New Entangled Brazen Titles: February 24th

If you like your heroes hot, the sex hotter, and a swoon-worthy romance to swoop in and save your happily ever after, Brazen has the story for you. Sinfully sexy soldiers. Alpha cops who demand control. Sweet guys with a naughty side in the bedroom. At Brazen, they’ve got the hero destined to melt your… heart. Visit the Entangled website, the Brazen Blog, follow them on Twitter, Like their Facebook page, and follow them on Pinterest.

Introducing Brazen’s Feb 24th releases:
His rival’s in his bed and this rocker is ready to play.

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Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Giveaway

When one touch isn’t enough, why resist?

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Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Giveaway

Four lessons,no strings…

 

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Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Giveaway

At his majesty’s service…     or so he thinks.     



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Special $0.99 Introductory Price!


Giveaway      

Letting go might be the key that unlocks her pleasure…

 

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Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Giveaway

Erica here: FYI, I will be reviewing some of these titles in the next couple days, so stay tuned if you’re interested in my take on them. These tend to be on the spicier side, I’m told, so we’ll see if I survive! I’m currently enjoying my BIRTHDAY (!!!), so feel free to leave me some birthday love as well.

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Passing on Your Passion

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Image via Wikipedia

When I was back in Michigan last week, one thing I wanted to accomplish was sorting through all of my books. I have a ton of books. Every birthday, holiday, or scholastic achievement was celebrated with new books for me, not to mention all of the books I bought from every book fair, book sale, and Friends of the Library store I could find. As reading has always been one of the loves of my life, I have books for every age of reader from beginner Little Golden books to The Babysitter’s Club to Disconstructionist Literary Theory. Needless to say, it was a lot to sort through (and I have a hard time letting go of a good book!).

It didn’t take me long to determine I would never reread The thin Disney’s the Little Mermaid I had stuffed in a box in the closet, nor would I be reading many of the other titles again. Those phases of life, for me, were passed. I don’t have any pigtail-laden little girls to read them to, either. But some of those books were just to good to be stored in a bin, never to be read again. I remembered the joy I had reading them, the worlds they opened me up to. Some things are just too good to keep to yourself.

My cousin has an almost six year old daughter (which is WAY older than five, you understand), Jemilia, who likes to read. She’s read every book that she has. My hometown no longer has a library (which, when I discovered this, made me feel like I’d lost a close friend), so her only source of books is her family and the school (which, of course, is about to close for the summer). Keeping this in mind, I combed my collection for books that were appropriate for a smart almost six year old.

The first book that went into this pile was My Body is Private. That’s very important reading for a little girl nowadays. Then came the disney books and  one about a tiny elephant eating from a jar of peanut butter. I noticed some were missing. Where on earth was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

Of course, there were some I just couldn’t part with. My huge hardcover collectable Disney books based on the movies, for one. My grandmother gave me those. Also, the treasury of Hans Christian Anderson fairytales she’d also given me. I intend for my child/ren to have them one day. But the rest went on the pile, no matter how much it hurt to see these old friends go.

Jemilia and her grandmother stopped by as I was going through old notebooks upstairs. I sent the pile of books down with my brother, pausing to look out the window. She reached for the pile, which was almost as big as she was, but her grandmother took it for her. She tugged on her grandmother’s shirt until she bent down, then took The Little Mermaid off the top. As they started walking back home, she already had the book open and was reading, not watching where she was going, and not caring much where she ended up. I smiled. “That was my favorite one, too!” I thought, then turned back to my notebooks.

Isn’t the best look in the world the look we get when we fall into a book, no matter what age we are? The hunger, the wonder, the pure joy that comes over our face is almost unmatched. We all look like rapt children when in those moments, open and hopeful and imaginative. This is what makes me upset when people say they don’t like reading, or hate English, the thought that I’ll never surprise that look of wonder on their face. With everything else that happens in this life, I think everyone should feel the joy of reading.

So I used precious cargo room in my car to bring back books I have no intention of ever reading again. Among them are well loved copies of The Babysitter’s Club, The Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High, and R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books. As the school year has ended, a sister at church wants to continue the tutoring outreach to include a reading and math help summer program. These books could be the start of a lending library for summer reading. 

