Friday, July 31, 2015

Maybe I was wrong

Pic from 2011 Film
Hello lovely reader,

I have spoken out about my dislike for Jane Eyre before, post: Jane Eyre... what the? I read the book right out of high school mostly because everyone assumed if I liked Jane Austen I would like Jane Eyre... even though they are completely different. Then being convinced by my friend who loves Jane Eyre to give it another try I watched the Jane Eyre movie (2011). But I still didn't get it. So when I saw the YouTube web series "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" I watched a few episodes and then thought... nope not for me.

But for some reason (not sure why) I started re-watching it and I got hooked.

Actually I remember now why... I spend way too much time watching fan made videos, but I found the video below, and from the few episodes of "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" I had seen I recognized the actress. I will admit I was intrigued with why with all the stories to chose from why did this video maker decide to include this version of Jane Eyre in their montage. Maybe I missed something?

So in a bored moment, and in a moment of feeling blue and wanting a distraction I decided to give "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" a second chance (link to YouTube page) and I am glad I did. As I said I read the book almost 10 years ago so I don't remember much of the plot so I am not sure how exact the web series is to the plot... but personally I am okay with some updates if it helps tell the story. I commend people who take classic works of literature and revamp them in this new way to make them accessible for the modern day audience and if the main point of the story remains in tact then I am fine with some modernization. 
My biggest problem with Jane Eyre is that she always seemed perfect, and I didn't like a heroine that had no flaws. I think in watching this web series, I saw her flaws more clearly. She had such bad childhood that she was afraid to pursue things that made her happy worried that they would abandon her (if it was a person) or worried others would mock her for it (if it was a hobby). She didn't speak up for herself because she wasn't ever allowed to as a child so she spends a lot of time in her own head. And actually I can understand all those things.  

Over all- I liked it and would recommend it to anyone who has been enjoying these web series updated stories like "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" or "Emma Approved" or "Classic Alice". Also I would recommend if you want to get lost in a good story. There were some parts that still annoyed me but they were small enough I can overlook them and still consider this a good adaption of the book.  

The one thing I really did like is that in episode 20 she talks about her faith and I was happy to read in the comments of the video that this is true to the book. I am glad she didn't make it a big political discussion (because faith is not a political discussion) she just talked about forgiveness, loving others and loving yourself.
Thanks to these videos I might be willing to give Jane Eyre another chance once... I mean its been almost 10 years surely it is time to give second chances. 

If you are a real Jane Eyre fan and you want to read more read the post "Entertain: The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" the author of that post is much more of a Jane-ite than I am.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting unstuck...Writing #Littleloves


Hello my lovely readers,

It is Wednesday and that means it is Writing Wednesday... I probably like this time the most because I can share what I working on creatively. In a previous post Writing #Littleloves I shared that I was feeling stuck in my writing. Well I struggled for awhile of what to do, what my story was really about, and why I was writing it? I know many writers struggle with writers block and I see a lot of pins on Pinterest about how to conquer writers block and I am not saying my advice is right but here are some things I did and it helped...

Read a great novel...
I cannot stop recommending The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. I loved that it was about a writer trying to write a historical fiction. Also I liked how she talked about her process, one thing she did was tape down facts about the era she was writing about on her desk so she could look at them easily. I have notes that have kept about my characters but they are scattered about. So I took out my notes and taped them down.

Rethinking some things down
I am all about following inspiration and letting the characters telling me where the story is going. While that is great in some ways I felt I lost my point of my of my story. I want my story to be a romantic story of hoping in spite of obstacles. I want my story to be about Mattie and Kelby being separated by class, family obligation and war. World War I to be exact and yet I was nearly 100 pages into the writing and these things had not come up. So I decided I needed to rework my writing... but how?

Skip Ahead
 Most of my work in progress is building up to WWI but this is where I was getting stuck because I didn't know how to take my characters from the life they were living and throwing them into War... So I took a step back from my current plot and wrote a scene in the middle of the war. You can part of that scene here... "Author Happiness". Skipping ahead really helped me feel inspired to get back into my story.
Do some research...It can be fun
Okay I will admit I was a history major and yeah I went for Masters in Library Science so I enjoy research...but it can be fun. For example: I found this documentary "Diaries of the Great War" on Netflix and for me I watch the documentaries 8 episodes and take notes of things I want to mention in my story. Also I have a board on Pinterest called "The War to end all Wars" and follow other boards about World War I. So even though you may not be writing a WWI novel I am sure you can find areas of research that are fun. 

