Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:
THE YEAR OF LIGHTENING through November 21st
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TRAIL OF SECRETS through November 28th
AND THEN HE through December 12th
HOW TO CARVE OUT TIME TO WRITE AND THANK YOU BOOK GIVEAWAY
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We’ve just had our first week of summer break. And every year at the beginning of summer, I vow that next school year I’ll be less busy and have more time to write. This year here’s what I’m doing to make it happen:
1. I am retiring from volunteering for the PTO and school activities. Since my daughter started first grade, I’ve worked at any PTO event I’ve gone to, been brownie co-leader when no one else would, been restaurant night fundraiser, Academic Society reception host, etc. You get the idea. Her schools really needed the help so I’m glad I did it. But my daughter will be in a big high school next year with lots of other parents who can help out. I know I’ll have to work at some of the swim meets and other activities my daughter is involved in. But I’m retiring from major school volunteering.
2. Simplifying work at my house and in my yard. I love gardening and have a big yard. But I have been planting more perennials and grassing in weedy spots to save work so I can write more.
3. Accept help when it’s offered. For example, I’m carpooling with a friend to get my daughter to swim practice at 7:00 am weekdays. I take the early shift since I’m at work when they’re done. It cuts 40 minutes of my day, which means less writing time. She just offered to take them if I bring my daughter to her house. I’m so excited because it gives me 30 minutes extra at home alone when I can write. So I said “Thank You!” and “Yes!”
Even with this, I realize I’m going to have to claw out time to write. Because my daughter is on swim teams year round, it’s always busy going to meets and getting her to practice. But if I carve out 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at lunch (when I take a lunch break, which hasn’t happened much lately) and a few 20-30 minute time slots on the weekends, I will get more done.
Sure, I’d love big blocks of time, but it just isn’t going to happen. And my years with my daughter will be ending in a few short years, so I want to enjoy them. But I can still get back into a consistent writing routine where I write some most days. If I do, I’ll finish my revisions and make progress on a new project. I started it this weekend. And the best part—it’s working!
What about you? How do you stay productive in your writing?
So now onto my book giveaway. I really want to thank everyone who helped spread the word for Elana Johnson’s debut of POSSESSION and for supporting me in general. As a new blogger, I so appreciate it.
Casey and I decided that I would join as her blog partner right at the time Borders filed for bankruptcy. I know to most of you, it is just another super bookstore. But I remember Borders when it was an Indie bookstore on State Street in Ann Arbor down the street from the University of Michigan campus. Then when we moved to the other side of Ann Arbor, Borders expanded there too. My daughter and I have many happy memories of going there when she was younger. Sadly, that store was closed.
So even though I knew I wasn’t getting any “super” deals, I stood in line for almost an hour to buy some books I wanted to read and give away to try to help them in my little way to survive. Here’s what I chose:
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
Here’s the description from Goodreads:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
I haven’t read BEFORE I FALL, another Lauren Oliver book, yet. But I loved this first book in her dystopian series.
DESIRES OF THE DEAD by Kimberly Derting
Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.
As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.
A friend lent me the first book in this series. I loved figuring out the mystery and learning about Violet’s special abilities. This book is a great continuation in the series.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
I won this book and was hesitant to read it because I don’t read much romance. But everyone, including Casey, raved about it. I confess that once I got to a part in it on a Saturday night I could not go to bed until I finished the book.
THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa
My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.
This is the third book in one of my favorite fantasy series. I love the world Julie created, the fey, and the love triangle. I bought an extra copy of this one to share with you.
To win a copy of one of these books, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 9th. Please list your first two choices in your comments. I can’t guarantee you’ll win one of them, but I’ll try. I’ll announce the winner on July 11th. International entries are welcome.
Next week I’ll be doing a short post because it’s July 4th. And on July 11th, I’ll be interviewing Andrea Cremer and giving away a copy of her book NIGHTSHADE.
Here’s something else you’ll want to mark on your calendar. On July 6th at 9:00 pm EST, WriteOnCon’s doing a live chat with Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff. Even though my in-laws will be here, I’m going. I’m so excited! You’ll definitely want to check the WriteOnCon site often because a lot is going to happen as a lead up to their FREE online conference August 16-18.
Hope to see you next week.
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, June 27, 2011