Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eye Pins, Anyone?

Today I have to deal with my least favorite tasks of all, those of the administrative variety. It's not just bill payments and bank transfers - I'm talking passports here.


The passport application for my kid is already in, and that was bad enough. I had to drive to the place with unwilling kid in tow, arrive a few minutes late, discover I didn't have all the necessary documents, send husband home to get those documents, and fill out forms.


Yes, I'm a hot mess. Yes, I started getting itchy at this point.
Another hot mess. Fistbump!


Here's the thing: I HAVE a passport for my kid that is perfectly fine. It doesn't expire until well after the trip. But because some tools people out there are kidnappers, now it's suspicious to travel with a passport that will expire in a few months. Hence the rush.


Plus, kids need a new passport each time. You can't just renew their passport. Noooooo, you have to start from scratch with a whole new application.


Did the "man" at the "place" explain any of this to me on the phone when I set up the appointment? 


NOPE


Well, I can't blame him. It was my responsibility, to be fair. But I like to play passive-aggressive, especially when I have to send out my husband on a useless errand for forms that I should have had in the first place. It's Wife Prerogative; I'm sorry, husbands out there, but it just is. Your own fault, by the way, husbands - after all, we wives have to, HAVE TO, avoid the dreaded Eye Roll.


I filled out the forms and got the picture taken at last. At this point the "man" in the "place" said, "Oh, you don't need to order expedited service. It will arrive in plenty of time."


But it hasn't, see. He was wrong, wrong, wrong. So now I have to find those forms that I had a few weeks ago to go back into the system and up the service to expedited, like I wanted in the first place. 


I know, I know - I need a little 


with my 
WHINE


Enjoy your day. Send good thoughts my way that I find those forms. And include some eye pins, wouldja?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Her First Confession

I know I'm on a bit of a Catholic kick this week. As I explained yesterday, that's because my daughter is preparing for FHC (First Holy Communion.) And, as someone who is completely new to the church, I am watching all this with awe.


Today is the day she makes her first penance. Of course, as a writer and reader, the first thing that came to my mind was the Irish short story First Confession, by Frank O'Connor. O'Connor describes a little boy who confesses the crime of wanting to kill his grandmother because she drinks porter and takes snuff "and goes around in her bare feet."


I find myself wondering what the terrible sins will be that are confessed today. I've imagined a few of them:


"I stole Timmy's gum."


"I laughed when the teacher tripped over the trashcan in class."


"My mom punished me and I called her an Old Poop Head."


I can only think that the priest in our church is rubbing his hands right now, looking forward to some fair measure of entertainment. I have to admire him for NOT bursting out laughing in that confession box. How will he accomplish it?


In O'Connor's story, it's obvious that the priest is "kilt" with laughter. At the end of the terrible deeds, he gives the little boy a bag of "bullseyes," or peppermints. This enrages the sister, who had foretold dire punishments for her brother. She concludes at the end, "'Tis no advantage to anybody trying to be good. I might just as well be a sinner like you."


I'll never know what the Father gets to hear today. But I can imagine it, and get a chuckle too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

First Holy Cow!


We are quickly approaching the time for my daughter's First Holy Communion. I didn't grow up Catholic, so this is a whole new world for me. 

And it is a world, apparently, where the little black strip has crawled off the  back of my credit card, gotten down on its hands and knees, and begged for mercy.  First there was the dress. My kid let me off easy by picking one that was on sale.  At this point, please pause and picture a middle-aged woman doing a full fledged WOOT and punching the air. I know it's not pretty, but that's what happened.

Then there were the shoes. My daughter, who is a beautiful girl and a lovely person, just happens to have speedboats for feet. It is difficult to even find communion shoes in her size. Add to that her own requirements - no ankle strap, has to have a high heel. Add my requirements - No, she can't wear platforms, no, they can't have glitter all over them, no, they can't be anything any of the Housewives of Ocean County would wear. Add the Church's requirement - White Shoe.

