Monday, March 29, 2010

80%

At least I think it's eighty percent. There's another reason why I fancy myself a writer and not a mathematician. But I'm sure if I've done the math wrong, one of you out there will let me know so I can make the necessary corrections.

The eighty percent (or possible eighty percent) is in reference to the goals I set myself at the start of last Monday. Five things I wanted to have completed by the start of this Monday. They were:

1. Work out on the Wii Fit at least three times for thirty minutes each time.

2. Get the Gator Girl to clear an eleven foot broad jump. Weather permitting, of course.

3. Cross the 70K word mark in Second Nature.

4. Finish reading The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley and The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner.

5. Send out the Effigy submission packet I said I was going to send out, you know, before now.

And I completed four of those goals. Thus the eighty percent. I'm pretty sure that's right. The math, I mean. I know I completed four of the five goals.

I worked out on the Wii three times. I ran yesterday. My Wii guide was one of the Wii dogs. I don't know if that means I did well. I did so well on the jackknife exercise that I was able to unlock the new exciting jackknife challenge. I have no idea what the jackknife challenge entails but I'm looking forward to soon finding out. At least I think I am...is there such a thing as Ab Splints? I guess I'll find that out too...

I crossed the 70,000 word mark on Second Nature. Just barely, mind you, but I made it over that line. I'm working on some back story for one of my central male leads, the one who has been missing for a good chunk of time now. It's been an interesting journey and I'm curious to see where I end up. I'm hoping I'll find my protagonist at the end of it.

I also finished reading The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley and The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner. Now I need to read a happy book. Maybe a nice trashy romance novel.

And I also managed to get that pesky submissions packet out into the world. Maybe it come back with glad tidings (Note to any potential editors and/or agents and/or publishers out there: I know this blog is often times snarky and sarcastic and moody and oh, all right, down right mean, but I swear I'd be an absolute dream with which to work.)...

Thus, by process of elimination, that would mean the goal I did not complete this week was teaching the Gator Girl to complete a eleven foot broad jump. I'd like to place the blame on the weather. We had a couple of days of wind and rain and a little spitting snow. Then we had one really bad day of wind and more wind and standing outside was like what I imagine standing in a sandstorm to feel like. There was one relatively warm and sunny day but I thought the back yard was still too wet for broad jumping. The Gator Girl tears up the lawn when it's not soft and mushy so I thought we might be better off waiting a little bit longer. Instead, we worked on bite work in the living room. I received some spectacular bruises but certainly not my most impressive ones ever. I really need to get some better padding.

So, there you have it. I like setting goals. I also simultaneously hate setting goals because then I become demon possessed about achieving said goals. But I suppose that is a good thing. What good is it to set goals if you don't give a damn about reaching them?

That said, here are my goals for this coming week:

1. Get the new look for my website up and running. So don't panic if, one day, you show up and everything's new. You're not in the wrong place. I just needed a change. This blog's look, by the way, won't change.

2. Cross the 80K word mark in Second Nature. I feel like this is the goal that's going to kill me this week. Especially because of that website goal. Oh well. Aim big or go home, right?

3. Work out on the Wii Fit at least three times this week. Attempt the possibly scary jackknife challenge.

4. Read a trashy bodice ripping romance novel.

5. Get the snow tires taken off my car and the regular season tires put back on. Have the oil changed at the same time.


Anyway, I hope everyone out there had a pleasant weekend. Happy Monday...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shin Splints

So, back in high school, I don't remember which year, I succumbed to peer pressure.

Don't worry, mom. I didn't do drugs. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke. I didn't skip class. Much anyway.

I joined the track team.

All my friends were doing it. They lured me in by telling me how cool it was, how cool it would make me...well, I don't think they actually said that last part (they knew I was pretty much a lost cause in the coolness department) but I'm pretty sure it was implied and so I caved and became a member of the track team.

But, as it turned out, the track team involved running (I know, right?). And back in high school, I was cool with the concept of running but less interested in the actual running part itself.

My friends were big runners. They'd been on the track teams (indoor, outdoor and cross country) for years and the only running I did was either for the bus or the forced laps the PE teachers made us do around the gym every class. The best time ever was that time I broke my toe. The gym teachers were still going to make me run so I came to class the next day with a multi paged (yes, seriously) letter from my mother which memorably contained the line "My daughter does NOT need to be repeatedly slamming her broken toe against the hard gym floor!" Underline, underline. Needless to say, by the time the teachers finished reading my mother's dissertation, I didn't have to run. Ever again, if I wanted.

I heart my mom.

But I did run again. One of my friends also had special permission to not run on the hard gym floor. She ran outside on school grounds for ten to fifteen minutes and then came back to rejoin the rest of class. Occasionally, she brought another student with her. Once, she asked me. I think that day she was probably feeling particularly desperate because she had never asked me before (and never again, as it turned out). I was excited because I thought it meant we would run out of sight of the gym and then hang out for ten to fifteen minutes before returning to class.

We didn't.

This friend went on to kick ass and take names at the Air Force Academy and become a hard core board certified surgeon who is now on her way to Afghanistan (God Bless and Good Luck...Please, come home safe.). I went on to fold jeans for a living. Coincidence? I think not.

But yeah. Those bad influence friends of mine eventually got me on the track team. I ran sprints because they were fast and the race was over quickly. I usually only ran the 100 meter dash and maybe a relay because I was that Not. Into. It. And since I was a clueless awkward teenager (who grew into a clueless awkward adult...I've always liked symmetry.), I never learned to run properly. Thus, I developed shin splints.

Interesting side note: Joe has long been convinced that I am making up this medical condition. He's never heard of it and thus, despite compelling internet evidence (the internet thing is kind of a joke between us...it does not mean he believes everything he reads on the internet), it does not exist. He also is convinced I made up that story about how the southern states ceded from the Union during the 1800s. Just saying. It's interesting that we both went to Maine public schools and came out with such different educational experiences.

Anyway, now I'm older (that's right, Wal Mart. I said older) and every spring, I feel the deep urge to run. I'd like to be one of those serious (or semi serious) runners and so every spring I lace up my running shoes and try to run around the neighborhood. I then spent the next few days crying over how badly my shins hurt.

Have you ever had shin splints? They can really hurt.

The last time I was teaching (after I left the first time, I went back every now and then to fill in when they needed me), I tried running. The school was (and is) filled with hardcore outdoors men and women. They're the sort who run marathons for fun. I was the one who crapped out on the half mile loop around her neighborhood and then spent three days rolling around the school building in her rolling chair because her shins hurt too much to walk. Of course, I was also the one who had to contribute the chair thing to laziness because I didn't want to admit I had crapped out on the half mile loop around my neighborhood.

