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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Really great books, really big despair

When you want to be a published writer, you usually also love to read. But sometimes that love of reading can make you feel ... horribly, horribly depressed.

Look, I know you shouldn't compare yourself to others, and you shouldn't engage in long-term moping. But sometimes, a little mope is just what the doctor ordered. This may have something to do with the fact that my Day Job has been bonkers as of late and writing time is hard to come by, but lately all I want to do is bake as my To Do List grows.

And now and then, have a little mope.

So here's my list of books I wish I could have written. This is not an exhaustive list, nor are these all of my favorite books. Each of these books does something I think I am not great at -- they surprise the reader. (I'm more of the "unsubtly-signal-where-you-'re-going-for-pages-and-pages" type of writer, but I'm working on it.) It's not a completely negative cause, since hopefully you all will see some books you'd like to read.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
(Don't Wikipedia it, because it's got one heck of a twist.)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
(No, I don't have a thing for books with a weird twist in the middle, why do you ask?)

Mind Games by Kiersten White
(The first one without a twist, but with a unique concept that was somehow also instantly relateable.)

White Cat by Holly Black
(Ditto to Kiersten White above -- this weird mix of mob story and fantasy somehow didn't even take 10 pages to get into.) 

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
(To be honest, sometimes Michael Connelly doesn't manage to char my tree, but when he's on his game, he's really on his game. And I can't think of anyone who does the legal thriller better than him.)

Have you ever read a book and thought, "Damn. Wish I'd had that idea."?






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Now with pictures!



 

Echo says my blog posts are boring when they are transferred to my website tumblr and that I'm going to have to start taking more pictures. I shall attempt to oblige.

1. Peaches from my dad's orchard. I made a peach pie and it turned out pretty tasty (though not terribly pretty due to my poor edge-crimping skills, and therefore you don't get a picture of the final product.)

Here's the recipe, if you're so inclined to make a pie of your own:

CRUST (this is my go-to crust recipe. I use it for all pies, unless the recipe calls for something wildly different.)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baker's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (use slightly less if it's sea salt)
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I have substituted with apple cider vinegar, I don't think it makes a difference at all)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg, water, and vinegar; stir into flour mixture just until moistened. (Ru's editor's note: I know it says to combine the shortening first, then mix the egg, water, and vinegar, and then combine it all ... but I have always dumped it all into the Kitchenaid and felt fine about the results. LAZINESS!) Divide dough into two balls, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

FILLING
5 cups of sliced and peeled peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 cup white baker's sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Suggestion: One beaten egg, or 1 tablespoon milk/1 tablespoon sugar mixture

Sprinkle peaches with lemon juice, mix carefully. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Carefully pour dry ingredients over peaches, mix carefully. You don't want your peaches getting bruised and mushy. (Though it will still taste fine even if you do.) 

Line the bottom of your pie dish with one of your pie dough balls. Brush the crust with beaten egg- this prevents your crust from getting too soggy. Pour the filling mixture into pie crust. Take the 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into smaller pieces, and dot the top of the filling. Cover pie with the top crust (full crust or lattice is fine.) Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg mixture, or the milk-sugar mix described above. This will make the top of your crust turn shiny and light brown.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. If your crusts get too brown, you can use a pie crust shield like this one, or just cover your edges with aluminum foil halfway through baking.

2. MIRACLE SALSA!

This is the best salsa ever. If you live in Salt Lake City, or visit during the summer and early autumn months, go to the downtown farmer's market on Saturday and BUY THIS. You won't regret it.

3. Spencer's new bowtie collar. It's the Union Jack because he's British.

4. This is known as a "Snowy Awesome" and Diego's boyfriend ... "Wally," or "G'wally" for "Gay Wally," as Hannah's boyfriend is also named "Wally"/"S'wally" ... and I found it at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market. (It was a weekend of farmer's markets! The first one was for the Miracle Salsa and Spenny's bowtie. The second one was for Undescribed Research Project.)

It's a cored pineapple filled with shaved ice, ice cream, and sweetened condensed milk. We shared one and ended up eating about five bites each. It was the most delicious kind of overkill.

Friday, August 16, 2013

This lame blog post brought to you by ...

The Civil Wars
The National
The Lumineers
and
The Nashville Soundtrack (don't be a judgypants)


And the question, "Why do so many bands start with 'the' these days?"

