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Currently, I steal moments away from work and freelance (and certain obsessions with TV shows and films) to read the following:

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

This is just a great book a friend lent me about a woman shedding her habits and old ideas to find beauty in imperfections and become comfortable with her true self.

Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain

You guys know the story of Hachiko, right? I am a huge sucker for stories about loyalty, and this amazing tale about the Akita dogs and their instinctual loyalty even in the worst of times—war, famine, abuse, and abandonment—moves me more than I can say.

My Lord and Spymaster

Guh! I’ve finally found an author besides Teresa Medeiros who can write steamy romance novels with utter devotion to historical accuracy and unique characterization. I lose sleep trying to get in just one more chapter before going to bed!

The Persian Boy

I find Alexander the Great fascinating for so many reasons, but this book about one of his lovers (a castrati, it seems) is very hard for me to read at long stretches, not because it is poorly written—quite the opposite—because it is so well-written and states plainly such horrific and despairing truths that it’s hard not to feel heavy in my heart as I turn each page. Still, I have to keep going until I can finish it, even though it’s obvious it’s going to end in disaster.

So that’s what I’m currently reading, fiction-wise. I’m also devouring tons of reference nonfiction about Richard I, Philip Augustus II, and the third crusade. Why, you ask? Oh, because I think I’d like to punish myself by writing their love/hate story in the same masochistic and moving vein as The Lion in Winter.

My favorites thus far are Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade, The Third Crusade 1191: Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and the battle for Jerusalem, and The Troubadour’s Song: The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart.

Now, then. Here’s a list of books to be read on that elusive “someday” when I am not crazy-busy:

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost

Confessions of a Pagan Nun

Founding Mothers

John Adams

Michael Ondaatje: Express Yourself Beautifully

The Alphabet versus the Goddess

A cure for writer’s block…

001.

Ravished.

002.

Dark Path.

003.

Rule/Ruler.

004.

Blood.

005.

Lost Haven.

006.

Claws.

007.

Awakening.

008.

Animal.

009.

Branded.

010.

Torture.

011.

Weapon.

012.

Bound.

013.

Nails.

014.

Coffin/ Buried.

015.

Angry.

016.

Evil.

017.

Fear.

018.

Conquer.

019.

Slave.

020.

Master.

021.

Brutal .

022.

Leash.

023.

Unholy.

024.

Power.

025.

Destiny.

026.

Ancient.

027.

Narcissus .

028.

Innocence.

029.

Guilt.

030.

Chains.

031.

Flame.

032.

Past.

033.

Present.

034.

Broken.

035.

Oath.

036.

Never.

037.

Forever.

038.

Outcast.

039.

Eternal.

040.

Dance.

041.

Fixation.

042.

Dirty.

043.

Candle.

044.

Hunger.

045.

Lust.

046.

Wicked.

047.

Stake.

048.

Leather.

049.

Razor.

050.

Eruption .

051.

Yes.

052.

Forced.

053.

Light.

054.

Gleam.

055.

No.

056.

Madness.

057.

Please.

058.

Mask.

059.

Destruction.

060.

Poisonous.

061.

Feral.

062.

Shadow.

063.

Masterpiece.

064.

Ghost.

065.

Match.

066.

Midnight.

067.

Mighty.

068.

Coven.

069.

Forsaken.

070.

Unbound.

071.

Pain.

072.

Sorrow.

073.

Cry/Tears.

074.

Darkness.

075.

Non-con.

076.

Anonymous.

077.

Unforgiving.

078.

Different.

079.

Rain.

080.

Restraints.

081.

Clamps.

082.

Metal.

083.

Love.

084.

Hate.

085.

Indifference.

086.

Bite.

087.

Phoenix.

088.

Rope.

089.

Ball.

090.

Tight.

091.

Hot.

092.

Wax.

093.

Voice.

094.

Lick.

095.

Need.

096.

Writer’s Choice.

097.

Writer’s Choice.

098.

Writer’s Choice.

099.

Writer’s Choice.

100.

Writer’s Choice.

When the prompts don’t work, here’s a list of 100 situations you could write about (for a page, for an entire epic novel), to get the creative juices flowing…

001.

Tired

002.

Back Alley

003.

Sunrise

004.

Late

005.

Son

006.

Hot

007.

Friend

008.

Floor

009.

Cheat

010.

Think

011.

Disgust

012.

Shelter

013.

Borrow

014.

Chair

015.

Alter

016.

Peace

017.

Beach

018.

True

019.

Crazy

020.

Love

021.

New

022.

Beggar

023.

False

024.

Happy

025.

Cancer

026.

Pickpocket

027.

Reverse

028.

Deliver

029.

Arrival

030.

Fall

031.

Knife

032.

Torn

033.

Danger

034.

Neutral

035.

Mate

036.

Fly

037.

Loud

038.

Touch

039.

Seek

040.

Argue

041.

Work

042.

Sink

043.

Nut

044.

Stuck

045.

Animal

046.

Pray

047.

Kill

048.