There’s nothing I love more than sharing my love of reading with others, especially those who just haven’t discovered the book that unlocks that love in them. I believe we all have it within us (I should really be an English teacher, shouldn’t I? LOL). I want to cultivate a love of reading in some, and nurture it in others. I want to have pass on my passion. I’m glad I’ve found a way to do it…and declutter my home!

How are you passing on your passion? 

Multicultural Reading Suggestions

Zora Neale Hurston, beating the hountar, or ma...

Zora Neale Hurston.Image via Wikipedia

Since I spent yesterday lamenting my love/hate relationship with the AA section, I wanted to spend today helping people diversify their reading list. I will be the first to admit that the AA section of most bookstores is not overflowing with great literature. You may have to go to Amazon, Overstock, or a bookstore website to get the books I would argue are worth reading, but it’s worth the extra effort (I recommend the library, as well. They usually have great exchange programs with other libraries if they don’t carry the book you want).

The selections that I am going to give you are composed from two sources: books I’ve read and books on my to be read list. I encountered many of them through classes such as Native American Literature, Women in Literature, African-American Literature, and through my own stumbling attempts to find other works by authors of short stories I liked from class. I will give you a very brief overview of what each book is about (what I remember). Feel free to take up any suggestions, and add your own in the comments section. *Note: These list is multicultural in that several cultures are represented here. No other claims of multiculturalism are being made.

  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: I’ve read this book for classes at least three times, from junior year of high school to Women in Literature, this one keeps cropping up, and for good reason. Maxine Hong Kingston is the child of Chinese immigrants, born in America. She’s also edited a Best American Short Stories collection and written other books. This is a memoir.
  • There Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: This is the only book on the list I’ve read more than The Woman Warrior. I’ve read this ins Great American Books, African-American Literature, Zora Neale Hurston Major Author Study, Women in Literature, high school–everywhere, and once just for fun. This has some of my favorite literary quote. If you have issues trying to read vernacular, it can be tough going in spots, but Hurston’s prose it beautiful.
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez: The story of a Spanish family (Puerto Rican, I think), whose daughters go through the identity crises brought up being raised in America in a different culture. The girls struggle to identify themselves and be acceptable to both their family and society.
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo: Yes, I actually read this for a class. It is a novel about Italians and Italian-Americans, primarily in New York. Aside from some harsh language and violence, the story portrays the life of struggling immigrants, a little race relations in the poor areas of town, certain ideas that are associated with the Italian-American culture (loyalty and family), and the rise of mob/crime families.
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys: I’m sure many of you have read (and loved) Jane Eyre. If you’re like me and wondered about the wife in the attic (and thought she was done a disservice in that book), you may be interested in Wide Sargasso Sea. WSS tells the story of that wife, from her upbringing in the Caribbean to the fateful fire in Jane Eyre.
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdich: A Native American novel encompassing generations of a Native American tribe. It’s a complicated one to try to explain, but well worth a read. It’s interesting to follow the evolution backwards and forwards in time and see the impact of losing their ancestral lands and their quickly disappearing languages and culture. Erdich’s writing is lyrical and crisp.
  • Persepolis by Majane Satrapi: The story of a woman’s early life to adult growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi’s narrative shifts to her schooling in France as well. Told as a graphic novel in black and white, there are two books/parts to the tale. I bought the complete Persepolis. It’s a fast read and a rare look into a much maligned or misunderstood culture.

I’m going to have to break this up a bit. I’ll add more in the next post.

Happy Reading!

New Books: Optimism & Disappointment

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at Bal...

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Image via Wikipedia

I’m nearing the end of the editing process on my dad’s book, after many exchanges of emails, drafts, corrections and etc. In celebration, I went out and bought a few books, even though I have a quite a few books in the to be read pile already. I walked away with some that called for optimism, and one that turned out to be a disappointment.

