Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday #119 (In which Susan hijacks Tyler-Rose's post)


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.


This week's question: What was the best book you read in February?


I would definately have to say The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was the best book I read in February. It was wonderful.

I only finished it yesterday, though, so I haven't even had time to really decide what I think about it yet.

(Susan would like to interject to say that Cervantes was a flippin' genius and this book makes her head spin.  In the best way possible.  She would also like to inform anyone reading this that Cervantes himself was a war hero, and so took things like honor and courage very seriously.  I know, right?  Makes a person dizzy...)


I'm also working on The Outsider by Penelope Williamson, but that sort of got dropped in honor of the Don. I'm mostly reading it because I saw this movie:


And it was awesome. 
(Susan would like to interject again to mention that Tim Daly is QUITE attractive in the movie.) 

And now, Susan will hijack the post completely: 

We posted this a while ago and I think no one saw it, so I just want to post it again becuase it is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.  Any book lover must watch this!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore <--Click here.  Despite my best efforts, our links still don't always turn red...

Ohmygosh just watch it!!!! 


Also, I'm looking for just a couple more beta readers for my YA fantasy novel, THE MADMAN'S CROWN.  I would need you to read it in the second half of March, and will simply ask for general, reader-ly reactions.  If you want to get a feel for what the book is about, click HERE to see (one version of) my query or HERE to see what I'd get my main characters for Christmas...

If it sounds like something you might like to do, shoot me an email at susanfrancino(at)gmail.com and we can talk. 


Happy Wednesday, and hopefully Tyler-Rose doesn't mind my invasion of her post.  *hehehehehe*

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OPPRESSION Virtual Launch Partay!

Oppression: Children of the Gods, Book 1
B&N.  Amazon.

Jessica Therien's debut novel, OPPRESSION, is coming out today!!!!!!!

She's having a virtual launch party to celebrate, and you're invited! 


(It involves a giveaway....)


Check out her blog HERE to see what's going on and enter to win prizes. 






So what is OPPRESSION about?  It has to do with fate, destiny, and whether you think things happen for a reason.  Here's a snippet from the first chapter:


****

I was born in 1923 with a rare genetic abnormality. Like my mother and father, I aged five times slower than the average person. I’d been alive for eighty-nine years making me almost eighteen in the eyes of the rest of the world, and for the most part I felt young. I was living in San Francisco now. I found the city much easier to hide in than the small towns I had been moving to every five years or so since their death. In the city, I was just another face, another body in the crowd, completely invisible amongst the masses.
****

Check out these links (they don't always turn red--I'm sorry!) to buy OPPRESSION or just to check it out:

$0.99 E-Book
Amazon Kindle Edition (UK, France, Germany)
 

$12.99 Paperback
Amazon (US)
Barnes & Noble (US) - on sale for $7.79


Happy release, Jessica!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Follow Friday & 2 Announcements


It's Friday once again. There is great rejoicing among the peoples of the earth and it is time for a blog hop. The Feature and Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. The features this week are Ezine of a Random Girl and Oh! For the Love of Books. Don't forget to follow them!


This week's Question: Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most...

All right...

Tyler-Rose's deluxe reading throne.
The place I love to read best is actually at home, several thousand miles away, but this is where I do most of my reading at college.

The pillow is leaning against one of the legs of my bed and is beaten to the perfect angle so the maximum amount of reclining can be achieved without actually being flat on my back, which would put me to sleep for sure. I still sort of sprawl across the space. My lovely roommate steps over me.

Where is your favorite place to read?


Now, time for the ANNOUNCEMENTS!  (From Susan--switching it up here...) 

Announcement #1: 
The e-book version Jessica Therrien's debut novel OPPRESSION is on sale for only 99 cents!  People!  Even if it didn't sound awesome (YA, descendants of Greek gods, FATE), that would be an awesome deal!  You can get the e-book of OPPRESSION for less than a dollar: 

HERE from Barnes & Noble! 
Or...HERE from Amazon!

Please at least check it out! 

Announcement #2: 
Calling all reader-bloggers!  I am looking for beta readers for my YA fantasy novel, THE MADMAN'S CROWN.  I would need you to read it in the second half of March, and will simply ask for general, reader-ly reactions.  If you want to get a feel for what the book is about, click HERE to see (one version of) my query or HERE to see what I'd get my main characters for Christmas...

