Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

I've read plenty of books since my last book review. But none of them struck me with enough force to put fingers to keyboard to sing praises. I haven't really fallen in love with a book for a while. I want to thank Jacqueline Woodson for reminding me what that feels like.

In Brown Girl Dreaming, Woodson gives an autobiography of her childhood in captivating verse. She explores issues of geographical identity, race, religion, and personal dreams in a way that keeps the pages turning and leaves the reader hungry for more.

You may notice the seals on the picture above; Brown Girl Dreaming has won the National Book Award, a Newbery Medal, an NAACP Image Award, and the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award. I'm sure even more will follow. When reading this book, you know in just a few pages that you've discovered a modern day classic, timeless and stunning, that children and adults alike will be reading for generations to come.

If you haven't already, stop what you're doing and go read this book!

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Writer Recharge (The End)

Thank you so much to Sara BirenKaty UppermanAlison MillerLiz Parker, and Elodie Nowodazkij for helping me set some goals this February! Writer Recharge was a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter to set goals, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers. Check out Sara's website to see how everyone did!

I've spent the last week plotting and outlining for an R&R. In the next two weeks, I plan to revise the first six chapters of my manuscript and write at least 10,000 new words on the full revision.

So, this one isn't exactly a win, but it's not a total fail either. I did revise the first 10 chapters and managed to cut two full scenes and over 4,000 words. I also saw another plot thread that may end up getting the ax, so that part worked out fine. On the new stuff side I've only written a measly 3,000 words. It's so hard to get all those old scenes out of my mind and start fresh! But I feel like now that I've gotten one chapter down, the flow will start to pick up. 
I've just started All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, which I expect to finish in a few days. As usual, I'm much more drawn to the male MC, Finch, in the dual narrative.  I usually buy books in bulk, and my stack has dwindled to nothing. So of course I am open to suggestions for what to read next!   

I did finish All the Bright Places, and I've got Brown Girl Dreaming bought and ready to read next.
I want to strike up more conversations with strangers. I am so hopelessly introverted when it comes to those types of interactions. I want to ask at least one person per week what she is reading, how her day is going, or something like that. 

This one is a fail. In my defense, I had my in-laws at my house visiting for a full week, so that cut down on much interaction with strangers. But I have a doctor's appointment today, so I'll try to sneak it in this afternoon! 
I need to get all the sugar out of my house. Between Christmas, kids' birthdays, and Valentine's Day, the candy and cookies just keep sneaking in to my kitchen. I know we'll all feel so much better if we can get back to healthier eating habits.

Well, we've managed not to buy any more sugary things, and I guess it's actually a good thing that we haven't eaten all the Girl Scout Cookies yet....
My local critique group has been in an awesome groove; we ended January with a workshop that helped us grow personally and as a group. We keep growing in numbers, too, and I need to get all my critiques done this week before our February meeting! I also have this weird tendency to never share a first draft of anything. With the revision I have in the works, though, I want to get over myself and get the feedback I need as soon as possible.

I did finish all my crit group comments in time, and I had some great feedback from my group on my own chapter as well. It's amazing how you can see your work differently when someone else reads it aloud. Like, man, this scene is going on forever! And I am planning to share the opening of my work-in-progress for my other online group, so that's a big step!
The hubs and I haven't been out on a date in a while. I'm hoping I can get one set up before March gets here!

Oh, another fail. Maybe soon! 
Thanks for hosting this, ladies! I can't wait to see how you did!