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Fall Into Reading 2008


I normally don’t join challenges because they are time-consuming, but Fall Into Reading 2008 caught my eye.

Here’s the rules:

1. Set reading goals for yourself and create a list of books to read this Fall.

2. All books are eligible and there is no limit to how many or how few you choose to read.

3. Leave a link to the post where you list your goals and books on Mr. Linky, here.

4. Check out the lists of other participants, write reviews of the books if you like, and commit to writing a wrap-up post in December.

View the official ins and outs of the challenge at Callapidder Days.

Here’s the list of books I plan on reading for the Fall Into Reading Challenge 2008:

1. A Grave in the Air by Stephen Henighan
2. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
3. Kindred Spirits by Marilyn Meredith
4. Sex at Noon Taxes by Sally Van Doren
5. Owen Fiddler by Marvin D. Wilson
6. The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner
7. The Wonder Singer by George Rabasa
8. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
9. Black Flies by Shannon Burke
10. Freeman Walker by David Allan Cates
11. Off the Menu by Christine Son
12. Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby
13. Cold Rock River by J. L. Miles

Just another reminder about the 2008 National Book Festival, feel free to check it out if you are in the neighborhood or the podcasts of the authors, here.

Do you have little ones at home? Check out the Children’s toolkit.

Here’s a list of the authors that are attending.

Finally, a link to the Pavilions.

Run by Ann Patchett

I received Run by Ann Patchett from Everyday I Write the Book Blog as part of a book club discussion. After participating in Book Club Girl‘s radio discussion of the book with Ann Patchett, I was happy to learn that some of my thoughts about Bernard Doyle, the father in the book, were on target. He reminded me of Joe Kennedy, Sr., because of his drive to get his sons interested in politics and becoming president some day. He pushes his sons into watching other politicians speak at seminars and lectures even when it is obvious that these boys are not interested in politics at all. I enjoyed the Web radio discussion with Patchett about her writing process and how difficult it has become for her to write books as her life has grown more complex. She says that she examines her novel ideas in depth to uncover her characters motivations.

***Spoiler Alert***

This story centers on the Doyle family, led by Bernard a former mayor of Boston. Bernadette and Bernard have one son of their own, but when she miscarries a second child, they adopt two African American sons. These sons become Doyle’s focus after he loses his wife and a fateful accident causes Sullivan to break free from the family and go his own way. While Bernard wishes his sons would enjoy politics as much as he does, his adopted sons have their own life designs. Tip is interested in icthyiology and Teddy spends a great deal of time with their faith healing uncle Father Sullivan.

One night, the Doyles–minus Sullivan–are leaving a political speech by Jesse Jackson at Harvard University when a mysterious woman saves Tip from being hit by a car. The rest of the story unfolds quickly within a 24-hour period to reveal years of fear, anguish, and regret.

***End Spoiler Alert***

Although I enjoyed uncovering the many layers to the lives of these characters, I was often distracted by some of the lengthier passages from Father Sullivan or about Father Sullivan’s healing power. These passages made it seem like there was more to this story, which never really came to fruition. Father Sullivan does play a role in the boys’ lives, but the passages dedicated to him could have been shorter. Patchett’s use of language is very languid and it flowed well in many sections of the book. The exchange between Tennessee and her old friend after the car accident foreshadowed quite a bit of the remaining plot points.

One of my biggest concerns about the beginning of the novel was the rough time I had telling the difference between Tip and Teddy; they almost seemed like the same person other than their different interests. If Patchett had chosen another name for Tip, it may have worked better. Teddy’s name was appropriate given his kind nature. Kenya’s name seemed cliche to me, especially given that her favorite thing to do was run.

I have not read other Patchett novels, though I do have Bel Canto in my TBR pile. I would recommend this book for readers of Patchett, but from what I understand from others it is not the best example of her work.

I also wanted to alert everyone to the book club discussion of Run by Ann Patchett on Everyday I Write the Book Blog. I’m going to head over there now and chat along. Won’t you?