Yeah, that's hard to find in speedboat size. Where is the DSW for kids? Hm?
So not wearing these, girlfriend

After the dress  and the shoes are in place, there is  a whole world of  accessories to explore! Apparently you have to have a special First Holy Communion (henceforth known as FHC) purse, bible, rosary, and wrap. Our church doesn't allow gloves. Don't have to buy gloves! Repeat image of middle-aged woman going WOOT! and doing an air punch.

Now we have come to the  crux of the matter - THE HEADPIECE. She picked out one with a tiara and an attached veil. (I would have so killed for this thing when I was seven.) In the end I got it for her, but let me tell you - at that price, it's also going to be her wedding veil. Plus she might graduate high school and college in it too. In fact, I might start wearing it while I do the air punch in the future; I feel it might add a little bling to the whole process.
Pretty, right? So are BMW's and diamond lollipop holders.

I know the day of the FHC I'll be overcome with emotion as I watch my little beauty walk up and receive the Host for the first time. After all, that's the whole point of the thing. There will be tears. And a credit card bill. But it will be  worth it.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Fishy Friday

I don't think of myself as a big meat eater, but when Lent sneaks up on me (and it always does) all of a sudden I feel like I devour Tyronno-steaks by the dozen. I know that during the year I happily serve entrees based on fish, shellfish, soy, and legumes, but add that meatless Friday element and it all goes kerblooey.


This is why diets don't work, for me, at least. I'm a healthy eater, but if I concentrate on what I eat, all of a sudden I want to buy Italian pastries and Twinkies.


I have some go-to recipes during Lent, the kind that I can type out without looking at a recipe card. Here's what I'm serving tonight, and it just happens to be my husband's favorite fish dish:


Baked Catfish



Preheat oven to 400.


Take six medium sized catfish fillets. Make certain they are cleaned of skin and bones. Pat dry with paper towel.


Prepare two shallow pans with:


Number one pan - Coarse cornmeal mixed with 1/2 tsp salt, dash white pepper, dash cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy,) and the zest of one lemon


Number two pan - half cup skim milk mixed with juice of that fresh lemon you just zested. You can add a little hot sauce to this mix if you really like the heat!*


Now drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a large baking dish.


Take each fillet and dip it first in the skim milk mixture (which by now should have curdled and thickened a bit with the lemon juice) and then in the seasoned cornmeal. 


Lay each fillet in the oiled baking dish. When they are all coated, drizzle tops with a bit more olive oil.


Bake for at 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and the heat index of your oven. Fish should be white all the way through when you test, with no clear or pink spots.


At the very end, I like to run a creme brulee torch over the top to really crisp up the fillets. If you don't have one of those babies, you can broil for 3-5 minutes to get the same nice, browned effect.


Sprinkle the top with a little chopped fresh parsley.


These are delicious served with a green salad and a side of basmati rice. A glass of wine wouldn't go amiss, either. 


*I just have to add this Frank's Red Hot commercial our friends clued us into:



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome to my Interverse

Enter my rocket, and come with me into deep space. In our capsule, we hover over a large galaxy. It has no shape. It's not a spiral, or even a Sombrero Galaxy. It exists, perhaps, in five dimensions.
The Sombrero Galaxy


The atmosphere is, of course, the Clouds - those nuggets of info that rain down at the touch of a button. I'm still learning the strange ways of Clouds.


Underneath lies a huge, sprawling, messy planet, much like Asimov's Trantor. There is the internet, of course, with large sites and blogspots. They grow, dwindle, disappear, reappear in breathtaking fashion and speed.
Trantor


They all interact with the Facebook Ocean and the Twitter River. Transport between sites and the social media waters is instantaneous and constant. Those who learn how to apparate between the two, and those who can set up their own train stations along the way, will get good results.


