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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blog Migration...

Just a quick post to let y'all know that my blog is migrating to my website. I've had this blogger site up for a loooong time as my official blog, and it's served me well, but I've also been operating my website for several years, and it's silly to continue to manage both. I will keep this site up and active, so all posts will remain archived and available, but all new posts from this point forward will be on my main website. Thanks for reading! I hope you continue to do so!

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Abundance of Thyme

Tonight as I was cooking dinner for my family, I opened my spice cabinet and, while rummaging through in search of something, knocked over a container. As I set the container right-side-up, I looked at the label and started laughing like a crazy person, because it's one of those herbs I have way too much of. I rarely cook with it, you see. It was thyme, and the first thing that ran through my head was, "I certainly have an abundance of thyme!" I laughed myself silly because if there is one thing in this life I don't have an abundance of, it is time - real time, of course - and I rather think few people can say they actually do. But this struck me as so funny at the end of this week because it's been a particularly time-less week - or, a week during which I've wanted nothing so much as a little time in which to write, and have been unable to find any at all.

Exactly one week ago, I was so sick, I couldn't get out of bed all day. It was the sort of sick that makes you wish you could erase your existence and get a do-over, but, alas, life doesn't work that way. On Monday I felt better, but I had a long day of work ahead of me, followed by a three-hour-long senior thesis disputatio to attend for half of my senior students. It is the culmination of their classical education and not something to be missed (and quite enjoyable), but it does make for a long night at the end of a long day, especially when one is already under the weather. Tuesday was a repeat of Monday - work all day, three hour disputatio at night. Wednesday after a full day of work, my husband and I had a bit of a drive to a work Christmas party that lasted late, so another night gone. Thursday I had another long day of work followed by a long faculty meeting at school. And Friday another day at work followed by another long drive to another Christmas party. Now, all of these evening events, I should point out, are things I enjoy! All in one week while recovering from illness and trying to write a book... a bit much to handle. Especially given that three of my four boys have been fighting the same ailment as I, and my sleep was interrupted a lot all week by crying and coughing. Then yesterday, my three-year-old regressed into the coughing part of the illness quite badly, and yesterday night, instead of either of us sleeping, I spent most of the night on the couch holding him in my lap while he coughed, cried, and burned up with fever.

So when I knocked over the thyme in the cabinet at dinner tonight, yes... it struck me as funny. Because this is life, and time waits for no man - or woman, or writer. As Gollum taunts Bilbo in The Hobbit:

"This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down."

Am I being a little maudlin? Perhaps. But it's been a difficult, sleepless week, and I'm staring at a desk full of notes and a manuscript that hasn't yet reached 10,000 words. And time keeps passing remarkably fast. I would love to say that I have release date news on Criminal for you all, too, but I don't; not yet. All I can say is that it is obviously not coming out by the end of 2015 here, and I apologize for that, but I have been in communication with my publishing house, and I hope to have news soon. In the meanthyme, I'm going to keep plugging along, even if I can only get a handful of words written per day. This week promises to be less hectic than last, so we'll see what I can get done!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Writers Write.

Writers write. I know this is a revolutionary concept, so let me run it by you again. Writers... write.

I often get asked, "But how do you have the time?" Usually this question is asked by someone who has always wanted to write a book, but who has never figured out how to sit down and make it happen. Also not uncommon is for this sort of person to say that they've wanted to write a book for years. Years. Not months or weeks, but years. "Sure, I'm a writer," these people say. "I just haven't finished my book yet. I don't have the time." "How much of it do you have done?" I might ask. "Oh, you know... bits and pieces..." Quick change of subject.

If you do not actually write, you are not a writer. I'm not trying to be a condescending jerk; I'm trying to motivate you. There are a number of things that keep wannabe writers from becoming actual writers, and some of these things are legitimate reasons. I don't want to discount anybody's personal experience or struggles, but if what's holding you back is just a general lack of time, then I'm here to tell you that you will never have the time to write a book. You must make the time. Do you really want another five or ten years to pass without your dream of becoming a novelist becoming a reality? If so, read no further. Go back to Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram. Social media is calling. But if there is a story burning inside of you longing to get out, then today is your day. Not tomorrow - today.

