The Great Hockey Rink in the Sky Monday, Mar 31 2008 

Auntie M has just returned from the wilds of the midwest, visiting her 4 Grands and far too many hockey rinks…where she picked up a stomach flu…in the middle of a hockey tournament (I leave the details to your imagination, but trust me, the ladies room is NOT like yours at home)…which the 16 mos old had two days later.  Reminded me why younger people have babies,  as I did those three baths and changes of clothes in one 8AM to 1 PM shift when Mom was teaching.  Since 3 of 4 Grands plus Mom play hockey ( you are in serious trouble out here if you don’t), and  since hot chocolate wouldn’t stay down, it was not my favorite part of the trip.  But I digress.

Being around children who remind me of the natural curiosity and wonder of this world is  worth a few trips to the ice rink.   Taking a trip to the bookstore was my favorite outing.  Along with Green Girl of Wisconsin’s blog last week, I agree that there are plenty of non-fiction books that rival those of the storied kind.  My 7 yr old g-dtgr. asked for The Dangerous Book for Girls for her May birthday, and you know it’s coming to her.  9 yr old g-son is reading a series where he can design his own ending for the book!   That they are all in love with books is a real delight to this Nana.  Reading aloud the original Peter Pan, chapter one, the G’s were astounded to find that “Nana” was the Darling children’s dog nanny.  Score one for this Nana.

We also took the three bigs to see “Horton” and where else can a couple laugh with delight at an animated movie with abandon unless they are surrounded by the kids the movie is designed for.  Too loud, a pet peeve of mine at cinema’s, but well done.

I did manage to reada few by Claire Curzon, the Mike Yeading series, and R. M. Kinder’s An Absolute Gentleman, which neatly illustrates everything you wanted to know inside the mind of an academic serial killer, as opposed to the purely sociopathic one of the Dexter novels.  Which is coming on CBS tonight.  So if you want to wander around for a bit with a serial killer, read either or the above or tune in at 10Pm EST.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

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On the road again… Thursday, Mar 13 2008 

Auntie M and her Silver Fox, not to be confused with Green Girl’s own Wisconsin Silver Fox, are headed out to the great Midwest to visit our Grands.  The four youths in question range in age from 9 to1 1/2 and provide us with an endless supply of hugs, giggles and laughs, not to mention stories to read on four different levels, and at this time of year, hockey games to see.  We will go to swimming lessons and gymnastics lessons, ride bikes and visit the park.  We will also get tons of sloppy baby kisses and keep the Chunkey Monkey toddler out of things he shouldn’t be in, like the freezer.  In short, a grandparents dream time.

Although I notice as they age that I need more time to recoup when I get back from these visits…one of us must be getting older…I wouldn’t trade these visits for anything.  The undying affection of your grandchildren is right up there with the unconditional love your pets give you.  They are always glad to see you, even if they do suspect there just may be a present hidden in your luggage.

Most of all, I love how they retrain me to look at things in wonder and awe, from a new and different perspective, or from an eye that is untarnished with cares of life.  These visits help me to connect with my inner child, stimulate my creativity, and remind me how children really talk when I’m writing dialog.  And at the end of the day, when they get cranky or irritable, hey,  their Mom or Dad steps in and I slip into the background.  Pure bliss.  And nothing smells as good as the back of baby’s neck, right up there with puppy breath~

Basketball Monday, Mar 10 2008 

Down here in NC, basketball is the sport everything revolves around.  In particular, the teams of UNC Chapel Hill and Duke play out a long rivalry going back too many years to count.  Dukies, also known as Cameron Crazies, with blue faces, wigs and bodies, appear to cheer their Coach K team on.  Over at Chapel Hill, Coach Williams has taken his team to a number one spot with the Amazing Tyler Hansborough.  So Saturday night’s game was watched in households too numerous to count.  But wait: an amazing thing happened.

Earlier this week, the President of UNC’s Student Body was murdered, senselessly, for her car and her ATM and credit cards.  This bright, 22 yr old woman lost her life so thugs could use her cards, probably to support their drug habit.  The entire campus was outraged and in mourning.  That spread to the town and community and then to anyone in NC watching the news, as photo’s of her ‘alleged’ attackers were shown on television, trying to use her ATM card in her car, the driver wearing garb now identified as that of a Los Angeles gang member.

