Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Summer 2020 Reading Challenge: Summer Scourge

Inspired by the word "Scourge."

I like the word "scourge." The hard sounds of it pretty much denote its meaning and all the feels for what 2020 has been about over the past 5 months: virus contamination, nursing homes, murder hornetsAsian gypsy moths, flying ant invasion, masks, ventilators, "I can't breathe," vaccines, toilet paper shortage, fever, social distancing, isolation, protests, riots, looting, testing, Hollywood, Epstein's flight log, Seattle CHAZ, Portland ANTIFA, #BLM, elections, power-mad bureaucrats...

As we all know the list keeps going. Hell, I didn't even get to dinosaurs, super Earths, or the weather! 

Call me crazy, but what's better than a media-inspired, fear-based, summer reading challenge? 💊😷💀🐝🌍🌡🎥💰💉 I say yessss!

The books already on my shelf that had inspirational Covid-19 titles are:

1.) That Summer by Sarah Dessen

2.) Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

3.) The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

4.) Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

5.) Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Wish me luck! If I get depressed I'll try to find a cute book about bats instead. Less because of China's wet market and more because I want a bat habitat house. Check out this cool place: Nice Nests in Twisp, Washington. *swoon* Too cute!



Bat Box by Patrick Hannigan
"Nice Nests, not just for the birds."

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What Good Are Crutch Words?

I found a great article called So, Um, You Really Need to Stop Using Crutch Words by Niti Shah about crutch words (a.k.a. filler words) and how they confuse what a speaker is saying by diluting the message, as well as making the person sound nervous and unsure. She says, "I'm identifying words that we often use but have no business being said out loud."

For speakers, sure, but this isn't necessarily true for fiction writers!


"I mean...I just...like you."
Artist Trading Coin by Stacia Leigh

So, what good are crutch words?

They may be considered unnecessary fluff to some, but they have their place. They're really good for implying a voice or a tone when writing unique characters. Each person in the story needs to sound like an individual and if all the characters have similar quirks or start their sentences with, "Actually," then the lines get blurred pretty quickly regarding who's who. Why do the teens sound like the adults? Why does the villain speak in the same manner as the hero? Is the alien talking or the captain of the ship?

Confusion will inevitably set in and that confusion lifts the curtain between the mist of the imaginary world and the concrete reality of text on the page. Authors need to keep the reader immersed in the story for it to be a satisfying read, and one small part of this process is to have characters that are easily identifiable by voice.

I've included a list of crutch words below for easy access. Mix and match and have fun. Do you have a favorite or a new word to add? Let me know!


STARTING A SENTENCE
* And (so)
* So
* Anyway(s)
* At the end of the day
* Okay
* Well
* Hey
* Like I said
* Like I was saying
* As I was saying
* Well...yeah
* Listen
* Tell me something
* You see
* I mean
* In fact
* To be honest with you
* Somehow
* In a weird way
* Regardless
* Nevertheless
* For what it's worth
* Now
* By the way
* No way
* All things being equal
* As a matter of fact
* As far as I'm concerned
* At this point (in time)
* Here's the thing
* I feel (that or like)
* I think (that)
* I believe (that)
* I might add
* In my (humble) opinion
* It seems like
* The most important thing is to
* The reason
* Time and time again


SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
* Just
* Almost
* Mostly
* Only
* Basically
* Actually
* Definitely
* Literally
* Really
* Very
* Truly
* Essentially
* Absolutely
* Seriously
* Totally
* Honestly
* Obviously
* Like
* Clearly
* Technically
* Great
* Fantastic
* Awesome
* Sick
* Excellent
* Wow
* Whoa
* Brilliant
* Definite
* Typical
* Uh
* Er
* Um
* Hmm
* Ah
* Uh huh
* And one more thing
* Maybe
* Sure (thing)
* Certainly
* A lot
* In any shape or form
* Slightly
* Simply
* Exactly
* Perhaps


ENDING A SENTENCE
* Right
* You know
* (You) Know what I mean
* (You) Know what I'm saying
* You get the idea
* And so on and so forth
* I guess (so)
* I suppose (so)
* Or something (like that)
* Stuff like that
* Or whatever
* You get me
* You feel me
* Are you with me
* Believe (you) me
* Believe it
* Got it
* Considering
* Here
* There


OTHER RESOURCES
* 298 Filler Words & Phrases That Rob Your Writing of Its Power by SmartBlogger
* Fill in the Gaps by FluentU
10 Crutch Words to Avoid Using When Speaking or Writing by Online-Spellcheck.com
* Don't Get Crippled by Crutch Words by TCK Publishing.com
* 30 Filler Words You Can Cut Out of Your Writing by GrammarCheck
* 25 Filler Words That Won't Get You Hired by BrandYourself

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"Don't be the crutch for someone who can walk." ~ LaShawn Henderson

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sharing Books with Little Free Libraries: Blaine, Washington

Road trip...retreat...rest and relaxation.

