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Pin Me ~ Week Eleven ~ from my Perhaps I Might Read Board ~ Hemingway’s Girl

26 Apr

Oh nuts!

You know what happens when you don’t keep up with your blogging? You lose track of dates. And, until you go back and start looking at a calendar, you won’t realize that you think you’re being so good catching up on your blogging only to figure out that you skipped an entire week! Hemingway's Girl

Doh!

So this is Week Eleven’s blog post, but in reality, it should have been Week Eight. I suppose I should shift all my blogs a week, but then I’d never catch up.

At any rate, I scored me a copy of Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck. I had been thinking about possibly reading this book (thus, why it was on my “Perhaps I Might Read” board), but it was Book Addict Katie’s review that pushed me to get it.

Book Addict Katie is funny, intelligent and works in a bookstore so you know she’s got double secret, back door access, to book knowledge that the rest of us can only hope to glean from those so wisely in the know of all things books. She has a blog and you can also follow her on Twitter. She is a Dog Mom to Marshall. And for those of us that are cat owners servants, she has cats (Patches & Rory). And yes, they try to kill her, too.*

Happy Thang: It’s the weekend.

*Note: if you are not a cat servant, this might need some explaining. Those of us that are, try most days to please our kitty kitties. Otherwise, they will make us pay. And it only takes one time for you to receive “that look”** to make you shape up and do their bidding.

**That look is the one they give you as a warning. It says, do what I demand, or else…

And that’s why we all sleep with one eye open.

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Pin Me ~ Week Six ~ from my Perhaps I Might Read Board

13 Feb

This week’s pin was selected from my Perhaps I Might Read board.

I first discovered Gail Carriger when a friend began reading her Parasol photoProtectorate Series. If you haven’t read it, drop everything and get thee to your nearest book store or pick up that Kindle or Nook and download immediately.

Gail is a funny, witty and intelligent writer that draws the reader in with engaging characters and fantastic Steampunk imagery.

That’s why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her new series “Etiquette & Espionage.”

I’m a few chapters in but it is proving to be a great read and good fun with the main character and her side kicks. There is a wonderful little book trailer for it if you’d like to take a look.

Check out my Pin Me board to see what else I’ve been up to in my 52 week quest to do something with some of our Pinterest pins.

Pin Me ~ Week One

6 Jan

Well, for my first week of my Pin Me project ~ 52 weeks of actually doing something with my Pins ~ I selected a pin from my Perhaps I Might Read Board.

I had seen the promo video for Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway and thought it looked interesting.

My Sweetheart and I were out running errands one day and he agreed to buy me a book so I took him up on his offer and picked up Angelmaker.

I began reading it this week. I’m about three chapters in and I rather like it. Here’s the official description from the author’s website: Angelmaker

All Joe Spork wants to do is live quietly. He repairs clockwork and lives above his shop in a wet, unknown bit of London. The bills don’t always get paid and he’s single and in his mid thirties and he has no prospects of improving his lot, but at least he’s not trying to compete with the reputation of Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork, his infamous criminal dad.

Edie Banister lives quietly and wishes she didn’t. She’s nearly ninety and remembers when she wasn’t. She used to be a spy, and now she’s… well… old. Worse yet, the things she fought to save don’t seem to exist anymore, and she’s beginning to wonder if they ever did.

When Joe repairs one particularly unusual clockwork mechanism, his quiet life is blown apart. Suddenly he’s getting visits from sinister cultists and even more sinister lawyers. One of his friends is murdered and it looks as if he may be in the frame. Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, he seems to have switched on a 1950s doomsday machine – or is it something even more alarming? Edie’s story and Joe’s have collided. From here on in, nothing will be the same – Joe’s world is now full of mad monks, psychopaths, villainous potentates, scientific geniuses, giant submarines, determined and extremely dangerous receptionists, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe – and if Joe’s going to fix it or even survive, he must show that he can be everything Mathew was, and much, much more.

Joe is a guy I would want to have a beer with ~ easy going, he’s got an ongoing battle with a neighbor’s mean cat and he can make non-working gadgets work.