So instead of running, I walk. I hike. Sometimes, on the more challenging hikes, I feel the splints acting up, but that's pain with which I can deal. However, it's now March which means spring is here which means the urge to run is starting to take over. Plus, I bought that stupid Wii Fit which has the island lap option in it. You hold the remote or stick it in your pocket and you run in place while your Mii runs around a lovely island paradise, populated with other Miis and their little Mii dogs. So I've tried it, thinking that perhaps if I ran just a little bit with every workout then maybe, just maybe, someday I might be able to run outdoors.

Yeah. I don't see that happening any time soon. I am currently hiding from my Wii Fit because I'm afraid it'll send out some sort of tractor beam which will haul me in and make me run some more. And I just can't do it today.

My shins hurt too much. But maybe tomorrow...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goal Work

Happy Monday, all.

I'm pleased to announced we all survived the weekend. Joe's gone back to work and I'm getting back to my routine (or such as it is). I haven't written in days now so the incredible shrinking word count in continuing to do just that. My cushion was down to 13,500 words as of this morning. This time, however, life did get in the way. But, before anyone take offense, it was totally worth it.

Saturday, I took the Gator Girl down to obedience class. It was warm, really warm, like near seventy degrees warm, and so we went to the local high school to work on their athletic fields. You know, the ones right next to the signs saying "No Dogs Allowed On School Grounds"...And who happened to drive by (twice) as we were working? The police. He stopped and watched us for a while but didn't say anything. One theory is that there were eight German Shepherds and two Belgian Malinois out in the field (out of a class of eleven dogs total) and he thought he might be better served staying in the car. It should be noted that while some of the dogs have bite training (more on that in a minute), they are not vicious dogs (more on that in a minute too). Another theory is that the cops don't care if we're on the fields...the school department does. Plus, we're responsible dog people who clean up after their dogs.

After the obedience portion of the class (in which the Gator Girl totally flunked the portion which required her to sit still for thirty seconds), six of the German Shepherds, the two Malinois (the Gator Girls) and one Briard stayed after to do some Ring Sport training.

For those of you not familiar with Ring Sport, it's a three part competition sport in the dog world, most popular with German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds (I'm putting Gators into this group), Rotties, Pit Bulls, Dobies...you know, your typical police/protection dogs. The Briard is also an occasional competitor as is the Bouvier des Flanders. The three parts are as follows:

Part One: Obedience. This includes exercises such as heeling off leash, healing while wearing a muzzle, distance commands (you stand at one end of the field, your dog waits at the other and you shout (or signal) things like "Sit!" or "Down" and they perform whatever task while staying in a certain area (creeping is bad), food refusal (you throw food right at the dog and he or she does not eat it. If a piece of food should happen to land in the dog's mouth, the dog is required to spit it out.), and retrievals.

Part Two: Agility. This includes exercises such as the high jump (the competition height is around four feet), the broad jump (the competition length starts at like 9 and a half feet...the Gator Girl has done ten feet successfully) and the palisades. The palisades is particularly awesome. It's a wall, starting at around five feet and has a maximum height of seven and a half feet. The dog runs straight at the wall and literally scales the wall and then jumps off the other side. It's pretty awesome to see. The Gator Girl does not know how to do this yet. Yes, I said 'yet'. It is my intention to teach her this exercise although I know that teaching her to scale a seven foot wall could possibly come back to bite me in the ass. And speaking of being bitten in the ass..

Part Three: Protection. This is bite work. This is where some poor schlup (in my house, it's always me) puts on some padding and stands there while someone (in our house, usually Joe but Heather's done this too) sends the dog to attack the poor schlup. There are distance attacks and escape attempts on the schlup's (more commonly referred to as 'decoys') and one exercise called "defensive handler." I found a pretty good video of this on youtube:



The Gator Girl hasn't learned this particular exercise yet either. But we're working on it.

But now, here comes the disclaimer: the dogs in our group who work on this do it for fun. They're not hard core protection dogs. They're family pets first and foremost. There are people who have dogs just to compete in ring sport trials but we are not among them. You can give the Gator Girl the attack command and unless someone's standing around wearing a bite sleeve or another target, she's not going to do anything. I know this for a fact because I constantly command her to attack Joe and she never does. It's the same with all the dogs in our group. The dogs love the work, they love the game. None of them are mean or vicious. None of them are maneaters.

That said, that's what we worked on after obedience class on Saturday. We did some bite training. The Gator Girl performed admirably. I was proud of her, particularly because in the past she's had some performance anxiety about working with people who are not her mommy and daddy.

Anyway, Sunday I went to Chuck E. Cheese's with two of my girlfriends and my godchildren. If I knew how to post a picture in this blog, I would do so at this time. If you're one of my Facebook friends, you can see one of my profile. We had a great time. We eat pizza and play skeeball and whatever other games are around, but mostly skeeball, because I don't suck at it and the kids usually end up with a significant amount of tickets to exchange for prizes at the end of the day. This trip, I managed to hit the 450,000 point mark which earned me an extra 250 ticket bonus. Lights flashes, alarms went off, it was embarrassing. But the kids loved it so that too was worth it. A particular highlight for me was reading the story my goddaughter is working on. It, too, was pretty awesome and I absolutely loved reading it. She says it's not done yet, that she still has more to write, and I honestly can't wait to read more.

And now we're back to Monday. And now I'm back to trying to reach my goals.

First of all, I have to report that I have achieved one of the goals I set for myself back in January. No, not the one about finishing Second Nature (didn't you see the incredible shrinking word count thing?) and no, not the one about de-cluttering the house (Sorry Joe. I know you were hoping.). Nope, the goal I reached was the one about trying yoga.

And I have my brand spanking new Wii Fit to thank for it.

I managed to track one down at the local Wal Mart after quite a while of waiting and waiting so now I can be verbally harassed and abused by a piece of machinery in my own home (Note to the Wii Fit: Stop groaning every time I step on you. I'm not that heavy.). I've started using it, about a half hour a day, about three days a week (depends on what else is going on, you know?) and I always start with yoga. I've done the sun salutation, tree, half moon, warrior and chair poses. I think I've tried a couple more but I can't remember. Every now and then, I add a new one. If the Gator Girl or Big is around, there are some poses I just can't do because I will end up being on the bottom of a Shepherd Smackdown so mostly I focus on the ones that will not end up with me underneath two hundred pounds of dog. But it still counts.

I have achieved one of my goals. Good for me.

But that leaves me with a whole bunch more to work toward...so I'm going to leave you and get to it.

