Friday, August 31, 2012

you're reading that again?

found HERE

That's what I hear every time I pick up "A Wrinkle in Time". Why it's my favorite book I couldn't tell you. Have I read other, fantastic books in my life? Yes, of course! But I am always going back to the familiar faces of Meg, Calvin, Charles Wallace, and the Mrs. W's. If you haven't read Madeleine L'Engle's Newberry Award winning book, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. You'll get to meet my very first crush! A handsome red-head named Calvin O'Keefe (might I be so bold to add that I actually MARRIED a handsome red-head? His name's not Calvin, but he's tall, skinny, and has tons of freckles which I find most charming. See girls? Dreams can come true!)

We all have books that speak to us. Stories that we carry with us our whole lives. I can't imagine NOT being surrounded by books and stories. People laugh at my piles of books; I joke about having an incurable disease or a serious addiction but the truth is, if I had to give up anything in this world, reading would NOT be the thing I sent packing. Reading is power. It gives you thoughts and ideas you may never have before considered. Story is powerful: it unites us. How many times have you started a conversation with a stranger and found common ground because you both read Harry Potter/The Hunger Games/Twilight/ Pride and Prejudice/The Lord of the Rings? Without those stories, the conversation would have ended at "Nice to meet you."

Reading is a gift; be proud of your books and pass the love along to others. This weekend is the annual Decatur Book Festival near my home town. I'll be out there all day Saturday with hundreds of other book lovers and nerds, soaking up some pages and swimming through stories as of yet undiscovered. If you're in the Atlanta area, you really should check it out! Otherwise, grab a favorite book, and spend your Labor Day weekend with some old friends.

Happy reading all! And happy Labor Day!
Cheers,
Jen

PS: 
found HERE.
*This goes for adults too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

announcement, linkage, and sharing the excitement

FIRST the announcement:

I've decided to start posting responses to comments in the comments (terribly difficult decision, I know). Comments are like conversation to me and I want to keep the conversation going, between you and me and everyone else! Of course, if you ever want to email me, please do. Just know that my responses shall be in the comment area and NOT sent via email. I have several readers who don't allow email responses and I don't want to leave anyone out :D

SECOND the linkage:

Writer Karen Finnyfrock gives some advice on what to do and what not to do at a reading.

Who wouldn't want to write in Paris? NYU's low-res MFA program now takes 20 lucky writers to the City of Light for a MFA workshop!! Honey, if you're reading this, I think I've made my grad school decision :)

If you write Literary Fiction, you may be interested in these 40 new markets now accepting submissions. Thanks Poet's and Writer's Magazine!

FINALLY the AWESOME!!!!

Some of you may have heard me talk about the most AWESOME series of fantasy books out on the market today. James A. Owen. If you don't know him, go, NOW, and pick up the first book in his fantasy series "Here, There Be Dragons". DO NOT under any circumstances read the back of the book, especially if it's the paperback edition. Some moron decided to divulge something very, very important on the back cover. Seriously, I'll never understand that one. If you DO, it won't ruin the whole story, just the "holy crap" moment at the very last page.

But I digress....

This series is filled with allusions to fantasy literature. If you are a fan of past and present fantasy, you have GOT to read this series.

Now to the awesome: The SIXTH book in the Imaginarium Geographica IS HERE!!! Yes, I really am that excited about a book Sorry that you now have to read five books before you can enjoy the new one, but I assure you: your time will be well spent and you will not be disappointed! Dear Husband, if you're still reading this, I'll be leaving for the bookstore in about five minutes to pick up my copy of The Dragons of Winter.

**happy nerd dance**


Happy Reading/Writing/Nerd Dancing!!
Jen

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Worse things could happen...

found HERE

Do you wear glasses? Do you LIKE wearing glasses? Do you wear contacts to avoid the fact that you wear glasses?

Confession time: when I was a kid, I went to the eye doctor. He went through all the tests and told me that I did not need glasses. My eyes were fine.