Listen to Inspiring Music
When I am writing, I like to have music going. Sometimes I just find a song that speak to me. I am not going to make suggestions on what songs to listen to as I know music taste really vary. Here is one song I have just discovered and feel it well with my story...
Song: Carry you
By: The Native Sibling
Get distracted
If you are not on a deadline (which I am not except my own thinking) it is okay to walk away from your writing. I have really gotten into Poldark on PBS. It is about Ross Poldark who is believed to be dead after fighting for the British in the American Revolution. He comes home to find the woman he loved to be engaged to his cousin, his inheritance in practical ruins, and he has to make a new life for himself. It is great! Plus you get to see Adrian Turner without a shirt...
While it has nothing to do with WWI, I don't care! It is my distraction. 
Okay back to serious writing..
Outline/ Timeline
As I said above I usually about following inspiration and my one weakness is making an outline. When I skipped ahead and wrote that scene I decided that I wanted to weave it into my story as a flash forward.... but then I thought "now what" I have this one random flash forward. What do I do with this. So I was going to have more flash forwards about the war, this would help me pull the war more into my story. So I sat down and actually outlined my work in progress and it feels good to have a direction.
Typed it up/Write it down
I know this takes a long time but I am the kind of writer that has to write down my story and then type it. Only on a few occasions have I been able to look at a blank screen and just type up my story. It really helped me to type up some parts, re-working my descriptions, adding some detailing and even taking out some unneeded dialogue. 
If you are the type of writer who can type up a story and are feeling stuck I suggest maybe stepping away from the computer and hand writing some things out. 

 I know this will not be hard for writers as writing is basically dreams you put on paper. While right now I remain unpublished I think of the day my story will be published and I love thinking about the cover of my story. So I have spent some time while stuck searching Pinterest to get some inspiring art to be the cover of my story. I know right now I do not own this picture and I know that my publisher will have their ideas on what to make the cover look like but right now I am just enjoying the idea of a possible cover. 

When I first started my thesis, for my graduate program, my advisor said choose something you are going to enjoy even when its tough. "Choose your own hell." Enjoy your work, enjoy your research, enjoy your time you spend writing. I know for me writing is sometimes the only thing that make sense to me. I enjoy getting lost in my characters, and lost in my story. If you don't enjoy it maybe it is time to set it aside and work on something you do enjoy, work on something you find passion in. 

I know I am not a published author so you can take my words with a grain of salt but these are things I have found useful. 

Just Dance

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pin of the moment


Hello Lovely Readers,

I am sorry I don't really have anything to write here for this: "My World Monday" life really hasn't changed that much from my previous Monday post (link). However, I did not want to get off schedule, so I am sharing you this quote on Pinterest.

Life kind of seems up in the air right now and I feel my one steadiness is my writing. I already have my "Wednesday Writing" post ready to be published, I am discussing the things I have done in to get over the stuck feelings I had, here is a little preview:
 I know this will not be hard for writers as writing is basically dreams you put on paper. While right now I remain unpublished I think of the day my story will be published and I love thinking about the cover of my story. So I have spent some time while stuck searching Pinterest to get some inspiring art to be the cover of my story. I know right now I do not own this picture and I know that my publisher will have their ideas on what to make the cover look like but right now I am just enjoying the idea of a possible cover. 

Other than my writing I am making good headway on 26 Book reading Challenge I have finished book 20 and have only 6 more to go. As much as I have been enjoying this challenge and reading book I might never have read but some of the books on my shelf are asking me to read them again. Also I would like to read some more WWI books as I continue to work on my story. 

Sorry not much to says here... Hope you will read my "Wednesday Writing" post.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friviolous Friday...More Drama to Love

 Hello lovely readers,

I have become addicted to Poldark on PBS. I am the first one to admit that I have bias towards British Period Dramas... I think it very clear if you spend any time with me either on this blog or in real life. But usually my heart tends to be focused on the 19th or early 20th century. So when I heard about Poldark, which is set in the 18th century I was a little skeptical if I would like it. Well suffice I have fallen hard for it.

The story is premise of the story is simple. Ross Poldark (Adrian Turner), served as a British solider in the American Revolution and is injured in such a way that he is believed dead. He returns two years later to England only to discover his father is dead, the mine his father owned is in ruins and the woman he loved is engaged to his cousin. Now he must make a new life for himself and restore his families business. Enter Demelza played by Eleanor Tomilson who changes Ross from an angry bitter man to one of compassion.... and yes there is great chemistry and tension between them. I don't want to give spoilers away. Though I don't think I would be the first one to say that Poldark is the Downton Abbey of the 18th century. 

