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Monday Musings

photo-2Happy belated 4th of July everyone!

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 9.12.23 AMWhat I’m reading: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I should change that to what I (already) read. I finished this book in 12 hours. I couldn’t put it down, literally. I disappeared from my family for most of the day and swallowed this book whole. The gist: Hannah Baker kills herself. But before she does it, she mails out 7 audiotapes with herstory of WHY she did it. And she has a list of everyone that needs to hear it–basically, everyone that somehow played a part in her final decision.
For those of you that don’t know, I teach high school. This story touched me in a way that was so real and so important and something I really think every high schooler should read. It makes people aware that little things can have an enormous impact on someone. It can change a person’s life. It can create a snowball effect that was never meant to happen. These circumstances (bullying) that Jay Asher used were in every way realistic and I see them happen more often than I’d like.
Seriously, go read this book!
What I’m doing: Writing, writing, and more writing. And reading, obviously.
What I’m listening to: Ms Mr, Secondhand Rapture Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 9.11.55 AM

Monday Musings

Another hectic week with myself and the kids home for summer, but always nice.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 5.57.37 PMWhat I’m reading: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. This is the last book in a 6 book series. I have loved every one up to this point so I have no doubt City of Heavenly Fire will live up to my expectations. I’m really excited about every minute I can steal away to read.

What I’m doing: I am beta reading/critiquing for someone. This is really hard to squeeze in when I’m trying to write myself, but I feel it’s an important part of growing as a writer. Editing someone else’s work gives a perspective I often lack when I am editing myself. I look forward to the day when this person is published and can share her amazing stories with the world. I’ve gotten some questions about beta-ing so maybe that’ll be a post I’ll have to write in the near future.

Oh, and I’m also writing. I wrote my first 2000 words this morning on a brand new manuscript. I can’t even describe how good it felt to be writing again.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 5.57.09 PMWhat I’m listening to: Slightly Stoopid, Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid

Monday Musings

Ok, I know it’s not exactly Monday anymore, but I was getting so good at posting every week and I didn’t want to let it just pass. Let’s see then, what am I up to this week??

What I’m reading? I am still plugging away on Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly. I’m not used to a book taking this long for me to finish. I can finish a book in less than a week. I like it that way. I don’t even think I’m at the half way mark on this one and I’m getting dangerously close to setting it aside. I feel like I’m reading a history book. There’s isn’t any dialogue, but there is a whole lot of play-by-play battle tactics. Yesterday, I found myself talking to my husband about Stonewall Jackson and the saying “stonewalling someone.” He had this look on his face like he was talking to a stranger. He was definitely amused. This book feels like some sort of weird conquest for me. 

What I’m doing? Well, it’s officially summer in the Becker house, so I’ve got two kids, two dogs, and two chickens to contend with. The kids are in swim lessons for four days a week with gymnastics sprinkled in on one of those days. I can already tell that I will have to be utterly creative to keep the kids off the computer on all the time in between.

I’m also still plotting away on my most recent project. I’ve given myself three days to get this done. Today is Day #2. The beginning is well plotted, and the middle/end have the key points in place, but I still need to connect it all together. The characters are developing nicely too. I’ve been really dissecting the books I like this last year and trying to figure what it is that makes a story memorable…it’s the characters. Books with good characters stay with me forever. If a book has flat characters, but a great plot, I’ll love the story, but I’ll never read it again and it’s gone from my memory in a week. So more than anything, I’m spending time on these characters. I want to love them and I really think I will.

What I’m listening to? Jack White’s newest album, Lazaretto. 

Monday Musings

ImageWhat I’m Reading: Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly. Can you guess what it’s about? It’s the fourteen or so days leading up to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Ok, so this is another book that is out of my comfort zone. I’m reading it because I think it’s good to be put out of that comfort zone. Like I’ve said before, I don’t generally read non-fiction and I certainly don’t read history books. This book is a double whammy. I’m doing this because I’ve noticed that certain genres are very formulaic and I want to see other “formulas.”

The first sentence: The man with six weeks to live is anxious.

What a great first line! The opening paragraph is equally great. It hooked me instantly…but, it doesn’t hold me there. Don’t get me wrong this really is a good book, but it’s going to be a struggle for me to finish it in a week.

What I’m doing: I’m plugging away on my next book. Enough said about that because it’s quite a process for me to wrap my head around a story and get to writing. Maybe I’ll post what my notebooks look like while I’m doing this!

ImageWhat I’m listening to: Ben Howard’s Every Kingdom album. This is one of my favorite albums right now. If you want some music to get you ready for summer or just something to relax to–then this is it!

Monday’s Musings

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.26.04 PMWhat I’m reading: The Film Club: A Memoir by David Gilmour. It’s about a dad who, as a last resort, pulls his failing 16-year-old son out of school on one condition–he has to watch 3 movies a week. There are some caveats to this: the kid can’t do drugs, but he can sleep all day if he wants, he doesn’t have to work, and he can pretty much do anything he wants.

My first impression is that I like it. Mostly. I don’t usually read non-fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it or anything, it’s just not really my thing. I like the Film Club, I can get into it, but it’s not a book that I put down and have to pick right back up again. I’m about half way through it already, so I’ve discovered things that I like and things that I don’t like. I like the fact that David Gilmour did something unconventional with a kid that didn’t fit into the typical school system. Jesse, his son, gets on my nerves a bit. He’s sixteen and has this childhood entitlement thing happening–he drinks and smokes (sometimes with his dad), has sex with his girlfriend (with dad upstairs), and basically lives a teenagers dream. I get the let-your-kid-do-what-he-wants-as-long-as-he-talks-to-me situation, but…well, read it and let me know what you think in the comments below.

What I’m working on: I’m going slow on the querying process. I don’t want to send a million out just yet, so I sent out a few and am now waiting on a response. I’ve also decided to go with the YA magical realism story. I need a little bit of fantasy in my life and definitely in the stories I like to write. This one is pretty low-key.

What I’m listening to: Bon Iver Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.40.02 PM