The Alternative Booker Award

My editor, Melissa Robitille, and CMP sister, Cindy Young-Turner, tagged me in their The Alternative Booker Award posts. The object of this exercise is to share my five personal favorite books, and then tag five more bloggers to get them to share their faves. If you’ve been reading my interviews lately, you can probably guess at a few on my list. These are in no particular order.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. There is so much to like about Stephenson’s work, but this one is his best (in my humble opinion.) AT 400+ pages, it’s the last of his shorter novels. (The six books that follow average more than 900 pages.) The characters are rich and the world is at once familiar, strange, and fully realized. We are introduced to the main character, Nell, at the age of four. Born into poverty to an alcoholic mother, a father who is executed almost literally for stupidity, Nell eventually finds herself in upper class society through the fierce love and devotion of her older brother, Harv, and the guidance of a very special book.

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. This book taught me more about reading than all my years of school combined. The author, a university professor in Spain, is incredibly smart. His novels are jamb packed with details ranging from delightful to mundane. On my first read, I attempted to understand every word and nuance of the book. More than two years later, I was about two-thirds of the way through the book when it hit me. The author doesn’t expect me to understand everything going on in this book. Most of the book is intended to explain how Belbo and his occult book editor friends got into the grave situation in which they’ve found themselves. My job, as a reader, is to simply listen. My second and third reads took about 10 days each while I was attending college full time, and I got more out of each one. So when I say “Foucault’s Pendulum” taught me how to read, I mean that it taught me how look through details to find the story underneath.

Taste by Kate Evangelista, is a beautiful story. Phoenix is a lovely, yet flawed main character. Demetri and Luka play wonderful opposites, as well as the most beautiful zombies ever written. Technically, they’re flesh eaters on a strict vegan diet, but their people are the race that the zombie myths were based on, according to this novel. There’s love, action, a delicious cat fight complete with insults, taunts, and yanking of hair. There’s jealously, torture, and mystery. *Sigh* I have a signed copy.

The Dragon’s Blood Chronicles by Sean Poindexter. Dragons and vampires and social workers, oh my! The fight scenes are brutal. The sex is hot yet realistic. And the characters have a need for a bathroom on occasion. Seriously, this author is crazy talented. I want book three right now.

Mordant’s Need by Stephen R. Donaldson. Terisa is an all-but invisible girl, wealthy wallflower who surrounds herself with mirrors to assure herself that she’s real. One day, while staring, a young man appears in her mirror and invites her to the other side. There, she struggle in a world where the only mirrors are portals and looking into one will rob a person of their mind. There are debates on whether Gerarden pulled her through the mirror, or created her with it. As various powerful people jockey for position in a world on the brink of war, Terisa has to find the strength to become one of them, or else become a tool in someone else’s hands. I read the second book of the pair in one 15-hour sitting.

Now, I would love to see what five favorites are on these ladies’ shelves:

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Liebster Award

So, a while back on a Six Sentence Sunday post, I mentioned a snag with the publication of January Black. Well, that snag may have been sorted out with the help of Melissa Robitille, a writer/freelance editor. (You can follow her on Twitter.) I’m all sorts of amazed by her, not least of all by the fact that she gave me an award. The Liebster Award. For blogging. Which, if it weren’t for SSS, I’d be totally failing at.

Liebster is an award bloggers give to introduce blogs you might not have found already that we think are completely awesome. Here’s how it works. You post the picture of the award to your blog:

Liebster Award

You give 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you. Then you think up 11 new questions and nominate 11 new blogs – and you can’t nominate the blogger who nominated you.

Eleven Random Facts About Wendy S. Russo

  1. I was a premie. I was born 8 weeks early in an air force hospital and spent 11 days in an incubator. As the story goes, there were three pre-term babies born that week at that hospital, but I was the only one who went home.
  2. I love sarcasm, but it’s sometimes lost on me.
  3. I’m fascinated by machinery. I once picked up a cam shaft from a friend’s dining table and said, “It’s so pretty.” Half-a-dozen people looked at me like I had two heads.
  4. It took me 2 1/2 years to read Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum,” the first time. The second read took 10 days. (The secret is accepting that most of the details are important to world, but not the plot.)
  5. My husband and I were THIS close to naming our son “Hiro Protagonist.” We thought his English teachers would get a kick out of it. But, Hiro Russo is hard to say.
  6. I can engage myself in a repetitive task for months on end. My boss doesn’t get it but seems to appreciate it.
  7. I don’t understand “cute shoes” or “cute bags.” My husband picks out my outfits because I’m that fashion impaired.
  8. I do get “mean cars,” though. I’m partial to American muscle cars, particularly ’60’s Camaros.
  9. I’m bad at math, but I rock at Geometry proofs…which I’ve found practically useless in my adult life. Go figure.
  10. My favorite way to eat mashed potatoes is fried.
  11. I can’t golf. At all.

