Monday, January 24, 2011

Characters

Good Monday Morning,







Today I want to chat about "Characters" and by chatting about characters....I mean let's talk about some of our favorite characters and not only why they are our favorite characters but why you can relate to them. How they can bring out or spark emotions in you, bring back a memory for you or at the very least make you care for them.


Of coure for me there is Renie and Judith from Mary Daheim' s Bed-n-breakfast series. The two women are cousins but they seem more like sisters to me. I like how ordinary and not so ordinary their lives are and intertwine with one another. Renie is me on a bad day I relate to the stains on the shirts and forgetting to comb your hair especially if I am on a deadline to finish a book.


Judith is me when albeit she is more of a klutz than I am but she has her moments with her mother (who will never get mother of the year) and since I have a mother like this and will likely one day be accused of being Judith's mother then yeah I can relate. There is Aunt Deb who is Renie's mother well my Aunt Joanne I'm convinced is this woman's twin. Now when Judith is mad she cooks and cleans something when I get mad I cross stitch or do the laundry (my dryr is broke) so guess what I do regularly right now?


Anyway as you can see these two women mean something to me. I love humor and use it to get past awkward points in my life and friendships much the same as Renie and Judith. Life is not always fun for me or even amusing but it can be funny and at times.


Moving on let's go retro for a few minutes. I love Amanda Matesky's books that are based on a woman from the 1950's who is a receptionist for a magazine publisher and they publish detective stories. This woman is in her time but thinks way ahead of her time. I love her and she has a name that is unforgettable. Her character is also unforgettable "Paige Turner" is her name. Her neighbor across the hall is an artist and she truly has her share of men and stories to tell. Paige wants to be a real author and longs to be the one with her name on at least one detective story her magazine publishes. Plus Paige is probably more me than I like to admit back in the day when I was her age and even today with longing to be published and wishing I could grow sunflowers instead of having an insatible need to write, feel express and solve the mystery. Of course like Paige I have visions of glory and fame......I mean what writer doesn't...which leads me to one of my all time favorite characters.


Laura Levine's character in her mystery chick lit series filled with wit and humor and a cat named Prozac to whom belongs to Jaine Austen and if you are a mystery reader and have yet read Killer Cruise you're doing yourself a diservice but I digress. Jaine's character comes complete with all too human feelings of angst, humor, trouble, creative ways to make and earn a living, parents who drive you bonkers and you don't to be twenty something for this character to touch your life. I am in my early fifties and love every book Laura Levine has penned in this series. If you want to be tormented by a character then by all means give Prozac a pair of pantyhose and stand back, if you want humor just read one of Jaine's toliet bowl adds or meet some of her other clients, if you think nobody loves you and could easily forget your name just ask Jaine's mom what Prozac's name is? She'll tell you it's Zoloft every time and if you think you have problems well just read one of Laura's books in this series which begs the question for Laura "Did you have as many bad days as your character?" And what is the name of your cat? Just curious I'm just asking....


Anyway today tell us about how you can relate to your favorite characters....


Hugs,


Pamela

Cats by Hinzeit -- stitched by Pamela

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Halloween Eve


Stitched this one for a Halloween Exchange for my friend Kathleen in Oct 2010

Terri

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review - Dead Man's Chest by Kerry Greenwood

DEAD MAN'S CHEST


Author: KERRY GREENWOOD

Hard Cover

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Pub date:2010

ISBN: 978-1-59058-797-3

Series Mystery



Phyrne Fisher is vacationing in Queenscliff. She promised her staff and two adopted daughters a holiday and a holiday they will receive. However the second half of her promise is a little harder to keep since she also promised them no murders.



They arrive at the rented house but the there is no Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, no cook or staff the place is empty right now to the last crumb. This doesn't raise an eyebrow but instead everyone in the household rolls up their sleeves and starts to make the empty house a home by the sea. Soon they are joined by a young boy to whom Phyrne has name Tinker. She saved Tinker from some horrible boys and Tinker by rights takes in Mr. and Mrs. Johnson's dog.



Phyrne decides to investigate what has happened to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and the whole household help in their own way. Of coures there are strange neighbors and some Surrealists which is a kind of a group who live a cross the way from the Johnson house but more to the point do they know somethig Phyrne should know about the Johnson's and what happened to them that they would leave the family pet behind?



Phyrne is going to make good use of Tinker, her pearl-handled beretta and champagne not to mention Ruth, Dot, Hugh and Jane not to mention Molly the dog and Gaston the other dog to which has a special place in everyone's heart.



The reason for so much chaos might have something to do with the tale of a treasure chest and everyone loves to hunt for treasure. Is there is any treasure to find and will it cost someone dearly?

