Category Archives: Reading

When Book Love Isn’t Shared

Last year I listened to Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase, the first book in the Lockwood & Co. series. And I loved it. I went on and on about it to my kids.

A-Read said I’d brought it home from the library months earlier and he hadn’t gotten past the fifth or so chapter. “What?! How is that possible? Where were you in the story?” screaming staircase

He explained and I understood. It started off strong with an adventurous case but then backed up to explain how the main character, Lucy, ended up with Lockwood and George. I’d enjoyed the beginning enough that I was invested and didn’t mind the backstory (which included action). But A-Read wasn’t engaged enough. He put it down and never picked it up again. And despite my ebullient assurances that the narrative goes back to plenty of action, he just wouldn’t give it another try.

Two months ago, I brought it home from the library again, this time for Sprite. And I borrowed book 2 for myself. I just returned The Screaming Staircase to the library last week. He’d only read 43 pages. Like his brother, he’d put it down and never picked it up again. He just kept finding other books he wanted to read more. He didn’t even make it to the backstory section.

“You’re still in the scene where they’re dealing with the ghost?! And you stopped reading?!”

Yup.

One of the boys tried to tell me that he just has different taste from me. But no, with these kinds of books, we usually have similar taste.

So how is it possible that I can love these books sooooo much and they don’t? Honestly, I don’t get it.

But I guess this is related to why and how some books can be so popular while others, perhaps just as well-written and tightly-plotted, aren’t. Why it can be so hard for some books to stand out of the pack, for some manuscripts to break out of the slush.

Somehow, I have no problem accepting that my manuscripts aren’t for everyone. But I can’t accept that my children don’t even like a book I love.

Weird, huh? (Them, I mean. LOL!)

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Finally! My New Year Post!

Another year has come and gone. Another year filled with reading and writing (and work and family).

2015 saw more freelance work, and a friend and I chose to concentrate on characterization. We read books about character and studied new and old characters to see if we could figure some things out that would help us in our own writing.

My not-so-little-anymore readers have continued to be great readers. Sprite has been devouring anything written by Stuart Gibbs. A-Read finished The Hunger Games trilogy and is now obsessed with Rick Yancey’s new series which started with The Fifth Wave (and he and RocketMan saw the movie last night).

I’m looking forward to some changes in 2016. More writing opportunities. Maybe a change at work (shh). And, of course, lots more reading.

What’s on your plate for this new year?

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Summer update

Well, gosh, I sure didn’t mean to let almost 2 months go by without a post. But here’s how that happened:

  • A bunch of my freelance nonfiction projects for kids published.
  • I tried my hand at ghostwriting. (Yuck. No more.)
  • Experimentally queried a middle grade project with too narrow an audience.
  • Personal and family health issues.
  • Work has been overwhelming. Staff move or go to grad school and I fill in.

So, here’s what I’m up to now:

  • Revising a young adult project.
  • Shuttling kids to and from camps.
  • Shuttling kids to and from library to borrow books, be a book buddy, and give reports in the summer reading program.
  • A-Read is enjoying Jasper Fforde and Stuart Gibbs.
  • Sprite is enjoying his first Stuart Gibbs.
  • Work continues to overwhelm.
  • Not all health issues are resolved.

What’s keeping you busy this summer?

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Young Readers Update

Once again, I’ve let too much time go by without letting you know how my little readers are doing. In a word, terrific. And I really shouldn’t call them little. They wouldn’t appreciate it.

I noticed last year that Sprite would mostly ignore my reading suggestions, but he can’t wait to read whatever his brother has read and enjoyed. So now he’s ploughing through Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, about to finish the 3rd book, The Mark of Athena. He has also made a slow start on Joseph Delaney’s Revenge of the Witch, Book 1 in the Last Apprentice series (recently made into a movie called Seventh Son). While he enjoys this book, because we have it only on the Kindle, which he can’t bring to school, he only reads it occasionally on weekends or during school vacations, if he isn’t already into something else that he can’t put down.

I regularly peruse A-Read’s bookshelves to see what he has finished that can now be passed on to Sprite. Quite a lot, as it turns out.

A-Read just finished Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer, which we bought at a Jasper Fforde event last year and had signed by the man himself. Despite this excitement, it still took me months to convince A-Read to read it. Now, of course, he’s glad and can’t wait to read the next in the series.

