Friday, September 30, 2011

Rereading favs

A writer compatriot, Mona Ingram, wrote recently about the books she likes to reread. The Power of One is tops on her list, and I have to echo her praise. My list is shorter than Mona's, because I'm going on the names that come to mind without staring at my bookcase. Elkhorn Tavern, The Barefoot Brigade, Gone the Dreams and the Dancing by a retired army officer whose name escapes me, (Douglas C. Jones?) are wonderful. Lucia St. Clair Robson's Ride the Wind about Cynthia Anne Parker takes me to the Comanche plains every time. Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman is still tres cool (and won a Hugo, I think). Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm, with a hero whose speech is taken by a stroke, never fails to amaze me.

Montana 1948 is a mastery of an innocent's voice telling a sordid tale. It reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird. Hard trick to pull off, an adult story through a child's eyes.

Each book is an old friend I rediscover with joy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Good Man

I can think of no higher praise for a man than to say he was honorable, a good father, a loyal husband, and a devoted grandfather. My dad passed away on September 22, and we will miss him. But he lived a long and useful life, and that is more than enough.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Book up on Amazon! The Golden Door

Once I got over being cold, I got busy! THE GOLDEN DOOR, an historical romance, is now on Kindle's list on Amazon. I'm thrilled with the cover and the fact that this book I adore is available.  Golden Door is one of those books an author has to write, knowing full well it won't fit into any pigeon hole. So I wrote it and let it sit, not willing to risk my happiness in the finished product to the snarky comments of an editor or agent. (I know I'm being universally unfair. I never once heard anything even remotely resembling snarky from Gail Fortune when she was my editor.) But this book is/was special. A book of the heart always is.

The setting is the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th Century.  The hero, Winslow Ertegun, is half-Turkish, half-British, and a spy for the Sultan sent to find out why the new railroad crossing the country is taking so long to complete and is costing such huge sums of money, as well. The heroine, Hope Mountcastle, is on the run from her stuffy aunt's house in York, England, hoping to join her father on his current project in the wilds of Eastern Turkey. She wants nothing less than freedom from her corset and her prim and proper life.  Her father has been hired by the Germans to build a portion of a railroad across the Ottoman Empire, but he's been murdered before Hope can reach him.

Unaware her father is dead, Hope must resort to subterfuge to get to the railroad camp. Dressed as a mute Turkish boy, she's the caravan's cook's helper. Her disguise works only so long, however, and Winslow must marry her in a Muslim ceremony to preserve her reputation and chastity, promising her the ruse will last only until he delivers her to her father at the railroad camp.

All is far from well at the camp, and Hope and Win fall in love, fight for their lives, find Hope's father's killer, and return to Constantinople so Win can report the real status of what's happened with the railroad.  The world is on the brink of war, and politics have become a precarious way of life for a spy. Win fears for Hope in his anti-Western world, and sends her home to her aunt, promising to divorce her according to Muslim practices so she can get on with her life.  Only Hope doesn't want a divorce, but she doesn't want to add herself as another burden in Win's life, either.

The ending is happy, as is the norm for a romance, and blissfully so. I still sigh over it whenever I read it, and I'm quite the cynic.  A romance with murder, sensuality, politics, and a Muslim and Christian falling in love isn't your normal, everyday book, and I hope some of you will like it. Maybe even love it, as I do.
BTW, the cover art was done by Jessie Gemmer. Email me for contact information.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Cold Outside!

I swore I'd dance naked in the streets if the summer heat ever broke, but I lied. It's too danged cold out for naked dancing! (Not to mention I'd scare the neighbors). We dropped 25 degrees in one day, and no one was prepared. Well, I wasn't. I like to ease into these things. A couple of degrees here and there works just fine, kinda like shuffling into the cold waves by inches. The bright side is that snuggle weather is here for the weekend, at least. No more lying on top of the sheets, wishing the air conditioning would make a dent in the aching humidity.