All we know is that this is one mystery that is sure to please everyone. I know it pleased me to find there were even skeletons and skeleton heads in this wonderful mystery romp by the sea.



Kerry Greenwood is an author I would love to sit down and talk with because she has clever, witty and extremely smart character in Phyrne Fisher and therefore I can't wait to talk with the creator of this wonderful series. This is book number eighteen in the series so for those of you who have yet to meet Phyrne you have many wonderful hours of reading ahead of you.

I give DEAD MAN'S CHEST by Kerry Greenwood an At and she deserves ten out of ten stars.

Pamela James

Monday, January 17, 2011

I HAD A DREAM

Today is Martin Luther King Day and of course when I think of him I think of his famous speech. I HAD A DREAM so it seems natural for me to ask this question today.




"What is your dream? Have you acheived your dream and moved on to another one? If you haven't acheived your dream will you tell us what is holding you back?



For me it's always been to be a top selling mystery author. Well drop the top selling and I can say I'm a mystery author. However my lack of focus and my lack of paying attention to my career has only set me back ten years.



Today my husband went back to work for the first time in almost two weeks. I sent him to work with mixed feelings but I can now write days again with some consistancy. I guess what I am saying is that my dream has been renewed by sheer and total fear. We do not have a large savings account, I do not have medical insurance and I have a few health issues. He has plenty more than I do but his hospital stay and surgery is a big eye opener to my future.

I am now back to work and plan to stay that way on writing these books. I also have concluded that while writing mysteries is my main writing goal that for my bread and butter I may have to write some articles and nonfiction gigs. I am fine with this but need to map out a plan of action.

No longer can I sit back and see if the other shoe will drop. It has dropped and I must do the right thing and not treat my writing as a hobby.

A lot of plans that I hoped to acheive have fallen through the past few months and I have to say some of it is through no fault of my own. However I did forget the golden rule which is ------ "Don't rely on anyone else to make your dreams happen and the other rule "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" For this lapse of thought I have lost months and years.

Today is turly the first day of the rest of my life in more ways than one.

SO again I ask....."What is your dream and have you acheived it?"





"What is holding you back?"

Hugs,

Pamela

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Reviews

Book Reviews:




Today I am going to ask where you go to read your favorite book reviews? Terri and I will be doing more book reviews this year but I am curious as to where you think the best reviews are online and of course blogs that carry book reviews.



Have you recently bought or ordered a book based on someone's review of the book?



What grabs you first the back blurb about the book or the book cover?



Does the authors who endorse a book or series help or hinder your book buying, ordering etc...?



Lastly what do you think a good book review should have in the review and what do you think should be left out of the review?



Hugs,

Pamela

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Storm

WINTER STORM:







What is your favorite way to kill time when a winter storm lands on your door step? I love to watch movies and cross stitch. However today we are getting snow and I think since I have had little time to read that I will snuggle in and read. My husband is in the hospital and since I am snowed in and can't get out to see him right now that I am going to take a ME day. Although I may end up going out later if my daughter Mishell decides to stop by and pick me up. Right now a little me time is very much needed.


I will say at least he didn't have to have the second surgery. I will add that diabetes is a nasty disease with all types of twists and turns. Don't know when he will be home yet as this morning his blood pressure went wonky. So keep a good thought for Frank and I and hopefully as the days go on I'll have more news to share. I do know that wound vac treatment is not for the feint of heart.


Hugs,


Pamela

A Gift I stitched for my friend Mary in new Orleans

Mary is nice enough to let me stay with her on my trips to NOLA.  And she has a beautiful sttiching room in her house so I thought this would be a nice addition

Terri

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Foreign writers and settings

I remember years ago my favorite author, Harlan Ellison, had a commentary on the SCIFI channel show (I think it was called SCiFI buzz).  The channel was new and exciting (for me) at the time.  Now of course, it is SYFY and not nearly as interesting.  But that isnt my point.  On one of his commentary's he lamented the state of American publishing in the SCIFI and Fantasy genres.  And besides the fact that everything was supposed to be a trilogy following the same formulas, the point he really was making was the lack of publishing the amazing writers in other countries.  Americans apparently don't much like reading non-american writers.  Or at least publishers believe that. 

Now it is at least 15 years or so later and its pretty much the same.  Not just SCIFI but all genres.  Let's face it, when is the last time you read a book by say, an Austrian author?  You know they have many great ones but I know I cant name a single one.  And that is sad.

This is a huge world with huge stories to tell - stories that might be awesome but that we have no exposure to.  Now, I will say that ONE series broke that mold recently and that is the Stieg Larsson series.  And that is a good thing.  It would be nice if it inspired publishers to look for other possible international writers to bring to us.