Here are my goals for the week:

1. Work out on the Wii Fit at least three times for thirty minutes each time.

2. Get the Gator Girl to clear an eleven foot broad jump. Weather permitting, of course.

3. Cross the 70K word mark in Second Nature

4. Finish reading The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley and The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner.

5. Send out the Effigy submission packet I said I was going to send out, you know, before now.


Hope you're having a good Monday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Schmoe Versus The Sniffles

I don't wish to alarm you, but the day we have long feared is here.

Okay, so everybody just remain calm. I need you to remain calm. It's going to be all right. If we stick together, we should be able to survive this.

Are you ready? Here goes...

Joe has a cold. And he took the day off from work because of it.

Yeah. I know. It's- Wait...what do you mean I'm the only one who feared this day? Well, if you lived here then you'd probably fear this day too.

If you have a man in the household who turns into a really big baby at the first sign of the sniffles, then you'll know what I mean. Joe is that stereotypical guy. He gets a cold and then he stretches out on the couch, underneath a couple of afghans and moans and groans and watches the financial news all day.

And while I want to say "You have a cold. Get yourself some DayQuil and a box of tissues and go to work!" I don't actually say anything. The one time I told him to suck it up and get over it (those may have been my exact words...hard to remember.), it turned out he had an abscess in his throat that required the doctor to stick a scalpel and a tube down there to drain out all the happy pus. So now I keep my mouth shut.

But it really is just a cold.

To make matters worse, Joe is currently on my shit list because he came home from work yesterday and said to me, "What did you do all day? Sleep?"

(Quasi Related Side Rant: Just because my chosen profession (and I refer to writing. Not precision folding. That is not my chosen profession. That is what keeps me in books and my dogs in cheeseburgers) has yet to earn me a single dime and has no easily discernible measure of progress (unless you're me) and often looks like me sitting at a computer and staring out my window, does not mean it's not work. Writing is work, people. Writing is hard work. At least if you want to do it right. Which I do. I want to write ass kicking books and time is required to reach such a goal. It took George R.R. Martin six years to write one chapter but you better believe that chapter kicked ass when he was finished.)

So where was I? Oh right, Joe's sick and I was already annoyed with him. I need to get out of the house before I put a pillow over his face but I also need to stay here and work. Not that my chances of getting that much work done are very good because Joe's moaning and groaning and the dogs are barking. As in pretty much nonstop.

Why are the dogs barking? Well, first of all, that's what they do. Second of all, we've had a veritable parade of neighborhood dogs in the yard this morning. Some I knew. One I didn't. They all stopped by to piss on the trees (among other bodily functions). I'm checking the Dog's Guide to New England to see if Big's tree somehow made the list of places to pee because no dog has missed it yet. Sad, isn't it, that Joe and I have to put up a fence, not to keep our dogs in but to keep other dogs out?

Right now, the dogs are locked in the office with me because every time they heard anything, they went charging at the front door, barking their heads off. Joe would moan and groan about their action and I would have to stop working to go and get them to shut the hell up. Being locked in the office helps curb their barking. One of them happens to be very gassy at the moment though so really, it's more of a punishment for me.

We'll be going out later (we, meaning me and the dogs) so we can do our errands. Library, post office and grocery store (with a list filled with items such as tomato soup, saltines, ginger ale and popsicles). We also have to stop off at the Store to check my schedule and pick up my last über pathetic paycheck.

At least I have plans all weekend long that take me not only out of the house but out of the state. This whole cold thing should really resolve itself by Monday, right? So, everything should be fine. Just as long as I stay away from pillows.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

B Day

Today is my sister B's, birthday. We're old enough now that we don't want to be reminded of how old we are (unless, of course, we are being denied Nyquil.) and silly enough that we don't wish to celebrate (which I've never understood given my obsession with cake...). So I thought I'd write a little something here and tell some of my favorite memories with my sister. But, B, if you'd like this blog taken down, I'll do so.

I've already told you about the bobsledding love seat (Hey, B, did you know you can go to Lake Placid, NY and actually go bobsledding on the actual Olympic track? Do you know what I'm thinking...ROAD TRIP!!!) but we also used to play The Price Is Right. My mother had (again, has) a spinning wheel that we used to use as the big wheel. Of course, I don't think any of us ever got a dollar because whichever one of us got to be Bob Barker got to decide the amount on which the wheel landed (we once tried to use construction paper to make the money amounts but they didn't stay in) and well, I guessing we weren't that nice.

When we moved into the new house, the closing dates got a little screwed up so we were, essentially homeless for a few days (don't think my mother didn't give the realtor hell for that) which meant we were staying with our grandparents. B and I stayed with our Great Grandmother, Great Nana. My mother, father and brother stayed with my father's mother, just a little ways away. I've never written about Great Nana in this blog before, but we adored her, absolutely adored her. When I get to be a little old lady, I want to be just like her. Anyway, so we were staying with her which meant we watched Jeopardy! that evening with the volume up really loud (she was in her 90's then) and then went to bed really early. The next morning, we were up and ready for school, waiting for mom to come and pick us up. We didn't expect Nana to get up with us but she did. Our goal was to be as low maintenance and trouble free as possible. Her goal was to make us breakfast. We told her we already had pop tarts but I don't think she really approved of that.

Later on, when we were out of school, the family (or as many of us were available) met on Thursday evenings to have dinner together with Nana. B and I were in charge of cooking which meant we would buy Chinese food or KFC or Amato's. Amato's, for those of you not from Maine, is a local Italian eatery offering sandwiches, salads and pastas galore. We usually got a pasta bucket. Baked ziti with meatballs. But the joke about those evenings became Nana asking my mother which one of the girls was cooking tonight and when my mother told her, Nana would say something like "So, Chinese food then." I Heart My Nana.

Anyway...

One night, while watching the Miss America Pageant (I maintain we were watching for the talent portion of the competition), B and I got into a big animal cracker fight in B's bedroom. I don't remember why we started throwing animal crackers around. Maybe because we were watching the Miss American Pageant and had nothing else to do? I don't know but we threw a lot of animal crackers that night. A lot. We also laughed a lot too, which was nice. And then, for the next week or so, we were finding animal crackers in random places throughout her bedroom. Sorry about that, mom.

A lot of weekend afternoon and weekday evenings, we would take a walk together. We'd walk though one of the neighboring neighborhoods and take a little woods path over to the TCBY shop (it's now a Domino's Pizza) where we would have waffle cone sundaes before walking back to the house.

When we didn't go to TCBY, we'd go over to the high school after dinner and play some tennis. I remember us being pretty well matched. I also remember the one evening I decided to be cool and hurdle the tennis net. I didn't quite make it all the way over. Now those were some spectacular bruises. B didn't laugh at me until she knew I was okay. Of course, once I knew I hadn't actually broken my neck, I was laughing pretty hard too.