If this is something you might like to do, email me at susanfrancino@gmail.com and we can talk. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

That is the Question

Sometime before I dropped off the face of the earth and out of the blog so I could write a hundred papers and take a similar number of exams I was invited to attend a special lecture given by Jeff Gundy, a visiting poet to our college. His lecture was titled "To Be, What is that?"

Mr. Gundy's lecture was to be a discussion on writing and its effect on the human soul. As a writer I find that subject very interesting. What have I done to my soul? What have we all done to our souls?

Mr. Gundy concluded that being in possession of an alphabet, being able to write anything (shopping lists, journals, history etc.), but especially poetry, fundamentally changed the human race's way of looking at the world. It gave us a sense of what it is "to be" separate from the rest of the world. But, Mr. Gundy asked, in what way are we not the world? He wanted us to notice that humanity when it developed the written word stopped always seeing things in nature as singular and individual and began only observing a blur of green.

While this interested me and I agreed with much of it, this was not the answer I was looking for. I wanted to know what the kind of writing I do does to the soul. How am I different for having written?

I think the answer lies partly in what Mr. Gundy said. The written word does turn us away from the rest of the world. The ability to distill something, some color or feeling, from the swirling vortex inside our own breast and communicate it to some other human is a magnificent and awesome thing.

But writing stories is something different. It is not simply communication. With a story there is the hope that, if our imagination and skill are strong enough, we will communicate something universally true, and not just something true about ourselves, but some truth about the the world and our place in it.

Writing stories makes us look for meaning and unity. It turns the writer's eyes not just into his own heart, makes him aware not just of his own being, but of the being of others.

If one single, solitary man stood alone in the world there could be no stories. They require more than one person.

We are not alone and, I think, writing forces us to remember that in the depths of our souls. We are individual, but we are also a part of a whole.

I am and so are you.


How do you think writing affects you?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gina tagged me!

The Platform-Building Campaign hosted by Rach at Rach Writes has begun!  And right now (or two days ago, actually), we're all playing tag.  I am honored to have been tagged by Gina of This is Not Your Blog.  She had some great questions! 

(Oh, and since I'm two days late (arrgh!  homework!) and I think the game of tag has petered out, and I'm also really tired and have more homework I need to go do, I'm not tagging other people.  If anyone disapproves or WANTS to be tagged, let me know.  I'll edit the post. :D  "But that's not how tag works!" you say.  I know, I know... But I'm sleepy, okay?) 

Anyway, here are Gina's questions and my answers: 


1. What was the greatest live music experience you've ever had?  I played the oboe all through high school.  In March 2010, I played a side-by-side performance (not a solo, but part of the orchestra) with the New York Pops in Carnegie Hall.  One of the coolest moments of my life so far.
 
2. What was your worst date ever?  I’ve never been on a date. :P  Except for lots of coffee dates with my best gay, and those are never bad. 

3. If money is no object, what would your dream vacation be?  Assisi, Italy.  Sigh…  Though actually, I’ve been pining for an island lately, which is quite unlike me. 

4. Would you rather live in a crowded city or small town?  Can I pick neither?   For a limited period of time, the city.  But in the larger scope of life, I would like to live in the country with lots of privacy, about 20-30 minutes from civilization. 

5. Would you be willing to murder one innocent person if you knew it would guarantee an end to all world hunger?   The end does not justify the means.  (So...no.) 

6. When did you last cry in front of somebody (who is not your partner)?  Hahahaha two weeks ago Tyler-Rose and I bawled our eyes out while watching The Return of the King.  Tyler-Rose’s roommate (whom I have dubbed “our faithful blog-squire”) doesn’t understand LOTR yet and thought we were weird.*

7. Would you be willing to endure night terrors—every night—for the rest of your life if you were given vast personal wealth to use however you wish in exchange?  I think…no.  No, that is not a good deal. 

8. If you could choose the manner of your death—but not the timing—what would you choose?  I guess something painless in my sleep.  Saving lives would be better, but something feels funny to me about choosing heroism...

 9. Would you rather switch back to black and white TV with only five channels, or no internet?  Burn the TV, for all I care.  I don’t watch TV.  (I grew up without cable…and now that I think about it, I still don’t have cable…so five channels wouldn’t really phase me.)

10. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt somebody, would you do it?  No.  But I think there might come a point at which that could be a service to society. 
 
 
 


11. What if the voodoo doll was only able to annoy them tremendously (for example: causes pervasive itching of genitals while in public, causes slight ringing in ears at nighttime, etc), would you do it?   Oh my goodness, YES.  


