What I read {April 2017}

April has been quite a mixed-up month around here. It started out nice but then the weather took a chilly turn and we even saw snow a couple of mornings. Snow, in April, in the city. A bit late but always nice, as I have a huge penchant for snow. Besides the weather, April has soured in some other ways. I have received some sad news towards the end of the month and even though I’m not personally touched by that unfortunate event, it broke my heart to hear about it.

Moving onto happier things, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked last month, but I’m not unhappy either. A couple of books, some short stories and quite some on the internet. Let’s get down to business then.

 

BOOKS

  • The Brightest Star in the Sky, by Marian Keyes. Even though I’m not that much into chick-lit anymore, I still enjoy reading Marian Keyes. For one thing, her books are so full of all things Ireland, that they always make me reminisce the year I spent in Dublin. Also, her stories can be a dark as her writing is light-hearted and this one didn’t fail to deliver on that front. Depression and suicide are present in The Brightest Star in the Sky, yet the book has a positive outlook on life and fate. And a happy ending, of course.

7780464

  • The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells. Another classic revisited. I had already read The Time Machine many years ago but I still remembered most of the story and its images vividly. I enjoyed as much as I did the first time and find that much truth in its predictions and fears for the future of humanity. Again, as it happened with Frankenstein, I read this one in Spanish and I don’t know if that will have to do with the translation, but I find the language rather cumbersome and a bit tedious to read. But it might as well be that this is a 19th century book and people wrote that way back then. I’d love to hear some opinions on the original book.

7625187

 

SHORT STORIES

  • Seven Permutations of My Daughter, by Lina Rather (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2017)
  • A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension, by Andrea M. Pawley (Asimov’s March/April 2017)

 

Finally, a couple of interesting articles I found online. As usual, they’re packed with writing advice, so take your time to go through them and maybe learn a thing or two.

Here’s a very insightful article about what editors like and don’t like from authors. Or in other words (probably those of the editor who wrote the article herself, how to get editors to like you as a writer-who-wants-to-be-a-published-author).

And this a site I just found today and it might take me some time to digest all the information in it. Story A Day comes with a challenge, to write a short story a day. It sounds really tempting but I’m not committing to this time because I know that I lack the time and energy to get through it, However, you might want to try and give your writing muscle a good workout during this month of may. If so, this is just for you. If not, well, there’s still much advice and inspiration to be found there.

 

And that’s all from me today. Hope you enjoy those links and stories and do not hesitate to share what’re reading in the comments.

Have a sunny May!

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A month of writing poetry

With April already behind us, we’re one third into 2017, which means we only have 66% of this year left to try and do something new and continue doing the things we know and love. Approximately, might be a 67% as well.

Last month I tried something new and wrote a poem each day as a celebration of National Poetry Month. Well, I should better say I tried to write a poem each day because I did not always succeed. Sometimes life got in the way of my writing, sometimes I didn’t feel inspired and some days I simply forgot. Anyway, it was fun.

I got this idea after reading this blog post by author Beth Cato and thought it might be an interesting thing to try. I have never been too fond of poetry, as I usually find it cumbersome and complicated to write and sometimes to grasp its ultimate meaning. Now, I must clarify something here. For some reasons, imaginary or not, I find it much more difficult to write a poem in Spanish (my mother tongue) than in English. It may be because free form poetry is more common in English, whereas Spanish poetry is more constrained by metric and rhyme. And conversely, I find it more difficult to understand English poetry than Spanish poetry. Again, this might have something to do with Spanish being my mother tongue … or it could be that English-speaking poets are wittier than their Spanish-speaking counterparts. I don’t know and I’m no expert either, so maybe you’d like to put your two-cents in here.

So, heeding the advice from Cato, I checked the daily prompts given at the Poetic Asides Blog and tried my wording at those. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t. But nevertheless, I am more than  happy that I managed to write a handful of poems which, in my humble opinion, are kind of decent for a beginner like me. To give you a taste, here’s one of them. I wrote that one on April 15th, just halfway through the challenge, and the prompt was to write a ‘one time’ poem. Let me know what you think …

 

This poetry binge

Might be a one time thing,

As the more I write, the more I notice

This ain’t easy for such a novice.

Rhythm and rhymes

Are not easy to find,

Yet I still haven’t failed

To pen a poem a day.

So who knows, maybe next year

I’ll be back around here.

Posted in Monthly Update, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New story on 365 tomorrows

Very quick post to finish this week and month just to tell you that I have a new story out today on 365 tomorrows. Yay! You can find Sunday Shopping Spree today on their front page and forever on their archives. Let me know what you think.