Speaking of laughing pretty hard, this next memory still makes me laugh although I should probably be less amused by it. We, and by 'we' I mean my mother, grandmother, B and me, were all in church. We sat in the back, in the last row. It was my grandmother's usual spot because she usually fell asleep during the sermon. Sometimes she snored. I don't remember what set B and me off. Maybe it was the snoring (do you remember, B?) but whatever it was, B and I couldn't stop laughing. And the more we tried to stop, the worse it became. There we were, sitting in church, in the middle of the sermon, having a major attack of the giggles. Then we tried to stop the giggling by, like, holding the giggles in, which just made them come out louder and more punctuated which had the adverse affect of making us laugh more. We got a lot of looks from our fellow parishioners. My grandmother slept through it. My mother did not. She was. Not. Amused. Not even a little bit. Though, I hope, if she's reading this, she's a little amused by it now.

B and I went to the very first midnight showing of the very first Harry Potter movie. We had tickets to go see it that Friday evening but she called me at about 8pm on Thursday night and told me one of the local theaters was doing a midnight show and did I want to go. My response was, "I'll be there in a hour." Joe's response was, "But what about the tickets you already have?" To which I replied, "Uh, We'll see it again. Duh." So I drove down, picked her up and went into the city to Denny's followed by a midnight viewing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This began our tradition of going to the midnight showings of each of the Harry Potter movies. B's always very good about going insanely early to these showings so that I can ease my anxiety about getting the perfect seat.

We always go see the best movies together. We saw Ice Princess because we're both in love with the idea of figure skating (Bonus: B didn't look too embarrassed to be see with the one person in the theatre who laughed loud and boisterously at the preview for Lindsay Lohan's remake of Herbie the Love Bug). We went to see My Sister's Keeper and cried our eyes out and told each other that yes, we'd give up our kidneys for the other. Well, at least one kidney. We went to see Fame and either amused or annoyed the hell out of the one other person in the theatre with us with our incessant singing of the main theme song which, disappointingly, didn't appear in the remake.

Ah, good times.

So, Happy Birthday, B. I hope you have a good one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Moose Is Loose: A Tale Out Of School

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I used to teach English. I taught at a program for at-risk adolescents, troubled teens, who had been removed from their regular schools for a variety of colorful reasons. They would come to us for an average of eight to ten weeks and work on their various issues. Three days a week they had school. The other four days were spent out in the field (year round) learning survival and leadership skills.

For a lot of kids, this was hell. These kids were generally the city kids, the ones for whom roughing it meant going without valet parking or room service or internet access, cell phones or their iPods. Internet access or cell phone reception at the school, located in the middle of nowhere in Western Maine, was a little hard to come by. (iPods were banned until a student reached a certain level.)

What wasn't hard to come by was the wildlife. Deer, moose, bears, coyotes, even a mountain lion (I didn't see that one personally...that was the social studies teacher) could be found everywhere. One day, a moose went walking right through the middle of campus, very close to the school building where one of our students (who happened to be doing a little detoxing at the time) thought he was hallucinating when he looked out the window and saw the moose looking back at him.

Another time, a group of students was out in the field and came across a big bull moose on the trail. The moose then proceeded to charge them. No one was hurt. Later that night, a bear visited their camp. The guides thought the kids were up to something but they weren't. As I found out that following Monday, they were busy being scared to death.

"Melissa," one of them told me. "I was so scared. I had to pee so bad."

And on the occasion when a student would threaten to run away, I would mostly just say, "Just watch out for the bears" and the student would look from me to the emergency exit door and then sit back down.

City kids. They're so easy.

But today's story starts one sunny spring or summer afternoon when a student, Brad (please note, all student names have been changed), fresh out of the jungles of New York City, was sitting in a classroom, taking a make up exam for his school. We teachers were taking turns checking in on him and making sure he was getting his work done. When a significant amount of time had passed, Brad still hadn't finished his assignment and I was forced to investigate.

"I can't concentrate," Brad said. "There's this moose outside making all this noise and it's bugging me."

"There's a what doing what?" I asked.

"A moose," Brad said. "It's outside and it's bugging me."

"Because it's being loud and rowdy?"

"Yes. There it is again," Brad said. "Can't you hear it?"

Wanting to give Brad the benefit of the doubt, I went to the emergency exit door and opened it. I listened for the loud and rowdy moose. I didn't hear it. But I did hear something.

A chainsaw.

When it started up again, I turned back to Brad and asked, "Is that what you were hearing?"

"Yes!" Brad said, feeling vindicated.

"Yeah, sweetie," I said. "That's not a moose."

"It's not?"

"No," I said then. "That's a chainsaw."

"A chainsaw?"

"Yes. Not a moose."

"Oh."

"So how about you finish that test now?" I asked.

"Yeah," Brad said. Now he sounded disappointed.

At least Brad knew in which country he was. One of my students didn't. But that's a story for another time. Happy Monday. Hope this story made you smile.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So, About That...

Okay, so you remember when, last month, I was doing that whole getting back in the saddle thing as far as submissions go?

Well, I didn't. Get back in the saddle, that is. I'm more just walking the horse around the corral. I look at the stirrups every now and then and think about how much I really want to be back in the saddle and then I just keep on walking.

I'm working on it. I really am. The problem is I think my muse has gone on an unexpected untimely extended vacation. I'm hoping she'll return soon and bring with her more than just a lousy tee shirt because I could really use something here. I need my muse because I have convinced myself that my query letter is no good. I have also convinced myself that my synopsis perhaps gives the illusion that the heroine dies at the end (spoiler alert: she doesn't.) which I have heard can sometimes be a turn off so I should probably do something about that too.

But, for now, my focus is on that damn letter. I have pages of notes, little snippets of phrases written down. I feel like I'm circling the right hook the way a hawk can circle its lunch but I haven't been able to piece them together correctly yet.

My current plan is to try and reverse engineer a letter. I know how it should end. Thank you for your time (I deleted the part where I begged, begged, begged them to please, please, please read my book. Seemed the thing to do.).

I've also written the paragraph that explains who I am, lists all of my no writing credits (except for my Guidepost Magazine honorable mention in their 1994 young writer's contest...we were supposed to write a story about the role of God in our lives. I wrote a story about an ill fated attempt to ask a boy to the prom.) and my qualifications (I'm a former English teacher with a love of the written word...pathetic, I know, but that's what I've got. If only I'd found a portal to another world in the back of my closet. That would've really been convenient.).

