Day Off!

Hello, hello! Dad’s getting ready to stain the front hallway (right outside my room) and today he’s using something that might have fumes. Instead of being trapped in my room with potential stink, I’m going to chill in the living room where I can escape out into the backyard if need be. My computer battery is crap, so I’ll only have my phone with me. I hate writing on my phone. Needless to say, I’ll either be watching TV or reading today. Enjoy your week! I’ll be back next Wednesday.

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That Explains A Lot

Hello, hello! It’s already August and I have no idea where the time is going or what I’ve done while it was passing. I admit that I’ve been majorly slacking on writing. It’s not that I’m feeling burnt out or anything, but I still can’t find the motivation. The slew of rejections doesn’t exactly help get me pumped to write, but I was expecting them, so I’m not super depressed by them either. I’d just rather be reading or watching TV with Dad or something. Other than the actual writing, I’m still doing everything else I should be doing. Including reading. I thought I’d take a chance to ramble a bit about the books I’ve been rereading from years ago.

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Accurate.

Along with my books for review and other new-to-me stories, I’ve been working my way through a list of things I’ve been wanting to read again. So far, I’ve made it through C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia and am currently working on The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Other books I eventually want to get to include Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, the Anne of Green Gables series, His Dark Materials, and some other standalones. If you’re interested, the full list (minus the things I’ve already reread) can be found on my GoodReads profile.

Anyway, I’ve definitely had some thoughts while rereading these things. First, the Chronicles of Narnia. I knew they were on the misogynistic and racist side because C.S. Lewis was a man of his time, but I really didn’t remember them being as bad about it as they are. All of the girls do amazing things, but they’re constantly written off as doing the best they can for a girl. Then there’s the whole thing with the Calormenes being stereotypical heathens that basically need Aslan (Jesus) in order to become good people. There were also some slurs that I didn’t remember being in there. But I’m not too sensitive to these things, so I still found the stories entertaining and fun. Misogyny and racism existed. They still exist. They show up in literature, especially in certain time periods. I understand that and accept that if I read stuff from back then, I’ll run across these kinds of things. I’m just saying it’s interesting how my younger mind glanced over this stuff.

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The other thing I noticed with the Chronicles of Narnia was the religious aspect. I know there were things that always made me uncomfortable with this series as a kid, but I never quite put my finger on it. Rereading it now, I realize it was probably the same things that makes me uncomfortable about religion in general. Aslan abducts kids, forces them to do his bidding before he’ll send them home, and for some reason they love him for it. It’s all a little brainwashy and super creepy. Not to mention the whole Aslan versus Tash thing. It comes down to “my god’s better than yours” and Aslan literally explains that no matter who people worship, good things are done for Aslan while bad things are done for Tash. No other god can be good, I guess. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind that the Chronicles of Narnia are pretty much just Bible retellings, but the creepiness of it all still shows through.

That’s enough about C.S. Lewis. The book I’m currently reading, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King, is the one that got me into reading and that explains a lot about me. There are blood and guts and a mean voice in Trisha’s head and curse words and all of the fun stuff I still enjoy. There’s a decapitated deer (head first, body later). A disemboweled fawn. Butterflies that turn into creepy hooded people who claim to be sent by various gods. The signs of a “special thing” lurking just out of sight. Not to mention all of the regular scary things in forests like snakes and bugs. And I’m not even finished with it yet. I remember some of this stuff, but at other points I have no recollection of it. The joys of gore. I still love it.

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It’s weird to look back at things and see what the mind has retained versus what it has purged over the years. Makes me wonder exactly which tidbits helped shape my mind. Anyway, what are some books from your earlier years that you’ve reread recently? Did they surprise you? Did you notice anything about yourself? Do you still like them? As always, feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on FROM BEER TO ETERNITY

Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of the month again, so you know what that means. It’s time for the regularly scheduled book review! This month, I decided to go back to cozy mysteries for something fun and quick and with a happy ending. I got an ARC for Sherry Harris’s newest release, From Beer to Eternity. It’s the first in her Sea Glass Saloon series and was released on the 28th (yesterday) from Kensington Books. As usual, I must thank the publisher and NetGalley for giving me access to the book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

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Cute cover, but doesn’t seem like an accurate depiction of the bar.

