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Saturday, June 30, 2007

hey, look I have a blog?!

Well isn't that interesting.

Wonder what I ought to do here. Maybe I'll post photos or something later on, after I clean the house. Maybe I'll tell you all about the nasty dog hair balls under the bed. At least as fascinating as an Ann Coulter rant.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Politics

What’s with the endless left-wing commentary about Ann Coulter’s appearance and gender?

It’s just as bad as her nonsense--anyone who keeps harping about the Coulter's appearance is chugging down the same vile track she follows. After all, Coulter's the one who goes on and on about Hillary Clinton’s legs and Monica's weight.

I don’t want to hear about her appearance.**

She’s a hate-filled person who attacks individuals who don’t agree with her, assigning them horrible motives, mocking them, and even worse, mocking their tragedies. That’s more than enough reason not to want to watch her. It’s certainly more than enough reason to complain when she’s given air time on so-called “news” shows.****

Okay, enough maturity: Every time I see her flip her hair, I want to throw something through my television set. Which is exactly the sort of response what she craves.

I've put myself on a No-Coulter regime. I shouldn't even mention her here, but I accidentally watched her talking to interrupting and purposefully misinterpreting Elizabeth Edwards. Bleargh.

Good. Got that out of my system. I will now back away from the computer.

_____________________________________

**I don't want to hear about her or from her, period.

***At least Maher, who's just as provocative and often as nasty, calls himself a comedian. Coulter's not particularly witty when she does her schtick so that's probably why she has to call herself a pundit instead.


I sort of posted this over at C&L

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

swoon

my favorite presidential candidate answered MY question! Look, here's MY personal email announcing it:

----- Original Message -----
From: "RealCities.com" <postmaster@knightridder.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 5:06 PM
Subject: Your answer from Q&A Forum at RealCities.com
Dear kate r:
You recently submitted a question to Q&A Forum. Click here to
read the answer: http://www.realcities.com/mld/realcities/news/politics/qa_forum.html?forumId=3333>


Please do not reply to this email message.
This message is for notification only. Thank you

Click on the link and look for kate r in hartford, ct. I have to go bathe my temples.

Woo baby it's hot here. I blame Beth who was complaining about the heat a couple of days ago.

Monday, June 25, 2007

PoTC: AWE

What a mess of a movie. The kids loved it. I thought it was too, too much, but heck, I'll take Johnny Depp overplaying himself overplaying a pirate, any day. Lots of silly strange bits that made me think the writers should have laid off the acid. No, I don't mean the crabs and Johnny Depp losing his mind. I mean the pieces of 8 going to the 9 and the hoodoo voodoo weirdness. You know, the basic plot stuff.

Message of the movie: better to live with mayhem than with corrupt business interests (even if they run a tidy, controlled world).

I choose to see the movie as a plea for internet staying out of corporate hands. Let the strongest voices win. So? Work for you?

Fine interpretation--except that every time they had a big scene with a huge set piece, like Singapore or the rocking pirate ship, I thought so that's gonna be a ride at some Disney set up, eh? Bet that rocking, overturning pirate ship will be a ride (buckled in so you don't fall out when it goes upside down), along with the fishy crew ship (probably for the younger crew). All of which sort of ruins the main message I'd picked for the movie.

Another reason I wasn't crazy about the thing, the kids I took wouldn't share their candy, the varmints.

two books, a few words and they're out of here SBD

The first book is by a sort of pal so you can forget me telling you the title.
The second is The Duke and I, a bestseller by Julia Quinn. See? I did a name for once. I don't know Quinn but I know that a little whine in a tiny blog is not going to harm her sales.

I should have enjoyed both books, but my experience with them is further proof that I'm turning into a cranky old biddy. The repetition of a word and an action turned me off. I finished them, but only because I paid full bucks for 'em. No, that's not true of my pal's book. I wanted to know what happened in that one.

I don't blame the authors entirely. Every writer has a word or two they latch onto and I think it's almost impossible for the writer to find the damn word if there's not enough time between deadline and final copy edits. Someone else has to seek out and destroy that word. Okay, sure the writer ought to see it, but she's really not the trained editor, right? Come on, work with me here. It's the editor's fault. Okay, and the writer's fault, too. Bah.

For my friend's book it was "huff." Not my favorite word to begin with so I noticed the heck out of that thing and there were a lot of that word to notice. People huffed out words, breath huffed out of bodies. No one huffed any whipped cream cans but that's about all they didn't huff.

For Quinn it was the act of eye rolling. Every time someone did anything remotely annoying to another character, eyes would drift heavenward or roll. Also the heroine's mention of "four brothers" made me seriously think someone needed to go over that manuscript one more time. Yeah, it was cute but overdone.

Both books had fun plots, engaging situations and characters, blah blah blah, but both books were just about ruined for La Princess Pickypants here (is that a pea under my seventeen mattresses? oh fie!) and I thoroughly dislike that kind of reader for obvious reasons (how many times did you say laugh in that last ms, Ms Devon?)

