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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kinsey Millhone Reading Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!


Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for the Kinsey Millhone Reading Challenge which is being hosted by...me!

I read two books in the series in 2011:

  1. "A" Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton (Book #1 of the Alphabet Mystery, aka Kinsey Millhone, Series)
  2. "B" Is For Burglar by Sue Grafton (Book #2 of the Alphabet Mystery, aka Kinsey Millhone, Series)
  2 out of 22 books is 9% done

I am looking forward to continuing this series in 2012!

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!


Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge which is being hosted by Zohar at Man of La Book.

I didn't do so well with this challenge either. To be fair, I only joined it last month and didn't have plans to start the challenge until next year. 

  0 out of 10 books is 0% done!

I am looking forward to starting the challenge in 2012!

'In Death' Reading Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!


Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for the 'In Death' Reading Challenge which is being hosted by Christine at The Happily Ever After....

I didn't do so well with this challenge either. To be fair, I only joined it last month and didn't have plans to start the series until next year. 

  0 out of 43 books is 0% done!

I am looking forward to starting the series in 2012!

Lost Books Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!


Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for the Lost Books Challenge which is being hosted by Amy and Heather on its own dedicated blog.

I didn't do so well with this challenge either. I didn't read any of the books that were on my list!

  1 out of 93 books is 1% done! 
(the 1 book was read in 2010)

I am still determined to plug away at my list, so I am recommitting myself for 2012!

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Ellis Vidler

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Sunday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Ellis Vidler.



About Ellis:
Ellis Vidler lives and writes in the South Carolina Piedmont. She's also an editor and has taught fiction writing. Her other books can be found at Amazon.com (http://tinyurl.com/cwz6jcd).

For more information about Ellis and her work, please visit her at: 

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Ellis!

Ellis has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her!


From Winter Solstice to a New Year
Guest Post by Ellis Vidler

Winter Solstice is a magical time of year. The Druids called it the time of death and birth, when the sun reaches its weakest point and dies. Then it's reborn and grows stronger every day. It's the promise of rebirth that turns our thoughts to expanding our horizons and resolving to make something good of this new opportunity. We decorate with fragrant evergreens and red berries. Candles light the long hours of darkness, reminding us of our ties to nature and our dependence on the sun for life.

As the number on the calendar changes, the weather and long nights usually encourage me to curl up with a good book and let the old year slide peacefully into the past. However, time would be better spent reflecting on last year and lessons learned as I lived through it. Maybe tonight I'll spend the final hour doing that. Most reflections guide us into those ambitious resolutions we never keep, or at least I never did. Now I make different promises.

Instead of resolving to exercise regularly, eat wisely, and manage my house—a lost cause before I start—my resolution will be to finish the book I've been working on forever. Maybe I'll even finish the next one, which I've already begun. I promise to write better, to keep in mind all the wonderful things I've learned from reading blogs (instead of writing), and I'll even write a synopsis for each book.

I start with the characters and their personalities. What can I do to make them interesting? Do they like peanut butter and banana sandwiches? What do they most fear? What incident in their past caused this? Knowing them and their idiosyncrasies guides me to the setting. Where would these characters live? In a sophisticated loft above Main Street? In an isolated hilltop cabin? Big city? Small town?

Then, because I write crime/suspense fiction, I need a crime that could reasonably happen in this setting. If you write in a different genre, the same thing applies—there must still be a big problem to solve, obstacles to overcome before the end. The crimes, or problems, triggered by human emotions can occur in any setting, but crimes of espionage and terrorism generally need certain props, such as a military or defense industry atmosphere. There are all kinds of things to consider. Once I have the basic crime, or problem, worked out, I begin what's hardest for me. The plot.

Hmmm. Maybe the synopses should come next. Get those highlights and turning points worked out. It would certainly be easier to finish the books with these points already decided, but writing a synopsis requires discipline. I like to start them on paper and draw arrows and symbols to link cause and effect. This is also where I end up with an entire yellow legal pad in crushed wads. (I get a masochistic pleasure from seeing them all over the desk and floor. They're evidence that I'm actually thinking.) This isn't the polished synopsis you send to agents and editors, it's a working plan for a plot. It can, and usually does, change as the story develops.

But in the beginning, I aim for two or three events that will direct the course of the story, events that will drag the main character deeper into trouble and distance her or him further from the goal. Then comes the Black Moment, the beginning of the story's end, when all seems lost and hope is at its lowest point. From there, like sun in the Winter Solstice, the protagonist begins the process of rebirth, fighting her way toward the light and the satisfying outcome.



Thanks so much for joining us today, Ellis! 


Giveaway: 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Cold Comfort.