I was devastated. 

No joke. I had always equated glasses with genius and now I had no excuse for being a nerd. You must understand, dear children, when I was in school, nerd was not another word for "hipster". Nerd meant what it really means: to be labelled a nerd was to be a close cousin to Sheldon Cooper an that was UNACCEPTABLE!

Now days, I'm older, wiser, and don't care so much what others think. I'm nerdy and proud to be. If someone confuses me with a cast member of The Big Bang Theory, I smile (unless it's Howard but that's another story...).

I finally got my glasses. They're actually pretty cool and I get compliments on them. Funny how times change, isn't it? My glasses help me read, do school work, work on the computer and even watch movies. They are tools, not who I am, but I like to wear them. They allow me to hide, in a way, from the rest of the world. I feel when I put on my glasses, as if I'm covering up a secret identity. They make me feel mysterious and, yes, smart.

How do you feel about glasses? Any loud and proud nerds out there? Who's with me in thinking Howard Wolowitz is one of the creepiest characters on television? Does reading make you feel smart? Or do you simply read to escape (there's nothing wrong with that!)

Have a wonderful Tuesday my fellow book nerds :). If you're in the path of Isaac, I pray for your safety and that of your family and friends. May the Force be with you all! And don't forget your hat.

~Jen

**OH! In other news, I have a notion to revive an old blog - Sagewood Manor. Wander over and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

good morning and good morning

I'm sitting here this morning watching a tiny sparrow eat a mound of bird seed. She's out there every morning, rain or shine. My mornings have been a bit hectic these past few months...OK, since January, but I've tried to sit outside for at least an hour, breathe in a new day, and ease my way into that new day with tea or coffee.

This morning is different.

THIS morning begins two and a half weeks of not having to worry about school work deadlines!

For eight months I've been committed to school work. Term papers, discussion boards, weekly papers (sometimes four a week!), research, etc. I enjoy it. I truly do. But...whew! Talk about a welcome break. And this, of course, is not to even mention the packing and moving and unpacking and trying to settle into a new home (which now requires yard work -blissful yard work!)

I've neglected you, dear readers, but you have been ever on my mind. Summer is always a busy time and I'm thankful that for the last two and a half weeks of it, I can revel in the lazy humidity, the sudden storms, and the early mornings when that tiny bird is standing next to a pile of bird food twice her size.

And I can do all of that without a term paper deadline looming over me! Look for me in your comments soon! Also, thank you all for continuing to read my sporadic posts. I feel I should have hung a sign over my posts that says, "Please mind the gap"! Those posts should get less sporadic and, hopefully, more focused. Plus, with September looming and my favorite time of year just around the corner, I'm sure there's a redecorating in order. The name of the blog shall remain the same of course, but I'm getting itchy fingers when I think of the design. You know me: any excuse to spruce things up and I'm there!

Huzzah for summer break!

Hey, better late than never :)

Cheers!
Jen

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

tomatoes for tuesday


Who knew there were so many ways to use fresh tomatoes? And here I was worrying how many more salads I was going to have to make! Don’t get me wrong; I love fresh tomatoes in salads, but there are only so many salads one can eat! Well, that I can eat at any rate. Seriously, though, have you ever gone all gung-ho on something in your garden only to have them take over? You’re landed with a trunk load of fresh produce –too much for your fridge and appetite but not enough to put a deposit on a booth at the local farmer’s market. Hmmm, says I? Do I pick them and let them rot on the counter? Maybe just leave them and let the birds have a feast? Yeah! I can say I’m recycling…

Then I start feeling guilty. You know, the whole “but plants are people too” argument. Ok, I’m not THAT crazy, but you get the picture. I went to the time and effort to plant these bad boys so I might as well respect the fact they went to all the trouble to actually grow. And guess what? My research paid off! Check out some of these recipes:
(disclaimer: all recipes found at allrecipes.com)


Garden Fresh Tomato Soup – basic, yes, but oh so good!

