Research

I’m not even going to mention the massive amount of time in between posts, because I’ve finally realized that I’m going to blog.  This is how I express myself, how I heal, and I love doing it.  Snobby girls from high school aren’t going to stop that, because honestly, they don’t matter to me, and they never should have.  Being cruel and tormenting obviously helped them deal with their “problems” in high school, and it sucks that I got the shit end of it, but right now, it’s causing me more issues to keep thinking about/re-hashing it than it would be to just let it go.  So this is me being done with their drama, their immaturity, and their bad life choices.  We all know who’s going to end up with a shitty life, but anywho.

I finally have my “quiet time” because the boys are both down for naps (though one keeps high pitched screaming, and the other is crawling underneath the crib to play), and I felt like writing about how I spend my “quiet time”.

Most days, I start and finish a book during naptime.  Today is one of those “eat a whole box of instant pudding” days, while I read a book.  The books that I’m reading are the trashy historical romance books, the ones centered around a man and woman in England, or Scotland, or Ireland, and their love, which is wrong to everyone.  They have the ten page long sex scenes, and then everything is alright in the end.

These books are my guilty pleasure.  They’re easy to read, easy to memorize the characters, and they always end the way they should: marriage and/or babies.

Before you judge me, I’m reading them for research (and for pleasure, of course).  I’ve a whole box to get through (with the raunchy painted covers of a studly man holding a woman with large breasts about to fall out of her dress, hair all over the place, her mouth in a passionate “O” and her eyes closed in rapture), courtesy of Stacia (I love them, thank you!), and I’m studying how they’re laid out, how the authors work realistic dialogue and situations into the storyline, and gathering ideas.

“For what”, you ask?

Well, you see, I’ve got it in my mind to try and write a romance novel.  Complete with the maiden who is in trouble, the dashing man who hates her, but saves her according to his sense of duty, the awful traitor who doesn’t turn out to be a traitor until the end, the raunchy sex scenes, and the happy, satisfying ending.

The hardest part will be the publishing, of course, but it shouldn’t be too difficult (if you have any tips on this, let me know!) to get a romance novel accepted and published.  I want to be a part of writing my guilty pleasure books!

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Book Ratings

I’m not sure if many of you keep up with what I’m reading (partly because I don’t discuss it often, or do reviews), but as I was laying in bed last night, I had a good idea.  I was so tired (went out to ANOTHER movie…I’ve seen almost everything that’s out at this point.  We saw “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  It was an okay movie; not a huge fan of Katie Holmes.) that I didn’t come on and do it last night, but I’m going to start doing ratings on the books that I’ve read.  I’m not great at reviews, but I am good at saying whether a book is good enough to check out from the library, or even to buy, and when to not waste your time or money on one.

Since moving into the dorm, I’ve been reading a lot more than I did this summer.  I have no T.V. in the room, and I can only do so much on the computer before I hit my bandwidth cap.  So I read.  I’ve finished about 4 books since moving into my room, and I’m going to start with those books for ratings.  If you’d like me to rate any of the other books I’ve read, leave me a comment asking me to do so.  The reason I’m starting with the ones I’ve recently finished is because they’re still pretty fresh in my head.  I’m giving them ratings of hearts; 5 hearts is the best, 1 heart is the worst.  Or you can think of it in terms of grades; 1 heart is an F, 5 hearts is an A.

If you want to see the ratings of books I’ve just finished, click HERE.  (Any other time you’d like to go, hover over “Books” and click on “2011”.)

Also, I was thinking about doing some vlogs (video blogs) because I’ve been so bad with writing lately, and things are going to get busy once school starts up, so I won’t have a whole lot of time to sit down and write out posts.  Is there any interest in vlogs posted here?  Let me know what you think about them.  Would you be interested in watching little 5 minute videos updating you with what I’m doing, what I’m reading, and other things?

Staring Me Down

It seems like the last handful of posts have been love lists and Tuesday Questions, and for that I apologize.  I know that they’re the popular posts, but I don’t want my entire blog to be based around them, and I’m sure you want a little more substance, too.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now; the fullest my plate has been since juggling a part-time job and my schoolwork at the same time.

I love my new job.  It’s exhausting and trying sometimes, but it’s so satisfying (yesterday we had a water fight!).  Everyday gets easier, and the flight instinct is fading just a little bit more each day that passes.  I’m becoming more comfortable where I’m at right now, and more comfortable in my own skin.  I thought this sort of comfort level came with age.  I mean, I’m 19 and I’m feeling like I have myself completely figured out.  I have finally put a finger on the feelings (and triggers) that make me want to run away, and I’m so proud of myself for keeping my eyes wide open when it comes to me and how I feel.