You might climb on your high horse, as so many do over at AAR and Smart Bitches (and I'm usually up there, too), and say that I, The Reader, deserves a book that doesn't have that kind of repetition or mistake.

I say I'd rather just not notice things like that. I'd rather be so absorbed by the story that the typos and other dumb nonsense soar right past me. As much as we deplore them, the dumb mistakes are going to be there. And come on, the bottom line is there's actually no point whining about the most minor of the dumb mistakes because they're not going to go away. No one has time or rather money to hire the proofreaders to go through the mss with finetoothed combs and pick out all those nasty itchy little nits (Real question: are the nits the eggs or the bugs? The ESL class wanted to know. Nilhofer said the eggs, but I'm not convinced.) Anyway, if you're going to have to live with nits, the best trick, I hear, is to develop less sensitive skin.

You itching yet?

I think I used to be an oblivious reader--I was so desperate for escape, my brain would skip the problems. Turns out I'd rather be the happy, dumb reader than the observant, grouchy one.

There. Even though I kind of like Crocs--I don't own a pair--I think Beth's rant is more fun, but at least I posted an SBD.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What do these toys have in common**

1. the squeaky penguin dog toy.

2. the "change your voice" megaphone.

3. the plastic drum and mariachi set

4. a couple of the wooden ninja swords.

5. The electronic robot that beeps every two seconds exactly like a smoke detector losing power.

6. Battalion Wars video game that features "brigadier betty" and other cutsey pie characters. I think it's designed to train the under ten set to raze a village and blast cutsey pie enemies. Spooky. If you're going to blast your enemy into little bits you and they should not look like sweet lil big-eyed punkins. And I don't like the music


**They met (or will meet) mysterious ends. Whoosh! Vanished as if swept off the face of the earth. Or broken.

No, of course not. I would never be so underhanded.

Friday, June 22, 2007

head slap duh

from a dailykos conversation about transgendered people:

There is no THEM
there is only us.
Robert Coles, in his work on the moral life of children, says that this is one of the key distinctions between moral and not-moral children: The moral ones know there is no 'them'.


from the same conversation:

person one: A stubborn person with OCD can do anything.
person two: a stubborn person with OCD can do anything except stop.

I don't get it.

Angie has a post up about authors who are considering taking one of their already-published books, changing a few things and then trying to get the book published again by Samhain. Granted, the poor authors have lost their publisher and the books are gone. But these are still books that have been out and about--stories people might recognise.

I don't get it. Really, truly I don't understand what they're thinking. Someone's bound to notice and what have the writers gained? Certainly not the future business of their past readers (and probably not new readers, once the news gets out).

The whole horrible incident when someone plagiarised Nora--the story I heard was that the plagiarism rose out of a sense of desperation. The plagiarist was on a tight deadline and panicked.**

But it doesn't sound like these people were particularly panicky, just eager to find a place for their stories.

Silly goobers. For your own sake, tell the truth. Maybe you'll get a "reprint" on the front cover . . . .or you should say goodbye to the stories.

A couple of times in my life I've lost sleep because I suddenly realized that a WIP hero or heroine shares characteristics with a published hero or heroine. Oh, NO! I'm out of stories! My themes are used up! I once deep-sixed most of a book when I realized it was too similar to another story.

To actually copy stories and characters--even your own--on purpose seems like the ultimate in self-destructive laziness. Yikes.

___________

** and much as I imagine the horror that particular author faced, I still am astounded she still getting the nice contracts. She is, the biddy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

nothing thirteen about today

last day of school! yay! we had a party at the neighbor's house! water fun! Not as cool as the party we weren't invited to, which included a moon bounce, but probably more fun because we flooded the back yard with good times.

I have nothing to add to that. I can't even make a list of thirteen things the boys will do this summer because I'm not sure they'll do thirteen things among the three of them.

I've been cruising round the internet while I waited for my stomach to stop bugging me. Over at Aunt B's I discovered that you can actually take on the Rotten Digestion Lifestyle! Pay good money for appalling symptoms. Oh boy! DIY Dysentery.

Skip the onerous nonsense of diet and exercise nonsense and get alli to do the job for you. Oily uncontrollable poop'll make you stay home or at least decide to wear dark clothes. You might want to put together an "alli-oops" kit if you actually have to go out.

Unbelievably Ugh.

Tomorrow I will take some dog pictures. I have to get the corn dog photo to show to corn dog, dang it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I knew her when

You know what? I am so smart it is unbelievable. I should be an editor, I'm that smart. **

I knew Linda Winfree was going to sell soon when I read a chapter or two of her unpubbed stuff. I knew Linda Gayle was, too. I was certain Shannon Stacey would be a good writer just because she's so dang funny.

Larissa I
Dionne (and I didn't even know she wanted to do Le Fiction)
MelJean
and lots of other people?
I was fully aware that they were all that and lotsa bags of chips as well.
AND
I figured this out just from reading their blogs or their emails. (Okay, I read the Lindas' fiction.)

So someone else I'd decided is going to have a brilliant fiction-writing career has just been launched on her way. Ha. I TOLD you so.

