Friday, December 30, 2011

Fine Art: A gem of a book to write in

Look over to the right at the top  and you'll see a beautiful gift my daughter, Liz, made for me..

Here's another perspective:

It's a beautiful little book. It inspires me to ask myself - as a writer, how will I fill pages in 2012?

I eagerly anticipate writing my second novel to be posted in weekly chapters on this blog.

This blog will turn one year old in 2012 and I look forward to writing the birthday post and the 100th post.

If possible I plan on writing some guest blogs for the Bettyverse. (And anyone else that asks me. I'm not proud.)

I also look forward to writing comments to as many blogposts as I can for all the blogs written by my lovely cyber-space cronies. Thank you for allowing me into your community!

How will you fill pages in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fiction Novel: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Author: Stieg Larsson, Movie: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Part 2

Skip the books & the movies

Okay let's finish this and move on:

The American film is truer to the book than the Swedish. Strange huh?

I don't recommend the books any more than I do the movies. If you're already acquainted with the material, I welcome your opinion. No offense to the estate of Stieg Larsson but he doesn't have much in the way of voice.

In the book and the American movie, Lisbeth deals with her guardian in such a way as to also protect other women from him.

The book goes even further. The name of the book in Swedish translates to "Men Who Hate Women" and Lisbeth continually refers to that.

In a conversation with Mikael, she also takes Harriet to task for letting years of killings go on by running and hiding instead of telling someone about her brother. Mikael attempts to defend Harriet by pointing out that Harriet didn't know her brother had taken over the killing when her father died.

But even then Lisbeth does not let Harriet off the hook and IMO rightly so. If Harriet had spoken to someone about what happened to her, he would have been caught or, at least, caught sooner.

As far as the American movie weakening Lisbeth in the end by breaking her heart at the sight of Mikael with his other woman, the book does it also. My daughter, who saw all 3 Swedish movies, says that it had to be done to set up the next books.

Lisbeth and Mikael end up together in the end of the third book but believe me, their romance is definitely not worth the effort.

In the book Lisbeth does not ask Mikael if she can kill the killer. She makes sure Mikael is alright and then goes after him much like the Swedish version. Leaving aside whether it's right or wrong for her to have gone after him, do American men need to give women permission to wreak vengance on their oppressors? I think that's really telling.

In the first blogpost I mentioned the American version taking bits of Lisbeth's genius and giving it to Daniel Craig. Actually they were just more accurately following the book.

The depravity is still there, though and I agree with Delia's comment to the first blogpost. The book, IMO, is "torture-porn" using the excuse of  "bringing awareness or empowering the victims." I, like Delia, question Larsson's version of empowerment.

As to the Millenium Trilogy, don't waste your money or your time, my friends.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fiction Novel: The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, Author: Stieg Larsson, Movie: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Part 1

Three Dragons and the one and only Daniel Craig

In preparation for a long weekend in which I knew I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time with my gkids because they would have other holiday obligations and the need to play with their new stuff, I checked out books and grown-up movies from the library.

For some reason I decided to watch the first two movies in the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. This would not generally be my choice of entertainment but I can sometimes live in a created world long enough to watch a movie when I don't want to be in that world long enough to read a book.

The trilogy is out as movies made in Sweden. I was a little confused but I now realize that only the first is out in theaters as a Daniel Craig movie here in the states.


So I watched the Swedish made version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Then I thought, enough of that. I don't want to watch the second movie. No thanks.

Certain things my mind wouldn't let go of, though.

In the Swedish movie 24 year old Lisbeth is a psychological ward of the state due to things that happened when she was young. Her kindly guardian dies and the new one turns out to be sexually abusive. He has control over her money and his plan is to make her do what he wants whenever she needs money.

After he makes her give him a blow job, she decides to secretly video their next meeting so that she can catch him forcing her to give him another one for more money. Except he has something much worse in mind. He handcuffs and ties her to a bed and brutally, anally rapes her.

When she goes back the third time, she tasers him and ties him up. She anally rapes him and then shows him the video she made of him doing it to her. Then she tells him how it's going to be. He's going to leave her and her money alone and he's going to insure that she is declared competent. Then she tattoos 'I'm a sadistic pig and a rapist' on his stomach.

I am bothered by the fact that she only protects herself. The tattoo would only be discouraging to someone he plans to get naked for. He doesn't get naked for her either time. What about his other wards? Why doesn't she give thought to protecting them?

Eventually Lisbeth gets involved with journalist Mikael helping him to solve the 40 year old disappearance of  a 16 year old girl named Harriet. In the course of their search, they find out that first Harriet's father, then her brother have been serial killing young girls. Father has died a year before Harriet disappeared and brother is killed at the end of their search.

Harriet is still alive. Living in another country. Again I'm perturbed when no one addresses the fact that she knew about the killings and for forty years she never once tried to stop them. She was, in fact, researching them before she disappears. Are we expected to believe she just moved on to a happy life?

So then, of course, I have to see the American version to compare. Do they talk about this in the American version? Also, is it in the book? What other differences are there?

Looking up the movie times, I also looked up Stieg Larsson who died in 2004. He witnessed the gang rape of a young woman when he was only fifteen and was depressed all his life that he didn't or couldn't help her or stop it.

Really? And yet, he doesn't have either of the women in his book think about anyone but themselves? Or does he? I haven't read the book.

As far as the American version is concerned, there are lots of disturbing differences. One good thing, though. Lisbeth does force the guardian not to sexually abuse any other wards.

In both movies, she's strong against the guardian. But the American movie weakens her tremendously in other ways.

The way that most infuriates me takes some explaining. In the Swedish version when she goes to rescue Mikael from the basement of the serial killer brother, while she is freeing Mikael the killer takes off in his car. She makes sure Mikael is okay then goes after the killer. She forces him to drive his car off the road and roll it several times. He is upside down and begging her to help him because he can't get free and gas is leaking everywhere. She stands, watching, smoking a cigarette. The car blows and kills him.

She and Mikael later talk. He asks if it was an accident. She says yes. He asks if she could have saved the killer. She says yes. He tells her he would never have let him die that way but he understands why she did.

In the American version, she frees Mikael and asks him - "May I kill him?"

What? What? Why in the hell would she ask permission? She doesn't take suggestions let alone ask permission. That so pissed me off!

So now I know, I'm going to sift through the damn book and see how it was originally.

Also, at the end of the Swedish movie, you see Lisbeth in another country living it up on money she has taken from an evil financial empire. The head of that empire had tried to set up her friend, Mikael earlier in the movie. She and Mikael bonded sexually and otherwise but she wasn't invested in a conventional, monogamous, romantic relationship with him.

At the end of the American version, Lisbeth buys Mikael an expensive leather jacket and goes to drop it off at his apartment only to see him leaving with a woman he's been peripherally involved with all along. She throws the jacket in the dumpster and goes off into the night with a broken heart.

Again, what the fuck? No way. No. W ay.

I know this is getting long and I'll try to wrap it up but there are two other bothersome things.

One is that in the American version, they take bits of Lisbeth's genius and give them to Mikael. Okay, Daniel 100% gorgeous Craig, needs to be the hero but it really takes away from the dynamics and from the character of Lisbeth and why? It even screws up the almost cute meet between Lisbeth and Mikael from the Swedish movie.

