Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Reading

This week I finally read LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave. I've been meaning to read it for a while.

It was on CapeWomenOnline's recommended reading list last January. My book club read it in September. I tried to take it out of the library, but it was already out with a waiting list. Finally, in December, a friend gave me her copy after she'd finished it.

What an excellent book.

It's not at all what I thought it was going to be. Chris Cleave's subtle use of language is nothing short of beautiful. The story is told from a few different and varying viewpoints, the main one being that of a Nigerian teenager, Little Bee, who is trying to escape the violence of her homeland.

We learn in the first few pages that she has taught herself "The Queen's English" while in an immigration detention center in England. Her use and understanding of English is fascinating. I love the way she speaks to the reader throughout the entire novel to explain that while we may understand what she is talking about, the people in her village back home would have no point of reference for understanding most of the things and turns of phrase that we take for granted.

The language is not the only thing of beauty in this book. The subtle twists and turns of the plot and the way Cleave chooses to slowly unfold it all for the reader by jumping back and forth through time kept me thinking about the story and wondering where it would turn next, even as I was driving to and from the various kid activities that filled my week. I found myself looking forward to waiting in the parent pickup line, just so I would have those minutes to read the next part of the story.

This is not a happy book, despite all its beauty. And despite my previous rants about needing that "happily ever after" to my reading, I would totally recommend LITTLE BEE to anyone looking for a well-written, lyrical, thought-provoking story.

Also out this week for your reading pleasure is the latest issue of

The Winter 2011 Issue is filled with interesting and thought provoking articles, as well as interviews and stories of some of the fabulous creative women who live and work on Cape Cod, like Jackie Reeves who created the above collage image, titled Black Socks.

To read the current issue, go to and peruse the article listings.

What are you reading?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Heating Up the Month of February

Yet another snowstorm is pounding the East Coast, with threats of severe winter weather, coastal erosion and flooding. The sleet is pounding against the window of my office, making me long to cuddle up with something warmer than my computer...

So I thought, Hey! How about inviting some of my favorite Romance Authors to come on over and steam up my blog for Romance Month - February, to be more exact. Typing quickly (to warm up my fingers) I sent out some invitations and lined up some steamy excerpts to keep you warm next month.... not in time for this winter storm, but at least there's something to look forward to!

Heating Up February

Week One: Contemporary Western Romance Author Jaydyn Chelcee
Wednesday 2/2 - Thursday 2/3

Week Two: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Writer Sky Purington
Wednesday 2/9 - Thursday 2/10

Week Three: Paranormal Romance Writer Penny Watson
Wednesday 2/16 - Thursday 2/17

Week Four: Contemporary and Erotic Romance Writer Cindy Jacks
Wednesday 2/23 - Thursday 2/24

Each Wednesday, we'll get to meet and chat with a new author, and on Thursday the author will give us an excerpt from one of their stories - something to warm us up and get the weekend started early! Don't forget to check back in all month long for excerpts that'll heat you up and send a different kind of shiver through your body...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Puppy Turns One Year Old

It was one year ago today that our Puppy was born into this world.

She joined our family eight weeks later, a little bundle of fluff who could barely walk and who's paws were soft as a baby's feet since she'd never been outside...
For the first few months, we'd find her curled up right next to us, no matter where we were. She'd be asleep at my feet as I cooked dinner in the kitchen, and warming my toes underneath my computer desk. Over the year, she kept that habit - except she doesn't quite fit under my desk any longer...
She put up with my daughter tucking her in and dressing her up. And Puppy still puts up with it, dressing up for Halloween and wearing fancy scarves and sunglasses when the girls come over to play.

Over the course of the year, Puppy discovered her absolute adoration for all things Ocean. The sand. The smells. The shells. Even the frigid winter water. There is nothing about the beach that Puppy doesn't like. Except maybe the hose waiting in the back yard after her walks.

But her absolute favorite thing is snow. Falling snow. Deep snow. Snowballs and snowball fights. Snowmen. Snow everything.

So it's just and fitting that to celebrate Puppy's first birthday, Mother Nature got in on the party and gave us another nor'easter, and another snow day off from school. Which works out just fine, since we didn't have the chance to bake her cupcakes yet. I'm off to the kitchen to whip up some dog treats - this time, without a Puppy warming my toes. She's out playing in the blizzard!

Happy Birthday, Puppy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chatting at Coffee Time Romance!

Moongypsy Press officially turns one year old today!

<*`*`cheering and throwing confetti`*`*>

To celebrate (and throw some more virtual confetti) several Moongypsy authors will be partying over in the forum pages at Coffee Time Romance. I'm one of the chatters... and it's my first time, so be gentle with me!

Come join the fun by following this link:

See you over there!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Reading

So I know that I usually wait until I've finished reading a book to talk about it... but lately my life has been so hectic that I'm lucky I have a "Reading Now" on my Nook. Forget about the fantasy of having actually finished a book in the last week...

But I digress. I wanted to talk about this latest book from Author Sky Purington: Heart of Vesuvius, just out in December from The Wild Rose Press. This vampire tale is a sequel to Darkest Memory (which I haven't read yet but might have to read next.)

