Saturday, May 29, 2010

reading reading and reading

Not much writing around here this week. Tuesday, I got a big box o' books from B&N AND two other books from Amazon, which were a delayed birthday present. Oh boy.

So keep in mind that I actually have to faint from joy and/or drool all over a book to give it a perfect score. I am against grade inflation in colleges, too, can you tell?

And I'm not putting them in the order I read them, because I want you all to know about Rose Lerner.

Rose Lerner, In for a Penny. 8/10 stars - Wow. just wow. This is her first book (unless she formerly published under another pseudonym or something). It's the story of an early 19th-century wild-boy nobleman whose wild-boy father dies and leaves him in such deep debt that he marries a brewery heiress and gives up all his fun (drinking and gambling with his friends and going out with his scandalous mistress) and moves out to his estate, where everything's falling apart - not the house itself, but the lands and the people are all hungry and the other landowners and renters are right b*st*rds and so on.

She really gets deep into the class issues and the fear that the H&H both have of offending each other and of losing each other and of how they have a hard time communicating. She repeats herself a bit and goes a bit far on the melodrama, but what a good book.

I'm not sure where I heard of it, since I read about 20 different romance book blogs, but more people need to read this book. Awesome! (EDIT TO ADD: I must have seen it on the B&N book blog, where Eloisa James writes a column. EDIT AGAIN: or else it was when she did a top ten favorite romance list for dear Author? Anyway, she's being noticed...)

And if you have a Nook or the patience to read on your computer screen, they have it for $2.56 as an ebook. I have a hard copy, because though I have an eReader, I am actually a Luddite and if it's a book I would like to keep, then I want a real book, darnit.

Julia Quinn, Ten things I love about you. 8/10 stars - cute and funny, but not as funny as the one before it, plus I felt there were subplots that were set up that never got resolved.

Sherry Thomas, His at Night. 8/10 stars - angsty, but not as heartrending as her first two books (Private Arrangements and, um, the one about the chef? Delicious?). Her writing is so, so good that even though the plot felt a bit contrived at times, I loved it. Does she publish her grocery lists? I'd buy them.

Joanna Bourne, Forbidden Rose. 9/10 stars - spies and French Revolution and ... I was about to give some huge spoilers, but I won't. And her writing is every bit as good as ever, though I didn't get as strong a feel as I did in her first book of the cadence of French in the dialogue. Ditto on the grocery lists.

Lisa Kleypas, Married by Morning. 7/10 stars - A fairly typical Kleypas, by which I mean quite good, but no drooling.

And then there was a an anthology with stories from Catherine Anderson, Loretta Chase, and Samantha James.... Whose description I should have read more carefully because these were old novellas, reprinted. I had read the Anderson and Chase ones and hadn't even liked the Anderson one, so skipped it this time. And the James one was a bit meh. So that was a waste of six or seven bucks, ya know?

Next up, Indigo Blue, which is a Catherine Anderson re-issue, then, um, what else do I have? A couple of Guhrke from the library because she writes late-19th century London which is what I am trying to do, and, uh, well, I have 20+ books out of the library to be honest.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Right. Get on with it. Easier said than done.

I've got to get my big girl panties on and get back to work.

The new story I'm working on is stuck, currently, so I need to think about where to go next and how to get there. I can put it on the back burner and read some more research material for inspiration for a while, but i also need to know where I am going to try to take it.

And the edits I've been doing of the 2nd book that I finished are languishing away in a binder. I've gone through about half of what I meant to do and stopped both due to the story mentioned above and the rejection letter, which was 10 days ago already.

I went to the meeting of my RWA chapter - the speaker, Jeannie Ruesch, is a graphic designer/ website designer and a novelist and talked about making a brand name of yourself - and sat at lunch with her and with a couple of other people I've spent time talking to at these things before. one is/was a life coach and between her and Jeannie Ruesch, they were shoving me back at work, reminding me that they've been rejected and rejected and yet now have contracts and one is published and the other will be soon.

So I came home all renewed and yet tired because being around all those people all morning wears me out, no matter how good it is. So the boys were using my computer to play on and I let them and instead I read a book and dozed off with the toddler.

I *will* get to work. I *am* a good writer.

And I am starting an online editing/revising workshop with Lani Diane Rich in a couple of weeks, so i am getting excited about that. I don't know which book I will choose to revise during the workshop, so i have to think about that a bit, too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


That's ME who's whining.

The little handle of my Brita UltraMax water filter pitcher broke. Just the teeny-tiny little knob that holds the handle onto the nozzle part, so while it's not catastrophic (especially because we've had the pitcher for ages and only paid a couple bucks for it at a garage sale in the first place), it's now unusable. I emailed Brita to see if I can get a new little handle. If not, I'll have to decide if we're getting a new one or relying on the fridge's water dispenser, which is slooooowwwwww.

