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Archive for May, 2018

This is something I find disappointing about libraries. You get hooked on an author, but the books you want to read, they don’t have. Or, you get hooked on a series and they don’t have the others in it. I suppose this could be a plot to get one to go out and buy the books. Which I have done and will probably do again once I get more funds in. Except sometimes I forget the author or series. That’s a real pain. Or maybe it’s a good thing. If I can’t remember it, I can’t want it. Only I remember bits of it and I want to read the book(s).

For example, I read a book by an author who’s last is Hughes. I think. The book is set in Liverpool during WWII. She’s written another book. I think it’s Hero on a Bicycle. I want to read it. Then I read another book, a biography, set in WWII. There are three in the series. I only read the first one and I want to read the rest. That’s three books I want to read that I can’t my hands on.

I really need to write these authors and titles down and keep my eyes open for them.

Unfortunately some are hard to get. Like Ivan Southall, an Australian writer. I’ve read two books from him, I own one, and they are really good. You can’t even tell they were written years and years ago. These I actively searched for, but they are not easy to get. The only ones I could find were the ones I read.

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Annie is new to school and worried about finding friends. One girl latches onto her. ‘We’re going to be friends,” she says. Annie does not like her. She likes her even less when Elsie follows her home and breaks her beloved doll.

Elsie lies. She’s a tattletail. Annie isn’t free of her until she, Elsie is gone for a few days. Now Annie’s able to be friends with most popular girls in school. No more Elsie. No more until Elsie dies of the Spanish Flu and comes back to haunt Annie. ‘Soon everyone will hate you even more than they hated me,” Elsie tells her. Annie is going to be her friend no matter what.

 

This is set in the year of 1918 in the backdrop of the first World War and the deadly flu. Ms. Hahn brings to life the scenes of hearses rolling down the streets and the wreaths on door as well the clique of kids roaming living through those times.

I liked how she made used a character, Jane, to help us sympathize with Elsie, who really is a horrible girl. I wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with her either. And, as mean as some of Annie’s friends were to Elsie, I identified with that because there were times I was just like them – following a leader and making fun of someone even though I knew inside it was wrong.

Ms. Hahn writes nice, creepy ghost stories. Scary, but not too scary and always with a satisfying ending. If you have someone who’s fond of horror, make sure to recommend this one.

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Chapters

When I first write a draft, unless I have an outline, which is seldom, I don’t have chapters. And, even if I do have established chapters, I may add or subtract one down the line.

I don’t know why I started this. Maybe because I just wrote and went wherever the story did. I figured it’ll go around in the end and it usually does. It comes out quite nicely in fact. I amaze myself when I find the chapters are around the same length.

In the story I wrote about Charleston, that has no real chapters unless one counts each day as a chapter. I’ve it organized by date and sometimes by time of day. In another story I’m working on, I have definite chapters, but I’m thinking of cutting those short because they seem too long. A pity almost because I’ve when I wrote the outline I made up humorous chapter titles. I’ll either have to make up additional ones or not use them at all. We’ll see how that goes.

I don’t think I’ll change how I write and I’ll continue dividing the stories after I’ve written them. When I chop them up to put up for critiquing I usually count so many pages, then find a good place to end the chapter. This works pretty well for me even if it means adding a few lines to create a hook to lead readers onto the next chapter. It makes the chapters pretty much an even length, not that it really matters to me. What I don’t like thought is very short chapters, like one or two pages long. So far, I haven’t had that.

Will I change my habit? Probably not. It works and that’s all that matters.

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Pawnee Kitty Sits
Pen in paw, inspiration
Another Haiku

Aud had a book and the main character wrote haiku. That’s all I remember about the book because it wasn’t at all interesting. Then, as I was sitting there, about to nod off, a haiku came to me. Just like that!

Little kitty walks
Glides by on soft paws, pauses
blinks an I love you.

I think I might be a haiku master. Really. Because then another haiku came to me.

Sad little kitty
sitting alone in the house.
Doorbell rings. A friend.

I went to show Angus. I’d only gone two steps when, BAM:

Angus, wooly ram
Wants his horns to grow in, now
Impatient Angus.

I am seriously good at this thing. Talbot, one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world ever, was a poet. Here’s one of her poems.

Forbidden Flowers

Red flowers, dried flowers
You’re such a delight.
So tasty, so crunchy
I could eat you all night.
Alas, though your mercy
is not directed at me.
I eat you, I throw up.
I am in misery.
But, lo before one
thinks me insane.
Red flower, dried flower,
You’re worth all this pain.

That poem really speaks to me. It’s epic. All my kitty friends relate to it.

Me: Hey, Angus. Look. I can haiku.

Angus: That’s brilliant. Now, be off with ye. You’re interrupting me work.

Me: You’re just obsessing about your latest potential sweetie.
And then I get the most brilliant idea ever.
Me: You can do a haiku for her. A poem. A love poem. Here, I’ll write one for you because I am really good at this.

Potential Sweetie
Hay breath, top quality wool
My eyes turn to hearts.

Angus: What are you blithering on about? That’s horrible. And I don’t have a potential sweetie. The last one, she likes pineapple tops.
He shudders.

Me: So, then what are you, oh.
It’s the twins.

Angus: If I make a haiku will ye go away and leave me to me misery?

Me: I suppose.

Angus: That’s probably a no. But in case it is a yes, here.

Heather and Peatmoss
Most horrid twins in the world
I suffer greatly.

‘Tis nea Robbie Burns, but it’ll do. Now go. Be off.

I leave, but I stay close. I might come up the perfect haiku to cure Angus’ woes.

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Twelve-year-old Mia does not want to be here. She’d much rather be home with her friends than in North Korea with her father and brother. She can’t even use her cell phone. It’s more of a punishment than a vacation. Seriously, who goes on a tour of this country? Why couldn’t they have gone to South Korea where she’d been born?

The trip goes from bad to worse when her adoptive father, an aid-worker, is arrested and she and her brother are on the run, trying to get out of North Korea with a phone containing pictures of abuse in local camps.

 

This is a timely novel of North Korea by someone who has lived years in South Korea and has done their homework. After reading this, I checked my local library to see if they had some of the resources she recommended.

Besides the resources, there are pages of information on the county in the guise of pages from a tour booklet. I thought that an inventive way to introduce the reader to the country especially those who may know little about it.

Ms. O’Brien even mentions Otto Warmbier who, at the time of the story was still in North Korea. It all struck home the harsh reality of this country.

 

I admit at first I was hesitant to read this story as I thought it a bit implausible, but once I started, I couldn’t put the book down. Ms. O’Brien makes the story quite believable and exciting. I liked the short chapters from the viewpoints of North Koreans such as the young student who is so fearful she’ll make a mistake at a performance with flip cards.

This book would be a great companion when studying the country as it interweaves truth with a great adventure story

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