Book, Interrupted

Oh, shame on me. But also, not.

I was at the laundromat tonight when an older gentleman started chatting me up.

Now, normally I wouldn’t mind, but I had my nose BURIED in a book! And I mean, I was engrossed in it without any thought for the world until I heard the buzzer for my laundry.

I answered as politely as I could, and kept trying to read, but he kept talking.

I’m pretty sure my RBF showed up somewhere in there, because I hate being interrupted when I’m reading. Hate it.

Blargh!

But my parents raised me to be respectful, so I conversed with the man. Though my mind was firmly entrenched in the book world I’d been torn from.

How do you respond when someone interrupts you while reading? Do you go all snarly inside like me? Or is it not that big of a deal? Am I overreacting?

Happy writing and reading!

“Hell hath no fury like a woman interrupted while reading a really good book.” ~ Lauren Hunter

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Little Free Library

I’ve found one at last!!

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And to my utter shame, it was only four houses down from where I’m currently staying. How did I not notice this for THREE months?!?!?!

Shame, shame, shame.

But I was overjoyed because taking a few books on loan from this wonderful little gem does NOT count against my book buying diet! HA!

Especially since I have six books (to the three I took) that are ready to be put back in there for others to enjoy. And I’ll probably also return the three I borrowed, as well.

So here’s my score from the Little Free Library:

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Prey by Michael Crichton

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

I find it odd that with all the children’s books I read, I haven’t yet read Because of Winn-Dixie. It’s only 100 pages long or so and with a LOT of space between lines, so why haven’t I read it? Or maybe I did as a child and just forgot. Let’s be honest, here. I started reading at a young age, but didn’t start keeping track of everything I read until recently. I’m sure there are a lot of repressed memories of books flying around this old noodle of mine.

I think these Little Free Libraries are a genius way to get more people reading who don’t have access to a library or book store. I’m so glad to be staying in a town (until November) that has not one, but TWO, of these libraries.

What do you think? Have you heard of Little Free Libraries? Have you used one? Which of these books have you read, if any?

Happy writing! And reading!

“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ”
― Michael Crichton

“There ain’t no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.”
― Kate DiCamilloBecause of Winn-Dixie

“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”
― Brian SelznickThe Invention of Hugo Cabret

A Day of Reading

It’s been a few long, hard months finishing up the most recent edit for my book, but I’m within pages of formatting it and shipping it out to agents.

With all the hard work and long nights after work polishing my story, I felt the need for a writing break.

So, today, aside from a few hours spent at a baby shower, I’ve enjoyed a couple books, lazing around the house and feeling cozy and sleepy while I read. Like I’m sitting cuddled up in front of a blazing fire in the middle of winter sipping hot chocolate.

A reading day was much needed.

Here are the books I’ve been reading today:

“The Nethergrim” by Matthew Jacobin

“Hooked – Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go” by Les Edgerton. (I know it’s a book about writing, but it still counts as a good read).

“Egg & Spoon” by Gregory Maguire

They’re all interesting for different reasons, and I’ve been pawing my way through them.

I’m a polygamous reader, if you know what that means. I rarely read only one book at a time because most books can’t hold my attention long enough to read straight through in one go. But since I read well over a hundred novels/reference books/non-fiction/etc per year, I’m not really worried about my reading style.

As a writer, these reading days are essential. At times, we can get so mired in the logistics and demands of writing we forget that writers first began as readers. Usually voracious readers. So I’m working on my voracity today. 🙂

Go ahead. Grab a book, curl up in bed/on a couch/a big comfy pillow and read, read, read to fill your heart and mind with fresh faces, new ideas, and an ever-widening view of the world.

Happy reading!! (And writing, too).

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. MartinA Dance with Dragons
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Her soul belongs to words and books. Every time she reads, she is home.”
― Anonymous

The “Would You Rather” Book Tag

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Caroline over at carolinepeckham tagged me in the “Would You Rather” book tag post! She’s an amazing blogger and writer (hopefully soon-to-be author). She’s been blogging for just the last couple of months, but has put out some AMAZING posts and we’ve been commenting back and forth for weeks. I always learn something fun and new from her, so GO CHECK HER OUT!

Anywho, this post asks a series of questions as writers/readers, and here are my thoughts! Tagged peeps are at the bottom of the post.

1. Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

Trilogies, without a doubt. Most of my favorite books are series’ books, though there are a few stand-alones in there, too. But I just love to learn more and more about characters and worlds and backstory, so more is always better for me. As Jane Austen says, “But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

2. Would you rather only read male or female authors?

I enjoy them both, usually in different genres, but I’d probably go with female authors. My favorite author/most influential in my writing/reading life was female (L.M. Montgomery), and most of my favorite authors now are female. I’d definitely miss my Tolkien, Lewis, and Kipling, though.

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

I’d rather shop at independent book stores, but since that’s not an option, I’ll go with Barnes and Noble. I’m one of those people that adores bookstores and is dangerous in them. I love to stroll through the aisles browsing, sitting in a chair to read a page or two while I make up my mind to buy, and immersing myself in the book atmosphere. I feel I don’t get that same experience online, though I am an avid Amazon customer. I’d still prefer a physical bookstore to an online one.

4. Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

TV!!! While I usually prefer movies to TV in general, my real love is TV miniseries. I can’t get enough of them. And they’re generally truer to the story than film because they can take more time and put in more of the plot that is so often missing from movies. And most of us book lovers prefer the book to the movie, so anything that will add more detail and be more comprehensive would be a huge bonus!

5. Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

Five books per week. And that is actually can be a slow book week for me, depending on how busy I am at work. I’d never get through all the books I want to read with only five pages per day. I’d go batty.

6. Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

Author!!! Who would want to be a reviewer over an author? I don’t understand that person. I RARELY do reviews, and I’ve never done one on WP. I also never read others’ reviews because they never change my opinion of the book and everyone has different tastes. Being an author is a lifelong dream that began when I was six. Hopefully it will happen in the next couple of years.

7. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

Bookseller. There is so much more to being a librarian than just loaning books. My sister has her Masters Degree in Library Science and while some people might poo-poo that kind of degree, there is a great deal to it. It’s not just reading books and shelving books and such. Bookselling would be more personal for me and I could decide what to sell, where to sell, and could decorate my own store and hold my own events. Man, I’m starting to believe I might actually open a bookstore someday! Yowza!

8. Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?

Favorite genre. I wouldn’t be able to give it up. I’d miss other genres, but not as much as I’d miss my favorite. Which is middle grade fantasy.

9. Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

Physical books. I own a Kindle, but I never use it. I’m old school. I just can’t get into the e-reader craze. Have I read e-books? Sure. I have some on my iPhone, but I don’t enjoy it. Although it makes my library of books enormous and it’s hard to pick which to take with me when I travel, I’d rather have to deal with that burden than give up physical books.

There you are! I hope you learned something or asked yourself some of these questions. In fact, why don’t you, and post some of your answers in the comments? I’d love to hear from you!

Here are the bloggers I’m tagging:

John Guillen

Emily Bates

Rachel Carrera

Herminia Chow

I look forward to your posts!

Happy writing!

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”
― Mary Shelley

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”
― J.K. Rowling

Breaking the Rule of Three

Three is a big deal. The number, that is. Have you ever noticed? Especially in literary undertakings.

The Rule of Three is actually a writing principle, did you know that? Not just for characters, but also in phrases. E.G. “Go, Team, Go!” It’s also a memorization rule. Research shows people tend to remember things better if they come in groups of three. It’s also true in syntax, or sentence structure.

The Rule of Three is well documented. Let’s take a peek at some famous examples of the power of three in literature, recent and long past.

1. Harry Potter. Obvious for today’s society. Three main characters. Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It just works. And there are numerous secondary character threesomes.

2. The Hunger Games. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. At times, Gale flickers out and other people replace him to complete the triad, but it’s still valid.

3. Twilight (blech). I despise Twilight, but it still follows the Rule of Three. Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

4. A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is visited by three spirits. Just enough. Not too many, not too few.

5. The Three Little Pigs. It’s all in the name.

6. Macbeth. There are three witches. They meet three times. They say things in three. (See what I did there? The Rule of Three in repetitive sentences).

7. The Three Musketeers. I know, I know. Technically, there are four, but the for the purposes of this list, it reinforces my point.

Well, what happens if you break that rule? Are you banned to the literary rubbish bin for all eternity? Are you black-listed from agents and publishers?

I sure hope not. Because I’ve done it.

I’m breaking the Rule of Three.

You heard me. In my MG fantasy books, there is one main character and three other secondary main characters, if that makes sense. Which means, for me, it’s the Rule of Four.

Although there is something inherently pleasing about the number three, it just isn’t always possible. Believe me, I tried to find ways around the four characters, but there wasn’t one. I’d have to completely gut the book to make it work. And honestly, I like the group of four characters. They’re all so different and bring unique traits to the story that it’d be like cutting off one of my limbs. Of which I have FOUR! Ha!

