Monday, March 31, 2008

bitch & whine

The big spring book sale at the library is now behind us. We sold a ton of used books, donated a ton to Goodwill and I survived the experience without doing bodily harm to anyone. I think I managed to even keep my trap shut and not spout off any snarky comments. During times of stress my inner snarkiness surfaces....organizing a boatload of paperbacks, battling a sinus headache from the book dust and then trying to keep the bookstore operating equals stress. I just kept thinking about the one box I unpacked that set us all laughing. Beautiful black box with pink accents, nice lettering....from a liquor store....yes, I have found my next wine purchase. Bitch lie. Can just hear it now...."Do you have some of that Bitch wine??"

My household continued to function, kids got fed and hauled to where they needed to be. The tonsil kid is still in recovery mode, but we go for the post op visit tomorrow. Her throat still looks like a petri dish gone wonky. Nasty, but less nasty than it was 10 days ago.

No writing last week. I didn't even try. I didn't even read...too damn tired by the time I got home to crack open a book. Today I played catch up and cleaned the dog fur tumbleweeds blowing through the kitchen, scrubbed bathrooms and did six loads of laundry. Oh, and I went to the grocery store.

My exciting life......the rest of the week looks pretty open though....I have high hopes for opening Maddy Blue back up and working on it. I also had an epiphany about the YA book and may see what I can flesh out in that story. Both are still on my mind, just wish I could find the time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

spies and mutant kids

The books I read this week have absolutely nothing in common. But, for the sake of time and space, I'm lumping them together in to one blog post/review. Also, for the sake of time and space, I'm not going to ramble on or try to invent some special way to capture their essence. So, here is the gist of it.

Lauren Willig's spy series is totally witty, clever, unique and very fun. The latest book was entertaining and a joy to read. I loved the two main characters because they are not the most likeable of people, but are very real. Thumbs up to "The Seduction of the Crimson Rose."

James Patterson is a literary juggernaut. His YA series about mutant kids is entertaining, but not as well written as some other YA books with similar themes. They are very commercial and almost formulaic. They entertain, but they don't bring anything new to the table. Good reads for kids who enjoy action packed stories. "School's out Forever" also gets a thumbs up, but with the caveat that these are geared towards the lower end of the YA market and should be read with that in mind.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

jello and spies

The patient is doing well....eating without being bullied into it and enjoying some quality video games.

To keep my sanity, being housebound for 72 hours does a real number on my nerves, I read Lauren Willig's latest in her Pink Carnation spy series. I will try and post a bit on that very fun read tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

the table analogy and Anne Rice

I finished reading the latest Anne Rice book last week. "The Road to Cana" is the second in her Christ the Lord series. I don't want to spend a lot of time recapping the story, most people know it, but the book begins just prior to Jesus' public ministry and ends with the wedding at Cana.

What is so striking about this novel and its predecessor is the voice Rice uses. I'm a big Anne Rice fan and have read almost all of her novels. She writes with intricate detail, the imagery is lush and opulent. If we are talking tables, think of the most ornate, carved glossy wood piece you have ever seen. In these last two books, her voice draws to mind a Shaker style. Spare, concise and beautiful in its simplicity.

Some of the passages in "The Road to Cana" are breathtaking in their insight, not because she tries to 'wow' the reader with incredible theological truths, but because she employs such simple and common words to create profound beauty.

After I read the first book, I fired off an email to Anne Rice and she was kind enough to respond in short order. I explained how I felt everything she had written before enabled her to write this story simply and clearly. We exchanged thoughts on our shared Catholic faith. Her writing journey and indeed her faith journey are interesting to study. She will leave a unique legacy for writers and Christians.

My blogging may be a bit sparse this week. The offspring are on spring break and the middle one is having her tonsils out today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the short leash

I sat and stared at the blinking cursor yesterday for several minutes before I stood up and walked away from my laptop. I had nothing. No characters bopping around in my head. No scenes unfolding like a movie on slow motion. No witty bits of dialogue knocking around inside my mind.

After I wandered through the kitchen for a bit, I poured myself a diet Lipton green tea. I eventually sat back down and opened up the Maddy Blue file. My intent yesterday was to write something new. I wanted to create and give life to something shiny and fresh. It wasn't to be. Instead I spent three hours editing the completed urban fantasy manuscript. Maddy was holding me back, I'm tethered to her story right now and on a very short leash.

For some weird reason, I just don't feel like I will have anything new to put down on pages until I finish Maddy's current story. The creative well is boarded up and a really pissed off demon slayer with three mortgages to pay, an undead husband and a cranky boss holds the key.

She scares me with that wild hair and loose cannon attitude. I guess I better do what she wants and finish polishing her story. She gave me a pass today as I'm on bookstore duty. But she was very clear that cleaning the house doesn't have to take all day and I better carve out some time for her or else handcuffing me to the laptop might become an option. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a total treat

I would have finished "Kitty and the Silver Bullet" in one afternoon, but I purposefully set the book down and prolonged the experience. Finished the last chapter and the epilogue this morning.

