Tag Archive | reading

My Bookshelf 

I’ve read so many books in my lifetime that I’ve forgotten many of them.Being a voracious and fast reader, there was a time in my life when I read three or four books in a week. As I’ve grown older and my free time has dwindled with working, having babies, doing laundry, and writing, it’s become far more difficult to maintain such a pace.

My reading has shifted from novels, to articles, and from series to blogs. I’m still a constant reader but I plan my reading time around the rest of my life, knowing it won’t always be this way. One day the babies will be in college and the laundry will be less and my pace will have picked up. When I’m really lucky, I get to binge read, like I did when I first got my Kindle. I wish I could read at the pace that I did when I was younger. I read anything that was written by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary and my fondest first memories of reading were “See Spot Run” and the adventures of Dick and Jane that my parents must’ve had tucked away from their own childhood.

As a teenager I graduated to reading VC Andrews, Sweet Valley High, and anything that intrigued me at the local library. I remember reading some of Jackie Collins’  famous stories about sex and Hollywood, which was the furthest I dared to venture into the adult section at that time. I became addicted to anything by Mary Higgins Clark; murder, mystery, and strong heroines always drew me in.

As an adult I curtailed my reading as I grew my career and social life, and eventfully got married and had babies. But being a reader and a writer has always been a part of who I am. The desire to do both had never left me, surfacing during the difficult times in my life, and comforting me like a warm blanket and an old friend.

Most recently, I read Letters in White by Kathryn Perez, which told the beautiful and sad story of a woman struggling with depression, ultimately taking her own life. Books that make you think always get to me and this one did. I still think about it even weeks later, and I love that about this book. My most recent read was Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which I loved with every fiber of my being. I sank into the story as though it were my own, because in a lot of ways it was. I became lost in every page, relating to each character as though Ms. Ng had seen into my soul and created them from within me. It’s one that I’ll probably read again and again because as an Asian-American, a woman, and at times, a lost soul, this book speaks to me.

I still have many books waiting for me on my Kindle, though I fight the urge to #oneclick daily. While I adore my Kindle, I still love paperbacks and always will. There is nothing like having a book in my hand and turning the pages. The act of turning the page, anticipating the end of the book, is both disheartening and exhilarating and nothing will ever replace that feeling for me. Unfortunately my book collection has grown anemic over the years, lost during a time when I lived out of my car or lost boxes while moving from one place to the next, until I decided to and find a home.

As life has settled down I do try and collect the older  books as I find them, C.S. Lewis’ books about love and faith, Anne Rice’s books about witches and vampires, the classics that I love so much and try and reread once every few years. I also try and collect new books a long the way telling myself that they’ll be happy on my bookshelf. Many are stored on my Kindle but I do dream about a house with many bookshelves, and books to fill them,  in the near future.




Some of my favorite books are Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and the Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I love anything my C.S.Lewis, John Steinbeck, and Shel Silverstein. My reading tastes are as eclectic as my preference in music, dependent upon my mood and my situation in life. When I read a book that I’ve read before, often it reads differently to me depending on where I am in my life and I love that about books.

I love reading and getting lost in a story or in the characters and I can’t wait to dive into my next set of books, the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer.  I know that I’m about a decade later than most when it comes to reading these books, but I do tend to run behind at times. I’ve read all of the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins but I’ve never seen the movies. I still haven’t read every Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, but the ones I have read, I’ve enjoyed immensely. I have yet to see the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’ve read the books by E.L. James. While I’ve seen a few of the Twilight movies, I have yet to see them all, and I’m looking forward to the books, which I’ve been told are far better than the movies are.

I’m looking forward to growing my bookshelf and if you look really closely at the pictures, you’ll see the original Leaving Eva sitting on the shelf as well.  I’m beyond excited that I can put my books on a shelf with so many other amazing works and fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a writer.

Books are made of dreams and dreams are a beautiful thing to never give up on, which this author and reader never intends to.

 

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My Writing Room

In short … I don’t have one.

The end.

Kidding. 😆😆😆

In reality, my writing room is wherever I am. On the couch covered with kids, at the dining room table, in front of the fireplace, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office … 

I write where and when I can which means that I can’t be too selective, at least not right now. I do have an office but it’s not a room that I would hole away in and write for hours. It’s big and clean but it’s not ideal for nurturing creative ideas and expressing thought. I do the best that I can where I can, when I am able.  

I do wish that I had a writing nest. I envision it to be a sunroom with a desk, a few comfortable chairs, books, and a lot of plants where each word and thought has no choice but to flow. I’ve been looking for it in my next house and will have it there. 

Fortunately, I’ve never needed the ideal environment to read or write. Even when I was younger, pre-technology, with pen and paper in hand, anywhere, always worked for me. When I would read, I could do it wherever I was as long as I had a book in my hand. My parents used to say that the house could fall down around me while I was reading and I would never know it, which was true.

While I don’t need complete silence, I can’t read or write to music because I get too caught up in the words. While music often inspires stories, I get too lost in it, to create while I’m listening.

If you’ve ever seen the movie For Love of the Game, when Kevin Costner prepares to pitch he says to himself “Clear the mechanism” and suddenly the noise of the crowd, the pressure, and the sounds of the stadium all disappear into blessed nothingness so that he’s able to focus. 

This is a very similar process for me when I begin writing. Sportscenter, dogs barking, children fighting, all of the residual sounds of life just fall away. Once  I start writing, no matter where I am, the rest of the world disappears and I am lost until something brings me back. Once I begin, hours become minutes and minutes become seconds, and I find that I am made whole once again.

