Character Development: A Musical View
So how about you? What do you listen to when you want to feel badass? Any songs you think I should grab on iTunes to help me write?
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job.Kendra believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica. More information about the Matt Archer universe, works in progress and the nature of the Higgs Boson* can be found at www.kendrachighley.com(*Yeah…not really. We’ll let the scientists handle that part.)
My Waiting on Wednesday:
A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins
To be released on April 23, 2013
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in a household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can’t believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers are permitted to defend their clients, and – if the plague doesn’t kill the suspect first – public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself.
Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.
Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?
A: The last book I finished, The Night Cirus by Erin Morgenstern. I absolutely loved it! If you’re curious, here’s my review. Night Circus is one of those books that you can completely lose yourself. The Cirque des Reves is definitely a Circus of Dreams.
Another great part of my comfy blanket is that my girls love it too. Once I sit on the couch, spread it out and turn up the heat, I have two little girls on either side of me. Sometimes I have one on my lap which makes reading a little challenging; however, it’s pretty sweet all the same. My youngest likes to turn up the heat all the way and before we know it it’s pretty darn warm. Everybody has to get up and go to another room to cool off. Then it’s right back to the comfy blanket with the heat on full blast. It’s a crazy cycle!
My Waiting on Wednesday:
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
To be released on March 26, 2013
I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
Written by Erin Morgenstern
Published by Anchor Books
Released in 2011
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tent is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Amidst the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone from the performances to the patrons hanging in the balance.
Erin Morgenstern has written a magnificent tale in The Night Circus. It is hard to find the words to describe my love for this books, but I will try.
The first thing I noticed about this book is the richness of it. The descriptions are so detailed and vivid. I could imagine myself walking through each tent and experiencing the magic. I feel privileged that Ms. Morgenstern let us inside her amazing imagination.
The circus is its own character. Each individual tent has its own distinct personality. The use of black and white did not give the circus a sinister feel. Instead, the colors, or lack thereof, make it whimsical and magical. I usually don’t like circuses but the The Cirque des Reves would be a beautiful sight to behold.
At the heart of the book is Celia and Marco and what I call their diabolical competition. Two men steal their lives for a competition that no one really wins. Hector, in particular, is obsessed with the game. He doesn’t care who he hurts, including his daughter, in order to win. While Alexander does show some pity Marco at times, he is still cold and indifferent. It is heartbreaking. Celia and Marco’s love story evolves slowly over time. Each creation in the circus is made with love for each other. Deep down, it is a true Romeo and Juliet story.
I really enjoyed Ms. Morgenstern’s view of magic. The illusions are beautifully described. There are no witches or wizards, only amazing illusionists who can manipulate people and objects around them. I found this be very intriguing and kept me engrossed in the book.
The Night Circus is amazing book. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves the circus, or even if you don’t, and beautiful love story.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
The Beggar King by Oliver Potzsch
The year is 1662. Alpine village hangman Jakob Kuisl receives a letter from his sister calling him to the imperial city of Regensburg, where a gruesome sight awaits him: her throat has been slit. Arrested and framed for the murder, Kuisl faces first-hand the torture he’s administered himself for years.
Jakob’s daughter, Magdalena, and a young medicus named Simon hasten to his aid. With the help of an underground network of beggars, a beer-brewing monk, and an Italian playboy, they discover that behind the false accusation is a plan that will endanger the entire German Empire.
Chock-full of fhistorical detail, The Beggar King brings to vibrant life another tale of an unlikely hangman and his tough-as-nails daughter, confirming Pötzsch’s mettle as a writer to watch.
In New York Times bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s newest historical saga, she introduces Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850, only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape.
Nineteenth-century America is practical, precarious, and unsentimental, and scarred by the continuing injustice of slavery. In her new home Honor discovers that principles count for little, even within a religious community meant to be committed to human equality.
However, drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs.
A powerful journey brimming with color and drama, The Last Runaway is Tracy Chevalier’s vivid engagement with an iconic part of American history.