Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Internet Problems

I'm not even sure if this will post. Our service is so unreliable, I hit post and the wheels just turn. Anyway, service will be restored as and when available.

I've recently signed on to and I can't post at all there, but it's a fun site--like updating your Facebook status whenever you like, instead of going to the trouble of posting. ;-)

Reminds me of the six-word story.

Hope everyone else is having a lovely time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random Friday

I had a family photo as the background on my laptop, but it was from our trip and the girlo felt bad she wasn't able to go. So, I altered reality a little. Sometimes, I amuse myself. (The girlo, while laughing, suggests it's good that I'm amused because perhaps she is not.) She also said I did a lousy adding-of-her job. I tried to point out that was the point.... It still makes me laugh. Isn't she handsome floating over her pop's shoulder?

Busy finishing excellent contest entries. I love when I get the good ones! Most lucky!

No swimming yesterday because a snake was using the pool. The beloved was out so I begged the neighbor to come down and de-snake us. This would be yet another thank you to the most heroic man on our block. I'm not sure why the girl and her father have to mock me because so far our pool snakes have been small. I recognized the scorn by the laughter when he did get home... It wasn't a 14-foot python, and I did feel wimpish. I'm usually no wilting lily, but all I could manage was a yip like a scared rat and a dash for the door, lest the snake uncurl itself from the bucket handle in the skimmer and attack.

Then I had to put my head between my knees.

I can sell a house, buy a house, pack a house, move a family, drive thousands of miles in the middle of the night alone, make decisions and never look back, move a stinking washing machine--all right. None of this sounds very strong. I'm trying to say I don't beg for help easy. When my editors have to suggest my heroines are taking that same quality to a too-stupid-to-live extreme, I'm never surprised. (Sadly. At least that's an easy fix. In the fictional people.)

Back to my rambling tale o' terror. Bring me face to reptilian eyes with an 18-inch snake, as thick as a fat pen, and I throw my all into a bad Jerry Lewis imitation.

Oh, it was a proud moment.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday? Already?

I've been so busy I'm falling behind on blogging. So, today, I'm borrowing a thing that's going around the Internet. I love stuff like this anyway, and it made me think. When I was a kid, I learned to read, literally from my father's bookshelves, so I didn't know I was reading "classics." I think everyone should learn to read this way. I never understand folks who put down any kind of book. The books on my dad's shelves were just good stories. I'm just glad there are still so many to read!

The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. How do you do?

The idea is:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (Only the first 1 and 1/2--not sure why I stopped.)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (Reading this list, I realize that I think this is one of the greatest stories. It does so many things on so many levels. I almost think the fact that it goes on school reading lists does it a disservice because children who should be devouring it see it as a "job.")
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (This one hurts. I’m just not sure I’ve read the complete works.) Yet, I revere him.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Again, I've started--why haven't I finished?)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (I get past--past, mind you--that first battle scene, and it's as if I need a long vacation.)
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (My nephew insists I'm a barbarian because I haven't read this.)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (Am reading right now)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (I read this one the summer I was 5. The Cheshire Cat scared me so much I never touched it again until I was forced to in college, and now I re-read it so often I'm on my third copy.)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (Another start/stop)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (This book opened my eyes to Charles Dickens. I loathed Great Expectations and thought I didn't like Dickens because of it. This was assigned in a class, and afterward, I ran through Dickens with delight!)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen (This book continues to amaze me. I dislike Emma for so long, and then, all of a sudden, I love her. That Jane Austen! She's amazing!)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (Whattsa matter with me?)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (An astounding book. I'm in the middle of it; I keep reading bits. This is one I literally don't want to finish. Talk about reading pleasure.)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (If I had to read two Steinbecks in a row, I'd also have to avoid bridges.)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (I never would have chosen this, but a friend whose taste I trust implicitly recommended it, and it was wonderful.)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (My son loves, loves, loves this book. I get a touch impatient with the Beat Generation.)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I'm not sure I've finished, but I get closer to the end with each attempt--and I distinctly remember holding a section of end pages so small, the book kept shutting.)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (Another recommendation from my boy)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Only recently started dipping into the stories.)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmm--I didn't underline, because I kind of forgot I was supposed to. I'll let the constant commenting suffice.

