Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jennavier Recommends: The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs


One of the best things about this blog is the chance to spotlight great books. My desire to be a writer came from all the great books I’ve read. So far I’ve been recommending new that I find. That’s cool, since most of us are looking to find something new and great. But I realized I was leaving one category behind in a big way- the tried and true books.

The Mercy Thompson series (and Alpha and Omega, the companion series) is one I've read over and over again. They’re my bad day reads, the books I grab when I’m done with the world. While reading is usually an act of exploration for me, sometimes I just need to go home. Metaphorically, at least. For me, that’s what these books are.

 I’m pretty sure that should be enough to tell you these are good books, but you might want to know why I’m saying this stuff. Mercy Thompson is one heck of a heroine. She’s smart and resourceful, and always willing to fight for the people she cares about. One of the things I like is that while she has a love story, it doesn’t dominate her life. In later books it’s just as much about finding balance with her love interest as being romanced by him. She’s also significantly overpowered by the other supernatural beings in her life. She consciously chooses to rely on herself instead of delegating her choices to someone more powerful.

It’s also fun that the series doesn’t have one overall arc. Normally I like a specific series direction, but this setup gives Briggs amazing freedom when it comes to Mercy’s and each books development. Every book surprises me. They’re all so different that I never know when I’m going to find a new favorite.

So there you have it. In my ever so humble opinion this series is definitely one worth reading. And in that moment you do I will envy you, because you will have the joy of discovering it for the first time. Happy reading!

P.S. Don't be too weirder out by the covers. The amount of steam in the book is significantly lower then they imply.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Quick and The Dead

The Quick and the Dead is probably one of my favorite phrases ever. Growing up in a National Park gave me a skewed perspective on a lot of things. One of the major ones is that the literal version of that phrase was right up my ally. If you aren’t quick, you’re dead. I know what it actually means- it’s an almost literal translation of Living and Dead. But I think my kid mind might have been onto something that my adult self has taken so long to learn.

Some days I feel like I’m running ahead of a giant bolder of required tasks that will mow me down if I stop for too long. My own version of natural selection. If I can’t do it right the first time or fix it quickly a project gets abandoned. I’ve done that with big life things and small daily tasks. But it’s a really bad way to write a novel.

Sure life can move quickly, but never slowing down means that a lot of things are good enough, not good. By giving up and moving on a little too often I have a dozen started life goals, and hardly a single finished one. Luckily I’ve had people to point out to me how important it is to let go of denial. To stop believing that bad choices don’t have consequences. But that’s all deep dark personal stuff. The important fact for this blog is that I have a tendency at a certain point in the middle of a novel to throw up my hands and walk away. The novel gets hard, something comes up that makes me mad, or I just get bored. Then I go back to old project or some side thing. I tool around on something I can’t change and use it as an excuse to find something else to do with my time.

Here’s the thing. Slow and steady does sometimes when the race. I’ve been at this writing gig for a long time and I don’t have a lot to show for it. But I’m a better writer today then I was ten years ago. Or a year ago. Or even last week. I might not be quick about this whole getting published thing, but I am doing it. One step at a time. I finally feel ready to dig deep into a story. To not be overwhelmed by the work it takes to turn a flawed 1st draft into a readably MS.

That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the old ways completely. Adaptability can be a great trait in the right place. It just shouldn’t be the only one I use. I’m learning that everything is a tool in my toolbox, and it’s my choice which one I use.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Car


Has anything ever happened to you in your life that made you sit back and wonder how you got so lucky? For me that moment came three weeks ago.

When we were visiting my other set of in-laws in Ohio on our way to our various vacations Patti posed a question to us. Would it be okay if they gave us a car?

Yes, she really asked that. The answer was pretty easy. Of course! It’s they’re kids teenager car, and since the teenagers are long since grown into moms and dads the car is at loose ends. It’s a little older, but it’s been well maintained and is an amazing gift. I think I’m still a little pole axed by the whole thing.

Like most miracles, there’s been a little assembly required. The new-to-us car is a stick which neither Jonathon nor I knew how to drive. He got a crash course at scout camp and last week drove that sucker across the country. I wish I could say that all our problems are solved, but since he’s still struggling getting into first gear it’s more like they’re ongoing.

Having cars spontaneously gifted to you would always be awesome, but for us it’s been a special blessing. As many of you know my husband got a job recently (hooray!), and it means he’s away from home a lot. Since we only have one car that means I’m often stranded. That’s not something I wasn’t willing to deal with but not having to stress about schedules or be glued to our apartment from 9-5 is awesome.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to it in the long run. We’re planning on moving to a place that will struggle keeping one car, let alone two. But somehow the Lord knew what we needed this time. I’ll trust that he’ll do the same for us with the next step.