A map of this planet is ever-changing, ever-growing. There is danger at areas all over the social media waters and the actual nets themselves. Even in the Clouds, I'm sure, we could say, Here There Be Dragons.
Here There Be Dragons


To further confound things, we all have our own version of that planet. Our planets intermingle with other versions. Mine, for example, has a pretty large Twitter river, a somewhat deep Facebook Ocean, and this tiny little blog as a village hub. My LinkedIn continent is represented, at the moment, by mere postcards. MySpace Mountain has fallen off the edge. Goodreads is a bit of a jungle. And sites like Amazon tower over all, meting out rules and punishments at will.


I like to envision my own version of the Interverse. I can see my Twitter river, muddied at times with too much marketing, cleared up with human interaction, and then polluted again when I grow lazy. My little blog village sells its wares and constantly needs to be updated. There are other blog villages to visit in order to keep mine healthy and growing. 


If I look at it like that, in moments of - insanity? - then it's not all so overwhelming. It's my little slice of eternity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Secret World of Arietty

My daughter and I went with friends yesterday to see this Studio Ghibli gem. We are big fans of Miyazake, so we leapt at the chance to see Arietty in theaters.


The last Ghibli movie we saw on the big screen was Ponyo. It had received rave reviews, and I was excited to watch it. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by Ponyo. The subject was so large and over-reaching that the Ghibli magic was a bit lost, even though the production was, as always, gorgeous.


But I prefer Miyazake's simpler stories: Totoro, in which two sisters try and get along while their mother is in hospital, and Kiki's Delivery Service, about a young witch setting up her own business.


Arietty was one of these. The story was simple: there is a family of small people ("Borrowers") who live beneath the floor of a house where a sick boy is staying for a week before his heart operation. The Borrowers are wary of humans, whom they call "Beens," and when the daughter, Arietty, is spotted by the boy, the family feels they have to move.


It's very simple, but the animation is lush and breathtaking. The movement of a small Borrower climbing an ivy-covered house, the way the Borrowers climb with tools like fishhooks and earrings, and Arietty's bedroom are gorgeous. I won't give away the ending, but it is beautiful too, and touching. 
Arietty's bedroom. I want to live here!


I read the Borrower books, and Miyazake shortened the story. It doesn't lose at all in the process. (I actually enjoyed Howl's Moving Castle more as a Ghibli movie than as a book; I'm a huge Diana Wynne Jones fan, but sometimes the reaction to her stories is - "Huh?") If you haven't read the books, do go and find them to read. The Borrowers' world is detailed by master storyteller Mary Norton, who thought of such things for her little people to use as "The Scissor," one blade of a pair of scissors. 


Small kids and adults will love this movie. The fact that the boy has to have an operation could be upsetting for very young children, although it might foster some interesting conversations with older ones. As for my daughter, she watched the movie with wide eyes, and at the end her first question was, "Can we buy the DVD?"


Actually, you can get the DVD, but the voice actors are English. the version we watched had Bridgit Mendler, the actress from Good Luck Charlie, voicing the part of Arietty. I thought she did a fine job, and Genna was more than happy with it. I assume that version will be out in a few months. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reality Hits

Last  night's homework centered on the difference between Fantasy and Reality. Can't you just picture that worksheet, and what a welcome  break it was from preparing for the Terra Nova tests?

It got me thinking, though, about how many times I've pictured something in my mind and, of course, the reality is  far different. For example:

The trip to St. Thomas should have been spent on the beach, not in the hotel room with "stomach upsets."

Pregnancy should make you smarter and slimmer, not more vacant and with larger feet.

Chocolate should leach calories from the system, not grapefruit.

A trip to the night club should not end with the discovery of footprints on the back of my shirt the following morning.

Christmas morning should never begin at 4:30 in the A.M.

******

I suppose nowhere is  this more obvious than in being an author. A writer starts with a fabulous idea. Hey! A book about brain-sucking taxi drivers! It'll be huge! You sashay off to the computer, secure in the knowledge that the words  will simply roll off the fingertips.

But, wait! What do you know about taxis, anyway? Where do they start their days? How do they get paid? What  kind of slang do they use? Why do they use those seat covers with large wooden beads?

After some research, back you go to the  computer. Now you're ready. You have seen the future, and it is You!

