Posts tagged with: books

Another Reading Fun Quick Five

Welcome to another Quick Five Sunday. Hope you’re all having a great weekend, wherever you are. I’m stuck in my deadline cave, writing the second book of my New Jersey Ice Cats series – working title, Rescuing Jenny. The hockey hunks are busy practising, because it’s not long until the hockey season starts! 🙂 Paolo is on snacks and drinks duty, bringing me cups of hot tea or glasses of cold lemonade and nacho cheese tortilla chips with sour cream dip or hot, buttered popcorn for when I’m flagging. He also refills the bowl of treat-size Cadbury’s chocolate, as necessary.

For today’s fun, I thought I’d make things easy for you and do a Quick Five based around the book you’re currently reading. Now, I know you’re all busy reading A Perfect Distraction 😉 – although some of you, like Helen, have already finished! 🙂 Sorry – I’m going to post answers from A Perfect Distraction, so you’ll have to pick another book.

APDcoverAre you ready? Then let’s get to it:

1. Which novel, other than A Perfect Distraction, are you currently reading?

2. What is the opening line of the book?

3. What the hero and heroine’s names? (If you’re not reading a romance, give the name of the main character).

4. Turn to Chapter 9 and give us the sentence that starts on or about the 22nd line.

5. What’s next on your TBR pile?

So, my answers are:

1. RaeAnne Thayne’s Currant Creek Valley (from her Hope’s Crossing series – I’m reading all five, one after the other) and Lorraine Heath’s Passions of a Wicked Earl (from her London’s Greatest Lovers series – I’m reading all three, one after the other)

2. From A Perfect Distraction – “You didn’t tell me there would be paparazzi!”

3. Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti and Maggie Goodman

4. “Bad Boy has come home and he’s taking no prisoners,” the voice-over intoned as Jake’s picture faded to a video montage.

5. Lisa Gardner’s Touch and Go.

Since one of my prize packages from my recent blog tour wasn’t claimed, I’m offering it up to our loyal BBs instead. So, if you take part in the Quick Five fun today, you will be eligible to win a signed copy of A Perfect Distraction and a special commemorative pack of the Royal Mail’s Jane Austen stamps.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Books!

Lend 4Recently, I was away staying with a friend and as you do (well, as I do!), I was checking out her bookcases. As a result I ended up with a pile of new authors to try. How lucky am I?

I think as readers, we’re hardwired to lend the books we like to people we also like. It’s part of the friendship bargain – as long as the books come back. I have some friends who NEVER returned the books I lent them and it certainly cast a pall over the friendship.

I remember an exchange in OUT OF AFRICA where the Robert Redford character is talking to the Meryl Streep character about lending a book to someone who never returned it. It went something like this. MS says “What a pity you lost a book,” and RR goes “What a pity he lost a friend.” Ouch! 

One of the things I love about people lending me books is that I get to discover authors who otherwise would never have crossed my path. I get a lot of recommendations from friends and people on the net. Did you know I do a review on the 24th of every month on The Romance Dish? I’ve got some great recommendations there. But still, there’s something about that rifling through someone else’s bookcases and finding things that look interesting that makes for wonderful discoveries!

Or if a friend sends you a book they’ve loved. Great too!Lend 3

It’s also great if you can get your friends interested in books you’ve loved. One of the sad things about people NOT returning the book you lend them is that you never give someone a book you didn’t like. It’s always a book you’ve loved – and you want it back!

What fun when you can discuss a beloved series with someone as crazy about the characters as you are!

I’m sure some of you are saying now, “But don’t you want people to BUY all your books?” Not necessarily. Partly because when I’m hooked on an author, I’ll tend to buy them all anyway. Also because I think lending a book is part of the pleasure of buying it in the first place. We all love to chat books – that’s one of the fun things about being part of a wonderful community like the Banditas.

Although having said that, I haven’t seen Paolo with anything beyond THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. Sigh. That boy!

So I thought today, I’d share with you a few books that people have recently lent me that I’ve really enjoyed.

lend 1My lovely critique partner Annie West has lent me many a book over the years. Mind you, I’ve lent her many a book too. Just to give you an example or two, she’s hooked on the wonderful Daisy Dalrymple books by Carola Dunn (really fun light 1920s mysteries set in Britain) and the much darker Elly Griffiths mysteries featuring forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway. And now she’s devouring the brilliant Julia Spencer-Fleming series featuring vicar Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne like I devour Toblerone.

