One Lovely Blog (and Eight Better Ones)

onelovelyblogawardEmelia Leigh, a London writer—by which I mean she’s in London, but I suppose she might write about it, too— whose excellent Last Beginning Blog has an inspirational and all-too-relateable backstory that you need to read right now—nominated me last week for the One Lovely Blog Award.

To accept, I’m to share seven facts about myself—supposing there’s anything about me I haven’t shared already that I’m willing to admit to in public—nominate at least seven blogs I regularly read, and provide links to their places.

Here goes:


Whistle1.  I can whistle any tune—I can even do a flying saucer imitation by humming at the same time— but am simply incapable of doing that piercing taxi-call thing with the two fingers. Every time I try, I end up with a popped ear and a wet chin.

sock guy2.  I haven’t worn hosiery—except to exercise in athletic shoes—for at least four years. Even in winter. It wasn’t a conscious decision, exactly, more like an incredibly long series of smaller decisions based on a deep, abiding hatred of women’s trouser socks and pantyhose.

3.  When I play Words with Friends, I’m much more likely to win if I play very quickly. If I stop to think about strategy, I’m doomed. This may explain the problems I have using story outlines . . .

blueberry guy4.  My favorite on-the-go drink mix is a generic -brand Blueberry-Acai Energy, not only because it’s cheap and has caffeine in it—though heaven knows that would be enough—but also because when you shake the bottle perhaps a bit too enthusiastically hard enough, the water goes pink and the bubble froth goes blue. SCIENCE!

5.  I sometimes wonder if I’m really a writer, or just someone who loves to read so much that I confused the two. I’m also aware that I borrowed this particular self-doubt from John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire, which doesn’t help much, especially when it occurs to me that I’ve put a bear in my current  project. . .

6.  I love listening to music when I’m driving and have been known to belt out anything and everything from country to Opera, just try to stop me sing along—volume is no object. The kids are totally on board with all this, pun intended, and I’ve added our favorites to a special kid-safe Driving Playlist that includes everything from (“#thapower” for Jane, “Scream & Shout” and the Black Eyed Peas for me) to the Backstreet Boys (Rachel adores “Larger Than Life”, which is Not My Fault), plus a square ton of acapella groups and cello covers (2cellos, Apocalyptica, Pentatonix, etc.) for me.

This is my current favorite, because it makes me feel like I’m getting away with (or from) something:

When we discovered Sunday that my MP3 radio converter had died sometime during the night, we didn’t even bother to turn on the radio —my kids and I were quiet the entire trip, as if stunned by sudden grief. Which, I suppose, we were.

Hitchhikers7. I’m always secretly proud of myself when I pay a bill the moment I receive it or register a new purchase right away, or remember to bring coupons to the store and use them, or rearrange conflicting appointments in my planner and immediately call people about them. It’s like I’m a Real Adult™ . . . who just happens to be shaking her bottle of Blueberry-Acai to make the bubbles turn blue.

I’m now supposed to nominate seven of my favorite bloggers.  If you’re named here, you’re under no obligation.

If I missed you, it’s because if I listed all the blogs I obsessively read, I’d never get this done, or you’ve just been nominated by someone else, you’ve just decided to stop blogging, or I know for a fact that you don’t care for awards much.

Indy, who rules Fangs and Clause with a grammatical fist in a witty glove and also writes me Firefly poetry.

Lyra, who runs Lyrical Meanderings and is fantastic, funny, fierce, and inspirational like whoa.

Averil Dean, though she’s supplied (and required) more than five times as many facts in her past two posts.

Mike Allegra, in the efforts to get him to come of out hiatus, if only this once (please?).

Caitlin Stern, from caitlinsternwrites, who does interesting things with shifters and chimera and also sends me escalator dragons.

Laura Maylene Walter, an accomplished writer whose facts, if she chooses to participate, will probably include at least one cat.

John Shaw of Taps and Ratamacues, because go read his poetry right now (and try his recipes, because yum).

Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, whose 52/52 Project is almost as amazing as she is.

Thanks again, Emelia!  That was fun!


Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (One Time)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!


This bit follows directly from last week’s, when Talbot City cop Janet Kyle questioned—with a touch of longsuffering sarcasm—our hero Tom’s claims of self-defense in the pitching of a werewolf out of his detective agency’s fifth-story window, as Tom’s partner Turner was the one who actually competed in the wolftoss event.

Tom doesn’t quite give her a straight answer, but he does (I hope) get his point across.

Whatever Clock

“I had to call my sister,” I said, meeting her sharp green eyes.