Lastly, I want to say something about depravity. The state of being unnaturally or abnormally wicked, evil or perverse. Abnormal means it should be rare. And shocking. And it used to be both of those things in all media outlets, books, movies, television. Not so now. Now it's commonplace. And I don't like it. I want to be tolerant but I read for escape among other things and I don't want to escape into depravity. I really don't understand why anyone does. I know it exists in real life but in very rare instances, not commonplace.

Are you bothered by this?

I realize that this was only about 2 dragons. The third will come in next time when I compare to the book. Unfortunately there is no Daniel Craig to look at in the book. Maybe I need a poster.

Friday, December 23, 2011

winter solstice

As the Earth tilts on its axis

May you sleep soundly through the longest night of the year

Waking fresh to embrace the little extra time

The new day brings.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Romance Novel: The Peach Keeper, Author: Sarah Addison Allen

PeacE and PeacHes

"If anyone had been paying attention to the signs, they would have realized that air turns white when things are about to change, that paper cuts mean there's more to what's written on the page than meets the eye, and that birds are always out to protect you from things you don't see." The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

If you have read my blog for a while you know, I've talked about SAA before. Here I talked about her book, Garden Spells. And, on May 9th I talked about The Girl Who Chased the Moon. For some reasons my archives won't yield that one up right now.

Anyway - I love Sarah Addison Allen. Her truths resonate with me. And she creates worlds I want to live in.

"Being met by the sharp scent of chocolate mingling with the moist scent of brewing coffee had a dark, secretive feel to it, like Willa had finally found the perfect place to hide." The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Who wouldn't want to be there? Not only does heroine Willa own the sporting goods store that contains this wonderful coffee shop, she doesn't have to run it. Her magical assistant, Rachel, runs the shop while keeping a journal of what people drink and their mood when they order it, developing a coffee-drinkers science. (Of course, she could have created even more magic if she had Robena or her mother to read the coffee dregs left in the bottom of her drinkers' mugs.)

All Willa has to do is drink the coffee and eat freshly baked oatmeal cookies with coffee icing. Yum.

"...He had abuse written all over him. It had happened to him. He had delivered it. It was so much a part of his psyche that he couldn't look at another person and not imagine how they would look with bruises." The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Have you ever met people like this? They make you uncomfortable for no particular reason you can name. My thing is, I don't want to ignore the warnings my psyche sends me and yet I don't want to judge people unjustly.

"Fate never promises to tell you everything up front. You aren't always shown the path in life you're supposed to take. But, if there was one thing she'd learned in the past few weeks, it was that sometimes, when you're really lucky, you meet someone with a map." The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

I've had people like that in the past. People with a map to where I want to be. Sometimes I can take the path they took, and other times I just have to blaze my own trail. If there's one of those people out there at the moment, make yourself known, would you? I'd like to know if I'm headed in the right direction.

It's funny but I bought this book thinking the title of it was The PeacE Keeper. Then I put it on the shelf and didn't read it forever. I'm not sure why. When I picked it up to read it, I saw the title was the PeacH Keeper.

PeacE, PeacH, whatever. Sarah Addison Allen has written yet another wise and entertaining read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Work In Progress: An appetizer

When I started to write this I thought I'd have more by now. Then menopause reared it's powerful head and I've been in a fog for a couple of days.

Still, there's this much. It's a little taste, the appetizer, the opening, of the new novel that I'm ALMOST ready to write.

Veronica Ryder couldn't remember when the dimes started coming. They dropped out of vending machine change returns at her feet. They appeared in parking lots beside her car when she opened her doors. She found them when looking for things like recipes or telephone numbers, lying alone and random, on tables. They multiplied in her purse, and played in her pockets, driving away quarters and nickels. They stared out at her from pictures taken by friends who didn't realize one could be driven crazy by the mere appearance of coins.

She couldn't even remember when she knew they were a message she was sending to herself.

Just like the owls. She had counted five random owl sightings before it occured to her that something was up.

Then came the coyotes.

On the way to Sunday lunch with her friends she made the third coyote sighting when one darted across the road in front of her. She began to think she was losing her mind.

Carla Spears and Georgia Thatcher were sitting at a table digging into the chips and salsa when she arrived. They each looked to be halfway through a bottle of beer.

"Where's Maddie?" Veronica asked.

"She's on her way. She sounds mad," Georgia said.

"Maddie never gets mad," Carla said, "must be serious."

Next comes a part that I can't write yet cause I need to research but I will say that Maddie (Madonna Lyons) has been wronged by a mysoginistic man who puts on demolition derby events.

Veronica was glad she'd only drank one beer and one cup of coffee. She'd been in good shape to drive everyone home. Now alone again after dropping her three friends off, her thoughts turned back to the dimes. And the owls. And the coyotes. The message was still muddy but it was like a car windshield; the wipers were making places of visibility on the glass and soon it would all be clear.

The dimes were easy. Cyclical changes. New things happening. Her life was headed in a new direction. She needed to stay alert for signposts directing her course.

The owls were about being lead out of darkness. Or leading others out of darkness. She wasn't sure which was appropriate this time. They could also be harbingers of death but that didn't resonate right now.

The coyotes were a little harder. They were known as the tricksters. Either she needed to be on the lookout for someone trying to trick her or she was going to trick someone else. That last one was hard to believe.

Her instincts told her the crux of the message centered around that asshole Crosby Yates and his treatment of women, like Maddie, at his events. Was she going to trick Crosby Yates? That was a scary thought. He was a scary man.

So much of the story is there waiting to leap out onto the page but like Veronica's windshield, it's still muddy.

What are you writing right now?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Loud and NOT clear

It's raining. That's right, again. Or should I really say still. I mean it did stop and the sun came out for almost a whole day but in the grand scheme of things lately, that wasn't much of a break.

This is significant because yesterday when it wasn't raining, and, in fact the sun was shining, I woke up early. Well, early for me. Earlier than I absolutely had to and that is, I won't say unheard of but definitely rare.

And I decided to take a trek. The pool is just not working out for me anymore and better to face facts. I drove to a small park close to my work and trekked for a bit in the sunshine with my ipod. Then I went to work.

I thought to do the same thing today's raining. Although I won't melt I don't relish changing clothes or being wet at work, so, maybe tonight. I hope. I really can't commit to this trekking thing yet, though. We'll see.

I just realized I've had 5 owl spottings in the past couple of weeks. Yesterday there was one on the side of the road, down on the ground, about to do the owl-takes-mouse thing. Today there was this:

I came upon it by clicking cake wrecks on Julie's blog. It was made by Nevie Pie Cakes.  I know owls are very significant and I'm trying to give myself some message. I'll have to do some research. Later. Or maybe I can sneak it in on break at my sucky job.

And, of course, the damn dimes are just as persistent as the rain.

How do you message yourself? What's speaking to you lately?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Little Rebellion

So at my sucky job they have a new way to torture me. xmas carols. Do you know how much I hate xmas carols?  A lot.

I decided today to do something subversive but subtle. I made my screen saver rotating 3 D text that says - MERRY AXIAL TILT.

I wanted to say Axial Tilt is the reason for the season - but that is too long.

A very small rebellion that may go completely unnoticed by anyone but it makes me feel better.

Yeah, I'm a hellcat.

Tell me about your small rebellions. Come on - you know you got some.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Romance Novel: The Winston Brothers, Author: Lori Foster

Fostering Smiles

I like Lori Foster. It surprises me considering that she does something I detest. Let me explain...

