What are You Reading Today?

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I just finished the third book of the Outlander series, Voyager. I can’t stop thinking about these books and am holding back on buying the next one. There’s a lot to absorb in these novels. The first in the series was 560 pages, but Voyager was over 1,000.

The author tends to go into quite a bit of detail. In fact, I could use less details. Get on with the story! I’ve learned a lot of history, too. Mostly about the failed attempt of the Scottish Highlanders trying to regain the throne for Bonny Prince Charles in the 1740’s.

The book is a time travel novel, too. Clair Randall accidentally steps through one of the stones at an ancient stone circle while visiting Scotland with her husband. It takes her back to 1743 where she meets husband #2, Jamie. There is too much story to sum up in a few sentences, so I won’t try.

If you’re not a reader and think the story line is interesting, Starz has turned the books into a series. My husband has watched and liked it. Although, be forewarned, I had to skip over some scenes in the book and knew I couldn’t watch during the series. There are highly mature themes of a sexual nature in these books–Outlander especially.

The story of Jamie and Clair continues on for eight books. I thought I could stop after book one. But the need to read the next kept gnawing at the back of my mind. The characters stayed with me. Such a good lesson for writers. Shouldn’t all good books do that?

So tell me, what are you reading today?

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How Much is Too Much?

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I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63. It’s about time travel and since I write about the same thing–time travel–I wanted to know how the master approached it.

When I picked the book up from the library, the first thing I noticed was the size of the book. I’m not a fast reader, as I’ve said before, so I worried I wouldn’t finish before the return date. I hesitated to look at the last page and see the number.

  1. Yep, that’s right. 862 pages. When I see 450 I cringe. Now I had two weeks to read the book and get it back to the library. Renewing wasn’t an option. In a few days, I’d be going on vacation.

This was my first Stephen King book. As you know, if you read my blog, I’m not a fan of horror or scary writing. I watched the TV series, Under the Dome, (based on a Stephen King novel) and liked that show very much. Not all his stories are scary. Besides, this story is based on a real life event and about time travel so I was pretty sure no horror would be involved.

I can proudly say I’ve made it to page 624. And the book isn’t due for three more days. All my free time will be dedicated to finishing the book. It’s a very good book, hard to put down.

I can’t compare this book to King’s other novels or his writing style. But I can say this about 11/22/63. The author’s into minute details and did his research. I’m learning a lot about the late fifties and early sixties. I couldn’t wait to see how he set up his rules for time travel. There needs to be rules in every good time travel book. He didn’t disappoint.

Let’s get back to the real reason I’m writing this post today. The book had over 800 pages. If I didn’t really want to read this book, I may have passed. How many times have you done the same thing?

So does it matter how many pages a book is? Would too many pages stop you from reading a book? What if it’s a bestseller or famous author? Then would you read it? So many questions. So many pages. What would you do?

What’s Your Decade?

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Do you have a favorite? Decade that is. Seems like everyone has one. They are even themes for parties.

The Fifties always seemed to be a favorite but I’ve noticed the Seventies is starting to edge it out. I saw a picture of someone attending a Nineties party and I wanted to shout, “Too soon!”

People seem to lump fashion, music, art and way of life into decades. How did that happen? When one decade ended, the next was given a blank slant and told to start something new? Or did it just work out that way?

The Twenties became the backdrop for my time travel novels. I had to research clothes and music but also had many of my grandmother’s old pictures. I think I chose that time period because it felt so familiar.

Lots happened in that decade, starting with Prohibition right down to modern fashion for both men and women. Crazy dances like the Charleston and the “talkies” –movies with sound—were big hits. The Twenties took people into the modern era.

So I guess looking at life through decades is kind of cool. It puts history in perspective in smaller bites. We can analyze time easier that way.

So let’s have a little fun. Choose your favorite decade. It can be one when you weren’t even alive. Do a little research, learn about it.  I was surprised to learn that telephones, refrigerators and indoor plumbing were quite common place. Don’t know why I thought they weren’t. It just seemed like so long ago.

One day this decade will be part of the group. Makes you wonder how it will be remembered. Fashion forward or party costumes? It probably won’t be long before we find out.

Stealing Time

stbookcoverDon’t we all wish we could steal time? Have a few extra hours or go back and do something over? Or travel far beyond your own timeline to places unknown? I chose this title for the next book in my series because I loved the thought that time travel is like stealing time.

