Thursday, September 29, 2011


"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." Walter Elliott

See that vehicle in the distance? That's my hubby competing in a 400 mile event this past Saturday through the dust and scrub of Notrees, TX. (No trees, indeed.) They got to the 50 mile mark when part of a disc on the brakes broke.

But, they're preparing to try again!

I'm always struck by how different hubby and I are in our interests, but then I remember that both of our passions are about shoring up to try again.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

I had a great visit with my Dad yesterday. We looked through a box of old family photos, most of which he'd taken as a young man. If you've followed my blog for a while, you know how I love old family photos for the stories they tell. So happy to have a whole new, undiscovered batch to share.

My great uncle and his moving company truck, circa 1940s.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Season, New Beginnings

This week I start drafting a new work. I've had the idea rolling about my brain for some time. I bought five new spiral notebooks and have been making little notes and scenes for a couple of months. (Who can resist notebooks for .20 cents each?) I've been writing journal entries in the voice of the main character so I can get to know her better. And now, as fall is upon us, I get to dive into the story. I purposefully timed the start of this writing journey to coincide with fall. Fall has always energized me as no other season does. It's the start of school for many. It's the season for new lunchboxes, sweaters and school buses. It's the time of year when I want to try new recipes, buy autumn scented candles and pull out my favorite cashmere sweater. It's the season in which I went on a blind date with a man who would become my hubby. For me, fall has always been a good season to begin new adventures.

Now listen to Monty Python's funny take on starting a new novel. While my own drafting of a new work won't have this much commotion or audience, it's just as thrilling.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Sunday Salon: College Book Discoveries

For so many, our college days are a seminal time of discovery and new direction. When you make discoveries in college, they make lasting impressions. And books! Books you discover in college stay with you, shape you, change you, challenge you and influence you. They are, as one writer friend wrote, “our literary epiphanies.”

Well, recently good friend and inn-keeper to the literati, Darla Upton McCorkle asked some of her author friends to share their own list of college discoveries.  I enjoyed reading the list of books that stayed in these author’s minds throughout the years. It's interesting to see how the classics still influence some of today's best-selling authors. 

For me, it was Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD, all things Hemingway and Raymond Carver’s short stories that left a lasting imprint. 

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen - Southern authors like Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons, Clyde Edgerton, Tim McLaurin.

Karen Essex -  Playwrights: Harold Pinter, Edward Bond, Tom Stoppard, Luigi Piradello. And Virginia Woolf. Can't grow up without reading her!

 Kathryn Casey - It was the seventies, the epicenter of the women's movement, so I was really into women authors, Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath. Of course, THE WOMEN'S ROOM, by Marilyn French was a rallying point for many. I should reread some of those books!

Mark Benford - I recommend Robert J. Sawyer, particularly, "Calculating God" and his Neanderthal Parallax ("Hominids", "Humans" and "Hybrids"). I also enjoyed "FlashForward" which was the first book of his I discovered. This was in the last couple years, though, not college discoveries, but I think they're good for that age, too.

Kathy Louise Patrick - I had an English teacher that insisted I do a paper on Jane Austin of which I was not even excited about, been done to death. So she suggested from her list of authors Larry McMurtry! Big fan and read everything I could get my hands on. Also, Kurt Vonnegut, Jack London, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. 

Jamie Ford - Harlan Ellison. More of a rediscovery.

Jenny Gardiner - Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive. Required reading for a class I had.

Amy Bourret -  Add Peter Taylor and Walker Percy to that Southern list. And if you really want "discovery," the kama sutra and an atlas.
 Ad Hudler -  Easy answer: The Brothers Karamazov

Judy Christie - Eudora Welty's "A Curtain of Green," which includes my all-time favorite short story, "Why I Live at the P.O." Kate Chopin's "The Awakening." "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky. This will be a fun conversation to have on your patio when the weather cools off!

Lisa Wingate  - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee -- not sure if I read it for a class or just because, but it sticks out in my memory, and Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, an anthology of Will Rogers, and The Screwtape Letters


What authors and books were YOUR college discoveries?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

50 Beautiful Book Covers

This link takes you to 50 Beautiful Book Covers as chosen by This is a gorgeous collection and includes the following, which I adore.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Janeology: A compelling review

As you might know from yesterday's BBAW post, I have a huge affection for book bloggers. Enormous. Gigantic. Immense. Even, dare I say -  brobdingnagian (n.) marked by tremendous size. (This is my new favorite word.)

Okay, let me toss my synonym finder aside long enough to say big thanks to Zook Book Nook for posting such a thought-provoking review of Janeology that is less a review, but more a compelling essay on the challenges of motherhood and the emotions and reactions this role stirs in every woman.

It's this kind of exchange that truly makes me love my job. How lucky am I?

I would say I am lucky in brobdingnagian proportions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

BBAW: Guest post/My Favorite Book Blogs

I'm so happy to participate in a small way to this year's BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week). See my guest post here, which is, in a way, my love letter to the book blogging community.

And while we're at it, I'd like to list some of my favorite book blogs that  continue to educate and entertain me!

- The 3 R's Blog: Reading, Writing and Randomness.
- Bermuda Onion
- The Boston Bibliophile
- Geeky Blogger's Book Blog
- Devourer of Books
- Curl Up and Read
- The Betty and Boo Chronicles
- Books and Cooks
- Book Dreaming

Oh, and this isn't a book blog, but I have to visit Cake Wrecks Blog on a regular basis. Few things are as hilarious as typos with frosting!

Happy Reading!

Monday Morning Inspiration: Try Something New

In this short video, speaker Matt Cutts talks about challenging yourself to do something you've always wanted to do in 30 DAYS - from climbing a mountain to going without sugar to writing a novel! Cutts gives a shout-out to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - the 30 day novel writing challenge that takes place each Novemeber. Treat yourself to watching this!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Find: Library Candles

This week's Friday Find is not a book, but it's bookish

It's the Library Candle collection from PaddyWax candles. I love these! I treated myself to the Tolstoy candle last week and simply adore it! The Jane Austen candle is also amazing. (No word yet on the effect of this scent on my writing, but it has been a productive week, so....) I can't wait to gift some of my bibliophile friends with these pretty candles.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Reading Now

I haven't participated in Booking Through Thursday in a while, but the book I'm reading now is so wonderful I had to jump in. 

What are you reading now? The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. (I may be the last person to discover this book!) 

Would you recommend it? - Absolutely. It is tender and hilarious all at once. 
And what’s next? - Shanghai Girls by Lisa See for my book club. Then, Town House by Tish Cohen.

What good book are YOU reading today?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Hope Springs Eternal

This is the time of year when every neighbor you know apologizes for how bad his yard looks. This year it's especially yellow and dry because of severe drought and water restrictions throughout the Lone Star State. Everyone has burn spots and crunchy grass. We're just telling everyone that yellow is the new green.

But when I saw this single hopeful daisy peeking out at me yesterday in the midst of my parched landscape, I thought, Well, if that isn't a sign of determination, I don't know what is.