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I listened to A Year in the Merde on audiobook a few years back and when I spotted this at a Borders closeout sale, I nabbed it.  This is a hysterical, but often spot on look at the French.  Clarke has lived there for a number of years and outlines what he thinks are the 10 Commandments for Understanding the French.  They are interwoven with funny stories, helpful French words, and other trivia about the French.  IF you are looking for a good laugh and enjoy things francais, than I recommend this book.

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Ok, favorite books of 2011. I know it is a bit late, but I figure, it’s still January so that has to count for something.  I felt like I didn’t read as much this year, but I was only one book down from last year so that’s pretty good.  I couldn’t narrow it down to one so, here are my favs by genre.

Thriller: The President’s Vampire by Farnsworth

Historical Fiction: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Vreeland and Madame Tussaud by Moran

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Ready Player One by Cline

Children’s: Close to Famous by Bauer

Young Adult: Unearthly by Hand and Matched by Condie

Fiction: The Breath of God by Small

Audiobook: Good to Great by Jim Collins

And I read 164 books this year.  Not bad.

 

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  I have not read a Thusday Next novel in quite some time, but I needed an audiobook and picked this one up.  It was hilarious on audio.  The narrator did a fantastic job on all the voices and though I thought I would have trouble following the convoluted storylines, I actually found it easier to follow on audio.  That was one of the things that turned me off the other series.  There were just too many storylines and I found them a bit hard to keep track of.  However, the audio must have made me smarter because I had no trouble following the storyline of the Written Thursday as she tried to improve the read rate on her books, track down the Real Thursday, and impersonate a Jurisfiction agent.  And, just when you think all the different storylines will never come together, they all do.  Fforde has created a clever world that lets the reader see what it would be like to live in a book.  A truly wonderful audiobook.

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Ok, favorite book of 2010. I couldn’t narrow it down to one so, here are my favs by genre.

Thriller: Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Larsson

Sci-Fi: All Clear by Willis

Children’s: After Ever After by Sonnenblick

Young Adult: Fallen by Kate

Romance: Sleeping Beauty by Lackey

Fantasy: Shalador’s Lady by Bishop

Mystery: 13th Hour by Doetsch

Fiction: Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Howe

And I read over 165 books this year.  Not bad.

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Welcome to stop #2 on Kaza Kingsley’s Blog tour.  Check out some questions Kaza answered for us, her faithful readers, and then take a peek at Kaza from a few years ago.  If you have not yet read them, you also need to check out her Erec Rex books, The Dragon’s Eye and The Monsters of Otherness.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest and most overwhelming part of writing for me is what  happens after I finish the rough draft of a book. When I’m writing a rough draft, I free myself to go anywhere the story takes me. (Although I do follow some guideposts!) I don’t worry about the details, if I’ve used the same word too many times, or if a whole section isn’t quite right. I’m just living the story, watching it unfold. And I love that.

It’s what happens next that is so hard! I’ve been using a whole
different part of my brain for so long, it’s strange making the switch.  When I finish the rough draft I do a thorough edit on my work, and  it nearly drives me crazy.

That’s where I step back and look at the story as a whole. It’s not  as easy as it might seem. For me, at least, I have to picture all of  the scenes flowing together smoothly, watch for boring spots (those get yanked!) make sure the mystery is hinted at just right, and try and imagine the story threads like an interconnecting puzzle, with just the right chunks in the right spots. I move bits from one part of the book to another, cut scenes, add others.

It’s a huge pain in the neck! And it makes my head spin, until I get used to it after a week or two. It’s grueling, but definitely worth it. I’m kind of like a sculptor, chiseling the “right” story out of the rough draft. Once I have it where I want it, I still make a few more changes (being a perfectionist.) But at least then I can relax.

Doing the fine edit, wordplay, is low pressure and relaxing for me.

Plus, I really feel done then!
 

What is the best part?
Being finished!! Aahhh, so satisfying. I suppose a close tie is
writing the rough draft through some of the more exciting scenes. I really like that!

Do you ever get lost into your writing?
Yes. When I sink more and more into my story, which happens as I get  further into the rough draft, I do begin to feel as if it’s real. It’s almost like I’m living in two worlds at once! A cool feeling, really. Things that happen to me in real life don’t seem as significant then, which is good, I guess. It’s kind of like taking a vacation in your own mind!

That’s really only when I’m writing the rough draft, though. The editing part is so compulsive it gives me those kind of filing/ sorting /looking for things dreams at night.
 

If you had the chance, would you live in Alypium?
When I’m writing I kind of feel like I do live in Alypium!! But as far as really living there? Umm…No. I think I prefer magic to remain  inside my head. Not that I’m not adventurous, but Erec’s adventures  are a little wild for me! I like to know that I’ll be here tomorrow, safe and snug!

What authors would you most like to have dinner with?
Given anything, being a fantasy writer, I’d have to pick someone from the past. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a meal with William Shakespeare? When I was a kid I used to imagine how fun it would be to have someone from the distant past, like George Washington, appear in my kitchen
so I could show them all the new, cool stuff we have!

“Thanks for hosting me on my blog tour, Kate! It’s fun visiting so many sites. I hope you like the baby pictures of me along the way – each site is getting their own. You’ll see me grow up along the tour!”

Kaza as a Baby

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Kaza’s Blog Tour! She won’t be repeating any questions so you’ll hear cool new stuff every day!

1/7 – A Fort Made of Books

1/8 – Books4Ever

1/9 – Baseballs and Bows

1/10 – Fanatic Space Blog

1/11 – Bibliophile’s Retreat

1/12 – Children’s Literature Book Club

1/13 – Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-A-Holic

1/14 – A Year of Books

1/15 – Author Chris Rettstatt’s blog

1/16 – Deliciously Clean Reads

1/17 – Into the Wardrobe

1/18 – Real Gurlz Magazine

1/19 – Chauceriangirl

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Kaza Kingsley is Coming!

Check it out! I am so excited to be hosting author of the fab fantasy series, Erec Rex,(click here for the low down http://www.erecrex.com/moo-excerpt.htm) here on my blog.  So stay tuned for the fun and check out some other blogs also featuring the amazing Kaza Kingsley!

1/7 – A Fort Made of Books

1/8 – Books4Ever

1/9 – Baseballs and Bows

1/10 – Fanatic Space Blog

1/11 – Bibliophile’s Retreat

1/12 – Children’s Literature Book Club

1/13 – Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-A-Holic

1/14 – A Year of Books

1/15 – Author Chris Rettstatt’s blog

1/16 – Deliciously Clean Reads

1/17 – Into the Wardrobe

1/18 – Real Gurlz Magazine

1/19 – Chauceriangirl

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