If you could steal time, what would you do? Go back in your own life and do something different? Or maybe pick a period from long ago that you wish you could visit? How about traveling to the future? So many directions to go.

After time traveling, you return to your present life. It’s the same day as when you left. No time lost. That’s how I came up with the thought that the extra time you got when you traveled was like stealing time.

One of my main characters longed to go back in time just once more. Here’s what she said when she arrived.

“Oh, I have all the memories, from now and the present.” Anna stopped twirling and hugged Kate tightly. “I don’t want to waste a minute. I feel like a thief in the night, robbing someone else’s life. I need to get started.”

Stealing Time. Wouldn’t it be great?

Dream Visits

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When someone passes away, are they gone from your life? I read about dream visits and began to notice the difference in my dreams.

A normal dream is when the person is just IN the dream. You notice them in the background or they’re part of the crowd.  You don’t interact.

If you have a conversation with them, touch them and talk with them, you’ve had a dream visit, a rare occurrence. They are supposed to be really visiting you. Cool, huh? They are few and far between and if you ever have one, cherish it.

Since I am older, of course I have people in my life that passed on. But at a young age, I lost quite a few people who were close to me…the main one being my dad. Another blow was my best friend seven years ago. Quiet unexpected at her young age.

I had a wonderful dream a few years back…one that sent me on my research. I was on a boat or ship and people were standing at a railing looking out over the sea. I saw someone walk up to the rail. She was very beautiful.  She was wearing a sky blue top with matching pants. Her hair was almost white blonde, shoulder length. I thought I knew her. I said to myself that it could be my best friend, but somewhere in the back of my mind I had my doubts. I was afraid to walk up to her because I was scared she’d disappear before I found out. I wanted the moment to last for as long as possible. Then again, I felt the need to walk up to her and see if it was her. I approached cautiously and she turned and looked at me. It was her. I asked if I could hug her and she said, “Of course”.  I did and then the dream faded as all dreams do.

When I began to write my series, I included a character that had past away. He only exists in the past and the people who travel back in time get to see him. He doesn’t know that he was part of their lives in the present but they are happy just to see him.

I wanted the character to stand for someone we all wished we still had in our lives whether it was a favorite grandmother or someone we lost too soon.

My characters didn’t have to rely on a dream visit to see their loved one. All they had to do is read their special book, fall asleep and they’d be there with him. Back in time.

Wish it could be that easy.

Time Travel

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In 1895 H.G. Wells wrote of it in The Time Machine and it still piques our interest more than one hundred years later. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a recent addition to the genre and even became a movie.

Waiting for Dusk slowly grew and changed into a time travel novel in my mind. My original idea included a dream world and reality. As I continued on, I thought, “Why not make this real?”

The first thing I discovered was that time travel needs rules. You definitely need them and have to stick by them. There can be amendments and add-ons but the mainframe has to be set in stone–how the character gets there and how they return.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but since my second book is named, Call of the Canyon, I can tell you that Katie goes back to the Grand Canyon in 1927.

Since Waiting for Dusk is a young adult romance novel, time travel becomes an important part of the story. It’s the only way she can get to see the boy she loves.

In the beginning, she doesn’t know she’s time traveling and it becomes one of the major plot points of the book. Katie slowly begins to realize she’s not dreaming and that this world she visits could be real.

Call of the Canyon continues the story of Katie and Drew.  It explores more in depth the affects of time travel on people’s lives. Their biggest worry is not to change history; just be observers. Somehow that doesn’t quite work out. It’s difficult to go somewhere and not interfere, participate or make suggestions. As soon as that happens, history changes.

Questions also arise about age and returning to the same time period over and over again. Will there be multiples of one person? Do people remember you if they met you before? Do you stay the same age? Since my characters return to only one period in time, these questions needed to be addressed.

With the resurgence of the “Doctor Who” BBC television show, time travel is becoming popular again. In my third and final book of the series, Stealing Time, there’s a shout out to the show. Fans, I hope, will chuckle at the subtle reference.

Many people wish they could travel through time. Some would choose the past and others the distant future. Although we realize this could never happen, we can’t help wonder if there’s a slight possibility. And that’s why we read. To escape. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before. To go back in time. To see the future. To time travel.