Books I've Read

Anne McCaffrey

This comes a few days late, but since I just started this blog, I definitely wanted to mention it here before it got any later. One of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, died last week. She was a very inspiring and prolific author, writing nearly 100 novels in her lifetime. Wow, that’s a lot! She was also the first woman to win both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award, the top prizes for science-fiction and fantasy.

My Anne McCaffrey Bookshelf

As you can see, I have quite a few of her books. I mostly read her Dragonriders of Pern series, which are still some of my favorites. I especially loved the ones set in Harper Hall. The Harpers of Pern were sort of like bards – they learned Teaching Ballads (and created new ones) and then were sent out to other holds to teach the people their history through song. When I first read these books, I wanted nothing more than to be a Harper. I wanted to live in Harper Hall and write music and poems to send out to the people. The Masterharper of Pern is probably my favorite book of the Dragonriders series.

I think that the goal of writing fantasy (or any speculative fiction, really) is to create worlds that we know logically don’t exist, but that we wish with all our hearts could exist. By those standards, Anne McCaffrey was one of the best in her craft.

Rest in peace, Anne. You will be missed.


It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .

Christmas has arrived in the Calvin household! Or, at least, there is a Christmas tree in the living room. Maybe at some point we’ll get around to decorating it. It does already have lights on it, so it doesn’t look too sad.

Lately, my stepson’s mother and I have been discussing what we like to call “the Santa Question.” My stepson is eight years old, my daughter seven. I can’t remember how old I was when I found out the truth about ol’ Kris Kringle, but I think it might’ve been around third grade. What we can’t decide is whether or not we should go ahead, bite the bullet, and reveal the scam, or let it go until the kids naturally figure it out for themselves.

There are pros and cons, of course, to both sides, but one thing is definite – we would have to tell them both at the same time. There is no way that one of them would keep the secret from the other. The main reason my stepson’s mom wants the truth out there is because “the boy” has been requesting all kinds of outlandish, expensive, and sometimes downright dangerous items for Christmas. Whenever objections are raised, he responds by saying that it doesn’t matter if his mom buys them or not – he will rely on Santa to bring him what he wants. Santa doesn’t have such silly limitations, like a budget. He represents unlimited possibilities, which naturally, none of us can ever hope to compete with.

Because of this, my stepson might figure out all these things for himself this Christmas, especially when he doesn’t get an iPad under the tree like he so desperately wants. If this is the case, what’s the harm in going ahead and telling him the truth? There’s a part of me that wants to hold on to their innocence, their belief in this magical time of year, for as long as I can. It’s not practical. I know it’s going to come out eventually. And if it happens this year, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a little sad nonetheless. Another rite of passage that proves that our children are growing up faster than we want to admit.

At the dinner table, when my husband and I were telling the kids that presents would be a bit lighter this year (mostly because they really don’t need anything), my daughter put her hands on her hips and said, “Can we at least have a Christmas dance party?”

Sure, honey. Dance away.


A new blog . . .

I have recently made a tremendous, life-changing decision. I want to be a writer.

Now you might think that this is something that wouldn’t just pop into one’s head. The truth of the matter is that I have always loved writing and always had a couple little storylines running through my head at all times. As my attitude towards my current profession (the “exciting” world of bookkeeping and accounting) starts to wane, I know that I need to take some proactive steps to find ways to do what I love for a living.

So here are my proactive steps:

  1. I looked around and found a wonderful critique group. So far there are only three of us, but these ladies are here to give me support and a good swift kick in the butt should I need it.
  2. On a recommendation from said wonderful ladies, I am working my way through John Truby’s “The Anatomy of a Story.” I cannot say enough about this book. It is one of the best tools that I have ever seen for a writer trying to perfect their craft. Simply marvelous.
  3. I am setting the goal to work on my writing for at least one hour per day. I know to the more seasoned writing hands out there, this doesn’t seem like much. I agree. I wish I could do more, but with a full-time day job, a husband, and two kids, finding nice, quiet writing time is not the easiest thing. An hour a day is a manageable goal that I think I should be able to achieve – and anything over that hour each day is just icing on the cake.

Now that you know that I want to write, you probably want to know a little about what I’m writing. I write mostly fantasy – I say “mostly” because I have been known to dabble a little bit in regular, mainstream fiction, but I always seem to come back to fantasy. It’s what I love to read, love to loose myself in . . . I guess you could say that it’s where my literary heart is.

So that’s me. Welcome to my little corner of the Internet!