Friday, May 30, 2008

back home in Cville

We are back home from our lovely jaunt to my parents in the opposite corner of our fair state. We ate way too much, but that white chocolate bread pudding with a raspberry sauce was just too good to pass up, along with the creme brulee etc. It was a wonderful visit and I didn't gain any weight. Not quite sure how I managed that, but I'll take it.

Now that life is starting to swing into summer time mode, the oldest kidlet and I have been out every morning for her three mile run. I bike it while she runs it. She is gearing up for soccer tryouts. Then we get the dog and take him for a walk for the cool down portion....gosh, I feel so healthy!

Today we are headed out to purchase the appropriate gift for the DH as it is his birthday tomorrow. Yep, going to get the man a fire pit from Target or Home Depot. That way we can all enjoy smores on the patio. Don't you just love gifts that the whole family can enjoy? It is one of the benefits of being married with kids.

On the reading and writing front, been doing a lot of the first and none of the second. Even my mother gave me grief about my lack of creativity. I am reading the latest Bernard Cornwell story about his macho man, warrior lord extraordinaire, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Gosh, I just love that character. Cornwell weaves one hell of a tale....haven't read a book by him that I didn't enjoy from start to finish.

Better round up the kiddoes and head out. I'm buying them lunch as well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

i'm outta here

As soon as the lovely-smarticle oldest kid 'gradumatates' from 8th grade in three short hours, we are outta here for points east. Taking a long weekend to visit my folks on the other side of the state.

So, Kim, per your request I'm heaving a big old jug of Corky's sauce your way....catch! Did you get a note from Kristi...she's in San Antonio now:)

Dwight...hope the hangover lifts and the work load in CLE lightens.

Off to finish packing! Yippee....summer dead ahead.

Monday, May 19, 2008

all things Eleanor

Ever since I read "A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver" by E.L. Konigsburg I've had a thing for Eleanor of Aquitaine. Yep, I've carried a torch for the woman since 1973 when this book first came out. The cover at the left is a new version, the original looks more like a medieval tapestry.

Fourteen years or so years ago, when I was ginormously pregnant with child number one, I discovered Sharon Kay Penman. A kindred soul if their ever was one. She too has a thing for Eleanor and the whole crazy Plantagenet brood. Her books on Henry, Richard, John etc are massive historical fiction efforts complete with boatloads of characters, intrigue, romance and the kitchen sink. A few years back she penned a few mysteries starring a young man in the employ of an aged Eleanor. Justin de Quincy rode onto the pages, the bastard son of an English Bishop, who has a nose for solving mysteries and avoiding death.
For some unknown reason, I missed reading her 2006 effort "Prince of Darkness," the latest book in the Justin mystery series, when it debuted. I remedied that problem this weekend. Although Eleanor does not appear until the end of the book, Justin's latest escapade on her behalf involves clearing that naughty Prince John from implication in a plot to keep his brother Richard rotting in a German castle.
Just not sure what it is about this time period that has kept me searching for books set during the Eleanor years. If I believed in it, I'd say some reincarnation/channeling stuff is involved. And on a totally different track, I missed Saturday's episode of Robin Hood on BBC America. Have to scope out the ON Demand episode and settle in for my weekly dose of those Sherwood Forest denizens.
Vacation starts in T minus 5 days and counting.

Friday, May 16, 2008

'ranger up' recap

Just the facts.....

No editing this week.
No writing done either.
Read three books.
Helped oldest kid polish two projects, one on the Wizard of Oz and one on the Civil War. I refrained from rewriting and just wielded a lethal red pen.
Kept middle kid and oldest kid from snipping at each other....good lord, the hormones are killing me.
Watched a shitload of soccer games.
Watched the youngest kid's field day events.
Steered as clear of the bookstore as I possibly could and didn't feel one bit guilty.
Ate way too much.

Trying to 'ranger up' as my brother says and not bitch or whine about my total lack of motivation. My problem. Mine to solve. Maybe a vacation would help. The batteries are pretty tapped out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

sookie is back

On Mother's Day I made a quick pit stop in at B&N to pick up the latest Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris. I came straight home, poured myself a big old glass of ice water and started to read.

I finished the next morning, and no I didn't stay up all night. "From Dead to Worse" is the 8th Sookie book and marks a possible new direction in the series. Quite a few loose ends are snipped and tied off. A few characters exit the stage, a few characters arrive on stage and Eric regains his memory.....that tidbit alone is quite delicious. We learn more about Sookie's ancestry, that was quite the curve ball, even though Harris alluded to some 'otherworldly' blood running through Sookie's southern veins. When I finished the book I felt Harris reached the point in her storytelling where she needed to shake up Sookie's world, inject some fresh blood and she did just that.

All in all, I really had fun reading this book.....I'm still rooting for Sookie to get together with Eric. Maybe I just have a thing for Vikings, but he beats old Bill Compton for a love interest fangs down. I've become quite a bit obsessed about when the HBO series based on these books will debut. I'm still not sure about the Anna Paquin as Sookie thing, but the guy they cast as Eric is 'spot on.' "True Blood" is the series title and from all indications it should arrive sometime this fall. You know where I'll be....yep, bowl of popcorn, butt planted on sofa, feet on coffee table, kids banished to their rooms so mom can commune with Harris' delightful characters via Alan Ball's interpretation.

