Monday, April 28, 2008

get out of dodge

With the price of gas creeping towards the $4 mark, seems pretty logical that folks will cut back on their 'for fun' driving trips. The cliched Sunday Driver may become a thing of the past. Over the past two weekends our family has done quite a bit of driving. We went to a soccer tournament and just this past Saturday the oldest and I took a field trip to Shiloh with two of her teachers. I'm thankful that hitting the road is still in our budget.

We've been to Shiloh before. Shortly after we moved to the area, we took my folks over there for a visit. My father is a Civil War buff and the hubby is also interested in stopping by battle sites as we come across them. Shiloh is a beautiful place and the kid and I along with the rest of the group took an enjoyable bike ride through the park's 10 mile loop. Visiting this park is a much more moving experience from the seat of a bike versus from a seat in the car. So much easier to hop off and investigate.

On our last visit I was quite astounded by the national cemetery on the banks of the river. The white grave markers lined up. The sheer numbers of them underneath the trees canopies. The river running off in the distance where the Union soldiers docked and disembarked. The oldest has reached the age to also experience the emotion of standing where so many men fought and died. She had tears in her eyes as she stood by the mass Confederate grave at one of the stops.

She has to write a reflection paper on the visit and has chosen to focus on the emotional impact of her visit to the park and bypass the nuts and bolts approach of how the battle was fought and why the Union ultimately won Shiloh. Best to write what is in your heart I told her, so she worked on her first draft right after we got home Saturday night.

Taking that trip got us out of dodge, I used half a tank of gas ($30), and we created a memory for us to share. Best yet, it provided her an opportunity to write about how something historical made her feel. How it touched her. It took her outside of herself, something that teenagers periodically have a difficult time doing, and gave her a window to another time and place.

What more can a mom ask for....especially one who loves to write and loves to read.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Even though "Blood and Chocolate" published way before my YA library days, I kept a fresh copy in our collection. I read it and enjoyed it and figured the other kids out there would like it too. Thwarted romance, high school angst, werewolves, fights...Ms. Klause covered it all with panache. So, even though I had read the horrible reviews about the movie based on that book, I checked it out from the library yesterday. I also checked out Beowulf and Becoming Jane. How is that for an eclectic viewing collection? The girls and I watched it last night after Gossip Girl...our mega guilty pleasure.

The movie deserved the bad reviews...the only cool part...the way the loupe garou (sp.?) transformed from human to wolf. The whole sparkle-shimmer thing appealed to me. Other than that, even the adorable Hugh Dancy couldn't save this mess. I'm going to have to get the book into the daughters' hands quick lest they think the movie even remotely resembles this very readable and highly entertaining YA book.

Back to Gossip Girl...a cheer went up when we learned new episodes are on the way. I've not read this series, although they are often checked out from the library, much like the Clique books are. I love the show, much like I love Doritoes....both are bad for you, but everyone needs a guilty pleasure.

Visited the eye doc today. No bifocals yet, but my eyes are still a bit reading for me and typing is a bit of a challenge. So, it looks like an afternoon of TV.

Monday, April 21, 2008

blog memes and published articles

Okay, is the requested book bit for the meme you posted. Page 123, the following three sentences after the fifth sentence on that page, from Cecilia Holland's "Varanger."

"Pledges to an infidel. You know Dobrynya cannot be trusted." Rashid's voice was slick as fish meat.

On other blogging fronts......the article I wrote promoting our bookstore appeared in a very spiffy magazine insert in Sunday's paper. I'm listed as a contributing writer and all! Very fun indeed. This topped off our wonderful soccer weekend. The girls placed second in their tournament. About gave me heart palpitations....first game was a 2-2 tie, second game was a 1-0 loss and in that game the middle daughter was carried off the field. She recovered over night and helped her team to a 2-1 win in the third. Older daughter was hurt in that game, rangered up and helped keep the momentum going. What a tourney!

Off to the bookstore today to train two new volunteers.....going to be a pretty week here in C'ville. I may dig in the dirt a bit later on.....

