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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

violence of the lambs

Anyone wonder where I went? Me, too.
Okay never mind all that personal crap.

Look at this thing Aya sent us. If you've ever spent any time around sheep, it's bound to have an effect on you. Yes, it was a real movie. The preview was more than enough, thanks (I especially like the guy smoking a cigarette.)

I was accosted by sheep in the Lake District once. I...I don't like to talk about it. They made off with our lunch.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen More Plots I won't use

Totally random. No theme here except maybe hitting the hot markets? Take what you want--feel free to give me a small percentage of the gajillion bucks you make.

1. Past Lives Repression inspired by Doug and Microsoar: Two co-workers fall in love, but must overcome the obstacles of their past lives. One was Cleopatra and the other was Osbert Mudgrubber. At last Osbert finds true happiness with a tax accountant who was a dill pickle in a previous incarnation.

2. The Ghost and Mr. Muir. A gay remake of the old classic.

3. Mansfield Sensibility. A gay remix of Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. Marianne and Fanny set up house together. Fanny learns to unbend. Marianne learns to be self effacing. (note to possible authors: yes! rewrites of dead author's characters AND gay-nitude are all the rage these days. Write that bestseller)

4. Oliver In Bondage. Come on, you know that Oliver Reed as Sikes in Oliver! was hot, hot, hot. Just have to tone him down a bit, give him a playful sense of fun, and we'll get a BDSM HEA thing with the boys. See note above.

5. AstroBoy Reloaded. I don't know the Matrix or anime but they appeal to boys and so there has to be a mix in there somewhere.

5. A Thousand Pieces of Jerzy. Frey and Kosinski get together and write a book that is more of a lyrical, allegorical and whatnot event so no one can claim it's just a pack lies, okay?

6. Archie and the Kitties Two fluffy orphan kittens become writers and depend on their friend, a seedy cockroach, to make them famous. He steals their work as his own. They eventually find out and eat him.

7. I Hold The Line. A writer who's an expert on telecommunications gets an editor on the phone and on line and despite the editor's desperate efforts, the writer won't hang up or unfreeze the editor's computer until she (the writer) makes all of the pitches she's got on her index cards. When she loses one of the cards, the whole publishing company comes grinding to a halt until the FBI can track down the writer. They have less than 24 hours before the company will miss vital deadlines.

8. Space Vamp. Doomed to roam space looking for the right blood type, a vampire lands on planet after planet and bites everything he meets. An homage to Joss Whedon--Buffy meets Firefly.

9. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. A multicultural celebration of today's diverse families. Title changed from One Dad, Two Dads, Red Dads, Blue Dads.

10. The Werewolf Chicken Farmer. Every full moon he loses control and kills his own stock. Slowly going out of business due to an unknown assailant, he cannot uncover the mystery until he finds the feathers in his bed.

11. The Quick and the Dead. Favorite fast meat-based recipes.

12. Beer And Skittles in Heaven. A baby boomer gets hit by lightning and discovers he can channel the dead. He is reassured by various dead people that the next plane of existence is filled with fun, puppies, good food and ways to get revenge for the wrongs done in this world. Guaranteed bestseller!

13. The Secret Dragon of Candide. Another upbeat, only slightly titillating, inspirational melange! A boy wizard, who wants to be a girl, learns to accept himself when he meets a dragon who helps him understand that in this, the best of all possible worlds, all things are possible when you adhere to the law of attraction.

PLEASE feel free to add your own ideas.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

plot gift

Mysteries with a twist are coming back. I know about a cleaning lady who solves mysteries, a whole bunch of mysteries with recipes. Mostly lots of funky professions.

Here's a twist you can have--but you have to put in a heartfelt dedication to me when you write it:
Someone on The Other Side who solves mysteries for murder victims who can't figure out who did them in and why. Ghost detective.

Whaddaya think? Go ahead. I'm not writing it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Presidents Day

I wrote a kos thing about some Bush Supporters and now I can't make changes. I'm so used to going in and monkeying with my bad grammar and typos. Yuck.

Anyway, I say that for some people, no longer supporting our president might be more painful than cognitive dissonance. Of course they wouldn't shift their approval rating.

