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Thursday, November 29, 2007

13 great reads this year

My taste is more than a little eclectic, but I adore reading from all genres. Here’s what has entertained me this year. Please feel free to add yours.

1) STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher (the first in the Dresden series)

2) DEAD SHOT by Annie Solomon (fabulous romantic suspense author – won this year's RWA Rita for Blackout)

3) OBLIVION by Peter Abrahams (the author – not the book – came recommended. However after finishing this book, anything Peter writes would be worth my time.)

4) CLAIMING THE COURTEASAN by Anna Campbell (new Avon author and definitely worth the time and investment. I met this lovely Australian lady at the RWA Dallas conference this year. She was gracious and delightfully fun. Her second book hit the stands this week. Can’t wait to get my copy.)

5) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (Don’t know how I missed this book during all my college English classes, but it’s a must read for anyone who loves great story-telling. And please don’t judge this book by the movie. You’ll be missing out if you stop at the movie.)

6) MEN’S GUIDE TO THE WOMEN’S BATHROOM by Jo Barrett (Funny, fast read and so darn accurate, I’m sure the author has visited a few of the same ladies’ rooms I have.)

7) DEMON’S DELIGHT (anthology) ANGEL AND THE HELLRISER by Vickie Taylor is a must read in this book. From the first line on, you’ll be hooked.

8) SWORD OF DARKNESS by Kinley MacGregor (this is my first MacGregor book, even though I’ve read a number of Kinyon books. Kinley MacGregor is a master at redeeming the most tortured of heroes. Great love story.)

9) FURIES OF CALDERON by Jim Butcher.

10) ACADEM’S FURY by Jim Butcher

11) CURSOR’S FURY, yep you guessed it, the third in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. And you can bet when number 4 in the series hits the stands in December, I’ll be there for my copy.

12) THE SHEIKH’S CONTRACT BRIDE by Teresa Southwick (always entertaining, Ms. Southwick as usual captures the flair of sweet romances and draws the reader along for a great read.)

13) POPCORN DAYS & BUTTERMILK NIGHTS by Gary Paulsen (a long time favorite of mine that I hadn’t enjoyed in years. Mr. Paulsen cuts straight to the heart of young adults {occasionally known as teenagers}. If you or your kids have never read Paulsen, you’re missing a treat.)

Needless to say, this isn’t all the books I’ve read this year, but these 13 certainly made my memorable list – one’s that I’d enjoy again.

Please feel free to add your favorite authors or books – I’m always looking for the next great read.

Until next time . . . have a wonderful day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Feeling Feminist

I'm feeling my feminist's oats this morning. No, it's not something I ate . . . more like one of those things that when it's actually quiet and no one is demanding my time, I can start a thought at the beginning and carry it through to the end.

I've been reading one of my daughter's college textbooks, Sex In The Heartland, by Beth Bailey. It discusses the sexual revolution focusing on the small town of Lawrence, Kansas (University of Kansas is located in this town).

In the book a number of issues are discussed, but one in particular (Parientals) caught my attention. Parientals were a set of rules set up by most universities in the 50s that sought to legislate, regulate, mandate (pick your verb) sexual morality. They achieved this purpose by controlling a woman's rights. What time she had to be back in the dorm, sign-in, sign-out procedures, where she could meet a man, even down to appropriate dress code and public displays of affection. While we are past much of this . . .

Here's where my feminist side kicked in.

Why are the old and newly developed, much improved birth controls measures all a woman's responsibility? Why is the female the one who is altering her body in order to keep from getting pregnant? Why are the chemicals going into the female body? Why do the problems with weight gain, the side-effects (both short and long-term), the shots, the patches, and even the requirement to remember to take that little pill belong to the female of the species?

Are guys not part of this process?

Here's my answer: Corporate 'pharmaceutical' America still belongs to the man. As long as men still run the all-mighty buck then the responsibility will sit firmly on the shoulders of women.

Please don't demean all this to my being a male-basher. I'm ecstatically happily married for a long time, and I totally adore my son on the verge of his manhood, but even women content with their lives should look at the big picture.

