December 2009


As the year draws to a close, radio stations are doing “top song” countdowns, music videos are being ranked on TV (do they still play music videos on TV?), and all sorts of top book lists are being released. Now The Writing Cave is jumping on the bandwagon!

Below are my Top Reads of 2009. Note: not all were published this year but I read them in the past twelve months (yeah, I’m slow).

  1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  2. The Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan (hmm, lots of thievery going on…)
  3. Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time by Lisa Yee (the fish sticks line is my new absolute favorite)
  4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  5. Savvy by Ingrid Law
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  7. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  8. The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell
  9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  10. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Hmm, really must start keeping track earlier in the year. I find my list-making craziness will not be satisfied with just a book list, so how about music? My do-not-change-the-station-under-penalty-of-death singles of 2009:

  1. “Champagne” by Cavo
  2.  “I Will Not Bow” by Breaking Benjamin
  3. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum
  4. “Need Somebody” by Kings of Leon
  5. “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood
  6. “Second Chance” by Shinedown
  7. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga
  8.  “A’int No Rest For the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant
  9. “New Divide” by Linkin Park
  10. “Then” by Brad Paisley (OK, required because it was the first dance at my wedding)

Ooo, ooo, how about movies?

  1. Star Trek (and I’m not really a Trekkie, but me love some Chris Pine)
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  3. The Informant (I thought Matt Damon’s character was hilarious)
  4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (it was the right movie with the right audience on the right day)
  5. The Proposal

Since it’s not the end of the year quite yet, I’m saving room for Sherlock Holmes, Nine, and Julie & Julia.

OK, this has to stop now. What were your Top Reads of this year? Tunes? Flicks? Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you on the other side of ’09!

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Parking lots are packed, my house is out of tape, it must be Christmas time! What are your favorite Christmas books? I would have to vote for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for favorite novel, Santa Cows for picture book (because I’m a freak about cows), and A Newbery Christmas for short story collection.

What are your favorites?

I’m back from my pre-Christmas vacation 🙂 and am madly trying to catch up on blog writing and reading. I did manage to submit 25 pages to my critique group, whew! Enough with the patting-on-the-back, on to the news:

Kirkus Reviews will soon be no longer. Any thoughts from you? Did the reviews have an impact on your to-read decisions? Via Bookshelves of Doom.

Also via Bookshelves of Doom, Reading Rants! Ten Most Underappreciated Teen Books of the Decade. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any…yet.

Simon & Schuster and Hachette announced plans to delay e-book releases until after the hardcover is published, via e-book discussion aficionado Nathan Bransford (who also has a fancy-schmancy redesigned blog with discussion forums!).

That’s all I have time to get through for now. Good luck with all holiday season preparations!

Do you like to write with pen or pencil and paper? Are you a furious typer on the computer? Do you have a typewriter? How do you get your thoughts out?

I still mostly use a pen and paper, because I like to cross out and arrow and scribble, like my mad energy is accomplishing something. Then I type it into the computer as a first edit. I also have a hand-held recorder for when I’m getting lots of windshield time traveling for work, but I hate listening to my voice. I must say, I’m getting more and more grateful for my computer while getting the first draft out of my head.

How do you work?

Anyone else still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? To aid digestion, click over to these fantabulous links:

Click over to 32 Auctions  for the Bridget Zinn Kicks Cancer Auction. Auction ID: bridget, Password: rules. Bid now on 59 items including query critiques and signed books! Auction runs through December 11.

A great post from super-agent Nathan Bransford on handling editing requests.

An excellent guest post on marketing from Jim Rubart on Rachelle Gardiner’s blog.

Be sure to check out Pimp My Novel’s Rerun Week, a veritable feast of popular and necessary publishing knowledge.

Finally, are you looking for a reading challenge for the new year? Do you like supporting debut authors? Has The Story Siren got one for you! Check out the details on her 2010 Debut Authors Challenge! While you’re there, please read her post on the Book Angel.

Now I’m off to the Iowa State men’s basketball game. Go Cyclones!