Also Reviewed By:
Everyday I Write the Book Blog
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
Diary of an Eccentric

B&B Ex Libris
Fizzy Thoughts
Peeking Between the Pages

2008 National Book Festival and Anne Patchett


The 2008 National Book Festival will be held in Washington, D.C., this weekend–Sept. 27 between 10 AM and 5:30 PM. More than 70 authors are expected to attend the Book Fest, ranging from Salman Rushdie to former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber.

Each year the Library of Congress gathers some of the best authors out there to bring their books and their stories to D.C. to celebrate the joys of reading. I’ve met Tim O’Brien, Anita Shreve, and many others when I have attended this event. Not only can you get autographs of their latest books, but most authors are willing to sign older copies as well.

Authors will be broken down by Pavilion Genre and will have a scheduled time to speak in that pavilion, so check out the schedule here. I’m excited because our new Poet Laureate Kay Ryan will be there along with First Lady Laura Bush.

If you cannot attend the festival, why not spend the day on the 2008 National Book Festival website listening to podcasts from some of the authors attending the Book Fest?

Additionally, for those of you who have read Run by Anne Patchett, Book Club Girl is hosting a call in show about the book with the author.

Here’s the link to the audio show online, sign up and join in the discussion.

Ms. Patchett will be available to answer questions through the call in number: 347-945-6149. The show starts at 7 PM EST.

Final BBAW Winners Are. . .


Sandy of Mom Forever and Ever is the winner of the one-year subscription to Writer’s Digest! Congratulations!

Jeannie of I Like to Be Here When I Can is the winner of Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres! Congratulations!

Anna from Diary of an Eccentric and I hope this won’t be our last joint giveaway!

We actually have a joint challenge project in the works. . . We promise to let you know all about it once the details are all worked out.

However, while we’re on the subject, Is there is anyone out there who can help us make a banner and some blog buttons, please contact Anna at diaryofaneccentric [AT] hotmail [DOT] com or myself at savvyverseandwit [AT] gmail [DOT] com

Lost Diary of Don Juan, Found


Douglas Carlton AbramsThe Lost Diary of Don Juan transports the reader into a world where honor and piety are praised in 16th Century Seville, Spain, at the height of the Inquisition. But love must be chaste, and not lustful. Don Juan is fabled to be one of the greatest lovers and seducers of women, much like Cassanova. This work of fiction, written in a diary format, examines the inner Don Juan, his philosophies about love and lust, and his desire to remain honorable even as a galanteador. He refuses to tell tales of his “conquests,” a term that really is inappropriate in the context of this novel. Don Juan does not conquer these women, but sets them free from the constraints of a society against passion and living life.

The sexual encounters in the novel are well portrayed and not too graphic, which is pleasing. Don Juan’s humor is inviting as he talks about seducing women on the ground floor so he won’t have to jump from trees to balconies any longer. There is often more than one side to a character or historical figure. These are humans after all and are we not multifaceted. I love the way in which Abrams fleshes out Don Juan as a sympathetic character in spite of his desires to lay with multiple women. He is not only a cad, but one who is afraid of truly loving one woman and becoming beholden to her as her faithful husband. He fears this love because he does not deem himself worthy.

Don Juan is a sympathetic and believable character, but his redemption is short-lived. It’s a classic love story full of redemption, despite its fleeting nature. He loves women, and in some ways worships them. Don Juan is unaware of what he is missing in these fleeting relationships because his adrenaline pumps through his veins as he leaves their homes and seeks to escape their angry husbands and fathers. That is until he meets Dona Ana.

This novel has all the makings of a great historical piece from the duels and the honorable father to the trapped maiden, the wrath of the Inquisitor, and the betrayal of misplaced loyalties. Abrams carefully chooses his language to describe the streets and alleys of Sevilla, Espana, while sprinkling the text with Spanish words. This technique provides the diary technique with greater authenticity.

Although Don Juan is often thought of as a cad, this novel will provide readers with an alternative view–a renewed perspective on why one man sought love in the arms of numerous women and why that one man ultimately met his match.

