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It’s official! The book launch for Guardian Cats print edition is set for July 18th, 2011–just days away.

For current news and updates. Join me on my active writer’s blog, Mystic Coffee.

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In the wrong hands, some books can be dangerous—and some libraries can be positively deadly. Up until now, Marco has been perfectly happy as a small town library cat and newly appointed Guardian of an ancient mystical book. But when otherworldly creatures begin roaming the stacks after hours, and his mentor, the elder Guardian, is killed, Marco’s innocent world is shattered.

The young tabby cat is on his own, ill-prepared for the daunting task of safekeeping the magical book of power—as well as the very heart and soul of the library. Time and space are no barriers for Marco’s shape shifting friends and enemies as he learns that the library is the most dangerous place worth saving.

Available now for Kindle and Nook.

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Some of my writing friends listen to music for inspiration, mostly notably Lia Keyes who is working on her steampunk novel and listens to Phantom of the Opera. Seems like the perfect choice for what promises to be a deliciously, dark mystery.

Normally I don’t listen to music while I write, but I’m intrigued by the idea of using my auditory senses to help ‘set the mood’. 

Here’s my dilemma though. What in the world would make good background music for a book with cats as the main characters, an evil professor and his Whisperer, a magical book of power and a host of mythological characters ranging from the dark to the light side, and settings that range from the ancient Library of Iskandriyah to a small public library in the foothills of California.

See what I mean? Suggestions welcome.

In the meantime, I’m going to check out Five great ways to find music that suits your mood,  a Mashable article that reviews several websites that let you pick out music according to your moods and emotions, rather than artist, genre or title.

What do you listen to, if anything, while writing?

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Writing has made me a more critical reader. My latest library book lost me as a reader because of technical issues. Besides some rather drab characters and a meandering plot, the POV shifted so often I was starting to feel the main action of the story was my ability to leap about between character’s heads. I won’t tell you what the book  is because I don’t want to bash another writer. I can tell you that the main reason I picked it up was author recognition.

Besides being irritating, it raised all kinds of questions.  How is a well known published writer allowed to commit these major editorial sins? Where is her editor? Does this bother anybody besides me?

Point of view is challenging. It was a difficult concept for me to grasp and flipping between character’s heads is easier than channel surfing. It’s so easy to do without being aware of it, but my handy dandy desktop Self-Editing for Fiction Writers helps guide me through these muddy waters.

I also find it useful to read books, like the annoying one mentioned, which ignore this important element because it makes me aware of how much I don’t want to inflict these mental gymnastics on my readers.

As a writer, it took me a while to understand which point of view I was even writing in, but once I did, it raised my POV consciousness. For me, writing a fantasy seen through the eyes of a cat, means I must ‘become the cat’.

As a reader, I don’t have the patience to stay with a book that forces me to guess who’s thinking what. I returned the book to the library. Now I need something good to read!

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I haven’t read Tom Sawyer since, well…a really long time ago, but I’m reading it again now. The impetus for dusting off my copy is a community-wide reading affair based on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Our twin cities of Yuba City and Marysville are participating in the national Big Read project, which provides grants to communities to help inspire people to pick up a book, to fall in love with reading.

Our local arts council chose Mark Twain’s classic ‘bad boy’ book, in which Twain reminds adults that children are not angels, but fellow human beings, and perhaps all the more lovable for their imperfections and bad grooming. To get people familiar with the story, The Yuba Sutter Arts Council is having a Kick Off this Sunday (Jan. 31st) with ongoing readings of some of the more famous episodes.

There will be Aunt Polly’s Pie-Eating Contest, banjo playing with songs of the Tom Sawyer era. Free copies of the book, including a young reader’s version will be available, as well as the Teacher’s and Reader’s Guide for educators. There’s crafts, a pirate’s cove and a treasure chest for kids. Then folks can pose with our life-size cutout of Mark Twain, play hopscotch and marbles.

A truly old-fashioned community affair!

And that’s just the Kick Off! For six weeks, schools, libraries and book clubs will be reading and discussing the book. The will be storytimes, scrapbooking projects and a women’s history tea where the women in Mark Twain’s life have agreed to make a reappearance.

It’s a unique project, trying to get a whole community all focused on the same book and using elements within the story for such a wide variety of activities.  Since I love reading and would love to see it’s revival, I have become even more passionate about this project  in a town where the only two bookstores are going out of business. B. Dalton in the Mall and the lovely used bookstore, Amicus Books are both closing their doors.

According to the NEA report (2008), reading is on the rise again reversing two decades of downward trends. This is good news, but I’m not sure how we will revive reading without bookstores and with libraries strained with budget cuts.

But I’m forever an optimist. One of America’s greatest treasures is our ability to be innovate.  There must be more ways to strengthen the connection between kids and reading.

I’m hoping our Big Read project will be the start for our community.

What are your thoughts? What can we do to help revive the love of reading?

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I have quit listening to the news and watching TV (almost) because it is bad for my mental health. Much of what we are fed daily keeps us stressed about money and financial security, while at the same time it encourages us to keeping buying and going deeper into debt. Vicious, vicious circle.

It’s time for a revolution! Time to break out of our small Walmart ideas of the perfect life and start living. Time to stop cruising around the shore going in circles and think of life as a voyage. It is truly an adventure and it’s all around us. The cup is half full overflowing!

This quote, by Sterling Hayden stopped me in my tracks because it is such a powerful expression of what I’d like to say. And besides, he actually followed through on this. He would have loved Matt Harding of the famed “Where the hell is Matt?’ experience.  (video embedded below)

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.

If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. “I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it.

But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”  from The Wanderer, by Sterling Hayden, actor and author

Thanks to Sid at Right Brain Therapy for introducing me to Matt. Watch a truly joyous contemporarywanderer.

 

 

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Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchillcat-and-mouse

 

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hubble_34sfwMusic takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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