At the Saturday night game between these two teams, competing for first place in the ACC, everyone (yes, everyone, regardless of which team they were rooting for) were given and wore Carolina blue ribbons in Eve Carson’s honor.  Mothers wearing Duke corsages for Senior Night wore their blue ribbons on the other side.  The Duke team wore black bands on their shirts.  UNC’s Tarheels had EVE inside a black circle embroidered on their shirts.

There was moment of silence just before the National Anthem.  Ten thousand (yes, 10,000) hyped up fans fell completely silent.  Some had tears in their eyes.   Others shook their heads at this crude and cruel loss of life.

Once the game started, both teams played their hearts out.  Each camera shot reminded us they were playing for their team, their school, the rivalry, the win.  But each camera shot also reminded us they were playing for Eve.

Godspeed, Eve Carson.   You will be missed.  And your team won.

Writing on the River Sunday, Mar 9 2008 

I have to admit I’m very fortunate.  Each day that’s nice enough, I can drag my laptop onto our screened porch and sit and watch river life whilst writing.  The weather is just starting to turn enough here that I can do that soon, the bulbs coming up and the trees budding.  Fred and Ethel, our pair of mallards, visit the dock and swim along the bulkheading.  If they’re seen by our dogs, Murray and Radar take off down the dock, barking their respective heads off, saying in doggie language: “SCRAM! This is our dock!”

While I try to look up frequently, my eyes are usually cast down to the computer screen.  Now that the manuscript for our Screw Iowa book is in good shape, I can get back to my own writing.  Right now that means revision, where P. D. James told me ‘the real writing gets done.’  I’m trying something new, changing to first person POV, and with that comes the challenge of my main character having to be present in every scene, or the action can’t happen.

And in between that revising, I’ll be working on my bits for our Screw Iowa website, finding pieces to revise to send out to other publications hoping to garner another publication credit, querying the editor at the magazine send articles to with my latest idea, and working on dividing our Screw Iowa concept into five coherent small ‘talks’ as we prepare to publicize our project with panel discussions.

And you thought a writer’s life was just sitting there having fun, right?

The Royals Monday, Mar 3 2008 

Anglophile that I am, Auntie M will be glued to the Ba-Ba Walters special tonight on the Royal Family.  It’s supposed to contain footage gleaned over several months showing how they live on a daily basis.  Don’t have a clue why I care; guess it’s because I lived there in another life, I swear.  And love their mysteries; and those crooked little streets and gorgeous buildings; and Dickens and Christie and Wilkie Collins and Shakespeare; the Lake District and canals; gardens and High tea and OXFORD–should I stop now?

On the home front, heading to the airport tomorrow to pick up one of the Screw Iowa gals.  We’re a writers workshop of five women who live across the country.  We met at the U of Iowa a few years ago in a novel class and bonded.  After maintaining email contact all year and trading bits and pieces of our novels for critiquing, we approached Iowa and asked for a course that would allow us to critique our entire novels, instead of the lowly 20-25 pages that are usual.  They said no.  We said, with great respect, “Screw Iowa, we’ll do it ourselves.”  And so we did, and continue to do so, meeting annually to critique each other’s entire novels, trading and supporting and communicating by email all year long.  It’s been so successful we’ve written a book about it.

Screw Iowa: A Twenty-First Century Writers Guide to Success is represented by Curtis Brown, Ltd.  Our book proposal and sample chapters are making the rounds to potential publishers.   And Miss L from Baltimore is arriving for 3 days of work to put the finishing touches on the complete manuscript.  One that five women have written together.  Now, I want you to picture that: five women agreeing on any one thing.  And then multiply that by about 200 pages and you can see how busy we’ve been this past year.  It’s a labor of love, intended to encourage writers out there everywhere to keep on writing.  Once it’s in print, copies will be available on our website, soon to be up and running.  Watch this spot for news at that launch.

And enjoy the Royals tonight!

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Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

Make Your House a Home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

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