Friday, September 2, 2011

3,246

What's with the random number for this post's title, you ask? 

It's how many pages I have read this summer as I have been consumed with my new favorite series.  Discovered in a discussion group on Amazon.com entitled "What should I read after Twilight?", the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon first came to my attention in 2009.

Like other readers still riding on the high provided by the famed Stephenie Meyer series, I was searching for another novel that told the tale of an epic romance.  The posters of this discussion group were all in agreement that this was the series to read. 

I kept the recommendation in the back of my mind, and one day in the spring of 2010, when I was poking around on Swap.com, I saw it listed and decided to finally get it.  So I made the trade, received a used copy of "Outlander", put it on  my bedside bookshelf, and promptly forgot about it. 

This past spring, I was in search of something good to read and saw the abandoned copy of "Outlander" on my bookshelf.  Recalling the glowing recommendations, I blew off the dust and began reading.  At this juncture, I will (sadly) confess that the first 100 pages or so were good but had not gripped me in the way I would have liked, so, while normally a fast reader, I dawdled over the book for several weeks, actually reading a few other books in between it.  Still, I kept at it and, finally, the story took a turn - I was hooked!

Much to my husband's chagrin, reminding him of the my obsessive reading of "Twilight", I have been so lost in the books that I have stayed up late at night, parked on our couch at any time I can catch a few minutes to read, and dragged the books around with me wherever I go. 

So far, I have read "Outlander", "Dragonfly in Amber", "Voyager", "Drums of Autumn", and "The Outlandish Companion" (a readers guide to the first four books of the series).  I am poised to read the fifth book, "The Fiery Cross" but decided to share my marvelous find now that I have come up for a breath. (My kids and husband alike have been clamoring for my attention so I thought it would be a good idea to take a break before they give me up as a lost cause!)

Do yourself a favor and scoop up this series.  It is a wonderful combination of romance, history, and fantasy/sci-fi that is so well-written it brings a tear to my eye!  It is so darned good that I have not written a single word all summer of my own as I have obsessively read these books.












Happy reading!
Christina

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing prompts!

As an author, I am always craving to write something, even when life is at its busiest and I have not a moment to do so.  When I can't write, I make time to read so that I am always surrounded by the written word and getting inspired. 

Lately, I have taken to using writing prompts to get my creative juices flowing without necessarily committing to an entirely new project.  Many of my prompts come from fellow writers on http://www.writing.com/, where I am a member. 

My favorite one so far has been:

"A flat tire on a busy highway and of all the people that could have stopped, it was her/him."

My imagination was certainly sparked with it and I am still working on my creation, which may actually feature in my fourth book!  I hope that in sharing this with you, you might find some inspiration too!

Happy reading (and writing)!
Christina

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"On Top of Spaghetti"

Here is a short story I wrote a couple of years ago about the nightly bedtime routine with my children, and in particular, my son.  This piece is very special to me - I hope you enjoy it!

Happy reading!
Christina

"On Top of Spaghetti"
Text Copyright ©2009 by Christina Corlett

“Mommy, will you lay with me?”  His sweet voice carries all the way to my daughters’ room.  I am lying in bed with my eldest, curled on my side facing her.  My fingers are entwined in her golden curls.  We are discussing the summer reading program at our local library.  She is an avid reader and is excited by the idea of tracking all of the books she reads.
“Mom, do you think they have 39 Clues because I really want to read it.  Beth said it was good, right?”  Beth is my media specialist friend (in my day we just called her a librarian) and my daughter regards Beth as some sort of book goddess.
“I am sure they do, sweetie,” I reassure her.  “Now give me a kiss because I need to go lay with your brother.”  My lips press softly to her fragrant forehead and I tell her that I love her.
“Love you too, mom.”  She pulls up the covers and her blue eyes, that so surprised us when she was born – for how could two brunette and brown-eyed people produce a blonde hair and blue-eyed child? – shine up at me with love.
I turned to my middle child, a miniature version of me with large chocolate brown eyes set in a heart shaped face.  She has the covers tucked under her chin, as is her nightly ritual.
“Good night, monkey.  I love you.”  I bend to kiss her sweet bow lips and she giggles. 
“ ’Night, mama.  I love you too!”  She snuggles under her quilt and closes her eyes.  Love bubbles up in me as I switch off their bedside lamp. 
“Mommy!”  Impatience now peppers my son’s voice.  This is his ritual, to call me repeatedly while I put the girls to bed, until I come to lay with him.
“I’m here, little man.”  His little body is aquiver with excitement now that I have finally made my appearance.  I crawl into my usual spot and pull the blankets up to his chin. 
My youngest child is as adorable as his sisters are.  He is a clone of his father, with the same mop of curly hair and the same big brown eyes framed by luxurious lashes.  I have a real soft spot for my son, although I try not to show it.  When I smell his sweet baby smell, my heart melts.
“Mama, sing the song!” he demands.  Although I know what he wants, I pretend that I do not.
“What song, baby?”  He giggles and a tremor passes through his little body.
“The meatball song!” 
“Oh, that song.  Okay.”  I clear my throat theatrically and then begin to sing:

On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table, and onto the floor, then right out the door,
When somebody sneezed.
It rolled down the stairs and onto the street,
And then my poor meatball was nothing but meat!

