Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dearest Friends, Family and Neighbors

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month in 2012, the hellish and inspiring, self-afflicted journey of 50,000 words. I have participated every year since 2007 and have won three out of my five previous attempts and I have every intention of winning again this year.

What does this mean for you? If you know and care about me in real life, you will likely notice some disturbing patterns. I might disappear from most or all social settings that you would expect to see me attending. My home and possibly my hygiene could suffer. I will be sleep-deprived, probably eating little or very badly and I will, in all honesty, ignore or forget promises that I foolishly made to you. Don’t be surprised if I am seen in public muttering to myself or making euphoric and/or angry faces that seem unconnected to my external environment. If you don’t know or care about me in real life, you may still suffer an electronic version of this, the main symptom of which is updating my blog/social media sites too frequently with ambiguous and frustrated, but annoyingly hopeful, posts.

I will, in short, become — very soon, but hopefully temporarily — a malnourished, stinky madwoman that you are embarrassed to be in any way associated with. But I give you this fair warning because I will spend the next month creating something both beautiful and impossible and, if you know me, care about me, or are just reading this, you are making a contract with me.

It is this: I will win, or try very hard to win, simply because you know what I’m attempting to do. You need do nothing further to uphold your end of our bargain. However, if you should care to speak kindly to me though I am clearly deranged, maybe even feed me healthy and warm meals on occasion, and above all, send me words of encouragement, here or privately, you would be going above and beyond the conditions of your contract, but I would appreciate it very, very much.

If you plan to participae in NaNoWriMo 2012, please let me know. It’ll be nice to have company in this craziness. I am thatagirldarling in NaNoLand.

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Filed under family, Friends, NaNoWriMo, writing updates

Brag thyself

This is a special edition “bragging on” post. A while back, I got some good news that I have been remiss in sharing with you until now. I did promise that I would brag on myself when the opportunities came along. So.

My essay, “Tango Face,” won the nonfiction category of the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

You might remember that in my last bragging on post, I listed all of my friends, including the Peauxdunque folks, who had been recognized at various levels of the  competition. When the announcement came, it went out just after midnight. I was falling asleep and didn’t see it, but thanks to the eagle eyes of some friends, I wasn’t in the dark for long.

It feels amazing to have accomplished something brag-worthy, and to be bragged on. So, thanks everyone for that and I look forward to giving you more opportunities to brag in the future.

Look for a big, regularly-scheduled bragging on post very soon.

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Filed under bragging on, freelance work, Friends, New Orleans, writing updates

2012 Q3 Reading Report

As I predicted in my last Quarterly Reading Report, July and August were a bit sparse, but I made significant gains in September. And as always, I read some really amazing books. All but two of the sixteen books I read this quarter were from the library. I did go back and buy two of the books after reading them, because I wanted a copy of my very own.

July

Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu – This was an odd, sometimes completely amazing, mishmash of other fantastical children’s tales, pulling from fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia. But, these references were homages, touchstones in a tale that was, in part, about the power of stories and imagination.

One for the Money, Janet Evanovich – You’ll be disappointed to know that I was inspired to read the book by the recent movie (once again). I found this first Stephanie Plum tale amusing and entertaining, though completely dated. But, how can it not be considering how much the world has changed since it was originally published in 1994 (that’s 18 years ago!).

August

Two for the Dough, Janet Evanovich – One of the things I like best about reading these books now is seeing simultaneously how absolutely original and completely influential Stephanie Plum has been in this genre. You can see Sookie Stackhouse’s origins in Stephanie Plum, too, even though they live in different genres.

Oyster, John Biguenet – This book devastated me. I began reading it to prepare for my interview with John Biguenet, but finished it out of entirely selfish reading necessity. I was so utterly captured by this book that I had one of those experiences where I felt like I was living in the world of the book and would bump into the characters at any moment. I also felt the unbearable itch to see this book become a movie, most especially with one of the final scenes.

A Million Suns, Beth Revis – This sequel to Across the Universe was a bit slower to start than the first book, but once I was in, I was truly in. It didn’t quite go where I expected it to, which I appreciate. I’m fairly good at predicting plots and twists (both in movies and books), so my hat comes off to a book or movie that can surprise me without making me feel cheated. Can’t wait for the third book, Shades of Earth, which is coming out shortly after m birthday next year.