When I was young I used to snag my mother's Harlequin romances and read them at night, in bed, under my covers, with a flashlight. I got bored and quit reading them at around age thirteen for two reasons.

One - they always ended in a chaste kiss in the sunset of their marriage plans. I didn't buy it or want it, even at thirteen. Let me tell you - Lori Foster doesn't do that. No way. Some of her books even carry an erotica label in the library.

Two - the old Harlequins always featured a reformed rogue and a near virgin. Lori Foster does do that. I hated that double standard. And I still do. So why do I love her books even though it embarrasses me that I do?

 For one thing, her virgins or near virgins are never that way for morality purposes. Also, they don't typically have their general dislike of sex overcome with a need for sex with the newly reformed rogue. Oh no, they are generally seeking out sex and eager for it. That's a little more believable.

The series I'm currently reading started with 3 short stories in a book titled The Winston Brothers. That was followed by the second book in the series, Wild, about the fourth Winston brother, Zane, and the gypsy he falls in love with. Her name is Tamara and she falls in the category of virgin eager to learn about sex.
She said low, "I want you for sex."
..."I want you," she boldly continued, fanning the flames, "to share your body with me, and let me give you mine."
Slowly hypnotically, she lowered her lashes and added, with a small shrug, "That's all."
Zane resists but not for long. Eventually he gives her everything she wants and more. He succombs to the 'Winston brothers curse'.

Stories of the Winston Brothers leads to a second series called the Visitation series. It starts with Say No To Joe about crude cousin, Joe Winston, who falls in love with Luna Clark and the two kids she takes on to raise.
"All right!" Brows drawn, expression stern, she said, "I have two kids."
...Finally, eyes watering, Joe sputtered, "The hell you say? Must've been one quick birth."
"Are you going to be serious or not?"
Joe clutched his aching ribs. "Believe me, sweetheart, I'm as serious as a nun on Sunday."
The Visitation series has five books: 1- Say No To Joe, 2-Secret Life of Bryan, 3-When Bruce Met Cyn, 4-Just A Hint, Clint, and 5-Jamie. Those I've read are light and funny and definitely kept me turning pages.

Like the book The Winston Brothers, the book Tempted is three stories of related people; Dr. Daniel Sawyers, Annie Sawyers and Max Sawyers. Max is a reformed rake from the beginning of the book. He's reformed for a unique reason.
He was on a bride hunt, and since his bride absolutely had to get along with his dog--he was marrying for the dog, after all, to give Cleo a stable home and the love and acceptance she'd never had--he couldn't help taking note of the somewhat tenuous friendship forming right before his eyes. It amazed him.
Of course, Maddie, the one woman who understands his dog, doesn't want to get married. She just wants sex. With Max. So he has to convince her to want more. And he does.

That's a different take on the old Harlequins that always featured a hero who wanted no part of marriage and an angel who changed his mind.

Lori Foster takes part in several anthologies also. One such anthology is Hot and Bothered which features her story, Luring Lucy. Lucy is the story of a woman who was widowed right before she divorced and the best friend of her dead/ex husband, Bram, who is in love with her.

Whether what she's written is long or short, if Lori Foster wrote it, I want to read it!

She's a very prolific writer. Go to her website to check out her bibliography.

Are you surprised about your enjoyment of a certain author? Who? Why?

I made my embarrassing confession. Your turn...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lovin Lori and quilt block pics

Lately I've been plowing through Lori Foster books. I surprise myself by enjoying them immensely. I'm going to write a genuine novel truths blog about them this weekend when I have time to savor the writing.

Meanwhile - quilt block pics -

Kat's first:

This is at the center of hers. It's a picture she took at Garden of the Gods in Illinois. Here is the whole block:

Jay's is a product of his current interests in writing and drawing graphic novels and being a cartoonist. 

Smurf Village.

Good effort on both of their parts, I thought.

Tonight is my daughter, Liz's senior art show at her college. I'm so excited.

And, of course, I'm just generally glad it's Friday and I'll have 2 days away from the sucky job.

What are y'all up to?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Meet Alfonso

When Alfonso first told me his name, he wasn't sporting the beautiful pink blooms you now see. I thought I might have heard wrong. No, he assured me, he's a he and his  name is Alfonso. He likes to cross dress around Thanksgiving. He's supposed to be a xmas cactus, but, like me, he doesn't like xmas. So he blooms at Thanksgiving.

As you can see his blooms are glorious and pink. He's quite vain. He's also a player. He will generally find a way to make us move him close to the lady of his choice. He caused a split between the happy couple, Oscar and Begonia by dropping a leaf into Begonia's pot and conceiving a love baby.

He won't let you see it, but right now he's depressed. He's the only plant that has been moved indoors. All the ladies he loves are still outside on the porch. He's being strong and decking himself in his pink finery as if nothing were wrong, but I know better.

In her book, How I Write, Janet Evanovich says that she gave Stephanie Plum the hamster, Rex, so that there would be a heartbeat in her apartment. Something to talk to when she came home. I've toyed with the idea of doing the same thing with plants; creating a character who shares all her secrets with her plants.

Apparently my aloe plant, Gladys, who has produced many generations of children and has progeny in many homes throughout my family, knows something juicy about Alfonso. She won't tell me what, but she's the only lady I know who can resist his charms.

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was good. Lots of food. My grandkids and I finished up their quilt blocks. Well, Kat still has a little bit of fabric painting she's going to do, but, my part, supervising the designing, cutting and sewing is done. And no one got burned using the iron. That's a win. The quilt blocks have to be postmarked by 5pm on Dec 2 and on their way to the National Quilt Museum so finishing them is a relief. My gkids have participated in the School Block Challenge for several years now. They can partipate until they are eighteen by which time they'll have quite a few blocks towards a quilt.

Do you have any plants? Do they talk to you? To each other? Any ideas about how I can get Gladys to reveal Alfonso's secret?

Dear sweet generous lady, thanks for the box of books. I read Say No To Joe by Lori Foster* in the last couple of days. It was the fun escape I love from books. I don't know why but I don't have your email address. And being technilogically lame, I don't have the default email thing loaded correctly so when I go on your blog and try to click on your email, it won't let me email you. So I'm saying thanks here! I'm never so happy as when I get a box of books so guess who I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving - you, Barb N, you!

*I originally had this creditted to the wrong Lori. My apologies to both Lori Foster, who did write it, and Lori Wilder, who didn't. My bad. Sorry.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Erotica Romance Novel: Good Girls Don't, Author: Victoria Dahl

A mini rave and a mini rant AND AN UPDATE

Victoria Dahl is good reading y'all. She can make you forget about the above travesty. She's not quite the erotica that is Erin McCarthy, but she's not an innocent kiss before riding off into the sunset, either.
I'm reading the Donovan Brothers Brewery series, 1 - Good Girls Don’t, 2 - Bad Boys Do, and 3 - Real Men Will. The characters are lovable. The plots are fun. And there's a kilt-wearing bartender. What more could you want for an enjoyable escape?

