Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are we a good judge of our own creations?

Love the insights of this short video by Derek Sivers, which speaks to how we creative types view our own creations as lesser things. I know I fall in love with the ideas of others and sometimes sit in awe of how they came up with certain ideas.

I wonder if you, too, will have an "Aha" moment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving treats delivered by a good friend. (Turns out they
were Red Velvet Cake in the center.)

Preparing the Spiced Zinfandel and Cranberry Sauce. So yummy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mom Files: Turkey Talk

Rejected Cook Book Titles

Are you busy getting your Thanksgiving feast in order?

Well, in the spirit of Thanksgiving cooking, here are the top 10 Rejected Cookbook titles (from ecookbooks.com):

10. Getting Even: Hillary's High-Fat Cookbook

9. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for Dummies

8. Bob Vila's Sawdust Cuisine

7. Granny Clampett's "Yer Throwin' Away the Best Parts!" Entrees

6. Mud, Sticks, and Leaves: Cooking with a Four Year Old

5. Cooking with Condiments - An Apartment Dweller's Guide to Making Something Out of Nothing

4. 101 Ways to Wok Your Dog

3. Everything's Yogurt... Eventually!

2. Lions and Tigers and Beets, Oh My! ... and the Number 1 Rejected Cookbook Title:

1. Newman's Stone: Cooking for Older Gall Bladders

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Salon: New Books

Happy Sunday to you!

My editor sent me a lovely box of books this week! Nothing like getting a surprise like this in the mail. So many great reads to share with my girls.

Speaking of my editor - I'm very close to completing the edits on the new book. Woo! Just this time last year, I had a personal deadline to finish the book before the end of the year. And now, I have a PROFESSIONAL deadline to finish the book for a bonafide publisher. What a difference a year makes! Never give up on your goals. Listen to those whispers in your ear that tell you to move onward. There is a reason!

What are you doing this Sunday? What are you reading? I'm just finishing LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Greene and WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin, which I've been reading to my daughters. Both are splendid reads.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: Four Santas

Four carved wooden Santas I found at an antique store last week.

Don't miss this week's top posts! You'll want to read this recap of my amazing experience at Stephen King's talk in Texas, check out this fabulous, must-read mini e-book How a Book is Born., and, check out this lovely photo of an Italian bike.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Worth Reading: How a book is born

Have you read the hot new debut THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach? Even if you haven't, there's a wonderful story in this month's Vanity Fair detailing the long journey Harbach made from writing to publication in only ten years!

Yesterday, I discovered an expanded version of this article is available as an e-book on Amazon for only $1.99. Here's the link.

From Amazon: The highly anticipated novel The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, has just been published. But what is the riveting story behind the story—and what does it take to make a bestseller these days? As author and n+1 co-founder Keith Gessen reveals in this 17,000-word e-book (expanded from the article appearing in the October issue of Vanity Fair), the passage from MFA classroom to national book tour is its own treacherous, absorbing—and wildly unpredictable—adventure. Harbach, Gessen’s friend and colleague, was a struggling writer who toiled relentlessly for ten years on The Art of Fielding, before it eventually hauled in a $650,000 advance.


This article is a fascinating study of all the different elements that go into the birth of a book - from inception to cover design and all the steps in between. It's a must read for writers. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Italian for bicycle

One of my best friends recently traveled to Italy and she 
shared many of her pics with me. This was one of my faves.
Random bike in Florence, Italy. October 2011

The Italian word for bicycle also means "to breathe life into."

bicycle {noun} (also: to vivificate, to vivify, to breathe life into, to animate)bicicletta.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

"I have never been what you'd call a crying man. My wife said that my 'nonexistent emotional gradient' was the main reason she was leaving me (as if the guy she met in her AA meetings was beside the point)." - page one, line 1 of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Mmm...that's one good opening!

Read more about this book and the Stephen King event I attended in Dallas last week here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stephen King on writing, his fears and his new book 11/22/63

Last Friday, I had the privilege of hearing Stephen King speak to a 1,000 member audience in a Dallas suburb. 

I was delighted to find him optimistic, charming and entertaining throughout his entire 45-minute event. Like so many established writers, King is not only a talented writer, but also a natural oral story-teller.

Fears and First Recognition

Dressed in a relaxed t-shirt and jeans, King began his talk by stating he most often gets asked what scares him. Good question. He replied that his fears include "spiders, snakes, the elevator in his hotel room and death." Then he followed this subject by scaring us with the fact that "1 in 75 people will leave their homes unlocked allowing a psychopath to get in." He said that probably 50 people in the audience had left their cars unlocked and how we might want to check our backseat before we got into our cars. This drew a laugh from the audience, though I'm sure some folks laughed with unease. He went on to talk about his life as a writer, recalling the first time he was ever recognized in public. He was in Pittsburgh promoting a little book called The Shining. There, the men's room attendant recognized him and asked him for an autograph, all while Mr. King was, well, on the john. 

A few years later, he said, he was at a dinner with Bruce Springsteen when he noticed a young girl approaching their table. King prepared to demure to the singing idol, but was elated when he discovered it was HIM she wanted an autograph from!

Researching The New Book

After a few minutes, Mr. King read from his new book 11/22/63, which features the infamous Kennedy assassination and poses the question what if you could change the past? In the novel, his protagonist uses time-travel to do just that. But before setting out to write the book, he did research. He said that writing "is a visual process for me. I need to know what's on the left and on the right" when writing about a place. He came to Dallas and spent a good bit of time in the School Book Depository, even getting special permission to sit in the perch where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fateful shots. 
Here's a short interview where King talks about this new book. 

Writing And Rituals

In the end, Mr. King concluded his talk by revealing that while most people might say, oh, he's a professional, he's a hot-shot writer, they would be wise to remember that even he approaches a new work and "has a feeling of inadequacy" at first. But he said when he gets going and "warmed up" it's as if he's under some kind of hypnosis and the work begins to flow. He shared his writing rituals, which include making hot tea and setting out his toothpicks before diving back into a story and employing that powerful admonition that a writer's job is to "get the words on the page." 

Memorable Quotes And Notes

"The worst day I had in that [writing] chair was still terrific." 

"I've never texted in my whole damn life!" 

"I feel like Rick Perry at the Republican debates." [following a forgetful moment on stage.]

He was 17 when JFK was assassinated and heard the news on the radio while driving home from High School.

He's finished the sequel to The Shining.

The new Dark Tower book will be out in June 2013.


Bravo, Mr. King! I'm looking forward to reading this new book. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An evening with Stephen King

Had a great time hearing Stephen King talk last night about his new book and the writing life. More on the event soon! For now, one of my favorite quotes from his talk last night was: "If you're an aspiring writer, don't worry about the business side of publishing. Just get your words on paper. After, you can think about that." 

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good pic of Mr. King, but I DID manage to get a signed copy of his book. There were only 250 signed copies available!

11-11-11 was indeed a lucky date for us.
Nice of these peeps to walk by just as I was snapping the pic!
Lucky me!

At 849 pages, these make a hefty read in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Nightwoods

"When Stubblefield asked about vanity - Luce's cheerleader beauty-contest days-she was surprisingly forthcoming. Right now she was about as pretty as she cared to be, considering that being pretty drew little but trouble." p. 139, Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

From the jacket: Before the children, Luce was content with the reimbursements of the rich Appalachian landscape, choosing to live apart from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary life in difficult, hopeful, dangerous ways.

I'm a long-time Frazier fan and was completely absorbed by this book. It is as detailed and rich as you hope it will be. Read an excerpt and the NYT review here

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!