Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks

Title: The Tangle Box

Author: Terry Brooks

Publisher: Del Rey

034538699X, May 1994, 334 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Ben Holiday and his once-fairy wife Willow are going to have a baby. Once again, a bad guy is tring to kick Ben off the thrown. This time, however, the bad guy also takes out The Witch Nightshade and the dragon Strabo. Willow can't save him, because she has a quest of her own -- to combine the dirt of three lands and bring the baby into the magical kingdom.

The Take-Away: I love how Brooks illuminates the differences of our world with Landover. Even something as magical as giving birth is made extraordinary. Neither Ben or I expected the method that Willow would be instructed to follow.

I also really liked Horris Kew. Yes, he's the bad guy that gets Ben into trouble, but really, he was just a pawn. What I like best about him is the reformation that takes place at the end. It left me yearning for his appearance in the next title -- did he actually change or are we fooled by him?

I'll be picking up the next title in the series.

Recommendation: Starting this series at the beginning the best way to go. Fortunately, several titles are available for your reading pleasure.

Technorati tag:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

5 Mistakes That New Writers Make By Nathasha Brooks-Harris

Today's article is by Nathasha Brooks-Harris, the co-author of the Kimani Books (Harlequin Books) anthology, Can I Get An Amen Again, for which she developed the concept. It is the sequel to the ever-popular, Can I Get An Amen. In addition, she currently has a short story in the anthology, Erogenous Zone, and an essay in Gumbo For The Soul anthology. Her debut novel, Panache, earned her an Emma Award as Best New Author in 2002. She is the former editor of Black Romance and Bronze Thrills Magazine and the Associate Editor of True Confessions Magazine at Dorchester Media, and she edits independently under her company, NBH Literary Services. She is also a Contributing Editor at Today's Black Woman Magazine and freelances for several other publications. In her spare time, this Brooklyn-born and bred author and editor creates cloth dolls and quilts under her recently-created Studio 447.

Can I Get An Amen Again?

When Dr. Gabrielle Talbot arrives in Red Oaks, Georgia, the last thing she has on her mind is romance--that is until she meets Marcus Danforth. But will he break her heart like her ex-fiance, or will he find a way to win her trust? From Nathasha Brooks-Harris's "A Change is Gonna Come" in the anthology Can I Get An Amen Again?

5 Mistakes That New Writers Make By Nathasha Brooks-Harris

I cannot say how many time readers have come up to when I was on tour to tell me about how they wanted to write or how they were writing a book. To that, I would politely nod, give them a few words of encouragement, and wish them well in their venture. However, I’ve yet to meet the person who has actually completed a book, sold said book, and wanted some sage advice about the mistakes they have made as a new author. Those mistakes are myriad, and they’re so easy to make. It’s not an easy process to go from writing and selling a book to becoming a new author. Surely, the road is long and arduous at best, and mistakes will be made. However, mistakes are just that—mistakes—and should be considered a learning experience. Learn from them and keep it moving. Don’t dwell on them. Simply take them for what they are and build on that which you’ve learned as a result of making them. There are many mistakes that writers will make over the course of their careers. As a result, they will become better and stronger writers because of them. They will get past them and apply the lessons learned to improving their writing. During the course of my career as a magazine editor contributing editor and author, I’ve seen a lot. Of the many mistakes new writers make, I’ve found several that they make most often. Let’s discuss them. They are:

