Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What I Read When I'm Not Reading Fiction

If my blog looks like a ghost town, it's because LIFE!

Neighborhood kids singing You're a Grand Old Flag, Fourth of July 2014

I'm not really making an excuse because I firmly believe my time has been well spent. As a homeschool mom who dabbles in politics and takes every spare moment to read, whether it's current events or a really tasty bit of speculative fiction, it isn't that I don't have time to blog/write/read/review/whatever. When we're honest with ourselves, we know our "I just don't have time" excuses really just mean "I'm doing other things that I deem more important." That's true even if we don't want to admit to ourselves that obsessing over our sock drawer or 'everything' drawer or that highly addictive new facebook game is a value choice of one activity over the others we also claim to value. Luckily, I haven't been tempted by a facebook game since about 2007. :)

As a recovering perfectionist, I have to be careful how I spend my time or I end up writing until 3am or "sorting papers" (read: reminiscing over high school essays) for an entire day. This natural obsessive tendency, which is very much genetic, is what allows me to crank out first drafts in pretty good time when my heart and soul is in it. It's also what leads me down other paths that are equally riveting. 

So here's some insight into my Soul Stretching Out (hint: that's my blog title these days):

I read NDE's (near-death experiences) like they're going out of style. My most recent read in that category was this:


These books are a great supplement to the backdrop of intense scripture study I find myself doing, especially when it has to do with the beginning of life, the purpose of life, the end of life, and the end of days. While I don't believe everything I read from those who claim near-death experiences and visions, I do find these types of books about visions of the afterlife or future to be soul-stretching. They give me an opportunity to ponder and pray for my own answers, and those periods of quiet meditation are necessary reprieves for a mom of tiny tots. 

That brings me to something else I study somewhat obsessively:


I read about pregnancy and childbirth. You'd think after four pregnancies and births I'd give up my study, but I ALWAYS, always, always find new bits I didn't know before, or am touched by reading somebody else's completely different birth story, or find healing in a birth story a lot like one of mine. Every pregnancy, birth, baby, and child is different. I can't imagine abandoning my study or thinking that I've finally learned it all. 

Of course, since I do homeschool, another topic I obsessively study is education. 


This book, between twenty and thirty years old, has some of the greatest insights on education I've read yet. It's a bit of a thick read and heavy on the technical language in parts, but it also includes scriptural and apostolic guidance about the way human beings learn. Since I believe learning never stops until you die, I also like to read a bit of history and classic literature.

Right now I'm reading this:


So now you know what I read when I'm not reading fiction. For an example of the awesomeness I read when I'm craving fiction, check out the moving book carousel in the right sidebar. I'm lucky enough to know those authors, and every one of their books is an adventure.

What do you read when you're not reading fiction? 


Friday, March 7, 2014

BLOG TOUR: CURED by Bethany Wiggins!

Yesterday on Operation Awesome, Michelle featured and interviewed Bethany Wiggins, author of the new and exciting STUNG companion, CURED! 

Blurb: Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers. -from Goodreads

Bethany Wiggins's website

Today Bethany is here at my little blog to answer a few questions. But first I just want to say a few words about the world of STUNG which Bethany has created. When I read STUNG, I was floored by the fast pace and the intense conflict. Lots of that conflict surrounds a sweet boy Fiona has known from childhood who suddenly treats her like she might go zombie apocalypse on him at any moment and she doesn't quite understand why. There's a gritty, raw quality to the dystopia Bethany's created, and it continues in CURED. Fans of THE MAZE RUNNER will find tons to love in STUNG and CURED. I'm very excited to have Bethany with me today. Here's that interview:

Katrina: I always have to ask, will there be a SHIFTING sequel?

Bethany: I won't say no, because there is always the possibility that I will write a SHIFTING 2, but not any time in the near future.  

K: Your books always have unpredictable twists. Are these all plotted out in advance or do you sometimes surprise yourself?

Bethany: Some of them are thought out in advance (but not really plotted) and others surprise me just as much as they surprise the reader. I'll be sitting down, writing a scene, when something totally surprising hits me and I write it down. It's like the story takes on a life of its own. 

K: The truly terrifying thing about these books is the reality in which they are based, the idea that they could really happen. What do you think is the most realistic or true-to-life aspect of STUNG and CURED?

Bethany: I think the most true to life aspect of STUNG and CURED is the possibility of a natural disaster (earthquake, flood, extinction of bees etc.) drastically changing the way we live, and us having to all of a sudden start living our lives in a totally primitive way. Where would we get food and water? How would we stay warm? Who would we trust? We see this all the time around the world. Hopefully it will never happen, but you never know.

K: What's next for you? Any exciting new projects you can tell us about?

Bethany: I am taking a short break from writing because I just had my fifth baby, but there are a few story ideas brewing in my head right now. It is only a matter of time before I start writing one. 

K: Congratulations on the new baby! 

What's one thing you must have with you when you write? A certain snack, music, or a mascot?

Bethany: Music! Music is my most important inspiration.

K: Thank you for answering my questions and for writing books I love to read!

If you all haven't gotten your mitts on either of these books yet, I highly recommend you hightail it to your nearest bookstore or e-reader and get started. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down.

Katrina's blog pic