Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Everyone needs an outlet. Some way to just release the stress of work and responsibilities. People find their escape from all of these things in various ways exercise, music, dance, gardening, etc. Personally I have a couple of ways I can escape all of the worries and stresses in my life for a while swimming, writing, and reading.

Swimming is a great way for me to just zone out for a while and not do any thinking. When I'm swimming all I have to do is concentrate on the stroke I'm doing and controlling my breathing. I get the physical exertion that you just sometimes need when you are really stress and the calming effect of being in the water at the same time. I have loved swimming since I was a kid and it would take forever to get me out of the pool or lake. When I finish swimming there is just a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

Writing is a wonderful way to escape because I get to go into a world that I create with characters I know and that are part of me. Here I get to counter my stress and anxiety with creativity and imagination. Writing lets me take pieces of me and incorporate them into stories that are nothing like my life and so I get to do things I wouldn't normally get to do.

Reading has been my escape for as long as I have known how to read. One night I had trouble sleeping because my brain was in overdrive and thinking about issues way too big for a 7 year old to contemplate. Nevertheless difficult topics were on my mind and my brain just wouldn't quit. Tired and out of idea my parents suggested I start reading before bed so I could push other things out of my mind and think only about the story and the world in which it took place. Little did they know they were creating a monster and sense that night I have read before bed almost every night. When I read I get to step into someone else's life for a while and experience what they do and forget about my world completely for a while. I get to forget myself and my worries and just enjoy a story. Reading gives you a freedom to experience lives, people, and places you might not get to in your normal life. When you're reading you believe that magic is real, you explore space and meet new species, time travel to times past, present, and future. When you're reading there is nothing to outlandish and everything enters the realm of possible.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#16: A Cadgers Curse- Diane Gilbert Madsen

One you've started reading a certain type of book or a series  ti can be hard to adjust and get into the next one. Also when reading an author I'm unfamiliar with I sometimes find it difficult to get into the book at first. I faced both these challenges going into this book but was pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition was.

DD McGill, once a professor of literature at a Chicago area University, now works as an insurance investigator. All of a sudden her life is full of murder investigations and suspicions. But on top of this her Aunt is visiting from Scotland and brings with her another mystery for DD.

It's funny how things just seem to connect together. Lately in the books I read, a story I recently finished writing, and in tv and movies Scotland has become a reoccurring theme. My mom's side of the family is from Scotland but I've never been, perhaps this is a sign that I should go.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. Madsen's writing style was easy and real. The characters were fun and interesting. The story had two different line to follow and yet it didn't become confusing. Madsen brought here Chicago setting to life making it easy to picture and got there in your mind. There was action, suspense, mystery, and a little bit of humor all combined to make one great read.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#15: Star Trek Destiny: Lost Souls-David Mack

There is always a feeling of content as well as sadness I feel when I have finished a series. Although this was a trilogy as part of multiple series and the characters will continue in other books the sadness is still there. But alas things must end and the story must come full circle.

As the relentless Borg press on the future seems dim but Captains Picard, Riker, and Dax all have reasons to keep going and reasons to survive. The Federation and it's neighbors are in the eleventh hour and without what may be a crazy plan there is no hope. The time has come for the captains to face their destinies but destiny has also come calling for those who millenia ago had no choice.

In a brilliant finish to his Destiny Trilogy Mack brings all his stories to completion. The interlacing story lines are woven together and the finished product is astounding. I felt myself saying "ahh, I get it now" when the pieces I had been assembling finally fell into place. Past, present, and future combine to make a story worth reading over and over. Mack provides many perspectives giving us a complete picture of every side of the story, In a series that could have easily been make into a war saga Mack provides more substance. While the Borg conflict is a large factor int he story so are the back stories, the personal character struggles, the stories of a race before unknown, and the way things connect. Mack has written a wonderful series with action, drama, and yes even humor, and with Lost Souls he completes the Destiny Trilogy. I promise Star Trek fans won't be disappointed and neither will other readers. ( I will admit some familiarity with the shows or any of the book series will help and make it more enjoyable.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#14: Star Trek Destiny: Mere Mortals-David Mack

 I've found there is a wonderful advantage to not jumping on the band wagon of a series right away. That advantage my friends is that the wait for the next installment is considerably shorter, also you can get into a groove and read a bunch of them at the same time (as evidenced by my overwhelming number of Star Trek books in this past month.) These facts are especially advantageous when reading books that finish with cliff hangers. Unlike season finale's of shows or real time reading and waiting for release dates I need only wait as long as it takes me to put down one book and pick up the next.

Captains Dax, Riker, and Picard continue their struggle to find a way to stop the impending Borg invasion. But across time and space Erika Hernedez  spends centuries with the Celiear learning and working in inescapable exile. Time however, is a funny thing an it has a way of sneaking up on you, and time is running out for the Federation. But what can you do when your enemy is almost invincible?