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote that the act of writing stories takes, "Labor, discipline, and special skill." Many people have the special skill part down, but lack in the labor and discipline. If you are lacking in any of those three areas, you will never be successful as a writer. How did I write eight novels while teaching full-time and giving birth to (and raising) four little boys? I have always made time to sit down and write. Not every day, but when it really matters, I do. So the question really becomes: How badly do you want it?

In honor of this subject and November being National Novel Writing Month, I thought I'd post a link to a fantastic article I found on this subject from NY Times bestselling author Hugh Howey. If you want a serious kick in the pants, this is where you can find it. Then go forth and write!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What's in a Book Festival?

Book festivals are exhausting. So much to pack up - and I have a Prius, so packing that little sucker is like playing a high-stakes game of Tetris - so much to not forget, so many details to iron out, so few opportunities to eat or use the bathroom (who needs to use the bathroom, anyhow?), so much talking and smiling and talking and smiling and talking and smiling..., so much worry over selling enough books to make the venture profitable, so much hoping the person you're assuring will like your book will actually like your book, so much work. But I never question if going to book festivals is worth it, because my readership is what makes my writing possible.

Authors are a rather anchoritic bunch by nature. That is to say, we like to be alone, and we can tend to treat our art as a sort of religious practice. It's spiritually fulfilling, in a way, to close oneself off from the real world and sub-create a new world in the form of a story. I think most of us would prefer to write our stories in seclusion, submit them for editing and publishing, and then set them loose (for sale) in the magical world of the internet and let the readers come to us. No direct selling, please. No self-promotion, thank you very much. The Art should speak for itself.

The problem with this is, even in a perfect world, I don't believe this is ever the way it should be. Art always has a personal source. We, the authors, are part of our written works, and our readers deserve a chance to get to know us, and us them. To set a story loose on the world is to enter into a relationship with the people consuming the story. Hopefully that relationship will be a good one, but as with most relationships, it will not thrive without communication and effort on both parts.

One way devoted readers who have entered into a relationship with authors through their books can help that relationship thrive is by writing reviews on places such as Amazon and Goodreads, telling their friends about the author's books, and generally spreading the word! But how can the author foster a good relationship with his or her readers?

I think one way (besides the obvious way of continuing to write books) is to remain engaged and active in book festivals, and that is why I attend as many as I am able to attend. I can blog, I can Facebook and Tweet every day, I can post to Pinterest, but it's not the same as getting on the ground in the real world and meeting new (and old) readers. Meeting people in person - shaking hands and signing books, and placing my stories directly into their possession - is something that will never go out of style. It keeps me grounded and puts names and faces to my readers. It encourages me, too. I hope that, no matter where my books take me in the future, I will always have opportunities to attend book festivals and greet my readers in person. The moment you lose that personal connection to your readers is the moment you fail in your half of the author/reader relationship.

My next book festival, if you live anywhere in the vicinity and would care to join me, is the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN on Oct. 9-11. Come, grab a couple copies of The Gateway Chronicles or BREEDER, and build a relationship with me!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Questions From a New Reader

Every now and then I hear from a new reader so enthusiastic with either The Gateway Chronicles or BREEDER (or both!) that they come to me with a plethora of questions, and sometimes those questions are blog-worthy because I feel there might be more people out there interested in the same information. This is one of those situations! The following questions came in last month from a new reader of The Gateway Chronicles... 

1) Okay, I can't stand it anymore. I must know. What addictive substance did you hide between the lines of your books?? 

Fairy dust. That addictive substance is fairy dust. 


Actually, in all seriousness, I've worked quite hard over the years to make sure my books follow established literary patterns without being cliched. I believe the human brain looks for patterns subconsciously,  and because of this, there are certain storytelling techniques that will always feel more fulfilling in the end than others (or than a story written with no plan at all). This is one reason why I also beat on the "plan ahead!" drum when I give seminars on creative writing.

2) Ever since my first read-through, I've been trying to figure out how much of yourself you put into a character, if not more than 1. So, obviously Darcy is from your town and went to your camp. I tend to think you put some other parts of you in her, too. When at camp, did you have those magical feelings about the camp? Did you feel that perhaps you were meant for a different world, not fitting in? Or have you so aptly captured those aspects from other things you've read and from hearing it from others? Or are you more like Lewis, always carrying around a backpack full of journals? Did you have a friend - or were you the friend - like Sam, who was always by your side, never giving up on you even when you were mean-ish to her? 

