Calliope Writing

Monday Quote Love – Reach the Stars

ray bradbury quotation

The First Book Haul of 2017! Are You Stoked?

I know I’ve been doing #FridayBookShare this month, but the truth is–I haven’t been reading much the past week because I have an editing deadline coming up.

So instead of Friday Book Share, I’m going to do something some of you may think is even better:


The following were purchased from Abebooks, Uncommon Goods, Urban Outfitters (I’m only a little bit ashamed), Amazon, and Zulily. And a good many of them were Christmas presents (books being the best kind of presents, in my opinion).

There are a lot of them, so I won’t be adding much commentary. Enjoy.

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf

book haul a room of ones own

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

The Little Book of Confidence, Tiddy Rowan

I may seem like a damn confident person to some, but the truth is, I lack confidence. Quite a bit. So I got this little guy, and it can come with me anywhere so I can pull it out if I need a boost.

book haul confidence reading sneak peek

Dark Moon Digest, Issue #25

I’m most excited about reading my friend Andrew Novak‘s story:

dark moon digest story book haul

The Dreamday Pattern Journal: Renaissance

book haul reading recommendations notebooks

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Salman Rushdie

book haul salman rushdie

The Alienist, Caleb Carr

book haul reading recommendations

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, ever since my brother recommended it to me when I was in college. Now I have a copy! (But when will I read it?!)

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

book haul reading recommendations

The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry

Can you believe I’ve never read this?

The Time Keeper, Mitch Albom

book haul reading recommendations

Well-Read Women: A Reader’s Journal

Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, Nell Casey

book haul reading recommendations

Since I struggle with depression and I’m a writer, this one seemed like a no-brainer.

2017 is going to be a kickass reading year. Don’t you think?

*Heads up: if you click on the links to purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon, know that I’m an affiliate. Your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*

My 2016 Year in Review (According to Goodreads)

As you likely know, I love Goodreads. It’s the perfect way for me to track books I’ve read and – more importantly – books I want to read.

If you’re a Goodreads user, first: add me. Second: you know about their year in review feature.

Read on to discover the books I read in 2016 – which ones I loved, and which ones I wasn’t so crazy about.

carlton mellick iii peter straub books

neil gaiman neverwhere carlton mellick iii books

jenny lawson peter straub ray bradbury books

philip k dick stephen king neil gaiman kazuo ishiguro books

HEX thomas olde heuvelt shirley jackson clive barker books

diane setterfield katherine dunn kat howard m.r. carey books

laird barron ray bradbury livia llewellyn laline paull shirley jackson

vanessa veselka carlton mellick iii lauren holmes books

To be fair, I didn’t finish The Bees by Laline Paull (which I acquired during a book haul this year) because…I hated it. So much. There was one line in particular that acted as the cliched straw that broke the camel’s back. (Curious? Read my brief The Bees review here). So really, I only read twenty-five books this year, Goodreads. Sorry about that. I couldn’t not give that awful writing one star.

That’s Right – We Have a Top-Five List

Out of the twenty-five books I did read, here are my top five (in no particular order):

It may have been a shitty year for yours truly in other ways, but it was a kickass year with regards to reading. Let’s hope 2017 is even better.

What was the best book you read in 2016?


*Want to buy any of the books mentioned here? Click on the links to purchase from Amazon; since I’m an affiliate, your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*

Readers and Writers: I Love You (GIVEAWAYS)
November 7, 2016, 11:26 am
Filed under: Books, Giveaway, Literature, nanowrimo, Reading, writing | Tags: , , , ,

As you surely know, NaNoWriMo 2016 is well underway. Participants who are meeting their daily writing goals have jotted down over 11,000 words – amazing!!!

And then there’s me: the prototypical Libra who let her indecision get the best of her. I got sidetracked and unenamoured with my story around November 3 and am now working on outlines for two separate projects. I use the word “working” loosely. Because those outlines are currently very, very sparse.

nanooutmo national novel writing month

So, while I still plan on celebrating NaNoWriMo and encouraging and supporting those who are taking part, my personal goal for the month has changed: I just want to create two incredibly detailed outlines by November 30.

Send me all the good vibes and juju you have.