Do I need to paint you a picture? Anyway, I love that she’s getting the same kick out of these wonderful books that I do.

Two recent discoveries for my TBR pile thanks to Annie are the delicious Bruno, Chief of Police, series by Martin Walker and an older release, the Vicky Bliss books by Elizabeth Peters.

So far, I’ve read four of the Bruno books and they’re like soaking in a lovely deep bath drinking fine French wine. Bruno, the hero, is an ex-soldier who takes the job as chief of police in a small town deep in the French countryside. While the mysteries in these stories are intriguing, the best bit is the wonderful texture of French life that invests the stories. I’m ALWAYS hungry when I read a Bruno book! I’ve been a huge Elizabeth Peters fan for a little while now (I’ve got a feeling that Bandita Christina Brooke put me onto the Amelia Peabody stories), but Annie recently lent me the first two Vicky Bliss books. Contemporaries rather than historicals, but still with that wonderful madcap sense of humor.

 lend 2Another great read recently thanks to a fortuitous bit of borrowing was thanks to Desire author Rachel Bailey who lives not far from me. I went up to stay with Rachel and her dogs (and her long-suffering husband who has learned more about romance fiction than a man should!) earlier this year and brought back so many books, I needed two boxes to carry them! In amongst the booty was a Jennifer Crusie book that I hadn’t read before. MAYBE THIS TIME is a great romantic ghost story – as anyone who has read my THESE HAUNTED HEARTS knows, I’m partial to a great romance on the other side!

Finally, out of this whirlwind tour giving you just a tiny glimpse of my recent borrowings, I’d like to thank the wonderful Harlequin Medical author Sharon Archer who has got me well and truly hooked on Dick Francis’s racing thrillers.

Last October, Sharon lent me a couple to try and I’ve been devouring them like DOUBLE Toblerone ever since. I think I’ve now read about 20.

The joys of getting addicted to Dick Francis’s books is that there’s a huge backlist. They’re fantastic – I always learn something when I read his books and he writes the most wonderful heroes, calm, resourceful, brave, kind, honorable. Sigh. I want to marry a Dick Francis hero. I would suggest a more illicit relationship, but did you see I mentioned honorable? What fantastic books! I even wrote a My Favorite Things piece on them for my website, I love them so much: http://annacampbell.info/favethings13.html#march%2013

So I have to say I disagree with Shakespeare’s Polonius, who says “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” If I was neither, my life would be MUCH poorer.

So aBanditBootyre you a book lender? A book borrower? Have you discovered any treasures in your friends’ bookshelves? If you had to lend someone new to romance a book to get them hooked on the genre, what book would you pick?

I’ve got an ARC of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS for one commenter today (international!) – and you don’t even need to return it to me once you’ve finished it! Good luck!

Quotable Quotes

One of the reasons I love Shakespeare (you have to love old Will if you’re going to teach him for twenty years) is that so much of his plays and sonnets are immensely quotable.  I find them popping up in some form or other in books, telly shows, news broadcasts, movies, and of course, books.Will Shakespeare

 

When I hear one on a television show Dr. Big and I are watching, I always make him hit the “pause” button and ask, “Know where that comes from?”

 

I’m such a show off.

 

What I love about Shakespeare quotes is the rhythm, cadence, tone, imagery, and yes even that teacher-ish iambic pentameter meter.  It’s as if Will knew he’d be quoted centuries after he was gone (or Christopher Marlowe was gone, if you believe Kit was the real writer of Shakespeare’s works – I choose to ignore that because Marlowe was killed in a bar fight.  Probably.  Maybe.)

 

Of course, it’s not just Shakespeare who’s quotable.  Our culture is rife with lines, phrases and sayings that each new generation discovers all over again and claims them as their own.

 

Here are some of my favorite.

 

“The fault … is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Cassius to Brutus while talking him into participating in Caesar’s assassination)

 

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” (Rhett to Scarlett – what an intriguing way for this classic romance novel to end.  DoFireflyes she or doesn’t she get Rhett back?)