I'm always right, okay? And if I'm not it's only because someone else screwed up somehow, maybe.

In the meantime, Bron, Doug, Carrie--it's only a matter of time. See above, please. (Beth, you too, except for the giving up part)

I'll put in a link soon...like now. Go, Bettie!

________
**also it takes a fair chunk of talent to make someone else's talent/achievement a reflection of your own brilliance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

If one more person tells me how thin I am and how good I look, I will start in with the "what? you telling me I was a fat slob before? Is that what you're saying? That it? What about when I gain back all the weight? Huh? you going to tell me how much better I looked back when?"

My rude answer to their civil compliment is there, just under the surface. Any time now it'll come out of my mouth and I'll have to flee the haunts of man, like Ophelia Oliver in The Wonderful O after the O's are removed from her name.

SBD? sort of?

The contest is over and I posted the results in an interview with the author** over at Bam's. Let's say the little bit that qualifies for SBD is the part about how characters don't stay lodged in the brain once they're on paper.

No, that doesn't count as a real SBD report.

Okay, how about I discovered a bookstore through another website, started talking to the bookstore owner, and now we might actually get a huge buttload of Terry Pratchett books for my kid, but I'm sort of excited, too. The libraries in this town don't have a lot of Pratchett. Actually they do, but there's so much Pratchett to have.
SBD finis.

Back to Bam. Want to find out about the winners of the contest? Want to win valuable prizes? Go on, go comment there.

______________

**I really shouldn't have written it after spending the morning babbling at people. I was rather appalled with my behavior. About a decade ago, I stopped worrying about how I presented myself. It's a good thing to drop if you want to really pay attention to what other people are saying. You can use the "how'm I doing, what'll I say next" energy to listen. but I seem to be hitting another patch of adolescence and it's all about me, even outside the blog. I blame my kids. Heck, they blame me and Mike for their troubles, it's only fair to return the favor.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Paging Dr. Freud

Last night I dreamed my father told me said he'd give me a check for four thousand dollars if I sang a song praising Lorna Doone cookies.

So? Someone out there with a dream interpretation book?

Notes on the subject:
1. My father has been dead for ten years
2. I'm not even sure I remember what a Lorna Doone cookie is like. Crackers, right?
3. My father would not have been fool enough to ask me to sing anything and he didn't tend to give me money.

Friday, June 15, 2007

CONTEST IS ALMOST OVER

I'm going to announce the winners at Bam's place. She wants the note by Sunday, so you have until Saturday night.

Send me your Kate or Summer review or your link to a Kate or Summer review by then (or put it in the comments) and win a chance to get a Thirty Dollar gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, Samhain or Amazon.

I'd say the Pimping this Contest Contest ended last week, but I probably shouldn't. because I did say it would end at the same day as the other contest. No one says I have to pimp the pimping contest. Sure, go ahead enter it. I'll even count your entry as real.

It's a beautiful day. I'm going to go sit at the edge of a soccer field and read some smut. Yay!

short and easy and here we go

161 & 5 Book Meme from Darla
Rules:
1. Grab the book closest to you
2. Open it to page 161
3. Find the fifth full sentence
4. Post the text of the sentence to your blog
5. Don't search around for the coolest book you have, use the one that is really next to you
6. Tag five people to do this meme.

Oh jeeeeeesus. The book closest to me at the moment is the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. No, no, a thousand times, no.

Okay how about this one, wedged in next to the OED's box:
Zugibe is not on a mission to prove the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin--as, I suspect, Barbet was.

I'll post the title later. And I won't tag anyone because then I'll feel guilty, even though this is a fun one.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

thursday thirteen--women I think are sexy

This is all the rage, right? Maxim, afterellen, doug--all sorts of publications are making lists.

Speaking of sex, and labeling, Mike has a theory that a person's preference should identify them, not their own sex gender (that's his other big contribution to the vocabulary of sexuality. No more use of sex to mean...sex. Gender) So he'd be a lesbian. Homosexual wouldn't work for everyone who likes men so we'd have to come up with a new one. Gay is okay. So yeah, he's a lesbian and I'm gay.

I think it's a workable idea and am ready to roll with it.


Okay, my 13:

1. Angelina Jolie. Sorry, I can't help it. I just think she is.

2. An old one from way back when, Dolly Parton. When I was a kid I thought her over-the-top hair was the business. And the nails and the boobs and omilordy lord. She was so entirely different from the women I knew. Golly! Not really sexual, perhaps, but just ....exotic.

3. My neighbor Marie. Grey hair and blue eyes are always a great combo.

4. The art teacher, Deta. But I think almost everyone in the school, parents and kids, has a crush on her. A few hate her, but that's the price of fame and glory.

5. Kate Winslet, but mostly because of her first name and accent.

6. The woman at the gym whose name I keep forgetting. She wears tights and a teeshirt and I swear it's a good thing it's a single sex gym because the sight of her would put straight males into a testosterone tizzy while they worked out and there's be some injuries.

