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!

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.

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.

Unsure

January 11th, 2011 was a big day for my friends back home; Brandon and his girlfriend Shelby had their first baby.  He was a month early, but is healthy.  His name is Brayden Lee and I can’t wait to meet him.

Along with seeing this brand new baby and the love that Shelby has for him, I can’t help but feel envious.  I’m proud of her for having him (because she’s still finishing high school), and for surviving the difficult birth process, but every time I see a picture of him, or read a text from her about the baby, I get jealous.  But I can’t even describe the feeling as jealous; it’s more than jealousy.  It’s like this feeling that she’s so much better/happier.  She has every right to be happy because she just had this miracle happen, but I still can’t get over how young and immature I feel for not having a baby.

Now, enter “We Need to Talk About Kevin” into this picture.  I’m only 116 pages in (out of 400), but already this book is living up to its place on the list of “The 10 Most Disturbing Books of All Time“.  I can separate fact from fiction, and this books isn’t even based on a true story, but it’s pulling me in.  At points, I want to cry.  Other times, I want to punch the wall because it makes me angry.  And then other times, I feel numb, cold; like I’ll never be able to feel emotions again.

Already I can say that I would not recommend this book to anyone unsure about having children.  I, someone who has wanted kids from the moment I knew they existed, am suddenly unsure that babies are right for me.  I keep picturing them like the character in the book does;

Ever notice how many films portray pregnancy as an infestation, as colonization by stealth?  Rosemary’s Baby was just the beginning.  In Alien, a foul extraterrestrial claws its way out of John Hurt’s belly.  In Mimic, a woman gives birth to a two-foot maggot.  Later, the X-Files turn bug-eyes aliens bursting gorily from human midsections into a running theme.  In horror and sci-fi, the host is consumed or rent, reduced to a husk or residue so that some nightmare creature may survive its shell.

And I’m completely freaked out.  I’ve seen movies about monsters that are born from regular pregnant women with no symptoms.  How do I know that I won’t be a host for a monster as well?  Not so much monster as in a maggot with claws, but a monster as in a baby that will grow into a serial killer, or a cannibal or something equally terrifying.  How could I cope with the knowledge that something I nourished, protected and then expelled from my body would grow up only to take the lives of others?

I’m sorry if talk like this freaks you out, but this is the only thing sticking to the inside of my head right now; images of a terrible fetus who is killing me slowly, but not so fast that I, the one who will nurse it, give it immunities and such, will be dead before it’s big enough to do awful things to other people.

This book definitely belongs on that list.

Tea

Today is such a quiet day for me that I don’t have any good stories, or new mail to show you.  I went to latin this morning, came back to my dorm, showered and then went to mythology, and then came back to my dorm and ate.

In between classes, during my downtime, I made tea. (Because there’s snow everywhere, and I love hot tea when it’s cold.)  I haven’t had tea for a long time and it reminded me of being at home.  How there was always a tea kettle filled with hot water, always a clean cup, always different varieties of tea (but I loved drinking the plain tea), and always sugar to mix in.  When I sat at the computer and blogged, or watched a movie, or just talked to Kyle on Live Messenger, I drank tea.  When my tea got cold, I made more.  When I drank it all, I typed “brb” and went and made some more.

I also made several trips to the bathroom during my tea drinking hours (which usually started at 4 and went to 8, as long as Pat wasn’t home).

My favorite tea to drink was just the regular black tea and bergamot.  But I also loved to drink Raspberry tea, Constant Comment, and (if we had it) Pomegranate (which was one of dad and I’s favorites).

Are any of you tea drinkers?  If so, what’s your favorite tea to drink?  If not, what hot drink warms you up in the winter?

 

*Edited to Add:

By the way, there’s only 75 days left until “The Land of Painted Caves” comes out!  I’ve halfway through “The Valley of Horses”, but because I just got Kathleen E. Woodiwiss books, I’m tempted to start on them…

“Secrets of a Shoe Addict” Review

Yesterday was a crazy day and I didn’t have any time to look at my computer, let alone get on and blog.  I finished the first book in 2011 (here) and I thought I would do a quick review of it for you.