You begin to type, but your characters  start to quarrel with each other in ways you didn't foresee. You don't like your love interest anymore. You villain now seems kind of cute.

It should have been easy. But in reality, fantasy is pretty hard.

PS - How do footprints get on the back of one's shirt, anyhow?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's My Name?

Great Expectations. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. The Curious Incident of the dog in the Nighttime.  These are great titles. The first one isn't very flashy, but it is simple and suggests a world of dreams that, perhaps, will never come true. The last three are pure imagination.

Titles don't have to be flashy to be cool. I love Thomas Pyncheon's V (the title, not the book. Hey, I tried!) and Gravity's Rainbow. To Kill a Mockingbird and One Hundred Years of Solitude are pure poetry. So is For Whom the Bell Tolls, obviously.

Some song titles are  amazing too. Of course Dylan springs to mind, with "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."  "Oops, I Did It Again," not so much.

I like funny titles, like Stephen Colbert's I Am America, and So Can You, as well as How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

It's incredible when authors showcase their style with a title. I don't mean just finding a way to linking all titles together, but if you can give the reader an idea of what you're all about as an author in four or five words, that's genius. Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (the book! Not the movie!) L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time ... 

Those names seem so simple, and yet they are so definite at the same time. It's as though the books always existed. Do you know how hard that is to do?!

Bravo, authors, you purveyor of words, for imagining such delightful names! Now, Dear Readers, what titles do you particularly love?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sick Day

My daughter is home today with a fever. Sick Day!


Hey, remember those? I'm showing my age, but here is what a sick day meant when I was in elementary school:


1. Old TV, including I Dream of Jeanie, F Post, Family Affair, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Gomer Pyle.


2. Sick food: Chicken Noodle soup, ginger ale, saltines, and jello.


3. Board games: Snakes and ladders, Candyland, and Sorry. Not Monopoly - that took too long.


4. A midday nap: not so fun back then, but now it's the zenith of perfection.


5. Privileged view of kids going off in the bus and knowing you didn't have to go. (Insert evil snicker)


6. Reading in bed, part one: The allowed reading, like Pippi Longstocking, Moomintrolls, Nancy Drew.
I'll just sit here in this marsh and examine a clock. As you do.


7. Reading in bed, part two: The forbidden reading: Archie comics, Vampirella, and the babysitter's Sidney Sheldon. Pure, unadulterated dreck.
Wedgie alert, girlfriend. How about some nice yoga pants?


Good times.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wild Fire - Lisa Zhang Wharton and Romance

Lisa Zhang Wharton


I write with Lisa Zhang Wharton at Fantasy Island Book Publishing. Take a careful note of her name, because such a talented writer won't stay unknown for long. She is the author of Last Kiss in Tiananman Square, a story of doomed love before a tragic, historical event in China.
She is also the author of many short stories (You can see more here and here) and this one captures the fire of romance, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square


The fire starts shortly after the dawn.  The black smoke is blowing over the Mississippi from the boathouse, hovering over the river.  Red flames are shooting up like vicious devils to declare their power as the precious wooden boats burn into ashes.
Riding my bicycle along the river, the view of the boathouse burning rekindles the flame in my heart.  The rowing season is over.  So is my little interlude with Ray.  Now the boathouse is engulfed in flames.  The place that was filled with my beautiful moments with Ray is about to become just debris and cinders.  Looking at the black smoke in the distance, I could not ignore the lingering heat in my heart.  Is that what I am seeing in the distance, the still-smoldering fire in my heart?  Those long-ignored smoldering embers, nearly forgotten, have enkindled a renewed fiery passion..  Through the smoke, past the blackened wooden A frame, I can still feel Ray and I having our wild kisses. In a dark corner of that boathouse, when everyone else was out rowing on the river, we had our very private time together..  As I watch the smoke and the flames licking the sky, I can feel him rubbing my hair. …The excitement has returned, but only for a brief second, as our special place burned in the distance.