Also, a bit of the story behind the story. I had the idea for this story after reading a piece of news this month on a Spanish paper about the end of the sales periods as we know them. Some reader had left a link to this post about the biggest Primark shop in Spain and just like that, a new story came to live. And the first part of the dialogue had actually happened some three years ago in one of those big shops in Dublin. Mind you, it might have even been a Sunday.

Posted in my stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What I read {March 2017}

Can you believe it is already April? Well, you better do because this is no April’s fool prank. Yep, we’re already that far into 2017 – a quarter of the year is gone and I don’t know where.

The last month has been quite a tough one. I guess that after a brief honeymoon phase with two babies in the house, things got rough last month and it’s been an exhausting one. I didn’t manage to get much stuff done and I’m not sure I have even written something during the past 31 days. Nevertheless, I did manage to finish a couple of books that I was halfway through and to read a whole book in less than two weeks I think. So let’s begin with the round-up.

BOOKS

  • Women in Science: 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world, by Rachel Ignotofsky. I know, I know. I’m quite cheeky to include an illustrated book in my list of read books but hey, half of the pages are text so it has to be read anyway, doesn’t it? Overall it was okay. A little less indoctrination would have been better but even with all its flaws it is still an okay book which makes a beautiful gift for any girl in a school age. Or any grown-up with an appreciation of the history of science, science itself, or merely fine arts and illustrations.

27405561

  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I have been going through the classics lately and I started my classics bootcamp with a reread of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. Mind you, there was a lot I didn’t remember and I actually wondered whether I had read it completely the first time. I read a Spanish translation of Frankenstein and I have to admit that I found it tedious at times – don’t know if the original version does a better work. But even then, I like it and I would still reread it a third time.

18490

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. Again with the classic, and a very hyped one this time. Apparently, 1984 jumped up the bestseller lists again after Trump was elected president of the US. I had never read 1984 before and I had only a vague idea of what it was about, and boy did I like it. It actually blew my mind, in a good sense of course. This is a book I would definitely read all over again and find plenty to quote.

26087530

This is all on the book front. I have quite a lot on my TBR pile and I think I’m gonna stick to the classics for a little longer and reread The Time Machine, before I dive into the seventh Harry Potter book. I’m so looking forward to that one but I guess that knowing it is already the last instalment in the series is holding me back from reading it, as I want the excitement to last forever.

I didn’t read that much online last month, hence, I have only one short story to recommend to you. But if short speculative fiction is the thing you like, you might enjoy Tao of the Space Cowgirl, by M. Irene Hill (365 tomorrows, February 2017).

Finally, a couple of links to some articles you might find interesting / amusing / useful / moving / adjective-of-your-choice.

  • An article with some writing advice by none the less than George Orwell. It is in Spanish but you may want to try Google translator in this one. Or browse the net looking for something similar in your own language.
  • This brief essay on revision by Elizabeth Moon gives an overall insight into the revision process and its several phases. Revision is re-vision, indeed, a very simple concept, yet too often obliviated.

And that’s all for the time being. So up to you now, what did you enjoy reading last month? What are you currently feasting on? What’s on your TBR pile?

Have a not-too-foolish April!

Fotos via Goodreads.com
Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I read {February 2017}

February has gone in the blink of an eye and in spite of all the time I spent waiting and doing nothing around the house, I didn’t manage to read as much as I would have liked to. However, less is more, or so they say, so better a bit here and there than nothing at all.

I started several books in February but only finished one of them. Among those books I’m halfway through, I’d like to highlight Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. I have read the first three chapters and I’ve already gained quite a useful insight into what makes an idea a good story and a good story a better story. I left just before the chapter about characters so I expect to continue learning quite some more. Anyway, if you have read Wonderbook I appreciate your thoughts about it.

So, the one book I finished reading in February was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling. I’m nearly done with the HP saga now and I have to say that it only gets better. Just like in the film, there’s really not that much going on in HP and the Half-Blood Prince. It is more a characters’ book, where the main characters and those secondaries key to the story are developed for the reader to enjoy. Harry is still a bit of a sucker in this one, but Hermione and Ron make up for the lack of likability in Harry. Dumbledore is right in the middle of the story and we get to know him like never before – he’s every inch as fascinating as we have been led to believe until now. Snape’s personality is also better sketched in this book and I guess he will be one of the stars in the last instalment of the series. Finally, Ginny turns out to be great, so bold. Loved that character in the film series and I liked her just as much in the books.

1

 

Now, onto shorter things, here are a couple of short stories I read and enjoyed this month.

