Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pile o'books

My birthday packages from Barnes and Noble and Amazon finally arrived! I now have a nice stack of books to read! I am still waiting for another package of three Neil Gaiman books. Joey, my husband, ordered it from the "official" bookstore in Minneapolis, but we haven't heard anything yet. I am eager for its arrival since one of them is signed!

Here's the roundup:

The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Fairy's Return and Other Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Serenity edited by Jane Espenson
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Dark Whispers by Bruce Colville

I am now reading Graceling by Kristin Ganshore. I hope to put a review up for it. This is the author's first book, and so far so good! I flew through the first chapter last night.

I will write more this weekend since my writing goal must be reached at midnight on Saturday. I am hoping to reach 20,000 words in my novel KIN. I have about 5,000 words to go! Then I will reexamine my goals on March 1st. I am pleased with how everything is falling into place so far. Let's see if it keeps up!

Picture of birthday books, cards, and Valentine's Day flowers from my love. He gave me one for every Valentine's Day we celebrated since we got married.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Six Word Memoirs

On Valentine's Day, I bookmarked this article about six word memoirs. It was the third time that I had seen this phenomenon mentioned on NPR. Talk of the Nation did a story on a book full of the six word memoirs, Not Quite What I Was Planning by Smith magazine in February 2008. The Bryant Park Project, my favorite (now canceled) program on NPR talked about them and posted on their blog in January 2008 asking for listener comments of their own six word memoirs. Here are my favorites:

"Born looking up at the stars." -Summer
"Wanna grow up, then too old." -Chillag
"What should I write for this?" -Yuna

I guess Smith magazine has released several different versions of the six word memoirs and have plans for more. You can go to their website and submit to various story projects and who knows? You could end up in a book! For now, your memoir will be posted to cyberspace.

Reading through these, I had some good laughs. Some aches in my heart. It is something that I still thought I couldn't participate in and I realized why. I keep thinking of my complete life. My life isn't finished yet. To me, a memoir represents a life completed or a story ready to be told. I am struggling with an ending to a long plot in my life, and I am becoming closer to writing about it. I am almost there, but not quite yet. I can't find those six magical words. I want to have a complete sentence. I might have to give in to the simple, the happy. I still cannot create a complete sentence, but statements. Here I go...

True love. Written Word. Cat. Heaven.

I did it! How about you?


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Culture Research

This week has been quiet. I have reached my first goal of 10,000 words in KIN and I am really, really hoping that I can reach 20,000 by the end of the month. I am enjoying writing the story, but I think I need to surround myself more with Japanese culture. The story is based in its own "world", but will be influenced by the culture the story originated. This weekend some friends are coming over to our place and we are making (vegetarian) sushi. Sometimes I would also like to pop in a Hayao Miyazaki movie while I go online to scour the internet for some research, as well. I am doing research as I go, but I think it would be fun if I noticed something in the movie and created a "notes" document related to find. We shall see if I find time for reaching my next goal is my focus right now. Oh, and catching up on some reading...

My husband Joey is working on my business card right now. My friend Sue Dawe was nice enough to lend me a piece of her art for it. It is wonderful to have such great friends! I will post a picture once I get them printed!

Picture: Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Trailers

I have decided to look into book trailers. I watched my very first one today of a young adult novel, and I am not sure what to think about it quite yet. I think it might go with my preference for real art on books, rather than real people and graphic design. Yes, it all depends on the type of books. Fantasy novels, to me, seem much more appealing if they have some beautiful art. Juliet Marillier's books, with art from John Jude Palencar and Kinuko Y. Craft, are a fine example of this.

Times are changing, and my views might as well. Right now I prefer art over graphic design. I would rather see that art and read the synopsis than see a trailer for it. I don't know why, but who knows if my views will change. Sometimes I fear if I get published, I will need to have pictures rather than paintings for my cover art. I never imagined it so, and it is hard to wrap my brain around it now. It will be interesting to see the changes the future will bring.
I celebrated my 27th birthday with friends yesterday. My husband made a special cake for me while we watched movies on Valentine's Day. It was a fine, relaxing weekend that ended far too quickly.