Darcy is definitely the character into which I poured the most of myself. I did use my hometown (from my teen years) as Darcy's hometown, and the camp they attend in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the real camp I attended every summer of my life from birth until college (with the names changed). There was absolutely something magical and different about that camp, and not in a mystical, creepy, I-can't-seperate-fantasy-from-reality, delusional sort of way, but in a total separation from the rest of the world, from the rest of civilization, sort of way. The real camp, which I'll just call Cedar, was a constant for me in an otherwise changing world. Every summer when we went there, it was virtually unchanged. Obviously the flowers and trees and sun and water and rocks and sky didn't change, nor did the smells or sounds or sensations of being there, but even the camp itself went through very little change. For 18 years, I don't even remember the quilts on the camp beds being replaced with new ones, or the carpet being torn up and replaced. The furniture and artwork was always the same. There were small changes made here and there, but nothing big was done until I was an adult. I know the forest trails out there like the back of my hand, and it's so achingly remote and beautiful. When the sun comes through the trees, or glimmers in off the water, at just the right times of the day, it really is a magical place. It was an escape from reality, and it did make me feel like I was meant for another world. I really didn't fit in well in my "real world" life, at least I didn't feel like I did much of the time, so going to Cedar was like an escape into a fantasy world for me. It revived my spirit. In writing The Gateway Chronicles, then, I wanted to cause the reader to have this same sort of revived sensation by "visiting" the camp - and Alitheia - through the pages of my books.

I was (still am) a bit like Lewis, too. I don't carry a backpack around full of journals, but I'm rarely without one! I keep a small journal in my purse, and I probably have ten to twelves scattered around my house that are full of story ideas, notes, sketches, names, sample chapters... you name it! I put that aspect of my personality into Lewis's character. 

I definitely was not the loyal Sam-friend, although I wish I could have been! I've always been a bit too self-centered to be a Sam. But I had a Sam-friend, who is still one of my closest friends today. Even when I grew exasperated with her and did mean-ish things to her so I could go off and have "me time," she never gave up on me. And she always saw (sees) the good in everyone. That combination of loyalty, optimism, and overall goodness is so rare. I knew I had to write in a character like Sam who had those same traits. A Darcy needs a Sam. (And the parallel in names to Sam in The Lord of the Rings is not entirely unintentional! :) ).

3) Did you make up narks, or are those an across-the-board fantasy creature? 

I made up narks! They are entirely unique, although I tied them loosely to Tolkiensian elves to give people a frame of reference (I believe I say in the first book that they are in the elf family, or something like that). Every successful fantasy series, in my opinion, has to have a unique fantasy creature that has been created just for that particular universe. Lewis has his marshwiggles and dufflepuds, Tolkien his hobbits, and Rowling her house elves. I went with narks, which was a word I pulled from a form letter at Cedar (apparently a "night nark" is actually just a counselor who enforces night curfew). I came up with the concept of having night narks and day narks sharing one body, and the physical and social characteristics fell into place from there. I was super nervous about it before the publication of the first book, though, because I felt that of all the things in the story, the narks were what could flop the worst. Either people would love them, or people would think they were terribly cheesy and hate them. Thankfully, some of the first feedback I got on The Six was that people loved the narks - specifically Yahto Veli. I was relieved!

4) You mentioned teenagers as your target audience. Do you hear from male teenagers about the books? Are they drawn to the battles and strategy?

Yes! Surprisingly, I hear from lots of male teenagers - actually, I hear from lots of males, period! I wasn't sure how The Gateway Chronicles would be received by boys since it's written around a primary female protagonist, but the boys who have read it have responded overwhelmingly positively. Some of my biggest fans are boys, especially boys between the ages of 11 and 14. After the publication of book 4 (I think), I had 8th-grade boys (who were my students at the time), coming up to me the next day, bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived and red-nosed, saying things like, "Thanks a lot, Mrs. B. You made me cry!" or "This is your fault, you know. Your fault!" It was great. I've also recently had a lot of grown men reading them and giving me positive feedback. That's blown me away. I think part of it is that they like the battles and strategy, but I really think that's only a small part of it at the end of the day. Some themes are just universal. If you write a story that speaks to the human condition, you're going to have a crossover story on your hands. 

5) Any tips on where I can look up the names/places?