The publisher's blurb reads:

Two vampires…one goal.

Alexandria has no choice. She must flee to the last place she wants to. Straight into the arms of a vampire she was determined to forget. Salvator, ancient vampire, finds this a clever fix to obtaining the one vampire he’s always desired…Alexandria.

Together, they must find a way to evade her powerful enemy, Salvator’s brother Luciano. On the run, they struggle to understand one another. Deep, dark secrets are revealed. Denied passion ignites. Blood is spilled.

Within the heart of Vesuvius, anything is possible. All can be conquered. But will it be? Can wrongs be made right? History is the locked door. Forgiveness is the key. Time will tell if ancient love can once again flourish.

Passion, intrigue, and vampires. What more can you ask for to heat up a cold January night? I'm so excited by the story that I've invited the author, Sky Purington, to join my on my blog in February to kick off what I hope will be a regular series of author interviews and blog posts. When we work out the details, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

In the meantime, what are you reading on this cold, cold Sunday?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Praise of Winter

As we look forward to another winter storm descending on the Cape (supposedly at midnight tonight) I thought I'd take a few moments to remember why I enjoy winter in New England.

One reason has to be the sledding. We went sledding with all the cousins over the weekend. What a blast. Blue skies, deep snow, lots of smiles all around.

What's your favorite part of winter?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Puppy's First Deep Snow

Puppy loves snow.

We've had snow this winter here on the Cape, but no more than 8 inches. Not deep when compared to how tall she is.

So when we were invited off-Cape for a day of sledding, we took Puppy along for the ride. And the snow.
She loved it. She didn't quite get the whole "sledding hill" thing, (so we kept her on a leash for the most part) but she loved the snow. Everything about it.

She leaped like a dolphin through the drifts, and chased her dog-cousins through the untouched fields of white. And ate as much of the wet stuff as she possibly could.

"Come play!" she seems to say. She's ready to do it again!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Puppy Learns to Share

It's true - Puppy isn't very good at sharing.

She always pushes to be first out the door. She will only sit in one seat in the minivan (the middle row, drivers side seat.) And she doesn't like to share toys.

When one of the other dogs has her toy, she whines. Incessantly. No, really. You think you know constant whining - - you don't until you've met my Puppy. Really. She's that good. Or bad, depending on your perspective.

So when On Christmas Day, my husband was given one toy for the 3 dogs to share, I was concerned.

Worried, even.

Although the old dog has no use (NO use) for chew toys, the other two tend to argue. And whine.

More often than not, the Big Dog wins the argument. (I must digress for a moment or two, and admit that the Big Dog is no longer technically bigger. Or actually bigger. Or bigger in any meaningful sense. The Puppy is big. And bigger.)

Anyway, Big Dog chewed up most of the "shared" toy. In a day. One day. Puppy just watched. And whined. Incessantly.

But see the look? Like she's saying, So? I'm the Big Dog. It's mine.

Puppy had to console herself with hugs and kisses. She was okay with that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A "New" Publisher and a New Cover

Cerridwen Press is no more.

As of this month, the books previously published by Cerridwen Press are now going to be published under the auspices of Ellora's Cave, most of them for their new "Blush" line.

Which is funny to me, because when my manuscript was first picked up, it was by Jasmine Jade's Lotus Circle imprint... which was gone before we finished editing the book. I was lucky enough to be picked up by Cerridwen Press at that point (not all the Lotus Circle books were.)

I've gotten the emails, I knew about the change, and yet somehow didn't register the fact that the cover of my book would be changing. Or the fact that the links to my book's page at the Cerridwen Press website would need to be changed. Like... the link on the side of this blog page. Or the links I have in the magazine ads in Or the ones on my own website, over at

Work to do. On the bright side, I still have a book available from Ellora's Cave!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is Romance Relevant?

Do you read Romance novels? Romantic suspense? Young Adult romance? Paranormal Romance? Or any of the other zillion sub genres that roll up into the Romance category?


Romance is one of the only categories that continues to grow, even with a slow economy and the much heralded decline of books. According to Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2009 (the latest full year for which data was available), romance novels generated 1.37 Billion dollars in sales—more than any other kind of book.

In light of everything going on around the world and even in our own country, it's hard to argue that Romance is "meaningful." Although, one could definitely argue that the world would be a much better place if there were more happily-ever-afters and less hateful political invective.

When I started my first manuscript, I was young. I wanted to sound super-intelligent and ultra-meaningful and crammed as many "fifty cent words" as possible onto each page. There's nothing wrong with using big words, but they shouldn't be the point of a book. There needs to be a story. A plot. A reason to read all the way to the end.

I like happy endings. I like it when the protagonist not only learns and grows as a character, but finds her happily-ever-after in the end, whether it's the one she thought she wanted or something completely different. The HEA is what defines the romance category. It's not so much about the s-e-x as it is about the conflict and character growth. And the happy ending.

That's why I like to read romance - in my own real life, I can't solve my problems in 300-500 pages (or make out with hot vampires.) At least with a novel, I can vicariously live through much bigger traumas than my son's basketball loss and have them neatly resolved by bedtime.

