I am happy to announce that I will be moving my blog to a new forever home. While Blogger has treated me really well, I am ready to step it up a notch and enhance my blog's experience, writing and offerings. I will be writing more frequently and adding more than a review here and there or a tour here and there. If you like to talk about the goings on in the literary world, enjoy talking about your own writing experience or want to see my reviews, then get ready!
My 3 year blogoversary is March 31st, so I thought that this was the best way to celebrate 3 years of off and on blogging and coming back to an experience I thoroughly enjoy.
I will officially be shutting down this blog and redirecting to my new one on March 31st 2014. Thanks for sticking with me and to a new blog and my way of kicking off Spring.
Check out my new blog to see my new logo, some upcoming news and a blogoversary giveaway coming soon:
New BookedinChico Blog
Here's a sneak peek:
Monday, March 10, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
I am excited to kick off the Women Float Blog Tour in support of Maureen Foley's novel. Thank you Lori and CCLAP for getting this together.
I wanted to kick off this blog tour by introducing the setting of the story. This is both where I typically start when I read a novel or, in this case, a novella. I also have a deeper connection to the setting of Carpinteria, California because my mom is from there. After hearing stories of my mom growing up there, I wanted to hear from Maureen her take on the setting.
Here is Maureen's lovely essay about Carpinteria and Women Float.
Someone Please Start the Alligator Pear Cafe: Why I Set the Fictional Women Float In the Real Town of Carpinteria, California
“I sit at the lip of the Pacific Ocean.” This is how I describe Win, the main character of my novella Women Float, perched cross-legged and mostly drunk at the state beach at the end of Linden Avenue in Carpinteria, California, where the story is set. She’s at the beach in the last chapter of the book, because there’s nowhere else to go. (For anyone who hasn’t read the story, Win is a young female pastry chef who’s learning how to swim and reconciling the loss of her mother and her own sexuality.)
Like all people in Carpinteria,Win drifts towards the sea because she’s at a loss. Staring into the nighttime sea, she finds both solace and awe there, the smallness felt by pondering the vast watery beyond. The state beach at Linden is at the ocean’s lip and Carpinteria stands at California’s elbow, the point where the state begins to bend down with its hand extending south into Baja California.
No one calls it Alta California anymore. Upper. Above. The state colonized and named and described by Spain, then claimed for the United States, but first populated by Native Americans. In Carpinteria, the legend goes that then-governor of Alta California, Gaspar de Portola, named the town the Spanish word for carpenter shop because of the all the Chumash building boats in the town. To this day, tar oozes naturally up from the ground and could be used to caulk boats or other things, like flat tires, old books or repairing broken bird-wings.
That last line is not entirely true. Women Float is not entirely true, either. So, why use an actual place to set a fake story? That was the question I struggled with in the first drafts of the book, so I kept the setting for the story vague. As in coastal, but location unknown. As a young writer, I thought Women Float would be more universal if the story’s setting remained opaque. But in editing the book for publication, and as middle-aged adult living in Carpinteria on my own terms, I realized how proud I am of the town and how important the intricacies of this place are for the story to remain authentic.
So, with my editor’s encouragement, I returned Women Float to its exact and specific geography. Beach town, a few streets, only two traffic lights. I used actual businesses and streets, sometimes changing the names to protect the innocent. The book can be read carefully as a map of this place. I wanted a reader to be able to navigate Carpinteria through the words alone. The one complete fabrication is the restaurant where Win works: the Alligator Pear Cafe. My hope in inventing this business is that someone will actually open it here; we desperately need some authentic French pastries in town.
In the end, I found it important to use language to transform Carpinteria into a realistic backdrop for this story and these characters in such a way that the town itself becomes a part of the plot. How is Win affected by the natural features of this place, hemmed in by water and mountains, sky and sand? What is it like to face great loss while bounded by unsettling beauty? How does a woman fear the water when she lives surrounded by it?
My ancestors, the Bailard family, arrived in Carpinteria in the 1860s and we still farm on some of the original land bought back then. My roots here run deep and it is a privilege to work and live in this place. Giving the my hometown a new literary landmark, in the form of my novella, is my offering back to this place that nurtures me, feeds my creativity and continues to give me stories, comfort and a wild territory for my imagination to haunt.
|Carpinteria, CA - Winter Sunset near where the tar oozes naturally. (Photo by M. Foley)|
Thank you Maureen and Lori! Here is to a beautiful and fun Women Float Blog Tour.
Check out these other lovely posts on the follow blogs:
1/14 - Love at First Book: Review and Short Interview
1/15 - Words, Notes, Fiction: Review and Interview
1/16 - Chick Lit Central: Mermaid Essay and Giveaway
1/17 - Little Fiction: An Excerpt
1/20 - The Relentless Reader: Review
1/21 - Curbside Press: Female Essay
1/22 - Lesbrary: Audio Excerpt
1/23 - Lovely Book Shelf: Song List
1/24 - WordPlaySound: Podcast
1/27 - Gaper’s Block: LGBTQ Essay
1/28 - Guiltless Reading: Foodie Guest Post
Monday, June 17, 2013
An intriguing mystery of an innocent man who severed twenty plus years in prison. A woman, whose account of the story sent him to prison. New evidence exonerates the man from rape and murder and is newly freed. So what has been kept a secret? What is fact? What is reality? What is the truth? Who can be trusted?