Light

049.

Cold

050.

Affair

051.

Restaurant

052.

Movie

053.

Wait

054.

Patient

055.

Crime

056.

Choke

057.

Fever

058.

Summer

059.

Eat

060.

Thirst

061.

Chance

062.

Appear

063.

Whisper

064.

Day

065.

Scream

066.

Fail

067.

Confused

068.

Smile

069.

Come

070.

Alone

071.

Fast

072.

Slow

073.

Return

074.

Fire

075.

Positive

076.

Baby

077.

Upset

078.

Kitchen

079.

Winter

080.

Ignorant

081.

Fool

082.

Afraid

083.

Prison

084.

Sex

085.

Hate

086.

Alarm

087.

Genius

088.

Negative

089.

Flood

090.

Bomb

091.

Hospital

092.

Trap

093.

Celebrate

094.

Old

095.

Disappear

096.

Writer‘s Choice

097.

Writer‘s Choice

098.

Writer‘s Choice

099.

Writer‘s Choice

100.

Writer‘s Choice

1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
Nana took me to the library every weekend and Mom read to me every night, so I was talking by six months and reading books by three.

2. What are some books you read as a child?
As a young child, I had an illustrated anthology of fairy tales that I loved to death. Mid-grade, I liked the American Girl Collection books and Calico Captive—anything historical. I hated Anne of Green Gables and I still do. By high school, I loved historical fantasy, like The Mists of Avalon. By college, it was experimental fiction if I was being serious or romance novels if I just wanted to chill.

3. What is your favorite genre?
Historical.

4. Do you have a favorite novel?
Novel? To Kill a Mocking Bird. Novella? Siddhartha.

5. Where do you usually read?

On my bed or in waiting rooms; I get ill if I read while moving.

6. When do you usually read?
Because I write for a living, it is REALLY hard to 1) find time to read for pleasure 2) that does not involve short instantly gratifying fan fiction and 3) not become a psycho red-pen-wielding copy-edit-Nazi. For some reason, I typically cannot read books (unless they are children’s books) without the sun having already gone down. I don’t know why, but it helps me focus (like at a movie theatre) and lets me unwind before bed.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Oh constantly. I’m unfaithful and hop around. I’m currently in the middle of at least five books. Also, if I can learn anything about writing or style or structure from the book, I’ll write notes in it and highlight passages and put in color-coded Post-it flags…because I am a geek…and if it was a really good book, then I’ll buy another copy to keep pristine.

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
After four degrees, I’m sick to death of nonfiction. I like historical fiction because I LOVE history, so if it’s an historical or mythology reference text, cool. I mean, I still love National Geographic or educational stuff like Encyclopedia Britannica, books on cooking, nutrition, psychology, etc., but you won’t catch me with Time magazine or the latest book about Nixon or something.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
When I was younger, I practically lived in the library.

I rarely borrow books or films because I worry about going through things quickly enough so that I never forget to return them. My one friend who shares my sickening obsession with historical fiction and I will send each other books and movies, like, every other week, but, because we eat that stuff up, we’re quick to give it back…besides, we’re not just each other’s enablers, but soul sisters, so…there’s no stress like there would be from normal borrowing.

Having worked in publishing for five years now, I take buying books (and other copyrighted entertainment) really seriously, but, because I’ve worked in publishing for five years now, I’m poor, so I usually buy books in paperback and when they are on sale—unless the subject or author is dear to me.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy?
Yes; if I didn’t like it, I donate it to a library.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?
I don’t have children yet, but I’ve already begun compiling the list.

12. What are you reading now?
Eat, Pray, Love

Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain

My Lord and Spymaster

The Persian Boy

And tons of reference nonfiction about Richard I and Philip Augustus II and the third crusade, because I think I’d like to punish myself by writing their love/hate story in the same masochistic and moving vein as The Lion in Winter.

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Yes, because I keep lists for everything. But I act according to my mood in my leisure time…

14. What’s next?
After My Lord and Spymaster, probably Warriors of God and The Troubadour’s Song.

15. What books would you like to reread?
I reread Siddhartha at least once a year and The English Patient before I sit down to write anything original. But otherwise, I don’t go back. If I’ve read it, I can recall it.

16. Who are your favorite authors?
Jane Austen, Joanna W. Bourne, Joseph Campbell, Sandra Cisneros, K. Y. Craft, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Hermann Hesse, Maxine Hong Kingston, Harper Lee, Teresa Medeiros, Naomi Novik, Michael Ondaatje, Arundhati Roy, Elizabeth George Speare, John Steinbeck, Virginia Woolf, Ayano Yamane, Banana Yoshimoto

I was thinking of writing short little posts about the following topics:

Experimental Fiction: What is it?