Edie is a hoot! She’s tougher than she looks and so far she’s opened up a can of whoop ass on three guys that were going to take her out. I’m hoping we get to see a glimpse of her in her early spy days. And she has a great side kick in her dog, Bastion.

So it was fun to kick off my first week with a good book to read. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. In the meantime, I need to look for a Week Two Pin.

PS My Happy Thang for today: The NHL has ended their lockout. We’re going to have us a (half) hockey season. Whoo hoo! Let’s go Devils!

1st Beach Day of the 2012 Season

22 Jun

I couldn’t resist doing this post. I had to bookmark the start of the 2012 beach season. Perhaps it will be one of those things I do every year.

In 2011, the first trip to the beach was June 18.   

In 2012, the first trip to the beach will be June 23.

I’d say we’re right on schedule. Wouldn’t you?

Last year I hadn’t found a new bathing suit. This year, I did. It’s a pretty navy suit that I got on Ruelala. One of the things I wanted to do this year was broaden my fashion horizons and wearing navy (instead of choosing another one in black) is one of those ways I’m growing my wardrobe in new ways.

I also picked up a gorgeous striped hat at TJMaxx on clearance for $10. It’s really wide and floppy and is going to look so vintage travel postcard chic.

And naturally I had to get a fun new beach bag (also from TJMaxx). It’s from the “Life Is Good” collection (how apropos is that)? It’s pink and will go with all my bathing suits (the new navy and the ye olde black suit that is going to make it another season). I should pay attention to who made it because it’s seen lots of sun and salt water and still looks amazing!

Naturally, I have a ton of beach reads including a new book I picked up today “Lunch in Paris. A Love Story with Recipes” by Elizabeth Bard. I read three chapters while having lunch at Barnes & Noble and the story is adorable and the recipes….WOW! Can’t wait to try them out (especially Moelleux au Chocolat “Kitu”) which the author says is the French version of Death by Chocolate.

So tomorrow is kicking off what I hope will be many, many weekends at the shore. And to quote myself…”Any day spent in sand, sun and water is the BEST DAY EVER!”

Happy Weekend!

Can You Love More Than One Book At A Time

5 Jun

I love books. I don’t just love them. I ADORE THEM!

My mother has said on more than one occasion that I learned to read before I learned to walk. My early love of reading began with her “Dick and Jane” books.

     “See Dick Run.”

     “See Jane Run.”

And with those two sentences, my heart grew with wonder for words. The longing to be in other worlds and to ride magic carpets on fantastic adventures. It’s no doubt why I ended up with a career in the arts.

As my love affair with books grew, so did my bookshelves. I started out with a small two shelf number that I picked up at a garage sale for $5.00. A larger apartment meant I could add a massive one from IKEA with four shelves, that was taller than me and took up an entire wall. When I moved into a house, I got a second one to match.

Since that time, books can be found in any nook and cranny in my home. I’ve donated quite a few and leant even more to friends. But my book addiction continues to thrive.

It’s probably because I love to read so much that, at any given time, you can find me enjoying between 2-5 books. A friend of mine insists this is not the way to read as it delays getting to the end of any one book quickly. But the end isn’t always what I have my sights set on. I enjoy the ride.

Not to mention the fact that I enjoy reading different types of books at different times of the day.

For instance, I am NOT a morning person. Getting going after that alarm wakes me up is like running a marathon. I’m built for distance, not for speed. So while I’m still trying to adjust my eyes to the light of day, I need a simple tale. One that is easy-going and doesn’t require a lot of deep thought. One I’ll retain the plot after I’ve finished my morning coffee. So I’ve been reading “The Madman of Venice” by Sophie Masson. It has the added bonus of having slightly larger type which makes it nice for my eyes that are only half-open. 

My favorite way to spend lunch is with a good book in hand. So whether I’ve made my own and gone to a park or I’m sitting in Whole Foods enjoying a nice cup of soup or salad, chances are you’ll find me reading (or writing). But on reading days, I’ve been taking “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” by Gertrude Stein. I recently saw a magnificent exhibit called “The Steins Collect” at The Met. Actually, I visited it three times because it was THAT GOOD. My Sweetheart encouraged me to pick up the book and I’m so glad he did. It’s funny. It’s entertaining. And it ties in so well to the collection.