Overall: I would say the story is great and there are many moments I am holding my breath, but like I said I can easily get lost in Period Dramas. However, it is not just beautiful costumes with hopeless dramatic plots because to be honest the costumes are kind of basic (which is fitting for the story). The story is really about struggle because Ross and Demelza are trying to make the world a better place but they are held back by constrictions in society around them. Also some people don't like Ross and try to ruin him in business and personally. And I like that Ross is not only trying to raise himself up but also trying to help the men and women out around him. I really like that. 

Also the beauty of scenery is wonderful and helps you get swept up in the story line, the beauty and the struggle of it all. 


But don't just take my word for it...there might be some spoilers in links below:

Poldark: why the drama is perfect Sunday night entertainment

‘Poldark’ has all the melodrama of ‘Downton Abbey

Poldark is Coming

Hope you guys take some time over the weekend to check it out!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yours faithfully... Letter #10, 11

Hello lovely readers,

First, I know last week I posted a snip it of a story idea that came to my mind but I have decided two works in progress was enough for me to handle. I have been loving these letters as a way to retell one of my novels Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Second, I am happy and surprised that this story has lasted so long since it really just came out of a free-write in April, but I have been enjoying this project and I hope you have too.

Previous post
Dearest Aunt,
I am at a loss of what to say. I cannot breath. My heart is broken. How can you be gone?

Everyone thought you were on the mend and now you are gone. I wonder if you even hear my last letter and if it in any small brought you comfort. It probably came at the time when you were at your worse and you never heard it, and you will not hear this or read this as you are now gone.

People will think it is odd to write to you now that you are dead but you were my truest comfort and it only feels natural to write you even though you will never read this. 

Oh my dearest Aunt, I am at a loss. You were truer to me than my own late mama. I barely remember her, I was only three, and looking back on it I feel as though one day she was there and then gone the next. Besides the portrait of us taken when I was baby I have no remembrance of  how she looked or what it was like to be held by her. You were my second mother, no matter what my new mama tells me. 

I feel I cannot cry around her, she so hates to see grief. My one comfort at this moment is Cassie who lets me sit and cry on her shoulder. She is always so generous and loving. Her beauty on the outside reflects the pureness of her heart. I do not know how I would get through this moment without her strength.

I am being selfish. I wish I could be with Uncle, Ozzie and Hugh. I do not know how they are baring it. Uncle and Ozzie were quite tense with each other when I left, they did not speak of it but it was felt at every moment. They both depended on you so much. And poor Hugh to lose another mother. How will he feel this deeply? Oh my dearest aunt, I am sorry if we took advantage of your kindness, your love, and strength. If you can see us now, I hope you can see how desperately we need you. You were the cornerstone of our family. I do not know whats going to happen. 

I do wish my new mama would let me come to see them all but she claims that I would be a burden to them.  I hope I was never a burden to you. Mama also claims we have engagements that we are to keep, I do not know how I am to keep up appearances when my heart is so broken.

I will stay faithful to you and keep you updated on the events of my life. In that I feel I keep you with me. 

All my love.    

Dearest Aunt,

We buried you today. That feels odd to write. Unreal almost. The minister talked about your soul being in heaven and I do so hope you are at peace. 

The service was beautiful practically everyone in town attended.And my dear uncle stood as a rock not letting anyone see his heartbreak. You would have been embarrassed by the amount of tears Ozzie had for you, I think he feels your loss more than anyone.He told me you were always his biggest supporter and now he does not know how he will get on from one day to the next. I wanted to remind him of his wife and the support she will provide, but as I promised him and myself to never speak of it I did not feel right to mention it. The service was beautiful and I felt it truly reflected the beauty that is in your life. I hope you got to look down from heaven and see how much we down here love you. Hugh was so good to me and let me sit up front as if I was intimate family. Mama and Cassandra did not attend as Mama was called to The Towers this morning and Cassandra accompanied. I would have appreciated her company and have her meet Hugh, Ozzie and Uncle but I know when Mama puts her mind to something it is hard to dissuade her. 

Not much else to write, but I did want to copy down the poem Hugh read, he said it was your favorite. I think Hugh was the only one who could read a loud at the moment... 

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

I knew you liked Dickinson but I did not know that was your favorite. I will carry it with me from now on. 

All my love.  

 Poem citation 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life seems but a quick successions of busy nothings

Hello lovely readers,

I come here to say I feel a little guilty that I have not gotten much writing done for the blog. Usually I have 5 blog post waiting to get posted... this has kept me going through my schedule but life has gotten very busy. 