Is it relevant to my life? I guess that depends on how you define relevant. Books help me to both escape from the everyday and to put my own life into a kind of perspective. They also allow me to explore places and experiences I might not be able to in "real" life. The world of books helps broaden my reality.

What do you like to read?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Reading

I have to admit that the only things I read this week were the Girl Scout Junior Badge Book and the Sigh of Relief First Aid handbook (edited by Martin I. Green) with my Girl Scouts, to learn about Hypothermia and Frostbite. Proactively, mind you. We earned our "Frosty Fun" badge on our weekend camping trip.

But... since my TBR pile is getting dangerously high, the Puppy took it upon herself to help me out. She really seems to enjoy chewing on the Game of Thrones series. I guess I'll have to wait and watch in on HBO after all. My middle child has been stacking them on my pile as he finishes them - he's on the fourth book, Feast for Crows. Each is a good thousand pages.

Just added to my TBR pile (to make up for the lost books) will be the Percy Jackson series... yes, I'm probably the only YA enthusiast who hasn't read them yet. We watched the movie last night as a family, and now I really need to read more. Both sons kept saying, "The books are way better."

What are you reading?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting Organized...

Being organized has never seemed more challenging to me.

I'm not sure why. I've always been an organized person. Somehow my life has gotten out of my control in the last few months, and here I sit facing a new year - a new decade - feeling like I'm flying down a windy mountain road with a hole in my brake lines and less than the right amount of steering fluid.... so I'm still steering the car, but it takes more than the usual amount of effort.

And to top it off, it's Girl Scout cookie season.

My plan for this week was to clean up Christmas and get the house back in a semblance of every day order. My plan for NEXT week is to sit down and do the same for my writing schedule and my life.

Many bloggers seem to have set schedules for which days to blog about different aspects of their lives/careers/chaos... Medical Mondays on Lydia Kang's blog comes to mind as a great example. On Mondays, I know I can always go check out what cool weird medical mystery she's going to explain to us...

I'm working on it. I'm also working on setting a schedule for finishing my W.I.P.s, since just saying I want to finish it doesn't seem to make it so.

But, as I said, it's Girl Scout cookie time. And I'm taking the troop winter camping this weekend. So my other career (the non-mommy one) will have to wait until next week, because I still need to pack!

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's A Whole New Year!

The tree is gone - the kids are back at school - the holidays are officially OVER!

It's a whole new year - 2011 - and what are we going to do with our shiny new beginning of a shiny new decade?

Do you make new year's resolutions? I try not to. No, really. They never work out and then I end up feeling guilty. I have enough guilt - I'm the mother of teenagers who like to play that card a little too often. Have kids? Then you know, too.

Instead, I like to make wishes. Usually on the Plum Pudding. First when we're stirring it in the fall, then when we light it at Christmas. It's an English thing, apparently, although my English neighbor didn't know she should be wishing on the blue flame at Christmas. I shared the rest of my pudding with her at New Year's, so she could make a New Year's Wish.

Wishes are shiny and hopeful. Not guilt-ridden.

One of my wishes for 2011 is to finish and publish another book. Or two. So I need to write more. Much more. In the last few months, my word output has dwindled to a mere trickle while my screen time has actually increased. Less Facebook, more wordsmithing. My goal is to finish the current W.I.P. by the end of the month, then start editing. Wish me luck!

What are your goals - wishes - resolutions, if you must - for 2011?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We have a New Year's tradition of finding a new beach that we haven't ever been to and going for a family walk to jump start our New Year. This year, we finally went to Cold Storage Beach in Dennis. The parking lot is tiny by Cape standards, and we're not town residents so we've never been in the summer. It lived up to every good thing I've heard about it.

The weather was gorgeous and unseasonable warm, so the parking lot was jammed on New Years Day - but we found a spot just as someone else left. We got to experience low tide at Cold Storage Beach. If you get a chance, go check it out. Really. Beautiful.

I saw some of the biggest starfish I've ever seen, the kids were picking up all kinds of sea sponges, and Puppy played with a giant spider crab, tossing it up out of the tide pool (and has the cut on her snout to prove it!)

The kids loved it. They all stripped down to their t-shirts, and my daughter's boots got soaked up to her ankles from wading in the tide pools - luckily they were the old pair and not the new ones she just got for Christmas!

Puppy was beside herself, running around meeting new people and smiling at everyone!

All three dogs had a grand ol' time, running on the beach and playing in the ocean. We stayed for more than two hours in the sunshine. The Old Dog was the one who finally said "Enough," and turned around back toward the parking lot.

Before we left, I took a few pictures of the kids, to show New Year's Day on Cape Cod. T-shirts and sea life. What a great day.

That night, as we were sitting down to dinner we wondered where the Puppy was hiding. We found her curled up fast asleep under the Christmas tree, dreaming of sunny beaches and spider crabs.

The end of a very long week, and a long holiday season.

Happy New Year to all! Here's hoping for lots of long walks and smiling days in 2011!

What are you hoping for in the New Year?