I don't care what you believe about Obamacare, the correct reaction to United States Supreme Court Justices, Scalia and Thomas, having dinner with the law firm bringing the case against Obamacare to the high court, should be outrage.
I don't care if it is illegal or if it is an offense against some written down set of ethics for them, it's wrong, and they know it's wrong. Or do they? Are they really so corrupt that they don't know a conflict of interest when they see it?
And it sets a precedent that is very ugly. Or does it? Have they been behaving in this manner all along? It would sure explain some things.
Once upon a time we trusted those people who had made it to the level of Supreme Court Justice to know the difference between right and wrong and to act accordingly. I guess those days are over.
Do we need to make stricter laws governing them now? Are they impeachable? Because if they are - let's do it. If a 90,000 page report can be written, and impeachment charges brought against Bill Clinton for getting a blow job in the oval office, impeaching Scalia and Thomas for this outrage should be easy.

UPDATE:  I may have been a little hasty in saying Victoria Dahl isn't erotica. The books got progressively steamier and the third one had me frequently fanning myself and saying, "oh, my."
I thoroughly enjoyed them but I don't want to mislead anyone.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Someone dropped a dime on me

What is a 'sounding board'?
sound·ing board
  1. somebody to give preliminary opinion: a person or group that gives feedback on preliminary ideas before they are considered for further development
That, dear readers, is what you are being used for today.

Some of you are familiar with a witch named Julie whose followers, me among them, are known as Julielanders. She pulls a card from various tarot-type decks everyday. On November 5th wickedly wise woman Julie pulled the card Ten of Wands. It's now November 14th and the dimes are still everywhere. Read this quote for the significance of that:

"Ten of Wands  ~  burdens, manageable and not.
Tens are cyclical, the coming and going of our life cycles.  The new chapters in our lives are often marked by 10s.  When you find dimes or Tens keep showing up, this is a sign that we are about to turn the page and move on to something new.
Wands are the brilliance of new ideas and inspirational bursts.  Those ”out of the blue” brainstorms are perfect examples of Wand strength and radiance.
Usually we’d say that 10 of Wands is about being overburdened, but I’m thinking this is more indicative of carrying the workload we need to, and balancing that with what else is going on.  We can shoulder our own sticks and help others when they need us to, all the while being aware of not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed.
Like yesterday’s oracle message, this one is telling us that what we first see may not be the first impression we think it is.  We can see around the load we are toting as long as we are aware of our path ahead of us.  There is also a destination in this one.
Farther down this road there is something to look forward to, “look forward” is the key phrase here.  Hold carefully to what we need to cart along, not letting our sticks block our view or feel like a burden.  We shoulder these responsibilities for a reason, not because we are forced to but because we are capable of it."

So - the dimes - they appear to be multiplying in my coin purse like pregnant women at the end of "cheap romance novels with their spines battered down*." Twice I've gotten out of the car to look down at a dime laying on the ground by my feet and just today I wandered into the spare bedroom I rarely go in to find a dime staring up at me from the rug.

Allright already. It's enough to make even an atheist like me, listen. And that's the point, isn't it? I have given myself a message.

Here's what I think is happening. I had a very vague idea in my head that I would try to write novels as a means of retiring. I can live on ten thousand dollars or so a year quite easily and that doesn't seem so hard to accomplish as a novelist.

Then publishing went into chaos. I don't do chaos well. I'm a sit-in-the-corner reading, while I wait-for-the-dust-to-settle, kind of person.
And I kept reading things that successful writers had written warning that you can't make a living writing and you should keep your day job.
Well, I didn't have a day job. I had a night job that allowed me to write. That facilitated me having time to write my novel, Hungry Ghosts, which I posted as Friday blogs here for about 4 months until it finished.
When my night job ended I decided the thing to do was get a day job. That has a 401k plan to help one retire. That I would work at for ten or fifteen years until I retire.
I took on my current sucky job. Which isn't permanent. They made noises that it would become permanent but I've come to see that was most likely a lie.
My next thing was to decide to just use this sucky job so I could find a less sucky job that was permanent so I can start that 401k deal.

Then I started really missing writing time. And I have a killer idea for a novel and no time to write it.

Then the dimes started coming.

"a sign that we are about to turn the page and move on to something new... brilliance of new ideas and inspirational burst..."out of the blue” brainstorms"
I'm thinking the new thing I need to embrace is really an old one. I need to write a novel that is publish-ready and pursue publishing it.

"what we first see may not be the first impression we think it is" I need to see this job as the spending money, grandkids money, paycheck it is and nothing more. No retirement fund. No stepping stone. Just a paycheck while I'm writing and learning how to get myself published.

"We can see around the load we are toting as long as we are aware of our path ahead of us...Farther down this road there is something to look forward to." It was not working for me to think of this or some other sucky job, as a ten to fifteen year plan. Maybe if I think of it as the placeholder until the day I make money from a novel sale, it will be easier to make time to write.

I will probably still write one more novel as a chapter a week post on this blog, cause I learned so much from doing that; but eventually I need to give up my amateur status, pull up my betty panties and pursue being published.

Sounding board - am I deluding myself? Do you see major flaws in my thinking?

(And, don't bother with the Suze Orman-type, you must have all this in place for retirement, lectures, cause, as I said earlier, my circumstances are such that I can live on ten thousand dollars a year.)

*From the song - You Don't Make It Easy, Babe by Josh Ritter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Romance Novel: Take A Chance On Me, Author: Susan Donovan

Do you stare at men's crotches?

On September 27th I posted a blog about a trilogy of novels Susan Donovan wrote centered around four ladies who formed a dog-walking club. I enjoyed all three books.

So while waiting for some new books to roll in from amazon (friend to those of us in rural areas), I rifled through the shelves of the local library for any other books my Ms Donovan.

Y'all this woman is a trip. I just love her. Her books are kind of like Erin McCarthy - if you've read many posts by me you know I love her, too - except replace the sexy single women heroines with funny, sexy soccer moms and replace the race car drivers with men in equally dangerous careers except funnier and more dysfunctional.

She's over the top in a good way. I'm going to give you a little taste of two of the books but really all of them I've read so far are devourable. And I don't dare say these two are my favorites because I have two more to read and they may be even better.

In Take a Chance On Me by Ms Donovan, Emma Jenkins is an animal behaviorist and Thomas Tobin comes to her with an ugly, crazy-high-strung, funny, lovable dog. The nature of the dog reflects the nature of Thomas except, of course, Thomas is handsome and sexy, not ugly.

(Talking about the fireflies they're watching)
     "You've got to hand it to the little bastards." Thomas caught her eye. "They're out there in their flashiest outfits, facing the possibility of rejection, giving it their best shot. Those little bugs have guts."
     Emma had been looking at his crotch--no doubt about it. This was an excellent development, but Thomas didn't quite see how he was going to capitalize on it.
Do women really stare at men's crotches? Cause I've never had the nerve to do that but the women in Donovan's novels always do. In fact, I don't really remember wanting to very often. Is there something wrong with me?

(Thomas walking his dog, Hairy)

     Thomas gave a few nervous glances around the street. He couldn't believe he was walking down a public sidewalk with a dog in a sweater. Dear God, there couldn't be a single thing more humiliating in this entire world.
     Unless, of course, Hairy had been out here in his maxi pad. Thomas sighed. Walking around the house with that thing tied around his waist, Hairy looked like a--well, he looked like an ugly dog in a Kotex. Thomas had laughed his ass off at first, but soon discovered the crazy scheme had saved him about three cleanup jobs in one evening alone.