  1. New writers don’t finish the book.
    They talk a good game, perhaps write some of the book, even edit it, but they never actually finish it. They have more excuses than the law should allow, and put their work away to collect dust. Let’s face facts: we all have real-life issues: child care and elder care responsibilities, job responsibilities, and church commitments—just to name a few. Those things give us character and help us grow as people, To give it a positive spin, they give us life experience that lends itself to our writing. The bottom line is that if you are a new writer who’s sold a book, finish that second one! If you’re an aspiring writer who hasn’t finished a book, you must finish your book, submit it, and sell it in order to become a new published author. No one said the road would be easy to finish that book, but the results are well worth the effort.
  2. New writers submit their books and become complacent.
    Now that they’ve sold the book, new writers take a sigh of relief and express how glad they are that writing and shopping the book for a deal is over. But guess what? That’s only the beginning of the process. It’s not over, yet. In fact, this is only the beginning. They must think about the next level—promoting the book and getting their name into the homes of readers across the world. They must also take the time to attend workshops, conferences, and seminar to keep learning the writing craft. The better their skills are, they’ll be able to shop their forthcoming books to larger publishers and get better deals.
  3. New writers don’t take their writing seriously; they think of it as a hobby or just something to do.
    Newsflash folks: writing is not a hobby or something to do! It is work—hard, back-breaking, sweat-busting work! That means that new writers should consider their writing as their second or third job. They have to devote time to it in the same manner as they would their day jobs. They have to have up-to-date, working equipment, reference books, and the desire to improve their craft. They must also learn the business aspect of writing such as marketing and promotions, taxes, hiring support staff such as an agent and publicist, as well as the importance of blogging, My Space, and having a website. Writing is a business and the bottom line is that craft is fine, but it all comes back to whether or not you can sell a book. It’s all about book sales and based on that, you will get subsequent book deals and better respect from your publisher(s).
  4. New writers aren’t true to themselves.
    New writers seem to love patterning themselves after other more established authors. They are afraid to let their style and writer’s voice come through. But think about it: these authors have already sold their books and publishers aren’t so eager to buy others like that. They want fresh, new, and exciting. That is where you come in. Write the book of your heart. Explore new, uncharted literary territory. There’s room for new voices. Yours might be the next six or seven-figure book deal. You never know; it can happen! Be yourself and don’t feel so compelled to write what everyone else has written. It’s okay to be a maverick; try it because you just might like it.
  5. New writers are defeated by rejection.
    To this, I say toughen up and try again. Today’s bestselling and wealthiest authors can paper their offices with the rejection letters they’re received. They have suffered many rejections over the course of their writing careers—so will you. But they kept on and tried again. You should do the same. New writers have to take rejections in stride, read the letters, and if the editor gives you any hint of why your book was rejected, consider that a gift! They don’t usually share their reasons. Go on and make any appropriate changes, repackage your book, send it out again, and pray. That next time could indeed be the charm. The point is not to give up. Try again and again until you make a sale. Also, if the major publishers don’t want your book, try a reputable small publisher. They might be more open to a non-traditional book or a book with a different flavor. If you’ve submitted a book and it came back all marked up with deletions, cross-outs, and questions about something you feel is important to your plot, speak up. Don’t be timid; politely fight your case with editor and show her why (or how) it’s important.

Good luck with your writing and please realize that there will be good and bad days. Writing is not as easy as many think it is, but it a very honorable and worthwhile calling. In order to do it justice, always keep that passion that first brought you to it. Study the craft, learn the business, and keep writing those books. When you are ready for the next level, move on, and pursue it. However, never give up or let industry trends come between you and your writing. Trends come and go, but your writing will remain constant and consistent.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you via this book tour. Thanks for taking the time to read this and learn more about me and my writing. Be blessed and always remember: “To whom much is given, much is required!”


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patry Francis Day

One of the coolest things about writing is the way the community jumps together in time of crisis. Patry Francis has some very serious health issues, so the writing community has banded together to promote her book today -- The Liar's Diary.

I read The Liar's Diary last year at the urging of a friend and loved it. There's lovely reviews at Writer Unboxed, The Refrigerator Door and The Lipstick Chronicles, among others. Pop over to one of them more information. Better yet, help Patry out and buy it.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Michelle at Magical Musings has an excellent post about dealing with orphans -- not the parent*less child kind but the character that pops into your head and wants to play kind. I love it.

When I realized five x three chapters, while good writing practice, wasn’t actually getting me a completed manuscript, I made myself write a one to two page outline before I started writing any idea that came to me. If this idea could sustain a beginning, a middle and an end, then I gave it permission to take over my brain for 5 or so months.

So simple, yet such a "why didn't I think of that?" sort of thing.

Now I have a plan for those guys. And maybe I'll have a few less characters in my head for a change.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Title: The Cider House Rules

Author: John Irving

Publisher: New York William Morrow and Co.

ASIN: B000P8WU96, 1985, 576 pages

Genre: Fiction

Summary: The secret side of a Maine orphanage intertwines the lives of three residents and two visitors.

The Take-Away: I never would have picked-up this title if it hadn't been for my book club. The blurb on the inside of the front cover really didn't prepare me for what it the story was truly about - a doctor performing illegal abortions and the orphan he picks to continue his work.

The book was very frank on sex and abortion in the early 1900 (1920s to 1960s). In fact, it was so frank that I questioned if it was accurate, instead of a modern view of what life was actually life. Irving added notes to the back of the book also, with supplemental antedotes that were mostly relayed by his grandfather. Some of the story seemed overplayed, especially as I'm used to reading this from writers of the time. Were they censored? (Most likely, I realize, but were private discussion as frank as Irving leads us to believe.)