(I'm also listening to Capital Cities and Coconut Records, but that didn't fit my "The" theme.)

This weekend, I am going to the Farmer's Market where I will get some Miracle Salsa (if you haven't had it, you're missing out), spend at least an hour on the porch reading The Cuckoo's Calling, write, draft up some copyright permission letters, and if I'm lucky, make a peach pie.

Big plans, friends, big plans.

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Confession time

1. I cry pretty much through all of The Prince of Egypt, especially when the little kids start singing in Hebrew in the middle of "When You Believe." The tears immediately dry up, however, when Moses does his Fist Pump of Triumph, which honestly seems a bit out of place in ancient times.

(Also, does anyone else think it's just a teeny bit awkward that The Prince of Egypt ends with Moses coming off Mount Sinai with the 10 commandments, and everyone who has read The Bible or seen the original Charlton Heston movie knows that he's in for a maaaaaajor disappointment, but the cartoon immediately transitions to a Whitney Houston-Mariah Carey duet? No?)

2. I spend an unhealthy amount a little too much time thinking about how I'm single, and how the prospects non-spinsterhood are dim. (Even my bishop, who is ecclesiastically obligated to be my Ever Hopeful Matchmaker, says so. Exact quote: "Twenty-nine? Well, that's gonna limit your options.")

Which is crazy, because who DOESN'T want a girl who cries during The Prince of Egypt, amiright?

Badump-ching!





(The jokes, they always tie together in the end.)

Les Cousins Dangereux

I watched Dangerous Liaisons with the roommates last night, and I couldn't stop thinking about how this book-turned play-turned movie-turned multiple remakes-turned musical-turned musical within a TV show would do really well written as retelling, for either adults or new adults.

And then I realized everyone would just think it was a rip-off of Cruel Intentions.

(Still can't stop thinking about it, but seriously, who is with me? Could you do a modern Dangerous Liaisons without everyone thinking about that Ryan Philippe movie?)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Heeeeeey yooooou guuuuuys

I guest-posted. Twice!

The first time was on categories of fiction. The second time was on this new-fangled "new adult" concept.

Go check them out and let me know what you think! And if you're interested in guest-posting, my friend Gina would probably looooove to have you.

(This post has been brought to you by an overabundance of vowels.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Announcing ... something very exciting

Friends, countrymen, citizens of the Internets:

I have a website.

www.ruthannesnow.com

If you've checked out my tab on 30 by 30, you will have noticed two things. One, that I'm almost 29 and a half, and I still haven't come up with thirty goals. Two, that my very first goal on the list is "publish a book."

I hope you know that, when I am doing a terrible job blogging, I am working on some of those goals. Or watching TV. Both worthy pursuits.

As we all know, in 2013, you've got to have an online presence in addition to being a good writer. So in addition to stepping up my writing game from "enjoyable hobby" to "serious pursuit," I have tried to tweet more (But it's hard! I much prefer reading everyone else's tweets!), created a Facebook author page (Gag, I know, I hate me too), and hired my dear sister Emma (Eep! A real name!) to build me a bitchin' website.

Now, I'm not artistically inclined, personally, which is why I am so delighted that Emma and her cohorts are Squarehook (like them on facebook here) are. They took all my random ideas (I like things that are simple and black and white, but I like bright colors. Not too many bright colors. Photos of downtown? Not too many pages. But enough pages. Oh, and a Spencer logo!) and turned them into a pretty sweet website, if I do say so myself.

Not only is the website aesthetically pleasing, but it's pretty functional, too. Squarehook specializes in mobile-accessible websites, meaning that my site will not look all wonks when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. And soon, Emma is going to teach me how to update everything on my own, so I won't need to pester her every time I want a change. (Thanks, Emma!) Squarehook both designs awesome websites, and creates a user-friendly tool so customers can become mini-webmasters themselves.

The website is, of course, a work in progress, in that I hope it someday describes my books, or includes quotes from (or about!) my books, but for now, I'm pretty dang pleased with how everything has gone.

If you could check out my website and let me know if there's anything you think I'm missing, I would seriously appreciate it. (Also, if you have any ideas for goals for me? Completing my list of goals should seriously be part of my 30 by 30 ...)

And if you have any website needs of your own, be they big or small, please check out Squarehook. You will not be disappointed.