Baby name books or generators online, lol. But it's the truth! I have a big book of baby names that includes names from all around the world with country of origin, meaning, variations, etc., and I've relied heavily on that for choosing names with specific meanings I wanted for The Gateway Chronicles (and all my writing). A Greek translator online would help with many of the Alitheian names, too, but not all of them! Some of the nark names incorporate Finnish and Hebrew and Native American languages. If you ever really are desperate to know what a particular name means, though, and can't find it online, just shoot me an e-mail at and ask me, and I'll spill the beans. :) 

6) Is it tough to switch gears to your teacher-hat?

Yes and no. At this stage in my career, it's really more about the time crunch. My writing and teaching career have coincided for about eight years now, so I know more or less how to balance things. There are times of the year when, as a teacher, I just have to focus on getting teacher stuff done, but then there are other times where I have more energy and it's easier to come home and write for a couple of hours at night. But because I teach history at a classical school, which means I'm not bound by a textbook or a curriculum some government suit put together, I basically get to stand in front of my students and tell stories - true stories, but stories - all day long. I get to dramatize historical stories for a bunch of teenagers every day. And I get to read to them from primary source material that is hundreds of years old, and I get to talk it out with them, and gnaw through the tough bits, and study them and their reactions to things... It's kind of fantastic! As an author of Young Adult material, it feels like the other side of the writing coin, if that makes sense. I do wish, however, that I just had more time. But I think we all wish for that! And as Gandalf says, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Criminally Difficult

Hello, dear readers, loyal followers, and those of you who stumbled randomly onto this blog in the wide inter-verse.

This past year has been a difficult year.

I've (now) written eight novels. I know how it's done. I have a system for writing novels and piecing stories together - one that involves a collision of plenty of pluck and pretty careful planning. I have never written a book that has not been marinating in my brain and in my writing journals for at least two years. I am deliberate and intentional, and I have a knack for knowing what works and what doesn't in a story. Writing is, for me, both a gift and a discipline. And that is why this year was so, so frustrating, because no matter how much all of my above-stated "ducks" were in a row, I simply could not make the time to get the sequel to BREEDER written when and how I wanted it to be written. Even though I felt like it shouldn't have been, CRIMINAL was criminally difficult to write.

It started with burn out. In March of last year, I wrapped writing on the first draft of BREEDER right on the heels of having finished the first draft of The Bone Whistle. So, from October 2013-March 2014, I wrote two novels in two different series in two entirely different styles and totaling about 290,000 words (That's more than the length of the first three Harry Potter novels combined). I only took about two weeks off in those six months, and while I was finishing writing BREEDER, I was also starting edits on The Bone Whistle, which was set for publication in September 2014. When I turned in BREEDER at the end of March, I sat back and took a break from writing while I continued to work with my editing team on The Bone Whistle, but I fully intended on picking myself up after a couple week break and beginning to write CRIMINAL so as to have it complete before my baby came in October - because, oh yes, I was also pregnant with my fourth baby.

And... It just didn't happen.

I was so tired. I look back on last summer and wonder why I couldn't make myself write, and I can only guess that I was just beyond burned out. The story was in my head, all my planning was done, but my creative juices were gone. I think the toll of basically completing six NaNoWriMo challenge equivalents in a row had caught up to me, along with the mental strain of those books - the last in a long series that had to tie up every loose thread, and the first in a series that was untested and unknown. Every week that passed last summer, I told myself I would get to work on CRIMINAL, and every week I didn't. And then school started, and I went back to teaching full time, and my time and energy diminished even more. And then I had the release of The Bone Whistle to manage, and then one week later, my fourth little baby boy decided to make his entrance to the world three weeks early. I'm sure everybody knows, or at least has heard, how exhausting the first few months with a newborn are, and so after Edmund's birth, all possibilities of writing productivity dwindled even more. November arrived, and with it, the Time of Much Sickness. Between Thanksgiving and Easter of this past year, between myself, my husband, and my four boys, we did not have more than a single week where everyone was well. We experienced the flu, RSV, bronchitis, pink eye, croup, ear infections, strep, asthma attacks, migraine headaches, and more. It was bizarre and awful and dispiriting, and... I couldn't find the time or the energy to write. I was nursing my baby, too, which takes hours of every day, and between that, working full time, cooking, taking care of sickies, being sick myself, being wife and mother, and all the other general things in life, I despaired at finding any time to get down to writing CRIMINAL. There were even a few dark moments where I wondered if my writing career was over because I simply couldn't balance everything in my life anymore.