I have a weird rash on my belly. I thought it was mosquito bites when the little dots first appeared two weeks ago, but they spread and raised up and itch like a... itch. I finally started using topical steroids left over from about 5 years ago when I had a really enormous rash. I hate using weird stuff like that, but it was out of control. I thought I threw the ointment away a long time ago and now feel bad because DS2 is allergic to something out in the yard, too and has suffered a couple of rashes and the benedryl ointment stuff didn't help much. Not that i wanted to use steroids on him unless absolutely necessary, but, well, poor guy.

And though I have been fake-gloating on facebook that I gave my cold to all of my kids as revenge for all the colds they've given me, it means that DD had a couple of bad nights. Last night, she had a hard time getting to sleep because she was coughing, but she then slept for a long, long time, so we were nice and rested this morning.

And I needed to be rested, because DS2 didn't want to go to bed last night and so was tired and cranky and difficult this morning - didn't want to get dressed, didn't want to eat breakfast, didn't want to tell me if he wanted hot lunch (grilled cheese) or a packed lunch, so he got a packed lunch because it's slightly cheaper and because I'd had enough by then. Oh, and it's standardized testing this week, so we'll see how well he does.

At least it's sunny today, so they will play outside at recess and maybe not be as hyped as they were yesterday.

Oh. and the big thing? (yes you have to read all the way to the bottom to get to the big thing.) I got a letter from the agent who had my partial manuscript and she didn't like it. So poop.

Better get to work on that query letter.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The boys made a mobile last week out of the hangers in the coat closet...

DH took The Toddler for a long walk the other day. There's a riding stable about a mile and half away, at the edge of the riverside greenbelt.

And loads of rocks to throw...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

a video of my kids

It's a bit long...

I didn't upload this so much for the comic, slapstick stylings of my kids as for how thoroughly I was ignoring them.

Jayne Ann Krentz's Burning Lamp is quite good.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

whinging about a book this time

Since I like facebook, I tend to spend more time writing short status updates there and not rambling on over here.

The pollen is still hitting me hard, but the cold is easing away. or else it's all one or the other at this point. It's hard to tell.

I speed-read Dan Brown's Lost Symbol. Well, I started it a couple of weeks ago, but when my book group was postponed, I put it down and didn't think to pick it up again until a few days ago. Yeah, it was just exactly that un-put-down-able that I could put it down for two weeks. It's awkward, it's poorly written, and I had a hard time believing important plot points. Like that the CIA was involved in an investigation inside the US. They weren't willing to explain anything enough to get Robert Whatsis on their side and yet were perfectly happy to disturb a crime scene to the point that the CIA chick gave Robert Whatsis the ring from the dead hand because he said he'd give it back to his friend when he found him. Um... right.

So I can actually write a bestseller novel. Or at least I can write a couple of good novels and then coast at least as well as this one....

I liked the DaVinci Code. I know I'm not supposed to admit that, but it was interesting (if long-winded), and kept me involved in the story and suspending disbelief and thinking about it.

Well, I should save some of my words for book group this evening, right?

I need to go make some quesadillas for dinner. No cerveza or margaritas, because I'm going to drive tonight...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Birthday! Take a ch-ch-ch-chance.

Well, I have a head cold along with the allergies I've been dealing with for a few weeks. I thought it was just extra pollen, but starting yesterday, i realized that it was more. I woke up with a blazing headache, so got up earlier than I would have liked. DH wasn't exactly leaping out of bed when the kids started making noise anyway. Maybe I'll sleep in tomorrow...

DH cleaned the car. I hate doing it, hate vacuuming in any form, and just can't get my head around paying a detailing place to do it, so now it's all happy clean as a birthday present. Thank you, Alexis :))

I baked a double batch of (box mix) brownies, some for the neighborhood dinner we're going to, and some for home. I made frosting from scratch, though. Well, I still have to mix it up, but I boiled it to the soft ball stage (har har) and am letting it cool a bit. I'm thinking of sticking strawberries on the one I'm taking out.

Oh, and I did vacuum the hallway because it was beyond dirty. I swept the dining room and kitchen, too, but not the living room, because when I was sweeping, there was stuff ALL OVER the floor.

I did not get to the library, though. I'll have an overdue book on my conscience and a fine that will be, oh 50 cents or so. Horrors!

And now I am contemplating what to wear out tonight. Ommmmm.... What I have on works. There, easy.

So, for my next year (year number, um... lots), I will: send queries to more agents and get signed on. Finish another book in the spring/summer and then another at NaNo time. Do massive editing on the books I have already finished so that they are pretty and shiny and salable.

I'm going to go check my frosting now....