My son’s eyes are glued to my face as I sing.  Each time I say the word “sneezed”, he pretends to sneeze, just as I have always done every time I have sung this song to him.  His face mimics my expressions perfectly, especially my sad face when I talk about the demise of my meatball.  It is adorable to watch.
“Mommy, what happened to your meatball?” he demands, as always, as soon as my song is done.
“Well, it’s gone,” I explain, waiting patiently.  I know that the questions are just beginning.
“Where did it go, mommy?”  Now, the average person might take this chance to explain their philosophies about life and death to their child, but I choose another road.  The teacher in me wants to see where my son will go with this.
“Where do you think it went, baby?” 
“The library!”  He giggles at his cleverness.
“The library?” I ask.  “How does it get there?”  He pauses to think.
“In his car!”
“The meatball drives a car to the library?”  I look perplexed and my son giggles yet again.  This is a very funny routine to him.  He loves when mommy is silly.
“Yes, mommy.  He drives to the library in his car,” he explains patiently.  Silly me.  Of course the meatball drives to the library in his car.  How else would he get there?
“Oh, I see.  And what does he do at the library?”  I am very curious about this apparently erudite lump of meat.
“He reads books!”  His tone is very matter-of fact, as if I should have figured this very obvious detail out myself.
“What kind of books does he read?”  This seems like a logical question.  Clearly, I am wrong, as my son rolls his eyes at me.
“Books about meatballs and pasta, mommy!”  Duh.  Of course.
“Cool.  And what does he do after that?”  My curiosity is leading me in the same direction as the proverbial cat.
“To school.”  Naturally.  Where else would a literary meatball go?
“But, son, what happened to the meatball in the song?”  I need to get things back on track, as our time together is winding down.
“He gets squished.”  I gasp.  His little brows furrow in concentration.  I can see he is really thinking hard now.
“Mommy, who cleans up the mess?”  I can’t resist one last question.
“Who do you think cleans it up, baby?”  He thinks for a moment, and then his face lights up.
“The policeman!”  I am proud that my not-yet three-year-old son has the reasoning skills to figure out these profound concepts.  My heart is full as I rain kisses over his face and hug him one last time for the night.
“I love you, buddy.” 
“I love you too, mommy.  Sweet dreams.  I’ll dream about you.”  His cherubic face is creased in a smile so sweet and pure that I am momentarily rendered speechless.
“I will, baby,” I promise him, as I leave his room. 
And I will.  I will dream about this perfect family that I have created with my husband, as I do every night.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Editing, writing, and blogging, oh my!

My third book, "The Art of Love", is deep in editing at the moment, a process that is painstaking, to say the least.  I am hopeful that it will be read to publish by the end of April, so cross your fingers to that end. 

Here is a glimpse of the cover, compliments of my friend and fellow author, Abra Ebner, who is at home enjoying her first pregnancy.  Thanks for your hard work, Abby!  :)



Book four, "Tender Awakenings" is already underway.  I am neck deep into the story, determined to be more prolific in 2011.  Beth Levine, the fourth and final member of the Fabulous Four and the heroine of the final book, is a heck of a lady.  Her life is fun, flashy, and full of drama.  She is quickly shaping up to be one of my favorite characters yet, second only to Maggie from Book 2!  Nate, her love interest, is gorgeous and strong, a lethal combination.  I can't wait to share their story with you!

My first forray into the young adult genre, "Hidden", a paranormal romance featuring vampires and other mythical creatures, is indefinitely on hold for a variety of reasons, two major ones being that I want to finish the Fabulous Four series first and also that I have revamped it so much even I am confused as to where it is going!  I have quickly found that writing two different series at once was not my greatest idea.  So until "Tender Awakenings" if published, "Hidden" will remain, well...hidden.

Happy reading!
Christina

Monday, March 14, 2011

"The Ultimate Lie" - a Twilight-inspired fan fiction short story

Fact:  I am a huge "Twilight" fan. 