 

“Take my love, take my land/Take me where I cannot stand/

I don’t care, I’m still free/You can’t take the sky from me.”

 

Canceling Joss Whedon’s Firefly series about a space cowboy and his ship Serenity has got to be the worst mistake Fox Television ever made.  This quote is from the show’s theme song.

 

“Screw your courage to the sticking-place.”  Lady Macbeth taunts her husband into murdering King Duncan.

 

“Good opinion once lost is lost forever.”  No real romance reader will fail to recognize this famous line from “Pride and Prejudice.”

 

“By the pricking of my thumbs/something wicked this way comes.”  Not only did the three witches recognize Macbeth’s evil when he enters the scene, but Ray Bradbury wrote a book called “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

 

“Frailty, thy name is woman.”  Hamlet speaks of his mother Gertrude and her hasty marriage to her brother-in-law after her husband’s death.

 

My mother also had a lot of aphorisms and adages she passed on to me.Stop this  car!

 

  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Why buy the cow when the milk’s free?
  • Haste makes waste.
  • Penny wise and pound foolish.
  • Don’t make me stop this car!

 

What about you, readers?  Do you have a favorite saying passed on from other generations?  Are there lines from books, movies or TV shows that stick in your mind?  Do you have a favorite phrase you find yourself repeating?

 

Lost and Found

lostfoundDo you ever lose things? No, I’m not talking about your cell phone or car keys. Those I can keep track of quite nicely. I mean things you’ll need once in a while or months later? You’ve put this object or objects away in a “safe” place so you’ll remember where to find it and when you go to get it…it’s not freaking there!! Yep, I’m having some problems with that these days.

Sometimes you know something is gone forever, but good news pops up anyways! But then sometimes you’re looking for one thing and find another! And sometimes, you find what you were looking for and it turns out better than you ever imagined!

Example #1. Baseball Tickets.

My husband and I are HUGE baseball fans. We currently have 2 favorite teams. Our #1 team is always The Cleveland Indians. (I’ve done entire blogs about the team!!) Our #2 team is the Texas Rangers, our new home team. We root for them as long as they aren’t playing The Indians. Hubby’s birthday is a few days before the annual start of Baseball season, so after we moved to Dallas, I started buying him tickets to the series of games when Cleveland played here against Texas. Yes, he was quite shocked. Every year I try to get better seats, near the field and right behind the visitors, (Cleveland)’s dugout. Well, this year the tickets came and unfortunately I didn’t put them away where I would find them.baseball_tickets_sm

So, after a massive search of the house and no sign of the tickets, I reach out to the Rangers ticket office. 

Ah! The lovely man on the other end of the line chuckled. “Happens all the time, ma’am. Just have your husband present the email with the confirmation at the ticket office anytime before the game and we’ll print him up new ones.” HALLELUJAH! Did I mention he was a lovely man?

Example #2. Rocky’s coat scratcher. 

A while back I noticed Rocky-the-wonder-dog’s coat was looking a bit mangy. He’s a short-haired dog, so he sheds the extra thickness in  his coat every year about this time. I went to look for his coat scratcher, It’s this metal thing with zigzag teeth that I pull through his coat and it thins out his coat, bringing all the old dead hair with it. Could. Not. Find. It. Anywhere. It wasn’t in the usual spot where I always put it when I’m done. What the heck did I do with it?  The more days I couldn’t find it, the mangier poor old Rocky looked.

IMAG0225_resizedSo, while I was hunting for tickets, what do I find? Yep! Rocky’s coat scratcher, outside, behind the chest where we store the out door furniture cushions in the winter. (Why was I looking for tickets out there? I was desperate, I tell you, desperate!) So, I spent the entire morning grooming Rocky, who did the bend-myself-in-two-because-it-feels-so-good act he does when I scratch him and now his coat is smooth and he looks way happier.

Example #3. VANISHED.

 A number of years ago, I was working on a book to follow KIDNAPPED and HUNTED. I’d started the book and then for presonal reasons, decided to change the entire book. So I began again, different premise, same characters. I worked on it for some time, but my heart was never into the new pages. In the mean time I had a WADD (Writer Attention Defecit Disorder) moment or two and moved on to other projects, eventually selling The Surrender of Lacy Morgan to Ellora’s Cave. 