And I've written the paragraph that connects the sales pitch with the resume portion. So now all I need is my sales pitch. The back of the book blurb. The voice over on a movie trailer.

And this is where my muse comes in. So, honey, if you're reading this, you've probably noticed how desperately I require your aid. If you could just drop in for a few minutes, ten max, so we could pound out eight to ten sentences (or thereabouts), that would be great because I really do need to be back in the saddle again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 3/12/10)

Sunday

The Amazing Race: Jet and Cord are my absolute favorites. I just wanted to say that first. That said, I thought for sure the cops would be going home this week because they've been scrapping the bottom of the barrel for...well, since the start of this thing. But this leg was tailor made for them. Eating and drinking beer? Well, good for them and their fist place finish. The cowboys (whom I adore) finished in fourth place tonight. They got a little hung up on the beer challenge because they've never had a beer in their life. Really? That surprises me. But I love them dearly and I hope they get back in first place soon. Another classic gem was the revelation that one of the not gay gay brothers doesn't like to travels. Hates it, really. Well, how fortunate you're on the Amazing Race, dude.

The Academy Awards: I already blogged about this separately. No need to do it again. Just: Yea! Hurt Locker!!


Monday

How I Met Your Mother: Bang bang bangity bang bangity bang bangity bang bang. Did I get that right? Anyway, pretty funny episode. Marshall's just so damn adorable some times. Plus, I love it when the show becomes a sudden musical.

Rules of Engagement: Patrick Warburton is really quite funny. If he wasn't on this show, I wouldn't bother with it at all.

The Big Bang Theory: My precious! I rather enjoyed this episode but I am a big LOTR movie fan so maybe that's to be expected.

Castle: I watched the first half of the episode. I like the show and I like Nathan Fillion oh so much but some times, I just have a hard time making through the show. Alexis looked terrible in the cheerleading outfit, by the way.

House: So I learned a valuable lesson in tonight's episode: vegetarians with blogs will die a horrible, painful death. Someone get me a cheeseburger, quick! The speed dating scene was classic and hysterical but I think the Wilson in a porno thing was truly inspired.

Chuck: I haven't watched it yet because I have to watch this episode via the computer and every time I sit down at the computer, it's to work. I'll get to it soon, I promise. Don't give up on me, Chuck!!

Life Unexpected:I haven't watched it yet because I have to watch this episode via the computer and every time I sit down at the computer, it's to work. That said, I'm not sure I'm going to bother.


Tuesday

American Idol: Well, it's the last Ladies' Night. Thank goodness. Lilly Scott and Crystal Bowersox are fantastic. Everyone else less so. I think I am a little in love with Crystal Bowersox. That woman is amazing. Here's her performance, in case you missed it:




Parenthood: Can't we just have more Gilmore Girls? You know, with Amy Sherman-Palladino?

Wednesday

The Middle: I love Axl in love. I also got a kick out of Mike's reaction to Frankie playing the tape in which Mike cries and begs for Frankie to take him back, especially the part where he just bangs his head against the closet door. The other two Heck children were funny too...I especially enjoyed Sue's line (after watching a zombie horror flick) "Every time I close my eyes, all I see is zombies tearing apart Taylor Lautner!" No mention on if he had a shirt on at the time.

Modern Family: I haven't watched this episode yet. I DVR'd it though so I'll get to it eventually. I just didn't want people thinking I've given up on this show. It's hysterical. If you haven't seen it, you really should give it a try.

American Idol: The top 8 men perform. There really isn't a guy that I'm head over heels for yet, not like how I adore Crystal Bowersox anyway. I like Lee Dewyze and Casey James. Alex Lambert is improving as is the kid Joe calls Zac Ephron (I don't think that's spelled right, sorry).

Psych: Wow. When did this show start getting so freaking serious? I'm accustomed to a serious moment here or there but much of this season finale, I thought, was tense. But tense in a good way. It was a very good episode with a lot of good moments. So sorry to see Mary go. I have to admit, sadly, I was a little confused by the ending. I watched it a couple of times and I'm just not sure I know what the hell's going on. Normally, I do better but on this one, I'm stumped. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.


Thursday

American Idol Results: What the hell, America? You dump the amazing Lilly Scott for Katie Stevens and Lacey Whatever Her Last Name is? What are you? High? Stupid? Both? And really? Aaron Kelly over Alex Lambert? It's not like either of them are decent performers (they're not) but Alex was slightly more interesting than Aaron. Note the slightly. That said, I can't believe you didn't vote for Lilly Scott. You're on notice, America. You really are.

Community: My busy social schedule (ha) has prevented me from watching this episode too. But I'm still laughing over last week's episode when Abed attempted to approach the girl the gang thought had a crush on him as a vampire. A creepy, hilarious vampire.

The Office: Jim's back from paternity leave and Kathy Bates is back as Jo, the no nonsense new boss. Erin and Andy are sweet so I hope they manage to work it out.

30 Rock: How can Alec Baldwin be so funny on this show but so unfunny on the Oscar telecast? I really love him in this role. I also like Elizabeth Banks's character. I did not find Kenneth to be as funny as I normally do, nor Tracy and Jenna.

Project Runway: Note to Anthony: Your model will probably appreciate it in the future if you refrain from calling her a Clydesdale. That said, I really liked your dress. I thought Jonathon deserved to win but thought Seth Aaron deserved second place rather than third. His look was much, much more polished than Maya's water inspired dress. If I can tell that, me who has no sense of fashion or construction or anything, then the judges really should have noticed that. Really, Nina Garcia, are you even trying any more?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You Know You Live In A Small New England Town When...

So, you know you live in a small New England town when you pick up the local paper and see a front page story that's about how the town has decided to ban fireworks except for New Year's Eve, the Fourth of July and when the Red Sox win the World Series.

Classic.

The headline of this article, by the way, read "Fireworks banned- except when Red Sox when World Series"...bonus points to whomever can spot the typo.

I love my town.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Academy Award Monday

So, I didn't get this written before the Academy Awards last night but I'm doing it now.

When I first started this blog, way back when, one of my first entries ever was a detailed analysis (yes, seriously, detailed) of that year's Oscar nominees. I went though and made my picks and explained why one would win over the other four. I did this because I was once in love with the Academy Awards.

So in love with them, in fact, that I watched them so intently that, apart from Big and the Gator Girl, no one would dare sit in the same room as I while the telecast was on. I loved the silliness (and much of that show is silliness), the occasional funny joke, moving acceptance speeches, funny acceptance speeches and the opening monologue, which, some years were quite funny.

That said, I think I might be starting to outgrow that phase of my life now because, for the last couple of telecasts, I haven't really cared all that much.

