About Kate's Bookshelf

Kate is a book hoarder, collector, and former 'librarian' at her small town library. She dreams of owning her own bookstore, but will settle with marrying a man who lets her own as many books as she wants and has a library big enough to put them all in, organized by author, non-fiction and juvenile. (Yes, she is still a librarian at heart) When she's not consuming books, she is writing her 'novels' (or plot-less books as she likes to call them), children's picture books, and working with her parents on their organic farm. Someday, when she gets her butt in gear, she will be a famously published author.

Monte Carlo, The Grand-Prix, and Me

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Monte Carlo Grand Prix at Night

No. I wish. I was not in Monte Carlo watching the Grand-Prix over the weekend. The title of this post is misleading, isn’t it? I can honestly say, however, that I would love to be in Monaco.  Monaco and the Grand-Prix is on my bucket list (I really hate that term) of things to do. I actually probably could have been there two years in a row if I had actually said yes to Boris‘s semi proposal a couple of years ago. I was freaking at turning 30, he wrote me a very convincing email, and I panicked.  But that is neither here nor there.

Ah, Monaco.  Home to Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.  For those of you who do not know, the film, To Catch a Thief. Probably the first film where I fell in love with Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, and Monaco.  In one fell swoop I was hooked.

Monaco…. Home to Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy…… Okay, sorry, I’m a girl and I honestly LOVE the film Monte Carlo.  Besides the fact that it is so uber girly, it’s just a fun film.  A girl is allowed pink, pearls, and fun dresses.  Romance makes it just that much better.

The Grand-Prix. I can honestly say that it was because of Boris that I even pay any attention to Formula 1 racing. Granted, it is a very high end type of racing and much more fascinating than a horse race or, lord help us, NASCAR, but on the whole, it’s not the top of my things to watch. However, because it is quite classy, and the guys who race are rather gorgeous, I can’t help but be quite taken with it. I’m slowly learning names…. Thank you Top Gear for having Lewis Hamilton on so I would know who he is…. and while I can’t watch the whole race , it’s rather exciting.  I know that I could thoroughly enjoy the race if I were there. With Boris…..  Moving on as I laugh.  Sorry, people. It’s almost two in the morning as I type this.  I had a much more clear post in my head at six in the evening. I should have written this then.

So let’s just end with: Bucket list of going to Monaco to see the Grand-Prix.  Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Oh and if I just have to go to France while I’m there….. I’ll visit Nice, Marseilles, and the Riviera.  Oh wait, isn’t Monaco on the Riviera?

Happy Memorial day everyone!

Signing off

~Kate

 

 

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Reading Classics to Learn About Character Development, and Please Don’t Say We Don’t Need Them

Disclaimer: This may irritate or annoy younger writers. Proceed only if you want to hear my honest opinion.

I started this morning off reading a reaction post to The Ten Most Haunting Male Literary Characters.  See the original article for this story HERE  I was actually quite fascinated with the list and could understand why many were put on this list, specifically, and I stress this, because it was done by the British.  They have their own tastes and ideas and it was a decidedly British list.

What struck me was the reactionary post.  It was written by a blog I follow, from a young author  and I won’t name names because I’m not out to irritate people, but this thought came to me.  How can you give honest criticism about why certain characters are not on the list, if you have not read most of what is on the list? How can you judge whether or not a character from a book you like should be on the list just because you think the character is haunting?

First off, let’s take the word Haunting.

:  that haunts: such as

a :  lingering in the consciousness :  not readily forgotten <the cathedral organ and the distant voices have a beauty — Claudia Cassidy>

b :  having a disquieting effect :  disturbing <from two handsome and talented young men to two horrors of disintegration — Charles Lee>

Let’s take the second definition.  We are not talking villains exactly. Because while Mr. Rochester could be described as the antagonist in the story of Jane Eyre, he is not exactly that.  Nor is Caliban the villain in The Tempest. These characters have a more in depth point to the story. It’s not merely good or bad, but technically grey.  They are not Good vs. Evil.
That being said, some of the characters on the list are evil, but not necessarily so. The word definition is crucial here.
So where am I going with all of this?
I’m finding that younger writers who have not read a lot of classics, nor have they lived unique lives, don’t have a grasp of what makes a character evil, haunting, disturbed, manipulative, psychotic, complicated or whatever adjective you want to address a character. If you have lived within the sheltered pages of life going from high school to college and that is it for your age, really, you have not lived.  And if you haven’t read the classics, or at least a couple of them, I don’t think you have a grasp on some really good character development.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have not read a ton of classics, but at age 13 I read The Three Musketeers and from there on, I’ve attempted to tackle more in depth books.  Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Scaramouche, Jane Eyre (though I have not finished it yet, but saw the film), The Great Gatsby… I’m blanking on others.  But in the past 10 years, I have learned a lot, and I stress LOT, by reading those types of books. You learn that characters are complicated. Sometimes there is no right or wrong, but there is something about a character that is thought provoking. Heck, even Mr. Darcy could have been considered haunting. (not really, but guys need to read P&P to understand why women adore Darcy….though there is Mr. Knightley…)

