Friday, March 30, 2012

The Twelfth Falcon, by Enrico Antiporda

Here at Fresh Pot of Tea, we are always looking for a great new book and talented authors. I struck gold when I first met Enrico Antiporda online. Not only is he a very supportive friend, but he is an extremely talented author in his own right.

 His new book is The Twelfth Falcon, and for those of you who love thrillers but are tired of stereotyped characters, he has subtitled his book A Character Driven Mystery Thriller.
Welcome to Fresh Pot of Tea, Enrico! Could you please tell about your book, The Twelfth Falcon, and give us some insights into your inspiration? 
As you may know from my previous books, The Band of Gypsies and A Light in the Cane Fields, I normally write mainstream literary fiction. Though I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers for entertainment value, this is the first time I've ventured to actually writing one. A politics of bickering and hate currently exist in Washington.  People are disgusted with politicians but are helpless to do anything about it. My idea started as a what if.  What if something really heinous is being plotted against the country and terrible things happen? And what if out these terrible events, a major change actually occurs and something fantastic comes out of it?
Though The Twelfth Falcon sounds like a political thriller, it really isn't one. The majority of the scenes (about 80%) occur in the heartland, specifically in Texas and Arizona, a series of localized events that consequently unearth a bigger plot that eventually leads the protagonist toward a climactic confrontation with a group of powerful people. Most of the scenes revolve around the protagonist in local settings as he tries to survive a manhunt by an extremist militia group and at the same time attempts to expose the conspiracy.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Manila, spent two years as a university exchange intern in Bilbao, Spain, and came to the U.S. as a foreign exchange intern for a program called AIESEC.  I read a lot of books, so writing was a natural segue for me. My inspiration to become a writer came from John Grisham. In one of his novels, the Author's Note stated that he started by writing a page a day.  He reasoned that in a year, he would have written a 365-page novel. I tried it, and it actually worked. Soon, I was writing five to six pages a day. My journey as a writer has been long, and filled with successes and setbacks.  I independently published The Band of Gypsies in 2000, long before Kindle and CreateSpace came into the picture. The book received rave editorial reviews from magazines and newspapers which allowed me to do book readings in many Borders and Barnes and Noble locations. 
Manila skyline

With the advent of E-books, the paradigm is changing. It is becoming more of a reader-driven marketplace. Commercial publishers are becoming more irrelevant since they just get in the way of good books getting to the marketplace (because of their focus on profits).  But there is one truth that we writers must be mindful of in this new marketplace: Write a bad book and the readers will not come back to you.  Write good ones and they will come back for more.
Your book is a thriller. Often thrillers use stereotyped characters, but yours is subtitled “Character-driven.” Could you describe some of the characters and their growth in the book?
Yes, a lot of thrillers have stereo-typed characters, which is why I hesitated to write one.  But then, you have thrillers like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has a really unique character in Lisbeth Salander.  I told myself that if I'm going to write a thriller, I want a protagonist that has depth.  I want him to have flaws, to be conflicted, but at the same time, possess truly admirable qualities and intentions.  In the case of my protagonist, he secretly witnesses his father participate in the murder of a Mexican migrant worker by a group of white supremacists. This event haunts him throughout his childhood.  He grows up conflicted and with divided loyalties. He desperately wants to escape the shackles of his past. But to do so, a life-altering event must happen that propels him in that direction.  In his case, the event is the discovery of a catastrophic conspiracy that he must stop at the risk of losing his own life.  The changes he undergoes are monumental, and reveal the inner beauty of his true character.
Who do you think would really enjoy reading The Twelfth Falcon? And where can they find the book? 
People who like mysteries and traditional thrillers will enjoy this book as well as those looking for an entertaining read.  I wrote the scenes with quick pacing that resemble movies like Bourne Identity but at the same time giving the characters depth so the reader gets the best of both worlds.  I wouldn't call it a literary thriller, but it sure gets close to that. TheTwelfth Falcon has just been released on Kindle. The paperback version is coming out in a month from Blue Owl Editions.
Your former book, The Band of Gypsies, has settings that are very exotic but also extremely realistic. I was impressed by your breadth of historic knowledge of those locales. How do you research a setting for a book?
I lived in Spain's Basque Country as a foreign intern for a couple of years, so the book is 33% autobiographical. The turbulent situation in Northern Spain involving the Basque secessionists is real, as well as the mass demonstrations and the threat of ETA assassinations bombings. Like the novel, I lived in a flat with a group of foreign interns from Norway, France, Sweden, Brazil, Venezuela, Poland, etc. so the setting was inspired by facts. From these fact-inspired situations and settings, I wrote the story's plot and trajectory. It is a literary novel that features a touching love story between two people of different cultures. It is also a relationship marred by their tragic pasts that is further complicated by the tumultuous the setting.
Basque Country, Spain