On the book front, I’ve been stuck on one book since I was in Vermont.  Stacia gave it to me (it’s the one listed under Reading:).  It’s so so good, but I’m not making much progress in it.  Whenever I sit down to read, I read at least 20 pages, but I think I’m in a black hole, because I’m just not getting any further.  There are five books sitting on my library shelf (books that I’ve checked out) just staring at me (and all but one are on my TBR list).  One of them is “Room” that I couldn’t wait to start, the other is “Daughters of Rome” that was on the “Hot” shelf at the library that looked right up my alley (both of those are from the library), two of them are by Bruce Junek and Tass Thacker (that I’m honestly a little bit scared to read), and the last one is “The Land of Painted Caves” (all three of those are mine that I can keep forever).  That one makes me so guilty.  I see it every single day and I want to pack it away, but it feels like the ultimate betrayal to remove it from sight.  I will finish it someday, guys, and when I do, I’m going to celebrate.  And that celebration may or may not involve throwing the book into the air and being glad to FINALLY be finished with it.

Reading Update

I got a text from my sister a few days ago recommending a new book.  Kim and I both like generally the same genre.  The book she told me about was “The Book of Fires” by Jane Borodale. Her text said:

You should read ‘The Book of Fires’ by Jane Borodale.  Its about a girl that gets pregnant then runs away to london in 1752…

The pregnant part, and the running away to London part piqued my interest, and when I got off work, I went and checked it out.  I started it and I’m in love with it.  It is about a girl who gets pregnant and goes to London in search of a place away from her disgrace.  What she finds is a home as an apprentice to a fireworks maker.

I’m about halfway through, and whenever I have a spare minute, I’m cracking the book to find out what happens to Agnes.  I’m going to make myself some Spaghetti-O’s now and settle down to read.

Backspace

I’m alone in my room right now, all I hear is the sound of cars driving by.  I want to write, but my head is all blocked up.
…BACKSPACE.  (I’ve written a paragraph but I hate how it sounds.)
Everything I write is overly dramatic.
…BACKSPACE. (And when I add onto that statement, I sound like I’m 12 years old and cutting again.)
Here’s what’s been going on in my life:

We got our reward letters for next year about a week ago.  As many know, college tuition goes up every year.  This year, here at North Central, it’s gone up about $2,000.  My reward letter granted me about $26,000.  One year of attending this place is around $40,000.  If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you know me, and my money situation.  My parents didn’t save up for my college education.  My parents didn’t even go to college.  I’m on my own.  Dad isn’t paying for my college; I’m working through this by myself.
This both freaks me out and makes me proud.

It’s possible to work through college; hundreds of people have done it.  But without banks letting me get loans (I don’t have that all-important co-signer), the leftover, i.e. what I have to pay, is too much.
I’ve been thinking about going home, but the thought of switching colleges has made me feel like a failure.  I know if I go home, I’ll get caught up in something that won’t allow me to finish college.  I know too many people there and I feel like they’ll pull me down.  I didn’t do much in high school because (I thought) no one wanted to do anything with me.  But now that I’ve talked to classmates, I found out that I wasn’t a pariah; people tried to get a hold of me to invite me, but couldn’t get through (DIAL-UP INTERNET).  If I went back to that, a place where I felt accepted, school would get pushed to the wayside, especially if I didn’t have to pay (and that was the deal: a free-ride).  I feel like, even though I have no friends here, and I’m stressed to pay for this school, I’m in a good place; a place that I will get through because I have no distractions.  It’s scary, being here without my family, but it’s manageable.

Now, delete all of that stress and fast-forward to yesterday.  I found that I just had to “accept” financial aid, and I’m up to $33,000 (which is what I have this year).  It’s payable (I don’t have a whole lot left over for fun stuff, but I’m handling it, barely).  Add to that the fact that I have $65 in my savings account.  My $1,400 tuition payment is due next month.  STRESS.

I feel like if I talk about this next thing, it’ll go sour and I won’t be as lucky anymore, but I’ll risk it.  I was contacted to be a nanny in Naperville this summer.  It’s a live-in position, plus car, pay, and a set-schedule (allowing me to get a side job, as well).  I was supposed to meet with the lady today, but a gymnastic accident put her daughter in the hospital, and we’re meeting on Monday instead.  Send me good thoughts.  I need this.

