Monday, April 23, 2012


I'm happy to announce our the winner of my first giveaway on this blog! Jenni Merrit. 

Jenni is a friend of mine, and an incredibly talented woman! She's an author, a blogger, a photographer, and a Mommy. I'm not sure how she juggles it all, but she does an amazing job at it! Make sure you visit her main blog, her photography blog (the typewriter picture below is hers), and if you haven't read it yet, go buy her book Prison Nation! It's an awesome book.

Didn't win this time? Don't worry about it! I have more reviews planned for the upcoming months, including some hand crafted jewelry, book marks, and of course, some books!

~ Ruthie ~

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Noticing a Trend - ROW80 update

I just realized that I have mentioned ROW80 several times this round...and never explained it. ROW80 is a writing challenge that is designed around the fact that we are each at different places in our writing and lives, and lets each participant set their own goals accordingly! I think it's fantastic because I'm the kind who needs some sort of outside accountability in order to get anything done, but I also need to be able to set my own goals when it comes to writing and life. This gives me the chance to have both of these key ingredients in one.

You can find more information about ROW80 on their page and I encourage you to join if you want a great way to be held accountable to your goals. They are a wonderful group and nobody minds if you join in mid-round, so it doesn't matter that we are already a few weeks in!

Now on to my goals. I'm not going to go through each of them one by one today like I usually do, simply because there isn't much to report since Wednesday. This is that trend I mentioned in my blog title. I seem to have a habit of starting out strong and finishing weak. I know this week part of the problem was that I ended up spending hours working on a laptop my hubby brought home before we realized that we just weren't going to be able to fix it's fatal flaw. This was rather depressing because my laptop is edging towards antique status, but the upside is that I finally organized all my files, deleted files and programs that are no longer needed, and I'm positive that everything important is backed up now!

Because I was working on the computer stuff (and a few other things that came up) I didn't get much else done in the latter half of the week, but I'm ok with that, because at least I was being productive! My overarching goal for this week is going to be to stay consistent through out the week if at all possible.

The one thing I did really well with this week was commenting on other blogs! I not only visited some bloggers I haven't checked in with in awhile, I also visited blogs almost every day. I think I'm finally getting into a routine, and that's making me happy! I'd really like to build readership to this blog and I know that is one of the ways to do it. I'm also interested in joining in on some blog hops, so if you know of any good ones coming up just let me know!

It's the last day to enter to win the book Hush Money by Chuck Greaves, so if you haven't already, make sure you go visit the post and enter! It's quick and easy and I'd really love to have more entries before it closes.

~ Ruthie ~

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creative Nudge #9 - Taste

 Before I get started on the Creative Nudge for today I just wanted to let you know there is only one day left to win the above book!! Hush Money was a great read that reminds me of John Grisham's work, only written with a younger and edgier tone. Go enter to win it!  There are very few entries so far so you have a good chance of being the winner.

Now onto today's Creative Nudge! As I explained last week, I am going to spend the next few weeks focusing on the different senses as a device to help add descriptive flavor to my writing, and hopefully yours! I'll be posting what I write up (this is what I wrote for the smell prompt) and I would love to read what you have to write as well.

Isn't that picture cute? It's cake....but it sure looks like a cup of coffee! Perfect picture to start out my discussion of taste. Make sure you check out the artist. 

I decided to follow smell up with taste because the two are very connected, in fact 80% of what you taste is because of the smell, which explains why food tastes so bland when you have a cold and your nose is all plugged up.

When I think of taste I primarily think of food, which is normal, there aren't a lot of other things that adults taste, although tooth paste and the lips of a significant other come to mind. Food is a very important part of most cultures, and I've always found it fascinating that people have such a wide variety of interests in food, and that what I think of as comfort food you might find completely gross.

Here's some fun facts about taste thanks to this site and this site:

  • Hypogeusia is a diminished sense of taste. 
  • Dysgeusia is a persistent taste, usually an unpleasant one.
  • What we perceive as "flavor" is actually a combination of smell, taste, spiciness, temperature, and texture. So yes, it really does taste better cold, or hot, or whatever. Goldilocks knew what she was talking about!
  • That "taste" I mentioned in the last fact? It is made of up of taste groups sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (a savory taste).
  • You know those bumps on your tongue? Those aren't your taste buds, rather, they contain your taste buds, and each one has an average of 6 taste buds inside it. 
  • The average adult has between 2,000 and 10,000 taste buds, "super tasters" have even more!
  • Your flavor preferences change over time and can be very affected by social queues. For example, if the first time you see someone eat something they react badly, you are less likely to like the taste of it yourself.

So how does the Creative Nudge work? Read on...

The Creative Nudge:
Theme: The sense of taste.
Genre: Any
Other requirements: Try to make the sense of taste central to whatever you write!