(Thomas has some trust issues)

"And God, here's the deal Emma--you can do whatever you want to me now--poison my cornflakes--"
She was already laughing.
"--put a bomb under the hood of my car, or ground glass in my popcorn, or booby-trap the basement steps, and baby, I'd never see it coming because I love you so much it's killing me."
Emma finished laughing and kissed his cheek. "Or I could just put all that creative energy into loving you--did that ever occur to you, Thomas?"

It's a book to read when you want to laugh and have your heart warmed. Or you could read Public Displays of Affection by Ms Donovan because it has the same laugh enducing, heart heating-up effects.

Charlotte Trasker is the quintessential soccer mom and Joe Bellacera is the quintessential tough-guy, undercover DEA agent. But when it comes to sex, Charlotte is hiding more than Joe.

     Charlotte put away her poetry journal. She removed her convenient handheld lover from its soft cotton storage sleeve. Then she made that mysterious battery-powered journey through memory and fantasy until she arrived at the only kind of release she'd known since that perfect afternoon thirteen years ago, in the arms of the man with the greedy hands, the insistent mouth, the endless dark eyes that swallowed her soul. 
That's right. Our soccer mom writes erotic poetry and pleasures herself.

There's an out-of-control scene that is so much fun to read where Joe sees Charlotte through binoculars. They end up in a tent in her backyard and he asks her what she was writing. She tells him erotic poetry and he wants to hear a poem.

"I want to hear one. The hottest one you've ever written. Give it to me."...
"How about something short and to the point?"...
"It's called Nice Pants."...
"I'm listening."...
She rose up so he could get at anything he might want; then she shouted out;
"Nice pants.
Take them off."
And that is the magic of Susan Donovan. I reccommend that you read everything she's written or will write. Cheri On Top is out recently. I read it. Susan hasn't disappointed me yet. It is to be followed by I Want Candy which comes out Feb. 28, 2012. COT is the story of Cherise and IWC is the story of her friend, Candace.

I live for adding another book to my ever-growing, to-be-read list. Thank you, Susan Donovan.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mystery Novel: Smokin Seventeen, Author: Janet Evanovich

Will I be switching to Diesel only?

I thought I didn't have a subject for a blogpost tonight but then one came to me and I groaned. Cause I just haven't wanted to acknowledge it.

Those of you who haven't read Smokin Seventeen by Janet Evanovich and don't like spoilers should skip this.

And those of you who have various complaints like - why can't she just choose one man - or why don't the characters grow up - or why does she keep doing the same things in all the books; like blowing up Steph's cars - this really isn't for you either.

All those complaints have been aired ad nauseum and, I wish this wouldn't invalidate anyones feelings, but they frankly bore me. Evanovich wrote a book called How I Write where she lays out the formula (though I don't remember her coming right out and calling it that) that she uses when she writes. It's a legitimate formula that starts with her choosing a crime. And it's a formula that has produced many books that have given me great joy.

Which is why I was so surprised at 17. See in books 1-3 the characters were circling each other and sizing each other up and getting to know each other. Then in 4 Stephanie did the deed with Joe. And in 5 & 6 she played with Ranger but there was a line she never crossed because of Joe. In 7 Joe officially broke up with her and Ranger pushed her and they had sex. And it was good. But it was once. Then she went back to Joe. And for the next 9 books, through many compromising positions with Ranger, she again never crossed that line because of Joe.

So in books 4 through 16 there is lots of actual sex, or at least allusions to it, and with the exception of that one incident in book 7, it's all with Joe. Twelve books of sex with Joe. One actual completed sex act with Ranger.

Because Stephanie loves Joe. And she knows he loves her. And even when they're fighting, she considers Joe her boyfriend. And she knows Ranger is never going to have a real relationship with her, even though in his own way he loves her, too. And Joe does have a relationship with her. It's dysfunctional but it's a relationship.

In book 17 all of that changes. Evanovich suddenly casually tosses Stephanie into bed with Ranger as if it's been happening all along. As if it isn't a violation of the character she herself has created. The rules she made for all of us to follow in the world according to Plum, and then casually broke as if they meant nothing.

And I felt betrayed. See that's what this is really all about. The strange relationship between reader and writer and how in some ways it involves trust. Even though Evanovich is a woman whom I've never met, she hurt me. She broke my trust.

And now instead of looking forward to Explosive Eighteen to come out on the 22nd of this month with my usual innocent, open-hearted, longing, I have walls up. Will she betray me even further? Has she set the characters I love on a course that I won't want to follow?

I know she has a right to do with her characters what she wants.

It's like when Joni Mitchell went from folk to jazz. She had a right to evolve that way. But I had a right to say I don't enjoy listening to her new jazz style. On the other hand when Bob Dylan went from acoustic to electrical and people had fits, I barely noticed and continued to love him.

Evanovich has a right to do with her characters what she wants. And I have a right to react how I want. I just hope she doesn't do something that so goes against the rules she has established with these characters that I no longer want to read them.

Cause I would count it as a loss and I don't want to associate this series with loss.

At least with Evanovich we do have Diesel to look forward to. Wicked Business comes out next June and it will be fun.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Romance Suspense Novel: On Thin Ice, Author: Anne Stuart, Young Adult Novel: Withering Tights, Author: Louise Rennison, Fiction Novel: Jacaranda Blue, Author: Joy Dettman

Happy Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos.

Y'all this blogpost is about books I've put off reading for some stupid reason or another.
I figured out I can load a free kindle app and read kindle books on my pc. So I purchased my first kindle book; On Thin Ice. Oh how I love Anne Stuart. Especially the Ice Series! This one was sooo good. I keep going back and reading bits over again. She plans on writing more Ice books!!!! If she's writing 'em, I'm reading 'em.

Flossie said, "She does seem nice, but I wanted to squeeze her head, and my head-squeezing instincts are usually good." from Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Withering Tights I saw on London Mabel's blog for weeks but I took forever to check it out of the library. Then I rechecked it twice and now it's overdue. I read it finally and it is so funny and heartwarming. I don't usually read young adult books but I'm glad I read this one.
The main character, a 14 year old named Tallulah, is endearing in her genuine awkward teen-agerness. She speaks frequently of snogging. It took me a while to figure out it means kissing, not sex. I love the title's play on words and the book lives up to it's title.

If I had time to write a real novel truths blog there are many great quotes in this book. Damn sucky time-draining job. Course, tomorrow is payday...
Some time back Curious Miss Kris sent me a book cause I won a contest on her blog. (Ah, envy looks so cute on you, Delia.) The title of the book is Jacaranda Blue by Joy Dettman. The subject matter would normally have put off this romance-genre-loving-woman but the book was good and it had a hfn (happily for now) ending that warmed my heart.
I started reading Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey which I mistakenly thought was a biography of a real demolition derby driver. If you go here wikipedia talks about the book. It doesn't sound like a book I would like but Julie assures me that she and Dan are fans of the author, Chuck Palaniuk, and his books are all good. He authored the book behind the movie, Fight Club, which I haven't seen but my kids loved.

Update: I put Rant down. It was hard for me to read. I will probably pick it up at another time or I may just mail it to Julie. It's like Terry Pratchett. The same people who like books that I like, love Terry Pratchett but I just can't read him.

Then, the library lured me in to return my overdue books. While I was there I picked up a couple of romcoms I hadn't read...

Last but not least, I watched the fourth Pirates of the Carribean movie. I laughed and laughed. I'm in love with J.D./Capt. Jack Sparrow, of course, but I have to say the entire cast is very talented. And the writing is witty and fun.