First, the disappointment. I bought a book of intimate letters between lovers. What I was hoping to find were actually the letters between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, and I did find a few in this book. However, I was also hoping to find other love letters that I had heard of and perhaps find some passages I may like to quote for the marriage kit book. The problem is, this book was totally wrong for that. Most of the letters weren’t from the nineteen hundreds. Secondly, many of the letters were to mistresses and extramarital lovers, not between actual spouses, and I don’t want to promote extramarital affairs in a book about what it takes to stay married! Not only were they letters between lovers, but there was one woman who was in there writing letters to three different lovers, both male and female! She really spread the love around. Another set of lovers met because they both loved the same woman, whom one of them was married to. It is not at all suitable for the work I’m trying to create, and the letters between Simone and Jean-Paul are skimpy. *Sigh*

The second book is one I think will come in handy. It’s called Woe is I. It’s a grammar book for a grammarphobe. I’m not a grammar phobe, but I’d like to keep my editing skills sharp, and I’m one of those geeky English people who gets excited reading about subject-verb agreement and when to use that or which. I also want to acquire Eats Shoots and Leaves (this was an independent book reseller, and I didn’t see it there), which I hear is phenomenal.

The third and final book was a book that I’ve heard praised from the rafters and is being made into a movie. No, not Water for Elephants (someone already gave me a copy of that one…and it’s in the to be read  pile). This one is a little debut novel called The Help. I want this type of buzz for my debut, and I can’t wait to read it.

Even though I had to leave a copy of The Known World behind, as well as some other books I would like to own, I’m proud of my restraint, and think 2/3 I chose were really good picks. I have to find the friends of the library bookseller here. I need cheaper Harlequin’s at a good price, and I love supporting the libraries!

What’s on your to be read list? Has your writing taken presidence over reading lately? Are you researching? If so, what are you reading? Just don’t make it sound too good; I just may have to add it to an already full list of my own!

A Funny Thing Happened in the Church Parking Lot

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

At least they know YOU, dear sir! Image via Wikipedia

I went to church yesterday and had a conversation I’ve had countless times since I decided on a college major (over eight years ago–my how the time does fly!). I was standing outside of church talking to one of the college students who was home visiting. I asked her what her major was. Her eyes sparkled and she stood a little straighter. “Nursing,” she said with a smile.  “Too much math and science for me.” Her smile faltered a little. I felt like I’d pricked a child’s balloon. “Oh, what did you major in?” I smiled, stood a little taller. “English.” “Ugh, I don’t like English, it’s so boring. Too much history for me.” My face fell. We were too truly disappointed people, standing there in an awkward silence.

It never fails that when I say I was an English major that I get this response. In that same spot a few weeks ago, I got the same reaction from a high school junior. In the past, I’ve gotten it from nosy neighbors, drunk college guys, engineers, HTM majors, church folks, family members, and friends. I’ve gotten “so you want to be a teacher?” so many times I could scream, though that’s better than “what on Earth can you do with that?”, “why don’t you just major in (blahblahblah),” or “I thought you were going to do…?”

People hate literary theory more than anything else in the world. They hate essays and papers. They don’t understand what a semicolon is for. Spelling and grammar irk them. They don’t like “literary” books, and can only fall back on a few for reference to any literary pursuits: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Beloved, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, some Shakespeare play their high school made them read (usually Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, or Othello).

It saddens me to think that many people have not developed the deep abiding love for reading, writing, and grammar that I have. It disturbs me that people don’t care if they split infinitives, and many have no idea what that phrase means. It irks me that people think it’s trendy and cool to read Twilight and Harry Potter, but won’t read any book that requires any real thought. How do you expect to grow as a person? How do you engage your imagination? I’m sorry, but sparkly vampires are not symbols, allegories, motifs, or tropes. There aren’t many well executed similies and metaphors in Eclipse. I like “light reading” as much as the next person, but I demand that even my light reading be well written and adds some dimension to my experience of life.

I would love to hand my (imaginary) child the entire Anne of Green Gables collection. I would love for her to read Laura Ingall’s Wilder. I can’t wait to read Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I can’t imagine buying my child the Twilight books (I don’t mean to belabour the point; I just really don’t like the books). I can’t imagine not raising a well read child who has a strong imagination and has lived in countless worlds via the written word.

Everytime someone laments how much they hate reading or writing, a little literary cherub has its wings ripped off midflight and tumbles to the earth, and I cry a little on the inside.

What Writers are Writing:February 18th

The British Museum Reading Room. A panorama of...