Even as I write this, a child is beckoning one of the dogs, the news is on, and my husband is being goofy and singing and playing the song “Only Time Will Tell” on his phone. Controlled chaos, which is my preferred environment. If I waited for peace and quiet to write in, I would never write again.

I’m not complaining about this at all! I love that I carry my writing room with me wherever I go. One day, I do hope to write in a room with books and a lot of sunlight, surrounded by nature. 

But for now, I’m good.

 As long as I am writing at all … I’m good.
 

The Beauty of the Young Reader

There is something very special about children who read. 

Both of my boys are very good readers… now. But it didn’t come naturally which surprised me  because as a child I was inexplicably drawn to books. I devoured  so many that I can’t even come close to remembering them all. Some of my fondest memories are of walking to the local library and taking out as many books as they would let me. I remember going through the aisles for what seemed like minutes when it was probably more like hours, trying to figure out which book I would read next. 

I would pull my favorites off of the shelves: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Sweet Valley High Series, Nancy Drew, VC Andrews, Mythology, Anne Rice… re-reading the books I’d already read, the ones I really loved. I spent hours and hours reading, imagining and becoming  the characters, all the while living and breathing with them. Reading was a way of life. I loved books so much that my punishment was that my parents would send me outside and ban me from books for the afternoon!

I hate to admit there came a decade in my life when I forgot my love for reading. I read but not with the passion and voraciousness of my early years. I was working… a lot… romancing, socializing, building a career, and having babies. But then my husband got me a Kindle for my birthday and I read three books in one week.  It felt as though I had found a long lost friend, my love for reading remembered and reignited.

When my children were given reading assignments and I had to practically hog-tie them down just to read a paragraph, I was surprised. I think I expected them to fall instantly in love with words, like I did. But getting them to read a page was torture and I felt like an utter failure. Even though I read to them when they were little, they fought reading tooth and nail. 

But little by little, word by word, it happened. 

We took turns reading to one another, we read every night before bed, we talked about the books they were reading in school, we talked about where they were with their reading levels, and we recognized when they hit their reading goals. Their teachers gave then goals and then rewarded them when they made their goals and I realized that my boys were finally readers! 

They learned to love reading and we were able to cultivate it with time and consistency. My youngest was the student who read the second highest amount of words this past year and my oldest made 200% of his reading goal. I’m so proud of them, but I know that this love has  to continue to be reinforced and fed. I’m planning trips to the library and trying to figure out how to continue to make reading fun.

Through my writing I’ve met some other young readers who share my passion for books and for reading. I love how it bonds us, making us instant friends because we share such a strong love. I love how it opens so many doors and makes me a part of such a strong community. It’s as though we have an unspoken understanding that reading opens our minds to a world where everything is infinitely possible. 

Children who read,  become adults who understand that the world is large and endless, beyond anything we can imagine. I love that children can imagine that. They are our future writers, inventors, teachers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs. Children who read understand that the world is limitless and so are they and I can’t wait until the moment that my children truly understand this. 

I’m incredibly thankful that they are well on their way. 

I’m a Troper!!!

I began this writing journey many years ago beginning with a story that I penned with a girl in my fourth grade class. The story was short, simple, and contained the “f” word.

And it was terrible!

My oldest son is the same age I was when I wrote it and I’m still perplexed with my younger self. Yet, it was my first foray into a lifetime of writing and honing this beautiful craft. My stories and style have improved tremendously over the years (thank goodness), but that cringe-worthy story remains folded up in the corner of a drawer reminding me that while I wasn’t always prolific, I have always loved to write.

My writing journey has been a long one. I didn’t release my first book until nearly two years ago, and when I did I was filled with such fear and trepidation. It was like standing naked in front of a sold-out stadium, baring everything as I held my breath and waited for the laughter. I have always been a fairly private person, sharing only with people when I completely trust them. I’ve been this way all of my life, with only a few people who I allow into the realm of my secret craziness, completely.

In fact, I am just now becoming comfortable talking about my writing with others because it’s so personal. Writing about my writing always seems so much easier. Writing about everything has always been easier.

But I have loved everyday and every moment of this journey. Now, I get to take another step.
I’ve been accepted by the hybrid press, Booktrope. To say that I am ecstatic about having a publisher is an understatement. I LOVE self-publishing and the Indie community is absolutely amazing, but the Team concept of Booktrope has an allure that I can’t ignore. To engage with others and work toward a common goal, everyone sharing in the success, is a theme that I am all-to-familiar with in my grown-up job so this is a natural fit. Sharing my writing has helped me to become a creature who is more comfortable sharing out in the open, unlike the closed-off, impersonal person I once was.

I feel privileged to have been recognized and accepted by such a great group of people, and I am so ecstatic about having the opportunity to have help building an audience for my books.  This is where you can help.

I’ll be looking for a launch team who will help me when the time comes, to share, tweet, Facebook, blog, and inundate their news feed and everyone they know with news about my books or about new releases. If you are interested in being on that Team, you’ll receive certain perks which may involve getting advanced copies of my books before anyone else, being a part of a private Facebook group, having direct access to me AND the opportunity to receive some fun stuff in the mail, as well as have input on projects I’ll be working on (such as… what will we name this group?). In return, I’ll ask you to read my books, write HONEST reviews (even if you don’t like the book), and share, share, share!!

I hope you’ll consider joining me and being more involved in this amazing journey!! When the Team has been assembled, you’ll receive an email to let you know you are in. We may add Team-members later if the need arises, but only the first select will receive all of the perks! Join early because the early bird will get cooler stuff.

Sign up here… http://eepurl.com/bf9ugH