I don’t see how anyone can really write without reading some of the more famous works. I never thought I would say that you need to read the classics.  My father would kind of shoot me, but I honestly think you need to read some to get even the slightest grasp on character development and depth.  And if you haven’t read most of the classics, don’t even try to complain about why Voldomort is not on a list but Heathcliff is.  Don’t even go there.

And Haunting doesn’t mean evil.  People, remember that!

Side Disclaimer: I have not nor will not ever read A Clockwork Orange, anything Stephen King or anything really disturbing.

 

Whew! Now that I’m done ranting, I want your input. Are you someone who thinks you need the classics?  Do you think I’m off my rocker?  How do you get your character development? And what do you think of the list of Haunting Male Characters?

Signing off

Kate

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Should I or Not? — Flash Fiction

Have you ever wanted to kiss someone that you really didn’t want to date? Someone that who is not in your league or inappropriate? Someone that you’ve watched for years and just sort of wondered what it would be like to kiss them? I have. For years I’ve watched Jace as he’s flirted with me despite my less than enthusiastic response; watched him as he worked; watched him as he dated woman after woman, slightly jealous of those women, but not really wanting to date Jace himself. But, oh! There is part of me that really want’s to know what his kisses taste like.

I’ve kissed several men in my life. Boyfriends, whom all I could say did not know how to kiss, and a couple spur of the moment times where the kiss was good, I liked the guy, but it never went anywhere. But there are a couple men I’ve fantasized about just sampling a kiss.

Jace has probably been the one that sticks in my mind, and it’s there right now as I watch him walk across the street to get into his truck. He’s been logging so he’s covered in dust and dirt and probably sawdust. I’m sure he smells like chainsaw oil or gas and that all guy smell of work.  You know: sweat.  But here I sit wondering like I have for quite a while, what it would be like to have him wrap his long arms around me, tip me back and kiss me.  One of those romance fantasies, you know?

The wishing has gotten out of hand. I’ve been dreaming about him as well.  Long vivid dreams where it’s just us. Where I finally relent and decide we should be a couple. Where he wears me down with flirting and teasing and kissing.  Because, oh yes, there is always kissing involved. Clearly I have an over active imagination because those dreams are vivid. I wake up befuddled and practically giddy, reveling in really good kissing. I flush when I think about how unashamedly bold I am and half the time I remember I initiate the kisses.

What is wrong with me? Should I just walk up to Jace one day and grab him around the back of the neck and pull him down for a kiss? I know it would surprise the heck out of him. I mean, I have turned him down every single time. And I don’t want to date him. I don’t. You believe me, right? Consequences. There are always consequences for impulsively jumping in to something so intimate as a kiss.

My coffee’s cold, and Jace has driven off. Well, there’s always tonight for another dream……

 

 

Isn’t it funny how real life is what makes fiction come alive? Or it is what makes stories to write about. Or it makes you wake up wondering about a dream you had.

Semi autobiographical, I hope you enjoy this nameless girl’s musing about a guy named Jace….. who is very similar to someone I know, and well, let’s leave it at that.

Writing on

~Kate

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Utter Crap

the persephone bookshop

the persephone bookshop (Photo credit: this lyre lark)

I probably should be writing this over on Escaping the Inkwell, but I’m going to be utterly lazy since this post is about utter crap. Seems befitting. Though I feel I should say ‘utter rubbish’ instead as it’s so much more polite and I’ve been reading British things. (How did I not know that Persephone Biannually was so interesting? I have about 8 different ones!)

Moving on.  So last week I ‘finished’ my short story about jars of hearts, lipstick, et cetera. See the post here.  I was so wired to finish it and for those first few hours, even though I knew that it was going to need serious editing,  I was quite thrilled with it.

Then the reality set in. Or maybe it’s writer’s reality, or whatever you want to call it.  Anyways, there I was the next morning going, “this thing is terrible! it’s crap. There is no way I could ever hope to submit this to a literary magazine (because yes, I am considering it). I should just toss the whole thing in the garbage and start over.”

Never mind that I wrote the whole thing out longhand with purple ink (new fountain pen and ink. If I have the inclination I shall write a review on the Lamy Vista which has become a favorite pen!) Never mind that I have told my sister she can read it when I’m done.  Never mind that I was quite hopeful of it.