I hate feeling like my time is being wasted. And standing in line always gives me that feeling.  Carrying a book with me has solved that issue. Now when I find myself standing in line (as I was on Saturday to get into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final), I whipped out a book and started reading. It was “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? by Thomas Kohnstamm. It’s upbeat and adventurous without being too demanding on the attention span. I was able to put it back it my purse, get my ticket scanned, buy a pretzel, find my seat and easily pick up where I had left off in the story without having to go back and reread.

Which brings me to just-before-bed-time-reading. This is where I light a candle, maybe play some soft music and generally tune out the world. I save my favorite books for this reading time. A book I have been savoring for the last couple of months has been “Timeless” by Gail Carriger. It’s the final book in The Parasol Protectorate series. The final adventures of Alexia Tarabotti. Normally, I would be devouring her books. They are a magnificent example of brilliant writing with witty dialogue and characters you wish were alive rather than fictional. I don’t want the series to end. I only read a few pages every night. At this rate, it might be next June before I finish. But that’s ok. Because by February 2013, Ms. Carriger will have a new four book series out dubbed The Finishing School. The first book entitled “Etiquette & Espionage”.

So, in answer to my original question, yes I do believe you can love more than one book at a time. Loving multiple books is a bit like loving shoes. You can’t possibly have only one.

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolution Set You Up For Failure

3 Jan

My sweetheart and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We go for a very, relaxing massage, then it’s time for yummy Thai food and board games with our friends. Sometimes we host. Sometimes they host. But it’s a fun, casual way to spend the evening just enjoying one another’s company.

At the end of the evening (actually, it was the early morning), I asked what their New Year’s resolutions were. She shrugged and said, “I don’t have any.” He made a disgruntled face and said, “I don’t make them anymore because I never keep them anyway.” 

He wasn’t my only friend that wasn’t participating in this yearly tradition. I felt the same way a few years ago, but I think it’s because we set our goals too high. New Year’s resolutions have become extreme edicts whereby we promise to drop 50 pounds by June 1. Where we will no longer eat carbs, drink soda and we promise to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. We’re going to save $10,000 in the next year and we will single-handedly bring about world peace.

Well no wonder we feel defeated before we ever get started.

Two years ago I decided that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t going to be so specific and demanding. I wouldn’t put a strict guideline on what I was or was not going to do. I was going to  make it broad and general and when the moment presented itself, I would make that resolution come true.

In 2009, my new year’s resolution was a quote. “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

On January 1, when I made that declaration, I had no idea what that was. I only knew that in the next 365 days I was going to attempt something.

In August of 2008, a director/actor friend and playwright/producer friend and I sat on my patio furniture and talked about wanting to finally do the work we wanted to do. Yes, we all had success with other theatre companies, directors, producers, etc. and we had enjoyed the work we had done. But we longed to do the things we really wanted to do. The roles we hadn’t played. The shows that we wanted to direct. The venues where we wanted to produce. So in April 2009, I wrote a comedy about the pitfalls of social media. About the same time, the three of us got together again and decided to make it happen.  That year, I wrote, produced and starred in not one, but two of my plays in NYC. Could it have failed? Well, sure. But did it? No. Because I didn’t even let that thought enter my mind. We played to a sold out run.

In 2010, I decided to go the way of the quote again. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – Harold Whitman

On February 8 of that year, I opened my Etsy shop.  I had been wanting to sell online and Etsy made it so easy. With them doing the nuts and bolts of having an online presence, I could concentrate on my artistic endeavors. This was also the year I was selected to be part of the Estrogenius Art Festival in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have three of my paintings in that art show.

It’s with no surprise, that I have decided to keep with my quote tradition. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution: “She decided to start living the life she had imagined.” (I believe this quote is taken from the book “She” by Kobi Yamada).

I’m excited! I have an entire year to do all the amazing things I have imagined doing. I’ll paint more. I’ll read lots. I’ll go to Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. I’ll float in my pool and leave the dusting for tomorrow. I’ll wear more sparkles. I’ll learn to walk in heels. I’ll cook new recipes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I learn to play the cello.