***Reminder, tonight at Midnight the contest ends for a copy of Writing the Wave or a subscription to Writer’s Digest. Check out the rules and enter here.

Also Reviewed By:
Booking Mama
Bookish Ruth
In Bed With Books
Bookroom Reviews
Literarily
The Literate Housewife
A Novel Menagerie

Winners of Writing in Metaphor and Imagery for Book Blogger Appreciation Week


Here are the winners, thanks to Randomizer.org

1. Contest Winner for Allan Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems is. . .
TEABIRD

2. Contest Winner for Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind is . . .
TERRI

3. Contest Winner for a Subscription to Poetry magazine is. . .
ICEDREAM

4. Contest Winner for Sylvia Plath’s Ariel is. . .
GAUTAMI

I will contact you via email for snail mail addresses, but if you see this before you get my email, feel free to send along your address to savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com

Congrats to the winners. Thanks to everyone who entered. It has been a fun week. Check out the latest joint contest I have running with Diary of an Eccentric; to enter go here. You can win a subscription to Writer’s Digest.

Thank You BBAW and AMY

I wanted to chime in with my thanks to My Friend Amy for organizing and getting all of the book bloggers involved in Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I had a fun time participating, writing articles, meeting new book bloggers, entering contests, participating in discussions, and getting some great book recommendations from other bloggers.

I wholeheartedly thank AMY for her hard work, and I want to also award her with the following:
Thanks again Amy!

Here’s the list of winners from Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Best Meme/Carnival/Event – My Friend Amy (Book Blogger Appreciation Week)
Best Commenter/Commentator – Musings of a Bookish Kitty and Rip My Bodice
Best Design – Bookgasm
Best Book Club Blog – Reading Group Guides
Most Humorous Blog – Rip My Bodice
Best Publishing/Industry Blog – Galley Cat
Best Name for a Blog – Bookgasm
Best Challenge Host – The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Best Community Builder – My Friend Amy
Best Author Blog – Neil Gaiman
Best Book Published in 2008 – The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Best Book Community Site – Good Reads
Most Chatty – Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
Most Concise – Bookgasm
Most Extravagant Giveaways – Maw Books
Best General Book Blog – Bookgasm
Best Romance Blog – Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Best Kidlit Blog – Well Read Child and Jen Robinson’s Book Page
Best Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror/Spec-fic Blog – Fantasy Book Critic
Best History/Historical Blog – Medieval Bookworm
Best Literary Fiction Blog – Caribousmom
Best Cookbook Blog – Books and Cooks
Best YA Lit Blog – Bookshelves of Doom
Best Thrillers/Mystery/Suspense Blog – Bookgasm
Best Non-fiction Blog – A Striped Armchair
Most Eclectic Taste – Bookgasm
Best Christian/Inspirational Blog – Free Spirit Blogs
Most Altruistic Blog – Maw Books

As for the Sept. 19 contests that ran this week for BBAW, I will announce the winners later today and seek out mailing addresses from you. Otherwise, please still enter the final Savvy Verse & Wit-Diary of an Eccentric contest here and here. You can win a subscription to Writer’s Digest or a book, Writing the Wave. Deadline is Sept. 21 at Midnight EST

It is a Dirty Job!


Christopher Moore’s Dirty Job is set in San Francisco, Calif., much like the vampire novels I have reviewed here and here. This book starts off with Charlie Asher and his wife Rachel, and they are about to have a baby. In one fateful moment, Charlie’s world is turned upside down and inside out. His wife dies and he is left to be a single parent to his daughter, Sophie. This doesn’t tell you anything the reader won’t find out in the first few pages of the book.

***Spoiler Alert***

Charlie looks up to find a 7-foot tall black man standing over his dying wife and he’s wearing a sea green leisure suit. Minty Fresh is a death merchant, and that is exactly what Charlie has become by seeing him. His wife dies, leaving him to parent his daughter alone. Charlie wakes up and finds notes on his bedside with people’s names on them. These are the souls he must collect within the allotted time frame. Their souls get caught in material objects that only he and the other death merchants can see glowing red. Missing those soul vessels can spell dire trouble for the residents of San Francisco. The trouble that emerges shortly after a series of missteps by Charlie and others in the book. And only the luminatus can save them and the city.