Now is it really that horrible?  Honestly, I don’t know because I’m looking at it through my eyes. No doubt it needs a lot of work.  Heck, in just the first two paragraphs I have already added a bunch of things I left out. Meaning I started typing it up to have a more readable copy and started editing in the process.  I’m sure it will be fine. (Repeat again and again, self) I’m sure my friend will enjoy it if I ever get it typed up and edited before having her take a looksie.  But my own self doubt.

I just read something in my Bianually about the author Dorothy Whipple how she thought that her novel Greenbanks was never going to amount to anything then low and behold it became a best seller and is now being sold by Persephone Books.  I’m not saying I’m a Dorothy Whipple (whom I must confess that I’ve never read any of her books) but self doubt is high.

I am still going to work on the darn thing. It really needs a title.  I want a bit of horror in the story (because it is a bit like horror in some ways) Not the creepy kind, but just a life type horror.  Once I’m willing to share you will see.

But for now I feel that it is utter crap!  Why am I a writer?

Signing off

~Kate

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Daisies Are Forever – A Review

_240_360_Book.1200.coverDaisies Are Forever  By Liz Tolsma.

It’s 1945 and the Russians are invading Prussia and east Germany. Gisella is living with her Opa and cousin after being sent east to avoid the bombings in Berlin, but now a new danger is hovering on the horizon. For the Russians are brutal as they slowly encroach on German occupied areas. They take no prisoners, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Gisella is tasked with the difficult challenge of taking her cousin’s two young daughters to Berlin to escape the Russians. She doesn’t want to leave her cousin and grandfather, knowing that she may never see them again, but she must go.

Along the way she travels with family friends, to senile old ladies who are actually quite hilarious because they are constantly thinking that they are in Barcelona or Paris instead of war torn Germany. There is also an injured German soldier who becomes entranced with Gisella and the ‘music’ she creates in his head; two British POW’s who are disguising themselves as SS officers, and a young woman stuck on getting to Hollywood.

From avoiding capture, to Russian pilots shooting at the travelers, to broken down trains, the mismatched band of people make their way to Berlin, all the while, Gisella and one of the British POW’s, Mitch, pretend to be husband and wife as Mitch can’t speak German worth a darn and is bound to be found out.

Once in Berlin, where Gisella is reunited with her Mother, then comes the terror of the day and nightly bombings from the British and the Americans. Mitch and Gisella are slowly falling for each other while the German soldier and the other young woman are bound and determined to break them apart.

Redemption, betrayal and trust are all thrown together as these people await the Russian invasion, which in turn becomes a terror of it’s own.

Will Gisella and Mitch make it? Will they live through the horrors of a bombed out Berlin?

Oh my gosh!  This book was incredible. I was so fearful for Gisella and all the terror of getting out of the Russians path. Then I was just on pins and needles while Kurt, the German soldier was trying to get Gisella for himself. I wanted to jump in and pick a fight with him for Mitch’s sake! The terror of the Russian army was fresh in my mind after watching a special on Berlin and what the aftermath of the Russians in Berlin did to the people. Liz Tolsma captured the fear and the true events that happened during those last days of fierce bombing and Russian invasion.

This is a fast paced book with sweet moments between Mitch and Gisella and moments of anger between Kurt, Gisella and Mitch.  I was so happy with the ending and I am defnitely going to be looking to read Liz Tolsma’s first book.  She took true facts and shaped them into a marvelous story that I highly recommend to anyone who likes a good WWII story.

Five out of five stars.

Signing off

~Kate

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Lipstick, the Devil, and Jars of Hearts

I will never understand my brain, but sometimes something that I hear or see help combine thoughts into one congealed story. This is one of those times.

For ages I’ve been playing around with a story plot that uses Christina Perri‘s ‘Jar of

Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hearts‘ as a basis.  I love the song and the tragedy behind it, but I just could not come up with something until just this last week when I was listening to Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty” (Clean version! I will post my rant on the explicit version later), and the one line about ‘lipstick stamps in my passport, think I need a new one,” just fit perfect with “Jar of Hearts”.

Then I ran across this post on Tumblr that made me laugh and go, oooh, I could use that too.

From alchemistc

why does everyone always associate satan with heavy metal

for all we know satan could like smooth jazz

Why does everyone associate satan to look like some horned goat-typed devil when in reality he’s probably a handsome gentleman in a full body suit who tips his hat at men and women.