She studied me. Kyle was all human, but she didn’t need enhanced senses to read people. “So, not an upset client,” she said. “Or the husband of one of Turner’s playmates.”

One time that happened,” he muttered.

“My brother ticked someone off,” I said.  “They decided to fire a warning shot at him through me.”


Turner,  I love him.

I have this whole mental backstory about Turner and Tom meeting in Basic:   Turner sees a photo of Jackie  and makes a comment about her attractiveness, not knowing that she was Tom’s sister (not that it would be any more appropriate if she wasn’t, of course, but it might have disturbed Tom a little less).  Despite this, they become friends.

And then they arrive in the Middle East and bad stuff happens (the specifics of which may show up on page someday, so never mind), and Turner  finds out in various ungentle ways that Weres exist and his pal Tom is, in fact, a wereduck.

Turner’s reaction to all this, once he’s allowed a brief pause in which to reflect?

“One question.”


“Is your sister single?”

Speaking of relevant questions and answers:  Did the use of  “mutter” in Turner’s dialogue tag bug you?  Why?  Why not?

Random Thursday: Banned Book Woes, Punctuation Pros, and Yoda Toes

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Y’all sent me a lot of grammar and punctuation stuff this week.  I’m trying not to take it personally.

It’s also National Banned Book Week.  I do take that personally.

Throw in a little random Yoda, and it must be Thursday . . .


Grammatical Art

Winky Faces by Grammatical Art

Grammatical Art over at etsy sells a variety of clever odes to our favorite punctuation marks
in a vast selection of rich colors.

They have science-themed prints as well, which pretty much confirms their spot on my
New Favorite Online Shop List.

If you have limited wall space, they have tee-shirts, too.

Remember: Grammatically Correct Owl says, “Whom.”

Mapping Censorship
This interactive map—or rather the interactive map from which I took this screenshot, as I couldn’t get the ruddy thing to embed—was a joint project of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.
Mapping Censorship
It was created by mapping challenges and bannings documented by the American Library Association and the Kids’ Right to Read Project.
The ALA is now maintaining it.
Click the screenshot to see which books are getting people’s knickers in a twist and which of the small percentage of challenges and bannings have been reported.
Most aren’t reported—they just happen.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?


For Dummies, Grammar Is

For Dummies Grammar is

Yoda toes!


Censored Underpants FTW!

Dav Pilkey, the Creator of Captain Underpants, has something to say about Censorship.

Here ’tis:

I completely agree with Mr. Pilkey.

You are welcome to monitor your own child’s reading habits. You should, actually, because kids have questions and little skill in evaluating their information sources, and you want to be ready to explain anything that troubles them in ways that don’t have them going to their equally confused friends for answers.

Or, heaven help us, the Interwebz.

But your control over what children read stops at your children. You don’t get to control the reading choices of other people’s children. You don’t judge the parents of a child who is reading something you wouldn’t let your children read, either.

And if you see an seven-year old reading Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers*and want to know where on earth her mother is?

I’m at the library, finding a copy for your kid.

Where are you?


Alot by nerdylittlestitcher
Add nerdylittlestitcher to that list.
And not just because I’ll be repeating “afalafel” to myself all day, and giggling.

Try it—it’s fun.


Borgian Punctuation

The clashing subtitles are annoying, but Victor Borge is totally worth it.


*Actually, she’s reading Mommy Laid an Egg, and learning where babies really come from.  I have no intention of becoming a grandmother before I retire and education is the key to that goal.

And So It Went

I had the best weekend, y’all.

On Saturday, my GPS and I slalomed down the Orange Barrel Trail to Indianapolis, a trip that would have taken longer than I planned, even if I’d remembered which time zone and Daylight Savings Plan that part of the state is using these days.

The purpose of the journey was to meet up with writer friends I’d originally met online a couple of years ago, when I started hanging out in the comments section of Betsy Lerner’s blog. Four of us—Lyra, Sherry Stanley Stanfa, and Laura Maylene Walter, just to shamelessly name drop—were meeting Saturday, spending the night at the perfectly placed Westin Hotel, and then having breakfast with three other friends the next morning.

Lyra and I had hoped to arrive early in the afternoon to spend an hour of two writing and/or talking over snacklunch, but we’d both made a late start and the above memoryfail about the time zone, so we both showed up around four o’clock EST, mere minutes before Sherry and Laura.

We dumped our stuff with Christian the Concierge, who can rock a bow tie, and immediately set forth to find the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, because it closed at 5.

Unfortunately, we set forth in the wrong direction, but we found a lovely park about ten blocks down where we could stop, reorient ourselves, and maybe turn the map around a little.