How wonderful would it be if summer felt like a "quick successions of busy nothings."Everyone pictures summer to be this relaxing time to kick back and relax and while in someways this feels true there are many moments when summer feels to be going by to fast. That is how I feel right now. Not that I can complain about my summer I have had good highlights.

If you have been following the Boston news you will know we just passed a major milestone. Up here in Boston we had a record snow fall this winter (well really in one month). And we have very little places to put the snow in order to keep our streets clear but our city government found an unused lot to put all our snow. Well as of July 14th that pile of snow has finally melted. Below a before and after:
Since moving up to New England I have definitely had appreciation for summer with getting to wear flip flops, summer dresses and long sunny days. I think I even hold summer up as this perfect time and maybe that is not fair. I say summer goes by too quickly but sometimes it is just life going by too quickly...

Sorry to be a bit of "Debby Downer." I shouldn't even complain about this summer I have made some good memories and maybe instead of blaming summer for going by too quickly I should think about the good things. Maybe Ferris Buller had it right "Life moves pretty fast if you don't stop and look around sometimes you might miss it." So here are some moments I have not missed:

Meeting my nephew (and seeing him rock some Boston gear), going to Gloucester an enjoying some down time at the beach, hanging out with friends (enjoying margaritas), and treating myself to some fun flicks.

Also I am enjoying getting lots of reading done, I am on book 19 of my 26 book challenge and I have found so many good books I may not have read had it not been for this challenge. Some have really inspired me in my writing. The Winter Sea for example is about an author trying to write a novel and just the way she talks about her writing has given me some ideas about how to write. Also I like her story for having a dual plot line being set in present day and in 1708. The book has also inspired me to thinking about going to Scotland. The current book I am reading The Steady Running Hour has also been inspiring, as a part of it takes place in World War I and it has been great to read about it from a soldiers perspective and think about my characters in my work in progress and how they think about the war.

Speaking about my work in progress, lately have felt kind of stuck in my work. I didn't know where I wanted to go with my story and I felt I had lost the point of my story. I took a step back from the flow of my story and started thinking about the structure of my story and through that I started thinking about scenes in my story I wanted to write. And in doing that I got inspiration for some future scenes and I was working furiously away. Then I went back to the drawing board. One thing I am really bad about doing is outlining, usually I just start writing and let the characters take me where I want to go or I have some vague idea of what should happen but I haven't really planned it out. However, I realized I was spending so much time building up my characters that I had lost the pivotal part of my story which, is World War I. I though I really need to get an outline down so I can know how all the scenes in my head are going to work together. I am so happy I did this because now I feel my story has more structure. Also I realized my working title "Hope Deferred" didn't really work with the progression of my story so I have changed the the title again to "Quiet Hope."
This work has probably been the biggest struggle of my writing time. Usually I give up when I get stuck, but I really want to finish this project. This story has been floating around my mind for years and I don't want to give this up. 

 So there are some of the highlights of my summer thus far... I will try not to miss the moments.

Friday, July 17, 2015

"God gave you Something Special"... Music for Frivolous Friday

 Hello Lovely Readers,

While I don't watch ABC's Nashville as much as I used too I have a Nashville playlist on my Pandora (mostly because I like country music). Listening to Pandora (on my shuffle) I have heard this song come up a couple times and fell in love with it and was honestly surprised it came from Nashville (I can't really explain why). But I thought for this "Frivolous Friday" post I would share some music with you all...
That same road that brought you here
Will sure as hell take you home
The life you left behind will have you back
You're tired of paying dues in worn out shoes
and Broadway blues
And any fool will tell you
the damn ol' deck is stacked
What if you're just a vessel
And God gave you something special
It ain't yours to throw away
It ain't yours to throw away
Every time you open up your mouth
Diamonds come rolling out
It ain't yours to throw away
Oh ...
And all of the players, the movers, and shakers
The star maker suits have gone home
You drew the last slot
You thought it was your shot
But now it's just one more chance blown
What if you're just a vessel
And God gave you something special
It ain't yours to throw away
It ain't yours to throw away
Every time you open up your mouth
Diamonds come rolling out
It ain't yours to throw away
No ...

I would also like to give a shout out to my friends who are celebrating their anniversary this weekend... 
Photo by: Deborah Zoe Photography

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Too many stories in my head

Hello lovely readers,

This is a little venting... It is not a really problem but it is a problem in my writing world. I currently have two working stories. One is my major work in progress (or WIP as I have been informed) and the other is my postings of Molly's letters to her aunt in my "Yours faithfully" project which I am enjoining.