Now for the rockin’ news…

I’m Giving Away Kickass Stuff

In honor of NaNoWriMo and its goal (encouraging creativity and writing), I’m hosting two giveaways, both of which will run through November 30 and both of which will include a note from yours truly talking about how flipping awesome you are.*

Book Lover’s Paradise Giveaway


nanowrimo giveaway books

This prize pack contains the following:

  • The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (read about it here)
  • Middle Passage, Charles R. Johnson (read about it here)
  • Plague of the Dead, Z.A. Recht (read about it here)
  • The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, Laird Barron (read about it here)
  • The Seren Cenacles, Warren Norwood – AUTOGRAPHED! (read about it here)
  • A one-of-a-kind book journal from Ex Libris Anonymous – Winner’s choice!

For a chance to win the goodies listed above, enter the giveaway here.

Writing & Reading Treasure Trove Giveaway


nanowrimo giveaway goodies

This prize pack contains the following:

For the opportunity to win the treasure trove described above, enter the giveaway here.

What are you waiting for? Get those entries in! (Hint: You can come back every day to enter.)

*Giveaways are limited to United States residents, due to the cost of international postage and the contents of my bank account. The two lucky winners will be announced December 1. More details about that announcement to come.

Book Haul Time: I’m Obsessed with Online Shopping

By the title, you know what’s coming: a list of books I recently bought in one of my I-don’t-need-this-book-but-I-NEED-this-book moments.

Enjoy the spoils of my latest book haul, via Amazon.

Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman


I fell in love with Neil Gaiman after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It totally blew my mind and convinced me that this man is a genius.

Since then, I’ve been devouring his books, and Anansi Boys is next. I mean, look at the back cover:


Who wouldn’t be intrigued?



Yeah, yeah, I know: I’m super behind because I have yet to see the film Precious. I decided reading the book first was in order.

HangsamanShirley Jackson


Shirley Jackson. What a master of horror and the bizarre. I’m pretty damned excited to read this novel. Check out the back cover blurb to get an idea of why:

Seventeen-year-old Natalie Waite longs to escape home for college. Her father is a domineering and egotistical writer who keeps a tight rein on Natalie and her long-suffering mother. When Natalie finally does get away, however, college life doesn’t bring the happiness she expected. Little by little, Natalie is no longer certain of anything—even where reality ends and her dark imaginings begin. Chilling and suspenseful, Hangsaman is loosely based on the real-life disappearance of a Bennington College sophomore in 1946.

What’s that you say about Natalie’s father…?


Parable of the TalentsOctavia E. Butler


I first read Octavia Butler when I was fourteen years old, and I immediately loved her. For some reason I don’t understand, though, it’s only now–almost two decades later–that I picked up another book by the sci-fi queen.

I can’t wait to dig in.

Oh, and by the way, Butler predicted Donald Trump’s campaign slogan over twenty years ago in The Parable of the Talents. <Cue creepy music>

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us AllLaird Barron


I recently joined an online book club run by Dirge Magazine (if you don’t know what Dirge is, I encourage you to check it out), and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All was one of August’s books.

I’m about halfway through it (late, as usual), and so far, it’s…meh. Follow me on Goodreads to find out my final opinion of the short story collection.

The Witches, Stacy Schiff


Another August Dirge Book Club book, The Witches focuses on the Salem witch trials of 1692. Check out the illustrations…


…and the inside cover:


I’m typically a fiction-only reader, but I have always been interested in the Salem witch trials (I blame my childhood field trip to Salem, Massachusetts)…so I’m fairly certain this is one nonfiction tome I’m going to love.

That’s it for this book haul! What books have you purchased or borrowed recently?

And a Little Something Extra…

  • Writers, take note: Michael Cristiano‘s list of fiction clichés should be read…and then those clichés should be avoided like the plague (like what I did there?). Read the post over at A Writer’s Path.
  • Ari Sytner did something that few of us (likely) would even think about: He donated a kidney to a complete stranger in need. During his experience, he realized that kidney donation is quite the taboo topic. For that reason, he wrote The Kidney Donor’s Journey: 100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney. It’s the first Q&A book on the subject and includes a wealth of information. To support Sytner in the publication of this book, check out his Kickstarter campaign.

