Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paranormal Romance Novel: A Little Night Magic, Author: Lucy March

Update - According to Jennifer Crusie the book has already gone in for a second printing so if you want a first edition - BUY IT NOW.


I was lucky enough to read an ARC of the book. And it was gooood. I want to urge you to buy it, but even more to the point - I want to urge you to buy it TODAY because that helps Lucy get the recognition she needs to be on lists. You know those powerful lists. And she deserves to be there. This book deserves to be there.

It deserves it for the laughter it evokes:

"In a knee-jerk response of vigilance after a thousand cautionary tales from my grandmother based on True Stories from the Reader's Digest, I took in the little details about him for the police report I'd probably never have to file..."

Funny and yet, grandmothers are like that sometimes. Mine was.

It deserves it for the smiles it brings:

Stay at the bed and breakfast but - "Come here for breakfast, though. Addie puts flaxseed in everything she cooks."

That's really only good in theory.

"And I had to do something about that, because loving this man was going to kill me."

I smile even though, or maybe because, I've been there.

"It takes a while to accept that you have magical power, and here's why: I'ts insane."

Lovable main character, Liv Kiskey, discovers that she has a magical power. It's a sweet, funny, heartwarming power that, at first seems useless. She makes it work for her, though.

A Little Night Magic deserves to be on the lists because it is laden with truths written in Lucy March voice that are user-friendly, irrefutable, valuable and powerful.

"Any man who doesn't appreciate a woman with curves probably doesn't really like women much to begin with, anyway."

Maybe if it's said enough times in enough different ways, it will be heard.

"Spontaneity without commitment is just wishful thinking."

Of course, a little discretion about what to commit to and what to dismiss as crazy, is important, also.

"If you can't get the happy endings you want, sometimes you have to settle for the ones you can have."


Liv Kiskey, however does get the happy ending she wants.

Another of the many reasons why it's such a great book.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Part Gloom, Part Happy

And not Lucy's assistant Gloom from Don't Look Down by the romance guru goddess, Jennifer Crusie and her thrice-was cohort Bob Mayer, either.

Sing with me, y'all -

Gloom, despair and agony on me
Deep dark depression
Excessive misery

(If you're familiar with the song you'll get this next reference);
but not bad luck.
Just a definite lack of sunshine.( My dad used to sing that song sometimes to exaggerate his dark moods.)

I am so sick of these clouds. I am glad to have enough heat that they're just bringing rain and not snow and ice that makes road conditions slippery. If the clouds would only disappear a couple of hours a day and let the sun shine.

So I bring you this. Sing along with me. I know you know the lyrics even though it's Chris Martin singing them instead of George Harrison. (There's an even better version by Gale Mead but, alas, it's not on youtube.) (Also, if you're impatient like me, skip 30 seconds ahead past the talk.)

If we all sing loud enough maybe the sun will peek through for a while.

Does the weather effect your moods?

My mood improves greatly when I think about this, 34 years ago I was on the way to the hospital (in snow and ice) to deliver my baby girl, Lizzie. She is also know as Liz, busy Lizzie, dizzy Lizzy and Lizard's Breath.

This one is for her:

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth, my sweet, beautiful, intelligent baby!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Work In Progress: Tangible Taffy, Collage, Romance Novel: Agnes and the Hitman, Author: Jenny Crusie

Taffy's reading room

Hey Y'all -

Lest you think I have forgotten about my new novel - here is the latest work towards making it happen:

This is Taffy's reading room.

Of course, I'm not Jenny Crusie so things are out of proportion, but you get the idea.

This is Agnes and Shane:

Shane the Spanish Dagger is on the left. Agnes the Artichoke is on the right. See how they live at the top of the stairs in the cool, blue room? If you don't get that reference - read Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer very, very soon. You will love it.

This is Taffy's comfy couch that she often falls asleep on and her cute, trunk, coffee table:

Is that not a cute, comfortable-looking couch? I love the light fixture, too.

And, of course, her wall to wall book shelves:

Notice the belly dancer painting on the wall. Not sure what that's about, yet. Does she belly dance as exercise? Maybe.

Are you thinking this may actually be my idea of the perfect room? I must admit; I enjoyed putting it together.

