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About Dawn

Awards

  • VA Networking Blog of the Week

    VA Blog of the Month

What I'm Doing With My Life

  • AssistU - Changing Work, Changing Lives
    I'm so thrilled to be Chief Operating Officer of AssistU. I may not be a practicing virtual assistant anymore, but I'm still so passionate about the industry and just the sweet, sweet fact of people working together in collaborative relationships in which the people are key, not the bottom line. Long live AssistU!
  • Out Of Nothing
    All I've ever wanted to do was to write. Well (deep breath), that want has turned out big. It's a book, there's a website, and I must be insane to be this vulnerable.
  • Write Well University
    My first passion has always been words and how we use them. I'm happiest dissecting sentences and seeing how they work (or don't). I've taken that love of words and writing and created Write Well U, a company that offers programs to help people become better writers. What could you do if you wrote well?

What Dawn Is Reading Today

  • Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

    Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

    I finished reading The Princess Bride (more on that next week), and, as always happens when I finish a really great book, I struggle with what to read next.

    For years, I've had Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love on my unread bookshelf.  I've had so many people recommend it to me that I'm right 80% of the time when someone asks, "You know what book you should read?" Let me guess... Eat Pray Love? As a matter of fact, Stacy thought so strongly that I should read it that she bought me a copy back in 2007 when we were vacationing in Massachusetts.

    But I still hadn't read it.  On Thursday, I was chatting with Allison, and she said, "May I highly suggest you read EPL - ASAP?"

    Fine. I can get hit over the head with a hammer and finally get it.

    So I started reading today. And I love it. And I wonder why I didn't read it before. Probably because now was when I really needed to read it.

    A few random thoughts and insights about Eat Pray Love:

    • I so wish I had written this book. Gilbert's writing style is close to my own - but (sigh) better.
    • The first page has this quotation: "Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth."
    • I love how she structured the book around the traditional Indian japa malas beads - necklaces with 108 beads. Gilbert wrote 108 stories in her book. There's the whole magic of the number of 108 (it's a multiple of three, and its digits add up to nine, a trinity of threes).
    • Along with the smart structure of the number of stories, I love how Gilbert floats back and forth in time to tell her stories - those of her travels and those of how she got there. It flows, and there's no confusion or awkwardness at all in the shifts in time. So smartly written.
    • Gilbert has an amazing storytelling capability, but she is a magician when it comes to language. 
    • Her explanation of why she wanted to learn Italian (and how the Italian language came to be) soooooo makes me want to learn Italian. Gaelic was top of the list, but Italian might overtake it.
    • She's funny (which goes back to the first bullet point and my style and the quality of writing I strive for).  One of many examples: "Giovanni is my Tandem Exchange Partner.  That sounds like an innuendo, but unfortunately it's not." And an even better example: "After meeting the boys in person, I began to wonder if perhaps I should adjust my rule somewhat about remaining celibate this year.  For instance, perhaps I could remain totally celibate except for keeping a pair of handsome twenty-five-year-old Italian twin brothers as lovers. Which was slightly reminiscent of a friend of mine who is vegetarian except for bacon, but nonetheless..." (Funny enough, it's the friend who's vegetarian except for bacon that sticks in my mind the most.)
    • This last point is what made me close the book (temporarily) and get up to write this post. So many synchronicities. She talks about all she did to be positive and heal from the trauma the separation and divorce left her.  Of all the things she mentions she did (prayer, therapy, Saint John's wort, and so much more), she ends this paragraph with this last example: "...carefully protected myself from sad movies, books and songs (if anyone even mentioned the words Leonard and Cohen in the same sentence, I would have to leave the room)."

  • Kim Harrison: The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, Book 6)

    Kim Harrison: The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, Book 6)
    I finished Tad Williams's Shadowplay.  It was much better than the first in the series, Shadowmarch. Not that Shadowmarch was awful - obviously, it wasn't or I wouldn't have gone on to read the second in the series.  By the end of Shadowmarch, the character development was in full bloom and the action sequences were rich.  Those good things came to light fully and completely in Shadowplay.

    In retrospect, it felt like Williams was trying to build history and character development in Shadowmarch before he could get to the "real" stuff.  The story was compelling, but not enough to get me to read it very fast.  Shadowplay, on the other hand, had me reading beyond breakfast and lunch, a true mark of a good book.  :)

    Unfortunately for me, though, Williams isn't finished with the third book in the series.  I hope he doesn't take too long, as I have been known to lose interest while waiting for the next book (see Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series - I got so tired of waiting for the next book, and I didn't want to go back and reread the six or seven HUGE novels to get caught back up.  I abandoned the series).

    So now I'm waiting, but I'm putting that time to good use. My three favorite authors have all come out with new books, and because my SOP is to reread the last one before reading the newest one, I have six books lined up!

    I will confess that I've already read Charlaine Harris's From Dead to Worse immediately followed by Dead and Gone.  Back to back, chain reading last Monday, and I can't tell you the last time I did that.

    Now, I'm on to Kim Harrison and The Outlaw Demon Wails. I'm really glad I'm rereading it because I've forgotten so much, and I'd hate to go into White Witch, Black Curse woefully ignorant.

  • Tad Williams: Shadowplay: Volume II of Shadowmarch

    Tad Williams: Shadowplay: Volume II of Shadowmarch

    I said I wouldn't do it again, but I did.  I said I wouldn't read other books and NOT put them on the blog.  It's just that I hadn't technically finished Shadowmarch yet. See, it's a long book, and I was only reading during breakfast and sometimes lunch.

    And then Kathryn MADE me read the Twilight series after she got them for Christmas.  But as soon as I was done reading all four Twilight books, I went right back to Shadowmarch.  I didn't even read my newest Laurell K. Hamilton OR the Kim Harrison book.

    It took me a while to get into Shadowmarch.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with my hiatus. Nothing at all.  The end was the best.  The plot moved long very quickly, and the characters seemed more alive.

    Luckily, since I had Shadowplay on my unread bookshelf, I was able to close Shadowmarch and open Shadowplay.  The second volume picked right up where volume one left off, so that delicious suspense is still there.

    One note: I don't like the cover art for volume two.  I liked Michael Whelan's art much better.  The cover for Shadowplay looks too futuristic, and it's fantasy, not sci-fi.  (I don't have anything against sci-fi.  It's just fantasy books should like fantasy books and vice versa.)

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