Oh. I can make changes. I was hitting the wrong button. But now it's off the front page, so never mind.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ring Around the Rosy Redux

Aya's response to the my post about kids' songs:

I rebuked the "Ring around the rosy" song? Huh? I have the file of you singing the nuthouse song, if you'd like an MP3 or wave file of it.* I think I ended up tracing the nuthouse song back to a 1926 parlor song called “The Lunatic’s Lullaby,” created by Leslie Moore, Johnny Tucker & Edgar Leslie. Say the word and I'll send the parlour-song lyrics to you... Or a condensed version of my research on children's songs, for that matter.***
So the Ring Around The Rosy thing might have been my imagination. We'll get back to you on it after she does some more research. Snopes isn't on the case. We have to dig deeper. Aya (who's visiting) suggests starting with mudcat.org site, which looks like a lovely time-waster. Random lyric look up!
___________________________
* No, Thanks.

***Yes, please.

Friday, February 16, 2007

and speaking of bragging about family

Check out Aya's page above. She's and artist and does film things, too, like the one of our thanksgiving. **

Her mom, Junko, is way talented, too. Nan's pots on my shelves, Junko's paintings/drawings on my walls. Sometimes even Nan's pots in Junko's paintings.




Go ahead, envy me.




(this isn't mine. It's just a Nan Pot in Junko Drawing example. )

__________

** I show up in the first few shots and now and then and I'd just like to point out that I'm now 32 lbs lighter.

An Unworthy Cause. Give.

The blogosphere has been the power behind the rise and fall of politicians. Some blogs' writing and images can leave a reader as wrung out and/or mezmerized as the best award-winning books out there. And now . . .

. . . it can get Kris Starr (erotic romance writer and all-around cutie-pie) near-nekkid in below-zero weather. KS, in a pink bikini.

You ask: Why should I pay for that?

The question should be: Why not?

The answer to question two, of course, is that it's hopelessly silly, probably demeaning and there are far worthier causes out there for your hard-earned money.

question three: But when has that ever stopped the power of us bloggers?

Feel the mighty blog force! See Kris's body covered with goosebumps! Eventually, maybe.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--13 of my sister's pots

This is obviously pimping, but it's also an homage to a sister in a useful trade.


Nan's been a potter for decades. She started when I was a kid--she's older than me. Way older. Yup, yessirree.


Back then, I liked her work, but didn't love it. Her stuff wasn't frou-frou enough for me. It was solid--salt-glazing does that to a pot--and functional, not dainty.


Now I can see that it's way better than dainty-pretty. Nan pots' lines are elegant, like the best haute couture styles. Except I couldn't afford Chanel** and I get most of my Nan pots as presents.


A Nan handle fits my hand perfectly. Her mugs are a perfect weight and the way the rim of the mug feels against my mouth. . .I'm thoroughly spoiled when it comes to coffee. (not to mention the fact that I request mugs that finally hold enough coffee) I will open the dishwasher and pull out and wash a Nan mug if there are only mass-produced cups on the shelves.****

Nan pitchers pour well. Nan teapots have little tea strainers built into them (or mine do) and never slosh hot water when you're pouring out the tea. She learned to make pots in England so she would know from tea.



I was going to take pictures of my shelves of Nan pots but I'm a crappy photographer and the shelves need dusting. AND she now has an online store. So I've just stolen the images that look like pots I own. I own a whole lot more than 13. Did I mention the woman's been potting for a long time? She's branched out to do more than salt-glaze too, although those are still my favorites. I like the pocked blue look.






I don't have one like this vase-y thing, but think it's unusual and goofy so I'll include it.

Note to Nan: if you find this entry and are grateful enough to reward me for pimpage, this isn't a hint. I don't want the vase. I want another mug to replace the one I broke yesterday.

___________________

**I'm assuming Chanel is the designer with the simple, elegant lines? If not, how about you assume I know what I'm babbling about when it comes to fashion. We'll do that assume thing together.


****Well, okay, I will also use the "Boneless Chicken Ranch," Mike's "Dr Science, I know more than you do!" mug or my Rosemary mugs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ann's Valentine Card

Ann listened to GWB. I didn't. She sent me this email. Pimpage = Nan tomorrow, Ann today.


