Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breaking the Silence

I do still exist!  But I'm practically offline this week (I haven't checked my e-mail in 48 hours, if you can believe it of me) as I am taking a weeklong course to become a car seat "tech" - the official term is Child Passenger Safety Technician, or CPST.  So I'm away from the computer all day and by evening I'm brain fried. 

I can't say for certain when I'll get back to writing full-time, though I am getting closer with every day and each thing I can mark off my list (see goals post below).  For now, ask me about Emergency Locking Retractors with lightweight locking latchplates and how that would affect the installation of a convertible child restraint with a rear-facing tether.  *g*

Monday, March 17, 2008

I can't believe I missed it!

Way cooler than pirates.  *w*
Ah, well.  Only another 357 days, 8 hours, and 19 minutes.  I'll be prepared next time...

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Oops, I didn't get the memo.  But that's okay, I haven't been working for 2 months anyway...

Novelists Strike Fails to Affect Nation

My favorite quote: "While the strike has been joined by an estimated 250,000 novelists—225,000 of whom have reportedly stopped in the middle of their first novel..."

Ahaha.  *g*  I've got a lot of work ahead of me, and I may not ever get published (though I certainly plan to try) but I. By. God. Finished. My. Novel.

Still fighting crud, though it's devolved into just a constant sniffle/runny nose and occasional cough with concomitant hoarseness.  Card party tonight with church friends.

Still working on a beta read.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I has it.
Starting yesterday morning I had a sore throat.  That's always how it begins with me.  That got worse and by last night had morphed into sore throat/upper respiratory congestion.  Today it's sore throat/upper respiratory congestion/runny nose/sneezing/occasional cough/low grade fever/general malaise.
Joy.  Looks like o.j. and ginger ale (virgin screwdriver? or would that be a virgin mimosa? at any rate, it's an excellent drink when you're sick).
Thankfully my workload has been light, and I plan to leave at a relatively normal time this afternoon.  Don't know how much use I'll be tonight, though.  It always happens when I get motivated to "do stuff".
Unrelated note: the previous post was my 300th post.  Wow.
Oh, and I got notified today that my results weren't consistent enough to remain in the NASA research study, so now I have to find another way to finance half of my portrait commission.  Pooh.  At least it seems I've got time to do so...  I'd really hoped to avoid resorting to plasma donation (too much time) but it's a plan B if I need it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Review: The Perils of Pleasure

The Perils of Pleasure
Julie Anne Long

First off: don't be fooled by the title OR the cover of this book. They seem to be stock romance novel title and cover, and they seem to have relatively little if anything at all to do with the book itself. (Not the author's fault, of course.) Good thing I read the description, or I might have passed it over entirely.

The premise is: Colin Eversea has been framed for a murder he didn't commit, but as he is about to be hanged he is saved by a "clever - and beautiful - mercenary" (per the back cover copy) named Madeline Greenway who was hired to rescue him, but who then becomes a target in her own right. The two of them have to join forces and clear his name while figuring out who tried to kill her and why, and who set him up in the first place. And of course they fall in love along the way.

Plot. It was a bit convoluted (as others have complained) but I feel like I was able to follow it pretty well. (I liked the very first Mission: Impossible movie, too. Before Tom Cruise got weird.) Most of the resolutions made sense, though one of the big reveals - perhaps THE big reveal - was a bit underwhelming. I felt it needed more closure, but maybe she was leaving room for subplots in future books.

Writing style. Well, my first impression was that I liked Long's voice. She adds snappy one-liners and quirky, witty observations that were fun to read. Some parts read as a bit over-written, though (prologue included), and I did wonder why all the working-class characters in the book seemed to speak with Scots accents, rather than Cockney. And the head-hopping...I guess I've just trained myself to think in very strict third limited and so the head-hopping, which felt clumsy to me at first but may very well be legitimate third-omni, threw me a bit until I just got used to it and let it slide.