What would your perfect room look like?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Paranormal Romance Novel: Copper Beach, The Scargill Cove Case Files, Author: Jayne ann Krentz

I am such a ding dong. Don't correct my languaging. It's true. Remember how I was looking forward to my 100th post this year. I MISSED IT. Can you believe that? chameleons, cactus and guacamole on Janruary 10th was my one hundredth blogpost.

Pitiful. That's what I am.

Anywho - now that I realize I'll think of some way to celebrate.

Meanwhile... a book from my 2012 list is now available here:

I just finished reading it and, as usual, it's excellent. This woman never disappoints me. And she has written A LOT of books.

I'm happy to say that this one is the first in either a trilogy or a series.

It's a paranormal romance but not vampires or anything. The spunky, quirky heroine (which is one of JAK's delightful specialties) can decode or unlock the supernatural encryption on certain books. And the lustful, eyes-only-for-the-heroine, super deadly hero, uses crystals in supernatural ways.

There's a dark house on an island. There's family drama on both sides. There's more than one bad guy.

I read it once and I plan on reading it again. Soon.

While looking for it in amazon, I stumbled on this:

Guess what? IT'S FREE! If you have a kindle or one of those free kindle apps on your computer. (The free app is what I have.) I just downloaded it so I haven't read it, but, based on my history with JAK, it's good.

And a free way to get a taste of her. Can't beat that.

On  a personal front - we're having a family blowout on Sunday. Gson's birthday - he's eleven - and we're cutting up a downed tree for firewood for my daughter. Good excuses for a grill out. Hope the weather is warm.

What's everyone up to this weekend?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Young Adult Novel: Withering Tights, Author: Louise Rennison

My reclaimed life 

 It feels so good to have my life back. Before reclamation, right at this moment I would have been sitting in a cubicle for hours taking phone calls that start with - "I just received my order today, and..." Here's a hint - they never ended with "It was perfect. You guys did a great job."

Instead, I've read the book No More Diets by Allen Carr, which is excellent, btw and given Gladys a new home.

I didn't take a before pic but just so you know, Gladys is a wise woman Aloe. She has birthed many generations of progeny that now reside in various homes, curing burns, etc. But she, and all her offspring were refusing to anchor their roots in the soil so I had to give them a new home.

New clay pot. New cactus soil. New teepee type support system made of kabob skewers. Now they will hopefully be happy.

Isn't Gladys beautiful?

Speaking of beautiful plants - I don't know how many will figure into the new novel, tenatively titled, Tangible Taffy - but I've started to get pics & stuff just in case.

Here are the ladies of the canyon, Trina, Annie and Estrella:

If you don't recognize the origin of their names, they're from this song by Joni Mitchell:

Back to my reclaimed life -

Saturday I went outside for a bit cause it was nice, though cold. Other wise I mostly researched various things for the new novel.

Sunday I read an entire book out loud to my gkids. It's a book I learned about from London Mabel. The title is Withering Tights and it's by Louise Rennison. I read it and loved it so I wanted to share it with them. Especially Kat who turns 14 in March. The book is about a 14 year old and all her shennanigans. Even 10 year old Jay listened, though, in his play-with-my-ipod-while-listening way. It is 263 pages and took the better part of our day, but they were into it so I just didn't stop.
Part of the time we were reading at the lake. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

In fifteen minutes, I'm leaving to take them to kidfit class. I've missed doing that.

And I don't have to report back to work until Wednesday at 4pm when I will spend only 5 hours as training day one for my job not fixing the mistakes careless people make while taking orders.

Now this, dearies, is living.

Editted to add: Damn Barbara Samuel and her book, No Place Like Home, making me cry and cry. If it didn't have such a sweet, happy ending, I don't think I could forgive her.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good news, bad news, sleepy

Let's start out with the good news, shall we?

My sucky job just got extremely less sucky. I have attained a switch to the after hours call center. 28 hours, nights, weekends and holidays. I'll have  life again. I can write again. I can read blogs & make comments again. I can spend time with my gkids again. I don't have to answer 8 long hours worth of phone calls from unhappy customers again. I just have to deal with crazies and people who legitimately need help with their O2 tanks.

I want to celebrate so I looked for a happy dance song and ended up with this one instead cause it always makes me want to jump dance:

No Sleep Tonight from the Faders.

Funny, really because it's a very good lead in to the bad news and the sleep part of our post.

I'm snowed in overnight at my daughters. (Snow being the bad news.) Which means I could use the laptop all night to play except I'm too


For the first time in a couple of days, y'all. Can't keep my eyes open.

Oh, I do have to tell you, though; the new job comes with more good news - a 4 day weekend before I start. I'm going to get that contemplation time that Julie the good witch has been seeing in my future for a while now.

Oh, oh, oh and did anyone see the bing pic today. It's the most beautiful OWL. I went speechless for ten minutes when I saw it. If you missed it, go to bing and if they've moved on to a new pic, page back to the owl using the little arrow.

Now I have to go zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Editted to add: ps - Taffy's unfinished backstory was mistakenly  posted for a sec. Sorry. I'll post it for reals when it's done. Read your comment Delia - thanks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Comedy Movie: Rango, Guacamole Recipe, Cactus: Spanish Dagger Yucca

chameleons, cactus and guacamole

I have a funny relationship with animated movies. I think I don't like them. I think I only tolerate them for my gkids. Not true. I watch them with my gkids and am frequently surprised at how much I like them.

Especially when this man is the voice of the hero:
This weekend I watched Rango. It was a funny, funny movie. The kind of movie that, while my gkids loved it, there were things that went right over their heads, planted deliberately for adults.

Some kids would get this, some wouldn't:

Rango: "Reptiles gotta stick together, brother."
Buford: "I'm an amphibian."
Rango: "Ain't no shame in that."

There was a lot of flippant philisophizing - I love that.

Spirit of the West to Rango: "No man can walk out of his own story."

Rango: "Is this Heaven?"
Spirit of the West: "If it were, we'd be eating strawberry Pop-Tarts with Kim Novak."

The next time I want to insult or threaten someone and have them question whether or not I'm teasing, I hope I remember this line:

Bad Bill: "If I see your face in this town again I'm gonna slice it off. And use it to wipe my unmentionables."

And here's a great arrogant warning:

Rango: "When you see me coming', stand aside. I take large steps and I don't want none of you hayseeds gettin' your bodily fluids on my boots!"

There's the obligatory sappy romance with lines like this from the spunky heroine:

Beans: "Who didn't wanna find some place wonderful?"

My favorite line of the whole film was one said by Mariachi owl #1:

Owl 1: "And so the stranger basks in the adulation of his new friends. Sinking deeper into the guacamole of his own deception."

I swear everyday I find myself sinking deeper into the guacamole of my own deception. Don't you?

Random recipe - my version of guacamole (coincidentally the only version I like):
2 or 3 avocados soft but not too soft crushed with a fork
juice of one lemon (juice it and keep adding to your taste)
tip end of a jalepeno pepper diced tiny
onion salt to taste

The film Rango also answered a question I've been asking myself; what would be the right plant to name Shane after Shane in Agnes and the Hitman?

Answer: the Spanish Dagger Yucca

It looks like this:

Do you agree or does some other houseplant strike you as Shane? What about Agnes? Thorny flower or cactus flower or something else entirely?

Friday, January 6, 2012

janglies vs crystal clarity

Okay - big sigh - not confessing exactly, more like free thought journaling.

I've been thinking about the demolition derby novel I want to write. The thing is, the story is there but the research is problematic and I don't think I can change that until the weather improves.

Say what - what's the weather got to do with researching my book? I can only get to demolition derbies when the weather is better and these folks aren't sitting around at their computers answering email questions.

So I may have to postpone that book and do another one first.

This sets off all kinds of janglies in my head.

But, but I already put up a taste of the other one and people will think I'm flaky if I don't write it.

Uh, hello - I am flaky whether I write it or not. This blogpost kinda proves that, eh?

But, but Jenny Crusie says that if a new book tempts you away from the old book that's just distraction.

I really don't think she meant that as a federal law or anything. Just a warning. Maybe sometimes a new book calls because it's not time for the old one.

But, but if I do that the other book may never be written because, my esteemed dearies, y'all know it's against the rules that I should write 2 books in one year or keep thoughts of a book in my head for more than a year.

Then my beloved Julie (or the person who wrote the cards in her card draw du jour, not sure which) wrote this:

"When you choose this card, it means that there is a crystal clarity available right now, detached, rooted in the deep stillness that lies at the core of your being.
There is no desire to understand from the perspective of the mind – the understanding you have now is existential, whole, in harmony with the pulse of life itself. Accept this great gift, and share it.”