The letter 'R' represents!

The Adventure Starts...

...in the Tiny Taproom

Last weekend was spent with the ladies in Blaine, Washington to celebrate birthdays, have some fun, and explore a new area. Loved Blaine, a cute, quaint border town right on the coast. Had some drinks--check out the Tiny Taproom, capacity twelve--had some laughs, and found some Little Free Libraries, too.


Bayview Avenue

The Ladies at Birch Bay State Park

Birch Bay Beach

Rainbow from Semiahmoo Point
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"And then I realized adventures are the best way to learn." 

Sunday, March 01, 2020

March 2020 Reading Challenge: Create an Outfit

What do you feel like wearing this month? The book I'm excited to read, Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent, inspired my reading challenge for March. A pair of sneakers is prominently shown on the front cover and thus becomes my first article of clothing. Let's see, what to wear...what to wear...

*Digs through closet*

1.) Shoes on and ready to go. No, I don't put my shoes of first, but this book is the first on my list, so work with me, people.


2.) Underwear to me, though some might (will) argue these are swimsuits and then I'd be forced to take a closer look, which I don't want to do.


3.) Daisy Duke shorts and sunglasses because I'm feeling sassy.


4.) Tank top up, car top down! I'm REALLY ready for summer. #stopraining


5.) Bangles and bling. Now if I find the car keys to that red convertible up there, I'll be on my way, but if not, no worries. I'm feeling bookish anyway. Happy reading!


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"Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them." ~ Marc Jacobs

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sharing Books with Little Free Libraries: Renton and Newcastle, Washington

After meeting with my writer's critique group in Renton, I decided to meander my way back home by way of Little Free Libraries. I truly enjoyed the search, the book sharing--leaving behind the books I wrote, the books I've read, and my crafty bookmarks--and posting these cute little houses on the dub-dub-dub. My friend called it guerrilla marketing...lol. I prefer using the word "organic."

Grant Street

Second Avenue

Some of the houses have quite a fresh stack, new titles with lots of variety: mysteries, romances, picture books, middle grade, art, intrigue... And some, like the LFL on Second Avenue, had a little something extra, a wooden box for trading seeds. Cute!

Pelly Avenue

Wow!
Carved Sculpture on Jones Avenue

Some of the libraries held faded books with warped covers, old titles, or a slog of reading material on container gardening, like one neighbor had an interest to share, not leaving much of a variety. Of the eight houses I visited, two didn't have libraries anymore. The one on Jones Street had an empty post, but sadly no library. But wow, really glad I stopped because that wood carving in the front yard was breathtaking. I even saw a small pasture in the middle of urban Renton with a donkey. And so it goes...

86th Street

84th Way

73rd Street
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New Author Shout Out!


Finding Frances
by Kelly Vincent

Saturday, February 01, 2020

February 2020 Reading Challenge: Sunny Yellow

A Yellow Reading Pile

For February's reading challenge, I opted out of a Valentine theme, like the color red or heart shapes on the cover, and instead chose a book I wanted to read and then tried to find a commonality with other books on my shelves. I've had my eye on The Rosie Project for quite some time, and decided to give it a go, which inspired this month's reading challenge. The bright, sunny color on the cover of Graeme Simsion's book is a wonderful contrast to the PNW weather we're currently having here in Seattle, gray and dismal and wet. #stopraining

The list of yellow books:






6.) Slade House by David Mitchell

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"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." ~ Henry W. Longfellow 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

January 2020 Reading Challenge: Books on the Cover

Goodbye Christmas Book Binge Reading Challenge and all things holiday, and hello to the New Year. Let's start 2020 off with books and more books! The challenge this month is to read anything that says the word "book" or shows it on its cover. Ready, set...read!


Books with Book(s) on the Cover
January Book Pile







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* An enjoyable read. I recommend!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Fabulous Five: Favorite Reads for 2019

Here it is, a reading year in review!

Goodreads Reading Challenge
131% Done!

I've read 131 books for the 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge. A big number for me due mainly to my interest in picture books. A really good one stands out like a bright star, and sadly, I didn't find one of those this year, so nothing to recommend on that account. However, all five of my favorite reads listed below were in the children's category:

TOP FIVE!

1.) My all-time 2019 favorite read goes to...

Young Adult

2.) Best YA story in audio form--loved the narrator, Sarah Drew!

Young Adult Audio Book

3.) Most original read for 2019--really enjoyed the tone and pacing of this one:

Middle Grade Fantasy

4.) Best Middle Grade in audio-form, narrated by the talented Robbie Daymond:

Middle Grade

5.) This book is #3 in the Berrybrook Middle School series, but #1 with me:

Middle Grade Graphic Novel

BONUS!

I really enjoyed this book, beautiful with all the feels. Interested in blackout poetry? Check this one out:

Blackout Poetry and Art