Wuthering Heights: Diametric Plots; Dual Narratives

Mrs. Dalloway: Floating POV

Of Mice and Men: Hotter the Topic, the Colder the Prose

Siddhartha: Philosophy & Psychology of the Spirit

The Catcher in the Rye: When Your Audience is Ready to Receive

Tale of Genji: Birth of the I-Novel

Harry Potter: Attack of the Adverbs

The Da Vinci Code: Cheeseburger vs. Steak

Thomas Pynchon Must Die

Storytellers: Believable Lies

Balancing Life and Writing

What’s in a Title?

Eventually, I want to make posts about the aspects of these television shows and how they helped me become a better writer…

Band of Brothers

Carnivale

Dexter

Firefly

Heroes

John Adams

Sharpe’s

The West Wing

Rome

(I like a lot of other shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars, Divine Design, Dog Whisperer, Dr. Quinn, Dr. Who, Farscape, Gilmore Girls, Graham Norton, Highlander, House, Kid Nation, Lost, Scrubs, Smallville, Supernatural, Stargate SG-1, That 70s Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Torchwood, Tudors, Will & Grace, and Queer as Folk—but these don’t inspire me, so much as relax me. And some of them aren’t even that good, I’ll admit. I mean, Smallville didn’t just jump the shark; it put a harness on that thing and rode it for another four seasons. But, shows about loyalty against all odds are simply my crack of choice.)

Eventually I want to make posts breaking down all the great elements of the following films:

3:10 to Yuma

Duirwaigh

Gone With the Wind

LA Confidential

Lawrence of Arabia

Lord of the Rings trilogy

Star Wars (original trilogy)

The Fall

The Fountain

The Lion in Winter

Kinuko Craft (all of her children’s books): I plan to make a post about meeting Kinuko at SDCC, her gorgeous art, and the wonderful fairytale classics she creates, that I hope to read to my kids one day.

American Gods: I plan to make a post about Neil Gaiman’s hilarious wit and excellent use of symbolism.

Calico Captive: I plan to make a post about my favorite book from childhood and how I’d like to adapt it for the screen. Elizabeth George Spear really has a great sense of the Colonial time period and wonderful characters.

Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain: I plan to make a post about loyalty being a trait that bonds the reader to the protagonists, as well as the importance of the description of landscape.

Kitchen: I plan to make a post about how clean and simple prose can pack so much emotion.

Life of Pi: I plan to make a post about how Martel weaves supernatural elements in a natural way so as to disguise symbolism.

Lord John: Brotherhood of the Blade: I plan to write about my favorite Diana Gabaldon book, and its flow and characterization.

Siddhartha: I plan to write about Hesse’s beautifully written novella: How it impressed me and shaped my own character.

Tao Te Ching: While this isn’t fiction, I want to make a post about how this sort of thing can help writers remember that all foil characters contain an aspect of their opposite dominant trait.

The English Patient: I want to make a post about my favorite Michael Ondaatje book, which helped me find my “voice.”

The Once and Future King: I want to make a post about this book’s flow and tender, wistful characterization as a result of love between White and a young boy for whom he wrote the story.

The Spymaster’s Lady: I want to make a post just fan-girling all over this romance novel for writing a truly intelligent and insanely spirited heroine.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I’ll probably make several posts about this book (and film). I want to talk about how a child-POV narration can disguise extremely controversial subject material.

Whisper of Roses: My favorite of all of Teresa Medeiros’ books because the characters are fantastic and the description avoids purple prose.

I am a fiction editor and game writer, so I have pretty high standards for my reading material, but I will try any genre/content, so long as it’s written well.

My favorite authors include Campbell, Cisneros, Hesse, Kingston, Medeiros, Ondaatje, Roy, Speare, Yoshimoto, and Woolf.

I love Victorian houses, saber fencing, chocolate-covered cherries, and cats. In my spare time, I volunteer at the SPCA and ballroom dance.

You can find out more about my professional connections here, and read some samples and other fun stuff on my Web site here.

TOKYOPOP:

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Press Release: Slayers

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ICARUS STUDIOS:

The Recipe for MMOGs: Eternal life, well-served masses, social groups…and a space-time continuum onion

Married to the MMORPG, Part 1: Finding the Right Game for You

Married to the MMORPG, Part 2: Strategy, Simulation, and RPG

Married to the MMORPG, Part 3: Puzzles and the Rest

The Big Virtual Bang, Part 1: Terra Firma

The Big Virtual Bang, Part 2: Signs of Life

Defining Character, Part 1: Body Building

Defining Character, Part 2: Bodies in Motion

It’s Alive!: Icarus’ Base Editor

On the Level, Part 1: Icarus’ Level Prep

On the Level, Part 2: Icarus’ Level Prep

Objects of My Affection: Icarus’ Object Editor

Hawt Wheels: Virtual Vehicle Designs

Big Brother is Watching You

The Writers’ Room

Turning Tricks: Cooking Up In-Game Rewards, Part 1

Turning Tricks: Cooking Up In-Game Rewards, Part 2

Say it, Don’t Spray it, Part 1: Writing a Great Game Design Document

Say it, Don’t Spray it, Part 2: Writing a Great Game Design Document

Say it, Don’t Spray it, Part 3: Writing a Great Game Design Document