A Read for the Archives

This past November was notable for being the first NaNoWriMo in which I not only wrote like a maniac, I did it while also reading through a stack library books. No, I don’t know what I was thinking; yes, I’m mighty pleased for having broken through personal boundaries like an ever-lovin’ boss.

Now that NaNo and “Sun’s Rival” Launch Week are behind me, I can finally start thinking about writing up some reviews, such as this.

The Book: “The Archived (The Archived #1)” by Victoria Schwab.

Genre: Paranormal YA

Archived, The

Blurb: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts: There are books I enjoy. There are books that excite me. And ever so rarely, there is a book where reading it feels like home.

Reading “The Archived” was home.

I think it’s mostly thanks to the prose. Schwab wrote in such a way that pretty much every phrase felt like it just belonged; the kind of writing that reads so easy, you wonder at the amounts of work that had to have gone into the making of the magic.

Of course, in matters of voice, I must give due credit to the speaker – in this case, Mackenzie Bishop. Her telling of the tale held me engaged from start to end, transporting me to and from remembered moments with the grandfather who mentored her and her present life as a Keeper. She finds herself in a challenging position that only gets tougher as the story goes on, and she handles it humanly, full of brave intentions and of choices good and bad.

The Archive itself is a fascinating place, more of a mystery than even Mac at first knows to suspect. (Hats off to Schwab for dreaming up such a premise!) On the other side of things is the normal life she tries to keep separate from her secret job – if getting to live in a cool old hotel counts as officially normal. Also in the almost-too-cool-for-normal category is Wesley, a fun personality in guyliner whom I, for one, would be pleased to make a friend of mine.

As the plot goes on, stakes raise, enigmas intensify, and dangers compound, until the next thing I know, it’s two in the morning, and shut up, bedtime, I’m read— HOLY WOW, I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING, OH NO (in a “yay for shocking revelations” sort of way)!

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Schwab had me at “Vicious”, and “The Archived” gripped me more tightly still. I’ve read a decent number of books, over the course of 2014, and this novel may well tie for favorite. (Sharing the spot with “The Dream Thieves”.) If/when I’ve got post-Christmas book money, this one’s going to have a place on my shelf.

Such are my thoughts on the book. Have any of your own? — on this, or any favorite read of yours from over the course of 2014? Share below!

In Which the Author Interviews the Reader

Once upon a time, a young lady known as Sarnic Dirchi read a book.

“…And I was like, wow,” she says. “This is amazing! I really want to go all crazy questions to the author about so many different things that happened, but I also would love for the author to ask me questions, too! I mean, when I have people read stuff I’ve written, I have a million and a half questions for them. So wouldn’t it be fun if an author interviewed a reader and asked them the questions that they want to know the answers to?”

To that end, S.D. posted a Tweet suggesting that very thing, secretly hoping that the book’s author would take her up on the offer. “Cus I didn’t want to go all crazy fan girl on [the author] and out of the blue message [her] saying HEY INTERVIEW ME AND ASK ME HOW I LIKED YOUR BOOK!, as that would be rather freaky methinks,” S.D. confesses. “But [the author] read my mind and took me up on the idea!”

And that author… *solemn nods*… was me.

Sarnic Dirchi tweet

And that book that inspired it all is, appropriately enough, INSPIRED.

And between reader, writer, and book written, a lovely dialogue was born.

“Reading. Love it to pieces,” says S.D. “It’s always been important in my life…though I didn’t get into serious reading ‘til 4th or 5th grade when I discovered mysteries. Plus it helped that my school started up an A.R. program and I just had to get those points! Whoosh I was off! Tearing through the pages so fast people assume I skim read…which I don’t. I just read fast.”

From there, S.D. went on to become a fantasy fan. “Dragons, magic, different worlds, shape-shifters, epic adventures. That sort of thing. I love stories about the ‘underdogs’ like thieves, slaves, poor peasants and their triumphs at the end.  I do occasionally venture out into other genres, but it’s not often.”