That was my weekend, y'all. What did you get up to?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warren Buffett fangirl, at least for this

Welcome to my new followers and btw, I don't usually do the political thing here; I prefer to write about books. Tuesday's blog is already underway & it is about books!!!

I am in complete agreement with Warren Buffett and choose this Friday on my blog to spread his word.
(I got this originally from Melissa's blog.)

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the
best quotes about the debt ceiling:
“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more
than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
for re-election.
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!
The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail,
cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

(Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to
a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
each of those to do likewise. I, like Melissa, choose to blog it instead of emailing it.)

In three days, most people in The United States of America will
have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed
_*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_
1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
pay when they’re out of office.
My words here - not Warren's - millions of Americans have had to figure out how to live without the pensions they planned and worked hard for because asshats like Mitch McConnell have protected big business instead of them. What would MM do if he got a taste of his own medicine? Whine loudly and publicly even more than he already does, that's what. But he, and the other fat cats like him deserve it. Why should they be on the winning end of a double standard that shouldn't even exist?

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
Americans do.

Damn straight.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

That seems more than fair.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and
participates in the same health care system as the American people.


6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
American people.

Especially since they feel like being elected means they have some mandate to do whatever stupid thing they campaigned about even though everyone knows they're really only in office because they were the least offensive choice.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.

Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it willonly take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?
If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.
You are one of my 20+ – Please keep it going, and thanks.
Sounds like simple common sense and something that should already be happening in a country that strives to be a class free society.

Spread the word or disagree with me in the comments. So far, we still have the freedom to complain about elected officials. Take advantage while it's still an option.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Demolition Derby: freaky, fun and possibly insane

I know you're all just dying to hear about my demolition derby adventure. Well it was just that, an adventure. And fun!

Let's start with my most heart-stopping moment. It came during the main event towards the end of the night and to bring you into the moment with me I'm going to show you two pics.

Notice in front of the fence there are several large concrete barrier blocks to keep the cars from coming through the fence and hitting spectators. Notice the girl in pink. I was sitting right behind her. Something told me to stand up and move. Five minutes later that concrete corner barrier looked like this:

The girl in pink dove for the ground and screamed. We helped her up and she told me her knees hurt a little but her pride hurt a lot. I told her I thought she was very brave because if I had still been sitting behind her, I'd have hit the dirt, screamed, AND peed in my pants.

Here is the picture of the very cute piece of demolition derby swag I bought.

I didn't get a picture of the most amazing car or it's driver. (It's no myth that most of the men driving these cars are attractive, btw.) The car was black and green and had this painted on the side Of course, by the end of the night you couldn't read it.

Derby Freak was amazing because he drove through most of his first 'heat' with only 3 tires. Then, between heats, he fixed the tire and came back to take second place in the main event. Awesome, huh?

The same DF driver also drove a lawn mower in the lawn mower derby. You read right. They had a demolition derby with lawn mowers. Now that, imho, is freaky.

Oh, oh, oh and one of the cars in the main event had fire coming out of it's exhaust pipes (which are on the hood of the car.) Fire. Fire coming out of his exhaust pipes and he just kept driving. I don't remember why he pulled his flag to indicate he was done, but it wasn't because of the fire. That's either brave or insane. I'm not sure which.

It's also loud. I expected that.

What did I learn that was useful to me as far as writing a character who is a demo driver is concerned?

They have a 'powder puff' derby that they seemed to confine women to. Or did they? A question I need answered is - if women wanted to drive in the main event, could they? Cause that's where the best money is. I don't even know what the powder puff derby paid because it's not in any of the promos.

I definitely got a sense of atmosphere but next time I need to go to the pit and experience the difference. You can do that for just five bucks but my knees were giving me trouble this time so I didn't.

I got some terminology & a better list of questions I need answered.

There was some very controversial rule change they did for this derby. Usually you can NOT hit the drivers side door. At this one you could hit it if you were going backwards because drivers had been using their doors in some kind of way the rule makers wanted to eliminate. Need to find out what that was about.

And I had fun. With my gkids & my son-in-law. We will probably go again the first weekend in November. That one is a little closer to home.

Oh and I learned that Country Boy productions does a very good job of putting on the event in a safe, responsible, manner that still allows for a very good time.

Can I live in this world of alpha males, loud noise and wrecking cars part-time for the 4 months or so that it would take me to write a romcom? I think I can.

Could you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Erotica Romance Novel: Slow Ride, Author: Erin McCarthy

I'm doing a short post today about a book because Tuesday's regular post will be all about the DEMOLITION DERBY.

My weekend was fun; centered around cars, reading and research for writing.

I read Slow Ride by Erin McCarthy. I have loved her Fast Track Series so far and this book was as good as the others. We got the story of Tuesday Talledega Jones, race-track-gossip-blogger, and her man, ex-racer, Diesel (Daniel) Lange.

The next book up will prove to be just as good, I'm sure. It features Eve, a minor character from the other books. If you follow Erin McCarthy on facebook you know she just gave it to her editor so - not long until we get to read it. Yeah.

I do have something to say about Slow Ride. It's kind of negative but I don't think the blame can be laid entirely at Erin McCarthy's feet. This book is riddled with typos. I learned something I hadn't realized before. Typos can take you out of a story. Not good. However, with Erin McCarthy, you're so enjoying the story that you dive right back in. SHE'S THAT GOOD.

It definitely made me even more appreciative of all the lovely work of my two beta readers when I was writing Hungry Ghosts. Delia and Julie you rock!

What book have you loved despite obvious flaws?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Random things I'm looking forward to

~The weekend when I don't have to work on Saturday and Sunday.

~The demolition derby that I'm going to on Saturday with my gkids for fun & for research for my new novel character, Veronica, nickname Ronnie, who will be a driver.

~Slow Ride, the 5th book in the Fast Track series about race car drivers by Erin McCarthy; on it's way to me as we speak.

~The last Gothic Book Club with Jenny Crusie on the Cherry Forum. It starts on 10/31 and we're talking about Jenny's book Maybe This Time.

~The first book in the romantic comedy book club with Crusie on the Cherry Forum. Starts? First book we talk about? Can't wait to learn about romcom with the goddess of romcom herself.

~A second book from debut author Erica Marks. Her first, Little Gale Gumbo, which I won, was good.

~My youngest daughter, Liz's  senior art show on November 30th. She's a senior in college getting her bachelors in art.

~The arrival of a collage photo that my oldest daughter, Ruthie put together for my desk at work. She's a photographer. Her business is called Life Echoed Photography. Clever, huh? I have a collage with her, my son-in-law and my gkids on my desk already. I commissioned her to do one of her sister, her sister's fiancee, and all our families many pets.

~Halloween. My gdaughter is going to be Drew Barrymore as Dylan from Charlie's Angels. My gson is going to be Dr. Doofenshmirtz of Evil, Inc. from Phineas and Ferb. They're coming trick-or-treating to my work on the 28th.

~Pirates of the Carribean 4 which is out now to buy! Um give me some more Jack Sparrow.

What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Romance Novel: Shelter Me, Author: Juliette Fay

Moments ago I finished reading a book that was so astounding I felt compelled to search for the best word to describe it.

