Friday, July 31, 2009

Read it "because I said so"

Why, as a mother, do I find Summer Reading assignments so aggravating? Probably because I feel the need to check in with my children and make sure they're getting through the list. And because invariably as we approach the back to school deadline there is much eye rolling and "I'll get it done" rather than the "Finished!" replies I'd prefer to hear.

But, more importantly, why does the Summer Reading list have to be so dry? Yes, I agree a study of literature is necessary and informative and educational - I'm an author after all - but it's also hard to support a list when the entire summer selection lacks even the smallest glitter of excitement in the forest of critical essays, forewords and footnotes.

I know their teachers and classmates will blow the dust off the text in the classroom discussion, but that's a hard sell on sunny days when the other chores are done and the temptations of waterparks, movies, and paintball beckon.

Having long ago broken my youthful (and ignorant) vow to never use the phrase "Because I said so..." on my own children, it's not a big surprise to hear myself saying "I read it and survived. Now it's your turn."

After all, what doesn't kill our love for reading makes it stronger.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Fab Fitness Discovery

I made a great discovery lately - I can read while I'm on the treadmill. The idea used to make me queasy, but now - woo hoo! I've got some mandated reading time!

It's fabulous because I cruised through two great books on my TBR pile while getting fit:

First for the adventurer in you: Medusa
by Clive Cussler/Paul Kemprecos - This NUMA team of Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala is witty and fun and the supportive cast is as impressive as always. Cussler's love of the ocean and man's seafaring history always shine through and I'm forever amazed at how he ties past to present. It's one of the traits I aspire to as an author. But enough about me - The book is one wild, global ride from an 1800's whaler to the very current threat of a pandemic flu. How does the jellyfish on the cover tie in? You'll just have to pick it up and find out! You won't be sorry.

For my romance reading buddies:
you NEED to find yourself a copy of Sleepless in Scotland
by Karen Hawkins. WOW. Hugh MacLean and Caitriona Hurst only want what's best for their siblings, but these two vibrant individualists manage to trap themselves in an unwanted marriage. I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful reading experience. I believe this is the fourth in a series of five and they've all been so much fun. The MacLean clan is cursed to affect the weather when they get in a temper and that adds such a clever twist to these heartwarming, historical romances.

So go find your own reading adventure!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's life adventure... all about the shower. No matter that we've got a sleepover winding down this morning and boys want breakfast. No matter that the daughter is eager to see said boys leave. My shower has to come first.


1) There's no longer enough bleach on the planet to get the doors and crevices clean. Don't bother sending me tips, I've tried them all.
2) My shower's a tiny odd size so a replacement door isn't available with out a Save My Bath sort of overhaul
3) I finished another manuscript and I NEED the physical labor - it just works that way for me.

So with the husband out of town it's the perfect time to deal with stuff like this - at least this time he KNOWS I'm making the change. Usually he comes home to myriad surprises. (don't worry I won't let him down).

After a little online research (and pointing the boys toward the food) I'm wrestling with the over-caulked, grime stained shower stall door with the cracked insets...and giving my hands a break by posting about it.

I've finally got the panels out and only one screw left in the frame - so when that caulk gives, I'll be doing the happy dance.

Yeah, some people have real, BIG adventures like Paris in springtime or reading Federer's blog about the birth of his daughters (twins - whoa! - and congrats). But for me - today -I'm happy to know I'll be able to shower in a pretty, sparkling shower stall by morning.

Happy adventures!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Write Stuff Wednesday

What do I love most about Janet Evanovich? Recently - her speech at RWA!

Admittedly, it took me awhile to jump on the Stephanie Plum bandwagon (I think there were four or five books out by the time I started on the series) but I'm a die-hard fan now. Not just of the stories, but of Janet herself. I admire the dream, drive and determination, that carried her to the top.

During her speech (filled with all kinds of write stuff), I soaked up the nuggets of real wisdom she shared with the RWA conference attendees. The top few: Reminders that being a mom is the most important job she's ever had, that laughter is a balm for nearly everything, and that playing to your writing strengths is vital to an author's success.

It didn't hurt to hear about her work ethic. On some level readers know writers have to put in the hours, but when the end result is such an enjoyable read, we tend to think of it as some purely miraculous occurrence. The truth (as I heard it on Thursday) was that daily effort, self-discipline, self-awareness, and a positive attitude are the real keys to that mythical 'overnight' rocket to the top of the bestseller lists.

If you're a Plum fan, let me and the other 'realm' visitors know why or which book got you hooked!

Happy reading,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back in the chair!

This summer's just been full of traveling and once more I'm thrilled to be HOME again! And I'm sooo very ready to get my own writing back on track.

I've been at a writer's conference - having a fabulous time pumping up my education quotient and connecting with friends whom I usually only 'see' online. It was my birthday yesterday and my family gifted me with the best book on fiction writing: Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. It had sold out twice at conference and I figured I'd have to wait - but no! My family rocks!!!

Friend me on twitter (@reganblack) or facebook (Regan Black) for updates to how this book is making a positive impact on both my writing and my writing confidence!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rivalry at Teen-Seen

At Teen-Seen, the community blog for the YA authors of Quake, it's Sibling Rivalry week.

The stories crack me up because I was an only child. I grew up marveling at the idea of living with other young people in the house. I envied my friends when they complained about the hassles, even when they complained about hearing a parent mix up names. In my house, sometimes my mom ran through the roster of dogs - even the dead ones - before she got my name right.

Of course that did give me a little extra time to 'report' for whatever she needed.

An only child may not have to fight over the last cookie, but we don't have any sort of convenient scapegoat either. Especially when your mom kept the cookies in tupperware on top of the fridge rather than in a cookie jar the dog might manage to knock off the counter.

So enough about me - go check out Teen Seen for stories that range from hysterical to inspiring! There's a reason these authors have fans!

Tweet me!

Download the adventures at Kindle!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Declaring my Independence

I'm declaring my independence from the typical and usual - including regularly scheduled blog posts!

I've spent recent days trying to get back into the swing of social media after being away from home for several weeks. We've traveled for business and pleasure and I've never been so certain I'm a homebody.

Don't get me wrong, I love to get out and see new things, share stuff with the family, but there's just something about sleeping in your own bed with your own house making the noises you're used to hearing. Instead of say...a bright light going off in your face at 3am when a child doesn't feel good or a bridal party bumping down the hallway after the extended reception in the hotel bar.

Anyway, scheduled or not, you can count on info at this blog once again. Info about my adventures in writing, reading, and living that make Regan's Realm a blog to bookmark and visit often!

Happy Independence Day, America!