***End Spoiler Alert***

My husband and I listened to this audiobook on our commutes to and from work. It was a riot to listen to, and I had a great time roaring with laughter at 5 A.M. People driving alongside us on the highway must have thought we were crazy.

I just love Moore’s dark humor and his witty descriptions of his characters, their actions, the city, and the dark beings that live beneath the city. The Morrigan, the dark beings, play off of one another’s weaknesses and bumble around the city trying to steal souls and bring darkness to the city.

Moore’s imaginative language, plush with imagery, takes a witty look at death, life, from his 14-inch high squirrel people to the goth-girl turned chef to the Asian bride perusing ex-cop who works in Charlie’s Second Hand store.

One scene in particular will make you stand up and say I better get the most out of this life. I must enjoy that wedge of cheese, every little lick, nibble, and swallow. The plot and language had us running through the audiobook and refusing to get out of the car when it came time to get into the office. While the plot was a little predictable, I enjoyed every minute of this book.

Also Reviewed by:
Monniblog
Books & Other Thoughts
No More Grumpy Bookseller

Writing and Writing Spaces, Part 2

Day 5 of Writing in Metaphor and Imagery for Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has introduced me to a number of poets and other writers who also blog. I wanted to get their take on their writing processes as well. Anna at Diary of an Eccentric and I opted to introduce you to two other book bloggers and writers and their writing processes, you can find Anna’s post with Rebekah of Simply Romance Reviews and Ready Set Read Reviews here.

I asked April of Cafe of Dreams to share her writing process with me and the rest of the blogging community.

April finds that writing poems is an expressive outlet, and when ideas come into her mind she jots them down no matter where she is. She branches out from those initial compositions. Sometimes she is writing abstractly because words can form different ideas in the readers’ minds. On the other hand, when she is emotional, she writes words to express what she is feeling whether it is related to a person or incident in her life. She says, “After writing the initial prose, I will often go back and repeatedly change wording until I am completely satisfied with the end result.” I can completely relate to this way of writing. I often write down a few stanzas right off the bat and then expound upon those images and ideas until the poem takes on a life of its own. Once I have a complete poem, I tend to reword it and play with line lengths and word order until I am satisfied that the end result is what I want it to be.

April is as fascinated with people and people watching as I am. She says, “I will often try and create a story that I feel may be going on within their lives. It is just the most amazing thing knowing that there are millions upon millions of people in the world, and they all have a truly unique things or thoughts going on. It is always fun for me to build on those ideas or concepts.”

What I found most interesting about her writing process is that she takes these storylines that she creates and boils them down to one or two pages in poetry form. She also uses dialogue and visuals to tell a complete story to her reader. Her goal is to take these short stories and create a novel length story.

While April does not often rhyme in her poetry, she does attempt to rhyme and try out different combinations of meter and rhyme. She is fascinated by the endless forms of poetry available to writers. However, she does wish that poetry was more of an outlet in today’s society. She notes, “It seems as though poetry is set back in the way of literary importance. Though it just may be that I haven’t found or been exposed to the right area. In any case, personal or professional, poetry of all forms is a wonderful creative outlet.”

More about Cafe of Dreams:

Cafe of Dreams, is my little corner of the world where I can be creative and just have fun. Most of what I cover on Cafe is books and reviews of them. I have started doing book tours and love them! I love to interview authors and have met so many great blogger friends. To sum up, Cafe of Dreams is a place where all your dreams are available on the menu. I cover many genres of books through reviews, write a bit about life and my thoughts and just want a very open and friendly place to express myself.

