Monday, May 28, 2007

Defining Literary?

A friend of mine met author Jodi Picoult. I'd never heard fo her, but then again, there are thousand of authors I've never heard of, so...
The next time I browsed books, however, I saw several of her books. I chose this one, THE TENTH CIRCLE, out of the lot for my first experience in reading Picoult.

As most of the readers of this blog know, I tend to read only my lines, which consist of romantic suspense and comedy. So needless to say, this was quite a different experience for me. Overall, I did enjoy it. My only issues were the following:

1) The writing is beautifully done. The story is excellently told. However, if you remove all names and pronouns from any page, you don't know whose POV you're in. I did not get a distinct voice for each of the three main characters, and given that one is a mother, one is a father (different sexes think different ways) and one a teenage daughter of 14 (and let's face is, teenage girls are an entirely different species all together...), there should have been clearer voice for each.

2) I really disliked the ending. It felt too abrupt. Not bad, but I wish there had been more closure to all the various situations presented in the book.

It this book literary? I wrote the Brilliant One, but Evil Editor was buried in Novel Deviations II. I don't read literary, so I have no comparison. I think it is, but I'm just not sure. I've heard agents and editors both say it's hard to define but they know it when they see it. I don't know it, I'm not sure I've seen it, but I'm thinking this may be it.

By the way, I do recommend this book. I liked it enough to stay up and read it in just two days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

All in a Mother's Day

I have to say, I really dislike holidays like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc. They seriously serve no purpose except to get people to spend money, and usually out of guilt. Labor Day, Memorial Day - those are good. People get the day off, usually, to be with friends and family. These other holidays of "appreciation" just seem... lame. I mean, c'mon. Buy me a gift any day of the year, tell me you love me just because. Don't do it because it's written on a calendar.

Anyway, rant off.

My children are getting older, and regardless of my denial, that means I am too. Every year is interesting though. Cooper, kindergarten and age 5, is still in that "usual school created" Mother's Day theme. He came home Friday with a flower he'd grown from a seed, and a flower-shaped blue cardstock with his photo attached to it. And of course, I had to unwrap it RIGHT THEN. Sydney's 1st grade class made a thing to hang on the refrigerator.

Carly, the mini-me and ever the practical one, got me two pens I really like to use. Love this gift. And they're always stealing MY pens, so I needed them as well. Not that I believe for an instant that these pens will remain on my desk for long, but I digress...
She also made me this really neat braided ankle bracelet that is really well done, and I plan to wear it starting the day school is out, and keep it on until the hemp just wears out. Perfect for summer. The best gift from Car, though, was she cleaned the kitchen for me. THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

Shandie. Oh, my freaky sixteen year old. Two years ago, for you long-time readers of the blog, you'll remember she drew me a picture and it read, "If mothers were flowers, I'd smash you in a book." This year, being older and so much more mature, she bought me several little things: A book from the NEXT line of Harlequin called LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER (But in a Good Way) with three stories in it by Jennifer Greene, Nancy Robards Thompson and Peggy Webb. She also got me two of my favorite candies: A Skor bar and a box of Wonka Bottle Caps. Syd stole the Skor bar, and all of them have raided the Bottle Caps. She got us matching silver rings, hers says DAUGHTER and mine says MOTHER, but neither of us can wear silver well, so we've put them on our keychains. And she got me a silver heart that says PATRICIA.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy does it say PATRICIA? I'm so glad you asked. After almost 17 years of "Mom Mom Moooooooooooooooom MOM MOMOMOMOMOM", I've learned to block it from my hearing. So several months ago, Shandie started calling me Patricia. Ugh. Even at her school, she'll say something like, "Thanks, Patricia!" and I'll yell "Don't call me PATRICIA!" and her friends are like, "I thought your mom's name is Brenda." And she nods and says, "It is."

Seriously, explain that mentality to others. Not an easy task.

So, I now have a PATRICIA silver heart that goes on a necklace. Not quite sure what to do with THAT yet. But she cooked dinner for us too, so that delayed her beating on general principle.