How it Works:
Take a few minutes to write a short response (any format or genre) to the prompt.
Post it on your blog.
Come back here and leave me a link in the comments so I can read it!
I'll post my own response on Tuesday for you to read.
Check back next Saturday for another Creative Nudge!

Need some ideas to get you started?

1. Write about your favorite food and a memory associated with it.
2. What's the worst thing you've ever tasted? Write about it!
3. Send your main character to a restaurant. What would they order? What do they think about the food? How does it make them feel? 
4. Go to a World Food Store, pick something you've never tasted, try to describe it.
5. Pretend to describe your favorite dish to someone totally unfamiliar with the cuisine. So describe macaroni and cheese to an African tribesman. Or Thai food to someone who grew up on Southern home cooking.
6. Describe a taste none-food related. Someone's lips, medicine, toothpaste, or even blood if you write about vampires!

Have fun!
~ Ruthie ~

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Yellow Room Conspiracy by Peter Dickinson - Book Review!

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway for a Free Book!

Peter Dickinson is one of Britain's most celebrated mystery authors, and it shows. In "The Yellow Room Conspiracy" we find a tale as complex and confusing as anything Agatha Christie or Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote. 

This mystery is written in the form of a memoir written by two of the main characters in the mystery. Through their notes about the events they lived through we learn that Paul and Lucy are now elderly. Lucy is rapidly succumbing to a disease that sounds a lot like Parkinson's, although it's never actually named, and she finally asks Paul about what happened when they were much younger. The police had never solved the murder, and they have lived and loved for years each assuming they knew what happened, and coming to different conclusions.

As they individually recount their memories of the events leading up to the murder of Gerry, we are taking deep inside their lives; through the deprivations of World War II, inside Lucy's family of five sisters, and their hopes, dreams, and loves. 

I found the story enthralling. Dickinson does a good job of explaining how each of the characters in his large cast behaved and thought, and how they changed over time. The actual murder doesn't take place until nearly the end of the book, and by that time the motivations and confusion behind who done it, is both clear and confusing. In the end Lucy shares with us what she thinks really happened, and while she says it with certainty, the reader is left wondering if she's right or if there is yet another conclusion that we'll never know

~ Ruthie ~

Ps. Love a good mystery? The book I'm currently giving away is a great one! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hey, Hey Good Lookin' - Whatcha Got Cookin'?

One of my goals right now is to cook more often, and so when I sat down to write this goals post the only I could come up with was this song. So of course I had to look it up...

Bring back memories for anyone? I'm not that old (not calling you old, calling me young :P) but my Daddy used to ask my Mom that question all the time, and even sing from time to time!

So how am I doing on my goals? Well...

1. Five hours editing a week. I'm at 3:10 right now! I'm very happy with that. I'm actually ahead of the game! Granted, it's only by 10 minutes, but I was behind schedule last week, and never reached my goal, so this is super fantastic.

2. Blog on a regular basis. Monday: Giveaway post (go enter!), Tuesday: Creative Writing Post, Today: your reading it!

3. Write book reviews and post on Four so far! I'm not caught up yet, but at least I'm up to writing about the books I read this month! One of the reviews is in Monday's post... in fact it's the book I'm giving away! (hint, hint)

4. Read and comment on at least 5 other blogs. Check!

1. Put more variety in our diets. That above picture is last nights dinner. Left over burrito meat cooked up with some scrambled eggs and cheese, topped in salsa and olives, served on a tortilla (and rolled up, but this is prettier)! Super yummy. Tonight's dinner was a newish recipe (old favorite ingredients, new combination) but of course I forgot to take a picture of that!

2. Clean/Organize the house. I cleaned! A little bit. The house is still a mess in general, but the bathroom is clean! And a little bit of the mess is gone.

3. Exercise! I've been doing more stretching, and the cleaning is counting as exercise this week. Believe me, my knees are feeling it.

4. Take more pictures. I think the above picture of dinner is the only picture of any worth I've taken this week so far (the one's of my husband when I was picking on him don't count) but hey, that's one good picture. I'll take it.

See that pretty picture? Ok, so maybe it doesn't look so pretty to everyone else. Especially since I have gone through and blurred the text in the center. But that my friends, is the ready to go file for the second draft of Misfits!


I finally finished the overly long process of taking all the changes I made on the paper copy and putting them in the new digital copy. This required lots of copy and pasting text, putting it in a different order (in many cases) than I wrote it, typing up the outline I created, typing notes into the text and highlighting them, and lastly, making sure all my references pages were in the new work-from file. Oh and for the heck of it I alphabetized, color coded, and labeled everything.

My OCD side was very happy when I was done.

It took way longer to do all this than I expected, but I figured out some more things about my story along the way, and I know the next phases of the the process are going to be much easier because of this phase, so I'm happy.

So what is next? Well I was going to tell you rewriting is next, but I realized yesterday that I need to do some more world building and character building before I tackle the rewrite. I started in on that today, and I'm not sure how long it's going to take me, but I know the book will be better for it in the end, so I press on!