In my mind, the openness is because of the services performed, and not a realistic portrayal of the what happened in most conversations.

However, Irving has a wide variety of story lines, perspectives and character growth, that touching on all of them would make this an essay instead of a review. So I'm stopping there.

Recommendation: An interesting look at the life of two men involved deeply in the orphanage. It also is a great coming of age story for each of them.

Technorati tag:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stretching my Reading Wings

Part of my decision to read only one book a week was how do I consider the titles brought up by my book club? They are a rather literary group. Tomorrow's book review will, in fact, be the title from December (I finished it in January, so that was my first book of the year.)

They aren't the sort of books I would normally read. The first one I enjoyed and am glad that I was asked to read it. The second? Not so much. It's beautifully written, but reminds me of poetry -- I get lost in the words and imagery to the point where the plot has no meaning.

Normally, I don't give up on a book. But since I only have 49 more titles (and several of those slots reserved) do I want to continue with the current book club selection?

What do you do when you aren't enjoying a book club title?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Transformers: The Movie

I can ruin any movie.

Me: If the Decepticons are good enough to hack into the defense servers and into Ebay to find everything that they do, why aren't they good enough to set-up a Paypal account and just buy the glasses?

DH: I can't watch this anymore. Thanks.

Monday, January 21, 2008

No Creativity

I don't have a single creative bone in my body today. Normally, I have a couple of ideas either started or finished. But today, nada.

Instead, pop over to The Lipstick Chronicles for The Eternal Dinner Party. I quite like the idea.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Circle (Sarah McLachlan)

I stole this from Average Jane to use on a rainy day.

Most of January has been rainy or snowy.


  1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, iPod etc. on shuffle.
  2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
  1. IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY? -- Steaming (Sarah McLachlan)
  3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? -- Sister (Creed)
  4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? -- Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
  5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? -- Pieces of You (Jewel)
  6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? -- Good Enough (Sarah McLachan)
  7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? -- Baby Girl (Sugarland)
  8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? -- Perfect Girl (Sarah McLachan)
  9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? -- By My Side (3 Doors Down)
  10. WHAT IS 2 + 2? -- Switch (Will Smith)
  11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR EX? -- Mr. Zebra (Tori Amos)
  12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? -- Good Enough (Sarah McLachan, different album)
  13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? -- Sugarhigh (Coyote Shivers)
  14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? -- Too Fast Driving (Lisa Loeb)
  15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? -- Frozen Charlotte (Natalie Merchant)
  16. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? -- Amber Waves (Tori Amos)
  17. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? -- Daddy (Jewel)
  18. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? -- Furious Rose (Lisa Loeb)
  19. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? -- Life is Sweet (Natalie Merchant)
  20. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? -- Ophelia (Natalie Merchant)

Now press Next one more time and use it as your title.

If you decide to do the meme, let me know in the comments and I'll link you into the post.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Blind by P J Tracy

As part of my "One Book a Week" goal, I dedicated two days to reading Snow Blind by P J Tracy.

Summary: Minneapolis police detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are participating in a snowman building contest after the first big snowfall of the year. Instead of creating a snowman, they are forced to destory hundreds of them, when a child discovers a dead body inside of a snowman.

The Take-Away: I love this series. The mother-daughter duo is fabulous. This is book four of the series, and the stakes get higher each and every book. The Monkeewrench group is back also, as part of the crime-fighting team. They are tied into the case in ways that neither they nor the detective anticipate.

The very best part of the book is the ending that, if I shared, would ruin the book for you. Trust, it's worth it.

Recommendation: While you don't need to start at the very beginning of the series, you'll want to, if you start with this one.

Technorati tag:

Title: Snow Blind

Author: P J Tracy

Publisher: Putnam Adult

ISBN 039915339X, August 3, 2006, 320 pages

Genre: Thriller

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Releases

USA Today has a great interactive Flash form to display the new releases of January, February, March and April. Their Winter Book Preview brings some great titles for the first portion of the year, like The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller and The Appeal by John Grisham.

I've read some great things about both titles. Sue Miller would be a new author to me, but the review at Amazon intrigues me:

Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation. Delia Naughton—wife of the two-term liberal senator Tom Naughton—is Meri’s new neighbor in the adjacent New England town house. Delia’s husband’s chronic infidelity has been an open secret in Washington circles, but despite the complexity of their relationship, the bond between them remains strong. What keeps people together, even in the midst of profound betrayal? How can a journey imperiled by, and sometimes indistinguishable from, compromise and disappointment culminate in healing and grace? Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely parallel lives, both reckoning with the contours and mysteries of marriage, one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun.