Then a couple of weeks my roommate told me about this "question of the week" her co-worker posts (sorry if I am getting the information wrong). The question was "If you could go back and live in anytime period, what would it be and what two celebrities would you take with you?" Both these questions were hard for me to answer, because of course it would be awesome to live in the Edwardian times (or at least what I imagine), but I am also drawn to living in Jane Austen's time but I think only if I knew for sure that I was going to meet Jane Austen. Though after reading after Confessions of Jane Austen Addict I am less inclined to do that. Right now my heart and mind are in Edwardian times so I think I would go back to that time.

Work in Progress: Hope Deferred
Work in Progress: Yours Faithfully

And now I have a new story in mind spurned from the question my roommate and I were discussing. I was thinking it would be about a girl who finds a journal from a hundred years ago only to discover it is was her journal and by the end of the book modern girl gets the choice to go back in time... but will she?

The cottage had clearly been abandoned with ivy entangling itself in the stone and covering the windows. It had been untouched for nearly fifty years and looked as though it came from of the Grimm's fairy tales with one expecting to see Hansel and Gretel running away from the witch at any moment. 

"Are you sure about this Caroline?" Janey questioned as she rested a box of my stuff on the roof of her car.
"Of course," faking more confidence than I actually felt.
"It looks like setting from a scary movie not where you can write your next novel." Janey Brick, my best friend from high school, really my only friend still from high school had gotten married right after college, had two kids right away, and lived a pretty cookie cutter life. For some reason she still hung out with me, who went to college on the six year plan floating between majors of Poly Sci, Psychology, took a year off to travel, and came back to major in Creative Writing with a minor in Women's Studies.
"It will be perfect, Janey. It is at the back of my Grandma's property, so I will be well fed and I will not have to work extra shifts at the Coffee Joe's or seek out employment at Charlie's-Ship-It store. I will just be able to write, work my usual shift at Coffee Joe's to pay off my student loans." I said it more to justify it in my own head. 
"Alright. You know Charlie's-Ship-It store is not all that bad."
"You're just saying that because your father-in-law owns it."
"I am and he has always treated you kindly."

I then profusely thanked Janey for how she and her family always looked out for me, but I told her I had to write. I had written one novel from my years in undergrad but it hardly sold more than a hundred copies, and my editor was going to drop me soon if I didn't have another piece. I had to write, it was the one thing I knew I was suppose to do, but it was hard to manage it between two jobs, paying rent, paying off loans, and still managing to buy groceries. So with all the certainty I could muster at the moment I reassured her I would be fine. 

I wouldn't have even thought of this cottage to hide out in, had it not been my mom's suggestions a couple of months back. Grandma Wallis' health had grown worse and worse over the last few months and mom was getting concerned about her well being. Grandma Wallis had lived on this farm since the day she was born and with no brothers or sisters to care for it, it was up to her to make sure it survived, and she would never leave it for the suburban lifestyle my mom had adapted to. I always looked up to Grandma Wallis  for how strong willed she was. A couple months back my mom and her sister were discussing bringing in a nurse to help her, but they knew she would never accept a stranger to take care of her. Everyone who worked on the farm had worked here for almost forty years and if they were no longer able to work their children would pitch in. So my mom asked me, since in her mind I was doing nothing with my life, if I would help out. I actually agreed to consider it once my lease was over on my current place. Though pitching the idea to Grandma Wallis was harder than I thought, she didn't like the idea of me thinking she was an invalid, so I rephrased the story of me being hard on my luck and just needing a place to squat for a bit as I got my life back on track. Being from the generation of the Depression Era, my grandma agreed to that easier and offered me the cottage at the back of her property. She insisted that we both keep our independence and I complied to her condition telling mom I would check up on her multiple times a day. That appeared to make both of them happy. 

"Are you sure there are no bugs or mice?" Janey asked.
"Positive, Joe came over here the other day to clean it out."
"Good an almost blind gardener was here, that makes me feel comfortable."
"I am sure he had his son with him," though I wasn't sure at all. "It can be no worse than my place I had on Kelsey St."
"You moved out of that place in a month," Janey was quick to remind me.
"I will be alright."

Now that Janey was a mom she was quick to mom me, which I never minded as I knew she was just looking out for me and as a friend wanted my best in life. But like any mother daughter relationship I had to show her I was self-sufficient.I was going to make this cottage work,  I was going to start and finish my novel here before long and then figure out the next step. That was my life always figuring out the next step. 
This is as far as I had gotten in thinking about it... I don't know where it will go from here, but I will keep you posted. I do like this of this story as I have always wanted to write a multi generational story (or a dual timeline story) so I think this would be intriguing. Right now though I think I have enough stories on my hand for my mind to work out. I have a very bad habit of writing one story and then when another idea comes I put my first story down and switch gears. So far all that has done has left me with notebooks of unfinished stories and I really do want to finish my WIP of "Hope Deferred."