What is your next project? 
I actually have two projects going. I'm doing the final edits to Iberian Nights, the sequel to The Band of Gypsies. The seething adventures of Jaime and Allison move to sultry Andalucia, Spain. The book will come out late this year.
I am also working on a memoir about me and my cat, a story about how I used to dislike animals when I was growing up and came to be an avid animal lover. My cat, Kitty, passed away of renal failure, which was very traumatic for me and my wife. The book is in honor of Kitty.  The first draft is done but I have a lot of rewriting to do.
And of course, there is my literary novel A Light in the Cane Fields that just missed a thumbs up in the final acquisition meetings at Random House and Henry Holt. Sigh. If my agent asks me to do some changes, it may delay the cat book.
Thank you so much for  visiting!
 You can find Enrico on Facebook.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Awake Thoughts

I am not a fan of crime drama at all, but I do like this new show, Awake. Have you seen it? Michael, a cop, gets into an accident with his wife and son. When he  comes to, his wife is  alive and his son has died - until he  goes to sleep. When he wakes his son has survived, but his wife has not. Each time he  falls asleep, he switches between the two "realities." 

They are kept separate by a rubber band that he wears. In the one where his wife is  living, he wears a red band. It's green when his son is the survivor. Furthermore, the camera is slightly tinted to reflect those two realities.
Dr. Lee - another good actor

In each life, Michael sees a psychologist. His Red doctor is Dr. Lee, who refuses to believe that the other reality is anything but a psychotic episode. His Green doctor, Dr. Evans, believes  that perhaps Michael is living two parallel lives.

To bear this out, in each life he is investigating different cases. Clues in one life are given for the case in the other.  You have to be pretty quick to follow  those clues. I can't even imagine the writing and all the  time loops involved.

And that is why I like the show. The acting is terrific - I particularly like Dylan Minnette, who plays Michael's son - and the concept is so simple, but so fraught with possibilities. And I'm always a sucker for a psychological hook.
Dylan Minnette

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today I'm going "shopping" to buy some "clothes." For myself.

I'm trying to wrap my head around it, since shopping now has become one of three options:

Expensive items for child; see here
Books for my Kindle

But apparently there are stores out there that sell clothes that are actually worn by moms. You have to go to these stores, pick out some items, and go through a torture process known as Trying On.

I vaguely remember doing this at another point in my life, but then it was the 80's and I had places to go to in those clothes. I went to teeny bopper stores and bought lace gloves and high heels and thought I was the bomb. 
Yes! Just what my outfit needed.

(Let's just pause here for one moment and imagine putting lace gloves on, standing back, looking in the mirror, and thinking - YEAH. I am all set for the club.)

So, no lace gloves today, and I am not allowed to buy for my kid. And I doubt Macy's carries the steampunk bustled skirt that I really want to get.
Probably not going to buy this today.

I'll check back later and let you know how this all works out.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Farm Experiment; or, Robert Frost was Right

I grew up during the seventies on a farm. It was an experiment in organic living, run by my mother. When she proposed the idea, my sister and I agreed enthusiastically. We came from a place of Charlotte's Web, where animals spoke to each other and cool stuff happened, like word webs.

And it was really amazing on the farm, although there was a lot more Poo than I expected. Baby goats (we had four - two white females like angels and two brown males called Lucifer and Beelzebub) are adorable and loads of fun. They also pee like garden hoses.
So cute! But, serious turd factories.

The farm experiment taught me several things and changed me, I think, for the rest of my life. Tennyson says, "Nature red in tooth and claw." Boy, is that the truth. Rats lay in wait for ducklings and chicks, and I won't describe the results. Roosters attacked other roosters; it's just what they do. 

Then there was Dad with the hatchet, ready to take down some fifty hens at a time to clear out space and sell Sunday dinners. We quickly learned that death was a part of life and we just had to accept it.