Then I decided to try my hand at self publishing. KIDNAPPED and HUNTED  were out, but I knew I had more books in the series. I decided to make a novella with the married brother of the Edgars’ clan, Dave and his wife Judy. That turned into SEIZED, which will be out in June of this year. 🙂 

In the meantime, I revisited the idea of Luke’s story, (the youngest brother in the Edgars’ family). Unfortunately, my old computer died a year ago and when I moved files from it to this new one…I somehow manage to lose both the new and old stories I’d started for Luke. Dang it! I was going to have to start from scratch!! Sigh.

Well, back in January, I spent an entire 3 weeks unable to talk…no voice. So one day I’m sitting in my office staring at the hutch on my desk, when what do I spy? This little box containing those 3.5″ square discs I used to save my manuscripts to. OMG! You don’t think I could’ve possibly saved that original story there? 

A quick investigation found one labeled LUKE. OMG!! Hubby opened it on his computer, because my new one doesn’t have a drive for that and then he emailed it to me. Wha-la! There it was in all it’s glory!! Hallelujah!! I sat and read it. I still loved this original beginning and now felt it was the perfect way to tell Luke’s story. 

And the best part?

It was 12,500 words!!!

The working title is VANISHED, not because I couldn’t find it, but for other reasons, but hey, if the pun fits!! And hopefully, if I work really hard on it, YOU might get to read it in the fall.

 

So, do you ever lose things? Ever have something turn up when you least expect it? What was the oddest thing you ever lost? What was the most IMPORTANT thing you ever lost?What do you lose more than anything? 

 

So, What Are You Reading?

Maybe because many people know I write, I’m often asked what I’m reading. I read a ton of books every year, especially considering I work full-time. I buy, beg and borrow lots of books in lots of different genres and sub-genres, and people are sometimes surprised at what I’m reading.

 

I also belong to a book club with about 14 other people at work. We take turns picking a book for each month, then meet for lunch once a month to discuss the book. This can be a bit like herding cats for the facilitator, but makes for energetic and lively conversation. It also forces me to read books I would not normally pick up. My sisters, mother, daughters and sometimes my son, recommend books they are sure I will love. Almost 100% of the time, these books are nothing I would ever pick up in a million years. Many, however, have turned into some of my favorite books of all time.

 

I wanted to share some of the most interesting books I have read lately that may not have crossed your radar, so here is a short list of books you may want to pick up if you’re looking for something different:

 

1. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – This book is women’s fiction and is a tale of three grown (30ish) sisters. Their father is a Shakespearean scholar and professor and they grew up in a small college town in Ohio. They are brought home when their mother is diagnosed with cancer – and due to circumstances in their own lives. The two most interesting things about this book, to me, were: 1) the exceptional and excellent use of third-person collective, omniscient POV; and, 2) the insistent interweaving of childhood anecdotes throughout the book. A fun, fast read that feels different. This was a book I picked for book club based on reviews and I was very happy with my choice.

 

2.  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark – This book is set in the Regency, during and after the Peninsular Wars. It is the story of two very different magicians who are attempting to resurrect “good English magic” and the trouble that ensues. My mother recommended this book to me and it was an absolute delight. It is also lengthy – almost 900 pages – so anyone who enjoys stories set during the Regency and also enjoys a bit of fun and magic in-depth character studies all set in a hefty book should enjoy this one. I have not had so much sheer reading delight in a long time (okay, since last summer’s plow through the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series – recommended and gifted to me by my son).

 

3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris – If you’ve never read David Sedaris, you may not want to start with this book. His books are all hilarious collections of essays – some very true, some mostly true, some slightly true and some purely fictional. You get to decide which are which. For the beginner, I would recommend Holidays On Ice or Me Talk Pretty One Day. He is laugh-out-loud funny and tells painful truths about himself and all of us. This is a fairly recent (2008) collection of essays and, now that Sedaris is 50-ish, his painful truths of being middle-aged, living with a long-term partner, living in foreign countries, dealing with family and handling things like trying to quit smoking are even more searingly close-to-home for me than his earlier fare. This was a book club pick by another member and I was delighted she chose it.