G.W. Bush gave a press conference today and (at minute 40:55) he said this:

"...Let's put it this way.... Money...Trumps... (um)... Peace... Sometimes... heh."

Now you can sport this presidential Valentine on a t-shirt, a mug, a hoodie, and more!
http://www.cafepress.com/bushval

This shamelessly promotional, liberal email brought to you with the genuine hope that you're having a great Valentine's Day!
@~~


(note to Ann: I want a bumpersticker to cover the spot where I backed into another car.)

EDITED . . .Oh, ah, well. there's the context, as pointed out here.

BUSH: It's an interesting question. One of the problems, not specifically on this issue, just in general, that - let's put it this way: Money trumps peace, sometimes.

In other words, commercial interests are very powerful interests throughout the world. And part of the issue in convincing people to put sanctions on a specific country is to convince them that it's in the world's interest that they forego their own financial interest.


This raises the obvious next question: what evidence do we have that he practices the rules and sacrifices he preaches to the rest of the world? I really do wish someone would leak a conversation or memo or any evidence that Bush has done something to show he believes peace is more important than money--let's see him forgo his own personal financial interest, in particular.
1. The expert has spoken: My husband has been diagnosed as a "whackbutt." That's Dr K M-T, addressing the fact that Mike headed off to work even though the world is composed of ice, snow and wind.

2. The proper response to the weather: A fire in the fireplace and no intention of leaving the house unless it's to get more wood. The boys and I are sane.

3. Poetry corner: Nose as long as a telephone wire--it could be a reference to the Pinocchio syndrome. I do like Beth's version. Anyone else have more variations of the lines to liar liar pants on fire?

Do you know that thing about how "Ring around the Rosy" is about the plague? Not so, says Aya who was taking a course in that sort of thing at BU. Talk about shattered dreams. We're going to have to get her to guest blog and blast all of our favorite stories about childhood ditties.

Aya owes us. We sang the nuthouse song to her ** as well as our mother's favorite Wobbly lullabies,*** and she might have even recorded them. We had drunk a fair amount of wine so we might have even let her.

5. Health report: maybe the flu has finally gone away? I was the last victim, although my version wasn't as horrendous.

update: tomorrow = pots

________________

**not a great version. There's no mention of lemon drops or Padrewski blowing his horn. All wrong, starting with the bit about being a villain.

*** hey! I didn't know Joe Hill wrote the Pie in the Sky song! Mom always paired that one with "I Dreamed I saw Joe Hill Last Night." Wonder if she knew? Or is it a wikifact?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Liar Liar, pants on fire
Nose as long as a telephone wire.

I put in that last line because it always struck me as odd. Telephone wire?

Anyway, The blondesense blog has a link to a Times article to a new English law

Hotels, restaurants and online shops that post glowing reviews about themselves under false identities could face criminal prosecution under new rules that come into force next year.Businesses which write fake blog entries or create whole websites purporting to be from customers will fall foul of a European directive banning them from “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

From December 31, when the change becomes law in the UK, they can be named and shamed by trading standards or taken to court.

The Times has learnt that the new regulations also will apply to authors who praise their own books under a fake identity on websites such as Amazon.

read the rest here. .


About time. Regular papers are required to mark advertisements. . um, aren't they? (I should know this) If blogs and websites want to gain credibility, it would be great if they had to reveal sources or conflicts of interest.

Heh. Kind of silly because some people will take anyone's advice. I've been at a couple of signings when strangers come up to the table, pick up my book, and ask me, "Will I like this?"

I always say "of course you will!"
I suppose as long as I don't pretend to be someone else, this is not a sueable offense.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sunday! Borders! Simsbury! CT!

The event is from 1-3 pm, 2/11/07
Come and hang out with Arianna Hart,
Bianca D'Arc, Linda Gayle, Marie Roy and me.
For directions, click on the link above
You don't really have to buy a book. You can just wave at us.
According to the webpage, I'm going to be Summer Devon. I guess that means I should wear make-up.

Friday, February 09, 2007

choice time

I blogged over at romance unleashed. I like the other writer's essay better--I've been stuck in crank mode for a while now.

