Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!
Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.
Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan
First off, a magical happenstance: After nearly being permanently crippled by lower back pain, my doctor finally gave me a prescription for physical therapy. I didn’t know doctors could just write prescriptions for PT, but evidently they do it all the time. Wish mine had done so earlier, because not only has it worked a miracle on my back, but my physical therapist looks like Prince William! You don’t find too many gorgeous guys in Roswell, and this one moved here on purpose, which is hard to imagine but there you go. Weird things happen all the time, I reckon.
Naturally, since I can never experience a magical event without some kind of mayhem interfering, while exercising (I was hoping for a magic wand, but turns out I actually have to do exercises in order to pull apart the facets in the discs squishing the nerves in my spine) I managed to strain an adductor muscle in my right thigh. So now my back’s at least 80 percent better, but my thigh muscle hurts like mad. My handsome prince has a cure for that, too, though, and we’re working through getting the muscle unknotted now. This involves rolling the back of my thigh against a hard rubber ball and then putting ice on the muscle. It’s very strange (if you don’t believe me, try it yourself), but I think the muscle doesn’t hurt quite as much as it used to. Not quite sure yet, but I’ll keep working on it. Oddly enough, although I used to belong to the “no pain, no gain” circle of exercise fanatics (which is how I got to be in the shape I’m in now), all of the back exercises are very gentle and stretchy. Also, and even better, they seem to be working.
On the writing front, it’s been a mixed bag featuring both mayhem and magic. First came the mayhem. Kirkus, which is quite the prestigious periodical even though nobody subscribes to it, totally trashed my upcoming January 2011 release, PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL. Generally, even if a reviewer disses your book, you can pull out a sentence or two to use for publicity’s sake. Not this one. Here it is in all its glory:
“Rosedale, N.M., 1923: The excitement of the annual rodeo is surpassed only by the preaching of a visiting evangelist, and of course by homicide. About the only people in town who have no interest in the gospel as spewed out by the Rev. Strickland, an itinerant preacher, are Annabelle Blue and her bratty younger brother Jack. Annabelle is consumed with hopes of at least one great adventure before settling down with Phil Gunderson. Jack just wants to swing a bat like his hero Babe Ruth. Unfortunately for Annabelle, her beau not only comes in second to cowboy Kenny Sawyer at the rodeo challenges, he seems bedazzled by the preacher’s angelically perfect sister Esther. Despite being engaged, Kenny has never met a married woman he didn’t want to canoodle with, so when he’s poisoned, no one is much surprised. It’s more of a sensation when town gossip Hazel Fish, who’s been spreading rumors about Annabelle’s brother-in-law and another man’s wife, is found dead outside the revivalist tent. Unfortunately for Jack, her face has been bashed in with his baseball bat. Imagine that! Two murders in tiny Rosedale! Will there be more? Will the townsfolk share barbecue and s’mores? Will Annabelle get her man back? After much dithering, all will be resolved. Repetitious and inanely plotted. Unless you’ve a hankering to join Annabelle in dusting the shelves of Blue’s Dry Goods, give this debut a miss.”
Rather off-putting, eh? And debut? I don’t think so. Heck, I’ve had nearly 50 books published, not that you’d know it since nobody reads them after they’re published (except the occasional reviewer). Strangely, while bad reviews used to send me screaming to a corner where I’d fold up and cry for several days, this one was so universally snotty that it didn’t bother me. In fact, I posted about it on my Facebook page, thereby producing a whole flood of chatter. Then, two or three days after the Kirkus review, my Five Star editor sent me a notice from Booklist, in which PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND received a starred review:
“Didn’t Esther Strickland know it was rodeo week in Rosedale, not shameless-hussy week? It would seem that the revivalist preacher’s beautiful sister is not clear on this, since she outrageously flirts with every available cowboy in town, including Annabelle Blue’s friend and almost-certain-to-be-future-husband Phil Gunderson. Esther isn’t happy with just ruining Annabelle’s life, though, since she also has her romantic hooks into Kenny Sawyer. But no one else in town, including Annabelle’s best friend, Myrtle Howell, seems to recognize sweet, charming Esther for the Jezebel she really is. However, when Kenny is poisoned during the rodeo celebrations, Annabelle has more worries than just keeping track of her man, Phil; she now has to find a killer! When it comes to writing laughter-laced love stories, Duncan truly is the queen of the literary rodeo, and she infuses Pecos Valley Revival with an irresistibly sharp wit. A cleverly plotted mystery, a sweetly charming romance, and an intriguing 1920s New Mexico setting all come together splendidly in this genre-crossing treat.”
When a reviewer stars a review, it means he thinks the book is super-special. By the way, I know the Booklist reviewer is a “he”, because he signed the review, unlike the reviewer in Kirkus. The ways of writing, publishing, and reviewing are mysterious to me even after all these years, but I appreciate the Booklist review a lot more than I did the Kirkus one. Not that I’m whining or anything. I’m just saying, is all. Oh, and I posted news about the Booklist review on my Facebook page, too, and it didn’t generate a quarter of the chatter that the bad review did. Go figure.
Also, speaking of magic, this last week I finished writing the third of the “Pecos Valley” books, PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW, and sent it off to my editor. There’s something really satisfying about weaving a story out of nothing and ending up with a book at the end. Take that, Kirkus!
On the dachshund front, I have two new foster children, Poki and Giblett (the spelling of his name isn’t my fault. His initial owners named him Giblett, and Giblett he remains). Poki is a ten-year-old female, and Giblett is a five-year-old male. They came to me after a murder/suicide in Albuquerque. Talk about your basic mayhem. You can tell (well, I can tell because, as a friend once said, I have a Ph.D. in Dachsology) that these guys didn’t live a settled life with their former owners, which makes sense when you think about it. I mean, people don’t generally kill their spouses and then themselves if everything in the household is ginger-peachy, y’know? I hope to heck we can find these guys homes, because they deserve them. They also have certain behavioral problems, but Giblett’s getting much better. Poki remains iffy, but one can but do one’s best and hope a lot.
So now I have eight (count ‘em) dogs in the house, and am not having a whole bunch of fun because of it. On the other hand, at least I don’t have to deal with eight carpet sharks whilst in agony from a bad back. On the other other hand, the back of my right thigh gives me fits and tantrums every time I take the packlet for a walk. In truth, I have to split them up and take two walks daily. That’s probably good for me. All except Poki, who bit the halibut out of me when I tried to put a leash on her. See what I mean about the two orphans being a little on the strange side?
But what the heck, October was Halloween month! I guess we should all expect a little more mayhem than usual in October. Especially when it’s mixed with magic, which is what I consider the lessening of my back pain. Now if we can only get rid of the adductor-muscle pain, I’ll be almost happy, by gum! At the moment, in honor of Halloween, I’m listening to Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Great book. Better than the millions of movies based on it. Honest. Trust me