My Literary One-Night Stands

crazy.cesar.heidi

Hold on! We’ve gotta make this last!

I read a wonderful article about love and how falling in love is the easy part (it’s involuntary, it’s chemical, biological … animal). Staying in love, though, is a choice. It hit home because my husband and I have been together for fifteen years. (Yikes! We’ve gotten through TWO seven-year itches.) And, admittedly, the fireworks are still there, just perhaps not as loud or sparkly. Two daughters later, one JUST a year old, it’s hard to get the passion going when you haven’t slept through the night for a year. (Yes. The whole babies sleep through the night at three months is a bunch of bullshit. If you’re one of THOSE parents who had that, just … just don’t tell me, okay?) But my husband and I have constructed a wonderful life with the kind of quiet love (yeah, the loud will come back more frequently one day) that has grown over years of unforgettable moments: practicing to be human statues to make money to pay the rent; hiking through the Himalayas, Torres del Paine and Peru;  hitchhiking in Europe; buying our first apartment; dancing until dawn; dancing in the moonlight in Saint Marco’s Square; now raising two little miracles (who don’t sleep). I’m okay with the quiet. In fact, it suits my personality. I’m as loyal as hell and can’t imagine my world without this beautiful man (even through groggy mornings and earlier than I thought adults would ever go to bed nights).

My literary loves, though, aren’t quiet ones. I’m addicted to falling in love – that first-time-feeling when I read a new book. I’m a love junky! So I rarely re-read books. Rarely. (This could be because in college, we had to read and deconstruct novels ad nauseum). There are a few exceptions, but when I re-read, I do so for the craft of the novel, to study its construction, not for the love affair. My love affairs with novels, then, are my one-night stands and summer romances (the kind I never got into being single since I was too shy for that kind of thing.) . I’m kind of a book tramp, I guess. J So now, I give all my books away to the local library after reading them except for the ones that make my juices run, the ones that make me laugh out loud. Those, though, I don’t want to re-read because I want to keep that first impression, that giddy feeling of holy shit this is out of this world. These novels include: Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,  The Book Thief, The Road, Going Bovine, Speak, Feed, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,  Five Flavors of Dumb, Winter Girls, As I Lay Dying, Cannery Row, The Day of the Locust, Breadcrumbs, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Fat Vampire … There are more. Many more.

asilaydying five.flavors.dumb

Maybe one day I’ll revisit these novels. Maybe when my daughters or nieces are falling in love with them. It would be nice to read them down the road and talk about them and see the beauty of being head-over-heels for someone else’s words. Until then, though, I think I’ll just keep them on the bookshelf so I can glance at them and remember what is wonderful, what writing is truly and absolutely phenomenal. It’ll be like having my own personal collection of saucy love notes and souvenirs from those one-night stands. *sigh*

Advertisements

Literary Couples

What makes the perfect couple? Everyone has their own idea, and that’s fine. Personally, I tend to root for the couple whose love overcomes obstacles. Couples who won’t let anything get in their way or beat their love down. Couples who make the impossible possible. Here is a list of my top six favorite literary couples (most of which also happen to be movie couples).

Image

Romeo and Juliet – The ultimate star-crossed lovers. Talk about family feuds. Romeo and Juliet didn’t let tradition or society keep them apart. Sure, they ended up dying for their love (sorry, spoiler alert?), but we can’t all have a happy ending. Not if Shakespeare’s the writer, anyway.

Image

Wesley and Buttercup (Princess Bride) – Probably my favorite literary couple. He loved her long before she even noticed him, never gave up on her, came back to claim his love, died for her (well, only mostly dead, according to Miracle Max), then fought for her, just so they could be together again. Why don’t guys today do that anymore?

Image

Ginny and Harry – Behind every great wizard is a kick-ass witch who loves him. I adored this match, even if it wasn’t very evident in the first couple books. It’s one of those couplings that grow on you, then stick like glue.