Though not strictly a part of the fantasy genre, S.D. found plenty of fantastic characters in INSPIRED. Musing on muse Lucianíel, she says, “At first he seemed like the ‘father figure.’ The ‘high and mighty’, the ‘all knowing.’ He felt removed from the story; part of it, but not really part of it. The shepherd to the flock, etc. And then he went down the dark path…” Some of Luc’s actions got a real reaction out of her, driving her to cry at the pages, “No! Bad choice! Bad Choice! Don’t do it! … Yikes. Totally scary muse. But oh, the feels!”


While the character of Jean had a smaller role with far less page time, “From the brief glimpses I got of her, I liked her,” S.D. relates. “She seems a lot like me. Taking inspiration from dreams for possible story ideas. Hasn’t gotten quite around to writing them yet in hard form. … Reading her sudden death was what piqued my interest in this book. … If the author is gone…what then? It also sent me to that ‘AH!! I NEED TO GO WRITE!!!… BUT I WANT TO READ!!!’ tug of war when I actually started reading the book for a bit before I decided to keep reading.”

With the special place in S.D.’s heart for shape-shifters, it’s no surprise she enjoyed the character of Abishan. “I love how he was able to change to different cats,” she enthuses. “He wasn’t just a jaguar, he could be a lynx, a lion, a house cat…and then he can turn human like? Oooo! … Most [shapes-hifters], stick to one shape; him, not so. He’s much cooler than that. … [And] he was excellently portrayed like a cat.”

Of Wilbur’s character, S.D. says, “I loved his introductory chapter. It’s just the sort of story that I gravitate to. Farmboy becoming the great warrior! I loved the writing, the scenery, the details. … It’s like Ranger’s Apprentice, but of course, different. And how Annabelle continues to write him, was great. Adventures all around! … I admit I don’t quite get Annabelle’s obsessiveness over [him]…okay I do get it, but the way it came across, I was like O.o But, but there are more characters! Focus on them too! I want to find out their story! However,” she goes on to theorize, “considering she has ‘angelic Luc’ as her other muse…Wilbur seems so much more forgiving. So I often placed them as Ying and Yang in my head. Wilbur is the sort of muse that Annabelle wants. Luc isn’t.”

Uri, she labeled, “…A surprise. Lol, she seemed like such an out of place character in the beginning of the book. I mean, what teenager goes around thinking in biblical verses and signs and such? Especially when she doesn’t come across as the religious sort at first? I really just marked it down as an author’s idea for a character quirk.” Until S.D. reached the revelation of Uri’s surprise backstory, which she declares to be, “AWESOME.”

As for S.D.’s favorite character, that honor goes to Yves. “He’s the sort of character I gravitate to. Quiet. Has a secret. Could be a dark secret. May have a power that could be harmful. To know that he’s aware of it, and doesn’t share. … The mystery of his background, of what his story was? Interest caught, and not leaving until it has an answer. And then to get the answer. ()_() … Yes. [He] is my favorite. No hesitation.”

Which isn’t to say there wasn’t some love left to throw Annabelle’s way. “I totally admire her…for being able to interact with the characters like they’re real people standing right there in front of her. I’ve only been able to do that with a couple of my own, and so to have her so freely having them surrounding her, interacting with her on a day to day basis, doing activities with her, encouraging her when she doesn’t want to do things, or helping her through problems. Wow. Props to her.”

Standout scenes/images for S.D., who loves getting ahold of mental visuals when she reads, include, “Wilbur’s practice yard. Abishan’s jungle. Yves dancing on the bridge and then high above the ground… Oh! And definitely I enjoyed how you described each character. It wasn’t a list of characteristics, but you worded things in such a way that the image just stuck in the mind. It made it easy to keep picturing them and not have to think ‘Wait…what color was Uri’s hair?’ But definitely the one that stuck in my head and had me replaying it for a couple of days afterwards was [*spoilers, spoilers, move along, nothing to see here*] …  I keep repeating that scene, hope it’s not sounding like a broken record, but I really liked it. Seriously, I can’t get that out of my head.”