I am the sort of writer who needs time to write. Perhaps that sounds like a "duh" thing to say, but let me explain. If I can't carve out a couple hours to devote to it at a time, it's hard for me to even bother. A half hour here and there is not enough time for me to get my head in the game. At least, that's what I'd always thought, because that's how I'd always written. I'd always started a book and knocked it out in 6-12 weeks, working several hours each day to get it done. This year taught me that if I was going to practice was I preach about the discipline of writing, then I would have to change the way I write books in order to fit into my new schedule with four little ones instead of three (that fourth one really does make a difference!). I would have to write in the stolen half hours - fifteen minutes - five minutes - in between diaper changes and staggered naps. I would not be able to stay up half of each night for a month to get a book written, because I just don't have the energy for that anymore, and it's not fair to my family! I would have to adapt to my new life, or my writing career would be over. So I did.

Sometime this past year - I think it was February - I opened my document (that I'd created last summer) and began to pick at CRIMINAL. There were days where I only got a hundred words on the page, but at least I got those hundred words on the page. But I lost track of things far too easily. The benefit of writing novels the way I usually write them is that because it happens so fast, I don't forget much of what I've already written as I go. But with CRIMINAL, sometimes it would be weeks in between scenes, and I couldn't remember which story elements I'd already included. This made for a lot of rewriting as I went along, and for a painfully, criminally slow writing of the first draft, but I got it done. I got it done! And then I did a complete revision, and that took a few weeks, too, because there were a lot more rough edges than I usually have, but that is now also done. It took me six months, and I think it was an important six months. I don't know if I'll ever again be able to write novels like I used to, but now I know I can write novels like this - with baby steps rather than marathon strides. I got to the finish line, beta reader feedback is already starting to come in (it's positive!), and I hope to have publication info soon. It still has a long official editing process to go through, so I don't know if it will squeak in before the end of 2015, but if it does, it will be a Christmas miracle! All I can promise at this time is, it's coming...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Girl and Her Dinosaurs

Let me tell you a story about a girl and her dinosaurs...

In 1993, I was ten years old, shy, gawky, and a huge fan of everything dinosaurs. Because I was still rather young, my parents, being good parents, had no intention of letting me go and see the PG-13, probable (within reason) bloodbath, adventure flick that was Jurassic Park, no matter how much I begged and pleaded. Dinosaurs eating people on an island? Oh no. I do not think so. I lamented my fate and glued myself to the TV whenever the trailer for the movie played, but the theater run came and went, and no Jurassic Park for me.

Kids these days have no idea how to wait for anything, and yes, I do intend to sound like a curmudgeon when I say that, so (kids, if you're reading this), let me tell you how it used to be. We used to have to wait almost an entire year for a movie to make it from theater to film - yes, that long. And then we had the agony of being on the waiting list at Blockbuster for any popular films, since they were usually in high demand. Not that this gave me any real hope of seeing Jurassic Park, as the advent of a new year did not advance me to the magical age of 13, and I still did not expect my parents to allow me to see the film. If they wouldn't take me to see it on the big screen, why on earth would they bring it into our house? Oh, agony upon agonies.

And then, about a year after Jurassic Park left the theaters, I spent the night at a friend's house.

She had this amazing basement bedroom all to herself. I distinctly remember it because it had a pass-through fireplace from the main family room in the basement to her bedroom. It was, truth be told, rather creepy, but it was also private. And not only was it private, but she had her own TV and VCR down there, with access to the family's stash of VHS tapes.

Now, I was a good girl. I really was. I wouldn't have watched anything truly terrible. No R-rated forays for me, thank you very much! But... they had THE MOVIE. The movie I had wanted to see for a whole year. Jurassic Park. It was before me like a gleaming prize. We could watch it, and nobody would ever know. Her parents were fast asleep. She was game for it (and assured me it wasn't "that" scary), and we swore neither of us would ever breathe a word of it. So I said okay. I outright disobeyed my parents, and I watched Jurassic Park with my friend.