Surprised? Didn't think so. The word is -

Enthralling - fascinating: so interesting, delightful, or beautiful as to hold the attention completely

I was truly enthralled. It's Shelter Me, the second book I've read by Juliette Fay. The first, Deep Down True was also good. If we were rating with stars and ten stars was the best rating I could give,  Deep Down True would get ten and Shelter Me would get eleven.

It's the kind of book that, when you read the subject matter you think, I don't want to read that. It's the struggle of a young woman who is suddenly widowed and left with her two children to raise.

(At this point I have to say for all of those of you like me who need this incentive - it has a happily ever after ending.)

It's sad and yet, not depressing. Sheer, raw, truth and yet, entertaining. Darkness brought to the light.

There are moments so real that you just laugh out loud cause you recognize them. Moments like this: Mom Janie has told son Dylan that he doesn't have to go to preschool tomorrow because a guy is coming with a backhoe to dig holes in the yard.

Dylan looked dismayed. "Dig holes? Is that okay? Will he do trouble?"
"No, it's not trouble," said Janie. "I want him to. He's digging holes so he can build us a porch. With a ceiling fan. It's good."..."And you don't have to get ready for school so you can sleep as late as you want. We can all sleep until we're ready to get up."
At 5:42 the next morning, Dylan was ready to get up. "Mom?" he whispered, hovering over Janie. When she didn't respond he delicately pulled up one of her eyelids. "Mom? Where's the backhoe?"

Is that not true to life kid behavior?

It's the kind of book I love because Janie refuses to be bullied into grieving the way people want, or the length of time they think is okay. She is totally herself even when that self is an unpleasant bitch.

And when she was being an unpleasant bitch, I didn't just feel sorry for her or even just love her; I genuinely liked her.

Juliette Fay enthralls you like Barbara O'Neal or Melissa Senate.

My first thought was to compare her to Leslie Marmon Silko but then I realized, I haven't talked about LSM here and she deserves her own blogpost for the book Ceremony alone. Someday.

What are things you're waiting until someday to do?

Personal Weirdness:
The weirdest thing is happening at my sucky new job. (Which I'm happy to have because not everybody has a job these days - still sucky, though, not gonna drink the yucky koolaide.)
There's a water problem. So 3x in the month I've been there, we haven't had bathrooms. This is a building with more than 100 people working. Do they send people home? No. The solution is for employees who need to use the facilities to get in their car and drive a short distance to another building. What do you think this does to productivity? It doesn't crank it up, I can tell you that.
Is that weird, or what?

Friday, October 14, 2011

I couldn't help myself

Those of you who read the bettyverse may have recently read a guest blogpost I wrote about participating in pirate radio. I speak of the nineties when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent a great deal of my time as a direct activist, trying to rid the world of injustice.
The anger I felt from all the information about injustice coming towards me, nearly did me in. I came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do for the world, and myself, was to live the change I wanted to see in the world.
So I left Albuquerque and moved on to my next incarnation in this lifetime.

I still like to be informed. Especially by snarky, intelligent women like Betty Fokker. I usually leave the ranting to people like her. She's better qualified than I am to back up my rant.

You know what's coming, right? A rant. I can't resist but I'll try to make it a little one.

I live with my mother. Long story short, I moved here to help her take care of my dad so he could spend his final years at home. He died. I still live with her. For two reasons - one, she's in her 70's and she's never lived alone, ever. Nor does she want to. And - two, my grandkids are here within ten miles and it would require a team of Clydesdales to drag me away from them.

Anywho - she likes to drive me crazy with the television. Case in point, I was trying to eat my breakfast before going to my sucky job and she has on Good Morning America. I swear she turns this shit on to make me nuts and she herself never pays attention to it.

First we have the marriage expert. She tells us that 50 % of women aren't getting married these days. You know why? Because we have achieved, wait for it, get this...GENDER ECONOMIC EQUALITY... and women don't have to get married anymore. In fact, a lot of women are apparently having difficulty finding a man who makes as much or more money than they do to get married to.

Do you know any of these women? Because I don't.

Then comes on a male person of color who has written a book about how racism isn't significantly holding anyone back in this country anymore.

Does he know that I live in a place where I'm afraid to put Obama's campaign sticker in my yard or on my car? I don't fear for myself but my 70 year old mom and my grandkids would also be targets. And my car runs, dammit. Does he see the car in the lot at work that has a sticker on the back that insinuates that Pelosi wants to eradicate grandma and the faux license plate in front with a rebel flag? Does he know that a lot of tea partiers are racists in not so clever disguises?

Add to that the fact that these programs cater to the billion dollar weight loss industry and know nothing of body acceptance.

I could go on and on but instead I'll get to the heart of what really bothers me. There are people watching this bullshit and accepting it without question. What kind of denial do you have to live in to think women are earning equally with men in the workplace? What do you have to turn away from to believe racism is no longer an issue?

How deaf, dumb and blind do you have to be to keep from picking up the damn tv and hurling it out the window?

I'm sure that's what I'd do if I had to watch any one of these shows very often.

Rant over. Somebody tell me a good joke!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Romance Novel: Little Gale Gumbo, Author: Erika Marks, Romance Suspense Novel: Foul Play, Author: Tori Carrington

Gales brewing in my brain

When I sat down at the computer tonight I thought I had nothing to give. No news. Nothing going on. Ho hum.
Then I hit my email and found out I won this book :
from the Debutante Ball. Go here for a synopsis.

Linda Grimes has taken Tawna Fenske's Friday spot at the ball. Last Friday if you commented with your favorite food scene from any book, you won Erica Marks debut book pictured above. This was my winning comment:
"In Foul Play by Tori Carrington, gorgeous Dino brings Sophie a chocolate torte which they end up eating off of each other in one of my favorite steamy scenes. Makes my stomach rumble and my hoohah, well, … just thinking about it."
Which reminds me that I have to write a blogpost about Tori Carrington's series of Sophie Metropolis books because I love them.

So then I went from email to Jennifer Crusie's blog. I didn't know she had put up a new blog. I went to find out what we were doing next in the Cherry Forum Gothic Book club. That hasn't been decided yet but Jenny had a new blogpost up. And it's a doozie! My favorite quote from it is:

"Full disclosure: There’s a limit to how long I’ll stay on the high ground. It’s not my natural habitat."
Those kind of snarky comments are one of the many reasons I love Ms Crusie.

Anyway the post is about conflict of interest but it veers off into plaguerism. And it made me feel somewhat like a hypocrit. I'm going to quote my comment to her blogpost now so you'll know why.
"Picasso may have said – “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Not that that makes plageurism okay – but people, give it a rest.
In the interest of full disclosure, it makes me feel like a hypocrit to say that. Why? Because I recently wrote a blog in praise of an author – then I read a second series by her and found out she recycled some of her scenes. And I was stunned. I like to approach my blog with the old – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything, motto so I didn’t want to dis her on my blog. However, I felt I owed the few people who add books to their tbr lists from my blogpost the new truth I’d found, so I emailed them directly.
She doesn’t deserve to be publicly hanged. She didn’t steal from someone else. She stole from her own books. I just don’t want people to buy her books on my say so.
Truth be told, I enjoyed them, recycled scenes and all."
Some of you know why I feel silly now.

But even funnier is that she's talking about plaguerism by Cassie Edwards. In the early 70's my brother was friends with CE's son. He used to visit them frequently. When my Harlequin reading mom found out CE wrote romance novels, she had to check one out. And she was so flabbergasted. It didn't end with the chaste kiss after the wedding proposal that she was accustomed to.
Now I find out Edwards has been writing romance all these years. Her career ended very recently in a plaguerism scandal that Jenny Crusie calls a witch hunt. It's even in wikipedia here.