7. Beyonce. The butt.

8. Someone said Helen Mirren and yeah, she really is. That restrained British thing works for women as well as men.

9. Myfanwy Waring. The name and the cheekbones.

10. Queen Latifah--hey, I like Stella's Gonzales's list

11. Olympia Dukakis.
oh and
12. Cher in Moonstruck. I thought they both fit the bill in that movie.

13. Diane Keaton's skin. We just watched Love and Death, and I got what people mean about sexy skin again. Mike has a Michelle Pfeiffer crush and I think her skin (and other parts) got to him when he watched The Fabulous Baker Boys. As our pal Kathy says, the poor boy never did recover from that movie.

I think Pfeiffer has a tendency to pink up in a slightly rabbit-ish fashion--eyes and nose. Not exactly UN-sexy, but something I notice which makes me worry for her and therefore removes the pure admiration factor.

Mike's other long-time crush? Susan Sarandon. The words "Lemons and Susan Sarandon" give him that far-away look of pure lust because of that movie, Atlantic City.

Hey how come Susan Sarandon isn't on the lists any more? She's was aging beautifully last time I saw. There are the other actresses like Geena Davis and Jamie Lee Curtis and uummm the one I always mix Sarandon up with whose name is also S and who's tall and dark haired. Wonder which lists they land on now.

Hey Tangent Time:
I was looking up big names from a decade or two ago (trying to remember that damn actress that I mix up with Sarandon. Still can't.)--I ran across Sissy Spacek, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Marsha Mason, Julie Walters, Faye Dunaway, Liv Ullman, Emma Thompson, Bette Midler, Jessica Lang, Kathleen Turner, Holly Hunter...hmmm. This worries me. They all projected intelligence and sexiness.

Who's like that now? I can't come up with names other than Kate Winslet. Even Melanie Griffith (whom I suspect is a dumb bunny. Only suspect, okay?) played smart people back then. I guess what's her name in the pirate movies........Keira Knightly is a smartypants and that's okay.

Monday, June 11, 2007

not doom and gloom

I was messing around bravenet, looking for mention of Amir from a few years back and found this story about something good.

It's still good. I have a follow up for that one because I saw the refugee a few months ago.
She got a job at the insurance company--in the cafeteria. Her son is going to go to college, the first person in her family, ever.

She told me she's so proud of him, she's in danger of exploding with pride.

well hell... political and personal

I didn't know Amir well, but I can sort of picture his face. He never did learn much English. I think he was one of those guys who skipped class (even though it's mandatory attendance for the first few months here) and when he did show up, he took too many smoking breaks.

But that was okay because he left the area a couple of years ago. Somehow he got permission to return to Bosnia.

Apparently he couldn't fit back in that world either. Last week he shot himself. The person who told me that also said that Amir's brother committed suicide a couple of years ago. She said that the two of them were the only members of their immediate family who'd survived the war. And that Amir still felt guilty that he couldn't save his his wife, his kids, his sister, his mother, his father. . **

Would Amir and is brother have been okay if the war hadn't utterly destroyed their lives? I don't know. Heck, maybe they came from a long line of depressives and their suicides would have been inevitable. Amir had some other health problems, like diabetes.

See? I shouldn't automatically blame the conflict. After all, that war ended more than ten years ago. ****

However, hearing about Amir and his brother reminds me of my unshakable belief that anyone who ever thought of war as a solution for anything (Lieberman and Bush are the first ones who pop into my mind. Iran, anyone?) should go live with some refugees for a while. Heck, they should be forced to change places with 'em.
_________

** I think his family was discovered in the burial site they found a couple of years ago and he went back to identify the bones and never returned to the US.

****It occurs to me that he is the fourth, fifth or sixth (I'm not sure about a couple) suicide among the refugees I've had as students. A statistically-minded person might think there's a connection to having me as a teacher.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Snopes will never be able to tell us..plus extra feature: hiding from real suffering at the Hilton

My friend Sally got a couple of revoltingly bad reviews and a fair number of good reviews. She didn't get many meh as far as I can tell. Sally and a bunch of other writers I know have the luck to attract passionate hatred and love.

They sell a lot of books. Do they sell even more than the pure love reviewed books? Maybe. My first book got a lot of pure lovin'

Anyway, when I read miladyinsanity's meh reviews of my books, I thanked her and then asked if maybe next time, if she wasn't going to adore my stuff maybe she could be a little meaner.

Then I decided, heck, if she doesn't want to rip me a new one, maybe we could get into one of those really putrid blog wars that make people curious enough to show up in droves to read the fight. Hey! Yes! Let's get into it and drive traffic to our sites! She didn't actually agree, but by then I'd had a glass or two of wine. I rolled up my sleeves and went looking for her. I was gonna call her names and make sure we got more blog traffic.

Didn't work, naturally. I can't keep up the ire. More passion? Later, maybe. But it's kind of discouraging--start a lovely name-calling battle and no one shows up.

But I do wish there was some way to figure out if:
1. books that get a lot of HOLYCRAPTHISSUCKS reviews get better sales than a combo of this is good/okay/meh reviews. (we can call it Ben's Wildflower Syndrome)...
1a. especially if the reviewers moan about the gratuitous sex scenes.