                                   *************************
“The river is beautiful,” said Ray, woke me up from my deep thinking.
“I thought you lived on the water.”
“Yes.  I do.  But lakes and rivers are very different.  I never really appreciated that until now. OK!  It’s different, too, in a motorboat.  You’re usually just watching for traffic.  On the river you see the bank, the trees, the houses and all the reflections..  Gee, I’m even starting to appreciate nature.”
“So write a poem for me,” I was challenging him, which was always fun for me.
“Hey, don’t push the envelope.  Keep trying.  Maybe after ten years, you will be able to get a few lines out of me.”
Then he turned around.  “By the way, I will be on a business trip next week.  I wouldn’t be able to take lessons for a week.”
Looking at his eyes, his two small eyes were glowing like a river flowing through them.
I stepped over and hugged him.
“I will miss you.”  Words slipped out of my mouth.
He was silent for a long time.  Then he started kissing me.
With the stars as witnesses, the Milky Way and all the rest of world, his passionate kisses made me feel otherworldly.  When was the last time I had such experience?  I did not remember. 
He held my face with his big, slightly rough hands.  His face was glowing under the stars and the reflections of the streetlamps..
“Meihua, you know.  What we have just done could damage both of our reputations and could be potentially dangerous.” 
Silence.  A cold breeze made me shiver.
“But it is worth it with you”, as he showered more kisses on me.  I felt so tiny and cozy between his muscular arms.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ice and Snow


My daughter didn't want to study her spelling words.

"Why ever not?" I asked.


"They make me sad," she replied.


I looked at the list. There was Snow, and Ice, as well as Valentine and Washington. "What's wrong with those words?" I wondered.


She pointed to Valentine. "I know that's going to happen," she said. "But there isn't any snow. And there isn't any ice."


It has been an uncommonly warm winter. For some folks, that is a good thing. No digging out the driveway, no huge piles of snow where you want to park ... that's all good. But from a kid's perspective, there isn't any sledding (we call it sleigh riding in my area of New Jersey) or snowball throwing or icicle gathering and eating. (My kid loves icicles, more than ice pops.)

Remember the scene when it snowed in To Kill a Mockingbird? Scout and her brother went to all the neighbors' houses and asked them for their snow. With what they collected, they were able to build one snowman.

That's what we did in the last "storm." We scraped all the snow off the lawn and managed to make a decent sized snow dude. A day later, he melted.


The crocuses are coming up early. Soon, the pear trees will start to bud in the front lawn. Easter will come along, and winter will be over.


It's a good thing. But also a shame.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Free Books for Kindle Download 2/12/12; Romance books contest




 All of these books are free for Kindle download today, Sunday, February 12 2012. Just click on the titles to go to the Amazon page.

Brooklyn- is a junior in high school, who is sick of high school drama. She doesn’t fit in and is the recipient of constant bullying. So, when a stunning, oddly dressed, guy approaches her on the beach, she doesn’t understand why he would; take the time, to talk to her.

Tyche- The son of his planet’s Emperor, is lost. His planet is at war. His father was murdered and the only hope he has, is to find a girl, he has seen in a vision of his future. She is somehow, the key to solving his problems.


The two begin an adventure, with their friends, to find five elements to save Tyche’s planet. In the process they find adventure, love and themselves.


"When our gazes meet, I feel my knees struggle, to keep me standing upright. If this is an illusion, I never want to be sane again. If this is a dream, I never want to wake up. If this is all real, I am in trouble. I don’t think I can pull my heart out, of this one, now that I am in so deep. I can’t fight gravity."
"One brother will betray the others with such treachery that it will change the destiny of Miscia forever."

The three princes hear this prophecy, and they will discover how far it will drive them to explore love, loyalty, and their own souls.


The princes are bound by loyalty to each other and their kingdom. When conflict comes to their land, their ascension into power is darkened by betrayal.


Oman, eldest and Anteria's promised king, leads his brothers on their journey through Arnith.


Fasime, driven by passion, seeks a life of romance and adventure.