From Beer to Eternity follows Chloe Jackson as she takes some time off from her library job in Chicago to fulfill a last promise to her best friend Boone who died. She goes to his hometown in the Florida panhandle and gets a job at his grandmother’s bar. The only problem is that Vivi, his grandmother, doesn’t want or seem to need help. Throw in a murder, a hot mystery guy, and a few attempts on Chloe’s life and Chicago just keeps looking better and better. Unfortunately, Chloe keeps her promises, so she can’t run away. Instead, she dives head first into a murder investigation like anyone would. No? Just her? Okay then.

First, the character development. I love Chloe. She’s the first snoop I’ve seen in one of these books who actually acknowledges that she’s bad at it and tries to come at things from different angles when she screws up. The only complaint I have about her is that she’s overly dumb sometimes even though she’s supposed to be smart. If multiple people start looking at you like you’re nuts when you say someone is a handywoman, you inquire as to why they’re looking at you like that, especially when no one actually told you her profession beyond “she fixes things.” Don’t be dense. Chloe’s new in town, so there’s no bestie to support her, but that means we get to see the budding friendship between her and Joaquin, the gay bartender. There’s also the weird romance thing going on with Rhett, but Chloe’s resistant to it for a couple of reasons (only one of which is acceptable to me). And of course there’s the tension with Vivi. It all makes for some really nice development.

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The setting is lovely. Harris does a wonderful job of depicting life on the Gulf. I love the beach imagery and the storms rolling in and even the bar. Everything is so vivid. All of the senses are utilized to create the whole picture. It’s kind of an immersive experience, which is neat.

The plot and pacing is great for the most part. It kept me guessing until the end, but we didn’t get to see much of the killer, so they basically flew under the radar. However, the last few chapters kind of went from a good and steady pace to a random avalanche. Throwing in that completely random and unfounded suspicion about Boone’s death only made the ending convoluted. His death never seemed to come into question until that point, so it is jarring and distracts from what actually happened.

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The writing is lovely, like I mentioned with the setting. Everything flows well and the imagery is gorgeous. Other than the pacing of the last few chapters, I can’t find anything to complain about with the writing itself.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed From Beer to Eternity. I will definitely by picking up future books in the series and may even check out Harris’s other cozy mystery series.

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Overall, I gave it four out of five stars. If you enjoy a good cozy or want something quick and fun to read, it’s worth picking up.

Disability “Pride” Month

Hello, hello! July is chugging right along. How is everyone doing? I’m not as productive as I should be, but I’m still getting stuff done. I switched both of my remaining yearly check ups to televisits, so I don’t have to worry about going to UT Southwestern this year (huzzah!). Otherwise, I’ve been procrastinating and writing and reading and submitting and querying. It sounds like a lot, but I could be writing more. Anyway, I recently discovered that July is Disability “Pride” Month. I have conflicting feelings about that name, so I thought I’d ramble about it for a bit.

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It’s a thing.

I’ve never really been comfortable with pride months/weeks/days/whatever. Especially when it’s referring to something genetic. I can’t think of one good thing that has come from people being proud of their genes. It’s creepy and you literally did nothing to be proud of. If anything, you should be proud of your parents for having sex and making you.

Not all disabilities are genetic! I know this. If you survived an accident or something, you deserve to be proud of yourself. You even deserve to be proud of yourself for living with a disability. It’s hard work. I should know. My issue is that “Disability Pride Month” makes it sound like we should be proud of being disabled. I mean, if you’re proud of your disability, more power to you. But I’m not. I had no choice in the matter, so why should I be proud of it? I’m proud of myself for earning an MFA in creative writing. I’m proud of myself for trying again and again despite the plethora of rejections I receive. I’m proud of myself when I come up with a solution for something like reaching a pen that’s an inch too far away. But my disability isn’t something I’m proud of. It’s neither here nor there. I just have to deal with it. 

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Personally, I’d rather have a Disability History Month. I’d love to see the TV stations doing specials on people with disabilities or airing little factoids during commercial breaks like they do for other history months. And I don’t mean inspiration porn type stuff. I want to learn about Helen Keller the activist, the first blind and deaf woman to earn a BA, the author, etc. I want to hear about how Sir Anthony Hopkins delves into a role and how his acting style may have been influenced by his (until late-in-life) undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. I want to see something about Justin Dart Jr. (a survivor of polio who ended up in a wheelchair because of it) who played a major role in getting the Americans with Disabilities Act passed thirty years ago. There are so many interesting people with disabilities, so it would be neat to actually learn about them without the whole inspo-porn twist that gets thrown into similar stories.