I love stories about women whose lives are thrown into turmoil and how they overcome it.

Grisham's offering is a return his legal thrillers. My husband's excited. This is a must purchase in my house.

What titles caught your eye?

Thanks, Word Nerd, for pointing this reader to the article.

One Book A Week: The Complete List

The links will lead you to reviews. Enjoy!

  1. Snow Blind by P J Tracy
  2. The Cider House Rules by John Irving
  3. The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks
  4. News Blues, an ARC from Marianne Mancusi
  5. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  6. Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey
  7. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  8. The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters, an ARC from James Dashner
  9. Currently Reading -- Don't Bet Against Me! by Deanna Favre with Angela Hunt
  10. Up Next -- Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches

Coming soon: The Appeal by John Grisham; The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller; Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Story Telling

Last week, a co-worker was telling another co-worker about a disastrous trip the two of us had been on. Fun, but more than a little problematic with driving directions and what have you.

As she told the story, I struggled not to correct her, because, well, most of the details were wrong. Yes, we got lost, but not so that we could see the streets named with Shakespearean characters. That was a coincidence. We got lost because I took one street too soon and going around the block meant long detours on freeways and connection streets that were supposed to speed up traffic.

I didn't mind the mistelling, once I realized that my memory for details is what makes me good at my day job, first, and good at writing, second. Details are natural for me. Changing eye color or character names are obvious to me. I wonder why others don't notice them.

What part of your writing life trickles into your other life?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Football Doesn't Make Sense

Since the Packers won yesterday, as did the Eagles, I'm thrilled that the game is going to be in Green Bay. It's great for the state's economy. Just think of the amount of beer that will be sold next Sunday.

However, I don't completely understand football. In fact there are three things about the game that make no sense to me.

  1. Unnecessary roughness calls. It's football. Isn't it the point to go out on the field and hit as many guys as possible in order to either protect or sack the quarterback? Yet, they can't do it too hard or it's unnecessary roughness.
  2. Scoring points. I can understand that the one point kick after a touchdown, but what is it that makes a touchdown worth 6 points? Is it really six times as hard as a kick? And twice as hard as a field goal? Please, someone enlighten me.
  3. Finally, why bother to have play books? It's 9 guys on team A tackling 11 guys on team B so that two the team A guys can play catch. What difference does it make if it's a Statue of Liberty play or something else?

I'm confident that it makes sense to other people. Personally, I'll stick with drinking beer.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Update on January Writing Goal

Cross posted at Starting Write Now.

Over at my personal blog, Raspberry Latte, I set my January goal as, write five days out of seven. No definitions as to what work means, but personal guilt won't allow me to say "reading counts" for more than two days in a row.

Evidently, not working at all doesn't bother me. I've worked four days out of the eleven so far -- details here. I would consider two of the four productive days.


So what is it that keeps me from working? Sure, some of it is my family. That 30 minutes that I thought I had was occupied by a 4 year old who wanted to sit on my lap and watch a movie. The fifteen minute break at work was consumed when a co-worker stopped by with a question that turned into a chat that wasn't work related. Lunch? Non-existent in my world.

Carving out time, even after declaring that I was only going to read one book a week, is still proving difficult. But the biggest problem is that I've lost the habit. Yep. Taking that whole month of December off really hurt more than I realized.

Next week will be better, because I told myself that I could have a night at Starbucks next week, if I worked over the weekend. Actual work, none of this "I thought about a problem, sort of" work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Stacie Means

Seriously, how do they do this stuff?

What Stacie Means
You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.
You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.
You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.
You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.
You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.
You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.
A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Thanks, Kelli and Barb. I needed an easy one.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How we work by rodcorp

How we work is a series of posts that ask that question to a famous author, artist, or other creative type person. First posted in 2004, rodcorp updates each year.

There's a great selection, including Ray Bradbury, Paul Cezanne, Neil Gaiman, and Philip Pullman, author of the very controversial The Golden Compass. Over 104 names are on the charts. Very interesting to browse your day away.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Favorite Characters to Love

Even after closing some books, the characters stay with you. Here are my Top Five Lingering Characters:

  1. Clare, from The Time Traveler's Wife. Her resolve, patience and confidence is inspiring. She always trusts Henry to come back, to be what she needs him to be. I cannot imagine the difficulties of marriage on top of the fact that your husband pops in & out of your life, at different ages each time.
  2. Laura, from the Little House on the Prairie books. I haven't read these since I was in grade school, but the massive amounts of snow we had remind me of the sleigh ride that Laura and Alzonzo took as part of their courtship.
  3. Ben, from Magic Kingdom for Sale -- Sold! series. Even though he is sure something is up (it is a magic kingdom and he is a lawyer,) he buys it. It comes with its very own bad guy. Ben never gives up. He truly wants to do what is in the best interest of the country. Admirable, really, how he stands up in the face of danger that he could just walk away from.
  4. Lizzie, from Pride and Prejudice. I love her confidence and self-assurance. I'm positive that's what wins Darcy over in the end too, even though she's not his equal, socially.
  5. Beatrice, from Much Ado About Nothing. Another feisty woman who stands up for herslef and those who have been wronged.