Edited to add: Emma's office number is 801-386-9828, and she would love to talk to anyone who is interested a potential website. She wanted me to make sure you all know that they have a wide range of prices (heck, that's why I went to them), so really, no project is too small.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Punctilio

Definition:
1.  a minute detail of conduct in a ceremony or in observance of a code;
2. careful observance of forms (as in social conduct). 
 
I have been thinking about this word a lot lately. (For realsies.)

Any fun words you would like to share?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Anxiety attack

I used to have anxiety attacks. I didn't know that's what they were, though.

I've been in San Francisco, visiting friends and doing ... stuff ... for an entity or group ... that may or may not pay me for my services. (I meant that to sound vague, but it came out a little prostitutey. For the record: I am not a prostitute.)

While in San Francisco, I pulled a typical RuthAnne move and found myself wandering in the sketchiest part of town. For reference, it's called "The Tenderloin," despite the efforts of San Franciscan leadership trying to rebrand it as "The TL." It smells like pee and it's filled with people muttering, "Crack! PCP! Meth!" to indicate what products they might be willing to buy and/or sell. The further I ventured into the Tenderloin, the worse the situation got. I had no plan other than to Just Keep Going and hope that eventually there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.

(FYI: If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you are going to think City Hall is that light. It isn't, but it's close.)

This is not the first time I have found myself in a strange place, wandering around somewhere I had no business being.

Which brings me back to the anxiety attacks.

Once upon a time, I was a wee little college student in Mexico on spring break. A group of my friends had all headed down together and one night my friends wanted to go to a club. I tagged along, assuming that I would also want to go.

And then, for no reason, I did not.

And when I say I did not want to go to the club, I mean I physically would have rather licked the touristy, Mexican sidewalk than go into that club. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't evaluate the situation rationally, and the next thing I knew I told one of my friends, "Hey, I'm heading back to the hotel!" and jumping into a cab by myself.

If you were to ask me then why I left, I would have given you a seemingly-normal explanation. I didn't want to pay the $20 cover when I wasn't going to be drinking. My outfit was lame. The thought of a foam party seemed wildly unhygienic. I had a headache.

And if you had asked me if any of those reasons justified running off in Mexico by myself, I would have continued down the merry justification. This was a tourist town. People are inherently good. I speak a little Spanish.

But the fact is, things like depression and anxiety and all the rest don't really make a lot of sense.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thing I do not care for:

Standing ovations.

I really would appreciate it if we would all just agree to remain seated, and that a room full of clapping people is honor enough.

Anything you don't like for no particular reason?

Friday, August 2, 2013

They call me Stacey, they call me Jane

I have a secret.

My name isn't Ru.

ARE YOU SHOCKED?

I know, you're totally not.

Slowly but surely, I've got to transition from semi-anonymous-girl to ... slightly-less-anonymous-girl.

It's probably always going to be important for me to keep my writing life separate from my self as LawyerGirl. I hope this doesn't come as a shock to anyone, but most writers don't make much money. Even if I didn't love being a lawyer (which I do), I would need to keep my day job. You guys, I

More than that, I am not into ... whatever it is ... that causes people to want to share all their personal, intimate details on the internet.

And Then She Was Like Blah Blah Blah: Funny Stories, No Relationship Problems or Naked Toddlers (TM).

But when it came time to pick a pseudonym, I kind of didn't know what I wanted. I mean, the goal is to one day be able to sign this name on something, and I knew it would be weird to sign Cindy Lightballoon or whatever.

So I picked ...

RuthAnne Snow.

People who know me in real life might be rolling their eyes right now, thinking I've made some sort of pun -- and if that's you, shhhhhh, keep it to yourself. My life as LawyerGirl depends on a ladies-n-gentlemen's agreement with all you folks, so be cool, okay?

But I'm actually not making a joke at all. Ruth Snow was my grandma's name. And that seemed like a better choice than any other I could have made.

So if you all could help me transition into the world of Sort Of Identifying Myself, I would really appreciate it. If you could "like" my (gulp) Facebook author page, I would be eternally grateful.

https://www.facebook.com/RuthAnneSnow

(PS - In case you, like me, never quite got the deal with "liking" things on Facebook, here it is. Amazon and Google factor in Facebook likes when they calculate where you fall in search results. REALLY. So here's to pimping ourselves out!)