2. there's a relation between the stir caused on all the little online sites (did you read what that author wrote about that reviewer?!) and the sales to the curious blog-hoppers.

* * * * *

Yesterday I didn't want to leave the only refugee I'd brought to the big conference by herself, so I hung around for a while. This time I remembered to grab a piece of paper so I could recall the name of the conference. Here we are. Crossroads II: Community-Based Collaborative Research for Social Justice. Mostly it seemed to be about how to accurately measure misery**. Oy, there's a lot of misery to measure. ****

Human suffering displayed with big posters! Workshops! Good coffee! Things for sale! Burn-out case that I am, I skipped the first two, and went for the second two. Ajisa wasn't around, and I abandoned Fatima for a while (she was trying to talk to a fellow craftswoman, an Iranian. Neither of them speaks the other's language and their English sucks. They pulled out pictures of their families and voila! they didn't need my company for a little while. And let's face it, Fatima thought she needed my support but she's one of those people whom everyone adores just because she's so sweet. It comes through in any language).

I found some Hmong people from Laos selling their quilts. These are the story pieces that are beautiful and fairly disturbing. Colorful embroidered little pictures of people and animals. And then you look and realize that oh, that cute little guy has a gun and is killing all those cute little people. I bought one, vastly underpriced at $40.

I've seen and heard about these before. The story cloths are the only way they can tell their autobiographies All of the quilts are pictures of a particular person's or tribe's journey--because they're refugees, you know the journey is not going to be a happy one. Mine has helicopters and a woman giving birth in the jungle and as usual the Mekong river with little drowning figures.

I'm going to go to yet another one of these events in a couple of weeks. If you want to give me $40 plus shipping, I'll buy one for you. A much prettier than usual way to remember...remember what?.... how lucky we are. so far This isn't mine, but it's fairly typical. I found it here.
__________
**since I didn't actually go to any workshops or even read the rest of the paper I grabbed, I could be wrong.
****I'm not wrong about this one.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday

I wrote a post over at Passionate Prose today. Nothing new. (22 years old, actually)

Here's what I did this morning: get entirely lost in Hatfud trying to find the flipping Hilton. How embarrassing--I live here. The ladies were laughing their asses off and bellowing at me in Bosnian. We all felt sort of overwhelmed as we shuffled into the huge building with paper sacks of crafts (as well as their usual tin-foil wrapped packages of borek. They never buy food.). Turns out to be a big conference and they got nametags and lunch. Very posh. I grabbed a cup of good coffee and got lost trying to find my car again.

I have to go back tomorrow and that's when I'll bother to find out what the heck kind of conference it is.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

has been

I finally got asked the question by a young writer. As a has-been NY author, now only an e-writer do you feel bitter, Kate? Are people who once sought you out now avoiding you? She was less blunt than that, way more polite, but that was the gist.

Huh?

Oh, so is that why you people never call or write?

Seriously, to be a has-been you have to have had a Top of the Trees time and I haven't really. I'm not likely too, either.

I went outside after I read that email and had a sort of reverse paperback writer moment. She reached someone's idea of the pinnacle** and went outside to drink tea. I reached someone's idea of a bottom and went outside to drink tea.

It's entirely comforting and pleasant to be reminded that except for wanting a few contracts now and then, I'm fine with who I am and what I do. Of course it helps that the weather's perfect and the climbing rose is in bloom.

____

**okay, nearly everyone's idea of a pinnacle in this business

Thursday Thirteen--plots I won't use

Some of these I tried. Some I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot-pencil. Bet you can't tell the difference. One or two I haven't actually given up on--actually I'll be working on one as soon as I finish this.

1. Guy breaks into woman's apartment to steal some letters for a friend. Later on becomes her babysitter to find out who was the guilty party--his pal or her?

2. Woman cleaning empty pool in a bear enclosure gets stuck and discovers secret passage way in the door to filtration system. The national zoo is a meeting place for spies from other planets.

3. Alpha male turned into a cat learns to enjoy purina cat chow and is almost ready to settle into the lazy lifestyle when he's turned back into a man (source? That "you shouldn't have had me neutered" joke)

4. Drab Regency companion acts as spy for her gossip-hound employer and reluctantly manages to blackmail a drunken lord.

5. Man channeling the voices of dying people thinks he's going nuts, then realizes he is learning important secrets from dying statesman. Or, then again, maybe he's going nuts.

6. Woman has to visit her nagging mother every six months or the world comes to an end. Literally.

7. Wealthy influential pundit wannabe politician takes on a bunch of sock puppet roles He hires people to post for him and tries to change the world by pretending that huge crowds admire him. It almost works when one of his sock puppets accidentally tells a blogger pal. WIP decides to have them killed.

8. Wild dog pack terrorizes wealthy suburban neighborhood--turns out to be all the Kate Spade handbag toting moms. They say they're going out to a book club meetings and instead morph into bitches, literally. Their goal: elimination a couple of their pain-in-the-neck bread-winning husbands and the unpopular city council members who just voted for higher taxes.