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That’s just how I feel. The word choice creeps me out, but I’m okay with having a month where people get to learn about people with disabilities. I know some people will get in huff about “why isn’t there an Able-bodied Pride/History Month?” but whatever. People just like to complain when they feel left out even though it’s not really meant to exclude them, but instead, it’s an invitation to learn about something outside of their bubble. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

The Great Mask Debate

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing? Last week, I had to go to the doctor’s office because I hadn’t seen her in over a year and I needed a prescription (she doesn’t do televisits). I wore a mask that Dad had custom-made to work with my ventilator, plus I wore a face guard for extra protection. I looked pretty stupid, but that’s better than getting Covid. Anyway, as many of you know, I’m in Texas. It’s a hotbed for the virus right now, but a good chunk of people are still making a fuss about wearing masks. So, I thought I would take the time to articulate my thoughts on some of the most common arguments against masks that I hear.

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At least my Cowboy Bebop shirt is cool.

1. “Being forced to wear a mask infringes on my civil liberties!”
Two questions: a) What are “civil liberties?” and b) Exactly which liberties do masks infringe upon? Let’s start with question a. Civil liberties are individual rights that protect us from tyranny and laws that are not created for the good of the community as a whole. In other words, your civil liberties are stuff like the freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, freedom of the press, the right to vote, etc. Mask laws are for the good of the community as a whole and don’t stop people from saying whatever they want or anything else like that. So, question b is a trick question because masks don’t affect your civil liberties at all. That argument only makes you sound like an uneducated sheep who heard someone else say it and thought it sounded legit. It’s not.

2. “Young, healthy people aren’t killed by Covid, so they don’t need to wear masks.”
First off, that information is false. Young and healthy people are dying from it too. But the biggest issue with that statement is the fact that masks are not meant to protect the wearer. They’re more effective at keeping the wearer from unknowingly spreading the disease (any similarly transmitted disease, not just Covid). Basically, it’s a matter of protecting the people around you at the expense of your own comfort.

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3. “Masks are hot and uncomfortable, so I don’t wanna wear one.”
I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way about clothes, but we still have to wear those in public. But this selfish argument stems from the fact that America is an individual-centric society instead of a community-centric one. Many of us are raised to put our own needs and desires above everyone else’s. So, the thought process of “I’ll endure some mild discomfort to protect my fellow citizens” is literally a foreign concept to many Americans. It’s not an excuse, but apparently it’s a hard habit to break. Add it to the misinformation from the above argument and the selfishness just gets worse and worse.

4. “There’s so much conflicting data.”
Is there, though? I mean, are you actually approaching this topic from a research perspective or are you just looking for “studies” that confirm your bias? Are you looking at peer-reviewed articles and studies with appropriate sample sizes? Let’s say you’re writing a research paper and you require ten sources… are you sifting through (and ignoring) hundreds of studies that don’t support your hypothesis just to find ten that vaguely support your hypothesis? Have these studies been replicated with similar findings? Or are you just spouting “data” you saw on some Joe Schmoe’s website? The data in favor of masks is pretty overwhelming if you look at legitimate studies. Stop being willfully ignorant.

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5. “Covid is a hoax and masks are the Lefties newest way of trying to control us through the government!”
I see you want to go full conspiracy theorist on me. Challenge accepted. So, the government is using masks to control you? They give you your own personal identification number at birth and track it until the day you die. They make you register every major purchase you make (homes, vehicles, etc). They allow tech companies to install bugs in our homes and vehicles to track our every movement and purchase preferences (because every smart device we own is listening to us). But, yeah. Masks are how they’re controlling us! It has nothing to do with the fact that they want to keep us divided about every little thing to distract us from how inept all of them are at actually running a country. The conspiracy theorist in me wouldn’t be surprised at all if the conflicting reports on the effectiveness of masks were all funded by the government just to sow dissent among us. But instead of erring on the side of caution and wearing your masks while you take a good hard look at how poorly the government is actually handling everything, you’d rather throw hissy fits in Costco. Congrats on being a pawn of the government! /end conspiracy theorist mode

There are other arguments I could address, but writing this post gave me a headache, so I’m going to stop and do something happy for a bit. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages. Disclaimer: arguments based around facts are completely acceptable even if they get a little heated, but if it devolves into name calling and rudeness, I will intervene.