Do you notice no Hemingway? (I don't see his viewpoint except in the Nick Adams stories, but I've read every word of his I could get my paws on. The way he puts words together--a sensual pleasure.) Plenty of others are also missing.

Gotta go get some words of my own!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Need an Alarm Clock and Some Page Count

My daughter just isn't herself unless she has her regulation 12 hours of sleep. (Okay, the regulation is 9, but I'm not sure I've ever--I mean ever--slept for 9 consecutive hours. I can't even imagine. It would be like losing a day.) Well, apparently, even when she sets an alarm to wake herself up for work, her body still demands those hours. For two work days in a row, she's sleep-walked across her room and turned off her alarm.

So, my job, and I've chosen to accept it, is to buy another alarm clock which she will have to set in another direction across her room in the hope that she'll wake up at some point in the process of turning it off.

And--gotta get that page count. I don't want to say this too loudly, but I'm enjoying my revisions. There are times when revisions are an exercise in trust for me, believing the editor knows the right direction and just following it. But this time I'm enjoying the characters and loving the writing. (In a blogging flash of the Freudian slip, I just typed "righting" for writing. Normally, whenever I think "right," I type "write." But yes, that must mean these revisions are right.)

I'm going to put this brilliance (how do you indicate a flinch in writing?) to work on the book!

Hope Monday is treating you well!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


And I'm heading to Starbucks while I still can! I read an article not too long ago that rather sneered at "MacBook Novelists" having to find somewhere else to go now that so many Starbucks are closing. I was taken aback because I do have a MacBook, and I am a novelist, and I have spent many working hours at Starbucks where the coffee may be pricey, but it's tasty, you can stay all day and no one bugs you about taking up space, and the soothing music is conducive to work no matter what conversations go on about you.

I had no idea I was going to rant about that.

Now that I have ranted, I'll suggest that sneering isn't vital to an entertaining article.

And maybe I'm wrong about what I do. Last night, a friend I truly love asked me what I was working on. I said I was doing revisions as well as proposals for new SuperRomances. She asked me if I was also working on a novel. This question always throws me, and you'd be surprised how often friends and loved ones ask it of the romance novelists in their midsts. What are the books I've been writing, if they are not novels? And why do people I love ask this question without blinking an eye?

I should delete this. I sound cranky. Better curl up with the kitty before I head out to Starbucks. I may have to use his catnip addiction against him. He doesn't really love curling up with the humans unless he initiates the cuddle. He loves catnip, though.

When we were in Maine recently, we met a guy walking two massive dogs that work as therapy dogs. I wish I could remember what type they were because I'd love to add a photo. They had kind of golden lab coloring, longish, wirier fur than labs, and the fur kind of curled a little on their spines. They had heads bigger than bowling balls, and they were so tall they could go into a hospital or nursing home and just drop their heads on the bed so that patients can visit with them without a lot of physical strain.

We asked if we could pat the doggies, and the man told us he brought them out for walks so that they would get more interaction with strangers and he was happy for us to make friends. Talk about sweet-natured. (Truly wish I could remember the breed.)

Anyway, I didn't realize it, but maybe I need a nice doggie to make me kinder today. Kitty has just nodded off across the room. If I bug him now, his idea of therapy will result in sore fingers. :-)

Sorry for the "tetchiness." Happy weekend to all!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, Musing

Greg Norman is leading at the British Open. He's 53 years old, and leading. That is so cool. (And, completely beside the point, I'm thinking he has a Dorian-Gray type painting withering away somewhere.) I hope he keeps it going on the weekend!