Syah, born the ailing youngest brother of these two outgoing princes, endeavours to overcome his bleak destiny through pursuit of knowledge and magic... a quest that may reveal unknown power within his own soul.


A tale woven with deception, war, sacrifice, and magic, BROTHER, BETRAYED takes readers to a troubled kingdom surrounded by barbarians, magical races, and forbidden boundaries.
In The Night Watchman Express, Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and thrown on the strange train... Now in Book Two of The Crown Phoenix series, they arrive at the terrifying destination known as Devil's Kitchen.

There they will face human experiments in a laboratory known as The Infirmary.


There Miriam will be forced to work in an underground factory.


There Simon is held in a luxurious prison by jailers who are as beautiful as they are deadly...


And their courage will be tested to the breaking point.
Life as a package courier might not be the most glamorous of lifestyles; but for Sakuri it certainly comes at no shortage of thrills and dealings with the city's underbelly. So when an ex-mob boss requests a delivery through Sakuri's work it appears just to be an average job; right down to the attempt on her life to assure that package isn't delivered.

A stray bullet cracks up the case during the battle, revealing an innocuous gemmed gauntlet within. In order to protect the delivery Sakuri slips it on, only to discover that once attached the device is not so willing to be removed. As she would come to know it by; the Metamorpher becomes the source of Sakuri's future troubles.


Thrusting her into a world that constantly challenges the reality she once knew; Sakuri now contends with both earthly foes and a malefic force heralding from beyond the stars seeking the device for itself. Intentions that have no kind regard for the Metamorpher's host; or those around her.
Deafness is perceived as a culture and not as a disability in the world of "Terps" and interpreters comprise the subculture that can only exist where Deaf and hearing overlap.

That's the backdrop, but the story is about a marriage. An interpreter marries the only hearing member of a famous Deaf family. The interpreter has chosen to build her life around the Deaf world, but her husband was born into it and would rather do just about anything else.
CJ Carson believes herself to be slightly crazy. For as long as she can remember, she has been plagued with strange dreams, migraines and an imaginary friend that never seems to go away: a voice of love and reason she has heard in her head since childhood.

Born in a time of turmoil and bloodshed, Mika Elkhart is half-coyote, half Lakota warrior. Orphaned at birth, he was taken to Haven, a place of refuge and respite for shape-shifters. There he was raised by the Guardians of Haven, becoming a member of Delta Pack, the Theriontrope Foundation's elite defense force. His was a world of death and darkness aside from his one ray of hope, CJ Carson.


The time has come for Mika to reveal his true identity and convince CJ to willingly take her father’s place as the Guardian of Haven. But for CJ, the road to Haven is laid with danger brought about by the Loki, the Lord of Chaos. Without a Guardian, Haven will destroy itself and without his Little Star, so may Mika.
A ghost ship... below the deck there is a sight beyond believe, fifty men and woman dead upon their backs.

Their eyes are closed and their hands twined together upon their chest. Here in the lowest deck, where not an inch of light manages to intrude, they lie dead.

William is a vampire pirate, with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. He has an aversion for holy water, crucifixes and garlic. Exposure to sunlight will turn him to dust. He has loved before, but never like this and for Susanna, he would make the ultimate sacrifice.

 Furthermore, you can enter to get an entire shelf of romance books for your ereader! Just click HERE to enter.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Free Kindle Books -6 More Free Books For 2-11-12

All of these books are free for download today on Kindle. Just click on the links to go to the download page.




Tower of Bones  - Epic Fantasy from the author of The Last Good Knight. 



Edwin Farmer toils away on his father’s sleepy farm, unaware of his family’s bargain with the Goddess Aeos, or the manner in which he will be called upon to honor that bargain.

From the first moment that he is in the strange land of Neveyah, Edwin finds himself fighting for his life ...


In the Rose Tower of the haunted keep of Mal Evol, the Bull God holds the key to winning the war between the Gods. Imprisoned and alone in a strange country, Marya awaits the rescue promised by her only friends: the shadowy ghosts that haunt the Shadow Castle.