 

4. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn – The original hardcover title was Ella Minnow Pea: a progressively lipogramatic epistolary fable, but apparently people were intimidated by that title, so they dumbed it down for us. This is a short, insanely fun book about a fictional island nation off the coast of South Carolina, where the inhabitants pay undying and very serious homage to their most famous citizen, Ned Nollop, the supposed creator of the well-known pangram “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” In the course of the book, letters from the pangram begin falling off the statue of Nollop in the town square and the reactive town leaders decide that as letters fall off, they must be excised from speech, writing and literature. Communication quickly becomes both difficult and frustrating for island inhabitants. The punishment? Public censure for a first offense, lashing or stocks (violator’s choice) upon a second offense and permanent banishment from the island nation upon the third. Compelling, fast-paced and a rollicking good time!

 

So what great book have you read lately that was different from your usual picks? Do you have friends, relatives or a book club that push your reading boundaries? Please share, because we all love to discover great new (to us) books!

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime!

by Anna Campbell

I think it’s time we played a game!

Stay tuned, there’s your choice from my books to be won today!

Wahooooo as they say in the best of circles.

I’m kinda talking circles today – circles of HELL!

It’s strange where blog ideas come from – apart from the big shop of blog topics which is a branch of the big shop of stories where we authors purchase the prefab kits for our masterpieces.

This idea came from a stray Facebook post this week where someone said she was sitting in the coffee shop in a brick and mortar bookstore which didn’t have the book she wanted, so she ordered the book from Kindle. Shock, horror! The upshot was she asked her Facebook community if they thought she’d go to Book Hell as a result.

I made a joke about Book Hell being the place where every book you read has the last five pages cut out. Not an original line, sadly – there’s a wonderful scene in the original Peter Cook and Dudley Moore BEDAZZLED where one of the Devil’s little tricks is to cut the last page out of Agatha Christies before they’re sold.

Oh, the iniquity! Oh, the spite!

So I started to think, for a reader, what would Book Hell be like?

SCARY, OBVIOUSLY!!!!

So I’m making you guys honorary naughty little imps for the day.

I know you’re all such angels that that’s going to be a huge stretch, but try, OK?

Well, for the Rooster it won’t be a stretch and Ermingarde is used to dark caverns lit by fire. But I’m talking about the rest of the Bandits and Bandita Buddies!

Oh, and if any of you need help deciding on which book of mine you’d like, here’s a link to the Books page on my website. Excerpts and blurbs enough there to keep you amused to the Crack of Doom.

Set fire to your imaginations and tell me what, to you, would constitute Book Hell! Would it be reading ALL the Black Dagger Brotherhood books and then having the last one withheld from you FOREVER? Would it be every romance you pick up featuring a hero called Murgatroyed? Let your wicked imaginations fly!

One lucky imp will win a very heavenly signed copy of one of my books – your choice.

And wishing you devilish good luck!

Your Sweetest Little Sin

by Christine Wells

With the Banditas shortly descending on Mickey Land and Joanie T’s determination to drag whoever will come with her on the It’s a Small World ride, I thought it fitting to do a tribute to all those catchy songs, TV shows, books, foods that you know are either in bad taste or bad for you but you just can’t get them out of your head or off your playlist or off your plate!

(Not that I would ever allege that It’s a Small World is in bad taste or bad for you, just so we’re clear! It’s the catchy part I was thinking of there. OK, Joanie? OK?)

Here’s my list:

Music:

Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head. Like the song says, I can’t get it out of my head once I hear it on the radio. Another catchy tune is the Woolworth’s supermarket Fresh Food People jingle (solely an Oz invention, I assume!) — caught myself humming along to that one in the supermarket the other day, talk about embarrassing!

And Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night by Black-Eyed Peas. They use a snatch of this song instead of a school bell at my son’s school and boy does that song run in annoying monotone circles round my brain all day!

Books:

Do you have any series that are just addictive? I can’t go past an Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley mystery. I just have to know what happens next in the saga of Inspector Lynley, even though I don’t care an awful lot about the murder mystery itself.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of reading matter, Marie Claire magazine. I buy it for the articles. Truly! I know it’s just a big ol’ waste of money but I can’t resist. Oh, look, free sunglasses this month. Shiny!