My friend, Debby Giusti, has finaled in ACRW's contest. Yay, Debby! Crossing digits for a win! (I linked to one of Debby's blogs because her website appears to be down.)

I have revisions on my November 2009 book. Big, huge revisions, but more than worth it. As my editor said, the characters are there. I just need to make the last half measure up to the first half. This is one of those books where I'm so grateful for revisions. I knew something was not working when I finally gave up and mailed the book, and I literally tried so hard to fix it that I rewrote the good stuff out of it. I'm alarmed that I'm making beginner mistakes I didn't make as a beginner--this many books into a career I'd just as soon not sink.

And, yesterday I learned that I get to visit a house one of my ancestors built in the early 1800s. It's not just exciting to think that we'll get to walk the floors and touch the walls he built. (What a kind man the latest owner is--he's refurbishing, and he doesn't mind if descendants show up.)

There are also stories that my great-great-great-great--however many it is--grandfather's wife still visits the house from time to time. When people are in stress. After a car accident, etc. I hope she'll visit us. (I think I hope that.) Anyway, we get to do that soon, and I'm feeling so lucky! We drove past the house last fall and would have begged to visit if anyone had been there to be begged, but my cousin took matters into her own hands and found the new owner and got in touch. Yay, cousin! ;-)

Better get to those revisions so I have free time to visit houses and relatives.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday at the British Open--and Other Stuff

Well--via TV. I love watching golf. I love watching golf in wind. I love watching links golf in wind. The DVR will be working overtime for the next 4 days. I miss Tiger, though. Wonder if the other players are secretly relieved, or if they feel as if they're missing a chance to show their skills against the best.

Wouldn't you hate a job where you had to fly all the time? I started my early adulthood with a job where flying was necessary. I even liked it. At one point, I lived a forty-five minute flight from home. On Fridays, I'd be walking out of work and suddenly think, "I'm going home for the weekend." And it was that easy.

For some reason, I developed a fear of flying in the early 90s that really made me queasy about it. And the only thing worse than being afraid to fly is being irrationally panicked about it when it's become a test of will and patience to manage it at all. I wonder if the early western settlers approached their wagon trains with more dread. A wagon train might be more uncomfortable.

Anywhooo--that's a wrap on the rant!

And, finally, I've discovered Helen MacInnes. She was really popular when I was focused on a different type of book, and I somehow never read her. But I'm enjoying the heck out of The Venetian Affair. She does such a fine job, it's like watching a movie from the 60s. I'm thinking of the image of a graphic artist toting her portfolio across Paris, wearing immaculate short white gloves.

Gotta go toss dinner in the crock pot and get my own work done so I can watch the British Open and then top off the evening with a little Helen M. ;-) Too much excitement?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday in July

We've had wonderful weather this year, mostly in the upper 80s. Too hot for me, but I'm always aware that last year it was in the 100s regularly by now. Today, it's hot. It was hot at 3:00 this morning, when I went out to dump the garbage. (Couldn't sleep; might as well clean. Doesn't everyone?)

That's my chitchat today. Not very interesting, but ever since we lived in Hawaii, where no one had weather-folk on the news or the radio, I love to investigate the weather. I dreamed of rain or snow or a chill in the air. Must remember: not everyone is as vitally interested as I am in the swoop of the jet stream!

So--off to cull some spam. Spam, by the way (in the can, not the blog), was a popular form of eats in Hawaii. Used to come in a ZipPak from Zippys. I could use a ZipPak right now. Not so much the spam.

See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Fun

That would be slithering a path through the crowds at the grocery store. I'm also judging contest entries, trying to work the proposals that I ought to just send already, and just now, my beloved girl put The Women in the DVD player. I love this movie. "They're" remaking it. Why must they remake it? Shouldn't we leave some stuff alone?

I am a little curious about how they'll move a so-1939 movie into 2008.