Happy Moment of the Day: That after all those holiday cookies, eggnog and delicious dinners out….I am still 40 pounds thinner than I was 2 years ago!

In Anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2011

31 Oct

Today is October 31, which means tomorrow begins November and the mad month of writing a 50,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I remember my first NaNoWriMo like it was yesterday. Actually, it was two years ago. A friend of mine had told me about ScriptFrenzy. The challenge: to write 100 pages of scripted material during the month of April. Being a writer who needs a hard deadline, and having an idea for a new play, I jumped for joy at finding this wicked cool website. One of the plays that I wrote during the 2009 ScriptFrenzy challenge was produced in NYC later that summer.   

Having accomplished that feat and always saying I was going to put hands to keyboard and write that great novel, I gleefully looked forward to that year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I remember getting my participant t-shirt in the mail and wearing it on November 1, announcing to the world that in less than 30 days, I was going to have that first rough draft.

I wrote fast and furious on that first day. I wrote so much that I didn’t actually need to write the next two days because I had already reached those daily goals. So I used that time to stew on some thoughts of what my characters would do next. On the fourth day life got in the way and before you knew it, most of the weekend had passed and I hadn’t added to my word count.

Ut-oh.

No worries I said. I will simply try my best during the week and hammer out copious amounts of wordage on the weekends.

‘Twas not a bad plan. I had it all worked out on the calendar. Ah, those well laid plans of mice and (wo)men.

You see, life kept getting in the way and I was writing a weekly column at that time. While NaNoWriMo filled my soul, the column filled my wallet.

Somewhere around the third week mark, I started to panic. Laundry didn’t get done. Dinner consisted of crackers and whatever leftovers didn’t look too fuzzy. At least I made time for brushing my teeth.

Then, by Chris Baty’s brilliant design, Thanksgiving day arrived. Whew! I wrote until my Tofurky induced haze made me nap. The following day, I arose early and wrote feverishly for 19 hours straight. Only stopping to get more caffeine, take a potty break or move from the desk, to the bed, to the couch. At 2:22am on November 28, I wrote the words THE END and then burst into tears.

Tears of unbelievable pride, joy and accomplishment.

I had done it! I wrote 64,420 words. And it felt good.

If I could conquer ScriptFrenzy and NaNoWriMo in the same year, I could do anything!

And so I did it again in 2010 and here I am in 2011.

I learned a few things along the way:

1) You need only write 1,667 words a day to accomplish this goal. However, when you got your groove thang on, write! write! write! Because life will get in the way and there will be at least one (and actually more than that) when you simply won’t be able to pump out that word count.

2) In order to not alienate your loved ones, co-workers, friends, set aside a time every day that is an interruption free zone. For me, it’s one hour. For that one hour, I write and don’t have conversations be it in person, email or text. Then when that hour is done, be done and make time for others. Unless of course, your others are busy doing something then write! write! write!

3) One needs to be able to let the creative juices flow and you can’t do that on fast food or left-overs alone nor can you in the same clothes. So make time to eat, sleep and do laundry. You’re characters will thank you for it.

4) Tell everyone you meet that you are writing a novel in just 30 days. The words of encouragement will help fuel you on.

5) Lastly, have fun! If writing is a chore, then don’t do it. You have to love writing in order to do this marathon. But if you do, the finish line awaits you with cheers, confetti and glory.

Happy Moment of the Day: Due to the snow, we may not get that many trick-or-treaters this year which means those Butterfingers might be all mine. Muhahahaha!

When Old Becomes New Again

13 Oct

We had a beautiful weekend of summer and now it’s back to being fall.

When the temp dropped to 61 degrees, I hated to admit it, but I was in need of warmer clothing. So I dug around my sweater bin this morning and pulled out a little gem I had forgotten about in the last seven months. It’s a sporty black sweater with white sleeves and hood. There are two white stripes  on the left arm only and I always feel super hip when I wear it.

I didn’t wear it last winter due to some *ahem* fluffiness. But I have been watching what I eat (not dieting, just paying attention to calories and sodium mostly) since April and I’ve lost a couple. OK more than a couple as I realized this morning when the overall sweater felt looser and the stripes on my left arm weren’t bulging.