That lesson has stayed with me. I don't know if that is a good thing. From that point forward, death was nothing to be feared. After the farm, a pet's demise was, while very sad, also perfectly natural.

"Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things
And yield with a grace to reason
And bow and accept the end
Of a love, or a season."

Robert Frost was right.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I am a Creator by T. Anderson

Today I've handed the house keys to  T. Anderson, the author of Monad. You can find my blog on her website, here.

I am a Creator.
It’s in my DNA.  The way my mind is always three steps ahead, how my eyes focus on the smallest of details, the deftness that resides in my sensitive fingertips.  It’s been passed on through my gene pool and governs every cell of my body.  There is no way to escape it, and even if there were, I would never consider doing so.
Creating, for me, is an intoxicating drug.  It soothes me and brings me back from the chaos in other parts of my life to a place where I always remember who I am.  Creation is my home and I am the master of my domain.  And I know this for certain: when I begin to lose my wits, if I become blind or my hands are suddenly useless, destroyed in some freak accident, my soul will still find a way to satisfy this need to ‘make’.   Like a mouse dropped into a maze or a wild beast on the hunt, the primitive artist in me would take over and (ironically) create a new means to survive.
As an artist, I have experimented with and enjoy every medium I literally lay my hands upon—paint, photography, fabric…  But, I must confess, for the last ten years I’ve been possessed by a particular love affair with dirt.  The very idea of feeling something as deconstructed and basic as clay—squeezing it between my fingers, sensing the raw earth and its hidden potential—and knowing I have the ability to shape it into any form my heart desires, is an inexplicably magical sensation.  I feel like a sorceress wielding an ancient secret.   Sometimes I hear the clay speaking to me, whispering what it wants to become.  Other times the clay is shy and submissive as I take all control.

As an author, I see letters of the alphabet as I do grains of sand.  The letters form words, and the words become my medium of expression.  Just as I can imagine a beautiful finished bowl before I even spin my wheel, I can also see the story I want my words to tell.  And just as my clay might guide my hands, at times my characters decide their own fate.  Although so very different, pottery and writing, to me, are one in the same.  Making something from nothing.  The end product, an extension of myself.  My creative offspring.

Self-satisfaction is not my only motivation to create.  Like any parent, there is no better feeling an artist can have than sharing their work with others, to send their offspring out into the world—to know my bowl has graced another family’s table, that it serves a purpose, that its beauty might give pleasure; or that a reader has become a prisoner, gripped by my tale, flipping pages long into the night—is the greatest reward.
This is how Creation represents the human connection.  During these brief moments, we share a unique bond, become part of each other’s lives, the loops of a knot reaching further and growing stronger.  We share the human experience.  It has always been that way, from the beginning of time and will be ‘til the end.  Without this symbiotic relationship, we would simply become…inhuman. 
And so, because it is in my blood, because it is my calling, I follow in the footsteps of those before me, leaving behind pieces of myself to be studied, admired, cherished, critiqued, dismissed and even destroyed long after I have left this earth.  I do this because I am a Creator.
T. is the author of MONAD 12.21.12 The Awakening of Stella Steinar, Book 1 in the Stella Steinar series, a paranormal/metaphysical mystery/thriller for YA+.  She is also madly in love with her husband, her dog, her writing and her pottery.  T. can be found:  *Enter the giveaway ending April 12!!/tabookgirl  @tabookgirl

Here is the book trailer for Monad:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dress Down Day

Out of the blue, it was Dress Down Day today. That meant that my daughter got to wear an outfit of her own choosing instead of the handy school uniform I took out a second mortgage to buy.

This is all well and good when there  is a specific reason for the Dressing of the Down, such as St. Patrick's Day (go and pick up a cute little  shamrock tee from the clearance rack at Justice) or Valentine's (grab everything red that she owns, since she refuses to wear pink. The girl is a Goth.)
To tell the truth, I'm *sniff* sort of proud of her Gothiness, as a former punk rocker myself.

But this Dress Down Day came from nowhere. It wasn't a holiday or St. Swithin's Day, as  far as I knew. So - WHY?????

Explanation: They won the Penny Wars. I have to deal with a  load of  stress because of the Penny Wars. (Yeah, I don't get it either.)

Here is how the resulting conversation went, and before I transcribe it, I must add a few new words of our own house language so  you will understand.

