Can I just brag about my mom for minute?

Me and my mom at the Life, the Universe and Everything Conference, where she ROCKED as a presenter.

Me and my mom at the Life, the Universe and Everything Conference, where she ROCKED as a presenter.

I know. It isn’t even Mothers’ Day. But I just finished reading one of my mom’s books–Maddie, Maddie Flying High–and I feel like bragging. The woman is a huge inspiration to me. In so many ways. Right now, though, I’m going to focus on how she inspires me as a writer.

I don’t think there was a time in my life when I didn’t know my mom wanted to be a writer. Okay, technically, I guess she always was one. She was a journalist for a while, she got short stories published in real-life magazines, she did a ton of scholarly and non-fiction writing. Her DREAM was to be a novelist.

She used to tell us kids that if we wanted something we should just work hard and do what it took to get it. Luckily for us, since we didn’t always believe the things she said, she’s made her life a living example of that principle.

She was always working on her novels. Maddie, Maddie Flying High was probably one of the first ones she ever finished. I remember reading pieces of it when I was a kid. Seemed like life was always getting in the way of her fulfilling this particular dream, though.

Whether it was illness in the family, having to work far beyond the hours of a normal full-time job, all of her several offspring having emotional (or other) breakdowns at the same time, or all of these and more combined. She really had to fight to make enough time and energy for herself to write.

A few years ago, when she was finally able to get her first novel published–Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone from her Entomological Tales series–I think it gave a sense of validation to the whole family, not just her. There was this awesome satisfaction in being able to say, “Mom did it.”

(Plus, the book is SO cool. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because, you know, it’s my mom, but I loved it.)

And what I think is just as cool as her getting published–and continuing to publish, and getting awards–is the fact that she’s allowed us to see her process, all the hard work it’s taken to get to this point. She would talk to us about her dream, she let us read her work even when it wasn’t perfected yet, she actually listened to our sometimes tactless advice, she’d talk to us about her frustrations with the process.

What this really did for us was to teach us that we can do it too. Whatever our dreams are, we can achieve them with hard work. I use her example every day to keep myself moving forward with my own dreams, and I have every confidence that it’s going to pay off. Because I have a good example that shows me it can.

So yeah. My mom is awesome. Check her out–Dene Low:

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And stay tuned for one of these days when I brag a bunch about my dad too. (Man, my family is so cool.)

Like a Thief in the Night

Finally finished The Thief, the first book in Megan Whalen Turner‘s Attolia series. It’s taken WEEKS to read since it’s one that my husband and I are reading together (cutest thing in the world, right?) and we haven’t had as much time for reading lately.

I’m way into the story, though, and I love so much about the way that Megan Whalen Turner writes. The problem is that if I were to try to talk about a lot of the things I liked I would have to give away plot points, and one of my favorite characteristics about the book is the way it reveals things so subtly and develops so naturally. The book provides interesting surprises that don’t make you feel tricked and that add to the magic of the story. So there’s no way I’m going to risk spoiling that for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Turner’s written a nice balance between humor and drama, natural language and lyrical. The mythologies of the world are especially beautiful. I’ve gone back and reread some of them.

My friend who recommended the series to me said that it starts out simple and measured and then builds and builds until it’s really epic. After just the first book I can feel that build already and I’m way excited to dip even further into the story.

Been reading the book on the Kindle Apps on our phones. Already downloaded the 2nd book. YAY!

Been reading the book on the Kindle Apps on our phones. Already downloaded the 2nd book. YAY!