When asked if she was struck off the top of her head with songs that matched INSPIRED’s cast, S.D. admitted, “I’m not one of those people who matches characters to music, often. …I’m lucky if I know the name to a song…even luckier if I know the artist. Most of the time I just know the lyrics.”

Even so, she was able to come up with a bit of music for a handful of the characters. “When Wilbur is first introduced in the practice yard I think of the song: “United We Stand” from the movie Quest for Camelot. Uri gives me the impression of: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. With Luc a song that comes to mind is called “Home for Me”, by BYU Vocal Point. … But the rest, it’s overall impressions of scenes, most of them, unsurprisingly centering around Yves.”


I owe S.D.’s discovery of the novel to a mutual friend: Kimberly Kay. Says S.D., “When she was working on the One More Day anthology, she talked about you a lot, and if she likes someone, they’re definitely someone to like! Especially if they’re funny, and the interviews between the two of you are great! So I meandered my way over to your blog, Facebook, Twitter…etc. And tada! That’s how I found out about you.” Whether or not that alone would have been enough to make S.D. pick up the book for a read, there was one factor that pushed her over the edge. “The beginning sequence of the book, that you shared on your blog, ending with Jean dying sparked my interest. It sounded like my type of story. What happens when your creator suddenly dies? No idea, but I was about to find out!”

While S.D. enjoyed INSPIRED a great deal, she’s still on the fence about delving into my fairytale novella series. “Knowing what Inspired is like makes me want to try out your Wilderhark Tales, especially Edgwyn’s part of the stories as he is my type of character! But at the moment, the series as a whole hasn’t really struck my fancy. However,” she goes on to say of my someday-beyond-the-Wilderhark-Tales Outlaws of Avalon trilogy, “I would love to read about Will Scarlet and the Robin Hood Gang; again, that sort of tale is up my alley in ‘things I like to read.’”

Regarding the possibility of an INSPIRED sequel, S.D. is of two minds. “I’m totally intrigued to see what crazy antics can happen next! But then I’m like O.o why do you need a sequel? As really, Inspired felt like a standalone book. I was happy with the ending (as happy as a reader can be when they want to know more about characters and don’t get the info they crave…), and that it actually felt like an ending and not a ‘wait another year and you can see book 2!’ sort of thing that’s become all too common. That being said, I’m hopeful that a book 2 will expand out the current set of characters…and introduce new characters. I’d also love to see how everyone has evolved since the first book. So yah! I’ve decided that I would look forward to it. What will happen to them next???”

Also on S.D.’s INSPIRED wish-list, “I wish to read everyone’s stories as a whole! The tantalizing pieces I read in Inspired have me wishing to actually have everyone’s books in my hands. Wilbur, Yves, Uri, Shan. I want more!”

Time will tell what my own muses prompt me to deliver to S.D. and her fellow readers next. I can only hope that getting the chance to chat with the author about the story has helped to sweeten the wait. Her closing words would suggest that is the case.

“Thanks so much for the interview D.S! This was a ton of fun. ^^”

The pleasure was mine, S.D.! You’ve been a wonderful audience, and I am nothing but delighted that reading my work filled your imagination to bursting. Now get out there, write your own masterwork, and do it all over again for some other reader. ;D

P.S. – If any other readers o’ mine out there are ever interested in doing something like this, you know how to reach me!

“BBF Post, Day 3” or “On Reading and Writing with Aisazia!”

July BBF button copy

It’s Day Three of the Blogger Book Fair! And since I’m not scheduled to host any authors today, I thought I’d spend today’s post directing your attention to Aisazia (or Aisa, for short), a blogger who was kind enough to not only read and review my fairytale novella, but to offer me a chance to write a guest post for her blog, OriginiquEquanimity.

So, to read about how much Aisa likes “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)” – which, I’m pleased to report, is rather a lot ^.^ – click here!

And to read my gastronomic metaphor for reading and writing – which is kind of ironic, given how often I forget to eat while deep inside of Storyland – click here!