Pwthmf - Huffy sigh, usually combined with a folding of the arms and a turning away of the head
I!Wh!You!But! - Shocked exclamation by the mother, indicating that she doesn't even know where to begin
Waahydon'tknowwhatIwant - The screech emitted by a child who wants to be idependent and get someone to do  her stuff  for her at the same time
Bleaugh - The realization that you are beginning to sweat.
Ohcomeonpleaseletthiswork - The vain prayer, uttered under one's breath, that the tactic that never ever  worked  before will come through for you this  time.
droopdawg - (Nonverbal) I am tired of hearing everyone yell.
#*#&$#!!! - Oh, you probably already understand this one.

So, here how  it went down, and  it started very calmly and nicely, as  you  will see.

Thursday night, 7:03 pm

Me - Hey, sweetie? It's dress down day tomorrow! Go and pick out your outfit so you'll have it read in the morning.
Kid - Oh, okay, Mommy!
Me - Don't forget  to pick out shoes! And socks! And underwear! and a headband! Ohcomeonpleaseletthiswork
Kid - Okay! I will!

Friday morning, 8:10 am

Me - All right, go and get dressed, sweetheart. The bus will be here soon!
Kid - Wait, these leggings have bows on them! I'm not wearing these!
Me - But that's why I told you to pick out your outfit yourself! (to self ) See, I knew it wouldn't work.
Kid -  Pwthmf!!
Me - Well, then, you  need to pick out a different pair of pants.
Kid - No, I want leggings! And there aren't any more leggings! 
Me - I'm sorry, but that's why I told you to pick your clothes out last night. I could have helped then, but now the bus will be here in a few minutes! Bleaugh.
Kid -  Waahydon'tknowwhatIwant!!!!
Me - You have  to figure this out on your own. I will be downstairs.
Kid - Louder Waahydon'tknowwhatIwant!!!!

Friday morning, 8:17 am 

Kid - Sorry, Mommy. I'm all ready now - wait, these shoes hurt my heels!
Me -  #*#&$#!!!
Kid - I'm not wearing them to school. Pwthmf!!
Me -  I! Wh!You!But!
Dad - Here comes the bus ...  droopdawg
Kid - Ohmigoshthebusbyeeveryone

(Door slams. Silence.) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Of Dreams and Rubber Bands

I don't own a dream dictionary, and I don't hold with any particular significance to anything I see as I sleep. Still, dreams are funny things, and I believe they do hold funny, twisted, mysterious keys to what happens as we wake up.

I've had some really cool dreams. One was done completely as a comic book. I had to turn the pages and read what came next. In another, I looked through the viewfinder of a camera. Images blurred and sharpened as I manipulated the lens.

A friend of mine had a recurring nightmare. She was on a large rubber band, and she was bounced up and down by some mysterious force. As she got flung about, the band began to narrow until she knew she would fall off. And at that point, naturally, she would wake up with one of those dreadful Oh my gosh I'm falling! jerks.

After years of this, one night within the dream she suddenly realized, with perfect dream logic,  All I have to do is jump over the fence! She did that and escaped the rubber band. 

And she never had that dream again.

I have a recurring dream too. It comes in different iterations. I'm always in a house, and we are always just about to move. Everything lies around in messy piles, and there are no more boxes. Outside, the lawn is straggly and overgrown. Strange creatures lurk in the treetops.

There is a barn in the back (my friends will recognize this site as a house I lived in growing up) and there is a hidden treasure in the barn. I have to get to the barn, past the loathsome, icky things that hide in the trees.

Sometimes I make it to the barn, only to find something worse there. I've never made it to the treasure.

Is there some deep psychological meaning to all this? I think it's simple enough - we moved a lot while I was a kid, and perhaps the old Id is still sorting through those experiences. That's rather mundane, when I put it like that. The mysterious garden and the hidden treasure are much more interesting and seductive.

I don't feel the need to take this to a psychiatrist or a dream interpreter. I would like to know what is in that treasure, though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Flidderbugs, by Jonathan Gould

Today Jonathan Gould, author of Flidderbugs and Doodling, is visiting. I am beyond pleased to have such a creative, innovative author on my blog! And, as an added bonus, Jonathan will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour.

Welcome to Fresh Pot of Tea, Jonathan! Could you please tell about your
book,Flidderbugs, and give us some insights into your inspiration?