9. Network of squirrels, rats and pigeons plot to take over a city. First they have to figure out how to get into the municipal offices. A young orphan helps them.

10. Someone is targeting SUVs, stealing them and setting them on fire. Turns out to be whacked-out bike mechanic who was brain-damaged when he took header over a car door. He's also working with a doctor who's been secretly neutering patients with SUVs to keep them from breeding. Tentative title: "Road Rage."

11. Guy targets bloggers who write about their sex lives. Not sure if he targets them for sex or death, but bound to be one of those, right? (It's always one or the other or both)

12. Aliens take control of politicians in fairly subtle plan to take over the earth--until home-planet aliens get impatient and decide to move faster. One of the on-earth aliens has to slow them down or earths' governments will descend into chaos.

13. A mysterious disease is killing or crippling all the young people in a town and it might be the chemicals used for lawn maintenance at the high school, or it might be a fiendish plot by an unpopular piano teacher.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

political post, sorry

Old news -- more than a week old so ancient. but wow. Just...wow. This rivals his funny-ha-ha search for WMD at that correspondents dinner a few years back.

The mothers whose children had died in the war probably could not have been consoled by anything GWB had to say, but holy crap. I know and appreciate snark, but he might try something we humans call empathy on occasion. He really is amazing. Life of the party hardy har har!!

He didn't give the grieving mothers answers to their questions about his war that killed their kids, but when they were leaving, he handed each of them a presidential coin--and then told the mothers don't sell it on ebay.

No, I don't think that kind of quip is going to help them face their grief, George. I wonder who was your audience for that one? Fellow frat boys?


h/t this guy

An interview actually

A series of interviews of Samhain authors at Mandy's place,. She and Michelle Pillow have always, ALWAYS been generous about helping other writers do the publicity thing. They should get some sort of service award.

The other authors are breezy, articulate and polished.



You'd think someone who wrote ad copy could manage that voice. Nuh uh, bordering on the pendantic. I blame my family. They're a bunch of nerds and the way they talk is contagious.

And judging from word count, I don't think I piled on enough praise of the Samhain. More! More!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

more blogger immaturity


So remember Chicago's plans? "Where do we insert the batteries?"

At last we have a feminine response ...Meet Beijing's Olympic Stadium** "No batteries necessary, but be sure to cleanse thoroughly after every use."








**
photo "borrowed" from an AP article published today but apparently based on a 2002 study:

Some 1.5 million Chinese have been forced from their homes during preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a rights group said Tuesday.
China rejected the figures from the Geneva-based Center on Housing Rights and Evictions as "groundless" and said some 6,000 families had been compensated and properly resettled

Yeah? Speaking of "groundless" how'd you like to go home and find your family's apartment building/farm/whatever replaced by a giant vulva.

Monday, June 04, 2007

more pimping

Just call me miladyinsanity. I have your contest news here.

Lori Devoti is giving away TWO first chapter critiques from Sean Mackiewicz, editorial assistant for NEXT and Nocturne. If you are interested in targeting either of these lines or just in getting a professional critique, this is a great opportunity. And it’s simple to enter. Just decide whether Lusse from Lori Devoti's June 2007 Nocturne release, Unbound, should be brought back in another book–yes or no. And then your reason for your answer. Keep the answers short, but with a little meat.

Lori will announce the winners on her blog on July 4th, and the winners will have until August 1st to get the chapter together and to Sean.

To enter, email your answer to Lori at winacritique@loridevoti.com.
Good Luck!
Thanks!!
Lori

yesterday and the day before post will be the SBD thingies

Today is the day when I reveal how terribly prescient I am. Not.

That thing I wrote about how Samhain is going to go far? I knew about this. Kensington and Samhain have a deal brewing.

Angie announced it (Friday? Saturday?) on a Sammy business loop and then told us to keep it to ourselves. I'm still amazed that all those excited authors managed to keep their yaps shut. Actually I still don't entirely comprehend the implications and ramifications of situation so it's easy to keep my mouth closed. I wannnnnnnnna work with Hilary Sares again. She has the best sense of humor ever, and I do so love humor. No, it's not considered sucking up when the object in question doesn't see (or would that be "feel") the suckage.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pimping friends?

I'm suddenly realizing that by not sharing the good reads written by my pals, I'm not doing anyone any favors. But I also would feel really funky talking about what a hoot** I thought The Frog Prince was. Well, unless it was part of a contest, of course.

I still read and love Bonnie Dee's books, but now that I've sort of gotten to know her, I find I can't pimp 'em any more.

Part of it is because I figure when I pimp books (or anything that'll mean shelling out money) by people I know, my credibility is questionable with the world--and with myself.

Also I'm a mom and I'm so used to hearing "But what about MY [fill in the blank]" from everyone else when I say something nice about one of the boys. That one's plain silly. I'm no Mrs G or dearauthor, so it's not like anyone's waiting to hear the verdict.