Carrie Vaughn's books just keep getting better. In this latest Kitty Norville book, we find our lovely werewolf headed back to Denver due to a family medical emergency. Not only does Kitty have to deal with a sick parent, but she also winds up embroiled in a vampire political power play that puts her in direct conflict with her old pack.

Vaughn doles out the action with a deft hand. With a generous dollop of conflict, great character reveals and witty dialogue, the latest Kitty book is the best yet. The next installment is due in the fall. I can't hardly wait.

Monday, March 10, 2008

plot threads tied up HERE

I bought Kim Harrison's "The Outlaw Demon Wails" last weekend at the store and finished it in short order. I love the world Harrison has created and posted last week about how much I admire her knack for creating such messy baggage carrying characters.

This latest book in the Rachel Morgan series serves as a bridge piece. Lots of information passed along to explain the who/what/when and where stuff. I don't think it is a spoiler to reveal that Kisten's murder isn't solved. Likewise, it isn't a spoiler to say we learn a whole lot more about Rachel and come to understand her on a whole new level.

All the regular characters are present and a new head vamp, Rynn Cormel, is introduced. All in all, the book will whet the appetite of Harrison's fans, but don't start here. This is definitely a back story type of book with just enough action to keep the reader engaged.

Up next, Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty and the Silver Bullet."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

snow day

Holy crap, the white stuff came roaring into town with a vengeance yesterday. Of course, that didn't stop us from heading over to the local multiplex with our Canadian neighbors for a movie. We piled into the hubby's AWD and made tracks to see "Jumper." Which, by the way, is a pretty fun flick. More geared towards the teenage set than us middle age folks, but I laughed, had fun and ate a big bag of peanut M&Ms.

Due to the weather, soccer is obviously canceled for the day. I imagine the big Fr. Horn practice is canceled too....not good as solo/ensemble is coming up. Heck, I even bet my friend the library director will close the library!

The thing about getting 5 inches of snow, yes I took the tape measure out and measured what was on the picnic table, is that my town doesn't have the equipment to handle it. Got plenty of bubba's with gun racks, but not so many with plows on the front of those big old pickup trucks. I think our town owns one snow plow. Shovels, you've got to be joking.

And the ironic thing is that even though hubby and I grew up driving in the white, flaky fun, most folks around here didn't. But, they think since they have a SUV they know what they are doing. Best to stay off the road and let their egos help them right into the nearest ditch.
The picture is taken outside my kitchen window. I've got a big pot of coffee brewing, the paper to read and a silent house. I'm sure the neighborhood kids will be up and out building snow people before the morning is over.
Enjoy the weekend...this damn Yankee is fixing to!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

messy, flawed, yummy goodness

I'm almost finished reading Kim Harrison's "The Outlaw Demon Wails." I enjoy Harrison's novels for a number of reasons, but the main one is she isn't afraid to hurt her characters and throw at them a variety of horrible situations that show the messy flawed nature of their inner selves. This is the same reason I enjoy reading Lilith Saintcrow.

I think I'm drawn to characters I have a really hard time writing. Exploring the deep dark morass I know my characters have just doesn't come easy for me. I avoid it, much in the same way I avoid cleaning my daughter's bathroom. I'll delve in there, but with gloves, a big bottle of bleach and a chisel.

I'm a fixer by nature. I have a deep seated need to make everything 'okay.' It is not helpful when it comes to my writing. Maybe my life has been too uncomplicated, too smooth, not enough drama for me to write with any authority about troubled souls. Yes, I know it is all fiction, but anyone who says that the writer's real life experiences doesn't wind up in the characters he/she writes about is fibbing.

Maybe I'm trying to write something that just doesn't suit me. Good Lord, could I still be struggling with voice? Argh. I'm off to clean that bathroom.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Hauled the kids to the mall yesterday for the big 'dress' hunt that happens this time of year. We have a trifecta this year, Easter, Confirmation and 8th grade graduation. Going to get our money's worth out of this dress. Success was reached within fifteen minutes. I wisely steered the oldest into the Ann Taylor Loft....need I say more?

Our last stop of the day was at Barnes and Noble. I spied the latest Kim Harrison book, "The Outlaw Demon Wails." I just love the titles in her Rachel Morgan series, they are all tweaks of Clint Eastwood movies. Nothing better than catchy, thematic titles for a book series. It is sort of like recognizing the perfect font for some printed piece. It just sends me.

Even though I'm not a big fan of the Clique books the tweeners adore, I do have to give a nod to the titles. The latest, "Bratfest at Tiffany's" is clever. Middle kid bought that one.

Now, to the bad news....I really don't like titles where you are unsure of how to pronounce the word(s) in point, the third book in Paolini's fantasy series. "Brisinger" follows Eragon and Eldest. Is it with a long 'i' or a short 'i'....inquiring minds want to know? That sort of thing bothers me like a mosquito bite, I just keep scratching my head over it.

Today, of course, I'll be jumping into the "Outlaw Demon Wails."