Books of My Life, 31 Days of Halloween, and 30 Day Happiness Challenge!

Published October 4, 2014 by The Author


On the Fourth Day of Samhain, My True Love Gave to Me

Four Pumpkin Donuts (not gross, but I can’t stop thinking about them!)
Three Thirsty Vampires
Two Shuffling Zombies
And a Severed Head in a Bare Tree.


Day Three: Reach out to someone you know and praise them. Yeah, this went well. I told my mother she was a kind, funny person. This was the resulting conversation:

Mom: Are you talking to the cat?
Me: No, the cat is upstairs. And the cat is not named “Mom.”
Mom: Oh! Well, thank you, that’s very sweet. We really need to clean up down here. (Down here being my basement office.)
Me: You can’t just take the nice sentiment?
Mom: Well, that’s what I’m thinking about.

And… that’s my relationship with my mother, boys and girls. BUT I did my duty, and I’ll continue to do it tomorrow.

One Meaningful Thing That Happened to Me in the Last 24 Hours: My cat was doing her thing, being an excellent mouser, but whenever I have the opportunity, I save the potential victim if I can. Last night, I chased the frantic twosome everywhere until they had some kind of wierd Mexican standoff in the middle of the kitchen floor. Seriously. Elsie was just lying, crouched down in one corner, while the mouse sat right in the middle of the floor, staring at her. I thought it had to be dead, but maybe it figured out that if it didn’t run, she wouldn’t chase it. Anway, I took one of the old plastic bowls with holes in them we use for exactly this purpose, plunked it down on the mouse, slid a piece of thin cardboard beneath, and took it outside to the woods. I barely moved the cardboard before the mousy was GONE.

Saving a life, no matter how small, is very meaningful to me. And we always praise Elsie, as she’s always agitated and upset when we take her prey away. It’s not her fault I’m a Buddhist and a softie!

Three Things I’m Thankful For: 1.) My Cat, 2.) Books, 3.) Coffee


Anyway, I did this thing I found in Entertainment Weekly yesterday, that I’ve always found interesting. (If you want to see how my favorite author of all time, Diana Gabaldon, did it, you can find it here. And yes, I have every one of her recommendations on my TBR list. *G*)

1.) My Favorite Childhood Book: My parents constantly read to me, and when I learned to myself at a very young age, I would devour everything I could get my hands on. But things I remember loving were Winnie the Pooh books, the Little House on the Prairie Series, a series of historical biographies about famous women (which I can’t remember now :()

2.) The Book I Enjoyed Most In School: I studied English all the way through college, but I’m picking earlier in my academic career. The first “assigned” book I remember adoring was The Outsider by S.E. Hinton. It was actually my first experience with fandom madness, when the movie came out. I read all of S.E. Hinton’s books over and over again, I saw the movies based on the books dozens of times, and I LITERALLY wallpapered my bedroom wall with pictures of Matt Dillon. We didn’t have the internet back then, after all. It was just me and my friend Theresa, who was a fan of C. Thomas Howell. Fun.

3.) A Classic I’m Embarrassed to Say I Never Read: I don’t like using “embarrassed” or “ashamed” in this case. There really is only so much you can read in a lifetime, and I confess that I choose things that sound interesting to me over things that people/experts think I should read. That being said, some of the books I’ve been beaten about the head with by those in the know, or fans include MOST of Shakespeare (yeah, I don’t want to learn ancient English to read, thanks. When I was in school I was forced to, and I had to use Sparknotes and other guide to even get through it. Yuck.), hardly any Vonnegut, or… well, really, a ton of the American canon, and I HATE Jane Austin’s work. My friends — and everybody else, it seems — adore her books, and I’m left sort of tilting my head in bafflement. What am I missing? I’m sure I could list dozens, but I’d have to have a list in front of me, and I’d rather get on with reading things that interest me!