Thanks for the time and double web space, Aisa! And any/everyone, leave a comment below for entry into my Blogger Book Fair Raffle! One lucky-duck winner will receive a free paperback copy ofThe Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”, a set of “Swan Prince” bookmarks, AND the bookmark set for the upcoming Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales, “The Stone Kingdom”! Only two days left to enter! Winner announced: Friday, July 26th!

AND, ALSO, ADDITIONALLY, PLUS: Sheri of the Shut Up & Read blog is hosting the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards, in which “The Swan Prince” is entered in the Fantasy/Young Adult category! To win in my category, I NEED YOUR VOTES! When last I checked, I had a pretty decent lead, but my competitors could turn it around if we give them the chance, so… let’s not! Winning would mean an invaluable promotional opportunity for my book, so please, I ask you – all and individually – on my knees, with whipped cream and cherries or whatever tasty thing makes you happy: Go here and cast your vote for “The Swan Prince. (You’ll find it under “Fantasy-Young Adult (3)”!)

Let me know you did so, and I’ll throw in another 5 raffle entries for you. And if your votes end up carrying me to victory… I’m doubling my BBF raffle prize! Two names drawn, two paperbacks, two sets of “Swan Prince” and “Stone Kingdom” bookmarks! (And yes, the rules totally allow shameless campaigning for support, so I will not be above begging for the entirety of BBF week, nor will I cry foul if any of you wish to campaign on my behalf. On the contrary, I may go teary-eyed with appreciation.)

That’s all for today, kids. Come back here tomorrow for more Blogger Book Fair fun!

“Thank-You-Ma’am” or “Fan Mail to My Perfect Fan”

Hey, Momma – did you know a “thank-you-ma’am” is defined as “a bump or depression in the road”? “From its causing the head to nod as though in acknowledgment of a favor”, it says. Amazing, the bits of trivia a glance through a dictionary can turn up.

In other news…

"It's your birthday?!"
“It’s your birthday?!”

It’s your birthday! And since I gave Daddy his very own blog post in recognition of his birthday, I can in good conscience do no less for you today. ‘Cause, y’know, you’re just as special. (:

So let’s take a few moments to celebrate the role you’ve played in making me the awesome author gal on the brink of publication we all know and love today, why don’t we?

You gave birth to me. Obvious, but vital.

You treated me like a wordsmith-to-be from day one. No baby talk between you and me, oh no. (Not until these last few years, anyway.) Your one-sided conversation showed Infant Me how English was supposed to sound, and your intolerance for non-words like “lookit” guided my early communication toward a healthy formality. Everyone who compliments me as well-spoken has you to thank.

You taught me that every character has his or her own voice. All your patient repetitions of “Spot” flap-books really drove that lesson home. Turtles advising us to “try the basket” sound different from lions declaring, “No one can see me!” With your example before me – not to mention countless hours of your audio book picks in the kitchen and on the road – I learned how reading aloud can make a story leap off the page, and how crucial it is to let each character I create sound true to their individual selves.

Spot and I share this in common.
Spot and I share this in common.

You let it be okay to treat fiction as reality. If I wanted to be Sherlock Holmes, you handed me a deerstalker cap and set me off on a Birthday Hunt mystery. When my obsessions moved in a more boy band and “Lord of the Rings” direction, you arranged for the Backstreet Boys and some Scottish pirate person growling about Aragorn to leave me a string of touching messages on the phone’s answering machine. And even now, you’ll buddy around with Will Scarlet when he bursts into our conversations, like he does. As interesting an experience as it might have been to get sent to a mental institution, I like the way you deal with me better.

You always supported my creative endeavors. …Even if the endeavor was a big glob of colored glue. You never begrudged my colossal wastes of paper on treasure maps to nowhere, board games with no rules, summonses, ventriloquist dummies, and of course, stories. You gave me pretty much free rein to dabble in artistic media, and when I eventually decided that my strongest passion lay in writing, you rooted for me 100%. You became one of my first critique partners and complaint buddies about writerly pet peeves; a listening ear when I need to talk through story stumbles, and a sometimes surprising source of inspiration; a wall between the world’s bothersome distractions and my writer’s cave; and the first person I want to go to with either hard disappointments or heady victories. I don’t know how authors without amazing mommies do it.