*We were especially crying during the end credits when they play all that beautiful music, and our faithful blog-squire looked at us and said, "Why don't you turn it off?!"  I think we failed to explain how crying to the Shire theme could actually be a pleasant experience...


So there you go!  Now I'm off to homework and saying hello to people in my Campaign groups!  (Still need to finish doing that!  Eeek!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

RTW and a Game of Tag



Road Trip Wednesday is hosted by YA Highway.  This week's question is: 

What words do you absolutely hate?  Which ones do you adore?

I can't think of a word I hate, though I don't usually approve of profanity, but I do have a phrase that bugs the crap out of me: 

"Most important"  As in, "Most important, the blog had a pretty red background."  I can't STAND this!  Every time I see this--and I've seen it in very respectable publications--my Grammar Gut tells me it should be "most importantly."  I don't know if I'm right or not, but it sounds wrong to me and it's ANNOYING.  Does anyone know which is correct?????

On the positive side, I really like the word mercantile.  Couldn't tell you why.  I don't know. 


Now, for a game of tag: 

Carol Rae of Carol Rae's Random Ramblings has tagged us!  See her post HERE.   We're supposed to share six things about ourselves.  (I'm kind of cheating and re-posting our Leibster Blog facts, since I don't think a ton of people saw those...)

Susan:
1. I dropped out of my first preschool because the kids were too loud and I cried for my mom every day.
2. As a college student, my favorite food to cook consists of cinnamon instant oatmeal, peanut butter, hot cocoa mix, and more cinnamon. It ends up being a fantastic gray-brown color, which in Tyler-Rose's words, "looks like paint."
3. I like to write sonnets. I enjoy them the way my sister enjoys jigsaw puzzles.
4. The Hobbit is the only book I have re-read of my own volition.
5. I am allergic (in order of severity) to horses, bunnies, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, and most other furry things. Birds are nice. As are fish. Especially beta fish when they don't die.
6.  I outline like crazy before I write.  It involves intense plotting sessions with color-coded notecards. 

Susan's pre-writing strategy.


Tyler-Rose:
1. I spent Kindergarten trailing silk scarves and pretending to be a fairy/griffin/tiger.
2. As a college student, my favorite food is our cafeteria's teryiaki pork loin. We've decided it tastes a little how we imagine pigeon poop might.
3. I write elaborate puns in my spare time. I feel they offer a challenge to my intellect.
4. I've read every book I own at least twice.
5. Over my life I've kept horses, sheep, bunnies, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, rats, most other furry things, an amphibian or two and one reptile. I've also kept fish and birds. Though, the fish all died and the bird ended up on the dinner table.
6.  Tyler-Rose isn't here right now so I'm taking the liberty of writing this for her, but I can tell you she does NOT like to outline a lot before she writes.  Pantser extraordinaire, that one...

Tyler-Rose in kindergarten...and also, perhaps, Tyler-Rose's pre-writing strategy?
(source, which teaches you how to draw this thing)


And...now that you've concluded Tyler-Rose and I come from different planets, here are the people we're tagging (only 3--hope that's ok!): 
1.  Jessica @ Jessica Love Writes
2.  Isabel Bandeira
3.  Crystal Licata @ Reading, Writing and A Little Bit of Nonsense

Basically, the rules are to post 6 facts about yourself, mention and link the blog that tagged you, and tag more people. (You're supposed to tag six.  I was bad.) 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm a Platform-Building Campaigner!



I am joining the ranks of the Fourth Campaign hosted by Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes

Click HERE to read about the Campaign. 

And click HERE to sign up!

Neither of us have done this before, and I think we're both a little confused about how it works and what it might require of us...but I think it's going to be a great experience!  I'm very excited to meet more fellow writer-bloggers.  :)

To those of you who have done this before, any words of advice?  Any help de-mystifying what goes on in these things? 

And if, like me, you've been wondering what those little sheild buttons stood for, I encourage you to check it out!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Witty Winner is...

Wit abounded among our contestants, but the all-powerful number randomizer has chosen...

Carol Rae of Carol Rae's Random Ramblings!

Congratulations, Carol Rae!

We will send you an email with details about receiving your book and your "In Love With a Fictional Character" T-Shirt.

Thank you to everyone who entered our contest.  We love you best. 

Contest Closed



The Wit Tournament and Giveaway is officially closed. Any entries received after this will not be counted.

