Banned Book Week

Saturday, September 27, 2008
September 27–October 4, 2008

Since I work in a library for my day job, I’m a big supporter of Banned Book Week. Held by the American Library Association every year in the last week of September, Banned Book Week “celebrates the freedom to read” and I think, in a writer’s case, the freedom to write as well.

I was scanning through the self-help writing book Techniques of a Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain recently and found a spot where he warned against traps a writer falls into. Here’s what Swain claims they do:

1. They take an unrealistic view.
2. They hunt for magic secrets.
3. They try to learn the hard way.
4. They refuse to follow feelings.
5. They attempt to write by rules

From his “trouble with rules” section, I quote him: “No writer in his right mind writes by a set of rules. At least, not by somebody else’s rules. Why not? Because rules start from the wrong end: with restriction; with form; with mechanics; with exhortation about things you shouldn’t do. Where SHOULD they start, then? With feeling. YOUR OWN feelings.”

My critique group set up a rule for me a month or so ago. I’d finished a certain story that covered a certain topic and they told me in no uncertain terms it was a bad topic, that no one would want to read about it because it was too depressing.

Well, now I’m determined to shatter their rule and break free from their restrictions. The tricky part will be executing it with a certain amount of style and voice.

Yeah, just call me a rebel with a cause.

If you think about it, it’s rule breakers in history that carry on the classics. If D. H. Lawerence hadn’t written Lady Chatterly’s Lover that talked about—gasp—sex, then would so many stories we romance lovers read today be out in print? If it’s only a controversial subject making someone cringe, then exploring the issue further and learning about it should be allowed.

I encourage you now… be your own rebel. Go the library or bookstore and find one of the following stories this week. Read a challenged book and celebrate the fact that these authors broke the rules of their time so they could enrich and entertain us.

Or go HERE to find more challenged titles.

On the Road to Recovery

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It's been nearly twenty-four hours since I swallowed a radioactive iodine pill to kill off my thyroid but I haven't noticed any changes. Then again, they said it'd take one to three months to tell. I'm supposed to be "contaminated" until Saturday. I never realized how much stuff I touched until I wasn't supposed to touch anything. Every light switch, door handle and car lock is in danger from my lethal fingers. I'm not sure I like being unable to open the refrigerator to pull out a snack. I do so love my snacking. But it'll be worth it to stop feeling so worn out all the time. And I must say, I can't complain about having my husband cook for a few days. Except... his dinner last night was to bring home a bag from Sonic.

Since there wasn't much to do except sit in front of a computer, I finished a few critiques I was supposed to read. So, I was able to accomplish something during my short quarantine.

Another good thing happening is my house-building project. All the sheet rock should be hung today and side walks should be poured. Very exciting there.

I hope I'll have some good news to impart soon about selling a story. But it'll probably be a few months. I still have three different full manuscripts out to three different publishers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for at least one positive response. But more about that later.

Graves' Update

Friday, September 19, 2008
Okay, so I went to a thyroid specialist yesterday. After looking at my test results, the endocrinologist immediately doubled all my medication and set me up with an appointment to get my thyroid destroyed next Tuesday. I'll have to sleep in a different bed than my husband, use a different bathroom, and not snuggle for five days after the radiation treatment. But the good news is... six months after that's done, I'm allowed to get pregnant. Yay! Yes, there will be increased risks, but at least there's good possibilities I'll be able to add to the family. I feel lots better after talking to this doctor. She addressed all my concerns directly.

On the house-building front, we have insulation on our walls and sheet rock is being hung today. Double Yay! There should be sidewalks in another two to three weeks and my new kitchen cabinets have been ordered and are being built.

So, good news there and there. Lets hope all these publishers and contests judges I've sent material will know to follow the pattern. I'm positive I'll hear from someone by at least November 11th, except... I'll be a year older by then. But hmm. Let's not go there.

Graves' Disease

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I went to my doctor yesterday to get the results of my tests and found out I have Graves' Disease, which is simply an overactive thyroid, making my heart rate skyrocket and my metabolism go through the roof. It's easily treated, so it's not really that big a deal, but I kinda like saying, "I have Graves' Disease." Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Graves' Disease. Yes, very dooming. The biggest problem might be trying to have children... okay, child. I really only want one. But I want that one. If this is going to prevent me from having my one, I'm going to be super upset.