A happy woman jumping up and down at the gym yesterday was on about how we "choose our moods." I think soon I'll "choose to stop being a pill."

Of course I have no idea what I'll choose instead. Aggressive go-getter? Meek ray of sunshine? Thoughtful philosopher?

What persona should I wear tomorrow? I think I'll aim for Of Course I'm a Very Popular Author, You Silly** for Sunday. I'm part of a group book-signing then, unless I choose the currently popular sick as a dog mode.
_______

**Hey, you can't believe everything you read.

Never mind

hey, no point in doing a Thursday Thirteen. It's Friday. I've been doing the real life thing far too much lately. Sick people, birthday boys. We have another today (BB, not sick person, thank the lord) and I made his cake last night. Thing is, he wants his best friend, who's got celiac disease? syndrome? to have some cake too, so no box mixes allowed.

Here's the recipe I used.
1 lb chocolate, bittersweet
1 cup strong coffee
2 cups sugar
1 lb butter
melt the above, then add 8 beaten eggs. Bake at 255 for almost two hours.

Result = a honking big chocolate brick that throws several pounds onto anyone who even looks at it.

I'm going to make a fluffy sort of mousse event, pour it onto the cake (I have a tin foil collar), let it sit for a while, then cover the whole mess with genache.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

and furthermore

First, this is why I love Bam

Second, whining continues.

I have to go to a school meeting in about ten minutes--High School. Last night I had to go to Middle School for a meeting.

I hated school then, I hate school now. Teachers I generally like now, except 80.4 percent of the middle school teachers. These days it's the huge warehouse place I hate. I swear I have to carry a paper bag and wear a rubber band on my wrist.

I keep having to go into classrooms because teachers want me to participate in my children's education. I do! I do! Here's how I do it:

1. I lie. I tell them homework is important.
2. I omit the truth. I don't tell them how much I hate(d) school. Not often, anyway. And almost never in front of their father.
3. I make them go on beautiful days. Even though I want to yank them from class and play.

Today's meeting is all about Boy1's Beautiful Future. The guidance counselor is going to tell me the boy should go to a "good" college because he can get into one. I'm going to say thanks. If asked, I'll put in my two cents: he can't go somewhere expensive and he shouldn't go somewhere too competitive. The boy has enough internal push and an overdeveloped sense of competition, thank you. He doesn't need any pressure from the outside.

I wish that Mr.--excuse me--DR. Grad Degree from Harvard Overachiever would go to this meeting instead of me. He cares deeeeeply about education--but he's got to go spread the flu amongst his students.

Boy1 also wishes Dr Overachiever was going instead.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

nothing much

1. Plague-house report: Mike the husband was the next victim. Every time anyone ventures near the bedroom or bathroom where he's hiding, he says go away! save yourself! wash your hands! in bleach! stop breathing until you get downstairs! Get away while you can!

2. Shhh, I'm hunting editors and/or agents. I need them for this contest.
It used to be easy to line up the suckers editors. They rarely said no. Now no one's returning my notes or phone calls. Not even Hilary, who has hidden herself away. . . My own agent said no, thanks. Too many contests? Too many manuscripts? Worrisome, eh? I'm worried and not just because I'm neurotic about my own career.

3. Golly, I've gotten sick of erotic stuff. I'm particularly tired of envelope-pushing for the sake of getting envelopes pushed: the butt plugs and spankings and menages and spikey hemii-penii. And no doubt you thought cream-filled slits (sounds like a dessert) were bad enough.

I was reading a story this morning in which spanking actually made sense. The hero and heroine had a kind of edgy relationship and desire for new, dangerous stuff, so a bright pink butt fit that scenerio. I thought, well? What about her turn? Why doesn't she get to whack his tuchus?

It would have fit their relationship outside the bed. They actually had one! And it was interesting! But that doesn't happen and I'm guessing because it's probably not hottt or something. In a lot of other stories (not that one) spanking is presented as a mastery thing--a male overcoming a female without the non-PC stigma of rape. Ever notice that? If you read them? The guys even say things about how the girls had it coming and, "see how much you wanted it." And it's always queens, high priestesses, powerful executives or some other high falutin female giving up control to a male.**

Girls with reddened butts, wiggling and protesting, but cumming like crazy = hottt.
Boys in the same condition = whimps or something, unless it's M/M.

