September 18, 2019

     Not about witches and only slightly about trees, The Witch Elm by Tana French is more of an exploration in how long a reader will tolerate a dense protagonist? 
     French handles her protagonist deftly. Toby is a confident modern male who has recently exposed for running a social media scam at the gallery where he works. He also experiences a robbery in his home where two criminals beat him near to death. 
     Before the savage beating, Toby is a difficult protagonist, in that he is oblivious to his privilege. He ignores the insistence of his friends and cousins that his world is not the world at large. It’s not until the robbery and the discovery of a dead body at his uncle’s home does he start to come to terms with all the harassment his fr...

September 4, 2019

     The short answer: I’ve been sick.

     The long answer: I had surgery. 

     Actually, I had three surgeries since May. I’ve spent the summer with doctors poking around, clamping things, injecting things, and eventually removing an organ from my body. The anesthesia is nice, but the recovery is hard. 

     Those who keep up with this website know that I took the month of July off. The break was designed to be a realignment of priorities. I needed time to finish my novel, to figure out where my website would be going, and to rest. But the second that I decided to come back from my break, my body had other plans. 

     When a woman has a medical issue for something that is specific to the female anatomy, it is not easy to talk about, es...

August 14, 2019

     I have a stain on my ring finger above the top knuckle. It is an ink stain from my fountain pen. It used to bug me that the pen left this mark on me, but now I kind of like it, like painters who walk around in their splattered clothing. 
     I am that person taking notes in a meeting which could have been covered in an email. I am that person writing down the particulars in parent-teacher conferences. I am that person scribbling during church. I am never as comfortable as I am when I have a pen in my hand. 
    I write everyday, not on a particular project, but to work out my thoughts. I write in the mornings, but if the morning gets away from me, I’ll pick it up in the afternoon or evening. I find comfort in the tactile process of writing things down....

August 7, 2019

     Thank you for allowing me to talk to all of you today about Circe and how Madeline Miller utilizes abstract and concrete descriptive language in order to create a mythical world.
     Creative Writers pend most of their time searching for the right words to create a fictional world, words so precise that total strangers will conjure the same image in their own minds.  
     One of the basic “rules” of writing is descriptive language, the more specific the better. Writers are encouraged to avoid abstract language and vague descriptors. However, sometimes too specific descriptions can slow down the story and frustrate the reader who only wants to reach the end. Circe author Madeline Miller is writing a 400-page epic. She is not writing a book series or...

July 3, 2019

     If you are here looking for your regular injection of books, boots, creative journaling, binge watching, literary takes, or planner obsessions, fear not. I'm taking July off, but I will return in August with everything you love and more. 

     This also means, I am taking a break from assembling the regular Books and Boots Weekly Roundup. Feel free to dig around in the Archives while I am gone. Also, don't forget that the Books and Boots Weekly Roundup reaches subscribers before anyone else. I you want to see all the lovely goodies first, sign up here.

     The last project, The Sweetheart Project, was the 12-week exploration into my writing and personal journals, which was so beneficial to me. Through that project, I was able to reflect on how much I have chang...

June 26, 2019

(Sweetheart: The Process is a 12-week reflection into my writer’s notebooks. The entries are dated and annotated as my opinions or feelings have changed on a subject. These are not live-entries.)

Watch list for writing my novel:

  1. Avoid the temptation to analyze the text… I don’t need to get too deep into my head and overthink what I’m trying to do.

  2. Avoid topic sentences -- don’t set up a scene like it is an essay instead of writing from the moment (I totally forgot this and will need to implement it when editing). Only descriptions in the scene and in action.

  3. Avoid abstract words like love and hate. Avoid things which cannot be experienced with the senses.

  4. Pulling punches. I still worry that my characters are not likeable (or too unlikeable) or trying to make happy resoluti...

June 19, 2019

(Sweetheart: The Process is a 12-week reflection into my writer’s notebooks. The entries are dated and annotated as my opinions or feelings have changed on a subject. These are not live-entries.)

May 8, 2018

            What am I getting into today? I’ve already uploaded my grades. Later, I want to go to Five Below and see if they have fun power banks for two of my friends whose phones are constantly dying. I might work on my writing schedule in my Google doc. I may have a conference call with M today about our dissertations. I’m definitely going to make Michelle’s pages for the planner I am building for her.

On my To Do list:

  • Reading List

  • Writing Schedule

  • Edit my essay

  • Library trip

  • Research contests and grants

...

June 12, 2019

(Sweetheart: The Process is a 12-week reflection into my writer’s notebooks. The entries are dated and annotated as my opinions or feelings have changed on a subject. These are not live-entries.)

April 3, 2018
    This morning, REDNECKKID crawled into the bed and woke me. He’d had a nightmare. He said he was alone and looking for me. I let him lie next to me until my alarm went off, then I took him to bed. He’s still awake on the other side of the door to his room while I write this, probably playing with his toys. REDNECKKID’s greatest fear is to be alone.
    Yesterday, I had multiple tasks to complete before I went to bed. I didn’t panic about them. I’m trying a new approach where -- in addition to not beating myself up -- I’m not allowing myself to become overwhelmed by my wor...

June 5, 2019

(Sweetheart: The Process is a 12-week reflection into my writer’s notebooks. The entries are dated and annotated as my opinions or feelings have changed on a subject. These are not live-entries.)

March 28, 2018
    I have no doubts about myself. 

    My decisions are good ones.
    I am not failing.
    I am succeeding.
    I am breathing. I am eating and drinking in moderation. I am getting exercise. I am teaching and completing my tasks in the workplace. I am writing regularly. I am reading books with my kids. I am assisting with homework.
    This week, after a great run on Monday, I was getting ready for bed and came down on my foot incorrectly. I rested yesterday and I am nervous about going back out on it. My friend broke her femur bone...

May 29, 2019

(Sweetheart: The Process is a 12-week reflection into my writer’s notebooks. The entries are dated and annotated as my opinions or feelings have changed on a subject. These are not live-entries.)

March 24, 2018
    The Artist’s Way suggests spending one whole week not reading. I get the point. How can an artist grow if they are constantly absorbing other people’s work? When M. wrote her vampire series, she told me that she never read anything. She was afraid of being influenced and having her creative process crushed. Considering that part of my job is reading my students papers and awarding them a grade. I cannot give up grading completely. However, I can give up my social media. (Never happened.) But I will need to plan for it.
I will need to:

  • Schedule some Instagram posts

  • ...
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