Out of  Sight, Out of Time, Ally Carter – The latest in Carter’s Gallagher Girl series, which I’ve enjoyed for a while. This one took a bit of an odd turn, elevating the “what I did last summer” essay to new heights, introducing amnesia and a spy adventure after the fact. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this twist in the series, especially since it’s been a little while since I read the last one, but I settled in just fine. I love that Carter writes about teen girls, who also happen to be spies and con artists.

Tiny, Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed – Poor you, if you spent any time with me while I was reading this book. I did not talk (or think!) about anything else as I quickly devoured it and for a while after I finished. Sugar (Strayed) presents a master course on absolute, raw courage in nonfiction, not to mention how to write about yourself without being self-centered. Made me excited to read Wild, though the subject matter hadn’t previously appealed to me.

River Road, Suzanne Johnson – My interview with Johnson will be forthcoming from is in this month’s issue of 225 Magazine. Let me just say, this is what I read during my Hurricane Isaac evacuation.

September

Hot Stuff, Janet Evanovich + Leanne Banks – This is the “fluffy audio book” mentioned in the Leg Three post from the Grandma Road Trip. It truly is fluffy. It did the trick though, which was gave Mums and me something to listen to while driving, engaging enough to listen to, but not complicated enough to distract us from driving.

Naughty Neighbor, Janet Evanovich – This one was begun on Leg Four and finished on Leg Five. I hate to say it, but I kinda wish we’d given this one a pass and moved on sooner to the loooong audio book that I resisted, but which Mums picked out. That one ended up being very engaging and we didn’t get to finish it.

Reunion, Alan Lightman – This one was recommended to me by a writer friend when I told him I’m writing about tango and dance. The funny thing is that though he recommended it to me, in part at least, because it features a dancer, I think I needed to read it for an entirely different reason. Another interesting thing is that this book is of a type that is usually like nails on a chalkboard to me (literary, male character longing for the past and an idealized woman he’s probably invented), yet I loved it. Mysterious. While I didn’t buy Reunion, I did later buy Lightman’s book of essays Dance for Two. It remains to be seen how much the essays will actually be about dance.

The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan – One of two books bought at The Book Table in Oak Park during Leg Four of the Grandma Road Trip. It’s small enough to fit into a purse, so I ended up tucking it into mine and reading the whole thing over the next few days. Partly because the book is written in relatively short “dictionary entries,” this is one of those books where you can say, “hey, I have a minute, let me read a page or two” and you end up reading twenty before you know it.

Wife 22, Melanie Gideon – I read a write-up about this one in Entertainment Weekly and was both intrigued and skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it would hold my interest, but I ended up gulping it up in like 24 hours. I’m not surprised that it’s going to be made into a movie. It’s got the best combination of knowing what’s coming and yet you can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Switched, Torn, Ascend, Amanda Hocking – Because I don’t live under a rock and I’m somewhat plugged into the publishing world, I heard about a successful self-published writer selling the rights to her already-released e-books to a traditional publisher for what I think ended up being a $2 million deal. So, I thought I’d give them a try. You can see the self-published thumbprint on this books and not for the stereotypical reason you’d think. They’re compelling and well-edited. Where you can see their origins in self-publishing is a contradiction: there was no gatekeeper to tell Hocking her odd-ball ideas wouldn’t sell (trolls as sexy creatures and heroes? depicted sexual acts and cursing?) and you can clearly see that Hocking was writing the type of story she enjoys reading, so it fits nicely on the shelf next to other “popular paranormal teen books.”

Whew. So many books, so little time! I do my best. Already can’t wait for the fourth quarter report cause I’m reading some great books. Till then…

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Filed under freelance work, Friends, Quarterly Reading Report, what I'm reading

The NO Show Wants You

Host Mindy Hawes with Eritria Pitts and Andrew Larimer.

Today, The NO Show is recording live at the Loews Hotel (300 Poydras), at 6 p.m.

What is The NO Show, you ask? Well, it is a new-style, old-fashioned variety radio show, hosted by Mindy Hawes, with music from Hazy Ray and produced by local filmmaker Helen Krieger of Flood Streets and Least Favorite Love Songs.

Featured in this session of The NO Show are Dan Woods and Cyrus Cooper, founders of Film Instant, Andrew Ward, a musician and poet, and Chris Champagne, political satirist.

The recording is free and open to the public.

Mindy Hawes with Michael Garrett and Jason Foster.

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October 3, 2012 · 11:49 am