Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

I've been seeing lots of people participate in this Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and Bookish, and I can't resist sharing my own list this week. 

My Ten Authors

1) Juliet Marillier
One of the first fantasy authors I read in college and instantly I was in love with her Sevenwaters series, and each series afterwards. Her books have me haunting the stacks days before the books come out in hopes they set it out early. She's the first author I allowed myself to buy in hardcover when I had the money to finally "splurge". 

2) Shannon Hale 
The author of the Bayern series, Princess Academy, Rapunzel's Revenge, Austenland--- I love how she writes many kinds of  books. One of the first authors I found outside of college when I tried to read more for enjoyment, and boy! I've learned so much from her writing and her talks on writing from her website. She gives me the truth, but makes me more passionate. 

3) Laini Taylor
I feel almost magical when I read Laini Taylor's pages. I believe everything from the very first word and she keeps surprises me from her Dreamhaven series, Lips Touch, and her fantastic Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. 

4) Neil Gaiman
What can I say about this writer? Sandman comics, children books, poetry, short story collections, and novels that keep me guessing. The world is seen with fresh eyes each time I pick up his books. 

5) Diana Gabaldon
I've been reading the Outlander series since I was fifteen years old and I'm always drawn back into the story of Jamie and Claire. The books never seem long enough and I'm always there to buy the next one. She makes dental work sound interesting--- seriously! 

6) Stephanie Perkins
I never read such wonderful books that leave me with such warm fuzzies as Anna and the First Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. Whatever she decides to do, I think there will always be strong emotions pulled from her writing. Looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After!

7) Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone was my favorite read of 2012 and this fresh fantasy series has me hooked! So much that I want to make a costume from her Russian inspired world. I'm looking forward to whatever worlds Bardugo decides to explore!

8) Beth Revis
I longed for some great sci-fi and Revis gave it to me! She used my fear of space against me in the Across the Universe series, but also brought beauty and raw emotion. I'm sad to see the series end, but also excited what comes next for her. 

9) Cindy Pon
When I started writing my Japanese inspired fantasy, I was looking to other fantasy outside of the well-known European setting. The first book I found was Pon's Silver Phoenix and I ordered it instantly. I was also able to chat with her in 2009 at San Diego Comic Con and she made such an impression on me. I've read parts of her books various times when needing a bit of inspiration in my own writing. Plus, she is one of the nicest authors I've ever met! 

10) Jacqueline Carey
I was first overwhelmed by her Kushiel's fantasy series, but I let myself sink into it. I found myself growing as her characters did, and she took fantasy to another level for me. She then turned around and did sci-fi with just as much finesse.

It was really hard to round out this list, but I like seeing new and old favorites coming together! Yay!

Natasha

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Pomodoro Technique and Revision

Are there any techniques you like to use to stay on task?

During NaNoWriMo, I did a lot of writing sprints with fellow writers on Twitter to reach my writing goal. It worked very well for me since I worked with other people, but it helped me focus. I'm now in the wide world of revisions (again). This time, I might try something similar in the next part of the writing process.

I started to listening to Sara Zarr's podcast series This Creative Life in the past few weeks, and as I took my walk to help with my back pain today, I learned about the Pomodoro Technique from Sara's guest Mark Pett. It is similar to writing sprints (write for 30 minutes with a 15 minute break in between), but instead the technique requires work for 25 minutes, with 3-5 minute breaks in between. At the fourth interval, you take a longer 15-30 minute break.

I'm an Android user so I went to the Google Play store and discovered plenty of Pomodoro apps and am going to download a few to decide which ones I like more. I don't need anything to intricate and decided to go with Pomodroido. I think having something mobile, and not on the computer, could possibly work outside of the office.

Next week is going to be the big experiment so stay tuned!

Natasha

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RTW: Favorite January Read

 Today is Road Trip Wednesday! What is that? It is a blog carnival where the contributors of YA Highway post a weekly topic and participants write their responses. You can jump from blog to blog to see each blogger's take on the question

I read lots this month and it always leaves me feeling great when I think of all the different things I've devoured. However, one of the books really, really stuck with me. And that book is...


Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
There are just so many elements that I love about this book. A snazzy Lois Lane type character, witches, foreign (not US) country setting, a fun group of friends, creepy buildings, legends, family secrets... if there was ever a love list for a book, this one doesn't end. The writing reminds me a lot of Diana Wynne Jones, author of my favorite book Howl's Moving Castle. I love how both authors can take something so ordinary and make it extraordinary without batting an eye. In this case, an every day girl who has talked to a boy in her head as long as she can remember. She tries to hide the fact she has outgrown this imaginary friend so people don't think she is crazy. Things change once she decides to investigate the Lynburns who have returned to town. I forgot mention those details in my list, right? A mystery! Voice in a the head!

Next book comes out in August, but in the meantime, check this one out!

Natasha