The book in question is “Secrets of a Shoe Addict” by Beth Harbison.  I read her first novel a few years ago (“Shoe Addicts Anonymous” which was a fun, easy read.), and was was happy when I stumbled across this one in the library.  I read the inside cover and picked it up, knowing that I would get through it pretty fast.

I did get through it fast; I started the night I picked it up, and finished the next day.  I didn’t read it constantly, but it’s such a funny book, with a good plot (which I’ll get to in a minute), that it’s hard to put down.

The story starts with three women, Abbey Walsh, Tiffany Vanderslice Dreyer, and Loreen Murphy.  All are PTA members and on a school  band competition trip to Vegas, they all find out that what happens in Vegas, never really stays in Vegas.

Abbey, the wife of a minister, is the perfect wife and mother, but some secrets (like her drug habits in her youth) will not stay buried when someone from her old days shows up and attempts to blackmail her for money.

Tiffany, who also has the perfect marriage with the perfect children, spends a tad too much on designer clothing and now has to pay the bill.

And Loreen, suffering from the backlash of a crumbling marriage, meets a man in Vegas, sleeps with him, and then owes him $1000 for his services, which she didn’t know she had hired.

All three women must come up with money to pay for all this stuff without letting the nosy, over-bearing Deb, in on what is going on.  They all end up being phone sex operators phone actresses to pay off the debt.

This story was so cute and so quick and it had such a satisfying end to it.  Along with the lively characters she introduces us to, the author also brings in a character from her first novel, “Shoe Addicts Anonymous”, which really brings the story full circle.  But not to worry, you don’t need to read the first book to understand this one.  It was a great book to start 2011 with.

Class

Class has been going well for me; I’m enjoying all four of them, and I’m happy to say that I got into the one I was trying hard to be in (which is Physical Anthropology).

I had a funny thing happen to me yesterday.  I woke up early, did my questions, and then headed off to check the mail to see if my books had come in.  When I got there (it was about 11:15 at this point), there was nothing in my box, so I left, intending to go to Ted’s to check my schedule, and then come back to the mail room because deliveries are usually made at noon.

When I got to Ted’s, I headed back to the board where everything is posted, and looked for my name.  Under “Tuesday, January 4th” it said: “Server Assistant: 11:30-2:00”.  I was supposed to be at work right then (it was about 11:25).  I went looking for the manager, and told him that I didn’t know I had work, and I was going to run back to my dorm and put on my work clothes, then come back.

I made it back at about 11:40, and after I finished seating the guests that were waiting, doing an open menu count, and collecting menus, I went back to get a drink of water because I was dying of thirst.  The first thing I did was spill it all down my front.

After all that, the rest of the day was pretty slow.  When I got off work, Kyle and I checked my mail (my books had come in), and then ate.  At 4, I left for the class I was wait-listed on (Physical Anthropology) and waited nervously for the teacher to tell me that I was in.  That class was let out early, and I headed to dinner, with just enough time left to grab my bag and walk to my next class (at 6:30 p.m.).

At the end of the day, I was beyond exhausted.  Kyle and I did some latin homework, and then I went to bed.

Only to find that my sleep schedule for all of break (get to bed at about 12 and wake up at 8ish) prevented me from going to sleep right away.  So I dug under my bed in my book box.  The box holds all of the books I’ve acquired since I’ve moved here (and two I brought from home), and I’ve read none of them.  (I also just ordered some books from Barnes and Noble, but I’ve read two of the four I ordered.  I just wanted to own them.)

I grabbed “Fair is the Rose“, a story set in Scotland, and settled in to read it.  I was immediately immersed in the story, and ended up not going to bed until about 1.

Tonight, I’m going to try a lot harder to get to bed early.

I have another goal for this year: I want to finish reading all of the books I bought that are in the book box.  Another goal for January and February: Start (and finish) “The Clan of the Cave Bear” series before I get the new one shipped to me.

Well, I’m off to do class reading for Mythology, and then go to class.  The rest of the day is going to be spent taking money to the bank, making a few payments, going to the candy store (Kyle told me that it was time to go there), maybe going to the library, and hopefully reading and going to bed early.

A pretty picture of the book I’m reading, and my plants (one of which, the rose in the bowl, is not doing so good).

(P.S. I just noticed the flowers in the picture…along with the book of the same name. “Fair is the Rose” sitting by roses.)