Thanks so much for having me – even though I have to admit I’m not much of a hot drinks person. But my wife lives on them, so I’m sure she’s enjoying one on your behalf.

Flidderbugs is what I would call, using the sophisticated technical terms that I do, a “funny little story”. It’s about a bunch of insects who live on a most distinctive tree, called the Krephiloff Tree. Their life up there is pretty good, or at least it would be if they spent a bit more time enjoying it and a bit less time arguing about silly and pointless things, particularly how many points there are on a leaf. Of course, as a result if all this bickering, a series of events is set in motion which ultimately lead to the Krephiloff Tree being placed at risk of destruction – and if there’s no more Krephiloff Tree, there can be no more Flidderbugs.

I suppose the story is a bit of an allegory, or a fable. I’ve always been interested in what people believe and why they believe it, whether this is in an area like politics, or more generally. The story was definitely inspired by these kinds of ideas, and particularly by reading a couple of terrific books about psychology by John Cleese (one of my great heroes) and Robyn Skinner called Families and How to Survive Them and Life and How to Survive It.

      Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? Feel free to do this in a completely creative way.

I’m a bit of a contradiction. Sometimes I go to great efforts not to stand out too much. I tend to dress and act in a pretty conservative way, and I prefer not to attract too much attention to myself. But in other ways, I work quite hard to not follow the crowd. I think this comes out most strongly in my writing. With every story I write, I’m always thinking about how it can be unique and special. How I can avoid following formulas and fitting too readily into recognisable genres, and trying to create a completely new story that’s never been written before. And given how many stories have already been written, that’s not an easy thing to do.

Could you also tell the readers about the term Dag-Lit? Is this a new genre that you have

Dag-Lit is one of the ways I’ve tried to get my writing to stand out. One problem with writing stories that don’t easily fit into recognized genres is that describing them to others can be difficult. When people discover I’m a writer (and let’s face it, I don’t exactly hide the fact – ok, I generally lead with it in most conversations), they want to know what sort of stories I write. Eventually I got tired of saying, “Well, they’re sort of silly and funny and kind of for kids but also for adults,” and just blurted out, “They’re Dag-Lit.” Dag is Australian slang for someone who is uncool or unfashionable, possibly a little childlike, and definitely a lot of fun. I like to think my stories are like that.

I’ll know my mission is complete when I walk into a bookshop and see a Dag-Lit section amongst all the other categories.

Flidderbugs has received wonderful reviews, and reading them inspired me to read the book. Why
do you think you have gotten such an overwhelmingly positive reaction?

Gee, not sure how I can answer that without appearing immodest. I guess that all I can say is I worked pretty hard on it, and put a lot of thought and a lot of heart into it (as I try to do with all my stories). But you can never second guess what people will think, so it’s really gratifying to get this kind of feedback. As a writer, it’s definitely the most wonderful thing when you can connect with readers in this way.

Kriffle is the main character. Tell us about him and the challenges you encountered during the
creation of an MC who is an insect.

In some way, Kriffle is me in insect form. As a writer, most of my main characters tend to be me – it’s something I’m trying to break from as I challenge myself more. But Kriffle generally reacts as I would – he means well but is occasionally a bit slow, and doesn’t always know the best ways to react to situations, or how to handle other people.

Writing an insect character was definitely fun. I enjoyed taking any opportunity I could to throw in references to antennae or mandibles or other insect parts. But it did also pose a challenge. I needed to make sure the character would be engaging enough to adults, and not appear childish. I wanted to write a story that worked for adult readers as an allegory, not something they would toss away as merely a kid’s story. In some ways, I felt it was a bit of a risky thing to do. But as a writer I like to take risks so that’s ok.

Who do you think would really enjoy reading Flidderbugs? And where can they find the book?

Like I said above, I’m hoping that Flidderbugs will appeal to a broad audience. Kids should enjoy reading about a bunch of silly insects, while adults should appreciate the allegorical and satirical elements. And hopefully, all ages will find it an interesting and engaging story.

The book can be found at the regular ebook outlets:
-                Amazon
-                Amazon UK
-                Smashwords 
-                Barnes and Noble
-                iBookstore
-                Sony Bookstore 
-                Kobo

What is your next project?

Definitely have to add an s at the end of project – I always have multiple things on the go.