A poem from April at Cafe of Dreams:

A True Treasure
A kind and gentle spirit
So giving of love, laughter and gentleness
A powerful man – big in stature
larger in compassion
You gave to the world so much of yourself
You gave to your family everything

I will forever remember your wonderful smile, your joking manner
Advice and ponderings, always plentiful, will be so very missed
Visions of holding your grandchildren, treasuring each one dearly,
will forever remain in my heart
Knowing that future grandchildren will miss meeting and knowing
one of the most wonderful men in the world
tugs at my heart
Life will not be the same without you

Hearts break, as tears stream
You were and will forever be, so much to so many
As you look down upon us from your place in heaven,
I know that you will forever be in our hearts
You are a wonderful man, someone so very loved and so very treasured
You are husband, dad, grandpa, brother and son
You are one of life’s true miracles – a beautiful soul both inside and out

As you leave this earth,
you leave us all with one last lesson –
hold each precious moment dear, knowing that life is much too fragile
too delicate to waste a single second
Hold one another close
Never forgetting to say the most important words one can –
“I love you”

~~ In loving memory of my Father-In-Law
Copyright April at Cafe of Dreams

Another friendly reminder about these contests:

1. Diary of an Eccentric is holding a contest for The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold and The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Deadline is Sept. 30

2. Savvy Verse & Wit is holding a contest for Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg as the first contest for Book Blogger Appreciation Week Deadline is Sept. 19

3. Savvy Verse & Wit is holding another contest for “A Coney Island of the Mind” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti as part of BBAW; Deadline is Sept. 19

4. Bookish Ruth’s contest for The Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Phillip Pullman

5. Savvy Verse & Wit’s contest for a 1-year subscription to Poetry magazine. Deadline is Sept. 19

6. Savvy Verse & Wit’s contest for a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel; Deadline is Sept. 19

7. Savvy Verse & Wit and Diary of an Eccentric’s contest for a copy of Writer’s Digest and Writing the Wave; Deadline Sept. 21 at Midnight EST.

Please also double-check the growing list of giveaways at My Friend Amy’s blog.

Writing and Writing Spaces, Part 1

Day 5 of Writing in Metaphor and Imagery for Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) has me thinking about the writing process, and how different writers respond to their muses or at least begin to write their book reviews. Whether you are a book reviewing blogger, a poet, a novelist, a short-story writer, or any other type of writer, the writing process is often a struggle within yourself, a struggle to find time enough to write, and a journey unto itself. Anna of Diary of an Eccentric and I have known each other for over a decade, and it’s hard to believe we have known each other that long. We both hit it off as freshman college roommates when we both learned that we were writers and taking a correspondence course through the mail on writing children’s books. We’ve been close friends—our husbands even joke that we act more like sisters—co-workers, classmates, and partners in a variety of literary projects.

She and I started talking about our writing processes, and I figured what a great way to start up a dialogue among our book blogging friends as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. She and I have had very different processes, and I remember the days when my need for loud music (either musicals like the Phantom of the Opera or heavy metal) while I wrote drove her crazy.

Hey Anna, aka Diary of an Eccentric, I’ve been wondering how you prepare mentally for writing? Does ambient noise bother or inspire you? And does your mood influence what you write?

ANNA: I don’t do much mental preparation for writing blog posts and book reviews. I have a schedule in my head (because I lose all the darn sticky notes), so I already have an idea what to write. But when it comes to my novel and short stories, etc., I try to block out the real-life things that affect my mood (screaming kid, bad day at work, bills) and try to channel my characters. There are times when I don’t have to do much preparation at all, and my pen takes me on some wonderful adventures that I had no idea were inside my head. I can’t write with lots of background noise. I have to wait until my daughter is in bed or not in the mood to bother me, and I can’t watch television at the same time. (It’s so hard to go a day without watching Hogan’s Heroes!) But I have a play list on my iPod where I stick songs that fit the mood of my novel, listening to them helps the words flow. Of course my mood affects my writing! I wrote some of my best poems when I was depressed. Then I had to find my husband and become a mom, which put me in a good mood most of the time, and the poetry muse is either hiding in disgust or gone for good. I don’t mind so much about the loss of my poetry; I’m glad I have a happy home life!