I absolutely loved the books, despite the fact that I am much older than the targeted audience.  I related with the story, remembering the angst of first love: the feelings of inadequacy; the tunnel vision of loving someone so much that the rest of the world ceases to matter.  Of course, my Edward was human (sadly not a vampire) but the feelings were all the same, except that my story ended at the point in "New Moon" when Bella comes out of her spiraling depression to join the world of the living.  I never got my Edward back, but guess what?  I survived!  And now I am married to the best guy there is, so I suppose that means that I did get my happy ending after all!

Anyway, back to my original point:  I am a huge "Twilight" fan. 

As such, a couple of years ago, I joined the millions of people out there who avidly began following the books, then the movies, and all of the hype via the Internet.  I found tons of fan sites, and especially of interest to me, fan fiction sites.  Places where fans went to write their own versions of the books, of parts of the books, and continuations of the books.  Some were well written and many were not, but the one thing they all had in common was the shared passion for all things "Twilight".

Two specific pieces stand out as my favorites although there are plenty to choose from, so here are links to those.  The best site I found for these and with the biggest selection is Fan Fiction DOT Net.

"Seducing Miss Swan":  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4425217/1/Seducing_Ms_Swan

"Metamorphosis":  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4551648/1/Metamorphosis


Finally, in my obsession with "Twilight", I also found a site that hosted monthly writing contests for fan fiction, and so I entered one month for a hoot.  I did not win, but I had so much fun writing my piece that it didn't really matter to me.  The story is set immediately after Edward leaves Bela in "New Moon" and is from his POV.  I've decided to share it here figuring someone out there might enjoy it.  I hope that someone is you!

Happy reading!
Christina

The Ultimate Lie
Text Copyright ©2009 by Christina Corlett
(“The Ultimate Lie” is based upon the characters of Stephenie Meyer. All characters and situations other than my own are sole property of Stephenie Meyer.)

Setting:  immediately after Edward leaves Bella in the forest in New Moon
POV:  Edward