I have to stay focused and continue on. That's all for now from this naive writer, will keep you posted on all my works in progress in my next "Writing Wednesday"

Monday, July 13, 2015

Can't Just Sit By... Part 2ish

Hello lovely readers,

Click here to read New Year's Post
This is kind of a follow up on my previous post about not just sitting by and waiting for things to change. While that is good it is not a plan. This is also kind of a follow up on my New Year's resolution post.

I mean it is July so probably a good time to look back at those New Year's resolutions... I set two very broad goals for myself 1) "Invest or Re-invest in friendships" and 2) "Work on transforming my mind to understand what God wants for my life."... Yep big, broad, and maybe a little idealistic goals but I am still working on them (they might be life long resolutions as I am sure I will need reminders of them over time).

However I three new goals to add to my list to get done by this time next year (if not sooner):
  1. Finish at least the first of my novel. I feel I have spent years working on this story but I want to finally buckle down and get it out. 
  2. Find a volunteer position to invest in an on going manner. 
  3. Work on and get a handle on my budget in order to save more, pay off student loans, and invest. I would also like to be able to donate more money to causes I like. 
Yeah reading that list seems pretty intense but do-able if I focus. I also feel like these 3 things will help me know better that I am doing something with my life and being of use in this world. 

Okay this is a quick post but I wanted to give you, my lovely readers, an update. I thought last week seemed kind of a downer and I am not actually down at all just trying to push on and setting goal really help me.

Have a good day.

Friday, July 10, 2015

2 weeks 2 books

Hello lovely readers,

When I decided to do this challenge of reading 26 books in a year I thought it would be quite a challenge but I have just finished book 17! I am thankful sometimes to a long commute to an from work... it really helps. I have loved this challenge because minus 2 books I have read completely new books, and some books I probably never would have read had it not been for this challenge (I have a habit of reading the same books over and over again).* So here are the 2 books I have read in the 2 weeks, both very different but both with compelling stories.

1) Paper Town by John Green. I read this one for theee reasons. One: I loved The Fault in Our StarsVlogBrothers and Crash Course very cool. Also he just has lots of inspiring quotes that I have found through my time on Pinterest. Two: I saw the trailer of the movie (coming out) and I was a little more intrigued by what the book is about... I am a big believer in reading the book first before seeing the movie (if you can do so). I didn't know if I wanted to read it for this challenge or get to it when I could, but on one of my flights (from all my recent travel) a woman was reading this book and I asked her about it. She told me she was reading it in her mother daughter book club (which sounds awesome by the way) and she really liked it. I don't know why I took a strangers advice on a book, but I decided to put it a hold on it at my library.

Overall I liked it... I mean I probably won't be going out and seeing the film in theaters but I will see it eventually. I mostly like reading it because it was told from a man's point of view and I don't read a lot of books from a man's point of view. I also found myself relating to Quentin, because he wants to do something great with his life but he doesn't have the courage to until Margo Roth Spiegelman climbs into his window and forces him out on a night of adventure (to read more about the plot click here). I like how John Green almost always referred to Margo Roth Spiegelman by her whole name, she was almost suppose to be this mythical figure because Quentin loved her from a far for so long, and referring to her like that kept that up well. I know when I was in high school my love from a far was always referred to by his whole name (at least in my mind).

So the reason why I wouldn't rush out to see it in theaters is because while it was good characterization and full of memorable quotes (example above) I just didn't get to attached to the plot. I found it a little far fetched to be honest, but maybe when you are seeking out the love of your life you need to be a little far fetched.

2) Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was great. I was intrigued by this book since the moment I saw it floating around my Pinterest book. It takes place in Australia after World War I, I know I know I will read anything about WWI but I felt this was a good mix because it was in Australia and I personally never thought abut Australia in this time. The story focuses on Tom, who is a returning solider and taking up post at a light house on Janus Island, a very secluded life he seeks till he meets Isabel. Their life turns from happiness to pain as Isabel suffers miscarriages and a still birth, until one day a boat is washed ashore with a dead man and a very adorable baby girl, they name "Lucy" which means "light" (for another review click here). 