4.) The Book That Cemented Me as a Writer: It’s different for me. It wasn’t a book that made me start writing, or want to be a writer — it’s the work of other writers. Not just book authors, either, but TV writers. Joss Whedon, for example. I may not agree with many things that he’s done creatively, but he is a freaking evil genius of a writer. I got my start writing anything at all producing reams of Buffy fanfiction. I worshipped Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and the classic urban fantasy writers like Laurell K.Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and others.

5.) My Favorite Move Versions of Great Novels: I’m really not fond of the word “Great” when used to describe novels — great seems too subjective to me when used in the sense of “literary canon,” another term I hate.

Anyway, these are books I think are great that I love the adaptations for: The Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a few of the classic Steven King movies, Fight Club, Gone With the Wind. And of course, it’s not a movie, but it is by far my favorite adaptation of a series — serious business, considering it’s an adaptation of my favorite book series. The new TV show, Outlander, has far surpassed any expectations I ever had for bringing my (very complex) favorite universe and characters to screen.

6.) A Book I’ve Pretended to Have Read: War & Peace. I keep trying and TRYING, but I’ve only gotten halfway through. It’s on my bucket list, though!

7.) The Book I Read Over and Over: Did I mention Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series? Yeah. Well, guess what? I’m re-reading it right now. It never gets old — I find something brand new with every reading, and see running threads and subplots that I never imagined with each read.It’s such a broad, detailed, rich, epic universe, its re-readibiltiy never decreases.

I also re-read Anne Rice’s Lestat novels and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series occasionally, and some of my Buddhist classics.

8.) What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry? The Outlander series is notorious for that, with me. Every book is so easy to get lost in, and the characters feel like friends after 20 years. Each one makes me laugh and cry, but since I just finished The Fiery Cross (Book 5), I’ll say that one.

9.) A Book I Consider Grossly Overrated: What I’ve read of Jane Austen — let’s say Pride & Predjudice. I don’t get it. The supposed humor, the supposed romance? I mean… it’s a story of a girl who basically has to marry a guy who has money to save her destitute family (now that I think about it, isn’t that the plot of most of her novels?). Ugh. Much of what has gone buck wild in pop fiction over the past few years drives me STRAIGHT up the wall. Namely the 50 Shades books and the Twilight series. Good literary gods, they are terrible books with terrible characters and awful plots, all terribly written and edited, but slapped between fancy covers. They make me want to snatch those books out of readers’ hands, whack them upside the head, and hand them a list of REAL hot BDSM erotica, and REAL sweet, epic, and sexy vampire/human romance. Ugh. To each their own, I guess.

10.) The Book I Wish I’d Written: Do I lose points if I keep mentioning Outlander? I can’t help it. I want desperately to create a hero like Jamie Fraser (flaws and all), a heroine like Claire Fraser (also flawed), and a couple like the Frasers together — who love and are dedicated to one another come Hell or high water, even when they cause those issues. I dream of this, as a writer. It’s my ultimate bucket list goal. I dream of that, I long for it. I want to scoop out Diana Gabaldon’s brains and find out what makes them tick (not in a zombie way). I want to make people feel the way they do about these characters and their world — how could a writer want more than to move people so deeply? I would also adore to create a paranormal universe that fans can’t get enough of too, since that’s my one trick pony.

11.) The Books People May Be Surprised to Learn I Love: 

* My “sorrynotsorry” pleasure is Eat, Pray, Love. Yes, I know we could scream all day about the author, her privledge and intentions, etc. But I don’t care. This book moved me, opened my mind, and changed the way I looked at the world. That makes it an important book, however flawed.

* I read a ton of books about Buddhism, Buddhist philosophy, Yoga, etc. I’ve read everything the Dalai Lama has ever published.

* I read all kinds of books, actually. Novels from every genre, not just my own. Historical fiction, biographies, history, non-fiction and more. I believe the more broadly you read, the better your writing skills become.

12.) What I’m Reading Now: I usually have several books going at the same time — and I’m not counting reference books for whatever I’m writing. Right now on my nightstand/Kindle are:

* A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

* Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

* How to Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn

And that’s all for today! I have much Kinky Porn coming out of my smutty brain today, so I better get it out while it’s hot! 😀

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