What do you all think of the Rule of Three? Is it a hard and fast rule for you? Can you think of any other examples? Do you follow the Rule of Three, or are you a rebel, like me?

Happy writing!

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham

One Year Down…

Since I rarely pay attention to things like this, I was pleasantly surprised when I logged in to WP today and received a message saying today is my one year WP anniversary! Wow!

I knew it was some time in February last year, but I couldn’t remember when. It makes sense now, though, because I set a goal for myself to finish my book (one of the rewrites of it, anyway) by Valentine’s Day of last year. I suppose, now that I’m in yet another rewrite, it didn’t matter much when I finished that last version, but it was a goal.

I also remember that I sent out my first query letter last year around this time, and one of the places I sent it to requested a website. Ergh… I didn’t have one at the time, so I deleted my entry until I got my site up and running.

Come to find out, that was the only agency that required a website in the application. I will not say it’s been all for naught, though, because I’ve learned so much from all of you. And even just from the process of writing posts and such.

I don’t have hundreds of followers, and I’m fine with that. That wasn’t my goal when starting this blog.

I’ve shared my opinions, learned a TON, and met some pretty awesome people. Some of whom I now consider good friends. You know who you are.

So, thank you for everything you’ve taught me in the past year. Here’s hoping for many more to come!

Happy writing!

The Science of Injury – Part Two – Crutches, Canes, and Walkers

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By lisasolonynko on Morguefile

 

We’ve all seen them. Most people look away quickly or stare while they pass.

Crutches, canes, and walkers are more common than we realize.

In this second installment of my Science of Injury series, you’ll see videos and hopefully understand how to walk and use the above mentioned devices correctly.

Since I’m not much of a Halloween fan, I decided against any sort of themed post today, although I guess injury can be a bit of a dark topic at times.

One of my biggest pet peeves in television and in books is when writers inaccurately portray someone with a walking impairment with either the incorrect type of assistive device, or the incorrect gait (walking) pattern while using one of them.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll discuss them separately and explain how/when/why to use them. I won’t get too much into the physics of it because, really, most people don’t care. But at least you’ll know the correct usage of them.

Please remember tips like these and others when writing about characters with injuries. This will be a VERY basic post. You must also take into account any other co-morbidities of your characters, such as: arthritis, anxiety, depression, cancer, history of surgeries, etc, when writing about their injuries.

CANES

Canes are typically used when someone has a minor walking impairment that either has to do with a slight balance or strength impairment, or when they have minor weakness of one leg. Not both. That would require a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair, which will be covered in a separate post.

There are different kinds of canes. Some have four prongs on the bottom, called a quad-cane. Others have four prongs and a significant width between each one. This one is called a hemi-cane and is primarily used with people who have hemiplegia, which is significant one sided weakness of both the upper and lower extremities. This is typically seen after people have a stroke or brain injury of some kind.

Please google images of these canes. Due to licensing and copyright restrictions, I can’t post pictures of them all.

The most common type of cane is the standard cane, which is seen above, with only one point at the bottom.

There are more than three types of canes, but these are the most commonly used. I’m not the biggest fan of the quad canes for my patients due to the physics of the gait pattern and the fact that patients can trip over them if not used correctly. These odds are decreased with standard canes.

Now, for the correct pattern: The cane should ALWAYS go in the hand OPPOSITE the side of weakness/imbalance/instability, etc. Unless there is a problem with the hand or arm of the opposite side, the cane needs to go there in order for the base of support to be adequately distributed throughout the body and the cane. Keeping the cane on the same side of the injury actually causes further weakness and a terrible walking pattern that is hard to break after the cane is no longer needed. People don’t like to use the cane in their non-dominant hand, but with practice and advisement from a physical therapist, it usually isn’t a problem.

As for stairs, when using a cane, you go up with the stronger leg, then the injured side, then the cane. So, the cane follows the bum leg on the way up.

When descending stairs, the bum leg goes first because it requires more effort on the part of the leg on the top step to slowly lower your body weight (times the weight of gravity) down a step. Therefore, the bum leg goes first, then the cane, then the good leg. Simple, right?

A popular mistake in TV with this is Gregory House from the show House, M.D. He walks with the cane in the wrong hand, and just take a look at his gait!! It’s completely wonky! If he’d used it in the correct hand, it would have been much smoother and less cumbersome. Our muscles fatigue much quicker when our gait is incorrect. His muscles were working overtime on one side of his body, and the other side was getting nothing.

Huge pet peeve! Ergh!

Here’s a video to help.