But I was impassioned enough this year to spring upon my unsuspecting brother and sister-in-law a surprise rant on how The Hurt Locker should totally beat that best picture impostor Avatar because one is a glorious piece of film making that gets beneath your skin and stays there for a long time afterward and the other is a popcorn flick (You forget it when the popcorn runs out) cross between a Smurf movie (said with all respect in the world...I love Smurfs.) and Dances With Wolves.

End rant.

So I wasn't even sure I was even going to watch the Academy Awards this year. But, my love of The Hurt Locker drove me to tune in.

The Red Carpet portion is annoying. Everyone is annoying and they ask annoying questions, least among them "Who are you wearing?" They don't listen to anything the stars have to say and then fumble their way through a response. Whatever. It makes for some goofy moments that Joel McHale will be able to use on The Soup so I guess that's good.

The opening number included Neil Patrick Harris (whom I adore) doing a song and dance number like he did at the Emmys. It was a surprise because I hadn't read anything about him being there and as I love Neil Patrick Harris, I was thrilled with the whole thing. Too bad he couldn't stay because then we were subjected to

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

They are funny guys. I just don't think they were particularly funny together. (Bring back Jon Stewart!) They had their moments, sure, but I think more of their jokes fell flat. And what's wrong with George Clooney? Man, did he seem grumpy. I know he must be getting tired of being an also-ran, but if he didn't want to show at the event, he didn't have to show.

The John Hughes memorial was nice but...what about everyone else who died? Seriously, seemed a little rude. Speaking of the In Memorial section, I swear Karl Malden is in that every damn year.

What else?

Ben Stiller= not funny. At least not in this bit.

Kristen Stewart= Grumpier than George Clooney.

Taylor Lautner= super cute. Every time the camera showed him, I would either shout "take your shirt off" or "pour some water on him!" The second one made Joe look at me in confusion. Then, after I explained the Rolling Stone cover of him in a wet tee shirt, the one that made me go a little weak at the knees, Joe's look changed from confusion to something akin to annoyance.

Oh, Gabourey Sidibe is the most adorable thing ever to walk the red carpet. Love her to pieces. In that opening bit, when they had the best acting nominees walk out on stage (hey, real subtle way to say no one really cares about the other awards, producers!), she was the one who was showing a little sass.

I hate the thing they seem to be doing now when they get to the best acting awards and have five people come out to talk about the five nominees. Want to know why this show always runs so damn long? Stuff like this. I did get a chuckle out of Tim Robbins's story about Morgan Freeman and the deep, lasting friendship the two developed on the set of The Shawshank Redemption (one of the all time greatest films ever, by the way). Tim said something like this:

"The last day of shooting, Morgan said to me, "Friendship is one guy getting another a cup of coffee. Do you think you could do that for me, Ted?"

Speaking of funny, Meryl Steep has a great sense of humor...that, or she's such a great actress that we at least think she has a great sense of humor. She took her fair share of ribbing at the telecast from everybody. Loved Stanley Tucci's tribute and Sandra Bullock's "my lover Meryl" at the end of her speech.

Kathryn Bigelow (who also directed one of my all time faves Point Break) won the award for Best Director. It's the first time a woman has ever won this award. I was very. very about this. Yes, it's about time that a woman has won this award. It's great that she won this award for making a war movie but really, I think the best part of it for me was that James Cameron didn't win. Very sad, however, that we didn't get to see James Cameron's reaction to his ex-wife's win.

And then The Hurt Locker went and won for Best Picture. Again, we didn't get to see James Cameron's reaction. I was very happy for that group and that movie. And again, the best part was that Avatar and James Cameron with his gloss cover gloss entertainment (Bonus points anyone? It's a very obscure reference so I won't be hurt if no one knows) had to sit this one out.

So yes. Apart from that whole "let's nominate ten films for best picture" bullshit, I think the Academy got it right this year. Well, as much as I like Sandra Bullock, I would have given the award to anyone else in that group. I really would have like to have given it to Gabourey Sidibe because her acceptance speech would have been the stuff of Oscar Legend.

Until next year, Oscar...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 3/5/10)

Sunday

The Amazing Race: So last week, people were getting kick in the head by cows (priceless!) and this week, people have to lasso cows. Of course, the cows are just bales of hay with a plastic cow head stuck to it, but still, Hi-larious! This course seemed to be custom made for the cowboys who are quickly becoming my favorite team. They're just so...nice. I do not like the not gay gay brothers and the dating lesbians. The brothers are annoying and the lesbians are mean. They're just not nice to anyone. Even each other. Brent and Caite are still in it as well as braniacs Jeff and Jordan. I think my favorite moment was when Jeff realized just how stupid they were and he said "We shouldn't reproduce." I wholeheartedly agree. Please go sterilize yourselves before the next leg begins, okay?

Legend of the Seeker: Hey, remember in the first season when I was going on and on about the episode with the magical talking sock puppets? Well, the magical talking sock puppets were not in this episode. Sorry if I got you all excited. The reason I bring them up is that now this show has set a new standard for awesome lunacy that makes the magical talking sock puppets seem pale in comparison. Do you remember how last week I was talking about how deep and dark and serious and whatnot the second season of this show's become? Well, they took a definite break from that trend with this episode. It was hysterical. I really do love this show so much. Kahlan gets kidnapped and the other three have to go undercover to get her out. Mord Sith (think of a dominatrix with kick ass fighting skills) Cara gets to be the delicate and dainty princess. Richard gets to be a blond lothlorio and wizard Zedd gets to be the dowager aunt. And then it got better. Man, I love this show.

Monday

How I Met Your Mother: It's baaaack! It seems like forever ago that we were last treated to a new HIMYM episode. In this outing, Ted explains to his kids that he's a jerk. Carrie Underwood guest stars as a hot girl who's keeping Ted "on the hook". A teacup pig make an appearance, an adorable appearance, and Barney is a riot as usual. Let's get Neil Patrick Harris a damn emmy already. He totally deserves it. One question though: How does Lily, a kindergarten teacher, get seventh period off? That isn't like any kindergarten I've even know.

Rules of Engagement: Joe and I don't religiously watch this show or anything but we always laugh our asses off when we do. We are particularly amused by Patrick Warburton.

Chuck: I really do think this show just keeps getting better and better. Loved guest stars straight out of The Sopranos. I was a little afraid of Chuck myself; he really did seem to get into the assassin role a little too much. I desperately want the song that played at the end of the episode (Daniel Zott's Living A Lie) but I can't get it from amazon. I haven't checked iTunes yet but I don't generally like to buy music from iTunes. But if they have it, I'll buy it. That's how badly I want this song. Anyway, back to the episode. I feel bad for Chuck. But I'm so glad this show's still on the air.