Queenie’s Killer Tomato Bagel Sandwich – I HAD to include this one. Not only does it look amazing, but the name is hilarious!

Watermelon Tomato Salsa – come on, you know you’re as curious as I am!

Insalata Caprese – Mmmm, one of my favorites!

Sundried Tomatoes – waaaay better than my idea of sitting them all out on a tray to dry in the sun. Trust me, in Georgia, in the summer, you do NOT want to do this. Unless, of course, you LIKE ants…

And of course, if you don’t feel much like cooking, you can always freeze them and use them this winter. This idea is looking more and more appealing..

Have any of YOU grown any veggies over the summer? Did any of them survive or did they end up like my bell peppers and grow upside down and rot before I could pick them? But that's another story for another day…

Monday, August 6, 2012

a bit of manorsteading


weekends are made for relaxing...

unless you live at the manor. our weekends tend to start out relaxing: coffee on the patio, watching the cows chew cud, avoiding the highway of ants that seems to always been rushing past our feet anywhere outside. then, we get a little itch that just has to be scratched with a lawn mower, a shovel, a bag of garden soil.

the inside of the new manor is coming along. we're in desperate need of book shelves (thanks to my slight addiction to bound paper) and we're still in debate as to where to hang the remaining art work. the outside, however, is where our hearts are. finally we have a yard! and yes, we actually do enjoy yard work.

off we went to the home improvement store and we returned with newly adopted plants, some bags of soil, a shovel and a hand tiller. oh yeah, and twenty feet of metal fencing! i had spent the past week chopping down the spindly bushes in front of the chimney and was tired of looking at bush stubs and tendril roots reaching out of the dirt like zombie fingers. instead of an extra in an adams' family episode, the front of our house now looks like this:


don't judge them too harshly; they're still babies! the area is now scented with rosemary, russian sage, and a gardenia bush that is filled with buds i am begging to open.

you may remember my stone planter with the green man faces on it? i've posted it before. well, it's found a new home on the front porch with a gnome. we've named the moss "morris" and if you watch the "i.t. crowd", you'll understand why (wait for it...it will hit you soon!):


finally i feel as if i can display this welcome mat with pride:


aaahhhh...the closer we get to "done" the closer i feel we're getting to "home". sorry about the huge gap in posts this summer! i hope you all have had wonderful adventures and are enjoying this last month of summer freedom (or, if you're like me, the idea of summer freedom!).

have a marvelous week! i've got two more until my summer break! woohoo! now, to get that term paper written!

cheers!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Insecure Writers Gather Here


Well hello there! Long time no post, eh? Yeah, well...

Today is the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. We meet the first Wednesday of every month, hosted by our fearless leader Alex Cavanaugh. Check out all the post HERE!

I'll just go ahead and spell it out: I'm feeling VERY insecure in the writing department. I am eight months away from FINALLY graduating college. The next step is graduate school. Last week, I read something that shook those plans just a wee bit. It appears that genre fiction is highly frowned upon in graduate school. I emailed my professor. She confirmed this. I emailed the director of the MFA program at one of the schools I'm interested in: another confirmation.

I write genre fiction.
I have always written genre fiction.
What do I do?

I see two options:
1) I decide that an MFA isn't for me, that my life long dream of becoming a college professor is out of reach, and I should just concentrate on writing and tutoring.
2) I can suck it up, hone my craft, work my butt off to create character driven fiction (which, by the way, can have genre elements...it just has to be character driven and not plot or magic driven which -according to the powers that be- most sci-fi/fantasy is driven by magic, technology or plot), get through this goal and go on to teach what I love: the art of creating story.

Insecure? You betcha.
Literary fiction? It has a wee bit of a reputation of being a bit...snobbish.
Can a young adult, dark fantasy/middle grade ghost story writing gal from the Deep South actually write something that a panel of academics find acceptable enough to get me that much closer to my goal?

There's only one way to find out.

I think I'll go with option 2.