Five Ways To Handle Rejection (And Five Things Not To Do)

Howdy, howdy! The first week of July kind of disappeared into thin air. I have no idea where it went, but that’s been this whole year for me. Anyway, as many of you know, I’ve started another agent search. What does that mean? It means my next few months will be filled with even more rejection than usual. Depressing, right? But that’s the way it is when it you’re trying to make a career out of writing. I realize I’ve posted about rejection before, but it’s been a while and I’ve learned a lot since then, including things I wish I didn’t know (looking at you don’t #1). So, I thought I would update my rejection advice with five ways to handle it and five things not to do.

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Do #1: Print out your rejections and burn them or rip them up or reupholster your office chair with them. Whatever makes you feel better. I just save them and when I get an acceptance, I scroll through and stick my tongue out at every rejection for that particular story. It’s childish, but it works for me.

Don’t #1: For the love of whatever you worship, do NOT write someone back and cuss them out or demand an explanation. Just take the no and move on. I never even thought that would be a thing until I started slushing. I’ve been lucky. The only emails I’ve received were thank yous for taking the time to comment and one polite request for suggestions of other places to submit. But I know people who have gotten really rude and occasionally threatening responses. Don’t do that.

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Do #2: Acknowledge that writing is extremely subjective. Not everyone is going to like what you submit. That’s not your fault. The story just might not have been a good fit like the rejection says.

Don’t #2: Don’t take form rejections to heart. They usually just mean your story wasn’t a good fit for that person or venue. It’s not a comment on your writing ability.

Do #3: Be proud of a personal rejection. I know you’re thinking “but it’s still a rejection!” Yeah, but it means either the story or writing caught the person’s attention enough that they want to help you improve on it.

Don’t #3: Unless specifically stated, a personal rejection is not an invitation to revise and resubmit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is. If there’s nothing in the letter about it, check their guidelines.

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Do #4: Take a break. Rejections can get depressing. It’s okay to take a break from writing and/or submitting when you start to feel burned out. We all need to take care of ourselves.

Don’t #4: Making the decision to stop writing isn’t something you should do rashly. If you’re overwhelmed by the rejection, take some time away. Don’t immediately declare that you’re never going to write again. Cool off and weigh the pros and cons rationally.

Do #5: Get a second creative outlet. Preferably something new, so you aren’t as critical of yourself when you’re doing it. Something for fun, not work.

Don’t #5: Try not to forget that writing is work. Sure, you’re passionate about it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t draining.

That’s my advice this week. I’m sure I won’t listen to myself about much of this. Who takes their own advice? But take from it what you will. What is some advice you have for dealing with rejection? As always, feel free to share your comments here or on my social media pages!

Adjusted Goals

Hello, hello! Welcome to July! How is everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? This year has flown by despite (or maybe because of) everything going on. Anyway, I stayed up late with Dad while he had some stuff on the smoker last night (a couple of briskets, pulled pork, and a “prime” rib… it’s okay to be jealous), so we got a late start today, which means I’m too lazy to come up with something decent to blog about. So, since it’s actually the first of the month and I haven’t done a goals post in a while, I’m just going to give you a quick update on new goals and how my old ones are going.

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Here are my goals from January and how I’ve been doing with that/what’s changed.

1. From January: Finish revising DS1.
Status: Complete. I finished in April instead of March because I got lazy, but I finished nonetheless and I love this book.
Updated Goal: Write a first draft of DS2. I waffled about starting this book until I see how DS1 does, but ultimately decided that it’s better to have a draft started and have no one want it than to procrastinate and have nothing if someone gets interested and wants to know where I’m at with book two. I’m aiming to have the first draft done by September 15th at the latest.

2. From January: Read 30 books.
Status: I have read 20 books so far this year. Six were from my “to re-read” pile, nine have been books I’ve reviewed (no idea how that happened), and the other five were new to me, but not necessarily new.
Updated Goal: My official goal is still 30 books. I still have six months of books to review. I also want to re-read at least two more books. And I’ll squeeze in at least two new to me books. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to more in the latter two categories, but I won’t push it.

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Amazon, but yeah.

3. From January: Keep submitting.
Status: I haven’t missed a week yet.
Updated Goal: The goal is relatively the same, submit two short pieces to magazines or anthologies every week. I normally do this on Mondays, but I’ve decided it doesn’t matter which day as long as it gets done every week.

4. January Goal: Query 100 agents.
Status: In progress. I’ve queried 16 agents thus far and received a couple of form rejections as well as a couple of really encouraging personal rejections.
Updated Goal: I’m still going to query 100 agents unless I find one. I send out five queries a week and I will participate in appropriate Twitter pitch sessions. If I can’t find an agent, there are also a few publishers I will try querying before I give up and move to a new project or debate self-publishing.