We did make it in time, though and it was well worth the walk.


Kurt Vonnegut FTW

Photo graciously supplied by Lyra–my attempt was a big black rectangle.

It’s a great place, small but high impact, with art and reading materials, displays and quotes, photographs of an astonishingly young Mr. Vonnegut—I found the evolution of his hair almost as interesting as the rest of his personal history— and also a knowledgeable assistant curator (I think?) with whom we had a great conversation about the outrageous banning of books in schools (his daughter is a lucky kid).

And a nifty little gift shop, where many Vonnegut-themed souvenirs were purchased.

I spent the rest of the evening and a good portion of the night eating, talking, drinking, talking, laughing, suddenly getting serious with the talk, moving to a quieter venue, and drinking, eating, and talking some more with these amazing women who happen to be amazing writers and, somehow, my friends.

I wore out about half-past midnight, because I am a sleep-deprived pumpkin, and collapsed into a bed so comfortable^ I would have tried to smuggle out with me—mattress, duvet, and All The Pillows—if I thought I could find my car in the parking garage and stuff everything into the trunk of my Civic before I was caught by Christian the Concierge.

The next morning, I woke earlier than I’d intended, showered, packed, wrote a very little, poked at the Vonnegut-shaped Souvenir Blister on my left foot—and so it goes—and went down to the lobby to meet Amy, who kindly helped me find my car so I could stash the mattress dump my bags. We waved at Lisa Golden, who passed by on her way to a more sensible parking space, and headed for Café Patachou, where we joined and were joined by the rest of our crew at our table, which was blessedly close to both the Self-Serve Coffee Station and the bathroom.

It was serendipity all the way through, y’all.

After a couple hours of talk both writerly and otherwise, and the eating of good food and drinking of massive amounts of delicious caffeine, we all hugged—one or two of us might have teared up a bit—and went off in our separate directions.

The GPS and I followed the Orange Barrel Trail west for five hours and a good portion of Laurie King’s Garment of Shadows, arrived home, passed out leaf-shaped bars of hotel soap to my children, who are not Vonnegut fans (yet), and collapsed on my own pretty-darned-comfortable mattress until dinner.

It was a very good weekend.

We need to do it again—soon!


*I was later told that the others came into the room twice to get beer and snacks from the cooler, and when I woke up the next morning, Lyra was sleeping in the other bed, but I don’t remember a thing. That’s serious comfort. Or serious exhaustion, anyway, which is easier to fit into a Honda Civic, so whatever.


Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Fatal Femme)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!


When this goes live, I’ll be snoring away in a hotel room in Indianapolis, where a group of online writer friends who met over at Betsy Lerner’s place are converging  for some Real Life Face Time™  over a too-short weekend.

Depending on traffic and my level of sleep deprivation, I probably won’t be able to make the warrior/snippet rounds until late tonight or tomorrow.  But I promise I’ll get there!

(I’m going to try to get my phone to add a link to the Snippet Sunday Facebook post—if it doesn’t show by the time this goes live, could one of you wonderful people help me out?  Thank you!)

Coffee Wont Cut it


Last week, Turner pitched a werewolf out of the fifth floor window—because dragging a kneecapped, leather-cuffed thug down all those stairs is bothersome and explaining (or not) to the other people in the elevator would be . . . yeah—just as the Talbot City Police, or at least the division that covertly handles inter-species crowd control, arrives to take custody.

There’s something about Kyle that brings out the really long sentences eloquence in Tom . . .


A fist pounded twice on the door and Sergeant Janet Kyle stomped in, five foot seven inches of ex-Army badass cop, and the first person all morning who might have qualified as a femme fatale—except I’d never seen her in a dress, and she didn’t need saving from anyone but these two idiots from her former platoon who kept calling her in to clean up their mess.

She was carrying the arm restraints and wearing an expression that said we were going to pay for every single person who saw her holding a set of custom, studded leather BSDM playware—and not in a fun way. She slung them at me and I caught them, the silver biting cold against my palm.

“You’re lucky I’m not using these on you,” she said, in a tone that dared us to take it the wrong way.

Turner coughed into his fist as I wiped my mind of all spontaneous mental images.

“It was him or me, L.T.,” I said.

She crossed her arms. “Then how come Turner was the only one I saw leaning out the damned window?”


Thus ends the last of the femme fatale references Tom will be making, at least in this chapter.

Question:  solely from the above bit, is it clear that Kyle is a police Sergeant now, but was Tom and Turner’s Lieutenant in the Army?




Image borrowed from a tee shirt available from CafePress.