Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dulce Et Decorum Est

highlight poetry

Dulce Et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen is my favorite war poet. Those of you who know me well, know that I'm fascinated with the Great War and the deplorable conditions the soldiers of that war were forced to endure. Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry in 1893 to a middle class British family. He enlisted in the Artist's Rifles in October of 1915. In May 1917 he was diagnosed with shell-shock and sent to Craiglockhart Hospital for treatment. It was there that he met the well-known poet, Siegfried Sassoon and soon after published his first poems in the hospital journal, The Hydra. Owen was killed on 4 November, just days before the Armistice was signed and the war ended. This poem gives me chillls every time I read it. The last two lines are Latin for, "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sharing Books

So, my "marketing moratorium" didn't go as planned. I fully intended to write yesterday, but when I sat down at my computer I had a large number of emails to respond to from readers and writers. I realized something immediately. I'm not really into marketing, but I am into sharing books. I love to read them, of course, but I also love to talk about books, authors, writing, story ideas. Most of the "marketing" I do is really just about meeting other bibliophiles and sharing stories.

I'm something of a perfectionist. I like to cross all my 'T's' and dot all my 'I's'. When my book came out, I was anxious to do my publisher proud and hold up my end of the bargain by marketing The Corpse Goddess. What I learned yesterday is that I can relax. The book will have its own path. Mine is to be myself, immerse myself in books, talk about them, make new friends and relish the fact that I can do this all day long! I didn't get much writing done yesterday, but I'm making up for it today - and I still happened to make some new friends on goodreads and talk books with half a dozen people. So it's all good!

Monday, July 16, 2012

This a fun diversion, courtesy of author Aurelia B. Rowl
And I love Anne Rice!

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Marketing Moratorium Tomorrow!

My first book was released about two weeks ago and I'm already a marketing addict. How did this happen? I'm about as far away from 'salesperson' as a girl can get! And yet, the wide world of internet marketing has consumed me. I wake up every morning and check my Amazon ranking - seriously, I do. Then I plunge into the book marketing world. I check out new blogs, hustle for reviews, research giveaways and blog buttons. I chat with authors and bloggers, making new friends and learning more about computers than I ever thought possible. My eyes are sore, my head is literally spinning and most mornings I'm not sure what to focus on first.

It reminds me of my last trip to Italy. My husband and I had the map spread out, trying to narrow down our choices. We couldn't see it all, so we waded through guidebooks and websites, picking and choosing. Marketing on the web is not so different. There are so many sites to choose from, so many bloggers to hook up with, so many reviewers and giveaways and tweets! I love it - and it's exhausting. Also, I'm not writing. I haven't written more than a paragraph since The Corpse Goddess was released. For obvious reasons, this is not going to work for me. I have a stack of writing projects waiting for me and I seem to be on the Net all the time.

So, it's five minutes to midnight here in the great state of Texas and I'm pledging to avoid all marketing lures for one day. Tomorrow, July 16th, I will not contact generous reviewers, comment on blogs or 'like' anybody! I will sit down and get back to what I love most. I have ghosts and a high strung scientist waiting for me on a ghoststory.doc file. I'll see you on the other side and let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My first author interview!

Thank you to the lovely Sarah for interviewing me on her blog, You May Say I'm a Dreamer! This was my first author interview and I have to say, it was a blast! We talk about my debut novel The Corpse Goddess. We also chat about writing and how to stay motivated as a writer. Come and over and join the conversation!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest Blog at Urban Fantasy Reviews Today!

Hi guys,

Come over to Urban Fantasy Reviews and check out my guest blog where I talk a little bit about Valkyries. There's also a short excerpt from The Corpse Goddess!

Thanks to Kate at UF Reviews for having me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thinking about the Constitution on Independence Day

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out Signing Their Rights Away by Denise Kiernan at the library. I'd decided that my middle schoolers needed to spend some time learning a little more about their country's history this summer. (They were thrilled. Really. I'm sure they were.) 

Needless to say, they never opened this book.

I picked it up last night and I'll be honest, it was late and I couldn't find anything else to read.

The book gives short bios on each of the men who signed the Constitution. After the Revolution, the United States spent two years under the Articles of Confederation which was basically just a document that said, "Okay world, we're a country now. Deal with it".

To give you an idea of how useless the Articles were for establishing a nation, Congress had no power to tax. So they asked for donations from states. You can imagine how successful that plan was!

Two years later, with the country on the verge of collapse, vulnerable to foreign attack and pretty much broke, American statesmen met to come up with a constitution, a document that would create a stronger federal government.

Now, lots of people hate history, but here's why I just love it. Those men that got together way back in the summer of 1787 weren't much different from the senators and congressmen fighting it out in Washington today. Some wanted a strong central government. They believed that the general population wasn't smart enough, rich enough or good enough to make decisions for themselves. Some statesmen wanted a weak central government. They were afraid of too much power being in the hands of one man or a small group of men.

These two sides, and everyone in between, argued about it all summer.

If you're up late and can't find anything to read, take a look at the Constitution. You probably won't get very far. I didn't. It's beautifully written, but in the end it's a legal document. It makes about as much sense to me as my latest credit card agreement. But after reading a few paragraphs, I did get a real sense of the compromise going on in that document. The fear of strong power in the hands of others balanced against the hope that working together would improve the lives of Americans.

The constitution has been argued over, amended, changed and changed again.

With all the political strife going on in America today, I take a huge measure of comfort in that. No matter which side of the political fence you're on, Armageddon is not at hand. The end of the country is not on the horizon. Americans and American statesmen are just doing what they've been doing for over 200 years. Fighting some of the same battles fought in 1787.  The Constitution was designed to adapt, to change with the changing times. Like the Declaration of Independence says, to give us all a chance for the pursuit of happiness.

Independence Day is also my daughter's birthday, so we'll be eating cake and opening presents along with our fireworks and watermelon. Maybe it's because I'm a military brat, but when the fireworks start shooting, I also always think about my country, about its greatness and the potential for greatness. I think about the men and women in uniform, then and now, and for lack of a better word 'patriotism' fills my heart.

This year, I know I'll be thinking just a little bit about the constitution of the United States and what it means to us now. I'll try to get my middle schoolers to read that book and at least the first paragraph of the constitution that will govern their lives. They'll get a sense of what it means to be an American and what their responsibilities to this changing document are.

Really. They will.

Or maybe they will at least open the book....