SERENA: You haven’t given up on writing sticky notes because I’ve seen all of those notes all over your desk and books. I remember in college you used to hate studying in the same room with me because I had to have the radio on loudly. I assume that would still drive you crazy.

So would you say that you are like Stephenie Meyer in the sense that you have a play list for particular projects or just a particular play list for creative writing in general?

I think the poetry muse is just pissed you never had any of her children published! Just Kidding.

ANNA: Yeah, I’ll admit I still use the sticky notes, but once I write them, I don’t really look at them again. (What’s the point of writing them, you might ask. I ask myself that, too.)

I think you’re forgetting that it was my stereo, so it was on my side of the room. Actually right next to my desk, so when you’d grab the remote and turn the music up, I was deaf for three days afterward!

As for the play list, I set it up for my novel. Since I’ve been working on it for awhile (I’m going to tell you to shut up before you say anything because I know what you’re going to say!), it’s the only play list I’ve used. If I ever finish this one and start another, I’ll let you know whether I need a new play list.

I didn’t mean to upset the muse…I just never felt the urge to publish my poetry. The one poem I read at the Sigma Tau Delta convention in St. Louis (how many years ago was this??)…I just don’t know if I can go through the rejections with that one. The others are far, far from being ready for publication. You’ll have to publish them for me when I’m gone.

SERENA: Well, you know that I will publish them when you are gone, which I hope is not for a very, very, very (ok you get the picture) long time.

ANNA: As long as the muse doesn’t have a murderous streak, I should be okay!
Anyway…tell me about your mental preparation? Do you need loud music for creative writing, or was it just a way to keep yourself awake while reading that boring political science stuff in college? Do your moods affect your writing?

SERENA: I hope muses don’t have murderous streaks because I could be in trouble; I haven’t had anything published in a couple of years.

In college, I admit that the radio was my way of staying awake while reading that boring poli-sci stuff I already learned in honors history in high school…we all know what happened if I wasn’t listening to music, I was asleep and never made it to my 8AM class. Thank goodness, they invented iPods.

Ok, preparing my mental space first requires the husband to either be asleep or out of the house! When I sit down to write, I must have some kind of ambient distraction. Whether that is music or the television will depend on my mood. I tend to listen to a particular group or genre of songs for the novel and poetry it can be any music. As for the short stories, I tend to work on those in silence or with the television going, which I think is akin to the fact that I find short story writing harder. As you can tell, I am long-winded!

Moods, hmmm, I have a wide variety of those. I used to write poetry only when depressed, but now I tend to be most poetic when I’m contemplative. (is that a word? English grammar and spelling don’t fail me now!) Whether there is something on the television, in the real world, or just something I come across and I have time to the think about it (who has much of that these days) I will jot down a few lines. I also have been inspired by books I’m reading to write a couple lines or stanzas of a poem, which you can find out more about in Jill’s interview of me for BBAW. Anyway, to make the story short, I think poetry is impacted by my mood. Where the novels and short stories come from I have no idea, although there was that one that came from a dream!

ANNA: I think it’s cool that stories come to you in dreams! (Now I’ll assume the nagging friend role…have you worked on that story lately, young lady??) I also remember you jolting awake, climbing down from the loft bed, and rummaging around on your desk to jot down poetry ideas in the middle of the night. That darn banker’s lamp was too bright for my sensitive eyes! Do you still do that?

SERENA: I actually find that poetry comes more now when I am awake on the bus, subway, walking down the street, or just observing something on television or reading a book, among other things. THAT short story is in hibernation until I have fresh eyes to look at it again. I’m following Stephen King’s advice from On Writing.

And it was only that one story that came in a dream!

ANNA: Do you have any other writing book recommendations?
Personally I like The Novelist Boot Camp by Todd Stone.

SERENA: I love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont and the 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. I still have not read The Novelist Boot Camp; it may be the army green color of the book that makes me nervous.

So once you are prepared mentally to write, where do you physically plunk yourself down and get to work?