The Big Bang Theory: Stan Lee makes a guest appearance and Sheldon goes to jail. Not one of their funniest episodes but still a good time to be had.

Life Unexpected: Well, I spent the whole episode waiting for Natasha to have to leave because if either Cate or Baze ended up taking her in, or if Tasha's birth mother took her back, I was going to stop watching the show immediately. I like Tasha and I want good things for her character but there's a line between realistic and fantasy and this show has, thus far, tread it nicely. A little suspension of disbelief is required but not too overly much. Tasha's storyline this evening bordered on too much but the writers kept it from going there. But just barely.

Tuesday

American Idol: So the men take the stage tonight which is a surprise because we all thought the ladies were supposed to be on but, as it turns out, Crystal Bowersox (who I love dearly) is ill and in the hospital (they didn't say why) and unable to perform tonight so the gents go on instead. And again, I am left asking "Hey, does anyone else remember when they used to have good singers on this show?" Have we just used up all the good singers in the country or something or have America's tastes just gotten that bad?

Parenthood: I was looking forward to watching this show for one reason only: Lauren Graham. After the episode had ended, I was left thinking I might watch another episode but only because of Lauren Graham. Monica Potter has always been an actress I haven't liked. Same with Erika Christensen. I know it was a pilot episode and they had a lot of story to cram into that first hour but it was a little too much and a little too crazy for me. But, again, because of Lauren Graham, I might watch next week. Or at least DVR the damn show and watch it when I've got nothing else going on.

Wednesday

American Idol: Well, it's ladies' night. They performed better than the men, I think, but only because there's Lilly Scott, Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Mangus on the ladies' side. Those three are my favorite and Siobhan's last note was freaking insanely awesome. I can sing. I can sing well. But there's no way in hell I can even get near that note. Wow.

The Middle: The Hecks take a road trip that would make the road trips taken by my family seem like paradise in comparison. Axl is my favorite part of this show. That kid is seriously funny.

Modern Family: Not my favorite episode but I really do love this show.

Psych: Lassiter's top five skills include profiling, fishing and skeeball. I have ever mentioned how much I love this show? Oh, and Colonel Tigh was the bad guy. I am very excited for next week's 'season' finale. This show has established, I think, a history of ending a season or half season with a particularly strong episode.

Thursday

Community: This show really cracks me up. The story lines are never that deep but they don't have to be. It is what it is and what it is is funny. Really freaking funny.

American Idol Results: Wow. I don't know what drugs Danny Gokey's on but I don't think I've ever heard him as animated (or as vocal) as he was on tonight's show. Yikes! I could just imagine Ryan Seacrest thinking, "Dude. Stop touching me" each and every time Danny did just that. Four people were eliminated. Not the three women I actually like so that's about all I have to say about that.

Supernatural: So, this week's episode was a repeat. Unfortunately, when it first aired, I wasn't writing my weekly recaps. I am now and so now I feel the need to tell you how I felt about this particular episode, Swap Meat. It had a great premise. It started off so freaking well. And then they blew it. They did. They really did. Here's the cold opening of the show (which I found hysterical):



And then came the rest of the episode. Now, I believe they should have had Jared Padalecki play the episode this way. They shouldn't have had the kid tagging alongside Dean. No, the kid should have been the one tied to the chair, playing it straight, playing Sam Winchester. Jared should have been with Dean the entire episode but playing it as he did in the opening. That would've been great. I mean, the reason the Freaky Friday movies are any fun at all is when you get to watch Jamie Lee Curtis play the teenager trapped in an adult's body. You blew it, Supernatural, you blew it. But I still love you.

The Office: Finally Jim and Pam's baby arrives. Huge parts of this episode had me howling in laughter, for example, the lactation consultation. Or, in the first half of the show, the scene where Jim is totally losing it and pacing and throwing the baby books. I was insanely worried in the scene where Michael held baby Cecila for the first time and I saw the part with the wrong baby coming a mile away. It's all right because it was still kind of funny. Erin and Andy are sweet. Dwight and Angela are just weird beyond belief and my stupid DVR cut off just before the end so I have no idea what happened when Jim and Pam arrived at the house to see Dwight in their newly (kind of) remodeled kitchen. C'mon, NBC. If you say your show is going to run from 9pm to 10pm, make sure it actually ends at 10pm. You know?

Project Runway: How did Emilio not get kicked out on this challenge? Plus, he totally lied to everyone on the runway. Why isn't Tim Gunn on the judges' panel just to keep the contestants honest? This is freaking crazy.

Burn Notice: Speaking of freaking crazy, this episode was freaking crazy good. I love this show. I love most spy themed shows but this series is, I think, particularly good. Big points for Momma Weston for giving the FBI the runaround while her son and his loyal pals run around Miami trying to save the whole damn city. It, naturally, ended with a big cliff hanger that won't be resolved until freaking June. Guess I'll just go back to my bland meaningless life until then.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Word Count

To Recap:

I set a goal back at the beginning of the year to write (in ten months, because I am a glutton for punishment) a 200,000 word novel (Second Nature, a sequel to my wildly popular with the four people who've read it novel Effigy).

To put that in a page number perspective for you, my 50,000 word NaNoWriMo project came out to 177 pages (using 11pt Times New Roman font). Effigy, which comes in at about 195,000 words, is 648 pages (using the same font).

All in all, this comes out to approximately 658 words a day I have to write in order to reach the 200,000 word mark by the end of October.

End Recap.

So, this goal started off well. Really, really well. By the end of January, I was 23,473 (that's right...thousands) words ahead.

And there was much rejoicing (bonus points for whomever can Name That Reference!.).

But then came February. I don't know what happened in February. It wasn't the snow because we didn't really get all that much. Apparently, it doesn't snow in the Mount Washington Valley any longer (which can only mean one thing: Joe's diabolical scheme to control the weather has finally come to fruition. And all this time, I thought he'd been looking at porn on the internet).

It wasn't the dogs. They weren't any brattier than usual (and by 'the dogs', I of course mean the Gator Girl. We all know the Big Brave German Shepherd never does anything bratty...except for maybe pulling my tablecloth and all the crap living on top of the dining room table clean off the table and on to the floor. Twice. But apart from that, he doesn't do anything bratty).

It wasn't even the Store. I mean, sure, there was inventory and all (including the conception of my new Massive Evil Plan, to be blogged about later), but it really was one of our better inventory experiences (just don't tell Eager Beaver Tammy (yes, I've changed her nickname again) that I said that) so, for once, it would appear that life isn't getting in the way of, you know, my life.