Answers to Melissa’s Questions

  1. What motivates you to write when you don’t really feel like writing?
    Music. For example, NIN “The Hand that Feeds” invokes a pretty, slender girl in a muay thai-esque street fight. (That WIP was shelved.) Skid Row’s “Breakin’ Down” gave birth to a scene where a young boy is pleading with a father figure not to leave. (A scene from that WIP became January Black.)
  2. Do you prefer being alone, in a group of people you know, or anonymous in a crowd?
    I don’t like being the center of attention. I like being in small groups, or anonymous in crowds. And I do alright alone.
  3. Do you ‘people watch’, and if so what’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen other people do?
    I think the thing that grabs my attention is when people wear something that defies explanation. Like…who wears flesh colored spandex pants to the mall? Who wears sparkly letters across the seat of their yoga pants? I’m not a fashionista, or even qualified to judge most outfits, but there’s some surprising stuff out there.
  4. How many books (a rough estimate, don’t go count them) do you have in your house, and what kind of books are they (yes, eBooks count as books)?
    A few hundred, I guess.
  5. What are your hobbies?
    Baking, jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, gardening (none of which I’m particularly good at.)
  6. What are your three favorite songs?
    Queensryche “Someone Else”, Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance”, and Tori Amos “Winter.”
  7. What’s the biggest, best, and shiniest dream you have for your writing career?
    I got published! Everything after January Black’s release is a bonus.
  8. If you could take someone’s place for a day (modern or in history), who would you be and why?
    I would like to be Joseph Smith on a particular afternoon in April 1820.
  9. If you could have a re-do of some point in your life, what would it be and what would you do or say differently?
    I am where I am today because of life as it’s been. I wouldn’t change a thing.
  10. Which family member has been most supportive of your writing and in what way?
    My husband. I respect his opinion so much, I’m almost too embarrassed to let him read anything. *facepalm*
  11. What part of the writing process (writing, editing, querying, submissions, etc.) is the hardest for you?
    Blurbs. OMG, I hate writing blurbs.

And My 11 Questions

  1. What is your oldest memory?
  2. What did you want to be when you grew up? (Assuming that you ever actually did.)
  3. What’s the image on your computer desktop?
  4. Do you exercise?
  5. Which actor is ‘James Bond’ to you?
  6. Who was your favorite teacher in high school and why?
  7. Do you prefer books, or ebooks?
  8. White walls? Or do you need color on your walls?
  9. What character do you think you are most like?
  10. Which character would you like to be more like?
  11. How long did it take you to put together this blog post?

For the Liebster Award, I am nominating:

My Red Star Award

So, I’ve been devouring books lately. And like Rebecca Hamilton, a writer I very much admire for her talent, taste, and wisdom beyond her years, I round up on my star ratings, and for the same reasons she does. That’s resulted in a string of 4 and 5 star ratings. (I only have time for books I think I’ll like, I find them deserving of high marks.) 

One of the books left me with a feeling of euphoria. I didn’t want to read another book when I was done because everything was executed so well, and the ending hook was fantastic, I wished to have the sequel in my hands right that second. Since then, I’ve wanted to reward this book, and its author, with special recognition. I figured why not make it my little blog thing. 

My first Red Star goes to Sean Poindexter, for The Shadows of Tiamat

Blog Awards!

I have recently been nominated for two blogging awards, and since they have similar guidelines for passing along, I’ve decided to combine them into one posts, mostly because I don’t know if I can come up with 14 random facts about myself. (Make them up…that’s not a problem.)

First, I’m supposed to post the graphics. Done.

Second, I reveal seven random facts….

1. I dislike sitcoms.

2.  I met m/m romance author Marie Sexton in the second grade. We made up a dance for Men at Work’s Underground. We reconnected after 26 years and discovered we share a brain. She got the naughty half.

3. I love mathematics. I love the shape of numbers. I love looking at chalkboards covered in equations. And…I need a calculator to figure out a restaurant tip.

4. When I was six, I could read faster than I could talk. My grade school gave me a speech therapist, and when I was seven, I talked faster than I could read. I still do.

5. I don’t understand what makes shoes cute. Or bags. But, I can spot mean cars.

6. My gaydar is so dysfunctional, I once asked if Richard Simmons was gay. And I was completely serious. I had no idea.

7. My favorite color is orange, and it kind of freaks me out.

And finally, I get to nominate other blogs for these cool awards! I’m not going to do 25 though.

Versatile Bloggers

Marie Sexton has two blogs, but the one I’m nominating is her author blog. (The other one, which she co-hosts with Heidi Cullinan just really isn’t my thing.) She also just wrangled the Cock and Bull blog tour, so I think she’s pretty versatile.

Scott Bury is the host of Written Words. He posts lots of great independent writer information and is a very generous tweeter. Follow him!

Kristin Lamb also has great information on writing and publishing. And she tosses in yummy Star Wars bits every now and then.

John Hansen hosts Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer. I like the posts and the design of his site. He’s  a teenager and already published. I think he’s got a great start on his career.

Mooderino. Prolific blogger. Great information. Cool handle. What’s not to like? Check him out.

Irresistibly Sweet


Krystal Wade and Julie Anne Lindsay. It’s eenie-meenie-miney-mo on who will give you a toothache first, they are that sweet.

Dani Nosek is a wonderful writer I met on Twitter. She’s also very supportive, which is definitely sweet.

Kamya is a friend who has been reading, and critiquing my WIPs for fifteen years. She is a New Orleans native transplanted in Winnipeg, a former Wiccan now practicing Hindu. She’s a vegetarian, a cat’s human pet, and a fan of perfume. She may secretly be a unicorn, but she’ll neither confirm nor deny.

Fruit Snacks and Freezer Jam is a mommy blog kept by my dear friend C. She’s battled infertility to have two children, while also coping with migraine headaches, a thyroid disorder, a husband in college, a father dying from cancer…. Her blog is more for herself than anyone else, free therapy if you will, and she tells her story with brutal honesty and a wicked sense of humor.

Everyone have a happy Wednesday!