This prompted me to dig around my jewelry box for things I hadn’t worn in a while. I pulled out this fabulous pearl ring that I had bought many years ago from a vintage store. It used to fit snug on my ring finger. Today I had to move it to my middle finger.

Suddenly, in less than a year, my old stuff became new. Things that I couldn’t wear are now on the verge of moving to the other side of that statement (can’t wear because they are too big) which means I’ll have to buy some duds this winter.

One of the other things I pulled out was a silver Celtic knot bracelet. A bracelet I wrote about in my first novel.

It’s less than 18 days until NaNoWriMo 2011 starts and I’ll be working on the third novel in my series. In preparation for the beginning of that new book, I’ve pulled out my old manuscripts and notes.

Suddenly, familiar dialogue and relationships are taking on fresh meanings for me as I read between the lines and get tidbits of information that I can use in this upcoming endeavor.

I am super excited to dive into this next book. My old characters are on the cusp of diving into new adventures and I can’t wait to go along for the ride. And, who knows, maybe one of the characters will be wearing an old pearl ring while she goes shopping for a new sweater.

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

28 Sep

I am a list maker.

I have lists for my lists. Usually, the lists contain all the things I need to do, have to do, must do and am afraid I will forget to do. On the rare occasion, my list will include something fun such as picking up material for a new purse idea.

Tonight as I was washing my hair and running through tomorrow’s list o’ things, I felt inspired to create a fun list. A list of little things that I enjoy. So here goes (in no particular order) the things I couldn’t live without (aka the things that would have to be with me on a deserted island):

1. My furry and scaly family members.

2. My man.*

3. Books. Lots and lots and lots of books.

4. My morning coffee.

5. Just for Redheads lipstick in “Enchanting”.

6. Nail polish.

7. Fabulous, sparkly, flip-flops in multiple colors (no yellow).

8. Kate Spade purse(s).

9. My electronics including iPod Nano, netbook and Kindle.

10. Traveling the world.

I realize that some of these things require electricity so naturally I would have to be stranded on an island that had some provisions (one of which would have to be a runway so I could take a plane to travel the world).

*If I were putting this list in order, my man would come first, but I put him second on the list to see if he reads today’s blog post <insert evil grin here>.

Happy Moment of the Day: Pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin scone at Starbucks for lunch yesterday. Still thinking about that devilish good lunch.

 

Is My Writing Style Really Vanilla or White?

28 Jul

So I am two novels into my series and I have gone back to the first one for the 576th edit.

OK, maybe it’s only been 400 times I’ve edited but if you write, you know what I am talking about. The endless days/nights of:  pulling, prodding and picking about each chapter, character and scene.

And it never fails, just when you get one thing finally hashed out to your liking, it inevitably causes two or three other dominoes to fall and then you have to pick up those pieces.  

At any rate, since this was a complete manuscript edit because I had received feedback from a very dear friend who agreed to read it twice and give me her thoughts, I notice a couple o’ things.

In the first third of the novel, my characters loved vanilla. They were drinking vanilla skim lattes, vanilla spice was floating through the air and they were describing their lives as — you guessed it — vanilla.

Interesting since I like chocolate.

Then, in the middle, everyone was fond of the color white. They were wearing white clothes, lighting white candles and decorating their homes in white accessories.

Hmmm….since I like prefer black.

In the final portion, my characters really, well, they pretty much really’d anything. They were really serious, really excited and at one point, really, really, really angry.

I really don’t believe I use that word in my everyday conversations. Really.

Needless to say, my characters started enjoying Carmel lattes, they put on little black dresses and they were happy (just happy, not really happy).

But this got me to thinking…what does this say about me? Do I write in opposition of the things I prefer or do I secretly really desire wafting white candles that smell of vanilla. Perhaps the next time I want chocolate ice cream, I should give vanilla a try, and I bet I can get a white linen skirt for a great price right now. Really!

What does your writing style say about you?

Happy Moment of the Day: Old Spice Guy Wins Out Over Fabio http://news.yahoo.com/old-spice-guy-wins-over-fabio-173340948.html