Turns out, writing was getting in the way of my writing. And that's what you call ironic. Can anyone name that movie reference? I'm talking serious bonus points (which, yes, are useless, much like Lazy Susan at the Store) here.

Anyway, February was the month where I not only lost one of my main characters (still no luck in finding him, by the way. There have been some sightings however so I remain ever hopeful that his recovery is just around the corner) but was also the month where two of the four main characters representing the side of Good (not to mention the two central characters of this particular novel) went off script. Really, really off script. They're so far off script right now that the script is in another decade.

And I hate that. Actually, I love that, I do. It's exciting as all get up when that happens. The drawback to that happening is, as I'm sure you can guess, the incredible shrinking word count. And the word count only matters when you're tracking it on a daily basis as I am because you were fool enough to set a goal to write a 200,000 word novel in ten months.

Wait...did I say 'fool'? Because I meant 'bold'.

When your characters go off script, you're left wondering. It's like watching a television show. You watch for an hour, or half hour, and then, just when you're thinking you know exactly where the story's going, there's a big giant twist and then a cliffhanger ending to your episode and, before you know it, you're sitting on the edge of your sofa, checking out the end credits and saying, "Wait...what? I have to wait how long before I find out what happens next?"

And apparently, my particular show has gone into a rather untimely hiatus.

That said, I have to say that I still finished up February in the black. I'm still 17,000 (yes, thousands) words ahead of my February end goal. I could pretty much not write a single word in March and still be on track. I won't do that. At least not intentionally anyway.

But a 17,000 word cushion is a lot smaller than the 23,000 word cushion I enjoyed last month. It makes me a little nervous. It's not that I mind terribly that the old script was ditched, it's that I really would like to find the new script and find it now because the clock's ticking.

So far today, I've written a grand total of 54 words in my WIP (work in progress). I should probably get back to that.

Until next time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy List, Part Two

I find myself in need of a Happy List today. Actually, I am currently operating on two hours of sleep, so I find myself in need of a nap or a massive amount of caffeine, but in the absence of those two things, I'll settle for a Happy List.

So here are ten more things which make me happy:

1. Double Stuff Oreos, especially when said oreos are accompanied by a tall glass of ice cold milk. Delish!

2. Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. The besest musical blog really almost ever...

3. Buying books. Hello, my name's Melissa and I have a problem. Just don't tell Joe I admitted that because he's been saying that same thing for years now. There are much worse things to which I could be addicted. Just saying.

4. Long Island Iced Teas. In addition to making me happy, they also tend to make me drunk. It's like an added bonus.

5. Getting Out Of Work Early. I don't really think I need to elaborate on this one.

6. Not Having To Go To Work At All. The only thing better than getting out of work early. It happened once before, the management (a woman named Judy at the time) called me about a half hour before my shift to tell me I didn't need to bother coming in because there was absolutely nothing going on. The only drawback to that happening is that once it happens that first time, you live the rest of your life waiting for it to happen again.

7. Double Chocolate Milano Cookies from Pepperidge Farms. Especially when accompanied by a tall ice cold glass of milk. The perfect all-nighter food.

8. New pens.

9. The support of good friends (I feel a Hallmark moment coming on...)

10. Winning a game of Minesweeper. Especially when I beat my own top time on the expert level. If there was a world championship for Minesweeper, I'd totally...well, I'd totally get my ass kicked, but I'd have a good time doing it.

All right...so that last one might be particularly lame but what do you want? I'm working off two hours of sleep here. I'll try to do better for next time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

February 2010 Book Review

Cut- Patricia McCormick- I read this book for the first time a couple of years ago. A scene I was working on in Second Nature made me think of it and so I picked it up again. It made me cry. Quite a bit, actually. I don’t remember it having that effect the first time I read it. Anyway, a good book.

Wake- Lisa McMann- I read this book for the first time last year. I reread it because the third in the series, Gone, was released this month and I wanted to refresh my memory. It’s a good series. Very interesting style about it. I’m curious how it’ll all turn out.

Fade- Lisa McMann- The second in her series.

Gone- Lisa McMann- The final installment in her series. I’m not yet sure how I feel about it. I think I was expecting more, but what more, I cannot say. It’s just a lot different that I thought it might be. I thought the first book started off so strongly and then the third one just kind of was. It didn’t feel like a final installment to me. Too many things still left unresolved.

Coal Black Horse- Robert Olmstead- I don’t know that I loved this book but I can certainly appreciate the craft and beauty of it. The front cover said something about it being shades of Cormac McCarthy and I totally get that reference. A very interesting read.

Early Autumn- Robert B. Parker- Don't mind me. I'm just continuing my journey through some of my favorite Spenser novels.

Small Vices- Robert B. Parker- Patricia Utley has a miniature bull terrier named Rosie. Just like Sunny Randall. I like Patricia Utley better though. I think my favorite scene in this book is when Susan’s friend comes to visit and brings her obnoxious brat of a daughter. Susan, after the friend and daughter have left, asks Spenser if he thought Pearl the Wonder Dog would have bitten the child. Spenser replies, “With proper coaching.” Hi-larious!!

The Moon Under Her Feet- Clysta Kinstler- A feminist retelling of the conception, birth, life and death of Christ as told by Mary Magdalene. Definitely not my usual fare, but a friend lent her copy to me, saying she really enjoyed it. Actually, she told me her father said she’d go to hell for reading this book. Since I figure I’m already going to hell for much worse things than reading this book, I didn’t worry about that part so much. The book itself is pretty good. It started off a little slow but definitely picked up. I personally thought it dragged a little bit toward the end- the parts that were, I don’t know, too bible-y or something (Biblical, maybe? Yeah. I'm a writer.). Maybe I’m going to hell for that comment right there. Yikes!

Alone- Lisa Gardner- Not my favorite of her books but not a bad read. I spent a lot of time kind of confused about what was going on and not in a good way, you know? I hear main character Bobby Dodge makes an appearance in another book so I’ll probably look for that one soon. I'm like that.

One For The Money- Janet Evanovich- Don’t know really what made me pick up this book again at this time. I think it’s been in my head since I read that Kim Harrison novel last month and had the Stephanie Plum thing going on. I really, really don’t like how Stephanie dresses. A minor thing, I know, but I just don’t like it. Ranger is also very different in this novel than he is in later novels. More personable and talkative, I guess.

Two For The Dough- Janet Evanovich- I don’t know how many more of these I’ll read right away. I’m curious about the Ranger character evolution. I am also having problems remembering the evolution of Stephanie’s relationship with Morelli. But I have always, always been a Morelli fan in that whole Morelli/Ranger debate.


February Total: 11 books. Year To Date Total: 22 books. That means I only have 78 books left to go!