And then there's the fact that sometimes people I love write books I don't much like, and what happens then? That's the hardest. I'm way more interested in them as people then in making sure the world knows their last book was meh. I know what a bad or even meh review feels like and I don't want to inflict one of those. (I did warn Linda)

My serious question: What do you fellow writers/painters do about your friends' (or just acquaintances') work?

Just say HEY LOOK! SUZY HAS A NEW BOOK OUT! Isn't that kewl???

Keep in mind I don't mean critiques. Hey, those are a whole other game and I'm always ready to be ruthless there. A girl has to get her sadistic kicks somewhere.

______

**I had written "what a fun read," but let's face it, sometimes out-of-date vocabulary nails it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's all about The Reader

in this case The Reader is me.

I hate reviewing books by people I know ("know"= online acquaintances). I rarely agree to do it. If you even notice my You Gotta Read this Book rants, I'm almost always on a book by someone with whom I've never exchanged a single email. For instance I love Amelia Elias and her voice and work, but I can't bring myself to pitch her stuff.

OH and then there's Sam Winston/Jennifer Macaire. She's someone else whose work I really enjoy--both genres. Do I plug her stuff? No. But hey, as I point out in the comments, she's got Mrs Giggles to do that.. And then there's Sunny and Kris and Shannon and Ann and Ariana and even Linda (I push her because she refuses to push herself).

Yeah, I don't get it either. Let's call it a personality glitch and move on.

I hate reviewing a book when I know the author has lined up my book for review. I mean what's the point? No one's going to believe me when she's got that gun held to the head of my story.

So there, Linda Winfree.

You show me yours, and I'll show you mine she said. And she'd just written a nice thing in her blog about how wonderful I am. In other words, I felt like I had to say yes.

My heart sank. Oh, great and it's romantic suspense with FBI and tough ex-army types in it. Gack, I hate those stories. Well, not hate. I save "hate" for secret babies. More like I'm indifferent, which is worse. At least hatred contains passion.

She sent me Truth and Consequences yesterday. I was going to give it a quick look, then put it on the TBR pile and hope to get to it some time in the next week or so. Ugh, suspense. FBI. Do I really have to look at it? Why couldn't she send me romcom? Or historical? or even...a vamp?

Within a few pages, I was hooked.

What I forgot was that for me a story=the characters, and the characters in this book are worth the time. They're interesting, sympathetic and have some depth. Also? I forgot that Linda is a good writer.

Here's what else is good:

1. The story just teetered on the edge of frustration, the way a suspense is suppose to.
Just as I'm thinking, "Tell her the truth, for god's sake" ....He tells her.
Just as I'm yelling, "Don't be stupid, don't go there!" ....The character has second thoughts.

In other words, these people, unlike so many inhabitants of Romantic Suspenseland, have brains in their heads and know how to do their job. Okay, there are a couple of moments of less than perfect thinking, but that's because they're people and not superheroes. They are GROWN UPS. I love reading about men who aren't testosterone-based life forms or women who are TSTL horny (at one point, she does do soemthing bordering on that, but heck, I forgave her).

2. The women law enforcement partners come across as real friends and cohorts, a good solid team. Nice that the buddy system isn't just for men any more. The other secondary characters are intriguing and three-dimensional, but they don't steal the show.

I've been doing a lot of contests and critiques lately, so when I read, I tend to look for flaws. Not this time. I was busy chewing my nails. But then, when I did spot something I thought was extraneous--does the bad guy have to be such a jackass to his boy?--turns out I was wrong. Later on, it'll fit the story. No loose ends there.

more about what I like
The heat is great. Very tense sexual tension, oooo Baybeee.

Yes, the two main characters aren't always thinking with their brains, but they aren't annoyingly stupid about the tension. And heck, I got sucked up in their heat and I wasn't even there.

The bad guy is obvious, but he's still interesting and not cardboard (although he got less interesting at the end).


The hero's dilemma of family vs job feels real.

The touches of the south (food, conversation, the reference to a shopping cart as a buggy???) make it an exotic locale for me. Maybe it'll feel like home to you. You'll smell the magnolias, sugar.

If all Harlequin Intrigues were as good as this, I might be an actual fan of the genre.

Oh AND the great thing is Linda knows what she's talking about. She says a character uses a 543 Glicktenstiger or whatever, you know that character used it. There's no need to suspend belief because she's got reasons and characters you believe. Okay, so obviously I don't know what the hell she's talking about, but the touches of bureaucracy, the way the system works, feel right in that story. (Although how those bad guys got away with being so very bad for so very long boggles the mind.) Linda's the wife of a cop, so she can add the little details that make it Real.

I wouldn't have minded a slower pace, spending more time with the characters, maybe finding out what on earth those bad guys were thinking. Her backstory touches were unobtrusive and good. Anything more would have been conspicuous, but still, I wanted more more more--and this from someone who hates backstory dumps. So I guess I don't know what I wanted. Maybe just more time with Jason and Kathleen. Mostly with Jason.

I think, I hope, one of my favorite secondary characters (Tick. Now is that NOT the silliest name ever? It works, though) will have his own story. He's a responsible, yet interesting, which is a good mix for me. I'm rooting for him to come out of his sort of frozen period fine and maybe end up with a particular person, but I think I'll have to actually buy the next book to find out.