At which time I knew with 'crystal clarity' that the next post-a-chapter-a-week-on-my-blog novel I write will be the one that started coming into my consciousness the moment I read the name of Anne Stuart aka Krissie aka Kristina Douglas's sister - Taffy - and knew that Taffy is a character in a novel I will write or the name of a houseplant who will be the friend and confidant of the protagonist in said novel. Not sure which.

So I'm ignoring my mind which tells me that postponing the demo derby book, even though it would be better research-wise to write it later, is failure.

And, "in harmony with the pulse of life itself," cleaning out the sun-filled attic room in my head, for the still-a-seed novel that comes first.

Take that you janglies.

Anybody know of a plant for which Taffy would be a good proper name?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Keep your diamonds. I want books.

"Everyone on Earth has a treasure that awaits him."  Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

I'm not a him, Paulo, darling. I do recognize my treasure, though. It's books. And the treasure chest that is 2012 is overflowing!

It's filled with books that I long for so much it could actually be said that I crave them:
"And I have two books that have over 60,000 words each, and I should finish them." Jennifer Crusie Yes, that's right. In all likelihood we will see 2 new books from my absolute-all-time-favorite author.

Hopefully Crusie's good friend and another great writer, Anne Stuart will come out with something, too. Preferably something icy. And if it's only for Kindle, that's okay. We can do that.

Lucy March's eagerly anticipated, A Little Night Magic is out on 1/31/12. I had the privilege of reading an ARC and believe me, you want to carve out money to buy and time to read, this one!

First up time-wise is Copper Beach by Jayne Anne Krentz due out on 1/10/12. That's right. Only one week away! The bonus is this one is the start of a new series by JAK called the Dark Legacy series. 

Amanda Quick aka JAK also has a new series starting this year; the Flint and Marsh series first book out will be Crystal Gardens in April. My shelfari friend Ursula also looks forward to these series here.

In similar fashion A Fitting End by Melissa Bourbon, out 2/7/12, the second book in her Magical Dressmaker series will be followed later this year by Bare Naked Lola, the third in her Lola Cruz series which she's written as Misa Ramirez.

Out on the same day, 2/7/12, is Breakaway, the latest in the New York Blades series by Deidre Martin.

Susan Donovan follows up her fun book, Cheri On Top with I Want Candy out on 2/28/12.

Tawna Fenske's second book, Believe It Or Not, comes out 3/1/12. Go Tawna! Go Tawna!

Louisa Edwards starts her Recipe For Love series with Hot Under Pressure out 3/27/12.

The Garden of Happy Endings which could only be a Barbara O'Neal title will be out  4/17/12.

On the same day, 4/17/12, Let's Pretend This Never Happened; A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, comes out. I will need to buy some adult diapers before I crack it open.

Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson comes out 5/29/12 but I can't tell if it's another of the Chinook series or not.

Jacked Up, the sixth book in the steamy hot Fast Track series by Erin McCarthy comes out 6/5/12.

The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips comes out 7/10/12.

Linda Grimes makes her debut with In A Fix out sometime in July, 2012.

That's just the scheduled ones. I wouldn't be surprised to dig out treasure from Melissa Senate or Mary Alice Monroe or Lois Greiman or Susan Andersen or Victoria Dahl or Lori Foster or, or, or...

Editted to add: Kate George fans like me also hope for a new Bree McGowan or the long-awaited Mermaid Girl book this year!

One person we probably won't hear from is Diana Gabaldon cause while she gave us a tease of Written In My Own Heart's Blood, the next in the Outlander series, in the back of The Scottish Prisoner, the latest of her Lord John books, she's busy filling it with pages of crap that I, at least, will not read, so it won't come out until 2013. Would someone please get that woman an editor/publisher who knows how to say NO?

Bitter party of one. I own it.

Also exciting is the prospect of the unknown. The unknown author's writing the unknown books. This time next year I'll have added them to my list.

You might notice that almost everyone on my list is of the romance genre. I am PROUD to say that I read romance almost exclusively. Denigrate it all you will, you snobby critics you. The writers I love will laugh at you all the way to the bookstore shelves where they sold 1.358 billion dollars worth of books in 2010.

That's a lot of treasure!