How is your writing going?
~ Ruthie ~

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Way the World Smells

Like free books? Check out my giveaway!

The following piece is my response to the Creative Nudge I posted on Saturday - taking the sense of smell and making it central to a short piece. I used the characters in my current WIP and wrote a totally new scene for them, that I might just include somewhere in the book (or unwritten sequel).

“How does the world smell to you Levi?”

Levi looked up at Alina from his bowl of Keava’s stew, and just stared, confused, with out a clue how to respond to this strange question.

Seeing his confusion Alina tried again, “I mean, I know you are a Wolf, and that Wolves are very scent orientated, and I’ve noticed that even when you are shape-shifted into human form you tend to sniff at things. For instance, you just took a deep whiff of that stew you’re holding, and while I do that too because Keava’s stew is fantastic, I’m just wondering what the world smells like to you.

“Like … the world?” Levi wasn’t trying to make a joke, he still was completely lost, and unsure of what Alina was trying to get out of him. She asked the strangest questions sometimes, and right now he’d rather just go back to his bowl of stew.

“Well, yeah, of course, but what does that smell like? Does it smell different when you are a Wolf versus when you are in human form?”


“Really? I’ve always wondered about that, what stays the same when you shape change that is.” Alina wanted to figure out her friend, well, honestly, she wanted to figure out everything, but right now she was focused on this strange, black haired Wolf that fate had thrown her together with.

Levi sighed and put down his stew. “My abilities mostly stay the same, except I’m not as strong as a human. I can still see everything through scent, hear better than you can although not quite as good as I can as a wolf, and use my mental abilities of course.”

Alina rolled her eyes. “I knew you could use your telekinesis and telepathy, and those make sense to me, it’s just seems strange that your physical abilities change so little.”

“Well think of it this way, I’m in charge of the shape change, it’s not like I’m casting some spell that does the work for me. I mean yeah, there is a spell involved, but I still have to put the intent into forming the shape. So what can stay the same, and that gives me an advantage, does.”

“Ah, that makes sense.” Alina looked thoughtful, “Do you think you could ever teach someone else to shape-shift?”

Levi just shook his head.

“Why not?”

“I’m not that good of a teacher!”

Alina laughed, thinking he was wrong about that, but letting it rest for now, she still wanted an answer to her earlier question. “So what does the world smell like to you?”

“You aren’t going to give that up are you?”


“It smells… like information. I can tell that you and Keava were collecting herbs earlier because your clothes still smell like rue and lavender, and I could tell you what spices Keava used in the stew, and that there was a herd of deer through this clearing earlier. The fire smells like a bouquet of the different woods we used in building it, I can smell the different flowers growing around us, and a whole bunch more.” Levi ended awkwardly, not sure if this is what she wanted to hear, but then, looking back up at her and seeing the wonder on her face, deciding that it was.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Giveaway - Hush Money by Chuck Greaves (with review)

I received “Hush Money” by Chuck Greaves as a part of the come giveaway program. I received an ARC copy (Advanced Reader’s Copy) which typically means that not everything about the book is finalized, typically things like the cover. I hope this is the cover it’s published with though, because I think it does a great job of fitting the story inside!

Now I know that most of the books that I talk about on my blog (or my Good Reads account) are fantasies, but I’ve been reading mysteries for a lot longer, and I still really enjoy picking them up from time to time. “Hush Money” reminded me of John Grisham’s work, a mix of the law, mystery, and thrilling action. In fact, this biggest difference from Grisham’s work is that “Hush Money” is written with a slightly younger feel to it.

Normally socialite Sydney Everett’s insurance claims would be handled by Jared Henley, a lawyer who only has his position because his Daddy is was one of the people who started the firm, and he’s therefore had everything handed to him on a plate. Jared seems to be allergic to work though, and since he’s off doing who knows what, the file for Sydney’s dead show horse is handed to Jack MacTaggart. There’s no love lost between Jack and Jared, but Jack doesn’t mind handling the case too much. Well at least not until he’s framed for murder.

What starts out as an apparent equine death from natural causes soon spirals into multiple murders, cover ups, and attempts on Jack’s life. He handles it all with a wry look at life that often left me chuckling, and a “never give up” attitude that is probably the only reason he ever gets to the bottom of the whole mess. Especially considering the cop who is investigating the murders hates him.

I’d give this book a solid 4 stars. It’s a good mystery that kept me guessing the whole way through, and I really enjoy it when I don’t see the solution coming from chapters in advance! I’d definitely recommend it to any mystery lover, and in fact I’m going to give away my copy to one lucky blog reader! Just use Rafflecopter below to earn multiple entries. Winner will be announced in next Monday's blog post.

*Note* I received this copy for free through, I am not affiliated with Good Reads, and all they request as part of the program is that you write an honest review.

~ Ruthie ~