My birthday picture with our kitty Cherrie.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birthday Week

This week is my birthday so I have been running all over the place doing various projects and celebrating. I am ready for Joss Whedon's Dollhouse that airs its first episode tomorrow. I am huge fan of his projects and encourage you to check it out on FOX. I am in the middle of the newest Buffy Omnibus and can't put it down. Okay, I did to type this. I also started Ever by Gail Carson Levine, a change of pace from my last read. I think it will help in my mindset with what I am currently writing.

I just finished The Mists of Avalon and completely fell in the love with the book, even though it took a month to read. My husband and I visited Glastonbury (Avalon) and climbed the Tor in December after visitng Stonehenge. It was one of the most magical moments of my life and will never forget it. This book I could really envision England and all its beauty and mysteries.

There's the update on my current reads. I would love to hear what you are reading, as well. Feel free to drop a line!


Picture taken at the Glastonbury Abbey in Glastonbury, England. December 2008

Books Read 2008

To be a writer, you must read. I have heard that lesson over and over, but I always think about the day that I decided I wanted to write. I loved to read so much and I knew this is what I wanted to do. I always had a reading book with me in school, and I rode the school bus for two or more hours a day so it helped keep boredom at bay when my friends departed the school bus.

I wanted to read about 100 books/comics in 2008. I didn't come to close to my goal, but I am not beating myself up over it. I have a lot going on: Core Con, writing, work, friends, family, our Europe trip in December....

Here's what I did end up reading. I read a lot of the same authors: Shannon Hale, Gail Carson Levine, Jacqueline Carey, Cornelia Funke, Neil Gaiman, and ,my favorite, Juliet Marillier. It was a pretty good year for books! I also some Alan Moore comics and lots of Joss Whedon comics related to Buffy, Angel, and Firefly/Serenity.

I am about to finish The Mists of Avalon. After visiting Stonehenge and Glastonbury (Avalon), it was hard to resist finally picking up the book. I am so glad that I waited to read it! It has taken me about a month to get through it, and it feels like a lifetime. However, it does go over the lifetime of the main characters, the voices of the novel all women in Arthurian times.

So, here's what I ended up reading (not in order).

2008 Books I have read:

1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
2. Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
3. The Hunter's Moon by OR Melling
4. The Summer King by OR Melling
5. The Lightbearer's Daughter by OR Melling
6. Buffy Season 8 comic (ongoing)
7. Buffy Omnibus Vol 1 (comic)
8. Buffy Omnibus Vol 2 (comic)
9. Angel: After the Fall Vol 1
10. Timecat by Lloyd Alexander
11. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
12. Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan
13. the goose girl by Shannon Hale
14. enna burning by Shannon Hale
15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
16. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
17. river secrets by Shannon Hale
18. Wanted (graphic novel) by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones
19. Tales of the Slayers (Buffy comic)
20. Death (Sandman comic) by Neil Gaiman
21. Fray (Buffy comic)
22. Austenland by Shannon Hale
23. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
24. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (graphic novel)
25. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
26. Serenity 1-3 (Firefly comics)
27. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
28. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
29. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
30. Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
32. The Two Princesses of Banmarre by Gail Carson Levine
33. Buffy Omnibus Vol 3 (comics)
34. Buffy Omnibus Vol 4 (comics)
35. Tales of the Vampires (Buffy comic)
36. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
37. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
38. Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey
39. Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey
40. Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey
41. Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger
42. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
43. Angel: After the Fall Volume #2 (Angel comic)
44. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
45. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
46. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
47. Rapunzel's Revenge (graphic novel) by Shannon Hale
48. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
49. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
50. Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
51. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
52. Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
53. Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier
54. Heir of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
55. Buffy Omnibus Vol.5 (comic)
56. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
57. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

This year truly was about discovering and enjoying the writing of several specific authors and the start of lifelong reading graphic novels/comics. I love the variety and the amount of imagination in all of these. I hope to be on someone's list with at least one of them someday.


posted Feb 7, 2009 2:46 PM by Natasha Heck

Picture of my favorite book, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.