And the homemade cards. Let's not forget those. Remember Shandie's "smash you in a book"? Well, remember the deballing of Santa from the blonde child named Sydney? Hmm. Remember my post about YOE DAY? (Some of you may have some back-reading to do to get caught up here.) I'll summarize though: Yoe Day is an official school holiday here. I actually heard the reading of the will this year, and Ms. Yoe, before donating all the money to the ISD, declared a day off where the presidents of the different school organizations will go to the graves of Mr. and Mrs. Yoe and put flowers on them. I kid you not: Official No School Day here for that. Very odd. Well, apparently this had an impact on Sydney, ever the literal thinker. Her cards to me reads:

"Happy Mother's Day. I love you. You are kind. So when you die, I'll have everyone put flowers on your grave. From: Sydney"

And ya know, I just had no reply to that, other than, I love you too, Syd Vicious, you little freaky darling.

Happy Mother's Day to to you too - and may you have someone in your life who loves you enough to smash you in a book, or have everyone put flowers on your grave when you die.

Friday, May 11, 2007


First Look
Seeing him there, the light in his eyes, the height and strength of him, the surity of how he carries himself. The king of his domain, regardless of what domain he happens to be in at the time. The world falls back into shadows, and only he glistens there in the reality that instantly becomes your world.The first words. The realization of his voice, sure, confident, spoken into the very air you inhale, becoming a part of you as your breathe deeply. Despite the chaos that tumbles through your mind, the current drama life has flung at you, he lured you there as a confidante, just to talk, just to listen but there he is and you're hearing his voice, watching his expressions, seeing that little dimple he has when you say something funny - that dimple you never noticed before in a photo.

These are the moments this life is about.

Watching his expressions, the tone of his voice matching the movement of his body. Instantly he has changed, after a year of random back-and-forth emails, he is finally real. So very, very real.

The first touch
That nervousness of his hand on you, even platonically, because he knows you're distracted with thoughts of something else. He knew when he called, but he beckoned anyway, and you went. And that calm settles over you. There's a peace found with him that you hadn't experienced before. You'd read about it, you'd written about, and God knows you've heard about it, but now you KNOW about it, and you want more of it.

The first good-bye
That time when you have to leave, even if you don't want to. The time when you gather every ounce of sass and bravado your body can muster and start to walk away. Alone. A teasing grin, a promise of plans, your damn heart still betraying you with reactions you never dreamed would happen as you fight to contain it, not let it show.His voice saying to wait but your heart, the coward that it is, pleads with you to run. You don't turn back until he demands it, but you continue walking, looking back at him, still grinning, still hoping, your heart begging you to hit your knees and crawl to him if you must, but you deny it all and continue walking backward, keeping him in sight as he follows, never realzing at the time that he'd never follow you again.

The first real touch
He strips away any idea of platonic. He pulls you close, so close, holding you to him, pressing his body against yours, and that strength you saw, now you feel it, the curve of a bicep under your fingers, the span of his chest against your breasts, his thighs aligned with yours, the perfect sizes, the perfect fit. You inhale him, his scent, his heat molding your body, your hands on his neck, memorizing the feel of him, just in case there's never a second change. Then more, his hands on are you, under the jacket, fingers spread widely against your back, dancing along your ribs, the outter curve of your breasts, the strength if his fingers as they skim your body, along your sides, down the flair of your hips, to the roundness of your bottom and you know he's feeling you, really feeling you, the shape of you under all those clothes you wore as a sense of false protection. His mouth, that delicious mouth, just inches from your ear, whispering, "Close your eyes."And you do. For him, you do.

That first kiss
Soft, pliable lips, ever so talented, barely grazing your cheek. The music of the room fades away, the sounds of clinking glasses turn to windchimes in your mind. Magical sounds. With your eyes closed, every other sense sharpens, concentrates, focus, is magnified a thousand times stronger now that you can't see, can't see his face, can't see his movements. Your heart falls into your belly and you shake. Your entire body trembles as his mouth ever so softly kisses your check. His voice, next to your ear. So close. So there, but this time, no phone invades the space. It's just you. It's just him. It's just you two together and nothing else. And you can feel his breath now, and his promise of, "Next time I won't kiss you on the cheek."