As naughty as I was, my first experience with that film is emblazoned on my memory - and probably in no small part because I watched it in the thrill (and horror) of disobedience, hovered around an old TV in a dark creepy basement in the middle of the night. I had never been so awed by a movie as I was in experiencing the brontosauruses for the first time alongside the characters, or as horrified as I was when the T-Rex escaped and when the velociraptors ate their handler ("clever girl!"). The movie scared me to death, but it also took a hold of me as a good movie experience does, and little did I know at that time I had experienced what could rightly be called, I think, a 90s-kid quintessential rite of passage. All I knew was I was so happy to finally have seen it.

I was also terribly guilty, especially when my dad surprised me by bringing it home not a month later.

We were going to have a family movie night, and my dad had gone off to Blockbuster to get the movie. I fully expected another Disney animated flick, as per the usual, and I was having a bad attitude about the whole thing, so much so that when Dad arrived home with the movie, I huffily pronounced (in good, preteen fashion) that I was just going to hang out in my room instead. "Stay, stay!" Dad said. I remember folding my arms and sulking while he put the tape in. As I waited for the Disney music to begin, instead an image of the globe appeared on the screen and the words "UNIVERSAL" began floating around them. (I remember this like it was yesterday). I dropped my arms, and my jaw, and shouted, "Is this Jurassic Park?" "I thought you'd like to see it," my dad said. He never asked how I knew it was Jurassic Park just from the opening production credits, and I never told him. Until now. (Sorry, Dad! Mea culpa.) I watched it through for the second time, pretending like it was my first time seeing it, and thoroughly enjoying it all over again.

Now that my parents had invited it into the house, however, I was free to indulge the obsession. My school library had every Michael Crighton book on the shelves, and I read every. single. one... multiple times. In hindsight, 6th grade was probably not the most appropriate age for Michael Crighton books, but I survived. And, to bring this around to writing (which is really what my blog should be about, after all), I mark Michael Crighton's works as being formative for me. He mastered creepiness that didn't feel like horror to me, and I liked that and wanted to emulate it as a writer. Anyhow, I also delved much further into all things dinosaur. (We'd just moved and I had NO friends in my new school - shocking, I know. Who doesn't want to be friends with the girl obsessed with dinosaurs?) When my 6th grade science teacher assigned a project where we had to pick a dinosaur to do a report on, I chose procompsognathids. Yes. That's right. Procompsognathids. "Whatsits?" my teacher asked. "Oh, they're also called compys," I said. *sigh* I was such a winner. He let me do the project, and gave me an A on it.

As time passed and I made some (human) friends, my obsession with dinosaurs cooled. I grew up and out of infatuation with the wonderment of the prehistoric unknown, and I came to recognize Jurassic Park for what it was - fantasy. Great, gripping fantasy, but just that, all the same. Of course I saw each of the successive Jurassic Park movies as they came out, but when I heard about Jurassic World, I honestly kind of rolled my eyes. Hasn't this been done already? Isn't it tired out? Welll... there was still a curious corner of my brain and a nostalgic corner of my heart that wanted to go and see it, but I had no concrete plans to do so.

But then my parents came in town for the 4th of July holiday and my dad volunteered to take me to a movie. It just seemed fitting for my dad, who rented Jurassic Park for his poor, desperate, dorky 11-year-old daughter to take his poor, not-as-desperate, still-dorky 32-year-old daughter to see Jurassic World. And I'm so glad he did! Jurassic World was so ridiculously awesome, and I take my hat off to the film makers who managed to recreate the wonderment this 90s-era kid felt at seeing dinosaurs on the big screen for the first time all over again. The music, the choice of dinosaurs, the sounds, the fights, the action, the island, the throwback vehicles and buildings, it was all perfection. Oh, don't get me wrong - it was totally stupid, too. I mean, ridiculously stupid (training velociraptors for use in combat? Puh-leaze), and so predictable (called the ending - called it!), but it was stupid and predictable in all the right ways for the sort of movie it was. And I loved it. I ate up every moment. I pulled my knees up to my chest and tucked my feet onto the seat like a little kid, grinned from ear to ear, and covered my eyes at the most jumpy moments. Perfect movie going experience. Nostalgia for the win.

So what's the moral of the story? The moral of the story is, good stories have the power to be life experiences. Here I am, 21 years after I saw Jurassic Park for the first time, blogging about dinosaurs.

Another moral of the story is that procrastination produces amazingly long blog posts about dinosaur movies when you're supposed to be revising your manuscript, so... yeah. I'm going to go get back to work on CRIMINAL. Dystopian novels don't produce themselves! Maybe I should try my hand at screenwriting next...