It happens occassionally.  Personally I love Jose Saramago (Portugal).  But normally you have to really seek out foreign writers.  Last year I read a turkish writer (name not coming at the moement) with a mystery series set in the gay/transvestite (officially non-existent) community.  And I read a mystery set in China (by a Chinese American author) that gave me insight into the communist society there that I had no clue into prior.  And those are fiction.  Non-fiction I am reading The Cultures of the World teen series and I read Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced (a very sad story) last year.

The world is full of interesting cultures and societies and I would love to see more of it in literature.  So this year, I am actively seeking to read a lot more "foriegn" authors and books set in foreign lands.  I am not counting the UK in this challenge because that is the one exception that we do seem to have on the topic. We have lots of great British authors over here.

So if you have suggestions let me know.  And join me in my challenge if you feel inspired!

Terri

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Book 2011

First Book 2011:







What first book of the New Year are you reading? Is it a good book and one that you might write a review telling us about it?






I hope everyone had a Happy New Year and that we all have plenty of books to deleve into for winter reads.






For me we had a family Christmas on New Year's Day but it was a nice one albeit filled with a few surprises that I will get around to explaining as the year goes on but I have to say in our family there always seems to be a few surprises.


I can tell you my son is engaged to a wonderful woman who is sweet and fun, smart, pretty, knows about our family and loves us anyway.






I am hoping to do some online cross stitch pattern shopping today. Plus I will be cross stitching...Monday Morning I will be writing and recovering for the past two weeks of holiday eating, shopping and family.






I will say I have two new planners to start the year, two new calanders to start the year, new books to read, flavored coffee and movies to watch. I think I am set for January 2011...LOLOLOL






Love,


Pamela

Monday, January 3, 2011

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s a fervent hope that 2011 is better than 2010 was. 2010 began with Daisy, my winner-picking wiener dog, unable to use her hind legs. A week at the vet’s and hundreds of dollars later, and she’s moving again; but the year ended with Louie, my special favorite hound dog, dying after being hit by a car. Add all the crud that went on in between those two ghastly events, and basically, 2010 stank. Big time.




However, 2011 is starting well, with the publication of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL. This book has received mixed (to put it mildly) reviews, from a snotty blasting in Kirkus to a starred review in Booklist. Still and all, this is the first of my books to receive reviews from three of the Big Four (Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus and Library Journal), which is sort of amazing. I mean, my itsy-bitsy book was reviewed in all those prestigious journals. To heck with ‘em if they didn’t like it! They bothered with it!



Speaking of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, I’m giving away three copies of same in my monthly contest. If you’d like to enter my contest, just e-mail me your name and home address at alice@aliceduncan.net. I’ll toss your name into Daisy’s special contest doggie dish, and she’ll slurp up the wieners—I mean the winners—on the last day of the month.



Also in 2010, I managed to get all but one of my backlist up on Kindle and Smashwords. I still have one book left to go (HER LEADING MAN), but that’ll go up as soon as I get it in shape. Norah Wilson, a fellow writer and a certified saint, copied my remaining books for me when I couldn’t get them to transcribe into a readable format. Word-processing programs go out of fashion so quickly, don’t you know. You really have to be on top of things to make sure your work can be read in the future. Being a technological nitwit, I didn’t manage to do that. Thank God for Norah!



2011 will see the publication of three of my books. This can be considered a good thing, or it can be considered a not-so-good thing, depending on whether or not I have money to promote them all—which, of course, I don’t. Sigh. Still and all, it’ll be nice to have multiple books out in a year again. FALLEN ANGELS will be published in May, and GENTEEL SPIRITS will be published in July. These books are all more or less mystery-related. More or less.



I’m particularly jazzed about GENTEEL SPIRITS, since the “Spirits” series has had such a rocky road to publication. The first two books in the series, STRONG SPIRITS and FINE SPIRITS, were published by Kensington as romances, which they weren’t. Ergo, they died a hideous, if short, death. It was pure dumb luck that led me to submit the third in the series, HIGH SPIRITS, to Five Star, and a brilliant stroke on Five Star’s part (I’m kidding here) when they chose to publish it. What’s more, Five Star has gone on to publish HUNGRY SPIRITS and GENTEEL SPIRITS, and they’re going to publish ANCIENT SPIRITS in 2012 sometime. So bless Five Star’s heart! Every now and then things go right, even if there’s very little money involved.



Um . . . what else? I guess I’ll continue to rescue dachshunds, although I’m feeling a minor sense of burn-out on that front. However, the dogs need help; what can one do? Keep fostering, I guess.



I hope everyone who reads this blog (and everyone who doesn’t) has a
spectacular 2011!

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