Mack continues his well crafted and brilliantly woven tales. Again as in the first Destiny book he blends different times and different ships into a journey that will have readers on the edge of their seats. Whether you've read any of the other books besides this trilogy or watched any of the show ro not you will enjoy the depth of the characters and the complexity of the story. This is more than just a book about catastrophic war it is part of a series of beginnings, endings, and destinies.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#13: Star Trek Destiny: Gods of Night - David Mack

Very rare is it to find three consecutive books in a series like Star Trek books written by the same author, even when those books are part of a series within the series. Here David Mack takes on that challenge though and connects himself to the three books of the Destiny Trilogy.

Time has passed and enemies have been defeated but one of the greatest threats the Federation has ever faces is back and this time their only objective is complete annihilation. Elsewhere in Federation space the mystery of what happened to one of Earth's first generation starships is solved. But there is more than the mystery of where the starship was. More questions arise and shed light on one ship's struggle for survival. Three captains will find that no matter what we do sometimes destiny is inescapable.

Mack had taken on something I have found to be rare, no I'm not just taking about all of the books in this trilogy, but different times and three different ships. Throughout the first book of the Destiny Trilogy we enter different times and actually four different ships. The way Mack weaves the tales together is effortless and artistic. There are connections among all the stories and a deeper story that sets the stage for something much bigger.

All the characters we know from the crew of the Enterprise E and the Titan are present as well as new character from the Aventine and the Columbia. Mack creates stories that weave together like colors of paint that combine together to create a picture.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#12: Faery Tale-Signe Pike

Titles can be deceiving if you look at a title sometimes you can tell what the genre of the book will be. But don't be swayed into immediate judgment, basically  don't judge a book by it's cover What I have learned in my over a year working at a bookstore is even thought we have heard not to judge a book by it's cover over and over it its still the cover/title that sway us. By looking at the title of this book most would be drawn into assuming it was a sci-fi/fantasy book so when I saw it at Borders in the biography section I was intrigued.

Signe Pike is a writer/publisher living in New York trying to cope with a devastating loss. Day after day it's the same thing. As she sets in her windowless office she wonders is there something more? What happened to the magic and wonderment she felt as a child? So she sets out on a journey, a journey to see if magic still exists in the would and maybe just maybe there really are faeries among us.

Though I bought this book well over six months ago and I just read it, and the timing couldn't have been better. I have recently found myself wondering the same things as Pike As I stop and think about what is going on in my life I find a hole in me , the place  where I sued to be able to see the magic of the world around me. Pike takes you along with her on her journey, her writing and experiences are so vivid and real you feel as if you are there with her. Even if you don't believe that faeries exist almost everyone can relate to her desire to recapture some of the magic we loose in growing up and having to find a way to accept and deal with the loos of a loved one. Pike reawakened the magic in the world around me and spurred my passion for creating and exploration.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I've noticed that when I'm writing I get inspiration for new stories and ideas everywhere and at any time. Ideas for stories, papers, poems,etc I find come at times that aren't always the most convenient. When I was back in high school I was taking a creative writing class and we were given the assignment to parody a song. I was stuck in the first drive-thru window at McDonalds and then all of a sudden I was hit I got an idea for my parody. All I had available to write my parody down with was a dull pencil and some receipt paper. I printed out a length of receipt paper and started writing. Within a few mintues I had a parody draft written and just like that my homework was done.

Another good example of inspiration hitting when you least expect it is my junior year of college. My friend and I a couple days earlier had gone to pick up her wedding dress. On the way she asked me if I would read a poem at her wedding, of course I agreed. Then she told me that she wanted me to write the poem then read it. I asked if she was sure since my typical writing style at the time was murder mystery. She said she was sure and she trusted me. I had, I think a week before the wedding when she asked me, and finals at school. I was starting to get worried about the poem and I spent the night studying for one of my exams and then hit the hay. Out of a dead sleep I woke up, grabbed a note book and pen from next to the bed and started writing. I wrote straight for 20mins without my glasses on before I was done. I looked at the clock it was almost 1 am. I put the pen and notebook down shut the light out and fell back asleep. A week later I was back in Calais in front of my friend, her husband, and their guests reading the poem. I could tell by looking at her face that I'd done what I'd been asked to do and I felt good about giving them something personalized and just for them.

ne of the great things about being a writer is that inspiration is around every corner just waiting for someone to notice it and take advantage of it. It could be anything a word, a phrase, a picture, a building, anything to get those gears going and the ideas spilling out. Because of this I like to have a notebook and pen with me at all times. I like to keep a camera handy too in case I see something that inspires me so I can snap a picture of it so I won't forget it. Thankfully now I have a phone with a camera so i don't have to have my actual camera with me all the time.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing that can hit like a bolt of lightening and vanish just as quickly. It doesn't care if you have a pen and paper ready, or what time of day it is. I'll stay up all night writing something for a story down just so I get it all down and won't forget it. Inspiration is a writer's best friend and sleep's worst enemy.