What characters stick with you? Why?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bookworm Report, December 2007

I hope your Christmas was very merry and your new year started out bright. I'm not much of a resolution maker, but I've seen a few posts that reminded me of some life philosophies that I haven't thought about in a while. I'll probably post about them soon.

On to The List!

Bookworm Review
Year Pages Books
2001 4,032 14
2002 2,017 4
2003 1,305 4
2004 4,647 15
2005 3,909 9
2006 3,360 9
2007 2,161 6

  • Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Live Bait by P.J. Tracy
  • An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
  • The Extremists by Christopher Priest
  • Dead Run by P.J. Tracy
  • Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger

For 2007, I read 168 books, or 61,556 pages, which averages to 14 books a month, or 5,130 pages per month, and an average book length of 366 pages.

2007: 168 books; 61,556 pages

2006: 127 books; 47,694 pages

2005: 114 books; 42,519 pages

2004: 94 books; 33,910 pages

2003: 54 books; 20,673 pages

2002: 87 books; 32,812 pages

2001: 164 books; 49,482 pages

A complete listing for 2007 will appear some weekend.

My reading goal should be interesting, if I'm able to stick to it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

WIP Goal for January

Write / edit five days out of seven. Hmmm....

  1. Happy New Year! And I'm off to a bad start since I actually made the goal on the 2nd.
  2. I thought about a nice plot twist, does that count?
  3. I read chapters 1-4, to reacquaint myself with it.
  4. Found three scenes in random note book; figured where 2 of 3 belonged. Wrote first new scene in ages; felt really good until I realized that my characters were headed towards sex. It got a bit uncomfortable.
  5. Nothing
  6. Nothing
  7. Nothing
  8. Nothing
  9. Started on Chapter 8. Realized that I feel into my typical "only write the dialogue" habit. It reads really fast with no interuption in the fighting that's going on. Need to fix this.
  10. Nothing
  11. Nothing
  12. Nothing
  13. Nothing
  14. I used to write during my coffee breaks at work. I'm going to start this approach again today. Update: I started adding the prose between my dialogue of Chapter 8.
  15. Finished working on Ch. 8. Started Ch. 10 when I realized that's where the other scene fit in. Wrote new introduction. Need to finish scene.
  16. Worked on Ch. 10 continuation.
  17. Journal -- good for the soul, but not for the WIP
  18. Edits for WIP into the electronic file
  19. Nothing
  20. Nothing
  21. Nothing
  22. Continued Ch. 10
  23. Nothing
  24. Nothing
  25. Nothing
  26. Nothing
  27. Nothing
  28. Nothing
  29. Nothing
  30. Nothing
  31. Nothing

From 11-29-07, editing in November included re-arranging the scenes and a read through.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reading Goals

I haven't ever set a reading goal, other than "Read as much as possible." Typically, this means between 125 - 175 books a year. This year, I am going to set a goal, in the opposite direction.

Read one book a week, plus one non-fiction book a month.

My total for 2008 shouldn't top 64 books total. The total number of pages might be interesting; I'm going to be picking some fat books.

With the extra time I'll now have, I'm starting two projects. One is my Etsy Craft shop Willow Bends. Right now I just have bracelets for sale, and I plan to expand for my other craft items. I'd love it if you'd check out my shop, as well as other art on Etsy. It's a great place to find unique, hand-crafted items.

My other project is writing. I need to get back to it after taking December off. I have the bare bones of my story, meaning that I have a dozen or so critical scenes and need to fill in the gaps. I'm not sure of my January goal, other than to work on it, five days out of seven. the first five scenes are good, and I have some writing to do. I'll probably keep track of my progress on a day by day sort of basis. I'm also responsible for one post a week at Starting Write Now. Gotta get back on track with that too.

What is your reading goal for the year? Do you have any "fat" books to recommend?

UPDATE: I'm starting a post to collect the titles and the subsequent reviews here.