As of today, there’s only nineteen days until I get to go home.  I get to see my friends, my puppy (that’s not a puppy, and not mine anymore), and my family.

On the reading front.  I haven’t had much time to read, but I what time I do have, I try to get through “The Land of Painted Caves“.  I have to be honest, you guys, and saying this makes my heart hurt, but.  I hate it.  I’m not sure if I hate it because it’s the last one, or just because the storyline sucks.  (Seriously, in one paragraph, Ayla is holding her baby, the next paragraph, with no extra space, her baby is now 4 years old and talking.)  I feel like Jean Auel rushed through this just to get it published and to get herself some money.  There’s no planning, and it’s just, bad.  There’s also way too many numbers to keep track of, and the characters act different than they’re supposed to.  I’m glad I have it, and I am going to finish it, but I’m probably going to complain.  A lot.

In this past week, I’ve watched some of the Disney movies that have been on my Watch List.  Pocahontas 2 (which was extremely racist and not good at all.), Mulan 2 (better than Pocahontas but it was just too much), and Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World.  You guys know how much I love Disney, and Belle.  But this movie was GODAWFUL.  Belle acted like a snobby prude, and Beast acted like a huge asshole (pardon my language) to her the entire time.  I couldn’t even get through the entire thing.  I literally stopped it after about thirteen minutes, and put in the original Beauty and the Beast (which I cried about, and I’m not ashamed to admit it).  I checked out “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” one and two today from the library, and I hope they aren’t bad.  (I don’t have much hope for the second one, but both Kyle and my roommate, who is a HUGE Disney buff, even owning stock in the company, say that it’s one of the best.)

I hope you’ll all forgive me for my lack of posting, and hopefully, after this weekend (WORKING from pretty much 7:30 am to 10 pm Saturday and 11 to 4 on Sunday) I’ll be able to write.  This might have been the writer’s block being stabbed in the face with an icepick.

Review: Daughter of Kura

I picked this up the last time I was in the library, and I only noticed it because of the name of the author (Austin- F AUSTIN is right near F AUEL).  It looked interesting, and (all of you know my major) after reading that it was about H. erectus, I added it to my check out pile…Only two books!

A half-million years ago in southeast Africa, Snap, granddaughter of the head-woman, is in line to become Mother of the matriarchal Kura, a Homo erectus clan.

One fall, a newcomer to the tribe, Bapoto, brings some extraordinary new ideas to the Kura: the soul, life after death, and a powerful spirit he calls the Great One. When Snap falls ill, Bapoto leads a ritual invoking the power of the Great One and apparently causes her recovery. As his ideas take hold among the Kura, he mates with Snap’s mother, helps defend the Kura from attack by strangers, and eventually seems poised to become the clan’s first male leader.

Snap sees his ideas and increasing power as threats to their traditions and is labeled an unbeliever. As she clashes with her mother and her clan, she begins to suspect that Bapoto is not what he seems.

(Taken from Debra Austin’s website.)

The first thing I noticed was the style of writing.  It was very easy to read (almost too easy, actually), and it was more Young Adult than Adult fiction.

The second thing I noticed, is this little comment on the back, “In the tradition of Clan of the Cave Bear…“.  I actually think that comparing this book and The Clan of the Cave Bear is insulting to all of Mrs. Auel’s hard work and superb research.

They broke apart and both began to gesture simultaneously.  Two sets of hands flew as they formed words with their fingers, with an occasional sound to convey emotion.  (Page 8, “Daughter of Kura”.)

Pretty much everything from this book was copied from “The Clan of the Cave Bear”.  If you have been reading me for very long, you will know my love for that series.  The way they talk (with signs) is obviously taken from Mrs. Auel’s series.

I don’t know.  I enjoyed the book and the storyline (which is the main character, Snap, pretty much growing up), but I just kept thinking how I was wasting my time with a copycat of the books I already love so much.  The names (all of the women had names of sounds; “Chirp”, “Snap”, “Whistle”, while the guys had more varied names; “Meerkat”, “Ash”, “Thump”, “Falcon”) were creative, and brought the characters more firmly alive.  There were sad parts (such as the baby getting stolen by a lion) that almost brought me to tears, but other parts made me mad, because the clear way to handle a situation (or deal with an evil newcomer) was overlooked.

If you haven’t read “The Clan of the Cave Bear” series, this book may be a tad more satisfying for you, but for me, it was a disappointment with an okay storyline.