I also picked up Jeaniene Frost's latest book...."One Foot in the Grave." I wasn't as enamored with this one. It was good, but I haven't quite put my finger on why I didn't really enjoy it with the same gusto as I did Frost's first one. It felt a bit 'trite' , but that might be too harsh. I'll have to think about it some more and post again on that one.

Friday, May 9, 2008

baby steps and comfort food and or movies

I've been slowly stepping back into the writing/editing pool thanks to my buddy Kim. God love you, girl for being so patient and supportive with me and Maddy Blue. I just sent her chapter four for review....tiny baby steps to get me back at the keyboard in a creative apacity. Swapping chapters with her is slowly turning on that part of my brain.

On another front, you ever notice we all have our comfort food, place of last resort, niche? And it goes beyond stuffing ourselves with grilled cheese, potato soup or pot roast.

My neighbor/friend and I had lunch yesterday at her house while watching "27 Dresses." I'm not a Grey's Anatomy viewer, so my exposure to Katherine Heigl is very limited, but I loved her in this movie. I loved the movie. Definitely not a cinematic masterpiece, but more like the movie version of comfort food. It had everything I needed....a sympathetic heroine, a cute male writer possible love interest (James Marsden is very easy on the eyes) , a snarky best friend, a bitchy sister and Elton John's song, Benny and the Jets. Just like a big old bowl of homemade mac-n-cheese, what is not to enjoy?

Sometimes we don't need the Oscar winning performance, script etc. Sometimes we just need cute, comfortable and easy. What a great rainy day movie.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the red queen's daughter

Last week when I browsed the library's online catalog I stumbled across this book while searching for an adult mystery series set in Elizabethan England. As it was a YA book, a new release and had a wonderful cover....yep, I put it on my list to check out the next day.

Here is where I let you in on one of my foibles. I read the back of the book first. I love to read author's notes etc before I read the story itself. When I learned that the heroine was inspired by Katherine Parr's daughter who died when she was only two, I was hooked. Parr was Henry VIII last queen and she was one of the women who helped to raise Elizabeth. The future queen looked kindly upon Parr's surrogate mothering. Parr's husband after Henry's death was a Seymour...who eventually lost his head for treason.

"The Red Queen's Daughter" by Jacqueline Kosolov is a revisionist historical fiction story blended with just the right amount of magic to make it firmly straddle the fantasy/history genre.

Mary Seymour is a delightful character whose destiny is to serve as a white witch and help restore balance to the land via Elizabeth's reign. Her trusty guide is a white Borzoi hound named Perseus and her mentor is a woman named Lady Strange. Of course once Mary arrives at court a variety of obstacles interfere with her 'job' including a cousin who manages to capture her heart even though his purpose at court is dark in nature. Assorted other historical characters dot the novel including Lord Dudley and Elizabeth herself.

When I read these YA stories that blend history and fiction, with a larger dose of fiction, I always hope that they might inspire the reader to investigate the actual history behind the novel.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

name of the wind

Finally finished this one yesterday afternoon before heading to the soccer fields. I'm always excited to stumble across epic fantasy novels. Then my excitement wanes when I realize I have to wait for the next installment to hit the shelves. I have hope the wait for the second Kvothe story from Patrick Rothfuss won't be too long. I missed the debut of the hardback last year and found the paperback release just last month. The next book has to be released soon, right?
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Name of the Wind." One heck of a tale, complete with enough magic, intrigue and memorable characters to satisfy most fantasy fans. Told from our hero, Kvothe's, point of view the story unfolds like a shiny piece of fabric. The novel starts in the present and through Kvothe's retelling of his life's story to a man called Chronicler, we learn about his boyhood and young adult years.
In a book this long, it clocks in at 722 pages, it is hard to summarize all that happens. I'm just going to leave it by saying that reading the book was a pleasure. Great epic fantasies just don't come along often enough. I'm glad to have found Rothfuss' story.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

rothfuss and the to be read pile

I finally started the Rothfuss book I blogged about a few weeks back. Took me a bit to become engaged, but once I settled into the story, I've been very entertained. The plot device Rothfuss chose to tell this epic tale isn't unique or fresh, but he does wield it with expert care. Our protagonist reveals his story by telling his tale to another individual. So the book, in many ways, is one long flashback, at least to the point where I stopped reading last night. It works. I've enjoyed the world building in the story and the assorted characters I've met thus far.

The library fell victim to my need to read this week. I've checked out two YA books, two cozy mysteries (Aunt Dimity stories) and one historical mystery. Not sure what possessed me, but the nice weather and the image of my lawn chair did influence me to some extent.

As soccer season winds down, it escalates. One of those weird things about spring sports. I may be camped out in the van quite a bit until school ends. The perfect time to read.