We will feed your names through a random number generator and get back to you, hopefully, by Monday.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last Day to Enter the Giveaway and Follow Friday

First, let me say this is the very last day to enter our awesome 100 Follower Giveaway and Wit Tournament. Even if you have nothing witty to say (It happens to the best of us. Often at dinner parties when speaking to someone we would like very much to impress) please still enter. Wittiness is just a bonus, not a requirement.

Now, Follow Friday.




The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This week's wonderful features are Goldilox and the Three Weres and Book Chow Down. Be sure to follow them!

The Question of the week: What would you prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading hundreds of mediocre books? And why?

This answer is easy. I would rather read one great book over and over again for the rest of my life than read hundreds of mediocre books.

I have this theory about books and great literature.

They are not just something outside of us. Books aren't separate from their readers. I believe that when we read a book we actually absorb it into ourselves. Books could not affect our emotions so profoundly if they were just something we glanced at and moved on. I think as we reread and reread a book it sinks deeper and deeper in our skin till we are wearing it at our heart's very core, in a part of our deepest self. It becomes a key piece of who we are, informing our beliefs about what is good and worthy, affecting how we live our own lives. The characters we love, the visions we see in the book, the feelings we feel, the meanings we derive from it, become part of the rhythm of our pulse beat. They become part of our soul.

I would rather read one great, magnificent work over and over again until I could recite it,

or, as they say,

until I knew it by heart.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Liebster Blog Award and a Giveaway Reminder







Colin D. Smith has generously bestowed the Liebster Blog Award upon The Feather and the Rose!  Hoorah!

Colin is one of the nicest, most conscientious bloggers I know, and I encourage all of you to check out his blog, which will get its own large link:

Colin's Blog

Part of the Liebster Blog Award is sharing five things about yourself.  There are two of us so you get to read TEN random things.  (Lucky you!) 

Susan:
1. I dropped out of my first preschool because the kids were too loud and I cried for my mom every day.
2. As a college student, my favorite food to cook consists of cinnamon instant oatmeal, peanut butter, hot cocoa mix, and more cinnamon. It ends up being a fantastic gray-brown color, which in Tyler-Rose's words, "looks like paint."
3. I like to write sonnets. I enjoy them the way my sister enjoys jigsaw puzzles.
4. The Hobbit is the only book I have re-read of my own volition.
5. I am allergic (in order of severity) to horses, bunnies, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, and most other furry things. Birds are nice. As are fish. Especially beta fish when they don't die.

Tyler-Rose:
1. I spent Kindergarten trailing silk scarves and pretending to be a fairy/griffin/tiger.
2. As a college student, my favorite food is our cafeteria's teryiaki pork loin. We've decided it tastes a little how we imagine pigeon poop might.
3. I write elaborate puns in my spare time. I feel they offer a challenge to my intellect.
4. I've read every book I own at least twice.
5. Over my life I've kept horses, sheep, bunnies, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, rats, most other furry things, an amphibian or two and one reptile. I've also kept fish and birds. Though, the fish all died and the bird ended up on the dinner table.

And...now that you've concluded Tyler-Rose and I come from different planets, here are the five blogs we're Liebster-ing!  They're are all well worth a visit!  Please check them out.  :)

1.  Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy, who, it seems, will soon be disqualified from this award by having 200 followers or more!
2.  The Plot Thickens
3. CP Slayer
4.  Carol Rae's Ramblings
5.  Victim of Writing

I think one or two of you might have received this award already, but I decided to give it to you anyway becuase A)  you deserve to get it twice and B)  I think this award has really gotten around by now.  But if you have not received the Liebster Blog Award yet, please do pass it on!!! 

Also, LAST CALL on our 100 follower GIVEAWAY!  Do you like funny T-shirts?  Do you like Pride and Prejudice?!  Click here and comment to enter!  Contest closes tommorrow (Friday) at midnight. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Drop it while it's Hot, and a Giveaway

blacksmith hot iron hammerI think I read this advice somewhere a long time ago, so you'll have to forgive me for not remembering which wise writer first brought the idea to my attention...though they didn't use these exact words: 

Drop it while it's hot. 

Okay, so you already know I'm being cheesy, but what does it mean? 

I bet a lot of us have been there:  You finish writing a really exciting scene.  Then, when you come back to write the next part--which in all likelihood is not quite as shiny and bright--you don't feel motivated? 