The only thing I don’t like about this video is that the cane is actually adjusted too tall for the patient. I won’t get into how to measure them. You can google and YouTube this all day long.

 

CRUTCHES

Not to be blunt or rude, but crutches are usually used in the younger population. It is rare to see someone older than 50-55 use crutches simply because the sequencing is too complex, or the patient’s balance isn’t sufficient enough to allow them to use crutches. If they can’t, they must use a walker.

There are different types of crutches.

The ones we all know are called axillary crutches, because they sit in the axillae (armpits) of our shoulder girdle. Those are the ones we see athletes using after a knee, hip, or foot injury.

Other common crutches are Lofstrand crutches, which have a cuff around our forearms and handles for ease of walking. These are commonly used in children with Spina Bifida or Cerebral Palsy. However, they can also be used when someone has weakness in both legs. It helps to even out the gait.

Axillary crutches are most common, and there are many gait patterns available when using them.

If someone has one leg that is unable to bear weight, we put the crutches forward first, then swing the strong through for a step while keeping the injured leg elevated. This is an advanced form of gait that is difficult for people who have balance deficits. Hence, the reason older adults and the elderly cannot use them.

Once someone progresses to the point of putting weight on their leg, the gait pattern turns into something else. The crutches are put forward first, then the injured leg, then the good leg. If done opposite, the patient will almost certainly fall because they don’t have the unweighting affect of the crutches to offset the weakness of the injured leg once it’s trailing behind the body.

Typically when using crutches on the stairs, you put both crutches in one hand and hop up on the good leg. Many people don’t have the lower body strength for this, so they resort to scooting on their butt up and down the stairs. Also effective, but sometimes it’s difficult to achieve an upright posture from the low seated position once they reach the top of the stairs.

You need to remember NOT to lean your armpits against the crutches. You could end up with a brachial plexus palsy, which is permanent nerve damage that will take out all the muscles in your arm, and it will be dead weight. NOT GOOD. DO NOT lean on your crutches. Nerve damage is likely.

Here’s another great video.

This one is for non-weight bearing only, but there are numerous videos out there for other ways to walk with crutches.

 

WALKERS

Walkers are generally reserved for patients who have poor balance and strength, but are still able to walk. Or, if they don’t/can’t achieve correct gait or balance for crutches, they are given a walker, which is far more stable, but more cumbersome and a bit heavier.

There are multiple types of walker, but the three most common are the standard walker, which has no wheels, the rolling walker, with two wheels in the front, and the Rollator walker, which has four wheels and a seat for when the patient becomes fatigued.

The standard walker is the most stable since it has no wheels, and is used when patients have weakness of one or both lower extremities, or when they have a weight bearing restriction. The gait pattern is similar to crutches. Walker goes first, then the injured leg, then the strong leg. It is very fatiguing to walk this way because of how much energy expenditure is required to continually lift the walker and place it down.

For patients without weight bearing restrictions, who may only need it for balance and shorter walking distances, a rolling walker is sufficient. This allows for a free and smooth gait pattern and allows the patient to walk without fear of falling.

Patients who require a walker for the long-term who are a little more agile and need to walk farther distances, a Rollator walker is perfect, because they can sit on the seat when they get fatigued. However, unlike the other two types of walkers, this one does NOT collapse or fold for easy storage. So, the price for freer movement is a cumbersome storage requirement.

One other type of walker I’ll mention is one that is used often in children that were born with neurological deficits or birth defects. This is called a Kaye Posture Walker and it looks like a backward walker to the rest of us. However, one of the downfalls of walkers is that people don’t stand upright while using them and it promotes poor posture. If walkers are correctly adjusted and instructed on proper use by a physical therapist, this isn’t usually a problem, but in children, poor habits happen very easily and they’re hard to break as they age.

The “backwards walker” requires the children to use an upright posture while still allowing for stability and support during the gait process.

Two more videos, these on walkers.

 

You HAVE to watch this one! Isn’t she precious? Good for her!

It’s amazing to watch a little girl take steps like that when she probably hasn’t been able to walk for a very long time! Sigh. I love treating kids. It can be heartbreaking, but usually joyful when they’re able to do something that is so easy for the rest of us.

 

Whew!! You made it!

Sorry for the length of this post, but it’s required. Remember, these are the very BASIC essentials of using assistive devices.

Please make sure to research the use of them if one of your characters finds himself in a sticky situation.

There’s so much I had to leave out of this post, so if you have questions, PLEASE leave a comment and I’ll return it ASAP.

Happy Writing!