Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just finished reading The Shakespeare Riots; Revenge, Drama and Death in Nineteeth-Century America by Nigel Cliff. May I say...WONDERFUL!!!?!!

In brief, the book explores the Astor Place Riot of 1849. The riot took place in New York City ostensibly over two different approaches to Shakespeare's plays. On one side, American Tragedian Edwin Forrest; on the other the English Tragedian William Charles Macready. Note the nationalities -- one of the real reasons the riots took place.

I know several of you are rolling your eyes at what you percieve to be a non-fiction history book. Yes, it is that...and so much more. Nigel Cliff has crafted a story out of all the diverse motivations that went into that culminating event. His knowledge of not only nineteenth-century theater but of the everyday lives of all the participants makes you forget you're not reading a novel. By the end of the book, you care about the two great actors and get genuinely angry at the mob and the nobility-wannabees that push events to the brink of disaster and then over it.

The only negative comment I have has to do with the actual riots themselves. After so many chapters, so many pages dedicated to the rising action and the events that lead to that fateful night, I wanted more description, more time dwelling on the riot itself. While Cliff does a good job, the rest of the book made me want a great job. As a result, the climax was...well...anticlimactic in my eyes.

Love, revenge, national pride, friendship and politics all get their due in this book. I heartily recommend
The Shakespeare Riots!
Hey...you can't say my tastes in reading aren't eclectic!

Play safe,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I spent yesterday at the cabin, normally a great place for peace and quiet. Over the past two years I've gotten a lot of writing done there. Not so yesterday. My husband and a friend of the family spent the day finishing the last of the bedrooms. Remember, when we bought this place not a single room was finished. Now three of the four bedrooms upstairs are completed and the fourth nearly so. The kitchen and the dining rooms were first done, but the plank floor went in this past spring, so those rooms are complete as well. The downstairs bedroom needed the least fixing, so that one was done first, followed by the bathroom. I think this bedroom is the first room he's done that he didn't need to buy a new tool for! :)

Anyway, they made it far too noisy to write -- so I read instead! Started and finished Judith McNaught's Remember When in one day, which should tell you something about the depth of thought needed to read it. Have to admit, I'm a sucker for books I can read all in one sitting. Not only are they entertaining, but I feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day!

Remember When is set in the contemporary world of corporate America, specifically, corporate Houston, Texas. She drew her characters well and even though I figured out some of the motivations before the hero and heroine did, the reveals were all well-done. I never felt cheated; the characters were true to themselves all throughout the book.

Play safe!
Diana (who needs to stop and do a count-up of the number of books she's read this year!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Was my turn this week and I wrote about RENT, inspiration and other philosophical ideologies! :)

Play safe,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I couldn't resist playing with this. I typed in a selection from Submission Revealed and, voila! One of my favorite authors popped up. Don't see it myself, but can't say I'm displeased! :) 

I write like
Jane Austen
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Although the prologue to Stress Relief gets me this:

I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

And a page from Cabin Fever compares me to:

I write like
Ray Bradbury
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

All authors I love. Can you see the influences?

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've been asked to give a series of writing workshops at Book Island in Second Life. These are really just a chance for writers to set aside an hour of time to devote to working on a particular skill. I give a few tips, turn them loose to write for a while, then we share what we've written and the hour is up too fast! But it's fun and a great way to meet others.

Below is the blurb and the schedule (I know, I should've posted it last week. Sorry. I keep saying I need a secretary/publicist/peon/gopher. Know anyone who would work for free books?) I sent out to my group in SL:

Sun block is expected in the summertime, writer’s block isn’t so welcome. Join author Diana Allendale (Diana Hunter in RL) for a series of writing workshops throughout the month of July designed to get your Muse out of the sun and back to work.

NOTE: All workshops are held at the Beach Area of Book Island (why should our Muses be the only ones getting a tan?) at 2:30 pm SLT.

You'll be writing and sharing at each workshop, although no formal critique will be given. This is really an opportunity to get some new ideas, play with some ideas and just have fun writing!

July 6th -- Developing strong characters

July 13th -- Doing more than just seeing the scene

July 20th -- Writing like we speak -- or -- Authenticity in dialogue -- or -- Say what?

July 27th -- Playing with characters

The above dates are scheduled but if something unforeseen should arise, a note will go out to both Diana’s Passionate Books group and to the Book Island events and discussion group, so be sure you're a member of one or both of those!

Hope to see you there! And if you're not in Second Life...why not? You know I do readings from my books there, don't you?

Play safe,
I've been trying to write this post for a week and for some reason Blogger and my computer don't like each other. Today I managed to get the darn window to accept a cursor by saving the blank document, then going back and editing it. I love technology -- except when I don't!

I've read four books in the past week. Being at the cabin with no Internet or TV helps. All of them romances, none of them really noteworthy. Fair warning: these are easy reads. I read one a day for four days straight!

Kat Martin's The Handmaiden's Necklace is really misnamed. All throughout the book the jewelry in question is referred to as "The Bride's Necklace" -- and it isn't even the handmaiden that wears it! In fact, the necklace doesn't come to play an important role till the very end, and then it's pretty predictable. An okay story, but the plot wasn't particularly gripping, nor were the characters really memorable.

Shannon Drake's Reckless was next. Book made me want to throw it across the room more than once. Typos, plot jumps...and I swear there were missing sentences throughout the entire thing. Don't know if it was bad editing or bad writing -- or both. I'd re-read whole pages trying to figure out where a response came from. Person A would make a comment; Person B would make a response that had nothing to do with what Person A said. Drove me nuts. And it's too bad, because the storyline was actually pretty good. I had no idea, btw, that Shannon Drake is Heather Graham's pen name. I've never read Ms. Graham, but based on Reckless, I'm not inclined to now.

Next up came Donna Fletcher's The Irish Devil. I liked the storyline with this one, but found her repetitive use of several descriptive phrases to be tiresome. The hero "growled" a lot (what is he, a dog?) and was referred to far too often as "the Irish devil". Okay, I got the point. He's rough, tough, and not always a nice guy. Please stop beating me over the head with this phrase!

And finally, just finished yesterday, Josie Litton's Dream Island. This was the best of the bunch, even though it threw me for a loop when it started as a Regency and introduced a fantastical island that "everybody" knew about -- except this reader who spent the first third of the book trying to figure out what kind of book I was reading. Once I accepted it as fantasy, it moved right along. Good characters, steady plot...a day well spent!

Now it's back to the real world...and my own writing! I'll post about that tomorrow...because, yes, I do have some new stories for you!

Play safe,