  • Upgrades, by Barry Chapman (Daily Science Fiction)

 

And finally, a couple of links to some interesting posts about how to set up an author blog and what to write about in your author blog. Information is power, you know.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have more to share with you next month, though, with a baby and toddler running the house right now I don’t think I’ll have that much time left for reading, resting, cooking, washing my hair, and the list goes on. Anyway, I’d love to find out about what you’re reading lately, so you can drop me a line or two in the comments.

Cheers!

 

Image via Goodreads.com
Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘It’s a boy’ and other things that happened in February 2017

I wouldn’t say that February was quite an eventful month, yet quite a lot has happened around here during the shortest month of the year. First and foremost, our second baby was born and it was a boy. Just like we did the first time, we decided not to find out the sex of the baby and played he guessing game instead. We were convinced it was going to be another girl but surprise, it was a boy this time. Funny, as the first time I was totally expecting a boy and was shocked when I heard it was a girl in the delivery room. ‘A girl,’ I screamed in disbelief but totally overjoyed. This time I modestly gasped, ‘a boy,’ when I saw the baby and was equally overjoyed.

And just like that we are a family of four now with all the stress and happiness that this brings. I haven’t felt overwhelmed so far but I’m sure that those moments will come when I feel that I’m not enough, not coping or not responding adequately. Sure the days are longer than long, nearly endless, but so far I’m enjoying every second of it. What can I say, a newborn is probably one of the cutest things on earth and we have been very lucky that his big sister, as young as she is, already likes him a lot. No sibling rivalries yet.

Baby #2 also made a late appearance so there was a lot of waiting in February. While I was busy with a hundred errands around the house, plus taking care of baby #1, plus hanging around with the relatives that came around to help, I still found a bit of time to do some writing and reflect on what I was doing wrong (and right) and learn some more. I managed to finished two flash stories in February which are waiting to be edited and rewritten some time later this month year. I also have a couple of unfinished stories which I’d love to end but as much as I have tried, I haven’t found the right words or fitting story arcs. Anyway, it’s a work in process.

I started this online course about how to write stories that sell and even though I haven’t gotten far, I’ve already learnt a thing or two that could come handy to improve my writing skills. Most importantly, I have learnt the importance of writing a first draft quickly and freely, even if there are all kind of mistake on it and the story is all over the place. Never mind, things should fall into place later, on the second, third and subsequent drafts. First drafts are intended to let the imagination run wild. This idea was also reinforced by Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, a book on writing I’m currently going through.

I think this pretty much sums up my month of February, a month full of surprises and love. So, excuse me now as I am off to share some love with the newborn and the toddler. I might be back some time around here, but don’t expect much in the upcoming months.

Have a lovely March, you too!

Posted in about me, Monthly Update | Leave a comment

What I read {January 2017}

This month has been a rather quiet one and this has meant quite some time to read. Hence this hefty post with several books and a couple of recommendations on short stories out there.

BOOKS

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling. So far the best book in the HP series (I still have two to go, though). As the series progresses, the story is becoming more complex, with a greater variety of subplots entwining. Also, each instalment of the series sees the main characters growing up, deepens the characterisation of some minor characters and introduces some interesting new ones. Hello Luna Lovegood.

2

  • A Few of the Girls: Stories, by Maeve Binchy. A collection of lovely stories, A Few of the Girl is the perfect book to curl up on the sofa during a rainy evening – bonus points for snow. It is better to it easy reading this one, though, or every story will begin to sound just like the previous one.

25882590

  • Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch. Loved this one! Rivers of London had been for a while on my TBR pile and it didn’t disappoint. Think goofy policemen meet Harry Potter’s magic meet London’s charisma. Quite a cool mix.

9317452

  • The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert. A very insightful tale about the current situation of the biodiversity on earth. Too apocalyptical at times but an interesting read, nevertheless. And an inspiring one – it prompted some of the short stories I’ve written this month.

20802685

 

SHORT STORIES

 

Finally, here are a couple of links I found interesting. If you’re a budding writer or simply someone who enjoys putting pen to paper during your free time, you might learn a thing or two reading this.

  • This interesting article covers almost everything there’s to know about getting a short story published.
  • This collection of blog posts shares some insight on the most common mistakes that many writers out there make, whether they’re amateur or professional. I haven’t read every article but already going through the list gave some clues on what to try and improve in my writing.

 

And that’s all for now. Things might be going very quiet around here, as I’m expecting baby #2 is two weeks. I haven’t planned any posts and I don’t think I’ll have much time left to write during the upcoming months, so let’s take things one day at a time.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to share what you’ve read this month (or the next one and the next one and the next one) in the comments.

Have a fruitful February!

 

Fotos via Goodreads.com
Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment