Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free books - and good books at that

At work with no time but have to let you all know - Sarah Wynde's books, A Gift of Time and A Gift of Ghosts are free at amazon on 10/31 until midnight pacific time.
If you haven't read them, I loved them.
I don't have time to look for it, but I reviewed one of them. You can find that in the tab about books and authors.
Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

wind turbines, heckling, scary settings, NANOWRIMO

This week I've been doing some writing stuff. Working on my goal - motivation - conflict for act one of Black Windows. Also, tweaked the story a bit. Now it seems really workable and I've started doing research.

It's funny the things you have to research when you write a fiction novel. I'm looking for a setting. It's a gothic so it needs to have scare potential. At the same time, the laws of the state have to be a certain way regarding 2 subjects, rape and wind turbines.


Can you see the potential of this as a scary presence at night time?

Anywho - it's going to be in Texas. It will take place partly in South Armadillo which will be modeled after San Antonio. The all-important house (at least all important for gothics) will be remote and closest to a fictional very small town 45 minutes or so from SA called Doomed, TX.

Now I have to figure out how close you can legally live to a field of these. Do people live on these wind farms?


Of course, the most fun part of my research is - poetry slams. I'm going to have to find some close and go to them. Isn't that tragic? What's really cool is there is something called Puroslam in San Antonio. It has a fascinating history and even specialized heckling.

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In other news - lots of my writerly friends are gearing up for NANOWRIMO which happens every November. I myself am not participating as I have been working on this material and it is not new. But I'm still doing my part.

I have created a special version of willwriteforchocolate for November 2012 that is meant to be helpful to all writers with avenues to the chocolate that are especially good for those choosing to do Nano-ing. Go to the WWFC homepage for details.

If you haven't joined us before - we welcome you.

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I want to do a blogpost about Beth Ciotta's Evie series. All three books in the triology were excellently funny. Other than that, I may be putting up personal posts for a while as I am getting deeply into Black Windows - my modern-gothic-romance-novel-work-in-progress.

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What do you think of when you think of scary settings for books?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Alabama Shakes; when it all comes together - for today anyway

I was sitting outside my granddaughters kickboxing class when I heard a song by a mesmerizing singer.

Brittany Howard; lead singer for the band - Alabama Shakes.

The song was Hold On.

I went looking and reading lyrics and listening to the music and I realized, that was my least favorite of their songs. Even though it's the most popular. Go figure.

Anywho - I found the theme song for Mimi, my protagonist in Black Windows, the modern gothic romance novel I'm working on.

It's this:

"I Ain't the Same"

I put 2 more songs on the soundtrack.

"Hang Loose"

And this:

"Going To the Party"

If you like their sound as much as I do - there's lots to check out on youtube before you commit to itunes or mp3.

For today, they're the featured artists on Black Windows soundtrack, adding to Florence and the Machine, Shawn Mullins and Josh Ritter.

What are you listening to lately?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romance Mystery Novel: Lowcountry Boil by Author: Susan M. Boyer

there is this but there is that

In Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer Liz Talbot's life is full of mixed blessings.



Her best friend Colleen is back after fourteen years. Of course, she's a ghost. "I almost didn't recognize her. She looked fantastic for a ghost." Lowcountry Boil by Susan Boyer
Apparently that's not too unusual.
"If you grow up in the South Carolina Lowcountry, you're generally tolerant of ghosts, haints, spirits and the like. Charleston County has more supernatural entities per capita than anyplace else in the country." Lowcountry Boil by Susan Boyer

Her business partner in her PI business is her evil ex-husband's brother. "Nate is the same flavor of blond-haired-blue-eyed handsome, but Nate's a good guy." Lowcountry Boil by Susan Boyer

Her gram died. But she left Liz her house, the contents and the 300 prime acres the house sits on, on Stella Maris island. Of course, Liz's life and business are on the other side of South Carolina.

Turns out, her gram was murdered. And Liz, being a PI, and a granddaughter who loved her gram, is determined to find the killer. Determined enough to move home to Stella Maris. But her brother, the local sheriff, is determined not to let Liz investigate.

And then there's Michael Devlin. Liz should have, would have, married him years ago except her bitch of a scheming cousin tricked him into marrying her instead. But it looks like their marriage is on the rocks.

This is an engaging, page-turner of a book that you will not want to put down. The mystery gets solved but the ending leaves you hanging about Liz's romantic life and wanting more of all the characters and the lowcountry culture.

That's okay, though. Because it's the first book in a series and I will definitely be reading book 2.
I love getting in on the ground floor of a really good series. Don't you? Linda Grimes series starting with In A Fix is bound to make me lmao through every book. This series is bound to make me sit on the edge of my seat, breathless, unable to put it down, through every book.
I feel lucky.
So what exactly is a lowcountry boil?
 
It's a South Carolina recipe involving seafood, at least crab, sausage, potatoes and corn. Here is a recipe from Taste of Home magazine.
I'd like to say it looks good, but I'm not a fan of seafood.
I am a fan of this book, though. Thanks Robena for the recommendation.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Suffering through champagne, houseplants, writing and dogpaddling

I wrote recently of a new author whom I love - Sarah-Kate Lynch. I've read several of her books now and I'm telling you, she is fabulous.

In the beginning of House of Daughters there is this paragraph about her:

"A tireless researcher, Sarah-Kate Lynch trailed the byways of Ireland sampling dairy products for her first novel, Blessed Are the Cheesemakers, and perfected French sourdough bread for her second, By Bread Alone. In the interest of maintaining her artistic integrity regarding House of Daughters, she considers it her duty to drink as much champagne as she can possibly manage. As a result her website is not always up-to-date, but you can find it at www.sarah-katelynch.com."
 
Poor thing. Oh how she suffers for her art. Don't ya love it?

I'm told the sourdough bread recipe is in the back of By Bread Alone but I haven't gotten to that one yet. Can't wait cause I love a good sourdough.

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I tackled the daunting task of getting all the houseplants in this week. They are all in a warm place with plenty of light.


Glenda the peace lily is so happy, she's about to bloom:

 
 
I also accomplished the near deadly task of planting La Diabla in her new home:
 
 


Of course she made me pay with little prickles in my hands for a couple of days. Which made it harder to do something else that I'm happy to say I've been doing - writing. I've managed  to make some headway on the work in progress by handwriting in a journal away from the computer. I'm enjoying it! October and November are great months for writing gothic. All that chilling Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos energy.

Last but not least, I've been dogpaddling in the deep end.

 
 
What have you been up to?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Romance Novel: Enchanting Lily, Author: Anjali Banerjee

don't judge a blogpost by the pics
 


I'm starting off my blogpost with a pic of my cat, Bernie, eating. Bet you think that means this will not be a blogpost about a book.

Ha! Gotcha.


This is a blogpost about a really good book: Enchanting Lily by Anjali Banerjee.

So why the cat pic?

Because there is a quirky cat in the book who has his own point of view. That's right, little pieces of the novel written from the cat's voice. And no, it's not pages and pages of meows. Honestly, you people are so silly sometimes. Or is it me? Don't answer that.


In the book a widow moves the remainder of her life to Fairport on Shelter Island in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of what she has left is vintage clothing and she opens a store to sell it. 

A wandering cat comes along and she meets the local vet and his teenage daughter through her concern for the cat.

The cat has some enchantments about it.

The characters are small town nosy yet neighborly. The protag, hero and daughter all have their faults and their lovable quirks.


The book has special touches like a mention of using herbal southernwood, also known as Old Man like mothballs. 

And someone with madrone colored hair. This refers to a tree with a pretty red berry so I'm assuming red hair.
 
 

It's a sweet book that I thoroughly enjoyed with a happy ending and an epilogue in the cat's pov.

Anjali Banerjee has written several other books that I plan to check out. 

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PS. I can't use a pic of Bernie without using a pic of his handsome brother Blackie:


I can't seem to get a pic of the cats unless they are eating as they won't be still otherwise. And when Blackie tucks into his food he won't look up for anything. So what you can't see is that he has the most beautiful green eyes.



Friday, October 12, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night.

Snort. I actually had that sentence in the first modern gothic romance novel I wrote. Delia called me on it. It was there and I didn't even see it.

It may be a cliche but, guess what?

It is a dark and stormy night. I just drove home from work in pouring rain, fierce wind, loud thunder and lightening striking frequently and frighteningly.

I love storms. I don't especially like driving in them. I'm usually going back and forth between being exhilirated and fascinated and cursing my luck to be out in them.

Do you like storms?

My cat Bernie, who usually greets me when I come home purring and begging for affection, is in his dry, safe, hidey-hole tonight.

I have a stack of books I need to tell you about but I'm falling asleep at my computer so I'm going to have mercy on your tbr piles for now.

Don't expect that to continue, though, cause there are some authors who really deserve accolades.

For now I'm off to get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A scare but not the good kind

Since last Friday, I had a slight scare -

 
 
but not the good Halloween kind.
 
 
No, this one involved going somewhere scary but not a fun scary place like -
 
a haunted house. No, this scare involved a different scary place, the hospital.

I assure you, everyone is okay. My mom had an episode of very high, irregular heartrate. It came back down. Her doctor knows why it happened and assures us her cardiologist can cure or control it.


So while it involved  -
sssss
 
 
it did not involve -
 
...
 
So now all is well. Her heartrate is  -
 
 
regular and normal. All the relatives have gone home. The phone calls have slowed down.
 
And, I'll be back with a regular blogpost on Friday, barring any further complications.
 