This giveaway open worldwide. A Canada/US winner will have his/her choice of a paperback or e-book. An International winner will receive an e-book.
SYNOPSIS: 


Cold Comfort begins in December during the long nights leading up to the Solstice. Claire Spencer is attacked, but why? A friend calls in a favor, and burned out PI Ben Riley reluctantly checks it out. His protective instincts compel him to help when he witnesses the next attack, and in spite of their differences, he and Claire work together to uncover the old secrets that turn her life into a lie. Will she gain more than she loses, or will the result be . . . Cold Comfort?



To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide, and it will close on Saturday, January 7th at 12:01 AM EST.

2011 Reading Challenge Addict: Wrap-up

Hi, everyone!


I am a Reading Challenge Addict, and I wear that badge proudly!

I know what you're thinking...you? No way!! LOL!

Yes, I am crazy about reading challenges. No, make that...obsessed!

Out of the 21 reading challenges that I joined this year that have already wrapped up, I completed 10 of them. That is a success rate of 48%. Boy, when I put it that way, it doesn't sound so good!

Actually, I never envisioned that I would ever be able to possibly complete all of the challenges that I joined. Rather, it was more of a motivator for me to branch out and try books that I wouldn't normally read! I am extremely happy with what I have accomplished this year in terms of my reading goals.

Here is the list of 10 challenges that I completed in 2011:
I'm getting all set-up for a fresh start, which means a whole whack of new challenges for 2012! Can't wait to begin!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 100+ Reading Challenge: Wrap-up Post

Hi, everyone!



This is my wrap-up post for the 2011 100+ Reading Challenge hosted by Amy at My Overstuffed Bookshelf.

CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

Wow, can you believe it?? I am actually stunned that I read and reviewed over 100 books in 2011! I actually read even more, but I didn't review some of them so they were not included. From three adult fiction books read over a span of eight years, to over 100 in just one year is monumental for me! Thank goodness for my iPod, which is how this all started for me!

