Monday, June 20, 2011

Tag I'm It

I've been tagged by Janet Johnson and Katie Dodge, and given awards by Carla Jansen. To be really difficult I am combining the answering-of-questions and stating-of-random-facts. This means my post will flow in a very sensical matter, much like my books.

Do you think you are hot?

It is 100 degrees in Texas right now. Yes.

I ate lamb for the first time on my birthday. I hated it. It tastes like a sweaty man smells.

Upload a picture you are using as wall paper right now.

It is a picture of my family. I stopped posting my kids online, but they are cute. Very cute. The picture of me is not so cute because I am thinking about how my son, although cute, is being very, very naughty.

I am pregnant. I want more naughty, naughty children. LOTS of them. (What? You think I should have put this little number into its own blog post?)

When was the last time you ate chicken?

I am making chicken RIGHT NOW. Cooking and blogging at the same time? I'll have you know that my chicken is not burnt...yet.

There is a fly in my kitchen right now (but not on my chicken), and it is driving me nuts, NUTS I TELL YOU.

The song(s) you listened to recently.

Those of you who know me already know that I am not a big music listener. However, I have been listening to a CD mix of Enya, Coldplay, and Lord of the Rings when I drive. If my kids scream, I turn it up and they stop. It's magic.

I recently started watching Lost on Netflix. I'd never seen a single episode before this weekend. Why oh why did I start it?

What are you thinking while you are doing this?

I'm thinking of all the things I have to do before we leave for Kansas on Wednesday. I'll be there for three weeks visiting my family. We are very excited. (I mean, it's KANSAS for goodness sakes. Who wouldn't be excited?)

I have this crazy, irrational fear of a plane falling from the sky and landing on my house.

Do you have nicknames? What are they?

My parents called me "Honey Buns" when I was little. This began when I'd look them in the eye, prior to a spanking, and say..."You aren't going to spank me, Honey Buns?" My friends called me Sunshine in high school. No nickname now, unless MOMMMMMM counts.

It's time for dinner: chicken with a balsamic, mushroom cream sauce and proscuitto-wrapped asparagus. I am very unpredictable. Last week it was English Muffins and sausage.

(If you are reading my blog I tag you and award you all sorts of wonderful things.)

(Also, if you want to know a fertility secret, read Patti's blog post today.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Book that Made Me Weep

I'm a big fan of historical fiction. I would love to write historical...but I know I'm not ready for the time I'd have to put into the research. Not yet. One day. (It takes me long enough to write a book with just minimal check-my-facts research.)

I've read a couple other books by Margaret Peterson Haddix. While most of her books have a supernatural bent, Uprising is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City on March 25, 1911. It is told from the perspective of three very different girls--friends--one a society girl and two who are immigrants from Russia and Italy. From the beginning you know that only one survives the fire, although you don't know which one. The story is beautiful. The characters are very real, bringing to life the real-life victims of the fire one hundred years ago.

I hadn't heard about the fire until I read this book, but did you know that it was the biggest workplace disaster to happen in NYC before 9-11? Fire standards in the workplace were changed as a result of this tragedy, and it played a big role in the suffrage movement. (There was a huge strike the year before the fire, which the girls of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory participated in and which many wealthy suffrage supporters funded. In fact, the strike takes up a large portion of the book's story.) So it has a pretty incredible part in history.

When I read the end, I cried. Then the next day when I was driving I might have cried some more. They didn't have to die in that fire. Doors were locked. There was an inadequate number of fire escapes because the rich people in that district didn't like the look of them. The fire hose didn't work. The firemen's ladders didn't reach high enough. Their nets weren't strong enough to catch the falling bodies.

I highly recommend this book. I loved it. In fact, I can say this about very few books...but it changed me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Which I Touch On Austen

I have the first sixty pages of my MG Pirate book written and the end pretty well out-lined. But the middle...well...I have a bunch of ideas and ghost of ideas stewing in my Middle Soup, but no order or flesh to them.

But I'm not here to talk about pirates or ten year-old girls who wear war paint (really, sparkly lip gloss) to scare away the pirates that must be RIGHT outside her bedroom door and who are SURELY looking at her since her door is always open a crack because ever since she was little she was afraid if she shut the door all the way her bedroom would fall off the ship into the ocean. No, I'm not talking about that.

I'm here to talk about Jane Austen. Last night I (re)watched Northanger Abbey-not the 1987 Northanger Abbey where they get into hot, yucky, infected public baths fully clothed but the 2007 one with the perfect garden kiss at the end and the perfect post-horseride-removal-of-mud-from-her-face-by-her-true-love scene. That one.

Although I do like it, I won't claim it as my favorite Jane Austen book or movie (in spite of the 2007 Henry and Catherine chemistry mentioned above). And I think I'm not alone. What is it about Northanger Abbey that makes it the lesser loved of the Austen classics.

Is it the weak and silly Catherine Morland? (although she does change)
Or is it the slightly overbearing Henry Tilney who will probably always see his wife as weak and silly? (even though she DOES change)
Or is it all those references to books we've never read that have long since fell off anyone's TBR list? (although I'm curious about Udolpho)
Is it the flirtation with the paranormal that just seems so out of place in Austen?

Well? Of course, maybe Northanger Abbey is your favorite Austen. Or maybe you don't even read Austen and have no clue. (Shame on you!) Or maybe you just want to talk more about girls who live on ships and eat brownie sundaes every day and brush shoulders with Russian royalty while trying to catch a pirate.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Copy Cat, This and That

On a completely unoriginal note and because I haven't posted since last Monday, I am going to copy Candice who copied Jenn and post something from my WIP. (This is from my middle-grade A Pretty Pirate Pickle, not Pieces of Moon, which is why my MC sounds like she's ten. She is.)

Bonnie, daughter of the cruise ship's captain, is spying on the new passengers with her aunt. And she is SURE the roguishly handsome musician is a pirate, ready to infiltrate the ship.

Aunt Mel grabs my arms, lifts them, and spins me around. “Okay, where is it?”
“Where is what?”
“That pirate book you're reading. Let me have it.”
“Why does it matter?”
She pinches her lips. “Oh, let’s see…” She counts off on her fingers. “Last year, after you read Anne of Green Gables, you named all the flowers in my suite.”
I scowl at my aunt. “Yes, but I only told you that because you are my bosom friend. And you never should have killed Darrin.”
“He was a daisy.” She doesn’t give me a chance to respond. “Then over Christmas, after you read the Chronicles of Narnia, you tried to look in every closet on the ship.”
"They were wardrobes, not closets." I shrug. “Besides, I've never had tea with a faun.”
“After you read Harry Potter, you were sure your parents weren’t your real parents.”
“But at least I didn’t claim to have magical powers.” I don’t mention the part where I stood in my room for an hour with a wand (plucked from an oak tree in Denmark) trying to cast spells. In fact, I used quite a bit of self-control. I never even touched the kitchen broom.