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Accurate.

5. January Goal: Crochet.
Status: In limbo. I haven’t crocheted in a couple of months.
Updated Goal: I want to finish the shawl I’m working on and a hat by the end of the year. I’m just weird and can’t find the motivation for it. But I will get back to it soon.

Those are my revised goals for now. What are some of your goals? How have they changed since earlier in the year? As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on THE KINGDOM OF LIARS

Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of June, so you know what that means. Review time! I decided I wanted to dig into some fantasy this month. Not middle grade. Not mixed with other genres. Just some straight up fantasy. So, I got an ARC of The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell. To be honest, I have no idea when it was actually released. Some places say it came out on May 5th and others say it came out yesterday. Either way, it’s a recent release from Gallery Books/Saga Press. As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher for giving me access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get on with it.

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Pretty cover.

The Kingdom of Liars follows Michael Kingman as he tries to find his place in a society that has marked him as a traitor due to his father’s crime. When Michael was a child, his father murdered the crown prince despite the Kingman family being protectors of the throne since its inception. Michael and his siblings have lived in the shadow of that murder ever since. But did everything go down like the king would have you believe? Even if it did, could Michael pull his family’s reputation out of the trash while somehow smiting the nobles? He has no idea, but he’s going to try.

Let’s start with the world building and plot. World building: I really like the concept of a magic system that feeds off of memories. Sure, you can use magic to do things, but is it really worth the risk? It ups the stakes in a way that most magic systems don’t have, which makes the tension much higher. I also enjoyed the shattered moon that randomly throws prophecies at the world. I’m hoping that gets more attention in future books. The plot itself is pretty standard. Some ancestor did something bad so now I must figure out what really happened and fix it. Blah blah blah. There are some twists that keep it interesting, but it’s nothing new. It’s not bad, just predictable.

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And this is coming from Quentin Coldwater.

The characters. If any other character had been the main focus, I probably would’ve liked the book a lot better. There’s no nice way to say this: Michael’s a whiny little bitch. All he does throughout the book is get into trouble and force other people to save his inept ass. It quickly becomes a question not of “how will he get out of this?” but instead “who’s going to save him this time?” He’s basically Frodo, but he has no Sam, so it’s down to whoever is at hand to do what needs to be done. Normally, that’s fine for me, but none of the other characters are really fleshed out enough to make up for Michael even though a couple of them could be awesome (I’m looking at you Kai and Gwen).

I also want to mention the pacing. This book starts out super slow. That’s not uncommon in fantasy, especially with newer authors. It’s really hard to explain magical systems and histories without getting infodumpy. But it can be boring at times. The pacing for the middle third speeds up to a nice quick and engaging trot (for lack of a better word). Then the last third is too fast, a little jumbled, and at times annoyingly vague (you supposedly see that emblem you’ve been trying to figure out the entire book every single day and you just now put two and two together? You are useless, Michael.) But yeah, it could’ve been a smoother ride.

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Kind of.

The writing isn’t bad. There are a LOT of words. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that dense that was written so recently, which probably added to the slow pacing of the first part of the book. But from a technical point of view, it wasn’t bad writing by any means.

Ultimately, I felt The Kingdom of Liars had a lot of potential. I will at least read book two when/if it comes out to see if Michael grows up any and what other prophecies the moon hurls at them. But if it doesn’t get better, I’ll probably lose interest.

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Overall, I gave it three out of five stars. That’s a little generous, but I have high hopes for the sequel. If you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind unlikable main characters, pick it up. Otherwise, maybe wait and see how future books do before starting this one.

Blog Tour/Review for ORDINARY GIRLS by Jaquira Diaz

Hello, hello! This week, I’m participating in the blog tour for the paperback release of Jaquira Diaz’s memoir Ordinary Girls. It was originally released in October, 2019 from Algonquin Books. Since then, it has received an abundance of praise and has won the Whiting Award in Nonfiction. Thanks to receiving a copy of the book from Algonquin Books and NetGalley, I’ll be providing my own review shortly, but first I thought I would share some praise the book’s already earned.