Honestly, not only is that a thin disguise for the same old, same old, these edgy things go stagnant way fast--or maybe I mean rote rather than stagnant? The rules seem ingrained even before the latest toy is dragged into the scenerio. And it's just a form of slot A and tab B but with bells and whistles.

That's my quicky whine about reading it. The Revealing Skills review (by Michelle, whom I think is a good, to-the-point reviewer) from Just Erotic Romance Reviews might reflect that my own writing has gone off the boil. Bad news, because I want to have at least a simmer. I do like that simmering. . .I think I'll take a break and read something about the monastic life.

here's a chunk of the JERR review. Funny that I only remembered the bit she wrote about lack of sex, when it's a mostly positive review. AND in this selection, I left in all the negative comments and took out a lot of the good stuff. Tchah, Little Mary Sunshine Promo, I don't think.


Rating: 4 Stars

Heat level: S

. . . Ms. Devon has created a wonderful world filled with magic in Revealing Skills. . . With the pheromones sizzling through the air, Gilrohan makes certain that Tabica does not regret her decision to take him as a lover. However, the sex scenes between the main characters are relatively few, considering the length of the book. As Tabica learns about her true nature, Gilrohan pulls back, believing the rhetoric and myth surrounding her position. Gilrohan was a true product of his society and struggles to come to terms with the gulf between him and Tabica’s true status. Secondary characters alternatively add humor or tension to the relationship between the two main characters. Magic plays a huge part in this world, and Tabica wonders if she will ever find her place in it. At times, I found the plot dragging a little (maybe I just wanted more sex!), but overall, I enjoyed it. Ambitious mages, cynical slaves and a rigid hierarchical society all contribute to making Revealing Skills a jolly good read.



4. Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Maple tea isn't as gross as it sounds. It's okay with milk, yet it's still not as good as English Toffee, which I can't find any more.

_____________________

** This sort of thing doesn't horrify me because I know it's fantasy and because I've never been the victim of a sexual crime. I bet if I had been, I'd want to weep at the trend. Then again, I probably wouldn't read this stuff.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

grousing

We have stomach flu in our house which means everything will smell like bleach for days--I'm paranoid--and we're all waiting and waiting and waiting. . .who's going to be walloped next?

The one victim (boy3) has taken up residence in our bed with his bucket. Since there's no room, I've moved into his bed. It's cleaned up. Smells like bleach. I don't feel like a bad mother for abandoning him. I spent the day and most of last night with him. Tag, Mike's It, again.

From here I can hear the sounds of Orson Scott Card's Empire. The boys got the audiobook on the last trip to the library. It sounds horribly like the headlines gone nutz as written by an extreme conservative who is wistfully waiting for the next shoe to drop. I can't listen and not just because I'm not up for fiction about Al Queda. Terrists terrists terrists.

It's kind of fun hearing him mention D.C. locations I know well, even if most of them are sort of standard tourist locations. (sidenote: Terrorist and Tourist? ever notice how they sound kinda the same in Bush-ese?) The boys like it. It must have some story, even though all I can hear is one particular character pontificating, a lot.

Heck, I'm not in the mood to razz Scott Card or any other writer.

I ran across a random comment about my own stuff--mocking the lack of hot sex I write. Technically I didn't run across it, it was dumped in my mailbox. That'll teach me to hit the "sign up for responses in the comments" area for SBTB. I've spent more than five minutes thinking about this, which is five minutes too long, considering all the pontificating I do about Water Off a Duck's back. We're not even talking a long, "rip the writer another one" review. Bah.

The first read of a bad review is a lot like throwing up. The event isn't as hideous to an outsider, even one who's BTDT. As my kid said, you don't know how rotten I feel at this moment.

He's probably right. Memory ain't ever going to beat that particular moment's reality.

I recall enough to know about barfing and bad reviews that if I have to pick--and too bad I don't get to--I'd rather read a few unpleasant remarks about my writing than deal with stomach flu.

I'd rather have listen to Orson Scott Card's poli-talk-fest than do either of the first two. And this, even though, according to a review I read at Amazon, at some point he's going to compare Al Gore to the Unabomber.

