Love-Hate Challenge: Part I

Standard

Just the other day I was thinking how I never really saw blog challenges or chains anymore. Then this morning I find a little challenge treat in my inbox thanks to Paula Acton. Cool! The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

To complete this challenge, I decided to go with a theme – books! Seeing as I just had the time of my life at Powell’s Books this is a fitting answer to the Love-Hate Challenge. However, hate is a word I’d rather not apply to books, so I’m going to switch things up and do a Love List and a Not A Fan List.

10 Books I Love

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

41DMQB+vWwL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_I fell in love with this book at first read. A love story rooted in the gothic tradition, a plain governess falls for her mysterious boss. Add to that an unexpected secret hiding in the attic – the first time through I never saw it coming! While I love a good romance with a dark twist, Jane is the star for me. She isn’t the typical mousy woman, but rather a self-assured individual who stands up for herself. I’ve read Jane Eyre so many times and I never get tired of it! Juicy, juicy stuff!

 

2. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

41MLd2DZYwL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Vampires and Werewolves, oh my! I admit I fell under the spell of Twilight instantly, I read the first book in three sittings. And then I devoured the other three books in the series in under two weeks. Then, I turned into an even nuttier fangirl when the movies came out. What can I say, I was a total sucker for Bella (who I can relate to on so many levels) and the dreamy Edward (who is not as creepy and stalkerish as haters would proclaim). I just recently reread the first two books and was instantly reminded why Twilight is so much fun. It’s all about fantasy and the exhilaration of first love – Meyer captures these two concepts perfectly.

 

3. Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

51LLeAJAgqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I found this series in the throes of Twilight withdrawal. I had just finished Breaking Dawn and I needed something to get my mind off the ending of an era. I picked up City of Bones and fell happily into Clare’s incredible world of Shadowhunters and the ultimate fight against evil. Not to mention another really great couple, Clary and Jace. I’ve stuck with the Mortal Instruments through six books (all of which are phenomenal) and three books of the Infernal Devices series (also phenomenal). Clare is one of the best world-builders in YA fantasy and I’m always looking forward to more from her!

 

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen

411KbBtEyuL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Pretty much anything by Jane Austen falls into my love list, but I love Persuasion above all else. The story of Anne and Captain Wentworth melts my heart every time – I fall to pieces every time I read Wentworth’s letter to Anne at the end. Ahhhhhh! This is my ultimate romance novel as it is the epitome of how love always prevails.

 

 

5. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

51MU5VilKpL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Seriously, what is not to love about this series?? My heart wrapped around Harry from the first page of Sorcerer’s Stone to the last page of Deathly Hallows. Never have I become so attached to a character in a book (except for maybe Jane Eyre). Throw in some magic, Dumbledore’s wisdom, and the clash of light and dark forces and you’ve got a tour-de-force of amazing fiction. The best part is, you don’t have to be a kid to love this stuff!

 

6. This is Water / A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

31iis44pawL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Like Austen, pretty much anything David Foster Wallace has written is on my love list. I love his quirky, yet highly intelligent style of writing. His observations make me laugh, consider things I hadn’t before and above all cause me to think deeply about myself and the world around me. He is in a category all by himself and no one can even come close to his genius, (musings of major fan, obviously).

 

7. Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.

41LQyLs4UFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are tear stains on the last few pages of my copy of Everything Matters. I cried in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I bawled at Currie, Jr’s heartfelt and gut wrenching novel. Currie plays with the question: If you knew when the world was going to end what would you do? Keep it to yourself? Try to change it? Tell the whole world? Would it change how you lived? Loved?

 

 

8. Q-Squared by Peter David

510s1XRP0sL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I think I’ve read every Star Trek: The Next Generation novel (and they are so much fun), but this little masterpiece is easily my favorite. Q is a fan favorite from the TV series and Peter David brings him to life in this funny, thrilling, and fantastical tale. And who doesn’t love the banter between Q and Picard!?

 

 

9. Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

51LeP0LfWDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This series is near and dear to my heart. A close friend, (who recently passed) introduced me to this historical mystery series and I love it. Maisie is a smart, independent woman who survived the battlefront of WWI and several personal tragedies. Instead of giving up, she always picks herself up and pushes forward. While she’s at it she solves murder mysteries with her uncanny ability to read people and pick up minute details. The 11th book came out earlier this year and I plowed right through it. Awesome as always!

 

10. Haiku Anthologies

UnknownMy love of haiku knows no bounds. I’ve paged through traditional haiku anthologies of Basho, Issa, and Busson, while also embracing modern anthologies like Haiku in English: The First 100 Years and The Haiku Anthology. I can’t get enough of this poetic form!

 

 

 

This post is quite long, so I’ll post my Not A Fan list and nominees later this week!

– – –

What books are your love list?

– – –

c.b.w. 2015

2014 Goals: March/April Status Report

Standard

When I sat down to reflect on my goals for April, I realized I totally forgot to post a status report for March! I guess all the excitement of the April Poem a Day Challenge caused it to slip my mind. It’s been a rather quiet couple of months, but I’ve still kept much of my focus on my writing.

1) Pitch The Muse.

While I took the plunge and submitted The Muse in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, I didn’t made it to the next round. Regardless, I’m proud of myself for doing something so scary. If anything, the rejection has made me even more determined get my novel out there. I’m in the process of compiling a list of possible agents that will be targeted in my next round of submissions.

As luck would have it, the May/June edition of Writer’s Digest is featuring a section of articles on the YA genre. As always, I’m finding the information very useful in my quest.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

Shelved until the school year is over. Never let anyone tell you teaching is an easy job. I’ve got about three weeks remaining until the last day of school and I am literally counting down the days to freedom. So is my muse.

3) Submit writing.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog, you know I was an active participant in the April Poem A Day Challenge as presented on writersdigest.com via Poetic Asides. I wrote 30 poems in 30 days and I submitted each and every one.  Some of those poems were terrible and others turned out pretty good. All in all it was a great experience and a lot of fun.

Over the next couple of months, the editor of Poetic Asides and guest judges will be selecting the best poem from each day of the challenge. The selected poems will then be published in an anthology. Perhaps, if the stars align, I’ll find my name on that list, (one can never be too optimistic).

4) Continue to build author platform.

Admittedly, I haven’t been very active on Twitter or Facebook. I must have been too busy poeming or wrapped up in my day job. Or knitting. Truth be told, I’m busy brainstorming ways to make my feeds on these platforms a little more interesting. I’m in the process of researching what other writers tweet and post on their Facebook pages. I don’t want to be like everyone else, but I think somewhere in between what I’m doing and what they’re doing I’ll find my groove.

Facebook likes grew from 363 to 365

Twitter followers held steady at 549

While social network growth is a little sluggish, my blog is gaining momentum. Over the last couple of months, I’ve gained more than 40 new followers. Considering I’ve been writing more creative pieces of late, this is very exciting and encouraging.

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

Aside from a great array of articles on the YA genre, the current edition of Writer’s Digest included a great writing prompt in conjunction with the Your Story Competition. My muse is already buzzing …

– – –

c.b.w. 2014