*Want to buy any of the books mentioned here? Click on the links to purchase from Amazon; since I’m an affiliate, your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*

Friday Fun Is Here: 6 Quizzes to Test Your Bookworm-ness
April 8, 2016, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Books, Literature, Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Based on my previous post focused on quizzes, you know: I enjoy taking them. Especially when they relate to vocabulary, grammar, writing, or reading.

So let’s take some book-related quizzes, shall we?

Be prepared to quiz away an hour of your life.

Are You More Paperback or Hardcover?

I got paperback – as it should be. (If you’ve ever tried reading a hardcover book while lying in bed, you know why I say this. Or if you’ve ever gone on a trip with a huge, 600-page hardcover book. Or if you typically travel with more than one book…like some of us do.)

Who Is Your Romance Novel Boyfriend?


Ah, romance. This one wasn’t as much fun for me as the others because I got someone from a book series I haven’t read: James Fraser from Outlander. I know some Outlander lovers, so I’ll have to ask if this is a good thing.

The Guess the First Sentence Quiz

Got only 15 out of 22 right on this one – I dare you to see how well you can do.

The Reading Personality Quiz

My result?

You are a Book Junkie.

You are addicted to books. Air, food and water apart, you need an uninterrupted dose of books in order to survive. You don’t just read books, you devour them. You can read just about anything. You can never have enough of books.


book junkie

Only Real Book Lovers Remember These Small Details from These Iconic Books

Oh, I didn’t do well on this one. Not at all.

Can You Identify These Books by Their Covers?

Not too shabby:

You got 16 out of 20 right!
Not bad at all. Excellent, even! You have a great eye for design, while still staying focused on the most important stuff: the writing itself.

Can We Guess Your Age Based on Your Taste in Books?

Based on my result, which is below, the answer to this ever-important question is an emphatic “NO.”

You got: 16

You’re in the most exciting time of your life as a reader — you’ve got a whole world of books ahead of you! Take this time to explore, and read everything you can get your hands on.

not a child

And a Little Something(s) Extra Once You’re All Quizzed-Out:

  • Morten Just created a free text editor that limits the writer to using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language. The responses were varied…and hilarious.
  • Julie Proudfoot has some invaluable advice that I find myself, as an editor, reminding writers of frequently: Read that ish out loud.
  • Joel Orr spills the beans on verbs – and how to enhance them in your writing. Short and sweet and oh-so-true.

I May Deserve Coal…But I’m Asking Santa for This
December 1, 2015, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Books, Grammar, Literature | Tags: , , , ,

ABC Family has begun its 25 Days of Christmas hoopla, so that means one thing: It’s time to write Santa a letter. After all, the jolly guy only has so much time to gather together all of the crap everyone wants for the holidays. By putting my wish list out on the interwebs, I’m just making Santa’s job easier.

dear santa

I hope you’re feeling well and aren’t experiencing panic attacks while trying to determine how the hell you’ll be able to deliver all those presents in one night.

I’ve been a semi-good girl this year. (We could debate all night long, Mr. Claus, but time is money.) So here’s what I hope to find under my tree* on Christmas morning.

Library Due Date Card© Panties and Tank Top

library tank and undies

I’m a sucker for undies (panties is my least favorite word) with fun things on them. And what’s more fun than a library-related print?

Hamilton Bookcase

Hamilton bookcase

Since I was a child, I’ve fantasized about swinging around a library à la the candy man in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This bookcase would give me a fraction of that dream.

Poorly Drawn Lines: Good Ideas and Amazing Stories

poorly drawn lines

It’s always good to have a laugh.

T.S. Eliot Reads “The Waste Land” on Vinyl


I fell in love with T.S. Eliot in high school; he has remained my all-time favorite poet. And I’ve been a vinyl-lover since I was twelve or thirteen. So this one’s a double whammy.

Grammar Police Necklace

grammarm police necklace

I’m a little crazy about grammar. We know this.

The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life

the great spring

Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones changed me as a writer. She’s incredible, and I can’t wait until this comes out.

The Rules of F*cking Grammar Poster

fucking rules of grammar poster

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know exactly why I want this. Strike that – why I need this.

Thanks, Santa. You’re the best.

Spill: What do you want for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you have coming up? Don’t be shy.

*We totally don’t have a tree. I mean, it would be one thing if we had kids, but man! Taking all those ornaments out, putting them up, and then having to reverse the process a month later…it all sounds like a lot of work. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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