Monday, March 28, 2016

Books I’m Reading 22

Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani is a Young Adult novel about an Indian teenage girl who has been engaged since she was three years old. She has moved with her family to America only to find herself questioning the life she lives and the one she left. Wonderful story.

501 Amazing Uses for Salt, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Olive Oil, & Lemons by Laura M. Westdale. This is a great compilation of natural ways to deal with cleaning around the house and kitchen, health and hygiene and beauty, arts and crafts.

 The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a verse novel about twin teenage boys whose father is an ex-basketball player with health issues that affect the family. It’s also about the relationship between the boys and how it gets strained when one of them gets a girlfriend. It’s a great read and when the author writes about the action of a scene, he changes the font and format to go along with the emotions.

The Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a Manga four volume series that mixes modern wolf and vampire stories with Roman mythology. Very creative and entertaining… and the artwork is well done.

Tu perro: Cómo conocerlo, educarlo, y construer juntos una relación perfecta by Angelo Vaira. This book (written in Spanish) deals with how to better the relationship between your dog and you. It suggests ‘thinking like a dog’ in terms of what he/she wants/needs, to look at the world in their perspective, and the importance of enriching their lives.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Writing Workshops 16: Voices in Words

When I attended the Mt. SAC Fiction Workshop with Paul Tayyar Fiction on April 24, 2014, one of his prompts asked us to construct our story around a dialogue between two characters who are having a disagreement over a particular subject.

We had to make up the characters on the spot and write ONLY in dialogue, making sure that the dialogue differentiated the characters without the need for tags and that the conflict was apparent. This is actually a good exercise to focus on your character’s voice. How do you want them to sound? How does this relate to the way they deal with things?

So, when you try the activity, make sure to write the dialogue without adding any tags to tell the reader who is who or what they are doing at the moment. Let the words they convey be the clues.

At first, I had a lot of trouble jump-starting the writing, but then, I thought about an idea I’ve had for a while about a teacher…

Anyhow, here’s my attempt at the prompt:

“Stop following me.”
“I can’t do that.”
“You’ve said that before.”
“And I say it again. There’s nothing that can be done. I’m temporarily attached to you until you complete your mission.”
“My mission is to win over a bunch of kids into loving school. Not babysit the idea of having a ghost shadow me while I use the restroom.”
“I can’t see human grooming and such.”
“But you’re right there when I’m out!”
“Duly noted. Now, what are you going to do for Jason?”
“Haven’t you been listening? I can’t think or live my life, not even plan a lesson with you flying through walls and getting in my face.”
“Apparently the memo hasn’t sunk in.”
“Stop it! Just stop.”
“Go away!”

“I can’t.”

Monday, March 14, 2016

Short Stories & Such 23: Person of Your Dreams

Person of Your Dreams

With my new platform shoes, I whisk out the door with Lucas. I still can’t believe he showed up on my doorstep just a few minutes ago and asked me for coffee. Soothing coffee. Lucas seems so excited to finally find me after four years. His eyes beam with a twinkle. I blush as he guides me to his ‘ride.’
Oh, wow, I’m in his car. His new car! Cruising along the streets, a burst of people come out of hiding and are going nowhere. Coffee! Lucas!

He was the ultimate High School crush. I can’t believe he remembers me. Maybe he feels bad for standing me up at the dance. His skin looks so good. Mmh, fresh mint.

At the coffee shop, his voice fills my ears with music, until he calls me Gwen. Gwen? Maybe it’s a slip up. Oh, I hope he’s single. His gray eyes continue to sparkle with each note he plays.

That’s odd. Lucas has called me Gwen three times already. Does he think I’m Gwen instead of Ronda? Why mess with fate? I’ll just go with it. It might turn for the better.

“Ronda?” I felt a hand on my shoulder. Lucas’s forehead creased, his eyes darkened to a storm gray.
“Ronda, how are you? Long time no see, huh?” It was my colleague from my previous job.

Dog gone it!

Note: You can read the original draft and comments on Writer’s Digest Writing prompts for May 22, 2012

Monday, March 7, 2016

Books I’m Reading 21

Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon, a Dark-Hunter Novel. Author combines Greek and Native American mythology.

P. Craig Russell’s graphic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 is about a boy who escapes death by the dangerous Jack and is later taken care of by ghosts and an interesting and mysterious vampire named Silas. The Graveyard Book, Volume 2, includes the boy’s teenage years and the beginnings of living outside the graveyard.

How to be your Dog’s Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners by the the Monks of Skete details the steps to care for your pet and train them. This is a 1978 version, but there is a more recent book and DVDs available as well. Some tips include why you never call a dog to correct, teaching ‘go and get,’ and ‘sit-stay-watch me-okay’ are explained.

Las Voces del Futuro by Jordi Sierra i Fabra is a Science Fiction story about a part artificial intelligence and part human who is accused of murder. He solicits the aid of a lawyer who specializes in machines to defend him. However, the lawyer has a hard time convincing the court of his defendant’s innocence because of the conspiracies involved with the company owned by the victim and where the accused worked at. My best bet is that the title translates to “the Voices of the Future.”