Insane Writer

Monday, September 15, 2008
Do you want to know what insane is? Insane is building a new house when there's a housing crisis in full swing. Insane is starting a mortgage when companies like Merrill Lynch are being sold for billions of dollars. Insane is when the government has to step in to help Fanny May and Freddie Mack while you're apply for a first time buyers loan. So, sign me up for the loony bin. I've gone insane.

But I've also shifted closer to becoming published. This wacky writer has been asked to submit another full manuscript. Wow! That's three publishers interested in reading my completed stories in one month. I've broken my own record.

Or maybe I'm not crazy, maybe I'm just really ill. I have an appointment with the doctor this afternoon to go over my thyroid test results. So, we'll have to see there.

I hope Ike didn't get to you very bad. We had about five inches of rain dump on us. It filled all our local creeks, but we're basically unaffected.

Anniversary Pictures

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
In the writing world, I'm waiting, always waiting, to hear back from six different editors about six different manuscripts. I'm also waiting to hear back from one writing contest. And I'm deciding if I have the funds to enter the biggie, RWA's Golden Heart Contest for unpublished romance writers. I have another two months to figure that out, though.

In other news, have you heard that the next Harry Potter movie has been set back until July of NEXT YEAR? I can't believe it. My husband decided to boycott. He's says he's not watching it. I think he's full of it. But I do feel cheated. The only reason I'm not outright irate is because they're slotting the Twilight movie into its place, to be played on November 21st. But who knows if that will stay the same. Can't really trust anything now.

And now for everyone's entertainment, pictures of people you've probably never met before. It's what you've been waiting for, I'm sure. But this is my family (my parents, brothers and sisters and their children & spouses) taken at my parent's anniversary this last Saturday. Mom and Dad are the ones sitting down in the middle. I can't even describe to you were I am but feel free to play Where's Waldo to find me.

September Nightstand Reviews

Monday, September 8, 2008
I didn't get much reading done this month. I was busy, finishing writing a book, planning and attending my parents' anniversary party and dealing with doctors. I but got through a few stories. There should be more next month. Also, I should have pictures of the anniversary posted soon. And on top of that, I finally ordered my coupon for a TV converter . Have you ordered yours yet? There's only 162 days left until all the stations switch over to Dtv.

Anyway, here are my reviews:

Before the Scandal by Suzanne Enoch (Historical Romance)
This is the second book in Enoch's The Notorious Gentlemen Series. Lieutenant Colonel Phineas Bromley and his childhood best friend, Alyse Donnelly, heat up the pages with masked highwaymen, secret romances, and evil cousins. It hyped me up to read Bram's book, which is next in the series and should be out in April of 2009.

Winter's Edge by Anne Stuart (Romantic Suspense)
Here's a reprint by Stuart. It's a whodunit kind of mystery where Molly Winters wakes up from a car accident with amnesia. Now, someone's out to get her and the main suspect is Patrick, the husband she doesn't remember. Stuart is so talented with adding a dark element to her story, I can't get enough of her writing.

The Wedding Runaway by Karen L. King (Historical Romance)
Third book in the Wedding Series. After reading The Wedding Dual, I'd been anxious for Victor's story. So, I skipped ahead a book to read this first and it didn't disappoint. I love those tales where a woman goes incognito as a man.

50th Anniversary

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
My website had been updated with my latest completed story, Disaster at 410 S. Elm. I'm excited about sharing. So, check it out and let me know what you think.

My mother and father will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary this Saturday. I've only been in their lives a little over half of that time, but I still feel pretty involved in all this. After spending weeks creating the video we'll show at the party of their marriage and our family, it's easy to look back and see how much has happened in fifty years.

So, it's been pretty nostalgic in my neck of the woods lately, remembering old pets, past holidays, and crazy family stories like the time Mark fell out of the truck while mom was driving down the highway... and then when our house dog, Spot, licked a space heater and was electrocuted. I'm sure there is going to be lots of tall tales and laughter this weekend.

In other news, I took my thyroid test and it was very simple. After swallowing an iodine pill, I had to sit very still for two to ten minutes at a time, while radioactive pictures were taken. Nothing hurt at all. There were no needles (well except for a little blood work for a lab report), no prodding or poking or anything inserted into any orifice. I consider myself lucky there. My doctor should be getting the results sometime this week.

I hope everyone had a happy labor day weekend and celebrated with due enthusiasm.