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Showing posts from October, 2018

Road Trip!

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Today for the first time in months I opened the file for Book #9, [working title] FLORIDA GOLD. I'm 8K into the story and I surprised myself because....it's pretty good. Huh.

Since WHAT THE PARROT SAW is now in early production stages I can get back to what I was working on before. However, one of the notes I have is to take a field trip to the coast to Faver-Dykes State Park and the Bulow Plantation Ruins. Now that the weather's cooled off and the mosquitoes have calmed down that kind of hiking around in the woods is a lot more attractive. Plus, I now have a Florida State Parks Annual Pass, so it's a win all around!

Faver-Dykes is undergoing renovation until December so I have time to plan my road trip. Maybe I'll take a couple days and stay with friends on the coast. One of the things I love about my job, as it says in my bio, is taking a day off, putting the top down on the convertible, driving to the beach, and calling it research.

But this time it's for real…

Gator Country

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More shots rang out, going wide of where Rand stood. He stuck his head around the tree and the smoke from [redacted] gun was enough to give Rand something to sight on, and get off a shot of his own before he ducked back. The muzzle flash compromised his night vision and he waited a moment before looking back around, in time to see a silhouette at the river edge—and a darker silhouette moving swiftly through the water.
“Get away from the river, there’s a gator coming after you!”
“You can’t fool me that way, Wash—”
A piercing shriek split the night, followed by a large splash.
--SMUGGLER'S BRIDE  

This was a Sunday where I needed to get away from the 24-hour news and social media cycle of tragedy and politics. I headed out to my favorite city walking trail at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, where nature and the city meet through reclaimed wetlands. It was a perfect day for a trek and I was rolling along, enjoying the wildflowers and egrets, ibis, ducks and cranes in abundance.

As I came aroun…

Review: Dark Tide Rising

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Dark Tide Rising by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this latest entry in the William Monk mysteries because of its focus on the men of the River Police. They're an interesting group, but one of them may have betrayed his comrades and Monk needs to figure out who the traitor is while focusing on their solving a kidnapping and murder.

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Always a weener!

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Regular readers of this blog may recall that Diva #Dachshund Dodi was entered in the Halloweener Derby last year, an annual fundraiser sponsored by Climb for Cancer Foundation.

Her performance was memorable. We practiced for weeks, racing up and down the hall at the squeak of her favorite ball. She was in top form, fighting trim. Comes the day of the race Dodi is weight matched against another doxie, I'm at the finish line with treats and toys to lure her, the announcer says "Go!" and they're off like a shot.

One dachshund, anyway.

Dodi sits on her furry little butt and looks around. People are yelling and laughing and I'm at the finish line calling, "C'mon, Dodi! Treats!" and she just sits there enjoying the view.

I must admit, it was mortifying. But I was willing to try again. We signed up for the race, began our training regimen (cue "Rocky" theme...) and I knew this year she'd bring home the gold. A year older, a year more mature,…

Smuggler's Bride Persimmon Cake

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"Possum hangin’ in the tree, Raccoon on the ground; Raccoon say, you stingy rat,Shake them ’simmons down!”
Julia paused in her singing and frowned down at the spoon stirring through the cake batter. “Possum hanging in the tree?” Where had that come from? “Goodness, I’m becoming countrified!” She chuckled, looking out the kitchen window at the activity in the yard. Rand was doing the morning chores in preparation for their trip to the Iveys’ farm. For a moment she watched him as she stirred, indulging herself in a fantasy that theirs was a normal marriage, two people on the Florida frontier, making a new life together. But it was as much a fantasy as singing raccoons.--SMUGGLER'S BRIDE

If it's autumn in North Central Florida, it's persimmon time! They're starting to come into our farmers market, a little late this year because of our extra hot summer, but I snagged a few. These are still at the ripe but firm stage and may not make it to the cakes. I also like them s…

Review: Starless

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Starless by Jacqueline Carey
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

A lush, gender-bending retelling of the classic Hero's Journey in a fantasy world full of gods and gifts. Khai is a young warrior, honed for a life of service as a Shadow, paired at birth to the Princess Zariya as her protector. Khai's training begins in infancy and it isn't until puberty that the young Shadow learns the truth--she was born female, but raised as an "honorary boy".

It changes everything, and nothing. Even though there's never been a girl Shadow, Khai is ready to take on her/his responsibilities and learns that an evil presence created by the gods may destroy everything, including his/her beloved princess.

Carey has brought us lesbian heroines before in her Santa Olivia novels, and a bi-heroine in the acclaimed Kushiel series. This time she delves deep into classic high fantasy with a warrior and his/her love, a quest, and a band of brothers and sisters brought together to fulfill a…

Review: Saga, Vol. 9

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Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: If you're not reading Saga, Vol. 9, you're not reading the finest graphic novel being published now. And the graphic novel format is perfect for this tale. The combination of art and text couldn't be duplicated in a standard novel, not the way it works here.

Start with Volume 1. Read SAGA. Be blown away.

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Review: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was fun to re-read this classic by two masters of fantasy. I'm looking forward to seeing the new series on Amazon Prime, but I'll also be intrigued to see how the cast and story is updated. For example, this book had many tongue-in-cheek references to the movie The Omen, and would likely shoot right over the heads of some modern viewers.

But it was still a fun read, and highly recommended.

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Review: Little Fires Everywhere

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I pulled this off the library "Sizzler" (Hot titles) shelf on a whim because I'd seen it on the bestseller lists for a long time, and because my son-in-law is from Shaker Heights.

It was an engrossing read. So many of the characters struck me as people I might have known, their lives and behavior all too familiar, and yet the story unfolded in a fashion that kept me turning pages late into the night. To me, this is the hardest type of novel to write well. A story of largely ordinary people who each have lives worthy of deeper exploration.

I understand now what the buzz is about and I'll check out more books by Ms. Ng.

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Review: The Governess Game

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Review: Circe

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Circe by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was a youngster, one of my favorite books was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. I still have my copy.

That's simply my way of saying that reading a re-telling of a classic tale from my youth is not only a pleasure, but to see the myth turned around to be woman empowered and turned away from the male POV is a very special pleasure indeed.

What we know of the witch Circe comes from the classic myth told by men, repeated in The Odyssey by Homer and passed down for generations from Odysseus' perspective. Now we get to hear the other story, the story of a powerful woman born of the gods who has to navigate her way through a world of petty Olympian personalities and mortals with limited ideas of what a woman can be. I found CIRCE to be engrossing, powerfully told, beautifully written and wonderful tale of a girl who doesn't fit in, so she makes her own place. I highly recommend it.

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