Next thing out is a full-length novel (my first). It’s called Magnus Opum, and I would also classify it as Dag-Lit. It’s basically my version of an epic fantasy – I like to describe it as Tolkien meets Dr Seuss. I’m hoping to have it out in early April.

After that, I’m working on a sequel to my first published ebook – Doodling. This one has the tentative title of Scribbling, and will continue the strange and unpredictable adventures of Neville Lansdowne.

Thanks so much for stopping by and having a cold drink (not tea) with us, Jonathan!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cool Steampunk Stuff

A list of some of my favorite steampunk stuff out there, as well as some things that could become quite steamy:

1. This gal. I love her.
2. Art like this:
3. Great  books, especially:
Super  original story
Grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.

4. Any bathysphere
5. Cephalopods:
6. Postboxes:
I know some of these things don't have brass, gears, nor cogs. But they could have them, with a bit of steamy imagination.

Watch this space for teasers using some of the above objects in a new steampunk novel, The South Sea Bubble...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Airplane Movies

I'm back from a trip to England with my sister, and more on that later this week. I'll start by describing how I ended up watching Breaking Dawn with her, and how I realized that the big sister / little sister relationship never goes away.

Watching movies on planes is one of my very favorite things to do in the air. On the way to England, we had a newer BA jet. We could select our own films. My daughter picked "Chipwrecked," as did her cousin, and my sister and I watched "Contagion."
I'd sit in that seat. I'd drink that drink.

Yeeeeah. That's about germs and diseases and stuff. NOT a good movie to watch on a plane. As soon as  I got sucked into the story, the guy behind me started hacking out a lung. But by then the storyline was too interesting and I couldn't stop watching.
Rule of thumb: never watch a movie on a plane where actors have to wear this gear.

On the way back we flew on an older BA jet. Still, there was a variety of movies and I saw that Tintin was playing.

Tintin! THRILLLL!!!!! Didn't I just visit the Tintin shop in Covent Gardens? And wasn't I bringing home a Snowy T-shirt for my daughter and a Captain Haddock shirt for myself?
Dude, paw bump. That's how I felt about that last movie.

Settle back, plug kid into the Moshi Monsters comic book I bought her, hand round mini Flake bars to everyone. Turn on movie....

which does not work.

No Tintin.

My Week With Marilyn didn't work either, and that was my second choice.

I tried J. Edgar next. Leo, I love you, but - that was not the frivolous crossing-the-Atlantic-with-my-sister-experience that I was looking for. When I watch J. Edgar, I think I have to be at a desk, in a suit, with a ruled notebook. And a hat. Yes, definitely a hat.

By default, then, my sister and I both ended up watching Breaking Dawn Part 1. I had already seen it and read the books, and she hadn't done either. Which meant that as we watched, she kept nudging me to answer her questions. 
You brute! And you destroyed the bed cushions as well!

Here's how the conversation went, and remember that at each question, I had to take off my headphones, answer her, and then get those suckers back on.

*Must insert a SPOILER ALERT here (Like no one has heard of the storyline by now! Ha!) (Except for my sister, as we shall soon learn.)

Sister: Why is Edward wrecking the bed?
Me:  Oh, he's superstrong because he's a vampire.
Sister: Being a vampire makes you superstrong?
Me: Yes.

Sister: Why are the wolves all upset?
Me: Bella's getting pregnant with a vampire breaks the treaty.
Sister: Why?
Me: Because the pregnancy is killing her, and if a vampire kills someone, that nullifies the treaty between the werewolves and the vampires.
Sister: Oh, that makes perfect sense. Not.

Sister: Did Kristen Stewart starve herself for that role? Because, ew.
Me: No, it's CGI.
Sister: OK, Whew.

Sister: Wait, is she going to drink - OH DEAR GOD! NO!
All other passengers on plane: *Turn around in seats to look at her*
Me: *Deep, deep sigh.*

Sister: What the hell is Edward doing??
Me: Well, you see, the baby can't get out and the scalpels don't work. So he has to bite her open.
Sister: *gives me a long, hard stare.* You read this stuff?

Sister: Why did Jacob just fall on one knee?
Me: Oh! Well, werewolves imprint when they mate, just like real wolves do. Jacob just imprinted on Renesmee, the baby.
Sister: But I thought he was in love with Bella?
Me: Yes, but he was in love with the part of her that would eventually become Renesmee, her daughter. Just as that part of  Bella was in love with Jacob.
Sister: Well, we are out of our depth here.