The British Museum Reading Room. Image via Wikipedia

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a very productive week for me on this site. Even though I pledged to do a PostaWeek here, I’ve done three posts already! I am getting a CC License put up on the blog later today, as I plan to share some of my original writings with you under a new page, Untitled (no, really, that’s the title). The first thing I’ll be sharing is the creative non-fiction piece I mentioned earlier this week. Now, onto my favorite reading & writing links for the week!

The Reading Posts:

After reading this explanation of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over on Three Hundred pages by Kiley C., I am adding this to my (ever growing) To Read list. I’d heard about Gretchen before, but I’d never actually known what the book was about. Selfmanic shared his trials with reader’s block over on Off the Mark and Roaming. I especially enjoyed “When Bad Titles Happen to Good Books” by Alec Nevala-Lee, as I’ve been struggling with naming my own works lately. Finally, Kaye over at Have Coffee…Will Write discusses her love of romance novels (which I very much love, too!) and defends the genre.

As for writing, Amanda gave me two really good posts (as per usual) to ponder. One was about the attitude one should have towards rejections. The other was suggesting we use our senses when strapped for story ideas. Ana discusses getting over her aversion to the word “heroine” and embracing the addictive qualities a main character should have in her blog post “Embracing my Heroine.” Sonia M. finds inspiration in an unlikely source in “Mining a Migraine.” Nova shared her excitement over her book blurbs and asked “where do you write?” over on her blog Distraction no. 99.

I love Janna’s blog, JannaTWrite’s Blog! Her post this week, “What a Caesar Salad Taught Me About Writing-And Life” is especially good. I could certainly related to Ana’s discomfort when trying to write something and not being able to because of someone’s voice in your head, although my post on that would not be titled “Sex, Writing, and my Mother-in-Law.” Of course, I haven’t worked on my novel lately, so Jessica Stilling’s Guest post “Five Reasons You’re Not Writing Your Novel” really hit home. Once you write your novel, how are you going to publish. Catana gives some good thinks to consider in “A Few Notes about Indie Publishing.”

If you have any great links that I missed, feel free to post them in the comments. Please read the links provided, and keep checking back here for more content and reading suggestions! 🙂

Writing About Writing in 2010 Rewind!

Stephen King's House in Bangor, Maine

Image via Wikipedia

Before I started this truly awesome blog, I wrote (albeit sparingly), about writing on my other blog.

As this year draws to a close, I wanted to make sure my (three) loyal readers had a chance to read the best of the writing posts pre-Copywrite1985. So here are links to the best:

I’m more than certain this year will be full of more exciting blogging about writing, books, and all things literary!

The Writer as Reader

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

Libraries are a girl's best friend! Image via Wikipedia

As a recovering English Literature graduate (B.A.), I find that I have trouble reading for enjoyment sometimes. I’ve heard many of my classmates lament that they had trouble reading for enjoyment anymore, either because they were used to reading for writing papers or because they were afraid to read anything that could end up in their own work by accident. I’ve heard that all good writers are readers and that all writers love to read, but at the same time, it can be difficult to switch gears from editor and critic to reader.

I held on to my love of reading and found ways to get around this English Paper Mentality for a long time. I would always read things twice: once for enjoyment and then again to accomplish whatever assignment was attached. I was disappointed when I didn’t enjoy something the first time and had to write a paper about it. My primary joy was not in relating how Their Eyes Were Watching God worked as a Bildungsroman as it was the quotable lines that said so much in so few words. However, the English Paper Mentality has caught up with me in recent years as I’ve focused more and more on my writing. So what does a writer do to regain her “reader’s eye?”

Well, what I’m doing is going back to some old standbys, books that I love reading just for the joy of reading them. At the moment, I’m reading Autobiography of a Face for at least the third time. As soon as I secure a library card, I will be rereading Wasted: A Memoir and Prozac Nation. I’m sure there will be plenty of others, but these are the books that have been on my reader’s mind. As I’m working on my fiction writings, it’s a good change of pace.

What do you do to get back in reader mode when you’re experiencing editor/proofreader burnout? How do you return to your own work as a reader, reading for enjoyment as well as plot holes and continuity? How do you retrain your eyes to see what a reader would want to know more about, instead of just where you need a stronger verb? Can you separate your reader self from your writer self at all?