ANNA: Sometimes I write blog posts on the train, but never my novel or stories. I don’t like people looking over my shoulder. At home, I’ll sit on the couch with a notebook and my lapdesk, or if the husband insists on having the TV on, I’ll go upstairs and lay on the bed to write. I’ve always preferred a notebook/journal to writing at the computer. I sit at a computer 8 hours a day for work, and I don’t find those computer chairs comfortable enough to allow a free flow of creativity. I used to love writing outside. When we were at Quinnipiac College (now University, but it will always be QC to us!), there was the view of Sleeping Giant, which was beautiful when the leaves started changing colors. And hiking up to the overlook and writing there was peaceful.

SERENA: So that’s your most unusual writing place, on top of the Sleeping Giant overlook? No computer writing for you? In terms of writing with a notebook and pen, would that change if you had a laptop and not a desktop computer?

ANNA: I don’t know if it would change if I had a laptop. I think I’d be a lot more comfortable when I’m typing, but I really like the way the pen flows on the paper. I guess I’m weird like that.

How about you? Where do you write? What’s your most unusual writing place?

SERENA: Well, you do also like the smell the pages of your books, especially new ones. That is a bit weird.

Poems are generally written in a small notebook or journal that I carry everywhere–on the subway, the bus, in the car, walking–it’s always on my person. I only use those roller ball pens, usually black, but I don’t discriminate if I have a different color handy. I really like the electric blue pens, speaking of how ink flows onto a page. However, there are those occasions that I write poems on the laptop, which can be anywhere from on the desk/kitchen table to the couch, the comfy leather chair my husband saved from the trash man, or the porch. Short stories are written in a variety of college-ruled notebooks, again with those roller ball pens I love so much. They only get typed up when I am ready to say it is finished, and that’s when the story or novel undergoes its first editing process, as I am transcribing my written words from paper to electronic document.

The most unusual writing space for me is probably at the camera shop I used to work at. While developing and printing photos, I often had my notebook/journal out and I jotted down poems or short story ideas. Yes, I was writing away while wearing white photo developing gloves and a lab coat. I must have looked ridiculous.

ANNA: So I’m weird, and you’re ridiculous! We make quite a pair!

Those roller ball pens ROCK, and that’s what I was saying about the ink flowing on the page. I’m like you in that I’ll type after I’ve written and edited things in my notebook.

How about book reviews? You write them at the computer?

I tend to write those in my notebook first…I don’t like the pressure of the glaring white screen (or the uncomfortable computer chair, which you already know about so I’ll stop mentioning it).

SERENA: Book reviews are written on the computer at the computer desk/kitchen table. I don’t write those out beforehand, but then I generally write the book reviews while the book is fresh in my mind. I tend not to wait too long to review what I’ve been reading because I’m likely to forget the details.

And Now for the Contest! To enter to win a subscription to Writer’s Digest or a copy of Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres offered by Anna to another lucky winner!: Deadline Sept. 21 at Midnight EST

1. Answer one or all of these questions in the comments for one entry. If you comment here with the answers to these questions and on Diary of an Eccentric’s post, you get two entries, one for each comment.
2. Answer these questions in your own blog for 2 entries, and link back to this post and the one at Diary of an Eccentric; Please leave a link to your blog post.
3. Tell me about your ideal writing space on either my post or Anna’s post in the comments for an additional entry. No double entries for this one.

Another friendly reminder about these contests:

1. Diary of an Eccentric is holding a contest for The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold and The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Deadline is Sept. 30

2. Savvy Verse & Wit is holding a contest for Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg as the first contest for Book Blogger Appreciation Week Deadline is Sept. 19

3. Savvy Verse & Wit is holding another contest for “A Coney Island of the Mind” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti as part of BBAW; Deadline is Sept. 19

4. Bookish Ruth’s contest for The Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Phillip Pullman

5. Savvy Verse & Wit’s contest for a 1-year subscription to Poetry magazine. Deadline is Sept. 19

6. Savvy Verse & Wit’s contest for a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel; Deadline is Sept. 19

Please also double-check the growing list of giveaways at My Friend Amy’s blog.