Overall the story is powerful and captivating. I found myself in moments of heart ache and moments of joy. Even if you don't like historical fiction I think you will like this story as it is more than just history but a powerful story. It is a story of the strength it takes to get through life when you are beaten down, it is a story of great sacrificing love, it is a story of some bad decisions but made with good intentions. Even though I know little of Australia and light house I found it breath taking.
This is M.L Stedman's first book and I will be looking forward to reading her other books. The review mentioned above says: "I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves great literature ... because I believe this book is going to be considered a classic in years to come" and I hope she is right. 
I know this quote comes from Emily Dickinson, but it was brought to my attention in Paper Towns and while these books are very different they both encouraged me to live in the present and realize the decisions you make now have impacts on your future.

Just for fun an example of John Green's Crash Course "Who Started World War I":

*Though I will admit once this challenge is over I do look forward to re-reading my Jane Austen and maybe reading more books on WWI (as my work in progress continues).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Author Happiness... 50,000 words

Hello lovely readers,

Continuing on with my hopes to share my writing accomplishments I wanted to share that I have gotten to 50,000 words in typing up my story (that is a little over 100 pages) and I still have so much to go. YEAH!!! As I shared a snippet of my story in my last "Author Happiness" post I wanted to do the same again. In the story I have skipped ahead to 1917 and Mattie is serving as a nurse. When I fist started my story I wasn't going to make Mattie a nurse but then after reading A Testament of Youth earlier this year, I felt it was the only right course of action... looks like I get to research being a nurse in World War I. YEAH!!! 
Anyway getting back to the story, Mattie is home on leave for Christmas and this is long snippet of her time back home. This
 "Mattie! Mattie!"
            Mathilda had missed the way her own name had  sounded. She had been serving as a nurse for six months and every one called her "Nurse Harrington" or "Sister Harrington" even though they weren't suppose to. Before that she was "Miss Harrington" at her training school, even her own bunk mates called her "Mathilda," no one ever called her by her childhood nick name. Until she heard that familiar call she wouldn't have not have realize how much she missed it.
            Mattie turned to the familiar call. "Georgi, what are you doing here?"
            "Come to welcome our brave hero home."
            Mattie blushed at being called a hero and reminded her younger sister she was not a hero. To that Georgiana called her older sister "her hero" with a mark of pride in her voice.
            "No Mrs. Gardner, is that safe?"
            "This is hardly London Mattie, no Zeppelin raids and we are nowhere near the sea shore to be attacked by the German Navy. I doubt they even know Derbyshire exists."
            It was rather odd for Mattie to hear her younger sister talk so flippantly  about the war. To Georgian it must be all gallant stories in the newspaper and the very white washed letters from Marcus who had been in France since the early part of 1915. Georgiana did her part by knitting socks and wrapping bandages but she was hardly old enough to actually serve in any capacity. However, looking Georgiana her younger sister by four years she scarcely the girl Mattie had left when she went off to training. Georgiana had lost all her childhood plumpness and was now eloquently slender with her soft honey blonde hair and perfectly green eyes she looked to be a model in a magazine. Mattie felt rough and rigid compared her younger sister's delicacies.
            "I am glad you packed light this buggy was atrocious getting down here if you had packed more I dare say I don't know if I could handle the ride back."
            "You have learned to drive the buggy?" Even though Georgiana had written to Mattie about this Mattie still sounded surprised.
            "We must all do our part," Georgiana responded sounding more adult than Mattie was used to.
            "Well I am only here for three days."
            "Three days? That is hardly enough time to do what I want to do."
            "Like what Georgi."
            "Oh I don't know, but all sorts of things." Then Georgiana instantly changed the conversation to discussing the men in her older sister's life before they got home, to which Mattie had to disappoint her sister with no men being in her life. Georgiana was rather frustrated as she had read stories in magazines about patients falling in love with their nurses. Mattie explained that anything of the sort would get her dismissed from her position, but Georgiana didn't want to hear that. "Maybe someone has fallen in love with you even if you can't fall in love with him?"
            "No and if you are going to be talking about such nonsense I'd rather drive the buggy, at least then I could fake distraction and pretend not to hear you."
            "Oh come on Mattie," Georgiana was always good at sounding desperate but not in a whining way. "Please tell me something of your life. I am fifteen years old and this war seems to be lasting a life time."
            Mattie went on to describe how she was on her feet all day, cleaning chamber pots, washing sheets and changing bandages of wounds. She began how she would have hold me down when their legs had to come off because of gangrene but before she really started Georgiana cut her off saying she still wanted to eat her Christmas lunch.
            "I am sorry Georgi, that is my life as a nurse."
            "It doesn't look that way in the magazine or on the recruitment posters."
            "I am sure it doesn't" Mattie said under her breath."