You pretty much did everything there was to do, shy of writing my stories for me. I’m glad you left that part to me. I happen to love my job, more or less as much as I love you.

Thank you, ma’am, Backstreet-style. I luvva you.

Momma and Me, circa her 55th Birthday

“Questions” or “Ask, and Ye Shall Hopefully Come Up With Some Answers”

As I start brainstorming new ideas for my next writing project, I’ve found myself wondering: Will anyone want to read this?

It’s a little odd, for me, since this is not a question I usually bother with. My more typical “interrogative sentences, phrases, or gestures” are:

– Who is this story about?

– What are they doing?

– Why are they doing that?

– Do I care about this, yet? Alright, then what’s next?

– How can I work XYZ in?

– Ooh, wait – what if…?!

– What goes horrifically wrong?

– How do they feel about that?

– How do they deal with it?

– Wait, does that make any sense? Okay, good, it’s explainable. So now what?

– How many miles between Vegas and Yellowstone, again?

– How in the world does this end?

Any thoughts about my future audience will run more along these lines:

– When and how do I plant this clue so they won’t see the surprise coming, but it won’t feel out of the blue?

– Are people going to be able to empathize with this character?

– Will they have any chance in heck of pronouncing this name correctly?

For the most part, though, I don’t think much about the readers while writing, other than to remind myself to keep the book readable. The first reader I’m aiming to please is me, since I’ll probably be spending more time with this book than anyone. The second is Tirzah, since she’s my writing buddy/beta tester/soul sister and practically has joint custody of some of my characters.

Beyond that, yeah, I’d love to have more satisfied readers than an audience of two. But I can’t predict what everyone will like. And even if I did, I don’t know that I’d let that dictate my writing.

If all I wanted was to sell books, it would be a different story. Then it would be mostly, or possibly all, about writing what a big chunk of the population would want to read. And there would be nothing wrong with that, if selling books were my first goal. But it isn’t.

My first goal is to write stories I love. My second goal is to have other people love them, too. Goal 2.2 involves making money off of that love, and Goal 3 involves Walt Disney Animation Studios and Broadway.

Goal 1 plus Goal 3 would look something like “Paperman”. Haven’t seen this short film yet? Totally have, but just feel like watching it again? Got 7 minutes? Click the pic and go for it.
Goal 1 plus Goal 3 would look something like “Paperman”. Haven’t seen this short film yet? Totally have, but just feel like watching it again? Got 7 minutes? Click the pic and go for it.

So maybe I’m asking myself the wrong question, at this brainstorming stage. Maybe what I need to be asking is:

– How can I thrill myself?

– Which characters will I want to hang out with forever?

– What book can I pull out of me that will make me so super proud that I wrote it?

Selfish-seeming questions, on the surface. But I believe that the best work comes forward when the artist’s heart is wholly behind it. In the end, my readers will be far better off for my thinking of them second.

Back to thinking of first things first, then: Who is this story about?

“Booker” or “More Book…? Not Sure It Really Matters, Since ‘Book’ Isn’t Much Used as an Adjective”

Four blog posts in as many days? Seriously?? Am I out of my Ever-On-Word-bloggin’ mind?!

Well, yeah. But as regards my packed blogging schedule this week, I can explain myself.

It was gonna just be the Buccaneer Blogfest posts and my “Superhero” post that I was just too excited about to let sit in my queue any longer. But then came a pleasant surprise in the form of an award from fellow Buccaneer Kendra of the Flame Writer blog. And as both the award and this Buccaneer Blogfest week are totally book-related, it seemed meet to me that today be the day I formally accept…

(That’s “The {Booker} Award: For those who refuse to live in the real world”, in case the pic’s not showing up, for whatever Technology Fiend-instigated reason.)

Quoting Kendra on the rules: “To receive this award, the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is OK). Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books. (More than five is OK.) You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.”

I mentioned the titles of several favorite books during Monday’s biblio-psych session. Here’s my chance to go into a bit more detail as to why those books are by m’self so much beloved.

