Back from the brink…SpReAd the Love Update

Well, I am slightly less verklempt today than I was Tuesday.  Despite Staplegate (It’s huge!!) and half full classes due to a pandemic of Spring Breakisnextweekitis I am in the home stretch now – papers are graded, midterm grades are submitted and Spring Break Is NExt WEEK!!! (I’m not very excited…no, not excited at all!)

Thorin's much better today too! Source

Thorin’s much better today too!

The SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge is wrapping up, although we might have a couple of posts trickle in from time to time.  Mini Me was so excited about her guest appearance that she mentioned the challenge to the members of her reading group at school.  Three of her colleagues have also provided me with memorable titles – Mini-Me forgot the questions, so all I’ve got are the titles.  (I am omitting the names of the contributors in the interests of not creating little girl drama that becomes intra-parent drama)

Meet Felicity (the first in a series about the Revolutionary War era American Girl Doll who has since been “archived” – sounds very ominous!)

Beauty and the Beast (A timeless classic reinvented by Disney for a new generation…)

Meet One Direction (I would rather not contemplate why this book is so meaningful to the 8 year old set)

MiniMe and I will donate these three titles in addition to the books that we highlighted to the Half Price Books Half Pint Library Book Drive – they will match our 6 donations with an additional six, making a dozen books that will be distributed to needful readers in the local area.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Including book challenge posts from Servetus, alyssabethancourt, Fanny and Jazzy Jr. we added 17 kindnesses, so our new grand total of donated kindnesses and books is 281!  Jazzybaby1 and I have been really thrilled at everyone’s response to the SpReAd the Love idea and we hope that you will all continue letting us know about kindness you give or receive.  The world can be a really ugly place sometimes, but every person who reaches out, in even the smallest way, is doing his or her part to make it better.  Looking ahead, we’ll have a few more challenges and some fun and games to keep the ball rolling.


It got me again! SpReAd the Love Book Challenge


Last year, when my daughter was in second grade, she brought home a book from the school library that she was insistent I read to her.  I resisted initially since the book was within her reading level.  Her reply?  “I’ve already read it Mom.  I want *you* to read it too.”   And so I discovered the wonderful book that is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

For the next week at bedtime, I read a chapter…sometimes two, of the story about a china rabbit as he is lost and found and lost and found again.   When it was time to return the book to the library, we were only about halfway through it. Ordinarily, MiniMe can renew library books, but there was a waiting list for this one, so she needed to bring it back.  That night at bedtime, she asked if we could go to the bookstore over the weekend and buy the book, but by this point, I was hooked and could do one better…”Why don’t I just buy it from ibooks?” I asked.  I love to hold a book in my hands, but in this case, the instant gratification of the ebook was a wonderful compromise.  Minutes later, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was happily resting on a “shelf” in my ibooks library.

This is a story of the transformative power of love.  When he is introduced to the reader, Edward Tulane is a child’s toy – a three foot tall china rabbit whose owner, ten year old Abilene Tulane loves him deeply.  Each day after she dressed Edward in his beautiful clothes,  she would set him up on a chair in the dining room so he could look out the window and watch for her to return from school.  Despite the loving care of Abilene, Edward’s inner monologue betrays his vanity and self absorption:

from Chapter 1

from Chapter 1

One night at bedtime, shortly before the Tulane’s are set to embark on a sea voyage to Europe, Abilene’s grandmother tells Abilene and Edward a rather ominous story about how a failure to love those who loved her resulted in a beautiful princess being turned into a warthog.  The point of the story is lost on Edward Tulane…for now.   The next chapters tell how Edward is separated from Abilene and passes through the lives of all sorts of different people, learning to love and be loved along the way.

I was initially put off by Edward…such a vain, preening character, but with each chapter and each new experience, the story of Edward’s journey to love drew me further and further in.  I remember the night we reached the final four or five chapters of the story.  Mini Me and I were cozied up in her small bed as I read.  She must have been unusually tired, because she dropped off to sleep as I was reading – ordinarily, she is a challenging child to put to bed (some days I think the book Go the F**k to Sleep was written with her in mind.)  and I am more than ready to be about my business before she is ready to let me go.  That night though, as she rolled over, zonked out, I could not stop reading…I had to find out how the story ended.  By the end of Chapter 19, I was sniffling, and when the story closed in Chapter 27 I was gulping back sobs.  In the morning I told Mini Me that I’d finished the book…she nodded sagely and asked, “Did you cry?”

A colleague of mine who teaches literature was telling me about a conversation she’d had in an adult ed course.  One student was describing how a particular book had moved her to tears and another, who had previously admitted to never having finished a book, interjected perplexedly, “How can a book make you cry?”  I think this is one of the most profoundly sad things I have ever heard.  “How can a book make you cry?”  I think that I would have to respond in Socratic fashion and ask, “How can you not be moved emotionally by certain stories?”  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is that kind of story for me…a book that never fails to move me.  A book that I will never forget.  A book that I am so excited to pass on to a new audience.



et alia: So you want to write RAcy fanfiction? Sexy vs Plotty…

As I was fighting my way through the latest chapters of my first long fan fiction, Recovery I realized that it is much harder to write a coherent, interesting plot, than it is to piece together a series of sexy vignettes.

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

When I first started thinking about how to write a fan fiction that would incorporate elements of John Porter’s life as an SAS operative with the life that I had created for him, it was actually my husband who gave me a number of interesting avenues to follow about mercenaries and proprietary military technology.  I really enjoyed laying out this plot, unfolding it slowly, introducing twists here and there to keep it interesting, but it takes a lot more time and mental energy to keep it all straight, not to mention research.  A look at my browser history will find info on Blackwater operations, automatic weapons, fiber optic cabling, Syrian insurgents, British fleet movements, fatal knife wounds, etc….an uninformed eye might seriously question what type of mischief I’m up to!  In a summer when I had difficulty carving out an hour or two here and there to write at all, it often took me two or more weeks to piece together a 2000-3000 word chapter.  One RA friend and reader remarked that the majority of people reading on DreamerFiction probably don’t care all that much about plot…although I doubt I’m completely alone in enjoying a number of longer fics with developed plot lines, looking at the readership of the story, it’s pretty clear that the chapters with “sexy times” are read (or re-read) a lot more often.

Recovery is now at a point where much of the plot has been resolved (I still have a few surprises up my sleeve though), and some RAcy chapters have resumed.   What kind of research do I need to do to write these?  Well…there’s this

John Porter (Richard Armitage) in a moment of rest Source:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikback S1E4

Or this…

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source: (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: (my crop)

A quick double check of this for variety…


and then a little more of this…or maybe a lot of this…

and most definitely this…

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth...S1 E2 Source:

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth…S1 E2

A little John Porter-style inspiRAtion and I am off and running…2000 word of steamy scene written, edited and posted in less time than it took to figure out the difference between a Tech-9 and a 45.

I wouldn’t have written this story any differently, but I have to admit, sexy does win out over plotty in certain instances.  🙂