Audrey’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club

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Hello again. I hope you are having a lovely fall full of crunchy leaves, crisp air, and pumpkin filled treats. As you may remember from last year, I am a huge fan of NaNoWriMo (I usually fail but I love the challenge and camaraderie) so I am busy preparing which has left very little time for reading fiction. I have been researching which may *gasp* even lead to an outline… maybe. So most of the books I’ve read the past couple of weeks are about Ancient Egypt and the people unearthing Her secrets and I wish I had a stand out awesome book to share with you, but I don’t. At least not yet. Hopefully, I will have one by November. Or if you have a favorite book about Egypt, I would love some recommendations. But since I’m in a non-fiction phase at the moment, I will share my favorite non-fiction book with you: The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson. He seamlessly blends the tales of the lobsters, the biologists who study them, and the lobster fisherman into a truly engaging read. I loved it. Ok, my NaNo stuff is calling me. Ta!

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Audrey’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club

Hello. I thought I would do something a little different this month and instead of recommending a book, I thought I would list some charities and organizations that promote reading and literacy. Literacy is still a struggle in America (and around the world). About 14% of Americans are illiterate and about 21% read at a fifth grade level or lower. Anne comes from one of the most illiterate cities in the U.S. Not only are literacy-challenged people unable to enjoy the wonderfully dark tales here at Cimmerian Tales, but studies show a direct link between illiteracy and crime. So be a hero, stop crime, and help someone learn to read by looking into these charities:

5. Barnes & Noble: The Annual Holiday Book Drive – This one is super easy to participate in. Go to your local B & N, buy a coffee (or whatever), and buy a book that B & N will donate to a child in need. Each store gets to pick who receives the books, so my local one gives to a children’s hospital. The drive runs through January 1st.

4. Room to Read: An organization that is committed to the promotion of literacy and gender equality around the world. They have helped more than 7 million children so far. You can help in lots of different ways from donating your time to starting your own beard growing campaign to raise money for a school. Still shopping for gifts for hard to shop for people? Check out their Holiday Gift Guide for great ideas like filling 2 library shelves with great books.

3. The Office of Letters and Light: Yes, those wonderful people who bring us NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Young Writers Program. In 2013, the young writers wrote over 444 million words for NaNoWriMo. That’s amazing! You can help fund these programs through donations or by shopping the NaNoWriMo store. Isn’t a Batyism keychain on your Christmas list?

2. Books Through Bars: Completely volunteer run, this group distributes books to the incarcerated. Why help people behind bars? Studies show that prisoners who become more educated are much less likely to return to prison. It’s one step toward a new and better future. They accept money donations as well as used books, and if you live in Pennsylvania you can also donate your time.

1. You: No money required! Just take your child (or a friend or family member’s child with permission) to your local library and read a book together. Whether it’s a picture book or Harry Potter, it will help. Children learn their best (and worst) habits from the adults in their lives.

Have a warm and well-read holiday season and, if you can, help someone do the same!

P.S. It’s always a good idea to do some research on any charity or organization before whipping out your wallet. 🙂

Jen’s No Rules Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Today I would like to give you all the gift of music. National Novel Writing Month is creeping up on us, and it is important to stockpile a few solid playlists to get us through thousands of words.  The following are some of my favorite writing jams.

1. Lights, by Ellie Goulding, the Bassnectar Remix.  Caution: This is Dubstep, and I probably wrote the back half of my completes manuscript to this song. It’s a lot of bass and the feel of falling, and perfect for in-the-zone writing.

2. I Was Wrong, by Sleeperstar. Our lovely Anne introduced me to the band and I think I asked her 17 times how to loop it on youtube to use for writing. Thankfully she obliged because this song on repeat is so pretty that you won’t be able to stop.

3. Rain, by Klaypex. Loud and messy and pretty. Great for fast paced moments.

4. Boy with a Coin, by Iron and Wine. This song makes me so nostalgic sometimes I can’t stand it, but its consistent and pretty and a little exotic somehow. Perfect for concentration when a scene demands quiet.

5. Between Two Points, by The Glitch Mob. The vocals in this are full of wanting, great for writing kisses.

6. Smarter, by Eisley. This vocals in this gem are the kind that look back. It’s clever and complex and has really nice imagery that goes along with conflict nicely. It’s the aftermath, the rebuild.

7. Future, by Paramore. Not only are the vocals soft and sure and gorgeous, the instrumental build is perfect for powering through words.

8. Dark Come Soon, by Tegan and Sara. Good for the dark and twisty parts.

9. My Love, by Sia. I doubt this needs explanation. Use it for the squishy heart writing. Is that a thing? I made it a thing.

10. Let it Be, by Blackmill.  This is my current favorite to stick on repeat with a good pair of headphones. Perfect balance of strong, soft vocals with a electronic foundation. It’s all heavy and wandering. I could listen to it forever.

My top ten is full of bass and lyrics that want. The key to good writing music is power, whether it’s heavy or light. I would love to know what your favorite writing songs are. I hope these can inspire and get you through those next thousand words over and over again.

Audrey’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club

November is almost upon us and I hope you all are considering signing up for NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month). Actually, I hope that you have considered it, realized how crazy it is, and decided to do it anyways. Just in case you haven’t signed-up yet, here is the link nanowrimo.org. Once you sign-up, we here at Cimmerian Tales would love to be your writing buddies and cheer you on through all your NaNo triumphs and failures. You can find me under “abennet”, Anne under “annemariewrites”, Jen under “jenniferlynnwrites”, and Julie under “jofthewolves”. To help you on your novel writing quest, I have a couple of books that I think give great writing advice:

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 The first is No Plot, No Problem by NaNoWriMo creator Chris Baty. Not only is Chris a world-class motivator who fills his book with humorous anecdotes and pep talks, but reading this book will make you feel like you have the complete inside scoop on NaNo even if it’s your first time trying. If you have done absolutely no planning for NaNo and don’t know where to start, this is the perfect book for you. Chris will walk you through the best November ever, or at least give you ideas on how to handle the challenges and stress of ripping 50,000 words out of your heart in 30 days.

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Still struggling with inspiration? Try Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine (Yes, the author of Ella, Enchanted and Fairest – both of which you should read after you’ve reached 50,000 words). Sure, she wrote this book for grade-schoolers, but it’s full of wonderful advice and writing exercises designed to get your creative juices flowing in a way that works great for writers of all ages. Plus, it’s a pretty fast read so you can hurry and get to all the writing you need to do!

I’m not going to lie. Writing a novel in 30 days can be gut-wrenchingly hard… and exhausting. I have only managed to do it once, but every year I try because it’s fun and seeing your novel at the end is beyond rewarding. If you can, go to write-ins and chat with your fellow Nanoers on the forums. It adds to your writing, or at least to the fun. I hope this helps your noveling and I hope to see you at the NaNo finish line!

I’ll be sending you plot ninjas and writing wishes all month!