Obsessed with rescuing the girl that he dreams of nightly, Edwin struggles to develop the unique abilities that will allow him to steal Marya back from the Rose Tower and save her from the madman who holds her prisoner.



After Ilium Four years of college has not taught Alex as much as he will learn in a couple of weeks on the Turkish coast!

Three thousand years ago Greeks fought Trojans below the fortress of Ilium. Now it is 1993 and new college graduate Alex Parris cruises to Istanbul, seeking his own adventure at Ilium. On the way, however, he meets Elena, a mysterious older woman who draws him into an affair---then forces him to fight for her!

But Alex finds that escaping from the local jail is only the first of many obstacles to returning to his lover, as he embarks on his own odyssey across the wild Turkish coast! It is a journey that will test his will to survive and make him question everything he has been taught about life, love, and the way the world really works!


Black Numbers In a land where magic is based on advanced mathematics, Sid is something special, for his awakening sexuality and genius-level understanding of mathematics combines to create a power beyond anything ever seen in the world. Sid’s journey propels him into the center of a 1000-year-struggle with an outcome obscured by a darkness known as Black Numbers.


Ednor Scardens  When the boob fairy makes an early visit in sixth grade, eleven-year-old Kate Fitzgerald is unprepared for the repercussions. Her puppy-love relationship with classmate Gabe Kelsey quickly blossoms. But her carefree days in Catholic school darken with the arrival of Father John O'Conner, a predatory priest with a hidden past. Life becomes even more tangled when Kate falls hard for Gabe's darkly handsome older brother, Michael. The Kelsey boys couldn't be more different: one is shy and self-effacing; the other is tall, athletic, and confident.
As the brothers battle for Kate’s affections, how will she choose without tearing their family apart? When she silently witnesses a frightening scene between Gabe and Fr. O'Conner, Kate is unaware that she is O'Conner's intended next victim.



Sax and the Suburb  Why is someone killing the community band geeks of Richland, Texas? Miranda Beeling would like to know, since she is one of them. 

Miranda is trying to recover from the recent death of her mother and the betrayal of her fiancĂ© (a bigamist wannabe). She's retreated back to her childhood home, trying to sort through her clutterholic father’s horde of junk, despite his determined opposition. Miranda's only enjoyable social activity is playing saxophone in the local community band. Her enjoyment ends when trombonist David Hu is killed, and her bassoonist friend Louise is the prime suspect in his murder.

Motivated by concern for her friends and an inescapable feeling that she might be the next victim, Miranda investigates. Armed with only her legal research skills, a keen sense of humor, and a gift for getting into trouble, Miranda may eventually figure it all out, but not before uncovering several secrets she would rather not have known.



Sons of Roland Sons of Roland is a group memoir about the birth, life, death and resurrection of The Visitors, a 1960's rock & roll band hailing from Brooklyn. It follows bass player turned music mogul Edward Houlihan as he recounts The Visitors' meteoric rise to greatness, their wild escapades and their tragic demise. It's a story that must be told, and there is no one better to tell it than the Sons of Roland themselves...

Forty years of sex, drugs and rock & roll explode to reveal the secrets and mysteries surrounding the most bizarre chapter in the history of rock & roll music, proving that Elvis is Dead, Paul is Alive and so are the Sons of Roland.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentines from the Past

Ah, me, romance used to be a very flowery, lacy thing. Look at this lovely Victorian valentine:
Aw. Doves. Awwww.
And you have the 50's ones, rife with bad puns:
 Bet you never saw this one coming:
Ouch, it hurts


I think I might have sent this one to an ever-suffering friend, back in the day:
Actually, this one is sort of  fabulous.

I can just picture the writers, all in their poly suits, sitting back with a coffee or a high ball, offering puns and groaning in unison. "Hey, fellas, Deer? Match? Plane? Sweet? Viking?"

Then there are the themed Valentine cards:

I kinda like this one, too, the more I look at it.
Really, Gandalf? Really?
And then there's this guy. It's not to hard to see why he is eating ALONE:
D Bag.