This has certainly happened to me.  But the anonymous sage from my past has a solution!  If you stop writing while you're still really excited about the material, before you're burnt out, maybe even in the middle of that awesome scene, you'll be excited to come back and continue working. 

This works at any stage of the writing process--drafting, revision, you name it.  And while it's not foolproof and does take a small measure of self-control, I've found it to be pretty effective. 

Have you ever tried this?  Does it help motivate you to get back to that manuscript? 


And since you've apparently dropped everything to read blogs at the moment, check out our 100 follower giveaway!  If you're not feeling witty, you can still enter by simply leaving a comment!  Click HERE to enter!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Follow Friday and Friday Fives

Before we embark on our weekly Friday adventures, don't forget to enter our Tournament of Wit, which includes a GIVEAWAY to celebrate our 100 followers!  (Click here or simply scroll down to the post below this one to enter the lists!)


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. The feature this week is Omnom Books.

This week's question: Define what characteristics your favorite books share. Do they all have a kick ass heroine or is the hot love interest the Alpha Male?

Though I do appreciate the kick-ass heroine and the Alpha Male love interest and my favorite books do tend to contain them both, I think what my favorite books share more strongly than any other characteristic is a search for goodness and a struggle against darkness. I want the whites to be white and the blacks black. I don't mind some gray in the middle. I will tolerate and appreciate quite a lot of gray, but I want the white and the black to be there. I want my books to have a moment like the end of The Lord of the Rings when evil has been defeated and Frodo is getting on a gray ship and everything is beautiful and shining. I love that.


And Paper Hangover's Friday Fives:
 1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I read this book and wept. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. When I get that feeling about my own work there is something I can do about it, I can write, but when it is someone elses work there is nothing for it, but to reread it a few times and hope the ghosts of characters that moved me deeply go away on there own.

2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is the perfect, I mean PERFECT blend of everything I think makes a book a masterpiece. This is how I want my own work to feel when I finish it, fine and glorious and bright and clear.

3. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Epic YA fantasy. The perfect bad ass heroine with a magic sword and a horse friend who manages to defeat the evil encroaching hordes and still marry the King. I love how McKinley keeps the balance in her heroine. Harry is so strong and fierce, but she still manages not to become a bitch and still to be vulnerable.

4. The Changling Sea by Patricia McKillip
Patricia McKillip is a poet who happens to write prose. Her books are like one long beautiful fairy tale poem. I read her books and read them again because of the ringing beauty of her words. I just don't think in colors as bright as she does.

5. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
There is something lovely and fine about this book. The details are so clean and clear. There is a ringing purity to it that captivates me.

Contest Closed


In honor of our blog's reaching a magnificent 100 followers, we would like to award two golden arrows--wait, sorry, there's been a mix up, ahhem--wonderful prizes.





A book:
Pride and Prejudice. (Brand-y new, unspoiled, spine unbroken, pages untorn and unstained.)

And your choice of an awesome T-shirt (3 options):

You knew those voices were good for something.

In honor of Valentine's Day.

I Go To Bed with a Different Author Every Night Sleepshirt
Also in honor of Valentine's Day. This one is actually a night shirt.


To enter our tournament:

1. Leave a comment on this post, and include your email address so we can contact you.
2. Follow us if you have foolishly failed to do so 'till now.
3. Two extra entries if you refer a being outside yourself to this contest. (Please state that in your comment.)

Here's the witty part:

The picture below is our Tourney Challenge. For a chance to win two extra entries, include something witty in your comment that pertains to the picture below. (What qualifies as wit will be judged at our discretion.)


source
NOTE: If you find yourself feeling witless, which happens to the best of us, please just comment and enter!

Knock knock jokes, and other things that inspire groaning, will automatically disqualify you. If your wit causes either of us to choke on our tea, you will be rewarded with five extra entries.

Entries will close next Friday, the 10th of February, at midnight. Good luck, and tell your friends!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This week's topic: What is the best book you read in January?

Because I went back to school in January, my fictional book consumption decreased dramatically so I could spend my time reading things like The Political History of the USA. However, I have found that short stories, folk tales and myths are just the right length to read before bed.

I think the only book I read in January, that was not assigned to me, was:

Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis.


This book contains wonderful stories of the sort that you find in Juliet Marillier's books. They are full of magic and mist and ancient warriors and princesses. Everything the heart could desire. I love them.

What was the best book you read in January?