Characters. I did come to like Colin, perhaps because we spend so much time in his head, but elements of his character didn't jive with me. As others have pointed out, his professed love for Louisa didn't ring true (though he does realize his delusion at the end of the book, which ameliorated my annoyance somewhat). And he seems an honorable sort, despite constant - and I do mean constant - references to his reputation as a rake. Again, his own confessions and personal realizations make that easier to stomach, but still, it feels like the author felt the romance hero should be a rake (for the sexual experience, maybe?), when she really wanted him to be honorable, and we were just told he was a rake over and over to make us believe it.

I wanted Madeline to be a little more badass and sure of herself than she was. C'mon...beautiful, clever mercenary? She is very...competent, but even that wasn't consistent, as she didn't realize she had bad gunpowder at first but we're supposed to expect she's a crack shot and knows firearms in general for the rest of the book. Don't those kind of things go together? And we were kept from knowing her past for a long time, I guess to make her more intriguing but really just making her a more distant character. When her past life and how she became a mercenary (a slightly misleading term for her, btw) is finally reveal, it too was a little underwhelming. I did come to feel more for her as a person - the thought of losing my husband and/or young son strikes fear deep, deep into my heart - but I remained unconvinced. I guess some parts of her didn't live up to the idea of her I formed from the back cover copy.

But I did believe in how Madeline and Colin's relationship developed - even if it was on a condensed timeline under stressful circumstances - and I was glad when they got together in the end. (But still, more loose strings: what about the farm in America she scrimped and saved to pay off?)

Overall I consider the book an enjoyable escapist (hardy har) read. I will certainly look for and purchase books by this author in the future, but she hasn't yet impressed me enough to make my "permanent keepers" shelf.

Recommended? Sure.

The Return

...and I'm back.
Didn't mean to drop off the face of the blogosphere like that, but my computer time at home was incredibly scaled back - usually just long enough to scan my blog subscriptions, check my e-mail, and respond to anything urgent (and if you're waiting on a detailed reply from me, I've been saving it until I had the time to answer fully, so that's why you haven't heard anything at all) - and at work I haven't had the time to do much of anything besides, well, work.
But I'd given myself until after Little Boy's birthday party to do other things, and so I have been.  We almost didn't have Little Boy's party - a late snowstorm and almost a foot of snow put the kibosh on Saturday's plans - but thankfully almost everyone could make it up Sunday instead after they got the roads clear.  So, much fun (and pizza and cake) was had by all, and now it's time for me to once again get BIC on a regular basis.
I'll be easing into it, likely for the rest of this month, as I also have some other commitments to catch up on.  Rather than post a set of goals, I'll put up my list and mark things off as I go:
To-do list:
Finish and post promised review of book
Finish long-overdue beta-read
Beta-read short story
Finish writing up proposed changes for OHN
Transport OHN into LSB for rewrites
Rework first page/first five pages (AGAIN) and post on Forum for comment
Catch up on Forum posts and Firsts Workshop
Respond to e-mails
Update blog
Non book-related:
Clean out aquarium
Send care package to brother
Get motor scooter serviced for riding season
Write to sponsored child in Columbia
Attend CPST class March 25-28 (yeah, I'm a carseat safety nut)

Liquid Story Binder - Get it 66% off today!!!

(Yes, I'm back.  I'd planned - still plan - a blog post discussing what I've been up to and what my plans are now, but for the moment I just wanted to get this out there...)
Thanks to an anonymous tip comment on my post about Liquid Story Binder XE I found out that it is being offered at 66% off today ONLY.  That's $16, folks.
Check it out HERE.
I'd been planning to purchase the full version sometime soon, as I really delve into rewrites.  Now I'm glad I waited.
For those who wanted Scrivener but mourn their lack of a Mac (heh), this is your answer.  And really, for $16 you can't beat it.  I highly recommend you go buy it today.
And for the record, I'm getting no kickbacks for this message.  Just a good deal.