Here are the 109 books that I read in 2011:
  1. Velocity by Dean Koontz
  2. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (Book #1 of Chester Cricket and His Friends Series)
  3. The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
  4. The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente
  5. Chosen to Die by Lisa Jackson (Book #2 of Montana's "To Die" Series)
  6. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. "A" Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton (Book #1 of the Alphabet Mystery, aka Kinsey Millhone, Series)
  8. The School Story by Andrew Clements
  9. Alone by Lisa Jackson (Book #1 of the Detective D.D. Warren Series)
  10. Bloodroot by Amy Greene
  11. Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (Book #1 of Ribsy Series)
  12. White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry
  13. 1st to Die by James Patterson (Book #1 of the Women's Murder Club Series)
  14. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary (Book #1 of the Ramona Quimby Series)
  15. Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker
  16. Room by Emma Donoghue
  17. Breathless by Dean Koontz
  18. A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
  19. Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla
  20. The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
  21. The Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
  22. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Book #1 of The Twilight Saga)
  23. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Book #2 of The Twilight Saga)
  24. A Bear Named Trouble by Marion Dane Bauer
  25. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Book #3 of The Twilight Saga)
  26. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Book #4 of The Twilight Saga)
  27. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (Book #2 of the Ramona Quimby Series)
  28. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer (Book #3.5 of The Twilight Saga)
  29. 2nd Chance by James Patterson (Book #2 of the Women's Murder Club Series)
  30. "B" Is For Burglar by Sue Grafton (Book #2 of the Alphabet Mystery, aka Kinsey Millhone, Series)
  31. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  32. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
  33. Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoff Benge (Christian Heroes: Then & Now series)
  34. Hide by Lisa Jackson (Book #2 of the Detective D.D. Warren Series)
  35. Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery
  36. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (Book #1 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  37. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary (Book #3 of the Ramona Quimby Series)
  38. Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward (Book #2 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  39. Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward (Book #3 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  40. An African Affair by Nina Darnton
  41. Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward (Book #4 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  42. Days of Iron by Russell Proctor
  43. Beneath the Dune by Walter Ramsay
  44. Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward (Book #5 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  45. Cruelty To Innocents by CK Webb and DJ Weaver (Book #1 of The 911 Abductions)
  46. Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter (Book #1 of the Royal House of Shadows Series)
  47. Cry of the Fallen by Joel M. Andre (Book #1 of The Black Chronicles)
  48. Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward (Book #6 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  49. Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure by B.K. Bostick (Book #1 of the Huber Hill Trilogy)
  50. Mayday by Nelson DeMille
  51. One Summer by David Baldacci
  52. Silver Moon by Stacey Thompson-Geer
  53. Arson by Estevan Vega (Book #1 of the Arson Series)
  54. The Gift of Illusion by Richard Brown
  55. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Book #1 of the Sam Capra Series)
  56. The Arranger by L.J. Sellers
  57. Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Book #1 of The Books of Mortals Series)
  58. The Last Rising by Rachel Firasek (Book #1 of the Curse of the Phoenix Series) 
  59. Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
  60. Missing in Mexico by Stuart Gustafson
  61. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
  62. Ushers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer
  63. Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward (Book #7 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  64. Blood's Voice by Áine P. Massie (Book #1 of the House Millar Series)
  65. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward (Book #8 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  66. The Littles by John Peterson
  67. The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope/The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief by George E. Stanley (Books #1 and #2 of The Third-Grade Detectives Series)
  68. Meet Kirsten: An American Girl by Janet Beeler Shaw (Book #1 of the American Girl Kirsten Series)
  69. Michelangelo by Diane Stanley
  70. Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema
  71. Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
  72. The Cobweb Confession by George E. Stanley (Book #4 of The Third Grade Detectives Series)
  73. The Mystery of the Stolen Statue by George E. Stanley (Book #10 of The Third Grade Detectives Series)
  74. The Amazing Adventures of Thomas and Erin with Grandad - Market Day by John Vasey
  75. The Last Little Cat by Meindert DeJong
  76. Catching Their Talk Talk in a Box: The Life-Story of Joy Ridderhof by Betty M. Hockett
  77. Dinosaurs Unleashed: The True Story About Dinosaurs and Humans by Kyle Butt and Eric Lyons
  78. The Usborne Book of Knowledge by Tony Bremner and Anne Civardi
  79. One Pelican at a Time - A Story of the Gulf Oil Spill by Nancy Stewart
  80. North American Indians by Marie and Douglas Gorsline
  81. A Kid's Guide to Being a Winner by C.D. Shelton
  82. Native Peoples by Robert Livesey and A.G. Smith (Discovering Canada Series)
  83. Native Homes by Bobbie Kalman (Native Nations of North America Series)
  84. Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (Book #9 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)
  85. Defining Diana by Hayden Trenholm (Book #1 of The Steele Chronicles)
  86. Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe (Book #2 of the Royal House of Shadows Series)
  87. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (Book #1 of Daughter of Smoke & Bone Series)
  88. Mrs. Claus Takes A Vacation by Linas Alsenas
  89. Walk the World's Rim by Betty Baker 
  90. Quitters, Inc. by Stephen King
  91. The Santa Club by Kelly Moss
  92. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows by Howard Binkow (Howard B. Wigglebottom, Book #4) 
  93. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It's OK to Back Away by Howard Binkow (Howard B. Wigglebottom, Book #5)
  94. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Book #1 of the Iron Seas Series)
  95. Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray
  96. The Corn Grows Ripe by Dorothy Rhoads
  97. Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen (Book #3 of the Royal House of Shadows Series)
  98. The Christmas House by Carol Bullman
  99. Vostaas: White Buffalo's Story of Plains Indian Life by William White Buffalo
  100. Fire by William Esmont (Book #1 of Elements of The Undead Series)
  101. Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (Book #2 of the Iron Seas Series)
  102. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  103. Matched by Ally Condie (Book #1 of the Matched Series)
  104. Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
  105. Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla
  106. Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
  107. The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
  108. Pedro's Journal by Pam Conrad
  109. The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans
Thanks again for hosting, Amy! 
 
Since Amy's 2012 challenge is to read a minimum of 150 books, I think that's too much of a stretch for me. Instead, I'm signed up for the 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen.

Harry Potter Reading Challenge: Wrap-up Post

Hi, everyone!


This is my wrap-up post for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge hosted by 2 Read or Not 2 Read.

CHALLENGE NOT COMPLETED!

Wow, another one that I failed miserably. I am reading this series aloud to my children. We actually did start the first book in the series, but we got busy with other books and this was put aside. We plan to re-start the book in January.

Thanks again for hosting, 2 Read or Not 2 Read!

I am determined to read this series with my kids, and I have already joined the 2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge being hosted by Penelope at The Reading Fever.

Understand My Sorrow Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!

 
Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for the Understand My Sorrow Challenge. This challenge is being hosted by Lilly at Reading Extravaganza.

  I am not doing well with my perpetual challenges! I didn't read any of the books that were on my list!

  0 out of 4 books is 0% done! 
 
I am still determined to complete this challenge, so I am recommitting myself for 2012!

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge: 2011 Progress Post

Hi, everyone!

 
Since this is a perpetual challenge, this is my 2011 Progress Post for the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge. This is a personal challenge that I created for myself

  I didn't do so well with this challenge either. I didn't read any of the books that were on my list!

  1 out of 1,294 books is 0% done! 
(the 1 book was read in 2010)
 
I am still determined to plug away at my list, so I am recommitting myself for 2012!
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