Image

Henry and Clare (The Time Traveler’s Wife) – I loved this couple in a way that was entirely new to me. Reading this book, I knew they had to inevitably get together. But as I got immersed in the difficulties and obstacles they endured—and, come on, who doesn’t hate battling with time, of all things—I found myself cheering them on and wishing they could just catch a break.

Image

[Photo source: Maggie Stiefvater via http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/07/stiefvater-forever-sam-and-grace.html]

Grace and Sam (Shiver) – I have a soft spot for Maggie Stiefvater’s way with words. And the way she wrote Grace and Sam made me fall in love with them as couple and hope that they could stay together despite the odds.

Image

Sookie and Eric (Southern Vampire series/True Blood) – In book four, Dead to the World, when Sookie takes care of amnesia-inflicted Eric, something about the coupling just clicked with me. I still have a few books left in the series to read, so my opinion may or may not change, but for now, I’m Team Eric.

What about you? Who are your favorite literary couples?

Falling in Love with Books

It’s not hard for me to pinpoint the time in my life when I first fell in love with books. It was during one of the worst periods of my life–high school.

You see, when I was seventeen, I was kicked out of my house and found myself living out of my car. It took me awhile to find a spot where I could park my car (a dirt road between two corn fields) where the cops wouldn’t find me, knock on my window, and tell me I couldn’t sleep there.

Now, if you’ve ever watched a horror movie in your life, you know corn fields aren’t the most comforting of locations to spend your evenings–especially when the stalks are tall enough to swallow your car. And since my high school years were before the dawn of the cell phone, I had no one to talk to.

book2

But I did have books–stacks of them that I checked out from the library and would read in the back of my car with a flash light. And what I discovered was truly amazing. Books had the power to transport me out of the crap hole that was my life. No longer was I a homeless girl living out of her car in the middle of a cornfield–but I was a princess escaping from an evil king in a fantasy land, I was a kick ass warrior armed with crossbows on the prowl for the living dead, and I was girl who’d just discovered she was a witch and had to learn to control my powers before the villagers discovered me. All of these things were better than being a homeless teenager.

And that’s why I owe books a debt I’m not quite sure I’ll ever be able to repay. That’s why I write. I don’t want to write the next great American novel. I don’t care if I never sell a million copies or have throngs of fans. But if one of my books has the ability to transport a suffering teenager away from their problems even for a short time, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

A Little Wordilicious <3 for You Romantic Souls Out There (aka a February is for Valentine’s Day)

Aire by Lena Goldfinch

AIRE (a sweeping romantic YA fantasy) by Lena Goldfinch

Ah, love.

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

Perfect timing for a little ❤ from Annalisia to Jovanni.

Maybe.

Someday?

Q: So, if you were creating a word cloud for your special Valentine–fantasy or otherwise–what gushy (YA-friendly ;)) words would have to be on your list?? For the sake of this post, let’s say exactly FOUR words (one for each chamber of the human heart?? :)).

Oh, For The Love of Words!

It’s pretty difficult for me to pinpoint when exactly my love affair with the written word began, but I can safely say that it must have begun at birth, possibly before. My mother, an avid bookworm in her day, must have passed the obsession to me. There is hardly a time that I cannot recall having a book with me whenever I went.It embarrasses me to say that I was not popular as a child. In a sea full of students, my brains were mistaken for average, and I was easily lost in the crowd. My wild imagination and proud storytelling didn’t exactly ‘fly’ with my teachers, who often sent me to the principal’s office for lying about things that didn’t happen to me (Wild imagination was an understatement).  My peers took me for a geek, a loser, and a bookworm, which are all titles I proudly wear today. What they didn’t understand was that I was living in two different worlds. One world, the one of my physical presence, was that of misunderstanding and doubt, while the other world, the one I much more preferred, was that of magic, hope and beauty. And, sometimes, the lines between my two worlds blurred, until I could not tell fact from fiction. It was a known fact around my elementary school campus that I was a bit of a freak when it came to the amount that I read. It was a title I did not hold proudly, in fact, I tried to run from it. I’ve learned to wear it with pride, for when I look at the lives of those with a less vivid imagination than my own, I cannot help but smile at where my mind has brought.