What have we learned here? 

1. Never watch Contagion on a plane. It's number Two on the Movies Not To Watch On Planes list, right after Snakes on a Plane.

2. Little sisters still can interrupt the flow of the movie, even when you are both married with children. Some thing never change.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fishy Friday, week Two

Well, the Girl Scout cookies have arrived. I've hidden them from myself, but they're lurking out there, calling my name. "Come and hang out with us!" they cry in their thin minty little voices. 

In order to escape, I've tried to convince myself that baby carrots are just as yummy, that every time I open a sleeve of Samoas a fairy dies. Yeah, it's not working.

Good thing I'm dashing around today. I have to edit a book, to write a book, and then go to a playdate. And clean and do laundry, but, pfffffffft

Because I'm so busy, I have to make my fallback Lent dish. It's super easy, and it's so yummy that my husband starts to fork it right out of the casserole as soon as he walks in the door. (Gross, right? I know!!!)

I'm going to serve it with wine, a simple salad and some rolls, and you already know what's for dessert.

Crabby Pasta

14 oz pack of that fake crabmeat. Louis Kemp is good, and I also like the Stop N Shop brand.
Red or orange bell pepper, deseeded and cut in small strips
1 large onion, diced
Pack of mushrooms, presliced 
Pound + of desired pasta (I use a box and a half of Farfalle, those little butterflies)
Olive Oil
Locatelli or Romano Cheese, grated
Frank's Hot Sauce (I put that #$% on everything!)

Put on a bigpot of salted water. While it boils, cut your veggies.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, pour in a bunch of olive oil. I use quite a bit, at least three - four tablespoons - since the mushrooms will soak it up. Add the peppers and let them saute for a few minutes.

Pasta water should be boiling by now. Pour in the pasta.

Add the onion to the peppers and let saute a few minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and stir. Add the hot sauce when the mushrooms go limp and release their juice.

Add the crab meat to the veggie mix and allow to heat through.

Strain the pasta and pour into a large pasta dish or casserole. Pour the crab / veggie mix over the pasta.

Serve with plenty of cheese. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Singleton Mom

My husband and I had a very hard time getting pregnant. Like many couples, parenthood was something to work towards, not an easy phase that simply happened. And when I say work, by that I mean: lose any shred of dignity and endure dreadful medical procedures. I'll spare you the deets, but giving myself shots in the stomach was the easy part of the process.

Therefore, to become a mom at all was a miracle. My one little child is a true gift.


Being a mom of just one is a challenge at times. Sure, I don't have to break up sibling fights or worry about favoritism. I do have to try and stop myself from letting her be a spoiled only child, though. Sure, it would be so easy to give in to the latest demand (Monster High Doll, Penguin Club, Bieber CD) just to stop the tantrum in the store. Plus, if I gave in, then the couples who have never had children or who long since forgot what it is like would stop judging me in their heads.

I can read their minds, you know, as they look at me and shake their head in the store. Here's exactly what they are thinking: "Oh. My. Goodness. Look at that terrible mom. Can't she control her child? She just needs to learn how to discipline."
Just give her the Monster High Doll already! Or, invest in the future and don't...

You know why I can read their minds? Because PK* I used to think that too.

Also, I am the main source of entertainment for my little only child. I can be elbows deep in a bucket of suds as I scrub a bathroom floor** and my daughter will come in and say, "Hey, mommy! Want to play Raccoon Glitter Hunt with me?"

Well, of course I want to play Raccoon Glitter Hunt! Just as soon as I clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, and make dinner! Be right there!

So, that makes the PLAYDATE (insert heavenly choir sound here) a very, very special thing for the singleton kid. She loves playdates. Adores them. As soon as she steps off the bus I can already see her lips forming the words, "Can I have a playdate with Hummina? Can Whoosis come over?"

I'd love to have Whoosis*** over, but then I start thinking of the dirty floors (remember **) and the laundry, dishes, etc etc 

Sweetie, you little miracle child you, isn't it time you invented a nice imaginary friend? 

That's good parenting if I tell my daughter that, right?

*Pre Kid
**Doesn't happen all that often.
***Plus, honestly, between you and me, Whoosis can be a kind of a pain in the ass.