At first, I just thought this would be a mystery novel where I wasn't going to be that excited about. I enjoy reading novels that push on societal issues and raise interesting conversations. However, Buhmann's Lay Death at Her Door began to raise ideas about truth, perception and how truth is far from what anyone can see.
From the start of the novel, I began to ask myself about eyewitness accounts. How can motive play a role? How can personal experiences play a role? I think the questions that I kept thinking about as I read the novel made me like the novel more. I needed to step out of the idea of a mystery and truly enjoy what that mystery can do to expand ideas about life.
I am always drawn to the idea of truth. What does it mean? How can facts change what we believe? Or in some cases, do motives alter the truth?
I recommend this novel for those who want to be sucked into a great mystery or even want to challenge the conversation of reality, truth and facts. Start asking those hard questions and see how Buhmann's Lay Death at Her Door can further the conversation.
3 Shots of Espresso - Coffee Buzz
This novel is great for those who like mysteries and enjoy thinking beyond just reading a quick mystery.
Thanks Red Adept Publishing for introducing me to a fun and compelling new read!
Congrats Elizabeth Buhmann on your novel!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Flynn, Gillian. Sharp Objects. New York: Shaye Areheart Books, 2006. Kindle. 321 pps. $9.99
Camille Preaker. Journalist. Small town Midwestern reject. Chicagoan. Mysterious. Camille must go back to her home town to report on a murdered child and another missing child. From there, unfolds a mystery from Camille's past, a dead sister from years ago, a poor relationship with her mother, and a half sister she hardly knows, oh yeah, and those children she went back for. Once again, Gillian Flynn crams a whole lot of crazy, pain, and mystery into a small but powerful book.
SHARP OBJECTS didn't have the same cadence of Flynn's other two books, which had gone back and forth between characters. This novel just kept the continual perspective of Camille; since she's a reporter, you tend to only believe Camille despite her past and her role in the story. I thought I knew what was up the whole time, but the final twist at the end did this novel justice.
|My reading progress on SHARP OBJECTS|
Plot and Writing:
After reading all three of Flynn's novels, I feel that her writing is better when she switches between characters; that style makes the book even more suspenseful. But then, SHARP OBJECTS was really suspenseful without her having to switch back and forth between characters.
Camille's past, and how it affects her present self, is intense and extremely intriguing. It's a great way to keep you reading and a fabulous plot device to keep the novel going. Flynn has a way of pushing the reader and making you cringe, but you just keep on reading; I love this.
The other characters are truly disturbing and must be only read and not described, so I'll let you come to your own conclusions.
After all three Flynn novels, I am intrigued to read another. I hope we won't have to wait until 2015. The three years apart is now unacceptable since GONE GIRL was so popular.
Rating: 5 Shots of Espresso
SHARP OBJECTS receives 5 of 5 shots of espresso. I'm glad I read this one last because I think the cadence of the narratives of different characters is what drew me to Flynn. Her way to keep you reading with only one narrator and the ultra disturbing plot of SHARP OBJECTS was easier to digest after being familiar with Flynn.
|Reading once again on the iPad and I am sold!|
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
First of all, I want to thank both Lori of TNBBC and fabulous author Joshua Mohr for letting me partake in this amazing blog tour. Lori does a fabulous job bringing bloggers from all around together to share their love for books, writing and creativity.
Today, Joshua takes life's milestones head on and discusses writing, life and the in between. Enjoy!
What was the first piece of writing you wrote where you thought, I should do this, I should keep writing?
I love writing! That may sound simplistic, but I know a lot of novelists who begrudgingly go through the process. That hasn't been my experience at all. I have fun on the page. To answer your question, probably sometime during graduate school was when I started zeroing on something interesting. I was writing a lot of tepid short stories that NOBODY wanted to read, and a teacher recommended that I try tackling something longer. That ended up evolving into my first novel, "Some Things that Meant the World to Me." From there, I've been a kid in a literary candy store.
Is there a moment in your life (big or small) where you had a moment, like Bob Coffen, where you needed to be more proactive with your life?
Wow, I feel like every day has the potential to be amazing. The real question is if we are going to take advantage of all the possibilities. Proactivity is one of the few things in life we can actually control. We can get out there. We can experience more art, live the life we want to. I try to push myself every day to do something that challenges my comfort zone.
How had writing helped shape you and how has your life's bigger moments shaped your writing?
There's certainly synergy between one's life experiences and the imagined lives rendered in novels. I draw on my life all the time. My friends know that if they're not careful, they'll make a cameo in what I'm currently scribbling. To my eye, art gives us the opportunity to make sense of the world we're experiencing. I try to use my writing as a way to keep learning.
What would you like your next big milestone to be I your life? Why? Are there steps to make this happen already?
My wife and I are expecting a baby in June. That's the next big milestone. I'm excited and terrified and I can't wait to experience that tangle of challenges. Thank god for coffee!
Are you writing anything else? When's your next writing milestone?
I'm pretty deep into my next book. It will be a weird mystery, in which a woman wakes up with a sentence in her head, in a language she does not speak. And the sentence is warning her about a murder. She launches on this odd adventure to save the "victim." Who knows if it will end up being about that, but it's keeping me busy right now! :)
Thanks Joshua for your time and awesome book, FIGHT SONG. I'll post my review after the tour. Check out tomorrow's post of where Joshua writes over at Lori's TNBBC. For the entire list of events, please check them out here.
Joshua, congrats on your baby in June! What a very exciting time in you and your family's life. I can't wait to read your next book; I am really intrigued!
Happy Reading and Check out Joshua's latest adventures here at his site.