 
Until then:
 




Friday, October 5, 2012

What have you been up to?

My grandchildren and I have been up to our usual tricks. We've been reading graphic novels. My grandson will frequently sit me down to the computer and show me what he needs to add to my book buy list. Whatever is the latest in one of three series of books is what he's after.

                                

Let's talk some Captain Underpants. Are you familiar with him? The amazing Dav Pilkey is the author/illustrator of this series of books. Normally on Dav's website you can veiw many things such as a little video telling you about the history of this series. Right now the site is under renovation so I'll paraphrase:

Dav spent years sitting outside classrooms where he was in trouble for drawing cartoons which were "never going to earn you a living". Finally in college he had a visionary teacher who said to him - "these comics are going to be your livelihood".

Dav did what every kid wants to do in their head. He created two best friends who retaliate against bullies, mean teachers and principals, and generally rule the school. And they have fun doing it. And you have fun reading it.

The man is a creative genius. Truly. Berserk, bothered and bananas, but a genious nonetheless. He's created many graphic novels. There are 8 books in the CU series and the ninth and final one is out in January. My grandson will be reminding me frequently when it's time to order.

Another of his faves is the Lunch Lady series. This is the creation of JarrettKrosoczka. He says that his series came from going back to his elementary school as an adult and seeing the same cafeteria lady. He wondered what her life was like. He daydreamed a life where she and her co-worker were superheroes. In the books they have a secret room behind the cafeteria where they create gadgets such as the sporkphone and the catsup packet laser beam which was recently used to cut the lunch ladies way into the bad guys studio.
There are 7 books in the series and he is working on #8.

Then there are the Jeff Kinney books. Some of those have been made into movies. We saw the most recent one, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days at the drive-in recently. It was so funny.

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My granddaughter reads Judy Blume,  Megan McDonald and Jim Benton. She is 14 now and her tastes have become more sophisticated.

I went looking for graphic novels for her because she is a gifted artist and I found Minx. Minx was an imprint of DC comics during 2007 & 2008. They put out 12 graphic novels for teenage girls.

She has started the first one, The P.L.A.I.N. Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg , and she loves it. Apparently the Janes are secret gorilla artists.

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The thing with these books is - we read them together. I can't urge you enough to spend time reading with your loved ones. It's a thousand times better than television. And you don't have to be in the house to do it. It can happen anywhere.

I don't know if I've mentioned it on this blog before or not, but my second husband and I used to read out loud together. Our favorite was P.G. Wodehouse. Reading a Wodehouse book out loud can be challenging. I would read until I couldn't speak for laughing and then he would read until he couldn't speak for laughing, and so on and so on.

Do you read out loud with anyone? Tell us about it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Romance Women's Fiction Novel: Dolci di Love, Author: Sarah-Kate Lynch

Does anyone want to join some kind of secret league with me?

Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch is a sweet, wonderful book.

I cried. And laughed. And loved the characters and the story.

In the book, sisters Violeta and Fiorella form the Secret League of Widowed Darners. They darn holes in hearts, not socks. The widows average age appears to be 95 so when they execute their plots and manipulations, things usually go sideways.

I want to be in a secret league. Three-time divorcees? Amateur modern gothic novelists? What could be the source of our underground activities?

When forming the league, the sisters couldn't find the right patron saint, so they combine a couple of real ones into a fake saint - Santa Ana di Chisa. I could so get into that. My own fake patron saint.

The sisters used to live off of their famous biscotti but now they have troubles. They often burn them resulting in an oven fire. I do that now and I'm only 55 years old. Surely someone else will be doing the cooking when I'm in my nineties.

The heroine, Lily, travels to France to uncover the secret life of her husband of sixteen years. She rents a little car to drive.

 
"It was a Fiat 500 but 500 of what? she asked. She had never seen a car so small. It was the size of a sneaker." Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch
 
Lily has an 'accidental' meeting with the sisters and ends up renting a room from them.
 
"She smelled of daphne. It was not what Lily had expected from the look of her. In Lily's experience, which was admittedly limited, people this old did not generally smell this good." Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Daphne flower

Meanwhile - Lily's husband Daniel has a meeting of a different kind with a woman who helps him.

"She remembered a day from a darker part of her past when she had abandoned her little boys at home untended...She'd have left them forever, she thought, if not for Mrs. McArthur's sage advice that sometimes getting to the end of the day without killing anyone was as good as it got--but that was still pretty good." Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Sarah-Kate Lynch has one of those voices that is a pleasure to read. As with some other writers I know, it's not so easy to pull quotes from her book, though.

This book has the absolutely most perfect happily ever-after which is appropriate and heart-warming and which makes it okay that I cried many times with the heroine.

According to her website, Lynch has several other books and I will definitely be reading those.

What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth for sweet books?