Monthly Archives: April 2010

I am a bumblebee

And I have fallen off the petal and into the dirt.

My hubby’s preparing for trial, I’m filling in at the office, and I haven’t gathered enough nuts to really write in days.  On the upside, I have managed to sneak in a few moments to read this wonderful  book that should screw my head back on straight.

The general idea is this: women are ridiculousy busy and if as a writer you require an hour or more to even considering setting your foot into the writing mood, how in the hell are you gonna get anything done?

My sentiments exactly.  The number 1 problem I have with my writing life is not only the general lack of time between chores and other necessities, but the mindset of being creative for small blips of time.  It’s sort of like being rushed to eat chocolate.  I don’t think I’ll be able to properly enjoy it.

But alas, I am determined to make a go of those weeks where time is my priciest commodity.  I have already edged into this zone  by writing before bed instead of picking up a steamy novel, which of course creates an insomniatic monster because once I start I simply cannot stop.   I must admit, those moments are worth hearing Josie and my hubby snore in sync though.

So I’m gonna take Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s advice.  While dinner’s cooking, the laundry’s a-washing, I’ll resist organizing my spice drawer.  I’ll write until my pen’s on fire (I just love that title!)

P. S.  Jodi Picoult wrote eleven books in eleven years using a similar method. And she’s married with children.  And she writes quality fic.  Seriously, I bow down to this woman.

Interested in the book?  Buy here.

I won a book!

Okay, so I know it’s not that exciting but 1) I never enter contests in my own name and 2) I was quite sure if I did, I’d never win.  I was always unlucky at the annual Halloween cake walk.  Magical chairs?  Bah!  Once, on a whim, I slipped my mother’s name in a drawing for a pearl necklace, symphony tickets, and additional loot to the tune of about $1,000.  She won.  Just for clarification, she gave me the symphony tickets, not the pearls.  I was 17.

So when I discovered that my fav booksite, Goodreads, had first-read giveaways, I was skeptical.  I entered, quickly forgetting about a lovely new book possibly being mailed to my door, but alas, I won (thank you, Penguin Group!)  I can see the future already: I’m going to turn into one of those hopeful contest junkies. 

The loot:  Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern

Synopsis: “A riveting and frightening tale of false accusation from the author of Eye Contact

Twelve years ago librarian Betsy Treading was convicted of murdering her neighbor, the bohemian loner Linda Sue. After DNA testing finally exonerates Betsy, she returns to her suburban community determined to salvage her life and find the true killer. As she begins to pick apart the web of secrets, lies, and love affairs uncovered in the wake of her trial, Betsy suspects that her tight-lipped neighbors may know something that she has denied even to herself.

In Neighborhood Watch, Cammie McGovern captures the nail-biting electricity of the best literary thrillers and zeros in on the subterranean tension abuzz in a town whose dark secrets threaten to obliterate the glossy façade of a perfect life. It is also the story of a woman coming into her own, finding her strength, and taking control of her life. It asks readers, what sort of price would you pay for the sake of your reputation? Intricately woven, psychologically astute, and filled with complex and surprising characters, Neighborhood Watch marks a significant step in the career of this talented author.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  I don’t normally read contemporary novels but I’m really excited about this one.  Keep an eye out for the review when I’m done.

Georgian word of the day:  Demy-rep (or demi-rep), 1749

Literally, a reputation split in halves.  It is considered the shortening of demimondaine, a mistress of a wealthy, upperclass lover.  A demy-rep would be a part of the demimonde, the hedonistic underworld on the fringes of society.  Of rarer use, demy-rep may also refer to a person (not specifically a woman) of doubtful respectability and reputation.

Note:  Many words originate in Georgian England and the following period, Regency,  for a woman who provides sexual services for payment, suggesting that they were not only commonplace but that many men required their services.

Spring into Reflection

As I write this, a soft, spring breeze flutters through my open window.  I am drinking riesling so cold it sweats against my glass, a much needed departure from the bold reds of winter.  On the deck, the sound of a bamboo chime rustles in a restless, hollow tune.  I listen to the birds tweet, the frogs croaks near the pond, and of this moment, I know a simple, singular thought: there is nothing but right now.

Except the blooms. 

Beyond my storied windows, the rains have greened the grass.  Buds swell from bushes, plump and heavy and hopeful.   After a long and miserable winter, tiny red shoots of  peonies stretch toward the sun.  Down in the garden, irises cluster while hyacinths preen, the first to put on a show.  A week or two from now, the flowering trees holding court in my yard will burst into pink and frosty blooms and I will sit here with a stupid grin on my face, wondering, was spring always this great? 

I watch my boston, Josie, roll around in the lawn and I can’t help but think: my dog knows this answer better than I do.

The lovely Georgette Heyer

Madcap kidnapping, rogues and roués, delightfully plucky heroines – reading Georgette Heyer is like experiencing Jane Austen with a dash of the ludicrous. And by that, I mean absurdity at its best. Her heroes, ever enigmatic and dashing, are a paragon of English nobility: charming, sardonic, and rimed in a polished veil of ice. They’re unreal but somehow, through their odd perfection, vivacious. And that’s not even the best part. Heyer’s dialogue is more than witty repartees, it’s laugh-out-loud, embarrassed to read while in public, dialogue.   

I’ve only devoured two of her works and already I find myself employing all sorts of “stifle” techniques in order to not sound like a howler monkey when I’m in the same room as my husband. Being thus amused is a rare treat for me and designates an even rarer accolade: a permanent spot on my bookshelf. Which leaves one sentiment . . .

With all the damned books I’ve read, I can’t help feeling that my introduction was pitifully late in coming because really, how could I have not known about her before? She’s fabulous! Unlike Austen, who wrote contemporaneously (and who, yes, serial fans, is also fabulous), Heyer created exquisitely researched novels long after Almack’s and Vauxhall were but a memory. They’re so rich, filled with enough cant and period details to leave me running toward the dictionary – and often, supplying you with my Georgian word of the day.   An education and convenience – I love it! 

Interesting Heyer Facts

  • Born in 1902 in Wimbledon, London, her writing career began in 1921 when she published her first novel at a very tender age.  The Black Moth, written to amuse her convalescent, hemophiliac brother, Boris (that image alone is quite a charmer!) sets the tone for her subsequent novels.
  • She was an intensely private person and in the world of fiction, a recluse. She refused interviews and publicity tours, but despite these eccentricities, was a bestseller most of her life.
  • She also wrote mystery and thrillers
  • At the time of her death, 48 of her books were still in print.

Georgian word of the day:  Lawks!

Alteration of Lord.  A suprised, vulgar outburst, as in “Lawks, he’s touching my petticoat!”