On the fiction writing front....nothing to report other than I did edit more last week. I'm still plugging away, slow and steady. Nothing spectacular, nothing glorious, but I am making progress.

Monday, April 14, 2008

girls in trucks and the to be read pile

I'm so not one of the east coast intellectual types, but I do get the New Yorker and have been a faithful subscriber for about four years now. If I'm lucky, I may get to read one full article an issue. This month, I sat down, mug of java by my side, and read a great piece on George Clooney. What is not to enjoy in that:) Yowsa...

I do manage to flip through the magazine, snicker at the cartoons and check out the book advertisements. This issue had a lovely advert for a book called "Girls in Trucks." I hunted it down while at B&N yesterday, but didn't purchase it. I wanted to, but I'm going to see if we get it at the library. Money's a bit tight right now.....summer camps to pay for at the moment.
Check out the is just speaking to me....I love that dress...the road...the whole look and as it is set in Charleston...oh my. I have to read this book.
In the meantime, I'm reading "Varanger" by Cecelia Holland, one hell of a historical novelist. Got it at the library, it is a two week loan, so I need to finish it before I begin the Rothfuss mega fantasy. I also squeezed in the final James Patterson mutant bird kid book....the final one was one of the best. Now, that is pretty amazing. It was actually a better book than the one I reviewed a few days back.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

chai, chat and crime

I could hardly wait to order my venti chai today at B&N, especially after I saw my favorite barista was working and he makes one mean skinny chai latte. While I sipped down that bit of heaven in a glass, I caught up with my fellow writing buddy, Kim Smith. Miss Kim snagged herself a publisher and her first cozy mystery novel is going to debut in the fall. We had a ball chatting away....something we hadn't fit into our schedules for too long.

She offered me some words of wisdom, a shoulder to sigh on, and a kick in the pants to encourage me to keep writing. Just what I needed.

When the well is running is good to have someone like Kim to fill it back up! Check out her site at.....

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

everyone and their mothers, or the debut book by Patrick Rothfuss

Hubby and I ate dinner out Saturday night to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. Yeah us! After gorging ourselves we strolled over to B&N in an attempt to browse off all that yummy Italian food.

I made a beeline for the new paperbacks and was excited to find a big brand new fantasy novel. The beast clocks in at 722 pages. If that wasn't enough to give me pause, the number of blurbs this debut novel racked up sure as hell did. Everyone and their mothers blurbed this book for Patrick Rothfuss....from Terry Brooks, to good old Ursula K., to Tad Williams and Orson Scott Card. I bought it.

The novel in question is "The Name of the Wind." I haven't started to read it yet as I had to finish the third book in Westerfeld's series so the oldest could get to reading it today. Not sure if I will crack it open today. The abundance of rain we've received of late is holding off and I thought I might do a bit of weeding and some other outdoor gardening things. Once the rain moves back in, as it is forecast to on Wednesday, I will dive into this new voice in the epic fantasy realm and share my thoughts.

Monday, April 7, 2008

uglies, pretties, specials

During my library days, which my hiatus from seems to have a possible end date, but more on that later, I ordered the Scott Westerfeld sci-fi YA series. Always meant to read them, but never got around to it. The oldest has a required number of AR points to earn this quarter, so she decided to read this trilogy and knock that bit of schoolwork out. She read the first one and then I read it. She started book two, I read it while she was at Solo and Ensemble on Saturday. I've now skipped over her and have started book three. This frustrates her to no end, mom is further along than she is. As usual when we read the same book, we've had some wonderful discussions about characters and plot. I'd give this series two major thumbs up....loads of action, some thought provoking themes and really well drawn characters. I just love YA books that aren't black and white....lots of gray, lots of what if type moments, lots of reality.

Back to the library...the head of adult ref has given her 'retirement' date, and my lunch time discussion Friday touched on whether or not I'd be willing to try that job on for size when the time comes. Led to an interesting discussion for hubby and I over dinner Saturday night.