I have to recommend Kiana Davenport's short stories. They're on Amazon for Kindle, and dirt cheap. In each story, I'm not only sucked into the stories, peopled with people so alive I feel they have breath, but I'm learning a lot about the art of the short story. Less really can be more. Give HOUSE OF SKIN a buy for 99 cents.

Oh, I was quoted by Nate Ryan in his USA Today article about Brad Keselowski's full day that culminated at RIR for a fan meet-and-greet. Hi, Nate!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Car v. Old Car

In our family, cars never leave.  Personally, I don't like to "break in" a new car, learn the dashboard, the feel of brakes, an engine, how it handles corners, etc. My cars become family members, and sometimes I even name them. Now and then, we finally sell a car because we're simply tired of driving it for years and years, and it's in great shape, but it's become boring. When we do this, I instantly feel seller's remorse and want to buy the car back. I still fondly remember a stick shift Honda Accord that I wish I'd garaged until I could teach the children to drive a stick. Then again, who drives a stick these days? It went on to bless a college student who needed sturdy transportation and great mileage, so selling it was a right move.

My beloved wanted me to drive something newer, so we hit the dealer lots. Interestingly, I never saw anything I liked. Some detail always held up my ability to buy a new car, such as blah colors, no GPS in the dash, stiff ride, seats uncomfortable, etc. I could fill a page with the details I found to dislike in the new cars at every dealer.  It became clear that I don't need a new car, much less want one. Nothing came up to the high standards of my current ride, so I'm going to keep it.

I realize this sounds un-American, but I don't want a new car. So there.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finality and Bullies

Richmond's decision has been made - and nothing has changed in the Chase. Saturday's race was a wreckfest under a full moon. For a while there, I thought the winner would be the last car running with all four wheels on the track. Despite a hard bit of racing at the end, Harvick pulled out his fourth win of the season. Now we head into the final ten races to determine the champion. Ho hum. If someone other than Jimmie Johnson doesn't step it up, the chase will officially be a bore.

On a more scary note (and it's not even Halloween yet!), I just read a blog by author Kiana Davenport dated August 24. You can read it at Ms. Davenport is being punished by a Big Six publisher for putting two short story collections up on Amazon. One of these books had been rejected by the same publisher before she went digital with them. However, this publisher did offer a contract for another, different book, and paid an advance of $20,000, which they are now demanding back since Ms. Davenport refuses to remove her short story collections from Amazon.

Wow, is all I can say. Amazon must be terrorizing traditional publishers to the point of panic. And you know what? About time! You better believe I'm going to buy Ms. Davenport's short stories on Amazon. No one likes a bully, and if I can help finance Ms. Davenport's legal team, I'll buy her ebooks for that reason alone.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Another small death

The final race for the Sprint Cup Chase is tomorrow. Amid all the frenzy of packing up for a day of tailgating, I just read some shocking news. No, it's not that the Republocans hate Pres. Obama and will do everything they can to undermine his presidency, and to hades with what is best for the country. Wnat else is new?

No, it's that Kevin Harvick, Inc. is closing up shop. They're moving their Nationwide program to RCR, but shutting down their race truck operation and selling the building, if they can. WOW. KHI, Inc. was an inspiration in many ways. They had Ron Hornaday, an old dog with plenty of tricks up his firesuit sleeve, winning truck championships. They sold Chevy chasses to other teams. They are second in points in the Nationwide championship race. Delana Harvick was a business force to be reckoned with, a powerful woman in Nascar whose maiden name was NOT France. People knew what an extraordinary effort it took to keep a small race shop open and winning, and respected the Harvicks for their top notch operation.

In a move that's emblematic of what is happening all over this country, a well-run small business is shutting down, and 140 people are out of work. That it's involved in Nascar is beside the point. As the song says, "and another one bites the dust." What a real shame.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

After eight long days without electricity, I am happy to report that the power is back on. I'm kinda going to miss going to bed at dark. I will NOT miss the candle wax dripping all over the place or the cold showers.

I must now go vacuum like a madwoman. Electricity shows clearly how deep the dog fur has become.