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“A skilled writer, Díaz is meticulous in her craft, and on page after page her writing truly sings. Her temporal leaps and switches in tense and point of view make the overall delivery both powerful and complex…  This brutally honest coming-of-age story is a painful yet illuminating memoir, a testament to resilience in the face of scarcity, a broken family, substance abuse, sexual assault, mental illness, suicide and violence.”
-The New York Times Book Review

“A fierce, unflinching account of ordinary girls leading extraordinary lives.”
-Poets & Writers

“Jaquira Díaz writes about ordinary girls living extraordinary lives. And Díaz is no ordinary observer. She is a wondrous survivor, a woman who has claimed her own voice, a writer who writes for those who have no voice, for the black and brown girls “who never saw themselves in books.” Jaquira Díaz writes about them with love. How extraordinary is that!”   
-Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

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A gorgeous cover.

Ordinary Girls tells the story of Diaz’s life from a young childhood in Puerto Rico to an adolescence in Miami to an adulthood still searching for where she belongs. There are dysfunctional families that fall apart, friendships that transform into makeshift families, struggles being overcome, and so much more. It’s Diaz’s story, her life, but it’s also a relatable story for so many young women.

Diaz doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics. She writes openly about suicide and addiction from both sides. She writes about violence and racism and sexual assault. There’s a struggle with her own sexuality. There’s the growth from a teenage “delinquent” (just a girl who doesn’t know any other way to cope with life) to a young woman who knows she can be better and does the only thing she can think of to prove it to herself by joining the navy. And throughout the memoir, Diaz sprinkles in bits of Puerto Rican history to help define where she comes from. It makes for an interesting and moving combination.

The writing is strong. I admit that some of the shifts in tense and changes from more personal writing styles to more journalistic styles were jarring for me. I don’t read much nonfiction, so I’m used to a more uniform style. But once I stopped reading each section as a type of chapter and started reading them more as linked essays, I got into the flow of the book much easier.

Ultimately, Ordinary Girls was an intriguing and emotional piece that I’m glad I read. It’s not something I would have picked up on my own, but it’s relatable and for the parts I couldn’t relate to, it’s enlightening.

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Overall, I gave it four out of five stars. If you enjoy memoirs, this is definitely one worth picking up.


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Photo: Maria Esquinca

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, and a Lambda Literary Awards finalist. Ordinary Girls was a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Notable Selection, a November 2019 Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads October pick. Díaz’s work has been published in The GuardianThe FaderConde Nast Traveler, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. A former Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review, she splits her time between Montréal and Miami Beach, with her partner, the writer Lars Horn. Her second book, I Am Deliberate: A Novel, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.

You Might Be A Writer If…

Howdy, howdy! How is everyone’s June going? It’s moving along pretty quickly for me. I’ve already written next week’s post. It’s part of a blog tour for the paperback release of Jaquira Diaz’s memoir Ordinary Girls. So, look forward to that! The following week is my normal book review. In other words, the rest of my month is pretty well planned out blog-wise. That just leaves this week’s post. I have nothing new to ramble about on the writing front, so I think I’ll just do a random list post about things that might mean you’re a writer.

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My friend tagged me in this a couple of days ago and it’s not wrong.

1. You might be a writer if you think about and/or talk about writing a lot, but procrastinate when it comes to actually doing the writing.

2. You might be a writer if your to-be-read pile randomly switches genres because you’re thinking about writing something new and want to see how the tropes work and what types of topics are currently popular.

3. You might be a writer if you buy a bunch of fancy pens, but only use cheap BiCs because they write so well and no one cares if you lose them.

Journal 3
My newest journal. I named her Melusina. Made by Sullivan Book Arts.

4. You might be a writer if you have a bunch of empty journals sitting around the house and almost exclusively use the computer for writing, but buy new journals anyway because they’re pretty.

5. You might be a writer if you get caught staring at people while you’re trying to figure out which character of yours they resemble.

6. You might be a writer if you’re watching TV/reading a book/listening to music/etc. and have to start over because you got distracted by a certain word or phrase that you want to work into your own story.

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7. You might be a writer if you buy books just because the covers are pretty and rationalize it by telling people to look at these great examples of current cover trends in certain genres.

8. You might be a writer if you drunk purchase fifteen books in genres you don’t even like, but decide to keep them because you can never have enough books.

9. You might be a writer if that random piece of conversation you heard somewhere in public becomes fodder for your latest story.

10. You might be a writer if you turn down real-life plans because you have a date with the voices in your head.

I think that’s enough. It’s time for you to jump in with your own examples. Not a writer? What are some indications that you might be a… whatever your job or hobby is? Artist? Crocheter? Mathematician? Whatever. It’s fun. As always, feel free to share your lists, comments, thoughts, or anything here or on my social media pages!