This all amused and entertained me for almost 2 hours. What's been amusing you lately?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's child has many bags

On Wednesday over in JulieLand, Mrs. Moon Witch said:

"I love totes and bags and purses and carry-alls and satchels of every flavor and style."

Guess what? Me, too. So I decided to post pics of mine. Ooh, oh, oh, oh and pics of these cool containers I love.

Here is my messy peg thingy overfull with bags:

Here is the bag that I carry for a purse right now:

Here is a purse I bought several years ago that I only use for special occassions as I want to keep it nice:

It's hanging against my purple rag-rolled wall. It was designed by San Diego artist, Laurel Burch, who is now deceased. She's actually famous for these cats:

The cats are cute but I love my butterfly purse.

Here is a purse I made from a pair of my dad's old jeans after he died. I lined it with one of his old flannel shirts. On the front is a coffee cup tapestry that I wove when I thought I wanted to become a weaver. I didn't enjoy weaving but I still think that pieces someone has weaved with their own hands and creativity are magical.

Here are the cool containers opened. One holds my clothes pins, the other holds my essential oils. It smells really good when you open it.

Here they are closed. Aren't they cute? In between them is a chunk of glass dug up from outside an old, abandoned glass factory in Rhode Island.

The last thing I want to show you is the bookmark my brother gave me for xmas a few years ago. It's handmade by someone from one of the First Nations tribes but I'm not sure who or what tribe. I just love it.

So there you have it. Me and my love affair with bags, and containers. I'm usually a minimalist but I can't resist bags, containers, bookmarks and books.

My purse is becoming a little the worse for wear so I 'NEED' to find a new one soon!

Happy Friday y'all!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Romance Novel: Wedding Veil Wishes series, Author: Lori Wilde

Well, I've done it again. Started in the middle of a series, not knowing it was a series. For a person who likes series you'd think I'd always check.

I'm reading the Wedding Veil Wishes series by Lori Wilde. Although they stand alone, the order of the books as written is:
There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten, Twice Shy
Addicted To Love
All Of Me

I just finished Addicted To Love. There was a lot to like about the book. She definitely explores a theme and does it well. The theme is the differences between unrealistic, overly romanticized love and true, lasting love. She explores it through the lives and stories of her characters and by making a town, Valentine, TX, the focus of the unrealistic version.

In the end our heroine falls for the wonderful guy who does things like rescue her newspaper from the bushes and set it on her welcome mat everyday and scrape the windsheild of her car off for her in bad weather. (They're neighbors.) And not the idiot pro football player who rejected her at the altar for selfish reasons and then comes back with a ring and a sob story.

There are a couple of other love stories that are touching and, of course, end HEA.


My future son-in-law gave me a present - a walking stick he carved. It's pictured here:
And close-up, here:

And the two best pictures are here:

And here:
The last two pictures are best because the walking stick is being held up by my grandkids. We spent an hour at the lake in the sunshine this weekend.

So thank you future son-in-law for the walking stick and thank you son-in-law of many years for my grandkids.

Hope everyone's having a good week.

Friday, September 30, 2011

the Friday song

You know those moments that stay with you even though they're completely unimportant? I remember a night long ago, I was in my mid 30's. I had gone dancing with some girlfriends to a new club in St. Louis where I lived at the time. The club was in an old, huge bank vault.
The moment came when a certain song came on. I loved the song so I was dancing pretty much oblivious to my surroundings. Suddenly, unexpectely, a hat plopped on my head. It looked kind of like this hat:
except it was very dark brown.

The plopper was a handsome man who looked around the same age as me. He had wild curly brown hair, sexy lips and dark brown eyes lit up with 'interest' in me. He was average height and weight. We danced the whole song and just as it ended and he started to say something to me, his guy friends called out to him that they were leaving. He turned and shrugged to me, took his hat and went off.

For years there was a radio station that played that song every Friday at 5o'clock to celebrate the end of the work week. And every Friday I would remember that moment and smile.

I give you the Friday song:

Thank Goodness It's Friday, Y'all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Romance Novels: Ain't Too Proud To Beg, Author: Susan Donovan

I'm reading some Susan Donovan books right now; a romantic comedy trilogy. There is a group of women who work together at a newspaper. They form a very dysfunctional dog-walking group. Each book is the story of one of the women.

You know how all romance books have similar scenes, etc except you, well I, don't get tired of them because the voice is different and they're not exactly the same, like snowflakes?

Well, Susan Donovan is an exception to that. In each of her books there is something wildly different. I don't want to spoiler so I'll just say -

in Ain't Too Proud To Beg - the first book, about Josie Sheehan and Rick Rousseau - the scene where she first has Rick to her apartment made me almost wet my pants from laughing and it's - UNIQUE.

in The Night She Got Lucky, about Ginger Garrison and Lucio 'Lucky' Montevez - a natural human phenomen occurs during an unusal weather phenomenon leaving you shaking your head in wonder - UNIQUE.

in Not That Kind of Girl  - the third book - about Roxie Bloom and Eli Gallagher - the scene where they first make love - very entertaining and very UNIQUE.

There is a fourth woman in the dog-walking group, Bea, her lesbian love story is briefly told in Not That Kind Of Girl and it's sweet.

In all the books there is a wonderful woman, Mrs. Needleman. We meet her in book one when Josie writes the obituary for her husband of umpteen years (she herself is in her eighties). She's a matchmaker full of wisdom.

In Ain't Too Proud To Beg she says: "And from the beginning of time, anger and fear had been love's most formidable foes."

In The Night She Got Lucky she says: "You could still get lucky, but if you spend all your time worrying that you're over the hill, then you'll miss your chance to be over the moon."

In Not That Kind of Girl "...she'd picture the passing of time as a kind of poem, a poem that looped around and repeated itself in places, yet always charged ahead toward the inevitable end. And when it was over, love was the only thing that remained."

Over in Julieland Saturday's blogpost led to a discussion which unsuccessfully tried not to be about  double-clicking-one's-mouse which reminds me of a book one of the characters is reading - the DIY Guide To Female Orgasm. That book doesn't exist but this one does - Amazing DIY Orgasms: A Girl's Guide to Pleasuring Herself by Roseann D. Bell - but only on Kindle. Makes me want to go out and buy a Kindle. I will probably not write a blog about it, though.

You can find more about Susan and her books on her website.


Kris showed us her work space here. Delia showed us her writing space here.

For a brief glance into my other life - here is the space where I find myself 40 hours a week -

Whoops - it's a little blurry. Oh well, you can see it's pleasant. That red cup is a nice company issued cup so that no one spills on the computer. Being a spiller, I greatly appreciate it.

Here is a close up so that you can see - the only decoration I've added so far is the kaola bear cup that Kris sent me from Australia. It's filled with hard candy peppermints in case I have throat troubles while talking.

Here is a pic of the bookmark she also sent me. It's not on my desk because while stealing has never been a problem at this company, I might be able to replace the cup with another cup with koala bears (though not the exact one) but I don't think I could replace the bookmark.

The dark brown is a wooden bookmark. The light brown is the packaging. Beautiful, huh?

Thanks again, Kris.

Hope everyone is having a good week.