I don't think it's fair that I might have to do all three.

I think I'll put on ear-plugs and listen to Gnarls Barkley and write some tepid sex.

Friday, February 02, 2007

on temporary fire

Sometimes I know when something in one of my stories is off. This is boring, says the inner muse. It's putting me to sleep.

That's about as much as the muse with share with me, though. Usually I'm not sure what the problem is and I almost never come up with a fix right away. Today I saw the problem and knew how to fix it before I drank coffee this morning.

First up: boy shuffling, exercise and then I'll fix the novel's problem and make the plot scream with ecstasy, even though it's not one of those stories.

How did I manage to see/solve it with so little effort? No flipping clue. Yo, I'm elated when I pinpoint a problem. Self editing is not a strong point so I don't often see there is one, much less where it is or what to do. I need crit partners.

How do you root out and destroy bad stuff in your writing?
Reading aloud?
Crit Partners?
Letting the work sit for a while and pretending you've never read it?
Following Author X's Guide to Self Editing?
Luck?
Or is your first draft perfectomundo?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday 13 things (including movies) that did or did not made me sniff

Oh Lordy, the store is gone.. Here are other things that do--or don't, but should--choke me up:

1. I used to pass a high school (years ago we're talking) when the buses left to haul the kids home, and the sight of all those big yellow buses just made me feel all choked up, the way some people feel when they see the flag. A kind of proud to be a part of it thing. Now I have kids who ride those buses, and my only reaction when I see the big yellow line is, "crap. I have to wait forever." No more snivelling.

2. Kiss of the Spiderwoman. For some reason that movie reduced me to such a puddle, I had to wait to leave the theater until long after the credits. That kind of total melt down never happened before with a movie and hasn't since.

3. Charlotte's Web. The book. My husband had never read it so I read it aloud to him when we went on a trip. We got to the end and he had to pull over because we were both snuffling. He wouldn't admit it, though.

4. Casablanca. Did NOT make me cry. I thought what the hell? Why is staying with Lazlo so important? Lazlo's such a weenie he'll lose his spirit to fight a war if his biddy takes off? And why's she letting Rick think for both of them? Picking a restaurant, yeah. Deciding which route to take, sure. But a major life decision? I'd want to at least talk about it. Despite the lack of tears, I love that movie, especially Peter Lorre. I'm going to force my kids to watch it soon.

5. A Mary Balogh book, and I can't remember which one. I've been going through my collection trying to find the one that set me off, and I have no idea. Weird that I'd have to resort to using kleenex (I'm not a big all-out crier) and then forget why I did it.

6. Gone with the Wind. Neither the movie nor the book moved me. I liked them though, way back when. Haven't tried them lately.

7. Dr. Zhivago. I was nearly teary when Gretchen pointed out that the winter scenes had to be fake/sets because there was no steam coming from their mouths. Completely broke the spell, and when I watched the movie again ten years later, I had to point it out to whoever I was watching it with. Oh thanks a lot, she said.

8. The Mating Season by PG Wodehouse. My husband reads Wodehouse aloud sometimes and I think the first time he read the scene with the depressed knock-about cross-talk act made me laugh so hard I cried. Or maybe it was the drunken Esmond and Bertie scene?

9. The Cherry Orchard by Checkov. An amazing production in Boston. Otherwise I wouldn't have succumbed.

10. The last Rumpole story--when I realised there would be no more. He went out beautifully, did Horace, but I got snuffly when I read that story. "The defense rests." Gulp. Turns out I was wrong, thank goodness. Mortimer has done a few since.

11. Titanic did not make even make me misty-eyed. Not sure why, maybe because I've never seen the whole thing in one sitting.

12. October Light by John Gardner. I don't think I even can recall the plot, but I distinctly remember in high school thinking I must be sensitive after all because that book moved me. (I was always looking for signs that I was sensitive. It was important for some reason.)

13. Corn Dog's blog regularly gives me the sniffles, usually because the woman can tell a story like no one else.

Today is my baby's birthday

My youngest is. . . (God, how did this happen?) ten today. Jesus.
Also coming soon: the talented one in my family.