I stopped short in the middle of the forest.  I had been running for several minutes and, of course, I wasn’t breathless, for this came easily to me, like so many other things. 
Yet my chest was heaving.  I gasped as if each breath were a struggle.  My skin felt clammy.  My eyes burned and a sob tore from my chest.  If I could cry, the tears would be pouring from me in proverbial buckets. 
If I had a heart, it would be shattered into a million pieces.
I had done the unspeakable.  I had gone against everything I believed in, everything that made me who I am. 
As of today, Edward Cullen would cease to exist, for I had killed him as surely as if the Volturi had swooped in and torn him apart.
For I had lied to the one person in all of eternity to whom I had vowed to love forever.  Lied to the one person who completed me like no other I had ever dreamed could.
Today I told Isabella Swan that I did not want her, that she was no good for me. 
No good for me?  She was perfect for me.
She was what I had been waiting for since I could remember, even before I entered my immortal life.  She was my destiny.  My sole reason for existing, and yet I had spurned her today, lied to her as if my life depended on it. 
It had taken all of my will power to walk away from her today after telling her my flagrant lies.  Lies that were the worse blasphemy I had ever had the misfortune of hearing or speaking.
I loved Bella more than my very own existence.  She was the light in my eternal darkness, the melody in my music.  Without her I ceased to exist.  I had thought that high school was purgatory and that being immortal was like living in the seventh circle of hell, but my life without Bella would be infinitely worse.
And yet I had lied to her because I believed that it would save her life.  It would be the best thing I could ever do for her. I truly believed that she was better off without me.  I wanted her to live her human life to its fullest without the impediments my life would bring to hers.
I stopped before the great white house that had, for these past two years, been a home to my family and me.  It had been a work of love for Esme, but I knew that my actions today would take us all away from this place.  My family would have to relocate, begin again, based on my decision to save Bella from a fate worse than death:  a life with me.
I wasn’t looking forward to having to tell them what had happened.  I could predict their reactions as if they were my own.  Alice would have seen it coming, as I had been decided on this course of action for the past couple of days.   She had been particularly quiet lately, keeping out of my affairs.  Perhaps she had been hoping that Bella might change my mind. 
Jasper would worry about Alice and simultaneously try to assuage my pain.  Emmett would be against my decision.  His black-and-white view of the world would not allow him to see it any other way.  I had to stay with Bella because I had already been alone for almost my entire lifetime and clearly that had not worked for me.  Rosalie would be enraged because my decision would force her to have to start high school all over again, something that she despised beyond all else. 
Carlisle and Esme would be the hardest for me to endure.  They would be worried and disappointed.  They meant the world to me, beside Bella, and so their reactions would make this decision that much harder to live with.
I could hear voices inside as I approached, raised in concern, arguing.  As soon as I stepped onto the driveway, the voices fell silent.  I sighed deeply as I approached the house.  The impending scene was unavoidable, so I took a deep breath and walked in.
They were all gathered in the dining room, at the large table that was only ever used for meetings such as this.  They were together in couples:  Jasper and Alice, Emmett and Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme.  I stood alone at the foot of the table, taking in their varied expressions.
Carlisle spoke first.
“Edward, are you alright?” he asked, concern wrinkling his marble brow.
“Oh for Christ’s sake!  Can we be done with the niceties?  What the hell is going on here, Edward?  Why is Alice telling us that we are leaving Forks?  Because I have to tell you that I am not happy that because of Bella Swan, I now have to uproot my entire life.  I told you all from the beginning that getting involved with her was a mistake.”  Rosalie ended her tirade with a disgruntled sigh.  Emmett placed a steadying hand on his mate’s shoulder.
I stiffened at her words, my anger spilled over into fury, which I gladly directed at Rose.
“Oh, and God forbid Rose’s life is disrupted!  God forbid she has to exert any extra effort, be inconvenienced in any way.  You know what, Rose?  You are a selfish witch and I don’t know what Emmett sees in you!”  I ground out, feeling instantly sorry for my harsh words.  Emmett growled in my direction as he ran a soothing hand over Rose’s arm.
“Oh, such harsh words, Edward!  What’s the matter?  Did Bella dump you?” she jeered, flipping her long blond hair over her shoulder.
Her words hurt, even though they were far off the mark.  It certainly felt as if Bella had dumped me.  The look on her face, as I had told her that I was leaving her, cut into my soul again.  I hunched my shoulders as if I was bearing a heavy burden.
“Enough!” Esme cried out.  “Can’t you see that he is in pain?”  She chastised Rosalie and then turned toward me, her face creased with worry and sorrow.
“Edward, my child, what happened with Bella tonight?  Alice has had us all so worried.”  She looked so small and fragile.  I hated to hurt her, to disappoint her.  She had been so happy when I found Bella after all this time.  She didn’t want me to be alone anymore.  But now that hope was gone.
“I left her, Esme,” I whispered.  Esme’s face was a mask of confusion, but it was Jasper who spoke.
“Edward, I can feel your pain.  It runs deep.  Why on earth would you leave Bella if it makes you feel this way?”  He looked confused and for once he wasn’t trying to influence my feelings, to take away the pain.  He probably wanted to know why before he did so.
“It’s for her own good.  She isn’t safe with us around.  If she is going to have a normal life, we need to leave.  Go somewhere far away, where nothing from our monstrous existence can harm her ever again.”  The words tore from me, leaving me weak in their wake.
“But Edward, she is going to be one of us.  I saw it and it was clear.  We can protect her from whatever comes her way until that time,” Alice protested in her tinkling voice.  Jasper nodded behind her.
“No Alice!  Your visions are subjective.  Bella wants to be one of us but that can’t happen.  I won’t allow it!  I won’t take away her soul, curse her to our existence!  She deserves better than that. She deserves better than me,” I ended weakly.
“But Edward,” Esme began but I cut her off.
“NO!  No, dammit!  This is the way it has to be!  Don’t you understand!  I couldn’t live with myself if anything else happens to her!  We have to leave, now!”  I bellowed, my anguish tearing at me.
“Edward, don’t you dare raise your voice at your mother!” Carlisle chastised me.  “I know you are in pain right now but that does not give you the right to be disrespectful.”  Carlisle was stern, as close to angry as I had ever seen him.
“I’m sorry, Mom, but please try to understand,” I pleaded contritely, looking into Esme’s eyes. 
I do, son.  I just want you to be happy.  Bella is your other half.  Can’t you make it work?  Please? For me? 
My heart wrenched at the thought of hurting Esme but I had resigned myself to my decision.  I shook my head imperceptibly.  She slumped in defeat.
Edward? 
I shifted my gaze to Alice.
Why are you fighting this, Edward?  It is going to happen.  Bella will be one of us, no matter what you say or do.
My eyes flared at her silent words and I contemplated shaking her but Jasper straightened and shot me a dark look.
Back off, Edward, he thought.
“Well, son, if this is what you think is best, then we will respect your decision.  I can contact the hospital and we can be gone by nightfall.”  Carlisle paused and so I raised my eyes to his.  He pierced me with his amber eyes.  Are you sure?
“Yes,” I whispered in a broken voice.  “Please, let’s just go.”
There was a collective sigh around the table and then my family dispersed, moving to once again pack up their lives and begin again.
I was not happy that I was the cause of their unhappiness but I was determined to save the woman I loved.
And love Bella Swan I did.  Telling her otherwise had been the ultimate lie.
So with one last glance around my home, I ran up the stairs to pack my belongings and leave Forks, and Bella, forever.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Celebrate "Read an E-Book Week"!