TV Shows:

Wait for it… Entourage! Yes, I know, I know. It’s sick:) But I have to laugh sometimes at the parallels between the crazy ups and downs of Hollywood and the publishing world and shake my head over the insanity of it all.

I’m also getting a kick out of How I Met Your Mother, which brings back memories of my own crazy friends in those pre-married, pre-kid years. And look at that, Doogie Howser is all grown up!

The last one, which Vrai Anna recommended a while back is ACE OF CAKES. Not only do they make phenomenal cakes (anyone see the Hogwarts episode?) but they’re a fun group of people to watch.

Food:

My Sweetest Little Sin (yeah, you know I had to throw THAT in *G*) is choc chip cookies. I cannot resist them, especially the ones I make myself. I have to ban myself from the supermarket aisle with the choc chips in it so I don’t throw them in the trolley. I also cannot start the day without a jumbo cup of instant Moccona Indulgence coffee. I know. It’s sacrilege. I’m a coffee slob, what can I say?

Over to you, Bandita Buddies! What are your guilty little secrets, hmm? The winner will receive a signed copy of SWEETEST LITTLE SIN!

On the Road Again … and Again …

By Kate

Whew. After traveling back and forth to Las Vegas for my fabulous plot group, and Buffalo, New York, for my lovely niece’s wedding, and then up to Oregon to visit old friends, last week I went through yet another airport security line, jumped on another plane and headed off to Indianapolis to attend Bouchercon. That’s the convention that brings together authors, readers, librarians, booksellers, agents, editors and publishers from all over the world to celebrate the mystery genre. It was five days of fun and I had a blast meeting some of my favorite authors, having afternoon tea with a table full of delightful librarians from Ohio, attending my publisher’s cocktail party, and having a marvelous dinner with five super mystery authors, namely, Avery Aames (Cheese Shop mysteries), Sheila Connolly (Orchard mysteries), Maggie Sefton (Knitting mysteries), Kate Collins (Flower Shop mysteries) and Betty Hechtman (Crochet mysteries). And in between the many panels and the bar scene and the Starbucks scene and the book signings, I got a chance to hang out with the marvelous Becke Martin (our own Treethyme) from Barnes & Noble’s online book club forums. What a treat!

I have to say, I loved the weather in Indianapolis. It was cold and clear and beautiful, every day. I got to wear jackets and scarves and my leather gloves. Gloves! Believe me, we don’t get many opportunities to wear gloves in southern California.

Because of all the crazy traveling, I recently went on a serious book buying binge. I always pack lots of books, hoping they’ll distract me while I’m waiting in cold airport lounges, or sitting in cramped airline seats several miles in the air, or trying to go to sleep in strange hotel rooms. I’m so thankful to Kristan Higgins and Lisa Kleypas for providing absolutely wonderful distractions on my last trip. I’m also very excited about all the books I’ve pre-ordered that will arrive in next week’s shipment: Jennifer Lyon’s SOUL MAGIC, Susan Mallery’s HOT ON HER HEELS, Lorna Barrett’s BOOKPLATE SPECIAL, Susan Donovan’s AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG, Nora Roberts’ BED OF ROSES, Diana Killian’s DIAL OM FOR MURDER, and Judi McCoy’s HEIR OF THE DOG. Good grief, I wonder when I’ll find the time to write my own book??

So, Bandita Buddies, time to share! Have you traveled anywhere recently? Where did you go and what did you do? Did you bring lots of books? What books are you looking forward to reading soon? Do you like to read when you’re flying–or do you have to drink three Bloody Marys and pop a xanax, just to climb on board the plane? Whoa, hey now, that’s not me!

I’m thrilled to be giving away an Advance Reader Copy of my February 2010 book, IF BOOKS COULD KILL to one lucky commenter today! So comment away!

Rain, Rain, Please Stay

by Tawny

Ahhh, the rainy season is here.

It’s pouring outside right now. This is our first rain in our new house and its really interesting to listen to the sound of the rain pounding on the skylight, to watch it play out against the backdrop of the redwoods outside my window.