Newbery 2009

I arrived home to find that the John Newbery Medal was announced today. I was thrilled to see that Neil Gaiman won with his fantastic book, The Graveyard Book. I picked up this book opening week and fell in love with it. I took it to Canada with me when we attended a convention there. The year before, I read some of Neil Gaiman's short stories to my husband on the drive up there. I think it is tradition now to take Neil Gaiman's writing to Winnipeg when we go.

I actually had the opportunity last June to ask Neil Gaiman a question on NPR's now defunct The Bryant Park Project (BPP). This show, which I aboslutely adored, had a great podcast and used the Internet to connect with its listeners. One way that they did this was by putting together a book club. Their third book selection was Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. I have read almost all of Gaiman's books, and will start on his Sandman series this year. I have fallen in love with his writing and was completely thrilled when I was chosen to ask him a question. During the time of the interview, the author was in Minneapolis doing the audio book for The Graveyard Book. So, it is also exciting that I talked to him while he was working on that project. He is a joy to listen to, and it doesn't hurt that he is British! If you want to listen to the BPP interview, you can check it out here. I have to admit, I was quite nervous when I talked to him. They had technical problems and I patiently waited by taking all my breaks at work just to particpate. I really loved listening to the behind the scenes talking during the forty minute wait. I couldn't complain about waiting since I briefly spoke to Neil Gaiman and was on my favorite NPR program at the time!

So, congrats to Neil Gaiman and all the authors who earned honors today! I urge you to check out their books or just get out there and read!


originally posted posted Jan 26, 2009 9:08 PM by Natasha Heck

Obama and Publishing

There is an article on NPR's website called "Obama: A New Force in Publishing". It talks about how Obama is an avid reader and that if people catch side of what he is reading, they will go out and buy the book themselves.They think that his influence will be as strong as Oprah's for the book industry. Another great thing is, ""You actually have both a writer and a reader in the White House who is articulate and eloquent in his own right."

There is also a great article from the New York Times called "From Books, President Found Voice" that goes into further details about what he likes to read and probably why, such as how words help give people a voice. They also talk about the comparison between him and Lincoln.

It is exciting to think that we have a writer and a reader in the White House!


originally posted Jan 18, 2009 8:34 AM by Natasha Heck


I recently listened to Stories and Poems from Angels and Visitations by Neil Gaiman with music by Dave McKean and The Flash Girls. Track 6, titled Banshee, had some real inspiring music that had me writing down a flurry of notes while listening to it. My husband and I went on a trip to England and France in December 2008, and I love to read lots of different literature based in Great Britain. The magic and myth over there is so powerful, and this song put me there for some reason. Instead of a banshee, a different superstition found its way into my mind. There, I developed a short story. I am not sure how short it will be, but I don't see it as a novel. I am calling it "The Shortest Day".

I will reveal more when it is finished. I just thought I would share my inspiration. Have you ever been struck by something so simple inspiring a whole story? Share it here if you like!


originally posted Jan 12, 2009 10:13 PM by Natasha Heck

A Simple Plan

Here it is! My website, a new blog. I have had a private blog for seven and a half years, but I think it is time to have a writing blog for the website.

My Top New Year's Resolution:

I plan on writing every day, even if it is something as simple as my feelings or images into a poem. I must exercise my writing or life will get too much in the way. I think five minutes can even make a difference.

Let's see how this goes!

In the future I might be using some old blog and journal entries here and there that I think you might enjoy. Keep an eye out for I will write the dates they were originally written! Some might go as far back as high school depending on the amount of embarrassment I decide to put myself through in sharing those thoughts with you.


posted Jan 10, 2009 3:21 PM by Natasha Heck

Currently... Update Edition

It's ridiculous how long it's been since I've updated here. Life seemed to pick up and fly. I decided maybe the best way to upda...