Killing 2 birds…

Almost daily I get a wave of guilt about neglecting this blog.  It’s not that I think anyone is particularly heart broken over the fact that I haven’t written since October, but I have all these thoughts that I want to put on “paper” and every time I let one slip away without recording it, it’s gone forever.  Writing truly is therapeutic for me and I think the year I spent writing regularly turned out to be a pretty great year.

Another thing I used to do a lot of that I let slip through the cracks is reading.  I’ve read 1.5 books in the last 2 years.  I should clarify: 1 whole book (Insurgent), and a quarter of 2 other books (Allegiant and Midnight in Austenland).  They now sit on my bedside table, unfinished, staring at me with judgmental eyes.

Well I have great news.  Not only did I just finish a book (a GREAT book I might add) in only 3 days, but I am going to WRITE ABOUT IT!  This weekend, my conscience will be clear.

While dancing with my college contemporary dance company many years ago (13 years?? ugh), I met a girl named Sarah.  She was confident and fun and hilarious…and so intimidating to me.  Luckily for me, I got a crush on the same boy that she had a crush on and in the process of vying for the affection of this soon-to-be-out-of-the-closet male dance partner of ours, we formed a close bond.

The next year, her younger sister Holly started college and also joined our dance company.  The three of us, along with our other amazing friend Donna, proclaimed ourselves “The Fab Four” and had all sorts of adventures together.  Among these adventures was story time with Holly, who was not only a beautiful dancer and as funny as her sister, but an amazing writer.  One night while we were waiting to leave for the airport at four in the morning, we stayed up to listen to Holly narrate her latest Horror novel.  We couldn’t wait to find out what happened and continued the story on long bus rides in place of sleeping.  These are memories I will never ever forget.

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We also have really great fashion sense.  You can see where we got our name from…

So this year when Holly had her very first novel officially published, I couldn’t wait to start it.  And now that I have finished it I can’t believe I have to wait months for the next one!  I almost want to call Holly and just have her tell me what happens.  I loved the book so much in fact that I called Barnes and Noble yesterday to ask them how one becomes a featured author in their store.  You know, like the front-and-center displays that jump out at you as soon as you walk in the store.  I was told that typically the author works with a professional PR person who contacts the store headquarters and arranges for things like that.  I ensured them that no one put me up to this, and I said “Well can’t I just tell you it was really good and ask you to display it in the front?”.  He was nice and he laughed at my “joke” and apologized that that’s not the way it works.

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The book, entitled Foreshadowed, is “a well-plotted story of suspense and potential murder, hinging on the unique and endearing relationship of two darkly gifted teens…Left me guessing until the end…and still has me speculating.” (Brief plot synopsis and review written by the book’s cover artist, Lyndsay Johnson, who said it as well as I ever could).  The characters in this story are so well developed.  They’re the sort of characters that you care about because they care about each other.  And because who doesn’t have something weird about themselves that they think makes them a freak?  The book may not jump out at you when you walk into the book store.  But it most definitely deserves to be best seller.

I feel honored to call Holly a friend and to have “known her when”.  I have all my fingers, toes, and anything else crossable, crossed that she becomes a huge success.  Go get your copy for Foreshadowed!

 

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One choice can transform you

My enthusiasm for young adult fiction may have reached its pinnacle this past week.

If you, like me, savor this genre of reading material then you also know that the movie Divergent will be in theaters this week.  To celebrate this special event, a friend of mine assigned the book of the same name as this months book-club read.  Upon completion of reading something for a book-club, typically you gather together to discuss feelings about your experience reading the book.  YA fiction fans do things a little differently.

Here is a schedule of events for our book-club meeting:

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•As you enter you will be greeted by a table upon which the 5 factions are displayed.  Here you should choose a tattoo and use the small dish of water and cotton applicators to mark yourself before full entrance into the event.

•Take the following test to determine which faction you will continue on with in the choosing ceremony:

1. You most want your friends and family to see you as someone who…

  • A. Is willing to make sacrifices and help anyone in need.
  • B. Is liked by everyone.
  • C. Is trustworthy.
  • D. Will protect them no matter what happens.
  • E. Offers wise advice.

2. When you are faced with a difficult problem, you react by…

  • A. Doing whatever will be the best thing for the greatest number of people.
  • B. Creating a work of art that expresses your feelings about the situation.
  • C. Debating the issue with your friends.
  • D. Facing it head-on. What else would you do?
  • E. Making a list of pros and cons, and then choosing the option that the evidence best supports.

3. What activity would you most likely find yourself doing on the weekend or an unexpected day off?

  • A. Volunteering.
  • B. Painting, dancing, or writing poetry.
  • C. Sharing opinions with your friends.
  • D. Rock climbing or skydiving!
  • E. Catching up on your homework or reading for pleasure.

4. If you had to select of of the following options as a profession, which would you choose?

  • A. Humanitarian.
  • B. Farmer.
  • C. Judge.
  • D. Firefighter.
  • E. Scientist.

5. When choosing you outfit for the day, you select…

  • Whatever will attract the least amount of attention.
  • B. Something comfortable, but interesting to look at.
  • C. Something that’s simple but still expresses your personality.
  • D. Whatever will attract the most attention.
  • E. Something that will not distract or inhibit you from what you have to do that day.

6. If you discovered that a friend’s significant other was being unfaithful, you would…

  • A. Tell your friend because you feel that it is unhealthy for him or her to continue in a relationship where such selfish behavior is present.
  • B. Sit them both down so that you can act as a mediator when they talk it over.
  • C. Tell your friend as soon as possible. You can’t imagine keeping that knowledge a secret.
  • D. Confront the cheater! You might also take action by slashing the cheater’s tires or egging his or her house—all in the name of protecting your friend, of course.
  • E. Keep it to yourself, statistics show that your friend will find out eventually.

7. What would you say is your highest priority right now?

  • A. Serving those around you.
  • B. Finding peace and happiness for yourself.
  • C. Seeking truth in all things.
  • D. Developing your strength of character.
  • E. Success in work or school.

•To determine your faction, simply add up the number you have of each letter.  Depending on your propensity towards being selfless, honest, peaceful, intelligent, or brave, you will either continue as Abnegation, Candor, Amity, Erudite, or Dauntless respectively.

•Once you have chosen your faction, you, along with the other members of your faction, will start on a journey that will take you from home base to the grocery store 2 miles away on foot in 20 degree weather through the snow.  Without getting caught.

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I almost didn’t go.  I didn’t really want to.  I’m so glad I did!

Even though I am not a good runner, and it was very cold, and I was hiding in bushes and against people’s houses wearing all black while dogs barked at us, and we easily could have been identified as criminals and stopped by authorities (I mean look at us, don’t we look scary??), it was definitely worth it.  Especially since my group got there first.

I would definitely be Dauntless now.  Can’t wait to see the movie!