 

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/2b/32/67/2b32679f8be1e8791d99e8172a964fe5.jpgSo we have lipstick stamps, a devil in a three piece suit who is a gentleman, and jars of hearts.  Come on, you can just imagine the fun I’m having with this, can’t you? Well I am. I have a short story piece I’m working on and when I finish it, I will post hit here for you to all stare in wonder at my brilliant feat.  Or maybe just because I like sharing things I write. :)

 

 

Writing On

~Kate

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Word of the Day – Arch

Seven_of_nineShe arched a brow. His brow arched in question.  Arched, as in, brow raise in question, disbelief, sarcasm… or whatever other reason you would arch a brow. I don’t know, just ask Seven of Nine. She did it all the time!  I use arched now instead of cocked because my dictionary doesn’t recognize ‘cocked’ as being a word. Go figure, because something can be cock-eyed, but not a brow. So now I use arched. And when I say I use it…. I mean ALL. THE. TIME.  I probably go overboard, but since I can do it so well with my left brow, I figure every one of my characters should.

 

1arch

noun \ˈärch\

: a usually curved part of a structure that is over an opening and that supports a wall or other weight above the opening

: the raised area on the bottom of the foot that is formed by a curved section of bones

: something that has a curved shape

Full Definition of ARCH

1
:  a typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening)
2

a :  something resembling an arch in form or function; especially :  either of two vaulted portions of the bony structure of the foot that impart elasticity to it

 b :  a curvature having the form of an arch
3:  archway
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A Note To My Readers Regarding My Book Reviews

I’m sure all of you think by now that I only read Christian books since that is only what I review. On the contrary.  I rarely read Christian books of any sort other than the ones I review, and that is due to a contract I have with Book Look Bloggers a subsidiary of Harper Collins Christian Publishing.  I signed up for their service quite a while ago, IE you can tell by my first book review, and as part of the contract, they send me a book free of charge for my honest review of the book.

It has been interesting delving into more religious based books considering that even though I grew up a Christian, I did not read a lot of Christian based books other than my school books.  And the only books that I read that are Christian based happen to be the ones I review.

When I am reading on my free time, my book choices vary like the market place in Marseille.  I joke that I keep my library in business by ordering the random assortment of books that I’m forever reading.  Recently I’ve been on a Maisie Dobbs theme or anything that deals with WWI and WWII.  I’m reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and I have several other books stacked up in various places I’m reading. In fact, I have way too many books to read. I just recently remembered that I was reading The Forgotten Man… apropos since I forgot it.  I need to start that up again.

I read Janet Dailey‘s Americana series when I’m in a romance mood, or my beloved Emilie Loring‘s, which have also been in my rotation as of late. I read classics, poetry, cookbooks (cookbooks are not meant to cook out of but to read in my opinion), gardening books, how to make wine, the architecture through the ages, essential oils and related.  My tastes are as varied as my music likes….. I was listening to Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty to Me” and One Republic‘s new song on the radio today, grooving along, while a few days ago it was all folk and BroCountry.

So, why do I only write Christian book reviews?  Because I’m too lazy to write any other book review. I have to force the reviews out of me in the first place. I’m just not into the whole ‘book report’ thing. I’m trying. Really hard, because hey, a career in writing book reviews is good, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

So, that’s just what I do.

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Word of the Day – Murmur

Murmur; murmured.  There are only so many words to use for someone talking softly.  And in an intimate situation, murmur is the perfect word. All my characters murmur at some point. I probably over use the word.

1mur·mur

noun \ˈmər-mər\

: a low sound made when many people are speaking

: a quiet expression of an opinion or feeling

: speech or a way of speaking that is quiet and soft

1:  a half-suppressed or muttered complaint :  grumbling
2a :  a low indistinct but often continuous sound

 b :  a soft or gentle utterance
3:  an atypical sound of the heart typically indicating a functional or structural abnormality
I use definition 2b as my meaning of the word, though as I happen to have a minor heart murmur, I suppose when I talk with my doctor, I do use that…..  Moving on.
My hero murmurs into the heroine’s ear.  My heroine murmurs her agreement. I literally use murmur all the time instead of just ‘said’ or ‘said with some adverb’  (Damn you Stephen King for making me restrain myself with adverbs!)
If anyone has another good synonym for ‘murmur’ I’d love to know!
Writing on
~Kate

Word of the Day – Seriously

Seriously.  No, seriously, you want me to seriously use seriously in a sentence?  Okay. :)  I use this word too much in my regular vernacular.  “That is seriously messed up.” “I seriously think that needs to change.” “You can’t be serious?”

Those are all things I say, way too much.  I would go so far as to say that I use seriously as most girls use ‘like’. I love it. I think the way I use it isn’t the correct form of the word, but  hey, I’m being serious!

se·ri·ous·ly

adverb

: in a serious way

: to a large or great degree or extent

1:  in a sincere manner :  earnestly <speaking seriously>
2:  to a serious extent :  severely, extremely <seriously injured>
Writing on……seriously
~Kate