The true, gripping love began with the ‘Alice’ series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. My fourth grade teacher had a book sale in our classroom once a month, in which we could pick any book in the classroom and purchase it for fifty cents a dream come true for bookworms like myself. When it was my turn to pick a book, I scavenged the shelves, waiting for my next read to pop out and fall into my arms, ready to be loved. There, in the back of a box containing many unworthy books, was The Agony of Alice. Something about the title pulled me in, and the cover image, of an awkward, red-headed teenager, pulling a pair or oversized jeans on in what looked like a shopping mall dressing room, caught my attention. I briskly walked up to my teacher’s desk, placed the fifty cents in his hand, and returned to my desk, hugging the book close to my chest all the while. The Agony of Alice told a story of a girl who very well could have been me. Awkward, timid, and without many friends, she tries to make the best of the fact that she doesn’t fit in. I laughed with her, I cried with her, and I felt every emotion as though it were my own. It was then, at the age of nine, that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write, and by doing so, I wanted to create magic for every reader the way that Naylor had done for me with the ‘Alice’ series. I grew up with Alice, holding her hand through every step of her life and mine, and when the series ended, I felt a gaping hole in my chest for months after.

Now, as a semi grown adult, still struggling to figure out my place in the world, both as a writer and as a somewhat average twenty-one year old (although average is a relative term), the remains of my first love, my first (to coin a term) ‘bookish crush’ has made all the difference. I continue to feel, as I did at such a young age, the beauty of every word that I drink in to my being. Writing is about so much more than the love for the written word. It is not an ‘average’ thing, this writing world. It is a lifestyle, it’s a way of being. Writing is who I am, and the relationship I have with it is one that grows more into beauty with every passing day. If every person in the world had as much love and passion for something as I do for writing, the world would be a much more beautiful place.

Lex Loves Stein

lex avitar

Oops. As you can see this post is very different than the one posted eariler today. I broke the one rule I was told I should never break: never kiss and tell. Stein’s pissed. Good thing I’m a rifter so I can go back and fix this mess.

Extracted_cover_120

Extracted: The Lost Imperials (Book 1)

Welcome to the war.

The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.

The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.

Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.

When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.

Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

Literary Love for Audio Books

Love_Ipod

I love a great novel for many of the same reasons mentioned this month, so I thought I’d take this topic of Literary Love in a different direction.

Finding the time to sit down and read has always been a challenge for my hyperactive tendencies. Perhaps that’s why I crave the mental activity of crafting a novel instead. But I still love taking in a great novel whenever possible, it’s just a matter of multi-tasking. Hello, Audio!  

My love of audio books started when I was self-employed in the late 90s, retouching negatives for professional photographers from dusk ’til dawn (tedious, mind-numbing work). Music stations were unbelievably repetitive, talk radio with Art Bell (conspiracy theories and paranormal topics) lasted only a few hours each night… but books on tape? LOVE! I could finally stay awake as long as necessary to keep up with my workload. And at that rate, I actually did devour 100s of novels on cassette and CDs from our local library.  

But these days, I have a family to take care of, a writing fetish to appease, and a never-ending list of chores and responsibilities that must get done… I’m as busy as ever and seem to require more than 3-4 hours of sleep each night. 

I can justify the time I spend writing as ‘work’, but there’s a certain amount of guilt that comes when I’d rather write than do dishes, or any of the other things I “should” be doing to keep the house and yard in reasonable condition. But sitting down to read a book? For fun? I just can’t get myself to sacrifice the time when there’s so much to do… and that’s why I love audio books! Everything I get from reading a great novel can be guilt-free, just like those high-calorie cookies at the blood bank, if I happen to be doing something productive at the same time. And as a writer, the audio format prevents me from slipping into edit-mode when something doesn’t feel right.

So for me, I love a novel that can turn hours of routine work into pleasure, a novel that keeps me looking for projects to add and cross off the to-do list. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Have you considered putting your novel in an audio format?