And A-Read just started learning about Ancient Greece in Social Studies. He is so excited! He was especially chuffed to have been the only kid to be able to answer the teacher’s question last week about some small god or goddess. I had to remind him that Rick Riordan’s books are fiction and only loosely based on the original myths. “I know, Mom.” I’m sure you can imagine the tone of voice and sighs of exasperation that accompanied his statement. (He is a pre-teen after all.)

Having just seen the movie, Home, both boys are excited to read The True Meaning of SmekDay by Adam Rex.

What are your kids into reading right now?

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Welcome to 2015!

How did it get to be the end of March already?! And now, where do I start?

My day job has been crazy since late summer. I look forward to when things will slow down, but that never seems to happen.

My boys are growing and reading and changing. A-Read is currently reading our signed copy of Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer. Sprout is reading The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan.

Two freelance projects came out in the fall and 2 more are due in the next six weeks. Me with my first published book!

Audiobooks have continued to save my sanity, but I’ve taken a break this month to participate in a 30 Day French Immersion Challenge at work. Now I spend my commute listening to podcasts in French.

I have been writing. A middle grade manuscript is steeping and I’m revising a young adult manuscript.

And I have been reading. A friend and I are concentrating on characterization this year, so I’ve been analyzing YA novels and reading writing books that focus on character.

Okay, friends, what’s new with you in this new year (that’s not so new anymore – oops)?

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Filed under Getting Published, Reading, The rest of my life, writing

Audiobooks

I’ve been conducting an informal experiment.

My part-time day job has been more hours than I signed up for since September and has included a 5-day commute. Somewhere around November, the commute started wearing on me. It was great, at first, to have alone time to think about writing and plotting and revising. And to listen to my favorite tunes. Little by little, I no longer appreciated the alone time to plot and sing along to P!nk and Amel Bent. I felt so unproductive.

An idea had been brewing for a while but I kept forgetting to figure out the details. Maybe because once at home, I was juggling kid activities with kid needs and writing whenever I could. Finally, last weekend, I discovered that my public library loans out audiobooks through Overdrive.

My once unproductive commute is now for listening to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Yay!  we were liars cover

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to process the words the same way. That I wouldn’t be able to concentrate and would miss stuff. Or that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the road.

Worries, schmurries.

It’s been great. And I’ve gotten into the story just as much as I do when I’m reading. I think about the story when I’m not in the car. I miss it over the weekend.

Most of all, I’m so excited to have found a way to read for an extra hour every day!

Do you listen to audiobooks? What’s your favorite thing about them?

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Perfectly Ernest Launch!

This has been a great summer for my publishing friends! Now it’s EJ Wesley’s turn. His New Adult Contemporary launches today. I’ve read it and if you like contemporary from a male perspective, you’re going to love this. There’s baseball, quirky characters, and romance. Yes, a man can write good romance!

About Perfectly Ernest

From a distance, Ernie’s life seems perfect—he’s a star college baseball player adored by the student body and coveted by professional teams. Up close, he is a disaster. Since the death of his mother, he’s been trapped by a promise he made and forced to live her dream instead of his own. He reaches his breaking point in the biggest game of his young career and sets off a chain of events that will either define or destroy the rest of his life.

Ernie grudgingly joins a quirky campus counseling group that empowers him to heal himself and right his wrongs. By testing old friendships, forging unlikely new ones, and exploring an exciting romance, he begins to unravel the jumbled knot his tangled inner-psyche has become. But old rivals, mental illness, and the risk of a forbidden relationship soon threaten his progress. Will Ernie’s new direction and friends be his salvation, or confirmation that he is forever doomed by his imperfections?

Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person’s difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love.

About EJ Wesley

Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, there were limits on the amount and types of entertainment at my disposal. Perhaps that’s why I set my imagination free. After collecting degrees in psychology and counseling, life brought me to Missouri, Texas, and Northern California–where I currently read, write, and live. I fill my spare time playing video games, watching movies, planning for the zombie apocalypse, reading graphic novels, and playing with my dogs.

My passion for New Adult literature led me to producing the weekly New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter, and contributing to the NA Alley Blog. I’m also the author of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, speculative-rural fantasy novelettes. Find me on my website, Twitter (@EJWesley) or Facebook and we’ll chat!

What’s your favorite NA contemporary?

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