Montmorency” (and sequels) by Eleanore Updale – History YA fiction that actually doesn’t have many characters in the young-adult age range. When we first meet Montmorency, he’s just a young man, age unspecified. Old enough to serve a term in prison, evidently, and then go out and steal his way into an independent Victorian London gentleman’s lifestyle, with help from his scruffy alter-ego, Scarper. I love reliving his dual persona, public transformation, and adventures, and re-meeting his varied and interesting friends (including a kind doctor, a jovial spy, and a clever gal plucked from the gutter) and enemies (among them… well, a bunch of really dangerous people). I like these books more than words can satisfactorily convey. Hey, You Should Read Them.

The Story Girl” by L.M. Montgomery – Kids being old-school kids on the picturesque Prince Edward Island (a locale which came to fictional prominence via another Montgomery work, “Anne of Green Gables”). The largely episodic escapades of Beverley (the narrator and, despite what the name may have had you first assume, a boy), his brother and cousins, and of course Sarah Stanley (a.k.a. the titular Story Girl, so called for her mad storytelling skillz) are all innocent hilarity. I loved the sequel, too, but for some reason, I don’t own it. I must remedy that.

The Bonemender” (and sequels) by Holly Bennett – The term “bonemender” equating to “healer”, and referring to main heroine Gabrielle, daughter of monarchs, sister to one of my favorite literary princes (*takes a brief moment to sigh over Tristan*), and friend to a wonderful bunch of elves. (Significantly more than friends to one of them, actually.) Again, most of the characters are adults – which, according to the principles of biblio-psych, suggests that I like books by adults, about adults, that aren’t so much written to adults. (My “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” falls into that category.) So, yeah. A fantasy adventure with characters I adore. Good stuff.

The Frog Princess” by E.D. Baker – The old “Frog Prince” fairytale gets an overhaul. Princess Emeralda of Greater Greensward kisses a frog claiming to be Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista, and… oops, now they’re both frogs. (If this sounds eerily similar to Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” to you, nice call; the movie was loosely inspired by the book.) Magical mayhem ensues for several books to come. (The first three are my favorite, though I only own 1 and 4). I take multiple moments to grin goofily over Eadric. (Yeah, yeah, thieves and princes. Throw in a minstrel and a fox, and you’ve got me fourfold.) And Emma and Eadric are actually young adults, so ha! (Not sure who the laugh’s on, but ha anyway!)

And for my fifth, I select The Outlaws of Sherwood” by Robin McKinley – …Which I totally talked about yesterday, so there you go.

And now for my Booker Award nominees!

Amanda Foody of It’s All in My Head

Amy of Chasing the Crazies

Ariel K. Price

Ash Silverlock of Fabulous Realms

And Leigh Townsend of Butterflies and Dragons (whose name doesn’t start with my beautiful pattern letter “A”, so thank my obsessive-compulsive stars for “And”)

Congratulations, honored recipients! Thanks again, Kendra! Happy reading, booklovers everywhere, and may your lives be even booker than ever they were. (:

“HYSRT!” or “Of Thieves of Fish, Et Cetera”

Sometimes you read something that just gives you pleasure. You can’t always say just which chord was struck and why (or maybe you’re having a good wordsmith day and can say it with the eloquent beauty of minstrel song), but there it is: You read it, and you relished it, and you want somebody, somewhere, to know about it.

I feel that way a lot when submerged in the words of Louise Jaques. My friend’s lyrical lines of poetry/poetic prose are most often to be found at her blog, but the piece I’m featuring today was a guest post on the blog of another (Stef, by name), “Dodging Commas”. (Double sharing points! Gotta love the blogosphere.)

The feature, “Swimming in a Language Sea”, speaks of that readers’ pleasure with which I opened this post, and of the writers’ high that such pleasure so often inspires. So if you are, like me, a lover of language and ravenous reader – and perchance a writer, to boot – then Hey: You Should Read This.

“Swimming in a Sea of Words” by Rachel Ashe, as seen here: http://rachaelashe.com/2009/12/22/altered-book-swimming-in-a-sea-of-words/