March 6-12, 2011 is "Read an E-Book Week", celebrating the 40th anniversary of e-books.  Incredibly, e-books have been around that long, first created by Michael S. Hart in 1971.  Check out a history of e-books here.

Indie authors such as myself have books available on e-readers such as Kindle or Nook, so if you own one of these devices, get out and read an e-book this week to support your local indie authors!

Smashwords is one of the official sponsors of "Read an E-Book Week" and my first two books can be found on their site.  Head on over to check them and many others out! 

Here are the links to my books on Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/45299

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/45300

Thanks for your support and happy e-book reading!
Christina

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New "Jane Eyre" movie coming soon!

Charlotte Bronte is one of my favorite authors.  I have read the book Jane Eyre several times and seen the existing movie versions, some of which are better than others, so it goes without saying that I am very excited to see the latest version, set to hit theaters this Friday, March 11, 2011.  Dame Judi Dench is in it, which in and of itself is a special treat, as she is one of my favorite actresses. 

This version looks a bit dark for my taste, but the story itself is pretty dark, especially the character of Mr. Rochester, so it seems apt.  If you haven't read the book, get a copy at Amazon!

Notice how this copy looks like the cover of Twilight.  How's that for clever marketing?


Here is a link to the official site as well as a clip of the trailer.  Enjoy!

http://www.focusfeatures.com/video/jane_eyre_the_trailer

 Happy ready!
Christina

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's "Read Across America Week" so pick up a good book and read!

As an avid book fan, I feel it is my civic duty to tell you that it's "Read Across America Week".  Now, the program is actually for school children in the U.S., but really, why shouldn't adults get in on the action too? 

I know it's already Thursday, but don't let that deter you!  So grab that book you've been meaning to read.  (You know, the one that's collecting dust on the bedside table.  No, not that; that's your cable bill - you might want to pay that soon.  I mean the book under it.  Yep, that's the one!) 

Now go grab a cup of tea and snuggle into your favorite chair to read it.  And just to assuage that pesky guilt, if you have kids in your life, read with them too!

In case you don't have a book handy, here is a list of Amazon's Best Books of the Month for March for both kids and adults alike.  Pick one up of these and read. And heck, why limit it to this week?  Read every day for the rest of your life.  It's good for you!  :)

Amazon's Best Books of the Month (March):

 1.  Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
 2.  The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
 3.  My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe
 4.  Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
 5.  The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
 6.  The Cardboard Valise by Ben Katchor
 7.  The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English
 8.  I Am J by Cris Beam


Happy reading!
Christina

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dexter is indeed delicious!

My husband and I are huge fans of the Showtime series "Dexter". Tim first came across it during a bout of insomnia a couple of years ago and instantly became hooked, watching the first two seasons via On Demand. Then he wrangled me into watching it about halfway through season 3.

Much to my chagrin, I too was hooked! "Dexter" is fabulous, funny, macabre, and suspenseful. I never thought that I'd find myself cheering for a serial killer and hoping he wouldn't get caught. I watched the show faithfully for two more seasons, blissfully unaware that it was based on a series of books.

A quick Google search led me to discover that Jeff Lindsay was the creator of Dexter and there were at least four books on the market about my favorite serial killer. I immediately headed over to my local public library and checked them all out - imagine my excitement when I discovered that there were actually five!!

Book #1
Book #2


Book #3
Book #4
Book #5

The Dexter books are fabulous, even more so than the show, which is hard to imagine. Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter analyst, lives a lie. He pretends to be "normal" and to fit in so that no one suspects he is actually a serial killer, albeit a "good" one, killing only those who are bad and deserve to die. What makes the books (and the show) so great is not only the unique concept but Dexter's narration and inner monologue, which is equally humorous, ironic, and heartwarming.

Do yourself a favor and pick up these books, whether or not you've seen the Showtime series, because Dexter gives the mystery/suspense genre a whole new definition.

Happy reading!
Christina

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming soon

Hi all!

This post is just a quick note to tell you that my new website is live and this blog is almost ready to go too. Check out my current blog at christinacorlett.wordpress.com and my brand new website at christinacorlett.com

Check back soon for my first official post! And while you're waiting, be sure to follow me on Twitter, become my fan on FB, and become a follower of this blog.

Thanks and happy reading!
Christina :)