However, here's the part they (male-dominated corporate America) haven't considered . . . if women have the responsibility for when they get pregnant, then in essence, women control the fate of the population and therefore, the fate of the world. Something to think about, ladies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Grateful for children

I recently visited a blog in which the author was relating a few of the reasons she was grateful for her kids. Her children are small -- that lovely phase of eyelash kisses and squeezing the stuffing out of mommy. Her stories brought back some wonderful memories.

And since it is almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd wax poetic for a minute about the three in my brood. (Um, brood is the right word, as mine occasionally run around like chickens with their heads cut off.)

All three of mine are still technically teenagers (the oldest is almost twenty and informs me she'll be an adult at that age). Many folks aren't grateful for their teens because they can be lippy, know-it-alls, pushing the envelope, pushing their parents' buttons, and quite frankly, a danger to themselves.


My son at 6'4" is tall enough to reach anything I can't. I do occasionally put things on top shelves (using my step stool of course) just so I can call him into the kitchen to fetch whatever I need. Could I be manipulative? Maybe. But perhaps, I simply realize that like most males on this planet he needs to be needed. I'm simply providing that for him. Justified the angle nicely, didn't I?

My oldest daughter, yep, that's the 19 almost 20-year-old, makes me laugh. She has an acerbic wit that she must have inherited from her father, because I still have my smart a** attitude. I love her twisted sense of humor on her world, and her ability to laugh at herself. I project she'll be immensely successful because she's learning what to take seriously and what to let go.

My youngest daughter, who also happens to tower over me, has the most wonderful smile. And no, braces aren't the reason. When she was little, her laugh started at the tips of her toes and traveled all the way through her. It didn't matter what was funny or that it was even funny, but watching her laugh was infectious. She's found her laugh again (hey, she's thirteen. She's not supposed to be funny at this point) AND her smile. I'd missed that smile for the past year. It's wonderful to see that puberty and middle school hasn't destroyed what has always been there.

My children make my life busy and real and grounded -- fulfilling.

My children have taken over the remotes – thank heaven, because I don’t know how to program anything with the new technology and would be constantly watching a fuzzy screen. They also make sure mine and hubby’s favorite programs are recorded if we’re away from home.

My children make me realize that all the small stuff truly is small stuff. They're happy, healthy, and occasionally well-adjusted. 2 ½ out of 3 isn't bad.

My children still give me hugs, a kiss or two, loads of thank yous, and a great kick in the pants when I need one.

Which leads me to my last grateful memory.

As a writer, the road has been arduous and tiring, but my children have never stopped believing that I could accomplish my dream of publication. With that kind of support system, it's impossible to fail.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Harm's Way Books In

They're here . . . they're here!

That's right; my shipment of HARM'S WAY has finally arrived.

A truly cool experience to open a box of books, sniff that great fresh print smell, and know that without me these books would never have existed.

Okay, I'm not diminishing my dynamite publishing house
The Wild Rose Press
, which BTW is where you can still download the ebook version of HARM'S WAY should your prefer; or my great and fabulous editor, Ally Robertson; or my tremendous critique partners, Shannon C, Sherry D, Andrea G, Mary K, Laura M, and Delores S who pushed me and supported me every step of the publishing way; AND certainly not my irreplaceable family, heroic Jim, and my three adorables who never stopped believing or considered giving up as an option . . .

However . . .

What's inside the pages of HARM'S WAY is totally a product of my imagination. For an instant after opening the box of books, the feeling is one of birth, sans labor. Oh wait . . . that took place while I was writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting again and so on. So labor was longer than the nine months it normally takes to get a kid to show up, but that scent of ink, the smell of paper, the high that always overtakes me when I hit the library, was only better this time because it was my personal library.

Jeremiah Johnson quote . . . The old trapper asked Jeremiah if all the pain, the loss, the love, the survival in the harsh mountains had been worth the trouble, Jeremiah replied with a shrug of his shoulders, "Eh, what trouble?" Humble man, honest answer.

Success is always worth the trouble.

May you know many successes in your life.

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