Rain is definitely one of those things you appeciate more from indoors, isn’t it? Although I do have to say, I’m ever-so-grateful for whoever designed the darling raingear for outdoor wear. Have you seen some of the clever boots that are out now? Oh man, I love the edgier rock-star ones. I’d wear them anywhere (actually I’m thinking of making rainboots a standard fashion statement, worn with jeans, leggings, skirts- indoors and out. My daughters are concerned and asking not to be seen in public with me if I do, but I think it could catch on. What do you think?)

Maybe it’s my natural inclination toward footwear, but while I’m all hot for the boots, I’m sort of ‘eh’ over raincoats. Yes, I realize there are some really chic and fashionable ones, but I just can’t get into them. Maybe if they made cuter ones for adults, like they do kids?

But despite my current obsession with rainwear, I’m unfortunately always -ALWAYS- without an umbrella. I don’t get it, I own them. Every season I buy at least one new one. But I can never find them – especially when it’s raining. So while my feet are comfy and dry, I usually show up wherever I’m going with wet hair.

These are, I’m sure, along with miserable traffic, the reasons that rain really is an indoor delight (and yes, the reason I’m trying to make cute rainboots an indoor/outdoor fashion statement). Indoor rainy days are simply made for cuddling. For quiet pursuits like crafts or baking. Or best of all, for reading. I hear the rain hitting the windows and my fingers actually twitch for a book. Like Pavlov’s dog, I’m trained to read in the rain.

There’s nothing better than spending the evening curled up next to the fire, with the rain pounding away, a hot toddy or hot buttered rum and some deliciously decadent baked treat next to me while I lose myself in a wonderful romance. Or, if my daughter is reading with me, reading aloud Harry Potter or Percy Jackson along with some popcorn (or caramel corn if I’m feeling super indulgent) and hot cocoa. I’ll even settle for an afternoon with my laptop, writing my own romance while sipping iced tea (what can I say, it’s a year-round addiction) and nibbling on something healthy like fruit.

The time of day, the drink of choice and the snacking deliciousness are all interchangeable. But it’s always about the story, the rain and the deep feeling of relaxation.

How about you? Do you like rainy days? Are they reading time for you, or do they inspire some other form of entertainment? What’s your favorite rainy day reading treat to snack on?

And seriously, don’t you think cute rainboots could be an indoor fashion statement? Really?????

ALONE TIME

by Suzanne Welsh

My husband is out of town this week, so I’ve got the house all to myself. While I miss his company immensely, I love being alone.

Mind you, I didn’t say I like being lonely. In fact, I rarely feel lonely. Between the internet which allows me to chat with all the Banditas; my AOL chats with my sister, mother and at least two of my kids; and the phone which rings constantly with people worried about the state of my estate, my FHA loan rate and my need for exotic vacations in places no one has ever heard of, I’d say I have plenty of contact with people. In fact, at my work people leave their nice warm comfy beds just to come to see me…patients because of their labor and doctors because I took the time to call them! And then there is the gaggle of nurses, who love to chat into the wee hours of the night! All these interactions with others is good and provides fodder for both story ideas and characterizations.

No, I’m rarely lonely, but I do enjoy having time for me and my thoughts. I enjoy putzing around the house in my pajamas with no one home to wonder if I’m “getting dressed” today. Rocky, the wonder dog, doesn’t mind at all! He knows that jammies mean one of two things. Either I’m writing all day or we’re heading back to bed for a long nap at some point.

When I’m home during the daytime the television is never on. The CD player on the other hand is. I enjoy listening to mood music while I write. In an action scene? Usually you’ll hear some ZZTop or Lynard Skynard pounding out in my office. A sexy scene? Some Sade or Alison Krauss.


Having alone time in the evenings allows me some freedom to catch up on reruns of The Closer, NCIS (a very cool, underrated show in my opinion) or any CSI, and the latest Project Runway (did y’all see last nights outfits?!)…I already have my hopeful finalists picked out!

And then there’s the reading!! OMG…let’s see I just finished Sherrilyn Kenyon’s ACHERON,(absolutely loved it) and am reading Sophie Jordan’s TOO WICKED TO TAME, (very good so far!). SLAVE by Cheryl Brooks is next on my list.

One other project I’m starting this week is a scrapbook for a Christmas present for one of my daughters. (can’t tell you which one since they occasionally read this blog!)
So do you enjoy having alone time? When you do, what do you indulge in?
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