This blog has moved to Cheryl Murphy Writes: Chronicles of an Ink Slinger. It became too hard to mirror to this site. Lots of glitches and such. I don't do much to maintain this site anymore so if you're wondering why things might look a bit wonky, that would be it.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do you remember reading your first book?

I had this post scheduled to publish on 3/16.  I have no idea why it never did.  I'm sure it has something to do with my lack of HTML skills.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking about reading my first real book ever.  It's probably no surprise that I don't remember since books make into the "dream" file.  That leaves me with only one option.  The books that I remember in the most interesting way.

The Encyclopedia Something or Other.  No, that's not the real title but my parents had a set of encyclopedias that also came with a book of nursery rhymes and another for fairy tales.  I read these often.  When I was older, I read all the mythology stuff repeatedly.

The first book I truly remember wearing down the spine and killing a book from near constant use was really a set of books.  Comic books, actually.  It was the entire Peanuts collection by Charles M. Schulz.  At the time, the collection wasn't that large but it was a seven or eight hardback box set my parents had bought me.  I read that set over and over and over and over.  I remember once asking my dad a question about it.  It went something like this:

Little Miss Brat:  "Dad, how do you pronounce this name?"
Dad: "Bay-toven."
LMB:  "Nuh uh!"
Dad:  "I'm serious.  That's how you say it."
LMB:  "Okay.  Thanks."  But I really don't believe you and I will continue to pronounce it Beeth-oven until I'm truly old enough to know better.

Mr. Schulz is responsible for my very deep love of comics and graphic novels.

"Bunnicula" by Deborah and James Howe.  I loved the vampire bunny so much that this book never made it to the dream file because I owned it for a very long time.  Maybe you can see my tastes developing with the above three choices.

As I got older, a book that I remember made an impact on me was "A Gift of Magic" by Lois Duncan.  I read it in probably the seventh grade.  It was my first experience with a fantasy book made me feel a connection between old world and modern world, today it would be filed under paranormal.  I checked it out from my school library, my favorite place in school.  After a few years, it hadn't gone into the dream file but I couldn't remember who wrote it or where to find it or anything else.  I didn't even remember the title. But I would always think about it every once in a while. Over the years, I had even tried to find it again and never did until just last year.  I knew the word gift was in it and knew that it maybe had the word magic in it.  By some strange chance, I stumbled upon something about Lois Duncan and saw a list of her books.  Voila.  There it was.  I bought it.

Then there's "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, read just after "A Gift of Magic."  I had actually forgotten all about this book until I saw it in a book store many years later.  I got incredibly excited because even though I hadn't thought about it, I remembered it so vividly.  I bought it.  Just remembering reading it brings warm fuzzies.

Then there's "Cat's Cradle."  I can't tell you the author because I don't remember but I can tell you this much:  it was horror and it wasn't William W. Johnstone, as far as I know, his was published several years later.  I came to this after a bender on reading things like "North and South" by John Jakes and the VC Andrews books.  I wanted a change.  So I got into horror and Stephen King.  Here's what makes this book so special, though.  I read it, liked it and a few months later went to check it out from the library again.  I like to reread books.  I ended up with Kurt Vonnegut by mistake.  And now I love Kurt Vonnegut.

I can go on and on about books that made an impact on me in some way, shape or form but the list would get out of control.  All of these books were read at fifteen or under.  It's interesting to go back over them and think about how much they meant when I was a kid.  At the time, I didn't realize what they meant.  Hell, I probably still don't realize it.  If I had to make this list again tomorrow, it might look a little different.

Monday, March 21, 2011

And you thought zombies weren't real.

Time, y'all.  It's just a matter of time. Scientists are involved.  If you're using your handy-dandy once-was-fiction-but-not-anymore guides for zombie destruction (hint: double tap and aim for the brain), that's never good. The zombie apocalypse is nigh. Zombie-proof your homes, build your compounds and prepare to hunker down.  With lots of ammo.
Fungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the Work
A tropical fungus has adapted to infect ants and force them to chomp, with surprising specificity, into perfectly located leaves before killing them and taking over their bodies
*Thanks to Confessions from Suite 500 for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Red Cross fundraising for Japan relief efforts

The League of Reluctant Adults has an awesome fundraising auction going on!  They've split into two teams to auction off crits of the beginning of your ms and your synopsis, all ya gotta do is win.  And this isn't one crit.  It's everyone on the team reading and critting.  Holy smokes, if that ain't awesome.

Go bid, win a crit and help raise money!

Team Fang

Team Claw

If you haven't seen Margaret Atwood's Publishing Pie talk, check your internet connection, something's not getting through to you.  This awesome talk has spawned T-shirts!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dream books?

Badwater Storm | Free Pictures Like most writers, I've read for as long as I can remember.  I started thinking about my first book, trying to find out if I could remember what it was.  Instead, I thought of the book that I thought was a dream.

I had a book when I was young, I can't tell you how young because I don't remember.  As I got older, the memory of this book (and a couple others) faded into the depths of my unconscious.  For a while, I remembered specifics.  Then I remembered bits and pieces.  Then I only remembered illustration.  Illustration morphed into a simple feeling the book gave me.  Until it finally got filed under dreams I must have had when I was a tiny kid.

I found out at *cough, cough, cough* years old that my dream that could've maybe possibly been a book that I once read really was a book.  Before I tell you the title, I must add my disclaimer.  I graduated through the ranks of reading fairly quick and I promise you that once I graduated, I didn't slum it in the younger ages anymore.  I was too well read to go back to kiddie books.  *snark*

My husband and I were in the bookstore (Borders, we're sad to see it go) searching for books to load up for our soon to be born child.  I squealed when I found THE BOOK (or rather, one of a couple).  Maurice Sendak's In The Night Kitchen.  Now you might be snickering at me and wondering why I wouldn't remember a book like that.  Especially since I do remember Where The Wild Things Are.  WTWTA seems to be more visible than In The Night Kitchen.  Let me just refer you back to my disclaimer above.

I knew it when I saw it because the dream-like thing I always remembered was how cool the illustration was but I couldn't describe it, I could only know it when I saw it.  I remember something about a naked boy in a dough airplane flying around a huge jar of milk.  Now, this isn't something you go around asking people, "Hey, was there a book about a naked boy and an airplane?"  Go ahead, ask someone.  I dare you to try it and see what looks you get.  Come back to me afterwards so I can say I told you so.  Because that's precisely why I didn't ask anyone.

I have another book I hope to one day rediscover that has also entered into that "maybe it was a dream" file.  It was dark and scary and had super cool illustration but that really is all I remember about it.  I think it had something do with a couple mice making a deal with the devil.  I also remember a fallen tree.

The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe (the cartoon, not the book) was like that for me for a couple years, too.  Only the cartoon got played often enough that I eventually rediscovered it much earlier.  I was a kid when I filed it in dreams and was still a kid when I rediscovered it.

Do you have anything like that or am I the only crazy lady in the house?  Have you read something so long ago that you start to think it was a dream when your memory gets all fuzzy and squirelly about it?  Something you think about and wonder if it was a dream or some kind of amalgamation of a book you read with a movie you saw and maybe some urban legend thrown in the mix?

I always think I'm the only person with those.  I'm hoping I'm not.