Saturday, June 18, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

I have done lots of book reviews here on the blog. They’re very informal but always selected because I thought at least most of you would be interested. Not this time. This time the book selected for review is all for me! {So there!} All kidding aside, usually when I share upcoming review titles with my family members they show SOME initial interest in the book, but this time I got a lot of raised eyebrows and blank stares with the odd sarcastic remark (“Sounds riveting.”) thrown in for good measure.

Me? I was totally excited to read and review Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. And you know what? I loved it!

Story Engineering
Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing
By Larry Brooks
Published by F&W Media

Even though I felt like the book got off to a bit of a slow start with all of the “why you need to know this” in the beginning, once it took off it was systematic and well organized. Brooks takes all the requirements of successful fiction writing and breaks them down into itty bitty pieces, reviews them in detail, and then explains how they all come together to make your writing better. He covers everything you need to know and specifically points out the traps that many writers unknowingly fall into so that they are accounted for - and avoided! Particulars I never really put much thought into now carry a much higher weight of significance in the planning and execution of my writing. Will you notice a change? Maybe not. But I will.

I won’t be diving headlong into a formal, technical review of the book. I'm not sure I would even be qualified to do that! And I will admit that not everyone is going to love this book. Some people have other interests like numbers and spreadsheets or what have you and that’s ok. They probably ought to take a pass on this one. Not everyone enjoys writing or has any interest at all in the inner-workings of the craft of writing. I do -- I guess that’s obvious because who would have a blog if they didn’t enjoy writing at some level? -- I have quite a bit of interest in it, in fact, and this book was just plain FUN for me to read. I have pages dog-eared and passages flagged for future reference. I have even started re-reading some of the chapters for review. I have visions of this book staying close at hand for quite some time. Suffice it to say that those of you who, like me, really enjoy stringing words together for any number or reasons - or no reason at all, sometimes - ought to put this on your must read list. And if you harbor somewhere in the deep dark recesses of your mind the dream of writing a novel? Buy it. Right Now.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher though the bloggers review program

Friday, June 10, 2011

Welcome Home, Sweet Kirill!

God Bless the Davis Family.

And welcome home! xo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

REVIEW: Amazing Grace ~ Celtic Hymns & Blessings

Amazing Grace - Celtic Hymns & Blessings
Produced by David Huntsinger for Discovery House Music

We are big music fans around here - with hugely eclectic tastes - so it’s always a good sign when the opening notes of a CD make me smile. This one? Amazing Grace…on bagpipes. My dear Irish husband’s absolute favorite tune. Ever. We’re off to a good start. Personally, I think Amazing Grace on the ’pipes is nice enough but it doesn’t hold the same allure for me as it does for him. I was just glad that his favorite tune was starting us off.

The voices of Siobhan Kennedy, Katie Brace, Collin Brace and David Huntsinger are what initially drove me to the jacket -- I had to put names to the voices I was hearing. Once that was accomplished I spent a good deal of time reading through the scriptures, blessings, and origins that accompanied the music credits and acknowledgements, with beautiful music playing in the background all the while. I loved the peaceful feeling that the hymns provided and the Celtic sounds and instruments - who doesn't love Celtic music, anyway? - mixed with such beautiful voices made for terrific music!

I think the whole family really enjoyed the mix of instrumental and vocal arrangements. We’ve found this CD as the backdrop for our day several times over the last few weeks. The girls and I love to listen to “imagination music” - music without words that lets you imagine what the music is saying - and there were some great stories created with the tunes on this CD. I have several new favorites off this CD that I catch myself humming from time to time. Kyle really enjoyed the guitars and fiddles and we already know Bill’s favorite part! Definitely a positive addition to our music collection.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this CD for review from Discovery House Publishers and Music.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Hooray for the last day of school!

Beginning tonight, all {programmable} alarm clocks are OFF ~ of course, the three year old who thinks sleep is for sissies will still be primed and ready to wake the neighborhood at a time precisely of her choosing each day! ~ and we will be officially pursuing our Summer Agenda.

So what IS on this Summer Agenda, exactly?

Lots and lots and LOTS of fun:

~ movies ~

~ swimming ~

~ math practice ~

{hehe...maybe fun is a bit overstated here but it is a necessary evil}

~ ancestry research and art project ~

~ travel to visit family and friends ~

~ reading, reading, reading ~

~ writing, writing, writing {and MORE writing} ~

~ crafts and sewing ~

~ and whatever else our little hearts desire! ~

So tell me...

What is on YOUR Summer Agenda?