Tuesdays and Book Chats and check my Bloglovin' obsessively.  I'll still be me.

When I embarked on this career, I considered doing away with The Tangerine.  I considered throwing it all out and starting new with just an author's website.  I thought authors had to be professional, not personal.  I thought I couldn't post our family's travels, my own reviews, link-ups or pictures of the boys.  But times have changed.

These paths have been paved by blogger/authors before me: Amanda Hocking, Jenni Lawson, Jeff Goins, and many, many more.  These days you can follow your favorite authors on Instagram and Vine and get glimpses into their regular, boring lives complete with cat pics and baby giggle videos.  The walls that authors used to once hide behind are now coming down.

I like to think that I'll kill two birds with one stone.  If blogging helps me to create an online presence and I can just keep doing what I've been doing for three years, then I'm set.  If hanging out with you guys is part of the job, I don't know how I could complain.  But I won't sell out.  I won't turn this space into a campaign.  I won't even change the name.

So, if you are a writer who has created a blog for platform alone, I hope you find the love for blogging that I have.  There is so much to be gained from having this space, one to call your own, to publish whatever you want and to see your writing evolve and grow. I hope you see yourself in your own published words.  I hope you find the blogger in you.