            Being a nurse wasn't what Mattie had expected either. She had expected the hard work and long hours and she truly did like being of use to all those around her but it was not what she thought it would be even after her months of training. She couldn't imagine how callous her hands would get, or how sore her lower back would be after standing, and the blisters she would get from the impracticality of her boots. For now she tried not to think of all the wounds she had seen, the gashes, the burns, and all the horrors a body could go through and still stay alive. It was hardly what she predicted nearly a year and half ago but if she had to chose it all over again she would because for the first time truly in her life she felt of use.
            "Have you heard from Leopold?" Georgiana asked pulling Mattie out of her thoughts.
            "He is engaged to an Ethel Phillips and plans to marry next time she gets leave."
            "You say that so casually I am rather surprised."
            "What to do you mean?"
            "You know very well what I mean. He was your first kiss and for awhile it seemed as if you two would get engaged. I am just surprised how casually you now mention him. I thought you cared for him."
            "Do you think I am the type of girl who would go around kissing boys she does not care for. I did care for him, I do care for him, but not enough to marry him."
            "And Kelby, do you care enough about him?"
            "Georgiana, I think you have been reading too many magazines. I think I will have to warn Mrs. Gardner."
            "You wouldn't?!"
            "I would if you keep meddling in my love life."
            "I don't meddle. I am just wondering, you hardly write, I just want to know what's happening."
            Mattie began to protest that nothing was happening and that she and Kelby and her were just friends, and Georgiana rolled her eyes stating that she had heard Mattie say that a thousand times. Georgiana was young but she knew how Mattie looked at Kelby and she knew how Kelby looked at Mattie and it was more than just friendship. Mattie refuted that saying that there was a war going on and that nothing could happen between them. She then shut the argument down by mentioning that mother and father would never allow it. Georgiana could see Mattie was saddened by this last remark and tried to encourage her sister stating that Kelby was in the medical core, and was sure to move up the rank.
            Mattie glumly responded "he was a corporal and now he is a sergeant, but it wouldn't make a difference if he was an officer as mother and father would only see him as a stable hand."
            "It seems such a waste." Georgiana sighed and Mattie could only agree.
            Kelby Foster, was following his desire to work in the medical field, he had told Mattie many moons ago that he had wanted to pursue becoming a doctor when the war was over. Mattie hated thinking that it wouldn't be enough, Kelby would never be rightfully for hers, her parents wouldn't allow a marriage between them that was certain. Mattie still remembered when mother discovered Daphne and Shane's relationship and the disgust that was in her voice.
            Before the war everyone talked of the progress being made and how the world was changing, now all that seemed to change was the growing death tallies and the new weapons that were designed to kill someone else. Mattie could have never understood the brutality of it, it felt to be in human in the mindless shelling and worse the use of mustard gas. Mattie tried again to push these thoughts away as Marcus, her only brother was a pilot in the war, and Kelby was risking his life as well in the medical core. She told herself it was Christmas and felt it was no time to think of such destruction, it was time to be thankful you survived another year and to hold love ones close. It was good to be spending Christmas at Southerton, it felt distant from the war and maybe for a day or so she could forget about all she had seen day in and day out at the hospital. Maybe for a moment she could remember happier times.
            Mattie was relieved to see the roof  line of Southerton peak out from the tree line. It felt to be years since she had been to the place that had always been her solitude against the world. Mattie loved everything about Southerton but what she probably loved most were her backwoods and her proximity to Cranston Court. She hoped for one good day that she could take a walk through her woods and visit Cranston as if it were times of peace again. She longed to see Cranston and its mistress, Lady Adelaide. She hadn't seen her friend since she left for training.
            Georgiana then asked after Marcus, Mattie responded that she hadn't heard from him since the first of December, and he wasn't sure he would be able to get leave for Christmas. Georgiana mildly whimpered that it wouldn't feel like Christmas without Marcus.
            "No, but remember he just returned to his unit, he doesn't have seniority anymore?"
            Georgiana almost giggled. "You speak so practical. What happened to my sister?"
            "Nothing, it just hard to remain so hopefully naïve when one sees everything I see every day."
            "Well you are home now and I demand you put all war talk behind you."
            "I will try."
            "There is no try only do."
            "You sound like Sister Bennet," Mattie teased with her sister. 
Did you know you were suppose to only call nurses "Sisters" if they had actual medical training. Most of the volunteer nurses in World War I were considered civilians and were left to do menial tasks not to do actual medical work. However, in times of crisis lines could be blurred. Besides reading Testament of Youth I have found the blog Edwardian Promenade to give a great overview of this in their "WWI Wednesday: Becoming a VAD" and though I would never cite Wikipedia in a paper I liked their page on "Voluntary Aid Detachment."