February in Review

There are plenty of things I could say to make excuse for my lack of posting this month, but I won’t do it because that’s all they would be — excuses. The truth is, I haven’t written because I’m just flat out not inspired to do so. And I’m also ashamed of the fact that I’ve written my basic query letter and have yet to send it. Because it terrifies me.

BUT.

I can’t keep doing that. So get ready for March to rock your world. 🙂 First, let’s talk about February:

Books

Marisa de los Santos is one of my favorite contemporary writers ever. If she is anything like her main characters, we would get along swimmingly. They are quirky, and funny, and sarcastic, and know random information that would make them dominate a Trivial Pursuit game. In her third book, “Falling Together,” that is Pen Calloway, who reunites with one of her former best friends, Will, at their college reunion when they both receive an email from the third of their group of musketeers, Cat, who begs them both to be there. The trio had a falling out, the details of which are revealed as the novel progresses, but it’s the getting to know each other again part that’s the most interesting. The best thing about de los Santos’ books are that they never quite go the way you expect. The second best thing is her obvious joy of words. When read aloud, her writing tastes like candy.

falling

Movies

I’m kind of a dude when it comes to movies. I would rather watch something blow up a thousand times than watch people make out in the rain. Therefore “A Good Day to Die Hard,” regardless of how stupid a title, was the one for me on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, the Die Hard magic wasn’t quite there. Happily, Jai Courtney was, and when he headbutted the villain in pure rage, he stole my heart.

a-good-day-die-hard-poster01

Internet Highlights

Speaking of Valentines, here is Avidly’s list of G-rated moments of swoon. I refuse to think that Laura’s response to Almanzo’s proposal was any different in real life than in “These Happy Golden Years.”

And speaking of Little House, did y’all know that it wasn’t really scarlet fever that made Mary go blind? WHAT???

Deepak Chopra’s 10 keys to happiness. I need to look at these. Often.

A library book returned after 55 years? I would hate to see that late fee.

Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters…

The name’s Dahl. Roald Dahl.

Ten things you didn’t know about books you read in high school.

God, Anne Hathaway annoys me even in this behind the scenes at the Oscars slideshow. (To be fair, though, the question was stupid.)

The best part of February

Dianna came to visit from New York! I got to play San Antonio tour guide for a weekend, and while we were at different places I started doing this thing where I took photos of ceilings/things above me. No idea why. But here they are:

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Madhatter’s Tea

The lobby at the office.

The lobby at the office.

Alamo sky

Alamo sky

Menger Hotel

Menger Hotel

Acenar

Acenar

Buckhorn

Buckhorn

San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio Museum of Art

Rosario's

Rosario’s

Artisan's Alley

Artisan’s Alley

Coming up in March

It’s my birthday month, so that’s fun. And I’m going to send out queries, I SWEAR.

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Quote of the Week

Yesterday my mom asked who my favorite author(s) is/are. My brain is having a hard time processing that question. It’s like asking what is my favorite movie?

While I think up my list and decide whether or not to print and laminate it (+10 for anybody who gets that reference), I will share with you this bit of writing from “Love Walked In” by Marisa de los Santos, who is definitely among the top 5 on the list because she’s just the most beautiful linguist.

“And we keep driving, the mountains blue and beneficent in the distance, then gone. Gone but not gone. The mountains, Clare, Mrs. Goldberg, my mother and father, Ollie, Cam, Toby, Linny, Martin, Viviana, all right here. You, too. My heart is large; it can contain everything at once, and the road I’m on with Teo, can you see it? It runs forward and backward and no matter which way we travel on it, the direction is the same. You know the direction I mean: Homeward.”

“Love Walked In” was de los Santos’ first book. It’s sequel, “Belong to Me,” was another lovely creation. I just finished her third novel, “Falling Together,” and am as in love with her as ever. (See more in February in Review.)

Happy Friday, folks!

Writer’s Bucket List

Writer’s Digest posted a column about five things every writer should have on his or her writing bucket list. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  1. Do something bizarre just to write about it.
  2. Self-publish something.
  3. Find a mentor.
  4. Edit your favorite novel.
  5. Live poor for a few months (or years).

I’m a lucky person. I love to write and I get to do it for a living. Being a journalist has allowed me to meet some of these bucket list items. Being an author is something totally different, and trying to become one has been an adventure. Maybe a year from now my responses will be different. For now, here’s where I stand:

  1. I’ve taken art classes, made Christmas decorations using fresh herbs, taken a helicopter tour of the city, ridden roller coasters, walked through mirror mazes and haunted houses, proposed marriage to Donnie Wahlberg (he dodged the question), and done a few other things that are probably slipping my mind, specifically to write about them. Probably the most bizarre out of those was the marriage proposal. After the interview, my editor turned to me and said, “That is the first time, and hopefully the last, that I hear a proposal in an interview.” First of all, I make no promises. Secondly, HELLO! New Kids on the Block reunited and my inner 10-year-old was never going to get that chance again. I had to!
  2. This blog counts. I’m not one of those bloggers who does it in hopes that one day it will be picked up to be a book a la “The Julie/Julia Project.” It’s too scatterbrained for that. But it does give me a chance to put myself out there in a way I haven’t done before, and that’s a nice confidence boost.
  3. I don’t have a specific mentor, but one thing I’ve done over the past year is follow a bunch of authors and agents on Twitter. And, happily, I’ve discovered that they are super supportive of writers. They come with excellent advice. Yes, it’s a business, but it’s one that they all want to see continue to succeed. That’s encouraging. Now, having said all that, any authors out there want to take me under their wing?
  4. Typos are everywhere. I’ve never intentionally sat down to edit a book I like, but now more than ever I notice mistakes in things I read. (Especially in menus and restaurant signage. Have y’all noticed this? Nobody knows how to use quotation marks correctly.) My mom was a teacher her whole career and notices these things right away, so I got in the habit of reading for mistakes pretty early on. One that I missed for a long time (that my mom noticed immediately) is on a poster that Sam gave me for my 21st birthday. It’s a black and white photo of the cast of “The Breakfast Club” that has the movie’s closing line, except it says, “… a basket case, a princess, and a crimimal.” A CRIMIMAL! Whoops. I still make my fair share of grammar mistakes, but noticing them in other places makes me feel like I’m on top of my game.
  5. Um, yeah. Got it covered.