Also--a new link to a great blog, Romance B(u)y the Book. Enjoy! I have been!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cycles, Tennis, Monday Again

The cycle has to do with John McEnroe. I remember being upset when he'd get to the finals of a tournament because his temper was rather shocking to such a repressed person. And I so admired Bjorn Borg for his play and his attitude.

Yesterday, wasn't John McEnroe amazing, too? How exciting to see/hear someone so excited about his passion. (I'm assuming everyone was planted in front of Wimbledon yesterday.) And considering the matches McEnroe played, to see yesterday's as the best ever. Well, the cycle has turned for me--I admire JM. (And it's not just cause I've already fallen for him in the cereal commercials!)

I also wondered yesterday, what could Borg have done if he hadn't stopped so young?

And I was so excited about the match yesterday, I'm going to watch it again tonight on ESPN Classic. I stopped watching tennis in the mid-80s or so, after a childhood of being enamored. It seemed that the rackets got larger, the play got shorter, just jab and return, point end. Yesterday, that cycle turned (for me--I'm pretty sure it must have turned a while ago) as well. I can't wait to watch some more tennis!

But, since it's Monday, I'd better get back to work. That cycle turns as well. ;-)

Wishing you all a happy Monday!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

To all!

And to those who look in from other places, thanks for visiting. I wish you a wonderful day in your home, too!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Busy Thursday

Is everyone busy for the Fourth of July? We have friends coming for a cookout, so I have to buy the victuals. Also, our kitty loves to decorate the rug. With his fur. I hate to offend his artistic taste, but I'd better get that up. Gotta persuade the beloved to clean toilets.

Gotta set up the deck furniture so we can see the town's fireworks over our trees tomorrow night. (I love the pretty lights and colors, but I don't care for the crowds.)

I hope everyone else is busy in such happy pursuits!

My little town locks every commercial door on the fourth--which I like. It's a big day! But that makes for big traffic jams on the third, especially at the checkout lines in the grocery store. I'd better go now unless I want to spend my working hours manning a line that starts at the eggs and cheese, and makes its way up the frozen food aisle before you catch sight of a cash register!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Already? Time to Give a Book

I'm always a little confused when the week flies by. And the summer itself seems to be flying this year. Though, as you can see, from the gratuitous (I just like looking at my family and water and trees) vacation pic above, summer is flying at a fun pace.

I have a book out this month, but I haven't done much to celebrate. Anyone who posts here or sends me an email in the next twenty-four hours goes into a hat for a book. It's a good story, I think. Let me know if you'd like to read it, free! ;-)

Off to do fun stuff with my girl and a friend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Memory

We went to Gettysburg while we were away. I've never been there before. I never thought I'd get to go. (I'm saying that in reverent tones because I've always wanted to go, but it's far away.)

It's such a beautiful place, so remembering what went on there in those lovely rolling hills and green fields can be difficult, especially when there are children leaping from the signs that warn parents to keep their children from leaping on the rocks (clliffs, for pity's sake!), and buses are gathering their wayward passengers, and skateboarders are zipping up and down the roads between battle sites.

Yet, beneath the noise and the chaos and the semi-revels, remains the inexorable truth. On that ground, the men of this country, north and south, struggled for our nation. There'd be no parties to preserve (that annoys me--I'm just going to commit the blog unforgivable, and say--preserve the union again--not the party--whatever it may be) without the fight that happened there.

It was odd being the one southern voice I heard, and I don't sound very southern. My ancestors fought on both sides of the war. In fact, my mother's family marched with Sherman through Georgia and South Carolina and burned out my father's family. That should make me confused, but no.

I'm glad the right side won. I just can't believe that anyone needed a war to see the right side. And I'm grateful to those men who fought and saved our union.

I love the south. This red, hard ground, these birds and crickets and the frogs that sing at night, the magnolias that glint in their green leaf armor, even this stinking heat that sucks my soul out daily, is a part of me. But I am so grateful to those union soldiers who fought and died and turned the tide at Gettysburg.