I won't mind a bit.

Friday, June 01, 2007

holy crap (aka *still* more? Clearly It's PIMPIN FRIDAY!)

Will you look at that? It's out already. I went make sure the cook book link worked, started cruising around Amazon and found my latest Summer is in print!! Hey! Wow!

Doesn't affect your chance to win a gift certificate or two:
The contest STILL ends on June 19. .

MORE pimping. For chocolate, I'll do anything.


Chocolate Decadence
1 pound bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 stick (4 oz) butter
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon flour
whipped cream and raspberry sauce or orange sauce
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with a round of parchment.
Melt chocolate and butter till smooth. In a large bowl, beat eggs till increased in volume. Beat in flour and chocolate until well blended.
Spread evenly into prepared pan. Then bake for 12 to15 minutes.
Cake must be soft in center, will firm up when cold. Let stand at room temperature to cool, refridgerate. When time to serve, run knife around edge of cake and remove springform side. Serve in thin slices topped with whipped cream and raspberry sauce or orange sauce.
*Raspberry sauce is quite simple to prepare. Just take 2 cups of raspberries and 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Heat in a saucepan till berries are soft, and then put through a sieve. Taste and adjust flavor with either a bit of lemon juice or more powdered sugar as necessary.
Savor with a cup of good coffee or tea.
All the best,G.Bisbjerg


Heck, that recipe that I lifted from ferfe IS my favorite recipe--Kate

Okay, I'll post a link to one of mine. No, I'll post a link to THIRTEEN of them.
~~~~~~~~~~
Proceeds for sale of the book go to the troops. I [note from Kate. That "I" is not me. Might be ferfe? might be Lori Foster? I dunno. Just follow the link and buy the book, okay?] am giving away up to ten copies of The Write Ingredients before the start of hurricane season.
Okay, got it. The contest is really Ferfelabat's! [not just a cut/paste thing for her, like it is for me] Hurry up, because the winds are coming. ANYWAY. Here's Ferfe's deal:

The first ten bloggers to blog the book and post a favorite recipe of their own and email me (email ferfe....awww, just go find it at her blog, okay?) the link along with their snail mail address will get a free copy of the cook book with my recipes signed. Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st. If you don’t have a blog and still wish to enter. Email me your recipe with permission to print it online along with your snail mail and I will post it for you.

Pimping for Sammy

HEADS UP! And I mean you, Bettie and Doug--and, okay, everyone else who comes by here. Angie sent this out--when I copy/pasted, weird junk happened. Funky typos are not her fault.

I think this is a fabulous way to find new writers and to bring traffic to the blog. Theirs, I mean. Not mine....sigh.

Thanks to inspiration from the Romance Divas and author Karin Tabke, Samhain Publishing is going to be holding a Best First Line contest on our blog http://www.samhainpublishing.com/blog.

Starting Monday, June 4th at 8am Eastern, authors are invited to leave the first line of a previously unpublished work (of 12,000 words or more) in the comments of the Best First Line blog post. The contest is open to published and unpublished authors not currently contracted with Samhain Publishing
[damn].

On Friday, June 8th at noon Eastern, we will close the comments and no more entrants will be admitted into the contest. Only those who enter by posting on our first line contest blog post between 8:00 a.m. EST, June 4th 2007 and 12:00 Noon EST, June 8th will be eligible toparticipate in the first line contest.

Samhain editors will choose a group of entrants for the next round and the "winning" first lines will be posted on Monday, June 11th. Winners of the first round will have until early noon Eastern on Friday topost their first and second lines (both must be posted together) in the comments of that blog post—we will not email those who move on to the next round, you must check back at the blog. The contest will run in a subsequent manner (with previous lines plus the new line, being posted), with editors paring down the entries and asking for the next line in the entry, for a total of 5 lines.

The contest will end on July 6th and a minimum of three entrants will be invited to submit their manuscript (first three chapters and complete synopsis, minimum) to Samhain Publishing for consideration for publication on our 2008 schedule.

A few rules:
1) One line only (a dialogue tag is allowed, but make sure you're punctuating things correctly. We're editors. We'll know if you cheat and use an action tag making it a second line, instead of one whole line)

2) If you move on to the second round, you cannot change that first line in any way. Each line posted must remain as written as you move through the rounds.

3) If we close the comments before you've had a chance to post your next line, we're very sorry, but you will be eliminated from the competition. We must make this fair for everyone and still make it workable for us, and the only way to do that is to post a deadline.

4) This contest is for new material only. No previously published material

5) Samhain is a general publisher, you may enter material of any genre!

This is an opportunity for everyone who's been waiting for submissions to open. Submissions are due to remain closed until later in the summer, so we're giving at least three people the chance to get theirwork in front of a Samhain editor before submissions re-open. If interest in the contest is high, we will give this opportunity to five authors.

*permission to forward granted*


Have I mentioned how much I like Samhain? They're wonderful to work with AND I predict great things for them.